"No, I’m fine. Devon…"
He almost pushed the hand away, not giving a shit at all about the meaningless minor injuries that the man was so fixated on, but he didn’t. The touch was soothing, anyway, relaxing him again, despite the tears.
But only for a moment.
There were more tears now, other tears, more important and dangerous tears. Tears that William would burn the world down for, just to stop them coming.
"Don’t cry. Please don’t cry."
Finally, he did drop his bags, letting them fall to the floor and slip off his arms in a split moment, both his hands finding Devon’s delicate face, cupping it gently.
are you not proud of me?
Again, he was speechless, his heart freezing over again and threatening to shatter into a million pieces at the look on his love’s face, at the implication of what this meant. Of just how fucked up they’d made him, thinking that he was the one at fault here.
"I swear to God, Devon, no. You didn’t do anything wrong." His voice shook, again, but this time, it was with anger building, threatening to spill, making his eyes go dark and his hands tremble even as they held their treasure ever so gently.
"You know what I’m proud of? I’m proud that you killed him. Cause if he weren’t dead right now I’d have hunted him down and ripped him apart.”
No, you are not fine. You are crying. You are hurt.
But he didn’t say it - couldn’t say it – with the tight, hot, knot in his throat and his trembling lips. He didn’t even know what hurt more – William’s tears or the injuries on his beautiful face or the sharp, stinging memories that threatened to break through their prison of concrete, through the walls he’d built around them from a very early age.
They’d been unapproachable, most of the time. Faint and distant and caged away, where they could do no harm. And whenever Devon had looked back, it had been like he would’ve watched a dangerous animal in a cage from a safe, comforting distance.
There were no dangerous animals left. Not many, at least.
And that cage a lonely boy had built around his memories was made of denial and justifications.
William’s tears were painful and confusing. He still didn’t really understand what caused them or why his future husband was so… agitated. It didn’t make sense.
It was so good he was here, though, good he was back. It felt better now without the bags and with a little room to catch his breath, without stretching and remaining in uncomfortable positions – but a part of the Director even missed the embrace. A part of him wanted to kiss away those tears.
But he couldn’t move, couldn’t act.
Especially not after William’s last words, spoken so harshly and sharply that they made Devon flinch and blink. After that, he was petrified and speechless for a long moment. The tears kept streaming down his face, just as William’s did, almost as if they flowed from the same source.
His voice broke as he tried to talk again.
“Are you? R-really? Why?”
A part of him didn’t like being reminded of what, if he looked at it rationally, could only be classified as murder. He still considered himself a doctor. He had sworn the Hippocratic Oath, ages ago, in a different life. And that’s what he liked to see in himself. Sometimes, he had helped, had rushed the inevitable, to reach his goals and eliminate dangers and barriers and unpleasant people.
But with his father, it had been… personal.
William had shown his approval before, of course. For reasons Devon still didn’t understand fully. He’d been surprised, at first, but calmed quickly. William was the moral instance here. He had kept him from executing his more… radical plans. He had spoken up for morality and ethics and religion as long as Devon knew him. He had convinced him to refrain from forbidding the churches. He had kept him from genetic manipulation of his dogs and soldiers. He had worded doubts about mass executions.
If William approved… it must be right.
But why would he say things like that? Why would he rip Henry Devon apart if he had the chance? He hadn’t even known him.
“Why… would you?”
Clearing his throat, the old justifications ran from his tongue again, easily and fluidly, like a mantra he’d knew better than his name.
“He was… responsible. The tests were necessary. It was only logical. I am… unique. He did what a scientist had to do. And it was… necessary.”
His voice cracked again.
“I simply… wanted… control over my life.”
Both hands tightened their grip only marginally as a shiver ran through his body, threatening to release a sob.
“I am… glad I didn’t do anything wrong.”
"You didn’t, Devon. You didn’t do a damn thing wrong.”
Devon’s words made his blood boil and his heart break. It was obvious, so fucking obvious, that the man still believed what he was saying. Those words weren’t just ingrained. He really hadn’t believed in anything else.
That much, William had already known, from the day they met. Henry Devon had done his work well, after all. He’d left his mark.
His voice cracked as this time, with the name, he thought of their son, the golden child that they both already poured their heart into before he’d even arrived.
For now, he pushed the thought aside. This was far more immediate.
"You took control. You needed it. That was necessary. I promise there’s nothing wrong with that. I’d have done it, too.”
There was, and he knew it - whatever Henry had done, this was still murder they were talking about - but honestly, he didn’t care. He might not have even done the same - he’d been in a bad enough situation of his own, and done nothing - but it was enough, for now, for this, to say so. For Devon, he’d have done it. And he would now, if by some chance the bastard was still alive out there. He would have found him and taught him a lesson or two of his own.
The General would support that decision til the day he died.
For now, he swiped his thumb over the tears on Devon’s cheeks, pulling him close again and pressing the man’s ear to his chest, hoping that this - like it had some other times before - would help soothe him.