Story Title: Black & White
Chapter Title: Turning
Word Count: 3,769
Genre: Drama/Romance, Continuation, WIP
Characters: Jonathan Crane, Jervis Tetch
Pairings: Jonathan Crane/Jervis Tetch
Chapter rating: M
Summary: Jonathan starts to feel different. Tim Sale style Scarecrow and more of a Gotham Central/Secret Six style Hatter.
Warnings: Language, adult themes, sexual content
Disclaimer: Characters, quotes, themes, etc © DC and © other people, places, etc. No financial gain is made.
Author's note: It seems like this one took forever to get out, but I'm glad it's finally up. Been super busy, and honestly it's gonna get even busier. Going back to school. There'll be updates, but its rather slow goings, man. Anyway, I'll keep my nose to the grindstone and get to work on the next chapter ASAP. Thanks for your patients, guys. Enjoy!
For the previous two weeks Jervis had been insatiable. From the time he came home to the time they both collapsed in their bed from exhaustion, he insisted on becoming physical. The first few days were somewhat romantic, as they hadn't lounged about fucking in an apartment space of total and complete disarray—the time they might have spent cleaning became nonexistent, as it was used for play rather than work—since before they had established a true relationship, but the intimacy began to spiral out of Jonathan's control.
Jervis wanted it all the time. Literally.
He longed for it, craved it, solicited it, demanded it. And for the most part Jonathan obliged, knowing he would eventually hit his own growing lust halfway through.
There was not much he could ever deny Jervis, not since their engagement anyway, but when he refused, that was when Jervis grew angry and sullen, continuously snubbing him until granted consent. This started to bother Jonathan. He wasn't sure what had changed, if anything at all.
Either way, he knew something was amiss when all the sex began to interfere with their jobs.
A good example of such was the Friday morning in which Jonathan stirred to the familiar sensation of Jervis ramming his rear. He hadn't yet opened his eyes, so he chose to lay there, wrapped in the bed covers, sheltered by his companion, shrugging the intimate act off as if it were a lucid dream.
When Jervis finished he proceeded to call in to work sick, knowing the following Monday was a national holiday. He then insisted that Jonathan do the same, giving them both a four day weekend to spend rutting in the cozy warmth of their little abode. Jonathan gently pushed his partner aside and rose from their bed, rubbing his face with one hand while scratching his ass with the other. Jervis's greedy eyes first watched his lover leave for their bathroom before trailing after him. In the shower, Jervis made his move, blowing Jonathan under the steady stream of running water.
In the end it was nice, but Jonathan was reaching his cut off point.
Jervis, of course, was not.
"Why can't you just stay home today?" he said while drying off his hair. "I miss you. I've missed you all week."
Jonathan gripped his coffee in both hands and took a long sip, buying a few extra moments to formulate his response. "Sweetheart," he said, "look, if you're sick and you need to stay home, that's fine, but I have to go to work today."
Jervis appeared cross. He folded his arms and began to pout. "It's not that difficult to find a substitute. Not if you actually try. Or, better yet, cancel class. I'm sure the students would find the unexpected break a welcome vacation."
"You know that's not an excuse," Jonathan replied. "I have a responsibility to give these young adults the education they paid for, and I intend to do it." He put down his mug and pulled the lapels of his brown suit. "You know there's nothing I'd love more than to stay here with you, Jervis, but I can't neglect my duty."
Jervis huffed, but it didn't end there. "You don't even need to work. I make more than enough to pay our bills and the city. For the both of us. I want you to stay, Jonathan. Please, please, pleeease—"
"Jervis," Jonathan cut in tersely.
Jervis's expression went from bad to worse. His lips screwed up as if he had sucked on a lemon. Then, like it so often did, his face softened, and he slinked from across the room to where Jonathan stood, enclosing his arms around Jonathan's waist and rubbing his cheek into the cloth covering Jonathan's flat stomach.
In that moment, Jonathan actually considered appeasing his partner. He did want to stay. But he couldn't shake his commitments, especially in regards to his career. He loved teaching too much to risk losing it simply because his significant other couldn't stand to go three hours without a fuck.
This thought reinforced his wavering resolve.
"Jervis. Sweetheart. Darling. Love of my life. I have to go."
Jervis's head dropped and he went silent; no more arguing. For once Jonathan thought he might have gotten his point through, but when Jervis glanced up his golden hair fell in tumbles over his brow, an alluring sight to behold. Jonathan had to avoid eye contact just to keep his strength of mind.
"You want me," Jervis said, knowing. He nuzzled Jonathan's groin. "You can have me. All you have to do is stay. I promise."
Jonathan bit his lip and breathed deep. As enticing as his partner's proposition seemed, and as much as he wanted to accept said proposition, the manner in which Jervis was attempting to manipulate him was insulting. In fact, it was downright sloppy.
"Jervis, this is getting ridiculous," he said, making his way for the door. "I told you I have to go. You need to respect that. I'll be home in a few hours."
Behind him Jervis exhaled in frustration, but then a soft chuckle arose. "I don't know why you even bother teaching those starry-eyed imbeciles," he said with a scoff. "It's not like you're actually any good."
Jonathan halted, his hand on the doorknob, his wide eyes glued to the grains flowing throughout the wood.
Slowly, he turned. "What?"
In the short span of time it had taken Jonathan to approach the front door, Jervis had situated himself on their couch, his legs crossed with his cheek rested against his palm. For a moment he looked perplexed, as if the notion of explaining his former statement were futile.
"Well, it's true. Would you rather I lie?" he asked. "Tell you you're making a difference when you're not? That would be cruel, Jonathan."
The silence was deafening. Jonathan was speechless. In that instance, he could only hope he'd heard wrong. His hand left the doorknob and gripped the fabric over his heart. When he finally found his voice he spoke, straining to sound confident. "Jervis, please don't speak to me that way. You know that's not true. It's very insensitive. It… it hurts my feelings."
Jervis wore a look of genuine sincerity, his dignified features ever elegant. "I won't lie," he repeated.
A sharp, unexpected pang struck Jonathan in the chest. He wheezed. "How… h-how could you say that to me? How could… You know my teaching is my life. It's everything to me. How could you even think of saying something so awful?"
Jervis tutted. "I've done nothing of the sort. If anything I've made you aware of the fact. Perhaps you should be thanking me rather than attacking me."
Jonathan was astounded. He couldn't believe his ears. He stared at the floor, stunned. Finally, after forcing himself to move, he opened the door and staggered through, briefcase in hand. Jervis's sweet good-bye could be heard trailing after him, fading into silence as the door slipped shut. Leaning against the far wall, Jonathan closed his eyes. On the outside he looked ever the self-possessed professor he always believed himself to be. Inside, however, he felt like a bowled over, stupefied mess. Jervis's words hung over him, stinging like wasps every time they flitted through his head. It couldn't be true.
Professoring was his life, his passion.
The look in Jervis's eyes burned him even now.
Like an automaton, Jonathan set into motion towards the stairwell, descended the many flights until he came out through the apartment complex's central doors onto the street. He walked towards Gotham University, his stride straight and even, lifeless. When he reached the campus he avoided eye contact with the few students and faculty that attempted to greet him, ducking behind his former irritable exterior to get to his classroom. As he walked in he noticed three of his students turned and talking to one another, waiting for the start of his lecture. The rest had not yet arrived, but already he wanted to give in and call it quits. Let them go home for the day. Let him escape. But that would be unfair to their education. Plus, it would ultimately give Jervis satisfaction, and though Jervis's words had hurt him, he wasn't about to let his partner get the better of his emotions, not even to save himself the discomfort he felt in front of his students.
"Hello," he said to the students, testing out his voice. Was it shaky? Uncertain? He wasn't sure. The three young adults turned to him and smiled. One was Rebecca, whose teeth were so perfect and white they were like carved pearls. Below her smile her shirt rode tantalizingly low.
"Hi, Professor Crane," she greeted him in return.
Jonathan was struck with the resemblance of Harleen, that beautiful blonde babe that had always managed to make him smile despite himself. He could feel his expression lighten just by the memory.
"Hi, Rebecca," he said and nodded his head towards her in acknowledgement.
After he set his briefcase down the remainder of his students wandered in, immediately taking their seats and pulling out their laptops in anticipation of the day's lesson. They peered on, each gone silent, waiting for him to start. It was a gratifying sight. Even he had to admit—he'd done a good job of whipping what little classroom he had into shape.
"Before we get started, I want to thank you for coming in to class today." Jervis's suggestion about giving them a four day weekend came to mind. Other words came too, biting words, but Jonathan pushed them aside. "I realize you could have had an extended weekend if not for today's lecture, but I'm… proud that you all decided to be here. It shows the commitment you have towards your education." He paused in thought. "For that I'm raising everyone's grade a half-letter up."
The students beamed at each other, surprised at themselves and at their usually stiff and unbearably strict teacher. Some thanked him. He nodded briefly. Then, without a second thought, he dove into the day's lecture as if nothing had happened.
By the time class was over, Jonathan was feeling better. He decided, on top of raising his student's grades, to let them leave twenty minutes early, to which they appreciated in the same manner as they had his earlier speech. They left the room in happy clusters, chattering amongst themselves as they leisurely strolled in varying directions. Jonathan watched as they went. He didn't want to go home. As a matter of fact, he didn't want to be awake. He wished somehow he hadn't gotten up that morning; that he'd never risen to the buzz of his alarm and the sensation of Jervis inside him.
Now that his lecture was over it hurt to breath, so he sat at the small desk placed on the left side of the auditorium and took a moment, thinking he might read—anything to get his mind off the lingering pang. Pulling out a book, he let himself become engrossed with the words, losing himself as he always had within the carefully constructed pages of dialogue and plot, when a delicate knock sounded in the quiet calm of the lecture hall. He jolted in his seat, his legs back on the floor, his book no longer concealing his face. He tilted his head to see through the center of his glasses towards the source of the noise and stiffened.
There stood Rebecca, her long, blonde hair shining faultless past her shapely shoulders. She smiled and Jonathan's pants were suddenly tight.
"Hi, Professor," she said. "I saw you were still here." She made a sweet shrugging motion. Jonathan nearly toppled.
"Yes. I am," he replied, licking his dry lips. "I assume you think you need help with your school work. But your grades are outstanding. And you have no absences. There's really nothing you need help with, dear. Is there something else? Are you having troubles at home?"
"Oh, no, not at all," she said. "You're just…" Another sweet shrug, a not-so-sweet deepening of the voice. "Alone."
Jonathan gulped. His mind was reeling. He knew she was being suggestive, that she was flirting, but he couldn't for the life of him grasp why. The very notion sent shivers down his spine. She was so beautiful. A Sherry Squires. A Becky Albright. She wanted him, and God knew he wanted her back. Her attraction to him was flattering, and soon the recent void in his life was apparent. Jervis wanted him constantly, but something was amiss… something was absent. But that wasn't an excuse to… He felt nauseas.
"You seem upset today, Professor," she said and sauntered close. "Are you having troubles at home?"
Oh, she was a smart one. And beautiful. Smart and beautiful—a mix quite capable of bring about his ultimate downfall. He sat silently, watching her watch him, a million thoughts dashing through his head.
"You look tense…" she said. While she spoke she strode behind him and placed her hands on his shoulders, rubbing gently.
He couldn't take it anymore. He put a hand on hers, but when seeing a flash of her golden hair he stopped and thought of Jervis. His partner's insult jabbed at him, sharp in his side, but still he brought himself to say weakly, "This is wrong…"
She let her hands fall from his shoulders, but just as he thought he was in the clear she confronted him, her long legs widening to stride his lap. His heart was thumping like the bass in a blown out stereo.
"You're so handsome." She smiled.
"I've never met anyone so brilliant before. You're like, a genius." Her hands stroked beneath his jacket, toying with the collar of his shirt.
He gulped, near unable to speak. "I could be fired for this. Really… Miss Low, you need to—"
"You're such an amazing man. You're like, the best professor I've ever known. I could listen to you talk all day, about anything. You make me so hot in class I just wanna' touch myself."
At that moment, he had never heard anything so sweet. If in their species men breathed through their groins, his would be choking, suffocating under the fabric of his tight slacks. Her breasts were in his face, her scent in the air, and none of it was helping. He faltered. "You really… you really think I'm a good teacher?"
She nodded and guided his hands to her waist. She leaned, inching in, and Jonathan shut his eyes.
Jonathan jerked and nearly sent the girl in his lap flying. His eyes went wide as he saw Jervis with a single rose standing on the other side of the room.
"I'm sorry, was I interrupting something?" Jervis asked.
Rebecca sprang to her feet, a look of fear and bewilderment in her eyes. She stuttered some, her face reddening, her hands fidgeting as she stared at the floor. When she finally looked up it was Jervis's eyes she met. She bolted out the door.
Jonathan watched her, knowing there was something in that one glance between the two he must have missed, an unspoken, territorial bitch-slap of sorts. It didn't stop him from calling out her name in the hopes that he could calm her and Jervis both, that he could somehow blow the whole mess over, but she was gone. Jervis remained.
The nausea was coming back. Jonathan made himself look at his partner. "Jervis… that—it wasn't what it seemed."
Jervis was still, his deep, flickering irises cut through by the sharp slant of his angry brows. His lips were screwed up in an all-encompassing frown, but he was quiet.
Jonathan drew in a shallow breath. "Jervis, I swear to you, I—"
"Save your lies," Jervis hissed.
The response was shocking, but Jonathan continued without delay. "Jervis, it was a mistake. I-I would never do anything to hurt us—to hurt you. You have to believe me! I love you. It wasn't what you think!"
"Like hell it wasn't," Jervis replied. He threw the rose at Jonathan's chest as if it were infected. "It was exactly that."
"Jervis, wait! I love you!"
Jervis was already at the door, but swiveled on his heel to face Jonathan. His lips were curled into a snarl; he practically bit at the air. "You think you can claim you love me? After her mouth was nearly on yours? You were going to let her kiss you. You didn't raise a finger to stop her. Had I not shown up, you would have tongued her cloying, little mouth without a moment's hesitation, and you would have enjoyed it."
"That's not true!" Jonathan said. "I'd never put our relationship at risk. I-I'd never… I wouldn't—"
"Quiet yourself," Jervis interrupted. "I'll be returning home now. Alone." He gave Jonathan a lasting glare before slowly striding out the door.
Jonathan was aghast. The urge to move was strong, but his feet would not obey. He stood for a long time, staring blankly at the space that was once occupied by his lover, unable to cope with the realities of the man's absence.
Finally, and with a heavy heart, he packed up his book and left the school.
On his way to nowhere he paused, unsure of where to go, what to do. In his attempt to keep his mind clear, he went to a nearby bookstore and piled a load of interesting hard covers onto a café table, then sat down to a cup of hot tea, but he couldn't bring himself to touch it and ended up tossing the tepid liquid in the shop's public sink due to its innocuous significance. After that he decided to leave.
It was now dark out, the sun dimming in the west sky. Jonathan still did not want to return home. He stopped and glanced back and forth between two streets; one lead to Gotham's more industrial neighborhood, the other towards a small park. He chose the more natural route, thinking a bit of green would do his frazzled mind some good. A beckoning came from the cool September breeze, calling him homeward, but he didn't have the strength to endure the backlash of Jervis's hurt. The sun's mild warmth caressed his face as he took a seat on one of the numerous, graffiti sprayed benches. The park was quaint, yet he could not relax.
He peered up towards the sky and instantly thought of the batman. Would the caped crusader show up unannounced, as always? No, Jonathan thought. I am not important enough to keep tabs on any longer.
The thought should have been a blessing, but in all truthfulness, Jonathan felt even more lonesome at knowing he wasn't worth the energy to tail. Back when he was still criminally active, there came a sick sort of high at the thought that his very actions caused momentous consequences. He mattered then.
Now, the Batman road onward into the night as if nothing were different, swooping down on his prey like the angel of death when summoned by his sigil searchlight. Jonathan did not matter now. It was enough to make his mouth curl into a frown. The bench was cold on his rear, so he lay down and stretched his length, his legs dangling off the end.
Soon, thoughts of Jervis began to envelope him. This thing that had happened, this near adulterous act that he may or may not have committed (he still wanted to believe he would have dodged the girl's puckered lips), was really just a bump in the road of he and Jervis's happiness—or so he made himself think. Jervis would eventually forgive him. He had to. It would take some time, but Jonathan was confident they'd move forward with their lives. Their relationship could stand a few blows; after all, no engagement was perfect… right?
When it was clear he wasn't going to feel any better, Jonathan gathered his briefcase and dragged himself back to their apartment. Upon opening the door he noticed the lights had all been turned off. Their bedroom door was shut. A single small pan was left on the stove, the remnants of which suggested ramen noodles. Nothing was made for Jonathan. He threw his coat over one of the kitchen chairs and set his briefcase down on the counter top, his feet light as he moved.
The bedroom door opened and he was suddenly met with Jervis's disheveled appearance.
"Jervis," he said, his voice shaky, "I hope I didn't wake you, love."
Jervis's frown twisted. "You're as good at tiptoeing as you are at being faithful."
The statement made Jonathan wince. He bit his lip, but proceeded to take his shoes off, then his pants, loosening his tie and unbuttoning his shirt. Without a word, he wandered to the bedroom door, longing for the feel of his pillow against his head, but Jervis blocked his path.
"You may sleep on the couch," Jervis said.
Jonathan blinked as his partner closed the door and retreated inside their room only to come back and throw a pillow at his face. He sighed, gripping the pillow while staring at the floor. He looked up but the bedroom door had slammed shut. Jonathan sank into the cushions of the couch, his head in his hands.
He was about to go to sleep when the bedroom door opened unexpectedly. Jervis walked out with a quick stride, and for a moment Jonathan thought he would be forgiven, that he would be invited to their bed and maybe even snuggled, but Jervis merely went towards the kitchen and turned on the faucet. The blonde man came back with a glass of water, but before he could shut the bedroom door for the final time, Jonathan spoke up.
"I know you're mad at me," he said, "but I love you."
Jervis paused, the back of his head turning slightly. He faced Jonathan in full. His lips were taut along his face, but he answered back in a sigh, "I love you, too."
He then stepped into the room and closed the door.
Jonathan lay stretched on the couch, unsmiling, yet content to know his life was still intact. Jervis was home. He was home. They were together, safe and sound. They would speak in the morning. He missed Scarecrow, but he knew he had to endure, for both their sakes. They loved each other, and that was all that mattered.