fandom Pandora Hearts
pairing Jack Vessalius/Glen Baskerville
The difference between siblings is evident in the Vessalius house, Glen notes, with a weary sigh. He knows that someone of his own stature visiting a relatively unknown noble house would raise eyebrows, but this would be the first time he'd experienced such - treatment.
The eldest one is quick to jump to conclusions. The maids are frightened at first flash of the famed Baskerville cloak, and the eldest Vessalius more so; what had their loose cannon done this time? Jack is notoriously prone to accidents, fifty percent of which he brought on to himself by tinkering with things that he wasn't supposed to be tinkering with; this would not be the first time that he had destroyed something and would be held accountable for his actions.
He is apologising endlessly, one agate earring bobbing up and down. He'll heel his youngest brother, he says, oh god, please forgive him for his clumsiness and I will personally make sure that he shall never trouble you again -
Glen gives the eldest son, one twice his age, a level look; the blond quails and holds the door open as he sweeps inside.
The second son is quick to blame his younger brother, and equally quick to side with the eldest. Middle ground is a relatively safe if not boring place, but mediocrity is in no way desired if one wished to play and win at the Game of the Houses. He's the one who summons Jack's servants, little Gilbert and Vincent, and he'd been the first one to peer outside the gates and gasp at the fact that Glen had not brought a carriage, but only a horse.
There had been no time to prepare a carriage. For some things, Glen Baskerville never waited.
The eldest daughter is not there; she had been married off when she was fifteen. Gilbert, by this point, is rapidly firing off random facts left and right as he wrings his little hands in worry, and Glen has to crouch down and hold him firm by the shoulders to quiet him. Vincent is much more subdued, but the way he clings to his older brother's arm told Glen that the boy is just as frightened. Glen pats the boys on the head, and lets them run in front of him.
The youngest daughter meets him at the top of the grand foyer's stairs, hands gathering up her skirts immediately in a curtsy.
Jack speaks of his sister fondly, and he tells Glen that sometimes, he wishes that his parents weren't so desperate to marry off his sisters in order to gain at least a semblance of power. Glen tells him that it's how nobility plays off each other, and that's just how it is, and Jack looks lost for a moment before the smile goes back firmly into place as he talks about other things.
"I apologise; that was our fastest pigeon, Master Glen," she mutters, and Glen notices that under all her finery, she's barefoot.
"It doesn't matter," Glen replies graciously, but his heart will not stop hammering in his chest. "Thank you all the same."
She doesn't even blush, like all the other noblewomen and girls do when he speaks more than two words in their direction, and Glen takes note of this. Has she been so jaded by her family dynamics that nothing fazed her any longer?
She looks back over her shoulder, teardrop agate brushing over silk blonde, and presses a finger to her lips. They've reached the end of the carpeted corridor, and the two boys are already pushing the double mahogany doors open.
"He fell asleep at around eleven o' clock," she gestures towards Jack's quarters, "And he's been waking up every two hours for some reason. The boys are taking care of him, and Father is sending for a doctor from the west side of Sablier."
"That will take days," Glen says tersely, and she looks discomfited for a moment.
"They wish to give my brother the best care," she replies, and she (dares to) meet his eyes for a split second, the same bright green, and they both know that the doctor is just for show. News spreads fast, and a house of the Vessalius' standing won't do with calling for a doctor from just any town. Even if their third son is ailing and delirious.
Glen clenches his fists.
"As you say." He walks past her, and in the moment before they break eye contact, he can see that the elder brothers are running up the corridor as well. Glen doesn't want to deal with them, and is slightly surprised when the younger sister heads them off.
"Master Glen!" Gilbert trills from the inside, and Vincent tugs him by the sleeve. He closes the doors behind him, and in this private space, he breathes.
The cloak is carelessly thrown on one of the chairs, and Glen tugs off his gloves and almost haphazardly tosses them on the dresser. Jack's breathing is short and forced, and he is flushed with a fever that even Glen can feel when he bends down. His hair is unbraided and falls over the white pillows in tangled golden sheafs, and Glen notes with a grimace that his skin matches the white bedsheets in paleness.
"How long has he been like this?" Glen asks, turning around and reaching for the washcloth from the basin that Gilbert's holding out.
"F-five days," the boy says frantically, and he sets the basin down on the bedside table. Chairs have been drawn up to the bed, and there's a bunny with only one ear on one of them. They've been keeping him vigil, the letter had said, but even the boys know enough that a visit from Glen may greatly help Jack recover.
He isn't human, after all. Perhaps he knows something that they don't. The boys don't explicitly know this, but Vincent suspects.
"Will he be better now, Master Glen?" Vincent says quietly, having climbed up on one of the chairs on the other side of the bed.
Gilbert looks up at him expectantly. Glen wrings out the washcloth and places it on Jack's head. "He should be."
They smile with wide-eyed children's innocence, and both totter off to fetch new clothes for their master in the adjacent room. Glen watches them leave before turning back his attention to Jack, and he isn't surprised to find out that the blond is watching him.
"They were sort of worried," Jack admits, smiling a little wanly up at him, and Glen just breathes.
"I was worried," he finally says sternly, and his best friend has the grace to look embarrassed. "I should lock you in a room and throw away the key. Why did you let yourself get drenched in the rain?"
Jack turns his head to cough. Glen sits next to him, on the bed, and helps him sit up. "Well?"
He mutters something that vaguely sounds like 'got stuck in a ditch' and 'it was fun, kind of', and Glen has to resist the urge to just smack him up the head. Glen never smacked anyone in the head - for one thing, nobody has ever managed to get under his skin enough for him to do so. Except for a certain man blessed with the sort of hair that women would have killed for.
"Idiot," Glen sighs, and when Jack coughs again, gives him a glass of water. "What is this, I can't even leave you alone for five minutes."
Jack colours even more, and he ducks his head as he draws his knees up to his chest with the sheets. "I'm really sorry." He looks away, right out the window, and Glen is amused at the fact that now even the tips of his ears are red. "But I'm glad that you're here." Pause. "Unless you're a hallucination. Are you a hallucination?"
"Do your hallucinations ride back a whole day through countryside, non-stop, just to see if you are all right, Jack?"
Glen can almost hear him pout in reply. "I guess not."
Jack sighs, and leans back; Glen can't decide if the reason why he's leaning on him is because of the fever, or because of -
"I'm sorry," Jack repeats, repentant, and Glen presses a kiss to that crown of messy gold.
"A doctor has been called for, so it will be fine," he assures Jack.
He tenses, breathing slowing down for a moment, before twisting to look back at Glen. Jack's eyes are a clouded, murky green today, and there are dark circles under his eyes. "How lo - " He stops himself short, and turns back around again, leaning on him heavier. "I see."
Glen just nods and changes the washcloth. Gilbert and Vincent bounce back from the next room with a change of clothes. Jack brightens up at seeing his boys, but cautions them to stay away lest they contract the fever as well. Glen doesn't need to call out Jack on the fact that he is practically breathing the same air as him; instead, he just wonders about the reasons why Jack is so keen on getting out of his family's estate so much.
Today could explain a little of that logic. But for now, Glen has to make the most out of this visit, and make sure Jack gets well very soon.