They’re not hideous, said Tessa. Will blinked at her. What? Gideon and Gabriel, said Tessa. They’re really quite good-looking, not hideous at all. I spoke, said Will, in sepulchral tones, of the pitch-black inner depths of their souls. Tessa snorted. And what color do you suppose the inner depths of your soul are, Will Herondale? Mauve, said Will.
Tess, Tess, Tessa. Was there ever a more beautiful sound than your name? To speak it aloud makes my heart ring like a bell. Strange to imagine that, isn’t it – a heart ringing – but when you touch me that is what it is like: as if my heart is ringing in my chest and the sound shivers down my veins and splinters my bones with joy. Why have I written these words in this book? Because of you. You taught me to love this book where I had scorned it. When I read it for the second time, with an open mind and heart, I felt the most complete despair and envy of Sydney Carton. Yes, Sydney, for even if he had no hope that the woman he loved would love him, at least he could tell her of his love. At least he could do something to prove his passion, even if that thing was to die. I would have chosen death for a chance to tell you the truth, Tessa, if I could have been assured that death would be my own. And that is why I envied Sydney, for he was free. And now at last I am free, and I can finally tell you, without fear of danger to you, all that I feel in my heart. You are not the last dream of my soul. You are the first dream, the only dream I ever was unable to stop myself from dreaming. You are the first dream of my soul, and from that dream I hope will come all other dreams, a lifetime’s worth. With hope at least, Will Herondale
Trains are great dirty smoky things," said Will. "You won't like it." Tessa was unmoved. "I won't know if I like it until I try it, will I?" "I've never swum naked in the Thames before, but I know I wouldn't like it." "But think how entertaining for sightseers," said Tessa, and she saw Jem duck his head to hide the quick flash of his grin.
Tessa craned her head back to look at Will. You know that feeling, she said, when you are reading a book, and you know that it is going to be a tragedy; you can feel the cold and darkness coming, see the net drawing tight around the characters who live and breathe on the pages. But you are tied to the story as if being dragged behind a carriage and you cannot let go or turn the course aside. His blue eyes were dark with understanding — of course Will would understand — and she hurried on. I feel now as if the same is happening, only not to characters on a page but to my own beloved friends and companions. I do not want to sit by while tragedy comes for us. I would turn it aside, only I struggle to discover how that might be done. You fear for Jem, Will said. Yes, she said. And I fear for you, too. No, Will said, hoarsely. Don’t waste that on me, Tess.
Of course you can have a true Shadowhunter name," Will said. "You can have mine." Tessa stared at him, all black and white against the black-and-white snow and stone. "Your name?" Will took a step toward her, till they stood face-to-face. Then he reached to take her hand and slid off her glove, which he put into his pocket. He held her bare hand in his, his fingers curved around hers. His hand was warm and callused, and his touch made her shiver. His eyes were steady and blue; they were everything that Will was: true and tender, sharp and witty, loving and kind. "Marry me," he said. "Marry me, Tess. Marry me and be called Tessa Herondale. Or be Tessa Gray, or be whatever you wish to call yourself, but marry me and stay with me and never leave me, for I cannot bear another day of my life to go by that does not have you in it.
You speak of sacrifice, but it is not my sacrifice I offer. It is yours I ask of you," he went on. "I can offer you my life, but it is a short life; I can offer you my heart, though I have no idea how many more beats it shall sustain. But I love you enough to hope that you wil not care that I am being selfish in trying to make the rest of my life - whatever length - happy, by spending it with you. I want to be married to you, Tessa. I want it more than I have ever wanted anything else in my life." He looked up at her through the veil of silvery hair that fell over his eyes. "That is," he said shyly, "if you love me, too.
We live and breathe words. It was books that kept me from taking my own life after I thought I could never love anyone, never be loved again. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them.
She leaned forward and caught at his hand, pressing it between her own. The touch was like white fire through his veins. He could not feel her skin only the cloth of her gloves, and yet it did not matter. You kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire. He had wondered once why love was always phrased in terms of burning. The conflagration in his own veins, now, gave the answer.
They say you cannot love two people equally at once, she said. And perhaps for others that is so. But you and Will—you are not like two ordinary people, two people who might have been jealous of each other, or who would have imagined my love for one of them diminished by my love of the other. You merged your souls when you were both children. I could not have loved Will so much if I had not loved you as well. And I could not love you as I do if I had not loved Will as I did.
If you do not help me," Tessa said to Jem, "I swear, I will change into you, and I will lift him myself. And then everyone here will see what you look like in a dress." She fixed him with a look. "Do you understand?
Say something in Mandarin, said Tessa, with a smile. Jem said something that sounded like a lot of breathy vowels and consonants run together, his voice rising and falling melodically: Ni hen piao liang. What did you say? Tessa was curious. I said your hair is coming undone — here, he said, and reached out and tucked an escaping curl back behind her ear. Tessa felt the blood spill hot up into her face, and was glad for the dimness of the carriage. You have to be careful with it, he said, taking his hand back, slowly, his fingers lingering against her cheek.
She smiled. Her skin looked whiter than he recalled, and dark spidery veins were beginning to show beneath its surface. Her hair was still the color of spun silver and her eyes were still green as a cat’s. She was still beautiful. Looking at her, he was in London again. He saw the gaslight and smelled the smoke and dirt and horses, the metallic tang of fog, the flowers in Kew Gardens. He saw a boy with black hair and blue eyes like Alec’s, heard violin music like the sound of silver water. He saw a girl with long brown hair and a serious face. In a world where everything went away from him eventually, she was one of the few remaining constants. And then there was Camille.
You know that feeling, she said, when you are reading a book, and you know that it is going to be a tragedy; you can feel the cold and darkness coming, see the net drawing tight around the characters who live and breathe on the pages. But you are tied to the story as if being dragged behind a carriage and you cannot let go or turn the course aside.
In that case" Tessa said, feeling hot blood rise to her face,"I think I would prefer it if you called me by my Christian name, as you do with Miss Lovelace. Will look at her, slow and hard, then smiled. His blue eyes lit when he smiled. "Then you must do the same for me," he said. "Tessa." She had never thought about her name much before, but when he said it, it was as if she were hearing if for the first time-the hard T , the caress of the double S, the way it seemed to end on a breath. Her own breath was very short when he said, softly, "Will." "Yes?" Amusement glittered his eyes. With a sort of horror Tessa realized that she had simply said his name for the sake of saying it; she hadn't actually had a question.
Jem told me what Ragnor Fell said about my father, Will said. That for my father, there was only ever one woman he loved, and it was her for him, or nothing. You are that for me. I love you, and I will only ever love you until I die —
She smiled at him. How did you know just what I’d want to see? How could I not? he said. When I think of you, and you are not there, I see you in my mind’s eye always with a book in your hand. He looked away from her as he said it, but not before she caught the slight flush on his cheekbones. He was so pale, he could never hide even the least blush, she thought — and was surprised how affectionate the thought was.
I suspect he's sweet on Sophie and doesn't like to see her work too hard.' Tessa was glad to hear it. She'd felt awful about her reaction to Sophie's scar, and the thought that Sophie had a male admirer - and a handsome one like that- eased her conscience slightly. 'Perhaps he's in love with Agatha', she said. 'I hope not. I intend to marry Agatha myself. She may be a thousand years old, but she makes an incomparable jam tart. Beauty fades, but cooking is eternal.
Wo wei ni xie de, he said, as he raised the violin to his left shoulder, tucking it under his chin. He had told her many violinists used a shoulder rest, but he did not: there was a slight mark on the side of his throat, like a permanent bruise, where the violin rested. You — made something for me? Tessa asked. I wrote something for you, he corrected, with a smile, and began to play.
I thought perhaps that when you told me you did not love me that my own feelings would fall away and atrophy, but they have not. They have grown every day. I love you now more desperately, this moment, than I have ever loved you before, and in an hour I will love you more than that
He gazed amusedly down the table at Tessa. You’re the shape-changer, aren’t you? he said. Magnus Bane told me about you. No mark on you at all, they say. Tessa swallowed and looked him straight in the eye. They were discordantly human eyes, ordinary in his extraordinary face. No. No mark. He grinned around his fork. I do suppose they’ve looked everywhere? I’m sure Will’s tried, said Jessamine in a bored tone.
He seemed to realize she was staring at him, because the cursing stopped. "You cut me," he said. His voice was pleasant. British. Very ordinary. He looked at his hand with critcal interest. "It might be fatal." Tessa looked at him with wide eyes. "Are you the Magister?" He tilted his hand to the side. Blood ran down it, spattering the floor. "Dear me, massive blood loss. Death could be imminent.
What are you doing following me around the back streets of London, you little idiot? Will demanded, giving her arm a light shake. Cecily’s eyes narrowed. This morning it was cariad (note: Welsh endearment, like ‘darling’ or ‘love’), now it’s idiot. Oh, you’re using a Glamour rune. There’s one thing to declare, you are not afraid of anything when you live in the country. But this is London. I’m not afraid of London, Cecily said defiantly. Will leaned closer, almost hissing in her ear *and said something very complicated in Welsh* She laughed. No, it wouldn’t do you any good to tell me to go home. You are my brother, and I want to go with you. Will blinked at her words. You are my brother, and I want to go with you. It was the sort of thing he was used to hearing Jem say. Although Cecily was unlike Jem in every other conceivable possible way, she did share one quality with him. Stubbornness. When Cecily said she wanted something, it did not express an idle desire, but an iron determination. Do you even care where I’m going? he said. What if I were going to hell? I’ve always wanted to see hell, Cecily said. Doesn’t everyone? Most of us spend our time trying to stay out of it, Cecily. I’m going to an ifrit den, if you must know, to purchase drugs from vile, dissolute criminals. They may clap eyes on you, and decide to sell you. Wouldn’t you stop them? I suppose it would depend on whether they cut me a part of the profit. She shook her head. Jem is your parabatai, she said. He is your brother, given to you by the Clave, but I am your sister by blood. Why would you do anything for him, but you only want me to go home? How do you know the drugs are for Jem? Will said. I’m not an idiot, Will. No, more’s the pity. Jem- Jem is like the better part of me. I would not expect you to understand. I owe him. I owe him this. So what am I? Cecily said. Will exhaled, too desperate to check himself. You are my weakness. And Tessa is your heart, she said, not angrily, but thoughtfully. I am not fooled. As I told you, I’m not an idiot. And more’s the pity for you, although I suppose we all want things we can’t have. Oh, said Will, and what do you want? I want you to come home. A strand of black hair was stuck to her cheek by the dampness, and Will fought the urge to pull her cloak closer about her, to make her safe as he had when she was a child. The Institute is my home, Will sighed, and leaned his head against the stone wall. I can’t stand out her arguing with you all evening, Cecily. If you’re determined to follow me into hell, I can’t stop you. Finally, she said provingly. You’ve seen sense. I knew you would, you’re related to me. Will fought the urge to shake her. Are you ready? She nodded, and he raised his hand to knock on the door.
Though Will was saying earlier, Tessa added, that heroes all come to bad ends, and he could not imagine why anyone would want to be one, anyway. Ah. Jem’s hand squeezed hers briefly, and then let it go. Well, Will is looking at it from the hero’s viewpoint, isn’t he? But as for the rest of us, it’s an easy answer. Is it? Of course. His voice was almost a whisper now. Heroes endure because we need them. Not for their own sakes. If Will …
You may be right. I think it was round about Christmas when I got my Welsh dragon tattoo. At that, Tessa had to try very hard not to blush. How did that happen? Will made an airy gesture with his hand. I was drunk… Nonsense. You were never really drunk. On the contrary—in order to learn how to pretend to be inebriated, once must become inebriated at least once, as a reference point. Six-Fingered Nigel had been at the mulled cider— You can’t mean there’s truly a Six-Fingered Nigel?
I take your hand, brother, so that you may go in peace. Will had opened his blue eyes that never lost their colour over all the passing years, and looked at Jem and then Tessa, and smiled, and died, with Tessa's head on his shoulder and and his hand in Jem's.
Miss Cecily," she gasped, and then her eyes went to Will. She clapped a hand over her mouth, turned, and bolted back into the house. "Oh, dear," said Tessa. "I have that effect on women," Will said. " I probably should have warned you before you agreed to marry me." "I can still change my mind," Tessa said sweetly. "Don't you dare-," he began with a breathless half laugh.
Will's face turned grave. "Be careful with it, though. It's six hundred years old and the only copy of its kind. Losing or damaging it is punishable by death under the Law." Tessa thrust the book away from her as if it were on fire. "You can't be serious." "You're right. I'm not." Will leapt down from the ladder and landed lightly in front of her. "You do believe everything I say, though, don't you? Do I seem unusually trustworthy to you, or are you just a naive sort?
Oh, do you have A Tale of Two Cities?" "That silly thing? Men going around getting their heads chopped off for love? Ridiculus." Will unpeeled himself from the door and made his way toward Tessa where she stood by the bookshelves. He gestured expansively at the vast number of volumes all around him. "No, here you'll find all sorts of advice about how to chop off someone else's head if you need to; much more useful.
I love you so much, so incredibly much," he went on, "and I forget when you're close to me, I forget who you are. I forget that you're Jem's. I'd have to be the worst sort of person to think what I'm thinking right now. But I am thinking it.
Will! He turned at the familiar voice and saw Tessa. There was a small path cut along the side of the hill, lined with unfamiliar white flowers, and she was walking up it, toward him. Her long brown hair blew in the wind — she had taken off her straw bonnet, and held it in one hand, waving it at him and smiling as if she were glad to see him. His own heart leaped up at the sight of her. Tess, he called. But she was still such a distance away — she seemed both very near and very far suddenly and at the same time. He could see every detail of her pretty, upturned face, but could not touch her, and so he stood, waiting and desiring, and his heart beat like the wings of seagulls in his chest. At last she was there, close enough that he could see where the grass and flowers bent beneath the tread of her shoes. He reached out for her —
Will’s eyes met Tessa’s as she came closer, almost tripping again over the torn hem of her gown. For a moment, they were in perfect understanding. Jem was what they could still look each other straight in the eye about. On the topic of Jem, they were both fierce and unyielding. Tessa saw Will’s hand tighten on Jem’s sleeve. She’s here, he said. Jem’s eyes opened slowly. Tessa fought to keep the look of shock from her face. His pupils were blown out, his irises a thin ring of silver around the black. Ni shou shang le ma, quin ai de? he whispered.
They're still looking at him," she said to Magnus under her breath. "At Will, I mean." "Of course they are," said Magnus. His eyes reflected light like a cat's as they surveyed the room. "Look at him. The face of a bad angel and eyes like the night sky in Hell. He's very pretty, and vampires like that. I can't say I mind either." Magnus grinned. "Black hair and blue eyes are my favorite combination." Tessa reached up to pat Camille's pale blond curls. Magnus shrugged. "Nobody's perfect.