Title: Reality

Author: Kasey

Email: kasey8473@yahoo.com

Summary: In the gaol, Will loses hope.

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: 'A Knight's Tale' is the property of Columbia Pictures. I make no money from this work of fan fiction.

Notes: This is just a short piece delving into Will's thoughts during the scene where Adhemar visits him in the gaol and while he waits to go to the stocks.

~~~~~~~~~~

In the gaol, there is plenty of time to consider the actions that have led me to this pass. Tied and ready to be placed on display, I cannot help but do just that. I think of Jocelyn and her desperate urging to run. Somehow, I doubt she fully understood my decision to stay. I am a knight. In my heart, I believe in the principle of knighthood and for all the position stands for. Knights do not run. If I had run, I'd have turned my back on those ideals.

The door opens and I hear someone entering my cell with soft steps. It is not a guard. They do not move so lightly. The person visiting me is approaching almost warily I think, those footfalls a measured tread. I cannot lash out even should I wish to, so why that slight hesitancy I detect? Out of the corner of my eye, I see Adhemar there and turn my gaze the opposite direction. I've no wish to see that man.

His fists reign upon me and I can do naught but take those hammer hard blows. My words of stars are thrown back in my face, his voice sneering. Yes, I have stumbled. I have fallen. There is no need for it to be pointed out to me. Does he think I don't realize I'm incarcerated? Why is he here? He has won. Why does he feel he has to shout out his victory, lord it over me? Does he want to remind me of my place? I am reminded already. These blows are unnecessary. For God's sake, just take Jocelyn! Take the prize and go!

I won't cry though, refuse to cry where he can glimpse any of my tears. He will not see my pain.

His hand grasps the wood across my shoulders, turning me slightly, coming into my sight. I look at him...and falter in my resolution. I can feel the curling of my brow and grit my teeth harder to keep from letting the full expression cover my face.

"In what world could you have ever beaten me?"

The words linger in my mind long after he is gone, my body aching from the punches he gave me. The tears I have kept inside begin to fall and I blink them back, trying to imagine a future where I am not disgraced. It's impossible. I can see no further than the stocks. There is no future. I am only a peasant and will never be more than that. A Thatcher's son, born in Cheapside. Adhemar was right. In what world could I have beaten him? He is the noble and I the peasant. The noble always wins and I shall never be noble, never be more than a pretender.

I am broken. I am bleeding. And I am so very cold inside.

My optimism of the past months seems the utmost of foolishness, for who am I but a peasant? I should have listened to my loyal friends and ignored the siren call of the tournament. I should have walked away right then after winning my first joust under the guise of being Sir Hector. I am not a noble and my heart aches with the knowledge that it is all over. No man can truly change his stars and I was a fool to think I could reach out my hand and mix up the heavens to suit my whim. The pain that lashes at me hurts far more than a whip striking flesh and cutting it clear to the bone. There is no light anywhere to give me hope.

Was I led here by God? Or perhaps it was really Satan that drew me. Perhaps I gave in to sly whispers in my mind that stoked my belief in my abilities. Over proud. That's what I was. Here, alone, I can wallow in my fall. The night chill seeps in, oozing beneath my skin and I am beset with shivers, unable to rest.

Tomorrow, I go to the stocks and there I am to stay. I gained the world as Ulrich von Lichtenstein and lost it as William Thatcher. Who will remember me? My friends.... They walked with me down the road to my fate, but have they gone now? Have they taken their own advice and run before they can be arrested on some charges as well? I don't doubt that Adhemar would find some way to punish them for just being with me. Has Jocelyn gone? Is she, even now, being told she must wed him and forget about a peasant man she thought to love? Am I alone in the end?

Yes. I am utterly alone. This is my punishment, not just from man but from God. It must be. I was blasphemous and proud and I committed a horrible sin of wanting to better myself. Bitterness twists in me as a knife, cutting me further.

Tomorrow, I will be placed for all to see me and mock me. All know my crime I've no doubt. They will throw things at me; rocks, rotten fruit, whatever they think to bring. Fine. Let them take me. I have no motivation to care. I will stand there hour after hour and take whatever they choose to do to me.

My life is done.

How can a man escape himself? In my naïvety, I'd thought I could run from who I am, but I only ran right back into myself. Peasant. Thatcher's son. I am William Thatcher. That is my name and who I'll be until the day I die, no matter what I might wish.

The stones beneath me turn colder and I don't care. I no longer care whether I am warm or cold. Those words sum up my feelings at this very moment most accurately: I don't care. Let that be my motto. Paint it on a piece of ragged wood as my shield, for I don't care at all.

I am done.

I am broken.

And I know my place.

Dear God in the heavens above, help me!

I bow my head as best I can and wait for morning.