She finds it funny.
All the screams and cries. All the curses and warnings spit and barked in her direction; as if she herself is unaware of the truth in them. As of she is but an innocent child needing to be taught the cruelty of the world. The destructive power of a word, of the careful and terrible art of seduction.
But she is not a child. She is better at this game than anyone realises. Better than she will ever let anyone know.
She knows her dance partner. Her hero, her destroyer, her lover, her killer — she knows he’s a beast, a monster. She has eyes you know. Anyone with half a brain would see the darkness writhing in his eyes, would see his calloused hands are always a little pinker than the rest of him. Even if they hadn’t seen all the dripping red that causes that pigmentation, they could still smell the tang of iron clinging to his sweet scent.
Still, she dances with him. Pulls him close, lets those stained hands touch her blank canvas skin, trades smiles that hold more meaning, more conversation than any words possible could. Still she speaks, trading words so basic, so drenched in artificial sweetness, that they may as well be poison.
He is so very good at this game too, a proper challenge. An addiction she has been chasing for so very long, has only ever had a breath, a ghost of a taste of.
Oh, her partner is a beast indeed. A very smart beast, who sharpens his claws behind his back, hides how fresh the blood on his teeth is. Treads softly, bows his head, speaks sweetly. After all, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
It is so very funny. The way sheep think, they way they mutter and fret, pulling close those they love, and those they don’t. No one feels bad for the shield when it breaks after all. No one really feels bad when the one in front get’s slaughtered, they only care that they don’t.
It has been so long she’s nearly forgotten that nobody else is in on the game. She has been playing so long, she’s forgotten than no one else can see the world the way she does. She forgot no one else plays like her, if they are even aware of the game.
But then her friends gossip, her co-workers complain; appalled by the state of the world, as if they had been born yesterday. As if the horror and joys that had been plaguing everyone, had only just appeared, and had not been swimming with them for years, and remembers. Remembers she is among sheep and not wolves in disguise.
Which of course, made it easy to spot him.
This world made it easy to spot someone just a little bit off, just a little too good at this old song and dance. His words elegant and carefully chosen, she can see that in those minute pauses, those perfectly measured chuckles. He makes no movement without purpose, she knows, can read him like a script. He is good at playing the long game.
Unused to surprises though. If the look he’d thrown her after she’d gotten a little bit drunk, a little too curious, and sampled the taste of him. The copper on his tongue had been a pleasant surprise. As had the twin grins that had stretched across both their faces.
So she listens, and watches, and trades sly looks and gestures and sickeningly sweet words with this predator not unlike herself. Wondering how he would look with tears running down his face, broken open and gasping like a gutted fish at her feet. Would curses pass those thin lips? Would those dark eyes widen in horror, or would they narrow in anger? Would he cry, beg for mercy? She doesn’t know, just as he doesn’t know what she’d do.
She doesn’t need to imagine the blood, she’s seen him painted before, and he looks quite handsome dressed in red.
So when she sees this monster everyone warns her about, she always asks for his hand, always pulls him close, always breathes words she thinks will catch his attention, and as they dance —
She waits to see who the better monster is.