A/N: Sorry for the delay; had to buy a new laptop and it took awhile to get my stuff transfered! Anyway, thank you for such great feedback on part one. Here is part two! I was watching Titanic while writing this so you can definitely see where it came as inspiration. :P Also, the paragraphs with * belong to Cassandra Clare, as they are snippets from Clockwork Prince's DSBS. :D Enjoy!
"You cradle me gently Wrapped in your arms...I'm home." - Wrapped in Your Arms, Fireflight
Part Two: Cradle Me Gently
"Are we not already?"
"Dear me, you have been deprived." Will laughed at her expression, and then sobered, looking at her very steadily. Another dance had followed, and the two of them stood at the very center, frozen amongst the moving bodies around them. "Perhaps the likes of you are not suitable for such festivities."
"Is that a challenge, Mr. Herondale?"
Tessa looked longingly at the double doors that led out of the ballroom. She was waiting for a reason to leave ever since she had arrived. She felt out of place in this stuffy room of Shadowhunters, ignoring their leers and whispers. Jem had been wonderful company but Tessa felt like a burden to him. He was far too polite to ever admit if he was having an indecent time. She had only danced two sets with him, though, and felt guilty to be leaving him behind.
"What of Jem and the others?" Tessa asked.
"I think they'll manage without us," Will said, looking past her shoulder.
She followed his gaze and saw Charlotte and Henry staring in puzzlement in their direction, though the puzzlement was clearly over Will's sudden appearance. Jem stood close to Henry, also watching, but not puzzled at all. Curious, even.
For some reason, Tessa's heart was beating very fast. She looked back at the double doors and felt a tinge of recklessness, something she hadn't felt for a very long time. Will was watching her in silent calculation and debate, as though some inner turmoil was eating him inside, and that maybe he regretted his forwardness. He seemed ready to take back his offer, like he had voiced the idea too quickly without much thought.
Throwing caution to the wind, Tessa grabbed him by the wrist and before she could stop herself, they were running out of the ballroom.
The real party, as Will had mentioned, was located in downtown London. Ignoring Tessa's protests, he had taken one of the Lightwood's carriages, claiming Benedict had enough of them that he wouldn't even notice its absence. Will drove the carriage and Tessa sat inside on a red velvety cushion, her head hanging out the tiny window as she took in the lights of the city at night.
When they finally arrived, Will led her into a tall, narrow brick building. Twilight had fallen long ago and the silver gleam of the moonlit windows fell across Will's blue eyes as he knocked at the door. A moment later a doorman answered, gave Will an incredulous look, and opened the door with an exchange of words that Tessa could not catch.
The inside of the building was, what Tessa would say, Nate's territory. Loud, thundering music came from a band in the corner. While Benedict's band was very formal in black and white matching suits, these men were shabbily dressed, perched on barrels of whiskey, smacking drums and banjos and playing violins. The dancing—Tessa had never seen before. It was fast and even a little vulgar. The couples were laughing and smiling with every bounce and turn.
Tessa looked down at herself and immediately felt overdressed. Most of the dancing couples wore plain, simple outfits and dresses. Some were patched and ragged, clothes mismatched. Tessa was definitely overdressed in her formal, annoyingly gray, gown. But there was nothing to be done of it now.
Three green carpeted-tables sat at the back of the room, men playing cards and gambling their money away. These men seemed to be dressed a bit fancier, more like the attire Tessa had seen at Benedict's ball. Scarcely dressed maidens skipped about the room, carrying trays of what looked like beer and whisky, offering them up to anyone that leered at them long enough.
It didn't take long for Tessa to realize that Will was very known by those in the tavern. Many stopped him for a quick chat; some stared at him in annoyance or anger. As they moved through the smoke-filled room, Tessa saw a tall, sanguine figure with horns leering at her from the corner. She hurried up to Will, now realizing this tavern was not filled with just mundanes—as the Shadowhunters called them—but warlocks and vampires and werewolves. Downworlders. There were Shadowhunters, too, their inked skin easy to peg them out, but not nearly as many.
What surprised Tessa most was the fact that despite all of this, she was not afraid. If anything, she felt more comfortable than she had at Benedict's ball. Another pleasant surprise. Maybe it was because no one was staring at her like she was a monster. No one paid much attention to her at all, actually. She passed a group of vampires huddled around a game of cards and a warlock smoking a long, narrow pipe, puffing out a bluish-green smoke.
"What is this place?" Tessa asked, once Will had found an empty table. It was not entirely proper for a young lady to venture out with a young man like this, but Tessa was too curious to bother with it. And there were other women here, too, and they seemed happy and fine. The magical world was very different from the mundane one, Tessa was finding.
"The Devil's Tavern," Will answered, winking at a passing vampire who bore a striking resemblance to Camille Belcourt. "Doesn't matter who you are or what you are in this hellhole."
"Are you teasing me?"
Will looked at her then, face serious. "No, Miss Gray." He reached out and touched the edge of her mask. "Here, you don't have to worry about hiding behind a mask. No one will think of you any differently."
Tessa opened her mouth and then closed it. What to say to that?
"Now," said Will, his serious expression washing away like the tide, "I want to show you something."
Tessa spent the next hour laughing, clapping, and enjoying the life around her. She could not believe Downworlder's were so entertaining! Ever since she had gotten to London, she had been around Shadowhunters, with the exception of de Quincey and his group of vampires. She did not think highly of the lot of them, Downworlder's, and now found herself quite surprised. They really weren't all bad, she thought, a little sadly.
Will kept her wildly amused with stories of him and Jem, of their adventures as Shadowhunters before she had come along. To her surprise, he only drank one glass of alcohol, declining anything more from a very putout faerie. The faerie girl was very pretty, Tessa thought, even if she had blue skin and was only about four feet tall. Tessa had never seen a faerie before and had to remind herself to stop staring or she might end up a pile of dust.
She watched Will play cards with a group of warlocks; he even showed her how to play. She had seen Nate play, of course, but he never bothered teaching her, because ladies didn't go around playing cards. But now that Will was showing her, Tessa thought it looked quite fun.
"It's all about reading your opponent," Will said to her, leaning forward in his seat. He pointed a finger at a squat, tiny warlock with cat eyes like Magnus. "What says you, Samuel? Got anything good to offer me?"
Tessa grabbed her tea, took a drink, and realized it was not tea. She made a face and set the glass down with a loud clang. A snicker from over her shoulder made her turn, but no one was staring at her.
"Faeries like to play tricks," Will had said. "Be careful of what you drink or eat."
Tessa made a mental note not to eat or drink the rest of the night and shoved the glass further away. She really hoped she didn't sprout another head or something.
"Your too cocky, Herondale," said Samuel, in a surprisingly husky voice. "Going to lose all you've got."
"Already lost it." Will laid down his cards. The warlocks around the table groaned as he swept up his winnings. "Can't top that, can you? I'd say sorry but I'm not."
He gave a mock bow and then led Tessa away from the warlocks. "Best not to linger now that they've lost," he said. "Warlocks can be very poor losers."
"I'd say I'd be a very poor loser if I had lost everything too," Tessa reasoned. "Shame on you for taking it all away."
Will paused, looked momentarily stricken, and turned to face her with an odd expression. Tessa thought she might have offended him somehow and prepared to apologize, when he held out a hand. He had discarded his gloves and his mask was pulled up above his eyes. The band had changed songs, something lively and upbeat.
"I'm probably going to regret this later," Will murmured, and indicated his hand with a shake. "Come along."
Tessa just stared at him.
"Come dance with me, Tess." He reached for her wrist even though she hadn't said a word and started to pull her onto the dance floor.
"Will, wait!" she cried desperately. "I—I can't do this."
"We're going to have to get a little closer, I fear," he said. Tessa swore he was hiding a smile. "Like this." A hand went to her lower back, the other gripping one of her own tightly.
Tessa made a sound of protest, embarrassed at such an embrace. She had been watching the other couples dance this way, of course, but she would not dare try it! This type of dancing could not possibly be decent for a lady like herself. What would Aunt Harriet say to this?
Will started moving before she could properly untangle herself, pulling her around the room. They weaved through the other couples, bouncing and jittering all the while.
"I don't know this dance!" Tessa protested, a little panicky. But she was smiling despite it all.
"Neither do I," said Will, looking down at her with a very amused expression.
Tessa started laughing when they bumped into two warlocks and Will offered a very insincere apology. The music was so loud she could hardly think anymore. She continued to laugh with Will, breathing very hard as they moved faster and faster about the room. When the music finally ended, she was completely breathless. She looked up at Will, still smiling.
But his expression was strained, so torn her own smile faded. They stared at each other for a long moment, the rest of the world revolving around them. Will put a hand on her cheek—and then drew back.
"I will return shortly," he said, stepping away from her and out of her grasp. "Wait by the bar. Fannie will make sure nothing eats you."
Fannie, one of the barmaids Tessa had met, seemed to hear him even over the loudness and looked their way. She was a tall, fierce looking faerie with gold skin and black slitted eyes. Tessa was a little afraid of her, to be honest, but she seemed kind enough.
Will was gone before Tessa realized he was moving. She stood there a moment, getting knocked around by the dancers before making up her mind.
She followed him a few steps behind, up a staircase, past groups of warlocks and vampires that were hanging around on the upstairs landing and to a heavy black door. She paused only a few seconds before opening it. A dimly bit sitting room was unoccupied and Will was standing on the adjoining balcony that overlooked the city. The stars glittered brightly above the vibrantly lit streets and buildings.
For a moment, it was like déjà vu. Tessa remembered the rooftop at the Institute. Remembered Will's horrible words, the way he had pushed her away, the way he had hurt her. Was that about to happen again? He seemed to of let his walls down a little tonight—or more accurately, forgot to put them up. Was he going to hole himself up again?
He stood at the edge of the balcony, hands gripping the rails so tightly the whites of his knuckles shone brightly against the moonlight.
"I thought I told you to wait by the bar." Will didn't turn around, yet somehow seemed to know it was her. She didn't bother keeping quiet anymore and moved to stand next to him.
"I thought I was human and look how that turned out."
Though he still wasn't looking at her, a corner of his mouth curled ever so slightly.
"Why did you bring me here?"
Tessa had been dying to know all night. Jem had taken her on a tour of London, showing her museums and famous sites, but he was kind like that. He would have no other reason but to simply please her. Will…she wasn't so sure. His motives were never clear.
"Because I wanted to."
The reply was so honest and simple that Tessa sucked in a breath. She had been expecting some sort of sarcastic remark or avoidance of answering all together. His response begged another question and she couldn't resist.
His silence spoke volume. Suddenly she was back on the rooftop of the Institute again, back to when he made very clear of his intentions. She felt her cheeks blush and the fragile walls she held up come shattering down.
"I should have know," she said, a tremble in her voice she hoped he could not detect. "You made your intentions quite clear, and tonight is no different. I am only sorry mine are not the same."
*She felt him inhale. "Tess," he said. "Tess, look at me."
She raised her eyes to his, slow and unwilling, braced for anger or coolness—but his gaze was fixed on hers, his dark blue eyes somber beneath their thick black lashes, and they were stripped of all their usual cool, aloof distance. They were as clear as glass and full of desire. And more than desire—a tenderness she had never seen in them before, and had never even associated with Will Herondale. That, more than anything else, stopped her protest as he raised his hands and methodically began to take the pins from her hair, one by one.*
They dropped to the ground, a light clang of metal on stone. Soft brown curls tumbled to Tessa's shoulders. Vaguely she could hear the trotting of horses and carriages riding over cobbled streets, the sounds of late night travelers and a soft hoot of an owl. But all Tessa could think of were those eyes and the only sound that really stood out was her ragged breaths.
Will's touch was gentle as he slowly removed her mask, a finger trailing along her temple. He dropped the mask and it floated to the floor. Every move he made was slow and precise and controlled, like if he moved too quickly the moment would ruin. There was something careful in his expression when his eyes flicked down to hers, something she didn't quite understand.
Tessa's hands moved on their own accord, wrapping around Will's neck. There was an irrational need to be close to him, as though her life depended on it. It was such a consuming feeling, one that took her by surprise. She started to close the distance, her mouth parting open—
*He reached up and unlocked Tessa's hands from around his neck. He drew her gloves off, and they joined her mask and the hairpins on the stone floor of the balcony. He pulled off his own mask next and cast it aside, running his hands through his sweat-dampened hair, pushing it back from his forehead. The lower edge of the mask had left marks across his high cheekbones, like light scars, but when she reached to touch them, he gently caught at her hands and pressed them down.
"No," he said. "Let me touch you first."*
She closed her eyes when his hands cupped her face and he pulled her to him. A small, painful breath escaped him, and Tessa felt it against her own mouth. If it was possible to feel tense and calm at the same time, that was how he felt. She could feel it in his demeanor, in the way he was holding himself, this restrain of coiling power.
And she could barely comply, on the verge of losing control herself.
His mouth crashed down on hers. A surge of pleasure and desire wrapped around her, heat flooding her veins. He drew her closer and her hands clutched at the folds of his jacket, fingers knotting into the fabric. She exhaled in his mouth, her breaths even more uneven than before, a feeling of complete bliss overwhelming her.
Will tensed and started to pull back, but Tessa did not let him. She pushed forward, tightening her hold and he spun her, until her back hit the rail of the balcony. A small cry escaped her. One of his hands snaked around her waist and the other gripped the railing, crushing her body to his.
Now he was kissing her hard, hungrily, even, like he could not quite quench it. She responded eagerly, albeit a little surprised in both herself and him. The barriers were dropped and there was no going back now. Somehow he had shrugged out of his jacket and Tessa's hands pressed into his stomach, fingers gliding over the tight muscles. The black shirt he wore was unbuttoned, an inky rune poking out from the base of his neck. Tessa reached up, her fingers curling the top of the shirt and digging into his throat.
Will caught her wrist and clutched it tightly before she could do any damage to his shirt. His tongue lightly brushed against her lower lip, and he deepened the kiss. Tessa's cheeks flushed. Maybe tomorrow she'd regret kissing him like this; maybe she'd regret it in just a few short hours.
There was nothing about what she felt for Will that made sense: this strange, unyielding desire that could not be doused. He had been horrible to her in the past, and yet she could not deny the desire she felt for him now, even if it would only haunt her in the future. Her feelings for Will were anything but simple and she could not begin to put it into words. If anything, she supposed, her feelings were like a shade of gray. Perhaps she had more in common with that ghastly color than she originally believed.
Maybe gray wasn't so bad, she thought, and smiled into Will's mouth.
A/N: So there you have it. :D I'm pretty sure the DSBS will take place AT Benedict's ball but I thought this would be a fun twist. I hope you liked it; Tessa/Will might be my OTP of all of Cassie's books and that says something. Love them. :D I would have liked to have included more of the other characters, but this two part one shot is really focused on Tessa and Will. Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you!