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This isn't how it was supposed to [[go]].You know how much Jacob worries about his younger brother. You were only trying to do [[something nice]] for him.Jacob was - he was supposed to be overjoyed at the news that Austin was coming home. He was supposed to be impressed with the initiative you'd taken to see that his brother got back to Havenwood safe and sound. Once he'd seen how much time and effort you'd put into reuniting him and Austin, Jacob would understand that you would do anything for him. He'd understand that no one else has ever cared about him as much as you do. You were certain that as soon as he'd heard the news, he would start to [[fall in love]] with your selflessness, your perseverance in going after a goal that he had deeped impossible.But it didn't go the way it was [[supposed to.]]You're not still not completely certain what happened. One moment, Jacob was telling you to get out of his office, that you shouldn't have stepped in to bring Austin home. And the next - [[well]] -[[You just stabbed him.]]The knife had been a last resort, really. At least, you think so, anyway. You can't recall just why you decided to bring it in the first place - you can't even recall if you knew you had it, but suddenly it was in your hands, and then suddenly it was in [[Jacob's stomach]].[[But! Bygones be bygones and all that.|bygones]]The [[flowers]] you brought with you are starting to look a little wilted, even though you just bought them this morning. It's this blasted humidity - it's almost tangible in the air, seeping into everything. It even forced you to drive with the windows down, and roll the sleeves of your shirt up past the elbow.
You check your reflection in the tinted window of the car next to yours in the parking lot, flattening down your hair with one hand. It won't do for Jacob to see you so frazzled. He's likely still upset with you. But time, as they say, heals all wounds - especially stab wounds that didn't puncture any major organs. Not to mention that Austin should still be en route to Havenwood, and his arrival should provide a convenient distraction for Jacob and the rest of the Department while you lie low for a bit.
That isn't to say that you're giving up. Quite the opposite, in fact. You're certain that once Austin is here, and he's out of the hospital, Jacob will agree that you know what's [[best]] for him.Red carnations for admiration and heartache, purple hyacinths for an apology, primrose to let him know you can't live without him. When did you learn so much about [[floriography|bygones]]?You rub a hand over your chin, feeling the stubble beneath it. It's unseemly. When was the last time you shaved? When was the last time you changed your clothes? It's unacceptable, that you would come see the man you're in love with without changing your clothes first. Are there really tiny droplets of blood on your shirt, or are your eyes playing tricks on you?
Well, no matter. It's [[too late]] to go home and change now.You'll only have so much [[time]] to talk to Jacob, anyhow.You step through the automatic doors to the hospital lobby as they slide out of your way, squeaking in a way that suggests they haven't had proper maintenance in years. The woman behind the desk doesn't look particularly alarmed to see you approach, but her eyes do widen a little as you flash your badge at her, far too briefly for her to read anything but "DPR". If you were in any other city but Havenwood, perhaps you'd be more careful who you showed that to. But most Havenwood residents know, at least, that the Department exists. It's hard to stay ignorant when you live in a place so inundated with supernatural crime.
"I need a visitor's badge," you tell the woman behind the desk. "I need to interview a patient for a case I'm working on."
"Which patient?" she asks, typing away at her computer.
"And your name?"
[["August Winters," you say, without hesitation.]]It won't be much of a misdirect once Jacob finally opens up about what happened, but it will do for now. [[Keep them on their toes.]]The woman behind the desk prints out a visitor's badge without comment, and writes Jacob's room number down on a slip of paper so that you'll know where to go. It's four floors up from where you are. Your heart hammers in your chest as you stand inside the elevator, feeling it rise slowly, taking you [[closer]] to Jacob.You can't help but wonder what he'll do when he sees you. Will he even be conscious? As romantic as it would be, as much as it would let him know how deeply you care, you can't afford to sit by his bedside until he wakes up. If he's sleeping, you decide, you'll just leave the flowers. You'll pen a note to go with them, so he knows exactly who they're from.
The elevator grinds to a halt at the fourth floor. The doors open, and you [[step out.]]Jacob's room is only a few doors down the hallway, not hard to find at all. It's a private room, as you were expecting - you didn't think they would make the President of the Department of Paranormal Research share a room with some civilian. If Jacob had been hurt slightly earlier in the day, when a Department doctor had been on call, he wouldn't even need to be here. He would be in the infirmary in the Department headquarters. You almost regret not taking him there and patching him up yourself, but it was impossible, of course. You would have been discovered right away.
Jacob looks small and pale in his hospital [[bed]] as you enter the room. His freckles pop out against his skin like delicate constellations, his golden blond hair fanning out on his pillow like an angelic halo. He's sitting up in the bed, reading a book, but his eyes raise to you as you shut the door with a soft click. You watch as he struggles to keep his composure, the tendons in his neck tightening, his pupils dilating as his body kicks into fight-or-flight mode. It's beautiful.
[["Abbott," he says.|abbott]]"Jacob," you say politely. "I brought you [[flowers.]]""I don't want them," Jacob says, each word careful and emotionless. He turns his book over, setting it face down on the nightstand next to his bed.
Your heart pounds even harder, and you tighten your grip around the bouquet. "I thought they would brighten up your room."
"Abbott," he says, his voice strained, "what do you [[want]] from me?""What do I want?" You blink at him. "I don't understand the question."
Jacob swallows again. You watch his Adam's apple bob in his throat.
"I mean," he says, "why are you doing this? I don't understand - why would you bring Austin back here? I didn't ask you to do that. I don't - I don't even know how you knew where Austin was."
This argument again. It's all you can do to keep from rolling your eyes. To distract yourself, you take the flowers out of the full vase on the windowsill and throw them in the trashcan, replacing them with your own bouquet while you talk.
"You know why I did it," you say. "I love you, Jacob. I want you to be happy. I know how stressful it is for you, with Austin in Colorado, where you can't protect him. I know how much you wish he'd come home, so I arranged for him to be brought back to Havenwood."
"You [[love]] me?" Jacob asks incredulously.
You look over your shoulder at him as you arrange the bouquet in the vase. "Is that so hard to believe?"
"Abbott," he says, "we hardly know each other. I don't think you know enough about me to say you [[love|love2]] me.""Don't be silly," you tell him.
You finish fixing the flowers and turn around, leaning up against the windowsill. You try to meet Jacob's gaze, but he keeps sliding his eyes away from yours.
[["Why did you come here?" he asks.|why did you come here]]You've watched Jacob sleep in his bed at home before, of course, but he looks even more vulnerable now than he did then. Just the sight of him ignites something inside of you - like you want to kiss him, or like you want to suffocate him, watch the light go out of his eyes. You aren't sure [[which]].You aren't sure when you started getting such violent urges, either. Maybe you've [[always|step out.]] had them."For an apology," you say automatically.
But that isn't quite right. You wanted to come here to apologize to him, and not the other way around - [[didn't you?]]Although, come to think of it, Jacob is the one who really should be apologizing for how rudely he acted when you told him Austin was coming home. Yelling at you, trying to throw you out of his office when he should have been showing you nothing but gratitude. You'd love Jacob no matter what, of course, but you did pay a considerable amount to secure Austin an escort from Antlers to Havenwood. A "thank you" [[would have been nice.]]"An apology?" Jacob asks dumbly.
"Yes," you say, folding your hands together in front of you. "I think you [[owe me one]].""I owe you an apology?" Jacob asks. He looks more angry than afraid, now, which is a shame - anger isn't very becoming on him.
"Yes, I think so," you say.
"I don't owe you anything." Jacob tries to sit up farther in the bed, but a twinge of pain crosses his face, and he goes still again. "I never asked you to pay a bunch of - of fucking mercenaries to go and get Austin -"
"That was the point," you tell him. You hate to sound condescending, but sometimes it really does feel like you're talking to a child who refuses to understand. "When you love someone, you make nice surprises for them. You do things before they have to ask."
"I never would have asked you, or anyone else, to do that!" Jacob snaps. "Austin is an adult, and he'll come home whenever he [[wants to]]! No one else gets to decide that for him!""But wouldn't you be happier if he was at home with you?" you ask.
"That isn't [[the point]]," Jacob says."But it's true. You would be happier if Austin was home."
"I would be...significantly less stressed, if Austin came home," he says. You can tell that he's choosing his words even more carefully than before, even though no one but you is here to hear them. "But Austin would be miserable, and knowing that he was so miserable wouldn't make me happy at all. There's a lot more [[nuance]] - you can't just solve my problems by dragging Austin back here.""I don't know why you couldn't have just told me that in the first place, instead of yelling," you say. "Maybe if you had controlled yourself a little, I wouldn't have had to [[attack you|stabbed you]] in the first place.""Abbott," Jacob says, "I'm very tired, and I would like you to [[leave]]."You check your watch. You're well under the time you allotted for your visit with Jacob, but part of you expected that this would happen. No matter. You can allot the extra free time for packing up your apartment. And you'll see Jacob again soon, after this has all blown over. He'll probably be a little more willing to see things your way once he's had some time to think.
"You still haven't [[apologized]]," you point out to him.[["I don't know what I have to be sorry for," he says.]]Your hands clench into fists, your nails biting into the soft flesh of your palms. It would be so easy to kill him, right now. To smother him with a pillow, or puncture his IV drip. You could smash his face in with the flower vase, flatten his nose, wedge the glass shards in his pale, pretty cheeks.
But you [[won't.]][[Not unless push comes to shove.]]You'll give him time first, to see how he overreacted. To see why you had to stab him, to teach him a lesson.
[[He'll come around.]]"Fine," you say, and try to mean it. "That's fine. I'll [[see you soon]], Jacob."[[Jacob says nothing.]]END