Three – 04

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

Thom watched him for a few seconds before exhaling and flipping his sketchbook open again. “How—how much do you remember about then?”

“How much do you remember?” Matt countered, shifting the metal in the forge so it would heat more evenly.

Thom choked back a laugh. “Is that how we’re going to play it?”

“Seems like.” Matt shot him a crooked smile. “I think we both remember more of it than we let on—especially to Mar.”

“Well, she’s kind of weirded out by it a little bit herself sometimes,” Thom murmured. “So the two of us keeping some of it on the down-low doesn’t surprise me at all.”

“Me neither,” Matt agreed. “Not really. In actual answer to your question, though, maybe not as much as sometimes I’d hope but enough to be sure of some things.”

“Did you—” Thom stopped, frowning for a second, then took a breath and started again. “Did you remember before?”

“Before? Before what?”

Thom grimaced. “Before she took you?”

Matt was silent for a few moments, then nodded. “Yeah. Yeah, I did, I just didn’t know what it meant, who it was that I kept being with and talking to. I mean, it wasn’t like I could see her, you know? It was never any time that I could really see her. It was always after.”

“After Cíar escaped.”

He nodded. “Yeah. I knew there was someone and I knew she was important, I just didn’t know what she looked like. I just knew what she felt like and I knew how deeply he loved her, how deep that connection went.” Matt sighed, staring into the forge for a few seconds. “I wondered at first if that’s why I cared about her, but I realized pretty fast that it wasn’t.”

“Was she—?”

“Different? Yeah. There was a side of her that she couldn’t let anyone else see, part that she had to keep protected or she’d be done for. Everything she went through kind of fractured her but she’s getting better now. I think it’s healing, even if it’s slow.” He smiled faintly. “And I’m glad that she feels safe enough here to let us help. She’s making friends and learning that there’s more than two other people in the world that care about her and that’s worked wonders.”

“Two?” Thom echoed, brow furrowing. “I mean, I know you’re one, but who was the other one before all of us?”

“Persephone,” Matt said quietly. “We have to figure out how to help her, too.”

“What?”

Matt shook his head, a rueful smile curving his lips. “That’s right. I should probably tell you about that.”

Thom rubbed at his temple, shaking his head. “I feel like I slept through a lot.”

“Not a lot,” Matt said. “Just some important stuff.” He glanced back toward the rain outside and sighed. “Well, we’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Guess we’ve got time, right?”

“Even if we didn’t, we’d make it.”

“True enough,” Matt agreed softly. “True enough.”

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