britomarts: (gangsey)
[personal profile] britomarts
this was going to be for trcshipswap but i ended up running out of time to write it, and then running out of steam. the main idea is that this is a trc au where everyone's roles (mirror, dreamer, explorer, ghost, magician) are moved around. blue is the dreamer, ronan is the magician, adam is the mirror, gansey is the ghost, and noah's the explorer. unfinished.


It was fitting to do the ritual in Cabeswater, near the remains of the Camaro.

That was where Gansey’s presence was the strongest—not near his body, buried on the ley line near the old church where Adam had first seen Ronan’s spirit, not in Gansey’s old dorm room or his childhood home. It was where Noah had found Gansey’s journal, stuffed to the brim with notes about a search for a sleeping Welsh king. It was where Gansey felt the most Gansey, even without Adam’s fortifying presence to help him be visible.

It was where the body that Blue dreamt for Gansey rested, peaceful and untouchable in the serene light of Cabeswater. There was no broken cheek on this body, a fact that Gansey seemed to note immediately, his hand drifting to his own caved-in face. “I’m not sure this is a good idea,” he said.

His voice was like a recording of a recording, like vinyl moved to a cassette. It didn’t escape Blue that by pulling the body from her dreams, she’d weakened him. She reached out, offering him her hand, and Gansey took it, his touch barely more than the memory of one. “You don’t have to do this,” she said, her voice kind. “We love you the way that you are.” But he deserved to be alive. He deserved to gain the life that was so brutally taken from him, and Blue could give him that chance.

Gansey looked from her to Noah, who couldn’t stop staring at the body stretched out on the soft grass. “You’re sure it won’t hurt Noah?” Noah looked up sharply, and Gansey clarified. “Cabeswater traded my life for yours. I don’t—I don’t want to have it trade back.” I don’t want you to die again. The words went unspoken, but the memory of Noah bleeding out on the ground of Cabeswater was fresh in all of their minds.

“It won’t.” Ronan said it with such a certainty that Blue knew Cabeswater must have confirmed it to him.

Gansey nodded, and then he was sitting on the ground next to the body, his hand hovering over its chest. There was an anxious line between his eyes that Blue wanted to reach out and smooth, but she was positive her hand would go through him. “You have to say it,” she said, and she heard Noah sigh softly behind her as he took her hand.

Gansey gave her a smile, the kind he reserved for her, for Noah, and said, “Excelsior.”

He touched a hand to the body’s chest and disappeared.

---

The world was bright and blurry when Gansey opened his eyes.

A person leaned over him—a girl, he thought, judging by the smell of wildflowers that came with her—and reached a hand toward him. “Gansey?” Definitely a girl, though the voice was unfamiliar. “Gansey, can you hear me?”

His limbs were heavy, like he’d been asleep for so long that he was no longer in tune with them. He accepted the girl’s hand and allowed himself to be tugged into a seated position. “I can’t see,” he said, squinting.

“Glasses,” another voice said, and then a pair of them—his, he noted gratefully, though they were cracked on one side—were pressed into his other hand. Gansey let go of the girl and slipped the glasses onto his face, sighing with relief when the world came into focus.

The visual clarity did not explain where he was, or who the people around him were.

One of the boys knelt down next to him. “Gansey? Are you okay?”

“I don’t—” Gansey cleared his throat, looking between the boy’s face and the girl’s. “I’m sorry, I’m not sure where I am.”

“Jesus.” This came from a tall, tattooed boy, who turned on his heel and stormed off. The other boy sighed and followed him, calling, “Lynch!”

The boy in front of Gansey reached out, putting a hand on his shoulder, and Gansey flinched, scrambling backward. His back hit something solid, and he turned, immediately comforted by the familiar presence of his Camaro. The comfort didn’t last long—the door was dented to hell, and someone had written murdered over and over on the window, which was just on the right side of terrifying to send Gansey over the edge.

The boy sat back on his heels, exchanging a wordless conversation with the girl, and then looked back to him. “Gansey, what’s the last thing you remember?”

Gansey searched his memory—there was a gap there that he could feel, but couldn’t see into. The last thing he remembered—it was standing in this spot, waiting for Whelk to get the telescope out of the car. It was looking up into stars, brighter and closer than they ever had been. It was the sudden, electric pain of his face caving in.

Gansey gasped at the shock of it, his throat tight, and the world went black around him.

---


“Fucking magic,” Ronan said. He hadn’t stopped pacing since they’d gotten back to Fox Way, and Adam wasn’t going to ask him to. Anything was a better alternative to Ronan putting his fist through the wall. Anything was better than Adam giving in and standing in front of him, forcing Ronan to look him in the face and talk about the kiss that would’ve happened in Cabeswater, if Adam was a person who could be kissed. “This is fucking bullshit.”

“He’s alive,” Noah said, which was largely unhelpful, given the situation.

“Because you died, you fucking dick,” Ronan said, sending him a poisonous look.

Adam had been trying not to think about that—Noah dropping to the ground, blood pouring from the hole in his stomach, Blue screaming and fighting against Adam’s hold on her, trying to run to him. They’d been lucky, that Glendower had been able to restore him. They’d been lucky that Glendower had existed at all.

“I’m fine,” Noah said, but Adam saw how his hand drifted to his stomach without his seeming to notice. “And it’s not like I meant to die, but it worked out okay, didn’t it?”

Noah’s death had released the part of Gansey’s soul that had lived inside of him for the past seven years. Blue’s plan, with the dreamt up body, would never have worked without the part of Gansey’s soul that was capable of being alive—of changing, of growing, of not simply decaying and reflecting.

Blue had been silent up to that point, her hands idly playing in Noah’s hair, but now she looked up. “I didn’t dream him back like this,” she said. “It has to be Cabeswater’s doing. Maybe Glendower’s. There’s always consequences to magic like this.”

“Reciprocity,” Adam said. Blue caught his eye and nodded. This would be the point where Gansey would point approvingly, excited like a teacher doting on their favored pupils, if Gansey knew who any of them were.
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