Title: Amor Mundum Fecit
Description: After their brother's death, the Nightray siblings go to a brothel for some fun, but when Elliot falls for Leo, the boy forced to cross dress as a prostitute, their lives all change forever. Elliot/Leo.
Rating: T for adult situations.
Chapter Title: And Into Eternity, Brother, Hail And Farewell
Chapter Description: One cries that the hands of his oppressors while another cries at the funeral of his brother. By chance they meet.
A/N: First I will say, Chapter 59 is causing me to post this. I'm nowhere near done with the rest of it, but I just wanted to… give them a happy ending. ;_; That's all I wanted. Anyhow~, I hope you enjoy this. It's been a long time in the making. Please leave a review if you liked it (or disliked it) and enjoy your day.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pandora Hearts, its characters or anything affiliated with it. I also do not own any of the quotes that I've used in this story, whether they be within it or the chapter starters.
"Et in perpetuum, frater, ave et vale."
"Get me out of here." The whip comes down hard upon his back as his torturer chuckles with sadistic glee. "God… Let me leave this place," he whispers.
The gravestone was so big, so tall, just like his brother had been. Fred was strong, the eldest of them all. Thinking of him growing cold under his feet made Elliot feel sick. He was the last one to linger after the funeral; the guests were gone and the priest had long since left, shaking his head as he watched the youngest Nightray child stand in front of that cold stone. His father had left right after the ceremony was over, and his brothers had to escort their sobbing mother to the lunch being held in Fred's honor. He was the only one who remained.
His hand shaking, he reached out to touch the stone. It really was cold. "Fredrick Nightray," he read from the imprinted letters as his hand traced over them. "Born XXXX, died XXXX. A son, a brother, a friend." The words seemed impersonal and so sad. There was more to Fred than these names. He was a human, a great person, who had loved and cried and thought and…
"Elly?" Elliot pulled his hand away from the tombstone as if he were caught doing something bad, something wrong. "Elly, the party is over. We should go."
"Ernest, go home without me." He turns to his brother and tries to force a smile. Tears well up in his eyes and threatened to escape. "I'll get a coach on my own and-"
"Elly, we're going to all go out tonight. We can't go home either." Ernest walks to his younger brother and puts on hand on his shoulder, the other on his head. "Let's go out and have some fun tonight. Fred would have wanted that. Fred wouldn't have wanted to make you cry."
And it was true. The tears spilled from Elliot's eyes, though he didn't want them to. Fred would have never wanted to be mourned so much. Fred would have wanted to see his family smile and laugh rather than frown and cry. Still, Fred was no longer there, and Elliot could not handle that fact without tears.
"Come on, Elly. Let's go have some fun." Ernest brought his hand down to grab his brother's and together, the two of them left.
"All the rich guys will go after you, and they won't be pleased when they find out~. That's why you have to knock them out before that! In the corner of your room there will be a bottle of chloroform in the corner with an old rag. Use that to make them pass out. Take their money and when they wake-up be pretending to put your clothes back on. Tell them to visit you again and then make them be on their way. Bring the money to me and I'll get you set up with another guy~." Isla smiles. "Now I know that tonight is your first name out there with the big girls, but don't be shy! You're fantastic at what you do~."
He hated his life.
Claude and Ernest were more than a little drunk. That was the best that could be said about their behavior. Elliot, of course, was disturbed by his brother's murder, sad to see that he was no longer there, and terrified of how his family would be like now that he was gone, but he at least maintained dignity whilst in public. His brothers, on the other hand, decided that their sorrows were best drowned in alcohol.
"That there is my little brother!" Claude says with a laugh as he points Elliot out to two women of questionable morals who had come up to his brothers a few minutes earlier, probably expecting free drinks from the drunk rich men. "He's such a cute little kid. All the girlies want him but he never lets any of them have a slice!" The four of them laugh as Elliot rolls his eyes. In some ways it really was like old times; nothing seemed different except for his brothers' inebriation. Still, his love life was not something that he wanted broadcasted, even if it was to two prostitutes who didn't really care. "If I were him… I would have so much…" They never found out what he would have so much of, because he began to giggle uncontrollably.
Ernest, however, began to have an ideas. "Ladies," he asks them with a sly grin, grabbing one of them around the shoulders and the other around the waist with a skilled hand. "Where exactly do you work?"
The two ladies look at each other and one, the leader of the two, Elliot guessed, nodded. "A place called the House of Fianna. It's a classy joint," she tells them.
"All of us are tested, we are!" The other one adds, almost too excitedly. "Nobody comes out any worse than they came in!" Elliot has to swallow down all of the comments he wishes to make about the morality of these young women. Now's not the time nor the place. Most of the other patrons of the bar had their eyes on him and his brothers and he didn't wish to call any more attention to the three of them. "Why?" She asks with a sly grin, sliding closer into Ernest. "Do you wanna come pay us a visit, maybe?" With a long finger she traced circles on her brother's chest, obviously irritating the other girl, who wanted the attention of Ernest rather than the less attractive Claude.
Elliot wondered briefly if he could find a way to slip away unnoticed.
Ernest takes a drunken look at his little brother. "If we were, how you say, to come visit that establishment that these ladies work at, would you be interested, Elliot?"
Elliot never got to answer that question with the negative response that he had been planning. Instead, the two girls began to squeal and drag his older brothers out the door, almost before they could pay. The five of them walked down the streets, the two older men singing drunkenly as the two girls smiled and Elliot trailing behind all the rest of them. Sooner than Elliot would have liked, they made it to the House of Fianna.
From the outside it looked like any other apartment building on the street. The outside was made of brown bricks with an ornate black door. All of the windows were covered with heavy blinds, almost so heavy that you couldn't see light coming from some of them. Only one window was uncovered, but it appeared that no one was in the room that it looked into. Over the door was a black sign with golden letters on it, spelling out 'Fianna' in an old-fashioned script. It looked like it could have been regular apartments or a printing business; no one would have expected the debauchery inside.
Reluctantly Elliot followed his brothers and the two girls inside the place. The first thing Elliot noticed was that it was clean. Cleaner than he would have expected. They were lead through a foyer that sparkled and into a room with a large wooden bar –not too different from the one that they had left a few minutes ago- where scantily clad girls in corsets and short skirts sat with their legs on the laps of drinking men. "Perfect!" Claude said happily. "Now just to find someone to get little Elly's mind off of his troubles…"
Elliot could have killed him.
"Hello there," a woman in a slightly longer dress said to them from behind the bar, waving to them with –what she thought was- a seductive grin. "Can I get you boys a drink? Or would you like something a bit more special?"
Ernest led the way over to this woman, whom Elliot assumed was in charge here. "Yes, I think we'd like something special," Ernest told her, leaning over the bar with a charming smile. "You see, we'd like to get someone for our little brother, here-"
"How old is he, if I may ask?" They all turned around at once to see an older man with terrifying red eyes smiling at him. "Not that I wouldn't admit him with one of our girls, of course, but wouldn't he be more comfortable with a girl his age?"
"Sixteen," Claude told the man with a yawn, uninterested in unattractive men. "Who're you?"
The man grinned and reached a hand toward Claude, then to Ernest and Elliot in turn. "Isla Yura, is my name. I run this fine establishment. And you are…?"
Ernest grinned. "I'm Ernest, this is Claude," he gesticulated to Claude. "And this little one is Elly." He put a hand on Elliot's head, making Elliot feel much younger than he was, despite standing in a whorehouse for the first time in his life.
"Last name?" Isla asked with a tilt of the head.
"Johnson," Ernest told him with a wink. Elliot sighed in relief; at least their father wouldn't find out what they were doing if they weren't Nightrays when they were here.
Isla's face fell momentarily as he looked over the three brothers. "Hmm," he whispered under his breath before shaking his head. "Such attractive young men. Any of my girls would be delighted to have you-"
"Sorry Isla," Ernest said laughing. "Claude and I won't be partaking tonight. Just little Elly."
"Ah, then," Isla said, a smile returning to his face. "I'll prepare Leona for you, Mr. Elliot. She's a good girl, same age as you. I'm sure the two of you will get on smashingly. If you'd excuse me for just a moment, I'll make sure that she's ready. You boys make yourself comfortable while I'm away."
Ernest and Claude turned around to the bar and ordered drinks from the bartender. Elliot was far too nervous to even think about consuming alcohol. The truth was, he didn't want to do this, so he wouldn't. He'd just pay off the girl to tell people that they had… had relations and then just ask her for a book to read, or something. It wouldn't be that difficult. Still, his heart beat quickly in his chest and-
"So you got Leona?" The bartender looked worried. Elliot nodded. "She's… Well, don't be too hard on her, if you would, sir. She's not quite used to the way that things work around here yet."
Confused, Elliot nods, but says nothing. What feels like moments later, Isla returns and beckons Elliot over to him. "Now, Leona is a good girl and she'll do whatever you want her to," he tells Elliot as the two of them walk up the stairs. "Any sort of fantasies you have, Leona can perform them. Any of the girls here can. I'm so proud of them all! Still, Leona is special. You'll see when you meet her, Mister…" He pauses and turns to Elliot with a smile. "I do apologize, I seem to have forgotten your name."
Though he's not thrilling to give it to this man, he does so anyway. "Elliot," he tells him. "Elliot Ni…" He remembers Ernest's joke and decides to go along with it. There was no reason to tarnish the Nightray name within such an establishment. "Elliot Johnson."
"Very well, Mr. Johnson," Isla tells him turning down a hallway and stopping at a door. "This is Leona's room. Go on in. There's no rush; you have all night." Isla opened the door and shoved Elliot inside, shutting it tightly and locking it as soon as Elliot was in there.
"Damn it," Elliot whispers under his breath as he stares at he door. Sighing, he turns around to survey the room and… the girl. The room itself was nice; not as extravagant as anything at his home but it was clean looking. In the middle of it there was a large bed with white sheets and a red comforter on it. Around the room was various artwork that wouldn't have seemed out of place in any normal person's home. There were also three large wooden cabinets in the room, which Elliot could only imagine what they contained.
At the far side of the room, next to a window covered with thick curtains was a wooden desk and a girl tinkering with something on it. "Relax," she said as soon as Elliot looked at her. "There's no reason to be so tense."
"Sorry, I've never done something like this before," Elliot admitted, taking a hesitant seat on the bed, after seeing that the only chair in the room was next to the desk that Leona was standing in front of.
Leona laughed softly; she had a voice that was a bit deeper than most women's, but it was it pleasing and soft. It sounded like music when she spoke. "No need to be nervous." She seemed to be tinkering with something on the desk as she spoke. "Nothing bad will happen, I assure you." She turned around.
She wasn't beautiful. At least, not in the traditional sense of the word. Most of her face was covered by large, round glasses and what wasn't covered by those was covered by a mess of tangled brown hair. Unlike the girls downstairs she wore a full-size dress like ladies of society wore –though to be sure, her dress was not as fine as the ladies of society whom Elliot was used to seeing. But her skin was pale and creamy and her mouth and nose were both pleasant enough. No, she was not attractive in the traditional sense, but she, for some reason, pleased Elliot's eyes.
"I was wondering if you wouldn't mind… Of course I would pay you…" The words seemed muddled; despite her words, he was more nervous than he thought possible. "But um… if we didn't do anything."
Leona's face fell slightly. "What do you mean by that, customer?"
"Elliot. You can call me Elliot."
She smiled slightly and sat down daintily on the other side of the bed, her back facing towards him. Elliot knew that he was in control of this situation; he knew that he was the one with the money and the power to leave, if he really needed to. Yet, for some reason, he felt so out of control right now. Momentarily, there is silence. "What do you mean by that, then, Elliot?" She shuffled something in her hands; Elliot could hear it. Still, his face was so red that he would never turn to look at her, because she may see it.
Not that he cared about the opinion of a mere prostitute, of course.
"I mean, my brothers… They think that this is the only way for me to get over…" he pauses, unsure how to go on. Should he tell her, this stranger, about Fred's death? About how there's now a hole in his chest that feels like it will never be filled? "But it's not up to me that I'm here. So would you just like to… talk? Of course, I'll pay you for tonight, however much you want, but I just don't want to… I really can't…" Elliot was sure that he sounded like a moron and that Leona would kick him out for some better client who actually wanted her to do her job. Still, he thought, it was worth a shot.
"You're really young, aren't you, Elliot?" He liked the way that she said his name. It sounded like something sacred coming from her lips. "You seem really inexperienced." His face grew redder and he clenched his hands into fists. "Not just at this but at…" she pauses and though he cannot see her, she squeezes the cloth in her hands tightly. "You gave me your name. Most people don't do that. That's not very smart; I know who you are now. I could follow you, blackmail you, try to make you marry me or give me all your money or threaten to tell your family about this." Her voice gets more quiet, now. "At least, that's what most men who come here think. You, however, probably never had that idea cross your mind. Is that true? Am I correct in thinking that?"
She's making fun of him, he's sure. "Yes, I'll admit that."
"How old are you?" she asks, almost like she's laughing at him.
Something about the way she's talking makes Elliot want to answer. Maybe it's because he pities her; because she sounds sad, desperate. Or maybe it's something more abstract than that. He's not sure. "Sixteen," he tells her.
"So am I." Despite the red on his cheeks, he turns around, shocked. Her back is facing him and her head is tilted down, looking at her lap.
"Really?" Prostitution wasn't supposed to happen that young, Elliot had always thought. Wasn't it supposed to be the last resort of old maids who could no longer rely on deadbeat dads and miserable mothers. "But you're so young!"
"So you're very naïve. That's okay. It's probably better that you are." Elliot doesn't know what to say. He's still shocked over the revelation that they were the same age. "I'm okay with not doing anything. It'll be nice to have a good nights sleep, for once. Besides," She turned to him, smiling. "You're really cute."
If there was any blood in Elliot's body that wasn't in his cheeks, Elliot would have been surprised. Leona chuckled as Elliot turned away. "Omnium rerum principia parva sunt," he whispered under his breath, not even sure why, finding something calm in the words that were spoken so long ago by someone so wise.
"Cicero," Leona said, happily surprised. "The beginnings of all things are small."
Again, Elliot turned around in surprise. "How did you know-"
"I read," she tells him, now laughing. "There's not much else to do." She turned around so that she was sitting cross-legged on the bed. It wasn't very ladylike, in Elliot's opinion, but he didn't really mind it. Instead he was… intrigued.
"Do you read it in Latin?" He may have seemed a bit too enthusiastic, but none of his brothers or friends found the same great joy in books that he did. To find someone else who, not only recognized the quote, but knew who it was, was exhilarating.
Leona shrugs. "When I can find it in Latin. I'm a slave to whatever Sir Isla brings home with him or the maid gets her brother to steal from the rich people he works for. So yes, when I can. But not always. But my Latin isn't great, either. Being self-taught is difficult. I can get some of the words, but my real knowledge is restricted to the more famous quotes and writers." She pauses. "I particularly like Catullus." Elliot is speechless; this girl is… "Da mi basia mille, deinde centum, deinde mille altera, deinde centum," she recited from memory. "Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus."
"But after Lesbia leaves him his poems are so depressing. All about debt and how he hates his neighbors." Elliot shakes his head. "Once she's gone, there's nothing left for him. It's sad. And when his brother died…" Images of Fred flashed through his mind, and he hated himself. Hated himself for being happy, for not thinking of his brother, for losing sight of what had happened.
Slowly he turned around again; he could feel tears welling up in his eyes. What would Fred have said if he had seen him now? Would he have been disappointed and sad? Or maybe he would have gone along with Claude and Ernest and thought the situation was hilarious. Elliot would never know; Fred was gone.
"Elliot," again she says his name as if it were special, drawing it out as if it were the most important word she knew. "Are you alright?" There is a warm hand on his shoulder as a tear falls from his eye. He lies, telling her that there is nothing wrong. Both of them know, however, that it isn't true. "Elliot, why are you here tonight?" she asks softly, placing her other hand on his other shoulder.
"My brothers got drunk tonight. They thought I would feel better if they took me here."
Leona rubs his shoulders gently with her hands. Elliot was sure that he was not the first man that she had done that to, but it felt wonderful, nonetheless. "Feel better from what, Elliot?"
If she had not said his name he would have lied. Yet, he couldn't bring himself to. "My brother," he told her shutting his eyes. "His funeral was this morning."
She stopped rubbing, but kept her hands on him. Supporting him, keeping him steady. "I'm sure," she said after a pause. "I'm sure that you've heard from many people how sorry they are, and how good a man he was, but I never knew him. Still, if his death was enough to make you feel this much for him, then he must have been a good man. No one can tell you anything that will make you feel better about his loss. However," she moved her left hand down from his shoulder and put it over his heart. "If you keep him here, he'll always be with you, watching over you, keeping you company when you're alone. You can never truly say goodbye to someone you love. They travel with you forever and feel horrible when they see you cry. So for your brother's sake, stop crying, Elliot. He wouldn't want to see you cry."
He cried anyway. All of the tears that he had held back because he was supposed to have been a 'man' and remain calm, all of the sobs that he had kept in his chest because he didn't want to worry his mother, all of the emotions that he had hidden because there was no time, no energy, no need to release them escaped and he cried and sobbed. And Leona was there. She held him and patted his hair and when he fell asleep from the exhaustion of the day, she was the one who put a blanket over him and watched to make sure that he was alright until she, herself, fell asleep at his side.
Because, for the first time in Leo 'Leona' Red's life, a man had shown him kindness. And he would be forever grateful to Elliot and would forever want to be at his side.
End of Chapter One