Things started going better after that.
At least, the best they had been before the whole nightmarish ordeal occurred. Kellach's nightmare's persisted, but the new presence sharing his bed helped to calm the night terrors much faster. The small of Moyra's hair, her soft body pressed against his when everything in his nightmare had been hard and cold brought him to the present, usually crying against her chest, much more rapidly.
Kellach also became privy to some of Moyra's night terrors. That was the harder switch for them to make, because as often as his presence calmed her mid terror, it also set off a whole new panic attack. It hurt Kellach every time he had to surrender the trembling girl to Driskoll to calm down, or every time she would be calming down, and then feel his body pressed against hers, and start up again.
He hated the men who had done this to his girl, hated that sometimes when he snuggled up to her, she'd tense and panic for a moment, hated that their kisses could only get so heated before something about his male anatomy would set her off, one time escalating into a full blown panic attack.
"I'm sorry," She would apologize through tears, and Kellach would stroke her hair and swear to her that it was okay, and that they would just take their time and make it work.
Their parents weren't thrilled about the two sharing a bed at first, Royma more so than Jourdain. Royma forced Moyra to come home for one night before returning with her daughter the next morning, asking if the arrangement really did help the two sleep.
Kellach definitely thought it did. In the week since he had started sharing a bed with Moyra, he had gotten the best sleep he had had since before his capture. The increased physical contact with Kellach seemed to be helping Moyra deal with her ordeal as well.
With the help of Jourdain's spell, Kellach was slowly regaining his independence. They discussed a sorting system that would make it easier for Kellach to find things in the house, and when Driskoll suggested extending it to Kellach's spell components so maybe he could continue his training.
It was an idea that actually started to work and be feasible. He was able to regain his some of his basic casting abilities, and his confidence at that. Moyra even commented on it during a walk through town one afternoon.
"It's nice to have you back," He could hear the smile in her voice. "I mean," she clarified, "Not just you physically, although that's amazing, but your personality is starting to come back too."
But as much progress as he was making, he and Jourdain had yet to talk about spells that could be used to launch a mental attack on someone. Kellach still couldn't bring himself to think about it, as one time Jourdain had brought it up pushed Kellach back into his mind, reliving his mental abuse until Driskoll, Moyra and Jourdain could pull him out of it.
"At some point," He promised, "Just… I can't right now."
Things with Torin were still rocky. The man left early for work and got home much too late for any conversation. Any exchanges he had with his son were brief and emotionless. "He'll come around," Jourdain assured him, but the tone of her voice told him that she really had no idea.
"Is… Is he mad that I lied to him?" Kellach asked Driskoll one night.
Driskoll shook his head, "I doubt it, but with Dad sometimes you never know. I feel like he just doesn't know how to handle this. He's never been here for any of your… flashbacks."
Kellach sighed, closing his eyes. "Did I do something wrong? I mean… he said he was proud of me before…"
"Kell," Driskoll's tone was sad when he gripped his brother's shoulder. It'll be okay. He'll come around."
It was an odd occasion when Kellach was left alone. He didn't like it, although he'd never admit it, and his family and Moyra didn't like leaving him to himself for too long. He had been lucky in the past in that he wasn't left home alone long, and when he was, he was usually able to avoid anything that would trigger a flashback.
But of course, it finally happened one afternoon. Moyra was helping her mother at the shop, Driskoll was shadowing member of the watch, and Jourdain and Torin were working, leaving him home alone for a few hours.
After practicing spells for a few hours, and finally exhausting the ones he knew, he decided to take a break. He had just been going to get himself a cup of water, when he knocked something loose in the cupboard. Something heavy fell on his fingers and then fell to shatter on the ground.
A phantom pain caused him to cry out and clutch his fingers to his chest. He backpedaled rapidly, and his boots impacted the remains of the object on the ground.
"Are you ready to talk now?" The man's leering tone, the bite of the leather restraints into his wrists, ankles and the choking sensation that arose from the leather strap trapping his neck to the back of the chair he sat in.
Not exactly sure how, Kellach had mustered some kind of strength by this point, glaring at his assailant through bloodshot eyes sunken deep into his face. He didn't respond verbally, but the defiant look in his eyes seemed to be answer enough.
The man smirked. "The fingers are a very valuable asset to a spell caster such as yourself. Are you sure you're willing to sacrifice them?"
Through a throat dry and torn from screaming, Kellach managed, "Let me go. I'm not going to tell you anything." The words came out as more of a plea than the defiant tone he had intended.
The man grabbed his hair, pulling the strap around his neck tighter. Kellach choked and struggled to pull back, but the grip on his hair was too strong. "We'll see how you feel in a few minutes."
And then the hammer descended on his finger.
"Gods, please!" Kellach coiled on himself, hands pulled close to his chest. "Stop!"
"Stop, please!" Kellach screamed, not able to look at the crushed remains of his right hand. "Gods!"
"Are you ready to talk?" His tormenter asked, grinding the hammer into the remains of his thumb, wrenching another drawn out scream from Kellach's throat. This had been the routine since the first crushed finger. The man would crush a bit of the bone, and then give Kellach an out. And how badly he wanted to take it...
"No, no, no, no, please!" Kellach sobbed, and the hammer retreated for just a moment. Kellach was having a harder time keeping the strap around his throat from choking him, as his whole body just collapsed when the pain was removed.
"No, please! No, no more please!"
"I still have a whole hand left," The man commented, pulling a strangled whimper from Kellach's throat as he stroked the remaining hand. "You going to give me what I want?"
He wanted to so badly. He just wanted everything to stop, the pain, the suffering, everything. The man gave a test swing at his fingers, pulling a cry of alarm that collapsed into a sob as the hammer pulled away after doing no damage.
"No!" Kellach flailed trying desperately to yank free of the thing trying to restrain him, "Gods, no, please!"
"Son!" That was the word that finally broke through the flashback. Kellach blinked, trying rapidly to accommodate to the sightless world he found himself in. There were hands tight around his upper arms, and broad, hard warmth against his back. "Kellach, you're safe, we're going to protect you, I'm going to protect you."
"Please don't hurt me anymore," He whimpered, his whole body trembling with the force of the flashback. "Please, please just let me go…"
Torin hadn't expected to get off early that day, and therefore hadn't told anyone else that he might be coming home. The men of the watch had forced the early day on him.
"You need to go home and be with your family," They had insisted. Upon hearing the news of Kellach's return, and the morbid news he had brought with him, the atmosphere at work had changed. Everyone was on edge, expecting enemies to come beating down their doors at any moment. But Torin, who should have been the most alert of everyone, was the most preoccupied.
Trillian had been the first to approach him about it. "Captain, permission to speak freely?" He asked Torin at lunch a few days after Kellach's return, and a few days since Kellach and Torin had spoken.
"Permission granted." Torin said shortly, wary of what might come out of his friend's mouth.
Trillian sighed. "Torin, why are you here?"
"I have a job to do," Torin replied. "We've been made aware of a new threat to our city-"
"I know," Trillian interrupted, "But if that were the whole reason you were here, we'd see the determined Torin we see during normal threats. But instead, I see a distracted and preoccupied Torin like we haven't seen since the Sundering. And that was when you were using work to try to avoid your family at home."
Torin tensed, and lowered his sandwich to the table. At his lack of response, Trillian continued, "It's just that, sir, we'd thought you'd want to be home with what your son went through-"
"You know nothing of what my son went through, nor do you have any right to comment on my choices as his father." Torin snapped, the tone of his voice causing a few other watchers to look over.
"Yes sir, but we… some of the other watchers and I," Trillian continued, only slightly put off by Torin's tone, "think that you may be blaming yourself for Kellach's… condition, and that it may be impacting your ability to handle what has happened and what could happen to our town." When Torin was silent, he continued, "We think you're not performing your best here because your mind is still at home with your son.
"And rightfully it should be, with what the boy went through… We don't think you should come back to work until you've sorted it out."
At Torin's continued silence, Trillian seemed to grow nervous. "Of course sir, it's up to you and we don't mean to…"
"No…" Torin finally spoke, "You're not wrong." Trillian seemed shocked to not have been chewed out. "I'll put in a few more hours work, and then I'll head home."
And that was what he had done. He hadn't expected the house to be empty when he walked in. He also didn't expect the screams, his son's screams. "Kellach!" He called in alarm, heart rate skyrocketing as he flew into the house, following the sound.
He expected to find Kellach under attack when he entered the kitchen. He didn't expect to find the boy pressed up against the wall, alone, with a broken glass on the ground next to him, begging for some nonexistent force to stop hurting him. His sightless eyes stared into nothing as he clutched his hands tightly against his chest, knees pulled up in a protective position.
Torin raced up to his son, his only instinct to protect the boy, but the instant he did Kellach let out a heartbreaking cry. "No, please! No, no more please!"
"Kellach," Torin knelt, grabbing his son and pulling the boy against his chest like he hadn't since he was little. Kellach was crying, sobbing, still begging his attacker to stop. Torin had never felt so helpless. He felt as though there was nothing he could do to get through this awful flashback his boy was having.
"Kellach, son! Listen to me, I'm here. It's your Dad…" Kellach seemed to still slightly at that, but Torin could see that he was still having trouble fulling pulling himself out of the memory. "Kellach, you're safe, we're going to protect you… I'm… going to protect you."
"Please don't hurt me anymore," Kellach whimpered, his whole body trembling in Torin's arms as the man wrapped his arms around his son. "Please, please just let me go…"
"Kellach, I'm never going to let you go again," Torin promised as Kellach's sobs and pleas began to die down. "You are my son and I will protect you this time, I swear."
Torin had not been present for any of Kellach's flashbacks prior to this one. This he was partly glad for, as he had not had to see his son in this state. On the other hand, he had no idea what to do for Kellach to bring him down.
Luckily, Kellach seemed to be working himself out of the panic attack on his own. He finally turned around to try to focus his gaze on Torin, and it almost broke the man's heart how his son's gaze didn't quite meet his. "Dad?" He asked, his voice scratchy and broken, the most vulnerable Torin had seen him in a long time.
"I'm here Kellach," Torin promised, "I'm here."
Kellach tended to be disoriented, coming out of his flashbacks, but this was a situation he hadn't encountered before. Coming out into a situation he was even less sure how to handle. "Where… I mean… why…" He tried to voice his thoughts.
"You don't need to talk," Torin said, in that deep, paternal voice that used to make Kellach feel so safe. And just like that, Kellach felt like crying again. But for a completely different reason this time. As he choked on a sob, Torin tensed. "Are you through…"
"Yeah, I… I'm back, I'm here, I just…" He couldn't continue because he didn't know what he was supposed to say, or what was wrong with him. "I thought… I thought you weren't supposed to be back until later?"
Kellach felt Torin sigh against his back. There was a silence, one almost so long that Kellach started to feel awkward just cradled against his father's chest. He shifted to move when Torin started to speak.
"Some of the men at work," He started falteringly, "Suggested that I may be working harder and for longer… because I was avoiding issues at home." Kellach stiffened, hands still pulled tight to his chest. He wished so much that he could turn around and see his father's face right now.
"I thought you were mad," Kellach said quietly, still feeling vulnerable in that moment, "Mad that I hadn't told you guys about… about being…" He had to pause, before he added softly, "Blind."
"I was mad," Torin admitted, and Kellach felt a brief moment of panic, but then his father continued. "But it was at myself. That I should have been able to protect you from all the suffering and pain that you had to go through… that you're still going though."
Kellach sighed, and let his head sag. "There was nothing you could have done. I didn't even know where I was."
"But I should have been able to find you!" Torin snapped, startling Kellach. "I should have known the right places to look, the people to look for. I shouldn't have just gotten you back out of sheer luck and chance. You shouldn't have to go through life with those memories and with…" He cut himself off, but Kellach could have sworn he heard tears in his father's voice.
"And with the blindness?" He asked. "You can say it Dad."
"And with… the blindness," Torin agreed sadly. "And now that you're back, there's still nothing I can do to help you see again, and the only thing I can think of is getting back at the people who did it to you, who hurt you in the first place. And how I can protect you from ever being hurt again."
That was the most Kellach had heard come out of his father's mouth in years. And the most emotional Kellach had heard him in a long time. He paused for a moment, thinking. "I don't blame you guys, you know that right?"
"We should have been able to protect you Kellach," Torin argued, "You were only fifteen!" There were definitely tears in his voice this time around.
"And I should have been more aware and I should have found a better way to escape and maybe I should have just killed myself to spare you guys the pain of seeing me like this…" Kellach's tone was bitter, "Maybe I…"
"No!" Torin yelled, cutting off any words Kellach might have continued with. "No…" He repeated, more softly, "I would rather have you here, broken as you are, than dead. That was my biggest fear. Losing you for good and never knowing what had happened to you."
There was silence between the two for a moment. Kellach didn't know what else to say. "Thanks Dad," He finally managed.
Torin just gripped him tightly and answered, "Thank you for coming home."
Just a touchy feely bit that struck me earlier today. I realized I never gave Kellach and Torin's strained relationship closure.
And, ya know, I kinda felt like writing some torture and delving into a really screwed up part of Kellach's ordeal.
Thanks for reading!
More may or may not come based on inspiration.