Warnings: character death.
Other Note: title taken from Kevin Rudolf's In the City. yeah. hope you like. :)

give it all up for me

Her chin is on his chest and it's uncomfortable, the way its sharp point digs into him, but he does not complain; her warmth more than makes up for it, and his arm goes around her waist with a sigh from his creaking bones.

"Are you asleep?"

The words rustle his hair - sheer white where it was once silver - and he opens his eyes to see her smiling at him.

"No," he says. She shifts in his arms, head on his shoulder now, like she knew. But she usually does. "Is everything all right?"

She laughs and in the dark of their room it seems too loud a sound. In the past year she has become cynical, and if he were a greater man he thinks he would feel guilty over her change.

"They say you'll die before morning," she says softly into his chest. He nods. "Nothing is all right. Nothing will be all right."

He feels her flinch at her slip, and he sighs. She's drifted away from the girl who stood like a willow in his doorway, and his brother has drifted away altogether, a shadow whose name is taboo. Hating Will is a thought that has crossed his mind, but he is the nice one; and besides, to hate is an effort, and all of his efforts have been pooled into loving this one girl.

"You'll still be here," he says, running a circle onto the nape of her neck. His fingers shake. "You're going to be fine."

"You've made sure of that, then?"

Most of all, he is going to miss her and her wit. "Of course," he says, managing to grin.

She goes loose, a puppet without its handler, and his shirt becomes damp. To her credit, she speaks without a quiver in her voice: "I suppose this is goodbye?"

He holds her tight, the wife he thought he would never be allowed to have.

"I'm going to love you there," he tells her, knotting his hands in her hair. "I swear it - I'll love you there, and I'll still love you when you join me. But try not to make it too soon."

She snorts. "Going to charm all of the ghosts up there?"

There is a smile on his face that is too painful to remove, so he lets it stay even as he feels his own strings being cut, one by one.

"Love you, Tessa," he says.

"Love you, Jem," she says, and his eyes close again before he sees her crying.