Jekyll envied Hyde sometimes. His freedom, his energy, his general love of the world. He was free in a way Jekyll never would be. He saw and felt and did things Jekyll barely ever dreamed of doing. Hyde saw everything as an opportunity to be happy.
Jekyll couldn’t remember the last time he felt happiness.
Every time he was pulled from their headspace, he just groaned, shook the weariness from his bones and the hangover from his brain, and got back to work. Back to negotiating with the police, rectifying the accidents that seemed to emerge daily in the Society, hoping that the funding deals he’d managed to gain would pull out in the end as days passed. Back to life, he supposed.
It was exhausting.
Not even Lanyon could bring joy into his life, not that he would have tried. He felt horribly betrayed by Jekyll’s continued support (or perhaps just lack of betrayal) of Hyde. In the fight that resulted, Lanyon drew on some... less than savory rumors about him and Hyde (he knew he should have cut those off) and reached his own conclusion. He had been attempting to contact Lanyon, but to no avail.
He did not feel upset at Lanyon’s response. He had not felt anything for a while now. He was simply too tired to feel, too exhausted for his brain to create emotions, he just wanted to rest, but he never could. Even if his daily life had offered breaks- which it never did, because why would it?- it would only be immediately given to Hyde, who Jekyll owed quite a lot of time after the fire situation.
Jekyll had not felt anything in weeks, if he thought about it, which he could, now that he had a minute to himself.
...Could he still feel anything?
Of course you can feel things, what are you on about, Hyde snarked at him from the wall of wine bottles that had collected along the side of his desk. Jekyll sighed. He could, of course, he could feel pain.
It was the only thing he could feel now.
...What are you doing, Hyde asked, as Jekyll opened the second drawer of his desk. The scalpel gleamed in the light as it was removed from the drawer. You can’t be serious, Hyde said, watching Jekyll roll up his sleeve.
Jekyll just shrugged.
You’ll get caught and it will be a scandal, you’ll have more to deal with, Hyde said, tone worried.
“More of the same,” he said quietly, inspecting the blade of the scalpel for rust.
It may scar, Hyde protested.
“No one will see it, who’s looking?” Jekyll argued, running a finger over the edge of the blade.
It will hurt! Hyde argued, form now shuddering nervously and fragmenting in the bottle wall.
“Good,” Jekyll said, and ran the scalpel carefully over his arm. Immediately, blood flowed from the cut, bringing with it the sharp sting of pain.
It was exactly what Jekyll was looking for. The pain, the fear it sparked, the actual sense of being there, the feeling of being alive. It was terrifying. It was perfect.
What the hell have you done! Hyde shouted, form bubbling frantically. Jekyll only moved the scalpel down his arm a bit and cut again, bringing another rush of feeling, of presence to his soul.
Damnit Jekyll you have to stop now!
The blood was starting to drip off his arm and onto the desk. Jekyll stared at his arm, now cut in four straight lines. It looked so... incomplete.
Carefully, Jekyll cut one final line into his skin, a diagonal crossing the other four, forming a perfect tally.
The two of them just stared at the wounds, Hyde with horror and Jekyll with finality.
As the high of fear and pain and realness began to drain away, however, Jekyll was left as empty as he had been, although not as unhappy. He monotonously put the scalpel away before pulling a small box of medical supplies from another drawer in his desk. He bandaged his arm in silence, Hyde observing quietly, unsure of what to say at this new development.
As Jekyll was finishing up the bandages, Hyde spoke up again. If you really need a break, a night to yourself... you have years to make it up to me. You don’t have to push yourself to get this debt paid. It’s not accruing interest.
Jekyll just stared at nothing, eyes focused on the now-bandaged wound but not really seeing it. “I... think I’ll call for a sick day. You can have the rest of it.”
Hyde stared in silence as Jekyll quietly, carefully, almost like the world was made of glass and he might shatter it at any moment, wrote a note saying that he had come down with something and would be unavailable. He slipped it under the door and crossed the room, beginning to mix different chemicals as he had so many times before. The two of them were silent, neither really wanting to speak after what had just occurred.
Jekyll did not enjoy the pain of transforming as much, but he sighed with relief when he finally entered the mirror realm, where his body was not weak or tired and his head did not hurt and no one but Hyde could see him. Hyde, however, simply sat, staring at the bandages that had come slightly loose on his arm. Jekyll expected him, any moment, to snap out of it and stand up and begin his nightly adventure... but Hyde did not. He just sat there and stared, and eventually, Jekyll did not know what he was doing. He had fallen asleep in the mirror.