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Fanfic / Beyond The Winding Road

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Beyond the Winding Road is a post-series Pandora Hearts fanfic written by Emori Loul. It follows the daily lives of Lewis Tale and Edith Lyman, the reincarnations of Oz Vessalius and Alice Baskerville, along with a 100-years-older Gilbert, as they explore with their confusing relationship with past and present and the different ways of moving on.

It appears to be on hiatus for now, though when asked the author seems keen to get back to work.


Tropes Appearing in Beyond the Winding Road:

  • Addled Addict: Implied. Beatrix makes ambiguous comments about not knowing exactly what Elaine was on during her more violent withdraw symptoms. Played with, as while Elaine is really screwed up, it's likely due to a combination of this and psychological and environmental factors, rather than just the drugs.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Elaine is this to Edith, though it's implied to be a lot more than alcohol.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Edith is ostracized in her hometown of Dyne due to being the daughter of a woman who is implied to have been town-famous for her wild immoral acts and scandals. Because of this, adults were predisposed to find fault in her and children learned that she was to be treated with disrespect, leading to an extremely bad school and home environment.
    • Oz is subtly hinted to have been this due to his personality disorder, though his interactions with anyone besides close friends and family hasn't yet been shown.
  • Alternative Calendar: Word of God claims that though March is a month in this world, it doesn’t match up with our March, because months are different lengths. When questioned, Loul put it, “The word 'March' was used instead of utilizing an all-new name for a month because March still carries an immediate association with a period of time... a new month name would have needed clarification, but time is so basic I felt it would break the flow of the story for readers to have to duck into the author’s notes to figure out what the heck I was talking about every time I mentioned a month, day, or week.” According to Loul, this is also why March “seems to last forever” (it was March when the group went to the beach in Advance 15 and is still March several weeks later when Oz takes Hedia to work with him at the Lamontre)—because their March is a far longer period of time than ours. Word of God explains this time difference was done because Pandora Hearts’ author, Mochizuki Jun, released the casts’ birthdays but made a note that they were pretty much untranslatable to our calendar as their world works on a different time scale.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In-universe example. In the series, the thing most mentioned about Jack is that he’s the “Hero of Sablier,” and even when this is proven false, most characters’ impressions still revolve around this label or the falsity of it. Here, one hundred years later, Jack’s still known by that moniker, but the historians and general populace consider him more important and heroic for what he did after the Tragedy: forming the Great Dukedoms, which helped restabilize the government and kept the country from plunging into anarchy. In the series, Jack’s role in the formation of the Dukedoms was justifiably kind of a post-it note next to his actions during the Tragedy, largely because the entire plot revolved around them. Here, it’s his actions during the tragedy that are the post-it note.
    • The History Podcast also discusses this in terms of Glen Oswald, as there is little left to describe his personality and nothing to communicate his motivations. There's apparently a famous tragicomedy about him in which he struggled with his position as the leader of a family that murders the innocent Children of Misfortune, and the Tragedy of Sablier was his Despair Event Horizon and the result of him finally deciding that all life is a curse of misfortune.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Played with, in-universe. Lewis' parents took him to many psychologists and psychiatrists as a child, trying to figure out exactly what was going on with him. Word of God says they concluded he had Dissociative Identity Disorder, but his mother Beatrix eventually realized that there was more to it. His 'episodes' (lapses in identity) turn out to be a symptom of his reemerging past memories.
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  • Ambiguously Bi: True to the manga, Oz has Ship Tease plenty of people, and it goes even further here, with him not at all bothered by the idea of having a boyfriend. In Advance II, Oz is offended not because his mother mistook him for dating a guy, but because he believes that if he did get a boyfriend, he'd do way better than Vincent.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Gilbert, just as in the manga, seems to still be just as touchy-feely with Oz as he ever was, though it's debatably Squicky now due to the century between them, and he seems to have stopped for the most part after his confrontation with Anderson.
    • In Advance XI: Cantastorî, Anderson finds Gil hiding in Oz Vessalius' old bedroom reflecting on the disappointment he put himself through by not fully expecting Oz and Alice to have changed since he last saw them, and how they'd become his beacon of hope to get through the 100 years after everyone else he'd known had died. The mournful phrasing of the text implies that Oz Vessalius was Gilbert's "most precious everything."
      Time washed away the decades, reducing what had been flesh and blood people into mere ink droplets on his pen, until all that was left was the grand ruins and shells of what had been their lives and their stories. Until his most precious… everything was, too, just another story. The remnants of which were all around him.
    • Almost immediately after, Gil tells Anderson that it's been "a hundred years, and I still haven't gotten over him." While Gil's feelings are never explicitly stated as romantic, the persistent use of romance-coded language makes the implication rather unavoidable.
  • Antimagical Faction: The “Mismages” mentioned in the second podcast possibly could have been one—either that, or “mismage” is just a descriptive word for someone who simply hates magic, not a unified faction of them. Regardless, according to the second podcast transcript, they opposed the use of magic and apparently became very vocal after the Tragedy of Sablier and the reveal of a likely connection between the Baskervilles and what evidence suggests was a very evil type of magic. They were opposed by Magiphiles, who believed the Mismages had set up false evidence to link magic with the famous murderers and defame magic practitioners by association.
  • Beach Episode: Advance XV: Arcadia.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Much of the seemingly pointless background worldbuilding is far more intimately connected to the cast than it first seems. The three major wars we currently know about in Sable’s history over the past 100 years (the Revolution, Great Tousterre, and Idvitzen Invasion) all basically dominoed from the actions taken by the characters in Pandora Hearts. The “Tragedy of Reveille” (the destructive climax of Pandora Hearts, which wrecked the country in a way very similar to the Tragedy of Sablier) became the flashpoint of a building anti-Dukian movement which led to the Revolution and divesting of the nobility; the Revolution’s political instability opened up an opportunity for the Empire of Lucya (the country Isla Yura hails from, that was so interested in the first Tragedy) to make a power grab that caused the Great Tousterre War; and the tensions left between Sable and its enemies in that war led to the Idvitzen invasion three decades later.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: In-universe example, naturally evolving out of the cast’s Famed In-Story Shrouded in Myth Conspiracy Theory-attracting nature. So far, there’s Ghost Wizards, about the Tragedy of Reveille really having been a Zombie Apocalypse (maybe?) and The Nightingale’s Lover, which apparently runs with the idea that all of the PH cast were secretly vampires (among other, funnier things). A not-yet-canon example is the animated Disney-esque film about Oz Vessalius that’s kind of a parody of Anastasia, though that so far only exists as a running joke.
  • Berserk Button: Played for drama. Beatrix is furious with Mr. and Mrs. Lyman's treatment of their daughter and granddaughter, switching between angrily stabbing pots and breaking down crying at random moments in Advance XIII. This turns out to be because the Lymans made cold-hearted and uncaring decisions which helped send their daughter down a path of self-destruction, something Beatrix feared doing to her own children more than anything else.
    • Anderson gets violent whenever he thinks someone or something is trying to mess his little brother's head, having grown up a witness to Oz's lapses in identity.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Anderson to Oz. He's really overprotective but truly loves his brother, and in his calmer moments he enjoys teasing Oz for fun.
  • Big Fancy House: The Tale family home is Ely House, an old Barma summer retreat, and though it isn't exactly a palace, it's big enough to have three stories, a caretaker's cottage, a greenhouse, and a small disused ballroom. A more typical example is Lamontre Estate, the old Vessalius main house, which has since become a museum.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Inverted twice; the Tale family is rather large and not without its conflicts but still very open and healthy in dealing with its problems. The Lyman family, on the other hand, is small and consists mostly of strained or broken relationships.
  • Blatant Lies: Gilbert tries to tell Oz that he had a simple desk job when working for the royal family. It's then brought up that he counter-invaded Idvitz.
  • Blessed with Suck: Lewis Tale and Edith Lyman are pretty much the only reincarnations that can identify and remember their past lives, which helps them keep their promise with Gilbert to meet again and makes everything they suffered through as Oz and Alice worth it. But while Alice's returning memories gave Edith emotional support during her difficult childhood, Oz's returning memories really screwed him up for a time.
  • Bonus Material: Every so often a bonus chapter of some sort will go up with an update, building up the world or telling the story of one of the characters who were left behind 100 years ago.
  • Breather Episode: Well, in as much as a Slice of Life story can have one of these. Advance 15 features a cheerful, relaxing Beach Episode with the main characters hanging out together, following the emotionally turbulent trip to Lamontre. Advance 16 has Edith finally blow up from the stress of her situation, causing the cheery mood to go right out the window. For bonus points, Advance 15 is literally the calm before a storm.
  • Call-Forward: In the first Bonus Podcast Special, “The Murder of Oz Vessalius(?),” podcast host Kristen Shepsbunt (implied to be from Sable) reads a listener email from someone named Ashleigh, who lives in Aquand, Idvitz, then offhandedly comments on how she’s glad the podcast’s audience is “reaching over national borders and tensions.” The chapter before, Richard also makes mention of how Vincent had visited the Hanging Gardens of Ostene in Idvitz before they were destroyedf in 1953. Though it’s common knowledge in-universe, we don’t find out until much later that the political situation left after the end of Pandora Hearts led first to a revolution, then a world war, and eventually to a grudge rematch forty years after that, with one of the unfortunate consequences being the destruction of Idvitz’ ancient capital, Ostene. Apparently, Idvitz still holds a grudge.
    • In the same Bonus Podcast Special, Kristen and Cicile mention Johanna and Ike, the podcast’s previous hosts. We “hear” from them ourselves in the next Podcast Special, because the episodes seem to be introduced in the order Edith listens to them, not in the order the podcast supposedly recorded them (the first Podcast we hear is TYOIH’s 89th episode, the second is their 51st).
    • Also in the same Podcast, one of the hosts mentions Madame Kate, the Vessalius’ governess, encountering a ghost-like apparition of Oz Vessalius at what was clearly (unbeknownst to Madame Kate and the podcasts’ narrators) Lacie’s “grave” (or rather, the memorial Jack erected in her honor). The podcast’s narrators brush it off as non-credible insanity; Madame Kate’s description, however, makes it clear this is more than a hallucination: the memorial site as Madame Kate describes it, despite only being a year or two after Oz and Gil initially found the place, is obviously far further deteriorated then it was when the boys found it, with the grave and the pocket watch (which shouldn’t have been there at all, as Oz took it with him into the Abyss) covered in moss, and Oz is described in very unique and equally atypical clothes. Come Chapter 10, and a close read reveals that Madame Kate’s description of Apparition!Oz’s clothing matches what the modern Oz Tale wears as his school uniform, which adds a very different context to what she might have seen. The supernatural light she describes and clear evidence of some sort of Time Slip indicates that despite the cast’s implications (and the author’s own claims), the Abyss is still likely supernaturally affecting reality in ways most of the cast are unaware of.
  • Cataclysm Backstory: The latter half of the manga is considered this by the present time in the story, referred to in the fic as the Tragedy of Reveille. Despite not completely destroying the city like its infamous predecessor, the Tragedy of Sablier, it still nearly totaled the country's capital and caused massive property damage and casualties, and the resulting political backlash caused a Great Offscreen War that engulfed the continent.
  • Character Tics: Oz unconsciously trembles when he gets upset or angry, something he shares with his mother. He's also noted by Hedia and Anderson to pull at the seams of his clothing when he's stressed, and apparently does this often enough that his mother regularly has to replace his school uniform's undershirt.
    • Gilbert puts his remaining hand on the top of Oz's head or shoulder whenever he feels stressed.
  • Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: The mysterious life of Oz Vessalius has become this in-universe. Despite supposedly having been assassinated in 1890, evidence that he survived long after has attracted theorists from all walks of life. That the government released a dead-or-alive capture warrant for his head in March of 1900, ten years after his supposed death, didn't help.
  • Constructed World: Ooooooh, yes. Focusing on building up this aspect of Pandora Hearts is one this story’s more unique and well-known qualities.
  • Continuation: Of Pandora Hearts, from its epilogue onward.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Occurs mostly in the first few chapters, but can be spotted throughout. They're usually later clarified as the larger world comes into focus around the characters. For instance, Beatrix (via Richard) mentions Vincent having been to the Gardens of Ostene before their destruction in Advance III, but no context is given to what that even is. It's only revealed in passing over a dozen chapters later that Vincent and Gilbert actually assisted in storming and destroying the Idvitzen capital of Ostene in an All Your Base Are Belong to Us plan, in order to force the Idvitzen king to cease occupying Sable.
  • Cue the Rain: When Edith blows her top in Advance XVI and hides in the garden in Advance XVII.
  • Cute Bookworm: Every member of the Tale family seems to be this. Books are referred to as the Tale family's favorite things, and both sons' rooms are covered in bookshelves.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Vincent gets some nice lines for someone who only shows up in five chapters.
  • Department of Child Disservices: Subverted. The government plays its hand pretty neutrally during the suit and counter-suit for custody of Edith. It's really her grandparents who act as the negative force in the courtroom, and even then it's only because they truly believe Edith would be better off with them (though their prejudices leave much to be desired).
  • Determinator: The second bonus chapter shows that Ada Vessalius became this after the Tragedy of Reveille. She was unwilling to be defeated by her circumstance, and despite losing her family, money, and home after the Tragedy, formed new bonds and gave her friends, family, and country all the strength she could.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Gilbert says the trope name exactly when coming to the realization that he spent so long eagerly awaiting Oz and Alice's return he slipped into projecting who they were in the past onto who they are in the present, causing tensions with their family and friends.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Lewis explaining that he's Oz to his parents can be easily read as him coming out. In fact, that's exactly what his mother thought it was.
    • Despite essentially being an extended epilogue focused on the aftereffects of the manga, the fic can also be read as an exploration on how people with disorders affect those around them and how different approaches to dealing with disorders can affect the people who have them.
  • Doomed by Canon: Oh Vincent, we'll remember you fondly.
  • Dramatic Irony: This is primarily what makes the Bonus Podcast Specials most interesting: the reader has far more context and information about the events the podcast hosts are speaking about then the podcast hosts themselves, but the hosts have knowledge about context surrounding those events that we never saw in-series. It enters Fridge Brilliance territory when this enables the reader to not only learn what the public knows and thinks about the events of Pandora Hearts, but also often make connections between the new information the hosts provide and the truths we learn in the manga, which the narrators are typically unable to.
    • It can also be inverted: occasionally the narrators will screw up and make a Call-Forward to something they plan to mention later in the podcast, which is usually a piece of information not included in the manga and therefore something the characters know that the reader doesn’t. In the case of the second podcast, A Jack, A Glen, and the Tragedy of Sablier, this also enables the reader to make further horrifying conclusions: the public’s certainty that the Baskervilles are evil and to blame, which is present even within the time of the manga, is revealed to have come from the Heel Realization of other horrible things the Baskervilles did at the height of their power, which are implied in the manga but not usually focused on besides the sacrificing of the Children of Misfortune. It’s hard to argue with the “evil” label when people found human sacrifice chambers on their properties, with some of the human remains still in them.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Anderson is occasionally called "Potato" when someone wants to tease him, presumably from some Noodle Incident.
  • Empathic Environment: In Advance 15, as the calm mood begins to break into tension and conflict, storm clouds impede on the casts' sunny beach day. When the conflict peaks, so does the storm.
  • The Empire: The Empire of Lucya, the homeland of Isla Yura and the Barma family, which used Sable’s weakness after the Tragedy of Reveille and subsequent revolution to invade and prop up a puppet king of their own lineage on the Sablen throne. After a second revolution overthrew that king, the skirmish turned into a full-blown World War with Sable’s allies on one side and the Empire of Lucya’s on the other. Unable to withstand the economic and political pressures of all-out war, the Empire withdrew, and since then has had relative peace with Sable. Ironically, the country still giving Sable the most grief from this is their neighbor and fellow kingdom (well, formerly), Idvitz.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Oz's portrait in the Vessalius Family gallery invokes this big time, and Oz lampshades this by mentioning that he had never worn those clothes in his life. Partially played with, though, as Oz's portrait, despite obvious attempts at making it impressive, is far smaller than the rest of the family's, largely due to it being painted post mortem and commissioned by the museum long after the Vessalius family's fall from power.
  • Exact Words: When Miz Rainsworth asks how Oz knew so much about the personal habits of the Vessalius family, he answers "I've done quite a bit of research. Ada Vessalius was our great-grandmother." Both sentences are true, but misleadingly imply they are connected: Oz researched the Vessalius family not because Ada was his great-grandmother, but because he routinely experiences the old memories of Oz Vessalius.
  • Famed In-Story: All the characters of Pandora Hearts are now famous historical figures for their ambiguous roles in one of Sable's most turbulent time periods, especially Oz, who's become known as something of a historical mystery as well as an important figure in the country's political past.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Sable, the name given to the country Pandora Hearts took place in, seems to be a mix of British and French culture. What we hear of Soureales implies it's very Germanic.
  • Fictional Document: Discussed. The extended version of the podcast in Advance IV notes that much of the information historians have about the Dukedoms before and after the Revolution of 1901 comes from newspapers, journals, letters, and diary entries. A photographic version of this is the Lamontre Fils Photograph (the tea party photograph from the manga), which contains the last known images of many of Sable's aristocracy before their deaths, including the unexplained image of Oz Vessalius.
  • Freudian Excuse: Edith beats up kids in her class, blatantly disrespects teachers and other authority figures, and throws other people's emotional baggage into arguments when she's losing control of them. But she's also suffering from some extreme Parental Neglect, and it's heavily implied she was both ostracized from the community due to her mother's previous scandalous actions and sexually harassed by the boys in her school (in her introductory chapter, some boys fill her locker with condoms, though the author never outright states what they are).
  • The Gadfly: Oz, especially to Vincent.
  • Good Parents: Richard and Beatrix, who love their sons more than anything.
  • Go Among Mad People: Hedia says the trope naming quote almost verbatim when she sits down to eat lunch with Oz's employer, Miz Rainsworth; his senior manager, Shah Cassure; and his assistant manager, Vilhelmina Daniels. In particular, she mumbles the line as she witnesses Cassure eating pages out of his book, but the line continues to be relevant throughout the chapter. The scene is possibly a reference to the Mad Hatter's tea party; throughout the posh meal, both the environment and the people around her are seemingly entirely alien in this moment, interacting in ways she doesn't understand but in ways they treat as absolutely normal.
  • The Great Offscreen War: Paralleling World Wars I and II, the great political mess left by the events in the manga led to a massive, bloody war between Sable and its invading neighbors only a year after Oz and Alice's deaths. The conflict, known as the Great Tousterre War, still has major political ramifications.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Anderson, especially when Gilbert's involved.
  • Hero of Another Story: Ada Vessalius, who during the Great Tousterre War hosted a war hospital from her home, worked as a nurse, led watches to alert the nearby villages of bombs, and ran a secret coven to protect the men at war.
    • Gilbert and Vincent participated in at least one conflict against Idvitz, joining Sable's armed forces in an All Your Base Are Belong to Us tactic that freed Sable from Idvitzen occupation.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Oz Vessalius and Gilbert Nightray both have become this over the last century, ironically in ways completely unrelated to each other. Oz became famous for being at the center of hundreds of conspiracy theories, while Gilbert, on the other hand, seems to have been well-remembered as a savvy Tall, Dark, and Handsome Memetic Badass, though he avoids discussing why. There are hints, however, that he was involved with some rather large military operations during the Great Offscreen War.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Richard is just below the CEO in his land development company, and is a pretty generous, level-headed and honest guy.
  • Honorary Aunt: Oz calls Miz Rainsworth—Sharon's granddaughter—"Aunt Sherri." It's unclear if she asked him to do so or if he came up with the endearment himself, but she takes him to lunch every time she visits his place of work. She's also invited him and his friends over for tea when he can find the time.
  • I Am What I Am: Oz's conclusion when Vincent confirms he wasn't crazy. He insists, like in the manga, of becoming "Just Oz," and again returning to being all of himself at once. Edith, being far more self-confident, never even seems to question this.
  • Insistent Terminology: It’s Miz Rainsworth, thank you very much.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: The Tale family seems to have continued the tradition from their ancestors. The family has two cats, Ceragorm and Duchess.
  • King Bobthe Nth: Sable has apparently had nine monarchs over the last 200 years, three of which are known to have had this naming convention: Marc IV, Boniface III, and their current queen, Lisette II. Much is also made of the King of Idvitz who led his country to invade and war against Sable in the 1940s: Morton XI, who was so disliked by Sable his name inspired a xenophobic slur for the Idvitzen people, “Morts.”
  • The Kingdom: Sable. It did once have an enemy in The Empire of Lucya, but interestingly, it’s a neighboring (former) fellow kingdom that’s given Sable the most trouble in the modern era.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Anderson can get this way sometimes, believing that Oz can't take care of himself due to his past mental health issues. He goes after Gilbert, whom he sees as a stalker, with all the viciousness of a bull shark. It's sort of justifiable, as Oz is implied to have had problems with stalkers in the past and had too many psychological problems to deal with it himself. Anderson even accuses Gilbert of going along with his brother's "delusions" just so he can find a psychological trigger.
  • La Résistance: Twice. First, when King Brennan was deposed in 1901 and replaced with King Xibu, a foreigner with a very weak claim to the throne who was raised in and backed by Lucya, an Empire then trying to invade, and again when Idvitz invaded in the 1940s and intended to essentially annex Sable. The resistance won both times, but that hasn’t cooled tensions with Idvitz.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Oz (and to a lesser extent, Edith) to Gilbert. Despite initially trying to lead his own life and become involved in other things, he became more and more emotionally dependent on the hope of Oz and Alice's return as everyone else he knew died before him.
  • Loving a Shadow: Played platonically (although it might not be on Gilbert's end). A point is made about how both Anderson and Gilbert can't see the real Oz of today for the "half-truth of a superimposed image [they] had painted over him in his stead." Andy loves his brother Lewis but doesn't understand his connection to Oz Vessalius, which has played a prominent role in shaping his identity as Oz worked through the reincarnation-induced Disassociative Identity Disorder, and further can't understand why Lewis would now choose to go by Oz, which the Tales had previously perceived to be Lewis' alternate personality's name. Gil is still eternally devoted to Oz Vessalius but knows nothing of the life of Lewis "Oz" Tale, his reincarnation, or the experiences he's lived for the last fifteen years that shaped him into who he is today. Interestingly, Oz is still perceptive enough when it comes to both of them that he identified this problem before either Anderson or Gilbert themselves did.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Implied in-story and confirmed by the author. The witch covens have gone to ground, new Baskervilles have stopped being born, and all the surreal, magical things the characters experienced in their previous lives haven't been seen since. Word of God says that since the Abyss was repaired, Chains have largely stopped escaping to the human world (meaning less illegal contractors) and even the Hole at Sablier is starting to lose its supernatural qualities.
    • Despite apparent conversational acceptance of this and the author’s assurance that this is the case, there are many subtle instances that disprove this, implying that the magic didn’t go away, the people involved just used the destruction to hide it better. For example, it’s all but outright stated that the practice of witchcraft didn’t go extinct like scholars believe, because more subtle hints from the author implies Oz has inherited Ada’s spellbooks from his Aunt Patrice and may himself one day learn it. And we know the Abyss hasn’t stopped influencing reality, because after Oz’s initial disappearance from his first Coming of Age Ceremony, Madame Kate seems to have witnessed Oz Tale at Lacie’s grave.
    • The Children of Misfortune are an aversion to this, as they are consistently being born in order to keep the Core company. It's implied there's actually more of them now, since they're not being executed by the remaining Baskervilles.
  • Meaningful Name: All of the names come from scrapped names for characters from the series, famous children's books, and other Genius Bonus-type references. Sometimes twice over: Both Edith Lyman's and Lewis Tale's names are references to multiple children's books. Simultaneously.
    • Each update is called an "Advance," meaning "to move forward, typically in a meaningful way," in direct contrast with the manga's "Retrace," meaning "to go back, to trace (something) back to its source or beginning."
  • Meaningful Rename: Oz, who'd spent most of his life known as Lewis, requests to return to being called Oz after finally telling his parents that he actually remembers parts of his former life, a request he feared making because he feared his parents would no longer treat him like their son. This rename reaffirms Oz's character development from the manga despite his patchy memory; Oz's attempts to seek truth around him ultimately result in his desire to fully realize a truer self. As Loul's author's note puts it, in order to move forwards, "Oz [chose] to integrate the different parts of him back together as best he can, much like he did in the manga with "Oz Vessalius" and "Oz the B-Rabbit" to become "Just Oz." In fact, this is exactly what Oz asks his parents to understand—he's not merely "Lewis Tale" or "Oz Vessalius," just Oz.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Oz and Vincent, before Oz can explain who Vincent really is. His mother mistakes Oz's idea for a family meeting as him being about to come out of the closet. He does, in a way, but it's more about identity than sexual orientation.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Edith after blowing up at Oz, who was only trying to help, and telling him that he was basically a burden on his whole family because of his psychological issues. She immediately regrets it, but fears going inside and facing him since they've never really fought like that before.
  • Narrative Filigree: Talk about Doing It for the Art.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Gilbert's tendency in the manga to occasionally touch Oz has increased here. It's implied he's terrified of being left alone again, and his habit of touching Oz has gone from a meaningful sign of affection to something akin to clutching a security blanket.
  • Older Than They Look: Gilbert, naturally.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Richard and Beatrix are willing to entertain Oz's idea that he is the reincarnation of an assassinated historical figure if it means he'll finally come clean with them about everything that's been making him unhappy. They eventually come around to the idea that he is in fact telling the truth, but they would have stood by him regardless.
    • They then let him go to another country to find a girl they've never met accompanied by a man they've only known for a day, because they realize that Oz needed to go for his own emotional wellbeing and stopping him would have only destroyed the reassurance and progress they'd made the previous night.
  • Parental Neglect: A couple different takes on this trope with Edith. Edith's single mother had a lot of psychological and drug-related problems, leading to Edith having to be the one to look after her instead of the other way around—however, it's clear that Elaine dearly loves her daughter, and the second she's cognizant of the chance to get Edith into a better living situation she begs for it, even if it means that Elaine herself is sent back to their previous toxic living space. Edith's grandparents play the trope more classically, as they apparently cared for their daughter and granddaughter but not enough to embrace the social stigma of associating openly with them, resulting in the two becoming trapped with the consequences of Elaine's flaws without guidance or feasible access to effective assistance.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Following the themes of Pandora Hearts, Oz is born with these, but they don't carry the same connotation they used to and by now are a subversion. Still creepy, though.
  • Reincarnation: A deconstruction fic of this. Many of the main characters in the story are reincarnations, and their relationships with their past selves are all different.
    • Oz in particular experienced a terrifying childhood where he would switch back and forwards between his past and present identities with varying knowledge of either life, leading to times when he wouldn't recognize his own family or remember his own name. This situation didn't improve until Oz began to reassociate one identity with the other as he got older. Because of this, he was diagnosed with Disassociative Identity Disorder, a label which made his life even more difficult growing up. Also, because he has the face of a deceased famous person, he attracted more than a few unsavory people which his Knight Templar Big Brother Anderson had to chase off.
    • Alice's reincarnation Edith used the few memories she got back to keep her stable and hopeful that someone would eventually come and help her while she and her mother lived in Idvitz.
    • There are a few other suspected reincarnations, like Hedia Aidas (whose name literally means "Echo"), Anderson Tale (whose personality is remarkably similar to another short-tempered overprotective person from a century earlier), and Mr. Ashermael Wilde (whose name may be a reference to famous author Oscar Wilde).
    • There's enough clues to suggest that Oz's Snark-to-Snark Combat pal at Lamontre, a girl named Vilhelmina Daniels, is the former Will of the Abyss.
      • She's a fellow tour guide, a leader-figure among the minors in the manor's employ, and noted to be favored by a very specific black cat on the grounds that Oz describes as "familiar" and unfriendly towards Oz in particular.
      • In Advance XX, Miz Rainsworth states that "three of the four of you have already gone white" and that "being around [them] makes [her] feel young," implying that three members of their group at that time—consisting of Shah Cassure, Hedia Aidas, Vilhelmina Daniels, Oz Tale, and Miz Rainsworth herself—have white hair. We already know that Hedia has white hair, Oz is blonde, and Miz Rainsworth didn't include herself in the statement, meaning Shah and Vil both have white hair.
      • Vil's name is German, and pronouncing it the German way makes the V sound like a W, leaving us with a white-haired girl Oz calls "Will."
  • Running Gag: Gilbert avoiding the topic of what he did during the past century, usually with someone else chiming in about some Shrouded in Myth feat of awesome he preformed. He quickly tries to change the subject.
  • Shout-Out: The second bonus podcast ("Things You Overlooked in History Class, Episode 51: A Jack, A Glen, and the Tragedy of Sablier") names the Glen before Levi as being "Glen Kahina," a reference to another fanwork within the Pandora Hearts fandom, The Book of Levi and Other Fantastic Fairy Tales by TiniestDormouse. Emori Loul recommends the story in their author's notes at the bottom of the segment and directs readers to several places where it can be read and to the story's official tumblr blog.
  • Shown Their Work: The author often writes pre- and post- script notes that add further details to the world, discussing their research into 19th century customs, symbolism, literature and architecture. The most noticeable aspect of this is that nearly every place and character is a reference to a children's book or author.
    • In a bonus chapter, Ada marries a man named Andreas van Wesel, clearly named after the famous historical anatomist of the same name who provided the first real medical dissections of the human body to negate medical myths that had spread throughout Europe. He's also likely the person Mochizuki Jun took the name Vessalius from, as that was the name he used in the medical field.
  • Shrouded in Myth: In the context of the world, Oz Vessalius. Despite supposedly having died in 1890, his apparent reappearance ten years later, his physical appearance not matching his age, and his questionable involvement in the Tragedy of Reveille fueled theory after conspiracy theory, leading to Oz Vessalius becoming a staple of Sablien culture not unlike a folk tale or fairy tale. The author compares the obsession with the craze over what happened to Anastasia Romanov, even referring to it as "the Anastasia effect." The author devoted an entire bonus chapter to exploring how people of the present would see the events of Pandora Hearts.
  • Slice of Life: Though it has the occasional drama, the story's mostly about the cast adjusting to the changes in their lives that come with accepting the past.
  • Slut-Shaming: A deconstruction. Elaine ran away from her controlling parents at the age of eighteen and returned pregnant two years later with nowhere to go. Elaine was already a wild child, but this convinced those around her (particularly her rich and conservative parents) that she was unworthy of any real help for her situation besides giving her an apartment far away from them and hoping she'd eventually better herself. Instead of helping her, it led to Elaine being stripped of any confidence she had and considering herself an unworthy mother to her child. Her depression then led to alcohol abuse (and even to her possibly taking drugs), which increased her financial problems, which decreased her self-worth—making it a vicious cycle. By the present, Elaine is a psychological wreck whose daughter Edith has been forced to take care of both her and herself for years because Elaine has gotten so bad she can barely get up in the morning, and Elaine's parents only make contact with their granddaughter once a month for a day trip, completely excluding their daughter all together. To make matters worse, many people Dyne in don't look kindly on Edith, partially because of the stigma associated with her mother and partially because of Edith's acting out.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Oz and Vincent could've been a pretty decent comedy act if one of them hadn't died. Oz and Anderson also sometimes have this, of a brotherly teasing variety.
    • Oz and Vil have a very snarky camaraderie as well.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: Much of the humor in the early chapters is derived from how out of place Vincent obviously feels. In the few chapters we get to enjoy his presence, he not only plays straight man to Oz's shenanigans but also reacts hilariously to the uber-welcoming and affectionate Tale parents, spending their touching family moments imitating "an awkward piece of furniture." At one point, Richard moves to pat him affectionately on the head, and Vincent dodges "looking subtly terrified."
  • Stalker with a Crush: Anderson mistakes Gilbert for one of these and immediately resorts to violence. His comments imply Oz has had less than savory people follow him before. Though that isn't a surprise, considering Oz has the face of a famous person.
  • Story Within a Story: Edith collected historical memorabilia of her friends from the past to comfort her when she lived in Dyne, and publications in her collection are usually mentioned by title. So far there's The Boy in the Background, a historical non-fiction book; History's Mysteries, a TV show; Ghost Wizards, an 80's cartoon; and 1901, a musical. There's also Clockwork, a speculative historical fiction movie that neither Edith nor Oz like, and a trashy romance novel called The Nightingale's Lover, which Word of God confirms is basically bad in-universe fanfiction starring Gilbert.
    • The second Bonus Podcast introduces Le Foncé Cillement Lumiere, a tragicomedy about Oswald Baskerville and the events that led up to the Tragedy of Sablier. Naturally, having been written in a world that has no idea what really happened, the play ascribes to the general consensus that Oswald and the Baskervilles caused the Tragedy, but at the very least its interpretation of the events humanizes Oswald into a genuinely tragic character, something that is highlighted in the podcast.
      Johanna (Podcast Host): "In his play, Webber portrays the Duke of Toutes as a deeply haunted, tragic antihero, who cannot in good conscience live with the horrific acts his family has committed against the Children of Misfortune, let alone lead them in perpetuating them—yet, at the same time, cannot abandon his social post and duty, a sadistic position that eventually degrades his sanity and concludes with him considering all life a curse of misfortune."
  • Surprise Creepy: Oz's eyes in Advance 15 are described as two physics-breaking red orbs whose reflections do not bend with the rest of his image in the water. Gilbert notes that he's used to seeing the effect because his brother.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: In-universe, the lives of the Pandora Hearts characters are all this. Very few people alive know the truth.
    • Ada Vessalius' life is an inversion of this. Her life's achievements weren't particularly special, extraordinary, or secret (for the most part) and she dies an old lady with little notoriety or fame, but her life and story is portrayed as just as valuable and important as any simply by having been lived.
  • Theme Naming: Nearly every character and place is a reference to a famous children's story, even if the author doesn't point it out in their post script. Those that aren't are usually minor characters given names from their respective culture's real-life counterpart.
    • The author must just love this. Oz's chapters are named after dolls, Hedia's after puppets, Anderson's after musical motifs, Edith's after princesses, and the main trio's after different ideas of paradise.
    • The Tale family's names are all references to famous authors, and the parents' names in particular are themed around authors known for their literary rabbits.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: It's made pretty clear that Hedia has feelings for Oz and is quite devoted to him, but so far he hasn't shown signs of returning those feelings besides playful flirting.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The story is told largely from third person limited perspective, and so “facts” can be subtly different between characters. This is most obvious with the podcast hosts, who know nothing about the Tragedies of Sablier or Reveille but the documents left behind and thus often report and believe the occasionally erroneous conclusions that history “experts” have come up with, but it can also show up with the main cast themselves, none of whom have an unobstructed view of what is going on with each other or the world at large—for example, there are hints that things are going on with the Abyss that we don’t see or hear about. Even the author occasionally becomes this, as they make pre- and post-script notes on the chapters that, as the story goes along, are never false but occasionally deliberately misleading, such as their assurance that The Magic Goes Away, despite many examples of the opposite—in-universe, those involved just became more secretive and hidden, so the “magic” only really went away from public knowledge.
  • Worldbuilding: Arguably the fanfic's strongest suit is its detailed construction of the environment and the world, which was left mostly untouched in the source material. Entire wars, countries, nationalities, multimedia, and culture conflicts are created as simple background color, and the events in the manga are placed into historical context among them. One of the bonus materials is even a fictitious history podcast discussing how outsiders saw and explained the events of the manga and how this effects their world in modern times.

Example of: