"Willow! Not so fast," Jem calls out to his childhood friend. Willow's black hair falls out of her bun as she runs a little further and her icy blue eyes glisten as she giggles.
"Hurry up slowpoke!" Willow giggles and runs faster with the skirt of her dress in her hands. Jem sighs and speeds up to keep the pace. The sweet smell of her hair on the wind brings a smile to his face. Jem runs his hand through his silver hair and he follows Willow's every movement with his piercing silver eyes. The sound of his cane, with a golden dragon's head at the top, sounds off in sync with Willow's high heels. Once at the gates of the institute, Jem leans into the gate, panting and using his cane to stand straight. Willow runs over to him and giggles once more. She sways side to side in the sunlight, her dark purple dress glows a little in the sun.
"Come on, Jemmy, we are going to miss lunch," Willow whimpers with a little pout.
"No, we won't. If I know Charlotte, she is waiting," Jem chuckles, straightening and turning to meet her eyes. Of which is hard for him lately, considering their beauty. Willow rolls her eyes before gathering her skirt again and walks to the door.
"Come on, old man," Willow says with the door open for him. Jem chuckles once more, walks over to her, and kisses her cheek.
"Thank you, Willow," Jem whispers and steps inside. Willow remains still with pink cheeks. She blinks in shock before shaking her head to clear her mind. Jem and Willow walk together in small silence. Jessamine comes down the stairs and joins the awkward silence.
"A little lovers quarrel?" Jessamine asks with a smirk.
"We are not lovers!" Willow snaps and walks faster to the dining hall. Jem sighs as he shakes his head and walks with Jessamine.
"Must you pester her like that?" Jem asks.
"Yes, it makes me feel better knowing that Willow feels flustered around you. I am a bit jealous that you two are so much in love and yet I am all alone," Jessamine says. They walk into the dining hall to see that Charlotte is lecturing Willow and Henry about another one of his experiments at the table.
"I keep telling you two that I do not tolerate any experiments at the table when we are having a meal," Charlotte says. Willow giggles and then sits down in her chair across from Jessamine. Jem sits next to Willow with Henry and Charlotte at the ends of the table.
"So, anything new happening soon?" Henry asks to break the silence.
"Jem and Willow's Parabatai ceremony is almost here. Are you two ready?" Charlotte says before taking a sip of her tea. Willow does not respond and Jem drinks his tea quietly.
"It would seem that the two lovers do not want it anymore," Jessamine says. Willow throws a spoonful of jam across the table at Jessamine.
"Willow Herondale!" Charlotte snaps. Jem smiles when Willow shrugs and continues to eat her lunch. This is one of the reasons Jem has fallen so hard for his childhood friend. She was rebellious when the time is right and is like an angel when she needs to be. Willow stands up when she finishes her plate.
"I will be in my room and would like dessert and tea brought up," Willow says. She leaves quickly with a trail of roses behind her, making Jem's heart flutter again.
"She can be a strange child at times," Charlotte sighs.
"I think she reminds me of you at her age," Henry chuckles.
"Please do not start the loving talk and walk down memory lane. It makes me sick at times," Jessamine says. Jem gets up to excuse himself and goes to find Willow. He finds her in the hallway near her room. She is sitting in the hallway outside her door and she is fast asleep. Jem chuckles as he opens her door before picking her up to carry her to her bed. Willow stirs a little, but remains asleep when Jem lays her on her bed. Jem undoes Willow's messy bun and lets her hair form black waves against the pillow. He softly traces her bottom lip with his thumb and fights the urge to kiss her lips, instead he kisses her forehead.
"Next time listen to me when I say we need to be home for breakfast. No more late night hunts for you and no more all night hunts as well for you," Jem whispers. Willow sighs in her sleep and rolls onto her side, curling up against Jem when he sits on the edge of the bed.
Willow hides behind the door, as she stands in the hallway and peeks into Jem's room while he plays his violin like he does everyday around three o'clock in the afternoon. Willow watches his fingers move on the instrument smoothly and she smiles as she watches his tall back move slightly when he moves his bow. She lets out a small sigh as she watches and listens when Jem comes to the end of the song. It was a lovely song that seemed to fit how Willow feels about Jem. She can still remember how she felt when she first met him those years ago. Jem starts to clean up and Willow gasps quietly to make sure Jem does not know she is there. Jem smiles and chuckles a little, he knew she was there because he always knows from just the smell of roses. Her scent of the rose garden she cares for is what lets him know she is there and cares to stay and listen to him play. Jem puts his violin away before he keels over, coughing harshly. He grips his chest as he falls to his knees coughing until he has no air left. Slowly, Jem reaches for the powder box that sits on his bedside table and he holds it close to him before taking it.
Willow runs to her rose garden and plops down on the grassy patch she left. She closes her eyes and imagines Jem playing his violin once more. A smile spreads across her face when she imagines him playing for her and then the two of them dancing. Someone clears their throat and Willow jumps to see a smiling Henry standing by the bushes.
"Hello there, little Willow tree," Henry says happily. Willow smiles and pats the grass next to her to have him join her. Henry sits down and lets out a long breathe. "Did you spy on Jem again while he practiced?"
"Yes, I like hearing him play and I am going to miss it when we become adults," Willow says softly. Ever since she arrived to the institute, Henry has looked over her like a father would. It has become habit that she go to him for anything she would go to see her real father about. Henry touches Willow's cheek and smiles widely at her. The smile is returned back to him on her own face.
"Why don't you tell him how you feel about him, little bird?" Henry asks with his little petname for her. Willow looks away and she sighs softly.
"What if he does not return my feelings for him? What if he only sees me as a friend and only wants to be Parabatai?" Willow asks sadly. Henry hugs her close and kisses the top of her head.
"I have a strong feeling that he shares the same feelings as you," Henry whispers. Willow smiles and nuzzles up against him. Someone walks up behind them and they both look to see Jem standing above them with his beautiful smile that makes Willow's heart stop and melt.
"Charlotte wishes to sees us to discuss the ceremony," Jem says. He has a hint of sadness in his eyes when he mentions the ceremony. Willow and Henry get up and follow Jem back inside to the library where a Silent Brother and Charlotte are waiting for them. Jem and Willow stand close to each other as they hear about the procession of what might change part of their lives.