Three – 03

[This post is from Thom’s point of view.]

“You’ve still got that look,” Matt said. Thom frowned but didn’t turn.

“How do you know? I’m not even looking at you.”

“I think I know you well enough to figure out when you’ve got that look,” Matt countered. His hammer started to fall into rhythm and Thom sighed, shaking his head. “Cheer up.”

Thom snorted softly, limping back to one of the benches that lined the walls of the forge, slowly sitting and stretching his bad leg out in front of him. “Easy for you to say.”

Matt quirked a brow and Thom had to smile.

“What? You sure as hell seem cheerier lately. Things going better with Hecate?”

“You say that like they weren’t fine in the first place.” A ghost of a smile curved Matt’s lips as he turned most of his attention back to the metal laid out on his anvil. “She and I have been fine since we got here.”

Thom grimaced, leaning back. “I just—I meant—”

“You mean you were worried about how she was adjusting?”

Thom managed to nod, glad that Matt had rescued him from what was about to become a far more awkward situation than he’d anticipated it being. He leaned his head back, watching his brother-in-law, resting his sketchbook against his thighs, half forgotten. “Was just worried, that’s all.”

“When you were aware enough of what was going on to be worried, anyway,” Matt said with a faint, wry smile. “It was a valid concern in some ways. She was afraid and so was I. For good reason, too.”

“She’s not what I thought she was. Who I thought she was.”

“She never was,” Matt said quietly, staring at the iron on the anvil. “Not then, not now. No one really knew her.”

“Except you,” Thom said in a whisper, watching him. Matt winced slightly.

“Me as Cíar and me now,” Matt agreed, then smiled a little. “I didn’t realize she was what I was looking for until suddenly she was there and I was looking through the mask and seeing what was really there.”

“You love her.”

“I always have,” Matt said, turning and thrusting the iron back into the fire. “I just didn’t know it until it was almost too late.”

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