Late one night when Locke is asleep and Edgar isn't, Edgar wonders over the Returner thief and what makes him who he is. Character studyish, EdgarLocke, pregame.
Laying in his overly large bed in the middle of the night, when Locke was already sleeping heavily and both of them were naked, Edgar could see Locke’s body easily with the light of the moon coming though his windows. The sheets the thief had yanked up earlier barely came up to his too-thin waist, and Edgar, having just crawled back in bed after getting a drink of water, was awake enough to take in what hadn’t been covered. Locke, for all his bravado during the day about being a master treasure hunter and number one trouble-making Returner, looked a lot less energetic when he was asleep. Not only was he actually being still, but the scars on his body and his tendency to sleep deeply made him look almost exhausted.
His scars, though, were what really troubled Edgar. The first one he usually saw whenever he looked at Locke was the one just above his left eye, a small, neat white line running through his eyebrow. Locke told Edgar he’d gotten that one from a fight, and when questioned further, admitted it was from no weapon; his opponent had been wearing a ring when his fist flew into the thief’s face.
“I won, though,” Locke would say proudly whenever he told this story. “I beat the hell out of him.” And despite the fact that Edgar knew Locke tended to embellish his stories, he’d smile, hoping the bastard had gotten what he deserved.
Edgar reached out to touch this scar, the one above Locke’s eye, but drew his hand back when Locke stirred. Edgar, not wanting to wake him, simply looked, and next his eyes found Locke’s arm. Faint, criss-crossing lines traveled from his wrist to his elbow, the price paid, Locke had told him once, for jumping through a broken window when he was in a hurry to get away. When Edgar traced over these with his fingers, Locke slept on, and Edgar wondered if it had hurt too much - somehow he couldn’t abide by the thought of Locke feeling so much pain.
But of course if he ever asked the thief, Locke would tell him, “It hurt like a bitch, Edgar, believe me, they were pulling out the glass for hours later,” and brag about how he had gotten away without a care anyway, leaving his pursuers in the dust, when Edgar knew good and damn well he’d nearly been caught and killed.
“I hope it did hurt,” Edgar had grumbled, angry at Locke for taking risks and getting hurt.
“Oh, 'course it did,” Locke had told him lightly. “Pain’s part of the healing process, didn’t you know? They poured some really nasty medicine on it, too.”
And as Edgar’s fingers traveled further up Locke’s arm, they found a dark spot which had once been a rather painful burn. “Pushed into my own campfire,” Locke had told Edgar, eyebrows raised, when he came back sporting cracked and blistered skin on his shoulder, ringed by the blackened cloth of hole burned through his shirt. “Some bastard came up behind me when I was asleep and tried to do me in. I guess he thought I was a thief, can you believe that? And I just found his stuff on accident. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Let me in, would you? I want some ice.”
And of course Edgar had let him in, and gotten him some ice and a medic, and debated the entire time whether to tell Locke he was happy he was safe or angry because he had nearly died again.
But those weren’t the worst of Locke’s injuries. He had other souvenirs from his years of being a Returner, and one of the more alarming ones was a scar on his stomach, above and to the left of his navel, where he’d been stabbed in a bar fight that had gotten out of hand. Locke didn’t willingly talk about that one so much - all Edgar had gotten out of him was that the guy was from Kohlingen, and he’d mentioned Rachel. That was enough for Edgar to know Locke’s buttons had really been pushed. He knew for a fact Locke hadn’t gone back since.
And then there was Rachel - the worst scar of all, because no matter how hard he looked, Edgar couldn’t see this one, couldn’t run his fingers over it to take away the pain. Rachel was not only the scar, no, she was the still-open wound, and Locke wouldn’t show this wound to Edgar and ask for help fixing it. He kept it hidden, kept it to himself, because in this case, he was too afraid of the pain that came with healing. Locke was open and honest - but when it came to this, he was closed-off to the core. It was almost like a rule when dealing with Locke: Don’t mention Rachel.
As Edgar’s fingers left Locke’s skin, Locke shivered, and the king pulled the blankets up over them to keep them warm. He draped an arm around Locke’s thin shoulders, and felt Locke stir awake and press his face into his own chest.
“What’re y’doin’ up?” Locke mumbled, speech slurred with sleepiness. “G’sleep, Edgar. Quitcher worryin’. M’fine.”
It wasn’t the first time Edgar had stayed up and looked over Locke like this, and the damn thief knew what Edgar was up to.
So Edgar closed his eyes and pulled Locke close to him, ready to let himself drift off. But before he did, he promised himself, as he had promised himself many nights before, that if - almost when - Locke broke under the pressure and needed someone, he would be there for him. Even if the thief never opened up to him in their lives, Edgar would be patient and wait, ready to take the pain from the worst scar of all the moment Locke let him.
He sighed then, into Locke’s hair, and slept.