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[ g r a z e . a f t e r . t h e e . a n d . w e e p ]
by kHo

It´s been hours of confused silence since the sickly sweet smell of the Peyote smoke had dissipated into the thin night air. William would rest his eyes for what would feel like a second and open them to find Nobody across the field, and wonder exactly how long that second had been. He drifted in and out of consciousness many times in those few hours, and while he knew this should worry him, the exhaustion in him rendered him unable to care.

“I´m hungry, Nobody,” he mumbled when his vision cleared enough for him to discern Nobody from the blanket. “Isn´t there anything to eat?”

“No,” the native said, smiling at him with much more jubilance than William thought was called for. “Not for you, William Blake.”

William sighed, tugging the bearskin closer to him and resting his head against the tree trunk. “Nobody?”

“Yes, William?”

William bit his lip and cast a glance at the man from the corner of his eyes. “Do you ever wish you were white?”

Nobody laughed, crossing hefty legs over one another and shaking his head. “Stupid fucking white man. Why would I wish that?”

William found himself smiling at the phrase that had days before rankled his nerves. “Because of how my kind perceives you. Because if you were one of them, they wouldn´t treat you so unjustly.”

“I care neither what they say, nor what they do, William,” Nobody said with a soft smile puffing up his already puffy cheeks. “An eagle does not wish to have a crow´s claws, he has his own.”

William tried to will his brain to wrap around the many colors his words must have been shaded with but his brainwaves were short-circuiting two-by-ten and he gave up fairly quickly. “You know what I wish for, Nobody?”

“What do you wish for William Blake?”

William laughed. “Why do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Call me by my whole name.”

“You are William Blake,” the native said, spreading his arms to indicate that this was all the explanation needed. “And that is what I call you.”

William shrugged, sighing. “What I wish for is for my Cecelia.”

“Cecelia,” Nobody asked, cocking his head to the side. “Is Cecelia whom you have killed?”

“No,” William spat, his eyes squinting at Nobody. “Her name was Thel, and I did not kill her. I killed the man who killed her.”

Nobody nodded, smiling appraisingly. “I see.”

“No, Cecelia was to be my wife,” he said. “But she left me.”

“She found another.”

William´s eyes closed and his eyebrows pinched together. “Why must everyone assume that?”

“Is it not true?”

“Yes, it´s true,” William said, sighing and looking at Nobody. “I still don´t understand why everyone assumes that.”

“It must have been a great man she left you for, William Blake,” Nobody said with gravity in his voice. “For her to leave you.”

William frowned, regarding him suspiciously. “I´m unsure of how to take that.”

Nobody shrugged, leaning forward and crawling closer to where William sat. “You are William Blake, the great poet.”

“I´m not.”

“You are too modest.”

“I know nothing of poetry,” William said, his voice pleading with Nobody to accept the truth as the truth.

“And now beside thee, bleating lamb, I can lie down and sleep. Or think on Him who bore thy name, Graze after thee, and weep.” [ * ]

William smiled, wishing again that he were this person Nobody thought him to be. “Very pretty.”

“It must have been a great man,” Nobody repeated. “For her to leave you for him.”

William looked into the man´s eyes and saw a great kindness in them. “I think you mean that as a compliment.”

“What was she like,” Nobody asked, reaching out and brushing a strand of William´s hair off of his sickly clammy forehead. “Tell me of your wife that was to be.”

William´s mouth quirked into what was half of a painful smile and half of a bitter frown. “She was beautiful. The most beautiful girl in Cleveland, I always thought.”

“She must have been, for you to think so.”

The smile widened as he looked at the enchantment on Nobody´s face. “She had long curly brown hair. Come to think of it, that is probably what attracted me to Thel.”

“The woman you killed?”

William´s eyes snapped to Nobody´s face, filling with anger. “I did not kill her, Nobody,” he said, feeling anger and not just a little desperation chill him to his bones. “As I told you, time and again, it was not me that killed her. It was her fiancé. He aimed at me, and she got in the way.”

“I understand,” Nobody said with a nod, smiling encouragingly. “Go on, continue.”

“You must believe me, Nobody,” William said, turning his body to face him more fully. “I did not kill Thel.”

Nobody nodded, reaching out a hand and running the pad of his finger across the bridge of William´s face. “Calm, William, I know you did not kill an innocent woman.”

William regarded him for a moment longer, his eyes searching Nobody´s for doubt still left behind. He felt relief wash slowly through him when he didn´t find it and sighed heavily as he sunk into the crook of the tree. “Cecelia didn´t love me,” he said softly. “She never did.”

Nobody´s fingers continued to trace lines on William´s face, a frown marring the man´s almost angelic features. A thumb brushed lightly over William´s left eyebrow as Nobody´s eyes met his and William thought to himself that he hadn´t known it was possible for a man to be glowing with beauty as this man before him does.

“Why do you think this?”

“She wasn´t happy with me,” William said, watching the emotions pass over Nobody´s face as his fingers continued their path on his face. He thought vaguely that he should draw away from the man´s touch, but perhaps he was too tired to care properly. “She wanted stability, and she thought that I could provide it for her. When she found I couldn´t, she left me.”

“For another man.”

William smiled slightly. “Yes. For another man.”

“One that could provide for her.”

“I suppose so, yes,” William said with a nod, unable to take his eyes off of the man in too close proximity.

Nobody smiled, and William felt his heart clench just slightly. “A poet´s income was not steady enough for her.”

“Nor an accountant´s,” William said, feeling suddenly a lump in the back of his throat. He blinked rapidly as he felt his heart clench again and wondered what it was about this Indian, this red skinned savage (as he´d been told his whole life), that rendered him so emotionally drained.

Nobody´s fingers withdrew from his face and William found himself mourning the loss of his touch. His eyes rested on William's and he smiled softly enough to make William´s tears spring forth.

“William,” he said, frowning in confusion. “Why do you cry?”

“I´m sorry, Nobody,” he said gruffly, sniffing and lifting a hand to wipe quickly at his cheeks. “I don´t know what´s come over me.”

“Do not wipe them away,” Nobody said, grabbing his hand and holding it close to his own body. “They are what make you a man.”

William laughed slightly, closing his eyes as he felt another tear work it´s way out. “Real men don´t cry.”

“Real men, William Blake, know that crying is what makes us human,” Nobody said, fingers running lightly over William´s palm. “That it is human emotions that separate us from those that do not have them.”

“You´re a beautiful man, Nobody,” William whispered, folding his fingers over Nobody´s meaty paw. “A beautiful, kind man.”

Nobody smiled. “Thank you, William.”

“I don´t fully understand why you´ve done for me what you´ve done for me,” William said, squeezing Nobody´s hand as tightly as he could. “But I thank you.”

“Sleep William Blake,” Nobody said, raising up on his knees and placing a soft kiss to William´s temple. “You´ll wake again soon enough.”


He woke again to the feel of flesh on his neck, pressed just barely against where he knew his pulse was. His eyes fluttered slightly as he tried to focus on the touch and waken himself fully. “What are you doing,” he asked, his voice heavy with sleep.

“I am seeing how many miles we have yet to go,” Nobody said quietly, pulling back and looking at William with bewitching eyes. “We have further still.”

William nodded, yawning slightly. “Are we to leave now?”

Nobody smiled and shook his head. “You must rest more before you travel further.”

“Okay,” William said, having neither the energy to argue, nor the energy to follow should Nobody change his mind.

“There is one more thing I must do before I go,” Nobody´s voice said from the distance, echoes and indeterminate sounds to William´s nearly sleeping form.

“What,” William asked, struggling to open an eye.

“No man should pass onto the next without knowing pleasure once more, William Blake,” Nobody said, his fingers tugging lightly on the bearskin William clutched to him tightly.

“Okay,” William said, loosening his grip on the wrap, frowning when Nobody did not take it from him. “Do you not have your own blanket?”

Nobody didn´t answer, instead reaching out again and pressing his thumbs beneath William´s eyes. “Tomorrow you will wake with more strength, I promise you.”

William nodded, feeling a laugh bubble up in his chest out of confusion. He watched as Nobody´s hands drifted over his legs to the top of his pants, eyes widening as the man began to unbutton his pants. “Uh… Nobody?”

“And now beside thee, bleating lamb, I can lie down and sleep. Or think on Him who bore thy name, graze after thee, and weep.”

William´s breath hitched as Nobody´s fat fingers grazed lightly over his own naked flesh, taking him flush into his hand without the slightest hesitation. “Nobody,” he hissed out, turning frightened eyes towards the man, his hands rising to clasp onto his arms. “What are you…”

“Shhh, William,” Nobody said, rubbing his thumb around the tip of him, surprising William with the wave of pleasure he felt. “Every man deserves his last meal.”

“I don´t…” William felt his head hit the tree behind him, lolling back into the bark of its own accord. He felt his entire body clench and his voice caught in his throat. “I don´t understand what you´re saying to me.”

He meant to press Nobody for an answer, but his hand had begun to move and William found that his voice had left him. His long thin fingers dug into the native´s tanned flesh but did not push them away. He knew if he protested enough Nobody would cease and desist, but still he did not push him away.

A low mewl rolled out into the night and William would never know that it was his own. A rainbow of colors danced before his eyes, flashes here and gone in seconds. Visions of his family came to him and left before he could place them as remembered or conjured. Cecelia smiled at him from behind a veil even as tears rolled down her cheeks.

Thel came to him, and he could almost smell the paper of the rose before she disappeared again and was replaced by the man that killed her. A dull roaring white flash and a bang and a man lay bleeding purple blood on the floor as he gathered his clothes and landed with a splat on the mud outside. A wet stickiness covering his fingers as he fled as fast as he could with his hand clutching his chest.

Bright blinding sun was blocked by a grand headdress as hot fire was poured into William´s chest, chanting things at him that he still was unable to decipher. He heard the man call him stupid fucking white man, and quote lines from a poet he´d never heard of before. He counted the times that Nobody asked him if he had tobacco and wondered to himself how many times it would take for a person to realize that he doesn´t smoke.

Then he was rounding the top of a mountain, and just about to plummet on the other side with the wind in his hair and hot gunmetal at his back. He didn´t want to go over, but there was no choice. It was certain death to climb down the steep embankments of the gorge, but so was it to turn back.

His breath came in fits and bursts as the colors swirled around again until he was crying out, digging his fingers into Nobody´s hair and pulling him forward, crushing his lips to his as he moaned into the caress of Nobody´s hands. He felt Nobody´s tongue graze lightly over his as he felt something clench once, twice, three times and he moaned once more long and loud as the toes of his bare feet curled in on themselves.

His head fell back with his eyes closed as he breathed through his nose, his head spinning with fragmented pieces of things both experienced and not. He felt cool lips pressing themselves to his forehead and he smiled, his hand reaching up to run through long silky black hair. “Beautiful,” he whispered, out of breathe, feeling unconsciousness sneaking up on him yet again. “Beautiful and kind.”

“Sleep, William Blake,” Nobody said softly. “You have much more to come before you sleep again.”


William would wake up with a start in the morning, and wonder where this burst of energy would come from.

He´d discover that Nobody was not in their camp anymore, and he´d remember that there was something he´d meant to pay attention to the night before.

He´d wonder to himself why Nobody would leave him, and then he´d realize that he no longer had his glasses.

He wouldn´t know why Nobody would need his glasses, but then the Nobody in his head will tell him, in that lulling poetic cadence of his, ‘perhaps it will take blindness for you, William Blake, to be able to truly see.´

[ annotation ] poem in picture, and quoted in this fic, is ‘Night´ by William Blake.

All feedback much appreciated!
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