Summary: What if Tessa decided to leave the Institute after what Will said to her at the end of Clockwork Angel. Would he follow her? And would there be time travel involved (to the time of Jace and Clary)? Post Clockwork Angel.
Warning: There will be kissing and stuff in this. No heavy smut, but you have been warned. It is T for a reason.
Disclaimer: All credit goes to Cassandra Clare. I own nothing but the plot and my original characters (there will be some). The first 950 words or so of this chapter are actually are Cassandra Clare's own words, taken from the book (starting on page 462 in the hardcover copy), though I did add and change a few things.
I apologize for any spelling and grammar mistakes- I have no beta.
I hope you guys like this! It's my first non-Gallagher Girls series story ever!
Oh, and I just want to say that the pairing in this is going to be WILL/TESSA! I might through some Jem in there too because I love him, but he won't end up with Tessa in the end.
Quickly Tessa said, "I came up here because I have some good news, Will. Won't you let me tell you what it is?"
"Tell me." His voice was dead.
"Charlotte says I can stay here," Tessa said. "At the Institute."
Will said nothing.
"She said there's no Law against it," Tessa went on, a little bewildered now. "So I won't need to leave."
"Charlotte would never have made you leave, Tessa. She cannot bear to abandon even a fly in s spider's web. She would not have abandoned you." There was no life in Will's voice and no feeling. He was simply stating fact.
"I thought…" Tessa's elation was fading quickly. "That you would at least be a little pleased. I thought we were becoming friends." The saw the line of his throat move as he swallowed, hard, his hands tensing again on the rail. "As a friend," she went on, her voice dropping, "I have come to admire you, Will. To care for you." She reached out, meaning to touch his hand, but drew back, startled by the tension in his posture, the whiteness of the knuckles that gripped the metal railing. The red mourning Marks stood out, scarlet against the whitened skin, as if they had been cut there with knives. "I thought perhaps…"
At last Will turned to look directly at her. Tessa was shocked at the expression on his face. The shadows under his eyes were so dark, they looked hallow.
She stood and stared at him, willing him to say what the hero in a book would say now, at this moment. Tessa, my feelings for you have grown beyond the feelings of friendship. They are so much more rare and precious than that….
"Come here," he said instead. There was nothing welcoming in his voice, or in the way he stood. Tessa fought back her instinct to shy away, and moved toward him, close enough for him to touch her. He reached out his hands and touched her hair lightly, brushing back the stray curls around her face. "Tess."
She looked up at him. His eyes were the same color as the smoke-stained sky; even bruised, his face was beautiful. She wanted to be touching him, wanted it in some inchoate, instinctive way she could neither explain nor control. When he bent to kiss her, it was all she could do to hold her self back until his lips met hers. His mouth brushed hers and she tasted salt on him, the tang of bruised and tender skin where his lip was cut. He took her by the shoulders and pulled her closer to him, his fingers knotting in the fabric of her dress. Even more than in the attic, she felt caught in the eddy of a powerful wave that threatened to pull her over and under, to crush and break her, to wear her down to softness as the sea might wear down a piece of glass.
She reached to lay her hands on his shoulders, and he drew back, looking down at her, breathing very hard. His eyes were bright, his lips read as well now from kissing as well as injuries.
"Perhaps," he said, "we should discuss our arrangements, then."
Tessa, still feeling as if she were drowning, whispered, "Arrangements?"
"If you are going to be staying," he said, "it would be to our advantage to be discreet. It might perhaps be better to use your room. Jem tends to come in and out of mine as if he lives in the place, and e might be puzzled to find the door locked. Your quarters, on the other hand—"
"Use my room?" she echoed. "Use it for what?"
Will's mouth quirked up at the corner; Tessa, who had been thinking about how beautifully shaped his lips were, took the moment to realize with a sense of distant surprise that the smile was a very cold one. "You cannot pretend you don't know… You are not entirely ignorant of the world, I think, Tessa. Not with that brother of yours."
"Will." The warmth had gone out of Tessa like the sea drawing back from land; she felt cold, despite the summer air. Tessa felt a sense of numbness sweep over her. "Will..."
"You care for me," Will said. His voice was cool and sure. Now Tessa was staring at the Marks decorating his skin around his collar, unable to look at his sardonic expression. "And you know that I admire you, the way all women know when a man admires them. Now you have come to tell me you will be here, available to me, for as long as I might wish it. Tsk, tsk." Will's voice changed from disdainfully mocking to cold. "I am offering you what I thought you wanted."
Tessa felt like she couldn't breathe. "You cannot mean that," her voice came out strangled.
"And you cannot have imagined I meant anything more," Will said curtly. Tessa felt like she had been slapped. She pulled herself out of his arms, shaking, and stepped back. Now her wide eyes met his bitter ones. "There is no future for a Shadowhunter who dallies with warlocks," he said. "One might befriend them, employ them, but not…"
"Marry them?" Tessa said.
"How forward." Will smirked; she wanted to slap the expression off his face, but suspected that, even if she had the courage to do so, she would not be able to move her arm because of shocked wrongdoing she was feeling. "What did you really expect, Tessa?"
"I—I didn't—why—" Tessa took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. She hid her shaking hands behind her back, but she knew he had already seen them. He just watched her with a slightly amused, slightly interested expression, like that of someone who had just discovered a new, colorful species of caterpillar.
Tessa felt her eyes tear up, so she straightened her back in an attempt at bravery, and started slowly backing her way to the door. "I'm sorry to have wasted your time," she told him, staring determinedly at the floor. Her breathing became rapid, and she felt a sense of dizziness hit. "Obviously, I was mistaken about your…intentions," she choked. "I'll just go now…" Quickly, desperately, she spun on her heel and threw herself toward the stairs.
Tessa stumbled down them as if she were drunk, her hand pressed to her heart. When she was safely at the bottom she took off running, down the long, dark halls until she reached her bedroom, where she promptly threw herself down onto her bed and sobbed until she fell asleep.
Will watched Tessa leave, and felt as if his heart was shriveling up.
"Jessie, please pass the potatoes to Will," Charlotte said.
"I don't see how he could eat anymore," Jessamine sniffed, thrusting the bowl of mashed potatoes to Will. "He's already had three helpings!"
"About time," muttered Will. Charlotte sent him a stern look. "I asked three times!" he said.
"If you don't slow down, Will, you're going to end up fatter than the faerie bartender at the Devil, the one with the stomach-supporting sac." Jem said in an amused sort of voice.
Will pulled a face. "Potatoes—strength!" Will exclaimed, imitating a caveman, thrusting his arms above his hands. Jem thought he might go so far as to pound his chest.
"Will…" warned Charlotte.
"Don't be so disgusting!" exclaimed Jessamine, with a look of upmost revulsion. "Gentlemen don't behave like animals! Though I can scarcely say I'm surprised! You're hardly a gentleman at all!" Will sneered at her, shoving a piece of steak, speared on the end of his knife, into his mouth. He made a point to chew loudly, his mouth gaping open.
"That's enough!" exclaimed Charlotte. "I won't have this kind of behavior at my table! You aren't childr—"
"Charlotte," Henry interrupted, not even aware a conversation had been taking place. "Did you see where I put my pile of knuts? I could have sworn they went right next to the screws…" He half-stood in his chair and scanned the table. He had been fiddling with the contraption in his hands, ignoring the food on his plate all through dinner, and Charlotte was just about fed up.
"Right next to the screws, eh?" said Jem. "That would've been right in the bowl of—"
Just then a large glob of black substance exploded from Henry's device, right into Jessamine's lap. Jessamine screamed and jumped up. "MY DRESS! MY DRESS! YOU'VE RUINED IT!"
Will choked on the piece of steak he had been making a display of. He spluttered and gagged and it fell back onto his plate, now a mashed up glob of dark pink goo. Will fell back in his chair, howling with laughter.
"HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU NOT TO PLAY WITH YOUR—YOUR MACHINES, YOUR TOYS, AT THE TABLE!" Charlotte screamed at Henry, waving her napkin at the now smoking mechanism.
Suddenly the thing burst into flames in Henry's hands. He cried out in surprise and tossed it into the air. Jem managed to catch it, only to immediately throw it across the table to Charlotte. And so, a twisted game of Hot Potato commenced, going from Charlotte to Will to Jem to Henry to Charlotte again back to Jem then finally to Will, who had the sense to chuck it into the pitcher of water.
Charlotte's hands bunched up into fists. "Everyone. Sit. Down. Now." She said with a threatening look. They all sat down obediently.
"No one cares about your dress, Jessamine," said Will, rolling his eyes.
They all turned back to they're dinners in tense silence, occasionally shooting glares at Henry, who had the decency to look sheepish.
However, they were distracted by an exclamation of pain from Jessamine. They looked over in time to see some bloody mashed potatoes and something rather shiny to fall out of her mouth.
"That's my knut!" exclaimed Henry joyfully. He reached over and plucked it off Jessamine's plate, oblivious to the girl's look of horror. Charlotte dropped her head into her hands.
"AS I was saying," said Jem, just having remembered, "Right next to the screws would have been right in the bowl of mashed potatoes." He eyed Jessamine pityingly. First her dress, then the knut—she was obviously having a bad day.
"I say!" said Henry.
"Do you? Do you say?" interrupted Will shortly. "And what is it you say Henry? Please, do tell."
"Has anyone seen Tessa this evening?" That shut Will up.
Tessa was woken by a knock on the door. "Dinner, Miss!" she heard Sophie call through the thick wood.
Tessa looked down at herself. Her dress was crumpled, her hair probably looked like something had died in it, and she thought she might have some dried drool on her face.
"Would you like me to help you dress?" Sophie's voice came through the door. Sophie's aid would have been a great help to Tessa, but she wasn't sure if she was ready to see people just yet.
"No, no I'm quite alright, thank you, Sophie."
"Very well, Miss."
Tessa felt disgusting, and she wasn't hungry in the least, but she had an announcement she had to make to everyone. So she got up, splashed some water on her face, and drew a hand across the back of her mouth just in case. Then she was on her way through the twisting corridors to the dinning room.
When Tessa arrived at the dining room everyone was already seated.
"Tessa!" said Henry. "We were just wondering where you were! Do excuse us for starting without you."
Tessa smiled, "It's no problem. Sorry I'm late."
"A lady is never late."
"No one cares, Jessamine." When Tessa heard Will defend her she had to fight the urge to look at him, even when she felt his eyes on her face. He probably thinks it's funny he made me cry she thought bitterly.
Tessa made to sit down, but before she could Jem stood up and pulled out a chair (the seat directly to his right, and across from Charlotte) for her. He grinned at her and she couldn't help but smile back.
"Here you are Tessa," said Henry, slightly over-helpfully. "Have some mashed potatoes!" He flung a huge spoonful onto her plate.
"Er…what are these…metal things in the potatoes?" Tessa glanced around. Charlotte groaned.
"Long story," Will said, and Tessa almost jumped at hearing his voice. "Don't ask." Tessa shrugged and took a bite anyways.
Not once through dinner did Tessa look at Will, though he tried many times to get her attention.
"What's for dessert, Agatha?" Charlotte asked when Agatha and Sophie came out to clear the dinner dishes.
"Apple pie, Mam," said Agatha, her eyes twinkling merrily.
"Dear Agatha," said Will, sounding fatigued, "I may have to marry you, just so you can cook me apple pies every day for the rest of my life."
"Anything you say, Master Will," Agatha chuckled. She nodded to Charlotte. "It'll be out in just a mo', Mam."
"Thank you, Agatha."
The pie came out, steaming from the oven and smelling just like the ones Tessa's Aunt Harriett used to make, before she got sick. Tessa thought her mouth was likely to start watering.
"Mmmm…" Will moaned, taking a huge bit of his piece. The noise made butterflies erupt in Tessa's stomach, but she kept her face neutral. She wouldn't let him know that he affected her. "You've done it again, Agatha darling!" he said. Agatha just rolled her eyes and left.
"Tessa," Tessa looked up and met Charlottes eyes. She knew what the older woman was about to ask, and she had spent a lot of time in her room thinking about it. "Have you given any thought about what we talked about earlier?"
"Oh, Charlotte, don't be vague!" chastised Will contemptuously. "There are no secrets here." It was an unspoken challenge, Tessa knew, for her. But she still ignored him, and he clenched his fork in irritation.
Charlotte cleared her throat. "Earlier this evening I spoke to Tessa… about whether or not she's like to stay here, at the Institute… permanently."
"Tessa? Stay here?" exclaimed Jessamine, looking particularly offended. "But she can't! She—she's not a Shadowhunter!"
"There is no Law against it," defended Charlotte.
Jem spoke up. "Jessamine, don't be a hypocrite. You can hardly call yourself a Shadowhunter, the way you act."
"This isn't a halfway house for freaks!"
"Jessamine! Jessie!" Charlotte feebly called after the girl who had just stormed away from the table. Tessa couldn't help but feel a little hurt by Jessamine's words, and she knew at least Jem could see it written on her face by the light squeeze he gave her hand under the table. She looked up and, by accident, met Will's stony blue gaze. He was watching her face, as if waiting for some kind of reaction from her. She just turned away.
Tessa cleared her throat and spoke to everyone now.
"It doesn't matter—"
"It does matter!" said Charlotte. "Jessamine needs to apologize! If we're all going to be living under one roof we all need to respe—"
"Charlotte! It doesn't matter." Tessa insisted. She kept her face carefully blank.
Charlotte blinked. "Why not?"
Tessa's heart quickened, her breaths became shorter and she closed her eyes. "Charlotte, I don't—what I mean is, I appreciate your offer, and I appreciate everything you've done… but I don't want to stay here." Tessa opened her eyes to see Charlottes hurt face. She felt Jem stiffen and Henry looked confused. But Will's expression is what held her stare. He looked absolutely stricken. "I don't want to stay here, in the Institute, or in England at all."
"I want to go home, Charlotte. I want to be on the next steamer to New York."
Charlotte frowned at her. "Are you sure? Have you thought this through?" Tessa nodded. "Tessa, I know that everything that's happened here has been awful, but I don't think it's safe for you to leave. What about Mortmain? And your brother?"
"They're exactly why I need to leave," Tessa said. She knew she was lying to them, but she was also lying to herself. She knew Will had chased her away, and she hated being weak.
"I don't understand. If it's safer for you to be here then why do you want to leave?" Charlotte pleaded. Tessa was scared Charlotte was about to get on her knees and beg; with the look she was giving her.
"I just need you to trust me. I can't explain it now—" Because I have to real reason "—but it's what I need. Please don't be angry with me. Thank you for everything you've done." Tessa said.
"Tessa?" It was Jem. Tessa turned and was surprised when his silver eyes were looking directly into hers. They bore into hers. "Is this what you really want?"
Tessa looked down at her hands. Was this what she really wanted? Was she going to let Will's spiteful words drive her away? She looked up at Will. He was staring at her, beseeching her with his eyes to stay. Wishful thinking she thought. He doesn't want me here. Her eyes hardened, and Will could see she was lost. Hell hath no fury, Will. Hell hath no fury.
THIS IS THE LONGEST CHAPTER I HAVE EVER WRITTEN! I've impressed myself ;) Hahahaha, isn't that a little sad? Tell me what you guys think!