Actions

Work Header

Someone You Loved

Work Text:

Jem plucked lightly, harmonic melodies on the strings across the neck of his violin, smiling slightly as the warmth, and the familarity, of the musical craft returned to him. Will watched from the doorway, leaning against the doorframe, his arms crossed under his chest. His sleeves were rolled up, runes from the previous nights patrol fading from the livid ochre black they had been. Jem privately thought that it was welcome for his soul for once to not see Will ragged and cut and injured. But, apart from the matter of what he felt for
the passing natures of his soul, he knew Will thought it was a pity that nothing had happened that night on the patrol, and the other parts of Jem endorsed Will's disappointment.

 

I'm going under and this time I fear there's no one to save me

 

Will laughed, running up lightly to the few steps he had missed behind Jem, whose eyes were twinkling.

Jem sighed, before ducking his head to hide a grin, leaning less heavily on his cane. Will observed this, and a little part of him inside glowed, that ltitle part of him thinking that his obscene jokes had given Jem that...whatever it was that put light into his bones.

"Please tell me you did not actually say that?" Jem's face was flushed with colour, and it would have suited him, except that because of his pale skintone, the colour showed up everywhere; in his neck, jaw, forehead, cheekbones. It looked like he had a fever.

"I did!" Will protested. "And his arse went like this -" He held up his hand and squeezed it into a fist. "When I did, the Serbian fuc-"
"Will, be quiet." Jem admonished, but he grinned.

 

This all or nothing really got a way of driving me crazy

 

"You trust me?" Jem balanced the weight of the knife in his hand as Will once again nodded, and re-positioned the bright red apple sitting atop his head of messy black curls. Jem's stomach flipped, but he couldn't deny the perverse sense of sudden joy he felt, as he raised his hand, and cleanly threw the knife threw the air in the Western-hand manner through the air. It sliced straight into the apple, but instead of lodging into the target board behind, the skewered apple and the blade clattered to the floor. Will looked at Jem, and dissolved into quiet, but deep-chested laughter, a grin splitting his face.

"Good show, then." Will said.

 

I need somebody to heal...somebody to know

 

"You idiot..." Jem looked out of the window down at the carriage Charlotte and Henry were leaving the Institute in - bound for the weekend in Norfolk due to neptoism, family ties, and something "skew-whiff" as Will had worded it involving the Inquisitor - and looked back at Will. "Oh, please..." Jem's words trailed off as Will raised his eyebrows in mock innocence. "Don't do anything too ridiculous. I like it here in London."

"No, you don't." Will reproached lightly.

"I like certain things about it. I'd like to stay for them." Jem instead conceded, gazing at Will purposefully all the while. Will at the last had the humility, and the understanding, to get a touch of healthy colour in his skin.

"Alright." Will replied, uncrossing his arms from across his chest, as Jem still gazed at him.

 

Somebody to have....somebody to hold

 

"Which do you prefer?" Will asked Jem, as he packed away his violin into the preciously kept tan-hyde leather case. "The day or the night?"

Jem blinked. "The day, of course, Will."

"Why?"

"Because in the day I live, and the world lives about me. The night I sometimes spend it awake like you do, but been awake does not constitute as living."

Will gave a single, soft chuckle. "I'm rubbing off on you," He observed Jem, bemusedly. "You're talking like me, now."

"Are you certain about that?" Jem smiled, standing in front of Will; Will could tell Jem was tired, of how Jem's eyes were at half lids. Please do not let me go to sleep in the day, Jem had once asked him. The day is not for sleeping. The night is. Will inhaled the familiar smell of Jem's; he had once heard Sophie mention it to Charlotte, and the two women had both agreed on that Jem smelled like "burnt sugar, or something similar", slightly surprised that the other thought a similar thing. Charlotte had come into that from Henry, too, more surprisingly. Will didn't quite think that of Jem; he thought the smell was more like that of fresh, finished sex. That was what he thought anyway.

 

It's easy to say but it's never the same

 

It was the sixth straight day Jem had been ill; Will couldn't shake it from his head. He had wanted to yell at Charlotte as he was dragged away from Jem for the purpose of stupid paper-work that the sub-human Consul wanted filled in. It was eight 'o' clock in the morning and Will knew it was really too early, but nevertheless he opened Jem's door cautiously.

"Jem?" Will sat down hesitantly into the chair beside Jem's bed, to see Jem conscious.

"Will, By the Angel..." Jem breathed. "Can you turn me onto my side?" Jem's eyes barely stayed open as Will - Will's his own breath catching in his chest as Jem groaned - turned him gently on his left side, Jem facing Will when he resumed his seat in the chair beside the bed.

"Are you alright?"

"Thank you." Jem managed a faint smile, but it faded slightly as he glanced down the side of his bed, to where a bouquet of white Lily-of-the-Valley flowers were wrapped in brown paper and tied with string. Jem laughed softly. "And what are they?"

"Oh, ah..." Will faltered, looking between Jem and the ground, stunned, for a moment, before he reached down and turned them in his hands. He looked back at Jem's face, to see Jem smiling widely. "Well, I thought...you said once you were born the same day the train strike happened in Shanghai happened, and everyone thought your mother would be giving birth in a field, and, uh, in China lilies are -"

"They're beautiful, Will." Jem leant forward on his side slightly, smelling the flowers. He laughed again.

"Thank you, Will."

 

I guess I kind of liked the way you numbed all the pain

 

"Why don't you tell me that?" Jem spun around on his heel at Will's question. His lips parted, but no words came out. Will stepped forward as Jem faltered, every emotion his body processed caving in on him.

"Why don't you just tell me -"

"You never tell me. I see you on the edge all the time, and I have no idea what you drove you there, and you ask me - for God's sake, I can barely sleep at night!" Jem suddenly shouted. "It would be so easy to just submit, and I don't. Because I don't know if you know that I know you want to have it with you always - to know - that I moved and breathed in the same world as you." Jem's chest jumped with a breath.

 

Now the day bleeds into nightfall

 

It was in that split second that Will knew what we wanted to do. While Jem still breathed heavily, staring at Will as much as he was staring at Jem, Will surged forward. Jem's hands came up and caught him as he curved his hands upwards around Jem's throat, each thumb underneath the point of his jaw, his fingers interlocking at the back of Jem's long, thin neck. Will felt Jem's breath graze warmly against his lips, before he crushed them together. Will almost immediately felt the release inside him, and physically felt it as Jem was released as well, or as Jem surrendered. It would be so easy to submit.

 

And you're not here to get me through it all; I let my guard down and then you pulled the rug

 

Will forgot how to breathe as he brought his lips down onto Jem's; his chest burst in a supernova of sparks and heat and flame and Jem, Jem was here in his arms, Jem was safe, Jem.

As their lips separated, Jem's fingers were gripping the front of Will's shirt, just above wear the top of his waiscoat's-front button. "Please, don't let this be another of your mistakes." Jem said, moving his head back to look Will in the eye. His stomach immediately flipped at the look that went through Will's eyes. "Will, Will, Will..." Jem whispered Will's name. Jem's eyes were half-lids, the silver of his eyes still visble as his eyes focused down on Will's lips. Will's breathing was rugged and fast in his chest. Mark turned his entire body, then he was bringing their lips together again. Jem tasted warm, and natural, but with a sense of his yin fen, that reminded Will of cocaine he had once tasted in a downtown London pub, when someone had said it was a type of crystal spice from the Middle-East that was going to be put into all the beers of people who wanted a "good night".

 

I was getting kinda used to been someone you loved

 

"Why did the attorney from the Danish Consulate - Hans Frede-Ranzau - comment about whether or not you were getting married?" Jem asked Will, as they climbed the steps to the entry of the London Institute. Jem gazed intently at Will as for a moment, a smirk lit up his features.

"Welsh people are very sensual; we have that naturalism, that is almost animistic. The majority of Welsh are good lovers." Will glanced at Jem, and a brief light came to him as Jem flushed. "World-class in fact." He couldn't help the laugh that escaped him. "Hans is probably wondering whether I have gotten some poor girl on top of me, yet."
"Have you?" Jem asked. He instantaneously wondered afterwards if he should have; he almost knew what the answer would be. And Will would not be lying; he lied about things - God, everything, nearly - but never something like this. And not to him.

"Well, as far as I know, I, successfully in three cases, have yet to get a girl pregnant."

Jem went silent beside him, and stayed like that for most of the evening.

 

I'm going under and this time I fear there's no one to turn to

 

Will put the freshly rolled tobacco cigarette in-between his lips, and lit it with a match, that he threw in a perfect arc out onto the gravel below his bedroom window. He closed the slate tiled lid over the windows as he shut them, inhaling the smoke, and the taste of what was most likely a mix of tobacco, dried tea leaves, dried tea leaves that had probably already been used and were sprouting microscopic fungi, rat poison, tarmac, and powdered oil concentrate. It tasted foul; but the taste was earthy, and bittersweet, like English Breakfast tea, brewed strong for many minutes, with no sugar. He knew that when Jem kissed him later - God, if he did after what Will had said about his previous sexual experiences with women - all he would taste was the tobacco, tea leaves, fungi, tarmac, and the rat poison. It would disgust him, and Will could imagine him looking at him. How Jem would look at him.

 

This all or nothing way of loving got me sleeping without you

 

As Jem stirred a minute amount of yin-fin into the glass of water, he felt like gagging at the thought of having to drink it. The taste wasn't precisely unpleasant, but every time he had to take it, it was a sheer reminder of everything, and the reason why he had to take it in the first place. It was enough that when he was trying to swallow it, his body would freeze up and try not to, so Jem would have to gulp so hard, he could feel the pressure in his throat - the ache - from the force for an hour afterwards. The exact same thing happened this time, as it always did; Jem kept his eyes closed, but opened them as a drip ran from the corner of his face down to jaw, then onto the front of his shirt. He saw parts of the yin fen at the bottom of the glass; one part of him said to dip his finger in, and wipe it onto his tongue, while the other urge - far more powerful - wanted to hurl the glass at the wall.

 

Now, I need somebody to know, somebody to heal, somebody to have, just to know how it feels

 

Will leaned back into the armchair in the drawing room, a bottle of Henry's Fine Bailey's Irish Whiskey - that only came out on extreme occasions, in private, not for him, or any of them, but for Charlotte - beside the chair on the floor, with a glass of the warm amber-coloured liquid in his hand, which hung over the side of the chair. Will gazed into the fire, watching the flames crackle and burn, the vivid blue hue against the woods surfaced as it baked.

Will looked up as Jem entered the room, one step, half a step, the forward movement of his cane, such a precise movement, such a naturally executed one - though Will loathed the sight of it, because Jem had to use it - that it reminded Will of a clock, ticking the seconds of the minutes of the hours of the day, and the night. Jem gave Will a small smile, just like he always did.

"Come and kiss me." Will said, lowering the glass of alcohol onto the floor, next to the bottle, feeling Jem watching. He sat up again, and held out the hand, his fingers bending softly in their nature that had made Sophie comment once or twice that by the time he got to thirty years of age, his fingers would be rheumatic claws. Jem's smile became a bit wider, and stayed on his lips; but he didn't budge.

Will tipped his head to the side slightly, gently imploring Jem. In the end, his lips curved upwards, too.

Jem shook his head, and leant against his cane. "I'm not your woman." He said softly, but firm enough that it made Will want to protest that was never an intention of how he wanted Jem to feel, it made him lightly scandalized that Jem would think like that in the first place, but he found it funny, the absurd comedy of Jem been a man's man in a greater definition than he usually did.

"You never would be." Will said, stretching out his long legs before him, feeling the bones in his knees and ankles move and click; maybe Sophie was right about rheumatism by the age of thirty; now, that is just joy to the world, he thought derisively.

Jem walked the few paces towards him, leaning his cane against the settee that sat five feet away from the armchair Will was occupying; Jem leant down enough, without bending his knees, that he could let his lips press and move against Will's. The familiar rush of warmth, and deafness to anything else that might be happening around them washed over Jem again.

 

It's easy to say but it's never the same; I guess I kinda liked the way you helped me escape

 

Jem gave the softest of moans as Will's hand curved over his hip, and kneeded at it, where, underneath Jem's clothes, the pressure would be enough to leave instant red marks. Jem, for an instant, shrank inside at the thought that now, all there was there was bone. Hard, jutting bone, where it was uncomfortable for him to feel, and if Will could feel it? It would be like groping a rock. Will's hand moved to his back, and traveled upwards, to where his fingers slipped underneath Jem's tie, pulling at it teasingly, coaxing Jem into letting him take it off. "Will, not here..."

Will smiled against Jem's mouth, pulling him down into his lap, and pulling off his tie, then proceeding to slip his fingertips in-between the buttons on Jem's shirt, feeling his warm skin beneath. "Yes, here. It might be exciting." Will grinned as Jem's hand entangled in the curls at the back of his head, gently pulling; Will - un-noticed by Jem until he felt Will's touch - undid Jem's trousers with one hand, and slipped his hand inside Jem's under-wear, past his abdomen, down to his penis, which he slid his finger up and down, from the head to the tip, which was just starting to ooze pre-cum. Will felt Jem shiver against him, and loved it.

 

Now the day bleeds into nightfall and you're not here to get me through it all; I let my guard down, and then you pulled the rug

 

Jem felt the breath seep out of his body as sudden deafening blackness filled him up; the last thing he remembered before the swell of black and his body slumping to the floor as it passed out was the spring-time sunlight dancing across the pale wall-paper of the drawing-room as he looked for Will. The wallpaper was like grape-vine curls, intermixing with one another, and how pretty it had seemed. So natural and pretty, where it could be someone's home; not as the Institute was.

 

I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved

 

What Jem remembered, the two days later when he woke up, was a dream he had had while un-concious. But all he could feel at that moment was his throat aching for water, his stomach empty, and due to that, had its own queer heaviness. The pain in the small of his back for not been able to turn over, and the sharp, piercing sting when he tried to move his arm, realizing that at some point one of the Silent Brother's had bled him. The dream had been so strange, but, maybe, it was a premonition, Jem thought, still unable to quite open his eyes. Will, when he wasn't in his life anymore.

Will laughed, and spun around to a point where it seemed Jem was directly seeing him with his own two eyes. Standing in front of him, his line of vision. Will smiled, bright, and happy, and so, so, handsome. "I love her," He said. "I love her, and it is the beginning and the end of everything." Jem wasn't ready to open his eyes. Who knows? Tears might have slipped out, given the chance.

 

And I tend to close my eyes when it hurts sometimes

 

Her? Her - she? Why is it her? Why is it a woman? Jem thought to himself, bitterly, staring into space, while his violin was propped against one of the four stands of his bed, and his bow rosined, ready to play.

I fall into your arms; I'll be safe in your sound until I come back around

 

Tessa Gray. Theresa Gray.

I love her. I love her and she is the beginning and the end of everything, he remembered from the dream.

Jem caught his reflection in the mirror that he had out from his trunk, that he used when he cut his hair; he never went to a barber's, and hated the idea of doing so. He cut his hair well enough by himself, and no one had ever said otherwise. Will had never said otherwise, and all the nights that he had spent running his hands through it, curling it in-between his fingers...

It caught at him for a second, but he found that Tessa's eyes were just a few shades darker than his hair. For the first time in years - since the first time Will touched him - he didn't hate the saturation of his being.

 

For now the day bleeds into nightfall and you're not here to get me through it all

 

He is dying. He had broken Charlotte's heart when he had told her to stop looking for a cure; he had made her cry, and he had driven Will to the point where he was harming himself, without leaving burns on his skin, or bruises, or cuts. He wasn't sleeping, he wasn't eating...

He thought of Tessa's beautiful grey eyes, that he could stare into all day. We'll fight this together, you and I...for how ever long we've got. I love you, James Carstairs.

 

I let my guard down and then you pulled the rug

 

What about Will's beautiful eyes? A thousand colors of the ocean, as bitter, and as magical as the sea itself. What about Will? A nasty little voice commented in the back of Jem's head, that reminded him unnervingly of Benedict Lightwood's.

 

I was getting kinda used to been someone you loved

 

Will is in love with Tessa. They can be happy together. I'm sure of it, his head told his breaking heart. Jem knew there was only one way he would see her beautiful grey eyes again.
It was a desperate hope. He knew he was not strong. He had talked to the Silent Brothers about the risks on more than one occasion. The thought of severing himself from Will is enough to break his heart - God, it already had. How many times in his life had his heart broken? If aught but death part thee and me…Jem swore an oath. Jem saw Will’s face then, that day in the training room, when Will first agreed to train with him and the days and years after. Will - how he laughed - laughing as they raced down the grey London streets, to feel the adrenaline, and banish it from keeping inside them. Will grasping his hand in pain as Brother Enoch pulls shards of metal from his back to save Tessa's life...her life, her heart. Her heart. Will, weary-eyed sitting in the armchair by Jem’s bed, a place where he no longer went. How had that happened in these last months - that instant withdrawal from wanting each other's skin? How had the two of them - or perhaps it was just him? - gotten so far apart from the interwined they once were, to where Will would be in the chair beside his bed. Where Will wouldn't be on the bed beside Jem, holding him, kissing him. Will, who he knew would always rather be apart and know Jem was alive then be apart and have to bear the grief of Jem’s death. I will go whever you shall go - those haunting words lingered in Jem's head again.

 

But now the day bleeds into nightfall and you're not here to get me through it all

 

Tessa. Jem regretted that he would not get to see her again, to hold her one last time. He would never see her in her wedding dress, never know her as Theresa Carstairs, his wife. He had few regrets, but the life he would miss with Tessa was one of them.

He felt himself spinning into darkness, a swirl of images, fever dreams and memories, pulling him down.

 

I let my guard down, and then you pulled the rug

 

"No..." Will whispered, collapsing to his knees, blood soaking his shirt and running across his skin. "No!" He groaned, as pain flooded through him, in the middle of the freezing English countryside.

 

I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved

 

The Silent Brother's carriage rattled across slick cobblestones as another coughing spell overtook him. Jem opened his eyes as he choked on blood and his limbs spasmed. Air refused to enter his lungs and he felt a veil of panic come over him. He wheezed and coughed and surely it was a bad sign that much blood was present? It had a silvery sheen to it, like oil on water, and the sight of it made him want to run back to Will, and into his arms. Another Silent Brother - Brother Micah? Jem thought distantly as he gasped for air - reached into the folds of his sleeve and brandished a handkerchief, proceeding to wipe at Jem’s bloodied mouth. Jem was so stunned that he would have laughed if he’d been able to breathe. I'll rub off onto you, Will had once commented. I'll get you swearing, and everything else. He immediately thought of Will and how he would have made a joke about what else Silent Brother’s keep up their sleeves. The thought of Will both comforted and saddened him. He didn’t want to think of his deathbed.

Didn’t want to remember the way Sophie’s eyes had been red from crying and Gideon’s filled with pity as they’d come to say their goodbyes. He didn’t want to relive Henry’s shattered expression and fumbled attempt at words. Mostly, he didn’t want to think of the way Charlotte had fussed over the blankets as the Silent Brothers had shuffled Jem onto a stretcher, or the way she had brushed his hair from his face and whispered “Jemmie” just before they lifted it and carried him from the room. He’d held onto consciousness for her, for all of them, and as a bitter reward the last thing he saw as they loaded him into the carriage was Charlotte and Henry on the front steps of the Institute. Just as they closed the carriage door, Jem caught sight of Charlotte’s face crumpling and she collapsed into Henry, who stroked her back looking like he hadn’t an idea in the world how to comfort her.

 

I let my guard down

 

When Jem woke, he was on a cold stone slab surrounded by the Silent Brothers. For a disorienting moment, he thought he was hearing Will's voice, singing that strange pagan song about surrender, and falling, and been human that Jem had once heard him sing. I can never be alone when all the Gods keep calling me out; How can I be by myself? I will never be alone when all the Gods keep calling me out; How could I be by myself?

The yin fen is nearly purged from your system. We will wait as long as possible before applying the runes of Brotherhood, starting with that which will prolong your life, Brother Enoch said, the strange way his souless voice penetrated Jem's mind.

If Brother Enoch had eyes, Jem was sure they would be burning into him.

You should know that this process isn’t an easy one in the best of circumstances.

Jem swallowed roughly against his dry throat. His lips were cracked and bleeding and his mouth tasted like blood. He had never realized how much effort it takes just to breathe. Every one of his muscles screamed at this previously innocuous endeavor. His body was trembling and he couldn't tell whether it was from the seizures or withdrawal from the yin fen. Possibly both.

You must remain conscious to accept the runes of Brotherhood.

Jem nodded weakly and instantly regretted it. His head pounded like the heavy, thunderous drum beats of a cattle-skin drum he had once seen played a New Year's Festival in the Shangxhi Provence in China, where his family had traveled to one year, also to cleverate his grandfather's fifth anniversary of the vineyard he had opened, a successfully running business. Jem hadn’t felt pain like this since Yanlo tortured him.

The cord in his chest is pulled tight and he wondered where Will is, whether he had reached Tessa yet. The thought of Will and Tessa distracted him for a moment from the shaking of his limbs and the pounding in his head.

I will see them again.

Jem gritted his teeth in pain as his body convulsed anew. Darkness tinged the edges of his vision. He thought of Will and Tessa, Charlotte and Henry.

I will see them again.

The cord in his chest pulled impossibly tighter and he feels the final strings begin to fray. He wanted to scream for Will. He was dying. His vision was now spotty and he struggled just to hold on to the edges of consciousness. Brother Enoch’s voice - it's sound - was distorted and far away. Jem saw him holding a silver ritual knife with a bone handle, both of which are etched with scarlet runes, before his vision faded to a blinding white. Then, suddenly, as though Will was in the room, he could hear it. Bright, and loud, human, and strong, and Will. He could sing. Will could sing.

I can never be alone when all the Gods keep calling me out; How can I be by myself? I will never be alone when all the Gods keep calling me out; How could I be by myself?
There was a vague rushing sound through his head to accompany the music but Brother Enoch’s voice cut through it, now as clear and strong as a mountain stream, to the fading harmonies that Will gently hummed, a beautiful ending.

James Carstairs, do you agree to sever your ties to the mortal world and accept the runes of Brotherhood?

Jem had stopped shaking and now his muscles tremble gently only with the exertion of living. His breath wheezed in and out of his chest, but he forced himself to speak. “I do,” he rasped.For a moment the cord in his chest seemed to ease, as though reassuring him that he will be reunited with his parabatai. Then Brother Enoch brought the knife to Jem’s cheek.

Jem did not think he had the energy to scream or the ability to feel more pain, but he found he was capable of both. He let out an agonized cry as Brother Enoch carves the first rune, his hand flying to his shoulder as the cord tying him to Will snaps. The pain was unbearable. It is as though he was experiencing every emotion he has ever felt in his brief seventeen years all at once and overshadowing it all was an immense sense of loss and grief.

I can never be alone when all the Gods keep calling me out; How can I be by myself? I will never be alone when all the Gods keep calling me out; How could I be by myself?
As soon as Brother Enoch stepped away, Jem turned to examine his shoulder, beyond the edge from which he could have fallen. His hand was slick with blood where it pressed against his parabatai rune but something else was wrong. The rune was fading, turning from solid black to pale silver, as all marks did when they were expended. But parabatai runes were meant to last for life…the realization struck Jem like a blow. He survived, but the life he knew was gone from him forever. Brother Enoch approached his other side, the knife still in hand.

Are you prepared for the second rune?

Jem rests his hand back over his parabatai rune. Wherever we are, we are as one.I will see them again. He swallowed down a sob.

 

I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved

 

“I am.”