A/N: Greetings, friends! Hitsugi reporting in! As you might have suspected, the start of the school year meant delayed updates galore! Right now I have a free week and winter vacation is upon me! Since I've been taking writing classes, I've been doing my best to start writing a lot again. So I hope this update is okay, it's a pretty exciting one! Also, if you want to listen to "Mermaids" by Xandria, that's one song I had on repeat as I wrote this chapter.

Please enjoy -bows-

VI: Child of the Blue

Gilbert had never been surrounded by so many people before in the night. He and Vinny would take shelter wherever they could. Most towns they passed had some sort of homeless population, but Vinny never trusted them. To be honest, Gilbert didn't see harm in all of them, but even the nicest person who offered to share their spare sheet would often give Vinny's eye a critical look.

"We're better off on our own," she would say simply, wrapping herself around one of his arms for warmth.

The Baskerville pirates slept close together in one cabin. Some, like a particularly large fellow named Doug, stayed awake late into the night. Others like Noise, Lily, and Charles made themselves comfortable and seemed to fall asleep instantly. Gilbert tried not to move too much in his own bed, which was right above where the silver-haired twins were snoozing. The bed had been Echo's, but she had politely given it away to him since there weren't any more beds. Noise accepted her under his blankets with much complaint.

As he expected, the ships swaying didn't help his restlessness. Now that he was still and the ship was mostly quiet, he felt every dip and tear Jabberwocky made through the water. Gilbert turned over on his stomach, willing himself to sleep and trying not to focus on the ship's slight rocking. He had no idea where they were going, but he just hoped land was within reach soon.

He must've fallen asleep at some point. When he opened his eyes again, his throat as a sleepy dryness to it and his back ached a bit, not accustomed to having a proper bed to sleep in. With the sea salt heavy in the air, it didn't take long for him to remember where he was. It was still mostly dark, and no one was stirring. One of the beds across from him was newly empty, and Doug was now in the room, huddled in a corner. With a hood drawn up, it was difficult to tell if he was sleeping or not. Gilbert adjusted his position and tried again to fade into sleep.

The ship wasn't moving. Gilbert opened his eyes to feel no movement. Everything was ghostly still, the ship's wood not even creaking. Still in a sleepy haze, his drooping eyes glanced over at a porthole on the other side of the cabin, where thin gray streams of pre-dawn light seeped into the ship. Gilbert's body shuddered as he stretched quietly, trying to get his blood flowing. Head feeling a bit numb and staring in a daze at nothing in particular, he reviewed the events of his dream.

Vinny, taken by shadows and shouting for Gilbert's name in a way he hadn't heard since they were defenseless children, and Gilbert, running after her, taking care to not even blink for fear of missing her for an instant. Ice-cold then numbed his legs, crawling up his thighs and torso. The shadows that took his sister had led him to the ocean, and the waves were crashing against him, pulling him under. Gilbert had struggled, not able to feel the bottom of the water anymore, gasping and gulping in the water.

"It's okay," a voice had said, muffled in his water-clogged ears. "It's okay. Relax. You have to relax. The water doesn't hurt. Trust me."

Then he had woken up. Gilbert sat up and ran a hand through his tangled black hair. He wished he had a cigarette. They were a luxury for him, and even more so because Vinny said she didn't want him to ruin his health. Still, whenever he felt as anxious as he did right then, the smoke that filled his body was good enough to push everything else out, exhaling it all to clear himself out. Depressingly cigarette-less though, he quietly shifted his legs off the bed, tall enough to slide down effortlessly. Below, Echo and Noise slept soundly, Noise curled in an irritated ball and Echo laying as straight as a board.

When he was sure no one else was awake, he silently pulled his coat and boots on, weaving through the bunks until he walked out of the cabin. It was misty out, as expected of the winter time. It was also cold. Gilbert shivered, pulling his coat tighter as he shuffled around on deck. It occurred to him maybe he wasn't allowed to be walking about on his own, but when he came to halt when seeing a small man with light-brown hair and a black streak in the middle sitting on the ledge on top of the cabin. He was looking out in the distance, hardly seeming to pay Gilbert any mind.

"Ah... Hello." Gilbert offered him a wave, letting him know he was here and not trying to be sneaky.

The man glanced down and nodded at Gilbert before looking back out at the still sea.

Gilbert took it as confirmation to continue on, considering he wasn't stopped or had a weapon pointed at him. He walked to the opposite side of the deck, leaning over the edge slightly. Even though the wind was definitely blowing, the sea wasn't making large enough waves to cause the ship to start rocking. If anything, beneath the rolling mist, it seemed very calm. Gilbert wondered how far from shore they were. How fast could a ship travel anyway?

He contemplated going back to the cabin (rocking or not, it made him queasy just looking down at the water) but his ears perked up at the sound of splashing. He blinked, looking below, but not a ripple seemed to have stirred from the water. Thinking he might just be hearing things, he sighed, just as soft laughter carried in the air, followed by voices. He couldn't hear what the conversation was, only that he was entirely certain he hadn't imagined that. Just as he was about to investigate, the door to Revis' quarters opened, and Leo slipped out, smiling until she saw Gilbert.

"Oh! You're up early," she said, grinning again.

"A-ah... Couldn't fall back asleep, and I'm used to getting up early, so..." Gilbert rubbed the back of his neck. "I heard some voices. Was that you?"

Leo approached him, leaning her elbows back on the smooth wood. "Yeah, I was talking to someone."

"Is Oz awake?" Gilbert asked before he could stop himself. To busy himself over how embarrassingly quick and hopeful he'd asked the question, he cleared his throat and rubbed over the ship's wood.

A sly smile played upon Leo's lips. "Hey, why is it you're so fixated on my sister? I mean, if you like her or something," Gilbert choked, but Leo went on, "I don't really care since you don't look shady. But how old are you, exactly?"

"I-it's not like that," Gilbert said, playing with the loops of his coat.

Leo hummed, apparently not wanting to let the issue drop. Gilbert was quickly regretting having said anything. "Did she do something to you? You seem like the kind of guy who wouldn't know what to do with himself if something was really nice to him." Narrowing her eyes, although not threateningly, she asked, "Is it because she was naked when you first saw her? Can you not stop thinking of certain things?" She was leaning in a bit, staring Gilbert down without mercy.

"I said it's not like that!" Gilbert ducked his head a bit, walking away from her. Leo didn't follow like he thought she would, but she did appear by his side a few seconds later when he settled on the other side of the ship.

"Alright, I was only teasing. Oz usually gets to do that to people, and I can see why. You're just an easy target." Leo laughed a bit, crossing her arms over the ledge. Gilbert could've just jumped off the ship there - it would have been the first time he'd been told something like that, and it was strongly possible it wouldn't be the last. "Actually," came Leo's voice again, "I think it might be good that you're out and about. It'll save time." Seeing Gilbert's confused expression, Leo asked, "Do you believe in fairytales per chance, Gilbert?"

"Eh?" What an odd question, so early in the morning too. She seemed utterly serious about it though, no longer smiling as her eyes gauged for any hint of a reaction. He gave her the courtesy of at least pretending to think about it. "Um, no, not really. That is, I'm not too familiar with them in the first place, but those sorts of things are supposed to made up, right?"

"That's right. But stories always have a bit of truth in them, even fairytales."

Frowning, he asked slowly, "Is it important that I know them or something?"

Leo shook her head, straightening up. "No, but I wanted your opinion on the matter. I wanted to see how maybe you'd handle the situation. Although to be honest," she laughed a bit, "I think you'll be shocked either way."

"Huh...?" This was too much roundabout nonsense for Gilbert at the moment. He wished Leo would just be straightforward with him about whatever it was she was talking about. Vinny was the same way though, choosing to be playfully cryptic with him at the worst of times. It didn't mean it was something he wanted to be used to though. "Are you going to show me something strange?"

"Something a bit different, yes." Leo beckoned him back over to the other side of the deck. "I've taken long enough as it is. She's probably getting impatient." One of the longboats hovered a few feet away from the ledge, held up by bristled ropes. Without effort, Leo climbed onto the ledge and jumped into the boat, making it rock. She grabbed hold of one of the ropes, and with small grunts, she tugged, and with a jerk, the boat lowered. Gilbert watched as Leo sank lower until her head disappeared. The ropes groaned when the descent stopped, and Leo stood up, looking at Gilbert expectantly. "Well? Are you getting in?"

"Do what?"

Leo waved her hand down. "Come on. Get in."

"I don't think, um..." Gilbert leaned over the ledge. It didn't look that far, but there was also a gap over two feet that he could slip through and fall into the cold water. He sat up, and Leo continued to call out to him. Hoping that whatever Leo was going to show him was worth it, the raven-haired man groaned in resignation, getting up on the ledge himself. He looked doubtfully at the ropes, then up at where the small man still sat, almost seeming to give Gilbert an expectant look too.

A deep breath and quick prayer to no god in particular, Gilbert thudded ungracefully into the longboat, making it sink another few inches from the impact. Leo wobbled a bit, but kept a firm grip on the rope. "Good," she said approvingly, then continued lowering them.

The water's surface rippled as the boat nestled into it comfortably. If the ship had brought him seasickness, Gilbert was going through worse in the longboat. All he could think about was how small and insignificant it was in the mass of endless water that could engulf them at any moment. With similar horror, his bad dream came back. He shifted more to the center, keeping close to himself.

"So what now? You mentioned someone before, but..." He looked around. "I don't think anyone can meet us down here."

"All good things to those who wait," Leo said simply. Unlike Gilbert, she was sweeping her eyes over the sides, seeming very interested in the water.
He was forgotten as Leo hummed thoughtfully to herself.

Gilbert stayed quiet, glancing around, but seeing nothing. He sure hoped this would be over with soon; he wanted to get back on the ship...

The boat was nudged from below, catching Gilbert off-balance. "What was that?" he asked in a panic.

Leo was smiling. Of course she was. Did nothing freak her out? Gilbert did his best to collect himself, but all he could think about was what a poor swimmer he was and... "Again!?" Gilbert looked to the water, just managing to catch the glimmering tail of some large fish. "What's that?"

"Finally," breathed Leo, shaking her head and ignoring Gilbert. "Okay, stop playing now, you're scaring our guest. Think you can manage to be a good girl for a few minutes?"

She was talking to the fish? She was talking to the fish. Okay. Was that normal? Was that a pirate thing or something? I swear if I was dragged on this damn boat to see a stupid fish... Gilbert's breath caught in his throat as their tiny vessel rocked again and leaned slightly to one side. A girl had her arms crossed over the edge, grinning widely.

"Oh! Mister Seaweed Head!" Oz exclaimed, blinking in surprise. She seemed just as shocked as Gilbert was.

"Oz." The breath Gilbert had been holding slowly left him, drinking in Oz's image. It felt like the grey of the early morning had given way to a beautiful day. Then Gilbert realized how weird that thought was and shook his head. "Oz-"

The raven-haired man seemed to have been forgotten again though as Oz turned her attention to Leo. "Hey, did you kidnap him? What's going on here?" Oz was grinning, like this was a delightful surprise.

Leo laughed a bit. "Yeah, I guess you could say that. I did say someone was here who wanted to see you."

Gilbert realized the two of them were giving him coy looks, and he flushed at the sudden attention. "O-Oz, what are you doing in the water? You should get out of there right now!" He gasped, remembering the large fish from before. Like hell if he knew if it was harmless or not but he wasn't planning on finding that out the hard way. He took one of Oz's arms, but frowned when her arm didn't feel as...fleshy as before. It felt cool and a bit...rough.

"You really like rescuing me from the water, don't you?" laughed Oz. She didn't fight Gilbert's hold, but nodded behind her. "I don't need to be saved anymore though. The water isn't dangerous to me anymore."

The ocean's surface rippled, and Gilbert yanked Oz onto the boat without a second's delay. She fell into his arms, feeling heavier than before somehow. She was dripping, covered in salt and small glimmering pieces that looked like scales. Fish scales. When Gilbert looked down to make sure she was fully inside, there was her naked torso and...

It wasn't a stupid fish. It was Oz.


Oz smiled, the end of an emerald-green tail waving at him, missing Leo's head by inches. "New, isn't it?"

Gilbert stared at it, trying to process it. There was no doubt it was there, no doubt from every flex that it was real. Hadn't she had legs before? Was this all the pretense Leo made before - was it for this? Oz not being on the ship and never seeing her - it was because she hadn't been with them.

"My eyes are up here," murmured Oz. When Gilbert snapped his eyes up, face red, Oz laughed. "Can you put me back in the water? My scales are going to dry out."

"Wh-what, I... Oh. Oh, sorry!" Gilbert tucked his arms around Oz's shoulders, cautiously venturing his other hand down her body to hook beneath the sleek tail. After easing her up, Gilbert dipped her back into the water, careful not to drop Oz completely.

Her arms slid away from around his neck, and she smiled. "Thanks." She tail lifted under the water again, splashing happily. After glancing once between Leo and Gilbert, she backflipped into the water messily.

Leo chuckled. "She still has a lot to learn before she can be as graceful as Lacie."

Gilbert stared after Oz, the last traces of Oz's ripples smoothing down. He just managed to catch her swimming beneath the boat before disappearing on the other side. Down on his arm, bits of sand and tiny emeralds of scales glittered on the dark cloth of his sleeve. "How, uh..." Gilbert struggled for words, looking wide-eyed at Leo. "How long has she been able to do that?"

"Only recently," said Leo as Oz breached up from the water then down again. "It happens when she turns fifteen, which was the day you two met, incidentally."

"Is she the only one?" Gilbert asked in wonder.

Leo shook her head. "The Baskervilles have a long history with mermaids."

"Mermaids," he repeated. They were real. Granted, he didn't know much about about them. He knew they were thought to be fairytales. He knew about the tails. But that was the extent of his expertise on the matter. And they were real. And Oz was one.

"Revis' wife is one of them. She was the one who found Oz when she was a baby," continued Leo.

Gilbert couldn't help but frown at that. "That man has a wife?"

Leo nodded like she understood Gilbert's confusion. "It's the best word I could think of. Mermaids don't really have marriage. Neither do pirates, come to think of it. Maybe mates? Who knows." Leo beckoned at Oz's watery shape swimming under the surface. "Oz, Gilbert's going to be staying with us. His sister was kidnapped, and she had the red eye."

Apparently even beneath the water, Oz was able to hear Leo. Her head popped up from the depths and she gave Gilbert an inquisitive look. "Your sister?" She looked genuinely concerned, turning to Leo. "A red eye? My money is on the Nightrays."

"That's what I said," Leo said, taking on a more serious tone. "We need to get her back. We may need you and the twins to help us later with scouting them out. If that happens, you have to be very careful."

Oz arched her brows, as if offended Leo would think she would be anything less than careful. "Do you know where they are?"

"Right now, we've got an idea. They were in Sablier too, but they departed before we did." Leo hummed thoughtfully. "After obtaining someone with a red eye though, I would assume they're going back to Reveille. After all, she's the ace up the Nightrays' sleeve on the other dukedoms."

Oz nodded, understanding Leo's words far quicker than Gilbert could. Not wanting that same feeling of ignorance to grip his chest again, he asked, "Why do you keep mentioning Vinny's red eye, like it's important or something?" When both girls gave him their attention, he explained, "She was just born that way. There's nothing special about it. Nothing horrible either." He thought of the "child of misfortune" comments, grimacing. Vinny was his sister, without which he was alone with no purpose in the world. She needed him.

Oz gave Leo a look. "You haven't told him what that means yet?"

"He never asked." Leo sighed, running a hand through her hair. Her dark eyes met Gilbert's golden ones, looking like she was preparing to tell him bad news. "It means she's probably the most important kind of person to the four dukedoms and the Baskervilles. Having a Child of Misfortune is one of the most valuable assets for us to have. Those with red eyes are the key to helping us obtain what we want."

Steadily, Gilbert held her gaze. "What do you want?"

Leo glanced over at Oz. "For us? We want her. Her kind. The Baskervilles want to help them. Meanwhile, those dukedoms want to destroy them."

"What?" Gilbert breathed it out more than spoke it. He looked at Oz too, a mythical girl so young, innocent, and beautiful. Why would anyone want to harm her, or the others like her? In the short minutes he had become acquainted with mermaids, he knew he cared enough about Oz to give a damn about what Leo told him. "Why?" He searched the ethereal green depths of Oz's eyes.

She widened them before looking away. She made a fuss, arms flailing and tail thrashing in the water. "Aah, goodness, I've been up here too long. My gills are starting to feel dry. Hey Leo, I'm going to go on ahead and look for Alyss and Alice. I'll tell them about the Nightrays and we'll see to meet you in Reveille, okay?" With only a small nod from Leo, Oz turned to flash a grin at Gilbert, who was busy just realizing the gills Oz did indeed have at the side of her neck. "Hey, Mister Seaweed Head, I'll see you around, okay? Don't worry, we'll get your sister back no problem!" With a wink, she flipped into the water and disappeared.

For a few seconds longer than necessary, he stared after her until he was only staring at water. Leo allowed him to do so, remaining silent. It took Gilbert a while before he realized that Leo's silence was a pensive one.

Now there were a lot of things Gilbert was slow about. But he was a natural worrier, and he became quite aware that he was worried about Oz. And not just because she and others like her were being threatened for destruction.

But also because he couldn't shake the feeling that Oz had avoided his question.

A weight, heavy and painful, made her think her bones could no longer support her muscles. It took a lot of willpower to keep her eyes open long enough to take anything in. Something hard was right near her head, and with sluggish crawling, she drew closer to it. With a decisive thought in the middle of her drunken haze, she banged her head on the hard surface.

With a yelp of pain, Vinny finally felt awake. The hard surface was a wall, wooden and polished. She looked around, feeling dirty like she hadn't bathed in days. Her mouth tasted disgusting and now there was a pounding in her head to match the pain all over her tired body.

Her first thought was, Where am I? It was very quickly followed by the panicked thought of, How far away am I from Gil? Vinny curled her legs to her chest before pressing up from the bed she was laying on. Whatever room she was in, no one else was in there with her.

What happened? Where's that man from before? Vinny remembered it, walking to the pawn shop. No one else had been there except for the owner and one other man she hadn't paid any mind. The owner had tried to undervalue Vinny's possessions, but she had more experience than the average seller and managed to get quite a few silver pieces worth. She'd been happy as she pocketed the money, thinking maybe she could suggest to Gilbert they actually sleep in a room that night...

"Oh my, quite the eyes you have."

Again with her eyes. But Vinny had ignored the man, tried not to notice how he followed her out the shop, running when she started moving faster. Thinking to scream but knowing no one would help a girl with a red eye...

After a few short breaths wondering what to do, Vinny finally decided better to explore than wait here. Her mind raced with the possibilities. Her captor, right before cornering her at the docks, had shown such interest in her eye. She had heard rumors before, of the sick sorts of people who collected anomalies like her. If she was alive right now after that comment, that chase... There had to be a reason behind it, and Vinny wasn't going to be separated from Gilbert any longer to find out.

Happy to find her clothing and shoes intact, and her bag right beside her, Vinny got up from the bed on wobbly legs, vertigo swirling her vision. She stumbled to the only door in the room, nearly tripping on the thick rug beneath. After trying the knob, she found it was locked. Her heart thudded, but her countenance remained calm, eyes searching around the room for another exit. No other doors, no other windows... Vinny frowned. If there was no other way out, she could very well make one... She blinked, feeling for a pin in her hair. Grinning, she turned back to the knob and set to work picking the lock.

When the lock made a satisfying click, Vinny eased the door open, listening out for footsteps. Outside the door was a hallway. Everything was wood, and shadows of grey winter light fell onto the hall from the crosshatched openings above. Vinny could see the sky beyond it, along with what looked like...a mast? The setting and scent of salt suddenly made sense.

Closing the door, Vinny decided on one end of the narrow hallway and took care to stay in the shadows. The wood was well kept, polished and smooth, and dark too. Obviously whoever owned the ship had quite the heavy coin purse. Any other time, Vinny would've been more than happy to go out and start pilfering, but getting back to Gil was top priority.

She finally hit a set of stairs leading to the open air. Carefully she moved, staying vigilant for any sign of people. So far so good. She could hear voices above, but they didn't seem to be getting closer. Vinny peeked over the edge, seeing two figures, a man and a woman, standing about twenty feet from her. Their backs were to her, though, and Vinny scanned the area for where the plank could be. She didn't get far when a door down the hall opened and closed. Vinny pressed herself into the wood, legs prepared to just make a run for it...

"Who are you?"

Vinny gasped. A girl younger than her stood at the base of the stairs, looking genuinely confused. She didn't seem to be here against her will like Vinny, if the expensive clothes and black sword tied to her hip said anything. Which meant she was a part of this ship. Which meant she was an enemy. Vinny charged her quickly, pinning her to the wall and covering her mouth.

The girl's protest was automatic. She twisted in Vinny's grip, shoving her away. Vinny had a split second to start running up the stairs before the girl grabbed her with rough hands. Rough and strong hands. No matter how much Vinny struggled, she couldn't break free. Making noise would be pointless in the ship, so she cursed violently, rocking her body against the other girl's, kicking her legs and knocking her head back.

"Let go of me right now!" she said through gritted teeth.

"Stop it, will you?" The girl tsked, shoving them both into a room, but not the same one Vinny had been in. This one was bigger, and more furnished and lived in. A combination of some perfume and cleaning solution filled Vinny's nose as she was thrown onto a bed far softer than her own. She glared venomously at her new captor. The other girl held up her hands for peace. "I apologize for roughhousing you, but you gave me no choice."

Breathing heavily, Vinny demanded, "Get. Me. Out." She flipped her bangs back, huffing.

The other girl's eyes, a clear blue, widened. "Your red eye. One of my brothers brought you here..." Her expression softened. Something like shame traced over her sharp features, and she heaved a sigh. "Who are you? What's your name?" She went over to a desk, sitting down on the smooth surface with crossed thighs. Seeing Vinny's gaze flicker towards the door, the girl said, "Don't even think about it. Even if you got past me, there's nowhere to go."

"I should be asking you then," Vinny sat up, "who are you?"

"My name is Ellis Nightray. I'm the youngest of the Nightray family."

"Never heard of you," Vinny said, if anything to antagonize the girl since she seemed proud of whatever title she was holding. Before Ellis could get a word in, Vinny interrupted. "Rich family then, huh? Nobles or something? It would certainly explain the clothes and this place." After a moment's thought, she added, "I'm Vinny."

"That's it?" Ellis frowned.

Vinny smiled, easing into her usual complacent persona that she donned around such annoying people. "Not everyone of us can come from such well-established roots, Miss Nightray. Yes, that's it. Now, if you would be as so kind as to let me off this ship..."

"I can't do that." Ellis looked away as she said it. "My brother brought you here for your red eye. You're important to us."

A bubble of anger surged up Vinny's chest. "I have a brother too. He's the most important person in the world to me and you've taken me from him. I have to get back."

Ellis looked back at Vinny, surprised but also seeming pained at what Vinny just said. "I'm sorry... I had no idea. Look, it'll only be for a short while. And we won't hurt you."

Vinny's eyes narrowed. What the hell was a girl like Ellis doing here? She didn't seem the type to go off and do what her brother did. She hadn't even known Vinny was there. Because of that though, Vinny was fairly certain she could persuade Ellis to let her go. "I don't know what you're expecting me to do for you," she said with raised brows, "but I'm just a streetrat. The only thing I know how to do is pickpocket. And I have to say, keeping me in a loaded place like this probably isn't in your best interest." She gave a pointed look around the well-furnished room.

"To be honest," Ellis said firmly, trying to grab Vinny's attention, "I'm not entirely sure why you're here either. But it's an order my father gave long ago, to look out for people like you, people with red eyes. You only have one, but..."

Vinny sighed in exasperation. "Maybe we should have a race to see which will happen first - me escaping or you catching me. It's probably fair to warn you I've spent my entire life running, so good luck." She smirked at that.

"You don't realize it yet, do you?" Ellis gave Vinny a sympathetic look. "We're not near land. We haven't been for about half a day now. This ship, Raven, is in the middle of the sea, heading out to a place called Reveille. If you tried to escape now, you'd need to be a pretty amazing swimmer, and be able navigate with no landmarks."

That gave her purchase to pause. The smirk died from Vinny's lips, her insides tensing as if in attempt to keep herself together from the uttering of those terrible words. "That's not true," she said, smiling again. When Ellis looked pointedly at the window covered with heavy dark-red curtains, Vinny got up. Drawing aside the curtains, her view opened up to the grey beyond, a mixture of mist and gentle waters. Her heart stopped. Half a day. Half a day's length away from her precious brother. Half a day of missing. Half a day of being without him.

Vinny had never felt hopeless before. She was the younger sibling, yet she was the one to try to give the most smiles, to always tell Gilbert he was such a serious worrywart. She could make light of most situations just with one of her smiles, even when she was seeping malice from her core. It had been years, years since she felt like the tiny candle of her life could be blown out.

And now, surrounded by cold and water and away from the warmth of Gil's presence, Vinny could feel her throat close around the curling smoke of a gone-out candle.

Ending A/N: -tries to push the plot along faster- I've been waiting to write about Vinny again foreverrrrr. I'm thinking of drawing all the genderbends I'm doing just for the hell of it (and I just really like drawing girls). I dunno, I might do it. If I do, I'll post them on my tumblr. At first I planned on keeping Elliot's name the same, but then I realized I just kept thinking of her as a boy that way. Thus, Ellis. (Boy or girl, Elliot just has a masculine aura so it might not work, pfffff -shot-)

What oh what could Oz be hiding? Also, I'll address why Lacie and Break (because he'll eventually make an appearance~) aren't being mentioned in this Child of Misfortune umbrella yet in a few chapters. Please stick by for that!

Also, shameless advertising time! Me and my friend Geta are collaborating on an Elliot/Leo fic called Cadenza Triste. If you're into the pairing, please give it a look, we're already two chapters in~ It's posted here on my account, so please give support if you can! -bows-

I know it's been a long while, but review if this made you happy (which will in turn make me happy SO LET'S MAKE A CIRCLE OF HAPPINESS).