Leo wonders, if he asks nicely enough, if Vincent will take him to Elliot's grave.
He knows, courtesy of Pandora keeping him in a cell for a week, that the funeral must have gone and passed. Still, seeing the Nightray crypt, with Elliot's name inscribed upon it – perhaps that will convince him, truly, that Elliot will not be showing up at his bedside in the middle of the night, pressing a faint kiss to his brow and soothing away occasional, nightly tears for no reason that he still has a teenager, no matter how much of a child it makes him feel like.
It is, perhaps, the only thing that reminds him he is still a child.
The estate Vincent drags him to – a summer home for the Nightray family – is cold and drafty in the chill of winter and Leo also knows, logically, that he should make use of the enormous bed in the master suite he was shown to. But not only has he never slept in a bed like that his entire life – even Elliot's wasn't like that – it reeks of roses. Antique, dusty roses, pressed between the sheets by servants in the months that the Nightray family was not occupying this home. He thinks that it is the kind of rose a ghost would smell of – fleeting and hazy and crumbling, speaking of love lost and sorrow and cold.
He doesn't need anything else to be cold.
Instead, Leo curls himself onto a chaise, a makeshift blanket fashioned from the heavy red cloak Vincent had so cheerfully offered him. It isn't warm enough, especially with a dimming, smoldering fire in the corner, and the chill of winter air on the back of his neck – something he hasn't felt since he was a toddler. He remembers that he regrets his request to have his hair cut the moment it was made, but it is done now and he has to live with it, no matter his inability to look in a mirror and no matter the disconcerting way that Vincent's eyes clung to his.
As much as he regrets it, as much as he cannot recognize himself in a mirror, Leo doesn't want to and knows, very well, that no one else will recognize him, either, and that is what he wants first and foremost. Not Oz, especially not Oz -
A bare hand brushes his cheek, and Leo can't even bring himself to start, so used to those errant touches he is by now. A thumb, brushing beneath one eye, wiping away tears – all too familiar, sickeningly familiar, especially when he looks up, tears clinging to lashes and threatening to turn to delicate frost in the chill of the room, to see none other than Vincent there, not smiling that insipid smile of his, but neutrally watching him. If one looked enough, it might have been concern.
Leo wishes it wasn't concern.
"You should be in bed, my lord. You'll catch cold like this."
The servant becoming the served. And by Vincent, of all people. Leo finds some sort of agonizing irony in all of this and wants to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, but it hurts too much to breathe, let alone laugh. He hears himself sniffle, pathetically, and turns his head away, wishing for the familiar fall of his bangs over his face, a shroud against the outside world.
"I don't like that bed."
Never mind asking why Vincent was in his room so late at night. The Baskervilles had a bond to their leader, didn't they? Vincent must know – perhaps Vincent, out of all of them, the most. It sickens Leo to think that he can so readily understand Vincent's request, to simply be wiped from existence, so that he is no longer a burden, a hurtful, worrisome sore of a burden to the one person that he cares about, the one person that has always cared for him.
He should have declined Elliot's offer. Should have, should have, should have. It makes him wish he did know how to turn back time, makes him want to listen to those voices in his head, especially the single, resounding one that tells him that hedoes know and he can fix this but not that, and not Elliot dying.
It isn't fair, any of it.
"No, it isn't."
Leo realizes he must have spoken aloud – realizes that more than he realizes the tears streaming down his face, wet trails over the pallor of his skin. And he realizes how close Vincent is now, but doesn't care – doesn't care about the sinfully hot tongue in the austerity of the room, dragging over his cheek, tasting salt and water and leaving him to sob on a hiccup of breath, to reach up and clutch his fingers into the silk of Vincent's nightclothes. It's sick how much he relishes this, to have his tears licked away as if he were an animal having a wound tended to by another, just as wounded. Sicker still is how he grasps, needy and desperate, for Vincent's hair when those lips are no longer against his cheek but upon his lips instead, prying them apart and tasting him rather than just the salty slickness of pathetic, pathetic tears.
If Leo is grateful for one thing in the mess of everything, it is the fact thatVincent doesn't smell of roses – he wouldn't, of course he wouldn't, and instead he smells like bergamot and tonka, like some sort of sweet, citrusy tea, fresh and light. Leo breathes in that scent, his face buried into his servant's neck, sucking in breaths only to lose them on sobs and falls limp, a doll in Vincent's hands, as he is simply scooped up and deposited onto that bed, arguments be damned.
He finds he doesn't care anymore, especially when his now bare back hits silk brocade and the scent of roses is gone, dusted away as an afterthought between skin, and skin that smells like tea and sugar and an underlying smoke of death – Demios, Leo realizes he can smell Demios, of all wretched things, and he briefly lets his head loll back, breath a cloud of heat as he draws it in, lets it out shakily.
Vincent's hands still and Leo shakes his head, wordless still. He tries not to think about how the last time he found himself on a bed even resembling this was underneath Vincent's brother – underneath Elliot, sword-calloused hands splayed over his flesh. Vincent's hands are nothing like Elliot's – soft and silken and too soft, because when has Vincent held anything but a gun and a chess piece in his hands? And tea and sugar and smoke and death smells nothing like Elliot, because Elliot never smelled like anything in particular, just clean and like Elliot. Certainly not death.
His vision blurs with tears again and while he can't see, he knows Vincent pauses again, unsure – even Vincent, unsure about him – watching him before he dares continue. Leo wonders, a dim thought as their bare flesh meets, if Vincent is doing this as a reflex or because he actually cares. Or, perhaps, a third option: because he has no one else, and neither does his master, and so shouldn't it make perfect sense? Shouldn't it make perfect sense for their limbs to wrap together, oil smeared between them, Leo gasping and arching both away and yes, yes, that, more, because Vincent is good at this, as one with beginnings as similar as his own should be? Scores of red lines blossom down Vincent's back and Leo just sobs – clings and sobs and knows very well as he wishes for someone who is dead and gone and never coming back, that Vincent is doing the very same, no matter if Gilbert is alive and well, merely out of his reach forever, and therefore as good as dead.
After, Leo feels a brush of lips to his brow, brushing aside bangs that no longer conceal, and he dissolves: wailing and sobbing and clawing his way into Vincent's chest as if somehow, bathing in that blood will be enough to make it stop hurting. He no longer cares if his bed smells of ghosts and dead things, no longer cares about seeing a tombstone, no longer cares and is exhausted by the time he stops crying, shaking uselessly as he clings to Vincent's bare shoulders, eyes red and water leaking from them even if he can no longer feel it.
"What if," he eventually asks, voice as watery as anything, "I asked you to kill me."
Vincent doesn't answer, and Leo knows why: because no matter what he himselfasks, it cannot be fulfilled. Better not to answer, and give a semblance of compliancy to one's lord.