Not much has been changed in this one. It's still pointless, mediocre fluff. But now at least it's grammatically correct pointless, mediocre fluff.
The Truth Will Out
…tell me you like me, love me, please, just a little…
"There you go, darling."
Mary signed the note with a flourish, a sleepy-eyed William shuffling slowly through the kitchen. His school uniform was hopelessly rumpled and he was missing his left sock.
She cast her boy an exasperated look, full of affection, as he slumped over the table.
Head buried in his arms, Will's response was a muffled grunt.
"What was that?"
Shifting his head slightly to look up at her he repeated, "Not really."
Will fought to keep his eyes open as his mother bustled about the kitchen with a decisive roll of her eyes. Eventually, he gave up and his eyelids drifted shut again.
Mary stopped to gaze down at her son. She had done the right thing for him, she was sure of that. Her sweet little William deserved more then the stifling childhood she had endured as a young girl.
He deserved a radio that sang to him when her throat was raw and the day's worries dragged her to bed. He deserved to run through the fields in the summer when the grass was deliciously green and if you closed your eyes and believed you could almost fly away.
He deserved that friend of his too.
("Any last words… I'll smash your face in… blood brothers… he's all I got, all right?")
Honestly, she didn't know what to make of the boy. The poor little scrap of a thing that stared at her hastily thrown together meal as if it was the Last Supper. William had later explained that the boy's mother lived in Spain with her second husband.
"Who takes care of him then?" she had asked, confused.
William shrugged, carefully drying the last plate.
"His older brother, I guess."
There had been many visits after that.
Both the younger and the older Carter boys were eager, frequent dinner guests. They inhaled her food with a single-minded intensity that made her wonder when they had last had a warm meal.
They were polite too, although perhaps lacking in proper dining etiquette—the table cloth was not to be used as a napkin, thank you very kindly—but what could one expect when the mother's run off to Spain and left men in charge of keeping the house in order?
The Brethren spit at women at like that, and their families.
But she was no longer with the Brethren.
And whatever background Lee might have, he was a good boy. And he made William smile in a way that she'd never thought possible. Bright and painfully happy around the edges.
Shaking away her thoughts, she folded her note into a neat little square and shook her sleeping son's arm.
He groaned deep in his throat, murmuring tired protests. She slipped the note under his skinny arm.
"I warned you not to stay up all night drawing in that book of yours," she said tartly.
He straightened at last, stretching and yawning, and took a closer look at the note. In black ink, the front was addressed to 'Headmistress Francis Evans'.
"Wha's this?" He asked, voice slurred with sleep.
"A note giving you permission to watch the tellie in school," she answered, ruffling his hair tenderly, "I want you to deliver it to the Head yourself, you hear?"
Will jumped up, knocking the chair over in his haste, suddenly completely awake.
"Are you completely mad?' he cried, eyes wide with fear, "She'll torture me."
He placed the note carefully back on the table, as if afraid it would turn around and bite him. His hands shook at the memory of Lee limping across the school grounds, the terror of running away, of guilt of leaving him to face the monster all by himself.
("I'll be alright in a week… fancied a watch… gave me the afternoon off…didn't you know?")
Mary frowned, brow furrowing.
"Don't be silly William. That's illegal."
Slowly now. Almost there. Just a little farther and—
The deer's head snaps up, ears flicking forward and tail erect. Desperately, Lee aimed at the animal's fleeing legs as they disappeared into thick foliage.
The shot went wide, hitting a distant English Oak.
"Bollocks!" he swore, throwing the bow onto the ground.
Hours of tracking, wasted. He's spent all bloody morning following the animal's tracks and the stupid ponce had to come wandering by exactly now.
A panting Will Proudfoot burst through the greenery, knocking them both to the ground.
Growling in frustration, Lee shoved the younger boy off of him and got up, heading over to his misfired arrow.
"What do you want?" he asked crossly as Will bounced back to his feet and followed him, grinning crazily. That smile never meant anything good.
"I have great news!"
The boy really was a nutcase. A freak.
("I'll pray for you… can't be friends… I can't swim… with your leg all bad?")
Grabbing his arrow, Lee gave a short tug. With a hiss of pain as the rough wooden shaft chafed against his scar, he dropped his hand.
"Damn it," Lee said, "I've bloody re-opened it!"
Gentle hands touched his own, a single finger running lightly along the wound, making him shiver. He'd never admit it, not out loud, but Will's hands always amazed him.
Pale smooth skin like marble with hardly a mark upon them and perfect half-moon nails that came from years of forced inactivity, for the Brethren didn't approve of its followers mucking about like common folk.
Didn't approve of fun more like, thought Lee but he never said anything.
Religion was important to the Proudfoots and, although he didn't see the sense in all that Heaven and Hell rubbish, he knew better then to go and run his mouth about the Bible being trash.
Especially around the mother; a nice lady she was, if a bit scary.
"You need to be more careful, Carter."
Will's concerned voice brought him out of his thoughts.
"I think it might be infected."
Lee looked at his own hand in surprise. Infected? Nah.
Ok sure, so the skin surrounding the cut was swollen and an unhealthy red color. He wouldn't admit it, never out loud, but it itched something fierce and burned when touched. But surely, infected was a bit of a strech?
Will looked at him anxiously, hands still holding his. His own scar is a fading pink line that he traces over and over again at night, he admits to it, freely; a simple, clean scar that tickles slightly.
"It's nothing," says Lee brusquely, trying and failing to contain a wince when the inflamed cut catches on Will's sleeve. He avoids Will's concerned eyes and cradles his hand against his chest.
"Let's go back to the house," Will suggests, "And I'll patch you up."
Lee turns back to the English oak and pulls the arrow out with his good hand.
Knowing Will wouldn't likely rest until he agreed, Lee contents himself with a sigh. Arm slung around the other boy's slender frame, they head back up to the house. Lawrence should be home in an hour or so but that wasn't a problem anymore.
Will was a welcome guest since, well, the movie theater and everything.
Since all the things that they don't talk about. But the change is there, skin deep.
Lawrence was nicer then he could ever remember and Lee was now off-limits to the gits that his older brother hung out with.
The sixth grade Slapper Queen felt so guilty about what had happened that she sent him a Get Well card, she denied it was her but he knew, and mostly just stayed out of his and Will's way.
Just the way he liked it, anyhow.
Didier's groupies had apologized and offered to sign his cast but most of it had already been taken up by elaborate colored drawings, courtesy of his best friend and blood brother.
When he'd gone back to the hospital, flanked by his brother and Will and in considerably better spirits then the last time he'd been here, it had gotten lots of attention. The hospital personnel endlessly complimented the rich colors, clever designs.
It had taken hours to do, Lee watching with fascination the intense concentration on Will's face as he transformed his white cast into a child's dreamland.
"It's all Will," He'd told the curious doctors with a proud grin, "He's great, in' he?"
At the attention, the younger boy blushed bright red, looking more then a little terrified at the on-slaughter of cooing nurses. In mere seconds his friend was reduced to a stuttering mess.
("Not that good… practiced a lot… just doodles… really I only … nothing special.")
Amused, Lee rescued his friend from further embarrassment with a loud, "So, you gon' get this thing off me or what?'
One nurse had asked if she could keep the cast and decorate the children's section.
A glance at Will's disappointed face had him adamantly refusing. It was now suspended from the ceiling and when he opened the window to catch a breeze it spun crazily, pictures blurring in absurd shapes and forms.
He remembered the first time Will had walked into his room and seen it; the boy' d smiled so big Lee was half afraid his face would crack in two.
"'Course I kept it," he'd said slinging an arm around his friend's shoulder, "And I always will. Nicest thing I own, eh?"
If he didn't know better he'd swear Will was holding back happy tears. Probably nobody had ever taken much notice of Will's brilliant doodles other then to tell him off for 'defiling' the Holy Book.
He'd seen the thing and it was a masterpiece.
The thing was, Will had learned not to stand out even if he was a cat in a doghouse. He was good at fading into the background. Too good, if you asked him.
"Lee, are you listening to me?"
Blinking in surprise, Lee realized they were in his kitchen.
"Sure I am," he lied.
Will looks unconvinced and slipped out under Lee's arm. He lets him go, grudgingly, hating the feeling of losing an essential body part, an arm, a lung. The feeling that he doesn't admit to, never, never out loud.
"Sit tight, I'll go and grab the medical bag."
After one of their numerous stunts had gone a little worse then usual they'd both ended up with badly scraped knees and numerous bruises. Will had insisted they put together a kit for minor emergencies, like the one his own mother kept as the house.
Lee shifted impatiently on his chair, making it creak. Outside he could hear a car pulling into the driveway. Lawrence.
"Bloody fuck," Lee swore, jumping to his feet.
Better not let Lawrence see his hand in such a state.
His brother had caught them attempting to slingshot themselves up into the window from the driveway and had gone nuts. If he thought they were getting hurt while doing stunts again, they were well and truly buggered.
Lee made to grab the door handle but it swung open before he could, revealing a surprised Will on the other side.
"I told you to sit down and-"
Ignoring him, Lee grabbed his hand and pulled him up the stairs to his room. He shoved the boy toward his bed and shut the shut his door with a bang.
"Lawrence is here," he said in response to Will's questioning gaze.
"We should tell him you're hurt."
Knowing that arguing was hopeless, Will instead silently took his friend's hand again and pulls him forward.
Lee did, pliable like clay and not nearly ready to talk about it, closing his eyes in preparation for the hot sting of antiseptic. Instead, he was surprised by the warm touch of a wet washcloth gently cleaning the dirt from his palm.
"Ah," he breathed, "Feels good."
Smiling, Will turned away to rummage in his bag. The sight of the Antibacterial bottle had him groaning but he didn't protest. Much. It didn't take long before his hand was neatly and efficiently bandaged.
Flexing experimentally, Lee commented off-handed, "If you weren't my co-director, you'd make a hell of a doctor."
Will blushed deeply as he always did when complimented and said softly, "I'll be your very own personal doctor."
They grin at each other.
("I promise… blood brother… we'll do everything together… first best friend I ever had.")
"What did you want to tell me," Lee asked eventually, "Outside in the woods?"
Will smiled happily, propping himself up on one elbow to look at the older boy and said proudly, "Torturing children is illegal."
Lee stared at his friend in disbelief. Did he really…? He did.
"I'll be sure to tell her that next time. Thanks mate."
"Anytime Lee Carter. Anytime."