Long time no see... to anyone who reads this. It isn't the biggest fandom, and nowhere near the right amount of people ship Jeb, but it deserves to be recognised. I mean... it's canon! And thus I will continue this succession of one-shots (hopefully there will be ten) in the name of justice.
If you have any questions about the fic, just ask. I don't bite. Thank you to SecretlyANinja98. You rock. You know, even if you aren't reading this now...
Fact No. 3934348: Giraffes and rats can survive longer without water than camels.
Jamie looked at Lydie's big eyes and blond curls, his own eyes wide with fear. Like Mae, he had not the faintest idea what to do with a child.
His parents used to take him to dinners and little parties, and when he was around ten, he would sit there and watch the younger children. He was better than Mae. Just a little. When he hit thirteen and everyone knew, he had had to sit in the same little chair next to the children, and listen to them call him names and laugh and ask which boys he liked, only to snigger at him.
He wasn't good with kids.
But when Sin and Alan and Mae and Nick all wanted to go out, what was he meant to say but 'Yeah, we can look after the kids'? Toby had fallen asleep almost immediately, but Lydie… Lydie was proving a little more difficult.
"So you two are in love? I thought he hated you." Lydie, who was sitting at Seb's feet, turned to face Jamie. "Don't you hate him?"
Seb's face was flushed, but not angry. He looked more nervous than anything. Jamie shook his head, giving Lydie a purposeful look. "No, Lydie. I don't hate Seb."
Lydie sat still for a moment, as though thinking. "Well, I suppose Nick's doubly taken, and you can't have Alan 'cause he's Sin's. I guess Seb will do… for now."
The child turned thoughtful again, and Jamie tried his best to tell Seb he was sorry with his eyes. He didn't want him to feel like this. After a moment, she looked up from the television. "What about one of them?"
She pointed to the television set to reveal two boys kissing each other. Jamie closed his eyes. This wasn't going how it was meant to.
He and Seb were living in the large house Alan and Mae had bought. Technically, anyone could drop in and take a room, but being the only ones who went to school aside from Sin – who crashed at her dad's – it was usually just Jamie and Seb. The others usually camped out with the Goblin Market while the two boys worried about exams. They were going to be analysed to see if they could resume their former classes since the term's end. They had missed a lot of school that year.
Jamie really wished that he had told Sin to drop the kids off at her dad's. He really did.
"They can sing, too," she said, her voice excited. "They might win Regionals and-"
"They're taken, Lydie. They have each other," Jamie snapped, his voice gaining an edge that was barely there, but oddly apparent in his usually gentle, carefree tone. At this, Seb looked up. Jamie could have kicked himself; Seb noticed every change of tone, every round-about word. Without another word, the taller boy leaned down and scooped Lydie up in his arms.
"Couldn't you have just magicked me up?" she asked.
"I save my magic for special things. I can pick up a little kid with my own two hands." Seb attempted a smile, and Lydie returned it.
Jamie internally groaned. He didn't want Seb to have to deal with this because of him. He saw the way he would cringe away from Nick. Despite his height and defined muscles, he would shrink away from them. He had once told Jamie it was because he knew that they knew he wasn't good enough to love Jamie, and that he knew they were right. Jamie wished he could see that he made him happy.
"Do you like being a magician?" she asked, curiously. Jamie looked up, before realising that she was addressing Seb.
Seb looked down, his eyes never quite meeting hers. "We're just humans with a little power, Lydie. There isn't that much to love or hate."
She rolled her eyes. "Maybe for you. But for me and Jamie it's different."
Seb cut Jamie off with a smile and a shake of his head. "You're right, Lydie. It is different for you. You know what you are, and the people around you love you for what you are. Even more for the fact that you're a magician, because if you took that away, it would be taking away a part of you. You and Jamie can do beautiful things. You two are very special."
Seb never looked up at either of them, his face red and worried, but Jamie felt his breath catch and saw Lydie's eyes widen.
"You shouldn't say that. You have magic too. You're special too."
Seb shrugged. "Magic isn't a part of me like it is for you and Jamie. What I do isn't beautiful. Mostly it's just weak. But you…" Seb braved a look up and smiled gently, patting Lydie's loose locks away from her face. "You're very special and very strong. I wish I could be like you, Lydie."
At this, Lydie looked down. "But you're old."
"But you're strong, Lydie. Age has nothing to do with it."
With the girl sitting on Seb's lap, Jamie couldn't do or say all the things he wanted to. He wanted to reach over and kiss Seb, if for no other reason than to get him to shut up. He shouldn't have to prove himself to anyone, let alone a child. Jamie loved him, and everyone else should too.
Lydie was silent for a long time, until she kneeled up on Seb's lap and cocked her pretty head to the side. "If no one was there to tell you… if you don't have much powers… how did you know you were a magician?"
"You don't have to answer that, Sebastian." Jamie could hear the alarm in his voice, and Seb looked at him with a mixture of concern and an ancient sadness.
They both knew when Seb had first realised he was magic.
Sebastian looked at the man, his eyes watering. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. I really didn't. I'm sorry-"
The man hit him across the face, and Sebastian clutched his stinging cheek, wishing he could turn back time. Wishing he hadn't done what he had. He wasn't meant to. He knew he wasn't meant to.
"That girl," yelled the man, "is my daughter. She's mine. You are just a fucking piece of filth no one else wanted. You think you can come into my home and rough up my daughter? You think you have any right to breathe on her, let alone play? You're an idiot! Such a Goddamn idiot. Bloody waste of space."
The man clocked the side of his head again, this time thumping it with a fist. It hurt. It throbbed and it hurt and Sebastian wanted it to go away so bad. Somewhere in the distance he could hear the farmer's daughter sniffling a little as her mother bandaged up her knee.
"I'm sorry," Sebastian gasped. Were his new fathers meant to do this? None of the others had hit him yet. He remembered being with some of the older boys who had bruises and stories. Stories of being beaten and hurt. Now that he was eight, was he like the older boys? He didn't want to be. He remembered one of them coming back to the home badly hurt and limping, just crying. Sebastian had seen him and asked him what was wrong with him. The boy wouldn't answer – he wouldn't say anything but that the man was bad. Very bad. Sebastian had taken him to his room at the boarding house where they had given him a temporary bed before he would be redistributed. He had hugged the boy and told him that things would be alright. He never got to see him again. When he had woken up, the boy had gone. He asked one of the nurses if they had seen him, but they hadn't. No one had seen him but Sebastian.
He wondered where he had gone.
If he could join him?
They could look after each other, then. Neither of them would have to be sad.
"Y'know, yer last family gave us a report on you. They said you was clever enough. That you knew what's what and was harmless, they did. They didn't mention that you were wrong in the head. That you were some idiot who would hurt our daughter. They said you was good, but I suppose they just wanted you gone." The man's hand struck Sebastian again, and this time he was on the ground, the world more upside-down than it should have been. He felt the man's boot dig into his rib as he kicked him. He tried to stay silent, to wait until the man was done. He apologised when he cried out. He thought that maybe if he pretended to be dead, the man would stop.
At that moment, he wished that he could be dead. If he would just… if he would just stop…
He was sorry.
The farmer's daughter was a nice girl, and she was about the same age as he was. She could ride ponies – just the small ones – and Sebastian would watch her to make sure she was okay. When she had been riding that day, it had been warm. She asked him to go inside to get her an ice cream. She said she would be fine.
Sebastian wasn't sure if it was deliberate or not, but the farmer's boot strayed away from his ribs and chest, and smashed against his cheek. He felt his vision blur and his skin break. He was bleeding. On his chest and on his face and down his arms was blood mixed in with the dirt.
Rose had bled. Their cute little daughter had fallen off Daisy while he was in the house fetching her an ice cream. When he got back, she was crying with a moderate gash on her knee. He hadn't meant for her to get hurt. He really hadn't.
"You're bloody stupid, Sebastian. A bloody stupid kid." Sebastian heard his words. Years later when the kids in his class would avoid his eyes for projects and joke about him being a brainless jock, he would hear them on repeat. But at that moment, all Sebastian felt was the urge to hurt the farmer. He felt anger and fear and sadness and… and a warm fury rise within him.
And it was a silly thing. Just a silly thing, but as the explosion of warmth filled him and the farmer tripped over in the mud and cut his knee on a stone, Sebastian knew that he had done it.
Just like he knew the wind blew and wounds bled, he knew that he had tripped the farmer.
The farmer's knee bled down his leg, and the man turned without a word back to his wife and daughter to have it patched up.
No one was hit.
No one was yelled at.
Because it was an accident. Because it was no one's fault, and the man couldn't hate himself for falling. Sebastian wished he could have told the man that. That what had happened to his daughter had been an accident and nothing more. Like him tripping over.
But he was tired, and scared of what the farmer had done to him, and what he had done to the farmer.
He supposed the man was right; he was just wrong in the head.
Seb looked at Jamie, whose dark eyes were wide with a blatant concern. Seb sent over a smile, but he knew it just looked uneasy and miserable.
He liked Lydie. She was cute and fierce and a reminder that Jamie, even with the loss of his mother and the negligence of his father, had a big family. By blood or not, Sin, Mae and Lydie were his sisters, and Nick, Alan and Toby were his brothers. A good family. A kind family who wouldn't hurt him.
"I don't see why I shouldn't tell her." He knew what Jamie was thinking. He was thinking about him lying pitifully in front of the farmer, tossed on his side and wanting to die. He wished he hadn't told Jamie that, but he promised he wouldn't lie, and Jamie had asked him what the first thing he had used his magic for was. That was a different question.
"Seb, you don't have to-"
Seb looked down and pressed his thumb on Lydie's soft, pale cheek, trying to ignore Jamie as he took a deep breath.
"The first time I knew I was anything close to magic… that I was anything at all, was when I met Jamie. It was my first day of high school in Exeter and we were in gym class. I saw him, and I felt a million things. Like… like all the air had disappeared and left something different in its place – something I could… something I could breathe without choking or sneezing. Like I had emerged into a world where I could live… like I hadn't been alive before. Not really. It was like we were some sort of different species, and just seeing him… I could tell he was like me. No one ever told me what I was, but I knew that it was something real when I saw him." Seb didn't dare look at Jamie. He didn't want to see if he was scoffing or looking away or being sad. Instead he kept talking, which was probably stupid. "I thought it was all in my head till then. That when I made things happen, it was my head playing tricks on me. I only realised that day that it was real. That it was okay."
Lydie smiled a little. "You must have thought you were crazy."
Seb laughed. He tried to forget the hours he used to spend in his room wanting his head to be right. Trying to make it to go away. "Yeah. I thought I was mad. Bonkers."
Seb felt a hand on his knee and saw Jamie looking at him, shaking his head. Seb mustered a shrug. It was a long time ago. It didn't matter.
"You should have been nicer to Jamie, if you loved him all that time."
Seb couldn't help but smile. "Magicians are ridiculous, aren't they? So drawn to magic. Is that why you like Nick?"
Seb thought about it, the way Nick's mother had left Alan's father for Arthur because they were kin; drawn together by power. Seb worried about that, sometimes. That a part of him was drawn to Jamie for his power, and that Jamie wouldn't be drawn to him because he was weak. He had loved Gerald and not him. Gerald had been strong. He had been strong, and Jamie had loved him for it.
Lydie shook her head. "I like Nick 'cause he's hot."
Seb smiled and picked Lydie up again, throwing her a little in the air. She squealed softly. "Good, because he's a jerk and I would be worried if you loved him for any other reason."
Lydie giggled again, and Seb settled her back into his arms. "You tired yet?"
She nodded a little, before adding, "Not that you're boring or anything."
Sebastian nodded. "Then we'll get you to bed. And remember, your family will be back before tomorrow. You'll see them soon, I promise."
She shook her head. "Why do you say so?"
"Because. You have the best family in the world, and I'm sure they wish they could have said goodnight to you. You're their little sister, and I'm sure they miss you. Looks like you'll have to settle for getting your good night from Jamie, though."
Lydie bit down on her thumb, rubbing her feet against one and other, before squirming to see Jamie. "Because you're my big brother?"
Seb looked at Jamie, who looked back at him before nodding. "Yeah, Lydie. I'm your brother now. I guess. I mean, even without Nick and Alan, Sin and Mae are a little bit like sisters-"
"No." Lydie shook her head. "You're my brother because we share blood."
Jamie frowned. "Lydie, I think you got the wrong idea."
"We're magicians. And Seb is too. He's my brother. We're always family."
And Seb couldn't help the way his face broke into a grin. It wasn't his fault. It wasn't.
Without another word, Seb scooped up Lydie and smiled down at her. "Magician or not, I say you're a wicked witch."
Lydie squealed with laughter as Seb spun them around in circles. Just as they reached the stairs to go up, though, Lydie squirmed until Seb knelt down and let her run back into the lounge room where the television continued to play, ignored by the magicians.
Lydie eyed it for a moment before looking Jamie full in the eye. "Those boys can't have you."
Seb watched as Jamie glanced up at Lydie, who was scarily serious. "Umm… okay. That's good. They sort of just got together after two seasons, so-"
"No." She shook her head. "No, they can't have you because you have Seb, and you need to remind him that he's magic. He might forget if you leave; like before. He shouldn't forget."
Jamie looked stunned for a moment, and Seb felt his face go red. "No… no Lydie. I won't let him forget."
Lydie nodded with finality. "Good." She quickly ran over to Seb and leaped back into his capable arms. "Am I still a wicked witch?"
"The worst," he said, but he smiled. He held her thin body in his arms and kissed her forehead. "The prettiest, smartest, loveliest, most perfect little witch I've ever met."
Moments later he was back down the stairs and sitting silently beside Jamie, wishing his boyfriend would say something.
Jamie cleared his throat. "You never told me about that. That you only realised you weren't loopy that year. I thought you figured it out before then."
Seb smiled. "Dumb, remember?"
Jamie's face fell. "Don't. Please don't say that."
Jamie leaned up and placed a polite kiss on Seb's cheek. "You were very good with her. Now you're going to have to play with her, you know. All the time. You seemed to know exactly what to say. I swear you earned yourself a fan when you called her perfect."
"Yeah, well." Seb swallowed. "Everyone knows what they wish they were told when they were little. They just need to remember to say it."
Jamie came closer, cuddling into him. Seb hesitantly wrapped an arm around him.
"I guess you'll never be allowed to leave, now. You're stuck with us no matter what if Lydie thinks she has a new brother. Looks like you're part of the family. Nick will be mortified."
"Good." Seb remembered Rose, riding her pony in the farmer's yard, laughing. She was the first person he had ever been told he could look after. She was the first person he had failed. "I always… I always wanted a little sister."
He wondered if Jamie knew what he was thinking. Maybe he could tell he was thinking of the scars on his temple and ribs from being kicked on the muddy ground, or being told that he was filth, and that no one would ever want him. Maybe that was it. Or maybe Jamie was just amazing.
"You're perfect enough, Sebastian. You're my prince."
And Seb wouldn't cry, because that would have been pathetic. But he buried himself in Jamie's chest, and didn't come up for a long time.
Jamie stroked his hair, because he was a prince too.
But I love it. I love Jamie and Seb and Jamie with Seb.
Reviews? For the love of the tiny Seb/Jamie fandom?