A LotRO role-player character blog. Yes, I know. Shut up.
A Way: I Didn’t, Did I?
September 20, 2013Posted by on
He turned over and pulled a heavy quilt over his head, and refused to open his eyes. His head and throat ached, his nose was sore, and his face was flushed with fever. It was just a cold, and no real surprise, considering how he’d got soaked to the bone in unnaturally icy water and then overstressed his body with both burden and flight. But for the first time in his life Will resisted being fussed over during one of the rare times he was ever ill. This time he didn’t suddenly turn into an oversized boy who lapped up attention like a kitten in a bowl of sweet cream.
Somewhere at the back of his mind he recognized that it was probably a kind of brooding, but he couldn’t seem to help it. He’d had about all he could take. He didn’t want to hear any more muttered I-told-you-so’s. He was hurt enough already. It was bloody hard enough to walk such a long, dark road as he’d been traveling for well over a year now. It was a wonder that he’d stumbled along without falling down yet.
It was worse when he had to endure from both sides hearing just how bad the other was. And it was unbearable knowing all the while that both sides could have been helping each other instead, and also helping him. They both claimed to care about him, but they each seemed to care for themselves a damn bloody lot more. Will was tired of being in the middle, and he wanted to shut it all out. So he kept his eyes closed and breathed the hot air beneath the quilt while his nose felt like was on fire and he felt like sand was in his throat.
But of course he couldn’t escape his own thoughts, his own doubts, his own heart. I know he’s still in there, he thought. I know it. In times past such thoughts would’ve encouraged him. Even now there was a spark. But at the same time it was the source of Will’s deepest current doubt.
“And why would he listen to you?” Atanamir had said. Or rather, the thing that now held the boy in its influence had said it. “So you could simply abandon him again?” Will had figured out that it wanted to break them to help it break Atan. And it was clearly enough a liar, manipulative and cruel. Most of him knew that what the boy had said had not been true. He knew that he had never abandoned Atan or anyone else. He’d been forced to leave someone behind before, not by his own choice. I didn’t abandon him. But part of him had to wonder.
I didn’t, did I?
He searched his mind for things that might have been lost, misconstrued, twisted. Was it a matter of definition? He groaned and pushed his face deeper into the fur lining the bed. Despite knowing that it hadn’t truly been Atan who had said and done those things, Will had to wonder if, while drawing from the boy’s mind, the thing moving him had encountered something that Atan himself had actually felt and believed to be true.
His closed eyes burned with trapped tears. He wasn’t sure if he could bear the idea of the boy believing he had really done such a thing, but he had no way to set him right on it. And he still couldn’t talk to Beacher about it lest he misunderstand or start again with another diatribe against the other boy while apparently ignoring what his hatred was doing to him. So he was still stuck in the middle, and it seemed there was no escape.
Before fevered sleep came to catch and hold him for a time in safe but restless dreams, Will forced himself to breath, to relax and let time and nature begin to cure his body, at least. Maybe that would help him with the rest of it. He could only hope. I never abandoned ya, Atan. If I had, I wouldn’t have come.
§ § §
Will’s current and recent theme song seems to be Golden State’s song, “Even If You Can’t See Me“