A/N: I can't believe my first Glen/Jack is going to be this corny... -stabbed- Please, no one judge me :'D I've no real feel for this pairing quite yet, since I've just come around to liking it. So far, I'm enjoying this pairing immensely :3 But I'm still wondering if I'm a Jack/Alice supporter (I never liked Glen/Lacie much... And my ears are plugged at canon right now and the Jack/Lacie implied-ness LALALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU~~!), so let's see how this all turns out, eh?
For a contest that SasoriXAkane is holding on dA~ Wish me luck with it! -fidgets-
Waltz in the Crystal Box
Already the sounds of violin bows waltzing on strings and cellos casting dark heartbeats were floating around the mansion, reaching Glen's room a floor above the ballroom. Below, he knew that the masquerade was beginning and that his guests were already socializing and dancing the night away. He sent Charlotte and Lacie a few minutes ago to go greet them in his place.
The masquerade hadn't been his idea. The Baskerville dukedom was just earning its recognition into the higher sphere of society, and it was apparently proper decorum to throw a large party to introduce yourself to the other aristocrats. Given that he was still holed up in his room, Glen has to say he was already doing a rather poor job at his duty.
At present, he was adjusting his own silver-scaled mask over his eyes. The starlight hide was designed with intricate black swirls, like the silhouettes of curling vines, like wisps of dark smoke. The color helped compliment the deep midnight purple of his eyes. But all the fuss he was making was mostly to keep himself busy, mostly to keep himself from picking up the small black box standing right before his mirror.
About a week before, he found the box at the base of one of the trees behind the mansion. Glen was a man who loved to be hidden, and also took pleasure in the silence. It gave him time to think, to daydream – but, more often than not, to sleep, content with the gentle quiet nature around him. One particular tree was his choice spot to plop down and get lost within himself.
That same tree produced the black box sitting before him now. He didn't know what made him take it. There was a strong possibility it belonged to someone else. Yet somehow...
When he convinced himself to stop fiddling with his mask, he took a long look at himself in the mirror before taking a deep breath, glancing at the box. Giving in to his temptation, he picked it up. It really was a rather ordinary box, made of sleek wood with purple and green flowers carved on the lid. In the middle of the blooms was a black letter 'G.' Glen opened the box, revealing a spinning golden cylinder with pegs on it. He immediately knew the notes flowing out of it like starlight.
A simple music box. A melody of its own world, dancing with the languid movements of moonlight, bright as sunlight, ethereal voice of a magical spirit. Glen had a hard time pinning the song as rapturous or lamenting.
The orchestra downstairs came to a crescendo in their piece, reminding Glen of where he was and what he should be doing. Quickly, he snapped the box closed and put it back on his vanity. Then, thinking better of it, gently placed it into the pocket of his coat.
Even before the Baskervilles officially became a part of the aristocracy, Glen was rather used to the admiring stares people threw his way and the women that began to chatter excitedly in his wake. The only difference now was that he actually had to converse with them.
Lacie came up to him as he began weaving through the crowd in the ballroom, the tail of her white dress gliding along behind her. "You're finally down," she said in almost a reprimanding tone. Her ruby red eyes were framed in a feathered, white mask that she held up with a short staff. She lowered it slightly so that he could see her face. "That was quite mean of you, just to leave me and Charlotte to do your duty."
"I apologize," he said, talking louder than he usually did so that he could be heard over the conversations and orchestra. "I'm afraid I wasn't quite ready to come down yet."
A knowing look crossed Lacie's face. "It looks like you still aren't," she remarked with a laugh. Righting her mask higher again, she took one of his wrists and led him deeper into the crowd. "Let's go, all the people invited have already arrived, save those who want to be 'fashionably late,' but Charlotte and I had Doug take care of that."
Glen struggled to keep up with Lacie while remaining as composed as possible with the glances he was receiving all around himself. It made him grateful for the mask that hid most of his face from them. It wasn't that he was a shy person – Glen knew when he had to step up to his responsibilities and would carry them out (albeit reluctantly, but he never let it show) – but rather that he hated being in the spotlight of so many strangers.
Embarrassment wasn't it. A little more like resentment. Aristocracy seemed so glamorous until you saw the gilded people up close. They never talked about anything worthwhile, never did anything extraordinary.
And Glen always waited for the extraordinary.
Being stuck in a masquerade wasn't quite it, though the experience of it all was making him almost dizzy.
(But the music box, the music box – it was extraordinary, it was a droplet of frozen rainbow, a world of escape just like his woods-)
Lacie finally brought him to a stop, and he hastened to straightened himself out as a blond-haired couple turned to him. The gentleman appeared to be in his mid-forties and was in a suit of dark blue, his mask quite simple and also blue. The lady next to him, presumably his wife, was wearing a slim light-blue gown that complimented the sky-shade of her eyes.
"Good evening to you again, Duke and Duchess Vessalius," Lacie greeted so politely that Glen almost wanted to crack a smile – Lacie hated proper decorum almost as much as he did. "I've brought Lord Glen over, as you requested."
"Thank you. And pleasure to meet you," Duke Vessalius said, bowing slightly. His wife mirrored the gesture with her own greeting, waving a black and blue fan over her face, even though she already had a mask to hide herself with.
"Likewise," Glen replied, deciding on the response that required the least words without being rude. He took Duchess Vessalius' gloved hand and placed a chaste kiss on it. "I do apologize for my tardy arrival."
"Yes, please do see to that in the future," the duchess said, giving him a knowing look. "Punctuality is a responsibility that must be practiced in the aristocracy, unless you're not the host and are being fashionably late. However, seeing as you're part of a new dukedom, we shall turn a blind eye for now."
Glen heard Lacie make something like a scoff, but she quickly cleared her throat to cover it up. She touched his arm. "I'll leave for now." Turning, she curtsied for the two Vessalius. "Please enjoy your evening." As she left, Glen could see her shoulders shaking with laughter.
"Curious girl, she is," Duchess Vessalius remarked snidely.
"I see her as my little sister," Glen informed politely, albeit tautly.
Duke Vessalius nodded. "Ah, yes, I do recall that the Baskervilles are of people not related to each other. Did you decide to adopt?"
Glen blinked in surprise at the question. "No, nothing of that sort." He considered. "Well, perhaps, though I'd like to say I'm not even engaged, so I don't consider them my children exactly." Followers, perhaps, he thought as a side-comment.
"Oh, but you must marry as soon as possible," Duchess Vessalius advised, flapping her fan energetically. "It doesn't do well to waste your youth away doing nothing. Of course, marrying into a favorable dukedom is most advisable. Though I myself have only sons – perhaps Duchess Rainsworth's daughter..."
"So you've children of your own," Glen said, trying to steer the conversation away from himself.
She gave a small nod. "Two sons."
"We've three," Duke Vessalius corrected, interested at glancing the people waltzing on the dance floor.
At this, his wife flashed him a meaningful look. "Yes...three sons," she said, then offered Glen a cordial laugh when she caught his stare. "Do forgive me, my memory never serves me well."
"That's quite alright. I find myself having a similar problem many a time." Not really. He too looked away for a brief moment, taking survey of the twirling gowns and coats, at the faces of complete strangers that were hidden among the masks.
And then Glen saw the flash of green somewhere in the distance, toward the wall opposite him. A flash of orange and light-yellow – blond hair, perhaps... The movement was too quick to register, but also brief enough to make curiosity interest his heart. He took a step forward before he realized it, then was brought back to the ballroom, to classical music filling the air, to a rather irritating duchess.
"Duke Baskerville? Are you quite well?" she asked, lowering her fan slightly.
"Quite," he reassured with a curt nod. "Please, do tell me about your children. One of the younger members of my family is around ten – I'm sure she'd appreciate a playmate." His eyes kept glancing at the opposite wall, thinking maybe the blur of orange would return to him...
"Oh, all our sons have grown up," Duke Vessalius said with a smile. "As a matter of fact, you might just run into them here. I think they ran off just to take a peek under a skirt or two."
"My sons aren't Jack!" his wife hissed, narrowing her eyes at the blond-haired duke. She said it quietly, but Glen could still catch it under the cacophony of sounds around them.
"Do forgive me, but I've other guests to introduce myself to," Glen said, thinking it was high-time he left the exhausting couple. As he bowed to them and walked away, he wished for nothing more than to go outside – through the windows he saw it was a rather lovely night, and he didn't want to waste it all locked inside with masked strangers, though it seemed that would be the situation tonight.
Random people were greeting him, and he'd smile softly and nod in return. I wonder how good I can become at all this... He had a few more eventless, substance-lacking conversations in which he forgot more and more about the person he saw before...
And then there, in the abyss of masks and feathers, of glitter and paper, was the unhidden face of one man. Wide and unabashed, his blond hair framed the most breathtaking smile Glen had ever seen. To his surprise, he saw that the smile was directed at him,and it jarred him greatly to have such sincerity offered to him. Glen blinked in surprise at seeing it, wondering what to do, who this man was...
Eyes as green as any emerald flashed teasingly, and the man winked before slipping away into the mass of color and oblivion.
Glen panicked, and was walking forward as surely and desperately as if he were a puppet on strings. A new dance started, and more couples flooded the middle of the ballroom. Glen's midnight purple eyes widened, already losing sight of the long blond braid that fluttered behind the man's wake. Glen saw him head in the general direction of the wide doors that led outside and he quickly weaved through his dancing guests to pursue him.
As he approached the open doors, he gave a glance back at the party behind him, at the color, light, and music. Then, with a resolute decision, he thought they could manage without him for a bit. As soon as he turned back, there the man was, a distance away sitting at the edge of the fountain at the center of the garden. The dark silhouette of a mask was now covering the mysterious stranger's face.
"Hold it!" he called, rushing down the stone steps. Already the music from inside was fading into the background, and all he heard was the quiet night, the sound of crickets, and the whisper of the man's orange coat as he got up and fled once more.
"Sir...!" Glen cursed softly as he got to the end of the stairs. He kept the man in his sights, seeing him head toward the other end of the fountain.
The blond turned back when they were directly opposite each other, the same smile on his face as if he were having the time of his life. He took an experimental step to the right – only to have Glen mirror his shift in movement. He took three steps to the left, his form momentarily obscured by the sprays of the fountain, but Glen didn't hesitate to reflect the action. The man laughed in pleasure, before turning around and heading towards the mass of trees behind him.
Glen blinked. Really, what was this guy's angle...? What really stumped him though was the vibe he got from the stranger – it wasn't malevolent... Rather the opposite. The man seemed to be just what he appeared – a person who was having strange enough fun leading Glen on somewhere, holding a benign secret between the two of them.
It was a bit...extraordinary. And it dazzled the raven-haired duke, making his legs surge forward and head into the shadowed trees. Moonlight dappled the grass, giving gossamer illumination to the night, and shadows to cadence. Glen looked left and right, searching for a sign, listening for the sound of that laugh, the billow of a coat...
"Hey, over here," beckoned the man from behind a tree, hooking his finger in a 'come hither' gesture. The mask on his face was orange just like his coat, black tendrils encircling the holes of the eyes, framing the green orbs within them beautifully and giving them a cat-like appearance. Black and orange feathers blew gently in the summer breeze at the ends of the mask, as if a bird in flight.
Glen was momentarily entranced, the wind carrying the man's scent and kind aura straight to him, cradling against his chest...
"You took it, right? I'm so happy," the man said, putting his hands behind his back. "To be honest, I never would've thought you would. I suppose that makes you an unpredictable person. I like it. Makes you more interesting than I thought." He laughed softly, flashing that same wide smile full of sincerity. "Makes me like you more."
The blond held up a finger at length, silencing Glen. "I'll tell you everything if you catch me."
Purple eyes widened incredulously. This guy really knew how to get a reaction out of him... "I'm not good at games," he said quietly.
"That so? I can teach you, then, don't worry. And," he turned, already skipping into the shadows, "I'll be easy on you, alright?"
Glen frowned, apprehensive about whether or not he should follow. The man sensed this and looked back.
"I'm your friend, Glen Baskerville," he said, tossing his long braid over his shoulder. He gave another smile, this one less in intensity to show a tentative offer of friendship. "I won't do anything to you, your reputation, or your family."
The raven thought that of all things, his reputation wasn't a concern, but then the blond was gone again. This time, he didn't hesitate to follow.
The two bee-lined through the trees, treading over engorged roots and trim bushes full of flowers. More than once, Glen got annoyed with this game, thinking he'd just give up and go back to the masquerade... But then in the corner of his eye, he'd see that inviting smile, hear a laugh that revealed where the blond was, and he'd start all over again.
"This is fun, don't you think?" His voice echoed in the forest, becoming part of the wind that ruffled Glen's dark hair. There came a slump in which Glen sensed neither a head nor tail of the mysterious man, and he leaned against a tree, taking a deep breath. Maybe he had been abandoned? Maybe the whole point of it had been just to screw with him and then walk away? He ran a hand through his hair and closed his eyes.
This was a mistake…
The breeze continued to rustle the leaves and his black locks, sending his thoughts away from him until he was left in just silence. Even the crickets seemed to stop their singing. He could no longer hear the activities of the masquerade from where he was at. It was just silence. Just night. There was no one to tell him that he should do this or wear that, or to tell him to be on time for his own party. He would never say it out loud, but this kind of peaceful rapture that came with meditating in the nature of night… I missed this.
A trickle of eighth notes poured into the air then, as free as flowing water, as serene as the moon's reflection on the glassy surface. A melody sang out to him, dancing in his mind, telling a story he did not know the words to, just that there was a deep yearning within his heart. The sounds of a music box, light as feathers falling from the sky, as whimsical as petals shaking in the wind. Glen's eyes were still closed, and he made no move to open them. Somewhere inside himself, he knew who the man was, knew it was he who brought him this music, this story, this feeling. Nothing interrupted from listening to its enchantment.
Silently, speaking with just his mind, just the slight upward stretch of his lips, he thanked the man for giving him back what he had lost.
The music lulled on, caressing his pale body, reaching for the strings attached to his silver mask, warm as a human. He felt his mask slip off from his face, the air tracing over his new exposed skin. When the music faded into a cadence, and only a few seconds after, did he open his eyes.
The face in front of him was without a mask once more, unveiling the true unbridled emerald stare, gazing at Glen with something he dared to think was rapture. Petal lips were slightly parted, blowing soft breath that joined the wind. Glen felt a hand linger over his cheek, gloved fingers brushing against his skin ever so slightly.
"You're going to answer this time, right?" he asked the stranger, his voice a deep vibrato in the languid spiral of night.
The blond smiled, suddenly having a much younger appearance – the smile of innocence, but of wanting. The deep green eyes revealed as much in their wanton staring. "You have to ask a question first," he pointed out. His finger was tracing down the strong jaw, dancing over the pale throat, a full warm palm pressing against his beating heart.
"Did you give me the music box?"
A small laugh. "I was scared you wouldn't take it for a moment there," he admitted. His cheeks were pink, a glowing hue in the darkness, like twin roses hidden in shadow. His hands made a move to intertwine his fingers along with Glen's, holding onto them tightly, as if needing assurance that the raven wouldn't leave. The gesture should've bothered him, since he wasn't fond of close contact, but now it was oddly appealing for him. The man was already practically on his lap, his face only a foot away with their hands intertwined, but Glen felt as relaxed as if he had known these actions, this person, for a life time.
"You made it for me," the raven concluded, slowly curling his fingers onto the hold the two were sharing. He saw those wide green eyes flicker to their linked hands, surprised at the gesture.
Gradually a nostalgic smile spread on his face. "Well, once, before your family became a dukedom, before you ever tried to become something in society, this mansion wasn't here. All this," his gaze fluttered around them, the sky, the trees, flowers hiding in the grass, "was by itself. There was nothing to disturb it, but no one fully appreciated it either.
"At the same time, there was a little boy who desperately wanted to escape the confines his family built up around him. Son of a duke and his mistress, he was as isolated as this openness among the city and buildings. He found sanctuary here, found a new home. Then a mansion belonging to the Baskervilles was made." As he spoke, he moved their hands together, gliding them along as if they were dancing in place. He was staring fixedly down at their linked appendages with a wistful expression.
"The boy didn't know what to do. Suddenly it felt as if he had nowhere to run to. The dancing flowers, shining sun and twinkling stars had been his only friends. Who else would appreciate them if they came over just to visit an aristocrat's home?" At that point, a sad frown as creased the man's forehead, and he no longer seemed to be looking at anything anymore. But then he smiled fondly, emerald eyes glittering alive again.
"He grew up. One day he decided to visit the place he once considered his real home, and who should he find slumbering lazily under his favorite tree...than the head of Baskerville.
"Quiet, as if he never knew anything so peaceful.
"Serene, as if he could hear the whispering voices of the trees.
"You appreciated it, too, right?"
"My sons aren't Jack!"
Glen tried not to jump to conclusions – in a society of aristocrats, such scandalous behavior that led to illegitimate heirs was commonplace. But still, that blond hair and those green eyes...the same unrestrained smile as his father...
"So you made the music box for me?"
"If you could appreciate the unseen things," the blond began to explain, stopping their hands. He let go of one to set one slender finger against Glen's parted lips. "I was hoping you would like the music I made for you. I selfishly, foolishly wondered if you'd know the messages I sent with them, if, with just the sounds, you'd tell what I felt, how thankful I was to you that you loved what I loved."
Glen tilted his head slightly. "But that's not the only thing you love, is it, Jack Vessalius?"
"Aaah, you guessed it?" lilted Jack with a defeated laugh.
"Your name?" Glen asked. "Or...?"
That caught Jack's attention. A wanting expression crossed his countenance, and his face drew closer to the raven's. "Or?" he prompted in a low voice. Blond lashes cast tiny shadows on his cheeks, blushing red between rose lips.
Staring back at him. Staring into eyes and hearts and desires twirling around their emotions and thoughts in alluring vertigo. Glen's tentative heart reached out, asking for some sort of reassurance that he wasn't crazy, wasn't a fool for willingly following this captivating stranger into moonlight and magic melodies. He absolutely refused to be beguiled by such a guise...
...but Jack wasn't the one wearing a mask, was he?
"Staring back at you," whispered Jack, hands on Glen's chest, his thighs spread over the raven's.
Without thinking, without any prompting but the sound of that beautiful voice... "Staring back at me," returned Glen, his eyelids falling to a close, heart pressing against Jack's sun-kissed touch.
And amongst the nature that wore no guise for her face, and the music dripping out of two heart-shaped boxes, Glen wouldn't have been able to tell you how much time passed. He'd be able to say that Jack smelled of citrus and roses, a scent mixing in the summer warmth that clung to him. He'd be able to say that the flower-petal lips were just as soft as actual blooms, as if he were kissing the gentle earth itself. He'd be able to say Jack and life and music and love were all that ran in his mind, that he'd never worry about being alone in that large mansion ever again.
But not how much time passed. This moment was too surreal to worry about it. Surprisingly, he wasn't worried if there was enough time for them or if the touches would last...
...because every time, he'd allow himself to follow the melodies held in the hand of Jack Vessalius, and let them lead him to his home buried in the trees and light.
Wonderful, enchanting, such a beautiful man...
It was extraordinary.
Ending A/N: ...I love Cantarella by Vocaloid too much ;w; I had various versions of the song on repeat as I wrote this. I absolutely refused to listen to anything else. Hence the last lines Glen and Jack had.
So then, was this to your liking? I do hope you enjoyed, and that I get to write more of this pairing in the future owo