Summary: He was her white knight but he was no angel… He didn't shivered where she touched him and shut his eyes. "Tessa."He cleared his throat…Jem/Tessa.
A/N: So this is my first venture outside of Harry Potter fanfiction. I got Clockwork Angel the day it came out and it was AMAZING. I was so angry with Cassandra Clare when I reached the last page because now I have to wait a whole year to find out what happens and two years for the conclusion. I hate waiting. I am in love with Will and Jem and I would be thrilled if Tessa ended up with either of them. I think that Will and Tessa will end up together eventually but I'm curious to see how the whole relationship between Jem and Tessa plays out because I love Jem too. That said I decided to write a Jem/Tessa fanfic. And who knows maybe I'll do a companion piece for Will/Tessa in the future.
The White Knight
They were both shadowhunters. Two warriors of angelic lineage. Two knights in leather armor. Standing side by side they stood out in sharp contrast to one another. They were two ends of the color spectrum. Black and White. Night and Day. Darkness and Light. Despite being polar opposites both were beautiful. The black knight had the face of a prince from a fairytale and the strength of a hero. Blue eyes, tangled black hair, elegant features, and smooth white skin. The white knight had the face and gentleness of an angel. Silver eyes, silvery white hair. He was tall and slender and there was something almost ethereal and fragile about him as if he truly was an angel that was too pure to stay long in this world. If Jem could be compared to an angel than Will could be portrayed as a demon.
But Will had rescued her from her tower and stole her first kiss and Tessa had truly thought that he was her Prince Charming and her Knight in Shining Armor. She had imagined him to be the hero in a novel in which she was the heroine he would marry in the end. Her fantasy was abruptly shattered in a moment when he gave her a diabolical grin and spoke harsh truths that tore her fragile heart to shreds. Magnus had observed that there was something about Will's devastating beauty that even the unholy Vampires could sense was wrong and frightening, and that his eyes were like the night sky over hell. She had insisted that Will was human like everyone else and that he had to care for something, that he had to love; but now she wasn't so sure. There was something dark and demonic about her black knight.
Jem was everything that Will was not. He played beautiful music and he spoke beautifully too. He knew all the right things to say at exactly the right time. He knew what she was and he didn't care. She remembered how even after she had changed, his eyes still looked at her in the same way. She remembered when he had told her on the bridge that she was still human. She remembered how he helped her to heal the wound in her heart by reassuring her that the right man would accept and love her for all that she was. And yet it was her angel, her white knight that could not go a single day without an injection of demon poison. The blood of demons kept the flush in his cheeks and was the only thing that kept his heart beating. But the poison was slowly killing him, sucking the life out of him like the color it drained out of his hair and eyes. Her white knight was no angel. He was not immortal and he was reminded of his mortality with every gasping breath he took.
Tessa tried not to think of that as she watched the pair from a stone alcove in the library. They came trudging in through the courtyard, barring the iron gates shut behind them. Will was covered in filth, blood, ichor and mud but he was grinning. He said something to Jem that made him laugh and lay an inked hand on Will's shoulder. Tessa exhaled a breath that she hadn't known she'd been holding as they passed beneath her window and disappeared into the Institute. She closed the Codex and left the library to meet them.
She heard them long before she reached them. Jessamine was ordering that someone do something about that "disgusting stench" and Sophie was accusing Will of tracking demon entrails into the Institute again. Will said something back in a voice that Tessa recognized as the one he used specifically to charm women, but obviously it did not have the desired effect on Jessamine or the maid servant because both women continued uninterrupted in their complaints and their scolding. Jem, on the other hand was always spared. Will had said that it was because they favored Jem but everyone knew that Will dragged in more filth and blood just to piss off Sophie and Jessamine. Tessa wondered again why Will found the need to be rude to everyone. Everyone that was except –
She squeaked in surprise as she collided with something solid. A pair of strong arms caught her against a filthy shirt that barely clad the muscular chest beneath it. Immediately she thought of Will, but when she was set back on her feet, she was startled to find a pair of silver eyes instead.
"Tessa, are you alright?" His hands lingered on her shoulders.
"I'm sorry, Jem. I wasn't paying attention." She had been but Jem moved as silently as the ghost that he so strongly resembled. Now, she saw how pale he was and that he was so white that he was almost transparent. The only color seemed to come from the runes inked onto his hands, snaking up his arms, and the blood staining his white shirt.
"Jem!" she gasped, alarmed. Impulsively, she pressed her hand flat against the spot as if she could staunch the flow of blood. Beneath her fingers and through the bloody fabric she felt the muscles in his abdomen tense. He didn't flinch. He shivered where she touched him and shut his eyes.
"Tessa." He cleared his throat. She snatched back her hand and brought it to her blushing cheek but then a second horrific thought struck her.
"Are you ill?"
"No, Tessa, I'm quite well." She thought she detected the slightest hint of amusement in his voice as he reassured her, "It's not my blood. But now you've got it on your hands." He took her wrist, and brought it away from her cheek. He turned it so that the palm faced up and Tessa saw that he was in fact right. There was blood on her hands. It was probably on her new dress too. Jessamine would be furious and she didn't know how she would explain it to Sophie. Her eyes moved from her sticky hands to his shirt.
"What happened?" she asked him.
"Come with me," he said. His fingers slid from her wrist to grasp her hand as he led her to where their bedrooms faced one another across the narrow hallway. He pushed open his bedroom door and brought her inside. He closed the door behind them.
"Well?" Tessa prompted him. The way he was holding her hand and looking at her made her suddenly hyper aware of the fact that they were alone in his bedroom and that he had just shut the door. But then he released her and moved to the wash basin.
"Will decided that it would be delightful fun to track a couple of Ravener demons," Jem explained as he tipped the pitcher and began filling the basin with water. He smiled up at her. "His words, not mine. Naturally I went along with him even though I knew it was a ridiculously stupid idea."
"Jem." She shook her head and sat down on the trunk at the foot of his bed. "You're only encouraging him."
"I know but someone has to watch his back and make sure he doesn't kill himself."
"Maybe you should let him get what he deserves," she suggested unkindly, thinking of the harsh words that Will had said to her the last time they had spoken. Jem snorted and the water sloshed over the rim of the basin. He set the pitcher back down, grinning.
"Sometimes I do have to resist that temptation but we're parabati and therefore it is my job to make sure that that doesn't happen."
"I only meant that in the kindest way," she added hastily. "He needs to learn not to be so reckless and careless or one of these days he might not be the only one that gets himself killed." She looked pointedly at Jem but then quickly glanced away.
"Tessa," Jem sighed. He crushed what looked like a dried leaf in his fist and dropped the powdered remains into the water. Tessa watched the water turn cloudy. "Tessa, I don't expect you to understand, but this is what it means to be a shadowhunter. I was born to do this."
"I know." But that didn't make it any easier to accept it. She looked down at her blood stained hands.
"Here," Jem approached the trunk and handed her a wet cloth. His shoulder brushed against hers as he perched on the edge of the trunk beside her and started to scrub at his hands. She did the same. They worked in a comfortable silence until Jem hesitantly raised his voice.
"Tessa, I know you've only been at the Institute for a month, but in the past couple of weeks has Will seemed strange to you?"
Tessa froze and the wet cloth slipped from her hands. It landed in a soggy heap at her feet but she made no move to retrieve it. Vividly she recalled their last encounter. Since then, she made every effort to avoid him and at dinner and those other rare occasions when she did meet with him she was cold but always polite. She had hoped that no one had noticed but she couldn't fool Jem. Still, she hastily sought for an excuse.
"Jem, I would be alarmed if he wasn't acting strange after everything that's happened. Barely a fortnight has passed since Agatha and Thomas…" she trailed off. Jem hunched forward and held the cloth to the side of his face. Tessa bit her lip, wishing she hadn't brought it up. She laid a consoling hand on his shoulder.
"Jem, I'm sorry," she whispered, even though she already knew that shadowhunters didn't say that they were sorry when they were offering condolences. They didn't say goodbye either but she remembered how Jem had his own way of saying farewell and she thought that he would understand.
He reached up to touch her hand. His fingers were cold and damp from the cloth but so were hers. She rubbed his shoulder and he covered his hand with hers. When their eyes met, there was mutual understanding. Tessa wondered how it was possible that she and Jem had just met each other and yet they could communicate without saying a single word. In one glance she could tell that Jem knew that there was more to it than just Agatha and Thomas's death and that he suspected something frighteningly close to the truth. She pulled her hand out from under his and sat back.
"I didn't mean to upset you," Jem apologized as he bent to retrieve the cloth she'd dropped. "But I wondered why he was acting especially strange toward you."
"Maybe he blames me for their deaths," she said sadly as he knelt in front of her. She felt his hands on hers again and she was forced to look into his silver eyes. It was the result of the drug, she knew that but she thought the pale shade of silver was still beautiful.
"Tessa, it's not your fault. None of this has anything to do with you."
"If I hadn't come to the Institute, if it hadn't been for my brother, if it hadn't been for my special ability then none of this would've happened," she reminded him bitterly.
"And if it hadn't been for you and your special ability we'd probably still be chasing after De Quincey and more mundanes would be dying every day. If it hadn't been for your bravery, Tessa, Sophie and Jessamine would've been killed with Thomas and Agatha and I would've died in the courtyard that night after we went to Blackfriars Bridge."
"Tessa, stop," he interrupted her, gripping her hands firmly in his and leaning closer. "Stop blaming yourself. The only one who is responsible for this is Mortmain. And Will knows that too." Tessa opened her mouth to say something more regarding Will's opinions of her, but she thought better of it. Jem gradually relaxed his hold on her fingers and let go.
"Besides I don't let what Will thinks taint my judgment and neither should you," he added. He didn't blame her. He didn't care what Will thought about her. Tessa felt some of the burden on her shoulders lift.
"This should remove the blood stains from your clothes," he said, changing the subject. He held out his hand and silently asked for her permission which Tessa thought was odd seeing as he'd just been holding her hands but Jem was a gentleman. She gave him her arm. He held her arm gently, as he sponged at the smudges of blood on her sleeve. Fortunately that was the only other place that was stained.
He seemed to take longer than was necessary to remove the blood stains, but maybe the seconds were dragged out because she was once again overly aware of the fact that they were alone and that he was kneeling on the floor in front of her, perilously close to her skirts and bent over her arm in intense concentration. She looked down at his bare head, admiring the color of his hair that was like spun silver. The thick sleeve of her dress prevented her from feeling it, but she remembered how it felt as it brushed against the back of her hand when he bent to kiss her hand in farewell. That same shock went through her as he lifted his head suddenly and they were on eye level with one another. She hadn't realized that she had been instinctively bending toward him as he worked. But now there wasn't much space between their faces. Her mouth was suddenly dry. He hadn't let go of her arm.
"I think I got most of it," he said, smiling. "No one will suspect anything."
"Thank you," she said stiffly, taking her arm back. But she didn't move to leave. Her eyes were locked with his. He hadn't budged from where he was practically kneeling on her skirts.
"You should probably wash up," she suggested, allowing her eyes to travel down the pale throat to the dried blood that caked his shirt. She recalled the feel of his muscles tensing beneath her hand and the way he had shut his eyes and shivered instead of flinching away. "They'll be expecting us for dinner, preferably clean and blood free."
"Then, I'm guessing you don't want to go looking like that," he said, pointing at her cheek.
Tessa frowned in confusion but then he reached up with his long white fingers. She saw the runes rippling underneath his white shirt as he moved his hand toward the side of her face. She didn't shrink away or flinch when his cold fingers touched her cheek. She shivered and closed her eyes.
His caress was gentle and brief but Tessa felt the shiver go all the way down to her toes. She thought she saw a flash of regret as he drew his hand away and her eyes opened.
"You had some blood on your cheek," he explained, rising to his feet. He held a hand out to her and helped her to her feet. His fingers were so cold and yet there was something pleasant and shivery about his touch that she liked. In a way it reminded her of the kiss in the attic that she shared with Will, but then look how that had turned out. Their eyes met and she let go of him quickly.
"I'll see you at dinner," she said and then she left the room in a hurry. She closed her bedroom door behind her and leaned against it, shaking. She couldn't possibly be entertaining romantic feelings for Jem too. But Jem was different. Yes, he was different. He wasn't Will.
A/N: I'd love to hear what you think! Should I write more? I have a more intimate scene planned. Sorry if it's a little similar to the scene in the attic between Will and Tessa but shedding blood and getting it on one's clothes seems to be right up there with eating and drinking when it comes to living as a shadowhunter. Hope you enjoyed it and let me know if you think I should continue! And look out for a Will/Tessa piece perhaps.