William can't remember the last time he felt really truly safe as if nothing in the world could hurt him and his parents would keep the world at bay. He has hazy memories of when Mark was a baby and they'd both curl up in Ma's arms as Pa read to them. Then he felt safe as his father's voice was deep and happy and his mother's arms were warm.
They stopped doing that after Mark started coughing, Mark got held a lot, William would hug him and rub his back when he coughed or their mother would take him. During the war, they'd all sit together to read over the papers, but that wasn't to feel safe just to feel close.
After Contention, he knew he had to find out how to make Mark and his Ma feel safe but didn't know if he could, his father couldn't. One night about a month after the funeral, Mark woke up crying and William held him before he lit the candle. He didn't have anything to say and he wouldn't lie to his brother so he just held him until their mother came in and took Mark in her arms. That wasn't where he fit anymore, so he leaned on her shoulder as she wrapped an arm around him and sang a lullaby. For a little while, he almost felt safe again.