Theo woke up the next morning with a tense feeling in his stomach, his mouth was uncomfortably dry.
He swung his legs round from the bed and winced in pain seeing the splatters of blood on the crisp white sheets. His hand skimmed the dried blood before reaching to his back and felt the long scar that looped downwards and round his side had split. His fingertips came away glistening red.
"Damn scar," he muttered, rubbing his eyes with his clean hand to dispel the last dregs of sleep.
He went out to the corner of his room where a bucket of water and a hand mirror laid beside it. He picked up the mirror and angled it so he could see the scarred tissue of his back where hideous scars were carved roughly there by his previous master. The biggest having split in the middle and smaller nail marks that had bitten into the skin. A result of nightmares.
"More to add to the collection," he thought.
He went to the bedside table and opened the drawer which contained a bottle of whiskey. He retrieved it and pulled out the cork with his teeth and went back to the water bucket. He quickly dabbed his face and chest with the cool water.
"Here it goes," he said steeling himself. He quickly poured it onto the wound and his muscles spasmed in agony as the alcohol burned the flesh.
Theo walked into the drawing room and saw Will leaning against the frame of the door to the kitchen.
“Good morning Sir,” he greeted, not fazed by the mud and blood splattered clothes which were all torn, or the half-wild expression Will had in his eyes.
“Haha look at this,” Will said, picking up the severed head of a rabbit. “It looks so surprised.” He threw it over his shoulder with a squelch.
“You seem very cheerful,” Theo replied as he walked towards him. “I think you need to rest after the wild venture.”
“No I want drink to get the taste of rabbit out of my mouth.” He spat at the ground in distaste and stumbled forward.
“Please sit down Sir and I will get you the refreshment,” Theo said, gesturing towards the armchair. Will went to it and sat down, closing his eyes in exhaustion. Theo studied him seeing tired lines drawn around his eyes.
“You going to get that drink?” he grumbled, opening his eyes.
“Of course,” Theo replied, retreating from the room.
He quickly walked through the halls to his room and had gotten to the door before he realised he had used up the whiskey.
“There may be some in the spare room, I will need to get some next time I go into the city,” he thought backing away. He turned round and was startled by the appearance of Iris. “M-Miss Cadance…I meant Iris you are awake.” He smiled awkwardly.
“Yes I am awake, I could not spend another moment sleeping,” she replied.
He noticed she was wearing the same dress as last night but without the blood red diamond. She seemed worried and constantly played with the sleeve of her dress.
“Did you sleep well last night?”
Iris glanced away. “I slept alright but something happened…”
Theo’s eyebrows pulled together. “What happened?”
“Just a nightmare of sorts,” she replied vaguely. “It does not matter, nothing to trouble you with.”
“Are you quite sure? We could talk about the resurrection process because it is not a very smooth one.”
Iris remembered balancing on the rooftop, the demon-like angels that called for her and the way Will saved her from a second death. She realised he was waiting for an answer and opened her mouth to mumble some reply, when her eyes were drawn to the red splotches on Theo’s shirt.
“You’re bleeding,” she said, pointing to the blood.
Theo seemed surprised, even looked guilty like he had committed some crime. He took the material into his hand, rubbing the coarse, wet material between his finger and thumb.
“Do you need help to clean up the wound I could…” She reached out to touch him but he flinched. She withdrew her hand. “I know what you have been through Theo, about the scars. I can help clean the wound up properly.”
“No,” he replied.
“Are you sure I can-”
“No I do not need your help,” Theo said more firmly. “You might be able to see what I had been through because of some high priestess mind-reading power or something of that nature, but you do not understand what I went through.” He breathed heavily as if the weight of it all was crushing him. “No one will understand what horrible things I witnessed or went through. The scars are the constant reminder of that.” He sounded upset and Iris went to comfort him.
She put her hand over his hand which was gripping the shirt. He grabbed her hand, but not roughly and carefully removed it from his side. She felt the slight tremor in his hand and saw the wide-eyed look on his face.
“My scars, my memories, my past, my burdens,” Theo said rapidly, and released her hand.
“Theo,” she whispered softly, wanting to comfort him but he avoided her gaze.
“My burdens,” he repeated. “No one gets to see them, only me because they are mine. These are my personal reminders that are not to be shared with anyone else. I am the only one who is allowed to look upon the scars so please, Iris, let me be the only eyes to see them.”
She felt reluctant to leave him to wallow more in the painful past and not be able to move on. However trying to convince Theo that she could help was a sure way to make him become more lost.
“Alright you can keep your past to yourself, I will respect that,” she said, without taking her eyes from his crumpled, bloodied shirt that he had released from his grip.
Iris and Theo both jumped at the sound.
“Where the bloody hell’s my drink then?” Will shouted.
Iris couldn’t help but felt relieved that Will was the one causing the racket she noticed the same relief on Theo’s face.
Will appeared in the doorway, breathing heavily. He looked a mess with wild bloodshot eyes and mud-stained clothes. She was a little shocked by this side of him.
“You been drinking whiskey?” Will asked directing the question to Theo who shook his head.
“No sir,” he muttered.
“Why the hell is there an empty whiskey bottle in your room then? Are you secretly knocking back the drink eh?”
Theo shuffled on his feet, his cheeks flushing bright red like the blood on his shirt that Will was oblivious to as he ranted.
“Will please, you must calm yourself,” Iris said sharply, watching as Will stared at her mouth open. He slowly closed his mouth and it looked like his mother given him a good slap. “Well he was having his tantrum,” she thought. She indicated slightly to Theo who was staring at the floor and Will’s eyes actually took in his appearance this time seeing the blood splatters.
“Theo I’m sorry I never realised,” Will said. He put a hand to the side of his head gripping locks of his hair tightly. “Oh I am such an idiot, no wonder you used the whiskey, oh god Theo I’m sorry. I don’t know why I was acting in such a rude way.”
Theo glanced up. “It is okay you are going through the change.”
Will shook his head in disagreement. “No it is not right, I should be better at controlling my emotions, Jesus we have been doing this for fifteen years.”
“Fifteen years!” Iris repeated, peering closely at Will then Theo. “I do not understand you look no older than twenty in the very least.”
Theo took hold of her hand gently like he was going to tell some bad news. “Iris we are immortal including you.”
It felt like her heart was sinking under this new idea, everything seemed to enclose tightly around her and felt surreal like the very floorboard beneath her feet had disappeared, and that Theo was not really holding her hand she was only imagining the light pressure of his fingertips around hers.
“Iris we should have told you straight away, we were going to until Dorian came along. I promise,” Theo said, his kind eyes reassured her.
“Of course,” she said in a vague voice.
“Do you need to sit?” Will asked although he had already taken the liberty of taking her other hand and both men guided her to a room decorated in a simple red and gold pattern. There was only a desk and chair facing a window so you could see the estate. Although the desk and chair were beautifully carved out of oak in the shape of flowers and the different tones of the wood gave the hint of delicacy to them.
Will let go of her hand and pulled out the chair.
“Sit,” he said.
“I do not need to sit, I am fine,” Iris insisted, although the news was still sinking in she was not some pathetic woman who could not take the slightest bit of change.
“Please sit, you need to take this in properly,” Theo said.
“Fine I will sit then,” she replied and sat down in the hard wooden chair. Will and Theo were watching her carefully, she grew impatient. “Well are you going to tell me about this whole immortality thing like how it is possible or-”
“I am immortal because of whatever I am,” Will said, pointing to his own chest. “I stopped aging at seventeen but Theo and you are immortal because you have been resurrected. So you are both frozen at the ages of seventeen and twenty.”
Iris nodded slowly. “How old are you two really?” she asked.
Will’s face scrunched up in thought. “I think I am thirty-two and Theo here is-“
“I don’t know we are near the same age,” Theo finished.
“So you are much older, how has nobody noticed?” she said.
“We do not have much contact with the outside world therefore we live in a bubble away from all that, of course wealth in this whole estate has its good points too.” Will pointed to the window and Iris looked out for a moment at the large fields and the dense green forest bordering it.
“I will stay like this forever,” Iris said, her fingertips lightly brushing her cheek, eternal youthfulness.
“Yes but at least we are all in the same boat, right Theo?” He grinned at the witch.
“Yes sir,” Theo replied.