"Gil!" Soft hands, warm hands, pulling him out of the darkness so he could collapse sobbing against a warm, human chest. So different from Abyss. Abyss was chilly, cold, chilly, damp. Gil's ankles felt like they would never be dry again, and his shoes were so waterlogged… Gil shuddered against whoever was holding him. It could have been another illusion, he didn't care. He felt warm for the first time since the ceremony, for the first time in what felt like *days*. And he was finally away from that cawing, that stupid bird that was driving him *nuts*. He had almost, almost agreed to…

Or had he?

"Gil, you're bleeding." The soft, warm hands again, pushing him down onto the floor and touching him. Gil blinked, his eyes focusing in the soft light. It must be sunset. Wherever he was now was in ruins, just like Abyss, but it was filled with soft light and warmth and…

"My, my, he does look rather beat up." A cane nudged at his leg, and Gil twitched violently away. He crowded himself up against the blond who was touching him, the blond with green eyes and soft warm hands. He stared at the man with the cane and a red eye. "Hello, Gilbert."

"Stay- stay away!" Gilbert knew this person from… hadn't he been at the ceremony? He had met with Oz and… "Stay away from me!"

"Shhh…" Soft, warm fingers again, stroking through his hair, holding him tight. "It's alright Gil, you're safe now."

Gil sobbed, and kept sobbing until he fell asleep in those soft, warm arms. It was the first time he had slept in days.

Since the ceremony.

"Is he awake yet?" A bratty voice, female, and Gil could not find the strength to open his eyes. He didn't know any bratty females. Lady Ada was a perfect lady, and other than Lady Ada and Miss Kate… well, Gill didn't know any other girls at all.

"He might be, Alice, maybe he would wake up if you hadn't kept interrupting his sleep." That other voice, the warm and soft one. The one that reminded Gil of Oz and… and of someone else. Gil wasn't sure who else, but someone.

Someone. That soft voice with the warm hands changed the cool compress over his forehead, and Gil found it slightly easier to open his eyes. Bright green emerald eyes blinked down at him. Bright eyes like Master Oz's. "Master Oz?" Gil croaked, and the green eyes blinked.

"He recognized me!" Oz, and he looked odd, older and bigger and his hair was longer. Gil felt a headache start. He looked like Oz and someone else. "Did you hear that Alice? He recognized me!"

"That's because you're still a shrimp!" The bratty female voice stated, and she reached over to put Oz in a headlock. She was a girl, a teenager not much older looking than Gil, with long black hair. Another head pang. She looked familiar too. "Just like you were when you contracted me ten years ago!"

Oz was laughing, playfully tugging on her grip on him, but Gil was frozen on the bed. Ten years ago? Oz looked older… Gil had been in the Abyss. Ten… "Ten years?" Gil croaked out, his heart rate speeding up and the blood pulsing through his veins and he couldn't think. "Master Oz?!"

"Ah, Gil, Gil!" Oz was pushing Alice away, and rushing to his side. Which wasn't right, Oz was the master but… Oz had always protected Gil. It was what a master did, Oz had told him. "Gil, don't worry, okay? Calm down. You have to get better, I mean, between the infection and the illegal contract and…"

Gil blinked. "Illegal contract?"

Oz frowned, then shook his head and smiled brightly at Gil, brilliantly even. "Just sleep, Gil, I'll explain everything later."

Gil closed his eyes again. He did feel a bit… tired…

When Gil woke up again (actually woke up not the starts and stops of a screeching crow cawing in his ears while he cried and flailed, pushing at Oz) he was alone, and the shutters of wherever he was staying were open, golden light streaming in. Gilbert could hear the sounds of a city outside, shopkeepers and peddlers and people, music from somewhere around the corner, and the smell of people, and foodstuffs. "So, the little lost raven is finally awake." Gilbert started, clutching his bedsheets close to him and scooting up to the headboard. He had thought he was alone at least.

The strange red eyed white haired man sat at Gil's bedside, his cane propped between his legs and his hands wresting one on top of the other on top of it. The man was smiling, speaking around a lollipop stuck in his mouth. "Hello, Gilbert."

"Who are you?" Gil asked, his chest hurt from the movement, and his arms were weak. The back of his nightshirt was damp and sticky with sweat, and the cold compress had now slipped off to lie damp and luke-warm on Gilbert's lap. "What are you doing here? Where's Master Oz?"

"So full of questions." The white haired man pulled his bright red sucker from his mouth, then bit off part of it. His next statement was filled with the sound of crunching candy. "My name is Xerxes Break, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, young Gilbert." The man did not hold out a hand, so Gilbert felt no need to shake anything, Xerxes Break also did not bow. "You can call me Break, or Xerxes-nii, but I'm not sure you'll feel comfortable with that."

A creepy smile. Gil clutched at the blankets tighter and wished for a sword, even if he had never been very good with the techniques Lord Oscar taught them.

"To answer your other questions… I am here to make sure you are not secretly a chain, and Oz is in the other room."

Gil glanced at the door behind Xerxes, and wondered if he could make it past the other man. But he felt so week, and when he met Xerxes visible red eye Gil knew that there was no chance he would make it. He swallowed.

Red eyes. Who did he know that had red eyes?

"Now, if you would." Xerxes stood and smiled. "This will only take a second."

Gil stumbled out of the room, clutching his nightshirt closed and looking frantically for Master Oz. "Master Oz!" Gil slammed the door of 'his room' shut, leaning on it with his shoulder. "Master Oz, that man is a pervert!"

Oz was holding tightly onto one sleeve of a rather skimpy looking sailor uniform, while Alice was holding onto the other sleeve, and a rather demure looking blond was sipping tea in another seat. Alice and Oz paused in their game of tug of war to look Gilbert's way, while the blonde continued to sip tea.

Gil flushed. He felt kind of silly now.

"Gil! Are you okay?" Oz dropped the sailor uniform, and Alice gleefully took a pair of scissors to it while Oz wasn't looking. "What do you mean Break is a-"

"A pervert?" Gil started violently when that *voice* spoke up just behind his ear. How?! The door hadn't… Gil looked over his shoulder and there was that *face*, the leering face of Xerxes Break, complete with idiotic doll. Gil jumped and ran over to Oz, hiding behind his much taller master. (That wasn't really a shock, Oz had always been taller. *Ten years?!?*) "Oz~~~!" Break sing-songed. "Your little servant doesn't like me!"

"I don't like you either, Break!" Oz said in a cheerful tone, reaching behind him to ruffle Gil's hair and pull Gil around to the front. "I especially don't like when you see me half naked, so I can see why Gil would call you a pervert."

Gil looked up first at Oz, and then over at Break. Gil's look to Oz had been questioning, his look to Break was a glare. A 'please die how DARE you look at my master naked!' glare. Break was looking innocent now.

"You wanted me to make sure he hadn't made an illegal contract! He hasn't… although, he seems to have made the type of contract only a Pandora member can make. I wonder how."

Oz's hands tightened on Gil's shoulders, and Gil looked back up at Oz. Oz looked worried now. "Gil, did you… form a contract with a chain?"

Abyss had been cold, so cold, and wet. Gil had his arms crossed in front of his chest, holding his clothes together. He was still bleeding from Master Oz's sword swipe. He had jumped in front of Oz's sword because… because he could not let Master Oz kill his father. Master Oz would have been devastated, and Zai Vessallius had Gryphon and… but Gilbert had saved Oz in the end, falling into Abyss himself.

He was so cold, and so wet, and there were things scuttling around him. Dangerous things. Dangerous deranged doll like things.

And a sound like the flapping of wings and a raven's call.

iBoy./i A shadow, a dark, cold shadow, and a large bird was perched on the bit of corrugated stone jutting out of the knee deep water in front of Gilbert. Gil paused, then fell backwards onto his hands and knees. The bottom of Abyss felt like mud, like thick gloopy mud, but Gil could pull himself out and there wasn't anything sticking to him. iBoy, you are calling me./i

Gilbert's coat flapped open, and threatened to slip off his shoulders. Blood stained the edges of his sleeves and his shirt, and dripped onto his white pants. "No! I'm not calling anyone!"

The large black bird, it looked like a crow, or a raven, ruffled its wings. Shadows shifted and danced on the dark water, on the jutting metal and bits of rock wall. iYou are familiar to me. You call to me. And I will have you./i

Gilbert froze. He couldn't… he couldn't let this monster, this creature have him.

"No!" Gil turned and ran away from the raven, back towards the crazy doll creatures that had tried to eat him. Gil struggled through knee deep water to escape the dark bird's shadow.

iI will have you./i

Gilbert shuddered in Oz's hold, wrapped up tightly in a blanket and holding a cup of tea. He stared down into the light brown, shimmering liquid. The fine china was shaking dangerously in his hands. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have, Master Oz!"

Oz squeezed Gil's shoulders. "It's alright Gilbert. You were alone and hurt, you couldn't have done better!"

Alice was chewing on a drumstick, and she waved it in Gilbert's direction now. "He could have died. That's what would have happened if he hadn't contracted with that stupid bird." Gil didn't see what Oz did, but he supposed Oz glared at her because Alice sulkily bit into her drumstick and turned away from them.

Oz stroked his fingers through Gil's hair, tangling them up in Gil's wavy near-curls. "I'm glad you didn't die, Gil. Although how you made a contract with Raven… Wasn't he supposed to be locked up beneath the Nightray house, Break?"

Break was sitting next to Sharon, both of them daintily sipping tea. Break now had a plate of fancies sitting in front of him as well. Petit fours and lady fingers. "You know that we have suspected Raven was missing for years, Oz, we just did not have proof." Break's scary red gaze lingered on the way Oz's hand sat on Gil's head, then swept away. Gil shivered and curled closer to Oz. He did not want to be here. He wanted to be back at the mansion with Oz and Lady Ada and –

"Oz!" Gil sat up quickly, so quickly he knocked his head against Oz's elbow. "Master Oz, why aren't you at the mansion? Where's Lady Ada? What happened while I was…" Gilbert swallowed. It was so hard to think that ten years had passed. The prospect still made Gil dangerously dizzy.

That and the fact that he was still feeling weak, Gil had yet to eat that day, and his fever from the infection had only just passed.

Oz blinked, like he was surprised, then smiled that slight smile that had always made Gil's insides clench. "After my coming of age ceremony a lot of things changed." Oz shifted on the couch so he could face Gil better, while still keeping one arm wrapped around Gil's shoulders. It nearly put Gil in Oz's lap. "Everyone was in an uproar, no one remembered what had happened except for me, and Break, and Sharon. No one could figure out why someone would try to push me into Abyss, and I was a little angry that you had been pushed in instead… I had a fight with my father."

Gilbert twitched, his hands rising to rest on Oz's shirt, rumpling the stiff fabric of Oz's black coat. Oz patted one of Gil's hands. "It's alright Gil. I fought with him, and then I decided 'well, things won't get settled if I just stay here' and then I… left."

"And since things are *far* more complicated than that." Break bit down on a piece of heavily frosted cake. "That's where I come in. So you, little Gilbert, owe your master's life, this apartment, and the nightgown you are still wearing… to me."

Gilbert flushed angrily… and then flushed with embarrassment. "I know it's a bother, but can I get some clothes, Master Oz?"

Alice and Oz jumped up so fast it scared Gil, and he shrunk back into the couch. "YES!"

The truth was… Oz wanted to dress Gil up in sailor uniforms like he had worn while working at the Vessallius house. Oz had a number of sailor outfits that he had picked out in expectation of Gil being brought back from Abyss. (Oz had ten years in which to find and buy the most extraordinary of sailor uniforms, so he had amassed a fair bundle.) Alice believed that Gil should be dressed suitably, not like her 'manservant' Oz, and so Gil should be dressed to match her. Gilbert did not like Alice, so he was more apt to agree to the sailor outfits than to matching Alice…

Except some of the sailor uniforms were scary. Gilbert half hoped that maybe Break or Lady Sharon would break in and…

"Ahem." Sharon cleared her throat, and both Oz and Alice fell quiet. "Do you think it's time that Break and I show Gilbert *our* choice in clothes for him?" Alice and Oz glanced at each other, and then shook their heads in tandem. It was almost like they were afraid of making Sharon angry.

…Then Gil saw the outfits that Sharon had put together for him and decided that making Sharon angry would be a very bad idea indeed.

He went with the sailor uniform.

Oz was fidgeting. It was cute, watching his much older master fidget the same way as when he had been fourteen, thirteen, twelve… Gilbert would have thought that a grown man would have outgrown such fidgeting, but Oz never seemed to. He was pursing his lips and pushing his fingers together, talking in a cutesy voice to Alice about how 'I didn't really mean it Alice, you don't need to ignore me!' Alice had turned away from him, and clearly was ignoring him. Gil smiled and hid it behind his hand, bowing his head forward so he could hide behind his hair as well. He was sitting in a plush chair with a small table in front of him. There were books spread across it about Pandora and Chains and Raven. Oz had said that if he had to go to a boring meeting, then Gil had better be bored too.

Gilbert flipped a few pages in the books, his eyes skimming the words but not comprehending them. Oz had always been a terrible student, but much smarter than Gil. Gilbert had never been much of a fan of reading. Gil did not think it was what servants did, though most of the Vessalius household was well read, even the youngest serving girls. Now that Oz was living on his own though he was no longer surrounded by servants. Not unless he was dealing with Pandora. Gil had seen the way the Pandora employees fell over themselves trying to help Oz.

Oz had told him part of the story, Alice, and Sharon, and that annoying Break too. Oz was the reincarnation of the hero Jack Vessalius, and he could control the Blood Stained Black Rabbit. Apparently Alice was a really important Chain that even the person in charge of Abyss feared.

Gilbert did not want to think about it. It scared him that someone could be more powerful than Raven. Raven terrified Gil, even worse than icats/i.

Gil shuddered. Oz was fidgeting some more, and Alice had turned away and was leaning against him. They must have made up then, or at least ended the fight. Gil found himself feeling really… ambivalent towards the relationship between Oz and Alice. He did not like someone being close to his master, especially as close as Alice was, and as dangerous as she was. She also was not gentle with his master, and Gil…

Gil just did not like her. Something about her turned his stomach.

"Gil, are you alright?" Oz was looking at him, concerned in the way he had been concerned for Gil since Gilbert had come back from the Abyss. Gil's stomach flip flopped and he blushed.

"I'm fine." Gil slipped from his seat and went to hover by Oz's arm rest. He ignored Alice and the dismissive noise she made when he spoke. "Do iyou/i need anything, master?"

Oz laughed and ruffled Gil's hair. "It's alright, Gil, if I need anything I can get it myself… and didn't I tell you to stop calling me Master? I'm not a young master of anything anymore Gil."

Gil grabbed the bottom of his top and tugged on it, discomfited. "But it seems wrong to call you 'Oz'." For one thing, Oz was now a lot older than him, and Oz would always be his master.


Oz looked like he was considering saying something, but then there was a knock at the door, and the Pandora member who wore dangly earrings poked his head in. "Oz, they're ready for you."

Oz stood up. "Thank you, Liam." Alice, who had not been paying attention, flopped over now that Oz was no longer there. She hit her head on the arm wrest and looked upside down right into Gil's eyes. Her own eyes narrowed.

"Oz!" Hopping up, Alice grabbed Oz in a choke hold. "You shouldn't just get up like that!"

Oz laughed breathlessly and began walking towards the doorway. Even though Alice had him grabbed by the neck Oz was the one leading them. "If you were paying attention you wouldn't have hit your head, Alice!"

Alice grabbed at Oz's hair and roughly noogied him, then they were out of the door and it swung shut behind them. Gil's hands tightened into tiny little fists and he glared at the door.



Gilbert should have realized that sulking and hiding as soon as they got back to Miss Sharon's residence was not the best of ideas. He wanted to go back to Oz's apartment in the city, but apparently Miss Sharon did not think that was the proper place for a young boy to spend all of his time. But it was not as if the party that had started up was any place for a young teen to be. Alcohol! Gil did not care if he was technically twenty-four, he was a MINOR.

It was Oscar's fault, to think that he had been happy when the older man ruffled his hair roughly and hugged him.

"Ho ho ho." The bed Gil was hiding behind creaked, and Gil looked up to find that freaky Break's face hovering close by. "So this is where little Gilbert was hiding." Break's breath smelled strongly of wine, and his lips were curled in a drunken leer.

Gilbert scooted further away and pressed himself into the corner. He had learned about hiding places from master Oz, and he had learned that the simple ones were often over looked. At least, that was what Oz taught him before beating him at hide and seek every single time. "What do you want?" Gil did not mean to sound sulky but…

Alice did not look much older than him, and she had gotten drunk and started stripping, and Oz had just…

Sat there.

"He's quite used to it, you know." Break slurred, the lollipop stick in his mouth bobbed as he talked. Gilbert could not tell if he was slurring because of the alcohol or the lollipop. "Alice has been stripping since Oz was allowed to drink. He can't stop her. She just passes out afterwards."

Gilbert clutched his folded legs to his chest and ignored Break. He did not care. It was… it was a naked girl! And even if she had just toppled backwards onto the floor afterwards, and Miss Sharon had chuckled something about how her little sister (and wasn't Alice, technically a chain, older than her?) was such a pervert.

"Ah, I know what's really bothering you." Break whispered in his ear, leaning over the edge of the bed. Gilbert jolted, his shoulder hitting Break's chin, but that did not stop him from speaking. Or, really, stop the squeaky doll from speaking.

"It's because the little servant doesn't have a master to serve!" Gilbert glared, but Break just continued to smile. His red eye was scary, freaky, and just… it gave Gilbert shivers. He didn't know why. Maybe because of the dark patch hiding behind Break's silver hair on the other side. Gil shivered and clutched his legs closer.

"Go away." He would go back later and see if Oz needed something. Maybe he should just have accepted his face to serve drinks. He had not wanted to though. They would probably have convinced him to drink some and… he was underage, no matter what they said.

"Mmm, would it make little Gillbert better if he knew that there were positions in your master's life open?" Break's drunken smile seemed to spread. "Like his bed?"

Gilbert took deep breaths. He was standing outside 'Oz's room'. It was the guest bedroom he had been sleeping for years. Gilbert could not handle it. All these changes, all these differences, all these… Gilbert took another deep breath. He could do this.

He could make Oz need him again.

That was the crux of the matter. Oz had survived ten years without Gilbert, what was he to do now that he was back? Gilbert did not want Oz to treat him as a child. Gilbert was not a child. He did not want to be the child in a pseudo family with Alice as his mother and Oz as his father. Gilbert wanted to be… he wanted to be with Oz. If Gil was feeling honest he would admit he had always wanted to be with Oz. Gilbert swallowed, and reached up to open the door.

The Rainsworth servants were very devoted, the hinges did not even squeak as Gil swung the door open, and it closed without a sound as well. Gil stood in the room and waited for his eyes to adjust to the dark room. Oz was nothing more than a lump on the bed, Gil had helped one of the servants tug him in while they were dragging other drunken revelers to their beds. Oz had not been drunken, which was why Gil had to wait. But now Oz was asleep and Gil… Gil could do this.

Gil walked quietly up to the bed. Slowly he stripped off his shirt and folded it, setting it down on the floor. He stepped out of his shorts and rolled down his knee socks before tugging them off and rolling them together. Standing there in the underwear Oz had given him Gil gathered his courage again. He slid his underwear off and stepped out of it, then pulled himself over the footboard and crouched on his hands and knees.

The blanket was tugged halfway up Oz's chest. Oz lay on his side, one arm outstretched, moonlight falling across his arm and the bottom half of his face. In the pale light Oz's hair appeared almost silver. He looked… younger asleep. It made Gil feel slightly less creepy doing this. It made Oz look almost like the young master in his memories. Not that Oz did not look like the young master in his memories.

'Just kiss him already.' Gil told himself. He stared at Oz's face. He stared.

It just.

He couldn't. Gil turned away, looked at the tall glass windows. Gil's heart was going a mile a minute. He had loved Oz, it felt like he had always loved Oz. As far back as Gilbert could remember he had loved Oz, and maybe even before that. It felt like longer. Gil had always wanted to kiss him but…

But he was his Master, and it was…

But now Oz wasn't….

So what was Gil supposed to do?


Gil jolted off of the bed and nearly halfway across the room. Oz did not sound sleepy. Not at all. And the look in his eyes when he propped himself up on one elbow and smiled at Gil, who realized he was naked and tried to cover himself up with his hands.

"Come here and kiss me."

Gil cried out, his mouth seeming never to close. He was gulping breath, or crying out, or saying Oz's name like a prayer. A litany of gasps and groans and breaths and 'Oz!' spilled from Gil's mouth. "Oz!" Gil twisted underneath him. Oz's mouth was wrapped tight around his penis, and two rose scented oil slick fingers were pressed into Gil's asshole. Gil felt full, and strange, and stretched. It did not hurt, not anymore, not after the first finger pressed inside of him and Oz distracted him by a thorough kiss and then sucking and licking at his nipples. Gil's nipples were a pale rose under the light of the moon, but Gilbert knew they were bright red. They stung, but it felt so good. Kiss marks littered his rib cage, and his hips were canted up to give Oz better room to play with him.

"A-aa-aaah!" Gil struggled, and wrenched himself away from Oz. "Master! Not again!" Gil's limbs shook violently. He could barely move, summoning the strength to turn away from Oz had taken everything he had. "You have not orgasmed yet!"

Oz kissed Gil's shoulder. "You are always thinking of me, Gil." Slim fingers pressing inside of him again, this time with Oz pressed against his back. Oz's tongue traced the blades of Gil's shoulder bones. "Let me think of you."

Gil whined. It felt so good, especially when Oz rubbed against that bump inside of him. He felt sensitive, too sensitive, too good and slick and wet and slippery inside and out. Gil propped himself up on his knees, but his arms were no good, all they could do was grab Oz's pillow and tug it forward, his nails digging into the soft object. "Oz! P-please Master! I want you i-i-" Gil squeezed his eyes tightly shut, tears gathered at the edges. He wanted this. He had always wanted this. "Please! In me!"

Oz kissed Gil's cheeks, and licked at the tears on the edges of Gil's eyelids. "Shhh, Gil." Strong hands grasped his hips and Oz placed another kiss on Gil's forehead before something of a different shape and slightly different size than two fingers pressed inside of him. Gil whined, high pitched like air escaping from a balloon. "Let your master take care of you." Oz grunted, pulled back.

"No!" Gil struggled, pushed against Oz. He did not want Oz out! In! He wanted Oz i-

Oz thrust back in, a little more this time. He was laughing too, silent chuckles that vibrated against Gil's very being. "Don't worry Gil! I'm not that much of a tease!"