Leo, upon snooping around Elliot's room again, finds a number of interesting things, but nothing as interesting as a small, wooden box, carved out of cherry wood and tucked beneath his mattress.

Within it lies a good gross of papers – bits and pieces of parchment, torn from the corners or edging of undoubtedly important school papers or discarded music manuscripts, all with bits of senseless words, no, make that poetry, scrawled upon them.

The Lord and King of the Baskerville family sits on the middle of the floor in a puddle of his cloak and reads every single one of them.

He is sure Elliot is something of a sappy idiot when he gets through the first dozen or three. What is all of this rubbish, anyway? Random scribblings about flowers, about stones, and about lakes – it is all so ridiculous that Leo has to scoff, no matter how with every piece of paper he reads and places back into the box for safekeeping, he feels like he has both gained and lost another piece of Elliot himself.

By the time he reaches the last, crumpled bits of the mess he has strewn over the floor, Leo has fiddled with his newly pierced ears until they are burning and aching, until his eyes are sore from tears he hasn't allowed himself to shed. Still, he forces himself to finish, and the final bit of it is a long strip of paper, torn from the side of a schoolbook, or so it appears. Small wonder Elliot's grades were always less than stellar – the boy wasn't stupid, he was just always distracted. Apparently, most of his time was spent scribbling away in the corners of things, then stowing it all away underneath his bed.

This particular 'poem', however, isn't something that Leo feels he is so ignorant of. The twittering and plunking of familiar notes sound in his mind almost immediately as he reads each verse of it and he realizes, as his chest begins to tighten, to twist in sweet, fond agony, that this particular bit of nonsense that he has found was written for him. Statice, it's Statice.

A blue rose bloomed ` on the morning of our meeting It was then that I knew ` I was yours, love And though years have gone by Though the flowers have since faded In my memory ` that day will never die

The first time Elliot leans over him at that piano within the House of Fianna – Leo recalls it so clearly, the warmth of his form against his, the wash of his breath, so soft and clean against his neck. He plucks out the first notes of that song –Statice – and blushes the moment Leo teases him to absolve some of the tension so he can catch his own breath, because oh, naming songs after flowers is a girl's thing to do, isn't it?

My acacia ` you are my delphinium, In the language of flowers ` i can finally say That you are statice And you will always be You are forever beautiful ` to me

And oh, can Leo remember the day that Elliot pries him away from simplymurdering another person that dares to touch his hair, that dares to try and cut away his only shield from the world beyond. He is breathing so hard, and Elliot is talking to him like Leo has heard him talk to the stray cats around the orphanage, low and sweet and gentle, soothing away his desperate panting to something far more calm until Leo feels the urge to collapse back into the wall, whimpering, and wondering why Elliot is staring at him with such tender eyes.

Amaranth, my lilac, my arborvitae, Azalea, my lily, my celandine, Please do not forget me ` my precious statice You are forever beautiful to me

There are little notes, little scribbles of chords written above each of the song's verses, and Leo swallows hard, thinking back to when he and Elliot would sit at a piano for hours within the Nightray manor. The room is possibly the only well-lit one within the entire mansion, with the drapes pulled back to let light pour in during the day, to wash over the white ivory of the keys and bounce back, pure and brilliant. As much as Leo trains Elliot's ear, Elliot trains him in the classical sense, everything that he could have never learned within the confines of that orphanage and without such proper tutelage.

A blue rose bloomed ` on the morning of our meeting It was then that I knew ` I was yours, love And though years have gone by Though the flowers have since faded In my memory ` that day will never die

And one memory Leo almost wants to forget in order to make it easier, to make all of this go away is the way Elliot smells – like some fresh tea, just brewed, the powdery sweetness of soap from his own bath and linens all rolled into one. He wishes he could forget what Elliot smells like when the noble was wrapped around him, so warm and so strong against the relative frailty of his own frame. He wants to forget the strength of his hands, long-fingered and calloused from gripping the hilt of his sword, and he wants forget the softness of his lips, no matter how they are slightly chapped. Those lips still feel perfect against his neck, and Leo shudders at both the ghost of that sensation and the loss of it, forever and a day.

My acacia ` you are my delphinium, In the language of flowers ` i can finally say That you are statice And you will always be You are forever beautiful ` to me

You are forever beautiful To me

Is he still so beautiful, wrapped in velvet and crimson, with parts of his hair cut and snipped away forever? Is he still so lovely, with his ear lobes aching, bruised and infected by his own twisting and turning of metal buried there that wasn't his to begin with, and has now decided to act out against him as if it hates him, hates him for ever existing, hates him for taking something else of Elliot's other than his life even after the boy is dead, and oh, all of that is all his fault -

Leo is sure that he isn't so beautiful, so lovely, but as he tucks that little wooden box back underneath Elliot's mattress, still clinging to that single, long strip of ripped schoolbook, as he wishes Elliot were alive to sing its hidden words to him and folds it up until it's little more than a square and tucks it into his pocket, he still somehow feels better knowing that there were secrets – sweet, loving secrets – that Elliot kept from him, no matter that they are so inimical to the secrets that Leo likewise kept from him.