"Tell him … tell him I love him."
"I think you'll be able to tell him that yourself soon."
Jensen bit his lower lip and nodded: "But still, please?"
"He knows," he slowly stroked his thumb over Jensen's brow and the other one around Jensen's bellybutton, "trust me. He knows."
There was silence after that. Just the two of them breathing and nothing of it seemed awkward. It felt like it was needed; quiet time to come to terms of what had just happened, of what would happen. Just … silence and Eli talking about coming soon and meeting his daddy. Just those words on a loop …
… daddy, daddy, daddy, soon. Daddy, daddy, daddy, soon …
He smiled and patted Jensen on his stomach, knowing that Eli would take it from here and make his daddy sleepy and tired and hopefully away from any nightmares. And if he could only track whoever lit the incense in the room and told them to light some hyacinth next that would be perfect.
"I'll see myself out." he whispered, not wanting to break the serenity that started to rule the whole room.
"Yes, my Lord?"
"Will you … are you … uh, there when … you know?"
He was confused for a second as to what the Lord wanted to ask, but then he figured it out.
"No. No, that's not what I am. That will be the job of the midwife and the," he tried not to sneer, "women of this house."
"Oh, yeah of course."
The disappointment was clear on Jensen's face, as clear as crystal. And he couldn't blame the man. He was probably scared and his head filled with all the things that would be happening when he'd be giving birth, Gods only knew what the women were telling him would happen. He couldn't blame the Lord for wanting someone else be present. It was always supposed to be the husband's job, to be there, to be a counterweight to all the bossing Jensen would get from the women, but … the Lord was all alone.
He'd be all alone, exposed and vulnerable and with no one there to comfort him, no one there to ease his worries, no one there to hold him.
And Jared didn't wish that upon anyone, especially not upon a man who seemed a bit shy, seemed lost in all of this. Not upon a man who just found out that the child he'd be delivering into the world, would be dead fifteen years from now.
"But, I can come see you. After. I won't be able to talk to Eli, won't be able to hear him anymore, but …"
"I'd like that. You … you can come before too."
Smiling, he said: "No, I'm afraid the women would chase me out of the room."
"I'm the Lord of this house, my word is the law here."
"My Lord, Jensen, with all due respect, you only think so."
"What's that supposed to mean? Is there an uprising going on that ..."
"Oh no, no, nothing like that. It's," he softened his smile "for the last nine months, the law in this house had been your son's word."
He smiled wider when he saw Jensen rub his belly: "Yeah, I guess you're right about that."
"I'll take my leave now," he lifted his hands from Jensen, stood up and walked toward the door, trying to end this as painlessly and quickly as possible, "if there is nothing else."
"I ... " The hesitation on Jensen's face, the tears of pain drying and the utter look of horror, the sight of the man lying broken and small on the huge bed, made him turn around and walk back. Sitting back down, the spot still warm, he placed his hand back on the middle of Jensen's stomach, making the man breathe out a long breath.
"Eli is strong, my lord."
He nodded: "Eli is strong, Jensen. Brave, smart. He will live a ... great life, a life filled with love. He knows that and he cannot wait."
"Even if ..."
"Even if … he isn't scared, Jensen. He doesn't want you to be scared either."
"Very calm, yes. Calm and happy and as brave as your son."
"Yeah ... "
"I love him."
"He knows. He has love for you too, too much to say in words. But he needs you calm and happy and brave."
"Yeah ..." Jensen breathed out and closed his eyes, exhaustion taking over him finally.
But when he'd wake up, all of this would fall upon him like a house made of bricks.
Tomorrow would not be a good day for the Lord. Perhaps he should … come back tomorrow. And the day after that one. Just to make sure things were well.
The women of the House could have a stroke for all he cared. The only thing he needed to be careful with, were the Lord's Knights. If he had any. But assuming he did, they would pose a threat. But not one he couldn't handle.
He'd come back. There would be no harm in that and the Lord needed someone whose touch he didn't refuse. Would even come to … want.
"You take care of your daddy all right Eli, and I'll come back when it'll be time."
A little bump on his hand felt like a promise.
He rose up from the bed again and blew out three candles that were on their way to burning out anyway, making the room stink up with candle smoke, but the honeysuckle would swallow that nasty smell right up and calm Jensen into a deeper sleep.
Perhaps tomorrow he'd bring his own supply of hyacinth. The news the Lord – Jensen – received today would not leave the man's mind in peace for long and nightmares would come. Jensen was still suffering nightmares of his husband dying – and his next mission was to find out how that had happened – and he didn't need any additional lack of sleep.
Eli could only do so much from inside him, the rest was all on Jensen and the people surrounding him. It was on them to keep the Lord relaxed enough so that he wouldn't think much about what would happen in the future, but think about the present and how to raise Eli up, love him and be with him until Eli's dying breath.
Gripping the doorknob again, already preparing himself for what he'd encounter behind the closed door, he turned around and whispered: "I'll be back tomorrow."
Turning the knob to unlatch the door, he heard Jensen's hoarse whisper: "I'll be ready you know? For whatever'll come to take my baby away from me. I'll be ready. I won't let him go."
He let his head fall down, his bangs falling on his closed eyes: "I know, my Lord," he didn't want to say that if disease would come, no sword and no fight would help, "please get some sleep."
The carpet on the hallway's floor was red-brown, the pattern swirling shapes and snake like lines but he couldn't not look at it as he made his way down the hall to the staircase.
The whole time he'd been with Jensen, no one interrupted them; no one knocked, no one barged in, no one came to offer him a drink, no one came to chase him out.
This was bad.
This was really bad, because that meant that someone'd been eavesdropping. Oh, he knew how devious some could be, either out of protection or viciousness, but there was absolutely no way that he'd be just left alone to do his Telling, since the head of the staff wanted to have a word before he'd meet the Lord.
This was bad.
Quickening his step, feeling the dagger in the scabbard he just hoped that he wouldn't have to use it tonight. He just wanted to ride back home and go to sleep until he'd come back tomorrow. And he would come back … he owed that much to Jensen and Eli.
Running down the stairs, the chandeliers still illuminating the whole first floor of the House, he met no one.
Now he just had to get to the Lord's stables, pick up his horse and leave. Perhaps he'd manage to do that unnoticed too, but he doubted it. Houses like these had a lot of ears, a lot of eyes, and a lot of places to hide.
When he finally descended down the staircase, he turned left, going down the main corridor, not the one usually used by the servants. He was no servant and he'd never use any of their ways. The stables were on the left side of the mansion, at least that's where he saw Maira take Flip and he'd probably have to go through the mud room to get there.
That was fine by him; perhaps he'd even find the person who brought the right scents into Jensen's room. He was probably condemning himself into running into someone by doing this, but he was the Teller, and his dagger was sharp.
Sneaking through Houses like these wasn't all that difficult, really. All one had to know was where the staff usually hung out, what time of day it was and how good of a master they had. Jensen was good people, the hour was late enough for most everyone to be asleep and most staff hung out in the kitchen anyway.
The smell of food was what lead him into making a right turn, nearly crashing into a table with his hip and he had to adjust a vase full of roses otherwise it would've fallen down. He didn't mean to break anything in here, more than he already did that was. He was sure he broke something in Jensen when he told him what Eli had said, broken the man into pieces that would never heal themselves again. But there was nothing he could've done. He had to Tell, he couldn't break the trust between him and the child; it was sacred. Magic-born. Magic could not be fooled or broken.
Now if he could just find the mud room, he'd be out of here and on his way to some good sleep.
Usually it wasn't hard to find the mud room, it was never well hid and he knew Jensen loved to ride horses, so the mud room should be close somewhere. There were three doors on the hallway, two on his left side and one on his right and if he made a mistake and chose the wrong one, a door that would lead him into a bee hive so to speak, he would have to run very fast.
So he chose the lonely door on his right.
He chose good.
The mud room wasn't big; just a room to put all the dirty shoes in, coats and riding gear. It smelled of sweaty socks and wet dog hair, the smell making him scrounge up his nose. He could already see the door on the other side of the room, leading outside, into freedom. Just a few feet and he'd be there, breathing in fresh night air and safety but a hand gripped his arm, turning him around and slamming him back to stone wall.
His breath was knocked out of his lungs by the hard impact, but he recovered quickly, gulping in a quick, deep breath, clearing his mind.
A razor-sharp blade was pressed to the delicate skin of his neck, right below his chin, making him raise up his head more unless he wanted to be cut. The blade was almost nicking his skin, the sting of the cut akin to the one he sometimes got while shaving. Nothing he couldn't handle of course, it would be if the blade pressed deeper or slashed across, that he couldn't handle.
He wasn't immortal, he was just … different.
He huffed, angry at himself for not keeping his ears and eyes more open, angry at himself for not watching his own back better. His mother would've had his hide for this. He'd been careless, thought he was home free when he wasn't, oh yes, his mother would've dusted his hide well.
"You will not carry any secrets from this house, Teller."
He rolled his eyes, couldn't stop himself even if he wanted to, because those were words he had really wanted to avoid hearing here. He really just wanted to go home and sleep and come back in the afternoon to visit the Lord and Eli.
Why did they want to kill him? Was what he'd told Jensen really that bad for the House? Didn't they know that he'd never tell a living soul – other than Jensen – what Eli had told him? Gods, people.
He rolled his eyes again and huffed at the man - who was by size at least a head taller than him and by build at least a few pounds heavier and thus stronger. He was too tired to deal with this … this man whose breath smelled like a horse's fart and whose beard had seen better days judging by some leftover dinner it hid in the thick hair.
He raised up his hand, gripped the arm that was holding the knife to his throat and with one swift tug, had the knife away from his neck and the Knight pressed against the stone wall.
So Jensen had Knights, or at least a Knight. Of course. If his parents had been the King's diplomats, of course the King would assign a Knight to Jensen, as payment perhaps. But Jensen wasn't the one who'd send this Knight on him.
Jensen would never be the one who would want to kill him. That much he knew for a fact.
"Who send you?"
He whispered into the man's face, cringing at the bit of food stuck in the man's black beard, and pressed the knife deeper into the exposed throat. He knew that there was no way for the Knight to fight him, one wrong move and the knife would cut deep and cut well.
"You know what?" he lowered his voice into a growl, knowing that his eyes were flashing silver in the low light that was spilling into the room from the open door, because the Knight's eyes were open wide and his mouth even wider in shock, "Never mind."
The knife in his hand was a simple butcher's knife and he felt offended that whoever tried to kill him would use such a barbaric weapon; what ever happened to nice ornamented daggers or a sword that had already seen battle?
The tip of the knife was pressing into the man's chest now, the movement of the knife too fast for the Knight to even comprehend when that happened and he gasped in surprise. He was only wearing a green surcoat, not even a chainmail underneath it. The man obviously came unprepared, probably called upon to come quickly.
He really felt offended by all this. He was a Teller, he at least deserved to be attempted to be killed by someone who would be more … prepared. Skilled.
The King probably send his most idiotic Knight to Ackles' House. The court jester, probably.
And if he was still having doubts before, if he should visit Jensen tomorrow or not, all of this made those doubts go away and cemented his belief that he should most definitely come back tomorrow and all days after that, as long as Jensen would want him here. And Jensen would want him here.
"First of all, Knight, I'm offended that you tried to kill me so very unprepared and second of all, do not make a Teller angry. You would not like a Teller angry."
He slowly pressed the knife through the surcoat and deeper still, until he had to push it through the ribcage and with a quick press, the knife pierced the man's heart.
When blood started spilling out of the open mouth he let the body slump down the wall, leaving a smudge of fresh blood behind.
He placed the bloody knife in his satchel to join the many, many he already had at home and started walking towards the door that was waiting for him on the other side of the room.
When his hand touched the door handle, he all but snarled: "Oh, and woman? You have a girl named Maira on your staff. Punish her for not bringing me to you, and I will kill you. I'll be back tomorrow and the day after that. And the day after that. If I see her harmed in any way, I will kill you. You speak any of this to Jensen, I will kill you. And believe me, I will know if you do any of those things. And I'll be here when Jensen'll go into labor. You try to stop me, I'll kill you. I swear."
A barely there gasp was his only answer and he didn't need to turn around to see an older woman holding one trembling hand before her mouth and the other over he bosom, tears of shock and terror slipping down her face.
He shook his head, not even turning around: "No. I know you love the Lord like he's your son, but he's mine now."
Closing the door behind him, he whispered: "Keep your daddy calm, Eli. I'll be back shortly." and let go of the door handle, walking with long strides to the stables he could see in the distance.
As he galloped down the pebbly road, away from the mansion where in a few hours, all hell would break loose when they'd find the Knight dead and no one would dare say it had been he who had killed him, not unless they all wanted to get their heads on the chopping board simply because they'd confess to assassination, he laughed to himself in happiness. Overwhelming joy.
There'd been one thing he hadn't told Jensen, one thing Eli had begged him not to and as the Teller he was obliged to do as the child wanted.
One. Little. Thing.
That four years from this night, Eli would get a little brother.
With Teller's blood in him.
A/N: I can't control my muse. I can't ... 'm so sorry. :-(