WHEN TRUE COLORS BLEED
Summary: Alice was crying. Her voice, so clear in his ears, was filled with inconsolable grief, an unspeakable trauma. It cracked, and broke, and immediately he wanted to speak to her, to look at her and tell her not to cry, that everything would be all right, because Gil hadn't meant to do what he did, it was all an accident, but he didn't have the energy to speak, to even move.
Author's Note: Takes place directly after Chapter 74 of Pandora Hearts. MAJOR SPOILERS.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pandora Hearts.
Oz... is that... my name?
Through the hazy and unfocused darkness, he could hear the sound of someone calling to him. A voice... a very familiar voice. Oz's blurry eyes – whether from the shotgun wound or his own enlightening grief, a sorrow that was raging throughout his veins like a poison – searched for the owner, instead only meeting the green grass that he was lying upon... as well as something else. Something red. Blood. His own blood.
It was pooling around him, and he lazily watched it with unblinking eyes with an almost childish curiosity as it formed into what looked like a circle and inside it he could see the outline of a broken, bloodied rabbit...
"Oz! Oz! Oz!"
The voice was becoming clearer as his consciousness began to refocus itself and adjust to what had just transpired. "Alice?" He whispered, so quietly he could have mistaken it as his own mind speaking, had it not been for the fact that his lips moved.
He heard the patter and fumble of feet around him, undeniably Alice, and then her voice came again.
"Why, Raven? Why would you do something like that?"
Alice was crying. Her voice, so clear in his ears, was filled with unconsolable grief, an unspeakable trauma. It cracked, and broke, and immediately he wanted to speak to her, to look at her and tell her not to cry, that everything would be all right, because Gil hadn't meant to do what he did, it was all an accident, but he didn't have the energy to speak, to even move. He shifted his gaze so that he was looking directly at Alice now, her back to him, as she clung onto the fabric of Gilbert's coat like a lifeline, her shoulders trembling with emotion.
Gil, however, didn't even seem to realize she was there. He was staring at Oz's motionless form, expression numb with pain and shock, eyes clouded and distant. "I... what... did I...?"
"Why did you shoot Oz?" Alice screamed, gripping tighter onto Gilbert's dark jacket. "Why–?"
Oz saw Gilbert's eyes lock with his, and after a long moment, the older male's widened in realization, and he blinked, irises dilated.
He pushed Alice away, to the side, as he staggered forward towards his fallen master, as Oz simply stared up at him, unable to do anything even if he had wanted to, attempting to force a smile even while the blood continued to pool around him.
Gil stumbled, raising a hand to grab his hazy head, mere feet from him now. "Oz... I..."
Suddenly, Break had moved forward, standing directly in front of Oz, blocking Gilbert from accessing him. "Gilbert-kun, you had best stay back," The white-haired man intoned, speaking in a voice that Oz recognized as calm, civil, yet decorated with warning and anger. "As the situation now stands, I cannot allow you access to Oz Vessalius any longer."
For a single moment, Gilbert appeared stunned, as if someone had punched him in the chest and knocked all of the air out of him; then his eyes narrowed, angry slits, as he stared Break down with the harshness of his glare, who in return only retained his rock-solid stance.
"Oz is my master," Gilbert growled. "Break, I will not let even you stand in my way to protect him!"
Break returned the heated stare, pointing a finger at the face of the younger male. "Protect him?" He demanded. "Gilbert-kun, you have only hurt him! It was your gun, your finger, that pulled the trigger that shot the boy! You have harmed him, and while you may still feel a sense of loyalty towards Oz Vessalius, how strong is it, Gilbert-kun? Is your loyalty to Glen Baskerville not stronger, as he was – is – your true master?"
"No!" Gilbert exclaimed. "Oz is my true master! I am loyal to Oz!"
"And yet you have shot him!"
"It was an accident!" The dark-haired man cried. "Something – something compelled me to shoot him, something beyond my control, I didn't – "
Break sighed, frustrated. "It is exactly for that reason that I cannot allow you to care for Oz right now. You are too unstable, too influx with your recent encounter of your past memories to think and care for him logically right now."
The hurt shone across Gilbert's face, a hurt that ripped at Oz's very innards, more painful than the gunshot wound he had been inflicted with.
"N-no," He protested weakly, trying to speak loudly enough for someone to hear him. "Gil's not..."
Oz. You need to conserve your energy. I have used up a lot of it taking control of the vessel we both share, and using B-Rabbit's power... you are heavily wounded, any more of this taxing nonsense and it won't be good for either of us.
Jack spoke to him from the deepest corners of his mind, and it took all of Oz's willpower not to respond back that perhaps it would be better if he died here, so then Jack's consciousness could no longer pose as a threat to the world...
But before he could do anything, Break had awkwardly gathered him into his arms, with slight assistance from Alice, whose face was still lined with dirty tear-tracks, as they began to escort Oz back to one of the waiting carriages, with a shaken Gilbert following silently behind them.
"We need to get him back to the mansion, quickly." Break said. "He needs time to recover, his wounds could be potentially fatal."
Alice shook her head. "No. They won't be enough to kill him. Even if Raven got a really good shot in on him, there's no way Jack would ever let that happen... there's no way he'd allow Oz to die. Not now..."
There was an obvious hint of bitterness to her voice, and Break raised an eyebrow at the young girl. "Alice-kun, what do you mean by that? What happened before Gilbert-kun and I showed back up over there?"
"Not now," The Chain said shortly. "I want to make sure Oz is okay first." Together she and the white-haired male maneuvered Oz inside the carriage, wasting no time in climbing inside with him. Gilbert removed his jacket – still stained with blood as well as some of Alice's tears – and wrapped it gingerly, securely, around Oz's wound, while Break watched him cautiously, trying to give some sort of comfort, of silent apology, to his young master.
The young boy had fallen unconscious not long after they got him inside. He looked peaceful, his chest moving up and down in a steady, but slightly hyperactive rhythm, although Break said it wasn't anything to worry too much about. After having Gilbert and Alice, who both had working eyes, tourniquet the child's wound, they had determined he would most likely live, although he would need immediate, thorough care as soon as they got back to the house.
The carriage ride would only take a short while, which was good news to everyone. The sooner they all had time to recover from everything that happened, both physically and mentally, the sooner they could come to terms with it and progress forward.
Assuming Oz can ever forgive me, Gilbert thought. Assuming I can ever forgive myself...
Even now, he still didn't know if he should be with Oz, his current master, or to Glen, whom he had pledged loyalty to long ago. Leo, Vincent, and Echo had disappeared somewhere, right after Oz had been shot, and he had been so caught up in what he had done, he hadn't thought to go after Leo. Still, something told him he was making the right choice, being here with Oz, even while his hatred for Jack Vessalius burned deeply inside him... and was, undeniably, the catalyst for what had happened to his precious master.
How could I have done such a thing...? How could I have hurt him? Almost killed him, even? I told him I would never betray him, and yet, I...
Finally, when the older male seemingly couldn't take staring at Oz's wounded form any longer, he turned his attention to Alice. "Hey, stupid rabbit, about what Break asked before... what do you mean that Jack won't let Oz die?"
Break nodded his approval to the revival of the question. "I'd like to know this myself."
Alice turned her head to look at them and sighed, raising her knees to her chest. "I don't really know myself, but..." She replied slowly, straining to remember. "Before that stupid girl Ego... Ecgo..?"
"It's Echo!" Gilbert corrected impatiently.
"Echo, then! Before she went down, I was only able to see some of what was going on, Oz and four-eyes fighting, and Oz stabbing him, and then... it was quiet for a while, but then I heard Oz's voice, crying out to me... like he was seeing something horrible. I felt that it was from Jack, so I tried to stop him. He started rambling on about some dumb chains he had to break or whatever and how Oz was only able to break them... I don't understand it all, but I guess he means he needs Oz, and he needs Oz's body..."
"To carry out the Tragedy once again," Break finished, speaking more to himself than either of them. "But why Oz-kun? Why does he need Oz..?"
Alice shook her head. "I don't know, but... ah!" The petite girl suddenly gasped and drew her hand back away from its position on her knees. At once, where there should have been a solid, bone and flesh hand was a suddenly see-through, nearly invisible limb.
"What?" Gilbert sputtered, eyes widened in shock. "Your hand... its transparent!"
Alice shuddered, letting out a relieved sigh as the limb turning back into solid. "Y-Yeah... this is the second time now..."
Break hummed, pressing a thoughtful hand underneath his chin. "Very interesting... and worrisome, indeed..."
Gilbert turned quickly to Break. "Break, what do you think it means?"
"I don't know," He admitted. "Surely, Oz-kun might perhaps know more about this – about everything – than any one of us, but I can't see this being good..." He stared into Alice's general direction. "Alice-kun, the only thing I can think of is that this has something to do with the connection between yourself, Jack, and Oz."
Alice's eyes widened, and she swallowed thickly. "Maybe that's what Jack meant. Earlier, he tried to kill me. He said he needed B-Rabbit's power, and that the one who should disappear was me. But the way he said it... he said B-Rabbit is his Chain... I'm B-Rabbit, so how is he using my power through Oz?"
"I wish I had answer for you," Break sighed. "Hopefully, if Oz-kun recovers well enough, we can get answers sooner rather than later."
Gil glanced at Oz's sleeping form and covered his face with his hands. "It's all my fault," He mumbled. "I shot Oz... I actually... hurt him... almost killed him. How can I even face him again?"
Alice glared. "Hey, Seaweed head," She hissed. "If you did it without meaning to, then you can't blame yourself, right? Oz knows that. He won't blame you. Jeez..."
Break nodded in agreement, reaching out and placing his hand on Gilbert's shoulder. "Exactly. Oz Vessalius is not the kind of person to hold grudges. You are too important to him, Raven. He will not blame you."
They pulled up in front of the house, and the carriage came to a complete stop.
"Let's get him inside," Break continued. "After he is taken care and conscious we can take care of everything else. Like where Leo and Vincent Nightray disappeared to, as well as the Baskervilles. And Rufus Barma... who I fear has even more information concerning Arthur Barma's notes. For the meanwhile, though, we need to tend to Oz, and then we'll decide what we do from here."
He didn't see the mutual nods that came from his two companions, but the group definitely felt the strength of their friendship, and the desire to set everything right again, and unravel the mysteries ahead for them all.