“I know exactly who you are, Edward Hyde.” Robert Lanyon said in a haughty tone.
Hyde did not want to hear Lanyon’s voice after so many years of peace. The only bright side to Jekyll no longer talking to him what not dealing with Lanyon. And now here the doctor was. “Or should I say,” he knocked the black top hat off Edward’s head. “Edward Jekyll?” He taunted, tugging at a lock of blond hair, about an inch of it was brown at the base of his scalp.
“Hey! Let me go!” Hyde yelled, pushing Lanyon away. There was one person in the world allowed to pull on his hair and Robert Lanyon was not him. “So what then? Are you going to tell Doctor Jekyll? Congratulations you are a great help to the doctor only took you sixteen years to find out that I was hiding right under your noses!” The blond scoffed, grabbing his hat off the ground and sticking it back on his head.
“Tell him? Edward, he has broken my heart already, but I am not a vengeful person, why on earth would I destroy him like that?” Robert gasped, pretending to be offended. “The absolute last thing I would tell Doctor Henry Jekyll is that his dearest brother is a good-for-nothing street rat!”
“I am not good for nothing and my brother would be happy to see me, assuming I wanted to go back!” Hyde retorted. “Which I do not.”
“You could not go back! You are nigh but a stain on Henry Jekyll’s reputation if you go back!” Lanyon scoffed. “Look at yourself!”
Life had not exactly forbidden the wear and tear of his lifestyle from showing on Hyde’s person. He bore new scars from bar fights and leaping fences and roofs to escape pursuit of outlaws and cops the same, most notably one along the side of his neck, that had nearly killed him a few years ago. Dressed in torn clothes, still of green and black, showed signs of the drug he knew by now he was addicted to. His skin itched, his mouth was normally dry, pupils small and twitchy, if he took too much things got much worse very quickly. It was a fine line between not suffering withdrawal and not suffering side effects. His voice had gotten hoarse over time.
“And the sole reason you are not is that my darling brother slept with that werewolf all those years ago! That certainly puts a damper on a relationship, but truly by the sounds of her I would not have said no to an advance…” that was a lie. Woman bore no appeal since being assaulted sixteen years ago. Both he and Stephen still saw each other often, however Stephen was also involved with a woman whom Hyde had been told he was more than welcome to join them with, but did not feel comfortable doing so.
Robert took a step back. “Excuse yourself, Edward Jekyll! I did not think a coward such as yourself would ever think of a woman in such a way after one pinned you to a wall and tried to rape you!” He sneered.
“Maybe you are not so great a judge of character as you believe yourself to be, you inflated oaf!” Hyde snarled in return.
“I believe I am. At least on you. I happen j is you have been fired from every pub in this town, either for a drug addiction, a fight or some other wrong. I know you take opioids for the pain in your ankle.”
“Only because I started taking them before you doctors figured out they were terrible and most people who stop die!” Hyde argued.
“You never should have started them in the first place!”
“A friend gave them to me so that I would be able to walk again, with a cane, without crippling pain!” The blond shouted. “I was seventeen you did not know everything when you were seventeen!”
His knuckles were white, gripping onto the handle of his cane, shaking a little. Who did Lanyon think he was to waltz back in and start attacking him? He had survived, that was what mattered.
“I knew better than to take drugs, Mister Hyde. Besides that fact, you have spent the last fifteen years turning yourself into undesirable London trash and are still surprised that your brother wants nothing to do with you anymore.” Robert said with a sick, sadistic smile.
“Oh hey Robert? Do you remember Stephen? I am still with him, so that should place me at least a little higher than you and my brother. You, you married someone you did not even love and my brother slept with a wolf. At least I understand fidelity.” Hyde said with a smile, one hand on his hip.
Robert looked outraged. He looked ready to hit Hyde and honestly the little blond wanted him to. He wanted Robert to give him a reason to fight him. He was dying just to throw a punch.
“Fidel and a criminal, that is. Both your brother and I have gotten passed that stage where we think that we can get away with whatever, you apparently, never grew up.”
“I never gave up on being happy with my life? No, no I did not you are the only person I know who has. Look at that pretty little band on your finger, shame it is just there for show! Tell me, did you even even fuck her, Lanyon, or did you spend your wedding night touching yourself thinking of my brother?” Hyde taunted.
“Why you little-" Hyde saw a fist swing back, immediately ducked, took a step forward and let Robert’s flailing and a little extra momentum that he provided drive the brunet’s nose right into his clenched fist.
Immediately, he darted backwards. “You forget that I got fired for fighting.” He remarked, shaking his hand, the knuckles hurt, while Robert clutched his nose, blood leaking in between his fingers.
“You little devil!” Robert gasped.
“You picked a fight with me. And lost.” Hyde said irritably. “Do not take it out on me I shall not tolerate it.”
“You will never reunite with your brother.” Robert warned.
“And how will you manage that?” Edward Hyde asked, more curious than worried.
“I will tell him you are dead. We have an unidentifiable body in the hospital and I intend to tell him it was you. It was badly burned but dental records could have proven it to be you. And then it is your word against mine.” Lanyon told him.
“I could just write him a letter!” Hyde pointed out with a smirk, watched blood drip into Lanyon’s shirt.
“And he will believe it to be a hoax, if I have shown him you are dead.” Lanyon told him.
“There is a lot I know about my brother that no person other than myself would know. Do not try and keep us apart, Lanyon, you will fail.” Hyde warned. “Now go and find a bandage, you are bleeding like the pig that you are.”
Edward Hyde spun on the heel of his black shoe, and walked away.
He was meeting up with Stephen for the night, so maybe he could spend the itch for a fight on something else. Maybe.
On second thought, yeah, he could go for that. Lanyon was just a blithering oaf he could not actually do anything against Hyde meeting up with his brother again if he wanted to, however, so far he did not. He was content with how life sat, albeit the aching miss for his brother sat heavy on his heart.
Henry Jekyll had not spoken to him for more than ten years. The society had taken off before Jekyll had gotten his doctorate in every science, and from there his reputation had been to fragile to associate with… with a street rat like Edward Hyde.
Hyde sighed, limped down the road back to his apartment, where he had arranged to meet Stephen.
He did not have to think about Robert Lanyon. He did not even have to think about Henry Jekyll. They had both walked away from him a long time ago now he only had to think about himself.
He was okay with that. He would get another job, somewhere would not have heard his name before and may consider letting him work there.
Maybe Robert was right. He had made such a mess of his life in the past fifteen years and he did not think that he could fix it. There was not a place in London that would hire him, and if he admitted who he was to his brother, then it would ruin Jekyll’s reputation forever.
Hyde sighed, leaned against his door.
“Eddie, you are home early.” Stephen remarked, pulled him into a kiss, soft and wet and warm with a taste of tongue.
Hyde smiled. “Could not wait to get home to you, Steph.” He said flirtatiously. “How was Julia?”
“She is well, wishes you the best as always.” Hyde had met her before, she was a nice woman.
“Wish her the same from me, Stephen.”
“As always.” Stephen agreed, led him through the door. “So. What are we doing tonight? Have you eaten?”
“Yes I have.”
Edward Hyde smiled. “ Ruin me. ”
He felt his back collide with the wall.
“Doctor Jekyll! Doctor Jekyll, Mister Luckett’s lab is on fire!” Lavender yelled down the hallway.
Henry Jekyll picked his head off the desk, groaning. A half-empty glass of red wine sat before him, along with the empty bottle, pages and pages of taxes and other paperwork under his head.
Had he dozed off doing his papers again? Christ. He could not keep doing this to himself, he was going to burn out. He needed help.
“Doctor Jekyll Doctor Jekyll!” another voice, Helsby, shouted. “The leviathan is loose! It was not my fault this time! It was Missus Cantilupe!”
“Rat! Mister Helsby you are a rat!” Cantilupe yelled. “I did not mean to I will get it under control! Lavender!”
The screech of a cat was heard across the labs. “Dammit, Eira! Stay out from under my feet that is all I ask!” Griffin cursed.
“Doctor Jekyll I really need that money so I can go to the market and pick up supplies!” Rachel Pidgley called. “Also, Zosi got into the baking supplies again.” She continued. “So he is sick and I will need to buy more of those, too.”
Jekyll wanted to scream. He wanted to tear his hair out why did everything have to happen at once? Why was he not allowed to breathe without another problem popping up?
He took a deep breath. He could handle this. “Alright. Rachel, there is money sitting on my desk for you, take what you need and return the change. Mister Luckett, by now you know where the fire extinguishing equipement is so there is no need for me to tend to those fires personally. The leviathan I will see right to, Missus Cantilupe and Mister Helsby, you will be helping me handle that. And Griffin,” Jekyll shouted. “Quit cursing your cat because you are clumsy!”
Jekyll was pretty sure Griffin simply shouted “fuck you” back at him, but chose to ignore it and continue walking off with Cantilupe and Helsby. It was not worth picking a fight with Griffin, he knew from experience that somehow, he would end up losing.
“Now, someone please inform me how the leviathan escaped its confines this time.” Jekyll said with a winning smile, easily slipping back into the grace that Lanyon had taught him years ago.
He wished Lanyon was here with him. He had nothing to be but grateful that Robert was a more behind the scenes founder, but still a founder, with financial support and some moral support, too, but he wanted nothing more than to go back to his second version of this dream, to have Edward and Robert by his side.
But he had ruined both of those chances. Starting with the cruel words he had flung at his darling twin brother, the one he had not heard from in fifteen years, the one who may be dead by now and he would never know. And it killed him inside to know that he would never know. He did not know who his brother was anymore. He could be a corpse thrown on the side of the road, decaying there, nothing but a skeleton in a ditch somewhere, or in a grave marked with a stranger’s name.
Or no name at all.
He could be anywhere and it was terrifying. He had to lie to himself every day and tell himself that he was fine when his life had ripped his heart into pieces. First Edward, and then Robert. Somehow, Robert was worse because he knew what had happened to Robert.
He knew why it had happened, and he knew what had screwed up badly he knew that his night with Morcant had ruined everything he had ever had with Robert but up until his best friend’s wedding day he had clung to the hope that they could fix things.
But all Robert had ever allowed was a rekindling of their friendship, and not nearly as close as they had once been. It left an ache in Jekyll’s chest that he could not fill with anything and had never tried. It was not worth the sting of failure.
So he had been almost alone for the past fifteen years. It had been fifteen years since his college reputation had allowed him to speak and visit with Edward Hyde and Stephen Richardson.
He missed them terribly, too.
His life had been filled with nothing but losses, and the society was not exactly a gain. It was falling apart at the seams it took every ounce of everything that he had to keep it running almost smoothly.
“Doctor Jekyll! Doctor Jekyll, Doctor Lanyon is here to see you!” Miss Lavender shouted, running down the hall after him. “I can help Missus Cantilupe and Mister Helsby with the leviathan, you go and see what Doctor Lanyon wants.” She offered.
“Thank you, Miss Lavender.” Jekyll said with another smile, and raced back down the hall to his office, where Lanyon would be waiting for him. Lanyon had a habit of announcing his arrival but still getting into Jekyll’s office without people being able to notice and stall him.
It was incredibly frustrating. Jekyll sighed, hustling down the hall and finally reaching his office in the back of the society.
“Henry! It is good to see you, lad. The bottles tell me that you have been holed up in this damned office for far too long yet again.” Robert remarked, reaching out and snatching the bottle that had the most wine left in it and taking a long swig from it.
His golden wedding band glinted on his finger and it still stung after seven years. Made him was to cry or scream or fall to the floor, professing his love for Robert after all these years that his bruised and battered heart still carried within it like a precious gem in his ruinous life, those golden fourteen months tucked inside his heart right along with his sixteen years with his twin brother at his side.
Someday the society would have its own place in his heart, but right now it was a headache. Causing a lot of problems for him. “Ah, yes. Well, you know, taxes and such. Say, how is Mister Utterson doing? Is his law firm still going well? I heard you missed a dinner party going out with him.”
“He appreciates your absence, but he is doing well. His law firm is growing by the day, though do not expect him to take this place on, even I could not convince him.” Robert cautioned, taking another swig of his wine.
While Lanyon had come around, Gabriel Utterson had taken Jekyll’s fuck up in Switzerland as a personal insult.
And could be added to the list of people that Jekyll had not gotten to speak to in fifteen years. Again, of his own fault. “Well, pass along my congratulations if you believe he will accept them, Robert, the next time you see him.”
“He will not take them and you know that, Henry. Funny. The man holds a grudge for something that happened to me better than I do.” Robert shook his head, laughing to himself.
“And how has your wife been, Robert?” Jekyll made himself ask, trying to ignore the damned envy clawing at his heart. They could have been happy. They could have still been as happy as they had been in college but instead Jekyll’s heart was torn to bits and bleeding inside his chest, as it had been for the past fifteen years.
“My wife is well, her work has her travelling. She is in France for the next few weeks, and my practice was far too busy to leave for that long.” Lanyon replied with a smile. “Oh well, she shall enjoy her time without me.”
“She would be a fool not to profit from it!” Jekyll teased, though his words depicted the opposite of how he felt. He would give anything for time with Lanyon, even his society, for time just the way they had been in college, to turn back the clock and never have made his mistake to have listened to Lanyon when he said that Morcant was bad news because he had been so right and now there was nothing Jekyll could do but wish and regret.
Lanyon was happy now. Jekyll should be happy for him. But he could not bring himself to be.
“Oh, Henry, must you always be so melancholy?” Lanyon complained, rolling his eyes and waving his arms dramatically. “What could possibly be rolling around in that head of yours for you to always be so down?”
“If you only knew the half of it, Robert. No matter. What were you here for, anyways?” Jekyll asked.
“Why, to talk and drink your wine rather than mine, of course!”
The line made even Henry Jekyll crack a genuine smile.