A/N: Part two of the one shot. Check out the bottom authors note for my theory on Will. This part of the one shot was also inspired by the song White Flag by Dido. Thanks for reading..enjoy!
"I know you think that I shouldn't still love you
Or tell you that
But if I didn't say it, well I'd still have felt it
Where's the sense in that?." - White Flag, Dido
Chapter 1 - Something They Can't Live Without
Dinner was always the worst part of the day for Tessa.
Since Mortmain had managed to break into the Institute, more Shadowhunters had been stationed inside and were constantly seen bustling through the corridors, meeting in the drawing room, practicing in the training room or otherwise barking orders at Charlotte, who did not take being bossed around well in the slightest. As head of the Institution, she found it incredibly insulting to be told how to do her job; though it wasn't a secret how much Benedict Lightwood wanted the place and looked from every angle for any excuse to bring either Charlotte or Henry down.
Jessamine had gone back to her gossiping and snooty self, clearly overly excited by the new guests in the Institute despite Charlotte's annoyance. Shocking both Will and Jem into a rage of silence, she had taken to Gabriel Lightwood with surprising interest. Tessa suspected it was Gabriel's funding that struck a chord with dear Jessie, rather than his personality. To his merit, he was rather attractive, nothing like Will of course but –
As clear as glass, she saw it; his messy black hair, piercing bottle blue eyes, the angular facial structure and hard muscles hidden beneath his clothes. The snarky comments that he seemed unable to refrain from using, the sarcasm in every dripping word that escaped his mouth. The way he held himself, as though far superior to anyone in the world.
Tessa felt her heart contract. It suddenly felt like someone had poured icy water over her head.
As much as she tried, she couldn't erase Will completely out of her mind. Most of the days she'd lose herself in a book, pretending to be a character from one of her favorite novels. It was better that way, living through someone else's story. The ending was already clear and typically some form of 'happily ever after' existed.
"Did you hear what I said, Tessa?"
Jessamine's voice broke through Tessa's thoughts and she glanced up from her meal. Jem was on her left, as usual, and Jessie on her right. Henry sat at the head of the table with Charlotte at his side, their heads bent close in hushed whispers. Will was on the other side of Charlotte and directly in front of Tessa. Neither of them had spared the other a glance the entire meal. Tessa had found something particularly interesting with her peas and refrained from looking anywhere else if she could help it.
There were other Shadowhunters seated at the table; Gabriel Lightwood and a handsome boy named Abe Penhallow a few seats down. The others Tessa really hadn't paid much attention to. They were empty faces in a crowd of a thousand. No meaning to her.
It was strange to Tessa that these Shadowhunters were able to bark orders at one another during the day, constantly fight about the automations and Mortmain and The Clave, yet were able to have a seated dinner and discuss such mundane things like recent childbirths, marriages, books and Idris, the Shadowhunter home country Tessa had learned about.
"Tessa!" Jessamine's shout was followed up by a steady smack on the arm. "Honestly, you know I hate repeating myself and I've asked you three times."
"Pardon?" asked Tessa, sparing Jessamine a glance. Her blonde curls were tight; dark powder painted on her eyes and she was dressed in a scarlet dress that appeared to have never been worn before. "I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention."
"You tend to do that a lot, you know," mused Jem. His silvery eyes were kind, bearing no spite in his words. Tessa smiled at him.
"Jem is right, Tessa," scolded Jessamine, flipping a white glove in her direction. "Your lack of concentration and incompetence is growing tiresome on me. I shant know what to do with you."
You could leave me alone, Tessa wanted to suggest but refrained from it. Jessamine was in a sort, one of the few she could call a friend. Sophie, the maid of the Institute, was another Tessa she considered but even then, servants weren't supposed to fraternize on a social level with its subordinates. It was a load of nonsense, if Tessa was honest. Sophie was just as good as any of the Shadowhunters she had meant; then again, that probably wasn't saying much.
As though unable to press the subject, Jessamine said, "I was simply asking you to take a walk with Gabriel, Abe and I after dinner. Hyde Park, of course."
"Yes," said Gabriel smartly, "You know, moving from one destination to another. It's a very common thing I hear, even for Warlock's from America."
"That's enough Gabriel," said Jem, his tone as icy as his skin. Tessa thought she could see Will looking at Gabriel from the corner of her eye but by the time she glanced at him, he had put his head back down to his plate.
Charlotte and Henry's chattering had raised an octave, slicing through the tense moment between Jem and Gabriel. The other Shadowhunters paid no attention to anyone on their end of the table and missed the conversation all together. Tessa preferred it to the intense questioning she had received after Mortmain's escape.
"No thank you," Tessa replied, looking only at Jessamine. "I was going to finish –"
"Another novel?" Jessamine made a noise that sounded like a wounded animal. "Do you ever get tired of reading? It is not even proper for women to enjoy reading so much, Tessa."
Tessa shrugged. "Their world is better than ours, I suppose. Sometimes it's better to pretend I'm there instead of here."
Jessamine had no comment to that and before Tessa went back to stirring her untouched peas she caught Will's eye across the table.
The rooftop, Tessa noted, was a nice place to relax and read away from the rest of the Shadowhunters. The air, though dirty and smelling like rust, was of little significance. The wind ruffled her brown curled hair and the crispness left her with a sense of refreshment. It made it easier to breath somehow, being this high off the ground. The memories of her and Will's last encounter were still fresh in her mind, burning the back of her eyes whenever she pried over it too much. It had been over three weeks ago and little engagement had occurred since then. Only the required amount of words was shared between them:
Hello. Yes. No. Alright. Please. Thank you.
It was painful, the wall between them. Ever since Tessa had been introduced to the Shadow World, Will had been somewhat of a hero she would have pictured in one of her novels; tall and handsome, witty and intelligent, muscular and talented. But yet, the more she got to know him, the more she saw he didn't consider himself a hero, but also the villain.
Was it possible to be both?
Better yet, who was the villain to his hero and who was the hero to his villain? Mortmain, Tessa thought immediately. When Will was the hero, Mortmain was the villain. But when Will was the villain, who was the hero? Who would save Tessa then?
The answer was simple.
Tessa had heard from Jem how Will had raced back to the Institute on horseback, fought off several automations by himself before finding her in the Sanctuary, proceeding to sweep her up into his arms and stare at her with a look she had never seen before on his face.
If that wasn't the act of a hero, Tessa wasn't sure what was.
There was the sound of a hushed click and she turned from her spot near the edge of the roof.
Her breath hitched in her throat.
Will was there, looking as a child caught sneaking down to the tree on Christmas Eve might appear. Tessa could tell he wanted to retreat back inside the Institute, but his pride held him there, staring at her with an unreadable expression. There were shadows hidden beneath his dark blue eyes, hollowing out his face. The light from the moon held no radiance in his usual glittering gaze. Before Tessa knew it, she felt as though her head had broken the surface and she was finally able to breathe again.
She realized in that moment the feeling. She had missed him.
"Will," Tessa said, unsure what else to say. She swallowed hard and gripped the book in her hands tightly, knuckles going white. "Is everything alright?"
He was silent for a moment, looking as rigid as a dead corpse. Then as though realizing someone was talking to him, he fell back against the door as though need its support. His hands fell to his pockets and though a slight smile formed on his lips, it looked forced and painful.
"What are you reading?"
Tessa was slightly taken aback but got control of herself within seconds. A small, guilty grin merged unwillingly. "A Tale of Two Cities."
"I should have known," Will mused. His eyes seemed to go out of focus as he stared past her, as if seeing something Tessa could not. "For you, and for any dear to you, I would do anything."
There was a pause, and then,
"You think so?" Tessa asked, her voice sounding from a faraway place.
Will was still staring into the twilight, but not really seeing. "Do I think what?"
"That Sydney would have done anything for Lucie. Anything she wanted."
"Anything she needed," Will corrected, "I would say."
"But aren't those one in the same?"
"No." Will's voice was empty. "I do not think they are."
"Perhaps Sydney's idea of Lucie's wants and needs differ from what she believes so," said Tessa, setting the book on the ground and hugging her knees, her skirt spilling out over the cement.
"But the ending saddened me so," said Tessa, sighing.
Will looked back to her. There was something hollow in his face, or perhaps it was simply his cheekbones. "How so?"
"Because Lucie deserved to be with someone who loved her as much as Sydney."
"Not all stories end the way we want them to, Tessa."
Suddenly Tessa wanted to shake Will, shake this indifference right out of him. She was about to reply to his statement, but words she had been batting down somewhere deep inside her sprung to her mind and ran out of her like spilt milk,
"Do you regret it?"
Will raised a delicate brow but a look of unease swept across his face. "Do I regret what?"
Everything you said to me the last time we were here. Saving my life on multiple occasions. Holding me in the fountain. Not seeing a future with me. Lying to me and everyone around you.
"Kissing me…in the attic."
Something flashed in his eyes and surprise was there, plainly written in his face. He hadn't expected her to ask, she noticed. She didn't either, to be frank. He righted himself at once.
"Yes," he said at last, his voice dead and cold.
Tessa suddenly felt like she was drowning. "Why?"
"Because it was a mistake; an enjoyable one, but a mistake."
"Then why did you do it?" Tessa was surprised at the accusing tone her voice had taken, surprised there was any strength left in her. She supposed sitting down was helping, not having to rely on her legs to hold her weight.
"Sometimes we do things we know are a bad idea simply because we want to do them so badly."
There was a heavy silence. The issue Tessa was having – knocking the air out of her lungs as a result – was that she broke Will's sentence down into two parts. The first hit her hard, threatening to pull her under the waves again:
"Sometimes we do things we know are a bad idea."
Kissing her was a bad idea. Somehow that statement made her feel a little empty on the inside. But the second part, the part she wanted to focus on, caused her heart to beat a little faster:
"We want to do them so badly."
And yet as much as a bad idea Will thought kissing her was, he wanted to do it anyway. Badly, he emphasized.
Tessa opened her mouth and closed it, repeating the gesture like a gaping fish. What shocked her most was Will seemed to be honest with her. She hadn't expected that and wasn't sure how to handle it. The truth really was unnerving; lies were sometimes easier to swallow.
"But," she began, finding her voice, "how can something you want so badly be such a bad idea?"
Will smiled. It wasn't a pretty one. "Every rose has its thorns, Tessa. Everything worth anything comes with a price."
"Perhaps it's time you stop paying for it."
Will stared. "What?"
Tessa stood up suddenly, as though her words needed to be delivered on foot. "Whatever it is you are holding in, whatever guilt or anger or pain you are feeling, you must let it go, Will."
"You don't know what you're talking about." Will's tone was cold and sharp like a knife piercing through ice.
"I know you like to make yourself look bad," said Tessa, hearing the whispered ticks of the clockwork angel at the base of her throat and gaining courage. "I know sometimes laughter brings you pain. I know you lie to cover up the truth. I know that despite what you might say, to Jem, Charlotte, and Henry…or Jessamine or even Sophie, that you do care and you do love them like a family. And I know there's darkness in you."
Will's eyes darkened and fixated her with a stare made from stone. He was the dead corpse again and for a moment, Tessa wondered if she had offended him beyond measure by her own forwardness. Without her own knowing, she was standing before him, searching his face.
He stared back levelly.
"But," Tessa went on, "I know there's light in you, too."
"You're wrong." Will's voice came out strangled, his jaw set.
"I think that's what scares you," said Tessa. His dark eyes appeared deeper than usual, traveling to a place no one but he could go. Suddenly Tessa waned to touch him. "I think it scares you that maybe, just maybe you aren't as bad as you think you are."
Their bright gazes held strongly, reflecting the glow of the moon. Will looked as though he was in intense pain and Tessa wondered what he was reading on her face.
Will broke away, fists tightening at his sides. The words seemed to drag out of him,
"I can't do this, Tess."
There it was. The nickname only he called her. It brought both joy and sadness whenever she thought about it. Then, as though suddenly dawning on him what was going on, Will's broken expression morphed into that of stone coldness; his eyes icing over and looking like two catastrophic hell storms on the verge of erupting.
"I already told you," he said, colder than ever, "there is no future for us. You are a Downworlder and a strange one at that. I carry the blood of an angel…you carry that of a demon. You cannot bear children and I will not live forever. How can you possibly see a future in that?"
Tessa said nothing, wondering how cruel Will was willing to go. But he didn't seem able to stop now that he was going, like he had ran down a hill and was unable to slow down,
"You are no good for me, Tessa. You have nothing to offer me that I cannot receive from other women. I can do better and in your own way, so can you."
The last line struck a chord in her heart, cancelling all other negative and harsh words he had said. What was so familiar about his last line? Why did it stick out like a sore thumb? Then she remembered suddenly as though it were yesterday: the carriage, Tessa Changed as Camille on the way to de Quincey's. The white gloves she wore; Will stroking his hand over hers in a comforting and gentle way.
"He loved her enough to know she was better off without him."
"What if she wasn't," Tessa said, staring off into the city at nothing particular.
Will seemed thrown off his guard for he blinked and replied, "What?"
"Lucie." Tessa looked back at Will with glassy, wide eyes that were filled with sudden emotion that was both familiar and foreign to her. "What if she wasn't better off without Sydney?"
"Loving him would have only killed her in the end," said Will quietly. "It would kill them both."
"Maybe it'd have been worth it; to love only for a little while in its purest form, than to go on infinitely without loving at all."
"You're forgetting one thing," said Will. He had taken a step forward, his hands now gripping the sides of Tessa's waist. She hadn't even noticed she had been on the verge of falling over.
"And what is that?"
"He's dead. He already lost everything."
Tessa swallowed back what felt like broken glass. "But you haven't. Not yet."
"But I have," Will argued darkly. "And I will. Until the day I die, I will lose everything."
"Your family…Jem, Charlotte, Henry…Jessamine and Sophie…they won't allow it," said Tessa. "I won't let you lose everything, Will."
"And why's that?"
Tessa breathed in sharply. The words formed in her mind so quickly it frightened her. Dare she say them? Would he reject her? She knew immediately he most likely would. But if she didn't say them, well she'd still have felt them…and where's the sense in that?
"Because…" she felt her throat go dry, "because I love you."
Will's eyes widened and several emotions passed over his face, not lingering on one long enough for Tessa to identify. Then it crumpled and the pain was back. And Tessa felt it too, for her honestly was about to be thrown back in her face.
A pale hand laced around the back of her neck, pulling her closer. Will's other hand went up to her face, his thumb stroking her cheek gently. He looked at her, really looked at her. It seemed an inner turmoil was eating him from the inside. And she saw it; the same expression that she saw when he was holding her.
"I love you. And I'm very sorry for that," Will said, before his lips crushed down on hers.
Tessa responded immediately, a half cry escaping into his mouth, her hands moving into his tangled hair. She tasted something strong and bitter, reminiscent of stale ale, perhaps? His lips moved forcefully against hers, demanding and taking control. There was so much need and desire behind the kiss that Tessa felt her face burning, inching her body closer to him as though she couldn't quite get close enough.
There was a dull ache in her chest when Will suddenly pulled back, breathing hard. It took Tessa a few moments to catch her own breath and she stared at him with dazed eyes.
"I love you," Will repeated, "And my heart has belonged to you from the moment I met you. Which is why I must go."
Had the lights gone off? Why couldn't she feel anything?
"Loving you should not destroy you," he said, taking a step back. It was only a few inches but felt like a thousand feet. "And to be the one loving you should not make me the destroyer."
"I will come back for you, Tess." He was retreating now, pulling open the door. Tessa felt like she was being thrown into a frenzied crowd of people, all shouting and pushing their way toward their destination while she stood stoically in the middle; lost and confused.
"You…you can't just…go. Where…where will you go?" Tessa knew her expression must be numb and broken but she couldn't for the life of her rearrange it.
Will swallowed. "I promise to tell you everything, Tess. But I need you to trust me. I need you to be Boadicea right now."
"But Boadicea rushed into battle. She wasn't left behind."
Will's smile was broken. "That is quite true, but she was brave. And she waited for the right moments, the right chances to take. Will you wait for my return?"
Tessa stared at him. She had no idea how this conversation had taken this route. One moment Will was rigid and dead and closed off, and the next he was kissing her, telling her that he loved her; and now, he was leaving.
"Yes" said Tessa, voice cracking. "As long as you promise to come back and tell me everything."
Will sighed. "I promise."
He was at the bottom of the stairs that led to the attic when he paused; Tessa, lounged against the door frame, letting it support her weight so she didn't crumble to the ground. There were a thousand things she wanted to say.
What about Jem? Where was Will even going? Why now, did he decide to leave? Did Charlotte and Henry know about this? Would they try to stop him?
"In the library" said Will, "you said everyone has something they can't live without."
Tessa said nothing, but bent her head closer to hear, her gaze locked on his.
"It was you," Will said to her softly. "From the moment I met you, it has always been you."
When his face faded away and darkness flooded the stairs, Tessa drew back a breath and stared unseeingly back over the city. The lights were tinted with a hint of red and somehow appeared more radiant than before. Everything ordinary somehow seemed more beautiful.
Will had said he had already lost everything. And when Tessa had lost her Aunt Harriet, had found out her brother had betrayed her and cared not if she lived or died, when Will told her she could not bear children, she had felt like she had lost everything.
But the thing about losing everything, Tessa noticed, was that you only have something to gain. That sometimes you have to lose it all, because something greater is waiting for you if only you take the time to look for it.
A/N: There you have it. Then I deduce Will goes to see Magnus like we see in the epilogue, to try to find a 'cure' for the darkness inside him. Now here comes my theory:
When Will was twelve, him and a girl named Cecily..most likely his sister, opened a Pyxis (because it takes two Shadowhunters to do it). I'm thinking either the demon inside killed Cecily and Will's parents, or possessed Will who did it instead. Anyway, this encounter left something dark inside Will..probably Demon Pox since he's always going on about it, haha. I think the parents that showed up at the Institute looking for him were not his real ones..but shape-shifting demons. Now for the sake of this story, the demon (who is full of hate, which is opposed by love) cursed Will and anyone who ever loves him or receives love from him. Not just love, but romantic love. So Will is unable to fall in love without poisoning himself and them on the inside, killing them slowly. This would definitely be a reason for him to push someone away. I think there's something like that..some reason he literally can't be close to someone like that. This was inspired by Valentine "to love is to destroy," which I put in the story.
What are your thoughts on Will's situation? I'm very curious!
Now I also want to include the tweets from Cassie about Will:
Q: Why did you kiss Tessa?
Will: Sometimes we do things we know are a bad idea because we want to do them so badly.
Q: Do you regret kissing Tessa?
Will: *grumpily* Yes.
Q: Why do you regret kissing Tessa?
Will: It was a mistake. An enjoyable mistake, but a mistake.
Q: Why dont you ever let someone- anyone- know what you're going through?
Will: Because I can't.