Joseph’s eyes were hot. The sheets under his back were soft enough, the thoughts beating against his skull rough. He pressed the bend of his elbow against his shut eyes. If he opened them he would break and all of it would flow out like a hateful river. He couldn’t spare anyone suffering, let soon himself but he could choke back his own fear, his own grief at what came and what was going to come.
The matress dipped. A real matress. Luken and Joseph had decided to spoil themselves now that they were in the relative safety of the southlands with an inn for the night. It was a mistake Joseph thought. If he wasn’t moving the emotion caught up with him and left him swamped.
“Jo.” Lukens soft brown hand touched his forearm. “Jo, don’t do this, ey?” The hand smoothed down to cup his neck. Not prying not pushing, just there. “Not with me. You don’t have to.”
Jo was embarrassed by the noise that crawled out of his throat. At the small wounded sound Luken swung a leg over Joseph and covered him. Now the hand did pry his arm away from his face, smoothed over his jaw. Luken pressed a kiss to the freckles on the side of Joseph’s nose.
“Look at me?”
Not a command. A question,earnest and endearing. Joseph opened his eyes and the flood came, broke over his cheeks and poured into the hair at his temples. His brow furrowed in shame. Tried to turn his head away and was halted by Lukens firm fingers on his jaw. Luken pressed his forehead against Joseph’s and just looked.
It was all there now. And Jospeh could see it. Now that he knew what to see. Love and concern. Hope. Joseph Thornson could really see the pattern of another persons face now. It wasn’t a weakness or a curse like he’d been told in the north. It was just a gift for him to take if he chose to, like the witch who Sussed his talent had told him. Just a natural thing like breathing.
“It’s a hard thing.” She had said. “Hard to see the truth of another’s thoughts. But why deny yourself the truth if you can find it so easily? Some struggle for only a sliver of it in their lifetimes. Dont squander the privledge of seeing it so plainly, Osterman.”