A/N: Here we are, all. Chapter 10 of Bittersweet Mistakes-about two weeks later than I expected. :D So, I have been juggling this chapter and a second, yes, second Infernal Devices fic. (Which will be WillXTessa based too, sorry Jem fans. /3) Thus, the delay. Anyways, thank you so much for the reviews, I appreciate it. ^^
He hadn't slept a wink that night, everything about him so concentrated on Tessa that he had only enough self interest left to blink and breath when absolutely necessary.
Charlotte and Henry would come and go, each leaving words of wisdom and a sympathetic looks in his direction. Jem visited twice throughout the night before disappearing completely, his own state enough to sink him in a pool of physical suffering. Jessamine had left the initial time, and had yet to return while Sophie, at first, had been nothing but a bother. She'd finally left on a wave of William's frustration, shooting daggers into the floorboards in front of her as she stalked out for the evening.
"Good riddance." He grunted as the girl none-to-quietly slammed the infirmary door. Leaning back in his chair, his eyes wandered around the room for the first time that night.
Only a few of the various wall-hanging chandeliers had been lit, pools of candlelight illuminating the countless beds and wash bins scattered throughout the room. Tessa had long since slipped from her nightmares, dousing the room in a fitful silence. 'Tessa.' He thought, his eyes returning to her curled form. For the hours he had been present, Tessa's condition had significantly improved. However, at first, it had taken a dive for the worse. It had gotten so bad, that they had nearly needed to strap her to the bed. The very bed that was now stained with her blood, forever tainted with the awful memories of what had happened that night.
The patch that Magnus had previously applied was now stained a horrid black, tiny strings of red liquid slipping under it's edges and dotting the cuff of Tessa's dress. Even under the cuts and bruises, she was beautiful. A healthy plumpness had returned to her skin, her breaths unhindered and deep as she slept.
He felt an overwhelming sense of peace as it dawned on him that Tessa, his Tessa would be alright. And he was grateful.
He rubbed at his face, the dead sleep from the night before fogging his vision as he strode down the hallway outside him and Tessa's room. As soon as he had opened his eyes that morning, the events of the night before barraged his mind. Immediately feeling guilty, he'd thrown himself out of bed and out the door in less than five minutes. He had to see Tessa to make sure that she was alright.
'She's with Will.' He thought, the slight comfort enough to stop him from breaking into a run. 'He would have come to you if anything happened, wouldn't he?' After contemplating on his walk, he arrived at the infirmary. As soon as he entered, he almost laughed in relief.
"Jem." The small voice whispered, voice raw with pain.
"Tessa, good morning." He spoke, reaching her bedside in seconds. His eyes rose only a fraction from her face, catching a slight movement in the corner of his eye. He hadn't realized it when he'd first walked in, but Will had been slumped to the side in a chair next to Tessa. His hand supported his jaw, the other dropped loosely across his folded legs as he slept, uninterrupted by the mid-morning light that streamed through the window. Jem felt a pang of something, but decided it best to ignore.
"Morning." Tessa replied weakly, her eyes slipping shut as she drug in a sharp breath.
Jem immediately rested his hand atop hers, concern painting his expression. "Tessa, is everything alright? Would you like me to get you something?"
Tessa nodded slightly, tilting her head a bit to the side. "Water, please."
He nodded, striding to a corner table on the opposite end of the room where a pitcher of water sat, along with a few glasses. Quickly filling one, he returned to Tessa. Smiling sadly, he set it on her bedside table. She had seemingly fallen back asleep, her lips parted against the pillow. Jem stroked a hand over her hair, stooping to brush a kiss on her cheek before turning to leave.
A rustle of fabric caught his attention, a mop of messy black hair shifting slightly on the backing of Will's chair. Jem smiled sadly to himself, glad that William was finally acting kind towards Tessa. 'She needs it now more than ever.' He thought, turning to click the door shut behind him. It would be as if he was never there, while Will would remain as she awoke. He was a ghost.
He knew of Will's feelings for Tessa, which he was positive she knew nothing about. That was the reason he had begun to pull away from the girl, playing nothing more than the part of a caring friend. Jem knew in his heart that William deserved Tessa. After losing Cecily, he needed someone to fill in the gap in his heart, though he would never admit that to himself. Jem was sick, and he was dying. He didn't need anyone to tell him that he had only a small amount of time left in this world, especially not Tessa. She didn't deserve a man who would tell her that he loved her, only to break her heart with his departure.
So that is why, as he began his walk to Charlotte's office, he closed the door in his heart that would always yearn for the one and only woman he had ever loved.
The Infirmary, Three Hours Later
Will jolted awake, the boom of the double doors enough to shake the floor. Multiple footsteps echoed around them, Charlotte and Magnus Bane coming to a stop at the foot of Tessa's bed. Immediately alert, his gaze snapped to the girl before him.
Tessa grimaced, trying her best to smile at him as she hoisted herself to her elbow. Though there were prominent circles beneath her smoky eyes, she seemed well-rested.
"Miss Gray." Clearing his throat, Magnus slid around the bed-side, shuffling in between Will and her. He heard a mumbled greeting, followed by the sound of movement as the warlock lowered a hand to grip her wrist. "Please, Miss Gray." He spoke, motioning with a grim look for her to turn away. From his position on the chair, Will could see the flicker of fear glaze in her eyes as she stooped to bury her face in the pillow beneath her. Charlotte wrapped her arms around herself, her eyes fluttering shut as if she couldn't bear to watch.
Confused, Will craned to the side.
The thin fingers of Magnus's free hand danced over the exposed flesh of Tessa's wrist around the patch, creating an odd, purple blush. Though her face was hidden, Will could see the obvious release of tension as her shoulders relaxed, her torso melting onto the mattress. He seemed to hesitate, seeking the edge of the blackened fabric with his fingertips.
There was a short pause as Will rose from his seat, stepping slightly to the side, closer to Tessa. He bent over her, placing a hand across her tangled, coppery curls. He could feel Magnus's stare on the back of his head, Charlotte's own confused gaze slipping over his face; and through it all, he couldn't care less.
Magnus nodded his head, as if asking for Will's permission. He merely looked down at the girl before him, saying nothing in return. He wouldn't be responsible for her pain, not again.
As if sensing what was about to happen, Tessa shuddered, the feeling traveling up Will's arm and into his very soul. Her free arm wrapped around her head, shoving the hair from her face as her eyes locked with his. He felt the breath leave his lungs, the sudden urge to protect her overwhelming as Magnus's hand hovered over the bandage.
"It's time." Magnus spoke, his voice hard. Tessa's eyes glazed in fear, her free hand cupping over her mouth, as if to restrain herself.
Everything that happened next was a blur as Magnus, in one solid movement, stripped away the tape.
The skin beneath looked as red as a bruised apple, an odd-ink-like substance pooling from the pores and dripping to the sheets beneath it. Tessa twisted away, wrenching at her arm as Magnus immediately resumed the treatment. His hand smoothed over the irritated skin, darkening it to a deep violet. Mouthing a spell of sorts, his unwavering gaze held strong through Tessa's resistance.
Will watched in horror as tears streaked over her cheeks and fingers, the hand sealing her mouth closed quivering. He fell to his knees beside her, placing his hands on either side of her face. She shook with barely contained sobs, reaching towards him. He could feel himself sink into her, burying his face in the crook of her neck as she hooked her arm around his own. "Tessa, Tess, it's okay, everything's going to be okay," he whispered, her ragged, uneven breaths loud in ears. He closed his eyes, Charlotte's quiet whimper enough to shatter any sort of control he may have had before.
"Alright," Magnus said, slightly breathless. "That should do it."
Will lifted his head to see the newly bandaged wound, the flesh around the gauze a strange shade of violet. Feeling two sets of eyes upon him, he made to rise from his obviously embarrassing position on the floor. The arm around his neck tightened, its partner nestling itself against Tessa's chest between them. The girl's head shook as she drug in a ragged breath. "Please, don't go."
Officially distracted from their companions, his attention focused itself on the only person in the room he, at the moment, cared about. He pulled back only enough to scrutinize her, assessing her with a dozen hushed questions. Straining a small smile, her closed eyes brimmed as she pressed her forehead to his shoulder.
"Are you sure you're alright? Do you need me to get you anything?"
"I'm fine, I'm fine."
"Honestly, I'll be okay."
The small informality, no matter how many times he had heard it, sent his heart racing. Her small voice misted in the space between them, creating a bubble of warmth.
He noticed that they were alone only when the resounding slam of the infirmary doors shook the walls, dousing them in silence.
"Tess." He spoke, the name slipping out before he could stop himself.
She didn't respond, but merely hugged him to her. He could feel the bump of her knees as they curled towards her chest, against him. His hands, still cupping her face, drew soft circles on her cheeks with the pads of his thumbs. He breathed in the perfume of her, burying his face in her neck once more. She sighed in contentment, every part of her wishing, hoping that this was real. That it wasn't a dream, something that would fade just as quickly as it had come.
As if hearing her thoughts allowed, Will made a decision. He pulled back slightly, watching the barely concealed hurt flit across Tessa's face. A draft of cold settled between them as his eyes burned into hers.
"W-Will…" she whispered, swallowing back a knot of fear, a different type of fear. When he didn't answer her, she bit her lip, her eyes glassy.
Dumbstruck, Will gaped, shaking his head. "Tessa, no, you don't understand-" he spluttered, wiping away a stray tear from the corner of her eye.
She winced, visibly breaking apart. "Don't, Will, you don't have to say it." Removing herself from him, she pushed herself back and turned away.
He gripped her arm, making her face him. "Tessa, listen to me!" His sudden outburst surprised her, her eyes going wide as she waited for him to continue.
"God, Tess…" he moaned as her face crumbled, once again misunderstanding him. 'Why shouldn't she?' he thought, watching as she turned away. He rose, sitting himself on the bed next to her. 'I've hurt her enough before for her to expect something completely different.'
"Tess, I-I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
Her breath hitched at the back of her throat, leaving her stunned. Had she really heard him say such a thing?
He shifted nervously, thrown off his guard by her silence. Suddenly anxious to hear her voice, he continued. "All of the things that I"ve said to you, anything that has hurt you, I didn't mean it. You just-you just don't understand, Tessa! We can't be together!" he blurted, clenching his fists in the sheets as he stared at her back.
Tessa exhaled slowly, squeezing her eyes shut as his words hit her. Her lips smashed together in a line as she fought to hold everything in; she knew this was going to happen. However, his next words surprised her, leaving her breathless.
"We can't be together because it would hurt you Tessa. I'm just…not right. I'd hurt you because I'm not good enough for you."
He felt childish, vulnerable as he looked away. The slight vibration of the bed told him that Tessa was now facing him, a pale hand resting on his shoulder before bringing tilting his chin up. God, why does she have to be so beautiful?
She opened he r mouth as if to respond, but said nothing. Her eyes scanned his face, her hand dropping to brush the collar of his shirt. She rose to sit as he leaned towards her, tentatively pressing his lips to hers.
Tessa did nothing to stop him, but deepened the kiss. Her hands found his neck, pulling him closer until there was hardly an inch of space between them. His mind whirled as her fingers wound their way through his hair and her lips paused in an attempt to catch her breath. He nearly laughed, finding himself in the same tousled state upon closer examination.
"Will." She breathed, brushing her lips across his. He shuddered, the movement enough to clear his mind. Smiling softly, she pulled him into an embrace that he warmly returned. "Will, I remember everything." Her voice, raw with pain and sleep, sounded relieved.
He pulled away slightly, stunned. "You remember? How?"
Tessa's face broke into a grin, her eyes falling to her still exposed wrist. "I suppose that it did work, after all."
Will's gaze followed Tessa's, his shoulders tensing beneath her arms. "What are you saying? The iratze actually worked?"
Tessa breathed a laugh, nodding her head. "I suppose so."
Looking back up at her, he couldn't help but smile. This hadn't changed anything; he still had a price to collect from the certain someone who did this to his Tessa.
The moment flickered with the small shadow of sadness that seemed to cloud her features as Tessa gazed up at him. Biting her lip in small, forced smile, she nuzzled into him. Her arms wrapped around his torso, as if she were clinging to him.
"Tessa?" he questioned softly, confused by her silence.
She merely shook her head, the lack of movement against his arms telling him that her breathing was strained.
He stroked his palm across her back and hair, confused. What could she be upset about? She lived, and not only that, but remembered. The iratze worked, even though the price was nearly her life.
And then it dawned on him; she was afraid. Not of the Enclave, not of various Shadowhunter treatments, but of him. The way she looked at him, as if he was a picture with edges being eaten away by fire. As if he were smoke, and she could see right through him to the inevitable ending.
"Oh, God." He choked, surprising himself as he said it aloud. He gripped her shoulders firmly, and pulled her back, holding her no more than a foot away. Her eyes were still swollen from before, yet they were dry. Nothing more than a deep, utter sadness resonated in their grey depths as he appraised her. She said nothing, an expecting look upon her face.
He sighed, forcing a smile. "Tessa." The words left him, hanging in the air. He could end it all right now, just like he knew was better for her. Or, he could stay like this, in her arms, forever. It was a choice he made selfishly, but he didn't care. He wouldn't hurt her ever again, and that was his decision as he crushed his lips to hers for a second time.
Too stunned to respond, Tessa grabbed his face between her hands and pulled him away with a small smile she couldn't quite conceal. She waited for him to say something, anything as her thumb ran across his bottom lip. If it never lasted, she had this to remember.
His face, so close to hers, showed nothing but a serene display of a man who seemed to know what he was about to say-and was confident about it.
"Tess," he whispered, reveling in the way her eyes lit with the use of her nickname. "I love you."
The words caressed her cheeks in warm puffs of breath, making her dizzy. Had she heard right?
"I love you, and I'll never hurt you again." He repeated, his voice gaining momentum towards the end, his eyes serious as they bore into hers, begging her to understand. A part of him cowered under her silvery stare, afraid of the rejection that was sure to follow. He had hurt her too much, too deeply for her to accept such a thing. He knew this, and yet he waited patiently for her response.
She blinked, exhaling sharply. A breathtaking smile broke across her face as it hit her, the truth of his promise. "I love you too."
Biting back her tears, she clung to him and him to her. He inhaled the smell of her hair, the faintest waft of lavender and honey reaching him through the coating of sweat and blood that clung to her skin. His whole life had been one disappointment, one mistake after the other. He couldn't remember the countless times he told himself that he had lost everything; when this couldn't be more of a lie. Everything that he could ever want and more, he had in his arms.
The two remained like this for an unknown amount of time, eventually ending with them both tangled together, asleep for the second time, upon Tessa's bed. Only Sohpie had come to check in on them, nearly dropping her mop and bucket upon her discovery. Of course, she said nothing to anyone whom she happened pass in the hallways-no matter how scandalous.
About half the day later, Tessa's eyes cracked against the dim evening light that trickled in through the overhead windows. She made to look around, only to find her view obstructed by something, or someone. Smiling to herself, she tilted her head up slightly to look into the face of her love, her life, her heart. He looked peaceful as he slept, his hair disheveled, but oddly appealing as the faint silver undertones glowed in the shadows. Moving closer to him, she leaned her head against his chest. She'd never felt so relaxed, so alive.
A sharp, sudden click surprised her. Hearing the sound of footsteps and hushed voices had her closing her eyes and hiding her face in Will's chest. She tried her best to feign sleep as the room went quiet.
"Oh, my…" a feminine voice chirped, followed by a shuffle of fabric. She heard the clearing of what she expected to be Charlotte's throat. "I suppose that means they'll be missing supper."
Tessa, glad that her face was concealed, flushed.
The two sets of footsteps faded until they were in the hall, behind the closed infirmary door.
A chuckle sounded in her ear, making her jump in surprise. "I hope you're not hungry, then." Will commented, a slight question in his voice as brushed the hair from her eyes.
Tessa smiled, closing her eyes; she had no idea he had been awake. "How embarrassing."
Will said nothing, but planted a soft kiss on her forehead.
A/N: There you go, what do you think?
Now, I have a propostion:
I leave this story on the happy, high note that it's at and continue on with my second story.
I put off my second story, and continue this. The second part would be a delve into the repercussions after Tessa's incident with the Clave. The Clave would have a bigger part in the second part-though the plot will be a secret until you decide. ;)
I'll be awaiting your opinions, thank you again everyone.
For both your patience and your loyalty, I love you. ^^