[I know it is against the rules of the meme but I’m going to adjust the pov on this for angst reasons. Set after the automaton explosion in Clockwork Prince].
Jem dropped down into the chair beside his bed. He was haggared, looking infinitely older than Will had ever seen him. He was battleworn and his hair a nest of silver like he had been running his hands through it. There was blood on his face. Just a smear on his cheek. Will blinked at him with bleary eyes. He was waiting on Silent Brothers to come and pull metal shards out of his back so the oratzes would work. He swam in a haze of pain and bloodloss.
Tessa was there behind Jem’s shoulder and he had to force down the urge to smile at her. He’d caught her as the automaton had exploded, had pulled her down and tried to keep the worst of it away from her. She was already up and walking around, still wearing the ripped and bloodsoaked suit of boy’s clothing. She had been so still before he’d passed out, he had worried.
Jem was talking but Will could clear his thoughts enough to listen and then everything was dark.
Will found a note from Magnus when he woke up and he looked up and down the empty infirmary before he opened it. His heart skittered and he stood before asking himself if he was strong enough for it. He wasn’t. He sat back down the feverish heat of the iratzes making his skin prickle.
It was getting colder. He blinked open his eyes and Tessa was sitting on the bed opposite him. She hadn’t changed her clothes and her hair was loose. He couldn’t hold her in focus. Perhaps he needed to see Magnus tomorrow. Perhaps he was too weak.
She reached for him but her hand stopped shy of touching his face. When he blinked he must have lost consciousness for longer than a moment because she was gone and his fever was climbing again.
He lay back down.
Sophie woke him with food and a serious face. She hadn’t slept well and he wanted desperately to ask her what was wrong but that would be more concern than he could safely show. He took a piece of food off the tray and ate it without checking to see what it was. He was starving and he fell on the food.
Tessa followed Sophie in and she must have left a door open because a draft followed her. She was still in the jacket and the pants that showed off far more of her legs than he’d ever allowed himself to imagine seeing. She was still bloody and bedraggled.
“You need to change, that ensemble is dreadful,” he said. Her expression was somehow serene and puzzled all at once but she said nothing. Sophie sighed in annoyance and stomped away. Will watched her go without bothering to explain or apologize and when he looked back Tessa had slipped away too. Probably offended by his rudeness. That was probably for the best. He sighed to the empty room.
Will had left the tray and gone down to wash and change and check himself for new scars. He shoved his door open already planning his trip to see Magnus. He stopped in the door. Jem sat in the middle of his bed with his feet crossed and a book held in his hands. Will started to say something saecastic but Jem’s expression was empty.
“What happened?” Will asked in a voice he didn’t use for anyone else. Jem’s expression creased into a frown and then emptied out again. He held the book flat between his palms, pressed together like in prayer or supplication.
“You don’t know,” Jem said.
Jem shivered and Will saw her fade in over his shoulder. He didn’t seem to notice the change in temperature.
She had been too still.
There had been too much blood.
He’d known that but he’d seen her so he hadn’t thought to worry.
The impression of a tattered girl over Jem’s shoulder wavered. She wavered but Will could see the shadow on her side where thw wound was. Then she disappeared.
Vanished into the air like a figment of his imagination. No, like a ghost.
“She didn’t survive it,” Will said and his voice had as much expression as Jem’s face.
“I know you won’t care or you’ll pretend you don’t care but William, I care,” Jem said with a sharp note of warning in his voice. Will didn’t say a word. He looked at the book between Jem’s hands, A Tale of Two Cities. Tessa was probably reading it. Had been. She had been reading it, he corrected.
“I care,” Will breathed out falling backwards into the bed and closing his eyes though he could feel Jem’s attention on him. He ignored it. He was cursed but he had thought he could protect people from it. He was a child. Naive and careless and dangerously stupid. He let out a shaking breath and pulled in another and pretended that neither of them were a sob. Jem lay back so their shoulders touched but he was silent too.
He felt the chill and opened his eyes to catch sight of her frowning but solid. She blurred at the edges like she was painted in watercolours but her features were defined. The colours were indistinct but his memory filled in the blue gray of her eyes and the colour of her skin.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“Not everything is your fault, William,” Jem said and Tessa looked at him but Will knew he wouldn’t see her. Her expression was all agreement but they were both wrong.
She had loved him.
He had killed her.
All who love you will die.