Title: Last Words
Fandom: Pandora Hearts
Rating and Warnings: PG13/teen. Deathfic. Major angst. Implied m/m sex.
Word count: around 1300.
Summary: Their last night together is not the end of their story.
Important Note: This is a PH kink meme fill, partially subverted. I generally do not do major-character-death fics, but this is one of those stories that came into my head like it was already written and I had no choice but to type it up. I didn't want to. This is also the first time I've ever cried while writing a story.
Thanks to Rosethorne for beta. Crossposted at my LJ and AO3.
Liam has been in Break's room the entire afternoon. He came in around noon with lunch for both of them, but he's really there to escape the endless speculations that pervade Pandora's halls and meeting rooms these days. Break let him rant and rail about all of it, only making the occasional comment to add fuel to the fire just when Liam thought he'd said all he had to say about every last member of Pandora and the entire aristocracy. Now Liam has finally run out of words and run out of breath to say them.
They sit in silence for a while. Break sits cross-legged on his bed as he has been all along, and Liam slumps with one arm draped over the back of the chair in front of Break's writing desk, moodily munching his way through half of the lunch from the tray at the foot of the bed.
"It doesn't matter now anyway." Break says, suddenly breaking the silence.
Liam cocks his head, scowling, and Break goes on.
"What the Will of the Abyss wants. It doesn't matter now."
Liam opens his mouth to counter that, then realizes what Break means. He tries to be irritated, but he finds he can't argue with the reason behind this since Break didn't actually say it. And he knows this is why Break didn't say it, so that he can't be argued with, because this time it's really true.
Break's half of the lunch tray has gone untouched. Liam knows he's been eating very little lately, not even sweets sometimes, though he still makes it look like he does. Today he really has not touched anything. He's not even pretending anymore.
Liam sighs, irritable because he's scared, but if Break won't say it, he won't either. He does still argue the point about Break's quest not mattering.
"It matters to the Baskervilles, apparently," he says, scowling. "We can't ignore that!"
"Ah yes, but their way of going about it is the worrisome thing, isn't it? We certainly don't want to let them do whatever they want."
"That's exactly the point we've all been discussing." Liam flaps his hands in the air. "We've been talking circles around this at Pandora meetings every day for a week now and getting nowhere."
"Well, you know, it's always a matter of asking the right question," Break says, with a crooked grin and a sly look in his eye.
Liam takes a moment to respond, distracted by a sudden thought: "This is where he should be pulling candy from his sleeve and popping it into his mouth rudely while he waits for the rest of us to catch up to his thinking." No candy appears. Break's smile is strangely grim, even for him.
"Well, what do you think is the question, then?" Liam asks, scowling again impatiently.
That impatience is as false as Break's brittle smile. He doesn't want to hear this, doesn't want to know all that Break knows that he's never told anyone before. No matter what Pandora or the Duke Houses or the Baskervilles want, Liam would prefer to put off this conversation forever.
He listens while Break starts explaining his ideas, his plans, all he's seen and done for the past ten years and more. He has trouble following Break's tangled thoughts as usual, until he suddenly catches a glimpse of where this is going - and where it came from, all along. He starts taking notes.
Hours later, Break has talked himself out, and Liam is lost again; the ideas Break has presented are a whirling chaos in his head. It's early evening and getting dark. He gets up to light the lamp, takes off his glasses and rubs his eyes.
"Tired?" Break says. He's stretched out on his bed now, leaning back against a stack of pillows. A plate of cookies on the bedside table remains untouched. Suddenly Liam's throat hurts. It seems like they talked about everything over the last few hours, mentioned everyone and everything they both know, except for this one subject.
He looks away from the damning evidence and accidentally glances at Break. He's sitting there with his head tipped to the side, an odd little smile on his face that stretches a little wider as Liam watches. Even without much sight at all now, he must know what Liam has just seen.
Again Liam opens his mouth to speak of it, but Break speaks first.
"You know, if you're tired, you should go to bed. You can even sleep here if you want, I won't mind."
He says it so lightly that Liam wants to scream at him. His fists clench, and he stares at Break wordlessly for a moment.
Then he nods. He sets his glasses on Break's desk, and undresses and helps Break undress, and then slips into bed beside him.
Liam tries to be gentle, but Break doesn't allow it any more than he will allow Liam to speak of what they both know. They don't talk again for a long while, though they make other sounds that are far more eloquent. They only pause twice so Liam can hold Break and rub his back while Break coughs and coughs. He stifles the harsh sound with a handkerchief from the stack on the bedside table, but there is very little blood. Liam still kisses him afterward.
When they're both worn out, lying draped across and around each other, with Break's face pressed against Liam's scarred shoulder, Liam feels words well up in his throat again. Simpler words, this time. He turns his head toward Break.
Break places his fingers on Liam's lips.
"Yes," he says gently. "I know. So do I."
Liam lies awake after Break drifts off to sleep, holds him and listens to him breathe. In the dark, he mouths the words he never had to say against Break's skin.
He is already crying when he wakes, the pillow beneath his cheek soaked from it, even before he places his palm over Break's chest and feels the stillness.
A long time later, it seems to him, he has cried himself dry, at least for now. Most of it was in silence. He knows there will be tears again when he finds Miss Sharon, and when he speaks to Lady Shelly, and probably later on again with Oscar and a few bottles of wine. He has none left now, though, so he gets out of bed and gets dressed, and thinks of who he'll need to speak to first. No one will question why Liam is the first to know that Xerxes Break is gone.
It's barely dawn. Before he leaves the room for the last time, he picks up the notebook he'd left on the dresser. He doesn't look at the scribbled writings in it just now; he will make sense of them later, somehow. He stares down at it with a sad smile.
"I don't owe you anything," he says, speaking to the pitiful, terrifying girl who is mentioned often in the notes he took yesterday. He would not ask the Will of the Abyss for one more minute, knowing he could end up with even less time instead.
He turns toward the bed. Break's face is utterly peaceful.
"But I'll do what you asked, for him."
Liam tucks the notebook inside his breast pocket, opens the door, takes a shaky breath, and leaves the room.
~~~ end ~~~