I do not own Pandora Hearts or any of the characters in this story. PH and all characters in it belong to Jun Mochizuki.
Ahhhh it's been so long since I've written fanfiction. This is for a Gilbert fanfiction contest hosted by PHUnbirthday on Tumblr, where the theme is family. It feels so weird and I think this is so corny, but at least I managed to finish before the deadline. :D
This supposedly takes place after the recent events in chapter 82, except Break and Sharon weren't captured, and there is no chaos currently going on. :'D It could be supposed that this takes place a little later than said events, when emotions have had a chance to calm down, if that makes it any more realistic.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this. I'm a bit rusty on my fanfiction writing for previously stated reasons, but luckily I'm obsessed with Pandora Hearts enough to have their personalities fresh in my mind. :P
It had bothered him all of his life. Where did he truly belong? Was there such a place for him to begin with?
Surely not. Someone like him didn't deserve such a thing.
"Haa…" Gilbert exhaled deeply. Now that he thought about it, there had never been a place where he felt he truly belonged. Even in the happiest memories of his time as Oswald's servant a century ago, he was sure there had been moments of uncertainty.
Wasn't there a name for that? The feeling of belonging somewhere, of belonging with the people in that place?
That's right. A place where you belong was known as 'home', and the people there were…
"Did you say something, Gil?"
The raven haired man started, having not noticed the presence of another in the room with him. He turned his head toward the door to meet the questioning emerald eyes of a blonde boy who appeared physically ten years younger than himself.
"O-Oz! I was just… ah.."
His flustered response made the blonde chuckle, and he entered the room from the doorway.
"I just came to check on you since no one has seen you this morning. We were worried you may have caught a cold and weren't feeling well."
Gilbert couldn't hide his shock. Oz had worried over his absence to the point of going out of his way to check on him?
"I'm sorry to have made you worry."
A bright smile instantly lit up Oz's features.
"It's fine! I'm glad to see that Gil is okay." He folded his hands behind his back as he looked down at the older male, green eyes gleaming brightly. "More importantly, what was that just now? It sounded like you said something about family…?"
"It's nothing… I was just talking to myself."
It was too late. Oz's interest had been drawn to the subject.
"Did you learn of some long lost family?" He plopped down on the foot of the bed beside Gilbert, his expression now one of pure curiosity.
"No… nothing like that…"
The silence that followed made the blonde boy frown after a few moments had passed. He looked at Gilbert with his serious "I'm your Master, and you have to do what I say" look, and spoke again.
"You know you're not allowed to keep things from me, Gilbert."
The raven haired man flinched at his master's tone, golden eyes timidly looking up to meet the now fierce - but somehow still obviously curious - emerald ones.
Finally, Gilbert heaved a sigh, and Oz grinned in triumph. However, he still hesitated. He wasn't sure whether or not he should mention the subject to Oz, considering the latest events - especially the most recent with Oscar. Family may not have been a thing that Oz could easily talk about, and the last thing Gilbert wanted to do was to upset him.
"What… do you… consider a family to be?" When the raven haired man finally spoke, he did so slowly, carefully choosing his words to start off the conversation.
Oz tilted his head, his grin fading away as a confused expression took over.
"Hm…" He furrowed his brow in thought, and Gilbert watched him tensely, trying to spot any signs that he may have triggered something unpleasant in the young master's memories. "Well… I've always thought that a family was like a home. A home is the place where you belong, that you can always come back to, right?"
"Then, likewise, a family would be the people in your life who you always feel at peace with. They're the people that make you feel as though you truly belong there with them." He gave Gilbert that smile whose knowledge seemed to stretch beyond his years. "Something like that."
Oz watched his servant for a few moments in the silence that followed, and seemed to pick up on what exactly was bothering him. With the smile back on his face, he continued.
Gilbert looked up at the sudden change of tone, having directed his gaze to the floor as his self-derisive thoughts began to take over his mind again. Oz's expression had become serious again, telling him that he expected him to listen to and seriously consider his next words.
"You, Ada, Uncle Oscar, and me." Oz's next words caught him off guard. The blonde boy didn't give him a chance to cut in - not that he could if he wanted to. "We've been together since we were young. We played together, talked together, shouldered each other's burdens. There wasn't a time in my life when I thought that I couldn't come to you or Uncle Oscar with any of my concerns. Both of you were always there for me."
He smiled at the still-shocked Gilbert, continuing with his speech.
"I know that I disappeared into the abyss for ten years, and you were left alone. No, you forced yourself to be alone, because you blamed yourself. That must have been a horrible time for you. But I came back, and after I found out who you really were, you renewed your pledge to me as my servant." His gaze focused on the loose sleeve of the older male's white dress shirt. "Even recently, you sacrificed your own arm in order to help me."
Gilbert averted his gaze to the ground once more, but Oz didn't appear ready to stop talking.
"Family doesn't have to be related by blood, like you're probably thinking. It-"
Just then, the door to the room was flung open rather violently, and both males turned their attention to the now open doorway, where a long haired brunette stood.
"What's taking so long, Oz?" She demanded, hands on her hips. "I'm hungry!"
"You can eat without all of us there, Alice." Oz responded to her with a smile.
"Sharon insisted that everyone be present for breakfast!" The girl replied, violet eyes then turning to Gilbert. "Which means you're the one holding us back, Seaweed Head! Stop moping in your room and come on so we can eat!"
"Who's moping?" Gilbert was suddenly alive again, springing up from his seat on the foot of his bed and glaring at the girl across the room. "If you're so hungry, then go eat you stupid rabbit! Since when do you listen to what Sharon says like an obedient child?"
Soft laughter made Alice's response catch in her throat, and she turned angry eyes to Oz.
"What's so funny?"
"It's nothing," Oz replied after he had stopped his chuckling, turning his gaze to the confused Gilbert and Alice. "It's just that, the second Alice came in, Gil seemed to cheer up."
"That's..!" Gilbert started to deny it, but Alice cut in, a smirk now on her face.
"Hoh. So the Seaweed Head needs my presence in order to stay healthy."
"A lack of you would be much better."
Oz watched the two argue heatedly with a smile on his face. Despite what they said about each other, anyone could tell from watching them that they were actually really close.
"My, my~ What is all of this noise so early in the morning?"
A new voice arose among the quarrel, and Oz looked again to the doorway to see a silver haired man standing there. The crimson eye that wasn't covered by his bangs fell on Gilbert and Alice, who were in quite an amusing position. Somehow, Gilbert had ended up on the floor, and Alice was standing over him, laughing maniacally with her foot resting on his back. It was certainly something to see first thing in the morning.
"Lady Sharon sent me up to see what was taking so long when Alice didn't return, but isn't this quite the scene~?"
"Good morning, Break." Oz spoke to the older man cheerfully, completely disregarding the scene on the floor in front of him. "We were just about to come down."
"Really?" Alice's character changed completely; she removed her foot from Gilbert's back and was suddenly right in front of Oz, violet eyes shining excitedly. "We can finally eat?!"
"If you want to eat, you shouldn't waste time fooling around!" The doll on Break's shoulder spoke, and Alice whirled around to look at the silver haired man.
"Can it, clown!"
"Now, now." Oz pacified the angry brunette, placing a hand on her head as he finally rose from his seat. "You two go on ahead. Gil and I will be right behind you."
"It's alright, I just want to say something and then we'll be right down."
"If it's so important, then I want to hear it, too." Alice's stubborn personality returned, and she folded her arms across her chest, staring intently at the emerald-eyed boy in front of her.
Gilbert, having risen from the floor, watched as the blonde haired boy attempted to convince the brunette to leave with a variety of reasons and excuses, all of which were easily countered or denied flatly. He thought back to Oz's comment from just a few moments ago.
"It's just that, the second Alice came in, Gil seemed to cheer up."
How had the young Vessalius even come to that conclusion? It should have been clear from their bickering that Gilbert and Alice had a very low tolerance for each other, but Oz had viewed this as a sign of closeness. How did he see that? If you are close to someone, wouldn't you normally show them love and kindness?
But now that he thought about it, compared to the time when they had first met, Gilbert couldn't imagine Alice not being in the group. She was bossy, arrogant, and got on his last nerve, but he couldn't imagine life without her. He didn't want to. Over the time that he had spent with her and Oz, despite the huge annoyance that she could be, he had to admit - although regretfully - that he had indeed grown somewhat attached.
It was the same with Break. He had known him for quite a long time, and even he sometimes annoyed him to no end, but there was no denying the value their friendship had when he really stopped to think about it.
After finally giving up on convincing Alice to leave, Oz gave a soft sigh, although a smile was on his face when he turned to face Gilbert. The expression softened with eye contact, emerald eyes glistening with the rays of light filtering in through the thin, ivory curtains hanging from a window across the room.
"It was completely unexpected, but Alice's interruption proved my point. Like I said, the second she arrived, you seemed to come back to life. You may not want to admit it - maybe you can't, even - but her presence does occasionally cheer you up."
"How can I be happy with the presence of someone so irritating?" Gilbert's response came out as a mutter, but Alice caught it and scowled.
"What was that?!"
"Calm down, Alice." Oz spoke to her softly, turning his attention back to Gilbert. "That's part of it. You see, in a family, there are people who will irritate you and get on your very last nerve. They'll make you feel like you hate them and you may even think that you don't want to be around them. But when you become separated from them, you begin to realize just how much they mean to you, and you miss their presence. It's the same with a friendship, right? If your friend goes away for a long time, eventually you start to miss them."
"I.. I guess that's true…"
"So the point I'm trying to make is that…" Oz closed the short distance between Gilbert and himself, hooking his own arm around Gilbert's right. "We're just like that. All of us. We may have broken families, or none at all, but regardless of that, we still have each other. No matter what happens, our little group is always together, and always there for each other. So there's no reason to be lonely." He looked up at the black haired man, face beaming with a bright smile. "Right?"
"Oz…" Gilbert couldn't hide his shock, and his face began to turn red as a teary expression began to appear.
"That's right!" Alice, who had been listening and observing quietly from beside where Oz had previously been, suddenly spoke up again. She stepped up to the two and mimicked Oz's actions toward Gilbert by taking the blonde's left arm in her own grasp. It almost seemed as though she was jealous of her manservant clinging to another person, and was going to mention that, but instead she said something different.
"I don't understand what all of this talk of 'family' is about. But I do know that we've had this talk of friends before." She started speaking in an important manner, eyes locked on Gilbert's face. "I told the clown before, and I'll tell you, too! We're 'friends'! It's no different than it was back then!"
"That's right." Oz spoke again with a chuckle as the girl continued to look up at the still shocked Gilbert obstinately. "We're a family of friends!"
"Ooh, I like the sound of that!" Oz's words made Alice excited, but Gilbert was frozen in surprise.
He had never even considered that; the fact that there could be such a thing as a family comprised of friendship. The idea, although foreign to him, left a warm feeling inside. Although it had not been what he had expected at all, those were the sort of words he had always wanted to hear.
He wanted to know that he had people who valued him. People who loved him. He wanted a 'family'. He had mistakenly thought that a family consisted of only those related by blood, such as Vincent and himself, but that had been wrong. A family wasn't people connected to you by blood. It was the people connected to you by strong, unbreakable bonds. He had so many of them right here in front of him, and yet he had never noticed. Even those who irritated him to no end had a valuable place in his heart, and thus, a strong bond.
"So there's no need for you to feel sad or lonely anymore, Gil." Oz turned from the conversation he had been having with Alice to look back at the raven haired man, snapping him out of his thoughts. "You have a family, in all of us. So cheer up!"
"I won't allow anyone in my family to be sad!" Alice seemed to be enjoying the new word, and glared up at Gilbert with her hands on her hips, having released Oz's arm during their conversation. Her frown became a grin, and she continued, "I'll bite your cheeks until it goes away!"
"No, stay away from me!" Gilbert freed his arm from Oz's loosened grasp to shield himself from the chomping Chain that leapt at him. The younger boy laughed brightly as he watched the scene before him, although his gaze shifted to the silver haired man still lingering in the doorway. He smiled when their eyes met, knowing that his words had reached the Mad Hatter as well. However, that smile soon became a mischievous grin as his attention reverted back to Gilbert and Alice.
"Okay~! Break has promised to give us extra sweets if we come down to breakfast!"
This immediately drew Alice's attention, and she was at Oz's side in an instant. Gilbert regained his composure as Oz bounced toward the doorway with the hungry brunette following right behind him.
"You'll keep that promise, right Break?" He smiled up at the crimson-eyed man sweetly, receiving a bitter smirk in response.
"You really are an uncute brat."
"Hehe~" Oz happily spun on his heel to look back at Gilbert as Alice dashed past him and out of the room, followed by a much calmer Break. "Come on, Gil! Your family is waiting for you."
Gilbert smiled, walking across the room to join the blonde as he left the room.
A family of friends, huh? He could get used to that.