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Divided in Two

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“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.

He groaned.

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.”

“Good. So?”

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.

Chapter Text

The apartment was warm and toasty, a plush, thick blanket pulled up around Edward’s thin shoulders, an arm wrapped around him, snug around his waist.

Someone very warm, Stephen, was curled up against him, nose nestled against the back of his neck.

That was the arm around his waist. The blond hummed, snuggling into the blankets a little more. “How much of an option is staying in bed all day?” He asked. “If I move I may never be this comfortable again.”

“If you have nothing to do, then it is an option, but that do not change the fact that you are being overdramatic.” Stephen replied, breath tickling the back of Hyde’s neck.

Hyde smiled and shifted, twisted a little to give Stephen a kiss. “How very dare you, sir, I am not dramatic!” He complained.

Stephen kissed him a few more times in rapid succession. “Edward Hyde you are the definition of dramatic.”

Hyde stuck out his tongue, pretending to pout, and then snuggled back into the bed.

“If you want to snuggle, turn around and face me, Eddie.” Stephen told him, smirking and pulling Hyde over by his shoulder.

Hyde smiled, snuggled into Stephen’s warm, bare chest. Closed his brilliant green eyes. “Mmm… you are so warm…” he murmured, pressing soft kisses to Stephen’s collarbone and neck.

Stephen smiled and pulled him up for another kiss. “If you are interested, we could go for round two…” he suggested.

“Hmm, might take you up on that later but right now I just want to hold you…” Hyde replied, breathing deeply through his nose, revelling in everything he could about Stephen, the warmth, the smell, the taste still on his lips…

“So what happened last night for you to be home so early? Normally you are not ahead of schedule unless London’s finest are escorting you home, which you really need to make that a less regular occurrence, Eddie.” Stephen warned.

“I know, I know. They have not arrested me recently, at least, an escort home is nothing compared to an arrest.” Hyde reasoned.

“You have had too many arrests, as well.” Stephen replied. “Edward, please, could you start being more careful? Someday I am not going to be able to convince them to let you out.”

Hyde sighed. Looked down. “I know, Steph…” He said quietly.

“Hey, Edward, it is alright I am not trying to upset you, my love.” Stephen told him quickly. “I only want you to be careful. Your record is getting dangerously tarnished.”

“I know…” The blond agreed, chewing on his lip.

“You are lucky you have got that job at least, I do not know many more places that would hire you, you are well-known throughout Bethnal Green, Whitechapel and Providence Row.” Stephen remarked. “No one in at least London’s east end will hire you anymore, most already have.”

“I do not. Have that job. That is why I was home early, Steph, some rat told them I was on drugs and they let me go. Again. Old story new faces, really.” Hyde admitted, ducking away to avoid looking Stephen in the eyes.

“Oh, Edward…” Stephen murmured, sighing and sitting up, stretching a little bit. “Then I am afraid laying in bed and snuggling is not an option, we have to try and find you a job, my darling.”

Hyde sighed, looking down a little bit. “Can we not wait, just a little?” He asked quietly. “No place open at this hour will hire me, we both know that.” He continued, sighing. “We can just stay here, go out later…” He said with a soft, demure smile.

Stephen sighed. “Very well, for a little while, and then we are done and you are getting dressed up nicely, in a cloak with no holes in it, and we are going out to find you a job.” The brunet stretched out and grabbed a pill bottle from the bedside table. “Take that.” He instructed, shaking on into his hand and passing it to Hyde.

The blond did not look happy about it, but he did not argue. Stephen would not take no for an answer, and it was not like he could simply refuse, he had to take these.

One a day for the rest of his goddamned life, and it had an effect on him. He knew it.

Even so, he popped it in his mouth and swallowed it down without much difficulty.

Was rewarded with a kiss. Wanted to protest, he was over thirty he was not a child he did not need incentive to do thing he did not enjoy, but a kiss was never unwelcome.

“You are such a sweetheart, Edward…” Stephen told him affectionately, kissing his cheek.

“Shush, do not be saying that out loud, I am the Spirit of London at Night, I am not a sweetheart.” Hyde complained, laughing a little bit.

“Again with your fancy monologuing, Eddie. Tell me, if you are the Spirit of London at Night, what am I?” Stephen asked.

“Home.” Hyde said simply, closing his eyes. “The most important part of the whole damned city. Home. The one who keeps my heart safe for me. The place that no matter what part of you goes back to because it is more than bricks and beams it is the people you love.”

“That is more romantic than I expected, I fair thought you would have a title for me, too.” Stephen laughed.

“I could come up with one but home works very well.” Hyde decided, smiling and kissing the tip of Stephen’s nose.

“No, I think home works well for me, sweetheart.” Stephen decided, laughing as Hyde pulled a face of disgust at the pet name. “You can call yourself whatever you want to, I will even most of the time resist the urge to poke fun at you, but I am not calling you the Spirit of London at Night. Sorry Edward, I have known you for too long to buy that shit, you used to have trouble understanding London, even after living here for months. You knew Edinburgh too well, and London is very different from Edinburgh.”

“That, my dear Stephen, is the whole reason I came to London in the first place. Since it is different from Edinburgh.” Hyde replied with a grin.

“Do you know what else I know about you, Eddie?” Stephen asked.

“What is it, Steph, what is my secret?” Hyde asked teasingly.

Stephen grinned. “You still fake your Cockney accent. If you spoke without it you would still sound Scottish.”

“Not that Scottish, I have been in London for sixteen years!” Hyde protested, giving in and dropping the fake accent to let Stephen hear the mangled mess of English and Scottish that his voice still was. “See? That is why I stick with the Cockney. Someday it will not be faked, if I do it for long enough.”

“You know what? Stick to the Cockney. Half of that was how I speak every day and I still could barely understand a word you said.” Stephen decided, laughing to himself. “God, you sound ridiculous.”

“Gee, thanks, Steph, very encouraging.” Hyde said in a dry voice, rolling his eyes.  “My voice is fine, I have worked out all the Scottish words from what I say. If I had not, you truly would not understand me.”

“I dread to think.” Stephen laughed, shaking his head.

Hyde laughed, gave Stephen another kiss. “If you are so insistent that we have to get out of bed at some point today, I would not mind some breakfast.”

“And what am I, the kitchen staff? Get up, get dressed and come and help me!” Stephen teased.

Hyde sighed, he did not like cooking, Stephen did, but it was only fair he help out. He stretched and slid out of bed, walking immediately over to the wardrobe to find a pair of clean clothes, pull them on without much care, leaving his shirt unbuttoned and waistcoat nowhere to be found.

Stephen grabbed a pair of his own, tugged on his pants before looking to Hyde and frowning. “I thought we agreed you had to look nice. You always look nice, to be fair, but save the revealing yourself for just around me, love.”

“I will do them up before we go, no sense fussing when I might still spill something on myself while cooking.” Hyde remarked, leaning over and giving the brunet a kiss on the cheek. He had to pull Stephen down and stand on his tiptoes to do it.

“God, you are tiny.” Stephen laughed, stooping over so the blond could reach.

Hyde flicked his nose. “Rude.”

“Edward even your own twin brother is taller than you. How does that even work you two are meant to be identical!”

Hyde snorted, shook his head. “Not anymore, we are not! Have you not seen Doctor Jekyll? He is a right upstanding gentleman and he has brown hair, and he keeps it clean cut, too. Besides, we have always been a little different, he has red eyes!”

“Other than your eyes those are personal choices you make. Speaking of, you need to fix your hair you have got an inch or two of brown at the top.” Stephen remarked.

“I know, I know. I will do it tomorrow morning.”

 

“Robert, I am going to hire an aid. For around the office. None of the lodgers want it they have their own busy schedules and I simply cannot keep up with all of this and keep this place from burning down and occasionally do my own research.” Jekyll declared, placing his quill on the desk.

“Have we got the money to do that? You know my father is more than a little reluctant to give you more money, and it is not like I can dump all I make with my practice into this, I have a life to support as well, Henry.” Robert warned, taking a sip of the wine he had poured himself upon walking in.

It was some of the finer stuff Jekyll had, a luxury he only afforded when he had guests around. He suffered through the cheap stuff that tasted vaguely like vinegar on his own.

Robert did not know what, of course. He did not know just how much of Jekyll’s own earnings, and the money from his father, had gone into this building and none of it had turned out in profits yet. All he could do was apply for sponsors and grants and those were few and far between. Even calling it rogue science, people could read between the lines and figure out that it was the sort of science that involved mythical creatures, deadly plants and Jekyll’s own recent experiments, lying in the domain of alchemy.

And of course, Luckett seeing what he could blow up. However interesting his experiments were, they were getting rather expensive and people did not exactly enjoy funding the destruction of things by combustion.

“No. We do not. But my health cannot afford not to and without you and I, this place goes nowhere. We are the ones who apply to sponsors. God, what I would not give to have Edward here to help us.” Jekyll said wistfully, with a touch of a sigh and a sip of his wine. “He would adore this place, Robert. It is everything we had dreamed of and more, and I owe it all to you.” He held out his wine glass, toasting his friend.

Lanyon laughed and clinked Jekyll’s glass with his own. “I did promise I would help you with it, if you settled down your search to run the place as it deserves to be ran, and you did that.” He reminded his old friend. “I truly did not think you would agree, it was my wife who believed you would.”

Jekyll stared at the rich red wine in his glass. “Robert… even I have to accept that… that… that Edward, if he knew where I was all along, either truly does not want to come back, which, after sixteen years, is highly unlikely, or he is dead and I will truly never find him, as if he was buried at all, it would likely be under a false name.” He said quietly.

“It still is not easy to give up on someone, Henry.” Lanyon said with a sigh. “You needed to, but that does not make it easy. That is why I offered you something for it. So that you forced yourself to have a chance to move on.”

“And I suppose I have to thank you for it, as hard as it was to give up on him.”

“If I thought it would be easy I never would have offered you something in payment.” Lanyon explained, waving a hand. “This was possibly a little grand, but aside from slowly running out of money you are doing great.”

“That is not as much of a compliment as you believe it to be, Robert. Funding is part of running this place as well.” Jekyll reminded him, arching an eyebrow and taking another sip from his drink, glancing back at the paper he had been scrawling on, sitting on his desk. He had not been being careful, had allowed the ink to smear and spot until he was the only one who could read it, he would have to write it out nicely before asking the newspaper to print it. No one would be able to read the doctor’s scrawl on the paper, besides maybe Lanyon.

Lanyon, who peered over to look. “Christ, your writing is more illegible than mine, Henry, and mine basically has to be illegible.”

Jekyll just smiled. “It has been this way since I was a child, Robert, you should see the notes in some of the margins of my textbooks.” He explained.

“I dread the idea, Henry. You had better write that out nicely before you hand that off to anyone, myself included.” Lanyon warned, smiling a little and settling back into his seat.

“I know, I know, my writing sucks. Maybe the person I hire will have nicer handwriting than I do.” Jekyll suggested, scribbling down a few more lines. “I suppose I should run this paper by you before I send it to the newspaper, should I not?” He realized, smiling.

“No, you need not bother, truly, Henry, I trust you, you can write that and get it published, just watch for spelling errors.” Lanyon replied. “Anyways, Henry, I should get going. Would not want to impose Miss Pidgley into making a meal for me, and it shall be dinner soon.”

Jekyll smiled, “You know she would gladly cook you something, Robert, that woman adores her kitchen. She would fix you something to eat, she makes far too much food anyways.”

Lanyon shook his head. “I would truly rather get home before it begins to grow dark, Henry, however, I must thank you for the fine company, and fine wine.” He said with a smile, getting up and taking his coat off of the stand beside the door.

Jekyll got to his feet, escorted him to the door of the society. “Please, come again, Robert, it is always a pleasure to have you here!” He declared.

“Well, seeing as how I own part of the building, that would be wise of me, would it not? I shall see you at dinner tomorrow, Henry, I trust you have not forgotten?” Lanyon asked, tugging on his hat, about to step out the door.

Jekyll thought about it. “Well. technically I had forgotten, yes, but I made no plans overlapping it, so we are still fine.”

“You have the worst memory and the best luck in the world sometimes, Henry. I shall see you tomorrow.” Lanyon stepped out the door and down the marble steps of the society.

“See you tomorrow, Robert.”

Once his friend was gone, Jekyll stepped back inside, walked back into his office.

Sat down at the desk, faced the looking glass across the room from himself.

Finished the remainder of his wine, it was far less sweet now that he was alone with it to drink and dwell.

He had promised Lanyon, all those years ago when they had began their plans to create the Society for Arcane Sciences, that he would settle down and cease his search for Edward Jekyll almost entirely. He was allowed to search London, if he got a lead, even all of England or they talked about it he could travel, but he needed to settle down and be the leader the society deserved.

And it hurt. It hurt like hell to just concede to leave his twin brother unfound. To just… give up. He was like he had torn a part of his heart out.

Jekyll had no wife, no lover. He had very few close friends, their ranks consisting of Robert Lanyon and Rachel Pidgley.

He would have given anything, even his society, to have Edward back at his side. He missed his twin more than anything in his life, perhaps even more than he missed having Robert as a lover, even though losing Robert somehow hurt more, since he had to watch Robert be happy without him.

He still missed Edward more than words could ever say.

He set the empty wine glass down, got to his feet. Walked over to the mirror sitting across the room.

Stared into it for a while, watched his eyes fade from red to green.

Knew it was an illusion, a trick of the mind that he had once constructed a potion to allow to grow stronger, rather than trying to dismiss what could be argued as insanity, hearing your brother’s voice in your ears, seeing his face in the mirror.

“Would you be happy with me? With the choices I have made? Would you be proud of this place, Edward?” Henry asked softly, pressing his forehead into the glass, eyes closed. One hand resting on the frame.

He would not get Edward’s answer, Jekyll’s alchemy could not do that. But he would get an answer.

“Do you really think that I would be? You gave up on me for our dream. Your dream was more important than I was, Henry.”

It was not fair. He was fairly sure all that Edward’s voice did was give Jekyll’s own misgivings a voice. But it was something. Sometimes a pleasant answer would come from it.

“Edward… I know I gave up but I had to try something on my own, I do not know if you are alive or dead, I made our dream come true why will you not come to it if you are alive?”

“Because I have chosen to continue hiding, Doctor Jekyll. Come and seek me, you shall find me.”

“Edward, please…”

But it was too late. Edward had disappeared within him again, melting out of his head and out of his reflection like a stain of breath upon a mirror.

Chapter Text

Hyde was in the middle of buttoning up a clean white shirt when Stephen walked into the room with breakfast.

As much as once in a while, he made Hyde get out of bed and help, he enjoyed cooking breakfast for the two of them while Hyde dozed or occasionally followed him to the kitchen and nursed a cup of coffee, stirred things together when Stephen asked him to.

But rarely was Hyde actually preparing for the day when Stephen walked back in.

“What happened here? I was sort of looking forward to helping.” Stephen teased.

Hyde smirked, grabbed a green waistcoat from the wardrobe, pulled it over his shoulders, began to fasten it up. “Well, I cannot remember where you are tonight, if you are here, you can help get them off.” He replied, rifling through his clothes in search of an actual coat.

“I am not, you are on your own for the night.” Stephen admitted, pulling the blond out of the closet and giving him a kiss. “Well, if I cannot help, tell me what you are getting dressed so nicely for.” He encouraged, rapidly spotting Hyde’s black coat and plucking it from the hanger. “Is this what you wanted?” He asked.

“Yes it is, thank you.” Hyde agreed, tugging that on as well. “And if you want to know where I am going, check yesterday’s paper.”

Stephen gaped, shaking his head. “Edward Hyde read the newspaper? Mark the day it is newsworthy!” He cried, reaching over to grab it.

“I always read the paper when I am job hunting, Steph.” Hyde reasoned, snickering. “People post job ads in there.”

“And which one did you spot in here?” Stephen asked.

“Shit! Cravat, almost forgot!” Hyde cried, quickly pulling one out and fixing it around his neck.

“You did not find something posh, Edward, did you?” Stephen asked skeptically. “You really think you have a chance with something posh?”

“The Society For Arcane Sciences, ran by an old friend of Edward Hyde and brother to a Scottish runaway is hiring. I am going to take my chance, however slim it is.” Hyde replied. “Steph, it is my chance to have a part of this without being unfair and crawling back to Henry now, when I have no right to ask him to let me in now that he has does all of this himself.”

Stephen walked over and straightened Hyde’s cravat. Handed him the tray of food and his cane. “Best eat and get going, interviewing starts at ten and you do not want to be late, you still have to cross London.”

Smiling to himself, Hyde sat down on the bed and tucked into his breakfast, Stephen seated beside him.

~

“So, Stephen, do you think you will be home when I get back?” Hyde asked, curiously, walking up to the doorstep of the fanciful building his brother had bought and repaired.

One with a little more taste may believe that it was a little excessive, grand and overbearing, but Hyde loved the look of it immediately. It was perfect, it was everything he and Jekyll had ever dreamed and more.

“I am afraid I shall not, I intend on remaining out. Fear not, I shall not be long. A day or two.” Stephen replied.

“You can spend whatever time you like with Julia, Stephen, just remember to pop in and let me know that you are alive, or at the very least make a phone call.” Hyde told him with a grin. “That is when I get concerned, is when I do not hear from you for a long while.”

“That is more than fair. Well then, I shall see you soon-” Hyde pulled him behind one of the marble columns in front of the building and gave him a rendition of a chaste parting kiss, though it was not very chaste at all.

“Ask Julia over for dinner sometime, it has been a while since I have seen her. She has always got funny stories about you, you do not do stuff like that around me!” Hyde told him. “We used to dine together once a week!”

“I was lead to believe that it made you uncomfortable, you never seemed very at ease when she was nearby.” Stephen explained.

“Nonsense. You were expecting one of us to be jealous and stopped doing it because it made you nervous. Unless Julia is jealous of me, all is well.”

“Alright, alright, I will invite her over this weekend for dinner. Now you go rock that interview, Eddie.”

They shared another kiss, and Stephen walked down the marble stairs while Hyde hobbled over to the huge set of double doors, swallowed down some nervousness, wiped his sweating palms on his trousers, and knocked on the door.

Heard all sorts of bubbling and bustling until finally the door was opened by an older, pleasant-faced woman, dark red lipstick, and goggles over her eyes. “Hello there, young man, welcome to the-”

“Hi try not to die during your stay!” Someone shouted over her, a young woman that was currently racing after something flying and very shiny.

“Flowers for once someone was actually doing a good job not scaring people away the moment the door opened, did you have to ruin it?” A large, mustached man with a huge grin asked.

“Sorry, Mister Bird. Sir, I take it you are here to see Doctor Jekyll? Missus Cantilupe can take you.” The woman with the shiny thing called, and then ran off.

“She is right, I am here to see Doctor Jekyll.” Hyde revealed.

“Excellent! Right this way, sir!” The woman, Missus Cantilupe, instructed, leading down the hallways.

Hyde tried to look around the society while they walked, but the woman kept a fast pace, one that was hard to keep up to while limping on a cane. He spotted labs with doors open, full of exotic plants, arcane chemicals, and some things that seemed far too flammable to be near the chemicals.

Led him to a little doorway leading to some stairs. “His office is just up there. Knock before walking in. Best of luck!”

Great. More stairs. Jekyll did not like making this place handicap accessible, maybe if Hyde get the job he would climb in through the window. That would be easier. Scaling walls was honestly easier than stairs at this point.

With a sigh, he struggled his way up the stairs and knocked on the wooden door.

“Just a moment!”

The voice that called was familiar as anything to Hyde, but the accent was all wrong. Years, and training, had washed out the influence of the country they were born in, Henry Jekyll now sounded like your typical posh, professional englishman.

There was a bit of movement to be heard outside the door, Hyde rapidly tore off his hat, remembering you were not meant to wear one inside, and at least tried to smooth out his hair before the door opened.

Thank god the first thing he had done this morning was dye his hair again.

“Hello there, wait, god, Edward, what are you doing here? It has been years! Edward Hyde, right, or I have just made a right fool of myself.” Jekyll realized, stopping dead.

“No no, I am Edward Hyde, you have it, Henry. Oh, sorry. Doctor Jekyll, now.” Hyde said with a smile.

“So what are you here for?” Jekyll asked.

He looked older, more tired, face a little flushed from alcohol.

“It is a long shot, probably a hopeless shot too, but… you are looking for help here? And I am out a job.” Hyde explained, badly, smiling a little nervously. “I am not the sort of person you want working here, I know that, I would not even try if I had somewhere else to go. But I do not.”

Jekyll sighed. “Come on inside, Mister Hyde. I truly do not have a lot of options here either, and truthfully, I would want to give you your chance anyways. That is what I do here that-” Jekyll almost stopped. “Well, you knew about him, that is… that is what my twin brother wanted to build this for. He wanted everyone to have their chance, no matter who they were, where they came from. If you wanted a lab downstairs I would not be turning you away, Mister Hyde.”

Jekyll turned around and led him into a warmly lit office, full of furnishings of glossy dark wood.

“Take a seat, we should talk a little before I just hire you, make the lodgers believe this is not an “out of options” situation. Listen, Mister Hyde, I am not going to pretend that people have been pounding on my door for the job. It has been running the papers for a week and you are the first to drop by. I am hiring you because I want to give you the chance-”

“And you do not have the choice. I know, Doctor Jekyll. And unless some restriction stops you, you can still call me Edward if you would rather, Mister Hyde is all stuffy no one calls me that. If you would rather you can just drop the Mister. Hyde will do.”

“Hyde will work, if you prefer.” Jekyll agreed, pulling out a paper. “I need you to sign a few things-”

“Doctor Jekyll.” Hyde had not fully decided that he was going to do this until he began to speak. “If you are going to offer me a job I appreciate it, but… there is something that you should know beforehand, it has lost me a lot of them.”

Jekyll looked surprised. “What might that be?’

Hyde tossed the bottle of pills onto the desk without much care. At least he had considered doing it so he had brought them. “Do you remember how sick I was all those years ago when you lived with Stephen and I?”

“Yes…” Jekyll agreed, turning the bottle over in his hands. “Hyde, I studied chemistry, not medicine, I know what this is but I do not necessarily know what it does to you.” He confessed.

“I do not either. I could ask the next time I go to the hospital, they keep me on those, it is not a thing that I want to do. I took them for pain starting at seventeen, nearly died when I was eighteen. Overdosed, purely by accident. Hospital told me I cannot go off of them, not without serious risks. I wanted off, Stephen… talked me out of it. I was mad at him for days. And here we are, fifteen years later.” Hyde held his hand out to the pill bottle. “Whether you want to hire me still or not I need that back. I can get a list of all the fucking with my head and body that they do if you want me to.”

“I can ask Doctor Lanyon, he will know. Hyde, I have to talk with Lanyon before I can hire you. Especially because of these.” He shook the bottle, handed it back. “I will admit you did complicate things. But… I do want to give you your chance here, Hyde. That is all I can do, is give you a chance. You… you have to continue to earn it. I do not care what you do on your own time, but on mine… you have to earn the chance for me to keep you here. I will not have anyone wrecking this for me, for Edward and I.” Jekyll warned. “But you are free to go, if you leave me a phone number I shall get back to you within the week.”

“You are not going to ask if I am qualified for this job?” Hyde asked, incredulous.

“Oh, please. I do know a little about you. Your only qualifications are the four months you worked for doctor Penhaligon when you first arrived in London. You are not qualified but I do not have another option and you need a shot. So I will allow you to spare me you trying to fluff up working in taverns.”

Hyde laughed and walked to the door.

 

“Robert, listen, you can give me your opinion all you want but I am hiring him.” Jekyll warned, crossing his arms over his chest. “He works hard, he will get on great with the lodgers and I built this place to give people the chance he needs right now.”

“Henry, this is ludicrous. You cannot hire him he is a health risk for everyone in this building. Oxycodone abusers suffer fits of madness-"

“He is not an abuser, his dose is controlled by trained doctors, just like yourself, Robert. Do you not trust your own training? He is not a health risk here.” Jekyll replied dismissively, waving a hand. “He is a nice man and no one else will hire him.”

“That is a sign, Henry, that everyone else has a decent head on their shoulders!” Robert replied irritably. “The madness will happen less often but it will still be there! He will suddenly snap and you will not be able to talk him down with pretty turns of phrases and a nice smile, he may hurt somebody!”

“What are the other symptoms you know. Not physical, in his head. I could tell some of the physical, his breathing sounds downright dangerously weak. And his eyes are weird.” Jekyll remarked. “He has got really small pupils.”

“Yes, that is a symptom. So is anxiety, and lowered motivation and being downright irritable why do you want a man like this working for you?” Lanyon asked, waving his hands up in the air. “He is dangerous why did you decide you will not hire anyone else?”

“Because, for one, he is the first one to even approach the society interested in the job I would have had him sign be papers today had he not told me about the drugs and I decided you would be mad if I did not inform you.” Jekyll replied, shrugging. “It was a courtesy, I was always intended to hire him. The second reason for hiring him is this almost exact situation is what Edward and I wanted this place for. So that anyone had their chance. Why should that only apply to the lodgers? If Mister Hyde needs a chance with a job I am going to give him that chance. This one costs less, we need an employee anyways and I do not have to borrow the fancy carriage and pay someone for it.”

“It costs less until he ruins something, Henry, you cannot trust this man he will run amuck in your plans and ruin this place for you if you give him the chance.” Robert reasoned. “Is that what your brother would have wanted?”

“I have already told him I am giving him the chance, he has to continue to earn it or I will find new help. Robert, you used to trust this man!” Jekyll protested, suddenly confused. “He lived with us for a few days he trusts us then and we trusted him, I lived with him for two weeks while I found an apartment I can give him this chance I am not afraid of him! He knows exactly what this place means to me, to us, he is not going to take that away from us!”

“I pray you are right, Henry.” Robert remarked. “There is no way to talk you into waiting another week to see if someone else comes in for the job? Someone more qualified? You know the only office work he has ever done is four months with doctor Penhaligon.”

Jekyll shook his head, sighed the tax form he had been working on. “Not a chance. I shall be teaching him myself how to run this office. Besides, I shall have him doing other things, too. I cannot have him filling out the taxes unless I put him on the deed to this place, for example. So he can manage the lodgers, too, make sure they do not burn the place down while my back is turned.”

“I still do not like it, Henry.” Robert warned. “I believe it is stupid and not worth the immense risk you put on yourself and your lodgers.”

“I am going to tell them about his addiction. They are going to know what he may be like and he is going to detail what to do in any situation to me so I can spread the word to the lodgers. If he refuses to that then he cannot have the job. Is that fair?” Jekyll asked, looking pointedly over at Lanyon.

“I still do not like it, but it is fair. I want to see the detailed paper on how to deal with it, and be allowed to offer corrections.” Lanyon declared.

“No. I will be sending him to his own doctor to prepare it, you can see it but you do not get to undermine his medical professional.” Jekyll replied. “That is not up for debate, Robert, you are not his doctor he has one who has been handling this since he was eighteen.”

Lanyon sighed. “Very well, that is more than fair but I still want to see it. The whole thing, I want to know what we are meant to do with every possible situation.”

“Of course, Lanyon, I would ask him for all of them. Why would I get an incomplete list? You are being ridiculous and I have had quite enough of it. I am hiring Mister Hyde, you can put in as many restrictions on that as you would like and I will complete them all and still hire him!” Jekyll declared, getting onto his feet and walking up into Lanyon’s face. “You will not undermine me on this one, Robert.”

Lanyon sniffed and turned around. “Very well, Henry. If I cannot convince you then I suppose I have to accept what you are doing.”

Lanyon left.

Jekyll turned to the mirror. “Would you be proud of me yet, Edward?”

Chapter Text

“Come on in, Hyde, I would like to give you a tour of the building before explaining the whole job here. The lodgers are eager to meet you. Are you doing okay? Can you keep up with me? I can slow down if you need.” Jekyll offered, turning around to face the blond, leaning heavily on his black cane with the pewter handle.

“I am alright, my ankle is playing up a little more than usual. I can keep up, fear not.” Hyde replied, with a bit of a smile as he limped into the society. “Am I late? Stephen and I had a friend over and things got tipsier quicker than I had thought that they would, I did not wake up when I meant to.”

“Not late enough for me to remark on.” Jekyll assured him, though he had been waiting in his office for ten minutes. People have lives. Not everyone stops everything to be on time. He reminded himself.

It is his first day of work. He should be on time. His brother’s voice sneered his own thoughts into the back of his head.

Jekyll sighed, dismissed the rich Scottish voice. He did not care if Hyde had been late, he was here now. “Come this way, they do not know you are here, so they are all hard at work.”

BOOM!

Some sort of explosion rumbled down the west wing. “And we are going to start with the east wing, Hyde. Luckett will deal with that.”

“Is that a regular occurance here?” Hyde asked curiously, glancing back towards the source of the noise.

“Mister Luckett studies detonative homeopathy. He explodes something almost daily. That is why the chemistry lab is down this way.” Jekyll explained with a grin. “Here is the first lab, did you want a full rundown or just to meet the lodgers?” He asked.

“I think I would like to see everything. I do like science, never got very far with it.” Hyde admitted with a smile.

“Do you?” Jekyll asked, a grin spreading on his face. “I never even knew! Why did you not mention it when we were younger?”

“Life did not set me up to go to college or make something of it. It is far too late to bother now.” Hyde replied dismissively. “I will content myself to watch what your lodgers get up to.”

“Well, feel free to come down and help out when you are not working upstairs, they will gladly show around and let you help.” Jekyll assured him.

The blond grinned at the idea, green eyes bright. The doctor knocked on the door. “Mister Bird? Mister Bird are you too busy to be introduced to our newest addition?” He called.

“No no, of course not, come on in, Doctor Jekyll!” A man replied.

Jekyll opened the door and led Hyde inside, to the warm, humid room that housed Mister Bird’s laboratory.

Otherwise known as a greenhouse. “Mister Bird, this is our latest member of staff, Mister Edward Hyde. Mister Hyde, this is Mister Bird, our resident crypto-horticulturist.”

“Pleased to meet you, Mister Hyde!” Bird declared, holding out a hand to shake the blond’s. Hyde caught on within a few seconds, but made it clear he lived without stiff formalities nonetheless by his hesitation

“Just Hyde will do.” Hyde said with a smile. “No need to waste formalities on me. So what exactly do you study? Plants, I assume.” He remarked, snickering and looking around the room.

“I study plants that you do not find in any old spot of London, try and discover what sort of properties they may have, in medicine or other places. They are truly amazing beings, though you would never notice!” Bird declared.

Hyde nodded, looking over one of the bigger ones, coloured vibrant shades of purple and green. “Careful!” Bird cried, batting his hand away the moment it lifted. “It is incredibly toxic you do not want to touch it.”

Hyde pulled his hand back towards himself. “Clearly a good thing I never went into horticulture, I would be dead by now.” He laughed.

“You get better the longer you are in it, I nearly got eaten in my first year. So, is there anything that you would like to know about in particular, or shall I allow you to continue your tour?”

Jekyll coughed. “I would like to finish the tour and show Hyde around the job today. Perhaps explanations can wait for another day? You may give them, by all means-”

“Just not today. Got it.” Bird tipped his straw hat. “Well then, enjoy your tour, Hyde!”

“I will!” Hyde agreed, and he and Jekyll stepped out of the room.

Something small and fuzzy scampered down the hallway. Jekyll almost called for Lavender or Cantilupe to collect their creature, until he realized that it was Zosi, racing up to meet Hyde again for the first time in fifteen years.

“Zosi!” Hyde cried, delighted, crouched down to pat the little furball. “You are as excitable as ever, I see!”

“Church Grims do not age, so he is still practically a puppy.” Jekyll said fondly. “Has not settled down one bit, drives half the lodgers mad, the other half adores him.”

“How could he drive the lodgers mad? He is adorable!” Hyde declared, patting the little creature’s head. Zosi licked his fingers.

“He gets into their labs and knocks over their equipment, generally makes a right nuisance of himself. Drives certain lodgers nuts. Griffin, for one, but truly, he is a cat person so I should not be surprised that he does not like Zosi.” Jekyll explained, crouching down to give the pup a fond pat on the head and then standing back up. “Come along, Hyde, there is much more to see. Zosi will likely follow you.” He remarked. “He has always liked you.”

“What can I say, Doctor Jekyll, I am a likeable guy.” Hyde laughed.

“Not in this half of London, Hyde.” Jekyll warned, with a small smile. “Well known, maybe, but not well liked.”

“Well known? That is absolutely unfair I barely come here!” Hyde complained.

“You live in Soho."

“Oh, damn, you are right, I do.” Hyde agreed with a sigh. “Good old Soho. I only really sleep and eat breakfast there, home is boring. Surely my reputation cannot be that bad.”

“Worse. Almost bad enough to prevent me hiring you. Have you got that list from your doctor?” Jekyll asked.

“I left it on the counter when I realized I was late. I will have it with me tomorrow." Hyde promised. “And that blows. Hm. On the bright side, the whole damned city knows my name.”

“And soon it will be attached to mine. So you will have to smarten up a little.” Jekyll told him.

“You got it, Doctor.”

“Good.”

“Now, are we going to finish this tour or what?” Hyde asked, getting to his feet after patting Zosi’s head once more.

“Of course. Did you have any preferred studies to see?” Jekyll asked, to know which rooms they should stop in and talk, and which they should just do a quick introduction.

“Hm… not really I never got that far into my studies to know what I preferred. Just show me your favourites if we are pressed for time.” Hyde offered.

Jekyll nodded. “Well, Miss Ito is the next room, it is my lab as well as hers. She is standoffish, I should introduce you two and get to you talking personally or she will simply criticize.” He decided, thinking of his apprentice.

“You have a lab here?”

“That I do. I myself am there regretfully seldom, but Virginia Ito, my apprentice, spends much of her time there. I am hoping to have more time to teach her now that you will be handling much of the office work that keeps me from my research.”

“She will be happy about that, I am sure.”

“She will not show it.” Jekyll remarked.

“If either of us were out for gratitude, we would not be here.” Edward Hyde reasoned. “I do not expect anyone's respect here, Doctor Jekyll, particularly when I have done nothing to earn it. And as you inform me, my reputation in this end of London is not flattering.”

“And neither are most of theirs, Hyde. Most if them I saved from being arrested.” Jekyll explained.

“I wish someone had been there to save me being arrested, at least one of the three times.” Hyde laughed.

“Three times? For what?”

“Once for a fight, actually at work, also got fired for it, once for another fight at a different pub but that one a candle got knocked over and I got charged with arson, and once I confronted a lady in Soho and the police favoured the lady.” Hyde replied. “Stephen has a way with words he got me out of there without too much trouble.”

“Do you still see Stephen?”

“Even after sixteen years, Doctor Jekyll.”

“That is good to hear. Send him my best, Hyde. Now come along, we should meet the other lodgers.”

 

“Henry sends his best, love.” Hyde announced upon walking into their apartment, pulled the brunet into a kiss. “God, I missed you. How was Julia?”

“She is coming for dinner like you told me to invite her, remember, I told you last night, this was the only day that worked for her for the next week and a half. Ask her yourself, when she gets here.” Stephen invited. “Besides you asked me that last night.”

Hyde nodded, grinning. “Good, I can learn all the juicy gossip about you that she knows.” He teased. “And I was drunk last night!”

“Were you late this morning?” Stephen asked.

“Maybe a few minutes, Henry did not seem too peeved with me. I will not make a habit.” Hyde replied, smirking a little. “So, what are we cooking?”

“What's this? Is Edward Hyde offering to help me cook without me having to force him? Unbelievable!” Stephen laughed. “Seriously though, I have it under control it is already cooking. Just come and sit down, relax. You had your first day at work tell me about it! Is the society everything you dreamed and more?”

Hyde beamed. “Oh, Stephen, it was incredible! Better than I ever imagined it would be it is amazing, the research going on there is mind-blowing, they have a plant that nearly killed me, or rather it was toxic and I almost touched it but Mister Bird stopped me, and they have a man there trying to turn things invisible, imagine if we could turn things invisible, Stephen! Henry's got an apprentice already, her Virginia Ito, I do not think she likes me much in fact I do not think that she likes anybody much, including Henry, but her work was fascinating. Luckett nearly blew Henry and I up but he was still really nice and it was not like he did it on purpose, he was studying the explosion.” Hyde babbled excitedly, but Stephen detected a touch of envy in his voice as he spoke about the people studying with his brother.

“You could be studying there too, if you wanted to.’ Stephen pointed out.

“I know nothing of what I was supposed to. I was meant to have studied alongside Henry and I did not. I was meant to have my degree in biology and I do not, I was meant to have helped Henry build that place. I cannot just walk in and reap the rewards now. Besides… my reputation is known across London, not just in the slums. Edward Hyde cannot be Henry Jekyll’s brother. As for just studying there without a confession, I know nothing of sciences to study.” Hyde replied. “I wish I could, Stephen. But I cannot.”

Stephen was about to reply when there was a knock at the door. Hyde rushed over to open it. “Julia! Long time no see, how have you been?”

“I have been great, Edward, it has been a long time! I am told it is Stephen's fault and not yours, so we will have to get him for it later.” She giggled. “How have you been?”

“I have another new job.” Hyde admitted.

“An new job? I cannot say I am surprised, Eddie, you seem to get a lot of those. Where do you work now?” Julia asked.

“The Society For Arcane Sciences. I am out of pubs that will hire me, so I went there.” Hyde replied.

“Ambitious choice, Eddie! What do you do there?” Julia asked, curious.

“What needs to be done, technically office work. I am far from qualified but it is last ditch for both Doctor Jekyll and myself.” Hyde replied.

“Fair enough, a job is a job.” Julia decided. “Are you going to let me in the house, Eddie,or shall I stand out here for the night?” She asked with a grin as the wind blew her glossy black hair into her face.

“Oh! Right! You know me, no manners whatsoever. Come on in, Julia.” Hyde agreed, moving out of the way for the woman to walk in.

“Oh, you have not changed one bit!” Julia laughed and stepped into the apartment. “Stephen, are you even here? I have not heard a peep from you!”

“I am cooking, Julia, you know Eddie hates kitchens so I avoid the fight and do it myself. I am right in the kitchen it has not moved since you were last here!” Stephen called.

“Hey, I offered to help you!” Hyde protested, shaking his head. “You make me seem like such a jerk. Anyways, the kitchen is right this way, Julia.”

“Oh, if Stephen wants to play hard done by and hang out in the kitchen, let him. Come and catch up with me Edward it has been forever!” Julia invited, bypassing the kitchen and heading for the sitting room, brown eyes sparkling.

“See you later, Steph!” Hyde called, limping after her into the other room.

“Have fun! Do not get into trouble until I get there!” Stephen laughed.

Hyde walked into the sitting room and sat beside Julia. “It is good to see you again, Julia, it truly has been ages.” He told her.

“And you too. You know you are welcome to-"

“I know, I know, I am welcome to join you. I am just not comfortable. Honestly, you started seeing Stephen years ago and offered then, I should have told you then. I had a bad experience with a woman who tried to force herself on me when I was seventeen. So nothing personal, but I will keep women as friends, not lovers.” Hyde explained.

“Oh, god, Eddie, you should have told me, I feel horrible-"

“I would have said something if the offer bothered me.” Hyde assured her. “So anyways, what have you been up to?” He asked. “Been keeping busy?”

“My sister is to be wed and the whole family is going nuts about it.” Julia replied. “I have been helping her with planning, her husband-to-be is sweet but a little lacking in the details area. Naturally it has brought up the question of when am I getting married, which I am not ever, at this point, but it has still been fun going over the plans and picking the dress and everything of the sort.”

“You are never going to marry Steph? Aw, you are going to break his heart!” Hyde laughed.

“That is not even close to fair to you, Edward, if we did get married.” Julia pointed out.

“Oh, hell, it is not like I can marry him, why should I care if you two want to tie the knot and all that? Just tell me beforehand.” Even as he kept up his joke a twinge played in his chest. “Oh. Maybe I do get the logic a little.” He confessed.

“You need not worry, watching the fuss everything is with my sister, I do not want to be wed anytime soon.” Julia assured him. “You two could get married with a little bit of forgery if you put Stephen in a dress!”

Hyde burst out laughing. “Well, that is it, I am sold, Stephen we are getting married!” He called just as Stephen walked in, squished them all on the couch by sitting beside Hyde.

“Are we? What date, I have to book a place a month late to be sure you will be in attendance for your own wedding.” Stephen teased.

“Oh, ouch. I am not that bad for being late.” Hyde complained, rolling his eyes. “That would be something if we could actually fool the Catholic church that you were a woman.”

“Me? You have the pretty face and the long hair, if we are getting married you are wearing the dress.” Stephen teased.

I have the pretty face? You are dreaming!” Hyde giggled.

Stephen laughed and when and gave him a hug. “God, you are adorable.” He remarked. “But you are in the dress.”

“Boys, boys, you are both pretty and you can both wear a dress.” Julia laughed.

All three of them collapsed into a fit of giggles. “Would that not be something?” Hyde snorted. “Defeats the purpose of having either of us in a dress at all, though. Whatever. Who the hell needs a piece of paper to have a relationship?”

“You make a fair point.” Stephen agreed.

“I would still pay money to see you wear a dress, Steph.” Hyde declared, snickering. “All frilly and lacy, hmmm…” he trailed off, gazing off into the far wall.

“What now, what has Julia helped you come up with?” Stephen asked, grinning and kissing his cheek to let him know he was teasing.

“Hey, his mind wandering is not my fault! Anyways, what is it, Eddie?” Julia asked, eyes bright and filled with curiosity.

“Hm, just all this picturing Steph in a dress is making me wonder what it would be like to take it off him.” Hyde confessed with a wicked grin.

Chapter Text

“Doctor Jekyll!” Hyde was ten minutes early at Stephen’s insistence, doctor’s note on symptoms and how to handle them all.

He had read through it last night. Again, that was Stephen’s will and he was not willing to take no for an answer.

Reading the paper had left a bitter taste in Hyde’s mouth. There were a lot of dangerous symptoms that Stephen had always known and Hyde had been supposed to know, since Stephen was not always around, but he had not.

He was dangerous. Not only to himself, but to others.

He hobbled towards the doctor. It was one of those days where the pill he had to take every morning had not done him no good his ankle positively ached after his walk there. “Doctor, please, I cannot catch up to you!” He called.

“Oh! Hyde! Dreadfully sorry, I am in the clouds today. Here, no rush.” Jekyll rushed over to the blond to prevent him having to try and catch up. “What is it? Are you not early?” He queried.

“I was late yesterday. I thought it may be a good idea to be early today.” Hyde explained with a smile, though it had been entirely Stephen’s idea.

“You did not have to, you were hardly late yesterday. So, what did you need me for? Today is easy, several grant requests I have mostly filled out, some other odds and ends and I shall be in the office today with you.” Jekyll told him.

“I have the papers that you had asked for. From my doctor. And you have my consent to share it with whom you see fit.” Hyde explained, handing it over to Jekyll.

“So it is alright if the lodgers see it? Not to invade your privacy, for your own safety-”

“And theirs. As I said, it is at your discretion, Doctor Jekyll. Show it to whom you need to.” Hyde replied quickly.

Part of him wanted to deny Jekyll that right, but then it was pointless to have provided it if only Jekyll and Lanyon could see it.

“Thank you. If any of them harass you about it, let me know. I do not think they will, but if they do.” Jekyll instructed.

“Got it.” Hyde agreed. He did not intend to put up with harassment over something that he could not truly control anymore. He had had the chance when he was eighteen to get off the pills, possibly, and in the end, he had agreed with Stephen.

The risk was not worth the reward. It still was not. Perhaps if he had an adverse reaction that would change, but for now it had not.

Stephen had been right. It would not have been worth risking his life over a simple pill that had not done worse than cause mood swings.

“Anyways, follow me to the office we’ll get everything in there set up for you.” Jekyll declared, setting off for the stairs to the office. “We will have to find a better way for you to get up to the office, these stairs cannot be pleasant for you.”

“Oh, doctor, just leave the window unlocked.  I can scale a wall better than I can climb stairs.” Hyde assured him with a smile, following along behind Jekyll.

“Really? A wall? Easier?” Jekyll seemed incredulous.

“Yeah. I taught myself to do it after I moved here and saw someone else try. So I learned to do it with my ankle already messed up.” Hyde lied.

“Interesting. Well, I shall ensure to leave that window open for you, Hyde, as odd as it is.” Jekyll agreed, beginning to scale the stairs, taking his time.

“You cannot help me get up the stairs faster by waiting on me, Doctor Jekyll. Wait for me at the top.” Hyde suggested.

“Alright, fine, I will get some stuff in the office set out.” Jekyll agreed.

He jogged up the stairs, Hyde fought to keep moving. Stairs were hell, even with a cane.

It sucked. His stupid ankle made it difficult to start with, and today it had decided to be in pain, too.

He barely stumbled up to the top and pushed the door open. “Okay, I need to sit down, please.”

Jekyll nodded and helped him to a seat. “There you are, apologies. This office is quite inconvenient for you, is it not?”

“As I said. Window will be easier.” Hyde assured him.

“If you are certain. My brother once tried to teach me how to climb on rooftops. Perhaps he is the man you saw that inspired you to learn.” Jekyll remarked. “He does live in London, after all. You may have seen him on one of your journeys. I like to think that the shadows on the roof may be him, keeping tabs on this place. I hope he would like it.”

“I am sure he would. It is an impressive place.” Hyde assured him.

Christ, it had been such a long time since he had tried to teach Henry Jekyll how to scamper on the rooftops. It had gone utterly atrociously.

“Come on, Henry, it isn’t that hard! Just watch where you put your feet, and jump! You will do great!” Edward called, leaping off the roof of the home that he and his brother loved in onto their neighbour’s.

“How do you manage this, Eddie? This is impossible!” Henry complained, nearly slipping off the side again.

“Come on, Henry, you will do fine! Take a deep breath,a few steps and jump!” Edward called, pushing his dark hair out of his face. “I know you will do great but you have to trust me and try, first!”

Henry swallowed hard. He looked a little pale. A little sick. Even so, he took a deep breath like Edward told him to, he had to do this he had to prove to Edward that they were not so different, had to do this for Edward, he had promised that he would do this for Edward.

Jogged a few steps and leapt to the roof beside them. Nearly fell but Edward caught him and hauled him back to his feet before pulling him into a hug. “You did it!” He cried.

Henry was not as excited. He was swaying a little on his feet, breathing heavy. “Take a minute to relax we do not have to go quickly.” Edward assured him.

Henry nodded. Took a moment to breathe deeply, try and force himself to relax. He was not dead. He had not fallen. Edward would not let him fall. His brother would not let him fall.

He was safe. He took a few more deep breaths. Edward was still grinning like a fool, ecstatic to have finally dragged his brother up here Henry could not quit now it was not fair to him. He had promised to learn how to do this. So that the brothers always had their own world to escape to.

So he had to do this. He took another huge breath in, blew it out and gave Edward a shaky smile. “Let us keep moving, you have a lot to teach me and not a lot of time!”

“We can always come up here again.” Edward told him, but scurried up the roof anyways, relishing the sound of each shingle crunching beneath his feet.

God, he loved it up here, the sights, the sounds, the street lamps flickering their ghostly glow around the entire city. He knew he could not, but he felt like he could see the whole city, be a part of the whole city.

It was almost magical. It was the best feeling in the world. Just right now, he felt like he belonged somewhere. Just right now, Edinburgh was home and he was part of it, not a little shadow locked in the Jekyll’s kitchen.

Just right now he was free.

And it was even better with Henry with him. “Come up to the top, Henry, you can see everything from here! Or rather, it feels like you can!” Edward called.

Henry visibly steeled himself before starting to scramble up the steep slope Edward had scaled to stand on the peak.

If it had worked, it would have been swell. But instead, Edward watched in horror as his brother put his foot down on a patch of moss. “Henry!” He cried, lunging forwards, but Henry had already slipped.

“Henry!” Edward cried again, trying to catch onto his brother but he only managed to watch in horror as Henry crashed off the roof.

He scurried down to the edge and, like a cat climbing a tree, climbed down the wall to stand beside his brother. “Henry?”

Henry did not answer. His arm was bent at an odd angle. There was a scrape on his forehead. “Henry?”

Still no answer.

Terrified, Edward ran into the house to fetch his parents.

They were going to kill him.

“Hyde? Mister Hyde, are you alright? You seem a little… lost.” Jekyll had a hand on his shoulder, a concerned look on his face.

Hyde blinked a few times, shook his head. “Oh! Dreadfully sorry. I seem to have zoned out. Just… something you mentioned must have reminded me of my childhood.” He smiled, a little uneasy. “I fear I was a little lost to the memory. Anyways, shall we get to work then?”

 

“Henry, did you even read half of this list? Psychosis? Increased anxiety? Did you even pretend that you cared about the lodger’s safety? About your safety about sponsor’s safety about anyone’s safety? Hyde is a fucking healthy risk and you damned well know it!” Lanyon cried, throwing the paper down on Jekyll’s desk and throwing his arms up in the air. “This is ludicrous! You never should have hired him without talking to me about it first and you know well that my answer would have been no! This is too dangerous! Find a reason and fire him!”

“Robert, I am not going to do that. Not only is it heartless and unkind to a man who needs help, it is highly inappropriate of me to fire a man I only just hired. Besides. Those can all be managed and he will be fine, if he is treated with a healthy little bit of caution. I will not fire him just because he makes you uneasy.” Jekyll said with a heavy sigh, buried his face in his hands for a few short seconds before returning to the form he was filling out.

Hyde had gone home just a few minutes ago, his shift over. Sure enough, he had climbed out of the window rather than down the stairs, and had a much easier time doing that then trying to climb the stairs.

Which was good. The stairs were very clearly not easy on him.

It was… odd, to say the least, watching him just climb out the window but hey, whatever worked. Not everyone fell off buildings like he had as a child  

God, that was so long ago he had nearly forgotten…

“Henry! Are you even listening to me?” Lanyon asked irritably.

“No.” Jekyll replied, tone just as annoyed as Lanyon’s. “No I am not, because you are being unnecessarily cruel. We do not need to get rid of Hyde. We can at the very least give him a chance! He has had two days here and there has been no issue and you still wish to get rid of him! I tell you this, Robert, I am not even considering that until he has done something dangerous.” The doctor decided.

God, he needed a drink if he was to put up with Lanyon’s complaints. He set his quill down and walked over to the cabinet. “Can I interest you in a glass of wine?” He offered. Lanyon nodded.

Jekyll smiled and poured them each a class of rich red wine. He did not really have the money for it, but he only poured fine wine when Robert Lanyon was drinking with him.

“Now. Need we continue this discussion or can we speak of something more pleasant? Taxes, perhaps?” Jekyll asked pointedly, handing Lanyon his glass.

“Nice, nice. A good way to keep friends.” Edward Jekyll sneered from the mirror.

Jekyll sighed. Of course his little insecurities had to pop up now that he was finally standing up to Robert about his decision. “I am sorry. I did not mean to snap.” He said, like a good little gentleman.

Robert frowned, took a sip of his wine. “I am only trying to help you, Henry. Edward Hyde is dangerous. He is not your teenage friend anymore, Henry, and arguably he was not the best of men back then either.”

“I made this place to give people a chance.” Jekyll reminded him.

“People like your brother. Who fate disfavoured. Not for people like Edward Hyde.” Lanyon declared, swishing his wine around in the glass.

“Hyde has been disfavoured by fate. His parents died after he left Scotland, he broke his ankle just before leaving, and a friend of his got him addicted to painkillers that now for medical reasons he can not go off.” Jekyll reasoned.

It seemed fairly sound to him. Hyde had suffered a lot and he was more than deserving of a second chance, even if Jekyll was skeptical about giving it.

He would never confess his skepticism to Lanyon, though. Lanyon did not need another way to push for Jekyll to get rid of Hyde.

“And why did he take the damned things in the first place? Did he not know how stupid it was?” Lanyon asked.

“Not everyone was completing a degree in medicine when they were teenagers. Hyde was here to explore. Not to study. He did not have the knowledge of what he was taking.” Jekyll reminded him. “You or I may have known, you knowing medicine and me knowing chemistry… but Edward Hyde likely never even completed primary school. His parents would have needed him to work in the bar. You must stop punishing him for one bad decision.”

“Robert does not have to do anything for you. Maybe he is right.” A voice thick with the tones of Scotland reminded him, tone mocking.

“I do not have to do anything! He never faced a damned consequence for that well it is high time he does!” Lanyon retorted. “Justify why the money my father destined to go to me to build myself a medical practice is going to paying him! You know everything I get for us comes out of my inheritance!”

“You are an only child, Robert, quit being so dramatic. The whole estate goes to you when he dies.” Henry reminded his friend. “Which is better than I will ever get from my parents and their failed bank. Most often, I have to send them money.”

“I will remind you that my father has sectioned off much of the estate to go to the church, Henry.” Lanyon retorted. “And your society is getting paid for by my portion. I will not have that going to pay Edward Hyde the dangerous opioid addict to work for us.”

“Then convince yourself the money I get through filing taxes and research grants goes to pay Hyde, and yours goes to research.” Jekyll said with a shrug. “I do not know why you will not just let it go  He is hired, and since you left recruitment up to me, that means that the final call is mine.”

“Henry, you do not just get to hire a man like that and then tell me it is only your call, because you are wrong! Recruitment is up to you. Recruitment, however, is the lodgers. Because of what you built this place for, so long as we can afford it, I will never stop you taking in a lodger. Hiring, on the other hand, is not just you.” Lanyon told him.

Jekyll raised an eyebrow. “If that is so why did you let me go out and hire Rachel?”

“Look at Miss Pidgley. Look at Mister Hyde. Do you notice the difference yet? The worst Miss Pidgley does is scare new lodgers by running up to you with a knife or something and Lord knows she will never use it on you.” Lanyon’s voice was flat.

“Yeah. Miss Pidgley will never hurt anyone, did you get a look at the scars on Hyde? Do you want to tell me he got those by never raising a finger against anyone?”

Hyde did have a great number of scars, probably from bar-fight. He had three arrests to his name, that was common knowledge after his last one had been for harassing a member of a hospital board.

Frankly, the woman had earned being harassed if you asked Jekyll.

But one arrest for a bar-fight out of hand that the police got involved in, one for arson, both that he had been paid out of jail and the charge for arson had been dropped later, though there had still been a fire and he was likely responsible, just not maliciously.

Loose-lipped coppers admitted that he should have been arrested a fourth time, but giving he was bleeding from a long, relatively deep cut on his neck, they had simply escorted him straight to the hospital.

“Mister Hyde is not going to cause any trouble. He needs this job as much as we need him here.” Jekyll assured his friend, taking another sip of his tart wine.

“We do not need him here, Henry. Anyone else could have done so much better a job without being dangerous!” Lanyon cried, hand not holding a wine glass perched on his hip. He was getting more and more frustrated, but so was Jekyll.

“Exactly, darling doctor, why are you so convinced that you need that man here to help?”

In that case, the voice was actually helpful. Though it did nothing to ease his frustration, and as he began speaking, it was far louder and angrier than he had meant to be. “Listen, Robert, we did not have ten candidates for this! We had Mister Hyde, that is it! So excuse me if to spare my eventual burn out from running all of this office myself, I hired the only person interested in working here! Now if you are quite finished having this debate with me, you and I have a dinner to get to.”

Chapter Text

Rachel shrieked as two pairs of spindly hands suddenly grabbed her shoulders with a loud “BOO!”

There was a fit of giggles behind her as Hyde lost his entire aura of intimidation. “You should see your face, Rachel!” He crowed.

“Master Hyde! You fair scared the life out of me! Do you not have work to be doing?” Rachel accused, taking a few deep breaths to calm herself. Hyde was still wheezing with laughter. God, that never got old.

“Work? No, Jekyll sent me for a break.” Hyde replied. “Nobody can sit still for a whole day! Well, besides Jekyll but he is a bit of an odd one.”

Okay, so it had not been a planned break. Jekyll had gotten fed up with Hyde’s babbling and fidgeting, and pacing the office.

He was probably not making the greatest impression, over the passed month much had been similar to today. He was twitchy, and he was fairly sure he was driving his brother mad.

Which was probably not a good idea. His brother was the one giving him a job… not to mention that emotionally, he did want to make a good impression. He wanted Henry to like him, he wanted his brother to like him. That was normal, was it not? To want his twin to like him?

“Be careful, Master Hyde, around here, that is a mutiny!” Rachel giggled.

“Mutiny is my middle name!” Hyde declared, laughing some more.

“You said your middle name was Anthony when I asked. And then you said it was intimidating. And then-"

“Okay, okay, you win, my middle name is Anthony.” Hyde cut her off in a hurry. “Have you got any cookies in here? I am starving!” He announced.

“They are not for you!” Rachel told him quickly. “They are for after dinner!”

“My shift ends before dinner. I have to go home and cook still, there is no one there! And you will not even give me a cookie?” Hyde whined.

“No, I will not.” Rachel replied. “You used that excuse yesterday.” She reminded him, shaking her head.

“And it is still true!” Hyde argued. “Steph’s away for the week, with his lover!” Might as well be honest about where his partner was, it was not like he could ever tell Rachel that he was dating a man. That would not go over well. He did not know her well enough.

“Thirty-three years old, still living like you just moved over, with his roommate.” Rachel snickered. “When will Edward Anthony Hyde ever grow up?”

“Hey! It is my apartment. He is the one who needs to grow up!”

“And you have done nothing about him remaining there.” Of course he had not. No man willingly killed his sex life, especially not when- not the subject. “Either way, you are more than capable of cooking for yourself- Hey!”

While Rachel was talking, Hyde had found where she kept the cookies and grabbed several out of the basket they were in, stuffed one in his mouth immediately. She swatted his arm in mock anger. He gave her a shit-eating grin.

“You are a jerk, Master Hyde. Go back to work!” She told him jokingly.

“I told you. I have a break. I am getting out some energy!”

“So you come and eat cookies.”

“Precisely!” Hyde agreed, stuffed another into his mouth.

“Do you understand the irony here, Master Hyde? Sugar is going to make you more hyperactive.” Rachel pointed out.

“Mister Hyde!” Lanyon was in the doorway. Hyde squeaked and dropped the other cookies that were still in his hands.

He had been avoiding Lanyon and this inevitable confrontation for a month now.

“Doctor Lanyon!” He grinned, a little too falsely. “I was just heading back upstairs, Doctor Jekyll will be waiting for me-"

“I am certain you will not face trouble for speaking with me. I will leaving with Jekyll for a dinner soon, I shall be sure to tell him you were with me.” Lanyon said. His smile was confident… and menacing.

Hyde bit back a groan and grabbed his cane. He was not going to get a choice in this matter, he may as well go without a fuss.

Lanyon did not give him a smidgen of a chance to catch up, Hyde hobbled after him, leaning heavily on his cane.

Goddamn Lanyon, stupid fucking doctor, why did he have to try and ruin things like this? Why could he not just accept that he had lost, and just give in and let Hyde have this?

“What do you want?” Hyde asked.

“You just could not listen to one thing I told you!” Lanyon accused, glaring down at the smaller blond. “You just could not to one thing for Henry, could you?” His voice dropped as he led Hyde outside. “You could not put your brother before yourself for once in your life?” He demanded.

“What do you mean?” Hyde hissed, glancing around the street to ensure that no one was listening to them. “I have not done anything! I have done nothing to you or Doctor Jekyll!”

“You know precisely what you did, Hyde! Why are you working here?” Lanyon asked, hands on his hips. “You promised me that you knew it was best for your brother if you stayed away!” Lanyon said, throwing his hands into the air in frustration.

“Edward Jekyll has stayed away. I did not tell him who I was, or I imagine I would have caused a lot more change than just a new office assistant!” Hyde said in protest. “He needed someone to work here, I needed a job! It just so happened to work!” He looked up to glare at Lanyon with vivid green eyes. “He has not a clue who I am.”

“Your little technicalities do not make a difference, Hyde! Your name is still now tied to Jekyll’s, albeit less so than if you had simply come out as being his brother.” Lanyon said, his voice remained cold and quiet while Hyde grew slowly louder and more defensive.

“You told me-”

“To stay away from Jekyll. Which you have completely, utterly failed to do.” Lanyon reminded him, raising an eyebrow. “Do you intend to keep trying to worm your way out of reality?”

“Doctor Lanyon, this was my dream too! I was not going to sit around and watch a chance to be apart of it pass me by! I am not going any harm!” Hyde was really trying to stay calm, but he was really failing to do so.

“Until you do! Until the drugs you are on make you lose it and your hurt your brother or a lodger or some random citizen and Jekyll thinks he has to defend you and drags himself down in doing so!” Lanyon’s reasoning was fairly sound at first glance. “Besides. You watched your chance at that dream pass you by when your jumped through your own window!”

Okay, that was true, and that hurt to be reminded of. In a way, he had thrown his chance away, years ago. Sixteen years ago.

But the other part… Lanyon did not know one important fact. One fact that made Lanyon completely false in his accusations about the drugs.

“My… medication, has never once been the reason I lashed out, Doctor Lanyon. You do not know me, and you can cease pretending that a degree and an honorific title means you do. The worst that I have ever done because of my meds, according to my own doctor, is forget where I am for a while and have to be reminded, or have a fix of hysterical anxiety, which was not too difficult to help, either. Both of which, no one got hurt.” Hyde spat. “So you can stop making filthy accusations about me. I have done nothing you believe I have. Everything that had gotten me arrested was my intention to do.”

“Are you stupid enough to believe that makes anything better?” Lanyon asked pointedly.

“I will have you know that it is, in fact, better, because that also means that I could theoretically choose not to repeat what I have done, say, in the name of preserving my brother’s imagine through myself. So, since none of my unfavourable traits have been out of control, and I have not informed my brother of who I am, I believe that your arguments are invalid. Thus, I am going to go and get back to work. Have fun at that dinner!” Hyde turned on his right heel and made for the door to the society.

“Mister Hyde!” Lanyon called.

Hyde rolled his green eyes and turned back around. “What.” He said.

“You are going to quit. Or I will force you to.”

Hyde laughed, loud and harsh and barking. “Oh, Doctor Lanyon… I would like to see you try!”

And with that, he walked back into the society, Lanyon fuming behind him, a huge grin painted on the blond’s face.

There was not a soul in the world who could threaten him or push him around. Especially not a doctor so fucking full of himself as Doctor Lanyon. Hyde was not doing any harm here. He was well within his rights to work here without being harrassed.

Lanyon was just going to have to deal.

 

The talk had not gone the way that Doctor Lanyon had wanted it to. The insolent little blond had not listened to a word that Lanyon had said, had not even cared about the valid points and concerns that the doctor had brought up.

He was an insolent, intolerable little brat who had never fully grown up. He had no respect for those in a higher station than himself.

And he was soon going to learn why he had best learn some. A doctor had a lot of power over someone such as Edward Hyde, who was not even a gentleman. Who was a well-known ruffian who lived in SoHo but resided in Bethnal Green.

He was going to learn to heed warnings when they were given.

“Are you quite alright, Robert? Hyde tells me you pulled him aside to speak to him. Did the talk put your mind at ease about him? Truly, he is not a dislikable fellow. Though I do wish he was more capable of sitting still. He has far too much energy.” Jekyll remarked, fixing a twisted and wrinkled shirtsleeve. “I had to send him on a few ten minute walks today, it was worse than usual.”

“I did have a talk with him. I am not at ease with him, no, but I suppose he could be quite a bit worse.” Lanyon conceded, letting out a heavy sigh. “I still do not approve of him.”

“Do not start this with me again, Robert. The decision is already made. You cannot change my mind.” Jekyll said.

Lanyon sighed. He had known that already. If he wanted to be rid of Hyde, he would have to arrange that himself. Hyde would not be that hard to find a good reason to get him fired. He would get into a fight or get arrested or something similar and Jekyll would have to quit. Would have to give up this righteous quest to save an old friend and accept that said friend was hopeless.

Before Hyde slipped up and admitted who he was. If that happened… it would just plain be a disaster. Nothing would go how it should if Hyde opened his big mouth too soon.

“So. How go the rest of the lodgers?” Lanyon asked.

“You could ask them yourself.” Jekyll said with a small smile. “They do not often bite, they will not hurt you because you asked a question. Particularly not one about their work. Wellbeing, maybe, they are not the troup with the… best self-care in the world, I will confess. But they try, and Miss Pidgley at the very least keeps them eating.”

“It sounds as though you should likely say something. Mandate some sort of curfew or something of the sort.” Lanyon remarked.

“Why, Robert, I shall not make myself a hypocrite!” Jekyll protested. “I do not have a… model schedule either. Besides. It is their lives, they are welcome to run them as they please.”

“I am going to pretend that what you have just told me is not concerning.” Lanyon said, sighing.

“Whatever you have to do so that you can sleep at night.” Jekyll said.

“Why, Henry! I have a wife, I do not have to sleep at night!”

“Robert!”

---

This dinner promised to be boring the moment everyone was forced- sorry, invited, to their seats. There were a lot of esteemed people here that liked to talk a lot, and liked to have everyone's attention while doing so.

But whatever gained money and social credit had to be done. And that included tolerating hour long speeches while he was trying to eat.

Besides. The time before the dinner would give him a chance to catch up with an old, dear friend. “Mister Utterson!” He called with a joyous smile, reaching out to shake his hand.

“Doctor Lanyon! It is good to see you again!” The lawyer grinned, pushed his glasses up a little bit before shaking Lanyon’s hand. “How have you been?”

“Do not ask me that just yet, I would like this meeting to stay remotely pleasant.” Robert said. A bit of frustration twinged in his gut at the thought of what was irritating him. “How has your firm been doing? Grown at all?” He asked.

“Not in lawyers, but it has in clients.” Utterson replied.

“And the Utterson family? Any growing there?” Lanyon teased.

“About as much as the Lanyon family has done since your wedding, Robert.” Utterson smiled serenely.

“You wound me, Gabriel, you really do.” Lanyon complained. “Truly, I am too busy with my practice and my wife with her own affairs in Paris for us to be having children.”

“I know, I know, it is your constant excuse.” Utterson said. “Someday you will have a better one and perhaps I will believe it.”

“I will worry about a good excuse not to have children when Gabriel Utterson is no longer a bachelor.” Lanyon said. “Therefore, I have the rest of my life to not worry about it!”

“You had best hope your wife feels the same way!” Utterson taunted. “Else you are going to have some problems.”

“Typically, it is not the husband not wanting kids, Doctor Lanyon. Do you not want someone to inherit your practice?”

“Sir Carew! I did not see you behind me!” Lanyon said with a smile, turned to shake his hand. “As I was just telling Mister Utterson, neither my wife nor I have time for children right now.”

“Well, your wife, and you, are not getting any younger! You had best begin thinking ahead.” Danvers Carew warned.

Lanyon nodded. “Of course. So, Sir Carew, how goes Emma?” He asked.

Carew smiled. “She has been very well.” He replied vaguely. “Either way, I shall allow you to continue your conversation. It was good to speak to you, Doctor Lanyon, Mister Utterson.”

Danvers Carew walked away.

Lanyon turned back to Utterson. “Seriously, that is enough of my marriage.”

“Alright, fine. Tell me what was upsetting you then, Robert.” Utterson told him.

Lanyon sighed and looked around for Jekyll. He was off chatting with some possible sponsor or another.

“Fine, fine I will tell you.” He agreed. It may be nice to talk to sympathetic ears. Henry Jekyll cared nothing for his concerns but Lord knew that practically anything against Doctor Jekyll was right in Utterson’s mind. Utterson was probably still more bitter about Jekyll’s actions in college than Lanyon was, and Lanyon was the one hurt.

It was a little odd, in all honesty, but was not truly a bad thing. It was nice to have support. “Good. What is it about? Jekyll’s society? That place is not worth all the stress you put into it, it will crash with you or Jekyll at its head.”

“Oh, come now, Gabriel, it has its perks and the principle is still a good one.” Lanyon protested. “It just needs more than Jekyll can provide for it, and I do not have the time to make up for it. He will learn eventually.”

“So I take it the society at whole is not what you have the problem with today.” Utterson remarked, raising an eyebrow. “Tell me more, what in specific is the problem?” He asked.

“Henry decided he needed help around the office.” Lanyon said to begin, after taking a deep breath.

“Sounds relatively harmless, which leaves me to believe that it is incredibly harmful in some way.” Utterson noted.

“Precisely.” Said Lanyon. “However, he refused to consult me in the hiring manners, and settled a fair bit too soon. And since then has not been hearing a lick of reasoning. The man he has hired is the worst man imaginable for the job!”

“Oh? Who, pray tell, is it?” Utterson asked.

“Gabriel, he has hired Edward Hyde as an office assistant. That man is insufferable! Full of insolence and spite!” Lanyon declared. “Lord knows a society full of mad scientists does not have a good reputation to start, and then Jekyll goes and hires Hyde!”

“Edward Hyde? Has there been a man more designed for dragging down reputation? He has lived in London, what, sixteen years?”

“Yes, as long as Jekyll.” Lanyon agreed. “Jekyll just does not fake an accent from a section of London he is not even from like Hyde does.”

“You hold a fair point there. Either way, Hyde had only been here sixteen years and his name is notorious around this city, the only worse are the genuine criminals! What is Jekyll thinking?”

“Not his future, and not his society.” Lanyon decided. “Come, get a class of wine with me before we continue.”

Utterson smiled. “Of course. You and your red wine. One might think you married it rather than your wife!”

Chapter Text

“You fucked that entire meeting up! You did not get anything accomplished and lord knows neither did your useless assistant!” Edward’s voice was assaulting Jekyll’s ears before he even sat down. “Where is that useless blond, anyways? Is he not still meant to be working?”

“Anyone can take a break, Edward, it is not a capital offense.” Jekyll told the mirror before walking over to the desk Hyde had been working on.

There was about an hour left of the blond’s shift, and only about half of the work he had been meant to get done was actually complete. And there had not been a lot of work to start with.

He groaned. Hyde had possessed bad work ethics back a month and a half ago when Jekyll had hired him, and now they were slipping even further. It was beyond fucking frustrating, and Jekyll could not say anything, because if he said a damned word against Hyde, Lanyon would hear of it and be pushing for Hyde to be dismissed again.

It was not an ideal situation to be in, but Jekyll was not giving up on Hyde until he did not have a choice. He was going to reign him back under control. He had been a responsible man, once, Jekyll just had to get him good at staying focused on things that were not hands-on the way that bartending was.

“Is winning a fight with Lanyon worth doing all the work you are paying someone to do for you?” Edward asked, raising an eyebrow. His brilliant green eyes glittered with malice and mocking.
“I do not give up on my lodgers, I will not give up on Hyde.” Jekyll said, sighing and sitting down at his own desk. “I do have to wonder where Hyde is at the moment, though. He is still meant to be working for another two hours.”

“Perhaps you ought to go and find him. Surely he has not left the building. He is probably off getting drunk or fucking one of your lodgers.” Edward remarked . “I could not think of a worse person for you to hire for this position. But yet you threw judgement to the wind and hired him anyways. Apparently you enjoy spending money on nothing.”

Jekyll groaned. “Tell you what, Edward. I shall go and find him. I am sure there is a good reason for Hyde’s absence.” He decided.

“And I am certain that you are not sure at all.” Edward retorted. “So go ahead and try an prove it to yourself. You are only going to fail and prove that he is a lazy, worthless employee.”

“I highly doubt that. Hyde is a good man, or was, once. He can be that again.”

Henry Jekyll got to his feet again, after barely a moment off of them, shrugged off his coat and hung it by the door, before leaving the room to go and find his rather frustrating assistant. This man was getting a little on his nerves.

Down the stairs he went, praying that it would be easy, that he would find Hyde having a smoke with Archer, that man often sought company when he was not having the success he would have liked, to go and have a cool-down cigarette.  Jekyll would not be surprised if Hyde smoked. All he would have to do is remind Hyde that he had work to do and get him back upstairs. He could scold Hyde in his office, or at least get the full story there.

It could not be that bad, after all. Hyde was not… typically too unreliable.

Jekyll bumped into Bird almost at the bottom of the stairs. “Oh, hello! Good day to you, Mister Bird. You would not happen to have seen Mister Hyde around, have you?”

“Last I checked he was speaking with Virginia, I brought him there, he seemed really ill, I brought him to Virginia. That was about two hours ago, I had assumed he was back in your office by now.” Bird replied, frowning a little as he tried to think. “Perhaps she knows more on his whereabouts.”

“Thank you, Mister Bird. If you see him-”

“I will send him upstairs and then go and get you.” Bird promised.

“Thank you.” Jekyll walked off through the lobby.

Normally, he tried to allow himself the chance to admire the lobby, it was well set up to display the scientific prowess of the society, without being too dangerous. It was a good start to any tour.

But today he did not have the time. He feared that if Hyde had been talking to his apprentice, an expert on mundane and arcane chemicals, then there was likely an actual problem and not just Hyde skipping work.

He feared to know what would have send Hyde to Ito. It had to be bad and chemical related for Ito to be remotely involved.

So Jekyll rushed down the hall to find Ito’s and his lab. He knocked on the door before pushing it open and looking around. “Virginia?” He called, Ito was normally in this lab, unless she was busy with something personal in her room.

“Doctor Jekyll! Who are you looking for?” Cantilupe asked.

“Well, in here, clearly, Miss Ito.” Jekyll began, turning to face the woman. “But really, I am searching for Hyde.” He explained. “He is not in the office, and Mister Bird mentioned that he had gone to speak to Ito.”

Cantilupe smiled. “Oh, he and Miss Ito went down to get something from Griffin’s lab. It was about an hour ago, Hyde looked really sick. He could hardly walk. Virginia seemed really worried.”

“Great. Just great. So it is probably the pills.” Was two months in the really enough time at the society to break sixteen years of no major incidents at work? Two months at the society was enough to ruin that all?

“I will get the others on the lookout for those two. Good luck!” Cantilupe called as Jekyll raced down towards Griffin’s laboratory.

This was terrible. He was wondering if he should not just call the hospital right now. He knew the last time Hyde had been made sick by these pills, he had very nearly died, and spent a long time in the hospital.

No, he should just find the blond. Once he found the blond he could decide whether he should bring him to the hospital or just watch after the blond. He could do that.

He knocked on the door to Griffin’s lab. Unlocked the door, god, Griffin liked his secrecy.

Cursed. It was empty as well. Turned around to leave.

“Doctor Jekyll! If you are looking for Griffin, he, Archer, Ito, Doddle and Hyde are in Archer and Bird’s lab.” Lavender told him with a smile.

“Why?” Jekyll asked, exasperated.

“Well, Hyde is ill and Ito wanted to watch after him until you or Doctor Lanyon arrived. But she did not want to go up to your office. He has been down here about two hours now.”

“Is he still ill?”

“Not so much that they are not involving him in Doddle’s bet.” Lavender replied.

“And which one of his bets is that?” Jekyll demanded.

Lavender giggled. “You will see. I doubt they are done.”

Jekyll sighed and walked off towards Archer’s lab.

What the hell was he about to find?

Ito was right not to have let Hyde leave her sight if she suspected something was wrong. He could not fault either of them for that.

But why not go back up to Jekyll’s office so that Hyde could have kept up trying to get some work done?

This time he did not knock. He could not be bothered to knock.

And he immediately regretted not knocking. Not knocking let to him sincerely regretting the instant reminder of which one of Doddle’s bets this was. The one with Archer.

Hyde most definitely did seem sick. He was pale, skin shone with sweat, vest and shirt partially unbuttoned to make breathing a little easier.

But the bet also led to the fact that Hyde was pressed into the wall, making out furiously with Archer.

The whole sight infuriated him… but also made him think of Lanyon. Which was worse.

“Can I seriously not trust any of you alone for three hours?” Jekyll demanded. “Doddle! My assistant here to be judge for your bet with Archer! Archer, Hyde, you can let go of each other, immediately. Hyde, if you are ill you should not be snogging my lodgers, and Ito, why the hell are you letting this happen? I thought you had better judgement! You too, Griffin!”

“I am not ill, I am fucking poisoned and it’s not contagious!” Hyde argued, leaning back a little further against the wall. “I am not working because Ito wanted me on the main floor, and I did not think you wanted me to throw up in your office.”

“If you do not want us using your assistant as a judge, then you ought to step up and break the tie! Maybe we could involve Hyde in the bet, he seemed a decent kisser-”

“No! No, no, Doctor Jekyll is right!” Hyde said quickly, as though, like it did Jekyll, the thought of them kissing disturbed Hyde. “I should get back to work, I have a lot of work to be catching up on!”

“Never mind that. I am bringing you home. Stephen can look after you better than I can, if you are poisoned.” Jekyll said. “Come with me!” He turned to the lodgers. “Go and get back to work.”

“Yes, Doctor Jekyll.”

 

Hyde managed four hours in the office, one by himself, before he had to leave. Something was wrong, he felt sick and it definitely was not just a hangover from last night like he had thought it was.

It was the fucking pills. A seize of dread filled his chest and he immediately raced out of the office to find someone who could help.

At the very least he did not want to pass out where the only person who would find him was not going to return for several hours.

So he grabbed his cane, got to the window and climbed down to the ground, raced up the stairs and ran back into the lobby.

“Hyde!” Bird called. “You look terrible!”

“Gee thanks.” Hyde said sarcastically.

“Well, it is true. Can I help you with anything?”

A cramp seized hold of Hyde’s stomach. He gave a pained gasped, clutched an arm against it. “I need to find Miss Ito, it is urgent.” He decided. Lanyon would be best, he was a doctor, or Jekyll, who was the senior chemist and alchemist here, but Ito knew her stuff.

“Sure thing. She should be in here office, or in the chemistry lab, which is attached to her office. Here, I can help you there.”

Hyde almost refused when another cramp seized him and he cried out in the anguish. God, that fucking hurt. “Please, yes, that would be be good.” Hyde said quietly.

Maybe a hospital would be better, though, but he did not want to go to the hospital. If anything, he wanted to go home to Stephen, but he was still meant to be here for another four hours.

Bird walked over, let the blond lean on his shoulder rather than his cane and practically carried him towards the chemistry lab. “Do you know what is wrong?” He asked.

“It has to be the pills but it should not be…” Hyde muttered. “I have not taken anything more than usual, but this is… similar to a poisoning I had when I overdosed as a teenager…”

“Then we had best hurry and get you to Ito. She will fix you right up, I am sure she knows how to treat it.” Bird assured him.

“Well, considering my life might depend on that or quick hospital treatment, I do hope you are right.” Hyde said quietly.

“Do not fret, Mister Hyde. All will be well.” Bird told him, walking them both over to the door to the chemistry lab and knocking loudly on the door. “Miss Ito! Miss Ito we have an emergency for you!” He called.
“Bring your emergency back sometime that I am not busy, Mister Bird!” Ito called in response. There was no movement to be heard behind the door.

Hyde did not have long to worry about it, because another cramp grabbed hold of his stomach, but this time it did not let go, and he had to push out of Bird’s arms to stumble a few steps before his stomach heaved and he ended up throwing up, collapsed to his knees on the floor.

“Miss Ito? It is not a fake emergency!” Bird shouted. “I think Hyde is dying!”

This time there was movement from behind the door, and soon enough it swung open. “Ugh. Bird, get someone to clean that up, I will look after our friend here.” She got Hyde back to his feet and led him into the chemistry lab, sat him down in on of the few seats in the room.

Looked him over for a few moments. “What did you do?”

“I do not have a clue.” Hyde confessed. “It is exactly what happened when I overdosed on pain medication, but not as bad, only I have not overdosed.”

“Are you positive of that?” Ito asked, raising an eyebrow.

“It was my roommate who handed me exactly the dose I am meant to take. So unless the hospital screwed up and gave me the wrong dose…”

“That must be it.” Ito decided. “Come with me I cannot make the antidote here. We need to get something from Griffin’s lab and he has all the supplies I need. I only have half of them.” Ito decided, helping Hyde yet again to his feet and all but dragging him to the other section of the chemistry lab, where she knocked sharply on the door.

“Open up, Griffin! Someone’s dying!”
“What the hell do you want, Virginia?” Griffin demanded, pulling the door open. “Oh, shit. Come in, what do you need?”

“A bucket, he looks like he is about to throw up again.” Ito decided. “And then…”

The voice faded out. No, losing consciousness was not a good idea. He needed to try and fight that.

He was plunked down in another chair, which a bucket pushed into his hands, which quickly because useful as his stomach convulsed again.

Ito and Griffin spoke in quiet voices as they prepared whatever it was they were preparing. Hyde had not a clue what it was, he only knew he was handed a vial of purple fluid to drink when they were done.

He did not question, merely downed it as quickly as he could. “Good.” Ito remarked. “Now, just rest a few moments. It may not completely alleviate the symptoms but you should not die.”

“All I can ask, really.” Hyde gave her a weak smiled.

“You are damned lucky you caught that before you could not leave the office.”

“I know.” Hyde assured her.

He was not sure how long he dozed in the chair before Ito awoke him. “Hyde, I want to keep an eye on you, until I know you are okay, or rather, until either Jekyll or Lanyon take a look at you. And… you are healthy enough, and Doddle wants to borrow you for a bet he has with Archer. It seems right up your alley.”

“Where do I have to go to be part of this bet?” Hyde asked.

“Archer’s lab. On your feet, I am not carrying you this time.” Ito told him.

Hyde grabbed his cane, set the bucket to the side and got to his feet, stumbling along behind Griffin and Ito.

Archer grinned the moment he walked in. “Mister Hyde! Most excellent! How do you feel about breaking a tie that Doddle and I have had for months now?” He asked. “If you are up to it. I know you were just ill.”

“What does it entail?” Hyde asked.

“Those boys have been trying to ‘scientifically prove’ who is the best kisser for the passed few months. They have used every person interested in kissing them in the entire society for a judge, and came to a perfect tie.” Ito explained.

“It is genuine research, Virginia, you are just jealous you did not think of it!” Archer told her with a confident smile.

“I am sure that is the case, Archer.” Ito replied in a sarcastic tone. “I happen to know for a fact both of you would be atrocious kissers.”

“How rude!” Archer cried. “Anyways, are you interested, Hyde?”

Hyde considered. Technically, he should probably mention it to Stephen if he was going to walk around kissing other men. But he could not imagine that Stephen would actually mind.

Besides… it was for science. “So who is up first?” He asked with a grin. “I will warn you, I have been kissed many times and have high standards.”

“Then prepare to be disappointed.” Griffin warned, voice completely devoid of humour, but somehow it was a joke anyways.

---

“Was that really necessary?” Jekyll asked him, sitting across from him in a spacious carriage.

Hyde sighed and leaned against the wall. “I was not doing any work anyways, Miss Ito was keeping me downstairs. What does it matter if I kissed any of your lodgers? It is not like we fucked on your desk.”

“If you ever do that, I will fire you.” Jekyll warned, narrowing his eyes. “If you cannot have respect and restraint while you are on the clock, you will at the ver y least not desecrate my office.”

“Oh, as if you have never done anything of the sorts in it!” Hyde teased. “Do not even deny it, I am not going to believe you.”

Jekyll only sighed. “Just do not let me catch you doing anything of the sorts again, Hyde.”

“Whatever you say, doctor.” Why was his brother making such a fuss out of this? It was not like he, Doddle and Archer had been hurting anyone.

God, someone needed to get the stick that Lanyon had shoved up Jekyll’s ass out. His brother had used to be fun.

Chapter Text

“Edward has been told by a doctor to take a few days off to let his system recover, is that alright? I would offer to come and replace him but I am meant to be watching after him. The doctor still does not know why he had such an adverse reaction, but he knows it was a reaction to the pills. He assumes that one was made too strong and must have been the one that Edward took yesterday morning.” Stephen was standing in front of Jekyll’s desk, looking a little out of place. Both members of that couple used to survive on bartending alone, Hyde’s lover was clearly uneasy in professional situations.

Jekyll sighed. It was going to blow being without help, he had so much he needed to get done right in this moment, but he could not deny Hyde the time off to recover from his sudden illness. “Edward is not asking any sort of compensation or paid leave, he just needs a few days.”

He truly could not say no. “Of course, Mister Richardson, tell him to take as much time as he needs. I cannot promise full pay, but I will give him something.” Jekyll promised.

“Thank you.” Stephen smiled, twitching his thumbs together.

“So where is Hyde, anyways? Why are you the one here?” Jekyll asked curiously, scribbling down a couple of initials and a signature.

“Oh, Eddie is downstairs talking with the lodgers. He did not have the energy to get up here so they asked me to go. He barely managed to walk here, never mind get up to your office. He is resting.” Stephen explained. “If you wanted to go and see him, I am sure he would be glad to explain this all himself.”

“No, I am probably okay.” Jekyll decided. “Last time I went and found your lover downstairs he was making out with one of my lodgers.”

Stephen’s green eyes sparkled. “Was he really? He and I are going to have to have a talk!” He did not seem mad about it, but a jolt of guilt shot through Jekyll’s chest, though he was not sure for what. Really, Stephen should know.

But something like this, albeit more serious, had ruined his relationship. Did he really want to ruin Hyde’s as well? “Oh, I did not mean to get him into trouble the lodgers have a bet and he was helping out and-"

“Doctor Jekyll. I do not own Edward. He is allowed to do as he pleases. I am, however, going to have to bug him for not telling me, our agreement is everything is fine if the other is informed.” Stephen was smiling. “Seriously, you have not gotten Edward into any sort of trouble, I think it is kind of hilarious! What is this bet about, anyways?”

“Two of the lodgers have been using every willing judge in the society to find out who is the best kisser. They were at a tie until Hyde agreed to break it.” Jekyll explained. “Lord knows I will be glad to have them stop pestering me to settle it.” He frowned. “Please, have a seat, my manners have escaped me, I am sorry.” He motioned to the chair on the other side of the desk

Stephen took a seat. “So, I have caught up with Hyde, he has had an interesting past fifteen years, how were you?” Jekyll asked.

“Me? I have hardly done much different these past fifteen years. I do not take mind-altering drugs or get into bar fights for fun, although only one of those is Eddie’s fault, but either way it means I still work for the same bar.” Stephen explained. “You know that we still live in SoHo, you brought Edward back there yesterday.”

“That and Hyde’s bad reputation precedes him. I already knew you two were still in SoHo, it is a common complaint amongst other residents there that Edward Hyde lives in that area.” Jekyll told him.

“Oh well. You cannot please everyone!” Stephen decided. “Frankly, it is not surprising to hear that people do not like Eddie living there, the idiot never listens to me about how to stay out of trouble. I have had to talk Brokenshire into letting him out of jail three times already. And I thought I was lucky that Brokenshire listened the first time!”

“I just confess, talking Brokenshire into anything is an impressive feat. That man is a stickler for the rules and the most stubborn person I know.” Jekyll praised, smiling. Any man who could talk Brokenshire into changing his mind was a dangerously persuasive man.

Maybe he should reintroduce Stephen to Lanyon.

“Nonsense. The hardest person to convince to do anything lives with me, his name is Edward Hyde.” Stephen decided. “Just trying to convince him to get out of bed can be nearly impossible, nevermind something serious!” The brunet laughed.

“He does seem stubborn, I will give you that.” Jekyll agreed. “I suppose I must be impressed by Hyde, too, if he is more stubborn than Brokenshire.”

“When have you run in with Brokenshire, anyways? You, the perfect Doctor Jekyll, has had a run in with the coppers?” Stephen teased.

“Not for me actually being in any sort of trouble, but the lodgers… I have had to bring several here to save them from arrest.” Jekyll explained, sighing. Griffin had been exceptionally hard, he had been in genuinely legal trouble and kept arguing with the police… and with Jekyll about needing help at all. Helsby had not be easy, either.

“Not everyone always wants to be helped. You cannot run around playing saviour, you are not Jesus, but if you do not play it right they will crucify you the same.”

“Well, with a little luck, Eddie’s days of causing trouble for everyone are through. He did promise me that was the case, but he may have lied. It would not surprise me.” Stephen said. “He told me no more police before he went after that woman on his way home and got himself into even more trouble.”

“Ah, yes. Lady Beaconsfield had words for me when she learned he worked for me. He did not impress her, that is for sure.” Jekyll said.

Lady Beaconsfield was actually demanding, just like Lanyon, that Jekyll fire Hyde, but she had far less power in the society than Lanyon and did not offer sponsorship anyways. He had no reason to listen to her. Beaconsfield had sort of deserved what Jekyll had heard rumour of Hyde saying about her, she was pompous, stuck up and judgy, and Jekyll, Lanyon and the society had often been on the receiving end of her scathing criticism. It was not a pleasant experience to have your project torn apart at a dinner party you were hosting in hopes of gaining funding for said project. Not to mention having yourself cursed out during it too.

It was a good thing that a man like Hyde, who could do it without being really able to further ruin himself, he was already a member of the scum of society, had turned her scathing words on herself.

“You have to admit, from what I have heard, she earned some scorn.” Stephen said, smiling a bit. “Unfortunately, Brokenshire did not see that and the lady claimed Eddie hit her.”

“He did not hit her?” Jekyll asked, surprised. He had heard Lady Beaconsfield’s side of the tale, which involved Hyde striking her.

“Hyde does not hit women unless they hit him first.” Stephen said confidently. “Men, he hits all the time that man starts far too many fights, but he would never have hit that woman unless she hit him first.”

“She sticks to her story that he hit her.” Jekyll explained.

“Then Eddie was right to have called her a liar.” Stephen muttered.

“I cannot have that conversation with you, Mister Richardson, and I believe that you know that.” Jekyll told him, shaking his head

“Yes, yes, I know, I know, but I am right.” Stephen insisted.

“Perhaps.” Jekyll allowed himself to say, though he knew he should not even say that much.

“Anyways, Doctor Jekyll, it has been nice catching up with you again, it has been a very long time, but I should really get Eddie back at home and resting like the doctor told him to.” Stephen decided. “So, perhaps I shall see you again some other time!”

“Have yourself a nice day, Mister Richardson!” Jekyll called after him, and returned to his paperwork.

“Have yourself a nice day, Mister Richardson!” The mirror sneered. “God, those two are both pathetic. One is useless and unreliable, one needs to learn when to shut his fucking mouth. No one cares about your loud opinions, barmaid!”

“Perhaps comments on shutting up should not be made by those who need to learn the same lesson, Edward.” Jekyll retorted, glaring at the figure in the mirror.

A pair of green eyes glared back at him. “Do not start complaining, Henry. Someday you will realize that I am all that you have that you can trust.”

“Someday, I will find my real brother and will not need a snide illusion in a mirror.”

 

“Hyde! It is good to see you back here, you look a lot better!” Mister Bird called down the hall the moment he spotted the blond in the doorway.

Hyde had been standing there, leaned against the wall, for a while. The society was oddly empty, at least in the lobby.

“Do not get too excited, I am only here while Stephen clears my absence for a few days with Jekyll. The doctors told me to take a few days to rest and recover, it turns out that some pill of the wrong dose must have ended up in my pill bottle and I did actually poison myself on the shit. Again.” Hyde explained quickly. “I am still leaving.”

“It is still good to see you, Hyde! Archer and Doddle have been looking for you!” Bird said. “You still have to give them their results.”

“Well, if I am honest, they were both terrible.” Hyde decided. “I have kissed much better.”

Namely, Stephen. God, Stephen. Now that was a man who knew how to kiss.

“Oh, have you? From who? Would it be that Stephen you mentioned earlier? Who is Stephen, anyways, I have never heard you use the name before.” Bird remarked.

“My roommate.” Hyde replied with a mysterious smile. “Just my lovely roommate. He helps out a lot.”

“Ah. Well, I shall go and find Archer and Doddle and send them to you.” Bird decided, and walked off.

Hyde smiled. He was going to have to pick a winner for that little contest, he did not really want to but he would have to. Neither one of them deserved the hype their bet got. Griffin had been right. Though one was definitely better than the other, he had still had to go home and kiss Stephen a few times to make up for it.

What a disappointment.

“Master Hyde!” Rachel called, racing down the hall to catch up with him. “It is good to see you alright I heard that you were ill!”

“I still am, Rachel.” Hyde told her with a sigh. “It has not gone away so soon, sadly for me. I have to take a few days off. What a shame, a few days of sleeping in.”

“You do not have to make breakfast for this whole society. When you wake up with the sun, then you can complain to me.” Rachel teased. “So what are you here for?”

“My roommate is telling Jekyll I will not be here for a few days, is all.” Hyde said, shrugging his shoulders.

“Ah, am I finally going to get to meet this mysterious roommate of yours?” Rachel asked.

“If you stick around, maybe.” Hyde agreed, smiling illusively. “If you blink you might just miss him, though, he is quite quick.”

“You are too loud about everything, Master Hyde, I will know the moment your roommate gets down the stairs.” Rachel told him, giggling.

Hyde giggled as well.

“Hyde! Good, you are back! We need the results for the bet!” Doddle called down the hall.

“Hey now, at least ask about his health before you pester him for answers, Doddle! Hyde, are you alright?” Archer asked, scrambling to a halt in front of the blond.

“Still taking time off but mostly okay.” Hyde replied with a smile. “And sick of being asked if I am alright, so I have to appreciate Doddle’s method of approaching me.”

“Ha!” Doddle crowed, sticking his tongue out at Archer.

“So anyways, who won? We need to finally break the tie! We are finally going to know!” Archer laughed a little bit.

Hyde pretended to contemplate. “Well it clearly was not either of you two since I had to do all the work for both of you, so it must be me. You two were both pretty bad. Seriously, are you both virgins or something? Do not answer that I have just decided I do not want to know the answer just yet.”

“Hey! We are not both terrible, and you were not even in the bet! That cannot be your answer!” Doddle complained.

“Well, how about you find out? You both kissed me, now kiss each other and you will know why I have the right answer!” Hyde said with a grin.

Archer and Doddle looked at each other skeptically. “Kiss each other? Can you just tell us the winner?”

“Maybe, if you do what I told you to and accept that I am the actual winner.” Hyde agreed. “Until then you are not getting my vote.”

Rachel was giggling, covering her mouth with her hand.

Doddle and Archer grumbled, but they wanted to know what Hyde’s answer was, and the blond was not budging from his declaration, so they sighed and leaned in to kiss each other.

Hyde watched carefully to make sure they had actually done it. “Alright, boys, that is enough you can have my answer now. Once you give yours.”

“Give ours?” Doddle echoed, looking puzzled.

“Once you give the verdict out of the three of us.” Hyde laughed, still grinning widely.

Doddle and Archer looked at each other. “Oh, fine. You win, you were definitely better than Archer.” Doddle said.

“Oh, if he is better than me, he is absolutely better than you, Doddle, so he has to be the best out of us.” Archer retorted,

“What are you the best at, Eddie?”A voice asked, walking over to him.

“Oh! Stephen! You are back!” He grinned. “”They made a bet of which one of them is the best kisser, they are both pretty bad, so I picked myself.”

“And he was not even wrong.” Doddle complained.

“Sure he was!” Stephen said.

“Oh yeah? Then who is the best? I was not aware you had judged in this before!” Hyde laughed a bit more, grinning up at Stephen.

“Me.” Stephen replied, and before Hyde got a chance to protest, leaned down to kiss him.

And would not back the fuck down. It was obviously not unpleasant, but Stephen needed to get his damned tongue out of Hyde’s mouth while they were in front of some of the biggest gossips on London.

Finally, Stephen pulled away. After Hyde had considered biting his tongue unless it got out of his mouth. “Save that for home, asshole!”

“Whoa! Who is that, Master Hyde?” Rachel asked. Doddle whistled.

Hyde snickered. “My roommate!” He said, and watched to see their reactions. He had been talking about his roommate for the passed two month, he had just failed to mention he was dating that roommate.

“Seriously?” Rachel gasped, putting her hands on her hips. “Roommate has been code all along?” She demanded.

“Yes it has! And not one of you noticed!” Hyde crowed, giggling. “None of you ever noticed!”

“You are the fucking worst.” Archer complained. “So who won, anyways? You still have to tell us!”

“Hm…. well, it was definitely Stephen, but out of you two? It has to be Doddle, at least he seemed like he was trying.” Hyde decided.

“What?”

“Ha! Told you so!” Doddle cried.

“Anyways, you two can fight to the death or whatever now, I am going home. Have fun, but not too much, without me!” Hyde told them, and walked to the door, dragging Stephen along with him.

“So what is this about that bet? Are you not meant to tell me, you little player?” Stephen asked, nudging Hyde’s ribs with his elbow, a teasing smile on his face.

“Neither of them were even worth mentioning.” Hyde declared. “Okay, maybe they were not that bad. But they were nothing compared to you!”

“You fucking flirt.” Stephen teased.

“Anything to get lai-”

“Oh, hush. Seriously, Eddie, you are terrible.”

Hyde snorted. “But you love me!”

“Save it for home, Eddie.” Stephen warned, stepping out onto the street. “How are you feeling?” He asked.

“Tired, but otherwise alright.” Hyde said, fighting down a yawn. “I will be taking a nap before we do anything at home.” He decided.

“Hey, it is your days to rest, Eddie, you can do as you please with them.” Stephen promised. “You ought to follow that idea, actually, and spend some time truly resting.”

“I know, I know, but sleep is boring.” Hyde said, shrugging his shoulders. “There are just so many things I could be doing besides sleeping.”

“Well, since you have mentioned being tired to me, all of your things to do are going to wait, and also, you are going to be waiting a while before you do any of those things on your list.” Stephen warned. “You should seriously stop planning to do a lot of stuff during your days off that the doctor gives you to rest, you should know by now I will not let you get half of it done.”

“Spoil sport.”

Chapter Text

Hyde should never have drank so much last night as he had. Stephen, at least, knew well enough not to get that drunk when he had work the next day.

Hyde, apparently, did not know that lesson. And now he was stumbling, head pounding stomach twisting vision foggy, and to top it off had a cluster of bruises- hickeys, down his throat that he did not remember getting. Not distinctly.

“Goddamn you, Stephen…” He muttered, glancing down his chest and finding a trail of several more bruises. “You and your fucking marks.”

“What was that, Eddie?” Stephen asked, stepping into the room with a plate of breakfast. “Why are you cursing me?”

“Keep your voice down!” Hyde hissed, covering his ears with his hands. “And take a look at me and guess what I am cursing you! Look at this! You have left me a mess!”

“Okay, I left more of those than I meant to. And, christ, Eddie, if you go to work hungover Jekyll will kill you!” Stephen said, ushering him to sit down and placed the plate of food in his lap.

“Well, I guess Jekyll is going to kill me.” Hyde said irritably. “And if you do not talk quieter, I am going to stuff a sock in your mouth.”

“Why are you always so cranky when you are hungover?” Stephen complained. “Here I got up early, made breakfast and all I am getting is snapped at!”

Hyde sighed. Put the plate to the side and hugged Stephen. “Sorry…” He was not meaning to be nasty, hell, he knew he was being nasty and still did not mean to do it.

“You are lucky I love you lots, Eddie, even if you are a prick.” Stephen said fondly, hugging the blond tightly.

“I am not a prick.” Hyde mumbled.

“You are absolutely being a prick.” Stephen corrected. “But I love you a lot so I will let you get away with it.”

Hyde sighed and took a bite out of the meal that Stephen had made for him. “This is not going to be a fun day.”

“You will survive, I have faith in you.” Stephen assured him. “I have never known you to quit.”

“You have never known me doing office work hungover with my right upstanding brother as my boss.” Hyde reasoned. “I am going to get into so much shit.”

“You are, and you will be in more trouble if you are late.” Stephen reminded him. “So eat up!” He reminded the blond. “Your breakfast is getting cold.”

Hyde nodded, took another bite of his meal.

“You are going to need a shirt with a high collar.” Stephen remarked.

“Well, since you are the reason I need one, I wish you luck finding a clean one.” Hyde smirked.

“You enjoyed it, do not lie to me.”

“I do not remember most of it.” Hyde corrected.

“God, you got way too drunk last night.” Stephen bit his lip. “Are you okay?”

“Hey now, I was not that drunk!” Hyde protested. “Do not worry. I just do not remember when you decided I should not get to wear any shirts that do not go up to my chin for the next week!”

“You are far too dramatic, this is almost as bad as your poetry!” Stephen complained, rolling his green eyes. Hyde could hear it in his voice that he had rolled his eyes.

“My poetry is not that bad, you jerk!” Hyde said indignantly, shoveled some more of his breakfast unto his mouth.

Stephen threw a shirt onto the bed. “There. Wear that.” He advised, stepping away from the closet. “You may look ridiculous but you will not be embarrassed. Finish up there, you will need to get dressed to leave immediately. You are going to be late.”

“Could we not just fake another doctor's order to stay home and rest? He bought it when I got poisoned, the doctor said office work would be fine for me to do.”

“If we keep on doing that, one day he will actually call your doctor and find out you have been lying to him. I agreed about the poison because you looked really badly off and I did not believe you could go to work.” Stephen warned.

Hyde huffed. “I guess you are right.” He agreed. “I was surprised he bought it last time.”

“Half his staff reported you almost dying. Of course he did. Now get dressed.” Stephen instructed, throwing him a waistcoat and a pair of trousers.

“God, you are bossy.” Hyde whined, but put the half-empty plate to the side and pulled the white shirt on. “Oh, gross, I am going to be dressed like Robert Lanyon!”

“How so?”

“Okay, so just the collar, but that is bad enough.” Hyde admitted.

“Oh, just get dressed!”

Hyde sighed and finished getting dressed. “Alright, alright, I am leaving! Will you be home tonight?”

“Yes.” Stephen said with a smile.

“Good.” Hyde gave him a kiss and walked out the door, shielding his eyes from the bright, blinding sun.

Ugh. It was not a good day to be hungover. It was beautiful, yes, but that was the opposite of what he wanted. He would have welcomed a dreary day to avoid the bright sun. He had such a headache.

“Eddie!” Hyde spun around and Stephen pressed his pill into his hand. “Or you might actually have to take the day.”

Hyde nodded and swallowed the pill. “Now get to work.”

He nodded again and kept walking after Stephen had returned inside.

Heard something hiss at him from between two houses and immediately forgot about getting to work. That was a cat! He had always wanted to get a cat, but Stephen kept saying they should wait. Surely if he did not got and get a cat, and one found him… surely that was different!

“Here, kitty kitty…” Carefully, leaning hard on the cane so his ankle didn't feel it too much, he crouched and sat down on his knees. “C’mere…” He held a hand out towards the source of the noise.

There was another hiss. He spied a fluffy, brownish tail and a pair of ragged ears, but nothing else.

He called again, no answer.

Dammit, he was going to catch that cat, somehow. It could probably do with some food.

He shuffled forwards. The cat hissed again. “It is alright, I am not going to hurt you…” He murmured, holding a hand out towards the cat only to yank it back when claws swiped at it. “Oh!”

This was going to be harder than it had initially seemed.

That was alright. Once in a while, Hyde could be patient. Maybe he could run to a market and get some fish, that would surely tempt the cat out of hiding. That was really all he had to do, was it not? Tempt the cat out of its hiding spot and from there it should be easy to befriend it.

“Edward Hyde, if you are not off this street and on your way to work by the time I open this door I will-" Stephen did not finish, the cat yowled and Hyde heard a crash as it rushed back between the houses, and he got to his feet and scurried down the road before Stephen could get to the door.

Goddamn it, how did Stephen always know when he was not doing what he was supposed to? It was not fair. After all, he just wanted to catch the cat, and now he was limping towards the society and was probably going to have to catch a cab if he wanted to get there in time, which he should do before they all filled up if he wanted to.

Being lost in thought did not pay off this time. A carriage rushed passed him, wheel struck a puddle and muddy water sprayed up at the blond, soaking his trousers and shirt. “Shit!” He cried, standing there spluttering for a few moments, staring down at himself.

He was filthy. And had no time to run home and change. And no cab would let him in soaked in dirty water.

He should have just faked another doctor order. This was not worth it. Who cared if Jekyll thought to check at some point, Hyde should not have left the house today.

He grit his teeth and climbed up the side of the nearest building. Maybe travelling as the crow flies could save him more time, if he did not fall off the damn room, as sick as he was and how badly his luck was going.

He scrambled across the shingles, more clumsy than normal but still managing, leapt onto the next roof, nearly slipped off but kept on moving, he needed to get to work on time even though no matter what he did today he was not going to be impressing Jekyll, he was just going to piss the doctor off.

He jumped again, getting back into an easy rhythm, and his left ankle decided it did not need to cooperate and act like it had for the passed fifteen years. It slipped out from under him, he crashed onto his front on the roof and started sliding.

 

Hyde was late. That was not new, Hyde was often anywhere between twenty minutes early or twenty minutes late.

But he was an hour and a half late, this time. And as much as Jekyll was wondering if something was wrong, he was mostly pissed off.

It was not like he had hard work for Hyde to do today. He had a meeting, the papers were caught up with, today, he simply wanted the blond to keep an eye on the lodgers. They had been discussing something that they would not tell him about, and needless to say, that was worrying. He wanted someone with instructions from him, watching after the lodgers. He did not doubt that Hyde, in fact, already knew the plan, and if he did not, he would know it by the end of the day.

And would not want to tell Jekyll. But, the doctor was the one who wrote and signed his paycheck, so if he wanted it, he would talk.

Perhaps that was extreme. But Jekyll was worried. He knew his lodgers could get into a lot of trouble if he left them to their own devices for too long.

But lo and behold, Hyde was nowhere to be found. And hour and a half later than he was supposed to have arrived.

Jekyll was pacing beside the window, waiting for the unruly blond to finally bother to show up to his fucking job.

God, this was frustrating. He needed to leave. The latest he could risk departing was in a half hour, and that meant showing up to his meeting without a minute to spare, assuming he did not run into a delay on the way.

Frustrating. Far too frustrating.

Go figure he is not here. Did you truly thing that he would be? Did I not tell you that something like this would happen?

Jekyll ignored the stupid voice in the mirror.

Perhaps Hyde had forgotten. Perhaps he ought to call that household, it would not be the end of the world if that was the case. It should not take Hyde more than half an hour to get from SoHo to the society, if he took a cab, Jekyll would be mad but it would not be a disaster.

The doctor walked over to the phone. He was honestly surprised that Hyde had a phone at all, but he was grateful for it as he told the operator the name and number. Likely had to do with him living in SoHo, that was the sort of neighbourhood to be with the times quickly.

“Hello?” That was Stephen’s voice.

“Hello, Mister Richardson, this is Doctor Jekyll speaking. Is Mister Hyde there?”

There was a pause. “No, he left for work nearly two hours ago, he should be with you by now.” Stephen replied.

“Well, I am afraid he is not.” Jekyll remarked

“Goddammit. Either he is intentionally avoiding you, or he is in trouble somewhere. I am going searching for him. Would you be able to call me… I will be back in an hour, I shall make a point of it, if he arrives?”

“I cannot, but I will have Miss Pidgley call you.” Jekyll offered.

“Thank you.” Stephen sighed. “God, I hope he is not hurt on in trouble, he was in a rush lord knows what he might have done.” The man paused. “But if he is not hurt… he has some explaining to do.”

“He really does.” Jekyll agreed.

Stephen was silent for a few more, somewhat awkward moments. “Well, Mister Richardson, I need to begin to get ready to go, I will have Miss Pidgley on the lookout for Mister Hyde, she will call you with news in an hour.” Jekyll decided.

“Of course. I am sorry I cannot help you.” Stephen told him.

“It is not your fault. I only hope Mister Hyde is alright, from there we can address the problem. Goodbye, Mister Richardson.” The doctor said with a smile, the parting was returned and he hung up the phone. Though really, he was just as annoyed as Stephen seemed to be, if not more. Why could Hyde not be reliable? For once in his damned life?

It was not like Jekyll could risk Lanyon finding out if he did something serious about this. Lanyon would start pushing to get rid of Hyde the moment he knew something like this had occurred. Lanyon did not even know about the twenty minutes here and there.

So he would just have to accept it and let Hyde get away with it. It was not like anything he had done of late was truly harmful, until now. He was a bit of a pest sometimes, but mostly did his job like he was meant to.

So giving Lanyon reason to keep pushing for him to be fired was not worth the small inconvenience of not being about to do much against him.

Only now it was causing more of a problem.

Jekyll sighed. Grabbed a paper, sat down at his desk and scrawled down a note instructing Hyde to go and find him or Rachel when he did eventually get here.

Why bother? He likely will not get here!

“Just shut up, Edward.” Jekyll said, put away the ink and quill. Then he went down the steep set of stairs and walked briskly down the hall to the kitchen.

“Henry! To what do I owe the pleasure?” Rachel asked with a laugh.

“I need you to keep an eye out for Mister Hyde. He is late and I was hoping he would arrive before I had to leave, but it does not seem like that will be the case. In about an hour, head upstairs, on Hyde’s desk there's a number, call it until someone picks up. Hyde's roommate is looking for him and I need you to inform him of whether Hyde has arrived or not, he said he would check in here in about an hour.” Jekyll explained. “I have to get to a meeting or I would do it myself.”

Rachel nodded. “Of course. I do hope nothing serious has happened to Master Hyde.” She remarked.

“Does he know you refer to him as a child? I do but he may not.” Jekyll had to laugh a little bit.

“What, by calling him Master rather than Mister? No, I do not believe he does.” Rachel replied. “His manners are a little inept so perhaps he does not know that Master is typically reserved for children.”

“I cannot imagine that he would know.” Jekyll agreed, shaking his head. “You do not really have to call him anything, you could essentially just treat him like a lodger.”

“He thought otherwise, so I just resorted to Master.” Rachel replied. “That way he does not know he is being insulted.”

“Remind me not to get on your bad side. I may be getting humiliated and never even know it!” Jekyll said with a smile.

“I am more clever than he gives me credit for, I suppose.” Rachel laughed. “Now go and get yourself ready for your meeting, you will be late.”

Jekyll sighed. “I suppose I will. Remember to call Stephen, Rachel, he will be worried about Hyde.”

“Of course, you can count on me.” Rachel agreed, smiling. “With a little luck he will be here before you leave.”

“I am slowly losing hope of that being the case, but I suppose there is a chance.” Jekyll said, shrugging his shoulders.

“You never know. Perhaps he will surprise you.” Rachel suggested.

“I doubt it.” Jekyll told her, and walked back down the hall towards the stairs up to his office.

Where the hell could Hyde be? This was ridiculous, where was he? How late could one man be?

Jekyll walked up the set of stairs, opened up the door at the top.

Still no one within. He rolled his eyes, grabbed his folder full of notes off of his desk.

Walked to the hook beside his door, picked up his coat, swung it over his shoulders and straightened out the sleeves before pulling on his cloak, and a pair of white gloves.

Honestly, where was Hyde? He was now nearly two hours late. What the hell sort if excuse was he going to have this time?

Jekyll read over his note one more time. He was tempted to write a new one, just tell Hyde to check in with Rachel and got home and Jekyll would deal with him personally tomorrow, but it was not worth it.

He walked to the door of his office, opened it and had just gotten to the first step when something open the window in the office and promptly fell onto the floor.

“Hyde! Do you know how late you are?” Jekyll demanded, before getting back into the room and looking down at the blond on the floor. Hyde laid there for a few moments before slowly pulling himself to his feet. “Good god what happened to you? Did you fight in a war to get here?”

Hyde had one forearm wrapped in white bandages, and various other bruises or cuts on his skin.

Jekyll was fairly sure that at some point, Hyde's clothes had been clean. Now they were mud-streaked and wrinkled as though they had been soaked and just left to dry while he was wearing them. Close to his bandaged arm, they were bloodstained.

“I fell off a roof. Into a tree. And then out of the tree. On my way to work.” Hyde replied. “I am two hours late, Doctor Jekyll, because I had to get twenty stitches put into my arm and the hospital would not let me use the goddamn phone to call you!”

Jekyll sighed. Why did Hyde have to have a good reason to have been this late? “I have to leave. Go downstairs, wait with Miss Pidgley she is meant to call Stephen in an hour and tell him if you have arrived, he was going out looking for you. Tell Rachel to have him come and get you. I will expect you at your shift tomorrow unless you have a doctor's note, is that clear?”

“Yes, Doctor Jekyll.”

The doctor left the room to go to his meeting.

Chapter Text

“When I told him have a note, I really did not think he would have one!” Jekyll complained, a hint of suspicion making him check the writing on the note against the writing on the paper with the list of all the symptoms from oxycodone that he knew Hyde’s doctor had written.

They matched. Right down to the signatures.

Of course they did. Hyde would not lie to him. Lord know why he would ever have suspected that the blond had.

Because why would Hyde not lie to you? Edward asked, green eyes wide with faked innocence. There are a number of ways he may still be lying to you. Perhaps he can forge the doctor's signature. Or Stephen can.

“Edward, now you are grasping at straws. That is not a fair accusation to make. Stephen brought in a doctor’s note for him, which means he is truly not meant to be here today.” Jekyll told the figure in the mirror.

Edward looked exactly like he had the last time Jekyll had seen him, young and gawky and boyish, approaching seventeen years old but not quite there yet.

Perhaps it was to signify that Edward had never gotten any older. Or perhaps simply because Jekyll knew not what Edward would look like grown up. He could guess that his brother looked like he did, was probably by now the same height, still had a crooked nose, bright green eyes. Other that that, he did not know.

So the Edward in the mirror was still sixteen, with crooked teeth and spots on his face and, when he was in a good mood, which was rare, a brilliant smile.

His voice was rich with the tones of Scotland, something that had long worn off of Jekyll’s tongue, but it did flare up when he was upset.

Lanyon still laughed when he cussed like a Scot, but it was bittersweet now. He ended up remembering things he could not have anymore.

There was so much in his life he would not have anymore. He could not have Lanyon, nor Edward or even a good night’s rest of late.

Hell, if he really wanted to add to the list he could not even have Morcant, the one who had cost him Lanyon.

None of his losses had been worth it. None of them. He wanted to go back and undo half of his life at this point, just wake up one day and find that the day he and Edward had fought, the last time he had seen his brother, had not happened yet, that he was sixteen again and could go to the bed across the room and give his twin brother a hug.

He wanted to apologize he wanted to not have lost Edward so many years ago, he just wanted everything to go back.

He did not want to be in this office, in this building in London did not want the certificate from university above his desk did not want any of this if it meant he could wake up at home and start over with Edward there.

But you cannot. You ruined all of this. You called me a coward for not leaving and got upset when I did, you left Scotland and came here and gave up on me, you fucked the werewolf and lost the man that you will pine after forever, you ruined things with your good friend, and you cannot fix any of it. Soon you will ruin the society and yourself, and the world will be better for it.

“Why can you never be helpful, Edward?” Henry asked suddenly. “Why do you act so differently from how you did as my brother? Edward was never like this we did not put each other down we did not pick at each others flaws why are you like this now?” It was not right it was not fair Edward was not like this he was sweet and strong and kind, even seconds after clashing with the boys parents he could turn around and smile and crack a joke for Henry.

Edward opened his mouth to speak, but it was not his own words that he began speaking. It was far worse than if he had just continued to dig at Jekyll. You know something, Edward? Fine. You want to give up on our dreams and quit? Fine. I am not going to stop you. You can leave if you would damned well like, but you do not. You could do lots to improve this situation but you just want to whine and bitch about it. Fine. I do not care. I am going to make the society happen, with or without you. And if you give up, it is not my problem. Fuck you. You want to whine and whine and never get up the gully to do anything about it? Go right on ahead. I am not your personal punching bag, or shoulder to cry on. I have had enough. You have options, you do not use them. That is not my problem anymore.

Jekyll forced himself to listen, holding a hand over his mouth fighting not to cry. Of course, he should have known that Edward knew those words just like he did, and would bring them up now. “I- I-"

We did not put each other down we did not pick at each others flaws why are you like this now? Edward repeated, throwing Jekyll’d desperate lie back into his face. You can lie to everyone else, you can put on your pretty little facade but you cannot lie to me.

“I am sorry, I never meant to hurt you I was angry I did not know you would run…” Jekyll was basically just babbling, praying to God he would find one thing that would stop Edward’s cutting words.

You told me to run! You gave me the idea and then got upset when, after you gave up on me, I gave up on you! Edward snarled from the mirror, green plumes of wispy smoke seeming to writhe around the room in his anger.

“I never gave up on you!” Jekyll tried.

You quit and told me to handle it myself! You gave up on me!

He was right, that was the worst part. Jekyll had given up on his brother, in that one instant and shouted terrible words at him, had crushed the will to stay in him had broken the last support Edward had.

Jekyll reached into the cabinet, pulled down a nice wine glass and a cheap bottle of red wine. He could only afford to serve good wine when Lanyon was here, when he drank it himself, it would have to be cheap.

Popped the cork off the top, poured the wine glass full. Did not bother to close the bottle. He would be having more than one glass.

His father, all those years ago, had warned him not to start this path. Not to turn to drink to try and solve his problems. Had said it never worked.

Had probably been right, but like father like son, Jekyll had picked up the habit anyways.

Lanyon did not help. Now, Lanyon did not drink for problems. He drank joyously and was almost always joyous.

Almost always joyous without you. Edward reminded him. With you, it is all a facade. Have you ever met anyone truly happy to be friends with a cheating ex-lover?

“He came back to see me.” Jekyll reasoned, taking a sip of the acrid wine in the glass. “I did not seek him out he came and found me.”

He pitied you. Could not in good conscience leave you friendless in London. He did not expect Utterson and the rest of your friend to abandon you as well, so he felt he had to suck it up and be the one friend you have. Edward's reasoning made sense and that was the worst part about it. He did not want it to make sense he wanted to believe that Lanyon had wanted to go back to being friends.

“Why do you insist on ruining everything important to me, Edward? Why is it impossible to you that I have a genuine friend, or an honest employee?”

Because I do not like allowing you to believe lies.

Jekyll grit his teeth, sipped more wine. “And how do you know it is a lie? You live in my head you see even less than I do! You are just a voice to some thoughts in my head!”

The ones you know are true but dare not voice. I am not a coward, I make you face the truth!

Before he even knew it, the half-full wine glass sailed into the mirror. The delicate glass shattered, wine splashed onto the mirror and the floor. “Enough, Edward, you are wrong! You are not the only person in my life that I can trust, in fact, I am starting to believe I cannot trust you at all!”

By the time Jekyll had finished his rant, he was shouting at nothing but his own reflection

 

“Stephen! Ow, goddamn it that hurts get the fuck off me!” Hyde complained, trying to throw the brunet, who had gotten back from the society after delivering the forged doctor's note, and promptly laid down on top of Edward Hyde, off of him. “Stephen!” He shouted.

“Am I really hurting you?” Stephen asked, rolling off.

“I fell off a roof into a tree and then out of the tree do you think that hurts? You laying on me?” Hyde demanded.

“Alright, alright, I am sorry.” Stephen gave him a quick kiss. “But you can get out of bed now, you lazy ass.” He continued.

“Do I really have to?” Hyde whined. “I am quite comfortable and besides…” he smirked. “My doctor told me to rest.”

Stephen shoved him off the bed. “Ow! God, you are a prick!” Hyde complained, slowly getting to his feet and glaring at the brunet.

“Your doctor does not like to repeat himself. To the kitchen, you get to help me cook if you want to stay home from work.”

“I should have gone to work.” Hyde muttered as he stripped off his sleep clothes and grabbed some pants and a shirt that looked relatively clean.

His arm hurt a lot. As did the collection of other scrapes and bruises he had acquired yesterday.

“Did you take your pill when you woke me up to forge a letter, or do you still need it?” Stephen asked.

“I took it.” Hyde assured him, buttoning up a green shirt. “Do we have any fish?”

“No, we do not, you do not like fish. Why would we?”

“I want to catch a cat.” Hyde replied. “There is one that lives between two of the houses on this road. I want to catch it.”

“We have chicken, you can try that after you help me make breakfast.”  Stephen suggested. “Though, I thought we had agreed not-"

“Not to get a cat. I am not buying one, this one is already here.” Hyde reasoned. “I am only bringing it inside.”

“One of these days I will call you on your bullshit.” Stephen decided.

Hyde smirked and hobbled out of the room into the kitchen. “What did you want to make?” He asked.

“What are you going to eat, you are the picky one.” Stephen reminded him.

Hyde sighed. “Fine, we should just make eggs and bacon or something like that.”

“Alright, so pull those out of the fridge while I get dressed.” Stephen instructed.

Hyde nodded and pulled those out of the fridge. Grabbed a pan from under the stove, set the gas on and began cracking eggs into the pan. He was tired of the boiled eggs Stephen always made.

Stephen stepped out and started laughing. “The meat takes longer to cook, you need to do that before the eggs, most of the time.”

“But then it will get cold while you cook the eggs.” Hyde reasoned.

“And that is why I always boil the eggs.” Stephen said with a smile.

“Do we not have another pan?”

“There's only one element.”

Hyde didn't have an answer for that.

“Oh well, leave them slightly underdone, we will pull them off the pan, cook the bacon, and then heat the eggs up again before eating.” The brunet decided.

Hyde shrugged. Whatever meant he got to eat hot food was good to him.

“Yeah, do that, I will make some coffee.” Stephen decided.

“God, coffee. It is official, make coffee and you are forgiven for falling on me this morning.” Hyde decided.

Stephen smiled and kissed Hyde’s cheek. “Well, I am glad that is all patched up then.”

Hyde gave him a playful shove backwards. “Not until there is a cup of coffee in my hands, it is not!” He corrected, poking at the eggs on the pan.

“Fine, fine. Do not burn those!” Stephen warned.

“I will not burn them, have a little faith in me I spent practically every day in a kitchen for sixteen years!” Hyde protested.

“And yet you still burn half of the things that I have you cook.” Stephen retorted.

Hyde huffed and flipped the eggs over. “Ha. Not burned.” He said pointedly.

“There is still another side, Eddie.” Stephen laughed, setting a kettle full of water to the side. “This is all really badly timed, unless you want cold coffee, pull the eggs off and wait for the kettle to boil. The pan is hot, it should finish cooking the eggs, or as close to that as we had wanted.”

Edward more interested in coffee than in the eggs anyways, so he did as Stephen told him and moved the pan so that the brunet could set the kettle to boil.

“That had better be done soon.” Hyde complained.

“Who has been up all morning, Eddie? You woke me up to forge a letter and deliver it to your brother while you went back to sleep!” Stephen pointed out.

“Thank you for that, but not thanks for crushing my goddamned ribs when you got home!” Hyde said, pulling the eggs off the pan.

“I am not that heavy, you jerk.” Stephen argued. “You are just upset that I made you get out of bed.”

“I was having a nice dream!” Hyde whined. “And you came in and interrupted it by squishing me!”

“You were not squished, you whiny baby!” Stephen argued.

Hyde only sighed. “When will the coffee be done?”

“I only just put the kettle on the stove.” Stephen said, rolling his eyes. “You need to be patient!”

“I do not have any patience, you know that.” Hyde argued.

“You are terrible."

“Gee, thanks. I will remember that next time you are drunk and aroused.” Hyde laughed. It was a sharp, almost barking sound.

“No you will not. There are days you forget your own name when you are not drunk.” Stephen taunted.

“Rude.”

They finished making breakfast, managing to only drop one egg on the floor, and Hyde took some chicken out of the fridge and went outside to find the cat.

He really did want to catch the thing. He was sure it would not be friendly at first, but that was okay. Hyde was not the friendliest at first, either.

He walked over to the houses it had been between. “Here, kitty kitty… I brought something for you…” He called softly.

The cat did not make a sound. Hyde set the dish on the ground, sat down and waited. He knew the cat would be there, or rather, he hoped it would, he had no real reason to believe that it would be.

But he wanted it to be. He did not fancy going back to the house empty-handed.

He wanted something to show for his efforts.

So he sat and waited for the cat to approach. “You know…” he began, perhaps talking would tempt the cat to relax. “I have always sort of wanted a cat. Henry was a dog person, and maybe I was too but I wanted to be different from my brother, so I always wanted a cat.” He remarked. Frowned. “Maybe I just like animals, in general. They are all pretty cool. But, I gave Henry Zosi, so if I want to be different that means no dogs.”  

There still was not an answer. “You know, I miss him a lot. Even working for him I still miss him. I cannot tell him who I am he would be devastated to know that I am what his brother turned into, and therefore he does not treat me the way he used to, as I am not his brother, in his eyes.”

Hyde shook his head. “Oh, but what do you care of the drama I have gotten myself involved in? You are, after all, just a cat. You are looking for a nice meal, is all.”

And he knew that. He had known the cat did not care when he first began talking, but sometimes it was nice to talk anyways.

He glanced down just in time to see a shadow creep out from between the houses. Smiled and stayed as still as he could.

The cat slowly crept up. Now he could finally see it.

It was a big brown tabby, long fur, huge paws, torn eyes and a long scar across its nose. There was spots where its fur was in the same patterns but orange rather than brown, and a white muzzle. It had yellowy-green eyes.

It snatched up a piece of chicken and immediately darted back. Not out of sight, but out of reach. Hyde watched the cat devour the morsel it had taken and then come back for another. Again, it darted away, but slowly it was staying a little bit closer.

Just not fast enough that it was staying where Hyde could reach by the time the chicken was gone.

So he would not be catching it today, unless he got more chicken, but after he moved around and spooked it that might not work.

Oh well. He would have to keep trying tomorrow after work. He got slowly to his feet, picked up the dish and headed back home.

Chapter Text

The society was abuzz with laughter, light and chaos. Jekyll had finally worked out what the lodgers had been hiding for him, and he was glad he had not sicced Hyde on them, since it truly had not been anything that he should have been worrying about.

They were decorating for Christmas. Even Hyde was sparing Jekyll in the matter of him being a pest, he had been helping string garland around the basilisk skeleton that hung from the ceiling in the lobby, around the wires holding up the hot air balloon that the latest lodger, Bryson, someone Jekyll had never expected to be able to welcome into the facility but was delighted to anyways, had hung up in there as well. For once his lack of fear for heights or slipping was paying off, rather than making him fall off a roof and be over an hour late for work.

Which, to his credit, he had not pulled again. Apart from the day he had taken off on doctor’s orders, he had been right on time for the passed few weeks.

Stephen was likely making sure of it. At least one of those two was remotely responsible, lord knew Hyde was not, even though he tried his best to fake being so.

After all, he did a very bad job of faking it. It was a little bit pathetic.

But still, Jekyll had hired him and fought tooth and nail with Lanyon to keep him hired. He could not go back on that just for a lack of responsibility. It would only prove to Lanyon that he could be pushed around.

He did not believe that Lanyon would take advantage of that, but he could not risk it. He had to stand by this one thing.

So he was stuck dealing with an irresponsible worker who fell off roofs and dragged himself through the window an hour and a half late for his shift. Not exactly the best predicament he had put himself into, but definitely not the worst.

For example… what he had managed to pull in Switzerland. That was definitely the worst thing that he had ever managed to do.

It was the one thing he could never fix, the one thing that nothing would ever fix. He could teach responsibility, he did so with his lodgers all of the time.

He could not go back in time to teach himself fidelity, and he still did not know how to drink responsibly.

Speaking of, he could use a drink. Even if it was bad red wine. For a change, he was ahead on his papers, the society was in the positive with the bank, and he had a trip home to Scotland planned for Christmas, boarding the train on night of the 23rd to be there by Christmas Eve.

It had been a long time since he had seen his parents, he was rather excited to get home and visit in a few days.

And to get out of the office for a few days. Lanyon's family was not fond of him, his wife was off in France again, so he was unoccupied on Christmas Eve and had agreed to babysit, sorry, supervise, the Christmas Eve party that the lodgers were throwing. Jekyll refused to ask Hyde or Lanyon to spend Christmas Day here, besides, at least one of them would be far too hungover to be the voice of reason, said person was invited to the lodgers festivities the night before, so he had to just trust that the lodgers would also be too hungover to cause problems.

So as long as he came back to London and the society was still standing, he was happy.

Really, with this group of people, he could only hope for that much. None of them were very good at basic skills like not burning the entire building to the ground.

He smiled and shook his head. That was what he got for taking miscreants of the streets, after all. Reached into the cabinet, pulled out one of the better of the cheap bottles of wine, he poured almost all his own income back into this place and really could not afford to be drinking the good ones and then have nothing but bad left when Lanyon came to visit, even though he really wanted to celebrate the success he was having right now, pulled down a wine glass and had just began pouring when he heard a shriek from across the society.

He would not have been remotely concerned, but it was not a voice he was used to hearing shriek, and there was no laughter following, so that meant it was really bad.

He set the wine bottle down and rushed out of his office down the narrow, steep staircase, nearly tripped and fell on his face. “What is going on in here?” He demanded after reaching the lobby, looking around to see the source of the commotion.

“Look up, doctor!” Rachel told him, racing over to him. “Somebody had better go get Bryson, he is the only one who will be able to get up there.”

“Hyde!” Jekyll called, seeing that he was the one stuck in the rafters by his coat. “Do I even want to know how you got stuck up there, or should I just go back to work?”

“There is a nail sticking out of this rafter!” He shouted down, shrieked again as his coat tore a bit and he dropped an inch.

He had nothing to grab onto with the way he was hanging, in fact, he looked a little like a scruffed cat. If he reached up to the rafter he was caught on, there was a good chance he would fall out of his coat or that it would finish tearing after his weight shifted.

It would have been humorous, if he was not hanging several tens of feet off the ground and facing a nasty fall if he slipped.

That part was not nearly as funny. “For god’s sakes, Jekyll, figure something out I am not making this the second roof I fall from in less than a month!” Hyde called down.

“If you fall, you will not be able to do much to me. How would you like me to get up there, what were you thinking? How did you even get there?”

“He was jumping from rafter to rafter to string up garland, and he slipped. Really, he should be grateful he got caught of he would have already fallen.” Rachel reported.

“This is what I get for trying to be festive in a way that does not involve drinking.” Hyde huffed. Rachel giggled.

Bryson rushed into the lobby. “What is it, Griffin said it was bad! But also that it might not be the worst thing in the world if I did not hurry.”

“Yeah, remind me to hang Griffin twenty feet in the air and threaten to have a cup of tea while I go and get help for him sometime, see how he likes it!” Hyde spat.

Bryson’s head snapped up to look for the voice. “Oh my! I did not even see you there, Hyde!”

“Can you get him down?” Jekyll asked, a concerned air about him. It would really not look good for the society if Hyde fell to his death in the lobby. Not that the fall should kill him, but it would probably hurt a lot.

“If I untie the balloon and, no, the balloon would get in the way… Someone is going to have to go up on the- oh! I have it. I will bring the balloon over to that rafter, climb up onto the rafter and pull him back up.”

“If I die, it is your fault.” Hyde called.

“Says the man who was jumping around on the rafters.” Bryson retorted.

“I will make sure to tell you boyfriend you died because you were an idiot.” Rachel added.

“No one else wanted to come up here and put up the decorations!” Hyde argued.

“He does have us there. Anyways, I am going to get the balloon. The rest of you, pile things for him to land on underneath in case he does fall.” Bryson instructed.

Rachel rushed off to get the rest of the lodgers, Jekyll looked over to Bryson.

“Do you need help getting the hot air balloon free?”

“Please.” Bryson agreed.

They ran into the other room

Getting the balloon free was a two-man job, but it was not difficult. Once Bryson had managed it, it was getting it to the right altitude that he could get near Hyde without knocking into him and causing him to fall.

It was slow going, with a more horrified shouting, Hyde’s coat was not meant to hold him up and was tearing much quicker than Bryson could approach.

Bryson finally managed to get the balloon stationary and floating where he could climb onto the basket and…

He was not tall enough to reach the rafter.

But he seemed to have another plan. He got back into the basket, moved the balloon closer still to Hyde, before stopping it.

“Hyde, you are going to have to intentionally let yourself fall. Slide your arms out of your coat, and use your weight to propel yourself this way.” Bryson called.

Hyde visibly paled. “I hate you all.” He declared, and followed the instructions as best he could. He fell much faster once his arms were not keeping him in the coat, and at the last moment swung himself forward. His coat finished tearing as he did so, and fell to the ground.

Jekyll could not look until he heard Rachel sigh in relief. Then he looked back up to see that the blond had just barely caught the edge of the basket. Bryson pulled him inside and brought them down to the ground.

“You guys can think of some other way to get the rest of the garland up there.” He said.

 

“I nearly died at work today.” Hyde announced when he walked through the door.

“Sounds to me like you are being overly dramatic again, Eddie.” Stephen said immediately. “I got some more fish, you had better catch that cat soon, this is costing us a fortune.”

“I really did! I got caught on a nail in the rafters, look, there is a big tear in my coat to prove it!” Hyde protested, holding his coat out to Stephen for the brunet to see.

Stephen just laughed and kissed his forehead. “So, what you are really trying to tell me is that you need your coat fixed.” He said.

“You ruin all my fun. But seriously, ask at the party in three days, Bryson and Rachel saw it all! They had to get me down in a hot air balloon!”

“Well, I am glad that you are safe, Eddie.” Stephen told him, gave him a hug. “Now go and catch your cat, this is the last fish I am buying for her without her being in the house, got it?” He warned, raising an eyebrow.

Hyde nodded. He could already pet her, she just did not want to come inside the house. He was almost certain that he could fix that today.

He walked over and pulled out the piece of fish that Stephen had brought, tore it into pieces and divided it onto several plates.

He had been doing this every day since he had first began taming the cat. It had taken a long time, but she would now come up to him and allow him to pet her, she was simply wary of the house.

Which was not a problem. Hyde was almost certain that he could convince her inside today.

Carefully, he laid a trail of the dishes of fish from the kitchen to the door, down the set of stairs that led to the gravel street.

“Here, kitty kitty kitty!” He called, setting the last one on the ground.

It only took a few moments for her to bound out from between the buildings. As usual, she was a little shy, but she walked up to the first dish and, once she was settled down to eat, allowed Hyde to scratch between her ragged ears.

He smiled, heard her start to purr as she devoured the fish in the first dish and moved onto the next one, following her nose more than anything else.

Hyde kept petting her, she did not seem to mind. Which was good, considering he was trying to lure her into his house to be a house cat, though he imagined that she would still be very outdoorsy. He just wanted her to come back to the apartment for a home.  

Everything else was secondary. He did not expect to turn the stray he had found hiding out between two houses into a housecat, he was not stupid. He knew that would not work.

The cat was on the steps up to the apartment now, which was a little further than she had ever been willing to go before this point. Hyde smiled, moved to sit on the step and wait to see what she would do.

To his relief, she continued nosing her way to the dishes, until she reached the doorway. Then she stopped.

Hyde bit his lip. This was sort of the moment of truth. Would she go to the fish, or flee from the apartment?

He truly hoped she would not flee, he had spent a lot of time trying to tame her, and Stephen was getting sick of feeding the cat almost better than the pair fed themselves.

If Hyde could not get her to go inside today, he may never get another chance. He had used almost all the fish that Stephen had brought home, this was basically the last resort to try and get the cat inside.

Slowly, cautiously, she stepped a massive paw delicately onto the floor inside the door. Hyde held his breath and watched as she glanced around, yellow-green eyes narrowed, pupils down to slits, and then pressed some weight down on the paw, and slowly krept another one inside until she was standing at the next dish, the one with the most fish.

Hyde had to be careful not to spook her now. He did not close the door just yet, but he did sit down in the doorway to watch what she would do next.

When the cat finished eating, she turned back towards the door as though to make a break for it, found Hyde sitting there and seemed to give pause. “Hey, it is alright… you can stay here, I will not hurt you, neither will Stephen…” Hyde muttered, reaching out to pet her, slowly shifting himself out of the doorway.

The cat did not make a break for the door. She sat back down to enjoy being pet, and after what seemed like ages, laid down on the wooden floor.

Moment of truth. If he stood up and closed the door and she panicked, he would have to let her out. He got slowly to his feet, and very, very slowly, clicked the door closed.

The cat seemed more annoyed that her spot of sunshine had vanished than the fact that the door was closed.

Hyde grinned. Sat back down beside her and resumed petting her. Her fur was very long, and relatively snag-free, considering she was a stray. “Stephen, come in here, slowly, and meet our new cat. Bring some fish.” He whispered.

Heard a bit of commotion in the kitchen, and Stephen walked in.

The cat sprang up as though to run, but then Stephen set the dish in front of her and she relaxed to eat.

Hyde’s smile grew even wider when she allowed Stephen to pet her. “I told you that I could do it.”

“I must admit, I did not believe you, so I am impressed.” Stephen conceded, smiling a little bit as well. “So, what are we going to name her?”

“Hmmmm… I do not know just yet, there are so many different names that are really good for her…” Hyde remarked.

“Well, I like Tabitha.” Stephen said. “She is a tabby, so it works.”

Hyde snorted. “But that is so boring! I like Alhena.” He decided. He had heard it somewhere, it was part of a constellation.

Stephen scoffed. “Well, that is certainly dramatic enough for you, Mister Spirit-of-London-at-Night.” He teased.

“Rude. I am not dramatic, I am poetic! And poetry is the essence of beauty, an art of its own, the craft of spinning words like a spider spins its web, each phrase is a brushstroke on a canvas, alone they mean nothing but all together they create a portrait that is more powerful than anything else, the portrait that each mind can paint differently-”

Hyde squeaked when he was cut off by Stephen kissing him. “Sorry, Eddie, I could not take that seriously for one more moment, so I had to shut you up before I started full out laughing at you. God, do you know how ridiculous you sound when you start doing that? It is hysterical- ow!”

Hyde smacked his arm, but his smile was still a teasing grin. “Someday, I will write this down, and someone will discover it and I will be a famous poet, and you will eat your words.” He warned.

“Oh, I am sure that will happen. You will be famous for making people laugh at what is meant to be dramatic prose, maybe.” Stephen laughed.

“Well, either way, I did all the work to tame the cat, so we are naming her Alhena.” Hyde decided. “I happen to like my “dramatic” naming skills.”

“Great, I have got to nickname the poor thing just for her to be able to take herself seriously.” Stephen chuckled.

Hyde huffed and smacked him again. “Keep laughing at me and you can make a midnight walk to Julia tonight when you are after something!”

Chapter Text

Jekyll had not been this content in a long while.
The society had not gotten itself into any sort of trouble since Hyde had nearly fallen from the roof, and, better yet, he was entirely packed up to leave for Scotland in just a few hours time.
He would be home and visiting his parents by the next morning. That was an exciting prospect, he dearly missed his parents.
He could not wait to see them again. He would have to confess not having found their other son yet, as he did every time, but by now, he doubted they dared expect anything on the subject. By now, they had accepted as much as he had that Edward was not coming home. Ever. He was dead, Henry did not doubt it. It was only petty stubbornness that still allowed him to hope.
Hope that he did not dare pass along to his parents. They may not even want it, by now. By now it may be kinder to allow them to pretend they had only ever had one child.
But that was not something he should be thinking about right now. He ought to be happy.
Of course you should be happy. After all, you are not me, probably lying face down in a ditch and melted away to a skeleton. Edward scoffed from the mirror, hands on his hips and a disapproving look on his face.
“Oh, do shut up, Edward. I am not in such a mood where I am going to allow your criticism to ruin it. I am going to enjoy this trip, whether you like it or not.” Jekyll warned, glaring at the mirror.
Of course you will. After all, it was not you that they mistreated and drove away- Frustrated, Jekyll took his coat off the hook by the door and threw it over the mirror.
“I said, leave me be.” He scolded, rolling his eyes and returning to his desk.
Perhaps he should be downstairs, saying goodbye to the lodgers, taking one last look at the society in case he came back to a pile of rubble, but he just wanted to relax. He would do that in a while, for now, he should just enjoy the peace and quiet he had from all the hustle and bustle of this place, and London as a whole.
That was one nice thing about Edinburgh. It seemed quiet and calm compared to London, it was a good plan to just rest and relax. After the work he had been doing for the passed so many years, he had earned the chance to just rest and relax.
Even if Lanyon wanted him to stay here and work, keep the society running smoothly, but Robert did not appear to believe in ever taking a break, and neither did his wife. She was constantly off in France with her work, god knew the two rarely saw each other.
Jekyll was sure that when they eventually had a child that would change. There was no way Lanyon’s wife would keep running off to France, and Lanyon would give up the long hours at his practice.
Great. Now he was making himself melancholy again. God. Could he not even think about something happy like his best friend starting a family.
He forced a smile and shook his head. He was being ridiculous again. Maybe he should be downstairs, instead of being lost in his obviously not very positive thoughts.
He got to his feet and walked down the stairs, headed down. He could do more on the ground floor anyways, than hiding up in his office.
“Oh my god did you seriously just hit that?”
That was never a good sentence to hear out of Sinnett’s mouth. Jekyll started running down the stairs.
There was just one other voice he did not want to hear involved in this scenario. Please.
“How was I supposed to avoid it, you did not tell me how to aim this thing!” Hyde complained. “Now what do you suggest we do about that?”
Dammit, dammit dammit dammit that was exactly the voice he had not wanted to hear. If Hyde was involved all of the sudden everything was ten times worse. Hyde never managed to do anything good, he never made anything better, he only ever succeeded in making situations worse.
“But did you see how far it went?” Luckett laughed. “Quick, go get Helsby he has water stuff to help!”
Oh god oh god oh god oh god the lobby was burning as they spoke, was it not? While he was running to it.
He threw the doors to the lobby open and gasped at the horrific sight in front of him.
Somehow, he was not sure how he and he was not convinced that he wanted to know, Hyde, SInnett and Luckett had managed to light the Christmas tree in the center of the lobby on fire. He should not have been surprised, especially not with Hyde there, but he still was.
“What the hell is going on here are you trying to kill someone?” Jekyll demanded, running over to them, shielding his face from the inferno that used to be a pine tree. Why did pine needles have to light so quickly and burn so damn hot? This was going to catch the rest of the lobby on fire, and all the valuable displays spread throughout it.
“We were just trying to test something, Doctor Jekyll, Helsby will be here soon and all will be fine. It is just a tree, after all!” Hyde reasoned, clearly fighting back laughter as he watched the tree burn.
“Until it lights the rest of the goddamned building on fire!” Jekyll cried, he could not believe that Hyde would really believe something as stupid as that. “Did you forget that fire spreads? Enough, do not answer, I do not want to hear any more ignorance from your mouth. Clearly, I cannot trust you with anything, particularly not anything that has to do with any sense! Get back upstairs and get to work. I am sure you can find something better to do than light my building on fire!”
Hyde scurried towards the stairs as fast as he could limp.
“And you two, you bunch of bloody morons, what the hell made you think this was a fucking good idea? What has gotten into you pair of idiots? In the lobby? Why the hell did you not use your goddamned-”
“Doctor Jekyll!” Hyde called from the stairs, laughing a little bit to himself. “In English!”
Jekyll took a pause. Sinnett and Luckett looked confused. “What do you mean by that?” He asked.
“I can understand you, but I am from Scotland! They are not! Leave the scottish slang from you words and they will at least understand when you insult them!” Hyde called in return, still laughing. “I know Luckett’s Irish but he sure is not Scottish and I would wager that neither of them understood a word you said!”
Jekyll flushed, then glanced back at the tree. Helsby at just ran around the corner, he could hear sloshing upstairs, so someone had a bucket on the balcony. “Both of you, go and help put this out. We will talk later. Before I leave for Scotland. Is that clear?” He demanded.
“Yes, Doctor Jekyll.” Sinnett and Luckett both rushed off as well.
Jekyll needed to get away from the fire, or he was really going to lose it. Sinnett and Luckett both knew how to handle a fire, they would get this put out with minimal damage. He was too angry to trust himself to go upstairs and deal with Hyde, he should not have snapped at the blond, nor the pyrologist and detonitative homeopath that were heading off to fight the fire, and he should not give himself a chance to do it again.
He could not go to the kitchen, no doubt that by now all the lodgers but Hyde were dealing with the fire. Really, he should evacuate the building and let the fire station sort this out, but then he would lose the building for sure, and besides, Helsby’s efforts seemed to be working, the fire was dying down with only minimal scorch marks on the actual structure of the building.
Fine. It would all be fine, they would figure out if they needed to leave.
He walked to the stairwell. “Hyde, if the office is full of smoke, get back down here. You will suffocate and I do not need that problem on my hands.”
“It is fine up here, Doctor.” Hyde assured him.
Satisfied, he turned to the lodgers. “If the fire gets bad again, you guys get everyone out of the building, and get the fire station here. I am… I am going out.”
“Take your time, doctor.” Luckett called.
He did not need encouragement. “Zosi!” He whistled and the little dog scampered over to him. He grabbed a leash, clipped it to the grim’s collar, and walked out of the building.
Staying there was just going to finish ruining what should have been a good day.

Why had he even opened his mouth? Why had he not let Luckett and Sinnett handle it then the sting would not be there even hours after Jekyll had said it.
His brother had returned, apologized and then set off on his trip but it still hurt. Hyde was still mad at himself. Sinnett and Luckett had hardly needed his help, he had not helped in any way anyways! He did not know half of what he was trying to talk about and clearly Jekyll was going to be mad at him for lighting a tree on fire and-
And Henry did not trust him to say anything sensible. In just a few months he had managed to ruin his brother’s image of him completely to the point that Edward Hyde was just the idiot who worked in the office and if he opened his mouth, expect nothing but nonsense and stupidity. He was lucky he had not been the one of the receiving end of the vicious insults and cussing that Jekyll had used against Luckett, and Sinnett, he understood it, and probably would have blown his cover hearing his own brother say them to him.
Because he either out have said something right back, or started crying. “God, what a perfect day to be alone.” He muttered to himself, pushing the door open. Stephen was off with Julia, since the Christmas party at the society had included an invite for Stephen, by name, and the three of them were all dining together Christmas day, Stephen was with Julia for the night of the twenty-third.
It made sense, Hyde was not upset about it, he did not care how Stephen divided the time, he could just really use a shoulder to cry on or someone to vent to, and Alhena just did not count. She was affectionate enough, but she did not like to be cuddled, and did not have any words to offer.
Of course, he was so busy thinking about the cat that he did not realize she was right under his feet until he tripped over her. She yowled and ran the other way, annoyed, and Hyde fell down on his front. “Fuck! Goddamn it cat, how many times do I have to tell you not to get under my feet!”
It was just not his day, was it? Nothing would go right tonight, clearly. “Alhena, come here, I am sorry…” He muttered, getting up onto his knees and twitching his fingers to try and get her to come out from where she was hiding, but he had no such luck, Alhena was not coming near him.
He groaned and got all the way back to his feet, walked into the kitchen, set some food into a dish for the cat and set it on the ground.
It was passed seven. He should eat something and head out for the night. It was a beautiful evening, considering it was December, he should not waste it inside.
But honestly, he was not hungry, and he was not in a mood to go out. It was odd, typically, especially without Stephen around, he could not stand to stay in all night.
But his brother’s snapping had taking a lot out of him.
He knew he was a pest. He knew he did not always say the brightest things. He was no scientist, he was a kid who had lived on his own since he was sixteen, and seventeen years later he was paying for it because he could not shut his dumb mouth for one moment and not piss of his brother.
Hyde sighed, left the kitchen and walked into the bedroom. Flopped down onto the bed.
The sheets were cold, untouched since this morning when he had left. They were covered in cat hair and smelled like sweat and like Stephen and could probably afford to be washed, he should do that, in fact, before Stephen got there tomorrow, but he just… did not have the motivation to do it.
He still felt a little like crying, even though he had deserved the scolding and it had not been that bad. It just… hurt, to hear it coming from his twin brother of all people.
He could add that to the list of things his heart believed he never should have heard from Henry Jekyll. The others being the full speech of what his brother had said the night Hyde had left.
And he had deserved it both times. Now for being an idiot, and uncaring, stupid idiot, and back then for being the coward Henry had called him on being.
Lately, he could not do anything right, it seemed. Including be a decent fucking human being, god knew Henry did not have high standards he could genuinely be tolerable and Henry would not have said something like he had today.
Why could his own brother not tolerate him? What had he become that even Henry could not tolerate him?
Hyde groaned and buried his face in his hands. He still had the urge to cry, and he did not really know why. Nothing Henry had said was worth crying over. Chin up, Eddie, you are being a little bitch again. Just like you were when Henry called you on your bullshit last time. You should be used to this.
He should. He should not be surprised by Henry’s harsh words. He deserved them anyways.
Why was his always so sensitive about things when Henry said them? A stranger could have said ten times worse and it would not bother Hyde, he would throw a punch only to defend his honour. It did not mean a thing.
Coming from Henry… it meant a lot. It hurt a lot more than it should have when it came from his brother. It was like everything Henry said was ten times worse than it actually was.
Honestly… at this point, just to make it stop, just to make Henry have a shred of liking for him again instead of just pure, barely masked distaste, he was nearly ready to admit who he was.
Truth be told, it was only Lanyon’s warning about what Edward Hyde could do to Henry Jekyll’s reputation that was keeping him quiet. He could not ruin things for Henry like that. It would not be fair of him in the least. He could not ruin what Henry had fought so hard to have. What sort of brother would do that?
He deserved Henry’s criticism. He was a terrible brother, the worst brother in the world, maybe, and he was a terrible person, too. Edward Hyde was no improvement on Edward Jekyll, in fact, he had probably gotten worse.
Elizabeth and Henry Jekyll Senior would be ashamed of him. Henry Jekyll Junior would be ashamed of him.
Darius and Petunia Hyde would be ashamed of him. Even the people he had loved like parents, the people that were basically his parents, in his head. They would be ashamed of him.
Alhena jumped up onto the bed beside him, meowed. Hyde sighed, looked up at her, scratched behind her torn ears. She purred and flopped down beside him.
He could not help but smile, just a little bit. “Thanks, Alhena…” He murmured, petting her a bit. “Maybe you are more helpful than I thought you would be.”
She only purred some more.
It did not get rid of the facts. Henry did not like him, may even resent him, his parents, both sets, would likely hate him by now, not that the Jekylls had not done that already, but hey, at least Stephen and Alhena liked him. Julia could tolerate him, as could the lodgers, though he was quite sure that Griffin did not like anyone so it was not practical that he expect Griffin to tolerate him.
So it was not great, but it could be worse. It could always be worse. And when Henry got back from Scotland, he would have a chance to apologize and make up for his error and carelessness about the tree. After all, Henry could not stay angry with him forever, he would surely not stay angry with Sinnett and Luckett forever. So why should he stay angry with Hyde forever?
He still did not feel fantastic, it felt like an early night that he would claim to Stephen that he did not spend with the cat and sleeping, the pain was numbing but still very much there and he was in no mood to interact with people and be social, even though he knew in a way it would cheer him up.
Perhaps he did not want to feel any better. Perhaps he just wanted to sit and sulk.
And considering Stephen was not there to criticize and convince him to do something else, that was what Hyde was going to do.
He would go back to being happy tomorrow, for the party.

Chapter Text

“Henry! Oh, my, it has been forever!” Missus Jekyll rushed up to her son and pulled him into a hug.

Jekyll smiled, hugged her tightly. “It truly has been too long, mother.” He agreed.

“And just listen to you! You cannot even tell that you are from Edinburgh anymore, you speak like a proper English gentleman!” She cried, smiling to herself.

“Oh, mother, you know I am only faking the accent, do you not? Did you really think I picked it up within two years?” Jekyll asked.

“I hate to tell you this, Henry, but while you were clearly trying to drop the English accent last time you were here… it was more like a hybrid of Scottish and English that you were speaking in. So do yourself a favour and just keep the english this time.” His father advised. “How have you been? Your letters are terribly dull and non-descriptive.” Henry Jekyll senior told him.

“Are they?” Jekyll thought back to the recent letters he had sent. “Oh, you are right, too. I am truly sorry, I have been so damnably busy of late. I hired some help in the office and such and he needs a lot of training.” Jekyll frowned. “A lot of training. It has frankly been rather exhausting, but he is getting there.” At least… Jekyll hoped that was true. If it was not… then he was screwed. Because he could in no way give up on Hyde after defending him so much to Lanyon so he was just going to have to keep suffering with this.

None of that was good news, and none of it was to be shared with his parents.

“New help? Who did you hire?” His mother asked. “I do hope they are responsible enough to handle running your office for you, while you get back to your research!”

“Oh no, he is not in charge of all that goes on in that office. I have managed to spend more time teaching Miss Ito lately than I had in the past, but I still have to do much of the work in that office. Mister Hyde, for example, does not have any authority in affairs of money, so he cannot be accountable for paying taxes or any such things. So I still have to do that.”

“You hired an aid for the office and then did not give him all the authority for the office?” His father asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Yes, father. You ought to understand, do you not remember that employee you once had who syphoned money out of your bank for months before you caught him? The society does not have money to lose.”

“You make a fair point.” Mister Jekyll agreed.

“Did you say his name was Mister Hyde? It sounds like those barkeeps who were murdered, not long after Henry left Edinburgh, does it not?” His mother asked, looking at her husband.

“They were his parents. He came to London not long before they were killed, is what he told me.” Henry explained.

“Funny, I do not seem to recall the Hydes having a son. The bar was sold off, there appeared to be no remaining family.”

“Edward told me he asked them to sell the bar, he did not want it. I do not believe, actually, that he has ever returned to Scotland. He has been to Switzerland, Germany and France, but he has never returned here.” Jekyll said.

“Edward?” His mother questioned.

“Edward Hyde. His name is Edward Hyde.” Jekyll replied. He really should have specified that.

“Interesting coincidence.” His father remarked.

“Quite.”

Even before he had put his bags down, Jekyll knew that would be the last anyone willingly spoke of, referenced or mentioned Edward Jekyll without him instigating it for the rest of this visit.

His parents appeared willing to pretend they had always only had one son. Henry Jekyll, the one they considered to be the eldest even though Edward and Henry had always known that the mere idea of counting one of them as the eldest was ridiculous, Edward had been born mere minutes after Henry.

And so, even though everything Henry Jekyll did in his life, from naming the society to talking to his inner doubts in the mirror still involved his twin brother.

The same could not be said about his parents. And he knew that. Was unsurprised and doubted Edward would be shocked either.

“Well, come on in, Henry, we have your room set up, you should have a chance to put your bags away and such before we badger you too much!” His mother laughed, and guided him all the way into the house and down the hall to what had been his and his brother’s shared room when they were children.

It had become a guest room once Jekyll had moved out, the two beds reduced to one.

It was nothing personal, but in some ways it still hurt to see Edward so easily removed from the house.

Well, he had not tried very hard to remain in it either, he had smashed a window and lept from it without so much as a word.

“Here you are, we will have a late breakfast on for you shortly, I cannot imagine you ate anything on the train.” His mother told him.

He smiled. “You are right, I did not. I will be out soon.” He promised, setting his bags down on the floor as she left the room.

Wow, this place is somehow worse than last time we were here. Even more empty. And they care even less.

“You are going to shut your mouth while I am here. News flash, Edward, this trip is for me. Not you. If you do not enjoy it, go back to doing whatever you normally do when you are not pestering me.” Jekyll told him. Pulled his coat off and hung it by the door, threw his white gloves on the desk, rolled up his sleeve.

Easy for you to say. You are not being forced to be in the same house as the people who abused you emotionally and verbally to the point you ran away and probably died somewhere in a cold dark alley, Henry.

“I will remind you that you are not actually my twin brother, Edward. That never happened to you. So can it.” Jekyll said, hooked his hat beside his coat and left the room.

Edward huffed but did not argue.

That could be counted a small victory for Jekyll. He rarely convinced Edward to shut up.

“So, tell us how the society is going!” His mother said eagerly. “As I said, you never do say much about the society in your letters. You seem quite reserved about it, for how proud you were when it opened!”

The only time his parents had visited him in London had been when he and Robert had finally opened the society, and all they had really seen was hustle and bustle, like London was famous for, and their son nearly bursting with excitement.

It had probably not been the best visit for them, Jekyll had hardly had a moment to spend with them, but he his big success he had wanted them there with him to see it. So they had been there.

At the very least, they had liked Robert, and the two of them had managed to pretend there was utterly no tension in their friendship, which normally, a fool could see there was. It had been a good achievement for his parents to think nothing was wrong.

Especially since Robert’s parents knew there was, and they genuinely did not even care about their son.

And Missus Jekyll had liked Miss Ito a lot.

Miss Ito did not like Missus Jekyll a lot.

“Oh, it has been quite interesting! There are constantly new scientists and new fields of study around. Our newest is Sinnett, he is working with fire to isolate and study the properties of phlogiston. He is actually doing pretty well, too! Albeit, he, Luckett and Hyde did light the Christmas tree on fire shortly before I left, I was not particularly impressed, but he is doing impressive work when not lighting my building on fire.” Jekyll explained.

“That sounds dangerous! What was your office assistant doing with fire?” His mother asked.

“I allowed him to be. He seemed interested and had been working hard in the office.” Jekyll explained. “It can be dangerous, yes, but it is quite fun.”

“And your own research?” His father questioned.

“Has been put on hold while I teach Miss Ito.” Jekyll said.

“Oh, that is quite a shame.” His mother remarked.

“I suppose. Teaching has been fun though!” Jekyll told them.

“I am glad you are enjoying it! Miss Ito seemed a very nice girl!” Missus Jekyll remarked.

“It does still seem odd to have a woman in science, though.” Mister Jekyll said, raising an eyebrow.

“That is precisely what the society is there for, father. Miss Ito is not the only woman there! We have Miss Flowers and Missus Cantilupe and Miss Lavender and I would gladly allow more in, if they asked me to, or needed me to.” Jekyll reminded him. “Remember who helped me plan this, Edward wanted a place where anyone was accepted.”

His father nodded. “I suppose.”

Jekyll only smiled and shook his head. He would not convince them.

And that was fine. They were not the people he needed to convince.

 

“Doctor Lanyon, a merry Christmas to you.” Hyde tipped his top hat and walked passed the doctor, who returned the greeting, but glared at Hyde the whole time he was speaking.

“He really does not like you, does he? He seemed a lot friendlier when we were younger.” Stephen remarked.

“Truly, I think he only put on an act for Henry when we were younger, and he never liked me.” Hyde agreed. “Here, I am going to put our stuff upstairs in Henry’s office in case this place gets out of hand. I do not want it getting wrecked.” He said.

Stephen handed Hyde his coat.

The blond stopped. Looked up the steep stairs.

Looked down at his cane.

Cursed.

“Here, I will go and do that, wait here for me.” Stephen grabbed Hyde’s hat, cloak and his own coat back before running up the stairs, the little blond standing and waiting for him at the bottom.

Stephen raced back down and pulled an arm around Hyde’s shoulders. “So what will this be like?” He asked.

“Nuttier than that bar in Germany.” Hyde replied with a confident smile.

“You willing to bet on that?”

“Hell yeah.”

Stephen smirked. “How do you still even remember the night in Germany? We were drunk out of our minds, and you were barely nineteen-”

“And you had to get the barkeep the biggest tip ever, because you forgot we were in public and fucked me against the counter. I remember.”

Stephen blushed.

“Oh, and you are not allowed to do that here. We are grown men and you can at least wait until we get home. I am not dealing with being the lodger’s comic relief for the rest of my employment here.”

“Oh, you are not into exhibition?” Stephen taunted.

“Nope, but according to some rumours, if you are desperate for someone who is, you just need to ask around the society. There is at least one person who is.” Hyde eluded.

“And how the hell do you know that?”

“Rachel.” Hyde said with a smile. “The one lodger who gossips more than I do. She knows almost everything about everyone.” He explained.

Stephen nodded, and they stepped into the newly rearranged lobby.

“Hyde! You made it!” Sinnett shouted across the hall. “Luckett bet you would not show up after yesterday!”

“You think a fiery tree and some Scottish cursing is going to keep me out of this place? For god’s sakes, I am from Scotland as well, he cannot scare me away with that slang! And god, guys, I thought this was a party! You are all just standing about!” The blond teased.

“Oh, sure, well maybe we were just waiting for you to show up, Hyde! You are late!” Rachel retorted.

“And how can you call yourself the Spirit of London at Night if you are Scottish?” Bird asked.

“I left Scotland sixteen years ago, I hardly think I am still Scottish.” Hyde retorted.

“You should hear him talk when he is not faking the Cockney accent, he may not be Scottish but he is no Englishman.” Stephen told them.

Hyde spun around to glare at him. “Jerk.” He turned to the rest of the lodgers. “So? I am here, now bring the party!” He cried.

---

“Who the hell is singing, and quick, someone tell them they should not be!”

The room was already spinning a little and Hyde knew his footsteps were shaky and stumbly. But he was not here to stay sober, so why should he care?

“Helsby taught the kraken to sing Christmas carols.” Bird explained, chuckling.

“Well, somebody tell him to unteach the kraken! My ears are burning!”

Lavender snorted. “Hyde, the one you want to shut up is not the kraken. It is Sinnett. He, Doddle and Pennebrygg decided they needed to form a singing trio to sing with the kraken.” She explained, giggling and knocking back the last of her drink.

“Is that so?” Hyde paused, listened to the voices he could hear. “Yep, you are right that is definitely Sinnett.” He agreed, a smile playing on his lips.”Hey, I bet I can get him to stop.” He said casually.

“Eddie, you look like you have a terrible idea.” Stephen said, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh, Steph, you know that I have no terrible ideas!” Hyde retorted, and crept off towards where Sinnett, Doddle and Pennebrygg were performing what could have generously been described as Christmas Carols, or that they were striking a dying pig over and over again.

He walked behind them. By now the others were watching, but the trio was too immersed in their… song? to notice him.

So Hyde kept moving until he was directly behind him. “Hey! What do you think you are doing, disgracing my society with this shite you are calling music! It sounds like you are strangling a cow in my goddamn lobby!”

Sinnett shrieked and jumped. “Doctor Je- HYDE!” He cried, rounding on the blond. “What the hell are you doing?”

Hyde began giggling, clutching his stomach. “You really thought that I was Doctor Jekyll!” He laughed, curling over a little bit. “I did not know that my impression was that good!”

“What are you doing over here?” Lanyon demanded, walking over with his hands on his hips.

“Do it again!”

“Say something dirty!”

“What, to Lanyon?” Hyde pretended to sound innocent even though in his head, he already had an idea of what he would say.

“What are you saying to me?”

“Yes!” Archer called, a wicked grin on his face.

“It will not work as well, he is looking at me.” Hyde pointed out.

“Say it anyways!”

“Alright, alright.” Hyde cleared his throat, smirked at Lanyon.

The doctor was starting to look nervous. “You know, Robert, with everyone down here… we could have the office to ourselves…”

If he did say so himself, he did an even better job than with Sinnett. It was a touch awkward, to try and imitate what he thought his brother’s sultry voice would sound like… but the look on Lanyon’s face was beyond worth it. “Your wife’s out of town… she does not have to know…”

There was whoop from beside Hyde as Lanyon flushed, swallowed and backed off. “That is enough of that, Hyde.”

“Says you, Robert.”

Lanyon tried to stare him down. Hyde’s green eyes held the doctor’s brown ones until Lanyon finally looked away.

Hyde laughed some more. “There, was that good enough for you?” He asked.

The lodgers cheered.

“When did you learn Doctor Jekyll’s voice so well?” Rachel asked.

“His accent is wonky, but other than that, it is not so different from my own.” Hyde remarked, shrugging his shoulders.

“His accent is just an upper class London accent. Yours is by rights wonkier.” Bryson reminded him.

“Eh, I can call Jekyll’s accent if I want, he is not here!” Hyde said with a crooked-toothed smile. “Now, I need another drink. Oh, Doctor Lanyon! You look like you could use a drink, too!” He offered, smile turning toxic.

“Rot in hell, Hyde.” Lanyon muttered, moving over to a seat in the corner of the room to glare at the rest of the party.

“Only if you go with me!” Hyde called, then walked over to the table at the side of the lobby to pour himself another mug of ale. That was the one downfall to this party, no one had gotten any absinthe, and it was taking a little more effort to get as tipsy as he normally did.

They had whiskey, but lord knew after the amount of times Doctor Penhaligon had used the stuff to numb whatever pain Hyde was in, he no longer had a taste for it.

So he was stuck with ale, or other things he did not feel like dabbling with tonight, not with people he actually had to see again around him.

German pubs were one place to make bad decisions. The Society was another.

“Oh, and hey, Sinnett? Do me a favour, those curses were not just to remind you of yesterday. You should probably leave the singing to the kraken.”

“You wound me, Hyde, you really do.” Sinnett complained.

“Oh, bite me, Sinnett.” Hyde told him, rolling his eyes. “You sounded like someone was strangling a pig.”

“Hey! Biting you is my job, Eddie!” Stephen said with a grin, walking over and wrapping his arms around the blond’s waist, and pressing a kiss to the side of his neck.

Hyde ducked away and shoved him backwards. “Hey! Leave it for later, and goddamn, man, brush your teeth first, your breath reeks. ” He complained.

“Maybe it is not Lanyon needing the office upstairs, you two!” Rachel laughed.

“Not likely, I will pass out from the smell!” Hyde said.

Stephen smacked his arm and they both laughed. “I think we can wait.”

Chapter Text

Lanyon should have been more ashamed of himself than he was.

He had not, after all, handled Hyde's taunting as a man of his social standing should have. A man of his social standing, a member of high society like he was, should have simply ignored what Hyde had said. He was only a drunk lunatic, nothing he said had any meaning, even if Hyde and Lanyon knew well that Hyde’s words struck close to home… but Lanyon had spied an opportunity to start the process of getting  Hyde back out of the society.

It was probably petty. To want to get rid of Henry Jekyll's twin brother. But he did, and he had started it already.

He should have felt bad as he stirred his tea, sitting down for a quiet breakfast. His wife was in Paris, Henry was in Edinburgh, so besides his family he had no one left in London he would consider having to his house for Christmas morning, besides, Henry should not have been on that list, goddamn it, get it together, Robert… Either way. He would already have to deal with his father for supper, that was all the socializing he felt like doing today.

So he was alone for Christmas morning. To dwell on what he had done.

He had to hope no one would ever figure out it had been him that had done it. It had not been easy to pick a lodger to tell. He had needed one who was too drunk to remember it had been Lanyon who mentioned the rumour, but would remember it enough to add it to the gossip that spread like wildfire through that building.

It was a little harsh. Worse than he had planned on doing to anyone for a while yet.

But Miss Lavender had snapped up what he had suggested, and doubtlessly did not remember that he was the one to have said it.

All Lanyon had to do was sit back, relax, and enjoy his tea. Sure, he was still a little humiliated from last night's events, and Hyde's surprisingly decent imitation of his brother’s sultriest tone, but not as humiliated as Hyde was going to be this morning.

As Lanyon sipped his tea, he decided he really should feel more guilty about it.

 

“Where the fuck are we, Steph?” Hyde murmured, sitting up and blinking in the bright sun. Almost immediately, his head started to point and he laid back down, quick. “Goddammit, Stephen, why did I ever trust you to pour me drinks? How do you even still have a job in a bar?” Hyde complained.

Rachel giggled. “After all your impressions last night, I have reason to believe you know exactly where you are.” She said.

“Pardon?” Hyde asked, looking around the room to try and orient himself. He was in the society, if Rachel was in the room. But what did his stupid Henry Jekyll impressions have to do with him knowing which room he was in?

“You know!” Rachel left a tray on the bedside table and pranced off.

Hyde looked at the door she walked out of and it finally clicked.

And- “MotherFUCK!”

Stephen opened his emerald green eyes. “Yell like that again and I will smother you.” He warned.

“I should not have tried to bother Lanyon.” Hyde groaned.

“Why? You likely do not even remember what you said to him beyond the first time!” Stephen told him.

“I did it more than once?” Hyde gasped.

“Yeah, Rachel convinced you to do it again.” Stephen explained.

“Well, shit got worse, because now apparently I did too good of an impression of Henry-fucking-Jekyll’s sultry voice, which if there is any sultry voice I should be able to fake it is his, he is my fucking twin, and now the newest rumour in this fucking society is that I am fucking him!” Hyde gagged. “Even if he was not my brother, he is too much like a kicked puppy I just feel bad for him!” He complained, curling his nose up.

“Well, you are far from a responsible employee, you are late every day. And you light things on fire and get caught making out with the lodgers on paid time. They have to come up with some logical reason why you still have that job! Besides, I would have heard Rachel accuse you of fucking Henry Jekyll.”

“Henry has a spare room off his office. We are in it. And Rachel seemed to think I should know this room.” Hyde said flatly.

“Okay, fine, you win, it is gross and she definitely thinks you are. No doubt. But it is kinda funny.” Stephen laughed a little bit.

“Maybe for you! But I cannot even argue with them, when you argue with people about whether you are sleeping with someone they just believe it more, and I cannot tell them why there is not a snowball’s chance in hell of that happening because if Henry does not know who I am, I most definitely cannot tell the lodgers!” Hyde cried.

“Eddie, I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill. I am certain it is an isolated rumour.” Stephen told him, smirking. “Just do not encourage it and I am sure the rumours will fade.”

“I hope you are right, I do not want to deal with these rumours for the rest of my employment here.” Hyde remarked.

Froze. “Oh, god, what if Henry finds out?” He gasped.

“Eddie, it literally does not matter if Henry finds out. He does not know that you are his brother! He will be upset, but he does not know, the way you do, that people are suspecting he fucks his twin!” Stephen reminded him. “Now shut up! We are both hungover and you are killing my head with your worrying.” He warned. “And we both have to be completely functional by tonight, when Julia gets to our house.”

“Julia will be just as hungover as we are.” Hyde corrected, yawning and flopping down beside Stephen. He was immediately pulled across the bed and into Stephen’s arms.

He smiled, closed his eyes. “We cannot just lay here forever, Stephen, Rachel brought us breakfast and we have to get out of the society and back home eventually.”

“Oh, shut up and go back to sleep.” Stephen complained, pressing a hand over Hyde’s mouth. Hyde squirmed and shoved him off.

“Quit being a jerk!” He said. “I am going to eat that food if you are not going to!” Hyde warned.

“What, you pig, you cannot have it all!” Stephen protested, as Hyde sat up.

“Then get up and stop me!” Hyde retorted, grabbing the tray and stuffing one of the breakfast rolls into his mouth.

Stephen yanked the tray out of his hands, grabbed half of the food off the tray and thrust it back into Hyde’s hands. “Now you wasted your roll.” He laughed, until Hyde grabbed the second roll off his plate.

“Hey!”

Hyde giggled and refused to give it back. “Nope, it is mine now, you were being a jerk.” He decided.

“I was not!” Stephen cried indignantly. “Give me that back!”

“No chance!” The blond told him, finishing his own roll and taking a bit of the second one with a shit-eating grin.

Stephen waited for him to finish chewing and pulled him into a kiss. While Hyde was… sufficiently distracted, Stephen  took the roll out of his hand. “Ha!”

“Dammit, I have been foiled again!” Hyde complained, sitting back up properly and popping a hard boiled egg in his mouth… just for it to crunch under his teeth. “Goddammit.” He cursed, spitting out eggshells, and the egg.

“Ha! I did not even have to do it to you, Rachel did it for me! Do you know how many eggs she must make in the morning? Do you really think she has time to peel them all?” Stephen laughed.

Hyde stuck his tongue out, which was childish enough, and that was before he had two scrape eggshell bits off of it. “Ugh.”

“You deserved that for trying to steal my roll.”

After a while, both men made it out of bed and to the door. Hyde pushed it open and stepped through without looking around, which he immediately regretted when he bumped into Lavender with a smile painted on her face. “You had better not be on the same bullshit Rachel was, Lily.” The blond warned.

“Someone is defensive…” Lavender giggled. Her breath smelled like alcohol. God, was she still drinking? “Does Stephen know you are sleeping with the doctor?”

“This is the last time I show up to one of your Christmas parties. Never mind try and provide entertainment by impersonating my boss for you.” Hyde complained. “I have never slept with the doctor, the mere thought is repulsive. You want a rumour, look to Doctor Lanyon.”

“Oh, please, Hyde, everyone knows Jekyll slept with him in university. He told Rachel once and Rachel does not keep keep secrets. We just pretend we do not know so he does not feel embarrassed about it! But you…” She giggled again.

“Have done nothing but my job. Which is paperwork. Find a new rumour because this one is never going to be true.” Hyde pushed passed the clearly still intoxicated woman and left Jekyll's office after grabbing his cloak and tossing Stephen his coat, Stephen close on his heels.

“Do not worry about it, you said. I am sure it is isolated incident, you said.” Hyde muttered as he stumbled down the stairs. He would have gone out the window, but then he looked even more like a man caught having an affair.

“This is only two people, Eddie. No guarantees it is everyone.” Stephen said patiently, catching the blond’s arm as he nearly fell down the stairs. “Watch your ankle there, Eddie.”

“That is not my ankle, that is my hangover.” Hyde corrected. “Something I believe I have you to thank for, since you took over pouring my drinks.”

“You cannot just blame me for your problems, Eddie, you could have told me to stop.” Stephen reminded him, seeing Hyde trip over his own feet and scooped him off the ground to carry him down the stairs. “You are a mess, Edward Hyde, and if you throw up on me, I am going to drop you.” He warned as he headed for the door.

“Like you are any better.” Hyde grumbled, curling up in Stephen’s arms. “I do not know how you stay remotely functional hungover.”

“You stay functional drunk, I stay functional hungover. It is a fair trade. Besides. You have only lost your coordination, and I am inclined to believe that half of that is just you pretending that it is the hangover making it so that you cannot walk down the stairs, and not that you just never bothered to figure out how to go down stairs properly after you broke your ankle.” Stephen told him.

“Not true!” Hyde protested, though it was probably true. “We should just go home before I can be accused of some other vile affair. We have to prepare for Julia to get there.”

Stephen snickered, he knew as well as Hyde did that it was true Hyde could not get down stairs properly, or up them, and stepped through the door. “Sure, I will accept your topic change. This time.”

 

“Good morning, mother, good morning, father.” Jekyll said with a smile, giving both of his parents a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

“Good morning, Henry, did you sleep well?” His mother asked, walking the family into the dining room. He could smell something cooking, had to smile. He was fairly certain it was the same meal that his parents had always had made on Christmas-

God, now he was sad all over again. On Christmas morning.

If he remembered correctly… Christmas was really the only day the whole family had always dined together. Most often, Edward had ended up eating the kitchens between tasks he had been assigned. But on Christmas day, their parents had never assigned Edward anything to do. For one day a year, the whole family was treated equally. Well, almost. Admittedly the gifts were not often equal. But Edward was not put to work in the kitchen.

And each Christmas morning, the family shared the same breakfast. Eggs and sausage and bacon and all sorts of other fanciful foods, but what Jekyll was smelling right now was hot cocoa, with cinnamon in it. It held far more memories than it had any right to, being just a drink, but as he had told Edward Hyde so long ago, it was what he and his brother would share anytime one of them was upset or anything of the sorts.

Funny how that matters to you, but you have not spoken to me since yesterday.

If he could have, Jekyll would have groaned. Of course not-Edward but still sort of Edward would start talking again. He had been silent all of last night he likely felt entitled to talk now.

Did you think you had gotten rid of me? Here of all places? In the place I know you feel the most guilty? Have you ever noticed that all traces of the fact I ever existed are gone from this house? They replaced the family photo with one they took without me, had the staff scrub the second set of handprints off the wall in our old room… it is like I never existed, and you are too much of a coward to even mention it to them.

Jekyll never mentioned it because he got no results. It was not worth the discomfort the rest of the day would hold if he brought up Edward in more than a passing way.

So I am not worth it to you.

Goddammit. Why was Edward so good at twisting his thoughts and words. That was not what Jekyll had meant at all, but that was what the thing in his head would call it for a long time now. And he could not even correct Edward, as he was in front of his parents. Talking to the twin brother they liked to pretend was confirmed dead rather than presumed dead was not a good thing to do in front of them. Probably a good way for them to send a letter ahead of him to Lanyon asking him to consider a mental ward.

“So, it is nice to have you out here for Christmas again, Henry, it is a right shame that you cannot make it out here often.” His mother remarked.

“It certainly is.” Henry agreed. “Sadly, the society requires supervision, and before that there was all sorts of things… of late I can only leave at night and for the holidays if Lanyon's wife is out of town and his father has no event planned. In that case, he can watch over the society for Christmas Eve. Today there is not supervision, but many lodgers go home for Christmas day.” He explained. “So things do not get out of hand often.”

“And there is no other time you can get here?” His father asked. “Some other holiday?”

“This is my project, I cannot leave Lanyon in charge too often, he has his own practice to run. Besides… he has no respect for the lodgers. And in return, they have no respect for him.”

“And you allow them to disrespect your co-founder, Henry?” His father admonished.

Henry laughed nervously, scratching the back of his head. “Well, it is not so much as I allow it as that I cannot stop them. They are not my little obedient soldiers, I do not get to control what they do or say.”

“It is not a good business plan to let them slight your partner though, Henry.”

“Trust me, I have tried to stop them.” Henry assured him.

“Oh, enough business from you two! Breakfast is getting cold!” Henry's mother interrupted.

“Fair. I suppose I am not one to lecture you on business, considering mine sank.” Henry Jekyll Senior conceded, walking into the dining room and taking a seat at the head of the table. Henry sat beside him.

“Well, I will never force you to stop, but I cannot guarantee my full attention will be on what you said about it.” Henry replied.

“Listen to you, all well-mannered! We are your parents, not the ambassadors for your society, Junior!”

Henry wrinkled his nose. “Do not call me Junior, please.” He complained. “You never even called me Junior when I was a kid.”

“I suppose that is true.” His father agreed. “It did get to be confusing when your mother was calling you.”

“I am sure that was fun for you. Thankfully, you were the one calling me most often. Mother would be calling Edward so he could get to the kitchens.” Henry gave a passive smile to follow his edged statement, and took a sip of his hot cocoa.

“And you have never seen Edward, after all this time?” His father asked.

That was new. His father rarely concerned himself with Edward's fate. He had only cared for about a year. “Nothing. No contact since he left Zosi, the church grim that kept hiding on your two, on my doorstep.” Zosi had not liked Jekyll's parents. It had been a little humorous, honestly. “In that letter he had mentioned leaving an address for me to write him at, but he never did.” He explained. “My employee mentioned seeing someone on the rooftops in London, who inspired him to learn how to scale the roofs as well. I like to think that the shadows in the windows and on the roofs around me are Edward checking in on me and the society.”

“It sounds as though those two Edwards are quite similar.” His father remarked.

Henry thought about it. “When Hyde was young he reminded me of Edward. Now there are a few resemblances, like the roofs and some of Hyde's humour, but Edward was much more responsible. And likeable. Hyde takes some getting used to.”

Truth be told, Jekyll still was not used to Hyde. He was not sure he would ever be.

Hyde was nothing like his brother in that respect.

Chapter Text

“Doctor Jekyll!” A voice called rapturously. “It is good to see you back in the country.” The man calling walked up to him, a smile painted on his face, though Jekyll thought he spied a hint of something else there as well.

“Sir Danvers, you know I was only gone a few days.” Jekyll said, shaking the politician’s hand. “Surely no one here missed me that much.”

“Your business partner did! Lord knows he hates running that place for both of you.” Sir Danvers replied. “Frankly, sometimes I wonder how you even got him on board to help you."

“We are old college friends, he has been helping me since we were still in school. Of course he is my co-founder. Though I will admit, I do know what you speak of when it comes to him running the society alone.” Jekyll conceded.

No one in this room knew the real circumstances of Lanyon helping him. Their complicated history, the promise relating to Jekyll's twin brother that Jekyll had made in exchange for Lanyon’s help to found run the society.

Speaking of him, Lanyon was not in attendance, he had been going to make an appearance, but a medical emergency had called him back to his practice.

Unfortunately, Lanyon had been meant to be here because Jekyll had only just gotten off the train that morning, and had not had a chance to get any rest. The lodgers had been glad to see him back, sure, and for Christmas, Hyde had shown up and actually gotten all the papers he could possibly fill out for Jekyll done (and left a bottle of fine wine on the desk, which was actually more appreciated than the paperwork, a bottle of good wine Jekyll did not have to feel guilty for drinking alone). Albeit the paperwork should be looked over, he was fairly sure Hyde had not been sober when he had filled it out.

Nonetheless, Jekyll felt a little bad that he did not have a Christmas gift for his employee. Perhaps a bonus on his paycheck would do.

But all that was beside the point. The point was, Jekyll had barely gotten a chance to close his eyes since the night before the one he spent on the train.

“Well, how goes your society? I hear you have a new addition.”

Oh, fuck. Jekyll would have sworn out loud if it would not have just made things worse. No one swore at these dinners. “Well, I would not say he is a new addition, he has worked for me for several months now. Assuming you are speaking to me of Mister Hyde.”

“I was.” Sir Danvers agreed.

Great. Just great. If Sir Danvers wanted to speak of Hyde, it was not to compliment Jekyll’s hiring skills. No doubt it had to do with Lady Beaconsfield’s complaints about the blond. “Well, let us talk then. I have the time, thanks to him. He must have filled in every paper he could for the next month while I was away! And over Christmas, too.” Jekyll tried, he had to set up a good name for Hyde before Sir Danvers could start criticizing. He only had one chance. “And-"

“Doctor Jekyll.” Sir Danvers interrupted. “I am not going to play these games with you.”

Jekyll pulled his most innocent look, which it was safe to say had worked better when he was five, tried for a sparkling smile. “Games? Sir Danvers, you wound me! I would never play games with you. You wanted to speak of my employee, that is what came to mind! Tell me, Sir, did you have another subject in mind?”

“Yes, I did.”

Dammit. There went Jekyll's one chance. Sometimes he wondered if Hyde was not more trouble than he was worth. “Oh! I do wish you had said something, before I went and embarrassed myself chattering about matters you did not care for.” He let out a nervous laugh. “So? What was your subject?”

“I will not beat around the bush here, Doctor Jekyll. You know who you hired, you know what Lady Beaconsfield has to say about it

I agree with her. It was distasteful of you to hire the man who attacked her.” Sir Danvers declared.

“Oh, but Sir Danvers, I have spoken to both Lady Beaconsfield and Mister Hyde about the issue. It appears to me that the lady may have embellished her story a-"

“Are you calling Lady Beaconsfield a liar, Doctor Jekyll?” Sir Danvers asked pointedly. “In favour of Edward Hyde?”

Jekyll froze. “I only said that-"

“Answer the question.”

Did he trust Stephen's claim, that Edward Hyde would never hit a woman without being struck first? Enough to stand by it and call Lady Beaconsfield a liar? “No. No, I do not think Lady Beaconsfield is a liar. I am sorry it sounded that way.”

“Then here is what you are going to do, Doctor Jekyll. Fire Edward Hyde. If you do, nothing changes. If you do not… find someone else who will donate as generously to your society as I do.” Sir Danvers said, tone ice cold.

Jekyll stared at him for a solid minute. “Sir Danvers… are… are you… blackmailing me?”

“My, my, Doctor Jekyll. You are just full of bold accusations today! Perhaps you should have stayed longer in Scotland, and spent those accusations on people who do not matter.” The politician walked away.

Jekyll stood still, completely stunned. He was being blackmailed. Sir Danvers could call it what he liked.

But if there was one thing he had learned with Lanyon in the passed few months, it was that he would not be bullied into making a decision based on someone else’s wants.

So Hyde would be staying. And Jekyll had another set of eyes on him and the blond. First Lanyon, now Danvers. If he made this decision, he would be doubly forced to stand by whatever Hyde did.

It was a risk his pride would make him take. He would just have to find a new way to find the society.

“Doctor Jekyll! A female voice called. For a second, Jekyll believed it was Lady Beaconsfield, but the voice was too young. Lady Beaconsfield had a good twenty years on Jekyll, this girl sounded younger than Lanyon’s wife, who herself was a few years younger than Jekyll.

He turned to the voice. Saw a pretty young woman with dark curls and blue eyes, dressed in sunshine yellow, approaching him as quickly as she could. “Can I help you, miss? I do not believe I have made your acquaintance yet.”

“My name is Emma. Emma Carew.” She replied. “We have met before, though it was brief and you were very distracted.”

“Oh! Yes, now I recall. How have you been, Miss Carew?”

“Please, Emma will do. Might I call you Henry, Henry?”

Jekyll blinked. “I suppose you may, Miss- sorry, Emma.”

“Excellent. Walk with me, Henry? I have an issue to discuss with you, but my father ought not hear of it.” She said.

“I am in enough trouble with your father, Emma, I should not provoke him.” Jekyll tried.

“Oh, he actually did try to blackmail you? I may be able to help with that, too.” Emma remarked. “Now come on! I have been searching for you all evening.”

Jekyll sighed and allowed Emma Carew to drag him towards the door. On the way out, he managed to snag his cloak, but he handed it to the young lady guiding him. He still had a coat, she had nigh but a dress.

“Oh, my, what a gentleman you are.” She remarked, pulling it around her shoulders. Even in heels she was shorter than him, the end dragged on the wet ground. “God knows how no woman has snapped you up yet.”

Jekyll frowned. “What did you want to speak to me about, Emma?”

Emma laughed and rolled her eyes. “You are all business, Henry. It is sort of cute. I want to talk to you about joining the society.”

“I assume there is more to it than that, if you pulled me outside to discuss it.” Jekyll remarked. “All people have to do it join is ask me.”

“Yes. You are not the problem. My father is.” Emma agreed.

Jekyll bit his lip. “Emma, I cannot even convince your father to allow me to make my own hiring choices for my own building. Never mind convince him to let you join the society.” He warned.

“I can make it worth your while, Henry. I am his only daughter, his only child. He dotes on me. Get me into the society, and I will find a way to ensure your funding.” Emma offered.

It was a very, very tempting offer. “You are certain you can manage that?”

“Positive.” Emma agreed. “So do we have a deal?”

“We have a deal.” Jekyll agreed.

They shook hands. Emma handed him back his cloak and walked back inside.

A few minutes later, Jekyll followed her. Walked straight into Sir Danvers. “And just what were you doing with my daughter, Doctor Jekyll?”

 

The apartment was very, very quiet. The cat had gone out, she would be back by nightfall, but for now Hyde completely alone.

Stephen had left with Julia after Christmas day. Hyde had gone back to the society with his gift for Jekyll, he had spied too many bottle of practical vinegar in his brother’s cabinets and had decided to buy a nice bottle of wine for him. It was there that he had remembered the Christmas tree incident and decided a little something more than wine would not hurt to get back on Jekyll’s good side. So, he had also decided to fill out any paperwork he had the authority to do that was left in the office.

Of course, having Julia over for Christmas dinner had not left him sober, and when he had filled out the papers he had been very, very hungover. So that part was either a gift or a curse. Jekyll would have to find out.

Either way, that had been yesterday. Today, he was alone, in his apartment. Jekyll was back home in England today. Hyde wondered if it was not strategic that he had been given the twenty-seventh, the day Jekyll would be back from Scotland, off from work.

Odds were good that Jekyll had made that schedule still mad about the tree.

God, Henry would not still be mad, would he? He would not hold a grudge over his holidays to Scotland, would he?

That did it. Hyde could not sit here and dwell on this all night. Not tonight. He just could not bring himself to sit and think about things like that.

Hyde did not often go out alone. Stephen did not know that, of course. Hyde knew how to pretend he went out. But honestly, unless he was out searching for a fight or a hookup, drinking by himself was not as much fun as it seemed.

But of late, there was one thing tempting him out of the apartment when Stephen was away. A fellow elusive spirit of the night, though this one was even more well known than him.

And she got to pick what people knew her as. Unlike him. Everyone knew his real name.

But watching the news, Hyde had come to realize he might be one of the last ones to know her real name.  

Which should have made him nervous, since the others were dead by her hand, but instead just enticed him to find her.

So Hyde walked to the door, pulled his frayed cloak off the hook and swung it around his shoulders, tugged on his hat.

Opened the door. “Alhena! Alhena, come here, I am not leaving you out all night!” He called out the door.

After, as cats do, making him wait a few moments, the huge tabby walked up to the door. Hyde ushered her inside and quickly gave her a plate of chicken. “Now you be good, Alhena, I will be home… well, you know they drill by now.” He decided, scratched the cat behind her torn ears. She purred, Hyde smiled and walked out the door.

The air was brisk, the ground wet but it could be far worse for late December. It could have snowed this year. God, Hyde hated the snow. Not only was it wet and cold and gross, but it may the rooftops slippery and his ankle ache.

All around, it was not his friend. So thank God none of the cursed white stuff had touched the ground this winter.

Hyde headed down the street out of SoHo. Before he hopped up on rooftops he had best be out of the area that would report him to the police for disturbing the peace if he annoyed them.

He hated SoHo. Honestly, he would love to move out of the area, but after sixteen years he did not feel like house hunting again.

Besides. In order to move out he would have to convince Stephen that leaving SoHo was a good plan. And seen as how Julia also lived nearby, and it would be a pain for Stephen to have to travel around London depending on who he was staying with.

So they would not be leaving SoHo. A right shame.

“Ah. Finally.” Hyde began to smile as the houses slowly morphed from tall and elegant to slightly more grungy and run down. “Time to ditch the streets.”

He could do with a drink, but he was not feeling top-notch. Had he taken his pill today? Hyde could not remember. He probably had not, it tended to be Stephen’s thing to remember to hand him.

So no drinks for him. He shook his head and scurried up a brick wall of an old, crumbling building, cane held between his teeth. God, he hated that stupid cane. Made him feel old. He was only thirty-three, after all.

Okay, that was not as good of a thought as it had been when he was around twenty, travelling Europe with Stephen. He was a fair bit older now than he was then.

Still, not old enough to be lugging a cane around with him.

He groaned and pulled himself up onto the rough shingles, grabbed the cane out of his mouth and hauled himself back to his feet. “Nope, I guess it is official, Eddie, you are not young anymore.” He muttered. “This is way harder than it should be. Maybe it is the damn pill you probably forgot to take.” He said, trying to reassure himself. He was definitely not ready to be old yet. He scampered down the roof and leapt across the gap to the next one. “Well, I still have that going for me, and Henry could not even manage it when he was young, so I guess I cannot be that old yet. It must be that blasted pill.” He decided as he jumped across to the next building.

Maybe it was just him, but the streets were getting darker, the lanterns filled with ghosts, flickering down on the cobblestone streets below. Shadows loomed around each corner, roused from their corners of the world to join the crowds of the night.

Here, the night was long and loud and free as free could be.

And he was a part of it. A part of the crowd fluttering down the blackened streets into the oily belly of London.

Here the shadows were alive, and wickedness roamed the streets. Here they made the peelers flee and the criminals walked.

Here, he did not have to be Edward Hyde. He did not have to be anyone.

Here, he was the Spirit of London at Night, and nothing stood in his way.

That was, until he tripped over a chimney pipe that lay discarded on the roof he happened to be travelling and made a quick re-encounter with the ground. “Fuck!”

His luck really did never hold, did it? Hyde pulled himself back onto his feet. Contemplated getting back onto the roof, but perhaps exploring a little while he searched for his fellow night spirit was not such a bad idea.

So he kept both feet on the cobblestones, dusted himself off and slipped into the shadows to join the crowd of vagabonds and criminals wandering through Bethnal Green.

Before getting far, he found himself purchasing some form of meat from a bar along the street, something he could eat on the fly. He had fed Alhena before leaving SoHo, he had not fed himself. A dumb mistake, whatever he was eating had a good chance of making him sick and a better chance of being some stray animal that Hyde would have considered a pet, but this was Bethnal Green. Really, what was he expecting?

Well, not on the idea of meat, but he had been expecting more of a chance to run into the woman he was searching for. It was not like the gang she ran could just vanish into thin air.

Besides, his suspicions still told him he was not the only one searching for the other. He had no idea why she had not found him yet, but doubted she had put much effort into it. If she wanted to find him, she would have.

So why had she not? Why leave him breathing when everyone else who knew her name before she reinvented herself was buried by now? What was different about Edward Hyde?

It was not like Hyde minded still being alive, he very much appreciated that fact, but it still struck as odd that a woman such as the one on his mind would not have caught him yet. Would not have chosen to come after him yet. He was, after all, the last thing standing between her and her secretive future.

He could not imagine it was simply forgetfulness.

Cutthroat Lucy did not seem the type to forget a witness.

Chapter Text

“So, Henry. What is with the sudden interest with Sir Carew's daughter, Emma? You have been sneaking off to speak to her privately at every meeting for the passed month!” Robert asked curiously, from where he was sitting at Jekyll’s desk, sipping a glass of wine.

Jekyll laughed and shook his head, looking down. “Oh, nothing really. She wants help with something.” He explained. “It is not like you to gossip like our lodgers, why do you ask about Emma?” He asked. Swirled his wine glass, watched the sediment float around in his wine.

Lanyon chuckled. “Like you do not know why I ask, Henry.” He replied. “And that is the most ‘hiding something’ reason to be stealing away with a young woman at every chance he can get.” He teased.

“I do not know what you are implying, Robert.” Henry insisted, sipping his wine. He leaned back in his chair, gazing at his friend.

Why did Lanyon care if he spent time with Emma, anyways? She was a nice, bright young lady, with an admirable spirit. It was not like Jekyll was visiting a whore, he was speaking with the daughter of an esteemed politician's daughter. Nothing harmful there. Why should Lanyon be asking about her, and why should Jekyll answer? The doctor had never much liked being on the receiving end of scrutiny, even from Lanyon.

Especially not after having already drank most of a bottle of wine before Lanyon got there. He needed to pull his guard up or her would end up spilling something he did not want to. He still had plenty of secrets to keep about the bullshit Hyde liked to pull, secrets that Lanyon would insist on firing the blond for.

Not to mention the distasteful rumour he was almost certain Hyde had gotten too drunk over Christmas and started.

“Why be so defensive, Henry? It was a simple question!” Lanyon said with a teasing smile, taking a sip of his wine.

Great. So Lanyon thought he knew something. Jekyll prayed to god he did not.

He sighed. “I do not wish to tell you, Robert. It is between Miss Carew and I.” He replied. Lanyon could not know that Jekyll and Emma were plotting how to go around Sir Danvers to get Emma into the society, as well as the threat made against Hyde.

If Lanyon knew, there would be no chance for a debate. Hyde would go and the planning with Emma would be over. Lanyon would not be willing to take the risk.

Jekyll should not have been willing to take it, either, but he was. He wanted to help Emma. She wanted into the society, Jekyll wanted to help her. Sir Danvers was a bit of a control freak, Jekyll did not want to let him control Emma or himself.

So Lanyon could not know what he was always discussing with Emma.

Emma was counting on him. Was already playing her cards to convince her father to withdraw his threat. She was upholding her end of the bargain. What kind of gentleman was he if he would not uphold his side?

“I do not care for all this secrecy, Henry. Surely it cannot be going so badly that you cannot tell me about it!” Lanyon reasoned.

He was picking hard at this issue. What was he trying to- that was ridiculous, Lanyon was not trying to do anything. He was only concerned about his friend.

Jekyll felt a little bad for having to refuse to tell him, honestly. But he did. Because he knew Lanyon always had the best intentions, but those intentions did not match what Jekyll needed done.

“Really Robert, it is nothing. Just a personal matter between Miss Carew and I.” Jekyll assured him.

“I know that it is personal! That is why I am asking you, Henry!” Lanyon laughed, shaking his head at his friend. “You are really dense sometimes, you know? For God’s sakes Henry, you knew all about Anne from day one, now quit playing shy and tell me about Emma.”

Anne? What did Lanyon’s wife have to do with this? Unless- oh Lord was that what Lanyon thought Jekyll was doing when he snuck off to meet Emma? That he intended to wed the woman?

Of course, Sir Danvers appeared to think the same thing. “Robert! I am not courting her, god, you would have known if that was the case!” Jekyll cried, blushing bright red.

“Oh, sure. What other ‘personal matters’ would you have with a politician’s lovely daughter, Henry? It is fine, you can play innocent if you would like to, it does not bother me! But I would not hide it, she is a wonderful lady, if a little young for you, and truly, it is better than what this building seems to be whispering about you.” Lanyon remarked. “I told you your assistant was trouble, have you heard the latest thing he has caused?”

“Good god I had hoped you had not heard that, Robert.” Jekyll admitted, pulling a face. It was utterly disgusting what people could think of him  Fucking his assistant? Please, he may be into both women and men but he had a bit of class.

“How would I have missed it?” Lanyon asked, rolling his eyes. “Only everyone in the building has heard it and whispered about it before. I told you Hyde was trouble. Could you imagine if this were to escape the society, Henry? You would be completely ruined! You must get rid of him.”

“Well, if you really believed I was courting Emma, you would not be worried about rumours involving Hyde. Besides. I would not be the first man with allegations over my head. I will survive.” Jekyll said dismissively, only… Lanyon did not dismiss the subject. He set his glass on the desk and stood, hands planted on the desk and he glared down at Jekyll.

“Listen closely, Henry Jekyll, because I am only going to acknowledge this once, got it? You and I have a shared history. And if you get found out, there is a good chance I will be too.” He hissed. “If you want to be flippant about your own safety, it is none of my business. But if you start dragging mine into play…”

Jekyll leaned back, eyes wide. It took a lot to get Lanyon to acknowledge their relationship in university, and he did not get like this often. When he did, Jekyll was inclined to take him very seriously. “Robert, I promise you, if it becomes a threat to either of us I will deal with it. But right now, it is nigh but a rumour, and denying it will only make it worse.” He said softly. “I do not mean you any trouble, you know that.”

Robert sighed and sat back down, knocked back the rest of his wine. “I know. But you can understand why you not taking this seriously would upset me, surely.”

“Yes, I can.” Jekyll agreed. “And I do not mean to scare you. I am simply not going to take action against the rumour right now. If I do, more people will think it is true.” He held the bottle of wine out to Lanyon, who filled his glass. “Please, just trust me on this. We have kept it quiet for years now.”

“And that is why all the lodgers know.” Lanyon muttered.

“They do?” Jekyll gasped, a stunned look spreading across his face.

“Yes. See, I know who you told, and apparently even though she is your close friend, I know her better than you, because I could have told you she would not keep quiet about it!” Lanyon snapped.

“Really, I had trusted her to have some discretion, I was speaking to her about the wolf and I got carried away and-"

“And you should have known Rachel Pidgley has no discretion when it comes to gossip, Henry!” Lanyon cut him off.

“Well, she has kept the new from getting back to me, so I am certain she has kept it within these walls. As with the others. I had no idea she had told anyone! I will have to have a talk with her later.”

“A talk?” Lanyon scoffed. “A talk? That is all you are going to do! I truly must have been a fool about you the whole time, Henry, see I never guessed you would betray my trust not once but twice!” He cried.

“Robert, I can handle it! You have Anne, you are healthy, you will be fine.” Jekyll assured him.

“Sounds like a setup for you to betray me again, Henry.” Lanyon retorted. “It would not be the first time you have done it, after all!”

“Robert, truly, I did not mean you any harm, I will deal with-”

“Am I interrupting something?” A voice asked. Jekyll had not even heard the window open, but here Hyde was climbing through it, throwing his cane in first. He had an envelope between his teeth. “I can climb back down and come back in five minutes if you would rather…”

“Not necessary.” Lanyon decided. “I was just leaving.”

He grabbed his hat and left without another word.

Hyde pulled the envelope out of his mouth. “Well, that is awkward. Anyways, I found this pinned to the window frame. Has your name on it.” He held the envelope out to Jekyll, who took it reluctantly. There were teeth marks on the envelope.

Hyde clearly saw the disgust on his face. “Sorry. Wind is gusting and I needed both hands to get the window open. Who is it from?”

Jekyll stared down at the envelope and the writing on the front. “It is from Edward.” He realized. “Hyde… go downstairs and help the lodgers. I will come and get you later.” He decided, and took a seat, tearing the letter open.

---

Dear Doctor Henry Jekyll

Hello, it is Edward, as you may have guessed from the bizarre way of delivering this and the handwriting. Guess who wins the award for worst brother of the century? That is right, it is me. I am terribly sorry, here I not only vanished but then I stopped writing, too! However, I do have a reason not to have written. I have not been in London until now, not since I left you Zosi, how is he, by the way, and it is quite a challenge to get letters to you without using the post when I am not in the same city as you.

It was not entirely a lie. Most of it was, yes, Hyde had just convinced himself until now that Jekyll would not want to hear from him, but he had been gone for two years, travelling Europe with Stephen. Of course, that was more than ten years ago. He had barely been twenty when they had left.

That was when the German bar incident had happened.

Anyways, before you go and believe that you have no way to contact me still, you do. Have your assistant pin letters to the roof of the society, and I will come and get them.

Which brings me to my second point. No. I am not coming home. Not yet. Maybe soon, maybe not. It stands to be seen. For now, please write. Perhaps hearing from you will change my mind.

As you well know, I cannot really catch you up on my life, since I cannot have you figuring out who I am. I am in London, after all, it is already quite close for comfort- Perhaps the problem was he wanted to be found.

- so I will be forced to remain quite secretive for now. I have found a safe place to live and loving partner whom I will not discuss here, speaking of, get a move on and get married, you socialite bugger! You are starting to look like your old friend Utterson. Come on, do I not get the chance to be an uncle?

Moving on, I also have a cat. If and when I come back, we should introduce her to Zosi. Though we should be careful, she is a cantankerous old bitch!

I have been keeping an eye on you since I got back to London. The Society is quite impressive, I must say. Though your business partner is a bit of an arse, seems to me.

So how have you been? Keeping busy? Have you made any of your own discoveries yet? Is the society everything you dreamed of and more? What is it like to be a high standing member of society? I keep a much lower profile, I do have to wonder what it is like rubbing shoulders with the rich.

Tell me everything. I promise, I will find things to tell you, too.

Please write. You have a right to be angry with me, even more so now that I am back in London, but please, please write.

Your dearest brother,

Edward

“Eddie! What the hell are you doing over here, you are going to be late for work!” Stephen scolded.

Hyde looked up from blotting the ink, accidentally dumped sand on his trousers and Alhena, who was sitting on his lap. “Writing a letter?” He replied. “What does it look like I am doing, Steph?”

“Not getting to work like you should be.” Stephen replied, taking the letter out of his hands to glance over it.

“Hey! That is personal, you cannot just take it from me!” He complained, swiping it out of Stephen’s hands. He folded it carefully and placed it into the envelope he had prepared earlier.

Pushed a pin through the top.

“You picked an odd time to begin writing to Doctor Jekyll again, Eddie.” Stephen remarked. “Any particular reason? You could just talk to him at work, would be almost the same for you.”

“I want to hear something from him not based on Edward Hyde.” Hyde replied, tucking the letter into the pocket of his jacket.

“That is not based on you?” Stephen questioned. “You are Edward Hyde. Should you not want him to speak to Edward Hyde?”

Hyde shook his head. “I do not think Jekyll likes me much.” He admitted, pushing Alhena off his lap. She hissed and dug her class into his leg.

Hyde grit his teeth and managed to get her off. “But he does like Edward Jekyll. I think. So if I want to get a positive anything from him, I have to be Edward Jekyll.”

Stephen handed Hyde his cane so he could get to his feet. The blond’s ankle was playing up again in the damp weather. Did not want to hold the barest amount of weight. “Why do you not think he likes you?” The brunet asked.

“Well, I am not exactly a model employee.” Hyde pointed out, hobbling to the door and pulling his cloak out of the closet.

“Eddie, that may be an understatement.” Stephen warned, kissing the blond’s forehead. “You are far from a model employee.”

Hyde nodded. “Exactly. So I am already on thin ice, and then there is the fact that things tend to go wrong around me. Like the Christmas tree burning down. And every time I have fallen off a roof, either at work or on my way to work. And then there is that incident with the lodger’s bet, he walked right in on me snogging Archer… I really have not given him much of a reason to like me.” He explained, pulling on his cloak. Stephen reached out and straightened it for him.

“I do not really know why you have let that happen, if him liking you is so important to you, should you not have made an effort to ensure that he would?” Stephen asked.

“I tried! But it turns out, I am not so good at it.” Hyde confessed. “It sort of makes me wonder if he would have actually liked me to start with if I were not his twin brother.”

“Edward, you have changed a fair bit just since I met you, never mind when you first ran.” Stephen told him. “I am certain your brother liked you when you were kids, and if you try, you can get him to like you again. Starting with not always being late.” He decided, grabbing Hyde’s hat and putting it on the blond’s head.

“Right.” Hyde gave him a quick kiss. “See you after work?” He checked. Stephen nodded.

“I may be a while, my shift starts after yours does.” He warned.

“Sounds good. I will pretend to make dinner until you get here.”

And Hyde hobbled out the door, glaring down at his ankle as it wobbled under the slightest pressure. He needed to get all the way to the Society on that thing, it could not be trying to give out on him already.

So he made do, pressing his cane deep into the wet ground to take the weight off his ankle. As annoying as they had been, he could have gone for some crutches like he had had when his ankle was still broken, just because it would be much easier not to walk on his weak ankle.

“Mister Hyde, is it?” A woman called, pushing open the door to a cab. “You are on your way to the Society? If you are, I can offer you a ride. I am off to the theatre next to the Society.” She explained. “I looks as though it is about to rain, you would do well to stay out of it.

“Do I know you?” Hyde asked, though he did walk over to the cab and carefully climb inside.

“No, you do not. My name is Emma Carew, I am friends with Doctor Jekyll.” She explained, holding out her hand.

“Edward Hyde, though you appear to know that.” The blond returned, and shook her hand.

“You can thank my father for that, he is not a fan of you. Sir Danvers Carew.” Emma told him.

“I do not believe I have met him, either.” Hyde remarked as the cab lurched into motion.

“You have not. The only person you have met is Lady Beaconsfield.” Emma replied.

“Oh, god, is that what this is about? I never hit her, she was lying to get me in more trouble.” Hyde said defensively.

“I know. No amount of powder fully hides the bruise she claimed to have.” Emma agreed. “I have tried to hide bruises from falling out of trees and other such things that a young lady ought not to have been doing.” She shook her head with a smile. “Never works.”

Hyde laughed. “Well, that must have been unfortunate for you.”

“Quite.”  

“So, if your father hates me so much, why did you offer me a ride?” Hyde asked suddenly.

“My father hates a lot of things. You, me getting into trouble, the rain, and all sorts of other things. I do not pay much attention to the list. I offered you a ride because I was headed the same way, and it was about to rain. Can you not hear it?” She said with a smile.

Sure enough, he could hear rain pattering on the roof.

“Well thank you, I would not have liked to walk in that.” Hyde admitted.

“Who would?” Emma laughed.

 

“So do I owe you anything for the ride? I have something with me-"

“No need. It was on the way to where I was going. Have a nice day at work, Mister Hyde.” Emma said with a smile.

“You are certain?”

“Positive.”

Hyde nodded and stepped away from the door of the carriage. Emma pulled it closed, and moments later it pulled away.

Hyde walked over to the window, scaled up the wall, tucked the letter for Jekyll in his mouth so he could use both hands to open the window, and it did not seem like he had had it on him for long, and pushed the glass out of place.

“It would not be the first time you have done it, after all!”

“Robert, truly, I did not mean you any harm, I will deal with-”

“Am I interrupting something?”

Chapter Text

Henry Jekyll had passed through a multitude of different emotions after receiving Edward’s letter the day before.

He had, at first, actually refused to read it. Even after sending Hyde out of the room so that he would have complete and utter silence, and the privacy to react how he had to, and torn open the envelope, he had thrown the letter to the side.

Rage had bubbled up inside his chest at the sigh of the handwriting sprawling his name on the envelope.

Doctor Henry Jekyll, in Edward's crooked, squished handwriting. It was a lot nicer than anything Jekyll was used to writing, which was his own messy scrawl, Lanyon’s handwriting, and that man was too used to writing illegible prescriptions, and Edward Hyde’s left-handed scribbles.

Sometimes Jekyll wondered if Hyde actually was left-handed, or just wrote in that hand to make fun of Jekyll’s ‘doctor’s scrawl.’"

But that was not the point. The point was he had been far too tempted just to tear the letter into pieces. Did Edward really think he could just start sending his unanswerable letters and make up for how many years of silence? His brother clearly knew where Jekyll was, surely by now if he wanted to talk, Edward could just get up the gall and come and visit. They would be thirty-four years old this year, and Edward was still hiding from him because of something they had been through when they were sixteen. Hiding behind a scrap of paper bearing Henry’s name.

Edward was still hiding, and it infuriated Jekyll.

So he had sat and stewed and wrote out the paperwork he had to do until he had realized there was no possible way he could leave the letter untouched. His head would not have allowed him.

He would either have to destroy it, or read it.

Set on this plan of not reading the letter, Jekyll had lit the burner in this office, but had only managed to singe the corner of the envelope before he pulled it away from the fire.

“Goddamn you, Edward…” He had hissed as pulled the letter out.

Dear Doctor Henry Jekyll

Hello, it is Edward, as you may have guessed from the bizarre way of delivering this and the handwriting. Guess who wins the award for worst brother of the century? That is right, it is me.

He was right about one thing, at least. Edward absolutely won that award

I am terribly sorry, here I not only vanished but then I stopped writing, too! However, I do have a reason not to have written. I have not been in London until now, not since I left you Zosi, how is he, by the way, and it is quite a challenge to get letters to you without using the post when I am not in the same city as you.

So it had been sixteen years since Edward had tried to contact Jekyll, and all he had to offer was excuses. This letter really should have gone in the fire.

Anyways, before you go and believe that you have no way to contact me still, you do. Have your assistant pin letters to the roof of the society, and I will come and get them.

Which brings me to my second point. No. I am not coming home. Not yet. Maybe soon, maybe not. It stands to be seen. For now, please write. Perhaps hearing from you will change my mind.

It did not even surprise Jekyll at this point. Of course Edward was still off about some bullshit. Of course he was not coming home yet. He was never coming home, he was too much of a coward to come home.

As you well know, I cannot really catch you up on my life, since I cannot have you figuring out who I am. I am in London, after all, it is already quite close for comfort, so I will be forced to remain quite secretive for now. I have found a safe place to live and loving partner whom I will not discuss here, speaking of, get a move on and get married, you socialite bugger! You are starting to look like your old friend Utterson. Come on, do I not get the chance to be an uncle?

He would not be an uncle whether Jekyll got married and had any children or not. He would need to be around in order to do that, which Edward was not.

Moving on, I also have a cat. If and when I come back, we should introduce her to Zosi. Though we should be careful, she is a cantankerous old bitch!

I have been keeping an eye on you since I got back to London. The Society is quite impressive, I must say. Though your business partner is a bit of an arse, seems to me.

Yes. Because Edward, possibly the biggest arse of the century, had a right to criticize Lanyon. Jekyll had done something worse to Lanyon than he had to Edward, and Lanyon had not completely abandoned him for going on twenty years aside for leaving cryptic letters.

So how have you been? Keeping busy? Have you made any of your own discoveries yet? Is the society everything you dreamed of and more? What is it like to be a high standing member of society? I keep a much lower profile, I do have to wonder what it is like rubbing shoulders with the rich.

Tell me everything. I promise, I will find things to tell you, too.

Please write. You have a right to be angry with me, even more so now that I am back in London, but please, please write.

Okay, Edward had two things right. Jekyll had every right to be angry, and Edward was the worst brother of the century.

Your dearest brother,

Edward

Jekyll had wished he had never read it. It had not told him anything he did not already know, and it had only made him more upset.

Edward was still hiding, and Jekyll had had half a mind to reply to this note with a much shorter one:

Come and see me if you want to talk.

In fact, he had written that out and stuffed it and Edward’s letter into an envelope and had gotten halfway down the stairs to find Hyde before returning upstairs.

He could not have replied right then. He had been far, far too angry, the letter had struck far too many nerves, opened too many open wounds.

Jekyll had read the letter again before going to bed. Far calmer this time. Forced himself to laugh at some of what Edward had said. Of course his brother managed to find himself a super bitchy cat to look after. Zosi was not fond of cats, that meeting would likely go quite badly.

It would be funny to watch, though.

He set the letter on the table beside the bed and closed his eyes.

He sat and read it again when he woke up, and found himself crying. He could hear it in his brother’s voice, a thick Scottish accent and full of emotion, and goddamn it all, Edward was alive. After seventeen years and sixteen of silence, Edward had beat the odds and remained breathing.

He was not gone. He was not gone, he was alive and in London somewhere, safe and sound.

And Jekyll could not help but cry. But bow his head and sob, clutching the letter to his chest, because the despair he had carried for more than ten years could finally melt and drip away.

His twin brother was alive.

He could not possibly have gotten better news than that. Jekyll could not think of any that he would have rather gotten.

He had been in meetings and such all morning, though he truly had not paid them enough attention. Not nearly as much as he should have.

The letter was still in his pocket. Three times he forced himself to leave it there, not to pull it out and read over it again.

It would not have been proper.

So he had waited until he got to the society to pull it out again.

And how he sat, cross legged at his desk, with the letter in his hands, reading over it again. Hyde was working across the room, there was ink smeared on his left and and across his face; and he stopped classing files while Jekyll read over the letter.

“So what are you reading?” Hyde asked, unapologetically prying for information.

“A letter.” Jekyll replied.

“From who? Is it the one from outside?” Hyde pressed.

“You are very nosy today, Mister Hyde. And yes, it is. And it is from my brother.” Jekyll knew that if he wanted to tell Hyde off for prying he should not answer the questions, but right now he did not mind sharing.

“Ah.” Hyde nodded and went back to pushing the files into their homes in Jekyll’s cabinet. “Good news?”

“Well, he is alive, and that counts for something. Though I do wish he would come and speak to me face to face.”

 

---

 

Hyde watched with far too much interest for a mere personal assistant as Jekyll set the letter to the side and pulled out a quill and paper.

So he was going to answer! Already! Admittedly, the idea was very exciting. Hyde had never given his brother a way to answer his letters, and he was dying to know what Jekyll would say.

So much, in fact, that he was desperately trying to find a reason to have to go over to Jekyll’s desk and peek at the paper. Which was risky and not really worth it, but he was bound and determined to try.

Of course, the world caught onto him scheming and decided he should trip over his own cane first and nearly faceplant into the floor.

“Are you quite alright, Hyde?” Jekyll asked.

“Yeah, just clumsy.” The blonde replied, finally catching himself on the desk.

He glanced at the paper. It was still blank.

“Well, be careful. Do not want you breaking something else, your ankle must be bad enough.”

“Took some getting used to, yes.” Hyde agreed, and walked back over to the files he was sorting and storing away in his brother’s cabinet.

“Oh, I suppose I must ask, the roofs are not too bad for getting up onto today, are they?” Jekyll asked quickly, glancing up from the paper.

“No, they are fine today. Why do you ask?” Hyde replied, though he knew exactly why Jekyll wanted him to be able to get onto the roof.

“Edward is still quite elusive. I cannot just put this letter in the post, he has not given me an address for him. Instead, he said to have you leave the letter pinned to the roof. You must have been right when you thought you had spotted him before, he certainly knows who you are.” Jekyll explained.

“And what do you think of all his hiding?” Hyde asked.

“Seriously, what has gotten into you today, Hyde? You are never this nosy!” Jekyll remarked.

“Nosy? Well, if being curious is being nosy, I am always nosy, Doctor. You told me about your brother when we were young, remember? Now I am curious to know what you think of him and his antics, sixteen years later.” Hyde said with a smile.

“A number of feelings, not all positive.” Jekyll replied in a vague tone, waving his hand dismissively. “I should not concern you with it. You have your own affairs to deal with.”

“I do not mind.” Hyde said, almost too quickly.

Sure, if he had patience he would find out soon enough. He would get to read the letter at the end of his shift.

But if there was one thing he had never possessed, it was patience. Hyde hated waiting. He could not wait.

“Really, it is nothing. You have work to be doing, and so do I. I will just finish this up quickly and get on with that.” Jekyll decided.

Dammit. Hyde immediately busied himself with the files. He should have known it would not be that easy

Jekyll was still writing. It would be far harder to sneak around and spot things now that Jekyll knew he was curious about it.

So he needed a new plan. That was Hyde’s goal while he finished storing away files and went over to go back to his normal job of filling them out.

He could pretend to need a signature. But that would simply make him look a fool when Jekyll found out he did not actually need a signature.

So that plan was a bust.

He could pretend to need help with something, but by now he should really know all that he was expected to do, so that too would attract attention.

God, what could he possibly do to get a glimpse at that letter? Every plan had a flaw, it was not fair! He only wanted to see the letter, it was going to him anyways.

“I guess I do need to talk.” Jekyll said suddenly, scrunching up what he had written and throwing it to the side. “If that is all I can manage to write, I clearly need to talk to someone before I try and answer, and Robert is mad at me and will not hear it so my next bet would be you.” He conceded.

Oh god. He had not realized when he had offered to listen that he was going to have to manage to sit through Jekyll venting about him without breaking into tears and begging for forgiveness. Could he really listen to Henry Jekyll say something horrible about him without blowing it?

He was going to have to try. He put his papers to the side and moved to sit across from Jekyll. “Well, I am listening.” He said, trying to squash down any fear of what Jekyll might say. You are Edward Hyde. Anything he says is not about you.

Yeah that was not going to work. Hyde had never really split himself like that. Edward Hyde and Edward Jekyll were just two names for himself.

But he was going to have to try and change that now. “So what is bothering you?”

“I just… I have been upset about Edward’s disappearance for so long that… I guess I never noticed that… that I am mostly just mad at him.” Jekyll admitted, sighing. “And I should not be mad but I am. Because this has gone so much further than him running away because I said something nasty and our parents did not treat him well, he has been gone for over sixteen years and he still just walks back into my life with a letter and pretends all is well but it is not!”

“And why is that?” Hyde asked. His throat felt thick. Jekyll was right and he knew it. He should have come back already why should he not just open his mouth now and admit it?

“Because why should I be okay with him still hiding from me! It has been sixteen years I am not in the wrong anymore and I am so damn tired of him playing this game! I cannot deal with it anymore and I want to tell him to stop being a coward and come and see me but I know he may just vanish completely again if I confront him and part of me would not mind!”

Would… would not mind? If he just disappeared again? If he had never written the letter?

Hyde pretended to duck his head and think as he felt tears start to burn his green eyes. He had made such a horrible mistake, how could he do this to Henry?

He opened his mouth. He was mere seconds away from spilling his secret, from letting the tears spill over and letting everything out, but when he tried to speak… no sound came out. His voice refused to work.

“And I know I should try and understand him and try to see why he is still hiding from me but it is just so damn hard to accept that he does not want to see me that he still wants to hide... “ Jekyll sniffled. “Perhaps he is not the worst brother like he said he was… perhaps… perhaps I am… because I cannot accept what he is doing…”

Hyde brushed a tear that slipped down his cheek away urgently as Jekyll looked up at him.

Jekyll also had tears in his eyes. “I am sorry, you… you surely did not want to hear that I just…. needed to get it off my chest. I… I should be able to write the letter now. Thank you for listening.”

“It… it was no trouble at all.” Hyde lied, and got to his feet to he could walk somewhere in the office that Jekyll could not see him crying.

 

At the end of Hyde’s shift, he was handed a letter to leave on the roof.

Obviously, he did not leave it there. He forced himself to get home, get back to Stephen before tearing it open. If he started to cry again, he did not want to be alone.

There had not been much small talk when he got home. Within a few minutes they were on the couch, Hyde curled up in Stephen’s lap with the letter in his hands.

“I heard what he said about me at work… what if… what if he hates me and…” God he was not going to be able to read this if he kept working himself up.

Which Stephen told him. “Eddie, if you do not calm down I am taking that letter away and not giving it back until tomorrow. You need to relax.”

Hyde took a deep breath. “I- I know…”

“So breathe, and read the letter.”

 

Dear Edward Jekyll

I must admit, I have mixed feelings about this all. On one hand I want you to come here in person so we can talk properly, though that may end in a yelling match, I have been upset and mad at you for so long I do not think I could simply ignore it, on the other I know I should just be grateful you are alive and I have a way to talk to you.

But I wish you would come home. Not to Scotland, I do not mean Scotland. I wish you would come here, to the Society, and be my brother again. I miss you more than anything and I want you to come home.

I must admit, calling Robert Lanyon an arse sounds a little rich from the one who left me to arrange our dream by myself. The rest of your letter was appreciated, though. What is your cat’s name? I do not believe Zosi would like her much, but then again, that may be half of the fun of introducing them.

I have not found a partner, as you say you have, though if anything I know about you is correct, you are in no position to be making me an uncle, either, so you have no right to complain about me. Of course, correct me if I am wrong, but I suspect you did not mean you found yourself a nice woman to spend life with.

I do wish you could see the society from the inside. There are so many amazing studies going on right now, you would love it. You would adore Rachel, too, she has quite the attitude, just like you.

And to answer your flurry of questions, I have been well, keeping myself very busy, the society does not run itself, sadly. I have not had much time for discoveries, I currently I have a pupil to be teaching. Her name is Virginia Ito and she would hate you like she seems to hate everyone else. Okay, that may be a little harsh. But she sure is not fond of anyone, including myself.

The Society is everything we dreamed of, Edward, not just everything I dreamed of. I hope you would love it if you were here…

And I should not answer that last question honestly, but for you, I will. It is as terribly tedious and irritating as you may think it would be. I do envy your low profile.

Write back soon, Edward, and tell me everything you can, I want to know everything. I beg you, do not disappear on me again. Not now that I am as close as I ever have been to having you back.

Love,

Henry Jekyll

Chapter Text

“Doctor Jekyll! It is good to see you here tonight. How have you been?” Emma asked, a master in pleasantries. She was the entire reason why everyone in these meetings did not know she and Jekyll were plotting something.

Lanyon shot him a knowing smile. It had taken the two of them sitting down with Rachel and having a long, heated debate about confidentiality, but Lanyon was back to being his normal friendly self, sure that their secret was safe within the society.

Jekyll pulled a face, knowing exactly what Lanyon’s smile meant. “It is good to see you as well, Miss Carew, you are as lovely as ever. I trust you have been doing well?”  He asked. “I myself have some good news, but it can wait.”

“Oh, I have been the same as ever, Doctor Jekyll. Come and walk with me?” She offered, extending an arm. Jekyll smiled obligingly and linked arms with her, and they made for the door.

“Just you watch, they will be announcing an engagement soon.” Lanyon said to his wife, pretending to whisper, but Jekyll could hear him loud and clear.

“Oh, Robert dear, it would be good for them.Your friend Doctor Jekyll has been a bachelor for far too long.” Anne decided.

And then he and Emma were out the door, and Jekyll could no longer hear the Lanyons talking about him.

“So, before we get into business, tell me what this good news is. Unless it is business.” Emma prompted, leading him to a small stone bench and sitting down. Her dress was a soft pink today, her hair pulled up, though ringlets fell down and framed her face.

“It is not business, on that, I am afraid I have drawn a blank. Again. I am so sorry, Emma, I promised to figure this out and you are working hard to get your father to listen and I have gotten nowhere.” Jekyll admitted.

“No matter, I have a plan. Tell me your good news, first.” Emma instructed.

Jekyll nodded, a smile spreading across his face. “I got another letter from Edward today, and he admitted that he may possibly be willing to meet me face to face. He has not decided yet, but it is the closest I have gotten to a yes in the two months he has been writing me.” He explained. “And considering I have asked him in every letter to come and meet me, that is progress.”

Emma beamed. “Henry, that is fantastic news! Just think, he could be home and helping you in no time!” She exclaimed. “I guess he only needed to hear from you a bit before he realized how much he missed you.”

“I suppose that must be it.” Jekyll agreed. Personally, he did not care why Edward was contemplating meeting up with him, he was just glad it was happening. It had been too long since he had seen his beloved brother’s face in anything but the mirror. He could not wait to finally have Edward back for good. “Anyways, you mentioned a plan?”

Emma smiled. “Well, first I have to accuse you of something, but I am sure you will understand it in the end. I mean you no harm, Henry, I promise, but I have reason to believe that our… circumstances, we will put it as that, could be benefited with my plan, as well as what we had previously arranged.” She explained.

“Okay, I will admit that I am a bit nervous, I cannot say that was a very reassuring statement.” Henry confessed.

What could Emma possibly know about him? And was she really not going to hold it over his head, or was she just trying not to scare him just yet?

All of the sudden, Emma began laughing. “Miss Carew? Is there a joke I am not privy to?” Jekyll asked, concerned.

“No, I am just realizing how ironic my idea is, considering… oh, never mind. I should let you figure it out once you know the plan.” She decided.

“Could we get on with the plan, maybe? I will admit, your secrecy is beginning to scare me, Emma.” Jekyll said weakly.

“I have thought of something you need as well as funding.” Emma replied with a smile.

“And what, pray tell, is that?” Jekyll asked.

Emma glanced around to make sure they were truly alone. “A cover. You are gay, and you need a cover for it. That is why you are so weird around Doctor Lanyon, and why you have remained a bachelor for so long. I knew a gentleman like yourself would have been wedded a long time ago, if he was making himself available!”

“Miss Carew! Are you really going to throw that accusation around?” Jekyll demanded, though he felt like he was going to faint  Or throw up. How had she figured that out? Did she know about Lanyon, too? Oh, god, what was she going to screw him for, now that she had this information over his head? If he could not get her into the society now, he may as well… he may as well do god know what to himself it would be better than what the Londoners would do.

“Well, you are welcome to throw the same one at me, I will not lie and deny it, which, incidentally, makes me one up from you.” Emma replied.

“You?” Jekyll asked, still pale, still clearly terrified to have been found out like that. How could she have known? How could anyone have known? If Emma could tell, who else could?

“Yes, me. I have never once been interested in a man. Why do you think I am not wedded? Or did you simply believe I was undesirable?” Emma asked.

“I am not going to answer that question.” Jekyll decided.

“A wise choice, actually.” Emma agreed. “Anyways, the solution is simple, Henry. You and I both will have a cover, you will have your funding, and I will be in the society.”

“And how will you arrange that, Emma?” Jekyll was just starting to relax again after his shock. Maybe Emma was not going to turn this on him.

“My father would never refuse to fund his son-in-law’s business. Nor refuse to let his daughter stay where her husband is.” Emma replied. “Look, I know it is long and complicated and one hell of a ruse to put up, but it will work.”

“You think we should-"

“I think we should be wedded. For God’s sake, Henry, half of London already believes we will be, give them what they are expecting and we can both continue with our lives once it is over!” Emma told him. “I can give you some time to think about it, but unless you have a better plan, this is all I have. My father will not budge on the funding matter, he needs more motivation, and you have gotten nowhere on the matter of me joining the society.”

It was not like Jekyll had never considered getting married before. When he was younger, he had contemplated getting involved with a woman and forcing himself to someday accept what had happened. To act until he no longer had to act, and was happy with life.

But he had also known that it was unlikely he would ever reach that happiness if he forced himself to.

And here was the perfect mix of the two. The security of being married, and the death, or mostly death, of any rumours about him, without needing to act. Emma would know that the two of them had nigh but friendly feelings for the other.

But could he really do it. Could he live the rest of his life in a lie, pretending to be in love with Emma Carew when he could not get his goddamn heart to let go of his college lover?

Maybe he really could. Emma was a lovely girl, smart and friendly and funny, and if he had to spend the rest of his life married to someone he did not love, he would want it to be someone like her.

“So? You are making me a little nervous, here, Henry, I fear I may have been way out of line with that suggestion…” Emma said, looking up worriedly at him  

“No, no I… I think you have finally solved the problem. Looks like we are going to have to start being more open with our talks and sneaking about, Emma, because sooner rather than later we are going to need your father to believe me when I ask for his blessing.” Henry said finally.

Emma smiled. “I really did not think you would agree to my plan.” She confessed.

“You were right, though. It was the one way for us both to get what we were trying to. And truly, it may not be unpleasant pretending to be in love with you.”

“And the same to you. I could do a lot worse for a husband.” Emma decided. “So, Henry, shall we head back inside? All this sneaking about is not proper of a gentleman…” she teased.

Jekyll sighed, shook his head, got to his feet and helped Emma to hers. “Well then come along, my dear, we must not be being improper…”

“Oh, and do you see what I was laughing about? After your friend Lanyon’s teasing, he turns out to be right!”

The both laughed at her words as they made for the doors.

This could be a lot worse.

 

---

 

“I lied to Henry.” Hyde said the moment Stephen stepped into the house.

“Eddie, I hate to break it to you but that is not new. You have given him what, two fake doctor’s notes now? Not to mention all the times he believed you when you said the doctor told you to stay home and he had not, and your name is technically a lie so really, why are you upset about this one?” Stephen asked, frowning.

“Because I did not lie this time as his employee, Stephen.” Hyde replied, flopping onto the couch, sprawled out dramatically. “I lied to him as his brother. Again.”

“See? You have even done this before. Why do you feel bad now?” Stephen asked.

Hyde huffed. “Because I told him I may be willing to meet up with him. And I am not.” He replied. “And now I have gotten his hopes up, I am sure, and I am going to have to crush them because I am not going to meet up with him and I am a terrible human being and a terrible excuse for a brother and I am not even worth the air I am breathing and I am just a really, really shitty fucking person and-"

“And that is quite enough of that, Eddie.” Stephen ordered, hauling him up off the couch. “You and I are going out, there is no way I am letting you sit and stew on this.”

“It is not going to make me feel any better, I am a terrible person and I should not have even survived running away if I was just going to hurt Henry like this and- mmph!”

Stephen clamped a hand over Hyde’s mouth. “And you are only focusing on one thing right now. What about me? I would not be in a good place if you were not here with me, Eddie…”

Hyde tried to answer but still had a hand over his mouth. Stephen moved it so the blond could speak.

“You have Julia, you do not need me.” He mumbled.

Stephen froze. Tensed up entirely, Hyde noticed the change but did not remark on it. “Is that… is that how you see it, Edward? Have I let you believe that somehow?” The brunet asked worriedly.

Hyde did not answer. He did not know what he believed right now. He just did not feel necessary.

“Edward.” Stephen spun the blond around so they were looking at each other, held onto the blond’s skinny shoulders. “Have I lead you to believe that that is true? I need you to answer me, this is important.”

“No? Yes? I do not know right now, I just…” Hyde shrugged his shoulders helplessly. “Just…” He moved a little closer and basically fell into Stephen’s arms, holding on tightly.

“Oh, Eddie, what have you been doing to yourself all day…” Stephen murmured, running his fingers through the blond’s messy hair.

“Promise you really do need me?” Hyde asked softly.

“I promise. You know that Julia is not meant to replace you, right? I can explain it again if you have forgotten…” Stephen offered. “I do not for a second want you thinking that you are any less important to me than you ever have been, or that I love you any less than I ever have…”

“I know, I just…” Hyde sighed. “I do not know how I feel about myself anymore and it is affecting everything and else I just…”

Stephen moved over to the couch and sat down, pulling the blond gently into his lap. “It is alright not to be certain, Edward…”

He could tell Stephen was serious, he was using Hyde’s full name way too often. Stephen rarely called him Edward. He preferred pet names and Eddie. “Do you need anything…?”

Hyde shook his head. Just someone to hold him, to pry him out of his own head. He had been beating himself up since he had delivered the letter and wearing at himself and now he was a mess and Stephen had never been meant to see this and why was he questioning Stephen he knew that Julia was not a replacement he knew he was being stupid but he could not stop.

Stephen sighed, pulled an arm properly around the blond, went back to playing with his hair. “You know I love you, right?”

Hyde nodded, closing his green eyes and nestling into Stephen’s chest. “I love you too… I am just a mess…” He murmured.

“And that is alright.” Stephen told him, kissing the top of his head. “You have really messed yourself up over one little lie, Edward. Henry will understand if you end up refusing to meet him. He will understand.”

“I am so scared to go back to him…” Hyde sniffled. It was the first time he admitted it. “You have said it yourself I am not the kid who fled Edinburgh anymore and what if Henry does not like that?” He asked, felt tears burn his eyes. “I do not think he likes who I am now, why would he like me any better if he knew I was his brother it would all be fake it would all be him forcing himself to like me he is never going to really like me again and I should just… I should just leave I should just stop trying I am only going to hurt us both…”

He sobbed, and the floodgates opened. Immediately, tears were running down his cheeks and now that he had started crying he simply could not stop.

Stephen stayed silent through the whole thing. Rubbed Hyde’s back as he cried.

And until eventually, the sobbing tapered off into silence, broken only by sniffles.

“Do you feel better now?” Stephen asked softly.

“A little…” Hyde admitted. “I think I just…”

“Needed a chance to let it out. I know, Eddie.” Stephen assured him.

“I am sorry I doubted you.” Hyde whispered.

“You did not really doubt me. Do not worry, you are forgiven.” Stephen promised.

“Can we… can we stay in for the night…” Hyde asked in a quiet voice. “I… I do not want to go out tonight…”

“You are in no state to go out tonight, Eddie.” Stephen agreed.

The cat made a noise as she hopped up onto the couch, immediately climbed into Hyde’s lap, curled up and began purring.

Hyde smiled briefly, scratched behind the cat’s ears, she leaned her head into his hands.

“I am sorry, I am such a mess.” Hyde sighed.

“You are allowed to be a mess, love. I know this is hard for you.” Stephen muttered, pressing soft kisses to Hyde’s cheek.

“I just… I just… do not know what to do…” Hyde hiccuped. “If I do not go back soon… there will come a time when I can never ever go back to him but… I cannot go back just yet… I am going to ruin everything, and I will not fix it…”

“Eddie, you are going to end up crying again, and as much we I do not care, you can get if you want to,  I suspect you do not want to. You get sick when you get too upset.” Stephen told him.

“I know…”

“Come on, you, we can go relax in bed. Hold onto your cat.”

The blond complied, holding the cat in his arms. Stephen scooped him up off the couch and carried him into the bedroom. The cat squirmed a little, but ultimately settled back down and purred in his arms.

Stephen smiled, laid Hyde down on the bed and curled up beside him. “Just get some sleep, my love.”

That was how to tell Stephen really thought something was wrong, he must have taken that comment about Julia more to heart than Hyde had meant it to. The different nicknames, how careful he was being… Stephen thought he was on thin ice.

He sighed, let go of the cat and turned to face Stephen. “I am sorry, I did not mean what I said. About you having Julia and not needing me. That is not what I think I do not know what has gotten into me…”

Stephen just shook his head and gave the blond a soft kiss. “I know you did not mean it, Eddie. Well, I was pretty sure. I just worry sometimes. I… I never want either of your two to think that.”

“I know.” Hyde agreed. “And I do not think that, I swear.”

“I know, I really do know. And I am so glad. Now get some sleep, love.”

Chapter Text

“Edward is not going to meet me.” Jekyll said, almost numb.

Hyde was working, as per usual, across the room, chewing on the end of the quill he was using. Jekyll did not even bother to tell him off. He had too much else on his mind.

Of course I am not coming. Did you really think I would? The Mirror-Edward had not shut up since Henry’s brother had left the first letter. He was skeptical, and liked to pretend he actually knew Edward at all.

“Oh? He is not? But you seemed so certain he would!” Hyde remarked, looking up from the paperwork he was doing. Mirror-Edward was sitting on the desk beside him, also staring at Jekyll with bright green eyes.

“The letter you just delivered says he will not.” Jekyll explained.

I still do not know why this surprises you, Henry.

“Hush, Edward.” Jekyll said without thinking.

“Doctor Jekyll, I did not say anything.” Edward Hyde protested.

Oh, god, what had he just done? Had he really just answered the Mirror-Edward with Hyde in the room? “Oh! I am so sorry, it was… it was just something in the letter, running through my head. Not about you, Hyde. Just… just talking to myself.”

Hyde did not look convinced, but he went back to the papers he was working on without another question.

Nice save. Mirror-Edward laughed. You really need to get better at this, after all, as you put it, I am here until you get your brother back, and he is right in front of your nose, he had to leave these letters somehow and you still cannot find him, so I would say you will be stuck with me for a very, very long time.

Why could he be wrong? Even with the letters, Jekyll was no closer to finding his brother than he had ever been, and now his brother had refused to meet with him.

It was not like Edward had been cruel about it. He had expressed that some part of him did want to show up in person. But most of him did not. And he was sorry, but he would not be making himself known any time soon. He just… could not do it yet.

“Did he say why?” Hyde asked, biting at the quill again.

“You know you are going to break that, right?” Jekyll asked him.

Hyde looked down at the quill as though he had not noticed he was doing it. “Sorry.”

“It is fine. And no, he did not say why. Only that he was not ready, and that I should not take it personally. Which is hard when my own brother refuses to come and see me.” Jekyll replied, putting the letter to the side.

Who would want to see a worry wart like you anyways.

Hyde tipped his head to the side, as though considering the idea. Mirror-Edward mimicked the post. “Perhaps he is nervous.” Hyde suggested.

“Nervous? Of what? It is just me, he is not meeting the queen!” Jekyll cried. “Why should he be nervous to meet me?”

“Perhaps he finds that, as you are not the same man as you were at sixteen, he is no longer the brother you remember, and fears that you would no longer be fond of him.” Hyde suggested. “Or he is scared you will be mad at him for leaving, or that you will not believe that it is him, or-"

“I got it. He has a lot of reasons to be scared.” Jekyll cut him off. “I just… I wish he was not.”

“Can you guarantee that none of what I just listed will happen?” Hyde asked.

“No.”

Of course you cannot. You have never been able to guarantee anything for me.

Ugh, would he just shut up? Jekyll got it, he was a terrible brother, the stupid apparition in the mirror did not have to rub it in even more!

“Then perhaps it is best if Edward does not come to meet with you just yet.” Hyde decided.

Jekyll frowned. “I am not complaining, but when did you get so good with this stuff? Are you not an only child?”

“I have no family besides Stephen, yes.” Hyde agreed. “But it just sort of… makes sense.”

Jekyll sighed. Great. So even Hyde was better at having a brother than him, and Hyde did not have a brother. Hyde had a lover and that was it.

How embarrassing. Not to mention pathetic and a plethora of other insults but really, why beat himself up more for what was happening.

“I do not think you should feel badly about it.” Hyde remarked.

“Why is that?” Jekyll asked. Why would he not need to feel bad about this, his brother could not come back and see him because he had made that a risk. That was his fault, and he was a terrible brother.

“You are not the only one in the wrong. Your brother needs to gather up his courage and come and see you. It just… may take time. It is neither of your faults.” Hyde replied.

“I am not convinced you are an only child.” Jekyll remarked. “You really had no siblings?”

“None. The way my parents spoke, it took them years to conceive once. If they ever tried again, they never told me and it never worked.” Hyde replied.

“What were they like with you? I know it is none of my business, but since you manage to think so much like Edward, I have to wonder if there is a reason.” Jekyll explained.

“They were wonderful. Like I said, Doctor Jekyll, they spent years trying to conceive. In fact, if anything I was doted on too much as a child. But they figured that out when a got a little older. They… they were amazing. I am thirty three years old, it has been sixteen years since they died, and I still miss them every day.” Hyde replied. “My father had to save me from being kidnapped, once.”

“He did? My god, that is awful!” Jekyll cried. “What happened?”

“I was sixteen, working in the actual bar for one of the first and only times, and some strange man said he wanted to talk with me. I did not know any better so I listened, he bought himself and me a drink. I did not see him slip something into mine. No one did. My father just caught him before he could drag me out of the bar. I do not know what he put in my glass, but whatever it was, I could not even walk on my own within a few minutes, never mind understand what the man was trying to do.” Hyde explained. “My father caught him, ripped him a new one right in front of everyone. Told him never to come back and I do not remember much other than that, besides waking up feeling like I had the worst hangover in the world.”

“That is… that must have been terrifying! Did you ever find out what he was trying to take you for?” Jekyll asked.

“He never came back to tell me, but it was likely sex. Who would resist a face like mine?” Hyde forced a laugh. “But seriously. It was not uncommon for people to be picked up off the streets and forced into a brothel.”

“Do not remind me, Hyde, that is where I feared my brother was for ages.” Jekyll admitted. “It is good that Darius was there to save you. He was a good man, Hyde, and he would be proud of you, I think, if he could see you now.”

Jekyll was not sure he believed his own words, Hyde was not exactly the finest man in London, or anywhere even close to that, but watching the blond duck his head, smiling, maybe even blushing, was worth the lie. “Thank you.”

Jekyll smiled at him.

Good Lord, you seem to think flattery will get you anywhere. That man is not worth your praise. Darius Hyde, being proud of that man? A lazy, irresponsible, drunk addict? Ha! Mirror-Edward scoffed, rolling his green eyes. Look at him! Who would be proud of that.

Why did that apparition have to be such a prick about everything?

Worse yet… why did that apparition have to only be able to voice something that some part of Jekyll actually thought?

He should have known he had not actually meant what he had said about Hyde. But he was not going to correct it now. Not after seeing how happy Hyde was to receive the compliment.

Perhaps the blond had doubted it over something before.

“Henry?” Rachel was knocking on the door.

“Yes?”

“Miss Carew is here to see you.”

Jekyll stopped for second. “Oh! She was coming today, that is right. Entertain her for me, just for a moment, please, Rachel?”

“Of course!” Rachel ran down the stairs as Jekyll fixed his hair in the looking glass, looking pointedly passed the apparition of his brother, threw on his coat, and ran down the stairs to meet Emma at the door.

 

---

 

Miss Carew? The girl who had offered Hyde a ride to work when it was raining? What was she fetching Henry for? What did she want with him?

Hyde suspected those were not questions he would get answers to. But that was not important.

The important thing was, he was off in five minutes, and he, Stephen and Julia were going out.

It had taken a good week to fully convince Stephen that there was no jealousy and no confusion about Julia after the mistake he had made previously.

He really, really had not meant what he said. God knew what had gotten into him lately, it was mostly gone now but every so often it came back and he just felt completely unnecessary.

But that was not important right now. Important right now was he only had to sign on more paper. He swirled a very messy signature onto the line, tucked the file away and was off.

He did not want to be late. He could not wait to get a chance to catch up with Julia, he did not get to see her nearly as often as he should have.

And prove that he had know hard feelings towards her for Stephen. For God’s sakes, if he was not still nervous around women in those sorts of situations, he likely would have taken her up on the offer to join her and Stephen one night. Maybe one day he would.

But nerves still got to him a little too much for that at the moment.

“Eddie! You made it! Stephen was convinced you would be late.” Julia told him, nudging Stephen’s side with her elbow.

Hyde snorted. “Please. Doctor Jekyll ran off to go meet some girl at the end of my shift. If I had wanted, I could have been early!” He laughed, gave Julia a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and the same for Stephen. They had not left the nice part of London, he had best be chaste with Stephen.

“A girl? My, that is a rumour waiting to happen!” Julia remarked.

“No no, that is a rumour already happening. Her name is Emma Carew.” Hyde corrected.

Hyde did not know how to feel about that girl. Part of him wanted to try and stop what was happening until he knew more about the politician's daughter.

Besides. Emma Carew or not, it was not like Jekyll had stopped pinning for Lanyon for a second. So what was the point of getting involved with Emma? What was his brother planning?

Not to mention there was just something off about Emma Carew. Something that did not add up.

“What are you puzzling about this time, Eddie? You are supposed to be relaxing! You are starting to sound like you b- boss!” Stephen barely caught himself.

It was not that Hyde did not trust Julia with his secret. It was just that the fewer people who knew, the less likely it could escape.

“I suppose I do. Well, we should go!” Hyde declared.

“Hang on, checklist. When did you take you pill, Eddie?” Stephen asked.

“This morning. God, you sound like my mother! It was not recently, I am completely fine to get smashed if I damn well want to.” Hyde replied.

Stephen smirked. “Fine then. Off we go!”

Hyde smiled and scampered up onto the roof. “You guys have mess about down there, I am going this way.” He decided.

“I thought you were avoiding the roofs. In case someone went looking for you.” Stephen called.

“In his head, I am supposed to be up here anyways.” Hyde replied.

“Why do I feel like there is something I am missing here, Eddie? Who are you hiding from?” Julia asked.

“My boss. I will explain some other day.” Hyde replied.

He paused. “I know I said I did not care if you followed me, but I guess if you two are staying down there, I will too.”

“Eddie, you still need to pick a day and teach me how to get up there. Then we can travel by rooftop.” Julia reminded him.

“Well, I will not do that right now, as fun as it might be.” Hyde decided. “We are meant to be doing other things, and I do not feel like possibly rushing you to the hospital tonight.”

“I suppose that is a fair point. So down you get, then.” Stephen called.

“Catch!” Hyde threw his cane down to Stephen and scrambled down the side of the building to land back on the dusty road. “Alright, we should really get going, or we will waste the whole night!”

“Alright, well, it seems to be you who is stalling, Eddie!” Julia teased.

Hyde huffed and got moving.

It took less time than it could have to get out of SoHo and over to Bethnal Green. More than it would have if they had gone by the rooftops, but soon enough they were standing in the cold, dark and dusty street.

“So, Edward, which bars are you still allowed in?” Julia asked.

“Most of them, actually. I am just not allowed to work in most if them.” Hyde replied.

“So how about that one?” Julia suggested, pointing to the nearest set of doors.

Hyde laughed and scratched at the back of his head. “Yeah, incidentally, that one I am not allowed in. It is the one that a fight I was in nearly burned it to the ground, and I almost got sentenced out of the country.” He explained. “They tried to charge me with arson, but really, it was just a fight where someone’s cigar fell on a spilled drink and whoosh! You know how alcohol is!”

“You are such a pain in the ass for everyone you meet, you know that, Eddie?” Julia asked.

“Hey! Brokenshire was talking about sending me to Australia for arson! All I did was punch the guy with the cigar! He is the dummy who dropped the cigar! On my spilled drink, to top it off, which could not have been worse if he had tried, given the alcohol content in absinthe. There was no arson involved, I did not mean for that to happen, but our dear friend Enoch has never been gone of me. Hell, I fair thought he was going to arrest me and make a doctor patched this up in jail!” He tipped his head to the side and moved his cloak and collar to expose the long scar across his neck.

“Thank the Lord he did not. I do want to try my luck with that man any more than I have to.” Stephen muttered.

“I know, I know. Now, come on, I am allowed in this one.” Hyde turned into a set of doors.

Julia laughed, shook her head and follows him into the bar. “No fights, Eddie.”

“I make no promises, Jules.” Hyde replied with a silly grin. I have never been much good at resisting that urge.”

“I swear to god if you get us kicked out, Edward…” Stephen let his voice trail off.

“And what exactly will you do to me if I get kicked out, Stephy?” Hyde asked.

Stephen smirked. “Throw you over my shoulder and carry you home, and not let you out but for work for a week!” He replied.

Hyde squeaked. “What? That is not fair, I am not a child!”

“Prove it, and do not make me haul you out!” Stephen told him, walking up to the bar to order.

Hyde huffed. Julia laughed. “I always told you he was going to come up with a proper threat for you, Eddie, and you always had to push your luck.”

“Oh, hush.” Hyde complained, and was handed his drink.

Took a sip and coughed.

“I am still not convinced you do not drink that shit purely because it is green.” Stephen remarked. “You can hardly tolerate it after years of drinking it.”

“I do like it.” Hyde argued. “It is just really strong and takes a few sips to get used to again. Besides, it is such a pretty green. Matches your eyes.”

Stephen rolled his eyes and sipped his own drink. “Listen, Eddie, you can get away with one thing with your poetry, and it is flattery. Mainly because you are terrible at casual flattery. Now it is like you are drinking my eyes.” He complained.

Julia laughed. “I am inclined to agree, Eddie, that was pretty bad.” She agreed.

“Oh, bite me.” Hyde replied, taking another sip of his drink and sticking his tongue out at Stephen.

“Later, Eddie, you have to have some patience. We would not want to repeat what happened in Germany!” He teased.

“That is not what I meant!” Hyde cried, a blush spreading across his cheek as Julia and Stephen both began laughing at him.

Chapter Text

“I do not trust her.” Hyde decided, looking over at Stephen, who hardly looked up from the newspaper he was reading.

“Who do you not trust this time, Eddie?” He asked, raising an eyebrow. “You are not a very trusting man, I hate to break that to you. You have a huge list of people you do not trust.”

“Emma Carew.” Hyde replied, scrunching up his nose in distaste at the name. “There is something she is not telling people. I do not trust her.”

“Why does it matter if she has not told people something? You have plenty of secrets, Eddie.” Stephen reasoned.

It would have been sound reasoning. “But you know all my secrets. She is hiding something from Henry.” Hyde said, tone bitter.

“And why is that comparable, Eddie? You and I have been together for sixteen years, your brother has known Emma for about three months months.” Stephen said.

“Because it is the talk of the town and Henry will not deny it anymore, those two are going to be announcing an engagement sometime soon. I asked him about it today. He told me off for prying but basically told me it was true.” Hyde said.

“Eddie, Edward Hyde is not Henry Jekyll’s brother. Not according to Doctor Jekyll. This is none of your business, and you have no right to interfere, even if Miss Carew is hiding something.” Stephen reminded him.

“But I do not want Henry to get hurt!” Hyde protested. “He is invested in this girl and I do not want to let him get hurt!”

“Eddie, you are not going to like the answer to that.” Stephen warned, finally putting his paper to the side.

Hyde looked up at him disparagingly. “And what is the answer to that, Stephen?” He asked.

“Either tell him who you are, or keep your mouth shut about Emma Carew.” Stephen said simply.

Hyde froze, stunned. “And you know I cannot do that! But if I let him get his heart broken again-"

“Eddie, your brother may not have told us what he did while he was staying with us, but he made it quite clear that he hurt Doctor Lanyon. Not the other way around. Maybe if Miss Carew hurts him, it is him getting what he deserved.” Stephen suggested mildly.

He had always believed in justice and all that shit. “I am not just going to let him get hurt!” Hyde insisted. “Fuck the world, fuck “God’s justice”, there is no way I am going to let him marry someone who is going to hurt him!” He declared.

What sort if brother was he if he just let Emma Carew trample all over his brother’s heart? He had to find out what she was hiding, he had to know what she may be planning with his brother. She could not be trusted until that was revealed. Not with Henry. Henry had a good facade but he was sweet and kind and sensitive and could not take another heartbreak. He had watched Lanyon break Henry’s heart, no matter what Stephen said about Henry being at fault, both of them had suffered that heartbreak, and Hyde would not let it happen to Henry again.

“Then tell him you are Edward Jekyll.” Stephen said simply.

“I cannot do that either! It will do him more harm than good, in fucking London! To be related to me?” Hyde scoffed.

“Eddie, you have to do one or the other. You cannot have both. Edward Hyde has no business with Henry Jekyll’s relationships, that is what he is trying to remind you, politely, when he tells you to stop prying. You are only his assistant, you are not his brother so long as you keep up your facade, and you cannot stick your nose in his business without suffering consequences.”

Hyde huffed. “I have a duty not to let him get hurt.”

“You have a duty to mind your own business.” Stephen corrected. “Besides, are you not the younger of you two? Typically, it is the oldest who is protective. So you do not have a duty to protect him at-"

“We are twins.” Hyde was suddenly vehement and almost angry. He had tolerated the mentality of Henry being the eldest and himself the youngest all through his childhood. He would not tolerate it from Stephen. Not his partner. His partner knew better than that and Hyde would not hesitate to correct him. “Neither one of us is the younger or older, we are twins.” He insisted.

Stephen fell silent for a moment, then he nodded. He had almost forgotten how much Hyde hated being treated as though he was in some way younger than his brother.

“Sorry.” The blond said suddenly. “That was really harsh.” He sighed. “It is just-"

“I know.” Stephen assured him. “It was a bad thing to say on my part, it is not your fault for snapping.”

“You would think that I would just have stopped caring. It happened all my life until we were sixteen and I ran.” Hyde remarked.

“It is fine. Look, Edward. I do not want to fight with you over this. It is up to you, really, what you do about Emma. Just be careful. Do not get yourself into trouble over this.” Stephen advised.

Hyde nodded.

“Now, I have to work until midnight. You do not have a shift today?” Stephen checked.

“No. Jekyll was going out all day with Emma Carew and I got all my work done yesterday.” Hyde replied.

“Well then.” Stephen stood up, kissed the blond, and headed for the door.

“Should I wait up for you, or are you out with Julia after your shift?” Hyde asked.

“I will be back here tonight.” Stephen promised.

“Alright, I will be here when you get back.” Hyde told him.

“Have a nice night!” Stephen said, pulled on his coat, and left.

Hyde sighed and scooped the cat off the ground. She settled into his lap and began to purr loudly when he started to pet her.

“And what do you think, Alhena?” He asked. “You are a sensible cat if you survived the streets. Do you agree with Stephen? Can I not step in between because I am not Henry’s brother when I am Edward Hyde?”

Alhena only purred, blinking up at him when he stopped petting her.

“Of course you do not have anything to say, what am I expecting?” Hyde laughed.

The cat continued to purr, kneading his leg. Which hurt like hell, but Hyde did not say anything to tell her off.

“I just… I just do not know how I can stand by and let her possibly hurt Henry. If I knew what she was hiding, I would be fine! But I do not and that makes it dangerous.”

Alhena only purred and dug her class into Hyde’s leg. He winced. God, he needed to find a way to cut her claws shorter, she was going to draw blood one of these days.

He should go out. He knew that. Stephen thought he went out all the time but he did not, really. He should. Go look for Lucy Harris again or something. Not sit around all night and waste away until Stephen got back.

But he was cozy and warm with the cat finally laying off his leg and just curling up, purring in his lap, Hyde found himself drifting off to sleep.

 

Stephen pressed a kiss to his forehead. Hyde blinked his green eyes open. “Welcome home…” he murmured. Yawned.

“You look like you are ready for bed already, Eddie.” Stephen chuckled.

“I am, a little bit.” The blond admitted. “I could stay up with you if you wanted me to but-”

“No no, we can just go to bed.” Stephen assured him. Picked Alhena off Hyde’s lap and put her in his arms before helping his partner to his feet. “Here, I will get your cane you just lean on me.”

“I feel like an old man.”

“You will be thirty-four in a month and a half, Eddie. You are not an old man.” Stephen told him.

“But I am not young, either.”

“No you are not. But be careful with the cracks about your own age, I am three years older than you.” Stephen said with a smirk.

“I know.” Hyde assured him. “Still look as good as you did at twenty, though.”

“You are an insufferable flirt. But thank you. The same goes for you.” Stephen promised.

Hyde smiled and leaned against Stephen’s side. “I am sorry for trying to pick a fight earlier.” He muttered. “It was wrong of me. You had good advice it is not your fault if I do not like the advice.”

“It is alright, Eddie, we are allowed to argue. And if you find a way that you can stay just Jekyll’s assistant and protect him, do it.” Stephen advised. “You should not pass up an opportunity to get what you want.”

“Believe me, I will take any chance I get.”

---

“Seventeen years. As of today.” Jekyll realized, and was forced to sit down as he started to shake.

Had it really been that long? That long since he had seen his brother?

Sometimes it felt like nothing. Not in a good way, that he could forget about it, but like the pain was fresh and Edward had just vanished last night. Others, it felt like life had never been any different. Like Edward had never been more than his imagination.

No matter where he was sitting, it always hurt in some way.

But today… today it was very, very real. Sickeningly real. Made his gut twist and tears burn his eyes.

It did every year. He never did make it through that day well. How could he? April twelfth was never a good day for him. He always made sure to clear his schedule for April twelfth. He never wanted to have anything to do on that day.

Hence why Hyde had the day off. Hence why he stood up and walked to the old wooden door and locked it.

He was loath to be disturbed. He could not stand to be disturbed. He needed this time alone he needed this day to fully mourn what he had lost. He needed this day to sit there and remember.

Even the mirror did not bother him during this day. The mirror was satisfied by this day. It was what the mirror wanted him to do. To not move on. To spend his time thinking and dwelling on all that had happened. On all he had lost.

Jekyll sighed, buried his face in his arms.

He had lost Edward seventeen years ago. He was gone, and even with the letters Jekyll was never going to get him back. He could not believe that he was ever going to see his brother again. Edward was gone forever and the soon enough, the letters would vanish again and Jekyll would spend the rest of his life never knowing what had happened to him. He would die never knowing what had become of his own brother.

Tears slipped down his cheeks. He sniffled, wiped his nose on his sleeve.

They were not supposed to be like this. Nature had not made them to be separated, it was like Lanyon had told him all those years ago. They had, at one point in their existence, been one being. They were not designed to be kept apart. Did Edward not feel it? The unbearable absence with no cure? Was it because Edward knew where Henry was and who he was? Was the pain still there because Jekyll did not know who Edward was?

Maybe he could ask. He should write a letter, on this day in particular. In fact, it was a shame that he did not have Hyde here as he would not be able to deliver it, nor check if one was there, but he could date the letter so the point was there.

He wanted to know what this day meant to Edward. Did he regret it? Did it hurt him, cripple him, like it did Jekyll? Or was it just another day? Another passing sun, rising in the east and setting in the west?

Worse yet… was it a celebration for Edward? The day he had finally broken free? As fair as it would be… Jekyll did not think he could take that answer. He could not handle it if Edward thought this was a good day.

No matter the answer, he had to find out. He pulled out a piece of paper, technically it was Edward's turn to leave a letter, but one short one would not throw them off that badly, his quill and a pot of ink.of black ink.

Dear Edward, his pen swirled in the ink, and then he realized he did not know what to say. How did he bring this up to his brother?

Quickly, he wrote the date into the corner of the page. April 12th.

He knew what he wanted to ask. He wanted to ask Edward to come home. To make the seventeenth “anniversary” of Edward’s running away the last one Jekyll had to lock himself in his office for. He wanted his brother back.

It has been seventeen long years since I have seen your face, as of today. Did you remember that? Or does the date April 12th, 1868 mean nothing to you?

It sounded accusing when he asked it like that, but Jekyll did not know another way to ask it.

I miss you. I know you may be scared to come back. Scared that you have changed, scared that I have changed. Scared that things can never go back to how they were.

I can understand that. I am too. I am scared I will do something wrong. That things have gone too far.

But I still want to see you again, Edward. You are my brother and I miss you and I would make you every promise in the world if I thought it would bring you back, but it would not, and it would be a lie. I cannot make a promise that I will not do the wrong thing.

But I want to see you anyways, if you are willing. I miss you, and I love you.

Sincerely,

Henry Jekyll

Jekyll set down his quill, blotted the ink and read over the letter again before folding it and sticking it into an envelope, and writing his brother’s name on the envelope.

He wanted to get it onto the roof today. He did not want it to wait, but Hyde was not there and technically, there was no one who could get onto the roof in the building. No one had the faintest clue how.

No one but himself.

Edward had taught him, a long, long time ago. And he had fallen and broken his arm and struck his head.

But if he wanted the letter delivered, he would have to try again.

He walked over to the window, glanced around. There was no one in sight. That was a good thing. He likely should not be caught doing this.

Pushed the window open and climbed out onto the frame. His stomach was already sick. He did not deal well with heights.

Tucked the letter into the pocket of his coat.

Looking down, as sickening as it was, made it easy to see what path Hyde took to the ground. Up was a little harder.

Carefully, he reached a hand up to a brick jutting out of the wall.

Test it first. That was the first thing Edward had taught him. Never just trust something to hold your weight. He pulled down. The brick did not give.

Good. Next he found a foothold, managed to get onto that. Another foothold and he was no longer on the window frame and he very much regretted his impatience to put this letter out.

Although, this part was the easier part. Jekyll had been more uneasy once he was on the roof itself. And Edward had made him scale a few walls before letting him onto the roofs.

So it was easier than it could have been, to find the next handhold and haul himself up to it, slowly climbing up towards the roof. His heart was pounding and the higher he got, the sicker he felt and worst of all, he should not be doing this, not with his social standing on the line this was not exactly what gentlemen did on a regular basis, but he finally got his hands on the roof itself and pulled himself up onto it.

It was very quiet up there. He stood, careful not to step on a piece of moss like he had last time, and looked over what he could see. Although he knew he could not, it felt like he could see all of London from where he stood.

“Come up to the top, Henry, you can see everything from here! Or rather, it feels like you can!”

So this was what Edward had meant by “see everything.” He had not been wrong.

Now, Jekyll was far from prepared to go far on this roof, and jumping to the one beside was out of the question, but at least now he knew what Edward had meant. Now he could see what Edward had always seen, could understand why his brother had wanted to teach him how to get up here.

It was beautiful. Breathtaking. And there was a sense of power that Edward would have wanted from it, as well. Standing over the city like this, it almost felt like it belonged to you.

Jekyll sighed, shook his head to clear that feeling, London was far from ran by him, and bent down to pin the letter down. Took one last look over the city, and walked back to the edge to figure out how to get down. He could not be spotted up here, after all.

Chapter Text

“God, I am old.” Jekyll laughed, stepping into the kitchens.

“Oh, right! Happy birthday, Henry.” Rachel said with a smile. “You are what, one-hundred and forty? Wait, no, that is just how old you act like you are. You are only ten years older than me.”

Jekyll pressed a hand to his chest, pretending to be hurt. “Why am I friends with you, Rachel, you are so terribly mean to me.”

“Oh, just listen to you, Henry, whining like an old man. Should I make you some porridge for breakfast, so you can eat it without teeth?” Rachel asked innocently.

“I think I can gum my way through whatever you have made.” Jekyll replied.

“Alright, suit yourself. So, what are you here for? I cannot imagine you came here just to be teased, Henry.” Rachel remarked.

“Advice.” Jekyll admitted, shaking his head.

“Advice? And what does the great Doctor Jekyll need advice from his cook for?” Rachel asked, putting a tray into the oven.

“Women.”

Rachel gave him an odd look. “Thought you were more interested in… well, not women, that is for sure. Are you finally going to tell me about this Emma Carew then, Henry?” She asked.

“Why do you think I need advice, Rachel?” Jekyll asked, walking over and closing the door to the kitchen. “You remember what you, Doctor Lanyon and myself had a talk about a few months ago? You had better stick to that if you want me to share.” He warned.

“My lips are sealed, Henry.” Rachel promised.

“You said that about Morcant and Robert.”

“Properly sealed. Now do you want my advice about Emma or not, Henry?” Rachel asked.

“I do, yes.” Henry agreed.

“So tell me all the details! You have been sneaking off with her for months!” Rachel cried.

“Well, first of all, I have not been sneaking around, I have not been sneaking around. I have been quite open about the fact that it is Emma I am with. I am not a boy sneaking off with the girl next door, Rachel.” Jekyll protested. “Second, there is nothing… nothing really going on.” He continued. “It seems like there is, that is what it is supposed to seem like.” He explained.

“Henry… are you seeing Miss Carew… as a cover?” Rachel asked, narrowing her eyes. “Is that what you have been doing with her? Henry, does she know? You have not hid this from her, have you?”
“Rachel, of course she knows! You really think I came up with this plan? It was her idea to do it!” Jekyll told her. “I would never lie to her like that.”

“So this is your plan.” Rachel realized. “What do you need my help for, Henry, you clearly have this under control. You do not need advice with women if you are not actually trying to woo her.”

“No, I do not.” Henry agreed. “I just… wanted to talk to someone who knew the truth. I have been lying to everyone except Emma for ages now and I wanted you to know.” He admitted, shaking his head. “So now you know.”

“Well, I cannot say I am not surprised, Henry, this is not the sort of thing I would expect from you, but I can see why you might do it. So Doctor Lanyon does not know you-”

“He thinks everything between Emma and I is genuine.” Jekyll confirmed. “I do not want him to know. I do not want him to worry about me or think I am being less than genuine.”

“Fair enough. So what are you hoping for for your birthday, Henry?” Rachel asked.

“No crises, and a letter. That is all I want.” Jekyll replied with a smile.

“Oh. Well, I have neither of those for you, but I did make a cake, so make sure you come down for lunch, Henry. I understand you are out for dinner or I would serve it then.” Rachel told him.

Jekyll nodded and went back upstairs.

 

Waiting in his office was unbearable. He did not want to check the roof until the end of the day, though he had left one of his own up there shortly after speaking to Rachel. It had been a bother to get up there again, but Hyde had asked, very nicely, for the day off, he had been shifty on the details but it had seemed very, very important to his assistant, so Jekyll had agreed.

Now the letter was up there, and he was mentally prepared for the fact that he would be climbing that wall again in a few hours, once it was dark and people would not see him. He really could not be caught climbing the walls of the society.

He did not have a lot of plans for the day. He had a dinner with Emma and her father, but it did not start until late. Of course, that made him far more nervous than it should have, but this was Sir Danvers Carew. And it had been months since the man had threatened to cut his funding if he did not fire Hyde, and not only did Hyde still work for him, all Jekyll had actually done was begin to court the man’s daughter.

Not exactly the best finishing touch.

And now he would have no protection. No other voice calling his name and pulling him away from Sir Danvers. It would just be Sir Danvers, Emma Carew, and Henry Jekyll.

And quite frankly, he was terrified. He was pretty sure the man was going to pull him apart piece by piece, and not even Emma Carew could save him.

His saving grace was the letter he could count on. There was no way that Edward would not leave a letter, it was their birthday! They had always had a tradition of literally waking each other up to wish the other a happy birthday! Jekyll had missed that little tradition dearly, and he was certain that Edward had as well. So he could count on it for his small grace and pick-me-up before he had to go deal with a politician that probably hated his guts.

That letter would be a good way to end the last pleasant bit of his birthday. He was much looking forward to it.

So he just had to wait. He could not sit on the roof and wait for Edward to deliver it, if he saw someone on the roof Edward would not come near. His response to Jekyll’s plea for him to come home had been courteous but clear that he would not. Jekyll could not trap him, Edward would resent him greatly for it.

So he had to wait in his office. The paperwork was behind, he could have worked on that. Hyde had probably drank too much coffee yesterday morning, he had been jittery. His ankle had also been bothering him enough to drive hum to distraction during his shift. Not to mention all his fidgeting had also been a distraction for Jekyll. The blond had made it very hard to focus when he was chewing on or tapping his quill against the desk, tapping his foot on the ground or doing some other needlessly noisy thing, so Jekyll also had hardly gotten any work done.

It was a shame, but Jekyll did not particularly want to work incredibly hard to catch up. And for once, he did not feel like he had to. For today and today only, he was allowed to relax.

Relax and wait impatiently to go and get Edward's letter.

Henry just had to wait.

 

There was nothing there. Henry could hardly believe it. He had hauled himself onto the roof for nothing. His letter was gone, the pin pushed back into the roof but there was nothing there for him.

It was such a simple thing. Such a stupid thing for Jekyll to be upset about, but it had been everything he had to count on today. And it was not like Edward had not been there today, Jekyll’s letter was gone! Edward had taken his greeting and not even bothered to write a simple sentence in return? Jekyll had not been asking for a lot, just a simple letter!

Did Edward not care? Did this one moment, the one thing they had done since forever, the one moment they shared in common, still, not matter to him at all?

Had nothing ever really mattered? Why had Edward left nothing up here it had been all day! Why would he choose today to ignore Jekyll’s letter? Why would he no want to answer Jekyll today of all days? Why would he ignore Jekyll on their birthday?

He never should have hoped for anything. He should have known Edward would not answer. He should have known he could not count on Edward for anything.

He should have known. He really, really should have known. He could never count on Edward for anything and he should have known.

It was time to get down off the roof and get a reality check while he was at it.

 

---

 

Edward had been moping all day, and Stephen was really, really worried.

It was his birthday. The little blond should not have been this upset, and Stephen knew why he was, but that did not make it any better. Stephen still had no clue what to say to Edward.

He was funny. Some years, he was thrilled for it to be May twenty-fifth, could not wait to get out and get smashed and celebrate.

Others… others, this was not a day for celebrating. Others, Edward did not want to have a good time.

His being born was not the only thing that had happened on May twenty-fifth. By far not the most important thing that had ever happened to him on that day.

In 1868, on May twenty-fifth, in Edinburgh, Scotland, in a little bar downtown, something much, much worse, and much, much more memorable than a birthday had happened to Edward Hyde.

And that was why Hyde was not celebrating today. He was grieving.

Stephen never liked that Edward had to spend his day grieving, but fate was a cruel beast. And that the people he had named himself after, the people he considered his parents, had been killed on what should have been a good day for him.

Stephen picked up the bowl of soup he had made and carried it into the living room. Edward was bundled into a ball on the couch, wrapped in a blanket with his face buried in his knees. “Eddie…” The brunet muttered, pressed the bowl into Hyde’s hands. “You should eat something.”

“I am not hungry, Steph.” Edward replied. “I just… I need to be alone.”

“That, Eddie, is the opposite of what you need.” Stephen corrected, sitting down beside him. “I do know you better than that.”

Hyde sniffled, put the soup to the side and pulled his arms around Stephen. “I miss them…” He admitted.

“Of course you do…” Stephen muttered. “They were your parents, Eddie, of course you miss them.”

“It is my fault they died.” Edward muttered. “I should have been faster I should have protected them I should have just gone with the people then Darius and Petunia would be alive it is all my fault…”

“Nonsense.” Stephen replied, kissed his forehead. “They wanted you to be safe. You did what you had to. This is not your fault.”

He had had plans for tonight. He had made plans to take Edward out for the night. But clearly, that would not be happening. It was one of those years.

“You should go out without me. Check the society for a letter, Henry managed to get a letter up there by himself once so I am sure he has done it again, and I am sure he will want an answer tonight.” Edward murmured. “And I am just dragging you down.”

“That is nonsense, I am not going to leave you here by yourself.” Stephen murmured.

“Please. I do not want to be social tonight… you should go out, I want to be alone.” Edward insisted.

“Eddie, I do not want to leave you here alone-”

“I am going to go and call Julia!” Edward warned. “Make her drag your ass out of here. I… I need to be alone…”

“Fine, fine, I will go. I am going to check on that letter for you, as well.” Stephen promised. “Be safe. Are you sure you want me to go?”

“Yes.” Edward confirmed, though it was a little difficult to provide that, since he was still holding onto Stephen.

And he did not let go. Not for a while, until the blond finally pulled away. “Thank you.”

“It is not problem. Eddie, are you absolutely sure you want me to leave.”

“Yes.” Edward replied, green eyes wide and bright with unshed tears that Stephen chose not to comment on.

“Alright.” He gave the blond one last kiss. “I will be back later tonight.”

“Bring Henry’s letter.”

Stephen nodded. “Of course, love.”  He walked to the door and swung on his coat. “Eat something, Edward. You are allowed to be sad and grieve, but do not punish yourself for what happened.”

Hyde nodded, but Stephen was not sure he would listen.

He may as well go and get Henry’s letter for Edward first. Then he could head to the east end.

So Stephen made way for the Society. He would have to be careful, Edward was much better at getting up onto roofs without being caught, and if he got caught… it could be a disaster.

But he managed to scrambled up the wall without anyone peeking out the window and spotting him.

Walked to where he could see a flap of paper stuck to the roof, pulled it off and pushed the pin back into the roof.

Contemplated the letter.

He really should not have done what he did next. But he justified it with the fact that he was worried about Edward. There was only so much the blond could take today. And Stephen had to make sure that whatever Edward’s brother had written did not pass that limit.

So he tore the envelope open and pulled out the letter to read.

Unfolded it. It was not a long letter.

Dear Edward,

Happy birthday! It seems I have beat you in that race this year, but I am sure you will beat me next year.

We are getting older, not younger, you know. We’re going to start running out of time. I know I just asked you but please consider coming to visit. Or just telling me who you are now. It could be like a present! I would not tell mother and father I have found you, and I would not make you go back to Scotland. I only want to see you again. Please, you are my closest family and I miss you so much-

It only got worse. Maybe Doctor Jekyll did not realize it, but the letter was a guilt trip and Edward could not deal with that today.

So Stephen stuffed it back in the envelope and into his pocket, and vowed to dispose of it before he got home. Better to let Doctor Jekyll and Edward believe the letter went missing. It was breezy, perhaps Doctor Jekyll would believe he had not pinned the letter properly. That it had simply blown away in the wind.

Stephen did feel guilty. He was not the sort of man to lie to his partners, not normally. Typically, Edward and Julia could expect his absolute honesty. He prided himself in that.

But just this once… just this once he was going to have to break that trust. He already had just by reading the letter. He practically had to dispose of it now, he had wrecked the envelope and Edward would know he had opened it and read it.

For the greater good, he had to break Edward’s trust. This letter would do the blond no good when he was already half convinced he had destroyed his family. A letter from Doctor Jekyll all but accusing him of ruining that family as well would not go over well.

But for now, Edward would be upset if Stephen showed up at home again this early. So he would have to go out. Find somewhere to ditch the letter. Somewhere Edward would never find it.

Maybe he should go and find Julia, considering Edward had kicked him out of the house, he was sure she would be glad to go for drinks.

Especially if he was paying. Julia had never once said no to a free drink.

And right now, Stephen needed to get the business with Edward off his head. This would turn out better in the long run than if he handed the little blond the letter, would like it be Edward’s choice to go back to Doctor Jekyll, not a guilt trip guised as a birthday wish, and it was not like Edward would ever find out he had done it. Edward had no cause to disbelieve what he said. If Stephen said there had not been a letter, Edward would be disappointed, but would not doubt Stephen.

So why did it still feel risky and wrong? He was protecting Edward with virtually no risk, and it still felt wrong.

But it was a necessary evil. The twins would understand if they could see it from Stephen’s perspective. They would see it. They would understand. He had to keep Edward safe, surely Doctor Jekyll could understand that.

So why keep on arguing with himself about it? He had made his decision, the letter would never reach Edward's hands. There was no sense dwelling on it. Stephen headed off towards Julia’s house. Hopefully she was not working tonight, he did not feel like spending the night alone.

However, since he did want to get home to Edward in a timely fashion, he was perhaps better off alone. It was barely dinner time, but god knew he and Julia could get out of hand.

Well. There was no harm in checking to see if she was home.

Stephen left the letter in his pocket as he walked off.

Chapter Text

Why did you not answer my letter? Of all days I would want to hear from you, our birthday is one- what letter? Henry, you are losing it you did not leave a letter!” Hyde muttered, reading over the paper Jekyll had handed him at the end of his shift. “Stephen would have given it to me.”

Stephen was off with Julia for the next little while. Hyde was going out tonight to look for Lucy, like he did every time he actually decided to go out at night.

But first, he was going to try and answer Henry’s puzzling letter. It had clearly been written when Henry was upset, probably just after the dinner with Danvers Carew, if what Hyde had gleaned of that while at work could be trusted, it had been disastrous.

And the letter seemed to be very, very accusing, considering Hyde had not done anything wrong. He had never gotten a letter! Not on their birthday, at least. The day before he had, but he had sort of assumed Henry would write something on the twenty-fifth of May. Perhaps he should write back in a similar manner, suggesting that Henry had never written anything at all and was just frustrated due to a shitty memory.

But he did not want to fight. Not with his brother, not in a letter. So he would not write that.

The letter must have gotten lost. The pin must have come loose and then it flew away, just like that. It never affected letters Hyde put up there, because he never actually did, he just brought them inside or left with them, but Henry may not have checked. It was an honest mistake.

And that was what he wrote. A quick update on life, at least, what he could share of it, and a belated birthday wish with the gentle suggestion that the letter had been blown away, as he had never received it.

It was the only logical explanation. What else would have happened to the letter? It was not like anyone else could get up there, besides Stephen, and Stephen would have brought it or, worst case, confessed to losing it.

Which had not happened. So something had happened between Henry leaving it and Stephen going to look. Simple as that.

With that, he was going out. He would bring his letter for Henry tomorrow, and due to that fact he should really remember that he had to work tomorrow. Showing up hungover would not go over well. Henry did not take kindly to it.

There was a fine line between a fun night and losing his job.

And he needed this job. He could not afford to lose it. He did not know what he would do if he lost this job, he had nowhere else to go. No one else would hire him.

But right now, he wanted to go out, get drunk, and search for a criminal queen.

And since no one was there to stop him, that was what he would do.

He threw on his cloak and made for the door. Pulled it open to see Brokenshire standing in front of him.

“Oh, fuck off! I have not even left my fucking apartment, what am I possibly accused of this time?” He complained, holding his hands out. Fighting with Brokenshire would never work out, it just ended in pain, he might as well just let the officer cuff him. “This is harassment all I am doing is-"

“You can stop complaining, Mister Hyde, you are not under arrest.” Brokenshire told him. “Put your hands down.”

“What do you want?” Hyde asked suspiciously. He moved his hands to his hips. “I doubt you are here to share a drink, you and I are not friends.”

“Miss Carew has reported someone stalking her.”

“Why would you assume I stalked Miss Carew?”

“I did not say it was you!” Brokenshire said, exasperated. “I wanted to know if you knew who was doing it.”

Hyde raised an eyebrow. “And why should I help you? As mentioned before, you and I are not friends.”

“Because I have had far too many chances to arrest you for indecency and I have not. And I keep letting your friend talk you out of the charges.”

“You tried to arrest me when I was bleeding out after having my throat slit and Constable Jenkins had to stop you, we really should not use arrests as our reasons.” Hyde scorned. “If you were trying to imply that I owed you… you would be mistaken. But, in an act of good citizenship, I have no idea who is stalking Emma Carew. Find a new delinquent to ask, I am not responsible for everything.”

“Thank you. If you hear anything…”

“Oh, Enoch, you and I both know I will not go and find you, and I will not be telling you shit. Have a pleasant evening!” Hyde pushed him out of the way and stepped outside. Turned to lock his door. “Now. I am going to leave, if you hang around my house, maybe I will be reporting a stalker.”

Brokenshire grit his teeth, Hyde stepped around him and pranced down the stairs.

And just like that, he was off. Barely made sure to be out of Brokenshire’s sight before scrambling up onto a roof and racing himself out of SoHo and to a bar.

“Eddie! Long time no see!” Sarah called with a smile.

“And to you, Sarah, lovely as always!” He replied, walking over to her. “Surprised to see you still work here though.”

“Not everyone gets fired for getting into a fistfight with a customer, Eddie.” Sarah reminded him.

“Oh, fair point I suppose. I just kind of thought you would have moved on by now.” Hyde explained.

“Where do you work now, anyways? I heard you were down the street for a while, but that was more than ten years ago.” Sarah remarked, reaching for a glass. “And what do you drink, first one is on me for old times sake.”

“Absinthe or whatever is available, besides Scotch, and you really do not have to-"

“Too late already poured it.” She told him, put the glass in his hands. “So where do you work?”

“Latest stop is the Society for Arcane Sciences, an old friend of mine runs the place, but I have worked in just about every seedy bar in Bethnal Green, Providence Row and Whitechapel. Got kicked out of all of them eventually. Let me tell you, it has not gotten easier to keep a job as an addict in recent years.” Hyde replied, took a sip of his drink.

“That Society is one hell of a step up from a seedy bar though.” Sarah remarked.

“That it is.” Hyde agreed. “That being said, it is no less hectic in there.” He said with a laugh. “Just last week one of Miss Lavender’s creatures ate Archer’s latest project, and turned out to be allergic to whatever plant he was using. It was a mess.”

“It certainly sounds like it was!” Sarah agreed, a smile on her face. “Well, I would love to stay and chat, but work calls! Enjoy your drink.”

“Thank you, I will.” Hyde agreed, taking another swig of his drink and walking off to sit down.

Shame she had to work. Drinking alone was not the most pleasant thing in the world. Course, it was a bar he could literally walk up to anyone and strike up a conversation about anything, but he still wanted to get out to find Lucy tonight.

Besides. There were too many people he would not be able to say no to and he did not want to have to have that conversation with Stephen when he got home. Much better just to drink alone and hit the roofs early.

He was still wondering about that letter. Surely it must have been important if Henry had made such a big deal out of him not answering it. It was a shame it had vanished like that.

Hyde swirled his drink around in his cup, took another sip. Coughed.

Apparently that was too big of a sip. Oops. He shook his head and had another.

He would finish the drink, wave goodbye to Sarah and head out to find Lucy. Or, continue to try and find her. No guarantee he actually would, of course.

He had been trying to find her for months now, and he had been met with absolutely no success. None. Nada. Zip. Not a trace of Cutthroat Lucy, unless she wanted to leave one. No one could say she was not smart. She was brilliant, in fact. She had come a long way from the whore in the Red Rat that had given Hyde a free drink in exchange for an interesting story.

Now she was the interesting story. The phantom whispered about in bars and old taverns. Revered by many, feared by all.

Fear by all but Hyde himself.

 

---

 

“So, you must be so very happy for your friend there, Robert! Word around London is that Henry Jekyll will be asking Sir Danvers if he can marry Emma pretty soon.” Gabriel Utterson remarked, taking a sip of his bitter white wine.

“Do not remind me.” Lanyon groaned, burying his face in his hands. “She is all I have heard about for the passed month. He is right enraptured with her!”

“He had always been that way with his passions.” Utterson remarked. “You,” he took another sip of his wine, “the werewolf…” He laughed. “Doctor Jekyll gets invested in something, until the next passion comes along. It is how he managed to get the degrees he has.”

“Are you suggesting that he will get involved with Miss Carew only to dismiss her?” Lanyon asked, raising an eyebrow and swirling his wine in his glass. “That is a bold statement of you to make, Gabriel!” He teased. “Of course… I would go one step further and say he is not interested in her at all.” He decided.

He had gotten the suspicion a while ago. During one of the times Henry had been talking about Emma.

He had reminded Lanyon too much of how he talked about Anne. And Anne was nothing but a disguise for him, so if Jekyll was too much like that… odds were, he too was using the girl like a cover.

“Then how do you explain his fascination with her?” Gabriel asked.

Gabriel Utterson knew a lot about Lanyon. For one, Gabriel knew almost everything that Jekyll assumed he did.

But Gabriel did not know the truth about Anne. Because given the frequent visits to France Anne made, the truth about Lanyon’s marriage was not just his secret.

So saying “I have seen it first hand" would not suffice for a reason. “Oh, Gabriel, you forget how well I know our dear… friend, Doctor Jekyll. I know what he is like.” Lanyon replied with an amused smirk. “I can tell what he is truly interested in. For instance, he was not truly interested in that physics degree and it took him an ungodly amount of time to complete, and the same way, he is not truly interested in Emma Carew.”

“I cannot imagine that fact bruises your ego.” Gabriel remarked. “If he is not interested in Emma, then he must still be hung up on… someone else from his past. And I doubt it is the wolf.”

“You never know with Doctor Jekyll, it may very well be the wolf.” Lanyon remarked. “He has never been into the most normal of things. It is a right miracle he has survived this long in London.”

“But,” Gabriel began. “There is another matter. To do with this. How are you ever going to r-"

“Never mind that.” Lanyon said quickly, glancing out the corner of his eye and watching Henry Jekyll himself approach. “We will figure something new out soon.”

“I already have an idea. Now, you can tolerate him, keep him away from me.” Utterson requested.

“Funny how I got hurt but you act like you are avoiding your ex.”

“What can I say? I have met a lot of repulsive people in my life and try to avoid them all. He is one of them.”

“Do not tell him that, he may cry. He has been emotional lately.” Lanyon said, rolling his eyes and turning to face Jekyll.

“Hello Robert!” The brunet said with a smile. “Hello, Mister Utterson.”

Gabriel did not answer him. He never did, had not for the passed sixteen years. Henry really should not have been remotely surprised about it. “What, did you finally decide to leave Miss Carew’s side, Henry?” Lanyon asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Her father walked over, and you know how he is with me.” Jekyll replied, shaking his head. “He has taken a certain disliking to me in recent months.”

“I wonder why that is.” Lanyon already knew, but he was offering Jekyll one last chance to tell him and do the logical thing about Sir Danvers- in other words, fire the employee he wanted fired.

“Well, whatever it is, I cannot imagine Emma and I are helping it now. He positively despises me, I was at dinner at his house yesterday and I half expected him to poison my wine.” Jekyll laughed.

“Henry. I know what Sir Danvers wants from you.” Robert interrupted, glaring at the brunet in front of him. “Did you really think that when you refused to comply he would not come and talk to me?”

Henry Jekyll froze. “And you did not tell me? God, I have been trying to keep it from you for months!”

“I know. That is why I did not tell you. I wanted to give you one last chance to do the right thing. The responsible thing. The thing a business owner should do when he is sitting in jeopardy!” Lanyon told him. “For one, you never should have hidden it from me! Another, Hyde should already have been dismissed from your staff! He should have been dismissed months ago, when Sir Danvers told you to fire him!”

Henry shook his head. “No, I am not going to let myself be pushed around by Sir Danvers or anyone else, I am not going to let myself lose whatever self-respect I still have left after spending my life pleasing these people. No way. I am not going to fire Hyde, I have everything under control!”

“I do not know what you constitute as under control, Henry, but all you have done in the passed few months is flirt with his daughter!” Lanyon snapped. “That is far from under control!”

“That, my dear Robert, is fate.” Henry argued. “You have been telling me for years to find a wife and settle down, no sense in being angry with me now that I am. And not only that, but that way Sir Danvers will not dare refuse to fund the Society. I told you, I have everything under control, and I am getting my life scraped together as well.”

“You think wedding her is going to solve all of your problems? Is that why you have taken this interest in her?” Robert asked.

“No, I have taken interest in her because she is a wonderful woman and I am not dead, so I can still appreciate that. You are beginning to sound like you are jealous and upset that I am finally moving on! You did the same year ago and I never once accused you of having no genuine interest in Anne!” Henry hissed, at least he had remembered they were in public and had not shouted that for the entirety of upper class London to hear. “Why am I any different?”

Robert did not have a response for him. Technically the true answer was he suspected Henry of this because it was the same as what Anne was to him, but obviously if he had not told Gabriel that, he was not going to tell Henry. “You are being ridiculous and if you do not fire him, I will. What is the sense in playing with fire, Henry? You have a solution do not be too stubborn to use it before it is too late! Once we have lost Sir Danvers’ support, we will not be getting it back, and I am almost certain we will not only be losing his support. Use your brain for once in your life, Henry!”

Jekyll’s expression went cold. Very very suddenly. “No. I am not going to fire Hyde, and I am using my brain, thank you very much. And I will not continue to have this conversation with you here. We may continue later, at the Society, this is no place to be having it.”

Without waiting for an answer, Jekyll spun on his heel and walked off in the other direction, leaving Lanyon shaking with anger behind him.

How dare he? Lanyon was trying to help, not only was getting rid of Hyde beneficial to Lanyon but it was the best possible course of action and it would mean that Henry’s stupid blond brother would be out of the way.

And Henry would do it. The doctor was not that stupid, he would know when he was beat, and he would give in. The only problem was that Lanyon did not particularly feel like waiting. He wanted Jekyll to give up this silly quest now. It was pointless anyways.

There was no way Jekyll would ever get Sir Danvers Carew's blessing, anyways. And then all his plans would be foiled and he would have to fall back on the obvious.

By why did he insist on being a stubborn ass and trying?

Whatever. Robert had decided a long time ago that Henry Jekyll could do as he pleased. He was not going to fight that hard to keep Henry’s, not his, dream alive. He simply had to wait until things started going wrong, and then remove himself from the situation as well. Let Henry drown on his own.

Provided he was right and Emma Carew did not get in the way.

Chapter Text

“Doctor Jekyll!” A voice called across the room, a voice Jekyll knew too well and for that reason, knocked back the remainder of his glass of wine and grabbed another one as he walked towards the voice.

“Yes, Sir Danvers? How may I be of assistance?” He asked, forced himself to put on his most friendly and pleasant voice.

“Skip the pleasantries, Doctor Jekyll, you know exactly what I am here to talk to you about.” Sir Danvers warned.

“Sir, I am not sure this is where you want to have a conversation of this nature. There are many people around, surely we should not humiliate ourselves doing his-"

“Do you think you are incapable of keeping your head about you while we talk? Because I am quite capable of it.” Danvers mocked.

“Of course not, Sir, we can talk now if it pleases you.” Jekyll agreed, dipping his head. He did not want to give this man a reason- or chance- to humiliate him.

He glanced around the room, looking for Emma. Normally, she bailed him out when her father cornered him, but she was nowhere to be seen. Robert was standing and talking with Utterson, so he would be no help, not to mention he had been strangely confrontational about Emma when last they had spoken about her. Robert bailing him out would be promising to fire Hyde when next he saw the blond, and if the situation called for it, promising to keep Henry away from Emma Carew.

Robert was a people-pleaser and would be no use right now anyways.

“My daughter is not here to save you today, Doctor Jekyll.” Sir Danvers’ voice was cold. “You can quit searching for her, you will not find her. You actually have to man up and talk to me this time.”

“Of course, Sir Danvers.” Jekyll replied in a light tone.

Smile, Henry. Some of the last advice he had gotten from Robert before they had not spoken to each other for many years. He put on his best sparkling smile, refined after many years of practice.

The politician at least had the decency to lead Doctor Jekyll out of the main room, considering they both knew that this would not remain a pleasant conversation. They never did, despite Jekyll’s best efforts. Danvers hated him.

“So, Sir, what is it that you want to discuss with me?” Jekyll asked once they were out of the main room.

“What do you think, Doctor Jekyll?” Sir Danvers asked pointedly.

“Sir, there are a number of reasons why you may wish to speak with me, I am afraid you will need to tell me which one this is about.” Jekyll confessed. “Just in the passed week you have called me aside to speak of your daughter twice, and my employee once. I am beginning to wonder if I should not press charges for harassment.”

As he watched Sir Danvers’ jaw clench, Jekyll realized he should not have said that. It was not a good thing to have joked about. “So you think you are smart, Doctor Jekyll?”

“No, no Sir, I did not think, my apologies…” Jekyll rambled. “I would not dare press charges against you anyways it was an ill-planned-"

“Oh, shut your mouth!” Danvers snapped. “I do not want to hear your excuses, Doctor Jekyll.”

“Then what do you want from me, Sir Danvers? This is the third time you have called me to the side, I have things to be doing, and so do you.” Jekyll reasoned. “I get it already. You do not want me to have Edward Hyde in my employment, and you do not want me to be spending time with your daughter. I am not going to stop either one, so you can cease harassing me about them. I am a grown man, your daughter is a grown woman, and I am not under your control. So if that will be all, I will be leaving now.” He should not have said any of it. He knew that. But he was sick of being called to the side to be chewed out for something he was doing every time he was in the same building as Sir Danvers. “If you are so angry about it, follow through with your threat! But I still got a check from you this month, so clearly you still want to have leverage on me.” Jekyll spun around and left the room. Excuses himself to the washroom.

What the fuck were you thinking?

“Shut up, Edward.” Jekyll snapped, glaring at the mirror as he splashed cold water on his face.

I do not think I will! You have just cost your society a valuable source of funding because you are too damned stubborn to fire a useless employee!

“I will not be pushed around by London’s bully. Besides. Perhaps if he wants to harass me, I shall ask his daughter to marry me, and then he will not be able to slight me. I have everything under control!” Jekyll growled.

Who are you trying to convince? Me or you?

“Shut up!”

The being in the mirror tutted and shook his head, green eyes narrowed like a cat’s. You had better lose the nasty attitude before you step out of this room, Doctor. You already mouthed off to Sir Danvers, you would not want to do it again… He taunted, a smirk on his face.

“And what do you think I came in here to do, Edward.”

You clearly are not doing very well with it.

“Maybe if you would shut your damned mouth I would have a little more success.” Jekyll said through gritted teeth.

There was a knock at the door. “Henry! I know you are in here. What the hell did you say to Sir Danvers, he is livid and came after me!” Robert called.

“I do not wish to speak about it.” Jekyll spat. Splashed his face again, took a deep breath.

“I do not think that matters, now, he is coming after me and the society so you had better start talking!” Robert warned. Jekyll ignored him. Took another deep breath, dried his face and plastered a sickeningly sweet smile on his face.

Smile, Henry.

“Shut up!” He hissed, and pulled open the door. “I am leaving. Cover my absence, would you, Robert?” He asked in the most pleasant voice he could manage, and then pushed passed his friend before Robert could answer.

“Henry! Henry, you get back here and face what you started!” Robert shouted after him, but Henry did not stop. Ignored everyone he walked passed, grabbed his cloak at the door and stepped outside.

He and Robert had travelled together, he would have to walk home. Somehow, it did not bother him as much as it should have. So long as he was out of that building. Away from Robert, away from Sir Danvers. Away from everyone. He just could not do it today. The sparkly smiles, pleasant words, none of it. There was a crack down the middle of his facade and he needed to leave before more people noticed.

He had been intending on returning to the society and finishing papers after the dinner, but his feet took him elsewhere. His feet guided him back towards his apartment. His landlady would be stunned to see him, truth be told he had not been home in close to a month, instead crashing in his office or not sleeping at all, but he paid the rent on time so she had not evicted him yet. So long as she got paid, she did not care what he did.

He should have gone and gotten Zosi as well, the little grim had not been home in a month either, and he should not leave his pet at the society without him. But Rachel would make sure Zosi got something to eat, and found somewhere to sleep, whether Jekyll was there or not. And if he went back, he would be pestered by questions of why he was back so early, and he had not the energy to deal with that.

Despite his portrayal of a social butterfly, he truly just wanted to be left alone. He had had enough of everything at the moment.

So he let his feet carry him back to his small apartment, his key was at the society so he had to go and get the landlady to let him in.

Walked inside, through his cloak, coat, hat and shoes aside and collapsed onto the bed.

He was going to pay. For every single word he had said today. To Sir Danvers, to Robert, to everyone. It would not pass over lightly, he would have to explain himself. To grovel and beg and apologize and he may be facing the possibility of having to agree to Sir Danvers’ demands, just for the politician to let what had happened drop.

But those were issues for tomorrow’s Henry Jekyll. Tonight, he got back to his feet, walked into his kitchen and poured himself a glass of red wine.

Tonight, he could forget all of it if he had enough bottles.

 

---

 

“Where the fuck did I leave that?” Hyde muttered to himself, digging through the top drawer of his dresser.

It was a stupid thing to be searching so desperately for, but it had just occurred to him that his stuffed animal that he had kept all those years was missing. And try as he might he could not make himself get rid of it, so he wanted to know where it was.

He knew it was in a drawer somewhere. He was a thirty-four year old man he did not keep a stuffed toy out in the open. He had a little pride.

But where had it gone? He pushed a bunch of socks to the side and caught his finger on something sharp. “Ow!” He pulled it out and looked down at the papercut on his finger before sticking it in his mouth and sucking the blood off of it. “What that fuck was that?” There should not be paper in the socks drawer. He stuck his hand back in and pulled out a letter in a torn open envelope.

A letter in a torn open envelope bearing his name, written in his brother’s writing. “What the fuck. What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck.”

A letter from Henry would not have gotten stashed in Hyde’s sock drawer. He kept them in a pile on the desk. How had this one ended up here?

He would forever deny the suspicious running through his head as he pulled out the letter inside.

Even though that suspicious turned out to be right.

Dear Edward,

Happy birthday!-

He slammed the letter onto the dresser. “What the fuck?”

That would have been put on the roof on May twenty-fifth.

The day that Stephen had specifically told him there had been no letter.

Stephen had lied to him.

Hurt and betrayal flashed through his mind before he settled on anger. Stephen had lied to him. About the letter. What else had he lied about? What else was he lying about right now?

And it was not like Hyde could confront him right now. He was with Julia. For god knew how long.

That was best. He did not want to even look at Stephen right now. Why had he read the letter? And then hidden it! And lied straight to Hyde’s face! Hyde had been looking forward to a letter, something concrete to remind him to smile that day and fucking Stephen had fucking hidden it from him!

Hyde did not even read the letter. He stuffed it back in the envelope and into his pocket. Slammed the drawer shut. And the bedroom door behind him. It was completely unnecessary but it felt good to hear it bang shut behind him and hear the windows rattle.

Stormed to the door, grabbed his hat and cloak and left the apartment. He still was unsure where he was going, but he was not staying home. He had half a mind to, despite not wanting to see him, go and find Stephen and yell until he felt better, but he suspected he would not feel better for a while.

He had always, always trusted Stephen. From the moment he had gotten to know Stephen, Hyde had trusted him. And Stephen had never given him reason not to. Sure. Stephen had given him the opioid he was not addicted to, but Stephen had not hurt him knowingly that time.

Not like this time. This hurt like hell as well as pissed him off.

So going to Julia’s and getting mad was not an option.

But he knew one other feel better strategy. One that had never failed him before. And did not involve having to know the person he fought with and took out the horrible anger on.

He set out for the nearest bar he could find. And this time he was not going there to get caught up with a friend or a little tipsy before he went searching for Lucy Harris.

No, this time he was going with the intention of getting into a fight, and getting kicked out. Maybe Brokenshire would show up. Who knew? Who cared? Stephen would not, he had not even cared enough to tell the truth about Henry’s letter. And frankly, Hyde was in no mood to care either.

So he stormed down into the grimy underbelly of the city. Threw the door to the nearest bar he was allowed in open and stalking over to the counter. “What do you want, Hyde?”

“Absinthe. Or something stronger. I do not care.” Hyde mumbled.

“Drinking off a breakup, Hyde? Did something happen with Stephen?” The bartender asked, reaching under the counter and grabbing a glass and the bottle of absinthe. “And you know there is nothing stronger than the absinthe served here.”

Hyde nodded and took a long swig of his drink. “No, not a breakup. But something did happen with Stephen.” He admitted, chugging back a bunch more of his drink.

“If you pick a fight to vent, do it outside. I do not feel like scrubbing blood out of my floor tomorrow morning. Or forcing you out of the bar, you are a decent customer.” The bartender admitted.

“Thanks.” Hyde sighed and finished his drink. “Another, please.”

The bartender filled his drink. “Pay me before you forget.”

Hyde threw him a few coins and knocked back half the drink. “Well, I am going to go start a fight outside. Do not worry too much about it.”

“Of course. I do not bother too much with anything you do.” The bartender admitted. “Have fun. Let off some of the steam.”

Hyde sighed. “I will do that.” He agreed, huffing and heading towards the door. He pushed it open and looked around for some other drunk.

“Edward!”

“Oh, fuck.” Hyde cursed. He wanted a fight, but he was not sure he wanted to fight this man again.

A fist flew at his face and he did not have a choice.

 

“Hey! Break it up!” Constable Jenkins shouted, pushing his way into the fight, nightstick swinging at anyone who refused to listen.

“Tell me who we have, Jenkins!” Brokenshire called, pulling out a notebook and looking over the fray.

“We have Misters Richard Sigardson, Carl Christopherson and Jonathon Hills. And Miss Elizabeth Warren. And, of course, your favourite man in the whole world, Edward Hyde. Without his little friend to bail him out.” The blond was pushed towards Brokenshire. He seemed dizzy. His lip was bleeding and his eye was blackened. He fell into the  Sergeant’s chest and immediately began crying, of all things. “Would you like me to arrest him? Without that Richardson man it should be much easier to make a charge stick. And while we planned on letting these men- and woman- off with a warning, this could be our chance.”

Brokenshire looked down at the man who had collapsed on him.

He knew a lot of things. He knew that without Mister Richardson he would be able to pin a charge to Hyde without a problem. Stephen Richardson would not be able to absolve Hyde of a crime when he had not been there to witness what had happened. It would be easy as pie to nod to Jenkins and have this problem dealt with.

Another, he knew that if he let Edward Hyde keep rambling like he was right now, through his sobbing, he would finally have solid evidence for a charge of homosexuality. He knew damned well Hyde and Richardson were fucking, he just had to prove it. And Hyde was talking about someone betraying him, someone he loved betraying him. Ask one question and he would have both of them, guilty as sin.

But he also knew that something was distinctly wrong with Edward Hyde. Whenever he was in the situation, he fought and spat fury at the cops and generally gave them hell. Lately he had taken to letting them cuff him without a fight, but that did not mean he shut his mouth.

And that same man was sobbing about something into the sergeant’s chest.

He knew the answer to Jenkins’ question. “No. He gets off with a warning as well.” He decided. “We should get these people home. Start with Hyde, he probably has to work for Doctor Jekyll later on this morning, and that way we only have to listen to him cry until we get to SoHo.”

He carefully pried Hyde off of him and loaded him into the back of the wagon. Then the rest of the brawlers. “Any nonsense from anyone and I will cuff you all to the wall of this thing.” He warned, and closed the door in the back. Walked over and climbed onto the front with Jenkins.

If that was not his good deed of the year, what would be?

Chapter Text

“Edward Hyde, you are an emotional, hungover mess.” Hyde scolded himself in the mirror.

He still had blood crusted on his chin from his busted lip, and his left eye was blackened and swollen almost shut.

Not to mention his own voice hurt his head. Where was Stephen when you needed- no, he did not need someone to lie to him and hide things from him. He could deal with this on his own.

He had to be at work in an hour, which meant he had half an hour to make coffee, drink that coffee, take a shower and get dressed before he needed to be leaving.

Alhena hopped up onto the bathroom counter and yowled in his face. “Ow…” he muttered, rubbing his uninjured eye and yawning. “You are hungry, I imagine.”

Alhena yowled her agreement. Hyde winced. Pulled off last night’s shirt and slacks, tugged on a bathrobe and walked into the kitchen to feed his cat.

A shower did not help him feel better in any way. Not physically, not mentally. He was still mad as hell at Stephen, still groggy. His headache was back and worse than ever.

“Ugh.” Fuck breakfast. He set the kettle to boil so that at least he would have coffee, reached into the freezer and pulled out a bag of ice. Collapsed on to his couch and put the bag of ice on his eye. “Ten minutes. No more.”

He closed both eyes. Soon enough, he was snoring.

Aaaaaaand his phone was ringing. He reached onto the table, grabbed the receiver, and put it to his ear. “Hello, H- Doctor Jekyll…” he murmured, groaning. Who else would be calling him, besides Stephen? And Stephen had a day off he would not be awake yet. “I am late, that is what you are calling about. Tell me if I am right.”

“Yes, you are late! Why do you need me to tell you that where the hell are you?” Jekyll asked, his tone angry. Great. Why could he not wait until he got to work to get yelled at by his boss?

“Because I passed out on my couch with ice on my face before I remembered to leave the house. I will hop a ride somewhere and be there as soon as I can.” Hyde replied. “Sorry. But I have a-”

“I do not care what you have, get down here!” Jekyll ordered.

Hyde groaned. “I will. One moment.” He hung up the phone, threw the melted ice back in the freezer, shut off the stovetop, let Alhena out and raced to find a cab. He was starving, the light hurt his eyes and it felt like his hair hurt, and he had forgotten to drink any of the coffee he had made, but that was the life of a pathetic drunk. He had best get used to it.

“Henry is going to kill me.” He remarked, flagging down a ride and handing the coachman what was left in his wallet. “The Society for Arcane Sciences, please, and as quickly as you can.”

“Sit down and we will be off.”

Hyde sat, and was soon on his way to work, to doubtlessly get told off some more. It was not like he could blame his brother for being mad, Her had not checked a clock but he was certain he was quite late already.

He just did not look forward to the actual confrontation. Not with this headache.

And definitely not with having forgot to take his pill. Which was fine! It was definitely fine. He would definitely not die from that.

But it would not help the already unpleasant day.

And he had forgotten, for the second day in a row, to bring his answer to Henry’s letter. And the one from their birthday was still in the pocket of last night’s coat so he could not even read that.

He had dropped the ball on literally everything. Great. He did this almost every time he got ready for anything on his own. He really did need Stephen there to- no, he did not need Stephen there to lie to him. He had asked Stephen to do something lately and all it had led to was him being lied to. He could do without that.

“We are at the Society, mister.” The coachman told him.

“Ah. Thank you.” Hyde gave him the most pleasant smile he could manage and climbed out of the cab and over to the window.

Climbed up the wall to find that the window was locked. “Seriously? Are you that petty?” He scoffed, climbing the rest of the way up to the roof.

That was fine. He simply had to walk over to Bryson’s roof access. From there he would already be on the second floor, and could use the hallway access to the room off Jekyll’s office to get into the office without facing a set of stairs.

So he pulled the trapdoor on the roof open, climbed down onto the ladder and pulled the door shut after him. Climbed down the ladder and raced down the hall to the small room off the side of Jekyll’s office, and then Jekyll’s office. “I know you are mad that I am late, but locking the window so I have to do a rather impressive trek to get here is just low.”

“What the hell happened to you?” Jekyll asked, ignoring Hyde’s comment.

“I got into a fight, what does it look like? And no, I did not start it, he did. And then a bunch more people joined in.” Hyde replied. “Why do you think I passed out on my couch with ice on my face instead of getting to work this morning? Oh wait, you did not let me tell you what happened, you just yelled at me.”

“Because I have no reason to listen to you. You are late. That is what matters.” Jekyll reminded him.

Hyde rolled his eyes and winced in pain. “Whatever. If you are going to tell me off about it, do it quietly.” He said without thinking.

“Why.”

Oh, fuck. Hyde groaned, got to his seat and collapsed, face buried in his arms.

“Wait, I know why. You are hungover. Seriously? You show up not only late, but hungover as well? Do you have no respect for me or this job?”

“Oh, get off your high fucking horse, Jekyll, do you really think I do not know what you smell like right now?” Hyde demanded, sitting up to glare at the doctor. “Because the answer is shitty red wine, that you doubtlessly pickled yourself in last night.”

Jekyll took a step back, stunned.

“Did you really think I would not be able to tell, Doctor Jekyll?” Hyde asked.

“Shut up!”

“God, you are miserable today.” Hyde muttered, turning to the papers on his desk. “Better lay off the wine, it brings out unfavourable characteristics in you.”

“At least I can fix mine, then.” Jekyll stormed out the door, slamming it behind him.

That little comment hurt more than it had a right to. Hyde had brought that on himself, he knew that. It did not make the words hurt less.

With a sigh, he looked down at the papers littering the desk in front of him and got to work cleaning them up into a pile so he could get to work.

He had barely gotten out the quill and ink when someone knocked on the door. “Come in!” He called, did not look over.

“Henry said to tell you not to leave until you finish all of the papers. He also mentioned you were hungover and half asleep so I brought you some coffee.” Rachel explained.

“Rachel, have I told you lately that you are a godsend?” Hyde asked. “Because I really should.”

“Well, you had not lately, Master Hyde, but you did just, so I suppose that counts.” Rachel confirmed. “What the hell did you do to piss Henry off as much as you did? He was practically blowing smoke out his head! And he took Zosi for a walk in the middle of the day, he only does that when he needs to leave.”

Hyde shrugged. Took a long sip of the coffee Rachel had brought, smiled faintly. “He was telling me off for being hungover, so I pointed out that he was being a hypocrite.” He explained, shrugging his shoulders. “Nothing too bad.”

“I thought he was acting funny.” Rachel agreed, narrowing her eyes. “Why the hell would he do something like that? He is normally pretty responsible, unlike you!” She remarked. “No offense.”

“I make a big effort not to be responsible.” Hyde told her with a smirk. “You are not insulting me by pointing out my success.”

“Everything you do is intentional, hm? What about that black eye and busted lip?” Rachel asked.

“Sure, I went out with the intentions of getting into a fight, so I guess you could say it was intentional.” Hyde agreed.

“You are insufferable, Master Hyde. Get your papers done. Enjoy the coffee.”

“Will do!”

 

---

 

“Come here, Zosi!” Jekyll called down the hall, whistled for the little grim. Heard claws race down the hall and was soon after jumped on by his pet.

Somehow, he did not make him smile. He was not in the mood to smile or do much of anything. He was leaving because he had to. If he stayed in the society he would snap at someone, or do something he would regret later on.

So he clipped the leash onto Zosi’s collar and walked to the door. Pushed it open and stormed down the stairs, immediately veered for the back lane. He could not be found by anyone, he was afraid his temper would explode if he did. At whoever happened to get in the way.

It was no way for a gentleman to behave towards anyone. He should have everything under control, a jab from his employee for showing up after a night of drinking should not have thrown it as much as it had. He was giving in to something he never would have considered giving into before. He needed to get his head about him again or it would cost him everything. He could not afford to lose everything. Not right now. He had too much on the line, too much else going on with his life he could not add to it.

He steered Zosi into the back lane behind the society.

It was times like this, he hated to admit because it had been so goddamn long, too goddamn long for either of them to happen, but he really wished he had his brother with him. Or Lanyon beside him, for him to fall back to and know he was safe again. Lanyon had always looked after him, had always cared enough to help him figure things out, to help him get things back under his control. Lanyon had gone with him that time he had to beg his professor for the chance to rewrite a paper, and helped him scour the city for Edward, and had always been there when Jekyll just needed to sit down and rest. Had always been there to hold him until things felt better.

But like a fool, he had given that up. Like a fool he had given in with Morcant, and it had cost him everything and now he had to deal with everything in his life alone.

And he had no one to blame but himself. Just like with Edward. He had no one to blame but himself for the fact that he had had more heart-to-heart talks with a wine glass or Edward Hyde than anyone else in his life for nearly the passed year. Which was just embarrassing, considering half the time he found himself needing someone to vent about Edward Hyde to. It would be quite rude to vent to Edward Hyde about Edward Hyde.

When had his life become such a mess?

With a sigh, he sat down against the wall of the building beside the society. Bowed his head. Zosi ran over to him and curled up in his lap.

“Thank you, Zo…” Jekyll murmured, reaching down to pat the little grim. Zosi licked his hand.

It was still not great. Zosi was not a cure-all for the hell inside his head, but he could help in the short term. “Should we just go home?” He asked the grim, who jumped to his feet and pulled on the leash. “I take that as a yes.” He said with a smile, and got to his feet.

Zosi basically pulled him back to his apartment, he knew the way across London. And always liked going home. He loved the society and the lodgers, but even he needed a break.

Maybe that was all he needed. Maybe all he needed to do was take a break. Maybe he could go on another trip to Scotland, or just cancel his appointments and hide out in his apartment for a while.

That was a plan. He made his way back to his apartment, he actually had his key this time, and walked over to his desk.

After throwing Zosi a treat out of the cabinet, that was.

Dialled Lanyon’s office number. Lanyon let it ring for a solid minute before picking up, or was just busy. “Hello, you have reached Doctor Lanyon, how may I help you?”

“Robert?”

“Henry? Why are you calling me? Do you know how much trouble you caused me last night?” Robert asked.

“Yes, yes, I am sorry. Listen, I need to cancel… everything. For the next week.” Jekyll said quickly.

“Are you out of your mind?” Lanyon demanded. “Henry, you absolutely cannot do that, especially not after the shit you pulled last night! You have appearances to put in and-”

“And if I do that, then we will end up with more problems to deal with. You know, like last night.” Jekyll explained, sighing. “I need a break, Robert. I cannot handle all of this. Not right now. You do not need to watch after the society, I will have Missus Cantilupe and Rachel handle that, the worst that should happen in that case is too many cookies or the kraken getting out again, I simply need you to cover my appearances. If you believe he can handle it, you can assign minor appearances to H-”

“If you suggest giving your appearances, any of them, to Edward Hyde, I am hanging up right now.” Lanyon warned.

“Then you handle it.” Jekyll replied. “I am not leaving this apartment for the next week. Deal with it how you will.”

“Henry, you are being immature and childish, and you will certainly be leaving your apartment. You cannot stay cooped up in there for a week!” Robert told him.

“Good day, Robert. I will see you…” Jekyll pulled out his appointment book. “At brunch, next Sunday.”

“Henry Jekyll-” Jekyll put down the phone. Walked over to the door and locked it. He did not want anyone sneaking in on him because he was clumsy and left the door open.

He then walked over and poured another glass of red wine, because fuck Edward Hyde and his judgement, that was why. “Zosi!”

The grim rushed over and walked beside Jekyll, who smiled. Grabbed a book off the shelf, walked into his sitting room, and curled up on a plush chair, Zosi hopped up on his lap.

He opened the book, and picked up where he was fairly sure he had left off more than a month ago. He did not really remember the story, but that was half of the point. He did not need to follow this story closely, it was simply a story. Not one of his scientific journals.

You are being lazy. Mirror-Edward scoffed. You have no reason to do this, you are just lazy and do not feel like dealing with problems you have-

“Shut up!” Jekyll snapped, slamming his book shut and looking up and glaring at the glass pane his fake brother was appearing in. Zosi whined.

Okay, time to evaluate the life choices he was making. Shouting at the illusion was just scaring Zosi. It was not worth it. He did not want to be scaring the only friend he could possibly keep all of his life, and that friend was Zosimus the church grim. “Fuck it.” He took a sip of his wine and opened his book again. He did not have to listen to Mirror-Edward. He was supposed to be relaxing. “I do need this break. Otherwise I am going to breakdown and lose any and all credibility before I can find you and make you part of the society. You do want that, do you not?”

He hated pretending that the mirror illusion was actually his brother, but somehow, even when the illusion was only a figment of his imagination, was more cooperative when he did.

Yes, I do want that. The mirror agreed reluctantly. But this, he motioned to Jekyll, is not helping that either.

“Give me a whole week. Just to rest and recover and then I can work even harder. And I will not stop writing you, how about that?” Jekyll suggested. “I just need some time to rest.”

...Fine. Get some sleep. I am sick of waiting.

“Well, you could just come back yourself and then I would not have to search for you…” Jekyll said quietly, rolling his eyes.

What was that?

“Nothing.” Jekyll replied. “I am going to get some sleep now, and all of that. So… do me a favour, Edward… and shut up.”

This time, the illusion did listen. Jekyll closed his book, set it to the side. Finished his wine and leaned back in his chest. Zosi shifted and snuggled up in his lap. His smiled and stroked the grim’s head, got his hand licked.

Closed his eyes.

It was time for him to finally get some rest.

Chapter Text

A loud crack behind Jekyll’s apartment startled both the doctor and Zosi awake. Jekyll quickly shooed Zosi off his lap and ran to the window, pulling back the curtains to see what in God’s name was going on out there.

There was a crack in the glass pane of his window. “Oh, dear. Well, I suppose the window was old, anyways.” He sighed, looking down at the street.

There was a man carrying something down the road, obviously pursued by someone, he was running. It did not take long for Sergeant Brokenshire’s voice to reach the window as well. “A thief, do you think, Zosi?” He asked, looking down at the little grim. “We ought to go back to bed. No sense in getting caught up in this.” He looked back at the chair he had been sleeping in. “Maybe getting to bed in the first place is a better way to say that.” He conceded.

Something made him look back out the window. The man was now hiding behind something in the alley, and it dawned on Jekyll that he was not holding a priceless artifact he had stolen from a museum.

The man was holding something that looked like it had came straight out of The Mad Galvanist.

Jekyll looked down at Zosi and smiled. “Never mind about getting to bed. Care for a walk, Zo?”

Zosi yapped his agreement. Jekyll shushed him, people were still sleeping in this apartment, after all, and he needed the landlady in a good mood with him when he went to inform her the window was broken.

Jekyll grabbed his cloak and hat from beside the door, straightened the clothes that it was painfully clear he had slept in as best he could, clipped on Zosi’s leash and stepped outside.

“Sergeant Brokenshire! Constable Jenkins, Constable Wipple, you are all looking well! Constable Wipple, Doctor Lanyon was just telling me about your wife’s work at the Trinity Hospital,” which was not even remotely true, he and Lanyon had never once spoken about Wipple’s wife, “the work she does there truly seems incredible. And Constable Jenkins, how goes things with Miss Rose?”

“They have been going quite well, if you must know, Doctor Jekyll.”

“I am glad to hear that! And Sergeant Brokenshire, how-"

“Cut to the chase, Doctor, what are you here for? How did you even know we were here, it is the dead of night! Any gentleman ought to be asleep by now.” Sergeant Brokenshire pointed out.

Jekyll smiled and shook his head. “The window that got broken was mine, Sergeant. I live here.”

“Tell your landlord they may submit the bill for the damage to the police station, our captive will pay the damage.” Brokenshire replied.

“Captive? You would not mean the man outside my window with the fascinating scientific apparatus, would you? I must be honest, as pleasant as it has been catching up with you, I did not come here to do so. I came outside to speak with him!” Jekyll explained. Made himself give another sparkly smile.

“There is no way we can let you do that. That man is under arrest for vivisection!” Brokenshire declared.

“Experimentation on animals is nothing new to me, Sergeant, you will recall I have made several arrangements to permit it on the behalf of my lodgers. In limited circumstances, of course. I doubt he could shock me with anything he has done.” Jekyll assured the man. “If the charge is nigh but vivisection, I would gladly take him off of your hands. And pay for my own broken window, it is really no trouble at all.”

Wipple pushed the man and his apparatus into view. “Now, hold on a minute, Doctor, we are not just going to hand you this man! You may have convinced the commissioner to give your lodgers permission to experiment with animals, but that permission only applies to your lodgers. Which this man is not part of.”

“I am aware of that, Constable. But each time a man is arrested for vivisection, we hinder the advancement of science that could one day benefit all of humankind!” Jekyll tried.

“And what about Moreau?” Yep, that had turned on him pretty quickly. “Did banishing him from England hinder science as well, Doctor?” Brokenshire asked.

Jekyll paused a minute to consider. “Yes. It did hinder his science. However, the members of the scientific community in England agree that his science needed to be stopped. You sir,” he turned to the man Wipple had in custody. “What is your name?”

“Tweedy. Baxter Tweedy.” The man replied. “Please, I have a wife and children to look after, I cannot go to jail!”

“And what do you study, Mister Tweedy?” Jekyll asked. “Oh, wait, I have forgotten my manners. Here I have not even introduced myself! My name is Doctor Henry Jekyll, I run the Society for Arcane Sciences with my co-founder, Doctor Robert Lanyon. I also study neo-alchemy.” He held his hand out, Tweedy shook it.

“I study galvanic engineering.” Tweedy replied.

“Brilliant! Well, Sergeant, galvanism is electrical currents, not reforming creatures into other creatures, so I believe we can dismiss Doctor Moreau’s case. This man is a father and a husband , do you really want to arrest him for…” he turned to Tweedy. “What were you doing?”

“Keeping a promise to my son, Oliver, and trying to revive his cat. He is five, and while I knew it would not work, my wife, Samanthe, took the boys to see that play about Frankenstein and they came home convinced I could do the same for the cat as Frankenstein did for the Creature. Go figure they forgot what happened after the Creature was alive… but kids will be kids.” Tweedy explained. “I could not disappoint them.”

“Well, that hardly sounds like vivisection at all!” Doctor Jekyll declared. “Surely you can let him go. He has done nothing wrong.”

Brokenshire huffed.

“I can take him into my custody. Keep him at the Society for a month, make sure he really is okay.”

“What about my family?” Tweedy asked, eyes wide.

“I never lock the door to the society. Do your children like dogs? I am certain that Zosi here would love to meet them, and he is very similar to a dog. Bit of flesh missing here and there, but all around a sweetheart.” Jekyll reached down and scooped up the little grim. “And he does not die, so you need not fear having to electrocute his body to appease your boys.” He continued.

“Do you not still need my permission to take Mister Tweedy?” Brokenshire asked pointedly.

“It was not vivisection, my dear Sergeant, I believe I would be considered an expert advisor on scientific subjects. So if not vivisection, what are you charging him with?” Jekyll asked, pleasant smile back on his face. “So, may we go?”

“The commissioner will not be happy.”

“Tell him to bring it up with me directly.” Jekyll replied. “So can we go?”

“Yes. I want him in the Society for a month, like you promised.” Brokenshire ordered.

“Of course. Have a pleasant, well, I suppose it is morning, so have a pleasant rest of your day!” Jekyll waved and the police walked away.

“Who said I wanted to stay in your society?” Tweedy demanded.

“Because I assumed you would not want to stay in jail.” Jekyll replied. “You can come with me, I shall get you settled into the society, and then, if you give me your address I will go and inform your wife and children of your location. I will inform you that I will be away from the Society for the remainder of the week, however if you have any questions… I will introduce you to good people to ask when we get there.” He decided.

“Why are you away for a week?” Tweedy asked.

“I am taking a short rest.” Jekyll replied. “Follow me, the Society is not far from here and I would like to get back to sleep before the sun is up.” He placed Zosi back on the ground. “I trust you can handle your apparatus yourself?”

“Yes…” Tweedy agreed.

“Excellent. Follow me!” Jekyll walked off towards the Society, Zosi at his heel.

He had been meant to take a break. But surely rescuing someone from vivisection accusations was more important than that! He could continue his break later, when he had shown Mister Tweedy around and contacted his wife to let the lady know where her husband would be for the next month.

He pushed open the wide double doors and stepped inside, quickly bending down to unclip Zosi’s leash and let him run yapping down the hall. He would go and get the grim before he left. “Welcome, Baxter Tweedy, to the Society for-"

“Henry Jekyll!” Robert called from down the hall. “Get over here and start explaining what the hell is going on with you!”

“Robert? Why are you even here it is three in the morning!” Jekyll protested.

“Because I cannot trust your lodgers alone! Miss Pidgley called me when you did not pick up the phone! What the hell is going on?” Robert asked angrily. “And I could ask you the same question.”

“Robert… you may want to save yelling at me for later. We have a new lodger.”  

 

---

 

“No more.” Hyde said, holding a hand up in front of the bartender when he tried to refill the blond’s glass.

The alcohol had made the headache from his hangover go away, which he was nearly certain was counterproductive but was absolutely certain he did not give a shit what was counterproductive. He was angry, he was hurting and he was damn sick of his head pounding like a drum so he had come to drown out the drum with more alcohol.

The headache was probably only half alcohol. He never had gone home after work. Or gotten the pill he should have taken that morning. Stephen would be annoyed but who gave a fuck about Stephen and what pissed him off? Lying pissed Hyde off, and Stephen had still lied to him. Straight to his face. So fuck Stephen. “I changed my mind, give me another drink.” Hyde called.

The bartender poured him another glass. “Do not make me cut you off, Mister Hyde. Or kick you out. If you are getting rowdy, get out.”

Hyde nodded and knocked back a lot more of his drink than he should have in one sip. He had gotten rid of the headache, he wanted to get rid of the other one, too. The headache that the problem with Stephen had turned into. He wanted to scream and shout and be done but deep inside he knew he would never he done. He could be angry he could shout and scream and swear but he would never be done. He would regret it forever. It was better not to have that fight. Not yet. Maybe not ever. Better to leave his SoHo apartment and never return, or maybe just until he could bottle up this feeling and trust that it would never get out. A fight with Stephen would cost far too much for it to ever be worth it, so he should just drown the urge to have it in cheap whiskey and cheap confidential whispers between two people who even if names were shared would not remember them the next day. Stephen was the only thing constant in this life of his, and it was better just to stay quiet than give it up.

He finished the rest of the drink. Groaned and collapsed onto the counter of the bar, head buried in his arms.

A few moments later, hands shook his shoulders. “You are not dead, are you? Whether people like you or not it will get messy for me if I let you drink yourself to death in my bar.”

“‘m alive…” Hyde pushed the hands off his shoulders.

“Do you need me to find you a room to stay in? You seem like you are about to pass out. And I do not want to have to pick you up off the floor.”

“No.” Hyde replied, finally picked his head up off the counter. “No, I was just leaving.”

“Do not get killed out there.”

Hyde nodded and walked himself carefully out of the bar. His movement felt sluggish, he was very, very dizzy. Maybe he should have accepted the room for the night.

To late now.

He made it outside, barely, before sitting down beside the door, back leaned against the door. The air was sticky and warm, smelled like blood and vomit and decay. It did not help how sick to his stomach he felt. He tried to stand up and ended up swallowing down bile. “I guess I am staying here for a while.” He sighed, rested his chin against his knees.

His eyes drifted shut.

Someone throwing up right beside him woke him up. “Fuck!” He shuffled away from the mess, inspecting the side of his cloak for damage.

He seemed to have gotten out clean this time. This time.

Well, he could not sleep on the streets of Bethnal Green, so he forced himself to his feet. The world seemed to spin in front of him, god, he was so dizzy.

Where was he going again? Home? He knew a better place to go. A better thing to do. Something he should have done in the first fucking place.

He just had to get back to SoHo to do it. That would be a long, looooooooooooong walk. Not a walk he wanted to make right now. But he had to get back to SoHo to get home anyways. There was no getting around it.

He could not lean against walls, too many people barely made it outside before throwing up and he did not feel like ruining another pair of shoes by stepping in someone's vomit.

He had most definitely stepped in someone’s vomit. Totally had not thrown up on his own shoes, like Stephen said he had. He handled alcohol better than that. He had more class that that.  

Which was why he was stumbling down the middle of the street. He was stumbling down the street because he could handle his alcohol. He could totally do this! One step in front of the other, he had to be careful not to trip on absolutely nothing.

He just had to make it to SoHo. Just all the way back to SoHo it could not be that hard. If he could make it back to SoHo then he could do part two of his plan. The most important part of his plan. The only important part of his plan. Did getting to his destination really count as the plan? Probably not. He should just keep moving.

 

Hyde knocked sharply on the door of a building he had only been to a few times before. Heard nothing from inside and knocked again.

Finally heard someone stir. There was a lot of that someone walking around inside before the door finally opened. To a man with a emerald eyes, brown hair and a brown beard, wearing nothing but a bathrobe.

“Edward? What are you doing here it is four in the morning and I told you I would be home tomorrow, you di-"

“You lied to me.” Hyde accused, jabbing a finger into Stephen’s chest. “You lied to me and I have… I have proof that you lied to me.” He continued.

“Edward, what is this all about? You should really go home, you are clearly drunk. We can talk about this tomorrow.” Stephen suggested.

“No, no we are going to talk about this tonight!” Hyde snapped. “Why the hell did you lie to me I trusted you!”

“Edward, are you, do you mean about the letter?” Stephen asked.

“Why do you have to ask me? Have you lied to me about something else, too?” Hyde demanded.

“No, I just did not think-"

“You did not think I would ever need a pair of socks, Stephen?” Hyde asked, glaring at his partner. “You did not think that I would ever go through my own drawer and find out that you not only opened my mail but then decided to hide it from me?”

“I had hoped you would not, honestly. Listen, Edward, we can talk about this and we definitely should, I have to apologize and I did have a reason to do it, but I think that is a conversation we should have when you are sober.” Stephen said gently.

“I am perfectly fine!” Hyde repeated.

“Edward, you have clearly had too much to drink. Come inside, get some sleep and we can talk about this in the morning. I understand that you are angry and you have every right, but there is a better way to talk this out.” Stephen said gently.

“What, so I can give you the rest of the night to think about whatever lie you are going to tell me about why you hid the letter and lied to me? Not a chance.”

“Do you want to know why I did it, Edward?” Stephen asked softly. “To protect you. You were in no state to read what your brother had wrote.”

“I never asked you to protect me!” Hyde took a step forward, and all of the sudden his stomach cramped up and he gasped.

“Stephen? What is going on here- Edward!” Julia rushed into the doorway and escorted Hyde out of her home before he threw up on her floor. “Oh, you poor thing…” she murmured, crouching beside him and rubbing his back. “I heard you two fighting… what did you do?” She asked Stephen.

“Never mind that, I should discuss it with him before I discuss it with you. I will go get some blankets, can you get him to the couch? He is in no state to go home.”

Julia nodded, helped Hyde back to his feet and practically carried him over to her couch. “Lay down, get some sleep, Eddie. You will feel better in the morning.”

Hyde was not convinced.

Chapter Text

“Well, Mister Tweedy, I am going to leave you in the very capable hands of Miss Rachel Pidgley to get you settled in, and Doctor Lanyon or I will go inform your wife… sometime that is not four in the morning.” Jekyll told the newest- though possibly temporary- lodger. “I will be back Sunday afternoon, if there is anything urgent you may reach me at the second number on this card.” He handed Tweedy one of the cards he had made up for the Society.

Lanyon was waiting to talk to him in the upstairs office. And avoiding him would not remotely pay off.

“Have a nice break, Doctor Jekyll.” Tweedy said.

“I will!” The doctor walked down the hall and over to the set of stairs to his office.

Why are you nervous? I thought this break was necessary. Surely a doctor will be able to tell that.

“Why can you not leave me alone for one day?” Jekyll groaned.

Because I do not want to.

Of course he did not want to. When had the mirror illusion ever wanted to leave him alone?

He yawned. It was four in the morning, what he would not give just to go back home with Zosi and sleep and avoid this whole entire conversation. He had said his piece about this. Whether or not Lanyon had listened to him last night was not really his problem at this point.

Trying to say that to Lanyon, on the other hand, would not go well got him. Neither would leaving. So he was best just to repeat himself. He whistled for Zosi, he wanted to be able to leave the moment this talk was done and he would be taking Zosi with him, and waited until the little grim was at his heels be for walking up the stairs.

He had already spoken to Rachel and Cantilupe. Not only had they agreed to look after the Society, they had agreed that Jekyll needed to take this break.

Shame Lanyon did not seem to think the same way.

He knocked on the door and pushed it open. “You wanted to see me?” He asked, not bothering with a pleasant tone. This was Robert Lanyon and whether Robert Lanyon would admit it or not he had heard every possible tone Jekyll had. Jekyll was not going to fake pleasantness when all he wanted to do was get home.

“What is the meaning of all of this? You are just going to vanish? For a week? Henry, I have my own appointments, they clash with half of the things on your schedule. Assuming I even agree to cover for you at all.” Robert said, reading over the slip of paper Jekyll kept in his office, listing his appointments.

“So tell Hyde to go to the ones you cannot. He is my assistant, he can be given tasks like these. Just do not send him anywhere that Sir Danvers will be. There should only be two meetings that he was supposed to be at anyways.” Jekyll suggested.

“Even if I thought that was a good idea, which I do not, there is a meeting, with Sir Danvers, that I cannot attend. Tomorrow. Actually, I guess just later today, at this point. I have dinner with Anne’s family.” Lanyon said.

“So that one must be canceled. Unless Rachel or someone could go.”

“You are not sending your cook. Bad enough you have to send your assistant.” Lanyon told him. “Is this week really worth it?” He asked, narrowing his dark brown eyes. “Worth cancelling appointments and sending your assistant to cover them for you? My feelings towards him aside, he is hardly professional! Imagine what he may do to your reputation!”

“It is a risk I have to take, Robert. There is no way I will keep a scrap of anything together if I do not take a step back. I doubt you want to deal with another incident like the one from two nights ago. I believe words I say myself risk far more than words Edward Hyde says.” Jekyll decided.

“What did happen at that meeting, anyways?” Robert asked. “Sir Danvers, I will be honest, did not make much sense when he came yelling at me. Something about he is definitely pulling funding from us, and that he will make you leave Emma alone?”

“Great.” Jekyll sighed. “Just great.”

“I would say it is either time to leave her and fire Hyde, or propose.” Lanyon advised.

“Not until the end of the week, I am sticking with that.” Jekyll warned. “Now we should both head home.” He continued.

“And I cannot talk you out of this rash decision?” Lanyon asked.

“No.”

“Very well. I leave it to you to contact your assistant about his appearances.” Lanyon said, standing up and walking to the door.

“Robert?” Jekyll said quickly.

“Yes?”

“Thank you.”

Robert smiled and walked out the door.

Jekyll looked down at Zosi. “Well? Shall we head back home?”

The little grim barked and raced for the door. Jekyll smiled and followed after him.

 

“Zosi!” Jekyll cried, laughing and putting his hands up to his face. “Zosi stop that!”

Zosi just kept licking his hands and face, despite Jekyll’s protest. “Alright, alright, you win, Zo! I am awake!” He sat up and gave the grim a quick snuggle before shooing him off the bed. The grim was not supposed to be up there and he knew it.

It was nice. Not to wake up and have something to do, somewhere to run off to. He could get up slowly, make a cup of coffee and read some of his book with Zosi curled up on his lap.

Some people could not go a whole day doing nothing. Jekyll was beginning to believe he was not one of them. His book had finally gotten interesting, and he had a whole pot of coffee. The only thing he had to do today was call Hyde and inform him when he would need to put in public appearances. Nothing difficult, nothing taxing. Nothing that could not wait until he finished his coffee. So he settled in further to the chair and turned the page in his book. He should not call Hyde yet anyways, there was a good chance the blond had been out late and would not appreciate a wakeup call at nine in the morning. Hyde did not have a shift today.

Not that, apparently, having a shift had ever encouraged Hyde to be responsible. Although it was not like Jekyll had not been a hypocrite for calling the blond out for it.

Around ten, Jekyll finally got Zosi off his lap and made his way to the phone. Asked the operator for Edward Hyde.

No one picked up.

That was strange. Either Stephen Richardson or Edward Hyde were almost always home.

He hung up the phone and called again. This time asked to be connected with Stephen Richardson, and was informed that he would be calling the same address.

Which he had suspected. But he really did need to get in contact with Hyde.

Maybe he could try again in an hour. He hung up and went to sit down again. Poured himself another cup of coffee and let Zosi curl up in his lap again. Opened his book.

It was half past noon when he finally looked up again. “Good heavens!” Hyde must have been home by now. And awake.

So he went to the phone and called again.

But Hyde still did not pick up.

Great. Just great. How was it that whether either of them were in the society, Jekyll was always chasing after his employee? He would not be concerned, but he needed to ask Hyde to cover the dinner that he had said he was going to cancel.

And tell Hyde to put on his best behaviour. The right attitude could get Danvers off his case.

The wrong could make it ten times worse.

Jekyll sighed and put down the phone.

He had finished his book, so that distraction would not work. Did not really feel like going out, so walking Zosi was also out.

Great. What on earth was he going to do while waiting to finally manage to contact Hyde? This break idea only worked when he had a book to read or something to do. He did have many textbooks and stories in his study, he supposed he could go and read one of those.

Jekyll walked into the study, picked out a book and settled down again to read. It was an old, well-loved novel. He had owned it since he was a kid, and it remained his favourite book.

It was a gift from his brother, with an inscription on the inside of the cover.

He opened it and began to read.

In another hour, called his assistant again.

Finally got an answer.

“Hello?”

“Hello, Hyde, it is Doctor Jekyll. I have a favour to ask of you.” Jekyll explained.

“What might that be?”

“I need you to cover my appearance at a dinner party tonight. There are more things you may have to take too but that is what I remember.” Jekyll said. “I am sorry for the short notice, if you have shifts on the days you have to cover for me, you can skip them.”

“Why do you need someone to cover for you?”

“I am taking a week long break from everything going on, and Doctor Lanyon is busy. Oh and Mister Hyde? The only story they know is Beaconsfield’s so best behaviour please.”

“So this is not really a choice.”

“Not really. I am sorry, but I cannot cancel all the appointments.”

“Tell me where it is, I will be there.”

 

---

 

Julia busied herself in the kitchen, making breakfast for all three people currently in her house. Stephen was sound asleep in the bedroom, and when she had walked into the kitchen she had heard Edward snoring in the living room, but now it seemed the pan sizzling was drowning that out.

Stephen had stuck to his statement about not telling Julia what Edward had come over about last night until he got a chance to talk with Edward about it, so she still had no clue what he had been so upset about last night. All she really knew was that he had been very, very drunk, and she may want to clean the vomit off her front steps. If she was any more petty than she was, she would have made Edward do it, he was the one who had thrown up, but she felt sort of bad for him. Something was clearly rattled in his and Stephen’s relationship, and it was important to him.

So she finished frying up the eggs, scooped them onto the plate she had prepared, and walked it into the living room.

“I really do not know what I was expecting from you, but getting ready to leave was not it.” Julia remarked, looking over at Edward. He was tying up the laces on his shoes, and had his cloak and hat on. “Where are you going?”

“Home.” Edward muttered. “Coming here last night was drunk me’s mistake, and sober me is going to fix it.” He decided.

“You pounded on the door at four in the morning to talk with Stephen, and you are going to leave before you get to have that talk?” Julia asked, walking over and pulling him away from the door.

“It is not worth fighting over.”

“If something clearly important to you is not worth fighting with Stephen over, is Stephen worth anything to you?” Julia asked sharply. She was not mad at him, of course, she just wanted him to think about it.

“What does that have to do with anything?” Edward demanded, narrowing his eyes. “I do not want to have a fight with him right now.”

“Will you talk to him about it when he gets to your house tonight?” Julia asked.

“Of course not. It was pointless to come here I do not want to talk about it.” Edward decided. “It is just going to start a fight and that is the last thing I want.”

“Then you are going to let it fester and bubble up inside you until it turns into something that may destroy your relationship, Edward. Stay here, eat the breakfast I already made for you, and talk with Steph. Or let him talk to you. Do not leave here without solving this. I do not want to see things turn sour with you and Stephen because you were too scared of a fight to say anything to him.” She motioned to his black eye. “You have never been scared of a fight before, after all.”

Edward sighed and kicked off his shoes. “Fine.” He walked back over and sat down heavily on the couch.

“Have something to eat. I will get you some water, and wake Stephen.” Julia decided. Walked on bare feet back into the kitchen, filled a glass with water and walked it back to Edward.

Walked down the hall to the bedroom, pushed the door open. “Stephen?” She called, walking over and shaking his shoulder.

“Jules? What is wrong?” Stephen asked, gave her a quick kiss.

“I barely talked your boyfriend into staying to talk to you. You may want to go before he changes his mind.” Julia explained. Sat down beside him.

“He showed up at our door at four in the morning, but he wants to leave?” Stephen questioned.

“Sounds like that was a decision made with the help of a lot of whiskey.” Julia explained. That would explain why now Edward wanted to leave before he even saw Stephen. “Get up and go see him. Whatever you did is clearly upsetting him. I will go finish making breakfast. But that means you have to do it twice next time you are here, since I made it yesterday, too.”

Stephen nodded and stood up, threw on a robe and went outside.

 

“What is this I hear that you want to leave, Edward?” Stephen asked softly, stepping out into the living room.

Edward Hyde was curled up on his side, pointedly refusing to look at Stephen. His cloak was pulled around him.

Stephen walked over and sat down on the couch, just in front of Edward’s knees. “I know you are hurt. You should be hurt.” He said gently, brushing his fingers through the blond’s hair. He was not entirely surprised when his hand was slapped away.

Edward was mad at him, after all. Whether Hyde would admit it or not, whether he would say a damn word, he was mad at Stephen for lying about the letter. Stephen knew that. “If you are not going to say anything, can I talk to you?” Stephen asked.

Edward was silent. His green eyes were fixed on something on the floor. “I am going to take the silence as a yes.”

Still no answer. It was a little unnerving. Edward had never behaved like this before.

Sure, he and Edward did not fight a lot. He suspected that Edward was afraid to fight with people he cared about.

After all, he had fought with his brother just before running away. Fighting likely left a bad taste in his mouth.

But normally, they would take a day or two to calm down, and they would talk the issue out.

Now Edward would not even look at him.

“I am sorry, Edward. I was wrong. I should never have read the letter, never mind hid it from you.” Stephen began.

Edward did not even look up. “I was scared for you. I always am when you are like you were that day. I wanted to make sure your brother had not written anything that would make things worse for you. And I know you do not want me to protect you, but I cannot help it that I wanted to.” Stephen continued. “And… I do not know if you have read the letter, but it seemed to me like a blame game and a guilt trip so I could not bring myself to-"

“I trusted you.” Edward’s voice was hoarse and small. “I would have gone myself if I had known I cannot trust you.” He did not sound sad though. Stephen was worried when he realized that Edward sounded angry more than anything.

“You can trust me, Edward, I ma-"

“You not only violated my privacy by reading it in the first place, but then you hid the letter from me! And you want me to believe I can trust you?” Edward demanded. “I do know know now you want me to believe that.”

“I made a mistake.”

“Oh did you? And how did you think I would react to this? This was just a mistake? Did you not know this would upset me?” Edward asked sharply.

“I did.”

“Then it was not a mistake!” Edward snapped. “You knew exactly what you were doing! And you did it anyways!”

“I am beginning to suspect that you do not want to find a solution to this, Edward.” Stephen said flatly.

“I am only here because your girlfriend would not let me leave.” Edward agreed. He still had not looked up from the floor. “How many of those do you have, by the way, since I cannot trust you to have told me the truth in the first place?”

“Get out.” He would tolerate a lot. He could tolerate a lot. But not that. Not being accused of being unfaithful because he lied about a letter. “Come back when you are actually interested in fixing things, and not just accusing me of things I would never do to you!”

Stephen got to his feet and left the living room. “I thought you would never lie to me, either! See where that got me?”

Moments later, the door slammed shut hard enough the windows rattled.

And Stephen collapsed onto the bed, buried his face in his hands, and cried.

Chapter Text

“Anne?” Lanyon called, walking into the house. “How was Joséphine?” He asked, gave his wife a quick embrace.

“She was wonderful. Anyone for you lately?” She asked, smiling. “Or are you still following after your friend there. You really need to give up on him. Find someone to make you smile. Or do not give up on him and quit pretending you are not interested.”

“Yes, Anne, I am going to have a swell time finding myself a gay man in London. That is why you travel to Paris to see your lover, right?” Lanyon asked.

“Oh, hush. You are just jealous that I have found a lover and you as still pining after your university ex. Ask him out with you, Robert, if you cannot give up on him! Save yourself the heartache and waiting.” Anne suggested.

“He has that girl now. Emma Carew.” Lanyon reminded her. Anne snorted.

“Please. Emma? She is less interested in men than I am.” She revealed. “Your friend is getting nothing but a cover from her. Much like you do from me.”

“Interesting.” So Emma Carew was also gay. London was just booming with people that were not as oriented to modern London as they seemed.

Lanyon hated that he was on that list. He wished he could be as ordinary as he seemed. To have married a woman he truly did love and not have any problems.

But life would not make him so lucky. Life would make him lie and suffer in a loveless life and god forbid his father discover that he had not given up on this endeavour and was not in a genuine relationship with Anne.

He remembered when his father had found out. When he was sixteen and he had kissed the boy in his class the day before he left to go to school in Scotland. He had a small white scar just barely hidden by his scalp from what his father had thrown.

Robert Lanyon did not make mistakes like that anymore.

But he wished the risk was not there at all. Or that he had an arrangement like his wife. With someone who did not even live in the same country as him.

But in London? Everything was far too risky. He had yet to meet someone in London worth that risk.

Except the lovely young man from Edinburgh with bright eyes and a beautiful smile he had lived with- no. No, he had not been worth, either. No one ever had been. Least of all Henry Jekyll.

“So. Dinner with your parents.” Lanyon began.

“More people to harass us about having children.” Anne confirmed. “You are a doctor, Robert, you could just lie and say that one of us in incapable. Get everyone off our case once and for all.”

“You would have to stay in the country for long enough for us to have feasibly found that out.” Lanyon reminded her.

“I will be in England for two months now. Joséphine is quite busy over in France.” Anne assured him. “We can tell them towards the end of my stay here.”

Lanyon nodded. They had discussed the idea before, but Anne spent so little time in England that it had not seemed worth it until now. Now everyone was on their case about it.

Lanyon did know why, to be fair. He was thirty-seven, Anne was thirty-three, neither of them were young anymore. They were getting towards a time in their lives that soon enough, it would be too late for them to have any children.

Which had been the original plan. Just ignore it until it was common knowledge that it was far too late to be harassing the Lanyons about children. Robert would sell his practice to someone who wanted it when he was too old to run it. “Come on, we should get ready to go, we really should not be late to your parents’ dinner. The only thing worse would be being late to mine.”

“That you are right about.” Anne agreed. “I dread the thought of your father angry, even as old as he is.”

“You have not seen the half of it.” I do not risk arrest dating people I have known for two weeks. Have a little restraint here, Mister Jekyll.

He was not nearly as afraid of the police as he was Hasting Robert Lanyon the First. The police would arrest him.

His father may kill him.

“Robert, get your coat and we ought to leave!” Anne called. Lanyon blinked. He had gotten distracted again. That had to stop. He grabbed his coat from the hook, pulled it on and walked out to the carriage. Anne was just behind him, he helped her up like a right proper gentleman and then climbed into the carriage himself.

 

“Robert, Anastasia, it is lovely to see you both again!” Anne’s mother declared. “Anastasia, you really must begin to spend more time in England, one might begin to believe you are trying to avoid your own family!”

Anne only smiled. She had been trying for years to convince her parents the trips to France could not be helped, and trying to convince them to call her Anne rather than Anastasia for even longer.

At least his father had been more receptive of calling his son Robert rather than Hasting than Anne’s parents were of calling her Anne. Anastasia was her grandmother’s name, they wanted her to carry it proudly.

Robert’s father, on the other hand, had probably already decided before Robert had asked him if he could be known by his middle name that he did not want his son to share his name.

It was a perfect arrangement, really.

“Robert, you are lost in the clouds again!” Anne laughed. “I do hope you were not like this at work today!”

Robert blinked. “I just apologize, I am rather distracted today. Fear not, it came about after I left my practice.”

“Your patients must be relieved.”

“I am sure they are.”

He had just reasons to be distracted. Thanks to Jekyll’s inability to sort his problems out like a normal man, his week was twice as busy as it had been planned to be.

Not to mention that he just knew Hyde was at that dinner. Where Sir Danvers Carew and Lady Beaconsfield were. Jekyll would have thought that sending his assistant would somehow solve the problem and not just fan the flames. Hyde would currently be embarrassing himself, Jekyll, Lanyon and the society, as well as probably picking another fight with Lady Beaconsfield. It was a disaster that Lanyon knew Jekyll would not have avoided. Because if there was one thing Lanyon knew about Henry Jekyll, he always thought he was right. And sending Hyde to that dinner was exactly what Jekyll would have thought he was right about.

“Robert! Seriously, do we need to go home?” Anne asked.

“No, no, god, I do not know what has gotten into me today.” Lanyon laughed and shook his head a little bit. “Truly sorry.”

“We should just go and eat. Let you get home and sleep off this distraction as soon as possible.” Anne’s father decided.

“Really, we need not rush things for my sake, I can stay focused.” Robert assured him.

“I would believe that, had I not watched you zone out twice in ten minutes. Everyone has off days, Robert, nothing to be ashamed of.” Anne’s mother said with a smile. “Come and eat and we will send you on your way.”

“You could probably use the rest.” Anne said softly. “It cannot hurt.”

He could use a chance to talk about everything going on with him. To see Gabriel and discuss the last few days. The task that had been thrown at him-

No, if he went down that train of thought he would end up zoned out again.

Anne grabbed his hand and all but dragged him to the dining room so he could not make a fool of himself. He took a seat beside her. Sighed and rubbed his temples.

What was going on with him?

“Just… quit doing whatever you are doing for the next hour.” Anne whispered.

“I know.” It would be much easier to do if he knew why it was happening.

“So Robert, how has business been? Are you keeping busy?” Anne’s father asked.

“Exceedingly. The practice has never been busier. It seems everyone in London has picked now to be ill.” Robert replied.

“I meant that society of yours.” Anne’s father specified.

“It is not really mine, sir. It was all Doctor Jekyll’s plan, I just offered him my assistance.” Best be well established in his position before something inevitably befell the society. He did not want to look like a failure because of the collapse of Henry Jekyll’s project. “I suppose it has been well, Doctor Jekyll just brought a new lodger in this morning.” He continued.

“That must be exciting!”

“That it is.” Lanyon agreed, took a sip of the wine that had been poured.

Exciting for someone, at least. Though not for Robert Lanyon.

 

---

 

The phone ringing for the second time was what dragged Edward Hyde out of bed.

He did not know how to feel, he did not know how he really felt, even. He knew that he had said something he should not have.

Also knew he was far from ready to apologize for it. The sting of betrayal had not gone away at all during his conversation- or fight, whatever you wanted to call it- with Stephen, in fact it had gotten worse. He was far from ready to apologize. Even if there was a good chance he was in the wrong by now. He had not started this, he did not have to finish it. Sure, he had said something terrible but he was still the victim here.

He got to his feet, grabbed his cane and hobbled to the phone. He had forgotten that pill again, had he not. Great.

There was a shattered glass against the far wall of the kitchen. He would have to clean that up before he forgot it was there and stepped in it. Or, worse, before Alhena stepped in it. He was pretty sure the cat would not step in broken glass, but there was still a chance.

He had thrown the glass. It had been full of water, that seemed to have mostly dried up. “Next time, pick something not breakable to throw.” He muttered to himself.

Finally remembered to pick up the phone before it gave up ringing.

“Hello?” He asked, forcing a pleasant tone. His voice was hoarse from tears he would not admit to having shed.
“Hello, Hyde, it is Doctor Jekyll. I have a favour to ask of you.”
“What might that be?” Hyde asked suspiciously. He was beginning, already, to wish he had not picked the phone up. He had not heard from his brother since he had chased Henry out of the office with accusations about red wine.
“I need you to cover my appearance at a dinner party tonight. There are more things you may have to take too but that is what I remember.” Jekyll said. “I am sorry for the short notice, if you have shifts on the days you have to cover for me, you can skip them.”
Hyde frowned. “Why do you need someone to cover for you?”
“I am taking a week long break from everything going on, and Doctor Lanyon is busy. Oh and Mister Hyde? The only story they know is Beaconsfield’s so best behaviour please.”
“So this is not really a choice.” Hyde realized. He had to go, this was not something he could say no to.
“Not really. I am sorry, but I cannot cancel all the appointments.”
Hyde sighed. “Tell me where it is, I will be there.” For various reasons, including how torn up he felt inside and who would probably be in attendance he would rather be trampled by a horse, but there was no sense arguing with Henry about it. He was going to have to go to this stupid dinner party.

 

Hyde gave the mirror one last skeptical look. He had scrubbed the tear tracks off his face, had a glass of water and one of his pills, which had worked fairly well to kill the headache the whiskey he had drank the night previously had given him.

Had a nice (ish) white dress shirt on, green waistcoat, a cravat, which he rarely bothered with so he felt like he should get bonus points for remembering how to tie one, clean black slacks and a black coat. He had even buffed a number of scuffs out of his shoes. Not all of them, but most of them.

He did not have a nice cloak, the one he wore most often was no longer Henry’s old cloak, that one he had been forced to retire when it started literally coming apart at the seams. However, even the newest one had a good number of tears from getting caught on loose nails and other sharp things.

So he would have to skip the cloak. If it was just his reputation on the line he would not care, half the people at this party already though he had punched Lady Beaconsfield, which he had not, but he had Henry’s reputation on his shoulders tonight as well. Henry might just kill him for one little slip up.

Like wearing a torn cloak.

So Hyde sighed and grabbed his hat, tugged it over his messy blond hair. He probably should have done something about his hair, too, but that was simply asking too much.

Grabbed his cane and walked into the kitchen. Set out a meal for Alhena, said goodbye to the cat, which ended him up covered in cat hairs that he would have to pick off on the way there, and walked out the door.

Catching a ride to the address he had been given was easier than he had expected. He would have walked, but the ground was wet and he was not risking being splashed by another puddle. That happened far too often, and these were his only nice clothes.

Not to mention he would be late if he had to turn around.

“This is the place.” The man in the front announced. Hyde dug into the pocket of his coat, thank God he had not forgotten his wallet. Fished out sufficient coins and pressed them into the man’s hands.

“Thank you.” He climbed carefully out of the carriage and walked over to the door.

“Who exactly are you?” The man standing there asked.

“Edward Hyde. I am here in Doctor Henry Jekyll’s place.”

Please. Send him home. Refuse him entrance. There was nowhere Hyde wanted to be less than right here.

Sadly for him, while he got a disdainful look, he was let through the doors.

“Oh, great.” He muttered, pulling off his hat and leaving it near the door.

He was surrounded by people that probably hated him for some reason or another. It was very hard to be the Spirit of London at Night and please this side of London at the same time.

“You!”

Hyde turned around. “Ah, Lady Beaconsfield. I do hope that “bruise” has healed by now.” He said in a blatantly false pleasant tone.

“Why in heaven’s name are you here?” She demanded.

And there were five more pairs of eyes on him. “I am here for Doctor Jekyll, he could not be in attendance so he sent me.” Apparently, that was an unwritten part of his job description.

“You?” Lady Beaconsfield sniffed. “That is quite frankly worse than sending no one.”

“Look, lady, you are no cup of tea to be around either, and no one said I wanted to be here. So you leave me be, and I will do the same for you.” Hyde said, glaring at her.

“Edward Hyde.”

“What does everyone here want with me?” Hyde complained. “I get it! I am not welcome here! If it were up to you or me I would not be here! But Doctor Jekyll did not really make it a choice!”

“Doctor Jekyll sent you?” A man demanded.

“Well I sure as hell did not show up to be harassed on my own accord.” Hyde muttered.

“Why that insolent little…” the man’s voice trailed off. “Well, Mister Hyde. Tell Doctor Jekyll he will be hearing from me very soon.”

“I do not even know who you are.” Hyde declared. “It will be very hard to pass a message on for you without your name.”

“I am-"

“Father!” A voice that Hyde recognized called. “Father, have you no decency?” She demanded. “It is not Mister Hyde’s fault that Henry has fallen ill!”

“Emma, stay out of it.”

Emma Carew. That was why Hyde knew her. And if she was Emma Carew… The man she was calling father was Sir Danvers Carew.

No wonder he was so unpleasant.

“Sending this man is an insult! He assaulted Lady Beaconsfield!” A man declared.

“I did not! I may have called her a bitch but I never touched her.” Hyde argued.

“Are you calling Lady Beaconsfield a liar?”

“Yes!”

“I am inclined to believe Mister Hyde, Lord Savage. It is nigh impossible to hide a black eye with makeup.” Emma said sagely. “Which is what Lady Beaconsfield said she did. Now. It is not up to any of us what Henry did because of his illness, we all just have to deal with it. So leave Mister Hyde be, he is only doing his job.” She continued. “You are all acting like a bunch of children.”

Sir Danvers looked like he was about to argue, but decided against it.

“Just make sure you stay away from me, Mister Hyde.” Lady Beaconsfield said with a sniff.

“Would not dream of going near you.” Hyde muttered. “I do not tend to make myself suffer for fun anyways.”

He walked off towards a wall so he could avoid people.

This was going to be a long night.

Chapter Text

“Robert?” Jekyll said the moment the phone was picked up.

“Henry. What is it this time?” Robert asked.

“Did you go and see Tweedy's wife to tell her where her husband is?” Jekyll asked.

“No, I thought you were doing that.” Robert admitted.

“Shit.”

“You did not do it either.” Robert realized.

“No, I did not.” Henry confirmed. “I am going to go do that, talk to you later!” He threw the phone down before Robert answered and rushed to his bedroom. He was not even dressed yet, he had been nursing his coffee and a good book when he had remembered Tweedy’s wife. The poor woman must have been frantic!

Jekyll pulled off the clothes he had slept in and quickly threw on a new clean set. He had not worried much about his clothes yesterday, but today he had to go out.

Great. He was not looking forward to that in the slightest. He had hoped that Robert would handle this meeting and that he would be able to take the day to rest, since he had not managed to get a full day to rest yet.

But of course, things could not go his way on that. He would have to run across London looking for the wife of someone he currently had trapped in the society, and would have to explain why he had not come and seen her yesterday.

“Zosi!” He called down the hall, poking his head out of his room once he was fully dressed  The little grim charged down the hall towards him, claws and boney feet clacking on the floor. Jekyll scooped him up off the floor and carried him over to the door.With one hand, pulled on his hat and cloak.

He could take normal transportation, but wheeling up in a cab likely would not do much to impress Tweedy’s wife, and Jekyll was already prepared to be unimpressive. He had left her and her children to worry about Tweedy for an entire day.

“Rental it is.” He muttered. “Poole?” He called.

Moments later, the man ran up, covered head to toe in dirt. “Yes, Doctor Jekyll?” He asked.

“Ah, Poole, good to see you. How goes the garden?” Jekyll asked.

Technically, Poole was housestaff but Jekyll liked to be a little more independent than that, and Poole liked to garden, so he mostly just let Poole do as he pleased, so long as the house got cleaned once a week, and he was available should anything need doing and Jekyll could not get to it “The garden is coming along quite nicely, Doctor Jekyll.”

“I am glad to hear it. Say, are you busy? I need to ask something of you.” Jekyll said.

“I can do that. Do you need me to drive again?” Poole asked.

“I do, yes.” Jekyll agreed.

“Give me a few minutes to get cleaned off, sir, and I can do that no problem.” Poole told him, smiling and running into the house.

Jekyll waited by the door until Poole ran back, now far less covered in dirt and dressed in far nicer clothes.

“So, who are you rescuing today?” Poole asked. Walked down the steps and began the trek down the road.

“No rescues, actually, I did the rescuing yesterday morning. What I did not do, however, was remember to inform his wife of the fact that he would have to stay in the society for the next month.” Jekyll explained. “Well, that would truly be quite problematic.” Poole agreed. “Have you been feeling alright, Doctor Jekyll? It is not like you to suddenly drop everything. Nor forget things like that.”

“I have not, Poole, that is why I dropped everything.” Jekyll confirmed. “I told off quite a few people I should not have and threatened to charge Sir Danvers Carew with harassment before I realized I needed a break.”

“Frankly, you are lucky to not be lacking all you own after threats like that!”

“I might still end up like that.” Jekyll warned.

“And to think, all of this over Miss Carew. It is quite romantic of you, sir.” Poole remarked.

“I suppose. I am not sure if threatening her father with police action can be considered romantic though, Poole.” Jekyll laughed.

“Ah, but you did it for her, Doctor Jekyll. When you are as old as I am, you will understand.” Poole assured him.

“Were you ever married?” Jekyll asked.

“No, I was not. I was to be, but the woman grew ill.” Poole admitted.

“I am sorry.”

“It was a long time ago. I miss her, but it is easier now.” Poole explained.

“Easier how?”

“What, are you suffering from some heartache I do not know about?” Poole laughed. Jekyll stayed silent. Poole smiled. “Well, you will be fine. You have Emma now, soon you will hardly remember the other lady.”

Jekyll wished he believed that in the slightest. Wished it was in the slightest bit true.

“Either way, we have arrived. Go and get the carriage and we ought to be off. Do you have the address?” Poole asked. Jekyll handed him the slip of paper he had written it on and walked into the small rental shop.

 

A few minutes later, he was settled in the back of the usual carriage he rented from that place. Poole was seated at the front, reigns in his hands. “Well, shall we go get your latest rescue out of trouble with his wife?”

“And me into trouble with her? Most certainly.” Jekyll agreed. The carriage lurched to life.

Jekyll sat and pet Zosi until they arrived at their destination. A small house on the corner of the street with a rather large yard for London.

It was a nice house, with brown wooden walls and purple curtains.

Poole pulled the door open and helped Jekyll out of the carriage. “Thank you.”

“No problem!” Poole said brightly.

Jekyll sighed and walked up to the door. Knocked.

“Dad?” The door was immediately pulled open by a bright eyed little boy. His face immediately fell when he saw Jekyll. “You are not dad…”

“No, I am not, but I know where he is. Could you go and get your mother?” Jekyll asked him.

“Mum?” Another young boy called. “Mum, there is someone here to see you! He says he knows where dad is!”

A young woman was brown hair and brown eyes rushed to the doorway. “Oliver, out of the way, sweet,” she prompted, and her son moved so she could get to the door. “Hello?” She asked.

“You are Samanthe Lewis?” Jekyll verified. She nodded.

“And you are?” She asked.

“Doctor Henry Jekyll, I am one of the co-founders of the Society For Arcane Sciences, and-"

“And you said you knew where Baxter is?” Samanthe interrupted.

“Yes. He is at the society.” Jekyll agreed. “He has been since early yesterday morning, although I am afraid I have been quite distracted and neglected to get here to inform you. My sincerest apologies.”

“Why is he there?” Samanthe asked.

“The police tried to arrest him for vivisection.” Jekyll replied.

“Vivisecti- the cat. Oh, god, I told him he did not have to try it!” Samanthe groaned. “So why is he at the society?”

“I convinced the sergant that it was not vivisection, and he decided your husband would not be arrested if he stayed within the society for one month.” Jekyll explained. “You can come see him, if you would like, I can bring you there right now.”

“Please do.” Samanthe agreed.”Baxter, Oliver, come on, we are going to go see your father.”

Jekyll led the family out to the carriage, scooped Zosi off the floor so that he did not get stepped on by children not watching where they put their feet.

“What kind of dog is that? And who are you?” The oldest boy asked.

“My name is Henry Jekyll, and this here is a church grim. His name is Zosi.” Jekyll replied. “He's friendly, you can pet him if you like.” He offered.

It was the youngest boy, Oliver, who leaned over and pet Zosi. The grim licked his hand. Oliver giggled.

“Where did you take my dad?” The oldest asked.

“Just somewhere he can work quietly for a while.” Jekyll said.

“He can work quietly at home!”

“Baxter,” his mother began, “your father was in trouble and this man helped him. Dad just has to stay at the society for a month, and then he can come home with us again.”

“Is this because of Ollie’s cat?” Baxter asked.

“Mittens? Did dad help Mittens?” Oliver asked.

“Your dad did everything he could to help Mittens. But I am afraid Frankenstein is just a story, Oliver.” Samanthe told him.

Jekyll knew it was not just a story, but kept his mouth shut.

“So he did not save Mittens?” Oliver asked.

“I am afraid not. But we do have a cat in the society with kittens.” Jekyll offered. “I am certain Griffin would let you pick one.”

Griffin was annoyed to have to find homes for all of Eira’s kittens. But really, if he had not wanted to have five kittens needing homes, he should have kept his female cat inside. He was a biologist, he must have known that would happen.

“A new kitten?” Oliver asked suspiciously.

“They have to stay with their mother for a little while longer, but after that you could take one home with you. If your mother and father agree.” Jekyll thought about it. “They should be alright to leave Eira about when your father can leave the society.”

Oliver looked over at his mother. “New kitten?” He asked hopefully, eyes wide and pleading.

“I suppose if your father is alright with it.” Samanthe agreed.

“Speaking of their father, we have arrived.”

 

---

 

“You are a stupid sonofabitch, Edward.” Hyde muttered to himself, running down an alley. There were footsteps pounding behind him, which was not a good sign. He wanted those much further back from him.   

He had not actually done anything wrong, but no one would believe that. He was Edward Hyde, and he had already gotten his grace from the police when Brokenshire had decided not to arrest him for the fight outside that bar. Nor let him keep talking because he probably would have ratted himself and Stephen out for fucking each other.

That was in the past now, anyways. Both the close arrest and the fucking. He was okay with it now.

(He definitely was not okay with it he was not even remotely okay with it.)

“Keep moving.” He muttered to himself, jumped up onto a dumpster, then a windowsill, then the roof of a small building.

There. They could try now, but the police would not catch him. Hyde could easily get himself somewhere safe and wait until the police decided it was not worth the effort to catch a man who had not done anything. The wall falling in was not remotely his fault, it was old and rotten and he was the one who the bartender had shoved into it! It was not like he had thrown someone into it! And the bartender had not had a reason to push him. All he had been doing was messing around. Not causing any harm.

“There he is!” Wipple shouted. “Edward Hyde, you get down from there or we add resisting arrest to your charges!”

“Up yours, Wipple!” Hyde stuck his tongue out and jumped onto the next roof.

“Hyde!” Sergeant Brokenshire shouted. “You are under arrest you get down here!”

“You have to catch me first!” Hyde taunted. “In the ‘shape’ you are in, good luck even getting up here!”

“I do not have to catch you, I know where your apartment is!” Brokenshire warned.

“And that is entrapment!” Hyde jumped over to the next roof. “Which if I am not mistake, is illegal. Besides! I did not do anything wrong!”

Brokenshire was following him, roof to roof. Hyde leapt over to the next and his foot slipped out from under him. He managed to get his hands on the shingles, but only for a few seconds.

“Gotcha!”

“I would not be so sure, sergeant.” A pair of hands grabbed onto both of Hyde’s arms and hauled him back up onto the roof. The voice was female. “We got business with him. You got a problem with that?”

“Next time you will not get so lucky, Hyde.” Brokenshire warned. Hyde only grinned and watched the police leave.

“So.To whom do I owe my-" He stopped as something was pulled over his eyes. “This is a little forwards, lady.” He complained, trying to pull it away.

“Queen Lucy has business with you. Shut up or you are gettin’ one over the head.”

Hyde shut his mouth. He may have been looking for Lucy, but he was not looking to piss off her or her followers.

Was jerked off of where he was sitting and could only swallow down vertigo as he was basically thrown over someone's shoulder and jumped across roofs.

 

“Edward Hyde.”

“Lucy Harris.” Hyde returned, pulled the blindfold off his face. “You really need a better way of getting people here.”

“If ya cannot handle, maybe I should send ya back the hard way.” Lucy retorted.

Hyde did not want to know how high up he was right now. The room- or whatever he was standing in- had a metal floor and heavy blue sheets up around it as walls. “No thanks. Do I get to leave by myself?”

“Not a chance.”

“Dammit.” Hyde sighed. “So. What did you want with me, Lucy?” He asked.

“I think the real question ‘ere, Mista Hyde, is what do ya want with me. Do ya think I did not know ya were tryin' to find me?” Lucy asked him.

She looked almost the same as she had when they were younger. More grown up, regal and a little bit frightening. Dressed in dark pinks and reds with a large hat and a feather. “I wanted to talk to you.”

“Why?”

“Because you left me alive.” Hyde replied.

“What do ya mean by that?” Lucy asked, narrowing her dark eyes.

“Every other person. The owner of the Red Rat. Your clients. The one in charge of the whores. Everyone who may have ever known your name before you were Queen Lucy is dead. Everyone, that is, except me. I am not complaining, I like being alive, but I want to know why.” Hyde said, crossing his arms.

“And ya did not think I had just not found ya yet?” Lucy asked. “Maybe that is what y’are here for.”

“Please.’ Hyde scoffed. “I am far from hard to find. If you wanted me dead I would be rotting in the ground by now.”

“Are ya not worried in the slightest?”

“You have never scared me.” Hyde said with a smile. “So. Tell me why you left me be.” He prompted.

“You were a kid!” Lucy replied. “You were barely seventeen when I met ya, I could hardly kill ya for being curious. Besides, I made ya talk to me.”

“So it was your conscience.” Hyde summed up.

“Call it that again and I will forget I have one  and throw you off the side of this place.”

Hyde grinned. “I told you, I am not afraid of you.” He said. “I am not afraid of anything.”

“That is a big change from the young boy who walked into the Red Rat shakin’.”

“I have changed a lot since I was seventeen. I am sure you have, too.” Hyde reasoned. “I doubt you ran a gang of thieves when you were seventeen. If I had to guess you did something like you did when I met you.”

“Touché.” Lucy agreed. “Anyways, I can call some people to get ya down now, yes, I am gonna make them blindfold ya again, y’are just gonna have to accept that.”

Hyde rolled his eyes. “All this secrecy from someone who you supposedly are not worried about.”

“The only people allowed to know this location are my elephants. Ya,” she motioned to Hyde, “do not fit qualifications to be an elephant.”

Hyde smiled. “Yeah, guess I am missing something to fit in with a gang of women.” He agreed. “Well, your highness, if that is all you wanted me for, you can get someone to help me out. If you ever want to talk though, I am more than happy to catch up. You probably know where I live.”

“Guilty. I did consider offing ya.” Lucy agreed. “Reena!”

Another young lady, not the one who had rescued him, walked into the room. Hyde got a glimpse behind the curtain.

He could see all of London from here. Great. Just how high up was he? “Get our guest out of here, please, Reena.”

“Of course.” She pulled the blindfold back over Hyde’s eyes, much to his displeasure, and hoisted him off the ground.

“See you some other time, Lucy.”

“Perhaps.” Was Lucy’s answer, and then Hyde was falling.

 

It took about half an hour before Reena set Hyde’s feet on the ground and pulled the blindfold down. “Oh, I see you brought me all the way home.” He realized.

“Brokenshire was still looking for you in Bethnal Green.” Reena explained. “I figured you would not want to get caught.”

Hyde grinned. “You guessed right.” He confirmed. “Well, thanks for the rather unpleasant ride, I will be off now.” He pulled the door open. “Fancy a drink?”

“No.” Reena said immediately.

“Well, your loss.” Hyde walked inside. “Goodnight!”

“Goodnight, Mister Hyde.” Reena agreed.

Hyde stepped inside, picked up the cat. Griffin’s cat had kittens and he was very tempted to bring one home. Griffin was dyinf to get rid of them.

It just depended on if Alhena would tolerate a kitten. He hoped she would, he would like to have another cat in the house. You could never have too many cats.

Alhena meowed. He put her on the ground and went to go pour himself a drink.

Chapter Text

“Doctor! I see you are back!” Lavender called. “Mister Tweedy’s family is here, his kids are playing with Eira’s kittens. Griffin is trying to convince Tweedy to take all of them.”

“Hyde may want one. He says he has a moody cat so he has to test her with them first, but he is a cat lover and has been in love with that little white kitten since he saw her.” Jekyll reminded them. “She looks a lot like Eira herself.”

“Griffin says she is blind.” Lavender remarked. “It is common in white cats with blue eyes.”

“Good, gives Stephen and Edward another reason to dote on her-" Jekyll stopped. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

“I forgot you had been away and did not know. Hyde and Stephen have not spoken in over a week.” Lavender explained. “Hyde will not say why, only that it was personal, but if he seems moody, that would be why.”

Jekyll’s mind flashed to his final falling out- if you could call it that- with Robert. “Yes, yes that would do it.” He agreed. “Does he seem okay? They have been together since I knew him when we were young!”

“You knew him when you were young, did you?” Lavender asked, eyes sparkling. Jekyll gulped. What rumour had he just helped fuel? They knew about Lanyon, surely they did not think- it was horrible. “Yes, back when Robert and I were still in university. He and I came to London around the same time.” Jekyll confirmed.

That probably had not helped the rumour. “Either way, do you think he is okay? He cannot be taking this easily.”

“If they are over and not just on the outs for a while, I do not think he has fully processed it yet. He is moody and downcast, but otherwise the same.” Lavender replied. “I dread to think how he had handled your meetings-"

“I will deal with the consequences of my absence, no matter what they are.” Jekyll assured her. “I knew most of London’s upper class would not appreciate his presence, it is my own fault for sending him.”

“If you say so.” Lavender agreed. “He is upstairs right now, if you wanted to talk to him. He may have the kitten with him, Griffin is trying to convince him she is old enough to take. Hyde know she is not though, do not worry.”

“Griffin wants to get rid of them because he knows if he lets them stay, he will fall in love with them.” Jekyll predicted.

“That may be true.” Lavender smiled. “Anyways, Missus C needs my help with something, I should be off.”

“I hope it goes well.” Jekyll headed to the stairs and walked up into his office.

Pulled the door open and heard a little mew. “Oh, you do have her up here!”

“Not just her. Eira is out hunting and Griffin has pawned them all off on me. So I swear I am trying to get my work done, but I am also kitten-sitting. Oliver and Baxter just left to visit their father.” Hyde explained, looking up from the papers. He had the little white kitten curled up on his lap, sleeping, and the four brown tabbies were playing on the floor.

Jekyll smiled, stepped into the office and shut the door. “Well, typically I would be annoyed if the work was not getting done, but I would say that a room full of kittens is a pretty good excuse not to fill out papers.” He decided, forgetting any dignity and sitting down on the ground nearby the squirming group of playing kittens. “So, another week or two and you bring that little one home? Have you named her yet?” Jekyll asked.

“I have to see if Alhena likes her first. She is a moody bitch and was there first.” Hyde said. “If she does not, I may talk Julia into keeping this one. I see Julia often enough.”

Jekyll had no idea who Julia was. “So, how have you been?” He asked.

Jekyll watched Hyde’s face sour. “You have been talking to either Rachel or Miss Lavender.” He realized.

“Miss Lavender.” Jekyll agreed. “She is concerned about you, it is not such a bad thing. As am I. You are on the outs with your partner of seventeen years and now there is this Julia involved-”

“I am fine.” Hyde said quickly. “It is all fine. And Julia is Stephen’s girlfriend. Who I have always known about. Do not ask it is a little complicated but she is also my best friend, not a girl I hate and a big secret affair like you seem to think. Julia is not the reason Stephen and I are ‘on the outs.’”

“Then why are you?”

“It is none of your business.” Hyde’s voice was suddenly sharp and defensive.

“Of course not.” Jekyll agreed. “But listen, I am not trying to insult you or pity you. No matter what the situation, I know it cannot be pleasant. If you need someone to talk to… let me know.”

Hyde nodded. “We will see.” He decided.

The kitten in his lap mewled. Hyde looked down and her and smiled, held his fingers out for her to sniff before petting the soft white fur on the top of her head. She took a few steps towards his knee, Hyde scooped her up and sat down on the ground with her in his arms before placing her gently on the floor.

“You really do like that kitten, hey?” Jekyll laughed. Hyde nodded.

“I really hope Alhena likes her.” He agreed.

The kitten nosed around the floor for a little bit before she climbed back onto Hyde’s lap and began purring.

“So are you sure you are okay?” Jekyll asked.

“I am not sure I am. But I do not know how to fix that either so we can just pretend I am.” Hyde decided.

“That is not a healthy coping mechanism.” Jekyll remarked.

“Nothing I do is healthy.” Hyde said softly.

“I really do think you should talk about it.”

“The last person who thought that I should talk about something and did not believe me when I said no was Robert Lanyon.” Hyde said stiffly. Jekyll froze. He knew exactly which instance Hyde meant. While he was staying with Robert and Henry, and that day had ended in him sobbing into Henry’s shoulder, having been forced to share long before he was ready to.

“I am so sorry…”

“No, it is fine, that was harsh. This is not as bad as that was. I just… do not know what to do anymore. He… he lied to my face about something he knew was important to me and even though he says he did it to protect me I… am not ready to forget it happened. I… I really thought I could trust him and I… I could not. And I keep worrying now that if he lied to me about that…”

“What else has he lied to you about.” Jekyll finished the statement for him. “Neither you nor I are particularly religious, I know that, but there is a lesson you could take that I got from church. Forgiving and forgetting are not the same thing. You can choose to forgive Stephen and still not have forgotten it happened, and still not trust him just yet. But you cannot fix anything by refusing to speak to him.”

Hyde sighed. Pet the cat in his lap some more. “Is it not up to him to come to me?”

“Has he apologized?” Jekyll asked.

“Yes.”

“Then no. If you have refused to forgive him that is your choice, but you now have to go and talk to him. He had done what he can. And it may be time to consider, Hyde… is this worth losing everything you have with him over? Because that is where you are headed if you do not decide to try and fix this. I know he wronged you and you feel like it is up to him to fix it, but that is not how a healthy relationship works.”

Jekyll was mildly concerned by Hyde’s green eyes going wide, as though he had not realized that this could be the end of his relationship with Stephen. “Y-you do not think… think that he…”

“It has been a week. He can understand if you have to take some time to calm down. But do not wait too long.” Jekyll advised. “People cannot wait forever. I would not wait more than another week.”

Hyde nodded. Looked downwards. Jekyll could not tell, but he thought a tear may have slipped down the blond’s cheek.

“Hey, I did not mean to upset you, Edward…” he said quickly. “You have done nothing wrong.”

“Oh, but I have…” Hyde said softly. “I… I said something really horrible to him no wonder he has not come to see me he should not want to see me…”

“So apologize. You are angry and hurt you are bound to say things you do not mean. All you can do now is apologize.”

Hyde sniffled and nodded.

“Now, I am afraid I have work to catch up on downstairs. If you need me, come and get me.” Jekyll said softly. “If you want to call him right now, you can use the phone in here it does not bother me.”

“Doctor Jekyll?”

“Yes Hyde?”

“Thanks.”

Jekyll sighed. “Make things right again, Hyde. I do not like to see you like this.”

 

---

 

“Eira was looking for her children.” Griffin placed the cat on the ground in the office. “I could just leave them here.”

“I do not think Zosi would like that.” Hyde remarked.

“When are you taking that one home? You have always got her with you, I am sure your other cat will get used to her.” Griffin prompted.

“Griffin, the kittens are not even weaned yet. When Tweedy leaves and his kids take one off your hands-"

“Or all the rest of them.”

“I will bring this one home and introduce her to Alhena.” Hyde promised. “For now, you have to deal with them.” Griffin sighed. Hyde smiled. “Oh, come on. They are kittens, how much can you really hate them?” He asked.

“That one you have with you gets herself into a world of trouble.” Griffin told him.

“Of course she does. She cannot see where she is going.” Hyde agreed. Handed the little blind kitten to Griffin. “Come on, bring them downstairs, I will help. My shift is over now anyways.”

Griffin nodded and scooped up Eira again, and one of the tabbies. Hyde grabbed the other three off the ground and carried them downstairs. “You could not ask for a better litter, at least, they are all very friendly.”

“But now I have to find homes for them all. The only one I could use in my work is yours there.” Griffin argued. “I can only turn things that are already without pigment invisible.”

“Well, I cannot say I am sad that there is only one three week old kitten you are looking at going “I could use you in my experiments", Mister Biochemist Vivisectionalist.” Hyde remarked, walking into Griffin’s lab and placing the kittens on the floor. “Have a nice evening, Griffin.”

He walked out without getting so much as a “same to you”, which was actually pretty normal from Griffin.

Walked off down the hall.

His conversation with his brother was sitting heavy in his head.

What was he willing to give up for this problem? He certainly was not prepared to give up Stephen, but was it too late for that?

Stephen had Julia. He did not have to wait forever on Hyde’s answer. He could move on, easily. Hyde knew he was not insignificant to Stephen, but he was not indespensible.

Besides. Julia had probably never accused Stephen of cheating on her just because of who he was. Now Hyde had.

Why had he said that? How could he have said that? In what world was that okay for him to suggest?

Who Stephen was did not make him unfaithful. Hyde of all people, the master of one-night stands and meaningless kisses, should have known that. Hyde of all people had no right to talk and Hyde of all people should have known that suggesting such a thing may have been unforgivable. Stephen had thick skin. But that accusation was not just filthy and unfair.

It was picking at an old fear of Stephen's. That Hyde would not understand. That Hyde would think that Stephen having two partners made him less important or that Stephen was just using this as an excuse to cheat.

If he had not thought that when he had first heard of Julia… why would he have said it now? How low could he sink how petty could he be?

He was unworthy, in the end, of even calling Stephen to talk. He did not deserve to get to talk to Stephen.

He walked in a daze out of the society, down the stairs and onto the street. He felt lost inside. He wanted to get home and collapse in bed and maybe cry for three hours. Or three days. He felt like he was made of broken glass. He felt like he could no longer fix this. He had gone too far, it was through. He could not take back the horrible things he had said.

He walked down the lonely street, which was not really lonely it was chock full of people but it felt lonely.

Unlocked the apartment. “Stephen?” He called, soft and tentative.

Only the cat, running against his ankles, answered him.

He tried to tell himself it had been worth the chance but knew it had not. Stephen would not just show up at home and solve all the problems.

Hyde picked the cat up off the ground and held her to his chest. Walked over to the bedroom and collapsed onto the bed. “What have I done…” He whispered, staring up at the ceiling with tears in his eyes. Alhena curled up on his chest, purring and kneading his arm. It hurt a fair bit, he needed to find a way to trim her claws but worried that she went outside too much for that to be fair.

Hyde scratched behind her eyes and then went back to staring at the ceiling. He wiped tears away from his eyes but they were replaced shortly after.

He had made such a mess of everything and truly did not believe that he could fix it. He had ruined everything and there was nothing he could say to Stephen to fix or even pretend to fix what he had done.

He should just never call. Leave Stephen happy with Julia and not make Stephen deal with him anymore. Do Stephen a favour and remove himself from the brunet's life. He was the worst thing in it anyways. His entire chest ached at the thought of losing Stephen, at the thought of giving him up, but this was not about him. This was about Stephen, not about himself. He could not be selfish, as much as it hurt Stephen was better off without him.

He closed his eyes. Tears slipped down his cheeks.

He knew that not calling, not ever going to talk, that was what he should do.

But he did not think he could. He did not think he could just force himself to never speak to Stephen again. He missed Stephen more than be could stay and even though the sting of betrayal had not gone away yet he did not want to be alone.

He really did want to talk. To stop being angry. To talk and to accept what had happened.

But did Stephen want to? Would Stephen want to make up for this? It was the second time in a few months that Hyde had accused Stephen of something like this just because Stephen loved both him and Julia. He doubted Stephen had forgotten that.

He sniffled. Held onto Alhena, who did not seem to mind much.

He had to call. He knew that. He was going to call even if he knew that he should leave Stephen alone to be happy without him he had to call. Because he was selfish and even though Stephen would be happier without him, he was far from happier without Stephen.

He slowly shooed Alhena off his chest. She curled up on the bed, which technically they had said that she should be on, but since Hyde brought her there all the time that rule had been given up.

Walked into the main room. Picked up the phone, dialled the operator and asked to be connected with Julia. He had to hope Stephen was there at the moment.

“Hello? Who is it?” Julia asked the moment she picked up the phone.

“It's… it's…”

“Edward, I know your voice.” She assured him. “Are you looking for Stephen?”

“Yes…” Hyde manager to choke out.

“I am afraid he is not here, he is at work. I can take a message for him, if you would like." Julia offered.

“I… could you…”

“I can tell him to call you back later if it is easier.” Julia offered.

“If he would like to…” Edward agreed. He heard Julia sigh from the other end.

“Of course he will want to.” She assured him. “Get some rest, Edward. Drink some water. I know it feels like a big deal now, but this is not the end of the world.” Julia assured him. “You have done the right thing by calling. Just make sure you are ready to talk when the time comes, okay?”

“O-okay…”

“Alright. I am going to go now, you go and get some sleep. You sound like you could use it.” Julia instructed.

“Okay…” Hyde agreed softly.

“Alright. Goodnight, Edward.”

“Goodnight.” He hung up the phone and prayed that Julia was right and he really had done the right thing.

Chapter Text

“Zosi, you leave that kitten alone!” Jekyll scolded, running after the grim and scooping him up off the ground. “Gwen will take a piece out of your nose if you scare her!”

Hyde picked the little white kitten off the ground. She meowed and curled up in his hands. “She would, too. Poor Zosi.”

“Well, no harm no foul. So are you taking Gwen home today?” Jekyll asked as he set Zosi back on the ground.

Hyde nodded. “She should stay with her litter a little longer, but since I have another cat at home she will be fine.” He agreed.

“And Alhena liked her?”

“Yes she did.” Hyde agreed. “So that is the test passed, Gwen can stay with me.”

“That is good news.” Jekyll was fairly sure Stephen had not been informed of the new cat.

He was fairly sure Stephen did not know a lot about Hyde’s situation. Jekyll had asked about him earlier in the week, and Hyde had told him that he had called Stephen the night of his and Jekyll’s last personal talk, and gotten Julia, who had promised to have Stephen call back.

And it had, at that point, been two weeks. Now it was three.

Jekyll would never admit it, because it was none of his business, but he was starting to be worried about his assistant and his assistant's partner working out this problem. Whatever Hyde had said to Stephen must have been bad. Bad enough that a month after it happened, Hyde’s partner still had not called him to talk. Stephen had always seemed like a reasonable guy. There had to be a reason he had not called to talk.

Whatever it was, it was affecting Hyde more than Hyde would admit.

“Doctor? Are you alright?” Hyde asked. “You seem distracted.”

“Oh, dearly sorry, Hyde. Just lost in thought. Anyways, I have to go and talk to Mister Tweedy before he leaves.” Jekyll decided.

“Alright, well, good luck. He is eager to get out of here.”

“You should not be talking. I have never seen you in the building even a minute after your shift ends.” Jekyll reminded him. Hyde laughed and walked upstairs with the little white kitten in his arms.

Jekyll smiled. Even if he was hurting and the whole society knew it, it was good to see that Hyde was still laughing and smiling. It would be concerning if that were to suddenly stop.

Well, Hyde was right. Tweedy would be out of the society and back to his home as soon as he could be. Jekyll should go and find him. He rushed down the hall to the lab that the galvantic engineer had been settled in for his month of residence within the society.

“Doctor Jekyll, you seem to be in a rush.” Tweedy called as Jekyll blew by him without even noticing. He had a suitcase in his hand.

“I was hoping to catch you before you left.” Jekyll admitted.

“Well, you managed that by about a minute. So. What did you want to talk to me about?” Tweedy asked. “And do be quick about it, Baxter and Oliver’s kittens are already in the carriage so I should hurry.”

Jekyll nodded. “I just wanted to ask you if you intended to return. Not permanently, of course. But to work.” He explained. “You do not have to, of course, but you are welcome to.”

Tweedy frowned. “I am not making a decision like that right now, Jekyll. I want to get home to my family.” He declared.

“Of course. I should let you do that. All the best to you, Mister Tweedy.” He held his hand out.

“And to you, Doctor Jekyll.” Tweedy shook his hand, then turned and left.

“You wish he had stayed.” Rachel said, walking up behind him.

“Of course I do, Rachel. He is a brilliant man and it is a shame to see that walk away. But he has a family at home waiting for him.” Jekyll agreed.

“You never know, Henry, he may be back.” Rachel pointed out. “He will need somewhere to work, I highly doubt he will want to be caught and accused of anything again. Besides. You will find another resident soon. You always do.”

Jekyll nodded. “I am certain it will not be long until someone else needs saving or wants to join.”

“Still a shame that he left. I know. Anyways, I have to go make lunch, and I believe you have an appointment.” Rachel decided.

“When do I ever not have an appointment?” Jekyll laughed. “I will see you later, Rachel.”

“Have fun, Henry!”

 

---

 

“It has been three weeks since he called.” Julia admonished. “Three weeks! For God’s sakes Stephen if you are not going to hear him out then tell him it is over, quit dragging him along like this!”

Stephen looked up at her. “I still do not know what to say to him, Jules.”

“I know he hurt you, but the silent treatment is not going to fix it.” Julia scolded. “And frankly this behaviour is making me sick. He called and wants to talk and apologize, the least you could do is tell him where you stand and stop ignoring him! I get it, Steph, he accused you of being unfaithful and you are hurt. But you have said a lot of stupid shit when you are angry that you have later taken back. To me and to him.”

“This is between him and I, Julia, why do you care so much?” Stephen asked.

Julia huffed. Men were so useless sometimes! So completely clueless and heartless towards each other. “Because you are my partner and he is my best friend and you are making the both of you miserable!” She replied. “This is selfish and cruel of you and I am not going to stand for it!”

“You making one of us talking does not work out, Julia. You should know that, considering it is what got us into this mess!” Stephen argued.

“Do not dare blame your problems on me!” Julia protested. “I was trying to help, and now I am telling you to man up and talk to him! You cannot ignore him forever, it is hardly fair of you.”

Stephen sighed. Covered his face in his hands. “I do not know if I can talk to him.”

“Why not?” Julia asked, sat down beside him. “Why can you not talk to him?”

“I know he should not trust me.”

“What did you do, anyways?” Julia asked.

“He asked me to go get a letter for him because he was not feeling well. It is a long story I would let him tell you the details, but I decided to see what it said-"

“Stephen!”

“I know, and I am not done.” Stephen sighed. “I not only read it, but I decided it was not something he should read in the state he was in. So I hid it. And not well.”

Julia groaned. “No wonder he is mad at you. Edward is touchy about his privacy.”

“I know.” Stephen agreed. “So he should not trust me. I am not upset that he feels he cannot trust me. I am upset-"

“About what he said to you about cheating.” Julia interrupted. “I know. Anyone would be upset about that.” She agreed. “But not talking to him is not going to solve the problem. It is just going to make things worse.” She reasoned. “Are you willing to let this split you two apart? Permanently?” She asked.

“No.” Stephen said instantly. “No, I am not going to throw away nearly seventeen years for an insult.” He decided.

“So then you know what you have to do.” Julia told him. “You have to go talk to him. He probably thinks you have already given up on him, so you need to go soon. Come and help me make supper, and then go and see him.” She suggested. “He will be home from work by then.”

Stephen sighed. “I suppose you are right.”

“I am a woman, Stephen. I am always right. You should be very used to that by now.” Julia told him.

Stephen laughed. “I suppose you have a point there, Julia.” He agreed, getting to his feet and pressing a kiss to her forehead. “Thank you.”

“No problem.” Julia told him. “Now get in here and help me cook.”

Stephen walked into the kitchen and pulled out some green beans to cook up while Julia cut up some chicken. “Are you sure he even still wants to talk to me?” He asked softly.

“I doubt he would have changed his mind on.it.” Julia said. “He loves you a lot, Stephen, and I am sure that he wants to see you still. He wants to fix this. And I have a good idea on why he may be so unwilling to trust this whole arrangement.”

Stephen looked at her, a confused expression on his face. “Besides him not trusting me?”

“He does want to trust you, Stephen.” Julia told him. “But he has that problem with his self esteem. I think he wants to believe you but feels as though it is impossible that you do mean it when you say that he means as much as anyone else.”

Stephen frowned. “So he does not believe me because-"

“He does not believe he is worth as much as you know he is.” Julia filled in.

Stephen looked downcast. “How do I fix that?”

Julia shrugged. “I only know what is wrong. I do not know how to fix it.” She admitted, sticking the chicken into the stove.

“If we cannot fix it, how do I convince him to trust me?” Stephen asked.

“I did not say you could not fix it. I just said I could not do it for you. That is between you and him.” Julia explained. “You are his partner, you are the only one that can work that out with him.”

“I suppose you are right.” Stephen agreed, pulling out a pan to fry the beans on. “Seventeen years and I have not managed to convince him.”

“I am sure he was convinced that he was important to you. Until five years ago when you met me.” Julia said. “And now, even though he knows that you have told him again and again that it is not the case, he thinks that he was less important and not good enough. Maybe.”

“Do you feel that way?”

“No. But his and my situation are different. Just talk to him, Stephen. This is a very easy thing to have a misconception about.” Julia said softly.

Stephen nodded. “I will.”

 

---

 

“Come on, Gwen, time to go home my sweet.” Hyde murmured, lifting the kitten off the desk and into his arms. She mewled and curled up in his arms, purring. He grinned.

Stephen would say that taking Gwen home was a rushed decision. But she needed a home, and at that a home that would look after her properly and take care of her needs. And Hyde was willing to look after her, and god, how could you not love her? She was a little angel! The only downfall was all his black clothes getting covered in white fur, and he could live with that.

And Alhena loved her, too. That was the incredible thing. Alhena hated all cats and almost all people and here she loved this little blind kitten.

Griffin looked at him as he walked down the stairs. “Are you taking her home with you? Finally?” He asked.

“Yes I am.” Hyde agreed. “So that is three of them off you hands now, right?”

“And Bryson’s friend Will Grye is taking another one.” Griffin said. “That leaves one.”

“You are not doing too badly with them, then.” Hyde remarked. “I am sure someone will want the last one, too.”

“Do you?”

“No, counting Gwen I have two already, and I got lucky in that Alhena does not hate her.” Hyde replied.

Griffin sighed and walked away. Hyde walked out through the doors, petting the top of Gwen’s head as he walked towards SoHo. The kitten purred and nuzzled against his chest.

He smiled down at her. She was such a sweet little thing. He loved her already.

He walked into his apartment. “Alhena!” He called, and she ran up to his feet. He carefully lowered Gwen onto floor in front of her. “Be nice, Alhena.”

Alhena licked the kitten's ears and looked up and Hyde, yowled. “You want supper, hmm?” He said fondly, reached down and patting her on the head.

He walked over to the fridge, pulled out the old chicken that he kept for the cats. Pulled off a few pieces for Alhena, put it in a bowl. Grabbed a few more pieces and mashed them up for Gwen.

Placed each bowl beside its respective cat and sat in between them. Thankfully, Alhena decided she wanted to go outside after she had eaten, and did not try and eat Gwen’s meal. So Hyde let her out the door and sat beside Gwen as she ate the chicken, petting her snowy fur as she did so.

Once she was done she nosed her way to his lap and hopped up, curled around and began to purr, blue eyes closed.

Hyde smiled and gently lifted her up, walked her into the living room and curled up on a plush chair before placing her back in his lap. He grabbed the book he had been reading, flipped it open.

He had had the book forever. Since he was eighteen. There was a message written on the inside cover from someone who had not spoken to him for a month.

He had read the book many times, over and over again. The spine was worn and cracked, pages folded down, corners busted. But he would not replace it, and he did not stop reading it. The research inside was old but not really outdated. It had been added to, but the book held up.

So, with Gwen purring on his lap, Hyde started the book over again. He still did not fully understand all that Darwin said, but the more he read it, the more sense it made. The first time he had read through the volume, it had been like an entirely different language to him. He had kept reading purely because it was in the field he had wanted to study, and that Stephen had given it to him and it felt rude to quit.

So he had forced his way through it, and then read it again and again until it started to make sense.

 

“We need to talk.”

When had Stephen gotten here? The book was still in Hyde’s lap, as was the cat. Hyde must have fallen asleep. “When did you get here? Have you been waiting long?” He asked, concerned.

“Not long. Listen, Edward, we really need to talk.” Stephen said again.

“Well, sit down, we can talk.” Hyde agreed. “I was starting to think you did not want to.” He admitted.

“I could not think of how to say this to you.” Stephen admitted.

That did not sound good. Hyde moved his hand down to absent-mindedly rub between Gwen’s ears, like a nervous tick. “O-okay… what do you have to say? Wait, I should say something first.” Hyde realized. “I should say a lot of things first.” He looked downcast towards the white cat in his lap. “I am so sorry, Stephen…” He said quietly. “I do not know what came over me, I did not mean what I said and-"

“Edward.” Stephen tried to interrupt but Hyde ignored him. He had to get this out he had to try and say this. He had to apologize!

“-I never should have said it it was terrible of me I am so sorry you did nothing to deserve that and-"

“Edward.” Stephen tried again to interrupt but Hyde was not done apologizing. He had to say all of it and he was rambling.

“-I know better than that I know you better than that I know you would never do that and I know it was a terrible thing to say but I-"

“Edward.” Stephen said again and this time Hyde let himself be stopped. Mid sentence.

“Yes Stephen?”

“You can stop now.” Stephen told him.

“You do not have to forgive me…” he said timidly.

Stephen frowned. “I did not stop you because I had forgiven you, Edward.”

Hyde’s heart plummeted. He felt sick. Stephen… oh god he was not going to… “W-what do you mean?”

“I stopped you because I came to the unfortunate conclusion that I am not going to forgive you.” Stephen said simply. “I am sorry but enough is enough. You can say anything you like about me until you start accusing me of being unfaithful just because you are angry.”

“What are you saying?” Hyde asked, tears burning his eyes.

It took a few moments for him to get a response.

“I am saying, Edward, that this is over.” Stephen said finally. His voice was choked up but final. “That this is the last straw. I will be back later to get my stuff and-"

Hyde did not heard another word. He burst into tears. Of all the things he had seen coming this was not it.

Stephen sighed. “This is for the best, Edward. You need someone you can trust, and I need someone who trusts me.” He explained. “I am sorry but I just… cannot live like this. If you cannot trust me-"

“So we are not worth fighting for.” Hyde said wretchedly. “We are worth just giving up on.”

“This is not a decision I came to easily, Edward.” Stephen said. “But it is my decision. Goodbye.”

Edward could not even try to stop him. He heard footsteps creak down the hall and the door open.

Closed his eyes, tears running down his cheeks.

 

A hand touched his shoulder and he jolted awake. Looked up to see a familiar face.

“Hello, I see we have a new cat. You and I need to talk, Edward.” Stephen said. “I know I have put it off for a while, but we do.”

“You-" Hyde froze when he realized it had all just been a dream.

Chapter Text

“Miss Carew?” Jekyll stepped outside.

“Henry, we need to move forward with this plan.” Emma cut him off, walking up and catching his arm in hers. “We have to stop all this-”

“You are telling me I have to ask you to marry me. You could just say so.” Jekyll said. “And do I not need a ring for that?”

“Yes you do, and I have one you can use in my pocket.” Emma passed it to him, good Lord she had everything planned out, it was almost scary. He dropped the ring in his pocket.

Then she laughed. “And oh, Henry, I wish it were that all you had to do, my dear!” She cried. “No, you have to do something far, far scarier than just ask me to marry you. That is easy!”

Jekyll froze. “Oh good lord.” He burst out. “I have to ask you father if I can marry you. That is it! I am going to die this is the end of this whole plan.”

Emma shook her head. “No, that is where we have one small piece of security. See, back when my mother died, my father got very protective of me. Treated me a lot like a child. But I made him, and mother made him, promise that whoever I would marry would be up to me. Not my father, not any man. So if I go with you when you ask, and tell him that I do, in fact, want to marry you, he will have no choice but to agree to it. No matter how much he hates you.”

Jekyll frowned. “So why did you say it would be scary for me to try and ask, if you have a guaranteed way to ensure he says yes?” Jekyll asked.

Emma laughed again, blue eyes bright and smiling. “Do you think that having me there is going to stop him from yelling at you and trying to kill you before I step in?”

Jekyll sighed. “I suppose it probably will not,” He agreed. “Your father does like to get mad at me.”

“He has no greater pleasure in this world since he stopped being able to control me and my mother died.” Emma agreed. Laughed a little. “He may not have hated you so much but there is the whole thing with your assistant as well.”

“Your father does not know half of the rumours and gossip to do with my assistant. If he did he would be after more than just getting rid of him. You will know the rumours, when you join the society. I dread to think, but the lodgers do love their gossip.” Jekyll shuddered.

“So it has to do with you, as well, if you are upset about it. Let me guess. Your lodgers think you are fucking.”

“Not so loud!” Jekyll hissed. “And yes, they do. Because of a stupid prank Hyde pulled on someone back at Christmas when I was out of the country.”

Emma shrugged. “I have to say, it is refreshing not to be told my language is unbecoming of a lady and just told to quiet down.”

“You have never heard Miss Ito when she is angry about a botched potion. Nothing you could say is as bad as that.” Henry assured her. Emma laughed.

“Well, come along, Henry. We ought not to waste time, we have business to get to.” She prompted.

“I suppose you are right. Shall we go find your father?”

“We shall.”

Jekyll let Emma lead the way. He was in no way prepared to do this, but if Emma thought it was time to do it, she was probably right. She was a very bright young woman. And this was her plan.

“Emma, there you are!” Sir Danvers called. “And you brought Doctor Jekyll with you, I see.” His face soured immediately. Jekyll bit his lip. Stopped almost immediately and berated himself internally for the nervous tick.

“Father dear, Henry has something to ask of you.” Emma said sweetly. Clung to the doctor’s shoulders, cheek rested against one, and all around made him very uncomfortable but it was an act and he would have to deal with it.

“Do you now.” Sir Danvers glared at him. Jekyll stood for a solid minute before he realized that Sir Danvers Carew had addressed him and remembered what he had to say.

“Yes! Yes, I have a favour of utmost importance to ask of you.” Jekyll agreed.

Sir Danvers scoffed. “And what makes you think I will be doing you any favours, Doctor Jekyll? You have refused every offer I have made you, I offered you mercy! Now we are through.”

“I wish to ask for Emma’s hand in marriage.” Jekyll said quickly.

Watched Sir Danvers’ face morph through seven different expressions before settling on contempt. “No.” He replied with a sneer. “Emma will be marrying someone deserving of her, not a sorry excuse for a scientist with a penchant for taking in street rats.” He decided. “Now that that is settled, I believe you ought to leave. And leave Emma be.”

“Sir Danvers, I refuse to take no for an answer.” Jekyll continued. Glanced at Emma, still leaned on his shoulder. She smiled but did not speak. Not yet.

“Well that is not really an option now, is it, Doctor Jekyll? My answer is no, now leave!” Sir Danvers spat. “You cannot disobey my every wish and then ask to marry my daughter!”

“Father.” Emma said quickly. “Do you remember the promise you made mother before she died?” She asked.

“Not off the top of my head, and what does it matter?” Sir Danvers demanded.

Emma smiled. “She made you promise that my marriage would be my choice. Not yours.” She supplied. “I wish to marry Henry Jekyll. Give him your blessing, you do nothing right now but make yourself a liar.”

The look of betrayal on Danvers’ face almost made Jekyll want to feel bad for him. “Him?” He demanded.

“Yes.” Emma agreed.”I am a woman of twenty-nine, I have met my share of men and have only found one I wish to we'd, and I am getting old not to be wedded, you should be happy that I have found someone.”  She told him.

“But- but him? Henry Jekyll?” Sir Danvers asked. Jekyll fought the urge to remind the politician that he was standing right there.

“Yes.” Emma said simply. “This man standing before you is the one I wish to spend my life with. Now give him your blessing. Keep your promise. You would not make it so that you lied to my dear mother, would you?” She asked.

Jekyll decided right then and there never to get on Emma’s bad side. She was scary good with words, she would probably have him spilling every secret he had within ten minutes.

Sir Danvers stammered for a few moments, trying to find a way around this. Jekyll was not really insulted, no more than he normally was around this man. Sir Danvers hated him. Of course he would do everything in his power to keep Jekyll from marrying his daughter.

“Father…”

Sir Danvers grit his teeth. “Fine. You have my blessing, even if you have to force it from me. Do not for a second, Doctor Jekyll, believe that this changes anything.”

“Of course not.” Jekyll agreed pleasantly. “Well, shall we go then, Emma?”

She nodded. “I will see you later, father.”

“Have a nice evening, Sir Danvers.”

“Not so fast, you two.” Sir Danvers said. Jekyll froze. “Are you not going to announce your little engagement? And do you not have to ask Emma, too?”

What did he think he had them with? “Of course!” Emma agreed. “How about you come with us to announce it then, then, father? Since you agreed to it.” She suggested in a very sweet voice that anyone could tell was fake.

Sir Danvers was still waiting for something. Jekyll had actually never seen himself doing it in his life, but he fished the ring Emma had given him earlier from his pocket. “Well Emma? You heard the man!” He laughed, a little nervously, took her hands.

“You did ask me earlier, of course, how hard can it be for you to repeat it?” Emma asked.

“You asked her first?”

“Why should her marriage be solely up to you?” Jekyll asked.

Sir Danvers sniffed. “Well then give her the ring and let us go. I want to spend as little time on this tonight as possible.”

“So preparations begin in the morn then!” Emma said brightly. Jekyll put the ring on her finger, she pressed a kiss to his lips, muttering an apology immediately after. He shook his head. No sense in being sorry, from this point on they had to be the perfect picture of a couple.

At least Emma was a good actress, she was proving it tonight. She leaned against his side. “Relax a little, Henry, you are stiff as a board!” She paused. “This is life in public now, and you had best get used to it.”

“Of course.” He pulled an arm around her waist and walked off to follow Sir Danvers.

 

---

 

“So, what is this one’s name? Sirius? Polaris? Those are stars like Alhena, right?” Stephen asked.

“They are, but this one’s name is Gwen.” Hyde agreed, voice wary. The dream was very fresh in his mind, and he did not like this stalling. “She is blind.” He continued.

“Gwen.” Stephen repeated. Held his hand out to the cat, who leaned forward and sniffed his fingers before rubbing her cheeks along them. “Well, she is much friendlier than Alhena, I will give you that.”

He looked up at the little blond. “You can relax, Edward, I am just hear to talk with you.”

Hyde did not answer. “Or is that what you are afraid of? Another fight?” Stephen asked.

“A little…”

“Then what is it?”

“Just a bad dream… You are here to talk?” Hyde checked.

“Yes.” Stephen agreed. “I do not know what you think, but a letter and an angry insult is not worth throwing everything we have away.” He decided. “But we do need to talk.”

“So we can fix things?” Hyde asked tentatively. He was still scared that this would turn out like his dream. That he would start to apologize and Stephen would refuse to hear him out. That this would end just like it had in his dream. That this would end with him alone and shattered again.

“If you want to fix things, I do too.” Stephen promised.

Hyde sniffled. “Are you alright?” Stephen asked.

“Y-yes… just… just a really bad dream…” he repeated.

“About this.” Stephen realized. “This is not your dream, Edward, you do not have to be afraid. I am not here to hurt you. I want to fix this too. We need to talk, and things can go back to normal.”

He sniffled again, wiped his eyes. “Come and sit with me, bring Gwen, and we can talk.” Stephen helped the little blond out of his seat and walked him into the bedroom. Sat the both of them down. Hyde settled the little white cat in his lap.

“I am sorry…” Hyde mumbled, staring at the ground, tears welled in his eyes. “I am so, so sorry I did not mean it… I never should have said it I do

“I have to talk to you about that.” Stephen admitted. “It can wait until we sort out everything else, but I need to talk to you about that in particular. Clarify some things.”

Hyde nodded. He knew better than to argue, even if he really did know what Stephen would tell him.

He just could not bring himself to really believe it. Even if he knew that he did the same thing. Somehow it felt different. Which was selfish and unfair but of course Stephen was no less important. How could Stephen be less important?

Hyde himself was another matter. He was frankly amazed Stephen had found him worth anything in the first place.

God, he was not in a good state right now.

“So. I have tried to talk to you but clearly you have something on your mind. So you tell me what happened and what you need me to do.” Stephen suggested. “I know you are hurt and I know you want to fix it, I need to know how I can do that.”

“Y-you do not have to fix anything…” Hyde sniffled again.

“I hurt you.” Stephen said. “I do have to fix that.”

“You already apologized. And I know you will not do it again.” Hyde murmured. “It hurt but…”

“Tell me. You are hurt and I want you to tell me what is wrong. I am sorry does not fix this.” Stephen insisted. “Silence is just going to make things worse for both of us and neither of us want that, do we?” He asked.

“I just…” Hyde sniffled. “I really did trust you. I never thought you would lie to me, and now… now I do not know.” He buried his face in his hands. Gwen mewed and nosed at his hands. “And I want to trust you but…”

“It is fine.” Stephen told him. “I lied to you. Quit beating yourself up because I broke your trust.”

“I want to trust you…”

“I will work and earn you trust back. You do not have to trust me right now. This is not going to help us fix this. You will continue to sit here and be hurt and try and force yourself to trust me and it will just get worse.” Stephen said.

Hyde curled further into himself, Gwen mewed and snuggled up closer to him. He pet the top of her head, felt her purring against his chest.

Stephen reached over and gently pulled him into a hug. “I owe you another apology.” He murmured into the blond’s hair.

“You do not owe me anything…” Hyde whispered, sniffled again.

“Yes I do, my love. You called me to talk three weeks ago. And I left you here, all by yourself, without a word from me.”

“I figured you did not want to see me.” Hyde’s voice was soft and muffled against Stephen’s shirt, but Stephen still heard.

“I wanted to see you.” He said. “I just did not know what to say to you.” He explained. “It was actually Julia who figured out the best guess of what is going on.”

Hyde swallowed. “This… is what you wanted to talk about.” He realized.

“You are not in trouble, Edward. I just want to talk to you about something.” Stephen promised.

“If I am not in trouble why do you keep using my full name?”

“Because this is serious. You are just not in trouble.”  Stephen replied. “Edward, you are worrying me. I know you say you understand the whole situation with Julia and I, but the fact-”

“I told you. I did not mean what I said I do not know why I said it…” Hyde interrupted.

“I know you have told me that, but I want to address why it keeps coming up. It continues to come up when you are upset, and I do not believe it is by fluke.”

“What are you saying? What are you accusing me of?” Hyde asked, green eyes wide with fear.

“Nothing. I know you know everything I can tell you. I just also know that you do not really believe it.”

Hyde refused to look up at him. He stared down at the white cat purring in his lap.

“I am not mad at you.” Stephen said. “It is something you have dealt with for years and I really should have known you would feel that way.”

“What do you mean?” Hyde asked.

“You have always been a little insecure, and I should have known this would make it worse. It is something we should have addressed from the start, not just assumed that all was well. And I do not have an instant cure for it, but it is something we are going to deal with now.” Stephen decided. “No more pretending you are okay. None.”

Hyde nodded. He knew he could not keep pretending to be okay, but most of the time, he was not even aware that he was pretending. It just felt normal by now.

“I love you.” Stephen mumbled. “Now just relax. You are stressed out and upset and you have a right to be, but just relax now.”

Hyde nodded and closed his eyes, leaned up against Stephen’s chest. “I love you too. I missed you.”

“You sound like you need a drink.”

“Only if we have anything in the house. I do not want to go anywhere tonight.” Hyde decided.

“Well, shall we go check?” Stephen suggested, scooping the blond and his cat off the bed and carrying them to the kitchen, pausing by the door to let Alhena inside. “So what have you been up to?”

“I got a cat.” Hyde replied.

“I saw that.”

“Oh, I got kidnapped by the Forty Elephants.” Hyde remembered.

“You what?” Stephen asked, eyes wide. “And you are alive?”

“I knew Queen Lucy before she was the queen of the Forty Elephants. I had been trying to find her for a while, I guess she knew that and decided to find me. She threatened to throw me off a pretty high building a few times, but otherwise she was okay.” Hyde explained. Stephen sat him down on the counter and gave him a kiss.

“I missed you a lot.”

“You know,” Hyde said with a wicked smile, “we could skip the drink. Get straight to some… other activity than drinking.” He suggested.

Stephen laughed and gave him another kiss. “Why settle for one, when you can have both? We have stuff in the cabinet, and neither of us are going anywhere.”

“Yes, both is good.” Hyde agreed.

Chapter Text

“Hello Doctor Jekyll lovely to see you just heading upstairs- oh hello Miss Carew I did not see you there!”

“Hyde, you are late!” Jekyll called, narrowing his eyes. Beside him, Emma laughed as his assistant nearly fell getting to the stairs.

“I am always late or early I do not know why you are surprised!” Hyde replied, glaring at the stairs. “This was a mistake.”

“Go back outside and get up there without hurting yourself, Hyde.”

The moment he was given permission, Hyde walked back out the door.

Emma turned to Jekyll. “You have a very interesting assistant, Henry.”

“I know. I wonder if it did not run in the family.” Jekyll shuddered. “I met his parents, but sometimes I dread to think what his family must have been like for him to turn out like that.”

Emma tutted, shaking her head. “Oh, Henry, you are being rude.” She ruined her scolding by immediately dissolving into giggles.

“Are you two finally going to finalize your wedding plans?” Rachel interrupted, walking up behind them. “I am getting sick of these last-minute cancellations. I had already gotten the food last time!”

“My apologies, Rachel. I swear, this will be the last time it gets postponed.” Jekyll assured her.

“That is good, it is already a year from when you first planned it.” Rachel reminded him.

“And a year and four months since I proposed. Believe me, Rachel, I know. I hear it from my future father-in-law every time he sees me.” He sighed.

“I really wish that was not true but it is.” Emma remarked. “Father really refuses to drop the subject. Even though it was my fault the wedding was postponed one of the two times it has been, he still tries to find a way to blame you.”

“That he does. Anyways, Rachel, thank you for your patience on the matter, you have been wonderful, and fear not, there is no way my father can end up bedridden and needing me in Scotland a week before I am supposed to be married twice in a row.” Jekyll assured her.

“My family is all pretty old I am not making any promises about no one else dying.” Emma said with Rachel looked at her.

“It would not be so bad if it did not always have to be pushed back by several months!” Rachel said. “Nothing I had bought kept a month, never mind until November!”

“Did no one ever write you a check for the expenses? I could have sworn someone had.”

“Sir Danvers made some sort of excuse.” Rachel replied.

“Shit. Come upstairs, I will get you a check.” Jekyll offered.

Rachel and Emma both shot him a look. Rachel glanced around the room to ensure it was empty and then opened her mouth. “Do you really have the money to do that? You have been pouring every penny but for living expenses into this place.”

“No, I absolutely do not but someone has to do it. That cannot fall on your shoulders.”

“Forget it, Henry. I can handle it, you cannot. “Are you sure, it is really no trouble-"

“But for the fact that you have a completely balanced budget and if you try and write me a check you will be paying your rent out of the society’s funds. Which incidentally are in as bad a financial state as you.” Rachel filled in.

“The exhibition will help with that. Do you want to be paid back?”

“After the exhibition when everything you have does not go into this place and a wedding.” Rachel decided.

“Thank you.”

Any other lodger would have gotten lied to. ‘The society is fine and so am I, here let me write you a check,’ but Rachel was no fool, and no ordinary lodger. She, Hyde, Emma and Robert were the only ones who knew of his troubling situation. Rachel because she was his best friend, Hyde because he filled out half the financial paperwork for the society, Emma because she was Emma and Robert because he was the cofounder and Jekyll’s friend. No one else needed to know.

Rachel ran off.

“How much longer are you going to run this place on a shoestring budget?” Emma asked softly.

“Shh… the lodgers do not know. We can talk in my office.”

“Do you honestly believe they do not know what the exhibition is for?” Emma asked.

“A man can hope.” Jekyll said dryly.

Took a step forwards and heard a yowl from the ceiling. Looked up and saw a little brown tabby in the rafters. “Great. Mister Archer?”

Archer froze. “Yes?”

“Could you tell Doctor Maijabi his cat is stuck in the ceiling again?” Jekyll asked.

“Maijabi sure got the rascal in that litter. Hyde tells me Gwen has never given him a lick of trouble.”

“Gwen is a very well behaved cat, Hyde will not admit it but he trained her that way when he kept getting her to sit on his lap. Besides, Alhena causes all the trouble his house needs.” Jekyll remarked.

“Alhena and Hyde himself.” Archer reasoned.

“I should defend my employee. But I am not going to because you are right.” Jekyll decided with a smile.

Archer smirked. “Well, have a nice day, Doctor Jekyll, and you too, Miss Carew. Say, when is that going to be Missus Jekyll? You two have waited an awful long time, one might think you do not actually want to be wedded!”

“Life gets in the way, Archer. You will understand that when you have a life.” Mister Bird stepped in, to Jekyll’s defense. “Besides, they already said it would be in November. You simply never listen.”

Archer frowned. Mister Bird just laughed.

“Anyways, you two, Emma and I must be off. Have a pleasant afternoon.”

“You too, Doctor, and Miss Carew.”

Jekyll walked off upstairs. Opened the door to his office just to remember Hyde was working there. “You can take a break downstairs if you would like.”

Hyde looked up. “If you say so!” He grinned and climbed out the window. That never got less strange to watch.

“So he really cannot walk down a set of stairs.”

“I do not think his ankle ever healed as well as he or the doctor pretended. It does not hurt him to try, but it is slow and he almost always nearly falls.” Jekyll replied. “Trust me, he claims he finds that easier. I have learned to stop arguing with that man, I am not going to win.”

Emma just laughed and shook her head. “So. Can you even make it until November.” Emma asked seriously.

“If my parents do not need any more money, the exhibition does what it needs to, and Lanyon manages to get more money from his father, we will be laughing. The more of those do not work out, the worse I am off.” Jekyll replied. “If I have to, I can lay off Hyde and stop taking more lodgers in, but neither of those are options I particularly like.”

“You would love to get rid of Hyde, you are just too stubborn to give in to my father and Lanyon.”

“I-"

“He is unreliable, foul-mouthed and constantly in trouble. Do me the courtesy of not lying to me. Why not just fire him next time he does something stupid? You have proved your point, he has worked here for over two years.”

“We will see.” Jekyll decided. “I would feel a little bad doing it, though.”

“He is never going to learn a lesson with you coddling him.” Emma warned. “He is a grown man, he should take his job seriously or expect not to have one.”

“He is thirty-five years old, me firing him is not going to change him.” Jekyll said with a sigh. “It will just end with him unemployed, possibly forever.”

“You and your soft heart are at it again. Just remember, you do not have much to lose on him before you are in trouble.” Emma said.

“I am well aware.” Jekyll agreed. “So. How is it going with that woman you mentioned last time?”

Emma laughed. “I have not even managed to talk to her, so not well. I have faith though, it will work out someday.” She decided.

“I hope that day is soon.” Jekyll said with a smile.

“And what about you? You and that Robert Lanyon are as close as ever, why not try and light up that old spark? You know he is not married to Anne for any romantic reason. She was just in Paris visiting her lover, Joséphine.” Emma suggested.

“If things had just faded away and we had simply drifted apart, I would. But trust me, I blew that chance in university.” Jekyll explained. “We parted on bad terms, and it was my fault.”

“Then why is he still your friend?”

“I think he felt bad for me. I did not know a lot of people in London, and did not make friends quickly after we split.” Jekyll replied.

“Well, Henry, regardless of all that, there is no harm in trying!”

 

---

 

“So let me get this straight, Lucy. You want me to deliver a letter for you. You will not tell me who it is for or what it says, just that it is important and where to drop it off.” Hyde reiterated.

“Yes. It is in your area, anyways.”

“Soho is a big area! And why can one of your elephants not do it for you?” Hyde asked.

“They are too conspicuous.” Lucy replied. “Listen, Mista Hyde, I never said nothin' was in it for ya.” She reasoned.

“What is in it for me?” Hyde asked. “You may not have killed me, but that does not make us pals.”

“I can pay ya for it, if you like.” Lucy offered. “Or ya can hold a favour from me.”

“A favour.” Hyde repeated.

“Nothin' too big, I am not gonna kill somebody for ya, but if there is somethin’ ya need that ya cannot afford, or somethin’ ya need doin', ya got the Forty Elephants behind ya.”

“That one.” Hyde had no idea what favour he would cash in from Lucy, but he would think of something. It could not hurt to have a favour owed from a gang of thieves. Hyde did not have a lot of problems he could not deal with on his own just yet, but that could change in an instant.

He liked to think he could become a threat to more people in an instant, at least.

“So do we have a deal, Mista Hyde?” Lucy asked, holding out her gloved hand.

“That we do.” Hyde agreed. “And drop the Mister.”

She smiled and handed him the letter. “Address is on there.”

“Do I have to let one of your elephants help me down again or can we be passed that.” Hyde asked.

“Nope, ya still do not get to know where this is. But maybe next time I will meetcha on ya own terf, Hyde.” Lucy offered. “Mags, get him back on the ground.”

A woman with red hair nodded and walked up to Hyde. “You know the deal.” She prompted.

“Yeah, yeah.”

The blindfold was pulled on, he was lifted off the ground, and then he was falling.

 

“Bethnal Green okay?” Mags asked, placing the blond on his feet. Hyde nodded, pulling off the blindfold and handing it to her, blinking to get used to being able to see again.

“Thank you, and have a nice evening, Miss Mags.” He agreed with a smile. No sense in being rude to an elephant, he might end up dead. He did not like that idea. He rather liked living.

“You too.” She hopped up onto a rooftop and disappeared.

Hyde smiled and headed towards a bar. Stephen was out with Julia, who was coming to visit tomorrow, and the night was young.

Actually, it was close to two in the morning. But who was actually paying attention? He certainly was not.

“Absinthe, bartender.” He said, waltzing up to the counter with a grin on his face.

“Pay me first.” The bartender replied. Hyde dug in his pocket and threw the man a few coins. Moments later, there was a glass in front of him.

He took a swig and leaned back against the counter. Let out a soft sigh. It was nice to be able to relax for a change. Jekyll was busy with his third try planning his wedding, which Hyde would not admit that he was actually sad not to be invited to. Sure, Edward Hyde had no reason to be there, but the lodgers were invited and Hyde felt like missing his brother’s wedding was a big deal. It had honestly been something he imagined himself at, and having a big part of, actually. Assuming his brother had ever straightened out enough to marry a woman.

But he had blown his chance of that when he had thrown himself out a window. Now he had to live with that decision. Edward Hyde was Henry’s office assistant that all the lodgers still thought he was sleeping with, despite knowing Stephen and Emma. Not Henry’s twin brother.

Either way, Jekyll was busy planning that and not giving too many tasks in the office. Hyde suspected it was mainly because he did not want his assistant to know the financial hole the society and Henry Jekyll were digging, so despite his wedding and the exhibition coming up, Jekyll was doing more and more of the office work.

Took another sip. Everything lately had been very calm. He and Stephen had been getting on better than ever since figuring out what the problem in their relationship was, so there had been no more blow up fights, all was well. Very well and very quiet and despite normally finding quiet boring, he could not be happier for it now. He needed just a little bit of peace and domesticity once in a while. As much as it felt like an old person thing, lately he and Stephen had spent a bit more time at home, and there was something to be said about just sitting with Stephen, holding onto each other with the cats sleeping beside them. Well, Alhena beside them. Gwen normally slept on Hyde’s lap.

But if anyone asked him, no hesitation he would say that sounded boring. He had a reputation to uphold! The Spirit of London at Night could not be fond of cuddling and falling asleep in his partner’s arms with a cat purring on his lap.

Took another sip of his drink, closed his eyes for longer than he should have.

Pried them open when something strange caught his attention. There was something going on, he could just see it through the window.

Something was pounding outside. “What the fuck…” Hyde set his drink down and looked out the window.

Down the street, there was a lot of light running towards a black shape on the road. “What the hell are they…” He breathed.

Hyde stepped out the door and climbed onto the roof for a better view. Hopped down the way a bit to be closer to the lights.

It was a mass of people. Short, tall, skinny, fat, old and young, weilding torches and pitchforks and anything else that was sharp that the people of Bethnal Green could get ahold of.

And pelting down the middle of the road in front of them, was a flurry shape. Hyde had to scurry down the slant of a roof to get a proper look at it.

It was a wolf. A giant, brown wolf, running down the street. But the thing was, no actual wolf got that big. Or would end up this far into London.

So it had to be a werewolf. And if Hyde did not act fast the people of Bethnal Green would skin it alive and eat it for breakfast.

Hyde jumped down off the roof and ran into the building he had just been standing on. “I need to use your telephone!” He shouted to the man at the counter, who simply pointed to the corner near the window. Hyde snatched up the phone and called the operator.

“Connect me to Doctor Henry Jekyll please, it is urgent.”

A few moments later, his brother was on the end of the line. “Hello, you have reached Doctor Henry-"

“Get your sparkly carriage and get your arse down to Bethnal Green, now.” Hyde instructed.

“Hyde, why the hell are you calling me it is two in the morning! Are you drunk?”” Jekyll asked.

“No! There is a mob chasing a werewolf through the streets of Bethnal Green, but if you do not care I can let them skin the beast…” He glanced out the window. “They are not the most original angry mob. Or the most logical. Seriously, who owns a pitchfork in the middle of Bethnal Green?”

“Pitchfork, did you say?”

“Yes, pitchforks! Oh, that one has knitting needles! Now that is innovation!” Hyde laughed, watching an old grandmother type run down the road with knitting needles in her hands. “My, this is fun!” He laughed. “I have to admire the response time here. I did not even notice something was wrong before the mob was here! No one fucks with London’s East End!”

“Can you stall them at all until I get there?” Jekyll asked.

“Me?” Hyde laughed. “You must be daft. I have no authority around here, be thankful I called you!” He paused. “Oh, shit. You had best hurry, London’s finest are about to make their appearance. I had better scram, Brokenshire is still mad at me! I will be around!” Hyde declared.

He was not going to leave Bethnal Green, he wanted to watch his brother at work saving the werewolf. “Hyde!”

“See you later! Good luck!” Hyde dropped the phone onto the receiver and ran out the door and up onto the roof.

Chapter Text

“Thank you again for being okay with the midnight wake up call. And short notice.” Jekyll said thankfully to the man at the rental station.

“We keep someone here because you end up here at all hours of the night and we can charge you through the nose for it.” The employee told him.

“Ah.” For what he had just paid for the rental, that did not surprise him. There was no way the carriage was worth what he had just paid to use it. “Well, have a good night.”

“You too, Doctor Jekyll.”

In a financial bind, and you come and blow most of your rent on this. A voice sneered in his ear.

“Oh, leave me be!” Jekyll whispered. Walked out to where Poole was waiting for him.

“Thank you, Mister Poole, truly sorry to wake you so early in the morning.” Jekyll said softly, walking up to the man.

“I am used to it by now, Doctor. Get in, we ought to go and save your new child.” Poole encouraged.

Jekyll smiled and climbed into the carriage, and called Zosi inside. The grim curled up at his feet. The door was shut behind him, and he took a seat.

Honestly, this is pathetic. This whole show of power and glam, and here you are going to end up bankrupt because if it. You will not look powerful or glamorous begging for money on the corner of a street! Have you ever considered prostitution? It may be your only-

“Shut up!” Jekyll snapped. The illusion appeared in the glass of the window, and Jekyll closed the curtains.

You can hide all you would like. I know you can hear me. How can you afford another lodger?

“Robert can talk with his father.” Jekyll said confidently.

He would have an easier time squeezing water from a stone than getting money for your society from his father. The illusion predicted. You are doomed! Quit while you are ahead, Henry, dear, did I not tell you this would never turn out? And you did not believe me!

“This will work out. We only have to make it to the exhibition, and if that fails, the wedding.” Jekyll assured himself.

Are you so sure about that? Sir Danvers might have to give you some money, but he does not have to bail his son-in-law out of bankruptcy!

“The exhibition will work.” Jekyll insisted. “The lodgers have been working on their displays for ages, Griffin has figured out what to do with his experiments to not look like a bad guy guilty of vivisection, all will go well.”

Who are you trying to convince, Henry? Me or yourself? The illusion asked. Jekyll groaned.

“I do not know. All of this has to go well. For your sake! You should understand that! No matter how many times I say he made his choices, I have to have this place for Edward! I want him to see it and be here with me someday!”

Perhaps he already has. Perhaps he is one of your lodgers and you do not even know.

“The only ones in fields he was remotely interested in are Bird, Archer, Lavender and Cantilupe. I do not think he could disguise himself as a woman that well, he is from Scotland, not the Philippines like Archer, and he is too young to be Bird. Also, I do not believe he would lie to my face about who he is every day.” Jekyll pointed out.

Just the fact that you did not have to think about that tells me you have suspected him of the same thing before.

“How do you think you got the idea to taunt me about it.”

The silence was enough to make Jekyll smile, just a little bit.

Until he heard the ruckus outside the carriage.

“Look! I do not know what you are, or how you got this way, but if you think some sparkly magic trick is going to get you out of this, then I got bad news for you! Jenkins, Wipple! Restrain him!” The sergeant yelled.

“Wait! Please, I need to get back to my apartment, my experiments! I have to feed them or they will die!”

Poole pulled the carriage to a halt and went and opened the door. “All yours, Doctor.”

“Hey, you! What in hell do you think you are doing? This is strictly police business, you cannot just-"

Jekyll slowly stepped out of the carriage, shoulders back, back straight. Zosi slipped out beside him and scurried off, nose to the ground. “Good evening to you, constable Jenkins! It is so good to see you again!” He called.

“‘So good to-’ Hang on! I know that voice!” Jenkins declared. Jekyll forced himself not to smile. Glanced over Jenkins’ shoulder at the werewolf. The creature was currently in a pile of garbage. Poor thing.

“You may indeed, sir, as we last spoke only this past Monday!” He reminded the constable. “By the by, I trust your holiday in Brighton went smoothly?” He asked.

Jenkins smiled awkwardly. “Er, yes! It was quite charming, if you must know!” He declared.

“I am glad to hear that. And constable Wipple, how is your wife? Does she still volunteer at Trinity Hospital?” Jekyll asked the other officer standing near the werewolf.

“Yes she does!” Wipple smiled.

“That is wonderful to hear, last year’s charity banquet would have been a disaster without her help!” He turned to the sergeant. “And sergeant Brokenshire! Did you end up getting that little terrier puppy you mentioned?” He asked.

Brokenshire beamed. “As a matter of fact, we did!”

“Excellent! Does he have a name?”

“Ralphie. He is a right handful, that one!”  

Jenkins spoke up. “I am sorry about the yelling earlier, I did not know it was you. But why are you here?”

“Did you take a wrong turn at the Buckingham palace?” Wipple joked.

“Found a cure for consumption?” Jenkins suggested.

Jekyll allowed himself a small laugh. “Sorry to disappoint, gentlemen, but I am here on rather dull business. I was hoping to have a conversation with a certain gentleman.” He pointed to the werewolf. “That gentleman.”

Jenkins jumped in front of the wolf, Wipple seconds behind him.

“Watch out! Do not come any closer!”

“Why not?” Jekyll asked.

“That creature is a ferocious lunatic!”

Jekyll contemplated the wolf sitting in a pile of slimy garbage. “He does not look ferocious.”

“He wrecked the whole street!” Wipple declared.

“Did he? My associate informed me of a werewolf to go and check on, he did not say anything about it wrecking the street.” Jekyll remarked.

“The only associate you have that would be here is Edward Hyde, and he was probably too drunk to notice.” Brokenshire said darkly.

Jekyll only smiled. “You may be right about that. Either way, I wanted to come and see for myself.”

“And what, you figured you could handle a werewolf by yourself? Without us?” Brokenshire asked.

“Heavens no! Far be it from me to interfere with police business-"

He was fairly sure Wipple’s cough sounded like “bullshit" and fought the urge to blush.

“-I simply wanted to offer a consultation. He is a supernatural creature, after all, and I know much about those.”

“A kind offer, but this precinct has neither the time nor patience to offer special treatment to anything or anyone.” Brokenshire said.

“Besides! Are werewolves not demonic?” Jenkins asked.

“They are monsters! They have to be locked up!” Wipple insisted.

“Perhaps in fairy stories! But in truth, the werewolf is a noble and intelligent creature who can live quite harmoniously with humans. And the halfpenny papers may enjoy resurrecting the one or two ‘attacks’ from the last fifty years, but the fact is werewolves only attack humans when we threaten them first.” Jekyll smiled. “Now, I do not mean to suggest the good people of Bethnal Green look threatening-"

The woman screaming behind him proved his point quite nicely.

“-but you can see how their hospitality may be… misinterpreted.” Jekyll finished.

“That would work, in a field full of flowers and butterflies! But this is London, for Christ’s sake! We cannot have a werewolf tearing up a street every time a street urchin looks at him wrong!” Brokenshire argued. “He cannot be trusted, no supernatural creatures can!”

“Au contraire! We have supernatural everywhere! Take for instance…” Jekyll scanned the ground. “Oh, where have you gone, I should have put you in a leash again. Ah hah! There the little devil is!” He scooped Zosi off the ground. “Take the common church grim! Some people insist on shooting these creatures on sight, but truly, they are quite sweet!” Zosi licked his chin. “Ah! Zosi, none of that!” Jekyll laughed. Held the grim out to Brokenshire. “Now, can you look at this poor dear and tell him you would like to lock him up forever and ever?”

“Oh, look at the little- wait a minute. I cannot be bribed with puppies, Doctor!” Brokenshire said, frowning.

So that had failed. “Not even puppies with stick-out tongues?”

“Do not tempt me! Even if your werewolf sprouted wings and a halo, I could not let him go! The street did not tear itself apart, and someone has to pay!”

Jekyll smiled. “I would not dream of giving such good criticism without offering a solution, Sergeant. First of all-" He placed Zosi in Brokenshire’s arms. “I would offer this young fellow a coat.” He pulled his cloak off his shoulders and pulled it over the wolf’s. “What is your name, good sir?”

“J-Jasper Kaylock, sir.”

“We cannot have Mister Kaylock catching his death out here!” Jekyll helped the wolf up. “Next, I assure you that myself and my associates will get this street in tip top shape. If you notice so much as a garbage pile out of place-" he pulled a business card from his pocket, “-feel free to contact me here.” He handed it to Brokenshire. “And lastly, I would offer to assume full responsibility for Mister Kaylock here. I assure you, I could have him fully rehabilitated by the end of the month.”

“This is not how we do things around here. The commissioner will not like it.” Brokenshire said.

“He can bring it up with me directly.” Jekyll pulled his appointment book from his pocket. “We are having lunch next… Wednesday.”

Brokenshire laughed. “I see I am over my head with this one. I swear, you are sort of scary sometimes!”

“How do you mean?” Jekyll asked.

“It is just-"

“THIEF! THIEEEEF!”

“Ah, that is my cue. Have a nice day, Doctor!” The police ran off.

“So, that is taken care of. Would you care for a spot of tea, Mister Kaylock?” Jekyll asked.

“Yes! I mean- no! I mean, I do not even know who you are!”

Jekyll froze. “How terribly rude of me, I forgot to introduce myself!” He took off his hat and bowed. “Doctor Henry Jekyll, at your service.” He stood back up. “Now, would you care for that tea?”

 

---

 

Jekyll had no idea he was here. Hyde had watched his brother negotiate with the police, which had been thoroughly impressive and filed in the things.to remember his brother could do, as they could come in handy in a pinch.

After that, he had slipped along the rooftops, a spectre in the autumn fog, unseen, unheard, invisible to all who did not care to find him. Pinned a letter to the roof and climbed in through the window of the society.

Jekyll was giving the werewolf a tour. Hyde was sort of curious as to how Jekyll would talk up the society that was currently on the verge of bankruptcy, so he followed along behind. Still invisible to anyone who did not look-

“Master Hyde!” Rachel called.

“Shit. Yes Rachel?” Hyde turned around. “You been at the meat market again?” He asked.

“No, just on my way now, and have to wear the already stained clothes.” Rachel replied. “Why are you here? I thought you mostly worked the night shift now!” She accused.

“Just for fun.”

“Does Doctor Jekyll know you are here?”

“No.” Hyde replied with a grin. “I am not on the clock, he does not need to know that I am here! Have fun at the market!”

Rachel rolled her eyes. “Be careful!” She walked off down the hall.

Hyde smiled and stepped back into the shadows, creeping along behind Jekyll and the werewolf.

The wolf was cute, he supposed, boyish. Hid name was Jasper Kaylock, he was clearly barely pushing twenty. Rachel would like him, he was totally her type. Maybe he should have mentioned Jasper before Rachel had gone to the market.

She would find Kaylock soon enough anyways.

Someone saying Hyde’s name caught his attention. “Mister Hyde says a lot of things.” Jekyll said.

“Who is Mister Hyde?” A voice Hyde did not know asked. No one in the society did not know who he was, it must have been Jasper.

“Oooh! He is the phantom of the society! Our very own caped vigilante!” Lavender declared. Hyde smiled. He liked that description, was rather fitting.

“Hyde is my personal assistant. He mostly does the night shift. You likely will not encounter him.” Jekyll filled in. “He does not have many shifts.”

Likely will not encounter him? Jekyll had another think coming.

“I do not know, I have been meeting everyone else, have I not? I would not mind-"

A yowl caught Hyde’s attention. “Eira must have gotten away from Griffin again.” He laughed.

“Dammit!”

He was right, that was Griffin yelling.

 

What was the new kid doing moping downstairs? Jekyll was chatting with Rachel, she would probably be mad at Hyde later too, for not saying anything about Jasper, and Jasper was sitting in the shadows.

Hyde jumped from the ledge he was on, caught a bar supporting a light and swung down in front of Jasper, managing to land on his feet, barely.

The kid jumped backwards. “Who are you?”

“How did Lavender put it? The phantom of the society? Caped vigilante? I am partial to the Spirit of London at Night, but that is just me. My name is Edward Hyde.” He bowed very dramatically and held out a hand.

“The one who told Doctor Jekyll about the mob. The sergeant mentioned you.” Jasper realized. Shook Hyde’s hand.

“The one and only.” Hyde agreed. “So, what is up here? Why the long face?” He asked.

“I do not belong here.” Jasper decided.

“No one does when we first get here.” Hyde assured him. “I still do not, Jekyll only puts up with me. Why do you think I work the night shift now?” He snorted. “What happened? Did Ito get up on her high horse about something again? She normally does.”

“How did you know?” Jasper asked, amber eyes wide.

“She did the same thing to me. Still hates my guts. And everyone else’s in this building. Including Jekyll.” Hyde replied with a grin. “Look, Jasper, I am going to talk to you honestly and seriously and you have to promise not to tell anyone I did. I have an image to maintain around here.”

“Alright…”

Hyde sat down beside the kid. “This is a good place. You do not need to be afraid that you are not good enough, you will be. Jekyll sells the place as somewhere for the elite, it is not. He picked half of these people up off the street just like he did for you.” He promised. “You are not the first kid I have called him about at two in the morning.”

“But he has that exhibition and everything…” Jasper muttered. “And he wants me in it but I am nothing but a monster!” He cried.

“For now. There are people here that will help you. Bird, Maijabi, Cantilupe… they will help if you need. Ito is bitchy but she will make you the best damn wolfsbane potion she can.”

“How did you know-"

“I stalked you and Jekyll while you did you tour.” Hyde said quickly. “That is sort of what I do, I am not even supposed to be here.” He explained. “But you do not have to worry in this place. It may seem threatening, but there is a reason why people refer to the lodgers as Jekyll’s children. This place is a big family, and you are a part of it now.”

Jasper smiled. “You know, Mister Hyde, the way Brokenshire and Doctor Jekyll talked about you, I did not think you would be a very nice guy. But you are not so bad.”

“Shhhh! I have a reputation to uphold, Mister Kaylock! You cannot be running around calling me a nice guy!” Hyde cried. “You relax. You will be fine here.” He got to his feet and tried to leave, only to run into Jekyll.

“Why are you here?” Jekyll asked.

“I wanted to meet the werewolf.” Hyde replied. “He is a nice kid.”

“Ah. Are you able to work tonight, by any chance?” Jekyll asked.

“Nay, I have plans. I have got to stop letting you call me a liar and get myself down to the Blackfog Bazaar.” Hyde replied.

“Hyde, I told you. You cannot be going down there, you represent me as well as yourself! I-"

“Doctor Jekyll, with all due respect, you do not get to control what I do outside of work, and I was not on shift for tonight. I am too busy.” Hyde told him. Jekyll frowned.

“Hyde, please, I-"

“Nope, the last one of your pleas I listened to ended me up on the night shift. I never get out anywhere anymore, and it is driving Stephen insane! He never gets to see me anymore.” Hyde replied.

“I told you, it is only until the exhibition.” Jekyll said.

“Makes no difference. I am not going to work tonight.” Hyde told him. “I am going to the bazaar. Whether you like it or not.”

Jekyll sighed. “Fine. Do as you please.” He conceded. “But so help me god, Hyde, if you get yourself into trouble-"

“I will be fine, Jekyll.” Hyde assured him, and scampered off.

Chapter Text

“Shame upon the blasphemer! Soon, all of England will know your true nature, you madman! The whole thing’s un-christian, barbaric and odd! He’s playing with fire! Nay, he’s playing god!” A voice sang up from the door.

Jekyll groaned and looked up, blinking. “Oh god, oh god…” He breathed.

“This moral degenerate threatens our families! Our souls! Our beloved empire!” Now the person was knocking on the door to Jekyll’s office.

“Burn the witch-doctor! Cut off his head and drink his blood and boil his balls in a great big hearty stew!”

“Oooh. It is just you!” Jekyll smiled and got to his feet. “All right, Robert! I am on my way, relax!” He called, opening the door to his office.

“And pair it with hmm, a nice claret, or a cabernet-”

“Good day to you too, Lanyon.” Jekyll said.

Lanyon stopped knocking. “Oh! There you are, Jekyll! What took you so long?” He asked.

Jekyll rolled his eyes. “You are hours early, Robert.” He pointed out.

“Oh, come now, you cannot actually expect me to-” He looked over at the desk. “To- oh, Henry, what have you been doing?” He asked.

“What?” Henry frowned, glancing over at the desk.

“I really cannot leave you alone, can I?” Robert asked, sighing and walking over to the desk. “Why on earth are you drinking all by yourself in the dark?” The man picked up the bottle of wine off Jekyll’s desk, took a long swig out of it.

“Clearly, I have learned by example.” Jekyll reasoned.

“No no, Henry, this, my dear friend, is called social drinking! There are two of us here now.”

That was really not fair. Robert looped an arm around Jekyll’s shoulders and pulled the brunet up against him. “Social drinking is a most healthy and appropriate pastime.” Mercifully, Robert let go of Jekyll’s shoulders and Jekyll could stop feeling like he was about to pass out. Why did Robert think he could do this to him? It was totally not fair. How could Robert keep doing this to him? Was he really completely unaffected by their proximity?

Not to mention, this outing felt far too much like a date. “But the curtains, Henry! You cannot just shut out the world like you that, you miss things.”

He walked over and threw the curtains open. “For instance, this thing! What are we going to do about this?” Robert asked.

Jekyll walked over to the window. “What, the play across the road?” He asked with a groan. “Yes, I know all about the Diodati Theatre Company, and they do have… impeccable timing, if they want to ruin my day. Or week. Or month.”

“Can you believe them? They knew all the eyes in England are on us, so they put on some shitty representation of Frankenstein.”

“I have been doing my best to ignore it. It is garish and horrible, and probably very bad for our future. And my stress levels.”

“This could be the end of the society as we know it, Henry!”

“Oh, come on, Robert, how bad could this be?”

 

“They thought me mad!” The actor on the stage roared. “I will show them who is mad! I will show them all! Muahahahahahaha!”

“Great heavens!”

“What has science wrought?”

“Clearly all scientists are dangerous characters of dubious moral standings!”

The creature stood up on the stage and roared.

“Yes, cower! Cower before my Frankenstein monster!” Frankenstein cried.

“This is bad.” Jekyll admitted finally, staring at the stage in dismay.

“Precisely! Now you see that I am right and we must discuss-”

“Did they even read the original memoir? Everyone knows that Frankenstein is the scientist, not the monster! Who, by the way, did not go around grunting and groaning like that. He was very well-spoken. He could recite Milton.”

“Alas!” The actor cried. “My dear Elizabeth is no more! Fear not, my love… for you will live again!”

“This might not be a good audience for Milton.” Lanyon said mildly.

“Oh, no, you cannot do that! Elizabeth does not die until the end of Act II! This is so inaccurate, I cannot even-”

“You enthusiasm is adorable, Henry, but this is serious. I talked with my father, like you asked.” Lanyon said.

“You talked with your father, Robert? You were right, this is serious.” Jekyll agreed.

“Well, more like I was yelling with my father.” Robert conceded. “You know how he is. He is on one of his little ‘you are a complete waste of a human being’ tirades.” Jekyll did not want to know how many times Lanyon had heard that since he father had caught him kissing a boy behind the school when he was sixteen. Lanyon had already been in a bad situation with his father, and then he had kissed a boy and gotten caught.

Thank God Lanyon’s father was not privy to the much more than kissing his son had done in university with the now co-founder of the society Mister Lanyon was meant to fund.

“Anyways, he is not giving us any more money. He will not support the society any longer. Really, he cannot. It is a hell of a project, funding and housing all these people. And you are not helping, with you adding more lodgers all the time.”

“They do not have anywhere else to go, Robert.”

“Well, if you want them to stay, we need money. But who is going to give us any money after seeing this spectacle?” Robert asked.

“HAHAHAA! Burn! Burn! Let all good Christian values burn!”

“This is what they think you are, Henry.”

Jekyll stared down at the stage and sighed. “I know, Robert. It is just… there is so much left to do, so much that could go wrong,I have a wedding to re-plan, and I have not slept in days, I am so.. I am so…”

He glanced at the stage. “Are you kidding me? Do we really need another love interest?”

“Are you even listening to me?”

“Oh, woe! Emma must never know the dark secrets of my dark obsession with darkness!”

“I am sorry, Robert. I know we are in terrible shape, but there is no reason to lose our minds over a silly play. These have been around for decades!”

“Well, I have never seen one.” Robert said.

“Your parents were always dragging you off to the latest Wagner production or whatever. But I actually used to like these when I was little!” Jekyll said.

“What?”

“When I was a kid, I was desperate for anything sciency I could get! A lot of us were. In the late fifties, the tabloids picked up the Frankenstein story and these popped up everywhere. They are not ever taken seriously!”

“So they are just comedies?” Robert realized. Jekyll nodded. “Ah. I see now. I mean, how many people get caught in… in tornado windmill fires, anyways?” Robert continued.

“Curses!! I am consumed by the flames of madness!” The actor cried.

“Exactly! Frankenstein did not die like that, anyways. He froze to death in the arctic.”

“Wait, he died?”

“Yes he did. Have you not read the original memoir? It is quite dramatic.”

“It is a bit of a downer, is it not?”

“Not at all! Any rogue scientist would be honoured to die for his work.” Jekyll replied.

“But not you, right?”

“Oh, I definitely would! Not that I am planning on dying anytime soon, but I would like to think I would do anything for science.”

The look Robert gave him told him that was not the right thing to say. “Oh.”

The actor screaming his death on the stage did not help.

 

“So, you know what you have to do all week? Breakfast at the Astronomer’s Guild, luncheon at the Royal Society, afternoon tea with the Ladies Club, and dinner with as many members of parliament that can be physically crammed into a single dining room, sound good?”

“Ah, I will never be able to eat alone again, will I?”

“Do you want these people’s money or not. Henry?” Robert asked.

“I do.” Jekyll sighed.

“Henry, how many times do I have to tell you? Your smile is your greatest asset-” He froze. “Henry, there is someone there.”

A figure spun around, coat full of chicken legs.

“Oh god! It is a burglar! A murderer! A burglar-murderer!”

“Robert-”

“The proletariat have finally risen up! I always knew this day would come-”

“Robert, aheh, let me introduce you to our newest resident scientist. Jasper Kaylock.” Jekyll smiled and walked over to Jasper’s side. “Jasper, this is Doctor Robert Lanyon, my trusted co-founder!”

Jasper held a greasy hand out to Lanyon. “Good to meet you!” He said with a mouth full of chicken.

“Goodness, the pleasure is all mine, Mister Kaylock!”

 

“So. A new lodger.”

“He had no where else to go I had to let him in! The police would have arrested him!” Jekyll cried.

“Henry! We have no money you cannot take in every stray off the street! You promised me you would not let yourself get in over your head! You are over your head, Jekyll!” Robert cried.

“Are you still thinking of that play?”

“No! I am thinking of the real Frankenstein and the fact that that he died in the arctic?”

Jekyll sighed. “I know. And I will tell you if I accept any more lodgers. And I am not over my head.”

“You are, and I am calling Miss Carew to come and get you so that you go home and sleep. Go find Zosi, you know Emma will not waste time.”

Jekyll sighed and walked off.

 

---

 

“Stephen!” Hyde gave the brunet a quick but not very chaste kiss. “And Julia!” She got a kiss on the cheek.

It was progress.

Julia smiled. “You are in a good mood this fine evening, Edward, what is happening?” She asked.

“Well, we are going out for drinks, which is always swell,”

“You would not be this joyous about just drinks.” Stephen predicted.

“And then, you two and sticking together, and I am going to Blackfog.” Hyde finished with a grin. “I have wanted to go since I was a kid and they are finally here, and I finally have the night off!”

Stephen frowned. “Stick together? Edward, I am not passing up the chance to go to Blackfog!” He declared.

Hyde turned to Julia. “And what about you?” He asked.

“I am down for some alcohol, but I will let you not explore the bazaar by yourself. It is not my sort of thing.” She decided.

Hyde shrugged. “Alright then, Stephen and I will go to Blackfog. After we get a drink. Or, several drinks.”

 

“Edward, I am cutting you off and you had better have another day off to go to Blackfog, you are too drunk.” Stephen decided.

“‘m fine!” Hyde insisted, got to his feet and nearly fell on his face before Stephen caught him.

“Come on, Eddie. We should get you home.” Julia decided.

“That is quite forward of you, Julia.” Hyde declared.

Julia frowned. “If Stephen had made my comment I would not even bat an eye at what you just said. But you have very personal reasons not to be interested in me that way, and I think you are a little too drunk.”

“I am fine!” He was full of confidence, somehow. “C’m’ere, I can prove it!” Hyde offered, reaching out towards Julia.

“If you come to that decision in the morning, Eddie, I will gladly let you do whatever you would like.” Stephen decided. “But you are way too drunk and this is way too out of character for you. Julia, could you help him stay on his feet while I pay? Drunk Edward is a flirt with anyone, if he makes a move just let him fall.” Stephen instructed. “He will regret whatever he does in the morning.”

“I know.” Julia assured him. Slipped an arm under Hyde’s shoulder and held him on his feet.

Stephen paid the bartender and held Hyde up from the other side. Set out onto the street to begin walking him home.

“Stephen?”

“Yes Edward?” Stephen asked.

“I love you a lot.”

Stephen smiled and kissed his cheek. “You are so drunk. I love you too.” He assured the little blond. “Just stay on your feet.”

Julia looked over at him. “You will regret this one in the morning, Eddie.” She decided.

Looked back in front of her just to shriek and scramble backwards.

Standing before them was a huge, hulking green creature, with a person in its arms.

Hyde was ashamed to admit that he screamed as well and stepped back into Stephen, who barely held him on his feet.

“S-stephen… what is that thing?”

“You see it too?” Stephen asked.

Julia had ran down the road, but Stephen held onto Hyde while the blond thought of a plan.

He had to play it cool.

He summoned the best cockney accent he could manage, which was considerably bad when he was drunk, and shouted.

“Oi! Wodder yew lookin’ at? Yew gotta problem wit’ me? I will fight yew, just yew watch!” He called.

“God, was that supposed to be some sort of terrible cockney?” The creature asked.

“Yes! I mean, no! I mean, wodder yew want from me, yew shiny-eyed muppet?” Hyde spat.

“I do not want to fight with you. Frankly, I do not wish to talk with you at all, it is clear that the alcohol you have ingested has pickled most of your brain. But I am looking for Doctor Henry Jekyll, at the Society for Arcane Sciences. Do you know where I could find him?” The creature asked.

“Why should I know anything about Doctor Jekyll?”

“Edward,” Stephen said softly. “You do know about Jekyll. How hard can it be to lead these fellows to the society?” He asked.

Hyde had not thought of it that way.

“Please, I need you to bring me there. It is a matter of life and death.” The creature insisted.

“Who are you anyways?” Hyde demanded, in a flash of defensiveness for his brother. “You with your glowing eyes and green skin and stitches everywhere and- dear god you are Frankenstein’s monster.”

“Frankenstein is just a myth, Eddie.”

“No, your inebriated friend is right. I am Frankenstein’s monster.” The Creature confessed.

“So if you are the monster…” Hyde’s brain was running a million miles a minute. “Then that must be… a corpse!” He said triumphantly. “Did you murder someone?”

“Now I know you are wrong.” Stephen said.

“No, you blond idiot!” The Creature shouted. “This is my creator and we are being chased by people who want to kill us! So can you get us to the society or not?”

“We can.” Stephen said quickly. “Please, follow me, I will just…” He hoisted Hyde mostly onto his shoulders. “Forgive him, he has had a lot to drink. He normally does not accuse people of murder.” He explained.

“‘m just fine…” Hyde groaned.

“You are so drunk you cannot even stand on  your own, Edward.” Stephen said flatly. “Please, Creature, follow me.”

“How can you be Frankenstein’s monster? How is that Frankenstein?” Hyde shouted suddenly. The Creature shushed him.

“How do you mean?” They asked.

“You have been dead for decades! Both of you! Everybody knows that!” Hyde declared.

“And how exactly does everybody know that?” The Creature demanded.

“There is a book about it! And a bunch of plays but they are all not accurate. Lots of fun though, I just saw the one playing next door to the society, it is hysterical! Dragged a little in act II though.” Hyde explained, a huge grin on his face. “You are pretty famous!”

“You went and saw that play without me?” Stephen asked, a frown on his face.

Hyde nodded.

“Jerk.” Stephen scolded. “I thought we had been going to make that a date, Edward!”

“I got bored during the day while you were with Julia.” Hyde said defensively.

Something blew up a wall behind the Creature. Hyde jumped back. “Resolve your drunk lovers stuff later can you get me there or not?” They roared.

“Yes sir!” Stephen ran off ahead, carrying the very drunk blond on his shoulders like a sack of potatoes. The Creature’s footsteps pounded behind them.

“This is brilliant!” Hyde cried. “Frankenstein! In London! God, it is a dream come true!”

“Edward, I know you are excited but you just shouted in my ear, please stop.” Stephen said gently. “It is very cool, I will give you that.”

“Frankenstein was one of our idols growing up!” Hyde remembered suddenly. “Mother and father always brought Henry to the little plays the made about the story. They brought me to one, once. It was… the group was putting on the production right around our… our thirteenth birthday and Henry convinced our parents they should bring both of us… it was magical. I mean, I was just a cheap production of a bad adaptation but it was the most incredible thing I had ever seen…”

Stephen could not help but smile as Hyde talked about the memory. It was so rare the the blond managed to pull up a happy memory from the past. “Well, now you are living in that play, only it is not a bad adaptation. It is the real deal. So wake yourself up a little before we get to the society, you do not want your entire part in this story to be ‘that drunk blond that yelled at Frankenstein’s monster in a bad cockney accent.’”

Hyde nodded. “I suppose you must be right.” He agreed. “Look, there it is! Put me on the ground, I want to make an entrance!” He prompted.

Stephen laughed and placed the blond on the ground. Hyde stumbled a bit, but managed to run up to the doors and throw them open. “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, have I got a treat for you tonight!” He shouted down the hall.

Chapter Text

Hyde stumbled a bit, but managed to run up to the doors and throw them open. “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, have I got a treat for you tonight!” He shouted down the hall.

Stephen rolled his eyes and followed his ridiculously dramatic partner into the society. Frankenstein and the Creature were right behind him. “All the way from jolly old Svitzahland-”

“Eddie, piece of advice, you are too drunk to be attempting accents right now. You are just going to insult people.” Stephen said gently. He placed a hand on the blond’s shoulder, who only continued walking. God, he was so drunk. What did he think he was doing?

“I introduce to you, the god of galvanism!” Edward continued, a grin on his face.

Stephen watched as the lodgers began to crawl out of their labs and lodgings, appearing along the railing of the second floor, looking down upon Edward, Stephen, and Frankenstein’s monster.

Stephen still was not even sure he should believe what was going on. It seemed impossible to have Victor Frankenstein still be alive. He knew the story, of course. Edward had told him about Frankenstein again and again. His partner was damn near obsessed with Frankenstein, it popped up every once and a while. For a couple of months, Edward would do nothing but read that memoir and chatter about Victor Frankenstein and the Creature and everything that had happened.

“The reigning champion of reanimation!” Edward continued. “The godfather of mad science, in the flesh! Doctor Victor Franken-”

The creature slammed a hand into Edward’s face to shut him up. Hyde stumbled back a little, an indignant look on his face. Stephen rushed over and held him up, he was far too drunk to be getting pushed around. “No theatrics, please.” The creature said.

By now, Edward’s shouting had roused the all of the lodgers out of their rooms. “Friends, you know our story. I have with me my creator, Frankenstein. I have come to you all in a moment of great need. Many, many moons ago, my creator grew ill, and I could not help. I came to you for your aid!” They explained. “But while we crossed Scotland, we attracted the attention of… of Doctor Moreau.”

“Doctor Moreau?”

“Dear god!”

“No, it cannot be!”

“Edward, who is Doctor Moreau.” Stephen asked quietly. It seemed that the name only processed for his drunk partner the third time it was said. Edward gasped.

“Doctor Moreau?” He asked, green eyes wide. “That was who was chasing you?” He asked the Creature. His mouth was hanging open slightly, Stephen reached around and closed it for him.

“Yes!” Creature said.

Hyde gasped again. “Why did you not say so?” He demanded. “This is bad this is really really bad!”

“Wait, who is Moreau?” Rachel called down from the balcony. She was standing next to someone who appeared to have a wolf head. No one else seemed worried, so Stephen decided not to question it.

At least someone else was as lost as him.

“Doctor Moreau isavivisectionalistbannishedfrmLndonyearsag-”

“Edward, quite talking, you are slurring everything you say.” Stephen said gently. Edward closed his mouth.

“Doctor Moreau is a vivisectionist. But not like Griffin.” The wolf explained.

“Hey! You are new here, who gave you the right to call me out, Kaylock?” Griffin shouted.

“You are a vivisectionist! What do you call what you do to your mice and cat?” Kaylock retorted. “Anyways, Moreau takes animals apart and stitches them together in different ways, with different parts. The scientific communities in England banished him ages ago, he should not be here.” The wolf finished, frowning. “And you are sure it is him? Er- with no disrespect intended, it just-”

“Yes I am. He has been following us since we crossed the border from Scotland. He has caught up with us now.” The Creature explained.

“Always knew Scotland was a rubbish place.” Hyde declared loudly. “And they have terrible alcohol, too.”

“Master Hyde. You are Scottish.” Rachel called.

“It is still a rubbish place!” Edward shouted back at her. “I only improved it to the best of my abilities by being born there, and even that cannot do miracles!”

“I do not mean to bring us off topic or anything…” A man called.

“What is it, Pennebrygg?’ Hyde asked.

“Is Frankenstein a woman?”

“I was just about to ask that!” Hyde cried.

“Yeah!”

“Is he?”

“I was wondering!”

The Creature looked uncomfortable. “Yes, Frankenstein is a woman.”

“But, the book said he was a man.” Flowers called.

“And what about Elizabeth?”

“Was she real?”

“What else did the book lie about?”

“If Frankenstein a woman who likes women?”

“What about his wife?”

Hyde took a deep breath. “Shut it! All of you! This is a life or death situation!” He shouted. “There is no time for all of your stupid questions!”

The lodgers fell silent. Creature looked at him gratefully, only for Edward to ruin that ten seconds later. “But seriously, is Frankenstein a lesbian or what?”

Stephen smacked his arm. “Ow!”

Stephen had barely managed to get Hyde to stop trying to move away from him to avoid being hit again when the wall behind them was blown apart. Edward shrieked and clung to Stephen as they were both launched off their feet and hit the ground hard a few feet away. “Ow!”

Stephen quickly rolled off the blond and glanced back at the wall.

Standing on the rubble was a man Stephen had never seen before. He was tall, with crazy hair and a wild look in his yellow eyes. His skin was covered in spots and his face was creased.

“Hand over the Creature.” He demanded.

Hyde got to his feet and grinned. How the hell was he standing now? Had being thrown across the room snapped him out of his drunken stupor? Stephen would have to remember that. “Just when I thought tonight could not get any better!” He laughed.

“Edward, what are those creatures?” Stephen hissed.

“Oh, those? Moreau is a vivisectionist. Those are the results. He stitches creatures back together with different parts.” Hyde explained. “He probably wants to do the same with Frankenstein’s monster.”

“Get Frankenstein somewhere safe and warm!” Creature placed the doctor in Lavender’s arms and charged at Moreau.

“They will tear the Creature apart!” Stephen cried.

Hyde giggled. “Not if I tear them apart first!” He declared, ran off and scrambled up on top of the fucking hot air balloon that was just casually hanging from the ceiling.

“Edward, you are way too drunk, get your ass back-”

“LISTEN UP, YOU WANKERS! Are we just going to let Creature die?” Edward demanded. “Are we just gonna let this vivisex- visivis- fuck it. Are we just gonna let this jakanape and his horde of mangy mutts blow a hole in our society? Fuck no! We are scientists and we never go down without a fight!”

“You are not a scientist, you are a ‘personal assistant’. Code for you are fucking the boss.” Archer called.

“Not true! Well, half of it. Anyways- I need a weapon. Gimme a weapon!” He reached out blindly towards Doddle and was handed a black umbrella.

Stared at it. “I can make it work.” He decided. “So, who is with me?” Hyde asked, holding the umbrella.

Stephen cheered with the lodgers, entirely because he knew he could not leave his partner to get his drunk ass killed.

The moment Edward had hopped down off the balloon, Stephen rushed up and grabbed him. “Oh, no way in hell are you joining in, not in the state you are in! I rather like having my partner alive!” The brunet ordered.

“I gotta!” Hyde hiccuped.

“No way. You will get yourself killed.” Stephen said stubbornly. “I would like you to live to see the bazaar.”

“This is better than the bazaar! If you do not want me killed, come with me!” Edward grinned, pulled his arms around Stephen to give him a kiss, then squirmed out of the brunet’s arms. “I cannot give them the speech to get them to fight and then not fight!” He declared.

Stephen supposed Hyde was not wrong about that. “You stay by my side!”

“Fine!”

 

---

 

“This is not a weapon.” Hyde complained, frowning at the umbrella in his hands.

“No, it really is not. That could be good! Drop the umbrella and go to bed.” Stephen suggested.

“Yew wish I would fuckin' go to bed wit' yew.” Hyde retorted, trying to summon his cockney accent back. “But I am gonna beat this vivivivivi- visece- viviset- Moreau’s arse straight into the fuckin’ ground!”

“Edward, drop the accent, you are doing nothing but insulting anyone who actually has a cockney accent. Go back to the Edinburgh accent if you have to, but just know I will not understand a word you say if you do.” Stephen instructed. “And I do not have to wish, I just did last week!”

Hyde rolled his eyes, immediately got dizzy by doing so, and ran towards the nearest creature to him. It looked a lot like a lion. But also a wolf.

It did not matter. Hyde jumped over Pennebrygg and onto its back, plunged his umbrella into the flesh by its spine. The creature roared and twisted, and it did not  take much for it to throw Hyde off itself.

Unfortunately, the umbrella was still stuck in his back. Hyde scrambled back to his feet.

“Edward!” Stephen rushed over to him. “This is not a bar fight these things can and will kill you!”

Hyde grinned. “I know! It is great, no?” He laughed and rushed back at the creature. It snapped at his foot but he managed to get back on top of it and rip the umbrella out of its back.

“Look out!” Sinnett shouted, rushing at the lion-bear with some sort of hammer that was blowing fire. Whatever it was, Hyde did not bother to argue with the ginger. He jumped off the monster’s back and Sinnett thrust the hammer into its side. The beast howled in anguish.

“Well, that is it for that one!” Hyde declared gleefully.

“Great. Can we go home now? I am getting a bad feeling about this Edward, maybe because you are trying to fight monsters with a fucking umbrella!”

“Stephen, love, I cannot just leave the lodgers to fight a battle I started!” Hyde leaned in, gave the brunet a kiss, and ran off to the next beast.

Helsby and Bryson and the fucking kraken were taking care of the one with wings, so that was a bonus. He was not sure he could jump as high as it was flying without something to jump off besides the floor.

“What is your plan, Edward?” Stephen asked.

“My plan is not to bother planning!” He rushed over to a white furred creature that Archer and Griffin seemed to be struggling with. Maijabi was doing his best to help them, but it was not good enough.

Just before Hyde got there, Archer lost his footing and slipped. Ended up just below the monster’s mouth and could do nothing but cower while it lunged down to bite and-

“Not today!” Griffin kicked the beast in the snout and dragged Archer out from under it.

“You saved my life!” Archer said wondrously.

“Yes I did.”

“Yes yes, just kiss already and get back to killing these things!” Hyde scolded, stabbing the point of the umbrella into the white beast’s shoulder.

Archer and Griffin both blushed and lunged at the monster again. “Can you three handle that one?” Hyde asked.

“Yeah!”

“Good.” He turned around to watch Rachel stab her knife into the bear-lion’s shoulder. “Oh. I guess it was not dead!” He laughed.

Until the beast roared and shook Rachel off, who squeaked when she hit the ground. “Shit! Rachel! Stephen, get her out of there I can take the beast!” Hyde cried.

“Got it!” Stephen ran over and pulled Rachel backwards. The beast lumbered after them.

Until something howled behind them. Hyde glanced up, and so did the beast, to see Jasper standing on the roof, still in the half-man, half-wolf stage, glaring down at the lion-bear.

The lion-bear immediately ignored Rachel and Stephen to rush after Jasper.

Sadly, Jasper did not appear to have thought the plan through and clearly did not intend to fight. He turned and fled with the monster following him.

“Oh, hell no.” Hyde climbed up on a desk, jumped over to the top of a cabinet and onto the rail of the second story. Scurried along the rail, lined himself up with the creature, and leapt, kicking it in the side of the head and pinning it to the ground, umbrella at its throat. His ankle did not appreciate the landing, but he ignored it.

“Hah! That is what you get when you mess with real mad scientists!” He cackled.

“Yeah!”

“Take that!”

“Hurrah!”

“We did it!”

“Yes, yes, very nice. Now can we go home? I am scared you are going to pass out on me.” Stephen said gently, wrapping an arm around the blond’s waist. “Rachel is safe, you did fucking amazing and-"

“Oh god look at Moreau!” Hyde cried. Pushed out of Stephen’s arms and scrambled back up onto the rails and then the roof to get a better look.

“Edward, get down! You are going to fall and die!” Stephen yelled. “Moreau is just one man, the Creature can take care of itself!”

But it did not look that way to Hyde. Moreau had a fucking machine that was spewing fire, almost like what Sinnett had been using, and Creature was missing an arm! A whole arm! “I have to help.” Hyde decided, adjusting his grip on the umbrella.

“Edward! Stop it this is a stupid idea!” Stephen shouted, climbing up beside the blond.

“I gotta help.” Hyde jumped down from the roof, umbrella poised to strike like a lance into Moreau’s chest. “With hell’s umbrella, I stab at thee!” He cried, driving the umbrella into Moreau’s chest, only to be met with resistance. “What-”

Moreau’s foot slammed full force into his chest and threw him backwards, into a pile of barrels that splintered on impact and dug into his back. He gasped, the wind knocked out of him.

“Hey!” Stephen shouted, grabbing Moreau by the shirt and punching him square in the nose. “No one gets to hurt Edward on my watch.” He growled.

Hyde coughed and dragged himself back to his feet. God, his back ached and his head was spinning but he had to finish this. He had to save the society and the Creature.

He glanced up. There was open sky and cabers tied up above him.  “Stephen! Run. I have a plan.” He decided.

“Edward, that sounds bad.” Stephen warned, looking away from Moreau in time to get hit.

“Just do it!” Hyde cried.

Stephen did not argue again.

Hyde jumped up on top of the cover of a shop beside him, and from there to a windowsill, then finally onto the cracked caber above him.

It was supposed to break when he jumped off of it. But he did not jump, he fell, and it broke before his foot left it. He barely managed to catch one of the support ropes for it and swing himself into a wall, hard, his felt his head crack into the bricks and something wet drip down his scalp, then his hands slipped from the rope and he landed on the pile of rubble Moreau had left when he blew up the wall.

Moreau fared much worse. The caber hit him in the chest as planned, and the flamethrowing device he had exploded.

Hyde ducked to avoid the sparks and bursts of flame, but he was slow and sluggish and black spots flashed in his eyes, and next thing he knew Stephen was patting out a fire on his shoulder. “We need to get home the whole block is on fire.” Stephen murmured.

“Edward Hyde, you are under arrest for a-”

“Sergeant! You cannot arrest him he is hurt he needs to go to the hospital!” Stephen pleaded.

“He looks normal to me.” Sergeant Brokenshire declared. Edward knew there was no way he looked normal.

“You cannot be serious he just fell twenty feet! And got lit on fire! He needs to go to the hospital!” Stephen insisted, lifting the blond off the ground. The world was spinning, Hyde had really no idea what was going on around him but he knew he was in trouble.

“He is going to jail. To be tried for arson. And you are too, as an accessory.” The sergeant said simply. “Put him on the ground, he is under arrest and so are you. Wipple, Jenkins! Cuff the both of them, haul them off with the rest of these hooligans!”

“You cannot do this what if he dies?” Stephen demanded. “He has a head injury it is bleeding and for all we know it could kill him!”

“We will get someone to bandage it once he is in custody. Why do you care so much?”

“Because he is my-" Stephen slapped a hand over Hyde’s mouth before he could finish his sentence. Hyde squirmed but Stephen knew better than to let go.

“Jenkins, cuff Mister Richardson first. I would quite like to hear what Mister Hyde was about to tell us.” Sergeant Brokenshire decided.

“Edward whatever you do do not finish that statement.” Stephen hissed. His hands were pulled away from the blond’s mouth and cuffed in front of him.

“What was that, Mister Hyde?”

“Because he is my friend and a fuck of a lot better than you police officer cunts!” Hyde spat, slipping fully back into his old Scottish accent.

Stephen laughed. “And just think! You wanted to hear that!”

“And he is my partner, and he has a right to worry about me!”

Stephen froze. And so did Edward, when he realized what he had just said.

The three men stared at each other, until Brokenshire cracked a smile.

“That will be all, Mister Hyde. Cuff him too. And add homosexuality to both of their charges, as well as arson.”

Chapter Text

“Henry!” Robert cried, running down the road, a hand atop his hat to keep it from blowing away. “Henry what has happened here?”

They could not take this problem. Not with the rumours he had heard popping up about Jekyll.

He had been quick to shut them down. He may have wanted Henry bankrupt with nothing but a shattered dream to show for it, he did not want Henry lynched on the street. That was a step too far.

So actually, maybe this problem was a good thing. It would distract from the rumour by giving London something else to think about, while simultaneously ruining whatever influence the exhibition would have.

“You know as much as I do, Robert.” Henry said sadly, staring up at the Society.

The entire back wall had been blown to pieces. The alley behind it, burned. “All Brokenshire told me is he arrested most of the lodgers. And Mister Hyde and his friend, Mister Richardson. Rachel escaped and dropped by my apartment, she says they were fighting Moreau off. Oh, and Miss Lavender has fucking Doctor Frankenstein upstairs!”

Robert raised an eyebrow. “So what are you going to do, Henry?”

“I am headed down to Scotland Yard now. I need to get the lodgers back before the exhibition.” Jekyll decided. “And I guess I am going to pay whatever they want and then find a way to remove Hyde from my employment, he is charged with arson and acts of homosexuality and frankly after he burned part of my building down he had better have a damn good offer if he wants me to help him out of this mess. Then I am going to get the lodgers back here and start cleanup. At some point in there I will call Emma and reassure her that hopefully all is not lost, and when Frankenstein wakes up, I will find out what exactly is wrong with her.” He finished.

Robert frowned. “Sounds complicated. Well, some of it. Would you care for a ride to Scotland Yard and some advice?” He offered with a false smile.

“Of course. God, Robert, you have no idea how badly I need your help right now.” Jekyll admitted.

“Considering you are about two missteps from losing this place forever and your entire dream, I think I am pretty aware of how badly you need help. Follow me.” Robert instructed.

He really could not ask for a better chance than this. Whether Jekyll could get the lodgers back or not, the exhibition was doomed from the get-go. Lanyon just had to let this play out.

“Robert? Are you going to lead the way?” Henry asked softly. “I have to move quickly before Rachel sees me. She is madder than a hornet at the idea that I may not help Mister Hyde. They are good friends.”

“Step one. Stick to your guns. Do not bother going and helping Mister Hyde, you will only pay for it in the long run.” Lanyon advised, walking back to the carriage he had taken to the society.

“I suppose that is true. I just feel bad leaving him to the sentenced when he was defending my building.” Jekyll reasoned.

“No, he was making himself a hero to the best of his abilities, and failing.” Lanyon corrected. “He has not earned another chance from you, you owe him no favours. He made this mess, let him rot in it.”

“He will be sentenced out of England!”

“Maybe it will finally teach him a lesson.” Lanyon said pleasantly.

To think. He could not only have a surefire way for his plan to work, but he could have Jekyll’s brother out of the country for the next decade or so, all in one day. It was brilliant! He could not have planned it better if he had tried. “Here, get in and we can continue talking.” He pulled the door open and let Henry climb in.

He was making an effort to be friendlier. He had suspected Henry was onto him in some way, so he had stepped up the smiles and close contact and now his poor deluded friend thought that all was well. “Listen. You have to blame this all on Mister Hyde if you want to get your lodgers. Okay? All the damage, the fire, everything.”

“All he commit was arson. From the sounds of it, he could argue the other charge, Brokenshire has to solid proof, just one word.” Jekyll argued.

“Does not matter. Blame him.” Convince your brother you hate him. “He is the only one who can easily be removed from the scientists. Otherwise, this is the Frankenstein play all over again! People will see this damage that Moreau and the society caused and blame you all for it! If you use Hyde as a shield, you may survive.”

“You are suggesting I make him a human sacrifice. He is in enough trouble, Lanyon, I have not yet decided if I am even going to leave him there or fight to get him out!” Jekyll said, red eyes wide. “I cannot lie and say that I am not glad that Frankenstein is safe, and he is the one who instigated that!”

“Henry. Here is the thing. Have you not heard the rumours about you flying around London?” Lanyon asked seriously.

“I have, I simply remind them that I am marrying Emma and prove them to be quite pointless rumours.” Jekyll replied. “It is worrying, I will admit, but I am keeping us safe.”

“Do not refer to it as ‘us’. Anyways, point is, now, you have these rumours everywhere, and here you are going to fight to get a man accused of homosexuality with whom the rumour around your society is that you are sleeping with him out of jail. Do you see where this is going for you or do I need to continue, Henry?” Lanyon asked. “If you pick this fight, there is precious little anyone can do to help you! People will take it as confirmation and you will be lynched in the fucking streets!”

“You are overreacting. Besides. If he calls me and asks for my help, I have a plan of what he has to offer me in return. Barring that, he will not be getting my help.” Jekyll decided.

“Henry, be careful. Neither one of us can afford this scandal. If things get too bad I will have no other choice but to back out and quit helping you, you know how dangerous this could get for me!”

“If you are talking about that, this really is serious.” Jekyll said softly.

“Yes, of course it is serious!” Lanyon cried. “Henry, remember what I told you when the rumours about you and your assistant started?” He asked.

“That if I get caught, you are next?” Jekyll said hesitantly.

“Yes! What is going to happen to the society if we are both dead or in jail?” Lanyon demanded.

“I see your point, but like I said. I have a plan, and with it, I have everything under control. Nothing bad is going to happen.”

“How can you be sure, Henry?”

“Because I actually made a plan.” Jekyll replied. “And priority one is getting the lodgers out. Any idea what the sergeant is going to want from me in order to make that exchange?”

“It depends on how angry he is about the block of London that they, in his eyes, helped burn down.” Robert replied.

Which was hopefully a lot. Robert did not like to leave things to chance. If Jekyll could not get the lodgers freed, then Lanyon’s plan was even more perfectly set up.

Honestly, Hyde picking a reckless fight with an exiled mad scientist was the best thing to happen to Lanyon in a while. He would be able to use that better than anything he could have ever tried to plan out. Everything was going to work out perfectly.

“Oh, great. So I am going have to sell my soul to Brokenshire to get my lodgers back.” Jekyll groaned.

“Oh, probably.” Robert agreed brightly. “You will figure it out, I have faith in you. I will call Miss Carew for you and let her know what happened.”

“I do not call Anne Missus Lanyon, you can call her Emma. She told you that herself.”

“I suppose that is true.” Lanyon agreed. “Either way, I will call her for you. You go and get the lodgers.”

 

---

 

Jekyll hopped out of the carriage and waved goodbye to Robert.

“Henry, I have one more question. When was the last time you slept? Besides the nap you were taking when I walked in yesterday.” Lanyon asked.

Jekyll forced a huge grin. “I do not remember!” He declared.

“Henry!”

“Do not worry about it!” Jekyll walked off towards the entrance of the building, shoulders back, smile intact. “Sergeant! A good day to you, how goes Ralphie-"

“Not so fast, Doctor Jekyll. You will not be pulling a sly one on me for this one.” Sergeant Brokenshire decided. “You can spare me the small talk and buttering up and come inside. I imaging you are here for your lodgers.”

“Yes, that I am.” Jekyll agreed. “We have the exhibition coming up and I cannot have them in jail for it, they are the main event!”

“Perhaps they should have thought about that before they burned down a block of London.” Brokenshire remarked. “I have a lot of work to do. I have to process their papers, charge them, have them tried… it is a right mess. Right this way.” He led the doctor down the stairs.

“So when can I have them back?” Jekyll asked.

“Depends on their sentencing, Doctor!” Brokenshire said with a grin. “Sentencing for arson can be as high as fourteen years overseas. It could be a whole until you see these people again.”

“I cannot have them sentenced overseas, they have done nothing wrong! They defended my society from an attack from Doctor Alphonse Moreau, a man banished from England. Should this not fall on his shoulders?” Jekyll tried to sound persuasive.

“No. Moreau has his own charges to face. Your lodgers have theirs.” Brokenshire replied. “And charging Moreau is sensitive right now. Watch out behind you.”

A pair of officers wheeled a gurney passed Jekyll. He looked down at a spotted, smoking face with singed hair and smoking clothes.

“You!”

The man spat in his face. Jekyll recoiled, thoroughly disgusted and reaching for a handkerchief.

“He must have chewed through the gag. Sorry, Doctor.” The officer said quickly.

“That is Moreau. He will be spending a while handcuffed to the frame of a hospital bed. Seems a bit difficult to pin charges for the fire to one of the only two men injured in it, and the only seriously injured.”

“Who is the other?” Jekyll asked worriedly.

“Mister Hyde has some bruises and scrapes from falling from the caber he dropped on Moreau’s flamethrower.” Brokenshire replied. “Your lodgers are in here.” He opened the door to a brightly lit room full of cells. In one, all of the arrested lodgers, who immediately began cheering. In another, Frankenstein’s monster. In a third was a mop of brown hair and the fourth, someone spoke to him.

“Doctor Jekyll!” Hyde looked like death. Blood in his hair, beaten and bruised and clearly very hungover. “You came!”

“Not for you.” Jekyll told him simply. “I have only come for my lodgers. You have cost me enough trouble. You and Richardson are staying.”

The look of betrayal on Hyde’s face was unjustified, but still cut Jekyll like a knife. He walked over, passed the one with Stephen inside and to the bars standing between him and his lodgers.

“Doctor Jekyll!” Jasper cried.

“You came for us!” Pennebrygg grinned.

“Please, help us!”

“Oh, of course I will! You will be out of there in no time!” Jekyll promised.

“You make a lot of promises, Doctor Jekyll.” Brokenshire remarked, crossing his arms. “Just two days ago you told me you would have that wolf boy reformed and a ‘upstanding member of society.’ Now he is in jail.”

Jekyll bit his lip. “To be fair, I did ask for a month.”

“And the ginger? You told me he would have his fire throwing thing under control.”

“Honest, he did not start the fire-"

“You have made excuses for everyone in this damn cell, Doctor! And what about that thing?” Brokenshire pointed to the creature.

“Ah. Yes. I do not believe I ever got their name. Or formally met them. Doctor Jekyll, at your service.”

“I do not have a name, and I am going to be blunt, Doctor Jekyll. No matter who I have to hurt, or what I have to destroy, I will be returning to Frankenstein’s side by the end of the day. No matter what you manage to accomplish here.” The Creature snapped.

“Oh! Frankenstein is safe, I am sure you will be pleased to hear that.” Jekyll said quickly. “Rachel and Lavender are looking after her.”

“Her? Frankenstein is a woman?” Brokenshire asked.

“You know, I could kill you right now. This is no time for stupid questions!” Creature said.

“Are you threatening an officer of the law?” Brokenshire asked, shoving his face into the Creature’s.

“They are joking, is all!” Jekyll said quickly.

“No, I am not. I have killed before and I will do it again.” Creature warned.

“Sergeant… how about we discuss this in private. Less death threats and less yelling.” Jekyll suggested.

“Very well.” Brokenshire led him into an office off the room they were in.

“Listen, Sergeant Brokenshire, I have my grand exhibition in two weeks and I cannot have half my society arrested here. Can you please just let them go. We will clean up the street and pay the damages, the fire was not intentional.” Jekyll put on his most persuasive tone possible.

“You are going to have to do a lot more than ask nicely if you want Hyde and your lodgers back, Doctor Jekyll. I finally have a solid charge on Hyde.” Brokenshire warned.

Jekyll looked at him strangely. “I never said I was bargaining for Hyde’s freedom, did I, sergeant? I simply want my lodgers back for the exhibition.” He said pleasantly. “Can that be arranged? I leave you Mister Hyde and Mister Richardson, the real criminals that burned my building down, and you give me my lodgers? Believe me, if somehow Hyde convinces me to fight for his freedom, I will have something to offer you.”

The sergeant smiled. “You have yourself a deal, Doctor Jekyll.”

Jekyll smiled as well. “Then, shall we go free my lodgers?” It was a hell of a lot easier than he had been expecting. “Oh, and can I take the creature as well? I understand they have been making threats, however, the person they are looking for is in the society right now.” He explained. “They will likely be much happier with me, and will doubtlessly cease threatening the police officers who are simply doing their honourable jobs.”

“That is not normally how we do things around here. I cannot just hand you all my guilty people.”

“You are not!” Not yet, at least. If Hyde called and made a deal, Jekyll would come back for him and Stephen. He would feel a little bad if the pair got sentenced to stay in Australia.

“I suppose that is true, I still have Richardson and Hyde.” Brokenshire agreed. “Very well. I do not want to deal with the thing anyways.” He decided. “Come this way, Doctor Jekyll, I shall get you your lodgers.”

Jekyll smiled and followed the sergeant back to the holding cells. Brokenshire unlocked the one containing a good number of lodgers, and then the one with Frankenstein’s monster. “Out you get, out of my hair.” He instructed.

The lodgers surged out excitedly. “You did it! I knew you would not abandon us!” Jasper cried, grinning. “Thank you!”

“No problem, Mister Kaylock.” Jekyll assured him. “I cannot have you all trapped here, I have need of you in the society!”

“Thank God for that!” Sinnett declared. “I was really worried that you would actually leave us here!”

“You were defending Frankenstein and my building, your homes, I could not leave you to suffer.” Jekyll told them.

But there was two people who were guilty of the same crime, and Jekyll was going to leave them. He had no other choice.

More like he did not have sufficient reason to.

“Doctor Jekyll?” Jasper called softly. “Doctor Jekyll, I do not mean to question you but… well…”

“Jekyll is not going to kill you, you can ask him a question.” Griffin said.

“Why are they… Mister Hyde and his friend, still trapped? They were doing the same thing we all did!” Jasper motioned to the caging in front of the cell Hyde was currently sitting in, refusing to look at anyone.

“Their… their case is much more complicated, Mister Kaylock. You are charged with disturbing the peace, and some things you did not do. Mister Hyde and Mister Richardson have been charged with arson.” Jekyll explained. “I cannot just free them. Brokenshire will not have it.”

“But they were just trying to help as well! They did help! They stopped Moreau they cannot be made to suffer either they were helping! Rachel and I would be dead if not for them!” Jasper protested.

“At the moment, Mister Kaylock, there is nothing I can do for them.” Jekyll said, shaking his head. “Now, come along, out you all get.” He prompted, motioning for the lodgers to keep moving. “I will do what I can.”

The doctor pretended to follow along, then stopped. “If you really want me to try and free you, Mister Hyde, and Mister Richardson, you know where to reach me and you both get a phone call. But you had best be willing to make me a deal. I owe you no favours.” He said to the blond, then walked out.

Chapter Text

“Hey, you do not have to cry. We are going to figure this out…” Stephen said gently.

He could not see the little blond, but he could hear Edward crying. It had been about an hour since Doctor Jekyll had been to rescue the lodgers, and Hyde had been crying off and on since.

It was very worrying, and worst of all, given that they were locked in separate cells, he could not even check on the blond properly. He could only talk and pray that Edward listened.

“This is all my fault…” Edward sniffled. “I did this to us…” He whispered.

“No one is at fault here, Edward. We fucked up and here we are. You were drunk, I could have stopped you at any point, and I did not.” Stephen said.

“And you tried to stop me and god, what was I thinking, why would I say that?” Edward groaned. “Did I even think?”

“No, you did not. That is the point here, Edward, you were drunk.” Stephen murmured.

“And I blew everything.”

“Partner is a very ambiguous word, Edward.” Stephen reasoned. “It can mean a lot of things. So it will be easy to fight that one. Especially since it is not true.”

“Wh-" Hyde actually stopped talking this time. He must have realized that Brokenshire had just walked in. “Exactly.” He agreed softly.

“So all that confidence about Jekyll yesterday was for nothing, I see.” Brokenshire remarked. “You are still here, his lodgers are free.”

“Leave him alone, Sergeant!” Stephen snapped.

“I have no mercy for criminals.” Brokenshire said in a cold voice. “Mister Hyde, and yourself, I might add, are criminals.”

“You cannot stick the charge of homosexuality.” Stephen said, a smirk on his face. “Partner is a very open ended word.”

“Do you know what, Mister Richardson? That does not even bother me. I can and will stick the charge for arson. How does Australia sound to you? Because that is where we send arsonists.” Brokenshire said with a smile.

“Please…” Edward said softly. “Let him go… just… just him.”

“Edward, stop it.” Stephen said quickly. “You are only going to annoy him.”

“He did not do it. I did. I dropped the caber that lit the fire, Stephen was making sure I did not die in the fire, is all. Let him go he is innocent.”

Brokenshire crouched down to Edward’s level. “No.”

Edward sniffled again. “Please…”

“No.”

“Edward, just stop. It is not going to work just please stop.” Stephen said softly. “I can get out of this myself.”

He was trying to make them seem distant. Even more distant than normal for public. They had to convince Brokenshire that they were nothing but friends.

“And someone has to feed my cats they will be lonely by now Gwen could get hurt without someone looking after her and- oh god what if something happens to her?” Hyde cried.

“Who is Gwen, and why would something happen to her?” Brokenshire asked.

“Gwen is his cat. She is blind and can get herself into a lot of bad spots. If you could-”

“You use your phone call to resolve personal matters.” Brokenshire said firmly.

“Fine. I want my phone call.” Stephen said. He could use it to call Julia. She would gladly go and look after Alhena and Gwen, which would save Edward just a little bit of stress, and talking to his female lover would make it hard to charge him with homosexuality. Which in turn would get Edward off the hook for that charge as well. Then it was just arson to deal with.

Which could be a problem. But Stephen was pretty sure they could get through it.

Brokenshire rolled his eyes, but unlocked the cell and dragged Stephen out anyways.

“I can walk by myself, you know.” Stephen protested.

“Not going to have you trying anything.” Brokenshire said in a cold tone.

“Whatever." Stephen walked over to the phone and dialled for Julia.

“Stephen? Is that you?”

“Yes, love, it is me.” Stephen agreed. “Listen, Julia-"

“Where are you I have called your house six times!” Julia cried. “I have been worried sick about you two! What happened at the bazaar?”

“Edward and I may have gotten arrested last night.” Stephen said quickly. “We never made it there.”

“Oh my god. On what charges?” Julia asked.

“Arson and homosexuality. Do not know where they pulled the second on from, though, all things considered.” Stephen said.

“Maybe that fact that Mister Hyde called you partners?” Brokenshire said.

“Listen, if you would enjoy being proven wrong, let me ask her to look after Hyde’s cats, and then you can talk to Julia. My lover of several years.” Stephen offered. “Would that make you happy?” He turned away from the sergeant. “Anyways, Jules, I do not know if you caught that but you need to go and look after Gwen and Alhena while we sort this out. You know where the key to his apartment is.”

“Stephen, do you need me to come down there? Play the distraught partner up a little bit for you too while doing so.” She offered.

“Actually? That may be nice.” Stephen admitted.

“I hope old Brokenshire is in for a fight.” Julia laughed. “No one locks up my lover and best friend and gets away with it.”

“I look forward to watching it. Go and look after Alhena and Gwen, first, though.”

“Of course. Maybe I will bring Gwen with me, Edward would love that.” Julia suggested.

“He truly would love that. Although I am not sure this is the place for her.” Stephen remarked.

“Fair enough. I could bring Alhena and she could attack Brokenshire, the only human being she likes is Eddie. She just tolerates you if you feed her.” Julia giggled.

“Just, leave them at the apartment, alright? If something happens to them.. “

“Good point. Edward would panic. Yeah, alright, I will be there shortly.” She said. “Did the sergeant want to talk to me? Should I stay on the line?”

“He can do it in person.”

 

---

 

“Stephen! Edward!” Julia rushed down the stairs, shooting a glare at Brokenshire as she did so.

Hyde finally lifted his head to look around and spot her. “Jules?”

She smiled. “I went and fed Alhena and Gwen and let Alhena out. I will probably just bring Gwen back to my apartment so that she cannot get into as much trouble.”

“That sounds okay." Hyde agreed.

“Good.” She walked over to the other cell. “Stephen!”

“Hello, love, good to see you.” Stephen sounded like he was grinning. Hyde could not actually see him. Just one of the many things he hated about being trapped in here.

“Excuse me, miss, you cannot be here!” Brokenshire called.

“Up yours, sergeant! You have Stephen and Edward, my two best friends, in custody, and you are trying to sentence them both out of the country! I am going to come and see them before you send them off to Australia!” Julia spat.

“You have no right to be here, this is private property.” Brokenshire told her angrily. “Get out!”

“You cannot lock Stephen up and then not let me see him! Sergeant this is cruelty how can you do this to us?” Julia cried.

She was really playing up the distraught lover thing here.

“Say goodbye, and get out. You cannot be here.” Brokenshire said. “You will be able to see them after the trial, either once they are released or before they are shipped out of England.”

“They did nothing wrong!” Julia argued.

“They lit a block of London on fire! Not to mention their obvious relationship!”

Julia started laughing. “Oh my god!” She giggled. “Oh my god, you think they are sleeping together? Good god you have it all backwards! I am sleeping with Stephen.”

“I am not going to trust anyone’s honour here and assume because Mister Richardson is bedding you he has never done so with anyone else.” Brokenshire said. “Neither of them are absolved.”

Hyde did not like her plan, but he had to admit it was smart. Julia spoke up immediately after Brokenshire finished. “Stephen’s is not the honour you have to question, sergeant. Mine is.” She said. “I am the middle ground between these two. Not Stephen between Edward and I like you seem to think.”

“They are both-"

“They met because they are both fucking me. Happy?” Julia asked pleasantly. “Lucky for me they are good friends now, or things could have gotten a little complicated. Now are you done with your ludicrous charges?”

“Bedding you does not get them out of arson. You need to leave.”

Julia glared at the sergeant for a moment, leaned over to the bars of the other cell and presumably gave Stephen a kiss.

Presumably because that was what she did when she got to Hyde. “Sorry Eddie,” she whispered and then quickly pressed her lips to his. It was not unpleasant, though a little unexpected and set off an irrational fear that had been born years ago and he was still fighting to get over.

Then she walked up the stairs.

“You three are a mess.” Brokenshire muttered.

Hyde stuck his tongue out, and wiped Julia’s lipstick off his mouth.

“I think it is a valuable lesson for you.” Stephen said.

“What do you mean?”

“The man is not always the unfaithful one. Course, Jules is not really unfaithful if we all know about it. Anyways, maybe you should ask where your wife goes when she says Ladies Club.” Stephen replied.

“Shut up!”

Hyde giggled.

 

Stephen was asleep. Hyde could hear him snoring. It was not late, but neither one of them had gotten any sleep the previous night.

Good. He had not wanted to make his call with Stephen listening. He was absolutely sure it was desperate and pathetic but he only had one way to turn right now.

Which was why he was now standing beside the phone, receiver pressed to his ear. Constable Jenkins stood beside him.

“Hello, you have reached Doctor Henry Jekyll, how can I help you?”

“You said to call.”

“I really did not think you actually would.” Jekyll’s voice soured instantly.

Hyde took a deep breath. He had never expected to spill this. “Look, I think I have a reason why you may want to help me, I have something to tell you that I should have told you years ago but-"

“I do not want to hear it.”

Hyde froze. He had honestly expected to say ‘I am your brother’, prove it with a story or two and be fine. “But-"

“I am not interested in the story you are going to fabricate like you do for everything! You have lied to me too often for me to take your word.”

“But I-”

“There is only one way I am going to come and try and help, Edward Hyde.” Jekyll said. “First, you are going to pay the repair expenses, not me.”

“I do not have that sort of money.”

“Neither do I! If you cannot pay you will be working for free to fix it.” Jekyll conceded.

“Fine.”

“And second, I want your signed letter of resignation. I will have you in my employment no longer.”

“But-" No, this was the best job Hyde had ever had and it was his chance to be a part of his old dream, his old life line! He could not give that up!

If he did not, he would be facing trial for arson.

“Look, Hyde, this is all on you. You can go to trial, or I can come and try and get you two out, in exchange for my conditions. I have been more than fair. This is about you now.” Jekyll said simply. “I am not going to offer you another deal. Take it or leave it. Do not disappoint me.”

“This is not about me. Or you.” Hyde said very, very quietly, glancing down the hall at the cell Stephen was locked in with tears in his eyes. “This is about Stephen, it is my fault he is here and I cannot make him suffer for my mistakes. Please.”  

“Nice story.” Jekyll said in a cold voice. “But you have far from put yourself on my good side, I owe you no favours, and I have my own problems to deal with. You are asking me to put my neck on the line for two men accused of arson and homosexuality, I can think of no worse thing for me to do to myself right now. If you want me to come and try, I make no promises for success, to get you out, you are going to owe me. And to repay that, you are going to quit, to spare me going back on the fight I have put up for you for two years and having to fire you, and work until the street is repaired. Is that crystal clear?”

“Exceedingly.” Hyde said in a broken voice.

“Then make your choice.” Jekyll offered. “I will wait, you do not have a second phone call to be able to call me back.”

Hyde did not want to give up on Henry. As irrational as it was he did not want to disappoint his brother, he would almost rather be sentence to more than a decade in Australia for arson. Giving in and asking Henry to free him was irresponsible. He wanted to be freed after committing a real crime.

But it was not just him that would suffer his decision.

Stephen was innocent. Both times he had tried to stop Hyde. And both times Hyde had let him down. Stephen had begged him several times to leave the fight, and asked him not to go after Moreau, and had warned him to shut up before he confessed to what Brokenshire had been trying to charge them with for years. And he, unfailingly, had made the wrong choice each time.

He had to make that up to Stephen somehow.

He had to disappoint Henry. “Come and get us out of here. You can have my signed letter of resignation the moment I get the supplies to write it.” He said quietly. “As with assistance in the repairs.”

His brother hung up the phone without another word.

Broken, Hyde put the receiver back in its place and allowed Jenkins to escort him back to his cell.

Buried his face in his hands, and cried.

 

---

 

“Gabriel, what is going on? Are you behind all of this?” Robert asked.

“Robert. Me? Spreading rumours?” Utterson laughed. “I should be offended!” He declared. “I would never do something so undignified as spreading rumours.”

“You do realize I am at risk too, so long as they continue flying.” Lanyon said in a flat voice. “There has to have been two people, and soon enough it will point back to me.”

“Nay, it will point back to his ‘personal assistant.’” Utterson said simply. “The one who there was already rumours about. You are completely safe.”

Lanyon had to admit he was right. Apparently that rumour was going to do him more good than he had originally counted on when he had started it. “But seriously, you said you had a plan and I just had to sit back and watch. This had better not be it. I never said I wanted him dead.”

“Who said anything about dead?” Utterson asked, laughing to himself. “Listen, Robert, I will tell you the same thing I told you then! Do not worry about a thing. Everything is going right for you now, is it not?”

“Except for that fact that I believe Jekyll is going to try and get an arsonist out of jail.” Lanyon replied. “Maybe two arsonists.”

“One being his assistant, further taking suspicious off of you. What are you so worried about?” Utterson asked. “Come on, Robert, lighten up! This will all blow over and everything will turn out fine. This is what you wanted, no? What you have been working towards for years? Truly, I do not know why you think I am such a bad guy, you are the one pretending to be his friend.”

“The fire helped. The rumours are far from what I wanted. A man of his esteem will be killed in the streets!” Lanyon said. “And I am not such a bad man.”

“I am sure it will not get so bad.” Utterson shrugged. “These things blow over quickly. Any man over the age of thirty who is unwedded has them pop up at least once, it is surprising that this one flies while he is engaged, though. Either way, what it will do is simply put suspicion around him, and ruin the exhibition. And Robert, you are a terrible man. To him, at least.”

Robert sighed.

“Go get a glass of wine, drink it, and relax. None of us planned this, but it can only help.” Utterson prompted. “Or sit and fret about it, completely up to you. I am going to go and get a drink.”

And with that, the lawyer walked off.

Lanyon sighed. His friend was probably right. These rumours never went anywhere. They cropped up, spread like wildfire and died out immediately after. This one would only last until November if it was lucky. It would doubtlessly be the end of the financial sinkhole that was the Society for Arcane Sciences, but it would not be the end of any human life.

He should just get a drink. Relax, take his mind off of it, and forget about this rumour. Stressing about it would only cause him unnecessary grief.

Still. He could not shake the feeling that somehow, Gabriel Utterson was behind this, and it was going to do a lot worse than just ruin the exhibition.

For the second time in his life, first being when he had opened the door to the spare bedroom in his parents cabin, Robert Lanyon prayed that he was wrong.

Otherwise, life was about to get very, very complicated.

Chapter Text

Emma stepped into the office at the top of the stairs. “Henry?” She called softly. “Henry, where have you gone? We have plans to finalize and my father is getting impatient!” She called, looking into the office.

There was a bottle of red wine on the desk, and an empty wine glass, but no one in the office. “Henry?”

Where would he have gone? He was supposed to be in his office, or in the society.

Which was in ruin.

The lodgers were downstairs working, fixing the walls back up. Ito had told her that Henry was in his office, but clearly that was not true.

And he had snuck out without anyone noticing, so he must have used the goddamn window. Sometimes Emma wanted to find and slap Henry’s long-lost brother for teaching him that. What did he not want people to know he was doing?

Was he scared? The latest news on the tongue of London was far from flattering for him, but surely he knew that acknowledging it or becoming secretive about it would only make it worse. He had been doing well simply ignoring it.

So where had he gone that he had not wanted anyone to know about?

Someone knocked at the door. “Come in!” Emma called.

Rachel stepped in with a platter and two cups of tea. “Hello, Emma.” She smiled, set the platter down and handed the woman one of the cups. “Is Henry not in here?” She asked, frowning.

“No, I suspect he left through the window. God knows why. Has he been jumpier since the rumours started?” Emma asked. “I am afraid that he ran off to do something about it, and will be getting himself into even more trouble.”

“Well, he has been nervous, and he literally yelled at Sinnett for mentioning that old rumour about him and Hyde. Apologized immediately after, but it still shows that it is bothering him.” Rachel sighed. “I mean, it is so close to the truth, how would it not?”

“You know?” Emma asked, blue eyes wide. “I did not realize anyone in here but Lanyon knew!”

“Robert Lanyon does not know.” Rachel said quickly. “I mean, of course he knows Henry is into men more than women, that would be hard for him not to know, considering they hooked up in university, but he does not know about the circumstances of your wedding.”

“You know about that, too?” Emma gasped, eyes going wide. “How do you know about that?”

“Hey, hey hey hey it is okay!” Rachel said quickly. “Henry told me! He tells me almost everything, and believe me, I can keep your secrets. I mean, I did slip up once, but that was taken care of. Trust me, all is safe.”

“Oh… I did not realize you knew so much.” Emma laughed, a little nervously.

“I know a lot.” Rachel replied. “Do not worry about it. In fact…” She pulled the door to the office shut and picked up the other mug of tea. “If Henry wants to vanish without explanation, then I am going to drink this tea, and you and I are going to have some girl chat.” She decided. “Staged or not you are marrying my best friend.”

“Fair enough, I suppose.” Emma agreed, taking a seat in Henry’s office chair.

“So. Got anyone of interest lately? Any nice young ladies in your life?” Rachel asked with a grin. “I would break out some of the wine and make it a real party, but Henry would probably lose his mind if we drank any of the nice stuff, and all the other stuff is terrible.” She declared, sitting down on the edge of Henry’s desk.

Emma sipped her tea. “That is fine, I do not feel like drinking vinegar like Henry seems to do so often.” She decided. “And there is someone leaving me letters. I suspect I know who she is, but it is not her placing them.”

“Oh?” Rachel tipped her head, a curious look in her eyes. “Who do you think they are from? Someone you are interested in?”

“Yes, a certain woman whom I once took charity on and gave her some money. She used it to buy herself out of her dead-end job and start a gang, of all things. Not what I expected, but-"

“Miss Carew!” Rachel giggled, placing a hand on the woman’s shoulder. “Are you telling me you are into bad girls?”

Emma blushed. “I suppose I might be.” She agreed with a smile. “If you would count Queen Lucy as a ‘bad girl.’”

“I absolutely would!” Rachel agreed, grinning  “So, what does she write? How do you know it is not her delivering them?”

“She is quite romantic. A little strange, comes from being in charge of a gang of thieves, but you know.” Emma admitted. “Do you know what? Fuck Henry, you and I are having a drink. And a good one, too.” She decided, getting up and looking through the cabinet full of wine. “What sort of wine do you like?”

“I do not drink it very often.” Rachel replied.

“Ah. Well, I am in the mood for something sweet, so we will go with…” Emma pulled a bottle out of the cabinet, popped it open and poured them both a glass. “Here, you will like that.” She said.

Rachel took it from her and took a sip. “That is nice.” She agreed, smiling. “I normally drink beer, but this is good.”

“Good.”

“So how do you know it is not Lucy herself leaving you all those letters?” Rachel asked, smirking.

“I have seen a young man in black leaving them. Lucy wears pink, she does not need to hide. That man does.” Emma replied. “What about you? Any romance for you?”

Rachel laughed. “Sounds like Edward, with all the black. He said he spoke to Lucy once, but I figured he was making it up. And I have my eye on the newest lodger, but we will have to see where that goes.”

“Maybe he is delivering them, who knows.” Emma agreed.

“Well, have you gotten any recently?” Rachel asked.

“Not for a day or two.” Emma replied.

“Then it must be.” Rachel’s voice was suddenly bitter.

“Is something wrong?” Emma asked, frowning.

“Yes.” Rachel sighed, took a sip of wine. “Henry got all the people out of jail except the two who actually saved the Society from Doctor Moreau.” She explained, frowning. “He left Edward and Stephen in jail under charge of things they did not do. Well, they did do one. But not the arson thing and Henry has no right to leave people in jail for fucking members of the same sex.”

“What happened? I knew the building was lit on fire, but how did Mister Hyde or this other man have anything to do with it?” Emma asked.

“Edward dropped the caber on Moreau that blew up the flamethrower. And got arrested for arson. Brokenshire has been out for his blood for years, it was just an excuse. And now one of my good friends and his incredible partner will probably be prosecuted and sent to Australia.” Rachel said bitterly.

“Actually, Rachel, I just got back from Scotland Yard.” Jekyll corrected, stepping in the room via the window. “After going and rescuing your friend and his partner.”

“And why are you climbing in the window, dear?” Emma asked.

“Emma! I did not see you there. Are you both here to ambush me?” Jekyll asked.

“I came here to go over wedding plans with you. My father grows impatient, and as he is paying for most of it, he has the right. However, I did not find you here. And then I met Miss Rachel again and we have been speaking since. But now I would like to ambush you. How ungrateful can you get?” Emma asked, crossing her arms in front of her.

“I could not just throw my support to an accused arsonist and homosexual. Not with the rumours that are already all over London.” Jekyll said with a sigh.

“That is not your reason! You would have been glad to see him exiled from England for more than ten years, admit it! What did you make him give you in exchange for you going to Scotland Yard?” Rachel demanded.

“In exchange for his and Mister Richardson’s freedom, Mister Hyde will be working- nay, volunteering in cleaning up and repairing the street, and will be giving me his letter of resignation. I will not longer have him in my employment, and him resigning means I do not have to go back on all the fights I have put up on his behalf in the past.” Jekyll replied. “I am quite certain, Rachel, that I have been more than fair, considering Mister Hyde’s passed record and what I had to go up against to get him freed.”

“And who is going to do all the work you do not if you have forced him to quit?” Rachel asked.

“Believe me. His work was not worth the effort I put into dealing with him.”

 

---

 

“You did it!”

Stephen had been trying every trick in the book to make Edward Hyde smile since they had left Scotland Yard.

None had worked.

“And I called Julia before we left, so she will be waiting for us with Gwen and Alhena…” He tried.

Edward did not smile. He continued to stare at the ground, just seconds away from crying. Stephen knew him well enough to know he was barely hanging on. Barely keeping the tears from slipping down his cheeks.

It was not giving up his job that was upsetting Edward. It was how Jekyll had spoken to him that had broken the little blond’s spirit. Edward took everything his brother said about him, good, bad or otherwise, straight to heart.

And Jekyll had not had nice things to say about Edward. Stephen had not heard most of it, but he knew it had been bad.

And with the charges that had barely been put to rest, he dared not do anything to comfort Edward until they got back to the apartment. He had to watch Edward nearly start to cry and not do anything to help. “Edward, you saved us and you know your brother was just angry, he did not mean any of it…” Stephen said gently.

Edward still did not answer. Stephen led him up the stairs and into their apartment, and immediately pulled him into a tight hug. “I know it hurts a lot, Edward, but you did the right thing. I love you a lot but I do not want to be exiled to a country with spiders the size of your face. I hate spiders.” Stephen murmured.

He only got a muffled sob for an answer, so he lifted the little blond off the ground, found Alhena and called her to convince her to follow them. Julia did not appear to have gotten there with Gwen yet.

Settled Edward onto the bed, called the cat up, which only worked because she had seen Edward. She walked over and curled up beside him.

Stephen gazed down at Edward. Edward looked away.

The brunet leaned down and pressed a kiss to Hyde’s lips. He still did not really react. “Jekyll is wrong, Edward.” Stephen said softly. This was starting to worry him. He had no clue how to cheer his partner up right now. “He is wrong about you.”

“Does it matter?” Edward asked in a very, very quiet voice. “If that is what he thinks does it matter if he is wrong?”

“Why do you value his opinion so much, Eddie? He is not judging you as his brother, he does not know!” Stephen reminded him.

“That is the point!”

“How?”

“This is the truth. He does not pull any punches with me. If he knew I was his brother he would not tell me any of this, but he does not and now I get to know exactly what he thinks of me.” Edward said quietly. “And I wish I did not.”

“So tell him.” Stephen suggested, laying down beside Edward. “And then he will stop treating you like shit.”

“I do not want to force him, Stephen, what is the point anymore? If I ever tell him now it will just force him not to hate me! He very clearly despises me right now. I have ruined everything.” Edward whispered.

“So do what you said you were going to.” Stephen suggested. “Move on. Forget Henry, forget all of it. Be Edward Hyde. He does not have to care what Henry Jekyll thinks of him. I love you no matter what, but I feel you will be happier if you quit being Jekyll’s brother and worrying about what he thinks and just be yourself.”

“Who am I if I am not his brother?”

“My lover, Darius and Petunia Hyde’s son, Julia’s best friend. You are very much yourself you have ties of your own you do not need a brother. You have a family with or without him.” Stephen explained. “Edward Hyde probably has more of a family than Jekyll’s brother, if that is what you are worried about. You have something to belong to, you do not need Jekyll.”

Edward was silent. Stephen paused, afraid he had said something wrong, overstepped a boundary. He had said a lot of things to Edward before, he had never suggested something like this. He had always felt it was not his place. But being Jekyll’s unknown brother was making Edward miserable, and why not leave it behind and move on if he could? “Hey, I am sorry if that was out of place…” He said softly.

“No… no, maybe… maybe you are right.” Edward said softly. “Maybe it is time that I… that I stop worrying about all of that and just be… me.” He agreed. “I was stupid to think I could ever last working at the Society.”

“I understand why you wanted to try, Eddie, but maybe it is time to give up.” Stephen agreed. “No one is going to love you less, I told you ages ago that no matter who you were, I was in love with you. So be who you are comfortable being.”

Edward nodded and pulled Stephen into a hug. “I love you, Stephen.” He whispered.

“I love you too, Edward.” Stephen said softly, wiped the tears away from his brilliant green eyes and pressed a couple of soft kisses to his lips.

Julia cleared her throat. “I have your cat, Edward.” She said. “If you two are done.”

“I have walked in on you doing way worse, I am not apologizing.” Edward decided, giving Stephen another kiss and sitting up. “How are you, Julia?” He asked, holding his hands out for Gwen. Julia handed the snow-white cat to him. Gwen mewled and snuggled into Edward’s chest, purring very loudly. Edward grinned and kissed the top of her head.

Alhena meowed in indignation as she realized she was being ignored. Edward glanced down at her. “I did not even see you there!” He laughed, stroking the top of her head.

“You had better pet her, Eddie, because no one else can.” Julia recommended. “Give Gwen to Stephen and cuddle your bitchy cat.”

“She is not that bitchy.” Edward protested, handing Gwen to Stephen. The little cat purred and cuddled up in his lap. Edward hauled the former stray onto his lap. Alhena meowed, but did not protest. She curled up on Edward’s legs.

“I tried to pet her while you were in jail and she bit me.” Julia argued, sitting down on the bed. “I like Gwen a lot more, she is an angel.”

“Gwen gets into her fair share of trouble.” Edward told her, smiling fondly at the little white cat.

“I am sure she does, but at least she is sweet with people other than you. She is sweet with everyone.” Julia reminded him.

“That she is.” Edward agreed. He kissed Alhena’s head.

“So how did you manage to get out of jail, you two? Brokenshire seemed to think he had you two dead to rights!” Julia asked.

“I called Doctor Jekyll for a favour.” Edward replied. “He made a bunch of demands but he did go and get us out. No clue how he managed it.” He admitted.

“What demands?” Julia asked.

“I have to help repair the road and builds that got damaged, starting tomorrow, and I do not work for him anymore. I have to write him that letter, still, actually.” Edward remembered. “I can do it tonight and give it to him tomorrow morning.” He decided.

“He made you give up your job?” Julia gasped. “How are you going to find another one?”

“Edward is going to take a few weeks to work on those repairs and relax before he worries about that.” Stephen said quickly. He did not want his partner stressing about a job already. Let him relax and breathe a bit first. “And then we will do what we have to do until he has a job. We survived travelling Europe for six months without jobs when we were young, we can manage now.”

“We did not pay rent though, we stayed with people who opened their doors to travellers.” Edward reminded him.

“Maybe we can do that again. I guarantee I need a new job after being charged with arson, the three of us could go travelling together.” Stephen suggested.

“I guess we could. I am still surprised that Jekyll actually made me quit. He would not even get up the guts and fire me.” Edward remarked.

“Speaking of Jekyll, did you not have something to tell me about him?” Julia asked suddenly.

Stephen watched his partner. The thing Edward had to tell her about Jekyll was that they were brothers, but he had also recently dismissed the idea of holding onto that part of his life. So what would he say?

Edward smiled and shrugged his shoulders. “It was nothing important.”

Chapter Text

Hyde had another letter from Lucy Harris to her mysterious lover in his pocket.

But now, her lover was not so mysterious, and Hyde had no intention of delivering it. It was staying in his pocket and he was going to have a talk with the person it was for.

The person it was for was on the ground below him. In a pale blue dress with her brown hair pulled up on top of her head. She had friendly blue eyes and a happy smile and she was a liar.

Hyde refused to deliver the letter because it was to Emma Carew.

His brother’s- he could not let Stephen know he was still thinking like that- Henry Jekyll’s fiancé.

She was a liar and Hyde had been right not to trust her. She was lying to Henry. She was engaged to him, said she loved him, and here she was getting and sending love letters to Lucy Harris!

And he was not going to put up with it.

But he needed cold, hard proof. Besides when he was helping clean up the busted street, which was basically done now, after two weeks of work, he was not supposed to go anywhere near Jekyll. He needed solid proof before he approached the doctor about it.

So he was following Miss Carew around, waiting for her to slip up, to do something that would make him able to confront her and make her confess. So that he could warn Jekyll and Emma would confirm it.

He was not going to let someone else break Jekyll’s heart. He was a better brother than that, and Jekyll would never know he was doing it until Hyde could prove that something was wrong. That Emma was a lying bitch and not worth his brother’s time. His brother deserved to be happy, and here he was about to marry someone living a double life.

Thank god it had been postponed so many times. It was Hyde’s chance to spill the beans and ruin Emma’s crazy plan. The world was on his side!

He just had to prove it. He hopped over to the next roof, staying just behind her.

He did not know where she was going. He did not particularly care. He had no idea how this was going to get him proof that she was unfaithful to Henry but he would think of a way. He wanted to save his brother from another heartbreak.

That stupid bitch was out to hurt his brother and he was not going to let her get away with it. He was going to stop her she could not be allowed to hurt Henry like that. He had to do something about it.

God, she made him angry. And if there was one thing that people should not do, it was mess with the Spirit of London at Night. She would pay if she hurt his brother, but it was better if she never got the chance.

Emma ducked into a building. Hyde hopped down to wait on the street and was immediately spotted by someone.

“Edward you were supposed to be home an hour ago I've been looking everywhere for you!” Stephen scolded. “Where have you been? What have you been doing?” He asked.

Hyde sighed. Stephen had gotten it in his head that losing the job at the Society had affected Hyde in a worse way than he was letting on.

Which might have been true, but it wasn't so bad that Stephen had to go stupid about it and worry if he got home late. “I was checking on something.” Hyde said softly. “That is all, nothing to get your panties in a twist about, Steph.”

He ignored the hurt look on Stephen’s face and climbed back onto the roof. “Well? Are we going home or what?”

Stephen sighed and climbed up. “It is my job to worry about you.”

“You are my lover, not my mother.” Hyde corrected. “It is not your job to worry every time I am late.”

Hyde jumped to the next roof and was caught in a hug shortly after he landed. “Eddie, I worry about you. If you have not realized that by now I do not know when you will. And I know you are lying when you say you are fine, everyone is lying when they say they are fine. I know you are still upset about Henry and I know there is something else bothering you and you will not tell me what it is. And that worries me.” Stephen said gently. “And the doctor told you nothing strenuous for a month. You should not be up here.” He scolded.

“This is not strenuous.”

“Yes it is.” Stephen kissed his cheek. “Come home and get some rest, Edward.”

Hyde sighed and leaned against Stephen’s side, closing his eyes for a few moments. “I was right all along, Steph.”

“About what?”

“Emma Carew.” Hyde replied. “I know I said I was through with this all but-"

“Did you think I believed you for a second?” Stephen asked. “I know you have not stopped looking out for Henry. What did Miss Carew do?”

Hyde sighed. “Queen Lucy had me delivering letters. You knew that.”

“Yes.”

“Love letters. To Miss Carew. And now I have gone and done what you did and I was so mad about.” Hyde said. “I cannot bring myself to give it to her when if I do I am helping her hurt Henry!”

Stephen sighed. “Eddie, after the fuss you put up when I did not deliver one of your letters, can you really hide this one from Emma?” He asked.

“No, but what else am I supposed to do?”

“Warn Jekyll?” Stephen suggested.

“He will not believe me.”

“But at least then he has heard a rumour to be suspicious of her with. And it is not like you can make him dislike you more.” Stephen pointed out, escorting Hyde down off the roof and pulling an arm around his waist to guide him home with.

“Somehow that is not reassuring or convincing.” Hyde admitted with a sigh. “I can definitely make him hate me more, and that's not smart since I still have not decided if I will ever tell him who I am.”

Stephen just shook his head. “Then I do not know what to tell you. You could deliver the letter you have and take the one addressed to Lucy to give to Jekyll, stick it in with the letter you leave as Edward Jekyll on his roof.” He suggested. “My best advice would be to mind your own business but you are not going to do that.”

Hyde looked down. “I cannot bring myself to leave him to get hurt.” He confessed.

“Then leave the letter where you are meant to, and steal the response.” Stephen said. “But not tonight. For now, come home and you and I can spend some time together. You are meant to be resting anyways, doctor’s orders. You had a pretty bad head injury.”

“It was not that bad.” Hyde protested. “Just a bump, really.”

“It would not have been as bad if it had gotten immediate attention, but it waited more than a day thanks to Brokenshire.” Stephen corrected. “So it was pretty bad.”

“I suppose.” Truth be told Hyde knew it was bad, he had felt the signs of a problem, illness, dizzy spells, black spots in his vision, but he had ignored them.

He did not want Stephen to worry more about him. Stephen already worried that Hyde was broken on the inside, he did not need to know that he was also broken outside.

Stephen lifted him off the ground and carried him into their apartment, pressed a kiss into his hair. “You have let your hair start to grow in dark.” He remarked. “Should you not lighten it again?”

“Not with the gash on my head.” Hyde replied. “Besides. The only person it needs to be blond for is Jekyll.  I do not know why I kept it lightened all these years.”

Stephen did not comment, only hugged Hyde tightly.

Gwen mewed and climbed up Hyde’s pant leg. He laughed and scooped her up into his arms. “You are such a pushy little thing.” He said fondly, scratching behind her ears. She purred.

Stephen smiled. “Reminds me of someone else I know."

Hyde sighed and rested his head on Stephen’s shoulder. “You know, if you are going to call me pushy, I was promised some quality time.”

“I guess you were!” Stephen agreed, laughing and walking him into the bedroom.

The moment they were seated Hyde climbed into Stephen’s lap and closed his eyes, cheek pressed into the brunet’s shoulders.

Stephen smiled and pulled his arms around the little blond. It was not exactly what he had been expected the blond to be after, but it worked. “You are lucky you are cute and I let you get away with everything.”

Hyde only hummed a little.

 

---

 

“Rachel, I have told you-"

“And I told you, you are being an ass! Do you not have enough to deal with without firing the man who helps you keep this office together? Do you not have enough problems-"

“The exhibition is my biggest problem right now, Rachel, and it does not rely on Hyde. The street is mostly done and all that matters at the moment is getting the lodgers performances finalized.” Jekyll decided.

“I cannot believe you went and fired someone just for defending your idol, Doctor Jekyll.” Rachel said angrily.

“Miss Pidgley, such matters are not up to you and I do not need your opinion, nor did I ask for it.” Jekyll’s tone went far colder than he had meant for it to, he was still talking to one of his greatest friends and should not have spoken to her like that.

And Rachel did not seem impressed. She slammed the cup of tea she had brought him down so hard that it cracked up the side, and stormed out of the room.

“Shit. Rachel!” Jekyll called, but she was already gone and now there was tea leaking onto his desk.

He sighed, threw the cup into the wastebasket and mopped up the tea with an old rag.

Walked into the hall to follow Rachel, just to bump into Miss Ito. “Ah, hello, Virginia, I was just-"

“Frankenstein is waking up.” Ito said, cutting him off. “Get downstairs.”

“Of course.” The brunet rushed down the stairs and to Lavender’s room.

Frankenstein had been unconscious her entire stay here. Jekyll was looking forwards to finally getting to speak to her. He forced himself to slow down and walk with dignity through the door.

“Ah, Miss Lavender, good to see you. And Creature, how are you this fine day?” He said with a smile. “How is she?” He asked Lavender.

“Her breathing is a bit ragged, but other than that she seems alright.” Lavender replied.

“Thank you for your help, Miss Lavender.” The Creature said. “I am loathe to leave Frankenstein’s side, but it is easier knowing you are looking after her.”

“Oh, really, it is no trouble at all!” Lavender said. “It is an honour to serve the real Doctor Frankenstein!”

“Honestly, Frankenstein is a godsend after the Moreau fiasco.” Jekyll confessed. “The Society for Arcane Sciences, scientific institute and literal firestorm is not a good look for us.”

“Well that does explain the crowd.”

Jekyll sighed and turned to the crowd of lodgers outside the door.

“What is going on?”

“Is she awake yet?”

“Doctor Jekyll, are you really going to cure Frankenstein?”

“I must apologize, they can be a little enthusiastic.” Jekyll said. “Of topic, though, I must ask you, why did Frankenstein come to find me? I am flattered, but why?”

The Creature pulled a face. “Well, you see-"

“Doctor!”

Jekyll looked back down when Lavender called to see Frankenstein pry her eyes open.

“Doctor Frankenstein?” Jekyll said.

The delirious look that had been on her face vanished. “Nooo!” She shouted, and a fist connected with Jekyll’s jaw. He stumbled backwards and landed on his ass on the floor. “Creature you Judas! You have delivered me to the very belly of the lions den!” She cried, coughing every couple of words.

“You are mixing up your biblical references again.”

“Gott im Himmel, you have brought me to London! The air here is poison you have killed me!”

Jekyll rubbed the side of his face, groaning. It hurt terribly. “Doctor Frankenstein-" he began, getting to his feet- “I believe you have misunderstood. No one is trying to kill you! This is the Society for Arcane Sciences, and I am-"

“I know exactly who you are, Doctor Henry Jekyll.” Frankenstein spat.

“Y-you do?” Jekyll could not help but be excited at the idea.

“Yes, I know everything about you and your little society. You are the the industrialist slut that would destroy the very soul of mad science!”

Jekyll did not hear the last bit. “I am the… I am the what? ” He gasped.

“Speak to me not of your bullshit!” Frankenstein snapped, jabbing a finger into his chest. “You may have fooled your little scientists, but not me! I see what you are and it is high time someone took a sledgehammer to this fortress of… of…”

Before Jekyll had time to react or even process how badly he was being insulted, Frankenstein coughed a stomach full of blood up on his front. “Help.” Was all he managed to squeak out.

“On it.” Creature grabbed Frankenstein before she fell and laid her on the bed.

Jekyll turned to the Creature. “Would you care to explain what the hell is going on?”

“There is no need to get testy, Doctor.”

“My childhood idol just called me a slut.” Jekyll retorted, crossing his arms over his blood-covered chest.

Creature nodded. “I suppose an explanation may be in order, then. To be candid, I did not bring Frankenstein here because I believed you were a man of unprecedented scientific expertise. I brought her here as a last resort.”

“Am I supposed to feel better?”

“My creator is a difficult woman. She has refused treatment at every hospital I have brought her to. Or caused enough trouble to get thrown out. In truth I do not believe she truly thinks she is ill. All in all, she would rather strangle herself with her own esophagus than come to you for help.” Creature explained.

“But why does she hate me? I am a scientist just like her!” Jekyll protested. “I spent my life, god, she was my idol I wanted nothing more than to be like her!”

“You… you are no scientist.” Frankenstein spat. “You are an imposter! An imposter sent by the London establishment! You lied in young brilliant minds and you scrub them away until they are squeaky clean and empty! You make them… respectable.”

“And what is so wrong about being respectable?” Jekyll asked.

“Nothing about mad science is respectable! It is dirty and dangerous and goes against every rule and sanction the government makes for it! Modern science seeks to destroy the scientist, it fears what he may become with an unbound mind! The scientist shuns society! He is Prometheus, charging into the heavens and stealing the fire of divine from the gods!”

“Actually.” Lavender said hesitantly. “Doctor Jekyll has not destroyed anything. He is helping us all with our work.”

“Your work?”

Lavender gestured around the room. “This is my work! My exhibit for the grand exhibition on extremofauna!”

“Extremofauna?” Frankenstein repeated.

“Oh, you know. Leviathans, cthulhus, the ones we dare not mention for fear of our mortal souls… Jekyll says to call them extremofauna so we do not scare anyone.” Lavender explained.

“But frightening people is what you are meant to do!” Frankenstein cried. “Mad science is terrifying! It should give people nightmares! You should terrify them and give them nightmares!”

Lavender giggled and covered her mouth. “I am afraid I am just not a very terrifying person!”

“That is not your fault, dear child.” Frankenstein took Lavender’s hands. “You have been held in captivity too long. Come with me and discover monsters and terror you could only dream of! What it is to be a mad scientist!”

“Oh my god! She is going to take Lavender on a trip!”

“That is no fair I want to go too!”

“Where will they go?”

Jekyll could not take any more. He cleared his throat. “You will not be going anywhere. Creature has entrusted me with you care. And what is all over my shirt leads me to believe you cannot do much without coughing up the contents of your arteries.”

Frankenstein huffed. “Fine. But I will stay no longer in this room. Do you not have somewhere more suited for a mad scientist? A cabin in the woods? Tower on the edge of a cliff?”

Jekyll thought about it. “We have an attic that is not fully finished, but really I could not have you-”

Frankenstein stood and began another speech. Jekyll was beginning to hate those speeches. “Fellow scientists! This man would deny me even the smallest comfort in my time of need! Will you not come to my aid?”

The effect was instantaneous. The lodgers flooded in and lifted Frankenstein’s bed up to carry to the attic.

“Wait! As you doctor, you cannot-"

“You and Creature may conspire to keep me in this hellhole,” Frankenstein hissed, bending down to face him, “but you are not my doctor. I would rather die in agony than have you as my doctor. You are rotten on the inside.”

Frankenstein was brought upstairs.

“Well.” Creature smiled. “She is your problem now.”

“Suppose I refuse to treat her.” Jekyll retorted. “This is the worst possible time that I could take a new patient. I have a society to repair, an exhibition to arrange, a wedding to prepare, and not to mention she hates the very core of who I am.”

Creature smiled even wider. “I am not concerned about that. It would reflect very poorly on you if the great Doctor Frankenstein had come to you for help, all the way from Switzerland to England for your help, only to be turned away and left to die.”

They had a point.

 

---

 

“Have you heard?”

“Who would not have? It is all over London!”

“It is scandalous! Just think!”

“I always knew something was off.”

“You say you always knew everything. I do not believe you.”

“And to think he had everyone fooled! Even that poor girl! What must she think?”

“It is a disgrace to all of humanity!”

“Who must he have done it with?”

“Was his old assistant not just arrested for the same crime?”

“I do not think it is his assistant. There is someone much more obvious.”

“Either way, something must be done about this outrageous man!”

“Trust me. Something will be done.”

Chapter Text

“I fail to understand how Helsby and Bryson, our bathynaut and aeronaut, got so terribly lost. They are meant to be good navigators!” Jekyll shook his head, looking over at Rachel and smiling.

Rachel did not reply. She was clearly still mad at him. About Hyde, his rude comment the other day or something entirely different, he was not sure. And she would not answer. He was not honestly sure how he had convinced her to come with him. She clearly did not want to speak to him in the least.

It did not mean he had to stop trying. “I guess the bright side is I will have time to collect some different ingredients I cannot find in London to try and cure Doctor Frankenstein.” He continued. “Do you think-"

“I came to find Helsby, Bryson and the Kraken. Every one of them interests me more than whatever you have to say.” Rachel said angrily. “Besides, I thought you did not need my advice?” She said in a falsly pleasant tone. “You certainly did not want it this morning.”

“Rachel-"

“Did I not make myself perfectly clear, Doctor Jekyll? I do not want to speak to you right now.” Rachel said, then turned away from him.

Jekyll sighed. Why was everything around him turning into such a mess? The exhibition was in huge risk, Frankenstein absolutely detested him and had turned his lodgers against him, Emma was still fretting about wedding plans as though he actually had time to worry about the wedding, Sir Danvers was demanding to speak to him tomorrow, and the talk around London has gotten worse and Jekyll was starting to think it was a real threat. He had been outright confronted by several people and they would not just drop it. It was all he could do to refute it and refuse to name a partner, claiming he had never had one.

Robert would kill him before any angry mob if he ever did slip up about a partner.

The carriage pulled to a halt. “Ah, Miss Pidgley, we have arrived!” Jekyll said with a smile.

“I see that.” Rachel agreed, and got out of the carriage.

Jekyll sighed and followed after her.

It was not hard to spot the missing lodgers. Bryson’s hot air balloon was stuck in a tree. Jekyll found a ladder and helped all three down. There was no getting the balloon out so he just left it.

Rachel, Bryson, Helsby and the kraken ran off, leaving him standing by himself.

What a mess your life has become. A terribly boring mess.

“Could you not just leave me be?” Jekyll asked irritably.

No chance.

Jekyll sighed and ignored him. “I am sure there is something for Frankenstein’s cough here, I just need to know where to look for them…”

You are going to find potion ingredients growing amongst the weeds. Oh look! A dandelion! Maybe that will stop her coughing blood all over you! Edward scoffed.

“Dandelion has very few alchemical properties. But that right there,” he pointed, “is widow’s hair, and it used to be used to cure consumption. And that is burke’s blood bark, which distills down to poison… and that…  that is the answer to my prayers.” Jekyll grinned.

You do not use such wild ingredients. Why start now?

“I did, once. Once I shed my belief that respectability was important and gave in to the wild side of science. It was a mistake, it brought you about, but it was a time before I was all politics and responsibility. If I can go back to that… maybe I can win Frankenstein’s respect.” Jekyll grinned and plucked a few of the blossoms before returning to where some of his lodgers were waiting to go home.

 

“Alright, alright, story time is over!” Jekyll called, walking into the half renovated attic and stepping over the lodgers that were sprawled out across the floor, listening intently to Frankenstein, holding onto every word she said. He had his chest of typical alchemical supplies in his arms. “All of you, get out of here. Aunty Frankenstein needs to take her medicine and get some rest.”

The lodgers sighed and groaned and a few even glared at him, but Jekyll did not budge. He stared down at them until the filed out the door to the attic.

“I thought I told you I would not have a knockoff imposter like you as my doctor.” Frankenstein spat. “I will not be treated by a fake liar scientist!”

“I know.” Jekyll said. “You mentioned that earlier when you called me a slut and coughed blood all over me. But did it occur to you to ask what sort of fake liar scientist I am?”

“I fail to see how it would make a difference.” Frankenstein said, crossing her arms and glaring at him.

“Oh, but it just might. See, I am an alchemist.” He pulled a few vials and a graduated glass from within the chest.

“An alchemist? You?” Frankenstein snorted.

“Well, neoalchemist. Ancient theories made real with modern technology.” Jekyll agreed. “Miss Ito is as well.”

“And you are in trouble now, Doctor Jekyll, for I too am an alchemist!” Frankenstein laughed.

Jekyll swirled together a few chemicals, watched the liquid in the graduated glass turn red. “I know.” He assured her, grabbing another vial. “It was your work that inspired me to pick up “The Practical Guide to Alchemy” when I was in university. My brother and I adored your story, it was the reason I took chemistry in university. My brother was always more interested in-"

“I do not care at all about your brother. Why would you assume I would. The Practical Guide? You believe you can impressed me for having read the book for little babies who want their science spoon fed to them off a silver platter?” Frankenstein asked. “A real scientist goes to the source.”

“Such as Philip Von Hohenheim’s writings on the theory of homunculi? A theory that had never once been proven true until you pulled it off?” Jekyll asked pleasantly. He placed the graduated glass under the spout of the much larger apparatus he had just finished setting up and filling. “You combined his methods with galvanic hydrotherapy. To create the spark of life in your creature.”

“How do you possibly know all of this?” Frankenstein demanded. “I never told anyone this!”

“And for good reason, you would not want anyone to steal your success from you! I worked it out. I must confess I was absolutely obsessed with Hohenheim when I was young, it must have helped. I was never interested in homunculi myself, but I did read through many of this theories and anything else I could find. And I one found, amongst various recipes for poisons and antidotes, one potion that calls for this.” He brandished the flower he had picked when he rescued Helsby and Bryson. “Datura stramonium. Or the devil’s trumpet. It is naturally incredibly poisonous, but once purified with a solution of crystallized cobwebs and twice-blessed holy water, it produces quite a strong cough suppressant.” He picked up the graduated glass and dropped the flower into it. “But I am quite sure you knew that already, of course.”

Frankenstein snorted. “Do you really expect me to drink that?”

“How else will you prove me wrong?”

Frankenstein snatched the glass from him and downed it.

“So? How is the cough?” Jekyll asked.

Frankenstein frowned. “Beginners luck. I cannot believe you would actually figure it out without luck. You… you…” her eyelids started drooping.

Jekyll smiled. “I also mixed in the tiniest bit of moon-soaked howlite powder to help you sleep. You need your rest after all this excitement!” He pulled the blanket up over her.

Frankenstein sighed. “Fine. Perhaps I will allow you to treat me.”

How did this actually work?

“You see? I am not such a phony. Perhaps we got off on the wrong foot. In a few days you may even agree to be in my exhibition!”

“That will never happen, Doctor Henry.” Frankenstein said.

“You may change your mind.”

She yawned. “No, I mean your exhibition will never happen. I informed all your lodgers that all the exhibition is for is to lure them into the sleepy poppy fields of the bourgeoisie rather than discovering their potential. Naturally, they all agreed to quit.”

Her eyes closed.

“What?”

Jekyll could not breathe. He turned and fled the room.

That could not be true. No way.

But he got the feeling that it was absolutely true. Of course his lodgers would be so easily influenced by Frankenstein. She was his idol and theirs alike!

But it hurt. To have them so quickly turn on him and believe every slanderous word she said about him. Why would they so quickly believe that he meant them any sort of harm?

Was he really such a terrible man in their eyes?

 

---

 

“Stephen, let go of me we are in public!” Hyde hissed. Stephen completely ignored him, arms pulled around Hyde’s waist.

“We are in Bethnal Green. We will see Brokenshire coming from a mile away.” Stephen said with a smile, pressed a quick kiss to the blond’s lips. “You need a drink. To lighten up.” He decided. His breath smelled like rum.

“What are you, a pirate? How many have you already had if you are the one making bad decisions?” Hyde groaned, tapping Stephen’s nose. “Steph, love, you have got to stop. You can do this all you want at home, not here. Trust me I am looking forwards to you doing much more than just this at home. But I am not Julia and given our recent arrest we cannot do this here.” He murmured.

Stephen only smiled and stole another kiss. Hyde gave him a shove and he nearly fell out of his chair.

“At least it is only you two, no one expects much from you. You cannot get into worse trouble than the police, though you walked that line for a while when you worked at the Society, Hyde.” The barkeep said. “You are far safer than that fool of an upperclassmen who went and got himself discovered. The police will not have to touch him, high class London will do the rest.” He predicting. “I have trouble feeling bad for the man. He knew what he got himself into, he is stupid for getting caught.”

“Which one?” Hyde asked curiously. “Perhaps I shall have to pay him a visit before he is torn apart by the London mob.” He gave a wicked grin. Stephen smacked his arm.

Drunk Stephen was a jealous son of a bitch.

“Doctor Henry Jekyll.” The bartender said.

Hyde froze. “Sorry, who did you say it was?” Maybe he had misheard. Surely Henry was not stupid enough to be discovered. He had survived how many years without a lick of trouble, how had he gotten caught now?

“Henry Jekyll. I would think you would recognize the name, you did used to work for him until only a few weeks ago.”

“H-Henry Jekyll.” Hyde repeated.

“Hyde, how many times are you going to have me repeat it. Doctor Henry Jekyll, head of the Society For Arcane Sciences? You have not fucked him, have you? You are on the list of possible accomplices, you and Doctor Lanyon. Not sure where they got Doctor Lanyon from. What, are they going to suspect every man to have a business partner now?”

“I- I have not slept with Doctor Jekyll. I… I need to go. Stephen we need to go.” Hyde decided. His breathing was picking up, he grabbed Stephen’s arm to try and drag him to the door. Stephen did not move.

“You have clearly not had your drink to lighten up.” Stephen accused.

“I am not going to have a fucking drink and lighten up, Stephen, London is going to fucking kill my brother!” Hyde shouted at him.

“Your brother?” The bartender echoed. “Edward, are you sure you are not drunk?”

Hyde ignored him. “Stephen!”

“Alright, alright, we can go.” Stephen agreed, rolling his eyes.

Hyde pulled Stephen out of his chair and out the door, ignoring the bartenders questions. “Damn right we can go and you are having a damn cup of coffee and sobering the fuck up the moment we get home!”

Stephen said something else, but Hyde had decided not to answer until they got home.

 

“Drink this and listen to me.” Hyde thrust a cup of coffee into Stephen’s hands. “London is going to mob and possibly kill my brother!” He said urgently.

“Shhhh.” Stephen held a hand up. “Coffee first.”

Hyde paced the room while Stephen drank his cup of coffee. He picked Gwen up off the couch and carried her with him, petting her as a nervous tick. She did not seem to mind, only curled into his arms and purred. Normally that would make him smile.

Not today.

“Okay, what were you upset about Edward? Sorry I had way too much to drink before you found me. The room is spinning.” Stephen remarked, closing his eyes for a few seconds.

“You are good enough for now. Stephen, upperclass London is onto Henry and they are going to kill him or something almost as terrible.” Hyde cried. His hands were shaking. Gwen purred and licked his fingers.

“What did they catch him with?” Stephen asked, furrowing his eyebrows.

“He is gay. They found out. Father always sort of knew and I and obviously you and Robert all knew but now all of fucking London knows and he is going to get killed!” Hyde explained, his voice bordering on frantic.

Stephen froze. “Oh god you are right this is serious.” He said, dark green eyes wide. “So you want to come up with something to do about it?” He checked.

“Of course I do!” Hyde cried. “I cannot let him get killed!”

“No, I know.” Stephen stumbled out of the living room and got himself another cup of coffee. “This is terrible but I have no idea how you are going to disprove this if his engagement to Emma Carew has not proved it to be false.” He admitted. “I will tell you one thing, that engagement is his only chance and you cannot go and ruin it like you wanted to.” He sipped his coffee.

How was his so calm?

Oh right. It was not his brother at risk or dying.

“Unless people know about Emma and Lucy and that is why they suspect him.” Hyde suggested.

“That seems like a stretch, Eddie.” Stephen said, frowning and scratching his cheek. “What would prove that someone is not gay?”

“Being caught fucking a woman, but we both know that is not going to happen. Not with his woman. Besides he is not technically gay he is more like you. Or me sort of. Whatever it is not important.” Hyde said quickly.

Sadly, he had distracted his very intoxicated partner. “You are a special case, Eddie, I got what you meant. Besides. You might be okay again someday, if-"

“Yes yes this is not about me!” Hyde said. “This is about my brother possibly getting lynched!”

Stephen nodded. “Yes, that is right. About your brother.” He agreed. “Seriously though, Julia is trying-"

“Stephen! I really do not care what Julia is trying to get me to do, it can wait!” Hyde yelled. “There are much more pressing fucking issues!”

Stephen stared at him with wide eyes. Hyde sighed. “I am sorry, you are trying to help and it is not your fault you are the least functional drunk I know.” He decided. Kissed Stephen’s forehead. “I love you and I am sorry for yelling at you. I cannot take this out on you.”

Stephen smiled and cupped Hyde’s face. His eyes were soft and sort of unfocused. “We will think of something. And do not worry, you did not upset me.” He promised.

Hyde would have his attention for maybe ten more minutes before he got distracted. He could tell. “But what? What is going to save my brother from this? I cannot save him I am just as bad as him and he refuses to speak to me anymore!”

“You could talk to Lanyon." Stephen suggested.

“Lanyon has never spoken to me.” Hyde corrected. “So that will not work.”

“Hmmm…” Stephen frowned and sipped some more coffee. “Does Cutthroat Lucy not owe you a favour, Eddie? For delivering all those love letters for Emma for her?”

Hyde froze for a solid minute. “Stephen, you are a bloody genius!” He cried, pressing a kiss to the brunet’s lips.

“I do not know why you sound like you just realized that.”

 

---

 

The room was dark, not a face could be seen within the inky black expanse. It was under someone’s work office, deep underground, no windows and no lights and no candles. “Does everyone know why we are here?” A voice, scratchy and female, asked the crowd.

“Of course.” The others answered.

“And you all know your tasks?” She asked. She could not afford a slip up here. Something had to be done and it had to be done right, else they risked being caught, or leaving the man who a crimson smile due to having to kill him to avoid more trouble.

She did not want him dead. Only corrected. Saved from the error of his ways.

“Yes.”

“And no one,” she paused, took a sip of the white wine she had in a wine glass held in her hand, “is going to back out in this on me, are you? I have the difficult job, but if one of you cannot handle the pressure of this, then leave now.” She advised.

“Of course we will not.”

She smiled. “Then you know where to meet me. Something must be done about this disgrace to all of London, and we will do it. And do remember, we need him able to speak.”

Chapter Text

“Doctor Jekyll. A word.” Danvers’ voice was as cold as ice, it sent a shiver up Jekyll’s spine.

This could not be good. Danvers had demanded to speak with him and it would not be good news.

Doctor Jekyll’s mind was jumping hurdles trying to figure out what Sir Danvers would want to discuss. Jekyll felt fairly accomplished recently, he had even managed to scrounge together the time to finalize the last few things for the wedding and deliver the plans to his future father-in-law.

He had convinced Frankenstein to continue to take the medication he had given her and most of the lodgers were back on board for the exhibition.

Really, what could Sir Danvers say to ruin anything? “Yes, Sir Danvers? What appears to be the problem?” He asked pleasantly.

Sir Danvers shook his head. “Not here. You will not want to have this discussion in public.”

The fact that Danvers had even taken that into consideration meant it was really, really bad news. “O-okay…”

“My study is this way.” Sir Danvers led him down a hall of plush red carpet and many paintings to a tall, polished oakwood door, which he pushed open. “Inside.”

Jekyll did not argue. He suspected arguing would not end well for him. He ducked his head and stepped into the study. The door was closed once Sir Danvers was inside, and the light was flicked on.

“May I ask what the need for privacy is, Sir Danvers?” Jekyll asked. His hands were shaking. Damn it all, he had too much else going wrong still if a simple talk with his future father-in-law could rattle him this badly. He had not even bothered to deny half the rumours flying around anymore. It was all he could do to pray that they would die.

Before he had to flee the country for fear of his life. He had heard Switzerland was lovely this time of year.

“I suspect you do not need more of this accusation causing you trouble, so I will leave it to you to tell London whatever reason you want. But, given the allegations that never seem to end and are getting very, very hard to ignore and believe that they are false, I will not have you marrying Emma. She will not be marrying a homosexual.” Sir Danvers told him. “Whether it be true or not, it will disparish her as well as yourself if I let this go any further. So I am telling you to spare my daughter getting tangled up in this mess you have made for yourself, and break off your engagement.”

“But Sir Danvers, those allegations are lies! Nothing but lies and slander!” Jekyll protested, heart in his throat. He had to make Sir Danvers believe that he was truly in love with Emma. He only got one chance. “I am in love with your daughter and truly do wish to wed her!”

“If you really love her, spare her this mess you have created!” Danvers shouted. “I do not truly believe that I can trust you, there always was something off about you, so I am going to make myself very clear. Break off the engagement. It is not a choice. If you do not, you will find out just how capable I am of making your life a living hell.” He finished, glaring at Jekyll. The friendliness or whatever it had been was gone from his voice.

“Sir Danvers, please. There is nothing I want more in this world than to marry Emma. Not to mention if I do what you ask, I may as well be confessing my guilt!” Jekyll protested. “They would hang me in the streets if they believed with absolute certainty this was true. I would have to flee England! I cannot flee England I have far too many responsibilities here!”

“A confession of your guilt would be if I have to break off this engagement for you. Which I will do, if you leave me no other choice. I do not care how many pretty ways you can tell me you love my daughter, I am not having her marry your kind. It would be a disgrace to her and myself and I will not stand for it. So break your engagement and go climb into some man’s bed for consoling.” Sir Danvers spat. “I will not ask you again.”

Jekyll closed his mouth. This was it this was the end of it all. He could not reason he could not argue there was nothing to be done. The words to defend himself from Sir Danver’s parting shot fell short of his tongue. He only managed a nod. “V-very well, Sir Danvers.” He said finally, breath tight in his chest. He turned and fled the room. There were people gathered around the door and he was certain they had heard the exchange but his mouth was dry and no defense would squeak out of his throat. He kept moving.

Fled the building. Lanyon was not there to stop him this time. He grabbed his cloak and hat, pulled it down over his head and gathered the cloak around him so tightly he was scarcely recognizable. He did not want to be spotted. Partially to avoid a conversation, partially to avoid the potential of there being real danger awaiting him on the streets of London. He moved quickly and fearfully down the street. He was not far from his apartment in Cavendish Square, he just needed to make it there. Zosi, a book and a glass of wine awaited him in Cavendish Square. He just had to stay calm and not collapse into hysterical fear or panic until he got in his door. Once he was within his own home everything was fair game. He could do whatever he had need to do once he was home.

The walk to Cavendish Square had never seemed so dark or to take so long. Every shadow had him jumping, every crash or bang of a stray cat in an alley had him swallowing a cry of horror. He was absolutely certain that everything was a threat to him. If he trusted one thing to be what it seemed, something- someone, would catch him.

A particular story involving a much younger Edward Hyde crying into his shoulder refused to get out of his head. A much younger Edward Hyde crying pretty little broken sobs into his shoulder after being assaulted in the streets of Bethnal Green.

This was so not good for his health. He would need the entire bottle of wine. Maybe more. Maybe he could just drink himself to death and be rid of this entire problem. He was absolutely certain that this would be a problem now. A genuine threat to his safety.

He should have been contemplating leaving. He should have been buying a train ticket before things got too bad. He could go back to Scotland, to Ireland or Germany or France or Switzerland or anywhere but England, really. He knew German and could understand some French, he would be able to survive. It would be far less dangerous than London, England.

But he could not leave the Society. He had to stay in London. He could not just abandon his biggest project, his lifetime dream.

He had to stay.

He unlocked his apartment and darted inside. Slammed the door shut and pushed the lock and deadbolt into place.

Only after he had checked that the windows were locked shut did he feel safe. He took off his cloak, hung it by the door and left his hat there as well.

Brushed off his clothes and took a deep breath, eyes closed, letting some tension slide out of his shoulders. Only some.

He was home. He had made it home. He could scarcely believe that he had actually made it, he kept imagining that someone was following him but he had made it. He was alive.

He crouched down and called Zosi over to him. The little grim charged into his arms and licked his face.

That had not changed. He lifted Zosi off the ground, kicked off his shoes and walked into the kitchen, poured himself a large glass of wine.

Walked into his bedroom, placed Zosi on the floor beside the bed. Pulled off the coat and dress shirt and trousers he had put on for the dinner party and grabbed his bathrobe from the hook near the door.

Slipped into a pair of slippers and walked down to the bathroom to draw up a hot bath, book under his arm, glass of wine in one hand. Zosi followed at his heels until he turned on the water. Zosi hated water.

Set the book and wine to the side, let the water run hot before plugging the tub.

Sat on the edge of the tub and sipped his wine until it was full. Then he climbed in and tried to force himself to relax, sitting up to his chin in hot water.

 

---

 

Edward Hyde was back to having no luck finding Lucy Harris.

He had spent a week on this quest already and had not managed to find her. It was like she was avoiding him.

Did she know he had kept Emma’s last letter to her to show to Jekyll? How would she possibly know that?

If she did not, why was she clearly avoiding him? She had proved that it was no problem to try and find him. And after more than a week without a letter, you would think she would be trying to find him and ask what was going on.

It was very odd.

He walked down the street. Stephen was off with Julia, they had been to the bazaar last night and now he was visiting his girlfriend.

The bazaar had been wondrous and magical. He was still not over it, he had made a few purchases and amassed several trinkets, including a green necklace he was wearing that was supposed to inspire strength. He did not believe it, he had found much more believable things while at the bazaar, but it was pretty and Stephen had given it to him. It was a shining stone that glowed faintly in the moonlight.

So he had it around his neck as he walked through the streets of Bethnal Green. “Lucy! Lucy, I need my favour!” He shouted at the roofs. “Lucy!”

He sighed and kept walking. Clearly, she was nowhere to be found.

Footsteps thumped into the ground behind him. Hyde spun on his heel. “Reena. Good to see you.” He smiled. “Do you know where Lucy is?”

“I always know where Lucy is.” Reena replied. “The only two people I always know where they are are Lucy and Mags.” She said.

“Can you go and get her? Or bring me to her? I need to call in that favour she owes me.” Hyde explained.

“Well, I do not carry a blindfold with me, so I will go and get her. Stay put.” Reena instructed.

Hyde nodded and stopped walking. He stood in the middle of the street, fiddling with the glowing green stone on the necklace he had been given.

They had each given each other a gift. Hyde had the green necklace, Stephen had a ring with a blue stone. Hyde also had a knife he had gotten from a vendor and a few other trinkets.

The knife was in his pocket. He had kept it on his person since getting it, figuring it was good defense for himself and his brother, if he happened to be around when his brother inevitably got jumped.

He pulled it out, pulled the leather sheath away from the shining silver blade. A skull was inlaid into the blade. The hilt was wrapped in soft leather and fit perfectly into his hand.

He liked it a lot.  

“Hey, put the weapon away unless ya want a gun in the teeth.” Lucy scolded, dropping down onto the ground in front of him. Hyde slipped the knife back into its sheath and tucked it away in his pocket.

“Queen Lucy, always a pleasure to see you.” He tipped his hat with a mock little bow.

“And to ya, Hyde.” Lucy agreed, tipping her hat to him. The large pink feather swept forward. “Ree mentioned ya want ta cash ya favour.” She smiled. “Be careful, ya only get one.”  

Hyde nodded. “I know. This is more than important enough to me to use it for.” He assured her. “If you will do it.”

“Ya gotta tell me what ya want done before I accept or decline.” Lucy said. “Ya should have guessed that.” Her brown eyes were filled with laughter that her mouth did not share.

“I will explain why after, I want you to protect Henry Jekyll. He is in mortal danger given the rumours flying around and I want you and your elephants to do your best to make sure he lives to the other side of this storm.” Hyde explained.

“Henry Jekyll.” Lucy repeated, savouring the name as she spoke it. “And now tell me, Mista Hyde, why would the Spirit of London at Night care what becomes of Doctor Henry Jekyll? Do not tell me he is a bed partner of yours?”

He could not help but be a little excited that she used the title he had made for himself, even if he thought she was teasing.

Hyde sighed. “No, he is not my bed partner. I care because the Spirit of London at Night was not always called Edward Hyde. At one point in my life I went by the name Edward Jekyll, and Henry Jekyll was my twin brother. I will not have him get hurt if I can do anything about it.” Hyde explained. Looked up at Lucy, challenging her to say anything.

“Ya. Are Henry Jekyll’s twin brother.” Lucy could not help but laugh. “Well, there is one thing I never would have guessed. I though he said ya were identical twins when he came lookin’ for ya at the Red Rat all those years ago.”

“Certain chemicals can do wonders to lighten hair.” Hyde said. “We have not had the same eye colour since we were two, and he always was taller, the stupid prick.” He took off his hat to expose the brown roots he had not bothered to redye. They were not that noticeable, but Lucy noticed.

“So. Ya want me to protect your brother, who refuses to talk to ya at the moment.” Lucy clarified.

“How do you know that?” Hyde asked.

“Mista Hyde, I really thought ya were smarter than this! How many letters and ya still do not know who ya are deliverin’ them to and from?” Lucy asked with a laugh. “Well, if ya do not know, I am not gonna tell you.”

Hyde stuffed his hands in his pockets. They were shaking. How could Lucy sit and laugh about him apparently not knowing who the letters went to? Sit and laugh about the fact that she was using him to hurt his own brother! “Not the faintest clue.” He forced out. “Someone in SoHo, I know that.”

Lucy only smiled. “Well, keep workin' on that one. Never hurts to learn who ya are workin’ for.”

Hyde nodded, forcing himself to smile through grit teeth. If he admitted what he knew, it would not take long for Lucy to know he had Emma’s last letter at home to show Jekyll. And she would not be doing him a favour if he had pulled something like that.

“Speakin' of those letters. It has been a while since ya left somethin’ where ya are supposed to. Did ya forget, or has there been nothin’?”

Hyde forced himself not to react. No swallowing, no deep breath, no pause. Nothing. “No, I left your last letter and I have checked each day since.” He told her, holding her gaze.

Lucy nodded. “Strange. She must be busy.”

And just like that, she had bought his lie.

“Well, I am going to be honest with ya here, Hyde. I myself do not have time to babysit your brother.” She confessed. “I have other things to do.”

“I did not say it had to be you personally.” Hyde pointed out.

“Good, since it will not be. I can spare two people to tail him per night. Any more and they may be spotted, by him or by others, and I suspect that seeing members of the forty elephants tailing him will not make him feel safe.” Lucy pointed out. “Do not worry, my girls can hold their own outnumbered, and there is always backup around somewhere. Of ya insisted I could maybe offer three, but it may start to get counter-productive.”

For a while, Hyde was not sure what he wanted. He wanted Henry safe and the more people offered the safer Henry seemed, but Lucy did not think that. “You… You are the expert, Lucy.” he said finally.

“And last thing, Hyde, and I imagine ya could have seen this one comin’. I cannot make a guarantee for his safety. My girls will do the best they can but somethin’ may still happen. Somethin’ could still happen if all of us followed him around. I do not want ya comin’ after me if somethin’ does happen to him. I will not take responsibility for it and neither will my girls.”

Hyde swallowed down protest and nodded. “Very well.”

“I will say this. If somethin’ does happen, come and find me and I will personally help ya track down the sons of bitches who did it.” Lucy told him. “So do we have a deal?” She held out a hand.

Hyde shook it. “We have a deal.”

Lucy smiled. “Excellent. Now, if you would excuse me, I have a protection detail to schedule.”

“Have a nice night.” Hyde smiled, and waved as she disappeared into the dark night.

He took a deep breath. That had gone far better than he had expected. That had worked far better than he had expected.

His brother may not have been completely safe, he knew that. But at least Henry was a little safer than before.

Chapter Text

Hyde nearly jumped out of his skin when Lucy Harris dropped to the ground in front of him. “Lucy! What appears to be the problem?” He asked with a nervous laugh. “Tell me it is not my brother.”

“This has nothin’ to do with your brother.” Lucy told him. “This has to do with ya lyin’ to me.”

His heart stopped. “Lying to you? Lucy, why on earth would I lie to you?” He asked, grinning his best grin, trying not to let it look forced. “Lying would be-"

“I was givin’ ya a chance to confess.” Lucy said, glaring down at him. “But if ya will not take it I will say it for ya. I was just talkin’ to Emma, the girl I know ya know ya deliver letters from to me. See, I went to talk to her to ask her why she had been blowin’ me off. Imagine my surprise when she told me she sent a letter two weeks ago. A letter I never got from ya.”

Hyde gulped. Lucy took a step forward, he took a step back and felt his back hit a wall. “So? Are ya going to explain yourself, or am I gonna make ya tell me why ya did it?” She asked. She reached into her pocket for something and Hyde panicked.

“Stop! Stop I will tell you!” He cried, throwing his hands up in front of his face.

“So much for not bein’ afraid of me, Hyde. So tell me.” Lucy growled.

“If you know I knew they were going to Emma and you know Henry Jekyll is my brother you know exactly why I hid that letter!” Hyde spat. “I am not going to help you two crush my brother’s heart, until a week ago he was engaged to the woman you had me delivering letters to!” He cried. “Did you really expect me to help you destroy my brother?”

To his surprise, Lucy did not get mad. She smiled for a moment, and then started laughing. “That is why ya stopped deliverin’ the letters, Hyde? Ya thought ya were breakin' your poor brother’s wee little heart?” She laughed. “Do ya know what? I cannot even be mad at ya when ya are that misguided!”

“Misguided?” Hyde repeated, green eyes wide. “What do you mean, misguided? My brother loved Emma Carew, and I was going to show him his mistake before he got more hurt than he had to! Misguided my ass!”

“Hyde,” Lucy started, still laughing. “Oh my god this is too pure. Your brother already knew. He knew the moment he began courtin’ Emma that she was gay, and he knew the moment she got the first letter, he was the number one supporter of this all.” She said, wiping her eyes. “But I really cannot be mad at ya when that was your reason!”

Hyde’s face went slack. “He knew? But-"

“The whole weddin' idea was Emma’s little plan for three things, Hyde. One,” she began counting on her fingers, “givin' both of them a cover for who they were actually interested in. For Emma that was me, for Henry, if I had to guess it was that stuck up cofounder of his. My first guess was ya, but your his brother so ya would not have let that happen. Two, it was to force Sir Danvers to fund the Society when he had said he would not until ya were no longer employed there. So really ya owe ya brother and Emma a thank you. And three, to force Sir Danvers to allow Emma to join the society.”

Hyde was staring at her like a fool. “I- oh god… I…”

“I am not mad at ya, Hyde, like I said. Ya had quite the honourable reason, and for all the big talk ya give, quite frankly I am stunned ya had the guts to lie to my face not once but twice. But seriously. Next time your worried about somethin’ like this, ya should ask someone. I would have told ya, so would Emma, and I am sure just because of what situation ya would have caught Jekyll in he would have as well. Do not make your first reaction to lie.” She smiled. “So can I have that letter now?”

“I may have sent it to Henry. I leave him letters on the roof of the society, it may still be there his office was empty when I was there. I… I do not know what to say I had no idea…”

“Why not start with an apology, Hyde, ya did lie to me.” Lucy suggested.

“Oh, right… I am truly sorry… Queen Lucy… you will not… you will still… will you still…”

“As disappointed as I am that ya did not just ask, I am not takin’ ya favour away. Ya did still deliver quite a few letters. My girls are still lookin' after your brother.”

Hyde let out a breath of relief. “Thank you…” He gasped.

“Not a problem. Next time ya got a concern, ask somebody. Until next time, Hyde.”

 

---

 

It had been a week since his last conversation with Sir Danvers. Emma had taken the news from him well and had promised to try and fight her father on it, but to no avail.

Meanwhile, London had just gotten more and more hostile. Jekyll was absolutely certain that someone was following him at all times and he had even laid off the wine to ensure the alcohol was not making him paranoid.

But after a week there was no way around it. Someone, something, was out to get him. He had no way to know when, he had no way to know where, but unless he figured out what to do and fast, something terrible would happen to him. Something possibly far worse than what had happened to Edward Hyde.

Jekyll drew his hat down a little bit lower on his head, casting his face into shadow. He clutched his cloak a little tighter around himself as he walked down the road that for now was still lit by the sun. That would not last long. Soon enough he would be walking in the dark. He would be walking home in the dark.

He should have come earlier, but he did not want to worry the lodgers. He did not want them to know just how bad things were. He had stayed focused on the exhibition that would happen in a few days time, and refused to discuss the danger his very life may be in.

And now, he was scurrying down the street, casting anxious glances over his shoulder every few seconds, to the home of the only person he could discuss this with. It was stupid and he should have stayed inside and stayed safe, slammed the deadbolt into place and slept a fitful night’s rest, but here he was, pounding hard on the door of his closest and older friend. His hands were shaking uncontrollably. “Robert? Robert please open the door!”

It took a few terrifying moments, but the door opened. “Henry? Oh, Henry, what are you doing here? You ought not be here!” He opened the door wide and ushered Jekyll inside anyways. “Prepare us some tea!” He called to the butler.

Henry darted into the house, still trembling. “Robert I had to come, I need help…” he whispered, pulling off his hand and cloak. Terror was plain on his face and he could no longer force himself to assume the neutral mask he typically wore with pride. “I- I am not safe in London any longer, Robert, I need your help I have no where else to go no one else to turn to…” He cried. He looked ready to bolt at the slightest of threats.

Robert blinked, looking down at his disheveled and clearly petrified friend, carefully pulled his cloak and hat from his hands and stuck them up on the rack. “Please calm down now, Henry, I have heard what is happening but I cannot help you if you are in hysterics. So are you leaving London?”

Henry shook his head without really thinking of it. Took a couple of deep breaths. This was Robert. Robert was not going to hurt him he was safe with Robert. He just needed to breathe and relax. “I do not think I can leave I cannot leave the Society…” He hiccuped. “But how can I stay here now?” Took a shuddery breath. “And I cannot return to Scotland, my parents will have heard by now and I will find no refuge there, I cannot go anywhere!” All plans of escape had escaped him in his panic.

“Stop that at once! Just calm down!” Robert shushed him as though he believed someone was listening. “Why would you leave the Society at this hour, Henry? You will not be able to get back there or to your apartment, it will be dark within minutes!”

Henry shook his head again. “I know, but I could not stay there, I need a friend and I refuse to discuss any of this with the lodgers they do not need to worry for me more than they already are…” He paused his ramble to take a breath. “Robert, please, I do not know what to do…”

Robert frowned. “Come and sit down and relax a moment. We will have some tea in a few minutes, if I know you, you have not eaten in a long while, so I will fetch you a meal as well.” He walked towards the parlor. “Just come. Sit.”

Henry followed Robert on leg that felt like they had never walked a day in their lives, gone completely silent. He was still terrified but he was somewhere safe now. Robert would never hurt him he was safe now. “I have not had the stomach to eat anything…” he admitted.

“Then it can be assumed that you have not eaten in a long time. For God’s sake, Henry, I know you are scared but making yourself sick will not help you right now!” Robert said. “Robert they are going to kill me!” Henry cried. “If they catch me, they will kill me and the police will not lift a damn finger to help I have far bigger problems than eating!”

“Well I would rather you get killed with a full stomach than half to starvation due to your incessant stressing!” Robert scolded. “Just think about what you want to tell me while we walk.” He led Henry into the parlor and ushered him into a seat. Henry collapsed into it and buried his face in his hands.

“Are you trying to tell me that I should not be stressed? They have found me out, Robert!” Jekyll protested. He did not, however, refuse a meal again. He was shaking.

“And rather than doing what any sane man does and immediately protesting, you done yourself your own grave by letting them speak about you in that way!” Robert snapped. “You have done this to yourself, Henry!”

Jekyll shook his head. “They would not have believed me! For God’s sakes I was engaged to marry Emma and they did not believe me!” His voice dropped down low. “We are… we are just lucky they do not know it was with you.” He whispered. “I tried to refute them and they just kept coming until there was nothing I could have said…”

Robert went pale. “No. You did not-” He stood from his chair. “Did you tell them it was me?” He demanded. “You better not have said a word, I cannot be dragged down with you, Henry Jekyll!”

His tone of voice had Jekyll cowering in his seat, hands up in front of him, trembling. “No! I would never I have not said I word I would never do that to you, Robert!” He continued, mouth quivering and eyes bright with unshed tears.  

“Good! Now keep it that way!” Robert seethed. He stayed standing, angry and frightening, for a few more moments before he resumed his normal composure and sat back down. “I am sorry, Henry, but surely you can understand…” He sighed, a hand on his forehead.

“Of course…” Henry sniffled. “I understand and I cannot blame you but please believe me I have not said a word…” he buried his face in his hands.

Robert shook his head, looking over at Henry. “If you say anything…” he growled, before clearing his throat. “I do not know what you want me to do for you. In our positions, there is precious little I can do.”

“Please stop threatening me…” Henry whispered. “I will never say a word I swear it… I just… I need help I do not know what to do… London is no longer safe for me…”

“Then perhaps the best thing for you to do is leave London. You cannot return to Edinburgh, true, but even in Scotland you could go to Glasgow or Aberdeen and probably be fine, or go to an entirely new country.” Robert frowned. “You have sunk and I do not know what you expect me to do to save you.”

The butler placed two cups of tea on the table between Jekyll and Robert. Robert lifted his and sipped it.

“Just to be a friend, Robert, this has left me with none…” Jekyll said quietly, a tear sliding down his cheek. “Please, Robert.”

Robert scowled for a moment. “I cannot help you, Henry. You have already out yourself and me at a huge risk just by coming to visit.” He shook his head. “Do not think that I can bail you out of this. You brought yourself here.” He cleared his throat. “I am a regular, healthy man. I have a wife and we had plans for a family before... “ a sigh. “I am a regular, healthy man. By your own admission in how you speak of your former engagement, you remain sick. You have done this to yourself. You should have saved yourself when you had the chance. But you did not.”

The words did more than sting. Henry did not like hearing about Robert’s marriage but he knew his friend was right. He was still sick, in the head and in the heart and there was nothing he could do about it now. “There is nothing I can do but run…” his voice broke. “But if I run I am guilty… and I will never be able to return to England… I should have… I should…”

“It is far too late for “I should haves” now.” Robert said. “It is far to late for really anything now. You have dug this hole for yourself. I cannot help you. Drink your tea, compose yourself and then you must leave.”

“Robert… if you are right…” Jekyll sniffled. Took a sip of tea. “Then … then I will need to leave immediately.” And he would never see Robert or Rachel or Emma anyone else again. He had barely just managed to get Rachel to forgive him. “Then… the Society. Edward’s dream. Promise me you will not let it die. As the only thing I can safely ask you to do.”

Robert’s face softened. “I will keep it funded, although I cannot promise it will go well without you, and if in doing so your reputation begins to leach into mine, I will not hesitate to pull out.”

“Just… just do what you can.” Jekyll begged. “I cannot let my brother’a dream die for my mistakes…” It would not be perfect. The lodgers would suffer for Robert’s stricter ruling, but it was the best he had. He sipped more of his tea. “I am scared, Robert…” he said in a timid voice.

“I know you are.” Robert agreed. “But this is where life has taken you and you must live with it. Wherever you end up, I wish you good fortune.”

Henry choked back a sob and finished his tea. “I should… I should go… and bother you no longer…” he said softly.

He was not ready. Was not ready to say goodbye to his closest and oldest friend.Was not ready to cut all ties to London. Was not ready to run and let Henry Jekyll cease to exist in England.

But he had no other choice.

Robert watched him drink his tea. “Henry Jekyll, you have screwed yourself.” He said, glancing at the window. “It is dark outside how will you get home.”

Jekyll bit his lip. He could not stay the night here, if word escaped Robert would be ruined just like him. “I-I know I have asked much of you but… perhaps… you could accompany me, or call the police or something I fear I cannot set foot outside in the dark…”

Robert bristled. “Oh no, I cannot do that. Your presence here is risky enough for me. I cannot be seen with you in person! Particularly not this late at night.”

“Then the police. Or a carriage or anything but me walking alone! Robert, please, you yourself were just pointing out the danger of me being outside alone at this hour!”

“I have told you I cannot do that! If there be any connection between you to me, then it will lead people to connect the rest of the dots and I will have the police outside my door. I will not have it!” Robert declared.

Jekyll stared at him with fear and tears in his red eyes, mouth quivering, a lump in his throat. He was terrified to set foot outside now with London’s angry mob awaiting him but Robert was right. “Then thank you for all of your help all these years, Robert… I… I must be off…” He had never pictured himself leaving Robert behind. Especially not like this. “I will miss you, wherever I go…” he got to his feet and went silently to the door, fighting back tears.

“Farewell, Henry Jekyll. It has been an adventure with you, may you live long after you leave. Good night to you.”

“So long, and goodnight.” Henry fought hard not to cry as he pulled on his cloak and hat and set foot out that door for the last time, onto the cold London street, unlit by streetlamps, glancing warily around him.

They would not be waiting for him here, would they?

He tugged his cloak back up and tried to hide who he was the best he could, walking quickly down the street. He just had to get home. He just had to get home no one would attack him in the daylight and from there he would leave London. Tomorrow, early in the morning. Take Zosi and leave a letter for Rachel to use to tell the lodgers, and flee London forever.

He stole a glance over his shoulder.

His heart stopped when he realized someone was there.

He only had one chance. He was most of the way home.

He began running as fast as he could. Footsteps pounded behind him, gaining on him, proving his worst fears. They were following him.

A hand caught his shoulder and pulled him backwards, another covered his mouth.

“This is a time of correction, to realign you with god.”

Chapter Text

A loud, sharp knocking at the front door drew Lanyon from the restless, fitful sleep he had fallen into. His night had been tortured, had set about plaguing him with what his harsh refusal of aide may have cost his old friend Henry Jekyll. 

 

But it was in no way his fault. He was only being rational, he could not be more involved with Jekyll than he already was. His only defense, currently, was Hyde’s promiscuous and questionable reputation , and of word got out that Hyde was Jekyll’s brother, not his bed partner… 

 

All eyes would turn to Lanyon. And then he would be absolutely fucked unless he made that seem impossible, starting now. 

 

“Doctor Lanyon? It is the police.” His butler poked his head into the bedroom. 

 

Lanyon froze. “The police.” He repeated.

 

“Yes, the officer says it is urgent.” 

 

Had Henry been caught? And chosen to throw Lanyon to the wolves to save his own skin? Was this an arrest? How dare Jekyll pull something of the sort? How dare he! After all Lanyon had done for him, he would just give up Lanyon’s name to the first person who demanded it? 

 

Lanyon pulled on a robe and slippers and walked to the door. Forced a pleasant smiled to slip onto his face, even though he had not decided if he wanted to scream or throttle someone at the moment. “Hello, officer, pleasant morning to you.” He said. “I am afraid you have awoken me, but if you would like to come in I can have some tea or coffee made.” He offered. “Either way, please, come inside.”

 

It did not feel like an arrest. 

 

Yet. 

 

The officer shook his head. “That is kind of you, Doctor Lanyon, but truly it is unnecessary. Simply your ear is required, this news it quite urgent.” He continued, stepping in the door. 

 

Lanyon felt a pit forming in his stomach, and prayed the officer would not notice his unease. “What is the issue, officer?” It was more blunt than he had meant to be. He stared at the man, looking as concerned as he could muster for the nervousness he was feeling.

 

“Last night, just outside Cavendish Square, officers rushed to the scene of an attack after they heard screaming nearby.” The officer began. “The assailants escaped and were pursued by a few officers, but they vanished. Their victim was admitted to the hospital for physical and sexual trauma.”

 

“And what does this matter to me? Does the hospital need me to help? I am no surgeon, merely a physician.” Lanyon said. The hospital would not summon a physician for this, they would know better than that.

 

“No. This matters to you because the victim was your business partner, Doctor Henry Jekyll.” The officer explained. 

 

It took every ounce of energy Lanyon possessed not to cry out at the news. In the end, he let out a gasp, hands rushing up to cover his mouth. “He… Henry is in the hospital? No, that cannot be. You must be mistaken. He came to my home last night and told me he was leaving immediately. He should be miles away by now!” 

 

The officer shook his head. “A man with accusations over his head like those that hung over Doctor Jekyll should have known better than to set foot outside alone and in the dark.” He decided. “I am afraid he never did make it home, if where he was found is a good indication to where he was.” 

 

Lanyon bit his lip, looking at the ground. “I… I see. Thank you for your time, officer. I, ah, may cancel my plans and go and visit my co-founder, thank you. Was there anything else to tell me?” He asked. 

 

The officer pondered that for a moment. “Perhaps… you have seen quite a lot, you are a doctor, after all, but I have seen much too as a police officer and all I can say is… prepare yourself. He is not a pretty sight, nor one for the faint of heart.” 

 

God in heaven, why had he decided to tack that on? Lanyon took a deep breath, forced himself to try and relax. “Thank you, officer.” He gave a firm nod. 

 

“I suppose wishing you a pleasant day after bearing this sort of news is pointless. Best… best of luck to you, Doctor Lanyon.” 

 

Lanyon nodded ad bade him a simple goodbye before finally permitting himself two minutes to stand and process what he had just been told. 

 

Everything was going to be alright. He was not in danger. Henry Jekyll had gotten himself into this mess himself. This was his own fault, he was the fool who had let this happen to him. Lanyon should inform him of that. There was no need for pity or sympathy, this was Henry’s own fault. He deserved this. 

 

It was easy to believe that when he had not seen the damage done. 

 

“Doctor Lanyon. Shall I prepare your carriage while you get dressed?” His butler asked. “Once you are off I shall call and cancel your appointments.” 

 

“What?” Lanyon frowned a moment. “Oh, yes, please do. I shall get dressed and go and pay Henry a visit.” He agreed. 

 

Walked back into his bedroom. Refused to even think of what had happened. There was no need to feel down there was no need to be pitious, this was all Henry’s fault. 

 

Lanyon pulled off the robe he had thrown on and buttoned up a white dress shirt and purple waistcoat. Tied a yellow cravat around his neck. 

 

Tugged on plain black trousers. 

 

He should eat before leaving. It would do him no good not to eat starve his way to the hospital. “Ernest?” He called. 

 

“Yes, Doctor?” Ernest appeared at the door to his room without further ado. 

 

“Henry Jekyll is not going anywhere and I ought not set out for my day on an empty stomach.” Lanyon decided. 

 

“A wise plan.” Ernest agreed pleasantly. “Shall I have the cooks make you some breakfast?” 

 

“Please do. Something light, I find my stomach to be quite unsettled by this terrible news.” Lanyon confessed. 

 

“Of course.” Ernest left the room to go and tell the kitchen staff their instructions. 

 

Lanyon let out a heavy sigh and sat down on the bed. 

 

This was such a bloody mess. How the hell had Jekyll gotten himself into this predicament? Lanyon forced himself to simply be happy that he was safe. Jekyll had kept his goddamn secret and it was his own fault he was now in the hospital.

 

This was Henry’s fault. He should be grateful that Lanyon was going to visit him at all, even if it was just to scold him for being foolish. Why would he have left without some form of protection?

 

“Doctor Lanyon? Breakfast is still cooking but there is tea ready for you.” Ernest said softly. “Are you feeling alright, sir? You and Doctor Jekyll have always been close.” He remarked. 

 

“I am… I am doing just fine.” Lanyon decided. “It is… it is shocking, but not surprising.” He said. 

 

Ernest nodded. “Of course, sir. Well, the tea is in the dining room for you.” 

 

“Thank you, Ernest.” Lanyon got to his feet and walked into the dining room. 

 

Sat down, picked up the tea pot and poured himself a cup of tea.

 

Lifted the cup to his nose, breathed in the smell. 

 

Took a couple sips. 

 

Leaned back in his chair and waited for breakfast to be served. It was simply eggs and some bacon, which he barely managed to stomach. He kept repeating to himself that this was Henry’s fault. There was no need to feel badly this was Henry’s fault.  

 

He ate his breakfast slowly, the food sat unpleasantly in his ill stomach. Got to his feet walked the dishes in the kitchen. 

 

Walked back over to his door, pulled on a pair of shoes. He had to go and visit Henry. To check on his friend and scold him for being an idiot. Then he would go and see Utterson and probably the lawyer would confess to having been involved now that things had gotten serious. 

 

Then to the society, he supposed he had best play the part of a good co-founder, worried about Henry and the lodgers, and tell them what had befallen their precious Doctor Jekyll.

 

His favourite object on the list was the trip he would take down to SoHo. To speak to a certain blond man who was likely sleeping off a hangover, completely ignorant of what had happened. 

 

And then Hyde would know. But he would not be able to do anything about it. Henry would not speak to him anymore. 

 

It was a perfect plan. 

 

Until there was another knock at the door. 

 

Robert walked over it, dreading what may be awaiting him outside. What else could happen this morning? What other misfortunes? 

 

He pulled the door open and a first drove into his stomach, knocking the wind right out of him. 

 

 

---

 

 

“This is your fault!” 

 

Hyde had not slept all night. Lucy had come and found him merely hours after their conversation to tell him what had befallen his brother. She had not dealt well with him bursting into tears and he felt bad about it since she had been so clearly lost on how to deal with him crying. 

 

But when he had finally stopped crying and managed to regain some composure, Lucy held up the other part of the deal she had made him. Her elephants may not have been able to stop the attack, but she herself had spent the night helping him try and find the people who had done it. 

 

They had had no success whatsoever. By the early light of morning Lucy had brought him back to his apartment and told him to get some rest, she would be back to help again by nightfall. 

 

But Hyde had not gotten any rest. He had paced the apartment, shaking uncontrollably, trying to come to terms with what had happened and having no luck. 

 

It had kept him awake. 

 

Until he had realized who must have caused this. Who all the dots traced back to who all his behaviour added up to be lying and who Hyde had heard Henry muttered that he was going to go to for help. 

 

Doctor Hasting Robert Lanyon the Second.

 

And that was where he was right now.  Knuckles stinging from the strike he had delivered to Lanyon’s chest. “He said he was going to you for help, what the hell have you done, Lanyon?” Hyde hated the fact that his voice was more choked up and terribly upset than angry.

 

Lanyon gasped and stepped away from the door, one hand holding where Hyde had hit him. “Now hold it right there!” He said angrily, glaring down at Hyde. “You have no right to burst in uninvited and comment on his life decisions and pin this all on me! He brought this upon himself!” He declared. 

 

“You know better than anyone else that I have every right to comment on this! And he absolutely did not bring this on himself, the last man he fucked was you, Doctor Lanyon!” Hyde snarled, stepping forward as Lanyon stepped back, fury lighting his outrage and utter need to do something about this, his brother had been hurt and someone had to pay and he could not find the assailants so Lanyon would do for now.

 

“And what will attacking me accomplish, Mister Hyde?” Lanyon motioned to himself. “You are not helping anything by coming here and attacking me! How would your brother feel about this if he knew you were doing it?”

 

Hyde snorted. “After you left him outside to die he frankly should not give a rat’s ass what I do to you! For all I know this was part of your little plan to ruin Henry’s life!” He watched a stunned look like Lanyon’s eyes for just a second. “Yeah, that is right I know all about your little game. I have followed everything you have done lately and I have realized something, you pretend you are Henry’s but you have spent your life making his miserable and trying to ruin his! And what is all of this? Your grand fucking finale? Because I got news for you, you fucked with the wrong goddamned family if it is!” The blond snapped, continuing to push himself into Lanyon’s face. 

 

“Family?” Lanyon repeated. “You are not even his family anymore, Hyde! He gave up on you years ago, when I told him to in exchange for funding for the society. You ripped him apart when you left and you never even cared to go back to him, no matter how many times you had the chance! He has never recovered from your loss!” The doctor snarled. 

 

The words left Hyde stumbling backwards, pain flaring up in his chest as he finally, yet again, let it settle in how right Lanyon was about him. He had been such a coward such a selfish son of a bitch but… he could change that. “At least I am going to fix it! You have done the same damn thing to him and you are too much of a goddamned coward to fix it, in fact you keep trying to make things worse!” Hyde shouted. “I cared enough about him not to ruin him by going back to him as… as… me, just like you-" the blond froze, shock slackening his face. “You used me. I was one of your tools to hurt Henry.” He realized, voice hoarse. “You..  you… you made me into one of your tools… that is why you told me not to tell him… and I believed you…” 

 

At least Hyde’s discovery seemed to shock Lanyon as well. Hyde was shaking, mere seconds from crying. How had he been so stupid how could he have believed Lanyon why would he have believed Lanyon? He had made it so damn easy to play him like a fiddle and Lanyon had used him to hurt Henry. How could he have let that happen?

 

“I am going yo visit Doctor Jekyll now. I must inform him of his mistakes yet again.” Lanyon decided. “Get out of my way.” 

 

Hyde did not move an inch, standing between Lanyon and the door. “You will do nothing of the sort! He is hurt you cannot just show up and yell at him Lanyon!” The blond snapped, tears burning his eyes. “I am not going to let you hurt my brother any more than you already have and so help my god I will ruin you if you do! I would be careful, Lanyon, unless you want to be the second fucking doctor to get mobbed this week!” 

 

Lanyon growled and stepped forwards, shoving Hyde roughly out of the way. Hyde tried to stand his ground but not sleeping and trembling like a leaf were not on his side, he was thrown to the side. “You cannot touch me! I am more powerful than you ever were or ever will be, and if you dare try to bring me down to your level I will have you arrested one and for all. You and your god forsaken brother!” He proclaimed before leaving through the still open door. 

 

Hyde ran after him, but all he could do once he got outside was try to beat Lanyon to the hospital. The doctor was already in his carriage with the door shut. 

 

“Goddamn you, Lanyon!” Hyde hissed and scrambled up onto the nearest roof. “If you say one thing to Henry I do not like I will shoot it from the rooftop of the Elizabeth Tower!” Hyde spat, fuming to himself. He was not afraid of Lanyon’s retaliation. He and Stephen could look after themselves. Lanyon lived far to plush and pampered a life to have the first clue how to avoid the police or an angry mob. 

 

He jumped over to the next roof, feet skidding a bit on the roofing but he jabbed in cane into the roof and managed to catch himself on that and haul himself back up. 

 

He could not afford to waste time he had to get to the hospital before Lanyon did he had to tell his brother everything about himself and about Lanyon and he had to do it before Lanyon got there. 

 

He leapt to the next roof, did not slid this time, ran down it to the next and the next after that. 

 

He was losing the carriage. He grit his teeth and forced himself not to watch it. Jumped again and stepped on a patch of moss, nearly fell off the edge but someone he did not see, likely an elephant, caught him and hauled him back up. “You should be more careful.” 

 

Hyde nodded and scurried down that rooftop too. 

 

Soon enough, dropped himself to the ground in front of the hospital. Lanyon’s carriage was already there, he rushed through the doors and up to the front desk. “I am here to see Doctor Henry Jekyll, please.” 

 

The receptionist’s nose curled at the sight of him, untamed hair and wild, frantic green eyes. “And what is your connection to the doctor?” 

 

“I am his brother.” Secrets be damned he was not keeping it passed today anyways. 

 

She did not look convinced. “I am not paid enough to care, honestly. The last room down that hall on the left.” She pointed. 

 

“Thank you.” Hyde rushed down the hall, feet pounding on the ground. He had to get to that room before Lanyon had a chance to say something horrible and break his brother even worse than he already was. 

 

He skidded to a halt just before he ran into the wall at the end of the hall. Turned to the left and stared at the closed door in front of him. 

 

His hands started to shake again. 

 

Just what was he going to see on the other side of that door? Just what had happened to his darling brother? 

 

Swallowing hard, Hyde turned the doorknob and stepped inside. 

Chapter Text

Lanyon spent the ride in silence, fuming. How had this happened? How now, of all times, had his intricate web of lies broken down around him because of some little blond pest who would not keep his nose out of other people’s business? How had he not taken the message to fuck off when Jekyll had made him submit a letter of resignation in exchange for his freedom? Why could this man not take a hint?

How dare he show up and ruin everything now? Right when even Lanyon himself was left scrambling to figure out what to do with this situation that, despite popular belief from a Mister Edward Hyde, he had not planned at all.

Lanyon had taken almost everything possible into account. Even the unlikely circumstance where Hyde actually did figure out he was being misled and decide to confess who he was to Henry.

He had not accounted for this. Because no matter how much pain he had wanted to cause Henry Jekyll, no matter how badly he wanted Jekyll to understand what it felt like to be ripped open and left to bleed, to be betrayed like Jekyll had betrayed him because goddammit foolish or not he had seen himself spending his life with Jekyll and still would give anything for that to have been possible but Jekyll had spat that passion in his face and succumbed to the first temptress he met.

And it still hurt more than Lanyon would ever say out loud. More than he would ever admit to any living person and maybe Anne knew and Gabriel could guess but he would never admit it.

But no matter how badly he had wanted Jekyll to feel his pain…

He had not wanted this to happen. Maybe he could use it to his advantage but it was still horrifying. It was not meant to have happened. It was not part of the plan and Lanyon could not shake the feeling that it was Gabriel who had set it up. That it was Gabriel who had started this rumour and let the small spark he had spread turn into a raging fire.

Gabriel Utterson, if he had done this, was doubtlessly trying to help. But he was not taking the threat this rumour posed to Lanyon remotely seriously. Of course he was not. It would never affect him. Sure, he was a bit old to be a bachelor, but digging through his history would turn up nothing to worry about. No period of sickness that you either stayed in or pretended to be over, like Lanyon did.

Utterson would be safe, and a man like him would believe this to be a most excellent revenge plan.

Lanyon knew it was a death threat to half the people involved. Himself, Henry Jekyll, and the man he was loathe to feel bad for but it was very possible Edward Hyde would be dragged in as well.

Maybe Lanyon felt bad that Hyde would be involved because that was his fault. Without the rumour he had planted in Miss Lavender’s ear at a Christmas party all those years ago, Hyde would not be involved at all.

But when he had started that rumour he had never predicted this. He had not known that Utterson, god, he could swear it was Utterson, had done this. He could not be held responsible for what happened now, this was never part of his plan this was Utterson! God knew that lawyer had been holding a grudge against Jekyll since they were twenty, and had taken it even more seriously than Robert himself.

Yes, this was all Utterson’s fault. Probably. At the very least, it was not Lanyon’s fault. Lanyon had wanted the society to crumble around Henry Jekyll and for him never to find his brother. He had never wanted Henry to be hurt like this. No man would wish this on another. This was brutal. This was inhumane and he very much hoped that he would find out even Utterson was not capable of doing this to another living human being, but suspected he would not get that relief.

“Doctor Lanyon? We have arrived.” Ernest pulled open the door and helped Lanyon down.

“Thank you.” Lanyon forced a smile.

“Shall I wait for you here, or do you intend to find another way home?” Ernest asked.

“Wait here.” Lanyon decided, and walked over to the door. He opened it and immediately rushed to the desk. “I am here to see Doctor Henry Jekyll.” He told the woman at the desk.

“Of course, Doctor Lanyon.” She agreed, pointed down the nearest hall, with white walls and bright lights. “Furthest room on the left.” She said.

Lanyon’s stomach churned as he walked down the hall. He took a deep breath.

He knew the layout of the hospital. Wealthy patients, which Jekyll should have counted as, were not kept in the back rooms. Those were small and unfitting of a man with social status, typically reserved for the poor. This was disgraceful and disrespectful but… what was he expecting to be given to a man like Jekyll?

Lanyon paused at the door for another moment, slipping back into his comfortable poker face before he opened the door and stepped inside.

“Doctor Jekyll-" He began, about to give his lecture when he gasped as he beheld the man on the bed.

No… no, this… he was going to throw up. It was definitely Doctor Henry Jekyll lying in that bed, but he looked nothing like he had just the night previous, sitting crying in Lanyon’s parlour.

He watched his poor friend force his eyes open. Both sockets were bruised and puffy. One thing at a time. He could take in black eyes, that would not make him sick. “R-Robert…?” Jekyll’s voice was quieter than a whisper. Robert could barely hear him speaking.

There was a long cut under his eye, stretching from the side of his face to the bridge of his nose. His lip was busted. One thing at a time. His left arm was in a cast. There was a pattern of bruises around his neck and downwards. Something was stitched and bandages on the side of his neck. God, had they tried to kill him? “Robert…?” Henry said again, looking up at him with pain-filled red eyes.

Robert let out a pained noise before he could stop himself, and he rushed towards the bed Jekyll rested upon. “Henry!” He cried, like a wife seeing her husband home from war. “Oh, god what has happened to you? Why did you not get protection before leaving my home?” His moved to touch his friend’s shoulder.

Henry made no mention of the fact that Robert had repeatedly refused him that help and protection. In fact, he did not react at all until Lanyon tried to touch him.

Then everything changed. Henry panicked, fear lit up his entire face as he flinched away from Robert’s hand. Robert yelped and pulled his hand away, holding it like he had burned it on Jekyll’s skin.

He looked down at Jekyll with an equal level of fear. “Oh, Henry… Henry, what did they do to you?” He breathed. “What did I…” he should his head. “No, I did not mean to… do this to you…”

Henry did not answer him, just continued to stare up at him with fear plain in his features.

But someone was panting in the doorway. And he was not incapable of answering. “What the hell do you think they did to him, Lanyon?” Edward Hyde demanded.

Lanyon spun to face him, unable to even remember that he was supposed to be cold and horrible to the little blond who was currently ruining all his plans.

Hyde was gasping for breath, sweating from his run to the hospital. His hair was a mess, even more so than before, his eyes scanned the room frantically before settling on his brother. “Henry?” He said, very, very softly.

 

---

 

The hospital room seemed to swallow his words, rendered them down to nothing, to meaningless whispers. He could barely speak at all.

Lanyon was staring at him, with the look one bares when caught doing something utterly unforgivable. Fear was plain in his eyes. “Hyde, Henry is… Henry is hurt!” He cried. His hands were shaky. He seemed flustered and lost. Slowly took a step back from the bed, still staring at Hyde.

Hyde glared at him. “I am well aware of that, Doctor Lanyon.” His voice was sour. At least it was working again. “You are the only one who seems to have missed that.” He crossed his arms over his chest.

“M-mister Hyde?” Henry breathed, looking over at him with confusion plain on his pain filled face. Hyde almost could not bring himself to look at his poor brother. He was a sight for sore eyes and made Hyde’s heart hurt to see what a sorry state he had been left in. “W-what are you d-doing here?” He asked.

And all at once, Hyde’s voice was stolen from him again.

He knew what he was going to say. He knew exactly what he had to tell Henry. He had to come clean he had to stand beside his brother at this time he could not keep lying.

But his voice would not work. He could not squeak out his answer his mouth was dry.

“Yes, Mister Hyde, why are you here?” Lanyon said pointedly.

That was enough to break the spell. He could say anything to spite Robert Lanyon. His arms fell away from his chest and he took soft, shaky steps towards the bed that he did not seem to notice his brother did not appreciate. “I had to come.” He said simply.

“I have the feeling that a disgraced former office assistant had no reason to come.” Robert said with a sniff.

“Because you have a say in who can come and visit the injured!” Hyde said sharply. “I did not come to see you, I never would have come to see you!”

“He is right.” Henry said quietly. “Mister Hyde, Robert is right. Why are you here?” He asked. His voice was shaky.

Hyde sighed. “I had to come. Your parents are in Scotland, and you needed family here.” He said very very quickly. “That is what I was trying to tell you when I called you from Scotland Yard.”

“I do not know what you mean.” Henry said, furrowing his brow. “I have only one family member in London and I have not seen him in years.”

“Yes, that is true.” Hyde agreed. He had to be patient. He just had to be patient Henry would get it and all would be okay again. They would get to be a family again. He could finally stop lying and hiding they could finally be a family. “You only have one family member in London. Your brother. Edward.” He continued. Took a deep, shaky breath. “And that brother is me, Henry.”

The confused look vanished, and for a second, Hyde dared believe that it was done. That Henry was going to smile and they would be family again.

Instead, Henry looking offended. “You come to me when I am injured, after burning my building down and now you want to lie to me?” He demanded. “Get out of my sight and stay away! If I ever see you again it will be too soon!”

Hyde glanced from side to side. Lanyon had a smug look on his face. “Henry, Henry I am not lying! I have been here all along come on you know it makes sense!” His chest was hurting.

“Stop it! You are proving nothing but what sort of cheating, lying scum you are, Edward Hyde!” Jekyll declared. “Now get out you are the last person I want to see!” He tried to sit up and clutched his chest.

“But- I am not a liar!” Hyde cried. “I swear I am not lying to you!” He looked around frantically, tears burning his green eyes. “Lanyon, tell him! Quit ruining everything and make up for some of the harm you have done! You know who I am you have known for years!”

“R-Robert?” Henry said, eyes wide.

Lanyon only smiled and shook his head. “Of course I know who you are. You are Edward Hyde, and clearly you are delusional. Or a really, really bad liar. Either way, you are not Henry’s brother.” He said. The look in his eyes taunted Hyde.

Something snapped inside of the blond. He stumbled backwards, pain flooding his chest. “You lying son of a bitch!”

“Mister Hyde you need to leave. I believe Henry had told you that several times, and if you refuse I will have to call the hospital security to remove you. This is no place for you to be making a fool of yourself, this is a place for the sick and injured to rest.” Lanyon said in a patronizing tone. “I think you had too much to drink last night. You have made yourself this little delusion, and I will not let you drag Henry into it.”

“I am not drunk!” Hyde spat. “I am not drunk you are lying! You are a no good liar and you are still trying to ruin everything!”

“Mister Hyde!” Henry said. “You need to leave!” His brother coughed and clutched his chest after he spoke.

“I am not leaving until he admits he is lying to you!” Hyde snapped. “He had done nothing but lie to you and hurt you for the past eighteen years and he knows who I am he confronted me a week before I went to work for you and now he will not admit it because he cannot stand to let you have your family back because he wants to ruin your fucking life all over again he is a petty, bitter bastard who cannot let you be happy!”

He was making a scene he was making a fool of himself. He knew that. But he had to get Henry to listen to him. He absolutely had to get Henry to listen to him this lie had gone on far too long and it had to end now. He had to end it now. He had to be there for his brother!

“That is it.” Lanyon muttered. “I do not know what has gotten into you, Mister Hyde, but I will not have you harassing Henry and disturbing him while he is trying to rest and recover!” He declared, and all of the sudden he had Hyde by the back of his collar and yanked him backwards, towards the door.

“Let me go!” He shrieked, thrashing, but there was not much he could do with Lanyon’s hand on his collar besides twist and turn and make the doctor drag him if he wanted Hyde out of the room, but that did not appear to be causing him much trouble.

Lanyon got him into the hall and closed the door to Henry’s room. “If you know what’s good for you, you will stay away from Henry Jekyll.” He hissed in Hyde’s ear, then shoved him down the hall. “Security! This man is trying to disrupt the patients!” He shouted.

“I am not!” Hyde protested, but it did not matter. He was immediately grabbed by two men and hauled to the door.

“And stay out!” They threw him out and he hit the ground.

The little blond hauled himself to his feet and dusted himself off.

He did not realize he was crying until he wiped his face and his hands came back wet.

He pulled his cloak around himself, wiped his eyes furiously.

He had to keep moving. Henry did not believe him he had to keep moving. His skin felt hot with embarrassment, for being thrown out on his face and humiliated, there were tears running down his cheeks, his chest was hot with sharp pain. He walked straight into the nearest back street he could find, collapsed into a ball and buried his face in his arms, sobbing uncontrollably.

It was not supposed to end like this. It was not supposed to end with him crying in an alley, with Henry refusing to believe him, with Lanyon turning on both of them and Henry believing Lanyon.

He had gone too far. Just like he had known all along that he would and had told himself again and again not to go too far and he had gone too far. He had become Edward Hyde so well that he had no chance of re-becoming Edward Jekyll.

He was stuck hated by his brother He should no chance of ever not being hated by his brother. And there was nothing he could do.

“Psst! Hyde! Lucy sent me to try and help you.” A voice hissed down at him.

For a second Hyde did not look up. He did not want to talk to anyone.

“Hyde, it is Mags, I am here to help.” The voice insisted. “Get up, Queen Lucy knew you would not be sleeping so she sent me to help you.” Mags dropped down beside him.

“Do not bother.” Hyde said quietly. “I should have just listened to Stephen and forgotten about Henry.”

“Oh, quit moping. Surely it cannot be that bad.” Mags said. “A little searching for bad guys will take your mind off of it.” She suggested.

“There is no point.” Hyde murmured. “None at all. I cannot keep pretending that Henry is a part of my life.”

“So what, you just want to let some high class bastards beat the shit out of a homosexual man because that man is not related to you?” Mags asked. “Seems a little callous, Hyde.”

“Leave me alone.” Hyde said, surprisingly clear considering he had not lifted his head and was still crying softly. “I do not want to go searching right now, leave me alone.”

Mags sighed and patted his shoulder. “Go home, Hyde. You will find a shoulder to cry on there. I would offer but comfort is not my strong suit. Go home, get some sleep, get some love. Perhaps all will not seem this bad after some sleep.”

Chapter Text

“Hey, Steph,” Julia stepped in the room, pressed a kiss to the brunet’s lips and glanced around the room. “Tell me he is here. Or has been back here.”

Stephen shook his head. “He has not been here. I have not seen him since I got home from your place, he was already gone. I tried to do a missing person’s report, Brokenshire laughed me out of Scotland Yard.” He said, looking downcast. “It is not like him to just vanish like this, Julia.” He said.

“Well, he is doubtlessly safe. There is not much in this city that can hurt him.” Julia said.

Stephen had been stressing for the past three days, since he had gotten home and Edward had not been there. Julia could not blame him, he was right. Edward did not normally up and vanish. He had left Gwen and Alhena all alone, without any sort of provisions. The cats were no worse for wear, Gwen was pacing near Julia’s feet and yowling to be picked up and cuddled, but it did not seem like Edward Hyde was the type to leave his cats without extra food and water if he was leaving.

“I called the Society to see if he had gone there to fight for his job back, Rachel answered and told me that no, Hyde had not been there, and that Doctor Jekyll was in the hospital. I called the hospital, they said they had seen someone that matched Edward’s description in there four days ago, but he was thrown out by security. Then he disappears.”

Julia had heard that part of the story already. But she let Stephen tell it again, since it clearly helped him to go through everything again.

“He is still in London, you know that much. He would not leave London without telling you, and he loves London. He would never leave it.” Julia said. “You told me you had to drag him onto that trip that you went on to Germany and everywhere else.”

“But… but why would he just up and vanish without even leaving a note?” Stephen asked. “Does he not know that we are here worrying about him? Does he not know how badly we want to find him? How much he is worrying us?”

Julia sighed. “Stephen, love, if he is upset then you know he is not thinking of that.” She said. “If something upset him it is very possible that he is fixated on that and is not even thinking of normal life.”

“Jules?” Stephen said softly. “He… he lied to the queen of the Forty Elephants just before I left.”

Julia froze. “You do not think…”

“Yes.”

Julia did not want to start panicking with Stephen right there in front of her. “Tell you what… I will… I will go and see if I can get an audience with Queen Lucy. You stay here and wait to see if Edward comes back.”

“But what if she hurts you too?” Stephen asked, green eyes wide.

Julia laughed and gave him a kiss. “She will not hurt me for asking what became of Edward Hyde, love.”

“I should go.” Stephen said. “He is my partner I should go, or at least go with you.”

Julia shook her head. “Stay here. He may be alive and well and he will want someone home to see him when he arrives.” And she was afraid that Lucy would want to brag about what she had done, which would end in Stephen sobbing or attacking her. Julia was fairly sure Lucy did not kill people kindly, when she killed.

“Come back safely… I could not…” Stephen did not finish, just hugged her tightly and gave her one more kiss.

“I will.” Julia promised, gently pulling herself away from Stephen. “Just relax. Edward will be home before you know it. He is probably just moping somewhere, or passed out drunk in a bar.”

Stephen nodded and Julia left the apartment.

Prayer that she was right and that Edward was actually safe. That he had not been left for dead, broken and bloodied in some ditch in London’s East End.

Four people in five did not survive in London’s East End.

She shook her head. Thinking like that would not help anyone. She just needed to relax, get down to Bethnal Green or Providence Row or Whitechapel and seek out the Forty Elephants. Nothing bad would happen if she just stayed polite.

Another reason why she did not want Stephen with her. He was typically a rational man, until he thought someone he loved was in danger. Then all that rationality vanished and he got his answers or died trying.

Julia slowly made her way down to Bethnal Green. From there, she was not entirely sure how to find Queen Lucy. She wandered the streets a bit, up and down abandoned alleys and dark roads.

Finally sighed and lifted her skirt up off the ground before climbing up the side of a building. She was not very good at it, but Edward had shown her how and she managed to get up onto the roof. “Queen Lucy?” She called, looking out over the expanse of shingles before her. “Queen Lucy, I need to speak to you!” She called again.

“Well, ya would be in luck, I was just on my way out.” A voice said behind Julia.

Julia spun around to face the woman who had to be the Queen of the Forty Elephants, and was not disappointed.

Lucy was a tall and regal woman, with dark skin and dark painted lips, brown eyes that bordered on red framed with long, dark eyelashes. She wore a large hat with a fluffy pink feather in it, a buttoned up dark pink coat with a long, ruffled back that went halfway down her legs, burgundy slacks and black boots up to her knees. Her arms were crossed over her chest, she had white gloves on. She did not seem surprised to see Julia. “So, miss. What do ya need?” She asked.

“I am looking for someone, Queen Lucy, and I had hoped you may know where he was. He had dealings with you.” Julia said in her most pleasant tone.

“Ah. That is where I knew ya from. Ya are Mista Hyde’s friend. I must admit, I was expectin’ the other one.” Lucy remarked, pursing her lips with a pondering look. “Or did I read ya three wrong and ya are the one fuckin’ Hyde.”

“No, you got it right, Queen Lucy.” Julia said. “I made Stephen stay at home. In case Edward got home while I was away.”

“He will not.”

Julia’s heart seized. “H-how do you know that?” She asked. “Queen Lucy, Stephen said that Eddie had lied to you recently. You did not…”

“Off him?” Lucy smiled. Her teeth were very bright and white. “Nah. Not over what he lied to me about. He was just bein’ a little bit of a nosy hero.” She said. “Nothin’ worth offin’ him for.”

“Then how do you know that he will not get home tonight?” Julia asked. Relief was flooding her chest but she had to get the rest of her questions answered.

“He is passed out in a room at a bar. I got him the room.” Lucy replied. “I will not tell ya which bar, he does not want to be disturbed. Last I checked before he passed out, he was sobbin' his eyes out. I have had Mags and Reena helpin' him look for the people who hurt his brother-"

“Brother?” Julia repeated.

“Ask him when ya see him again, I am not explainin’ it. Either way, Mags, Reena, myself and his friend there from the society, Rachel, we have all been helpin’ search for the bastards that hurt his brother, but he had a pretty bad experience at the hospital and asked to be left alone. I am not gonna tell you where he is now, only that he is safe.” Lucy told her. “I will tell him you came lookin’ for him. See if that convinces him to go and check in with ya two.”

“Queen Lucy, is he alright?” Julia asked, biting her lip. “It sounds like he could use someone with him. Sounds like he should go home.”

“I have been tellin’ him that for three days, miss. He will not hear it from me. He wants to catch the people who did it, and apart from that… he wants to be alone.” Lucy replied. “Reena is still in the bar to keep an eye on him. I will try and convince him again to go home, but I make no promises. Ya are probably best just to wait and let him figure it out.”

Julia nodded. “Of course. Thank you for your help, Queen Lucy. And for looking out for him.”

Lucy smiled. “My pleasure. Do not worry about him too much.”

 

---

 

“Doctor Jekyll?”

That was that doctor back again. The same one that had been intent on secretly harassing Jekyll for the last three days. He did not do it in front of other doctors, only when he was checking on Jekyll.

Honestly, did he not think Jekyll had been through enough? The mere thought back to that night put a shiver up Jekyll’s spine and panic in his head.

He now understood, maybe more than understood, why it had made Hyde sick to talk about this sort of thing. Any attempt to speak of it made him sick to his stomach. He did not want to think about it at all, though it was burned horrifically into his mind forever now. He could still feel everything she had done to him.

“Doctor Jekyll.” The doctor repeated.

Henry looked up at the doctor. “Yes?” He forced his voice to remain polite. He was lucky any doctor was willing to treat a man like himself at all.

“You are free to go.” The doctor said. “It may feel sudden, but truly, the wounds were severe in numbers but are not life-threatening once treated. You will heal just as well resting at home as here.” He explained. “You must still get a lot of rest, I would not recommend going back to work for two weeks at the very least, if not a month or more, but staying here is pointless. Come back here in a month and I will x-ray your wrist to ensure it is healing correctly.”

Jekyll knew that the stitched up wound on the side of his neck had definitely been life-threatening, but he also knew he himself was a physician, amongst his many other degrees, as was Lanyon. One of then would realize something was wrong.

And this doctor wanted him out of the hospital.

“That sounds doable.” He confirmed. “Only… do you have a phone I might use?” He asked.

“Why?” The doctor narrowed his eyes.

“I dare not set foot outside on my own. I cannot imagine you wish for me to return to this room so soon after leaving it.” Jekyll said. “I only wish to call a friend to escort me home.”

The doctor nodded. “Very well, get up.” He agreed. “The phone is in the lobby.” He made no move to help Jekyll to his feet, and left the room.

Jekyll sighed and forced himself to sit up. His stomach burned with the effort, he was truly unsure how badly he was injured but knew it was not good. Swung his feet over the edge of the bed. They were bare.

He was still dressed in only a hospital gown. “Doctor!” He called.

The doctor reappeared in the room. “What?”

“Is there a pair of clothes I might wear home?” Jekyll asked.

“Yours are in the drawer of the table beside the bed.”

He left again.

Slowly, Jekyll reached over to the drawer. Pulled out the pile of clothing.

His white shirt was bloodstained, but still intact. He pulled off the hospital gown and tugged on his old clothing. He did not manage to full button his shirt or waistcoat with his broken wrist in a cast, simply pulled on his cloak. He likewise could not get his shoes tied up, but did not bother with them too much. He only had to get home.

He just had to get home.

Jekyll shuddered. Forced himself to his feet. His legs were shaky and weak but he made himself walk to the door of the room. Leaned against the wall and got himself all the way to the front desk. His shoes hooked off his heels with every step he took.

“Doctor Jekyll. You had wanted to use the phone.” The woman at the desk offered him a smile, it was the first bit of kindness extended to him from anyone but Lanyon since he had been admitted to the hospital. “It is just right here.”

Jekyll picked up the phone and dialled the main line for the society.

“Hello, Society for Arcane Sciences-" Jekyll was hopeful that one person, one person would greet the line properly. Just got a second. “Hotcakes speaking, how can I help you?”

“Doddle, can I get one serious answer out of you once. Please. I do not have time for you messing around.” Jekyll said tiredly.

“Doctor Jekyll? My god it is good to hear from you!” Doddle cried.

“Believe me, it is good to hear from you as well.” Jekyll said. “Say, Doddle, is Rachel around?”

“Yes she is, why do you ask?” Doddle asked.

“I am being discharged from the hospital and would like her to come and get me. I dare not leave alone.” Jekyll said.

“Smart. I will go get her. If she will not, I can.” Doddle offered.

“Thank you.” Jekyll said.

Doddle laid the phone down on the table. A couple of minutes later, it was picked up again.

“Hello? Henry?” Rachel said quickly. “How are you?”

“I am… I am… I really do not know. I really do not know. I just… I need you to come and get me from the hospital I cannot… I cannot go home on my own.” He took a deep, shuddery breath. He was barely holding it together.

“Yes, yes of course I will be there as soon as I can.” Rachel agreed. “Henry, just hang tight, I will be right there.”

“Just… just hurry here.” Jekyll said quietly.

“As quick as I can.” Rachel promised. “See you soon, Henry.”

The line went dead.

He should have called Robert. But something about Robert was not sitting right with him. Had not since Edward Hyde had come into the hospital and claimed to be Henry’s brother. Lanyon had shut down the claim…

But why had Hyde asked Lanyon in the first place? And made all those accusations about Lanyon ruining Jekyll’s life? Even delusional, Hyde would know Lanyon would not back him up.

Something was wrong about the whole thing.

So Jekyll had decided to call Rachel.

“You may have a seat in the waiting room while you await your friend.” The lady at the desk said. “No harm will come to you here.”

Jekyll nodded and took a seat, cloak gathered tightly around himself.

He could hear whispering and forced himself to ignore it. Acknowledging it would only make it worse but what else could they do to him now?

There was no sense in defending himself now, not now that London had already punished him for it.

So Jekyll ducked his head, reached out and grabbed a paper to read and hide his face, only to find that his own face was plastered on the first page he looked at.

He read the first bit of the title and folded the paper shut, throwing it back on the table.

DOCTOR HENRY JEKYLL ASSAULTED-

The lady at the desk grabbed something from underneath the desk and brought it to him. “Last week’s paper. No mention of you.” She said softly.

“Thank you…” Jekyll took it gratefully. The woman smiled and went and sat down again.

He hid his face behind the old stories he had read last week, but read again to pass the time. To distract himself.

“Henry?” A voice startled him from the paper. He looked up, lowering the newspaper and saw Rachel gazing down at him in concern. “Oh, god, what have they done to you…” she muttered. “You poor thing. Come on, let us get you home.”

Jekyll was sure it was as bad as she said. Bruises over both eyes, a cut along across his face, jagged and painful. Busted lip, bruises and stitches on his throat.

She held out a hand to help him up, but Jekyll found himself ignoring it. He lifted himself from the chair.

“I brought some transportation, and Jasper along for the ride, I hope you do not mind.” She said. “You only have to make it outside, a carriage is waiting to bring you home.”

Jekyll nodded. Put one foot in front of the other. His movements were stiff and painful. Rachel stood beside him, hands hovering to catch him if he fell but she did not try to touch.

That, Jekyll had to be grateful for. He did not want to be touched.

He managed to stumble his way outside, and though he nearly fell he made it up the steps into the carriage.

Sure enough, Jasper, in human form, was sitting across from him. He gasped when Jekyll stepped in, unable to keep the horrified look off of his face.

Jekyll could not blame him. He sat down and looked at the ground, and his untied shoes and wrinkled slacks.

“Jasper!” Rachel said, catching a look of how the werewolf was staring. “He will heal, there is no need to-"

“No… no, it is best I get used to it. I suspect… I suspect it will not stop when the bruised go away.” Jekyll said with a heavy sigh. “But for now… just take me home.”

“Of course.” Rachel agreed.

Chapter Text

Henry Jekyll had not seen a human being besides Poole in four days. He knew Rachel and Robert had tried to come and visit him, but he had instructed Poole not to let a single person in the door. He did not want to see anyone he wanted to shut the world away and try to let himself heal when he was almost convinced he was never going to heal.

Maybe he should not have sent Edward Hyde away. Liar or not Hyde knew how to deal with what the doctor was going through right now. How scraped open and vulnerable he felt, like something inside him had been violated and he would never get it back.

But was it fair to ask Hyde to think about what had happened, to go through it again in his head, to tell Jekyll how to deal with it? No one had taught Hyde to survive this. Jekyll should not need to be taught to survive either. He should be strong enough to get through this on his own.

He was not strong enough to get through it on his own. He felt like his insides were broken apart. He could hardly even breathe without the memory of what had happened jumping back to mind and shadowing over his day.

Perhaps he should call Edward Hyde. Offer to even listen to what the blond had to say about somehow being Edward Jekyll, he supposed it was not fair to hate the little blond for a delusion, in exchange for help coping with what had happened. A person to talk to who understood. He was not sure exactly what Hyde had gone through anymore, but it was more than everyone else around Jekyll who was trying to help and failing.

Jekyll sighed, walked into the kitchen and poured himself another glass of red wine. He had no idea how many he had drank today.

How many he had drank in the last four days.

Zosi yapped at his feet, jumping up and placing his front paws on Jekyll’s leg. Jekyll smiled and bent down to pat the grim. “I suppose Edward Hyde cannot be that bad.” Jekyll conceded. “You always liked him and you have good judgement.”

Zosi licked his fingers. Jekyll sighed and moved his hand away, walking into the living room to sit down.

He felt dead on his feet. His wrist ached almost constantly, and there was really no place on his body that did not hurt in some way. He was dressed in only a loose pair of trousers and an unbuttoned shirt, he was not going out anyways and though he knew Poole would help with buttons and fastenings if need be, and it was not so humiliating to ask for help, as injured as he was, Jekyll could not bring himself to ask for help.

So he made do with what he could do. Walking barefoot through his apartment, most of his chest hidden by white gauzy bandages anyways. There was a long, shallow cut from his collarbone to navel. Intended to hurt more than scar, which was better than the one on his face.

He was marked for life. And all of London knew what for. How could he face them again?

He was covered in various other scrapes and sores and bruises, but those were what he noticed most. His arms had a few slashes on them, from that woman with the knife. His broken wrist was from his own struggling, he had tried to pull his hand away only to have the person holding it smash it into the ground and break a bone in his wrist.

He had all the mirrors in his apartment turned around. He had not wanted to be able to see himself. Not in this condition. He would jar himself enough when all the wounds were closed over. He would have Lanyon take a look at the stitches in a week or two. He did not want to go back to that hospital again, he would rather let Robert look after anything else. Robert could do everything except check on the cast on his wrist.

The stitches would leave a mark. And the cuts would leave scars and they had done their job well, no one would ever miss what they had done to Henry Jekyll.

He should not have been as worried about his appearance as he was. He had so many other things to worry about. But, he was a man of reputation- had been a man of reputation, and his appearance mattered.

He sighed and walked into the living room, settled down into his normal chair, closed his eyes.

He just needed to rest his eyes a moment. He just needed a chance to stop and breathe and try and shove everything out of his mind. To try and forget all that was happening.

Zosi jumped up onto his lap and curled up. Jekyll smiled, looking down at the little grim, and pet the top of his head. Zosi tipped his head up and licked his fingers.

“You are a good dog, Zosi.” Jekyll smiled and curled up a little tighter. Zosi did not protest, he snuggled into Jekyll’s chest, still licking the doctor’s fingers, and cheeks now that he could reach. Jekyll did not tell him off. Somehow, it was nice.

“Doctor Jekyll?” Poole stepped into the room, a tray with a teapot and two teacups in his hands. He glanced over at the glass of wine and sighed. “That will not help you, Doctor.” He said. Walked over and picked it up off the table.

“Give that back!”

“Have some tea with me. Then I will give you it back.” Poole said, placing the wine glass on the tray and setting the whole works to the side before sitting down across from Jekyll and pouring them both a glass of tea. “This is not good for you, Doctor. Your friend was back. Miss Pidgley.” He said. “She is worried about you.”

“I know.” Jekyll said softly. “As is Robert. But I do not want to see anyone right now.” He admitted.

“Hiding away will not make this never have happened.” Poole said. “I have no idea what you are going through. No one does. Anyone who pretends to is insane. But I can tell you it is not something you will get through on your own. No one does.”

“I have a friend who did.”

“Your old assistant? You talk to yourself when you are anxious. And no, your assistant did not get through this alone. He had a partner, did he not?” Poole asked.

“How do you know that?”

“You talk to yourself.” Poole reminded him. “Call Miss Pidgley. Or Doctor Lanyon, or hell, even that old assistant. But do not bottle this all up inside and try to cope on your own.”

Jekyll sighed. Sipped his tea. “I am not ready to face anyone.” He confessed. “If I did not need someone here with me, as I am in no condition to look after myself, I would have sent you away too.” He admitted  

“It is natural to want to bottle up and hide. But it will not help you.” Poole said. “You have to face this if you want to ever have a chance to heal.”

There was a knock at the door. Poole looked over at him. “Well?”

“No.” Jekyll said. “Not tonight. Perhaps in the morn I shall call Rachel or Robert but tonight, I do not want to see anyone.”

Poole nodded and got to his feet, walked away to go and check on the door.

Returned after a few moments. “He is gone, Doctor.”

“Thank you.” Jekyll said. “You may take to your room, Poole, I will finish this tea and be off to bed myself.” He admitted. “Thank you for the company.”

Poole smiled knowingly. “Anytime, Doctor.” He walked off towards his chambers.

Jekyll settled back into the seat, took another sip of his tea and lifted his book from the table beside the chair. Flipped it open and began reading.

He had only gotten through a few pages when he heard a creak in the floorboards of his own bedroom. Glanced up and saw a silhouette standing in the doorway.

His heart stopped. He pushed Zosi off his lap and ran for the kitchen. The stranger cursed and ran after him.

Legs shaking, Jekyll reached the kitchen, threw open the furthest drawer from the door and pulled out a kitchen knife. His hands trembled on the handle as he turned to face the stranger, now standing at the door of the darkened kitchen.

Zosi was at his feet, barking and growling at the silhouette. “Stay back!” Jekyll cried. “Stay back stay back! Why are you here?” He demanded. “Leave, now, or I shall call the police!”

The phone was in the living room, past the stranger in the doorway.

“Call Zosi off and I will explain everything, Henry.”

 

---

 

Hyde finally knew how he was going to prove everything to Henry Jekyll.

It had been seven long days of searching and tears and not sleeping but for when he passed out. But that was over now. He knew how to show Henry who he was, he just had to be able to get everything for it to work.

But here he was, sitting in a tree just outside his apartment, looking down through the window at Stephen. He had no time to waste. He had thought Stephen would be at Julia’s right now.

He did not want to speak to Stephen right now. Stephen would have a lecture for him. And hugs and kisses and cuddles too but Hyde did not have the time for that. He wanted to get inside, get what he needed and go to the next place he needed to be.

So he sat in the tree, trying to figure out how to get inside without Stephen noticing. Which had taken a while, but he had a plan now.

He scrambled down and out of the tree, careful to stay behind the trunk so Stephen could not see him.

Picked up a stone and lobbed it at the bedroom window.

Clunk . It did not break, but Stephen did not move.

Hyde picked up another and threw it.

Clunk.

That time, Stephen stood up and made for the bedroom.

While he was doing that, Hyde rushed to the door and slipped inside, heading immediately for the kitchen. It was out of sight of the living room.

Once Stephen was back out of the bedroom, Hyde ducked into the bathroom and knocked on that window before running to hide in the kitchen.

Stephen walked by, a puzzled look on his face, and Hyde darted into the bedroom.

Perfect. So his crazy plan had worked. He pulled open his sock drawer, reached into the back and felt around until his fingers brushed something made of soft wool.

He pulled the stuffed bear that was missing an button eye after thirty-five years of wear, and had a hole in one leg, out of the drawer, gave it a quick hug and then glanced at the window, embarrassed at the thought that someone may have seen, and carefully placed it in his pocket.

He had brought that from home. Not a gift from Henry, though he had had many from over the years, not the brass pocket watch with his initials engraved in the back that his grandfather had gifted him, and given a matching one to his brother. It had for a long time been Hyde’s most impressive possession. Not his favourite, but definitely the nicest thing anyone had given him. If he had to guess, his brother had both now. Henry would not have left without a piece of his brother, just like Hyde had not left without a piece of his old life.

At his feet, Alhena yowled. Hyde jumped, panic seizing him as Alhena yowled again. He reached down and patted her, hoping to shut her up, but she only got louder.

“Al? What is wrong?” Stephen called.

Hyde snatched the letters off the desk, knowing it would be obvious they were gone, threw the window open and scrambled up the side of the building.

“What? Who is there?” Stephen ran to the window, stuck his head out but did not spot Hyde. “Edward? Is that… is that you?” He called, a hopeful tone plain in his quiet voice.

It hurt Hyde’s heart to stay quiet, but he had other things to deal with. He could not stop now. Stephen closed the window and Hyde set off down the roofs.

Leaving left a bitter taste in his mouth. A large part of Hyde wanted to turn around, run back to Stephen and fall into his arms. Let his partner scold him for disappearing through tears of relief that he was okay like he knew Stephen would, let Stephen hold and and love him and slowly but surely kiss away the pain for a while.

But the pain would be back. Unless he did something about it. Like he was going to. Like he was heading to Cavendish Square to do. He could not take the easy way out, he could not take the fix that was not a fix.

He had ruined it. It was his fault Henry did not believe him when he said he was Edward Jekyll. It was his fault he was in this pain and he had to fix it. He had to fix it now. He was sick of hurting he was sick of being upset.

He sniffled, jumped over to the next roof.

He needed to stop worrying. He was going to fix it now. He may have ruined everything for eighteen years but he was going to fix it. Henry would know there was only one place Hyde would have gotten the stuffed bear that was part of the pair their grandmother had made them. The letters were just extra, because Hyde imagined Henry could accuse him of having been lying the whole time with just the letters.

Henry would have to believe him. He would have no choice but to believe and then-

And then what?

Edward Hyde or Edward Jekyll, Henry still hated what he had become.

Edward bit his lip.

He would deal with that once he had told Henry. He and his brother would deal with that once he had told Henry.

He and his brother.

It was an incredible thought. A thought he had not really dared have in years. He was going to have his brother back. For real.

He was going to be Edward Jekyll again… only… no. He was not. He was going to be Henry’s brother again, he was not going to be Edward Jekyll. He could not. Not after what Darius and Petunia had done for him. He was still their son, not Elizabeth and Henry Jekyll’s. Hell, at this point, he called Darius and Petunia mum and dad when talking to anyone. His other set of parents, if you could call them that, never got mentioned at all.

They were not parents. Not really. He did not really think they ever had been. Most of his family had not really been his family. Henry Jekyll Senior's sister Beatrice had never really been a good aunt to either of them, she had been drunk quite a bit. Edward could not blame her for drinking, her husband had beaten her. Henry Jekyll Senior's parents, Henry and Isabel Jekyll, had always shared their son’s mentality on his two children.

At the very least, unlike Henry, Hyde had been named for the grandfather that had actually cared about both boys. Perhaps it was because it was Edward that shared Edward McKart’s name, but his mother’s parents had never shown any favouritism.

Unfortunately, Edward and Kara McKart had died when Edward and Henry were still young.

But now it did not matter. Hyde shared a name with the greatest parents he could have asked for, even if technically that was all he shared with them.

And he was not going to give that up. There was no way he was giving that up.

Hyde reached the edge of Cavendish Square, hopped down from the roof. Walked over to Henry’s apartment building, had to spend a few moments remembering which number was Henry’s. But he managed eventually, and knocked on the door.

An old man with a bristly white mustache and half a head of hair answer. “Hello?”

“I am here to see Doctor Henry Jekyll.”

The man shook his head. “I am afraid Doctor Jekyll is not taking visitors.” He said.

“But please, it is urgent!” Hyde said.

The man shook his head again. “I have been told to refuse even Doctor Lanyon and Miss Pidgley. No amount of urgency is going to get you inside. Have a nice evening, sir.”

He shut the door in Hyde’s face.

This was not part of the plan. Hyde sighed. Considered knocking again and just barging past the old man, but it seemed all to likely that he would be stopped somehow.

So he left the doorstep and snuck around to the only window attached to his brother’s apartment.

It had a crack in the pane of glass, but Hyde did not want to break it. He gave it a shove, and sure enough, Henry had forgotten to lock the window. And thankfully, after eighteen years, Hyde could open the damn things without help.

He pushed the pane of glass out of the way and climbed inside. Set his feet down gently on the floor, tip-toed over to the door and peeked out into the living room.

Henry was sitting reading a book in an old chair, Zosi curled up on his lap. But he jumped when Hyde stepped down on a section of the floor and it creaked, ushered Zosi off his lap and raced for the kitchen. Hyde cursed and rushed after him.

Chapter Text

“Call Zosi off and I will explain everything, Henry.” The silhouette said, and Zosi, the traitor, stopped barking and growling and rushed over to the man in the doorway, yipping at his feet and begging for attention. “Alright, alright, I guess you called yourself off, Zo. Yeah, I missed you too.” He laughed, crouching down and scratching the grim behind the ears. Zosi licked his hand.

“How could you… how could you? How dare you?” Jekyll demanded, deciding in an instant that he was not going to put the knife down, even though he had recognized the voice and the mop of blond hair in the doorway of his kitchen. “You harass me in the hospital, you insult my best friend and now you break into my home? Have you no decency, Mister Hyde?” He shouted, hands shaking violently. He took a step forward, knife still pointed at the man. Hyde yelped and scrambled backwards.

“Wait! Wait, wait I can explain!” He cried, scurrying backwards until he bumped into the door frame. Zosi looked torn for a moment before going to stand beside Jekyll.

“I do not want you to explain I do not want to hear it I want you to go away!” Jekyll yelled. “I told you to go away I told you to stay away from me how many times to I have to tell you to stay away from me?” Henry demanded. “How many fucking times will I tell you to leave me the fuck alone?” He continued. “How many ways can I tell you I do not want you to come near me I do not want you to come near me ever again!”

“Henry I have to explain to you you have to listen to me I can prove everything. I am sorry I have hurt you but you have to let me make it right please just listen to me please you have to hear me out, please!”

“I am not going to hear you out I am not going to have his! What the fuck happened to the Edward Hyde you were when you were young, he was a decent person! Now you have left yourself become a delusional stalker! What the fuck is wrong with you, you think you can just barge into my home and demand I listen to you? Get out!” Jekyll kept the knife pointed at Hyde’s face as the blond stood up and walked backwards towards the door.

“Henry, please, think this through why would I lie to you about this.” Hyde said slowly, watching the blade flash in his face. “What would be the point in lying to you about this. You know I was not lying. Deep inside you know I am telling you the truth and you are too stubborn to believe me.”

“You are not telling the truth! You have never told me the truth! You lied about everything! Doctor’s notes, injuries, illness, paperwork you did and did not do, you lied to me every fucking chance you got and now you have come up with your greatest bullshit, your greatest insult to not only me but my poor dear brother, and you want me to believe you?” Jekyll cried. “You want me to believe you now after every single lie you have told me!”

“Henry, Henry please put the knife down and we can talk about this. I- I am sorry I lied to you but I swear this is true and you have to listen to me…”

“I do not have to do anything!” Jekyll shouted. “This is my house and you are in the wrong here. You have to leave before I call the goddamn cops and have you arrested once and for all!”

“Henry... Henry, you know and I know that the coppers will not come and help you.” Hyde said. “Not a man like you. If I were a killer, they will come by in the morning and collect whatever remains were left by sunrise.”

“Get out you have no right to be here!”

Henry glared at him. This was insolence this was terrifying and this was the absolute last thing he needed right now. “You have no right to march in here and make demands! None!”

Something was shining in Edward Hyde’s bright green eyes. Bright, familiar green eyes.

Henry shook his head.

“Henry, please. Listen to me.” Hyde said quietly. “Just hear me out, I beg you. I have done you so much wrong, I beg you, let me make it up to you let me start to fix this do not shut me out…”

“You have nothing to offer me, Edward Hyde! Nothing! There is nothing you could do to make up for the wrong you have done me because you are nothing! You have nothing to offer there is nothing you can do!” Jekyll yelled. “Now leave my house I never want to see you again! For all I know you are behind a lot more than just a couple of lies!”

“No… no, Henry I would never hurt you how could you say such a thing…” Shaky hands reached out towards Henry, and were yanked back with a cry of pain and a bloody slash across one of their palms. Hyde stared at the blood in horror for a few seconds, good hand clutching the wrist of his injured one. There was a drop of blood on the edge of the knife Jekyll held in his hands. “Henry… Henry, please…” Hyde sniffled, his voice choked up. “Henry I would never… I could never… I have spent my week searching for the ones that did this to you I would never hurt you like that…” he breathed.

“I have no proof of that. Only proof that you are nothing but a no good criminal intent on lying to me and ruining people's lives!”

“Not true!” Hyde cried.

“Then what else are you?” Jekyll demanded.

“Your fucking twin brother!” Hyde threw something at his face. Jekyll shrieked and ducked it, it bounced off the cabinet behind him and landed on the floor.

Rolled up to his foot. “Go on! Pick it up! How else are you going to prove me a liar?” Hyde asked. There were tears plain in his voice.

Jekyll, keeping a careful eye on Hyde, crouched down and lifted the object off the ground.

It was a small knitted stuffed bear. Made of soft brown wool with one shiny black button eye, the other had clearly been torn off over the years and never sewn back on. There was a hole in its leg, the stuffing was escaping through it.

“So do you believe me now, Henry?”

Henry brought his undamaged hand to his mouth, knife clattering to the ground stuffed animal clutched in the stiff fingers of his left hand. Stared at the blond in front of him, all distaste for Hyde vanishing as he took in the familiar face, the green eyes, watched it all click into place. Edward’s crooked nose and pretty green eyes and face that was identical to Henry’s own, how had he missed it? “Oh, oh my god, Edward… you have been… you…” He blinked, tears slid down his cheeks. “I…” he collapsed to the floor with a wail, overwhelmed with pent up misery, nearly twenty years of pent up misery…

Edward sniffled, tried to fight it but eventually sobbed, lowered himself to the ground. “I am so sorry I am so so sorry Henry…” he murmured. Sniffled again.

Henry lifted his other hand to rub his eyes, still holding onto Edward’s stuffed bear, the one he had the matching pair to sitting in his room. He stared at Edward again, in total disbelief but feeling nothing but gratitude and relief flooding his chest. “Eddie… Eddie I am so sorry I did not mean a word… Oh, I am so so sorry I have been looking, and I could not find you I looked everywhere Edward but I gave up and I am so sorry I never found you and you were right here with me and I never found you…” He curled in on himself. “I am so sorry Edward I have missed you so much and here I- I was horrible to you…”

Edward leaned in a little bit closer. “Henry… Henry this is not your fault… I did not want to be found, Henry. You had to give up on me.” He murmured. “You have nothing to be sorry for this is my fault not yours… I should have told you I am so sorry…”

“I… I had to give up but I should never have given up I never should have given up I should have kept looming oh why would I ever give up…” There were tears running down his cheeks now. He had a nagging feeling he knew who had made him give up and why.

“It is alright it is not your fault, Henry…” Edward murmured. There was a soft look in his eyes much better suited to a face framed in brown hair than blond. “You needed to give up on my I gave you no other choice, Henry… this is not your fault…” he muttered, took a deep breath.

 

---

 

Henry was staring at him. Hyde had a tightness in his chest full of guilt and pain and shame that would not go away and got worse the longer he held Henry’s red gaze.

His brother was full on sobbing, tears streaking down his cheek as he stared at Edward. Slowly, he shifted a little closer, opened his arms. “M-may I…? I need… need to know I am really not dreaming this time, that you are really here.”

Edward nodded, opened his arms but sat still and let Henry pull him into a hug. He knew what someone touching you after what Henry had gone through could be like. “Of course… you are not dreaming, Henry, I am really here and I am never going anywhere again…” he promised.

Henry leaned forwards and pulled his arms gently around the blond, gasping a little when his hands met solid flesh and bone and not another dream. He suddenly hugged Edward tightly, eyes closed, nuzzling his face into the crook of Edward’s neck. “I have been waiting so long to apologize for everything, I do not even know what else to say besides I am sorry…” he murmured. Edward wrapped his arms as tightly as he dared around his badly injured brother. “You do not need to be sorry, believe me, Henry, you have done absolutely nothing wrong…” he promised, just relishing in finally being able to hug his brother again. “I have got you you are safe here and I am not going anywhere anymore. I am so sorry Henry I never should have stayed away from you I have ruined everything…”

Henry was breathing deeply, still sniffling but fighting back most of his tears. He sniffled a bit more, then frowned  

“Eddie? You smell different.” He said quietly.

After a moment’s pause, Edward could not help but laugh. “Seriously? That is what you notice?” He laughed, grinning through his tears.

To his relief, Henry began laughing too. “It is the most different thing about you! Your face is unchanged, your hair may be blond but it grows in brown still, your height…” he paused, ruffling a hand through Edward’s long blond hair. “Still embarrassing, but you smell completely different! You are a new man!”

Edward would have swatted Henry for the blow at his height if his brother was not so badly hurt. “My height is plenty respectable I am just not a beanpole like you!” He protested, giggling some more. “And now I smell like taverns and hospitals instead of the kitchen Elizabeth kept me in. God knows I am never far from one of them.”

“I actually grew a little more, you have been stunted!” Henry chuckled and gave Hyde another playful sniff. “I recall you smelling much more like food before. At least I do not get hungry every time you are around anymore.”

Edward smiled and held Henry a little closer. “I have grown an inch or two since leaving Scotland, you just do not want to admit it.” He accused in a playful voice. Gave Henry and experimental sniff of his own. “You smell like fire and salt, and that really bad red wine you always drink. You used to smell like old books.” He sighed. “I guess we both have changed in that respect.”

Henry smiled. “Well, at least I kept my hair mostly the same, and I have been unmarred by battle.” He glanced down at himself and bit his lip. “Or… was.”

He pushed away from Edward, seeming quite done with physical contact for now. Edward was loathe to let go of his brother after finally getting to hold him again, but Henry had to take things at his own pace and Edward had to respect that. He shifted a little bit backwards, tried to appear non-threatening. “I happen to like my hair like this, Henry, though I will admit the blond was quite jarring at first.” He said.

“Then keep it, by all means it is your hair, but if you ever wanted to let it grow back to brown, I would absolutely love to see it.” Henry said, with a nod to himself.

“If you ask me to grow it out, you know I will. I make no promises it will stay brown but I would do it for you.” Edward offered. “It is a simple thing to do after so many years of lying to you and hiding from you…”

Henry nodded again. “Speaking of. I am incredibly glad to have you back, I am also mad at you for staying away from me this long, so close but so far.” Henry warned. “I hope you know all this euphoria will wear off and I will have no mercy, Edward Jekyll.”

Edward was all fine until the end. He deserved Jekyll’s anger and would not deny his brother the right to be angry. “You have every right to me mad at me, Henry.”

But he winced as he was called Edward Jekyll. “Please. Do not call me that.”

He did not miss the hurt expression that painted itself on Henry’s face. “Do not call you… do not call you Edward Jekyll? Why not?” He asked. Edward froze when he realized his brother was so close to crying again.

“It is not… it is not really who I am anymore, Henry…” Edward began, painfully aware of what he was saying to his brother. “Do not mistake me I am glad to have you back and glad to be your brother but… it is not about that. The barkeeps whose name I took… Well, I meant it when I took their name. It is not just you involved and if it was I would take the name back in a heartbeat but… this is about Henry and Elizabeth and Darius and Petunia.”

“The barkeep who owned the Singing Pixie. ” Jekyll realized. “Darius Hyde. And his wife, Petunia. They died just after you left Scotland.”

Edward cleared his throat and shook his head. “Just… just before.” He admitted, tears in his bright green eyes. “B-both of them died…  j-just before I left Scotland.”

Henry nodded. He did not seem to be done asking Edward to take the name Jekyll back, but he seemed to be done for today.

Edward looked down at his sliced open palm. It was still bleeding, smeared all over his hand. “Oops. I got blood on your shirt, Henry.”

“Forget about my shirt it is not important… oh god your hand!” Jekyll cried. “Come… come with me I can bandage it for now oh god I am so sorry…”

“Henry, I have suffered far worse than a cut on my palm over the years, I am not concerned.” Hyde assured him. “Besides. You cut my left hand, and as you know, even though I pretended to be for two years, I am not left handed.”

Jekyll nodded and got to his feet, leading Edward towards the bathroom, where he pulled out a roll or gauze. “I have not got a steady enough hand to stitch it if it needs stitching, perhaps Robert can.” Henry said. “I should call him and tell him the good news, I cannot believe it was you all along!”

“Henry…” Edward changed his mind after he began. He had been going to tell Henry that Robert already knew. But Henry was going through enough tonight. He held his injured hand out to his brother.

“Yes? Is something wrong?” Henry asked, carefully wrapping Edward’s hand up.

“You know I still cannot believe you actually did it.” Edward admitted.

“Did what?”

“The society.” Edward said. “You actually managed to make it, and it is the most magnificent thing I have seen. You managed to do it!”

Jekyll smiled. “All for you, Edward. Speaking of, you will simply have to come back now, oh dear god I owe you even more apologies I cannot believe I forced my own brother to quit…”

“I deserved it, a bit.” Edward said.

“Either way. You will simply have to come back now and take the place you deserve at the society, the one you were always supposed to have!” Jekyll decided. “You and Robert and I can run it. I know you do not like Robert but I cannot just kick him out after all the work he has done and oh my dear goodness there is so much to do!”

“I have not deserved that, Henry. I gave up on you and you are just going to-"

“You gave up on me, I gave up on you, we are even. I want you by my side with this.” Henry said. “I have always wanted you by my side with this.”

“Are you sure…? Henry, you hated me before you knew I was your brother. Do you think I am magically a different person now?” Edward asked nervously, chewing on his lip.

“Not at all.” Henry assured him. “But now I am willing to work through that.”

“Why?”

“That is what brothers do. Work through their differences.”

He pulled Edward into another hug and Edward felt tears run down his cheeks.

Chapter Text

Edward had not wanted to leave in the morning.

He and his brother had spent all night talking. About everything and anything, catching up with each other’s lives. But, when during breakfast Henry learned about Edward’s break-in of his own apartment and how he had avoided Stephen and Julia for a week, and Henry had immediately sent him home. With instructions to come back soon, but had sent him home to make things right with Stephen.

So now, left hand wrapped in gauze, stuffed bear tucked back in his pocket, Edward was standing at the door of his own apartment, steeling his nerves before knocking three times on the door.

There were footsteps, and then the door was pulled open.

Stephen barely paused a moment before pulling him into a tight hug. “Eddie!” He cried, arms pulled tight around the little blond. “Oh my god Eddie you are okay!”

Edward smiled and hugged Stephen as well, “Of course I am okay, I am sorry I scared you…” He murmured, nuzzling up to Stephen.

Stephen pulled him inside and closed the door, not letting go of him for a second. “What happened where did you go I thought that Lucy had killed you!” He said, sniffling. “I thought for sure you were dead and Jules went and talked with Lucy and she said you were alive but you still did not come home…”

“I did come home.” Edward said. “I am the one who threw rocks at the bedroom window last night so that I could sneak inside.”

“I knew it was you!” Stephen pressed a kiss to his lips. “Why did you leave why did you vanish like that?” He asked. “Why did you not just come inside and see me why would you hide?” He asked, upset plain in his voice. “Why did you avoid me, Eddie?”

“It is a long story. We should go inside, have a drink and I will tell you everything. I promise.” Edward bargained. “I swear, it was nothing against you I just had… other things on my mind.”

Stephen sighed, kissed his cheek and led him into the living room. “Your cats missed you. So did I.” He admitted. “So what happened, love? Start at the beginning.” He prompted, sitting beside Edward and turning to face him.

“Well, I went and asked Lucy to watch after Henry, you knew that already, and she agreed.” Hyde started.

“That is when you lied to her.” Stephen stated.

“Yes. The next night she confronted me, found out that I lied but forgave it because I had a good reason. She explained that Emma and Henry were getting married out of convenience and that Emma never hurt Henry.” Edward continued. “She… she came and found me. Later that night. And… and told me that Henry had been attacked. When… When I had asked her to look after Henry she had promised that she would help me find the people who did hurt him, if they got past her elephants. She… sent me home in the morning to go and get some sleep. I… I did not do that.” Edward admitted.

“You went to the hospital.” Stephen predicted.

“I went to the hospital.” Hyde agreed. “And made a fool of myself.”

“You tried to tell Henry everything, right?” Stephen asked. “It seems like what you would do.”

“I did. And… and he thought I was lying to him. And I asked Lanyon to back me up, since he had known for years, and he refused.”

“Something tells me you did not accept that with dignity and grace.” Stephen laughed. “It does not seem like you to deal well with that.”

“Of course I did not. I yelled at Lanyon a bit and he dragged me out of the room and got the hospital security to escort me out.” Hyde said. Chuckled a little bit to himself, it was funny to look back on now that it was not affecting his life anymore. “And I should have just gone home. I did not want to go out searching again, I basically just hid for a few hours. Hid and cried.” He admitted. Stephen gave him a hug. He smiled and rested his head against Stephen’s shoulder, closing his eyes and taking a few deep breaths. “You would have been home by then, the one elephant even told me to go home to you. I should have gone home to you. But I did not. I spent the night outside, do not really know what happened that night.”

Stephen rubbed his back. Kissed his hair. Hyde took another deep breath. “I mostly just… Lucy convinced me to keep looking for the people just to distract myself, and… that was what I did. That and hid in bars and corners and tried not to think about it, or else I would start to cry.” And he had not wanted to cry. He had wanted to move on and be free of all of this but he could not. He had not had anything else to go to besides Stephen and he had not gone to Stephen.

“And what about last night? Why did you sneak in?” Stephen asked quietly. The hurt was back in his voice. “Why did you not want to see me I could have helped…” He insisted.

Hyde sighed. “I… I came up with how to show Henry who I actually was. But I needed some things. I brought the letters even though I did not use them, and the stuffed animal I still have from home.” He explained. “I snuck in because… I missed you but I did not want to stop. I wanted to get the stuff and go and find Henry. If I had come in the front door, you would have wanted to do, well, this. And I did not want to have this talk yet.” He said. “I wanted to go and friend Henry and sort all of that out before it felt like it was too late.”

“So… So how did your meeting with Henry go?” Stephen asked, taking a deep breath.

Edward beamed. “I have my brother back, Steph.” He said. “That is why I was away all of last night I was talking with him.” He murmured.

Stephen grinned and hugged him tightly. “It worked? Henry actually believed you?”

“I had to throw the stuffed bear in his face, but it worked.” Edward said, green eyes sparkling. He pressed a kiss to Stephen’s lips. “I am sorry, Steph, I know I scared you I am so sorry…” He breathed. “I did not mean to scare I just…”

“It is alright…” Stephen said, sighing. “You scared me, that is true, but I am just glad you are okay…” He said softly. “I was so worried about you…”

Edward sighed and snuggled into his chest. “I love you, Stephen.”

“I love you too, Edward. Do not ever scare me like that again.”

“You know I will.”

 

---

 

“Henry?”

Henry looked up at the man who had just walked through the door. The brunet was curled up in the seat in his living room, glass of red wine in his hand. “Robert? I thought I had told Poole not to let anyone in.” He said, frowning. “How did you get in here?” He glanced back at the door. How had he not noticed Robert walk in?

“I talked Mister Poole into letting me in.” Robert said. He looked nervous. He was twiddling his fingers together like he always did when he was worried about something. Twisting his wedding ring on his finger. “Doctor coming to check on you and all of that, ha ha. I think he wanted to let me in anyways. May I sit down?” Robert asked.

In a flash, Jekyll came to a realization and made his decision. “No.” He said firmly.

“Henry?” Robert frowned, looking confused. “Is something wrong? I… I need to talk to you I have something to tell you…” his voice trailed off. His twisted his ring some more.

“Yes.” Henry agreed. “You do have something to tell me. To explain to me.” He confirmed. “You see, something is wrong. Do you know who I spoke to yesterday?”

“No, I am afraid I do not…”

Henry gave him a false friendly smile. “Edward Hyde.” The smile slid away from his face. “Who, as you should have guessed, could prove what he told me in the hospital. He is, as he said to me earlier, my twin brother. And see, that got me thinking, Robert. Edward did not lie to me in the hospital. But there was one thing he did. See…” Jekyll paused for dramatic affect. “He asked you to back him up. Which you refused, claiming he was lying. But since I now know he did not lie to me… that means you did.” He concluded.

Robert looked pale. “Henry… there is something I need to tell you.” He confessed. “Please, you and I should sit down and talk this is important there is something I should tell you…”

“Yes. Yes there is. But you can stand and do it, until I know why you lied to me I will not be offering you any comfort.” Henry told him. “So, Robert, tell me, what is it you have to say? Can you prove to me this is all some big misunderstanding? That Edward had you mistaken for some other Doctor Hasting Robert Lanyon who had known for years who he is but had no responsibility to tell me because he is not you? Or is there something else going on here.” Henry knew the answer even as he asked.

Robert swallowed. “I… I did know. There is… There is a lot more that you should know than just that.” He confessed. “I… I have done far, far worse than just hide Edward Hyde’s identity from you.”

That had a little jolt of fear in Henry’s stomach. “What else have you done to me, Robert?” He asked in a hushed voice. What else would his closest friend have done to him?

“I do not… I do not even know where to start.” Robert said softly.

That was not a good sign. “The beginning, maybe. Just how long have you been lying to me, Robert? Just how long have you pretended to be my friend?” Henry asked, narrowing his eyes. Part of him wanted to break down crying at the idea that Robert had not been his friend, he had to stay angry or he would begin to cry. He had trusted he had wanted to trust that Robert meant it when he had come back to befriend Henry again.

“Since… since I reached out to you again.” Robert admitted, looking down at the ground. “Since I stopped avoiding you and reached out to be friends.”

“So twelve years.” Henry filled in for him. “Twelve years. Did it even occur to you that if you could not be honest, perhaps you just ought to leave me friendless?”

“That… That was the point. It was… it was a plan. That Gabriel and I had. A plan… a plan for revenge.” Robert’s voice got quiet.

“Revenge. Revenge, for a drunken mistake I made seventeen years ago in university? And that earned revenge?” Henry demanded. “I get it, I hurt you, Robert, and you were well within your rights to be angry and throw me out of your life but revenge?”

“You would not understand!” Robert snapped, then forced himself to calm down. “You… you were my future, Henry, just like you did I thought we had a future together and you ruined it and… And I was angry and hurt and you broke my heart and I did not say that it was right I only said that I did it…”

“So what did you do.” Henry asked. “Besides lie to me and pretend to be my friend, what did you do? Was the society some part of this plan? Is that why you funded it?”

“Yes.” Robert admitted. “Yes it was… I… Gabriel thought it was poetic… he said… he said that since you ruined all my plans and dreams that… That I should ruin yours. I helped you build the society with the intent of making you watch it crumble back into the ground.” He said. “I… I have been watching you run out of funding. My… my father never stopped giving you money. I stopped asking.” He said softly. His voice sounded choked up. “It was never my inheritance that was given to you and no part of the estate is going to the church. It would have had I not married Anne. Father wrote me into his will with the condition that I was wedded at the time of his death.”

Henry could hardly listen. He wanted to scream he wanted to cry worst of all he felt sick because he had genuinely wanted to have Robert back in his life. He had fallen for it because even now, even hearing all of this even as hurt as he was he would let Robert back into his heart in an instant. He still, even facing betrayal, wanted Robert back more desperately than he had wanted anything else in his life.

“What else.” He asked quietly.

Robert took a deep, shuddery breath. Had been denied a seat but was, when Henry looked up, on his knees, staring at the ground. “I tried to scare Edward away from you and when it did not work I tried to make you fire him.” He said quietly. “I… I did not want to let you have him back. I am the one who suggested to Lavender that you two had slept together, hoping you would think it was him and would fire him to get rid of that suspicion.”

Henry froze. “You started that rumour.” He realized.

“Yes.”

“And you started the other one, too, did you not?” He realized, getting up from his seat and backing away from the man he had so gratefully called his friend. “You decided your plan was not working well enough, that the society was doing too well so you put it in London’s ear that I had slept with a man so that London would take care of me for you! And you refused me aide because… because you knew I would be attacked!”

“No!” Robert looked up at him, tears falling down his cheeks. “No, I swear to you I did not…”

“Your vows are worth nothing to me.” Henry told him, a fierce pain in his chest. Tears were welled in his eyes. “I think the worst thing is I let you do this! I wanted to believe you because I so desperately wanted you to forgive me and I wanted you back and I let you do this to me!”

“I did not do it that is why I am here… I… I wanted to tell you the truth… so that… So that you would not believe I had done this too…” Robert sniffled.  “I never wanted you hurt… I never wanted to see you injured I had a plan and it was terrible but this is much too far…”

“Even if you did not start the rumour you sent me out on my own! You denied me the barest protection and here I am! They… they did far more than harm me physically and that is on you! You caused this!”

“More than…” Robert’s face went slack. “What more… what did they do to you…”

“I do not want to talk about it.” Henry said.

“Please, what did they do, I need to know… oh what have I done what have I failed to protect you from…”

“It is too late to protect me they have already done it! I needed you to help me a week ago I needed you to care I needed you to just leave me be twelve fucking years ago!” Henry spat. “If you did not do this, who did? Who else knows?” He froze as he realized. “Gabriel.”

Robert nodded. “He will not admit that he did it, he knows I did not want him to, but he is the only one who could have.” He confirmed. “He and Anne are the only other people I know who know.”

Henry sobbed. Buried his face in his hands. He did not want to face this he could not stand the betrayal of two people he had called his friends today.

“Why would you do this… why… how… why could you not leave me be…” Henry sobbed. “Why would you do this to me did I not suffer enough by losing you… You were everything to me you were everything I had…”

“I… I wanted to come back.” Robert said, very, very quietly. “I… I said I would go back. Gabriel had offered.”

“Why?” Henry asked. “Why would you want to come back. To watch your plan ruin me firsthand?”

“No.” Robert admitted. “I- I wanted to be near you.” He confessed.

“No… n-no, you cannot mean... you…” Henry stepped backwards, eyes wide. “You would not… why would you want to be near me if you were seeking revenge?”

Robert said nothing. Stared at the floor with brown eyes full of tears.

“Answer me!”

“I- I cannot say…” Robert stammered.

“Answer me!” Henry shouted, voice near hysterical. “Do you not think you owe me at least that?”

“Because… because no matter how much I wanted to hate you, you were still the same kid I fell in love with and I could not make myself stop loving you!” Robert shouted. Took a deep breath and forced himself back to his feet. “I… I should go I need to leave I should not have… That was not… I cannot...” He fled the room, leaving Henry to stare after him, tears streaming down his cheeks, trying to process all that had just happened.

“Edward was right about you.”

Chapter Text

“Thank you for helping me here, Rachel.” Jekyll said gratefully, smiling at her.

“Not a problem, Henry. I would rather you call me than try and get here by yourself.” She assured him. “Are you sure this person will be home?” She asked skeptically.

“No doubt in my mind.” Jekyll assured her. He walked up to the door of Edward’s apartment and knocked.

A few moments later, Stephen emerged and opened the door. “Doctor Jekyll! Let me go and get Edward. May I call you Henry, by the way? Doctor Jekyll seems a little formal for my partner’s brother.” He said.

“You knew all along, did you not?” Henry asked, smiling. “And yes, you may call me Henry, if I might call you Stephen.” He smirked. “Mister Richardson seems a little formal for my brother’s lover.”

“Eddie did not like to lie to me.” Stephen agreed. “He told me… just after his stay with you and Doctor Lanyon.”

Jekyll winced at Lanyon’s name. “Speak to me not of Robert Lanyon.” He said. “I did come here to discuss him with Edward but… I need just an instant not to think about him.”

Stephen nodded. Did seem a little worried about Henry’s refusal to talk about Lanyon, but did not press for answers. “Well, come inside, Henry. Edward is probably in the living room, buried in cats.”

“Buried?” Henry repeated. “He only has two, no?”

“Yes, but trust me they are both laying on him. They missed him while he disappeared.” Stephen said. “Please, come inside, make yourself at home.”

Henry smiled. “You know, you are the first person not to get all jumpy and weird around me, including Edward, since I got hurt.” He remarked, pulling off his shoes.

“Eddie lands his ass in the hospital or gets hurt in a bar fight far too often for me to be phased by injuries.” Stephen said.

“Does he let you call him Eddie?” Henry asked.

“Yes, if I use Edward too often he thinks he is in trouble. Why?” Stephen asked.

“He never used to let me.” Henry said with a smile. “I never listened, of course, when he told me to stop, but he never wanted to let me.”

“I did not give him a choice.” Stephen explained, leading Henry into the living room. “Eddie, your brother is here.” He said.

Like Stephen had predicted, Edward was laying on the couch, Gwen curled up on his chest, Alhena on his stomach. He looked over at Henry and smiled.

“I guess now you know introducing the moody bitch cat and also Gwen to Zosi would not go well. How are you, Henry?” He asked, slowly sitting up. Alhena, once disturbed, jumped down onto the ground. Gwen simply curled up on Hyde’s lap, purring. “Please, have a seat.”

Henry sat down beside the little blond. “A little… actually, a lot conflicted. But I do not want to talk about it right now. Later.” He decided.

“Alright, that is fine.” Edward assured him. “So I was talking to Rachel. You know who ran the exhibition for you?” He asked.

“Not Robert.”

“Oh. So that is what this is about. Well, you are not wrong, but I guarantee you will not be able to guess who did.” Edward said, green eyes sparkling.

“Alright, now you have got me, who did?” Henry asked.

“Victoria Frankenstein.” Edward replied. “Apparently, despite hating you, she was impressed by how you handled all… Well, this. Liked that you stood up for what you believed in. I imagine she meant you not really defending yourself, which she would consider owning who you are and telling society to fuck itself, which was not really the goal but hey cool. So when you got hurt, she had Rachel find your notes you had prepared for what you would say, so she said all of that, and gave her own demonstration.”

“What was that demonstration?” Henry asked.

“Oh she just showed them Creature, nothing too crazy.” Hyde assured him. “Sinnett and Luckett, on the other hand, lit the stage on fire, but that was the only major catastrophe.”

Henry sighed. “I am not even surprised. Sinnett and Luckett rarely ever manage to get through anything without a disaster. Thank God they did not add you to the mix like they did that one Christmas.”

Edward giggled. “Oh, come on, that was fun! Course, I got sent to the office and did not get to see most of it.”  He remarked.

Henry just smiled and shook his head. “Tried to burn the building I built for you down to the ground not once, but twice.”

“I know, I am a terrible employee.” Hyde snickered. “That would be why you made your own brother quit his job!” He shook his head exactly as Henry had, mocking him. Henry snorted.

“Would you two like anything?” Stephen asked.

“Yes, you to quit pretending you are a waiter and come and join us.” Edward said. “I mean, unless Henry objects, you are my family as well, there is no reason to exclude yourself. God knows I cannot get rid of you, and thank God for that.”

Stephen smiled, went and sat down beside Hyde, though not in between the brothers. Wrapped his arms around Edward’s waist and kissed his cheek.

“You are such a suck.”

“Because you are one to talk.” Stephen snickered. “You I tell Henry about-"

“I do not even know what you are going to tell him and the answer is no you know way too many embarrassing things about me.” Edward decided. Stephen smirked and leaned over to give him another kiss.

It made Henry’s heart hurt to watch them, their easy and almost effortless interactions. They were both so aware of the other, Jekyll knew them to have had one major falling out ever and here they were, recovered from it and back in tune with the other.

Why could he and Robert not have done the same.

Edward looked over at him. Part of what he was thinking must have been plain on his face, because Edward gently pushed Stephen off of him before the brunet could do something else. “Henry… what did you come here to talk about? You are welcome to show up without anything to speak of but… I know you had mentioned something.” He said, green eyes filled with concern.

“It is… it is about Robert and I suspect you knew all along what he was doing, but did not tell me because I would not believe you.” Henry admitted, eyes filled with tears.

“Oh…” Edward reached out to give Henry a hug before moving backwards, remembering that he really should not force that. “I… I knew a little of what he was doing. He… he actually told me most of it, recently, wanted me to know I was right, which I hope you do not mind I hit him in the mouth, but I did know a bit.” He admitted. “Are you… are you alright…?”

Henry shook his head, tears slipping down his cheeks. Edward reached out again and this time Henry pulled him into a hug, face buried in his shoulder.

Edward sighed, running a hand along his brother’s back. “You never stopped, did you.”

Henry shook his head. “Still… still have not…” He confessed.

Edward sighed again. “Maybe it is time to try.”

Henry knew he was right. It was, for any normal person, time to say goodbye to Robert Lanyon. But he did not want to do that. As hurt and angry and betrayed as he felt, he was still not ready to let go. He should have known he would never be ready to let go, he had been holding on for seventeen years now. Holding onto a slight chance that he knew was not really there at all that someday, things could return to how they were. “I… I do not want to.”

He felt Edward freeze for a moment. “Henry. That man may not be the reason you are hurt, but every other little wrong in your life was on him. He-"

“I know.” Henry said.

“Henry, what do you want me to tell you? My only advice is get that man out of your life now, but you do not like it.” Edward said.

It was Henry’s turn to sigh. “I know.” He paused. “I do not know what I want from you I just… even if I am going to make the wrong decision, I want to talk to someone about it.”

“Henry…” that was not his brother’s voice. It was Stephen’s. He had not expected Stephen to have advice. “There is not a wrong decision here. Edward’s biased, he did not like Doctor Lanyon from the moment he met the guy. Lanyon was always just a little bit onto the fact that he was lying, and was helping with his ankle. And was very pushy about that treatment and up in Eddie’s business. Robert Lanyon did you a lot of wrong. But if he is willing to move past that and earn your trust back, and you are willing to let him, it is not the wrong decision. It is not the one everyone would make, and believe me I would kick him out the door within ten seconds. But if you do not want to do that, no one can make you.”

 

---

 

Edward did not really want Stephen to advise Henry to keep Lanyon in his life, but he had to admit that his partner’s advice made sense. “Steph has a point, Henry.” He conceded. “Especially about me not liking Lanyon.”

That at least got a faint smile from Henry. “I should not let him try again. He has had seventeen years to try again.”

“I agree with you, I would not let him try again. But how about you find the middle ground.” Edward suggested. “You obviously cannot go back to trusting him wholeheartedly, not yet-"

“But if you think you never will, this is not worth trying.” Stephen cut in. “Eddie and I have spent our fair share of time not trusting each other but things always go back to normal.”

“True. Are we really that great a couple to be basing relationships on though, Steph? Anyways, do not trust him with everything yet, hell, do not even forgive him yet! But if you want to, let him work to earn your trust back, to earn your forgiveness. If he is willing to do so, and really does try…” Edward pulled a face before continuing. “In that case, maybe you two can go back to how you used to be. But give him a chance and leave the rest to him. Do not begin to work on this for him. It is his responsibility to earn your trust and forguveness. If he really wants it… he will work at it, even if it takes years.”

“You really want me to just kick him out of my life.” Henry said.

“I really want you to just kick him out of your life. I fucking hate the guy.” Edward confirmed. “But that is not my decision to make.” He paused. “And besides. You really wanted me out of your life until you knew who I was, and now you are willing to try and work with how fucked up I have become. Maybe… maybe if you see so much in him that you want to give him another chance after twelve years of him trying to ruin everything you held dear… maybe I can work at liking him a little bit more. After all, that is apparently what brothers do, or you would have removed me from your house and we would not be having this conversation.”

“I sort of came hoping you would tell me what to do.” Henry admitted.

Edward shook his head. “I cannot do that. It is not my life and it is not my decision. You have to make it yourself. Decide what is most important to you. I swear, not matter what happens, you will not hear an ‘I told you so’ from me. No matter what you decide, you have my support.”

Henry nodded. “Thank you. I should… I should probably head back home, get some supper-"

“Why not just stay with us? Stephen always makes too much food anyways.” Edward suggested. “I can get you home after supper. Or before, if you do not want to stay, but I would like it if you stayed.”

Henry pondered that. Poole would not cook anything until requested, and would find something to eat if he was hungry. Henry could be polite and call home and tell Poole but he really did not have the energy to do so. “I… I would like to stay.” He agreed. “I can help cook, if you would like.”

“No no, stay seated, I do most of the cooking in this house by myself, if I do not make Eddie help I will not make our guest help.” Stephen assured him. Kissed Edward’s cheek and walked into the kitchen.

“Why does he get to call you Eddie?” Henry asked. “I never did.”

“One word: Sex.” Edward replied with a devilish grin. “He can do what he likes if it gets me laid.”

Henry laughed a little bit, shaking his head. “You are definitely not the sheltered kid who jumped out our window eighteen years ago.” He realized.

“Nope, definitely not.” Edward agreed. “Then again, you have changed a fair bit, too. Althought you are still just as prim and proper as Henry wanted you to be.”

“Henry? You mean father?” Henry asked.

“Sure.”

The hurt look on Henry’s face told him maybe, just around his brother, he should call Elizabeth and Henry Jekyll ‘mother’ and ‘father’, and call the ones he called mum and dad Petunia and Darius. Just around Henry. Even if he did not want to and someday Henry would learn that he was never going to believe that the Jekylls had been proper parents and he was never going to take Jekyll as he last name again. He would be Edward Hyde until the day he died. “Anyways, I tell you what, Henry. You can call me Eddie… if I get to call you Harry.” He smiled innocently. Henry wrinkled his nose.

“No way, I did not even let Robert call me Harry!”

Edward shrugged. “Guess it is gonna be Edward from you then.” He said.

“You are merciless, Eddie.”

“Sure am, Harry.” Edward agreed.

“Eddie! Get your ass in here and get your asshole cat off my leg before she eats our supper!” Stephen called.

Edward plopped Gwen on Henry’s lap and ran into the kitchen. “No! Bad Alhena!” He pulled the cat off of Stephen’s leg and carried her out the door. “Go find a mouse!” He dropped her on the ground and closed the door. “She is such a jerk.”

“You brought the stray inside, Eddie.” Stephen pointed out. “Surely you did not expect her to be house trained.”

“I mean, climbing your leg to eat some chicken is really quite harmless.” Edward said. “She has never wrecked the house or anything like that.” He gave Stephen a kiss. “Thank you for making supper, love.”

“No worries.” Stephen smiled. “Go and visit your brother, I know you have wanted to forever.”

“I really have.” Edward agreed, grinning and running back into the living room.

Henry was sitting with Gwen cuddled up in his lap, petting the top of her head. She was purring, snuggled up in his lap. “Your cat is better for cuddles than Zosi.” He said.

“Only that one.” Edward told him. “Alhena will take another piece our of you. Steph can only touch her if he feeds her. But Gwen is a sweetheart. You knew that, she was in your office quite a bit.”

Henry nodded. “Lord knows I do not need another piece taken out of me.”

“Hey,” Edward laughed. “We just match ever more now. You still need a cane, but you can work on that.”

“You do not use it a lot here.” Henry remarked.

“All one floor and the pill this morning knocked the pain on its ass so I decided I would rather struggle than carry the stupid thing around with me.” Edward explained. “But we have the same scar here.” He tapped his throat.

“Some guy in a bar fight tried to kill you, right?”

“Nah, I ducked the cop and caught the knife.” Edward replied, smirking. “The next time I just let the constable grab me and got hit here.” He tapped his side. “Much less life-threatening. Still saved me an arrest with a trip to the hospital.”

“Only you would consider a hospital trip getting out of anything.” Henry snickered.

“Hey, it saved me an arrest. I do not need a silver tongue or a trial to get out of the hospital.” Edward pointed out.

“I suppose I cannot argue with that logic, as much as I would like to.” Henry conceded.

“Henry, what do you drink?” Stephen asked. “If you say something fancy I do not have it.”

“Typically red wine, but-”

“Yeah do not own that, guess again.” Stephen said.

“Give him some of that scotch, I am not going to drink it. Reminds me of breaking my ankle.” Edward called.

“Eddie, you do not get to pick your brother’s drink.” Stephen scolded.

“He is right, I will drink the scotch.” Henry agreed. “What kind of Scott are you, you do not drink scotch.” He scoffed.

“Doctor Penhaligon gave it to me in excess to try and numb my ankle when he set it. And had to rebreak and set it. I am not too fond of the stuff.” Edward explained. “I drank it just fine when I was still at m- er, Petunia and Darius’. Really I just drank whatever I was serving.”

“You were serving in the damn bar I chased you into.” Henry asked incredulously.

“Not at the time you showed up, but eventually.” Edward agreed. “Honestly? I am not sure I would have left Scotland at seventeen if nothing had happened to them. I had a great job with great people.”

“Well,” Stephen kissed his cheek and handed him a glass, “I am glad you came to London at seventeen. I met you when you were seventeen.”

Edward smiled. “I am too.”

Chapter Text

Robert Lanyon was absolutely certain he had no right to be where he was right then.

Which was why he was so stunned that Henry had invited him to dinner. And that he was now standing at the door to Henry’s apartment.

Albeit, dinner could be Henry’s way of telling Robert to never go near him again. He did not think his heart could take that, but he knew he absolutely did not have the right to complain if it was the case.

He had spent twelve years ruining everything instead of trying to fix it like he should have.

Robert took a deep breath and knocked on the door. Henry opened it quickly.

“You are looking much better.” Robert said. “The stitches should be almost ready to come out.”

Henry nodded. “Come inside, Robert. Poole is still cooking, but we need to talk.” He frowned. “Eddie must have hit you harder than he said he did, your lip is still swollen.”

Robert nodded and followed him inside.

“Doctor Lanyon, good to see you.”

Robert looked up and saw none other than Edward Hyde sitting at the table. “And you as well, Mister… Hyde, still?” Robert asked, voice getting a little tense. Hyde had not made it had to tell that he did not like Robert Lanyon.

And Lanyon had returned in kind.

“Yes.” Hyde agreed. “And I am not here to pick a fight, relax. Henry wanted to talk to you and wanted moral support, is all. I will not lie to you, I have no liking for you whatsoever, but this is not about me.” He said.

“Edward, you promised me you would be nice.” Henry scolded.

“Did that count as rude? You two have high standards.” Hyde complained, sighing and resting his hand on his chin.

“Are you… are you okay, He- Doctor Jekyll?” Robert asked, suddenly realizing that perhaps he should not assume he was still on a first name basis with the man.

“Not remotely. I am getting used to that. And Henry will do.” Henry said. “Please, sit down, have some wine and we can talk. Edward will stay quiet for the most part, like he said he is only here for moral support.”

Robert hesitated to sit. Last time he had been denied a seat.

“Sit down. I was angry with you last time we spoke, that is the only reason I made you stand. I have had some time to think about what you said and come to terms with some of it.” Henry said, ushering Robert to a seat and pouring him some red wine. Hyde had a glass of something Robert did not recognize. It was green. That probably was not a good sign.

Henry sat in between Edward and Robert. “So. How was business.” He asked.

“Busy.” Robert replied. A lie, he had not been into his practice for a week.

“You could just be honest.” Henry said. “I went to your practice yesterday to have the stitches looked at and you were not there. I had sort of hoped you would be done with lying to me.”

Robert sighed. “I could not even bring myself to leave my house this week, but that is not your concern, I brought it upon myself. I did not want you worrying.”

Henry frowned. “You know, you are not making it very much fun to play the blame game, sitting here self-depricating. I was going to come and tell you what sort of scum you were, and here you are doing it for me and I have to skip to the other part of what I wanted to say before I feel too bad for you.”

“If you are going to tell me to leave you be, over the phone would have sufficed.” Robert said quietly.

“If I was going to tell you that, I would have done it over the phone.” Henry told him.

“I vote play the blame game and then tell him. Lanyon’s a grown man, he can take it.” Hyde interjected.

“I… I will deal with whatever you say, Henry.” Robert said carefully. He did not want Henry to play the blame game, he did not need Henry to tell him he was responsible he knew. “I… I spoke to Gabriel… to… to try and get him to admit it… he would not tell me anything, just seemed-”

“I really do not care who started it.” Henry interrupted. “Whether Gabriel did it or not. It happened now. Knowing who whispered in who's ear will not make a different in the end.” He sighed. Sipped his wine. Robert bit his lip.

“So what is this about.” Robert asked. “Sorry. That was harsh. I just…”

“No, it is fine. Edward wants me to yell at you but you have done enough blaming yourself, I do not have to tell you what pain and sufferance you have caused me. You know.” Henry took a deep breath. “I cannot forgive you. Not right now. Not immediately. I cannot trust you anymore, Robert.”

Robert felt tears burning his eyes. He bowed his head, sniffled.

“But… there is one thing we have in common, through all of this.” Henry admitted. “You came back to me instead of Gabriel because you wanted to be near me. I… I am going to give you another chance… to earn my trust because… I do not want you to leave my side ever again… the five years without you were hell and I do not want to go through them again no matter what…” Henry admitted softly.

“Henry… Henry, you have to tell him all of it…” Edward said gently.

“I know…” Henry sniffled. “You… you are going to have to work if you want me to trust you again. You have to be willing to earn my trust again I am not going to work for you. But… I want to give you another chance. After all… if you take it, it would be my second chance as well. After… after what I did to you with Morcant.”

“Anything.” Robert agreed instantly. “A-anything you want me to do.” He honestly could not believe he was going to get a chance to do anything. When he had come to Henry’s apartment he had thought he would be sent away, disgraced and scorned. “A-absolutely anything…” He sobbed, relief flooding his chest.

Edward nodded. He seemed to approve of Robert’s reaction, and had a sip of his drink. “I will be keeping an eye on you, Lanyon. Lord knows Henry is far too lenient on you." He warned.  “I will not have you hurting my brother again.”

“Because you have never hurt hi- oh god I am sorry-"

“You do not have to pretend to like me

Though I must admit it is funny to watch you trip on your own tongue. And if I am going to walk around and pick out what you do wrong, I suppose you may do the same.” Edward said dismissively. “But just remember. I have stopped. Now you do the same.”

Robert nodded. Swallowed hard, swallowed down more tears. “Thank you.” He breathed. Wiped his eyes and looked up at Henry. The doctor’s face softened, he simply smiled as his response. “I do not… I cannot believe-”

“Do not let me down, Robert.”

“I will not.”

Poole smiled as he set down their meals. “I see that you two may finally be happy again. I was wondering why Miss Emma never seemed to make you really smile, Doctor Jekyll. I see it now.”

“It was not something I could walk around telling the world. Until someone did it for me.”

“Of course, of course.” Poole agreed. “Do you three need anything to drink? Mister Hyde, I do not have… whatever you have in that cup-"

“Yeah, you would not. And you can just call me Hyde. Or really anything but Eddie.”

Poole smiled. “Can I interest you in anything else? I see you two are still working on that bottle of wine.” He said to Robert and Henry.

“Just some water. I still have to get back home tonight.” Hyde said.

“Is Stephen still there?”

“Not tonight. He and Julia have a big fancy date planned tonight, it is their sort-of anniversary. They are not married, but this is when they started dating.” Hyde said.

“I must confess, Mister Hyde-"

“You too, I guess, call me Hyde or whatever. I may not like you but unless you fuck up big time I imagine you will be dating my brother again soon enough.” Hyde said.

“That you have me quite confused. Is Stephen not your partner?”

“Yes he is.” Hyde agreed.

“But he is also seeing this Julia person.” Robert continued.

“You got it. Perhaps someday all three of us will be a nice happy family, but you read me right the first time you took a guess at my intimate life. I keep women as friends and that is it, though I am trying to get over that.” Hyde replied. “Julia is my best friend. Without too much details, it is all very open and consensual.” He assured the doctor. “Not that I am sure why I am defending my relationships to you.”

“Edward?” Henry said quietly. “Still? After… after eighteen years?”

He sounded terrified. It took Robert a moment to understand why.

If Edward Hyde was not fully healed from his encounter that had happened eighteen years ago, what chance did Henry have?

 

---

 

Edward spent a moment trying to think of how to answer his brother. “Everyone is different, Henry.” He said finally. “I let that fear fester and grow. If I had faced it in the first place maybe I would not have that problem. But I let it grow and get worse and become something more than it ever was. I did not want to face it, and so I did not. Besides. Do not worry too much, it is not like I am still terrified of all advances. I am normally not really scared at all, just surprised and uncomfortable, and only with women. You will heal. It will take time, but you will heal. Just remember that it is real. Do not treat it like nothing until it feels like nothing.” He said. Took a big bite of food to avoid having to speak more. He did not like speaking about it. It still freaked him out a little that it had happened, and now, knowing what Henry had gone through… he felt like a poser. Nothing had been nearly as bad as what Henry had gone through. Who was he to pretend he had the right to be scared anymore? When Henry had been through so much?

“Thank you.” Henry said quietly. He seemed to know just how much Edward hated to talk about that night. He had never had another encounter like it, but maybe it had worked more than he would admit, since he was always expecting another. “If you do not mind… how… how long did it take you. With… with…”

“With Stephen?”

Henry nodded.

Hyde glanced at Robert. He did not really want Robert to know. One, because really his sex life was none of the doctor’s business, two, he did not want to give Robert Lanyon a time that, subconsciously or not, he would start pressuring Henry.

“I need to use the restroom.” Lanyon stood up and left the table.

“A good number of weeks. Maybe more than a month or two. It depended on the day, really. I would be fine some days, and then something Stephen did, the way he moved… it would remind me of her and I would end up panicking. It is a process, Henry. You will not wake up one day and be cured.” Edward admitted. “But the day will come.”

Henry gave him a hug. “Thank you. I know… I know you do not like to talk about it.”

“I just want to help you. Anything to help you.” Edward promised. “But please. If we could save it for when Lanyon is not here.”

“Of course. I just… it is on my mind right now.” He confessed. “Given my talk with Robert… this is all going to come up again.

“Lanyon will give you as long as you need to heal.” Edward assured him. “If it takes twenty years before you can consider it, he will wait twenty years. I am not the best person to base yourself off of, Henry. I went through practically none of what you did. You know what she did to me. It was nothing compared to this. Heal at your own pace.”

Henry hugged him tightly for a few more seconds. “It counts for something.”

“I am glad you think so.” Edward smiled softly. Held onto Henry for as long as Henry let him.

Robert stepped back into the room, took his seat. Henry slowly pulled away from Edward and ate some of his dinner. Edward had forgotten he had any. It was fine, though, the absinthe had made him nauseous. Or maybe that was some weird affect of his pill kicking in. Either way, unless it got worse he was not going to worry about it, but he also was not going to try and eat anything more than the bite he had taken earlier. To pass off as eating, Hyde pushed some of it around on his plate.

“I can make you something else, if that is not to your liking.”

Hyde jumped as he realized the servant, Poole, was standing behind him. “No, thank you, I am simply not feeling well.”

“Perhaps the green stuff did not help you much.” Poole picked up the plate from the table. Set a glass of water in front of him.

“Perhaps.” Hyde agreed.

“You will not convince him to quit drinking it, Poole.” Henry laughed. “My brother is not one for wine or anything like that. He sticks to his admittedly very weird drinks.”

Poole smiled and nodded, walking the plate into the kitchen.

“Are you alright?” Henry asked.

“Just nauseous.” Edward said.

“Let me know if it gets any worse.” Henry said. “Given what you take.”

Edward nodded. “Of course.”

He was not too worried. But it was almost nice to know that Henry was. That Henry cared if something happened.

He did, however, push the absinthe to the side. It would not help his case in the least. “Perhaps you ought to stay the night here, if you are sick. So that you are not alone.”

Edward was about to tell Henry he was being ridiculous and worrying for nothing, but then he looked at his brother and saw the fear and concern plain on his face. Henry desperately wanted to ensure Edward was okay. He had never seen Edward ill, only recovering from it, but he clearly did not want to risk something happening to his brother. “Of course.”

Henry smiled a little bit. “Thank you.” He said, seeming to know that Edward had wanted to refuse.

“I will have to leave early, though, I do not have my pills with me, and if they are causing this, I do not want to miss one.”

“Of course.” Henry agreed, nodding and taking a bite of his meal. “I just want to be able to keep an eye on you, in case your condition gets worse.”

“Henry…” Robert said mildly. “Is it wise to have your brother whom nearly none of London knows is your brother spend the night here?”

“He has stayed before and no one asked any questions.” Henry said. “It is a good point, I will give you that, but I am not going to worry about it.” He decided. “I cannot… I cannot spend my life worrying about this. If I was going to, you would not be here.”

Robert nodded. That was a fair point.

“Besides. I… I may as well tell people who I am. It is not just you, Henry and Stephen who should know. Once people know, it says more about them than Henry if they suspect anything like that.” Edward pointed out, biting the tines of the fork that had been left in front of him.

“I suppose that is true.” Robert agreed. “Just… be careful, Henry. I do not want to see you hurt because of something that could be prevented.”

“Of course.” Henry agreed. “I do not like to be hurt, either. Now, I am going to go prepare the spare room.” He decided.

“Henry, I know you do not like just ordering people to do things, but you are injured. Have Poole do it.” Robert suggested.

Henry glanced down at the cast on his arm. “I suppose this would make it difficult.” He agreed with a sigh. “Very well, I will go and find Mister Poole and ask him to set up the spare room.” He walked off down the hall.

Hyde realised he was still chewing on the tines of the fork and set it back on the table. It did not look worse for wear. He was relieved about that, at least.

Glanced over at the only other person in the room. Realized he did not have a lot to say to Robert Lanyon.

Looked back down at the fork.

“Hyde?” Robert said tentatively. “I… I was wrong about something. I was wrong about a lot of things, actually, but I just remembered this one.”

Edward raised an eyebrow. “And what is that. I assume it is something you said to me.”

“Yes. Back… back when I confronted you about who you were… I called you coward. Because of a fear you have. I… I was wrong. You are no coward… You and your brother may be some of the bravest people I know.” He admitted. “Thank you.”

“For what?” Edward asked.

“You could have easily told Henry to forget me and he would have.” Robert said.

“I would have made him miserable, though. This was his call. Not mine.” Edward said. “All I can do is support his endeavours and protect him when I have to. Do not give me a reason to have to.”

“I would not dream of it.”

Chapter Text

Edward was standing right beside him, standing at the doorway of the society. His brother, he swore, had almost fallen down the marble steps three times, but he had insisted on walking with Henry, not climbing in an open window and running down to join him at the front door.

Henry took a deep breath.

“This group has no right to look at your strangely.” Edward said softly. “I mean, come on. Griffin and Archer have been filling every room they walk in with sexual tension for months and they will not just fuck already, it is getting old, Doddle, Sinnett and Pennebrygg… they have their fun, that is for sure. Flowers has the biggest thing for Lavender, they will sort that out eventually, and there is probably more. Oh right, there is, I have walked in on Mosley and Helsby at least three times because they never fucking close the door and are never in one of their rooms.”

“And you learned this all from Rachel?” Henry asked. “I only really knew about the last one, since I have made the unfortunate mistake of trying to walk into the kitchen when… something was going on in there.”

“That and just knowing what to watch for. I swear, the only people who are not gay are Missus Cantilupe and Tweedy, and even they may not have a preference, I just know they are both married.” Hyde giggled. “But, since you know your lodgers, I am certain that what you are afraid of is not that you have been outed to all of London.”

“That you would be right about." Henry agreed. “It is… it is… everything. I do not want anything to change, really, but I know it will. Even you trip over yourself trying not to scare me or anything like that. The only person who has not is your partner, and that is because he has not seen me much. I… I just want things to go back to normal. But they will not.”

Edward nodded. “I could see how that would be upsetting.” He allowed. “But Henry… things have changed. Not just because something happened to you. I am back, and literally about to change identities to your lodgers-"

“Stop calling them mine, they are yours, too.” Henry said.

Edward smiled. “Our lodgers, you and Robert may be hooking up again, if all goes well… things change. Sometimes it is best that life does not return to normal.” He said.

Henry sighed. “I… I suppose you are right.”

“Besides. I ignored you when you said to call ahead, so they have no idea you are here. It will be a good old-fashioned terrible entrance for us.” Edward said. “Just pray that someone put a no fucking in the lobby rule in place for our resident exhibitionists.”

“If someone has not, I really should.” Henry decided.

Edward just smiled and pushed the doors open.

Flowers immediately dropped the metallic bug she was holding. “Doctor Jekyll! You are back!” She cried.

“Doctor Jekyll?” Jasper repeated, peeking around the corner. “And Mister Hyde!”

“I did not think I made that big of an impression on the kid, god. You would actually think he likes me!” Hyde remarked.

“Well, he did tell me that you convinced him to stay.” Jekyll told him. “Your little speech about not having to belong.”

“Hmm. Maybe I have a career in motivational speaking.”

“Perhaps I can get you to motivate our lodgers to clean up after themselves. Miss Flowers, Mister Kaylock, could you go and find the others? I have an announcement.” Jekyll said.

The somber nod he got from both of them caught him off guard.

“They both think you are going to tell them we are fucking. But they will not make a joke about it, given your recent ordeal.” Hyde predicted.

“Gotta love Robert’s sense of humour.” Henry muttered.

“Humour is an interesting way of putting it.” Edward said.

“Pretend to be nice, Edward.” Henry said. “Just… just in front of the lodgers. I do not want them to know.”

“Only for you.” Edward agreed.

“That sounds sweet. What are you gonna tell us, Doctor?” Lavender asked.

Apparently Lavender was not worried about making a joke about it.

“Not that I am partaking in incest, as you seem to think I will.” Jekyll replied.

“Incest?” Lavender repeated, brown eyes puzzled. “What do you mean, incest?”

“I mean that I am not about to tell you that I am fucking my twin brother.” Jekyll said with a smile.

A couple more of the lodgers appeared.

“Your brother?” Lavender repeated.

“Wait for the others to get here and you will hear it all.” Edward said. “But please. Quit that little rumour while you still can.” He added.

His brother seemed uneasy the bigger the crowd of people got. Henry reached out and squeezed his hand.

“What is the point of this I have not changed…”

“I would not want you to change. You are still Edward Hyde. I just also want them to know who else you are.”

“They will be disappointed. Hell, you are disappointed.” Edward accused. It stung, to be accused like that, but in a way Henry knew it was right.

“You were not who I expected. But I would not have it any other way.”

“So. Jekyll. What did you want to tell us?” Cantilupe called. “It is good to see you back here, by the way.”

“Yes, Doctor. What have you got to say?” Frankenstein sounded more like she was mocking him, but she had ran his exhibition. Henry decided to let her do as she pleased.

“I have to formally reintroduce you to someone.” Jekyll said. “And no, he is not my lover. Lodgers… meet the man I have been searching for for the passed eighteen years. Edward Hyde, or… my missing twin brother.”

Edward did not hold up well to the flurry of stares and shouts and questions that followed, which was weird. Normally he thrived in crowds. But now he was cringing, hiding just slightly behind Henry.

Jekyll supposed normally all the chatter was not about him. “Alright, alright, one at a time raise your hands!” Jekyll called.

A bunch of hands shot up. Edward chewed on his lip.

“Archer?”

“How did you find out?” Archer asked. “You figure you can trust what he says?”

“I did not. He brought proof.” Jekyll replied. “Believe me, he is my brother there is no doubt about it. Doddle.”

“Is that why you refused to let Jekyll judge the little contest you judged when you were sick if you joined in?” Doddle asked.

“Entirely.”

“You remember that dare? What is he talking about?” Jekyll asked.

“Their little kissing contest. I only remember because Archer still bugs me about not choosing him as the winner.” Hyde replied.

“I got slighted.” Archer said.

“I am sure you win first prize in Griffin’s eyes, Archer.” Hyde retorted. Both Griffin and Archer flushed scarlet. “Seriously you two, just fuck it out and quit making life hell for the rest of us.”

“They have. It is worse now.” Ito said, wrinkling her nose.

“I leave for a few weeks and I miss everything.” Hyde complained. “Anyways. Next question. Pennebrygg.”

“What now?” He asked. “It is not just about you, about everything. Where do we go from here. Sure, Frankenstein did a great job with the exhibition, and people were impressed, hell, Jasper got an invitation to study at some fancy university next year from it… but, well, we have not seen Doctor Lanyon in weeks, you are in no position to be running anything in society after what happened to you and why, and the man you fired for burning half this building down is your twin brother.”

“Wow.” Hyde swallowed. “I was sorta hoping you would have another pointless question but…”

“Doctor Lanyon will be back soon. He has been looking after me.” Henry lied smoothly. “He will also be able to run our public face, and I will remain behind the scenes. And as for Edward… that is between he and I. What you do need to know, and this is not up for debate… Edward will be joining Robert and I in looking after this place. He is, as much as you may shudder at the thought of him being in charge, in charge.”

“Henry-"

“We will discuss this in my office.” Henry told him. “I have a few conditions but I want you to have this.”

“So you want to take this place, ruined by the scandal around its primary founder, and ruin it even more by sticking Edward Hyde up there with the founders.” Griffin asked.

“Jack, you know like the rest of us, he built this place for his brother. You were a fool to expect any different.” Lavender said.

“I will not force you to stay.” Jekyll said. “If you believe that staying here will do you more harm than good, I will not make you stay. But you have to remember, this is my building. It is not up to you what I do with it.”

No one had a comeback to that.

“Welcome back to the party, Edward!” Bird called finally. There were a few cheers, but all around… things were pretty stiff.

“Come with me, Edward, we need to talk. I will help you up to my office.”

 

---

 

Edward sat down the moment he was in the office. “Ow.” He muttered, lifted his foot up onto the desk and rubbing his ankle. “Stupid stiff son of a bitch.” He hissed.

“Are you okay?” Henry asked worriedly.

“It is just stiff.” Edward assured him, sighing. “I will be fine. What did you want to talk about?” He asked, unlacing his boot and tugging it off, twisting his ankle around. It did not want to move as far as it should have. “For fucks sake.” He muttered.

“Well… I thought of something when I was working on paperwork to add you to the administration of the society.” Henry admitted. “I am going to add you, that is not a question, but I have a few conditions I want you to agree to.”

“What are they?” Edward asked. “This is not about your last name again, is it?”

“No, that is not one of my conditions.” Henry assured him. “The three things I want you to agree to are as follows. One, I need you to clean up your image. Just a little bit. You are going to be one of the faces of the society, Edward.”

“That is painless enough.” Hyde agreed. “What else?” He asked.

“I want you to go to university, when we have the money for you to do so. You do not need your doctorate but you need an education.” Henry said. “It is no rush, I just want you to do it eventually.”

“Sure, make a condition I actually want to follow.” Edward agreed. “I have a couple of books on biology still. They are horribly outdated, but they are still interesting.”

“Biology was interesting.” Henry agreed. “It was the second field of study I went into.”

“And you went into far too many of those.” Edward laughed. “So. What is the last condition?” He asked.

“Do not ever hide from me for almost twenty years ever again.” Henry said.

Edward looked up, expecting to see a smile on his brother’s face, expecting Henry to start laughing about the joke he has just made.

He did not. He looked completely serious, a pleading look on his face, the beginnings of tears in his red eyes.

Edward sighed. “Oh, Henry…” he stood up and held his arms out to give his brother a hug, which was accepted immediately. “I promise.” He whispered. “Never again.”

Henry stayed very quiet, holding onto his brother. “I missed you terribly.”

“I missed you too. Now cheer up, Henry, I am not going anywhere ever again.” Edward murmured.

“Oh! I have something for you, all of these conditions reminded me of it.” Henry realized, quickly untangling himself from the hug and running to the cabinets behind his desk. “I kept it here so it did not get mixed in with my library…” He pulled an old volume off the shelf. “While I was studying in university, they would bring in published scientists and others like them to speak. I could no get into this particular lecture, I had not started studies in natural history or biology yet, but I did get in to speak to him, and have him sign this for you.” Henry handed him the book. “You may have it already-"

“That is alright, this is… this is amazing..." Edward flipped open the cover of the signed copy of Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection. Read the signature, addressed to just Edward. No last name, just Edward. “You actually met him?” Traced his finger over the pen.

“He said he would have liked to meet you, too, but he may have just been being nice.” Henry admitted. “I think he would have liked to meet you.”

“What was he like?” Edward asked. “God, I have read parts of this so many times I could recite it in my sleep this is-"

“You do already have it.” Henry said sadly. “I should have guessed that, It has been published for ages-"

“My copy is falling apart at the seams I have had it for seventeen years, Henry.” Edward assured him. “Stephen gave it to me for my eighteenth birthday, it is about time I replace it.” He hugged the book to his chest for a moment, then set it to the side to give Henry a hug. “Thank you.” He murmured. He felt sort of guilty now, that he had nothing to offer Henry from the eighteen years he had been away.

“There is one more thing I want to as you, Edward. It has nothing to do with my conditions, it is just a favour to ask of you.” Henry said.

“Okay, tell me.” Edward agreed.

“I want you to help me. With Lanyon.” Henry confessed. “With… with keeping an eye on him and all of that.”

“Henry, did you ever think you were going to get away with not having that help?” Edward asked, giggling. “He is going to hurt you again. I am more than happy to let you two try this again. I want you to be happy, Henry. But I have my eye on him.”

“Can I?” Henry asked. “Can we even try this again? I do not want to lose him but can things go back to how they were before?”

“No.” Edward said. “But that is not a bad thing.” He decided. “You have changed. Both of you. If things went back to the way they were before, you would hate it. It would be a waste of time.” He reasoned. “You have to start something new now. And it may be terrifying, but it will work.”

“I suppose.”

There were three sharp knocks at the door. Henry walked over and opened it.

Rachel was standing there, and she looked livid. “I need to speak to Edward.” She said, voice cold.

“Rachel, I really think-"

“Either you leave the office or I am dragging him with me, Henry.” Rachel warned.

Henry sighed. Mouthed ‘sorry’ to Edward and stepped out of the room.

Rachel stepped in.

“Rachel, what is wrong?” Edward asked. “What are you so upset ab