This is a couple of snapshots of Pynch that were meant to be built up into something more. I wrote them write around the time TRK came out. Lots of different takes on the same themes.
Blue curled up on the couch, her head in Gansey’s lap and her feet propped up in Henry’s. The ice pack that Gansey had tenderly applied to her forehead did little to obscure the adoration on her face as she watched Gansey examine Henry’s busted knuckles. Adam caught a bit of a joke that seemed to be about an eyepatch before the three of them dissolved into helpless laughter. As Gansey looked between the two of them, his smile didn’t change.
Interesting, Adam thought.
A few months ago, he would’ve been jealous. Of Blue with Gansey, of Gansey with Blue, of Henry Cheng with either of them. Now, he met Ronan’s eyes across the room, and tipped his head toward the stairs. Ronan knelt down so that Orphan Girl could scramble down from his shoulders, and shooed her off toward the kitchen.
Ronan caught up to Adam at the top of the stairs, his presence solid and real behind him. Only hours ago, Adam had been listening to his choked, dying breaths. Only hours ago, Ronan had held him tightly as Adam’s hands strained to ruin him. It was unreal to be here, in this moment, where Ronan was vivid and beautiful and alive and reaching out to cup Adam’s face, when Adam should have been mourning the death of him, of Gansey, of normalcy, of his newly found happiness, of Ronan, of Ronan, of Ronan.
There was not a reason for Adam to grieve. Everything he’d lost had been returned to him, everything but the magic in his veins. But his stomach bottomed out every time he looked at the vivid bruises on Ronan’s neck. There were so many things he needed to say, so many things he didn’t quite understand yet, but what came out, broken and hoarse, was, “You almost died.” He touched the deepest bruise on Ronan’s neck—a perfect imprint of Adam’s thumb—with a shaking hand. “I almost—”
Ronan tugged him in by a handful of his shirt and held him, tight enough to ground him.
The window of Matthew’s room led out onto a steady, flat section of the roof that easily hid Adam from the view of anyone coming or going from the house. He’d discovered it a few days earlier and filed the information away for future use, and as the living room became more and more crowded with relieved chatter and first aid kits, Adam slipped away.
It was too cold to be up on the roof without a jacket, and Adam huddled down, drawing his knees up to his chest as he shivered and looked out across the Barns. Ronan’s fireflies danced lazily across the fields, tiny pinpricks of light in the otherwise total darkness. Adam closed his eyes, feeling for a connection that he knew was gone. He had traded his magic for Gansey’s life, just as Gansey had traded his life for Ronan’s, for Matthew’s, for Adam’s. Willing life for unwilling life.
It was selfish to miss Cabeswater with that context, but Adam felt the ache of its loss all the same.
The soreness of the day’s events settled into his bones now that the adrenaline had faded. His side and arm ached from where he’d tried to dislodge the knife from his hand. His wrist was swollen and slightly crooked, his knuckles ragged and splintered. The gouges in his cheek were the sort of painful that scarred. Adam had enough practice with pain to tell the difference.
“We’ve gotta talk,” Adam said, sleepiness muddying his accent. The couch was too small for the both of them, really, but it was still bigger than the twin-sized bed in Ronan’s childhood bedroom. Ronan’s shoulder was warm and solid beneath Adam’s forehead, his collarbone tantalizingly close to Adam’s chapped lips.
Ronan grumbled something profanity-laced into Adam’s hair that Adam took to mean about what, and Adam’s mind went through the list of subjects, tumbling over in his mind until nothing seemed separated any more. About the way that being near Ronan made Adam feel, about the daintily-hooved little girl stomping around upstairs, about the end of the lease on Adam’s apartment at St. Agnes, about the time limit on Adam’s full time stay in Henrietta, about Gansey’s death and Gansey’s revival, about Henry Cheng’s entrance into their group, about the quiet disappearance of Noah, about the nights that Ronan spent out on the roof, about the parents who would never come home to Ronan, about the parents that Adam could never go home to.