|Will Stutely (sly_stutely) wrote in nevermore_logs,|
@ 2021-03-01 21:32:00
|Entry tags:||clio, will stutely|
|Will still didn’t know when he’d first begun to forget. A couple of months was his best guess – it had been such a slow drip to begin with, it had only been months in that he had noticed anything at all he couldn’t chalk up to age and forgetfulness. Like the proverbial frog in the slow-boiling pot, he’d been in hot water by the time he’d realise anything was the matter.|
Two months, maybe one if he was to hedge his bets. That was his best guess. But it was still only a guess. He hadn’t noticed the start of it, which meant it could have started at any time. It could have been weeks, not months. It could have been days. It could be happening now. Would he know this time, if it was?
Will didn’t know when he’d started counting the days he was here with Clio. He hated that he did it. He didn’t want to be apart from her. He wanted to look after her, the way she’d looked after him in the weeks after the dungeon. He wanted to hold her nightmares at bay, wanted to wake beside her, wanted to share her home the way she wanted him to, and the only thing that was standing in the way of it was his own defective head.
He’d stayed here for longer spells before. But never like this – a continuous stretch of days, without dropping by the parsonage for a cuppa or the Fox for a chat. Never for such a long time without seeing any of the Merry Men. He’d not so much as set foot outside the front door, for fear Lucifer would be waiting there, ready to spring on him with burning hands and use him as bait to draw Clio out into the open.
Little wonder that by the fifth night, Will had begun dreaming of a six-by-nine foot cell again. White walls, cold and unyielding. A prison library stripped bare, blank pages strewn across the floor, and Clio’s gulping sobs carrying through the halls—
I’ve gotta step out for a bit. He didn’t say it on the sixth day, or the seventh, or the eighth. She’d been burned by the Devil himself; Will couldn’t abandon her on account of a simple boogeyman. He knew damn well no harm was going to come to him in Clio’s home; the danger was only in his head.
(It was all in his head. That was the entire problem.)
No harm would come in here, but out there Lucifer might be waiting for one of them to break. He couldn’t be the reason Clio fell into the Devil’s hands a fourth time, he couldn’t. She’d said herself she’d been prepared to trade herself for him. He wasn’t going to put her in that situation.
By the time it occurred to Will that he didn’t have to go to them, that the reverse was perfectly bloody simple, he’d already put off telling his brothers for a week. It should have been a simple thing to say – Clio had managed to tell her family in a couple of short sentences. But Will was all too good at making excuses. There was nowt they could do but worry about it, and they had enough to grapple with already on that score. Robin had Marian to look after, and neither needed to be reminded of demons after what she’d been through. Tuck had said he was this close to using hard painkillers again and Lucifer was enough to throw anyone off the wagon.
There was nowt they could do but worry and if one of them broke, then fuck, so would he.
He’d promised Tuck that he would talk, but he’d gotten far too good at clamping the words down.
He slept barely a wink on the ninth night, and on the tenth, well after Clio had fallen asleep, he lay awake, tense and restless, the back of his neck prickling as though in anticipation of an ambush. Sleep eluded him as Monday ticked over into the first hours of Tuesday. He kneaded his eyes; he tossed and turned. He tried to picture the scene from Elaine’s tapestry, the dappled sunlight falling through the branches of the Major Oak, the leaves quivering in the breeze, but all he could summon up were the white walls of a prison cell.
The bile rose sharp and hot in his throat.
Would you know this time? Would you be able to tell?
No. Fucking— He was tired. Fuck’s sake. He was letting things get to him. He knew his home, every leaf and twig of it, he was just bloody spooking himself.
But the back of his neck still prickled.
How would you know for sure?