Title: Help Me See
Author: Camberleigh Fauconbridge
Rating: PG - 13 / T
Summary: AU. Judas didn't know what Mary meant to them, really. He loved her and he hated her, and he couldn't figure it out. Judas/Mary. Oneshot.
Disclaimer: Jesus Christ Superstar is the property of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, all of the casts and all of the creative teams that have produced any production of Jesus Christ Superstar. No money is being made off this story, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Judas didn't know what Mary meant to them, really. In the beginning, when Jesus had cast the demons out of her, Mary had been one of those obsessively devoted followers who never left His side. She hardly spoke out at all, and sometimes it was easy to forget she was there. Gradually, though, she grew to be bolder and they grew to accept her, and eventually she became a fixture in His followers.
Judas himself had always had a somewhat uneasy acquaintance with Mary. Initially, he thought it was because she was a prostitute, and as one of His followers he thought it wrong to associate with her; the pupils of the greatest rabbi in Israel— hell, the pupils of any rabbi shouldn't consort with that kind of woman, however reformed she claimed to be. Now, however, he knew better.
The real reason, however much he wanted to deny or fight it, was that he was attracted to her, for some strange reason. He didn't want to be, he knew that it was wrong, but he couldn't help it.
Did she know how he felt? He wasn't certain. He never said a word to her about it, for they all had far more important things to focus on than emotions— fleeting, stupid things that vanished upon death— especially when they were following Him. But she wasn't entirely averse to his presence like some of the others, and they occasionally traded cynical spars back and forth. Perhaps she did, perhaps she didn't.
But if Jesus knew anything, He said nothing, and continued to treat both Judas and Mary the same as He always had. Judas felt certain that something would be said, at least— if not by Jesus, then by the others— because they were traveling with no guarantee of separate sleeping quarters for the sexes and there was the opportunity for... misconduct inappropriate for a disciple to engage in, as some would say. Nothing happened, and he clung to the fact that nothing would, but the chance was there.
But all of a sudden, Mary began to drift away. She would disappear for days on end, sometimes not accompanying them on journeys. Judas couldn't understand it; was her devotion waning? And why did he care? He wasn't supposed to— she was just another one of Jesus' followers, no different than Simon Peter or Matthew or James.
But she was. She was so much more different from the rest of the disciples, and he hated her for it. He loved her and he hated her, and he couldn't figure it out.
Coming to the Temple only days before Passover, Judas considered— as he was making his way through the crowd to the Court of the Gentiles, so it was too late to turn back— was a bad idea; you were lucky to even see the Huldah gates. But if Jesus wanted them to be here, wanted to be here Himself, His reasoning was good enough.
Jesus and the disciples— once again, Mary was conspicuously absent— had arrived at the Temple together, but somehow Judas found himself separated. The separation was actually a welcome change, for he had time to think about what on earth he was going to say to Mary when he saw her next. After what seemed like hours, he finally reached the Huldah gates, his head pounding from the noise of the crowd and the scent of so many unwashed bodies crammed into a confined space; he looked forward to when they would be out of Jerusalem.
He hadn't known what to expect from the Court of the Gentiles, but this was nothing like what he had imagined.
The Court was filled with trading stalls. Vendors and their temporary stands were scattered all over the Court, selling anything from food to sacrificial animals to souvenirs. Occupying almost an entire wall was stalls for the money changers, who probably saw more Roman and Tyrian money than half of Jerusalem. There were what looked like tours swarming the place, and one could easily the white turbans of the priests scattered amongst the crowd. Worst of all, however, was a stage-like structure against one wall, with a large group of men (and a few women) in front. He almost dismissed it as one of the Roman pagan dramas that had the audacity to perform in the Temple itself, until he caught what the crier at the edge of the stage was announcing.
It was a display of prostitutes.
The money changers and the pagan dramas were one thing. But to have prostitutes— to have sexual favors being traded back and forth— in a place that was supposed to be good and holy and honoring to YHWH was going too far. Judas looked around the room for Jesus, to see if they really needed to stay here any longer, but he didn't see Him or any of the other disciples. But if no one was telling him to stay, there was no need to; he would explain his reasons once he met up with the disciples and Jesus again. He turned around and began pushing his way back towards the Huldah gates, but the crier's voice wove its way into his ear, however hard he tried to ignore it.
"Step up, to see the crown jewel of today's showing! Previously possessed by demons and cured by the Nazarene rabbi Jesus Christ, but she can still give you one hell of a night!"
It was Mary.
Something snapped inside him, and he began pushing his way through the crowd to the stage, to drag Mary off the stage, out of the Temple entirely, and get an answer. It took longer than he thought, and during the precious seconds spent going towards the stage the crier had already helped Mary from the stage to the floor and began all but parading her in front of the crowd.
Finally— finally— he made it to the stage. Mary sat on the edge of a table, and was now dressed in only her kethoneth, her simlah now a pool of fabric on the floor. The sight of her smooth skin made him flush slightly, but he did his best to ignore it. You should have thought about this more clearly; what exactly are you planning to do? But he didn't have time to plan anything, for the crier saw him, saw the turmoil that must have shown on his face, and grabbed his arm to pull him forward. Judas, caught unawares, stumbled and grabbed the edge of the table to steady himself.
"Ah, we have our first… bidder, of sorts," said the crier. "Careful, son, she's a hellcat! I'm sure she'll enjoy a fresh-faced youth like you before she gets all the patriarchs! No offense to present company," he added as an afterthought to the crowd. No one seemed particularly bothered.
"No, I don't—"
"Oh, of course you do! Who could say no to this lovely vision of sin?"
He refused to be dragged into this. He wrenched his arm out of the crier's grasp and reached for Mary. "Mary, let's go—"
But the crier saw an opportunity, it seemed, for Judas found himself bodily shoved against the table, and consequently Mary. He heard the crier, behind him, saying to the crowd, "We can all use a little help in getting what we want, can't we?", and the crowd laughing, but all he could see was Mary's pale, pale face, humiliation and something else that he couldn't make out in her eyes.
He started to back away— "Mary, come on"— but Mary hesitated, wove her fingers into his hair, and pulled him forward until her lips were pressed against his. For a moment he didn't think, at all— despite himself he'd wondered what it would be like, to kiss her— but then he remembered and jerked away. He choked out: "No— no, we can't—"
"Just go along with it," Mary hissed, her long hair spilling onto the table surface like a waterfall, her hands working his simlah over his shoulders. You can't do this, and especially not here— but the logical part of his mind seemed to have vanished, and he only resisted half-heartedly, and his simlah was nearly off before he realized that the Court was nearly silent.
He looked over his shoulder to see Jesus, standing in the middle of the Court and looking at Judas and Mary.
Jesus looked sad. Not disappointed, not judgmental, but sad; sad that even with all His teachings, this (Judas didn't quite know what to call what he and Mary were doing) had ensnared two of His followers.
Judas' face burned with shame, and he dimly heard the silence breaking and Jesus' voice rising above the clamor of the crowd, but he paid it no attention. He blindly shoved his simlah back over his shoulders, trying to ignore what he had seen in Jesus' eyes, and shoved his way out of the Temple. Yes, he should be a gentleman and help Mary return to a state of decency; yes, he should stay with Jesus and assist Him with what He was doing, along with the other disciples— but he couldn't make himself stay.
"We shouldn't have done that," said Mary.
It was several hours after The Incident In The Temple. Jesus, after causing justified havoc in the Temple, had taken the disciples, and Mary, to yet another house owned by someone extending charity. The entire meal had been tense, and all the other disciples, after trying and failing to get the full story out of Judas— and no one dared ask Mary— had mostly ignored him. The moment the meal was over Mary had left the upper room, to, she said, get some air; Judas had followed her, fully aware that every single person— excluding the host, who didn't know the situation, and Jesus, because He hadn't said a word to either Judas or Mary about what had happened— was staring and coming to conclusions. He found he didn't care.
He had found Mary in a dusty alley, a ways from the host's dwelling. She stood with her back against the mud bricks, staring at a point on the opposite wall, and she didn't turn her head to look at him as he approached.
"May I… stand with you?" he had said awkwardly. Mary had shrugged, but she hadn't refused, so he stood beside her and tried to focus on an indent in one of the bricks. It was difficult.
We shouldn't have done that, she had just said. Judas found himself confused.
"There's no denying that," he began carefully. He was unsure of how to continue. "But… if you say we shouldn't have done… whatever it is we did—"
"Almost had sex."
"Uh… well, I— I guess, but— but the point is that if you say that, then why did… tell me to go along with it? Why were you there in the first place?"
She didn't say anything for several moments.
"I needed money, all right?" she finally said.
"Why didn't you stay with us? That way you wouldn't need to earn money—"
"Some of us haven't grown up being guaranteed three meals a day," she snapped. "Some of us can't depend on the fact that we'll have enough money to get through a month—"
"I grew up in the middle of Judea, I wasn't wealthy like you accuse me as being—"
"Then why do you— why do all of you— look at me like I'm filth? Yes, I sell my body so I don't starve to death, but at least I'm working, and all you do is go around and take charity that you don't even need while you're all saving up enough Tyrian shekels to buy half the Temple but you still look at me like you can't stand me, and— and why wasn't He disappointed in me?"
Her voice was getting dangerously low, as if she was on the verge of impending tears. "Why wasn't He disappointed?" she repeated thickly. "He should have been disappointed— He should have— it would make so much more sense— instead of being sad, which for some reason I don't even understand is worse than being disappointed, and—"
She broke off, and took several, haggard breaths to unsuccessfully attempt to stop the tears seeping out of her eyes. She sunk to the ground in a huddled mass of limbs, and, covering her face with shaking hands, began to cry.
Judas didn't know what to do. For several moments he stood awkwardly, watching Mary and not certain on how to proceed. Then he lowered himself onto the ground beside her; he almost put a hand on her shoulder, but thought better of it and kept to himself. Eventually, she raised her head from her hands, but didn't look at him, instead resuming her blank stare at the opposite wall, her eyes red and her skin damp. She had a freckle beneath her hairline.
"Sorry about that," she said, somewhat hoarsely.
"No, no, it's fine," he replied. "I…" He struggled for the right words. "I felt the same way, when He came in and… saw us. By all rights He should have been angry with us, He should have been disappointed and patronizing. But… He wasn't. I don't understand why He..." Judas sighed, frustrated. "I don't know. It's not exactly easy to understand Him."
Mary laughed bitterly. "You've got that right."
They lapsed into a tired, grey silence. Judas leaned his head back against the brick wall, wearily dreading, in a hazy, exhausted sort of way, what the others would think when he and Mary came back, and then the memory of Mary's soft lips against his and her smooth skin underneath his fingers came rushing back, out of nowhere. She'd made him feel something, something that he didn't quite understand— hell, he couldn't even articulate it in his own head.
He looked at her, confused and trying to find some clarity— though he had no idea if she could give it— and tried to say something, but all that came out was a hoarse whisper of what might have been her name. She turned her head, her hair moving in a way that brought back the waterfall imagery, and her dark eyes looked just as unsure as he felt.
On some strange impulse— was it truly an impulse?— he leaned forward and kissed her, cupping her jaw after a few seconds to keep his balance. This was different, from the kiss in the Temple: this was tentative and not entirely sure where they stood, but this was coming from an actual want, instead of whatever it was that had driven them in the Temple.
Then, suddenly, they were standing up (he didn't know when they had stood, but it didn't matter) and he was pressing her against the wall as gently as he could and they were finding each other's bodies underneath their clothing. Mary's fingertips clung into his shoulder with a pressure just short of pain. When it was through, Mary looked at him through tired eyes, with her mussed, waterfall hair, and she was the one to initiate another careful kiss.
"What are we going to do now?" Mary whispered.
Judas swallowed. "I don't know," he admitted. "I didn't exactly… think that far ahead. Sorry."
She smiled, briefly. "Let's just… I don't know. Figure it out later."
Almost shyly, they stepped apart and properly redressed, and started back to rejoin the others. Judas did not reach for her hand, or anything cliché in that manner— because, he told himself sternly, this wasn't supposed to continue, and it was certainly nothing to become emotionally attached over.
He couldn't quite convince himself.
 Kethoneth: "…an under-tunic corresponding most nearly to our long shirt. The kethoneth appears… as a tight-fitting undergarment, sometimes reaching only to the knee, sometimes to the ankle. In its early form the kethoneth was without sleeves and even left the left shoulder uncovered… In later times, anyone dressed only in the kethoneth was described as naked…" (from Wikipedia).
 Simlah: "The simlah was the heavy outer garment or shawl of various forms. It consisted of a large rectangular piece of rough, heavy woolen material, crudely sewed together so that the front was unstitched and with two openings left for the arms" (also from Wikipedia).