Julian could see the heat rising up in his veins, his fist closed to tight his knuckles turned white, an almost forgotten rage threatening to spill like a broken dam; yet in the middle of that sudden darkness, like many other times, Jesse was his very own beam of light; this time it was his voice, the pleading sound on it that made him snap out of that temporary trance he seemed to have slipped in. Julian’s body deflated, his hands falling on both sides of his body as he breathed deeply, then he covered his face and turned his back to Jesse so that he couldn’t see him, while under the edge of his palms tears ran down freely. “I could’ve killed Blaine… Oh god… I’m such a shit…. Oh god…” Bit by bit, his anger broke down in sheer despair. “I do what I do.. because it keeps you safe. The day I stop… You know what will happen. And if you die… I won’t survive. I can’t keep on living without you…” His words were muffled by the hands on his face.
Jesse walked up cautiously behind him, wrapping an arm tightly around him, “don’t say that. You’re not shit. You didn’t want to kill Blaine. And you didn’t kill him. He’s still alive. He misses his best friend. I know you do everything to protect me. That’s what makes you a good person, Julian. It doesn’t matter what you do, deep down you are still that person you are with me. And when this is all over and the Death Eaters are destroyed, you’ll be free.” He might sound especially hopeful, probably too optimistic for the circumstances but he truly believed that there was at least a small chance that maybe, just maybe, they could defeat them. “I’m not asking you to stop. You do what you need to, and I do what I need to. But you could join me. Not officially. I just… if you can tell me anything I can pass on that might save someone, they’ll be more likely to only stun you like they said they would… if it comes to that.” He carefully moved Julian’s hands from his face so he could replace them with his own, “I understand if you can’t. And that’s okay. And if you can’t trust me again, then I understand that too. But I needed to do it. If there’s even the smallest chance it would prevent anyone attempting to kill you, then I had to take it. Because I couldn’t keep on living without you either.”
His eyes looked like they were about to pop out of their sockets, wide and rage like he hadn’t felt in a while ran through his veins like wildfire. “You did what?! YOU JOINED THE ORDER?! You stupid motherf— ugh!!” He grabbed his own hair and pulled it tight as he walked away, the veins on his neck thumping wiId. “Why… How… Wh— oh shit, oh shit…” His fingers tapped his scalp, as if he could pull an idea out of thin air to help clear things up; he looked at him with narrowedd eyes. “If you really think those weaklinks friends of yours can bring me down, you really think low of me sweetheart.” His voice sounded like a low growl.
"Why?" Jesse asked, his voice teetering on the edge of anger now, "why do you think. It’s not fair that you’re allowed to fucking be apart of the Death Eaters and I’m supposed to what, do nothing about it? When I’m doing things for the Order I feel like I’m doing something right. And I will not let you take that away from me, or tell me I can’t do that. I saved Blaine’s life and I saved you from having to kill him. So you’re welcome, by the way.” Julian’s next words scared him though and he stood up, walking away from him, “If the Order was so weak, they’d be destroyed by now. But they’re not. Because your friends can’t. What the fuck are you saying? You sound… you don’t like sound like you. You are not one of them, Julian. You may have the mark that says you are, but you’re not. Don’t start talking like them when it’s just us. Please.”
The crease of his brow was so high, it reached his hairline; he put the bottle down and took a step closer to the man, his hands raised up a bit as of he needed to do that to try and comprehend what he had just heard. “Hold the fuck on… What did you just say?” He walked up to him and grabbed him by both arms. “What did you do, Jesse? What the fuck did you do?” He shook him up a bit, a strange rage boiling through his veins. “What did you do?!”
Jesse jumped when Julian grabbed his arms harshly and he looked up at him steadily, “you’re hurting me.” He pulled himself out of Julian’s grip then shook his head, “I did what I had to do. What one of us had to do. Do you really think Blaine just happened to disappear when they asked you to kill him? No. I told him. I wasn’t going to let them make you chose between killing him or them killing me. And don’t be too surprised. I figured out that’s what they threatened you with ages ago.” He held his gaze firmly, his voice quiet and not at all threatening, “and if you’re risking your life for me then you can damn well be sure I’m doing the same for you. And if that meant joining the Order then so be it. At least I know they won’t attack you if it comes down to a final battle. Unless you attack them first,” he looked away, “if you do that, then … I guess my being apart of the Order will not have saved you. But at least I tried. And if they kill you then I really don’t care what happens to me. Because you are everything to me.”
Julian snatched the bottle from Jesse’s hands and once again walked away from him. “Hey, you said you wanted to talk, then talk. I told you there was no Vow involved so go ahead. Ask what you want to know. And let me be the judge of what I will or won’t tell you. Because if you think that just by looking all cute andd pouty I’m gonna spill things that are not meant to, you’re sadly mistaken, St. James.” He looked menacing as he looked at him. “You have no idea of the things I’m capable of, and believe me, you’re better off not knowing.” He frowned. “Wait… You said we’re both guilty of secrecies.. What does that m— You have secrets too, huh? Who knew? The almighty saint St. James has a skeleton in the closet!” He raised the bottle. “Cheers to that.”
Jesse couldn’t deny that the way Julian looked now was scaring him a little. He’d never seen him look so angry, never seen him look so… dangerous. But he took a breath because he wasn’t going to back down that easily. Not now. Not when that could mean everything getting worse. “Well, maybe you don’t know what I’m capable off,” he snapped back, “I know what the Death Eaters do. It is not hard to guess what you might be doing. But you have no idea what I would do. You are not the only one in this relationship risking their life right now.” He paused, then realised what he’d said, “fuck.” He sat down, resting his face in his hands, his body shaking slightly, “of course I have fucking secrets, Julian.” He looked up at him, “do you really think I can just sit by and watch them control you and hurt you without at least trying to do something?”
Julian was about to press his lips on Jesse’s neck, to add one more mark to the countless ones for which his fiancé had to use magic to cover them up more than once, but when he said that a frown came upon his face and he pulled back. “Is that what you think I do? Very well, how about we talk about it now, and just forget about the ‘covering up sex’, huh?” He made air quotes when he said those words and stepped away from Jesse, then he headed to the mini bar that was on one side of the living room. “If you have anything to say, pleeeease, just say it, Jesse. Take that weight off your minf before you have to have yet another mindless fuck with me.” The lid of the whiskey bottle hit the counter a little louder than intended.
Jesse swore under his breath when Julian pulled away, “I didn’t say it was just you! We’re both guilty of it, so you can’t pretend you aren’t anymore than I can.” But they Julian was walking away and Jesse tried to grab his arm but it was too late and he sighed, head thudding against the wall, “they’re not fucking mindless fucks. But fine. Fine. You want to do this now? Let’s do this now.” He took the bottle from Julian before he could do anything and took a mouthful, before passing it back to him. “I can’t handle the secrets much longer, Julian. I love you but I’m worried, no I’m fucking terrified, that half our relationship is about lying to each other about things.”
Julian’s heart clenched when he saw the apologetic look on Jesse’s face, the way his face filled with terror at the idea of his own peril, and it made him feel bad. Bad about the things he did, bad about the things he couldn’t tell Jesse but for his own sake, bad for not being able to see his fiancé eye to eye about certain things. He reached out and took Jesse’s hands, then pulled him closer to himself, making their foreheads to rest together. “Hey, hey.. shh… Don’t panic. I’m not bound by the Vow. Not yet, so don’t worry. But whatever I don’t tell you, it is for your own good, babe. You know that, don’t you?” You’re my love and my life, and I would do anything to keep you safe. Anything.”
He held Jesse’s face with both hands and placed a single kiss on the man’s lips, but that single touch made his whole body to spark alive. Maybe it was because he was so damn tired about the things he did, about being a Death Eater practically against his will, or maybe it was imply because he missed the warmth of the man’s skin against his own; but whatever it was, the gentle touch quickly turned into a deep, rough one, his fingers grabbing the back of Jesse’s neck as he pried the man’s lips with his tongue and twirled it around Jesse’s wantonly, his fngers now pulling on the short curls on his neck as he brought their bodies a lot closer. “Make me forget… Just for tonight… Make me forget, babe…”
Jesse wanted to say that while he knew Julian didn’t tell him things for good reasons, that wasn’t his decision to make. He wasn’t the only person on Earth and being apart of the Order had only made him realise that more. That other people’s lives were being torn apart and it wasn’t fair to them, anymore than it would be if something happened to Julian. And he just wished Julian would tell him more so maybe, just maybe he could tell someone to avoid something and their family wouldn’t have to go through anything. Because the amount of loss he’d already seen was enough.
But then Julian was kissing him and his body melted into his touch. He returnd the kiss, his arms twining around Julian’s body to hold him close but they he swallowed and looked into his eyes, “we need to talk. We can’t keep covering up the problems with sex.” He sighed, kissing Julian softly, “just… just promise me we’ll talk later. Please?”
Julian dried his hands off with a cloth and tossed it on the counter. “Do you seriously believe I’m the only Death Eater currently working at the Ministry? There are plenty there that are just as good at keeping appearances, like you say…” He sighed and leaned his small back against the counter. “But it’s not like I can get a sick day or anything… They summon you, you show up.” He practically flashed the Mark on his arm to him. “It’s as simple as that. And believe me, getting called hurts like a bitch” He shook his head and looked down, then ran his fingers down his hair. “No. You’re okay. I’m making sure that you are okay. Don’t worry.” He looked back up up, the frown on his face now evident. “What do you mean would I even tell you…? You really think that I would put you in harm’s way if I knew something was coming to you?” He stood up straight, arms crossed. “I guess you still believe that I would sell you out in the end.”
Jesse shrugged, “doesn’t that look suspicious? If suddenly a bunch of ministry workers just all leave early reguarly?” He flinched when Julian showed him his dark mark because although he was fairly used to seeing it, he tended to pretend like it wasn’t there. When Julian was showing him it was so much more real. And when he mentioned it hurt. And no matter what Julian had done, no matter what he would do, the one thing Jesse knew is that he never wanted him hurt or in pain but he couldn’t do a damn thing to stop it.
He immediately felt guilty when Julian replied and had the grace to look it, “I didn’t mean …” He sighed, “I guess it did sound like I meant that. But I don’t think that. I just mean plans and things that might not have anything to do with me but what if they’re planning an attack on New York and I wasn’t planing to be in the city that day. Would you tell me? What if I ended up going into the city? If I thought you would sell me out willingly, we wouldn’t still be together.” He looked him in the eye, “I still trust you with my life, Julian. I just … I just wonder how much you could even tell me with the,” he waved at Julian’s arm vaguely. “I know it summons you but how do I know it doesn’t have other uses too? You could be bound by an unbreakable vow not to say things.” He looked horrified for a moment, remembering what happens if you break an unbreakable vow, “oh god, if you’re bound by an unbreakable vow then don’t say anything.”
Julian raised a brow at him when he mentioned the rehearsal was cancelled, then shrugged. “That’s too bad. Still, I’m looking forward to see the play, whenever it’s postponed to” He shook his head as he took one more bite. “Not for me. Order for yourself if you like, I don’t think I’m going to eat anything else.” He put the fork down and sighed. “It’s not… the Ministry perse. Well, it is… but it isn’t all there is. Things had just been going crazy lately.” He grabbed the plate and took it to the sink. “I can’t take a day off. I got a lot to do.”
Jesse gave a short nod, “yes. I know. Like I said, I’ll try to see if there are tickets.” He mentally scolded himself for the way he sounded when saying that, and he knew he needed to find a solution. He walked over to the freezer and started rummaging through until he found a frozen meal. They didn’t often order meals to the house since the reason they bought it sort of had to do with privacy and certain people not knowing how to find them (though Jesse honestly wasn’t sure how true that held up now. He doubted they didn’t know where Julian lived anymore). And he certainly wasn’t planning on going out to get tea now, so a frozen microwave meal it was.
He couldn’t help but snort at Julian’s words about it not being the ministry, “no shit, Jules.” He rubbed a hand against his face tiredly, “I’m not an idiot. We’ve talked about it before. But they can’t fucking expect you to be with them every second of every day. How would you keep up appearances at the ministry? Surely there are days that you’re not doing things. You need sleep.” He paused, then cautiously added (hoping he wasn’t sounding too obvious though Julian had always been the one person in the world that could read Jesse best and that fact always scared him with their lives the way they were), “is there anywhere I should be avoiding? Anyone? Anything in general? … would you even tell me if there was?”
"I just needed some air, is that wrong?" he asked, as he filled the bowl woth water and placed on the floor for Zeus to drink from. "Yeah, I’m sorry… Time went away, I suppose. Kinda happens." He shrugged, then picked up his frozen lunch and placed it on the counter, grabbed his wand and pointed at it, heating it up, without him having to say any spell. "Smells good" He practically was dragging his feet as he took the plate to the table and sat down. "How was rehearsal?" He rubbed his eyes a bit, already tired and sleepy as he was, though the dark bags under his eyes left room for no doubt about his lack of sleep.
"I didn’t say it was wrong," Jesse replied, "I just said I was worried. I’m allowed to be worried with all the shit going on." He looked over at Julian from the couch he was sitting on and shrugged, "it’s a warm chicken salad. I didn’t know it’d end up being dinner. Did you want me to get something for dinner later, or is that good? I’ll have to figure out something to eat for myself. I ate lunch hours ago." He stood up and walked over to the table, sitting opposite Julian. "It was fine. Stressful. They might need to postpone the show," he lied, then had a better look at Julian, "are you okay? You just… you look worn out. Maybe you should call in sick for the ministry tomorrow and I can handle the shop if you need a day off to sleep."
Julian took a long and deep breath at the ocean breeze that hit his face like the waves hit the beach; as the day came to an end, the tide was rising and the force with which that happened grew stronger by the minute, but it was all echoes in his brain to him; his mind was focused in something else, so many other things. He had said goodbye to Jesse a while ago and had apparated on a secluded spot on the beach in which he always came up, not to draw anyone’s attention to him. He and Zeus walked and walked, until he actually forgot how far from home he was.
Or maybe, in some subconscious level, he knew. Ever since becoming an active asset amongst the Death Eaters, his life had changed completely, and not in a good way. Everything in it had turned upside down, including his relationship with Jesse, which he felt was dangling dangerously from a delicate thread. And the fact they had threatened him with killing the love of his life if he didn’t meet their demands was turning his brain into an unstable mess, and that, in Julian’s case, was never a good thing.
As the night fell, he decided that it was time to go back, and Zeus’ yapping, maybe with hunger and thirst, also told him that. He took the dog carefully in his arms and kissed his head and stroked gently, then headed to a place behind a sort of rock wall, there he vanished and apparated on the backyard of their house. He put Zeus on the ground and the small dog ran through his doggie door before he entered the house, and Julian took a deep breath before he turned the knob and entered himself. “Jesse? I’m back.” he simply announced as he took his shoes off at the threshold and pushed them aside before closing the door behind him.
When Julian didn’t come back for a few hours, Jesse sighed and covered the lunch he’d made with some cling wrap and placed it in the fridge before attempting to keep himself busy with tidying the house and reading. He knew Julian was just going for a walk, and that he needed time to himself but as night started to fall, he started to get a little concerned. He was nearly always worried where Julian was involved though. Jesse knew that with what was going on in the world, anything could wrong in a single instant and nothing would be the same.
Jesse heard the doggie door flap first and turned to smile at the dog that ran up to greet him, “hey baby. Did Daddy take you on a walk?” He picked up Zeus and gave him a kiss before placing him down and watching him run off to grab one of his toys. He turned to Julian with a slight nod when he spoke, “your lunch is in the fridge. Although I guess it’s kind of past lunch now.” He paused, before looking down at the floor and spoke quietly, “I was getting worried. I’m glad you’re home.”