If you care

The door swung open and Strange raised his head. His eyes were red and raw from the dirt and the tears he wasn’t even trying to hide and the pain they conveyed was a physical force that caused Grant to stagger as he stepped into the cell.

Title: If you care

Author: solitaryjo

Characters: Colquhoun Grant & Jonathan Strange

Summary: Drabble AU: Grant visits Strange in jail.

Notes: This fic also appears on solitaryjo’s Tumblr blog; you can leave feedback on Tumblr or here, if you prefer!

~*~

The door swung open and Strange raised his head. His eyes were red and raw from the dirt and the tears he wasn’t even trying to hide and the pain they conveyed was a physical force that caused Grant to stagger as he stepped into the cell.

I’m sorry, the words were unspoken but Strange’s intention was clear as he looked down at the puddle on the floor, closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

“No!” Grant lunged forwards, grabbing his arm and pulling him away from the water, “Don’t!”

Strange struggled in his grasp. “It is the only way,” he whispered, his hoarse voice tinged with desperation, “Can you not see? If you care for me at all, you must let me go.”

This almost broke Grant and for a second he wavered, but then he met Strange’s eyes again and the message he saw there was quite different: Stop me. If you truly care for me, you will stop me.

He pulled Strange towards him and held him in a tight embrace. “Merlin. Please. Let me help you.”

The fight seemed to go out of the magician then and he slumped against Grant’s shoulder, his body wracked by deep, gut-wrenching sobs. “I cannot do it, Grant,” he raised his eyes and the anguish was almost tangible, “I cannot live without her.”

To Grant it did not matter that these words cut him to his very heart, nor that he would never be able to give Strange the reason he needed to go on. All he knew was that his Merlin needed him and, in that moment, that was enough.

He took off his greatcoat and draped it around Strange’s trembling body,“Come now,” he guided him gently out of the open door, “let’s get you home.”

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