A/N: Greetings! I ish Hitsugi Zirkus -bows- Welcome to my first Pandora Hearts fanfic! Now that I've finished the anime (the ending of which wasn't all too my liking...) and read the manga to the recent chapter 62, I feel like I should finally get a fanfic out! 8D

I do hope you enjoy it! And, er, I apologize for the overall ridiculous idea of it...and the ridiculous length of the fic as well. My goal was 4,000 words-ish...and now it came to 10,000 -sweatdrop- I still wish you'd read it all~! Much love in advance! :3

Touched Servant

"Hey, Break, do you know if Alice and Oz made it up to their rooms?" Gilbert Nightray asked upon coming up into Xerxes' quarters one night.

A silver-haired man was sitting out on the futon before the window, seemingly having been lost in thought. Emily, the small doll that was usually perched on his shoulder, was already 'sleeping,' having been lain in between the plush pillows on the large bed.

Break turned away from the window smiling, quick as ever to revert to his cordial disguise when caught being serious. "Oh, Gilbert, you're finally back from your errands?" he asked, propping his legs up on the futon. "You don't have to do that stuff anymore, you know. After all, Gilbert is a noble from the Nightray family now."

The raven-haired man at the door gestured to the bag in one of his hands. "I didn't go to town as a noble. I'm still Oz's servant, and he wanted me to go pick up a few things for him." Then he grumbled, "And that stupid rabbit wouldn't shut up until I brought meat for tomorrow."

Break chuckled. "Gilbert is such a pushover. It always keeps you busy," he lilted, twirling a finger around a lock of his hair.

"Shut up," the Nightray mumbled. He went through one of the bags and pulled out a considerably thick book. "By the way, I ran into Liam when he was coming out of the library. It looks like he was about to give this to you?"

Break hopped up and took the book. "Oh yay, Liam is so reliable! He knows I've been needing this for awhile now~," he said, practically skipping over to the bookshelf where a good collection of hardbacks rested. "I'll need this too, though..."

Before the man could get too into his task, Gil asked, "So what about Alice and Oz? Do you know if they're in their rooms?"

"Hmm?" Break hummed, momentarily distracted. "Oh yes, them. They never woke up from their nap, so I told Sharon to just let them be."

"What!" Gil glared at the silveret. "You know if you let them sleep through most of the day, they'll only be restless in the night!" He knew that first-hand when Oz used to nap with Ada in the Vessalius garden and then creep into the servants' rooms to bother the raven.

"Maybe so, but I won't be the one to take care of them then," bantered Break.

Gil sighed. "I can't believe you sometimes... Okay, I'm going to put this stuff away and then get them to bed." As he was going down the stairs, he couldn't help but mentally curse the silveret. He was always so care-free and...and irresponsible! There were a lot of times when the Nightray thought to himself that the only reason Break teamed up with him was so he could clean up his messes.

Once he was done putting away everything he bought from town, Gil made his way back up into one of the many living rooms the Rainsworth mansion had. Sharon and her family had been kind to them once more by allowing he, Oz, and Alice to stay in the household before they all headed out once more for leads on pieces of the B-Rabbit's memories. The Baskervilles had been ominously quiet the past few days, and Break had given them the simple task of hunting down Illegal Contractors when Pandora gave word of them.

"After all, Chains are beings from Abyss. Wherever a Chain is, a piece of Alice's memory could be as well. You should take this time and use this information to your advantage," the silveret had advised him, gently caressing Emily on his shoulder. "It's a good a lead as any."

The living room was quiet and the only light in the room came from the moonlight spilling in from tall windows. Gil immediately found Alice on a sofa the furthermost from the door, cuddling a pillow close to her. He sighed and went over to tentatively pick her up. Except for emitting a small groan of displeasure, she surprisingly didn't stir at all, which made Gil glad – he'd been sure she was going to wake up and start beating the crap out of him.

Her room was right next to Sharon's on the third floor, and Gil was quick to deposit her on her bed before she stirred. After considering a moment, he quickly took off her boots and even managed to get her out of her coat.

Gil blamed his servant habits entirely.

Alright, now for the other one, he internally sighed as he padded back into the living room. He looked around amongst all the chairs and sofas before finally finding his master on a chair in front of the dark fireplace. Oz's legs were curled onto the seat, his head and arms resting on one of the lounge's arms. Gil wondered why the blond would fall asleep in such a place when he caught the very faint scent of burning wood. Looking back at the fireplace, there was evidence that it had been lit and burned out not long ago.

The raven frowned, knowing that Oz only ever curled himself up like that when he was thinking hard about something – or rather, wanted to forget certain thoughts. I wonder what's on his mind? It had only been a few days since their visit with Duke Barma at the opera house. A lot of things happened then, Gil remembered grimly. Break's past, the Will of the Abyss and her relationship with Alice, and then...Jack's journal...

Jack, the man who looked so much like his master...

Master... "Oh, so you don't remember anything, Gilbert? About me..."

No, nothing in Cheshire Cat's dimension could possibly have been real, he reasoned, the memories of that place from long ago flooding into his mind.

Pushing his thoughts away, Gil crouched down to Oz's level and then very gently lifted him up bridal-style. Oz may be physically fifteen, but the Nightray was still bigger and didn't have much a problem in cradling his master to him securely. It felt a bit odd though, to be holding Oz like this. He would have never been able to do something like this back when he was fourteen. Not that he had particularly wanted to, but...

The slightest bit of warmth crept to Gil's cheeks as he carried Oz to his room. He had to admit...it was a bit...nice to have his master so close to him in his arms. He was asleep so his body was a bit heavier, but the raven found himself liking that – the feeling of all of Oz pressed against him. One gloved hand was rubbing against his master's thigh. The plaid shorts had ridden up so that the Nightray was touching skin, and for a fleeting moment he wondered what it'd be like if his bare hands would be able to feel that expanse of flesh.

K-Keep your gloves on! And a lid on your thoughts, he thought frantically, trying not to think about how Oz would rock against his chest every time he went up a stair.

Weird sensations knotted his stomach and warmth seemed to run all over his body, and he was hoping it was Oz's heat and not his own. He allowed himself to look down at that sleeping face, and smiled fondly at the innocent sight.

Unlike when he's awake; he's so devious when he's awake, Gil reminded himself, having multiple flashbacks of what trouble Oz used to get him into.

The blonde's room was in the guest room two doors down from Alice's, almost at the end of the dark hallway, the candles long-since blown out. Gil opened the door, still carefully balancing his master cradled in his embrace. He crossed the room, making his way towards the immaculate bed the maids had prepared earlier.

Blue sheets wrinkled under the weight of Gil settling his knee on the bed, keeping himself balanced as he lowered Oz onto the mattress. The warmth left the raven's body, leaving him feeling slightly empty and craving the blonde near him once more. Ignoring that, Gil carried out his duties in servicing his master. He hadn't had many opportunities to do so since Oz came out of the Abyss, and after ten years of unsuccessful rescue attempts, he felt like he owed him a lot.

Little things like this are the least I can do, thought Gil as he undressed Oz until he was just in his shirt and shorts. The blonde murmured something incoherent, but he didn't seem to be awake, so Gil didn't question him about it, instead taking the blanket and draping over his master's sleeping form. His hands gently tucked the soft fabric under Oz's body, feeling each of his smooth limbs – the curve of his thigh, the slope of his torso... The Vessalius stirred slightly, turning to the side and curling his body a little like he had been before the fireplace earlier. Something left his lips once more, but again Gil couldn't quite make it out, and Oz's mouth was left slightly open, even breaths leaving it, his small chest-

I have to stop noticing these things, the raven told himself, quickly looking away. But he couldn't help himself – inch by inch, he let his golden eyes wander back up Oz's body. He couldn't believe how much had stayed the same, how little Oz had changed physically. While I grew up.

"Ten years," Gilbert muttered, but he knew this would fall to deaf ears. His eyes traced over the blonde's face – the cheeks still childishly round and pink, the small nose, and long golden eyelashes that cast the tiniest of shadows on that face – as if trying to touch his master in the longing way he always wished to ever since he left into the Abyss. The Nightray crouched onto the ground, leveling once more. He wanted to reach out, wanted to make some sort of skin contact to prevent Oz from vanishing again. As if that would happen...

"I tried for ten years, but why couldn't I do anything sooner?" Gil asked, saying aloud the regrets he tried to not even allow himself to think. "Because every time I thought of such things, I tried to tell myself that there was nothing I could do. What use is a servant that cannot help his master that's in danger. Right, Young Master?" He dared to whisper that familiar title, even though he knew that only the Gilbert of long ago could utter them to Oz's face.

Why does everything have to be so different now? Gil, over and over, tried not to give it a second glance, the fact that he felt somehow distant from Oz. That something appeared to have changed, and it wasn't just that the blonde had fallen in and out of the Abyss. Of course, when the latter occurred, that B. Rabbit had fallen right out with him.

Was it Alice? Alice changed it, I know she did, I see the way she looks at him. She doesn't know it, but she loves him! I can tell, she fucking fucking-! Gil gasped, falling onto the floor. What kinds of thoughts were those? That kind of stuff... How selfish.

"So that means the quickest way to end Oz's torment is for you to die." No, that had been in jest for the most part. Gil didn't really want to kill Alice. It took a long time, and even now he couldn't admit that he liked her all that much, but he did trust her.

I do trust her, so why did I just...? Gil righted himself, dusting his black pants off. His golden eyes glanced back at Oz, who hadn't stirred in the slightest. Heat stung Gil's cheeks where he was blushing again. But you can't tell Oz why you act this way around him, because he likes stupid Alice-!

"Shut up," he whispered to himself. He had to get out of here. Get away from Oz. He quickly went to the door that connected his room to Oz's. He found himself giving his master one last stare before closing the door quietly behind him. He plucked off the hat Ada gave him and set it on top of his dresser. A deep, shuddered breath left him as slowly he walked to his bed, where he unceremoniously flopped himself, not even bothering to take off his coat.

Sleep...I need some sleep... But it didn't look like his mind was going to leave him alone for the night. His thoughts drifted back to his earlier musing of what Jack Vessalius had said to him while he was at the Cheshire Cat's dimension. Being around that man, when he stopped to think about it, had been incredibly nostalgic, and Gilbert doubted it was because he looked so much like Oz.

I have the feeling that he used to be bigger though... Or...

"Please, don't be afraid. I'm not here to hurt either of you." A warm smile, an assuring grin that held promises that wouldn't be broken. "My name is Jack Vessalius."

...or had Gil just been smaller...?

"Ngh!" the raven exclaimed in pain, suddenly curling into a ball as he clutched his head desperately, as if trying to keep it from exploding. His head seared, colored spots waltzing in the darkness of his closed eyes. "No, no...! God, I don't...d-don't want...! Agh!" Sweat was beginning to bead on his forehead, chills running along his body. "Wh-who...?"

"Ah, so you don't remember at all?"

"I don't want to remember!"

That face...why was that face so familiar? Why did it seem like...? Blond bangs framing a bright smile. Shining emerald eyes and a hand that seemed to offer everything to him... "Gilbert~"

"No, shut up! Shut up! I don't...want to... STOP!"

"Gil!"

A hand gripped tightly to his shoulder, making Gil gasp and start to reach for his gun... Then he opened his eyes, startled when he saw Jack standing over him.

"Wh-what...?"

A sigh of something like relief. "What the heck is wrong with you?" Jack demanded, only it wasn't Jack's voice – it was Oz's. Gil blinked, then saw that the Vessalius hero had never been there in the first place.

"Oz?" the raven whispered. His hand, which had already been tight around his gun, slipped away and onto the bed. Gil got up, sweat still soaking up a lot of his body and his heart still beating heavily in his ears.

Oz settled himself on his knees beside Gilbert on the bed, crossing his arms. "I heard you making all sorts of weird noises, and by the time I came in here..." Oz's expression became softer and he slowly unfolded his arms. "Did...did you remember something? From 100 years ago? Was that what it was?"

The Nightray was tempted to brush the questions off. He didn't need Oz to worry about stuff like this; it was his burden to carry, and his own to riddle out. But at the same time, he just needed to tell someone. He couldn't tell Vincent – normally the best option because they had been together and he'd be the one most likely to understand...but his younger brother seemed so evasive when any conversation about their past sprang up. And...I can't help but get the feeling – and I've had this for awhile – that...he's hiding something from me...

Oz seemed to have taken the silence as his servant not answering him. He sighed in mock agitation, looking up at the ceiling. Then out of nowhere it seemed, he asked conversationally, "Gil, do you remember anything from before I went into the Abyss?"

"Like what?" Gil questioned tentatively, his guard slowly coming up should his master inquire more about 100 years ago.

As if sensing this, Oz corrected, "I mean about when we were little. Er, when you were little with me," he amended with a chuckle, and Gil couldn't help but smiling a bit as well.

"Yeah, I remember a lot of things." How could he not? When Oz had vanished, all he had were memories. After the initial pain of remembering went away, the Nightray would recall each moment he could conjure up that contained his precious Oz in them. Photos of the blonde were scarce because Zai hated his son so much...and after Gilbert had left the Vessalius home, he really did have only his memories.

But it felt like sometimes that wasn't enough. What did Oz's laugh sound like again? Had the faint freckles on his nose stretched to his cheeks as well? How tightly did he used to grip Gil's hand? When the raven couldn't find answers to these, there had been those times where he almost cried, because the loneliness and shame of not remembering would be too much...

Realizing he'd been quiet too long again, Gil said affectionately, "I remember when Ada made us chains of flowers every first day of spring..."

"There was the time she first got Dinah..."

Gil shuddered at the memory, replacing the trauma with a happier past-time, "When you showed me around the Vessalius mansion for the first time..."

"And I left you lost in the basement..."

"...When we played Alice in Wonderland in the garden after Mrs. Kate read us the story..."

"Ooh, I remember that! I put a rabbit down your shirt!"

The raven laid back down, trying to ignore Oz's comments. "You know, are these supposed to cheer me up? Because they aren't really doing the trick," he said sardonically.

Oz laughed, laying down next to his servant. "I'm just kidding," he reassured.

Gil's heart started beating faster. He could feel himself blushing harshly as Oz stared at him, laying so close next to him. He turned his head back to the ceiling just in case the redness of his cheeks was palpable in the moonlit darkness the windows cast.

"Hey, Gil?" Oz asked. "Remember when I had Mrs. Kate teach me how to braid hair because I wanted to put Ada's hair in a plait for her birthday?"

Gil considered a moment before the memory came back to him. "Yeah, I remember. It was the first birthday party I attended," he said, smiling a bit at the memory.

"And I used you for practice?"

Gil stayed quiet.

"Giiil~?"

"...I try not to remember."

Oz pouted, sitting up. "C'mon, it wasn't that bad, was it? It wasn't as if I was intentionally trying to torture you," he lilted, raising an eyebrow.

Oh, how the raven begged to differ...

"Gil, do you want me to be good at this or not?" Oz said crossly, a brush in one hand and a bunch of different colored, lacy ribbons in the other.

The small servant glanced at the latter in horror. "I-I do, Young Master, b-but-!"

"Oz," the blonde corrected for the up-tenth time.

"But Y-Young-," Gilbert began shakily.

Emerald eyes narrowed dangerously. "O-z," he said again, slowly to engrave it in his servant's memory. "But because you didn't listen the first time, I'll have to punish you, won't I? Sit," he ordered, gesturing to a stool that was before the blonde's vanity.

More than reluctant, Gil slowly slid into the seat, a miserable expression on his face. "Y- Oz," he quickly amended, not wishing to make the situation any worse. "I-I do want Miss Ada happy for her birthday...and I know that you want to do this for her, b-but...why can't you plait your own hair?"

"Don't be silly, Gil, your hair is longer than mine," the young Vessalius remarked cordially, happy now that he was getting his way – which usually happened sooner or later. "And anyway, I've always wanted to mess with your hair. It's nice and wavy, so it'll be easier to braid!" He put the ribbons on the vanity and hovered the brush near the dark locks. "Now stay still."

Making something akin to a pout, Gil looked down from the mirror and murmured resignedly, "Yes, Oz."

"Ahh~, you were so easy to tease then," Oz said fondly when Gil was done recounting the memory.

"You'll find that's harder to do now," the Nightray promised, untying his cravat because he still felt hot from his panic earlier.

The comment made Oz chuckle, but it had a dangerous undertone to it that Gil was surprised he still recognized as the blonde's plotting laugh. "Is that a challenge I sense?" he inquired lightly. Before Gil could even reply, Oz was suddenly flush against him, the small fingers of one of his hands lazily tangling themselves in messy black hair. "Hey, Gil, will you let me play with your hair again?"

At first, the raven couldn't register the words. All he could process was that Oz was so close that he could feel the blonde's voice vibrate right under his skin, that he was definitely sure that his master could see the red that stained his cheeks. He shot up, knocking Oz off him, as an attempt to hide himself again.

"What, are you serious? You realize it's the middle of the night?" he snapped lightly.

Oz made a disapproving sound. "It doesn't matter, I don't feel the slightest bit tired!" he protested, jumping off the bed to prove his point.

In his head, Gil sighed wearily. He was really going to kill Break later... He was taken out of his mental murdering when hands began to tug one of his arms. "Hey, c'mon! There's a vanity back in my room! Let's go, Gil, c'mon!"

The Nightray couldn't help but laugh softly at his master's behavior. "Geez, you're such a kid. Alright, if you're so hell-bent on it..." He got up and followed the blonde back to his room. On the way, he said, "As long as you go back to bed after we're done, okay?"

"Eh, maybe," Oz promised vaguely, already pulling out the stool for his servant. He gestured for Gil to take the seat. "I think this is a girl's guest room," he commented, going inside one drawer, finding a silver brush with intricate incisions decorated on it. "But that's good; I was thinking I might have to go to Alice's room."

Gil's heart unconsciously seemed to sting as Alice's name was mentioned. The horrible thoughts he had before came back to him, and his ears burned in shame for putting her in such a low light. I shouldn't think of her so poorly just because... He sat himself on the stool, looking at himself in the mirror, his reflection pale in the moonlight.

She'll get him, because she is everything I am not. She can cheer him up when I cannot. She says the right things that make me wonder why I never thought of those words first. Alice...Alice is...

"To me...Alice is like the sun."

Gil's cheeks burned with an abashed blush. We're still close, Oz and I. But...not as close as he is to her.

Then another selfish thought occurred to him, probably the most conceited one he allowed himself to wonder: Why am I here then? Oz...where can I go...to be be where you're at?

"Are you afraid?" Break's words came crashing back like icebergs. The way his red eye had glinted knowingly but sympathetically. "Afraid that Oz will keep changing? Afraid that...only you will be left behind?"

Please, no... Don't leave me... Don't take the light from me again!

"Gil, are you spacing out?"

The raven blinked, suddenly aware he had been staring at the mirror, although he had not really been registering the people reflected in it. Oz was tilting his head to the side, fine blonde brows furrowed. "Are you okay?"

"Eh? Oh, uh, fine. Just fine." He was lying and he knew it. He never lied to Oz before, except when he was trying to keep his real identity a secret. "Hey, you're not thinking of using ribbons again, are you?" he asked, pretending to be cross.

A devious grin appeared on Oz's face. "I should check, huh?"

"Please don't."

"Eh, I was joking anyway," he reassured with a small laugh. He put the brush on the vanity's table, then putting his hands on Gil's shoulders. "I'm gonna take off your coat, okay?"

"Uh, sure." The raven stared intently at an insignificant corner of the mirror as Oz's hands slid down his arms, the soft grip on his fingers sending unwanted shivers down his body as they brushed his clothed skin.

Oz tossed the black coat on his bed, proceeding to grab the brush before turning back to his servant. "Now then, I won't put it in braids unless Gil really wants me to~," he bantered, teasing some locks of wavy hair near Gil's neck. Pleasant chills ghosted over his skin at his master's action.

"Sh-shut up...idiot," he added for extra measure.

Oz giggled, running the brush through the dark locks near Gil's neck. "I guess I'll just do a regular brush-through then. Gil doesn't mind, does he?"

"No, Gil doesn't," the Nightray said mockingly. As Oz began to brush his unruly black tresses, Gil found himself occupied by gazing at his master's reflection in the mirror. Oz wasn't looking at him, instead seeming focused at his task. There was a moment when the young Vessalius glanced up, and for a few seconds, shining emerald met startled gold. Gil dared himself to not look away, but betrayed himself by finding interest in fiddling with the buttons of his shirt.

Something, and Gil at the time couldn't name what it was exactly, seemed to change then. It was unspoken and unseen, but something happened, and the next few minutes seemed to go completely down hill.

Except for this. In the first part Gil could hardly process anything beyond the fact that Oz was teasing him. The blonde was brushing his hair back as if he were going to put it in a ponytail, so he was gathering locks of hair behind his head. His bangs were too short though, so Oz had settled for brushing them lightly, tucking and re-tucking them behind his ears. The sensation had Gil breathing just the slightest bit heavier, but he didn't want Oz to notice it, so he tried to think of something to talk about to break the silence.

Oz seemed to have beaten him to it. "So are you going to tell me what it was that was making you cry out like that?" he asked, straightforward and to the point.

Gil was surprised to have the subject come up again, but only momentarily. "It's nothing I can't handle. Really, it's my past...I have to be the one to carry this burden," he explained plainly.

Nimble fingers had placed some of Gil's wavy hair behind his ear again, but this time, the fingers traced the back of his appendage, brushing ever-so-lightly on the fleshy curve before dipping lower to his neck. The shudder came so fast that the raven couldn't stop it from happening.

"You okay, Gil?" Oz asked, fingers curling around the hairs at the base of his servant's neck.

Gilbert shivered again. "Th-that...," he tried to reason. Damn...it's just like last time...

Oz seemed to realize the same thing, the corners of his lips curling in a smirk. "Gil, don't tell me..."

The small raven suddenly sat up straighter on the stool as Oz began parting bits of his hair to braid it. "Uhn...Y-Young Master...," he murmured, trying hard not to pull away from the soft touch. What had that weird sensation just been?

"Eh? Something wrong, Gil?" Oz asked, looking up and glancing at his servant's reflection.

Gil shook his head, ignoring the goosebumps that had suddenly began to prickle his skin. His master shrugged and continued to brush the tangle of black hair. Smiling, he said, "Gil is being such a good little patient~! I'm so happy he's letting me torture him like this."

"You said you weren't..." The rest of the raven's sentence faded as he let himself get lost in the slightly pleasurable thrill of Oz playing with his hair. It shouldn't feel like this, should it? The small tugs his master gave as he threaded pieces of hair together in a mini-plait. Each pull of his tresses seemed to send a shock of electricity coursing under his skin.

"Um...Y-Young Master?" he began tentatively. He fidgeted slightly in his seat, cheeks turning pink as he realized what he was about to request.

"Yeah, what's up, Gil? And did you just call me that name twice!" Oz demanded, scowling.

Gil quickly amended his statement. "Ah, I-I'm sorry...O...Oz. Um, Oz, if you don't want Ada's braid to get loose, you'll have to make it, um...a b-bit tighter, you know?"

"Eh?" The blonde looked at his handiwork so far. Although it was true that Gil's hair was longer than his, it still wasn't a good enough length for him to do one big braid, so he substituted by making several smaller plaits with his servant's hair. Ribbons were sticking up everywhere, and Gil looked really silly. Oz considered the raven's words and then undid the braid he had been working on. "Ah, I guess you're right. Who would've guessed Gil would be more knowledgeable about this stuff than I was."

The black-haired servant looked away, not daring to look at his master as his fingers wove through his hair again, pulling harder to make the plait tighter. Heat rose to Gil's face, tingles running from the tips of Oz's fingers and pooling somewhere under his stomach.

And although Gil didn't quite know it at the time...

...he knew he was being turned on. The Nightray looked challengingly at Oz's green eyes. "What is it?" he asked, trying to keep himself steady.

Oz's smirk never wavered as he ran the brush slowly down his servant's hair. "Nothing," he lilted, tugging ever-so-slightly, making Gil's back erect slowly. The young Vessalius caught it and he chuckled. "It's just that after ten years, Gil is still sensitive in all the same places~"

The raven widened his eyes incredulously. "N-no! I'm not anything like-!" He was cut off when a small whimper sounded in the dark room, and he was horrified when he realized the sound had come from him – Oz had ruffled his hair tenderly before giving it an experimental, and unexpected, tug.

"Oz..."

"Heh, who would've guessed that Gil could get aroused from getting his hair tugged on. You really are a weird masochist, Gil, but a masochist nevertheless."

The Nightray's eyes glared at Oz through the mirror, even though he was panicking on the inside. "I-I'm nothing like that!" he protested hotly. Had his master really just called him out on getting horny? He couldn't believe that Oz was teasing him like this...it wasn't fair that Oz was causing these kind of reactions from his body, but didn't even feel anything towards him – at least...nothing like Gil felt for him. And...and a masochist?

"If I liked pain so much, then I must've been the happiest man alive once you left," the raven growled without thinking. Oz's hands stopped playing with his hair as the words left his servants lips. Gilbert was immediately ashamed once he realized what he had said. "I...I didn't mean it like that."

"No, I know, Gil," Oz replied understandingly, softly, as he started with the silver brush again. "I know that you tried your hardest...all that time."

"I failed to protect my master," Gil said guiltily, the pain and abashed feelings swirling in his stomach uncomfortably. "Trying was the very least I could do. I had to try...had to save my master, who I place above everyone else."

There was a deep silence after that, but Oz quickly remedied that by being his usual. He set the brush down, draping his arms over his servant's shoulders as he stood behind him. "Your hair is nice, Gil. You should let it grow out." He laughed, but it sounded somewhat hollow. "Maybe make it as long as Jack's."

At the close proximity to the blonde, Gil was doing his best not to let it bother him, but failing horribly. "Are you kidding? Hair that long would only be a hindrance while fighting."

"You're right. And Alice would probably call you even more of a seaweed head."

Why bring up Alice? Before Gil could even let the hurt and anger take hold of his thoughts, Oz's arms suddenly met in front of his chest, like he was hugging the physically older man to him. The Nightray blinked in surprise, turning to look at Oz when the young Vessalius spoke, softly, his warm breath teasing Gil's neck.

Oz buried his face into Gil's shoulder, hiding his face from view. "Hey, Gil...can I ask you something?" His voice was so quiet, sounding so fragile that the raven couldn't possibly even consider denying this request.

"What is it, Oz?"

The blonde's arms tightened their hold, embracing Gil tightly, like he was trying to keep his servant together rather than himself. "Why...why do you feel like you have to do so much for me? Tell me...when you look at me..." The blonde slowly lifted his head, staring at his reflection, the moonlight revealing the soft contours of his face. "When you see me...do you ever think to yourself, 'I have to protect Jack, because Jack is who I see.' Do you ever think that?"

The question seemed so random, so absurd, and the answer so obvious, that at first Gil felt like asking Oz if he was serious. But he caught the solemn darkness uncharacteristically embedded in those pools of green, and knew that his master wanted nothing short of an honest answer.

"I never thought that," Gil replied sincerely, looking intensely in those eyes reflected in the mirror. He brought a hand up, daring to take one of Oz's hands with his own gloved one. Oz was so close to him...asking such strange questions that Gil was so tempted to answer with unbridled feelings... The blonde's hands were laced right over his chest, nestled so perfectly that he was sure that Oz could feel the rapid beating of his heart.

"You and Jack look a lot alike. And there are people in Pandora who like to think that...you're some reincarnation of him or something. Sometimes...if I think about my past hard enough...I can see that you and he were similar in personality as well. I can see how people can think you're him."

"Do you think I'm him?"

Squeezing Oz's hand tighter, Gil smiled in what he hoped was a reassuring way. "No. I know that you are different people, living different lives. Before me, I know this is Oz Vessalius." The raven flushed slightly, turning away from the mirror and looking at the actual blonde. "And I know he is my master. My...my..." His heart was pounding in his ears, fear and uncertainty welling in his chest, his mind screaming for him to shut up. "My...most precious...friend that I have..."

Oz's eyes widened, staring at his servant in shock. "Gil..."

Tears were stinging the corners of Gil's eyes, because he knew right now he was going to risk something, and say something quite selfish. "I'm sorry, Oz...but...lately I seem to just be thinking of myself."

"What do you mean?" Oz was giving him an attentive stare, never breaking contact with the Nightray he embraced.

"I'm sorry, Oz, I'm sorry, but..." What will this do? Is it the right thing? He loves Alice. You're not her, you can never be her! "Oz...I...I always want to be by your side. Ever since you gave everything...to that little boy who previously had nothing... I wondered constantly what I could do to show my gratitude to you. And now, even ten years later, I owe you so much, but still I'm going to increase my debt by...saying this."

"Hurry and spit it out, then," the blonde murmured, but his voice was low and didn't hold any bite to it like his scoldings usually did.

"Oz... I'm no Alice, but...if you'll permit me...I want to love you, because...I do. I love you." Gil's face was as red as ever, and he could feel himself begin to break out in a sweat again, but he found that he didn't really care. Now that the words had come out, Gil couldn't stop the whole flood of emotions. "I love you. You're a man, my master, and you can't feel the same, but I..."

The arms slipped away, and once again the raven was left without warmth, leaving his feelings cold. He told himself that he should've expected no less, for not being the one that Oz loved more than anyone. Still, the heavy heart his master had just left him seemed more painful than he thought. His throat was feeling full of unshed tears, tears he hadn't allowed himself to let out because somewhere out there, Oz had to have been going through worse. But now, before he could stop himself, two tears had fallen from his golden eyes, sliding down his cheeks in sorrow.

"Gil?" Oz said in surprise. He walked over in front of the stool so that he was facing his servant. "You...you don't have to cry. Really, I don't hate you, Gil! C-c'mon, now, you're being a bit childish, aren't you?"

The Nightray sniffed, trying to right himself, but his feelings just kept weeping from his eyes. He apologized profusely through his weeping, begging Oz not to be mad or not to make fun of him. Because those were the last things he wanted – to be hated and to have his feelings not taken seriously. His emotional breakdown was interrupted however when Oz sat on his lap, pressing them close together on the small stool. Gil widened his eyes in surprise, more apologies spilling from his lips when the blonde suddenly cupped his face with both of his hands and kissed him fully on the mouth.

Gil was at a loss for words. Confusion and rapture both mixed, leaving the raven still as his master kissed him. It was harsh, and unexpected, all of his breath lost to him. He wanted to pull away due to the sudden lack of air, but refused to because it was Oz Vessalius kissing him, and Gil was gripping Oz's sleeves rather tightly because he was feeling dazed from that realization.

Oz pulled away the slightest bit, his half-lidded eyes gazing at his servant intensely. "Open your mouth, Gil," the blonde whispered, chuckling a little.

"B-but...," panted the raven, who was still slightly breathless. Not wanting to ruin the moment though, and, more importantly, wanting another kiss, Gil decided to shut up and do as he was ordered. Golden eyes, which had previously been open in shock, fell closed. He parted his lips hesitantly and jumped when Oz brought their mouths together once more. Gil's lips melted against this new kiss, which was gentler than the previous one. His master's breath was now mingling with his, until the Nightray couldn't even tell who was breathing on who.

Gripping Oz's shirt a little tighter, Gil allowed himself to become lost in the sensation of his tongue gliding alongside the blonde's. One of Oz's hands moved to the back of his head, gripping the freshly brushed black hair harshly. Gil gave an unwanted groan, the heat in his cheeks continuing to sting his skin and he was positive the warmth was radiating on his master's face as well. He couldn't think of anything, couldn't even ask himself why this was happening. His mouth seemed to instinctively move along with Oz's as their tongues danced against one another and teeth and sometimes wet lips.

When should we stop? Gil didn't want to, didn't dare stop this kiss. He moved his hands from Oz's arms to slowly travel up that small chest. Oz inhaled sharply, arching onto his servant at the feeling of those large hands exploring him, delving his tongue deeper and causing the both of them to moan in approval.

Finally, after what seemed like hours of sitting there, kissing and tugging hair and fondling soft chests, the two broke away, panting. Gil could still taste Oz in his mouth, his saliva shining on his pink lips. Oz gently unthreaded his fingers from Gil's black tresses, his hands coming up to the raven's, where they still laid on his chest. Gil stared down at their touching hands, once again wanting to take his gloves off. Surprise flashed on his countenance when Oz took a bit of glove in between his fingers and tugged each one off the Nightray's hands.

"Hmm, this is a little better," the blonde said with a smile. He caressed one of the now naked hands against his cheek, which Gil felt as warm. Oz closed his eyes, seeming very content by the simple contact. "Gil's skin hasn't touched me in so long. I have no idea why you insist on wearing gloves. They're annoying."

And Gilbert could've been happy with that. But as usual, his insecurities caught up with him, and he was left with a sort of hollow feeling in his stomach. "Oz," he began, breaking the spell of rapture over the blonde. When emerald eyes were fixated on him, he said softly, "Why did you do that? I mean...things like that...it's for people who like each other a lot."

Oz raised an impatient blonde brow. "Yeah, so I should think my motives obvious," he replied with a light scowl.

"B-but...and then the tongue..."

"Oh," Oz blushed, the obvious embarrassment cute on his normally confident countenance, "sorry about that. Look, I haven't had any practice with that! I had to go with what I've read in books, so if it was bad... But it wasn't like you were completely experienced either..." Grinning with that same deviousness that Gilbert was used to, he leaned down on the raven. "And I couldn't really hold it back. Your words made me too happy."

Still stunned and mind continuing to process slowly, Gil asked, "H-happy? Wait, you're happy that I love you? You...you're..."

"Oh, and that whole 'permit' stuff you said, that's so you," sighed Oz. He laid himself down on Gil's chest, his finger teasing the skin visible under the unbuttoned shirt, causing the Nightray to shiver. "What a dumb thing to say. When it comes to emotions like that, you don't need permission to feel it."

"But...I just thought my feelings would burden you... And besides," he looked away sheepishly. "I thought that you were beginning to feel something for Alice."

"Alice? Why would I love her?"

"Because!" the raven snapped, on the defensive because his master seemed to be getting more and more agitated. "Because she gives you everything I can't! She can...make you happy when I cannot! You two...have secrets together that I can't know, you two have experienced emotions that I've never felt... Alice is so much closer to you than I am..." Tears threatened again, blurring his vision.

Was he always so stupid?

Noticing that his friend wasn't continuing, Oz looked up. His hand gently slid against Gil's face, his palm cupping a warm cheek. "Hey, you're not seriously crying again, are you?" he asked, used to the melodrama that Gilbert always brought with him. "You know, I never looked at Alice that way, or at least the way you're thinking. I love Alice, yes, but because I admire her. She does share a lot with me...and I want to do everything I can to help her... But really, Gil," his thumb rubbed against a red, tear-streaked face affectionately, "how could you think that I don't share more with you? You and I have had everything together."

"You're just-!" sobbed the raven pitifully, starting to act more and more like the 14-year-old Oz had left behind.

"You once promised me forever," Oz recalled softly, voice full of love. "Whatever debt you think you have with me, it most definitely was paid back then in full. I never had such a thing before, because I never believed in it. Gil gave me something really special back then. It made me realize that maybe, just maybe, I was falling for my dear servant. That one day, I wished to give him the same forever he promised me. More than anyone else, I want to be with you all my life." He leaned to Gil's ear, and said, "Because I love Gil."

"Sh-shut up! I hate you, you stupid master!"

"Was that a 'please kiss my brains out again, Oz,' I heard?" the blonde lilted. He sighed and brought his face closer to Gil's. "Well, I don't normally do what my servant wants, but I don't think I can refuse him this time." He smirked and claimed Gil's lips once more, who muttered 'stupid master' one more time before the kiss happened.

Now that he was better prepared this time, the Nightray decided to become more dominant than he was before. As soon was their mouths met again, Gil pushed harshly, causing Oz to gasp in surprise. He wrapped his arms around the young Vessalius' waist, slipping his tongue inside that wet mouth once more as he rose from the stool, carrying Oz with him.

He laid Oz onto the bed, the two of them still connected by their lips, which were moving fervently against each other. Blond hair rustled against the pillows, the bed creaking slightly as Gil accommodated himself above his master. In between quick pauses for breath, Oz would sigh his name in rapture, his hands never staying idle. They'd venture from the Nightray's chest, to rubbing up and down his back, to weaving themselves in hair once more. They stayed the longest in the latter area, lacing fingers in black tresses and pulling softly, teasing the raven who groaned in pleasure at the sharp feeling.

As the kiss went on longer, tongues already memorizing each other's hot caverns, Oz's hips began to tentatively buck upward, rolling them like waves onto his servant. Their chests were moving together, breath leaving their lips in hot, desperate pants. Oz was moaning now, each movement of his hips seeming to drive him crazy. He was tugging Gil's hair harder now, causing the man on top of him to groan with each pull.

"Heh...masochist," teased the blonde again, breathing heavily.

Gil scowled, capturing his master's lips once more to silence him. It didn't take long for the raven to begin moving his hips along as well, grinding them against Oz's. The rough contact caused the both of them to cry out in shaky pleasure, stopping their kiss. Gil's hands ventured to the blonde's hips, gripping them securely as he rolled his own down, developing a steady rhythm of crashing their clothed crotches together. Oz moved as well, trying to assist his servant in keeping up the sweet friction, his hips moving desperately, seeking the other's.

While Oz was preoccupied with that, Gil leaned down, pressing his lips against the young Vessalius' jaw softly, making butterfly kisses all the way down to his neck, moaning softly along the way. Breath shallow, he murmured, "I love you. I...always...always and ever...love you..."

They continued moving along each other, their excitement palpable with each harsh thrust. Gil groaned at the feeling of his master's hard length pressing against his own. Am I really making his body react this way?

"Hey, Gil...," Oz rasped, body still moving fervently. His hand hadn't moved from Gil's hair, although he was simply twirling his fingers around the tresses instead of abusing them – like the raven would've liked. "You know if you like this kind of thing..." He gave a small tug on that black hair to demonstrate, making the Nightray gasp in surprise. "...then I think I may have a job for you. That is," he stopped moving his hips, much to Gil's chagrin when he was left feeling slightly unsatisfied. Oz took the raven's face and had him face him. "That is, if you don't mind?"

"What is it?" Gil asked, sitting up on the blonde's lap, his master's hand falling away from his black locks.

Oz rose up along with him, face flushed from the excitement their previous actions had caused. His hands went up to Gil's shirt, unbuttoning it further as the raven watched wordlessly, not protesting. Lips, still warm and slightly wet with saliva, brushed against the newly exposed skin, physically admiring the body with affectionate kisses. The warmth raised up to Gil's ears as he watched Oz press his soft lips on every naked piece of flesh he could find. When Oz was done, he looked up at his servant with lust-heavy eyes. "Gil, I want your mouth down there."

Gil's eyes, which had also previously been in a half-lidded haze, flew open in shock at his master's request. "Y-you...what? That's..."

"If you don't want to, that's fine," the blonde said understandably, but there was something in his voice that made Gil think the Vessalius knew he wouldn't refuse. "We can just take this slower and keep kissing."

Rather than say anything, Gil shook his head fervently. That caused Oz to smile, and he laid back down on the bed, his fingers dancing down the raven's arm as he did so. The Nightray gulped inaudibly as he got off Oz and went down to spread the blonde's legs slightly, trying not to think too hard about what he was about to do to his master – Oz wanted this anyway, right? With that thought in mind, Gil focused on his desire to please Oz as much as he could, pushing his shirt up slightly. His hands hovered near the fastenings of the blonde's shorts, breath heavy for some odd reason, and oh God was Oz's erection obvious under those clothes.

After undoing the button and pulling down the zipper, Gil had only his master's underwear to go through. Ignoring his insecurities, he pulled those down to expose the blonde's hard length. The Nightray gave a small moan, intensely aroused at the mere sight of Oz bare before him. I can't believe I'm going to touch him. He's letting me be so intimate with him...

Sensing the raven's thoughts like he always could, Oz spoke. "No one else has seen me like this," he said, his cheeks red and eyes dark in lust. "And no one else will, except you. Similarly," he gave a weak smirk, "when that time comes, I want to be the only one who sees Gil exposed."

That...time? Heat crawled down Gil's stomach, stopping at his achingly erect length. He hissed in slight pain and pleasure. As he bent down in between Oz's legs, he put a hand at his pants, undoing them to free his own arousal. Then, with a last look at Oz, whose chest was rising and falling shallowly in anticipation, Gil opened his mouth and took the blonde's head in him.

The effect was automatic. Oz exclaimed in satisfaction, eyes falling closed as he bucked harshly upward. Gil hadn't been prepared for that, but he quickly grabbed his master's hips, forcing them down so that he wouldn't be choked. Oz was hot, and his vein was throbbing inside his mouth, in time with Gil's own heart beat that was pounding like a drum in his chest. Minding his teeth, Gil slid more of the blonde's cock into his mouth.

"Oh, ah! Ah...G-Gil... Hahh! Ah...yeah!" Once again, Oz's hand was fisting the Nightray's hair, weaving nimble fingers languidly through it.

Gil worked up as much saliva as he could, trying to make it smoother to have his lips slide back and forth on the hard length. He lapped his tongue on the head, exploring the small slit that was already weeping out drops of near-transluscent liquid. Oz let out a high-pitched gasp at that, and nearly screamed when the raven gave his first suck on the head.

Oz's head fell back on the pillows, the hand in his servant's hair pulling harshly from the intense pleasure. Gil moaned, his hips instinctively bucking up. His own erection was beginning to ache with need, and he took hold of it with one of his hands, gripping it tightly. The mixed sensation of his hair being tugged on and his hand sliding up and down his cock made him mad with pleasure and lust. He continued to suck Oz, trying to give back whatever excitement his master was giving him.

Oz's hand pushed Gil's head forward, demanding that his servant take more of him. The raven didn't complain, complying easily to the blonde's whim. He took in as much of that hot length as he could, which was relatively easy, but a bit harder to relax his throat so that he wouldn't gag. He gulped as he tried to ease his muscles, and Oz moaned Gil's name loudly, his back arching in the slightest. Gil gulped again, still holding down his master's hips as the blonde's thighs quivered with the need to buck into him.

"Oh God, Gil! Ah... Hah, ah! God, yeah!" Oz seemed to have no qualms about expressing his pleasure, even when his moans were bouncing off the walls of the dark room and making Gil go mad with lust.

The Nightray pulled back, going up to the head before going back down. He rubbed his cock in time with his head that was bobbing along Oz's hot member. Cries of pleasure were muffled in his full mouth, so he didn't try to hold them down, moaning wantonly as he pleasured both himself and his master. Carefully, gauging Oz's reactions, he moved his hand from the blonde's other hip and traveling down so that he was rubbing Oz's balls. Oz's breath hitched, and he pulled again on Gil's hair in thanks. The raven made a noise of gratification, continuing to toy with Oz's balls while sucking him off.

"G-Gil... Ahn! I-I...so...hah! So c-close... Gil...ah, please!"

The raven pumped himself harder, his master's breathless whimpers sending him closer to the edge. His moans were occurring more frequently, the need taking over his body and heat to shoot straight to his cock. After teasing his slit a bit more with his thumb, Gil gave one final tug before his cum exploded from his tip, the Nightray shrieking in completion. He quickly moved both his hands back to Oz's hips, bobbing his head up and down faster to get the blonde to release as well.

"Uh...uhn.. Ah, G-Gil, wait, I-ah!-I... Sh-shit...!" Oz arched his back beautifully, gripping his servant's strands of black hair for dear life as his cum shot out, the Vessalius letting out a long, drawn-out moan. Despite his master's warnings, Gil stayed latched onto Oz's softening erection, swallowing the slippery cum that fell onto his tongue. When he was sure that the blonde was completely spent, he rose up, zipping up his pants.

He glanced at the mess he made on the sheets, blushing harshly. "Ah, s-sorry! I'll get new blankets for you! I didn't actually mean to-!"

"Gilbert?"

The raven stopped talking when he heard Oz speak his name so sensually. His golden eyes locked onto green, and he felt more exposed than ever, like Oz could really see into him.

"You don't have to worry about that," the blonde said, voice full of weariness. He pulled up his pants and also re-fastened himself. He looked back up at his servant with endearing eyes. "For now, I want you to sleep with me."

"Here? In your room?"

"I don't see how else you could sleep with me," Oz pointed out with a languid chuckle. He patted the space next to him. "Come here."

Gil hesitated, then thought there really couldn't be much else that was as embarrassing as what he just did a minute ago. He went over next to Oz and took off his shoes and shirt. When the blonde gave him a pointed look, he blushed, elaborating with a snap, "I sleep shirtless, alright?"

Oz laughed. "Well, can't really see the downside to that." When the raven settled next to him, emerald irises glanced down at the scar that ran diagonally across Gil's chest. A flicker of guilt seemed to pass over him, and he said, "That...you never hated hated me for it?"

"For this?" Gil asked as he tossed the covers over them both, cloaking the scar away once more so that Oz could focus his attention to his face. "Never. I know you were just trying to protect me. I can't hate you for that." He offered a smile. "So you don't need to worry about it. Or about Jack, for that matter. Nothing can change what I feel for you."

"So that forever you promised?" prompted Oz with a small smirk.

"Still stands. And it always will." Gil put an arm around Oz, bringing them closer. He put his lips on the blonde's forehead. "Ten years or a hundred years; through the scars and lies, the forever can't be taken away."

Oz laughed lightly, burying his face into Gil's chest. "See? You know the right thing to say, too," he said, and within seconds, the two of them were asleep, the moonlight mingling with the inky-shadows of the night – light returning to the darkness.


Since Gil was used to cooking anyway, he insisted upon the Rainsworth maids that he could handle breakfast for the group that day. Sharon was talking with Oz upstairs in the parlor and he didn't know if Break and Alice were quite awake yet.

When he was done preparing the food, he had a maid help him take it upstairs to the parlor. Sharon and Oz were at the tea table on the balcony and Alice was leaning over the railing, looking up in interest whenever a bird passed by.

Sharon perked up at seeing the Nightray. From her usual seat at the tea table, she waved at him. "Good morning, Gil! Lord Oz and I were just talking about you!"

"Really? And what slander is he on about now?" asked the raven sardonically, giving his master a look as he set the trays on the table. The Rainsworth maid did the same before leaving.

Oz pouted, crossing his arms. "Gil, do you really believe I'd say anything bad about you?"

"Well, given your personality...," began Gil, trailing off. He served each of them their plates, ignoring the dirty look the blonde gave him. "So I'm guessing Break isn't awake yet? I didn't exactly bring up some food for him."

"No, that's fine," Sharon reassured with a smile. "He woke up early to go to Pandora. He wanted to speak with Liam."

"Ah, I see. Hey, stupid rabbit, are you gonna come eat or what?" the raven called, looking at the girl with narrowed eyes.

"Hey, I'll come when I want you damn seaweed head!" she retorted, sticking out her tongue. She then sniffed the air, perking up. "Is that meat I smell?"

"Yeah, so if you don't want the birds to eat it..."

Alice considered before shuffling toward the table, taking her seat. "I take it back. I've decided to join you all." She looked expectantly at Gil. "My meat, please."

He rolled his golden eyes and set Alice's plate in front of her. "Here, and try not to choke," he said in what could be considered a teasing tone.

Alice surveyed her plate. "Hey, seaweed head, what's this called?"

"I call it bacon and sausages. It's too early for stuff like chicken and roast, so I gave you breakfast meat. And your welcome," he said in advance, sitting down next to Oz.

After taking an experimental sniff, Alice picked up a sausage and bit into it. Her face lit up. "This is tasty!" she exclaimed in satisfaction, quickly devouring the rest of it. "So many kinds of meat I was never aware of! We should go to town again today, and I want you to show me all the meat you all eat!"

"Shut up, I thought you wanted your memories," Gil growled, picking at his food. "So it's good?"

"Are you questioning my judgment, seaweed head? I said so already, didn't I?"

Then, Gil was hopeful that no one could catch it, he smiled. "Good then." It wasn't much of an apology for all the bad things Gil had thought about her, but then again, he was too proud a person so say those type of things to people's faces – much less to Alice.

Oz looked at his servant, and he noticed the look on his face and grinned. Under the table his hand found on of Gil's, and he squeezed it. The Nightray turned it over so that they were linked together, thumbs rubbing lovingly over each other's hands. Things seemed to be heading towards a positive resolution after all.

At least, until...

"So, Gil, Lord Oz tells me that you're really sensitive when someone messes with your hair?"

...Goddammit, Oz.


Ending A/N: See? Ridiculous, no? Ah, I'm sorry that most of it was confusion and angst. ._. I didn't mean for it to be so, but that's how it ended up, it seems. -sweatdrop- I have plenty of Pandora Hearts one-shots in mind, so it'll be less wordy as I publish, I promise.

Reviewers are always welcome in my little tea party~ -offers you a crumpet as bait-