Thomas had never really been honest.
Well, he was honest to a point, of course. He worked with his friends, and he didn’t keep much from them.
But he didn’t talk about his past. If he had a nightmare about his past, or something reminded him of it, he hid it. He’d managed to hide panic attacks from the other Charmers before. Luckily that didn’t happen too often, but sometimes something would remind him and he’d feel barely able to breathe. That had happened less and less as time went on.
He certainly hadn’t expected it on this mission. He’d thought the crisis had been avoided when they’d avoided the ambush.
The amount of Undead had been a surprise, though. It had been harder and harder to fight through, and then – and then –
And then he’d seen the symbol that he’d never wanted to see again, the symbol of a horrible time he thought he’d left behind him. Why would something here have that symbol?
The rest of the battle after that was a blur. He knew he’d been reckless, and finally let something slip about the Sanctuary – about how these people were here for him, they were after him, him and anyone else who had got away. He’d finally admitted, at least partly, what had happened to him.
Then he’d got pretty injured. Dragging himself back to the Guild had not been fun. Once he was there, in the medical wing and resting in a bed after being treated, he pretended to be asleep, turning his back to the room. He didn’t want to talk about it. He didn’t want to think about it. All he wanted to do was not think, not be reminded.
He couldn’t stop himself crying though. It was a fear he’d never quite been able to push away – the fear that one day he’d be taken back there.
He ignored the people who came into the room, spending his time staring at the window instead. Whoever it was, it wasn’t important.
Except of course, it was Holland, and Holland could tell that he wasn’t alright. Of course he could. Holland was…Thomas couldn’t put It into words, but though they hadn’t known each other long, his feelings towards Holland kept getting stronger.
Holland started talking, asking about the mission. About the symbol. Holland had drawn the symbol on the window, before wiping it away, erasing it from view.
Holland knew the symbol for the same reason Thomas did. Neither of them had remembered each other from there, but that wasn’t too surprising. Thomas did all he could to block out his memories of those days, and he imagined Holland did the same. Even if he could remember it all perfectly, there had been a lot of them there.
There was a strange sort of comfort in having someone understand, even though he’d never wish it on anyone. He wished the Sanctuary had never existed, that no one had been forced to go there. Unfortunately, he couldn’t change the past. No one could. But in leu of that, having someone understand – having someone know, without Thomas actually having to explain, was a new experience. It made it easier, to have someone understand. The rest of the Charmers, great friends as they were, had no idea what the Sanctuary was. They had no idea what it had been like. But Holland did, and they didn’t need to speak to understand how it felt to have the Sanctuary come back into their lives. They didn’t need to speak to know that they both wanted to be rid of anything that remained of the Sanctuary, and they didn’t need to speak to know that they both worried about what would happen if the Sanctuary did find them.
Thomas tried to reassure himself that the Guild would never let that happen. The Charmers definitely wouldn’t let him be taken back to a place like that. It was still hard to get past the fear.
But it would help to have Holland alongside him.