Eyes On Me
It was another night almost like all the others. Jizabel was sitting up in bed, a hand on his chest and breathing heavily, suffering the effects of his traumatic childhood. Cassian sat back against the headboard, tired as he watched him through half-lidded eyes. He reached forward, massaging Jizabel's shoulder.
It wasn't long after that Jizabel curled up in his arms all on his own, lying down on his chest. It had been a while but thankfully the time from when the nightmare started to when the after affects ended had gotten a little shorter. Jizabel didn't use much of his assistance, Cassian was a bit upset about that, but they had both felt better that he had been able to calm himself efficiently.
It became a toss up for Cassian, he constantly debated with himself if he should say or do something after. Tonight Jizabel just curled up on Cassian's body, hooking a leg over the other's and nestling against his chest and under the man's strong arms. Soon, he appeared to have dozed off. Cassian tensed all the muscles in his neck to look over at the other's expression, seeing that it was peaceful, content. He could only sleep after seeing that expression.
When the sun shone brightly even through the thick curtains the lovers continued to sleep well into the morning. Jizabel was occasionally woken by a light knocking on the door but once there were such long pauses in between he eventually passed it off as his imagination, letting himself doze off again.
Cassian got up first, leaving Jizabel to continued to get some well-deserved rest; he was so quiet that even when he had woken up Cassian had barely noticed. Had he not gone to check on him and found him watching him, he would have passed him off as still sleeping. "Are you feeling alright?" He asked, blessing the corner of his mouth with a light kiss.
Jizabel let his lips pull into a smile, "Yes." There was a soft knock on the door and Cassian was the first to look over at it. "Ahh, so it wasn't all in my head..." Jizabel whispered, untangling himself from the sheets to sit up.
"Come in." Cassian called, not bothering to ask Jizabel what he meant exactly.
Mary tiptoed in, a small look of concern on her face as she chewed on her lip, mixing her concern with nerves, "Is it okay?"
Cassian chuckled, "We won't bite; promise."
Mary grinned, and stepped in a little further, "Jizabel looks hungry though."
"That's true." Cassian tucked a strand of hair out of Jizabel's face. "I'll get him some breakfast soon." He looked back at Mary Weather; she had paused and was back to chewing her lip, "Did you need something?"
She shifted awkwardly under the gazes of the two men, then stuttered quickly, "I…I've got a tea party later." Remembering that she had been holding the neat white card in her hand she held it out promptly with some excitement, "Riff taught me how to write the pretty invitations and everything!" She seemed really proud of her work, but easily embarrassed about it also; she looked like she had been debating for a long time of whether she should bring this to them or not.
The tea party was only going to be in the garden, and they imagined it would only be them so Cassian looked to her smiling, "We'll be there."
Mary Weather grinned immediately, completely overtaken by the happiness she felt, nodding her head, "Okay! I'll see you later then!" She gathered part of her dress in her hands, turned around and left, still grinning from ear to ear.
Cassian leaned over the edge of the bed, placing the invitation against the lamp on the nightstand while Jizabel lay back down, "To be that young and carefree…"
"You could learn a lot from her." Cassian pointed out, kissing him again.
"Because she has had a rough life too and she's completely turned her life around after it."
Jizabel remained quiet and avoided looking at his lover in the eye; had he been implying that Jizabel wasn't trying hard enough? He wasn't sure if he wanted to be angry or upset.
"Don't frown." Cassian spoke gently and kissed the curved lines at the corner of Jizabel's mouth. "And don't read too much into it."
"Hey, Cain," Mary Weather called out softly to her brother for his attention; Riff had just poured him some tea but he seemed to be much more interested in the book he was reading to pay much attention to his butler.
"Yes?" He picked up his cup of tea, sipping it slowly.
"Why do Jizabel and Cassian sleep in the same bed?"
Cain felt his throat lock up, his eyes snapping open immediately behind the lifted tea cup. He lowered the cup, opening his throat enough to swallow the hot tea that felt rancid now. "Riff, this tea is terrible." He said harshly, hoping to change the subject.
"Cain…" Mary Weather whined, pouting. "You haven't answered my question!"
"I'll go and make some more."
Riff went to gather everything but Cain snatched his teacup back, not wanting to be left alone with his stubborn sister. "No need. I'll drink it." He told him.
"Cain…" Mary Weather sighed and threw herself back in her seat.
Cain cleared his throat, "What was the question?" He really hoped he had misheard.
"Why do Jizabel and Cassian sleep in the same bed?"
Cain closed his book, holding the page with his index finger and taking a quick glance at Riff for help. He was going to be of no use at a time like this; evident by his cheeks turning red. "The two of them are very close friends and…they were both lonely for many years. They…stay close so they won't be lonely anymore."
"Oh." She sat back quietly, staring off somewhere. Cain breathed a sigh of relief and returned to sipping his tea. "Do you and Riff ever share a bed?"
Cain's throat closed up for good this time mid-sip, trickling down the wrong pipe and causing him to burst into a coughing fit, tea trickling down at the corner of his mouth; he considered himself lucky the rest of the tea didn't pour out of his nose. "Sometimes." He replied, taking the handkerchief Riff sheepishly passed him.
"So can a friend sleep in my bed?"
"Only when you're older." Cain said; the only confident thing he had said in this conversation.
"Mary, the scones should be ready; are you coming with me to check them?"
She enthusiastically got off the couch, running out of the room with Riff. In the kitchen she got up onto a wooden step she used, overlooking Riff as he took the scones out of the oven.
Riff cleared his throat; his cheeks were still tainted red. "Mary…"
"Don't worry, Riff!" Mary laughed, patting him on the back. "I was only playing with him!"
"I wonder when it will be…"
"When what will be?"
Mary smiled, "The day Cain stops trying to protect me by lying."
"Technically he didn't lie," Riff corrected gently, "but he didn't tell you the whole truth; you're right about that."
Mary resisted giggling, leaning in closer to Riff; to the butler it was an intimidating thing to do, but in her mind she was simply looking over the baked goods, "So are you going to tell me the rest of it?" She asked him, a hint of innocence in her tone.
She swore she could literally see Riff's cheeks turn a few more different shades of red. He replied in a nervous whisper and smile, "I'd rather not."
Mary Weather giggled playfully, "You all embarrass so easily."
Riff passed her a scone on a small plate to taste, "I have no problem with it if you find entertainment in bringing it up with me but…perhaps it's not a good idea to…"
"I personally wouldn't like him to have a stroke any time soon."
"I wouldn't either." She argued, though with a smile, before she bit quickly into the fruit and jam filled scone. "They're delicious, Riff!"
"If you want me to go to this little party that badly you're going to have to let me get up." Jizabel hissed, trying to pull himself up from under half Cassian's body, including an arm that purposely held him. "I really need to have a shower."
"No you don't."
"But I should." Jizabel lifted his arm, putting all his strength in trying to roll Cassian off of him. "And you should too."
"You should rest first," Cassian called after him, watching the naked form disappear into the bathroom. "Come back and lie down." The shower was turned on, and steam began floating out of the open bathroom. "Why don't you ever listen to me?" He threw himself back against the pillows, pulling both arms behind his head.
When Jizabel came back out of the bathroom he sat down at the foot of the bed, towel drying his hair until Cassian crawled closer, nestling his face into his neck to kiss him, "No." Jizabel said firmly.
"What 'no'?" Cassian chuckled, kissing his jawbone again.
"Like 'no', as in 'no way'."
"Because I'm too tired to go and shower again."
"I told you not to go and shower just yet."
Jizabel's lips pulled into a smile, "You did tell me." He admitted to it, but didn't budge in his stance.
"Okay," Cassian smiled also, and sat back, "if we're not going to do that then I want you to rest for a while instead."
"We need to be there in two hours."
"It's just down the stairs and out the door."
Jizabel stood up, further going against Cassian's wishes of him curling back into bed for some well-needed rest. He dressed up at his own pace, leaving Cassian to watch him from the bed, "Stubborn…"
"You have to be to put up with me." Jizabel reminded him, far too serious for Cassian's comfort.
"Don't say that." He pulled the boy back down onto the bed, just close enough for a quick yet meaningful kiss.
"I'm going to go downstairs."
"I'll see you downstairs soon." He kissed the corner of his mouth lightly, allowing Jizabel to initiate a deeper kiss himself. Their noses toughed lightly and their breath mingled, but Jizabel tore them both away before they could be engulfed and enticed them. He peaked into the sitting room and found Cain sitting on the windowsill, tapping his fingers nervously on the side of his teacup. "You look like a wreck."
"Thank you." Cain told him. "You're looking particularly demolished also."
"What's wrong with you?"
"I don't think you'd understand."
"You'd be surprised at how much I understand."
Cain sighed, "Mary Weather…might be…" He inhaled deeply. "She asked about why you and Cassian sleep together."
Momentarily, just for a little second that it sunk in, Jizabel blinked… And then leant back on the couch, clutching his sides as he laughed. "Is that it? She was just trying to get a rise out of you; she's smart enough."
"How would you know?" He retorted, a little bitter about being told the other knew better, and that he was being laughed at!
"It's just…" He was sort of at a loss for words but still amused by it. "I just know that she's more intelligent than that."
Cain sighed, leaving the windowsill to sit beside his brother, "Why would she do that to me?" He inhaled deeply.
"If only I knew that you were so easily flustered."
Cain glared at him and then moved on, "Why would she do it? What was she trying to accomplish?"
"Perhaps she was just trying to see you sweat; perhaps she has a sadistic streak you don't know about."
"That's a lot of 'perhaps'."
Jizabel sighed, sitting back, "Or the more likely; she was trying to see if you've given up treating her like a child."
"She is a child."
"Nobody actually wants to be treated like a child forever. People want to choose when they're a child and when they're an adult; not have someone else choose it for them."
Cain watched Jizabel's expression closely. He looked like he was speaking directly from experience. He didn't ask him about it, and instead nodded his head as he understood what he meant. "I need to stop sheltering her, is what you're saying."
"Sheltering can be good; those of us who have had none can't say we worked out too well so don't give up on sheltering her, just a bit."
"You're probably right." He knew Jizabel wasn't the type to pat himself on the back for a job well done, but at the same time he didn't know what to tell him. The two sat quietly; Jizabel picked up a knife and began removing the peal off an orange that sat on the tray. He passed him a few quarters casually before he ate some also.
"You're eating more." Cain pointed out, smiling.
"State the obvious why don't you?"
"Don't take it the wrong way; it's a very good thing."
Jizabel only shrugged his shoulders, biting into another piece of the fruit.
"You're looking better." Cain stood up after some time, holding a hand out to his brother to help him up. Jizabel ignored it, giving him a glare and helping himself up.
When they made it outside Oscar had arrived, seated already and speaking to Mary Weather; Crehador was nearby, leaning against the tree and occasionally flashing Cassian a nasty look. The looks only got sharper, Cain noticed, once Jizabel came outside with him. By the beautiful gold necklace that he held in his hands, tracing his fingers through the delicate chain, pouring it from over one hand and into the other constantly, Cain knew exactly what was on his mind. He had figured he would have moved on by now.
Cain greeted them all with a smile, and Jizabel quickly took a seat next to Cassian who had been listening intently to Mary's enthusiastic ramblings to him and Oscar. Oscar was still wary around Cassian and Jizabel, he still didn't quite trust them, but he learnt not to treat them too harshly. Mary Weather was very comfortable with Cassian, and he trusted her judgement, however child-like it was.
They all seated themselves around the table, and Riff poured them all out some tea. It was evident the only person who had a problem with this arrangement was Crehador.
Cain stood slowly, sharing an intense look with him that brought him to follow. He lured him away slowly, "He's a changed person; I don't think you should be resenting him this much anymore."
"Who are you to tell me…"
"It's just a thought." Cain smiled warily. "But you've been holding onto that," he gestured to the necklace, the chain entwined between his fingers and the rest of it tucked into the cuff of his shirt, "probably just as much as you've been holding onto your anger; you know better…"
Crehador averted his eyes, shaking his head, "He might be your brother but your forgiveness of him is outstanding."
"Thank you." Cain smiled.
"Outstanding and foolish."
"Perhaps." He nodded firmly, and he had some belief in that; perhaps Crehador could see something else that he couldn't beyond the pain, "But you're going to need to let go of that anger sooner or later." He gave him a small and supportive smile, showing him he would still support him, and then turned around to leave.
By the time he had returned to the tea table under the tree everyone had dispersed that much more; mostly his brother had separated from the group. He must have felt the tension and had then resigned himself to sitting alone against the bark of the tree.
Mary Weather approached him enthusiastically, a vase in hand that she had filled with flowers from the grounds. "Aren't they beautiful, Jizabel?"
His lips pulled into an uneasy smile, "Very beautiful." His words said that, but his expression said that they would have looked a lot more beautiful if they were still in the ground or in the trees. With a sigh, Cain realized that eventually he was going to have to tell Mary Weather why Jizabel was the way he was.
The tea party went on normally and after their tense conversation Cain felt things with Crehador calm down somewhat, although that might have had to do with the fact that Jizabel didn't participate as much. In fact, the man had dozed off by the tree after some time. He had made very little conversation with Cassian whenever the older man approached him, he would just smile and nod his head, or say one or two words.
Everyone ate the food that Mary had helped prepare with Riff, and everyone continued to compliment her, giving her words of praise and building her young confidence little by little. Cain could understand why Mary wouldn't want to be treated like a child very much; it was almost patronizing at times.
Jizabel had begun shaking after some time; Riff was the one who had brought it to Cain's attention, and the two of them were the only ones that noticed it while Cassian was walking with Mary not too far away along the grounds. Crehador was sitting back in his seat, comfortable. Oscar seemed a little upset by the sight, most of all once mewls of pain and discomfort started and stood up as though ready to do something; what exactly, he wasn't sure.
Cassian returned with Mary; though they had been laughing cheerfully their moods changed entirely once they saw the seriousness on everyone's faces, and the cause for the seriousness.
"Is he okay?" Mary asked, pouting tearfully as she turned to
Tears had begun to poor down Jizabel's white cheeks, Cassian hurried to his side to wipe them away. "He'll be fine." He whispered the words he thought every time this happened; for his own peace of mind rather than anyone else's.
"If you need help taking him inside…" Riff began.
"I'll help also." Oscar nominated himself quickly, stepping forward.
Crehador leaned to the side in his seat, peaking out from behind the crowd of people, "Not that it takes four people to take that scrawny body anywhere, but I'll help also if need be."
Cassian could vaguely hear the numerous offers for help, but his eyes were so well trained on just the person in front of him as he tried to wake him. "It's alright." He reached out and pulled Jizabel into his arms, "I'll do it by myself."
At times like these he would be thankful for his larger body; had he been the way he was born then he wouldn't be able to do this. He would have to rely on someone else, people Jizabel didn't really trust, to protect him in this way. Pulling Jizabel's face into his neck and protecting his body with his arms as he carried him away was the most he could do for him.
He carried him up the stairs to their room, laying him out on the bed and unbuttoning his clothing. After maybe thirty more minutes the nightmare seemed to die down. He had expected Jizabel to wake as usual, but he didn't.
Mary Weather, Riff and Cain entered not too long after; the tea party had obviously been cut short. Cassian smiled faintly, looking down at the girl, "Sorry for ruining your day."
"Don't be silly." Mary Weather shoved him. "How's Jizabel?"
"He looks a bit better."
"I'll prepare something for when he wakes." Riff dismissed himself.
"Mary, go and help Riff."
Mary pouted at brother's orders but ran out to follow the butler nonetheless. Cain looked over Cassian shoulder, looking at his older brother, "Is he really getting better?"
"I'm worried; he usually wakes up after nightmares but…not this time."
"Just let him sleep; he must be exhausted." Cain patted Cassian's arm firmly, "Call if you need anything."
Cassian sighed, "He's so stubborn, Cain." He confessed, regretting it almost a second later.
"You'll get through to him eventually." He stopped himself from leaving, "If you need a break, I'll stay with him."
"No, no," He shook his head, smiling faintly. "I can stay with him."
Cain left, and Cassian went back to sitting at the foot of the bed, staring at the ground deep in thought. "I'm stubborn, am I?"
Cassian jumped, getting off the bed and staring at his lover. "You're awake!"
"I am." Jizabel confirmed hoarsely.
He went to sit up but Cassian immediately got closer, "No, no; go back to sleep! You're exhausted!"
Jizabel lay back down, pulling his hair out of his face, "What happened?"
"You fell asleep outside and had a nightmare."
"So everyone saw?"
"A little bit." Cassian replied nervously. "Once I noticed you weren't waking I brought you inside."
Jizabel nodded his head, and Cassian felt even more uneasy; he was expecting Jizabel to go into a fit of rage for being caught so vulnerable by strangers. At this point he looked like he had resigned himself to the fact, accepting it.
"Don't be stubborn, please." Cassian requested of him sternly, enough desperation in his tone to reach Jizabel's conscience. "I really really need to get you to listen to me…" Cassian lowered his head, staring at his hand on the sheets rather than into the eyes of his lover. "I need you to listen to me… At least sometimes! Listen to me!"
Jizabel reached across the soft sheets, gripping Cassian's hand, "No need to shout." He whispered.
"You're not invincible and when I tell you to do something it's for your own good."
"I understand." Jizabel then rolled over onto his stomach, tucking an arm underneath his pillow.
Cassian's voice shook, "What are you doing?"
"Getting some sleep."
The older man sighed, he lay down beside his lover and closed his eyes, letting the moisture fall from his eyes. He felt the other's hand on his face and he held it in his. "Don't worry about me."
"I haven't seen you cry in a long time."
"And you won't again for another long time." Cassian leaned in and kissed Jizabel quickly, distracting them both from the drops that expressed the greatest fears Cassian had felt once more.
A/N: One more Godchild fic! Because I can't seem to stop myself! But it's not my fault at all; the characters are all great muses and just when I think I'm done for a while conversations with my dear friend, RinsDarkMagician, inspires something else! I have a feeling this won't be the last!
So, if you read this far, please leave a review and let me know what you think! Thank you!