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The only thing separating Wolt from Roy is a few tents, some guards, and a stray horse that no one has claimed. He's thought about going over to speak, but the simple idea of intruding upon Roy's occasional meetings keeps him from doing so.

Whatever time Roy has, it should be spent on what takes importance. Wolt knows better than anyone that his importance is not high enough to intrude–not now, at least.

“When we get back home, I should sleep in your room like I used to,” Roy said during a quick breakfast that morning. “It would be like old times.”

Exasperated and feeling like his mind is working at a trillion unpleasant angles, Wolt rubs at his eyes. He needs sleep, not Roy. The world needs Roy.

Dragging himself over to the stained bedroll he bought several, several towns ago, Wolt lays on his side and stares at the closed tent flap. The moon, full enough to see through the canvas used to build his tent, illuminates the small pack he shoved beside his rusting bow and quiver. Hopefully, an armory will be nearby with enough stock to secure Wolt for a few more battles.

Seconds before Wolt's eyes drift shut, something blocks the moon. With haste, Wolt sits up and scrambles for his bow and quiver.

“Wolt?” Someone asks outside the tent flap, quelling the panic thrumming through Wolt's veins. “Are you okay in there?”

Almost breathless with relief, Wolt relaxes at the familiarity of Roy's voice through the canvas. He should have known–no one stays up quite as late as Roy does. Not often, at least.

“Yes, Lord Roy,” Wolt says glancing about before putting on his tunic. “Is there something you needed? I have extra supplies–”

“It's not that,” Roy says before his shadow shifts and appears to take a wary step. “Can–uh, is it okay if I come in?”

“Of course,” Wolt almost trips over his own feet as he quickly stands and opens the tent flap. Roy looks tired, his face sallow and his dark circles blatant in the moonlight. “Is there something wrong, Lord Roy?”

Instead of replying, Roy huffs before gnawing on his lip. Maybe something has gone wrong. Roy rarely acts like this unless something is bothering him, but Wolt refrains from pushing Roy to answer immediately.

“Wolt,” Roy says, the name coming out more like a sigh than a spoken word. “Allow me to ask you something.”

“Of course, Lord Roy,” Wolt watches as the corners of Roy's mouth twitch downward. “I would be honored to answer.”

“How long have you known me?”

“My entire life, Lord Roy,” Wolt glances up at the ceiling of the tent, noting the holes and briefly reminding himself to pick up some patches, too. “Why do you ask?”

“How long have you been calling me by a title, Wolt?”

This question takes Wolt by surprise. “Two years now, I believe,” Wolt scratches at his face. “Lord Roy, does this have to do with the conversation we had a few encounters ago?”

It is easy enough to remember: Wolt's ignorance has led to a personal disconnect that is almost impossible to mend because of their respective roles in society. Or, that is what it seemed like, at the time.

Gloved hands rub at the dark circles under oceanic eyes. “Yes,” Roy says, his voice a little breathier–is he happy about something? Is this what has been bothering him. “I want to ask you to call me by name when we are alone.”

Wordlessly, Wolt's mouth opens and closes before he can manage to gather his thoughts. “I–I don't think we will ever be truly alone, Lord Roy. I am sorry, but I don't think I could allow myself to do such a thing.”

I don't think I could give myself that luxury; not anymore . Whatever glimmer had been in Roy's eyes is gone by the time Wolt finishes his sentence. This must be what he expected, because Roy only nods and shifts.

“You must be tired,” Roy exhales, slow and careful. “I'm sorry for coming in so late.”

“No,” Wolt shakes his head. “It's an honor to have you in here. Thank you.”

If Roy took it as an honest sentiment or simply another line fed to him from a servant, Wolt cannot tell. With a smile that reaches nowhere close to his eyes, Roy tells Wolt goodnight before leaving the tent.

After standing for a while, a small piece of Wolt hoping for Roy to return, Wolt gives up on his hope and takes a seat on his bedroll. The knots in his stomach, the burning of his eyes, and the heat in his face will be gone by tomorrow.

One trillion things to say, but Wolt cannot even say a name. A small piece of his heart breaks as he lays on his bedroll, his eyes still searching for Roy's shadow well into the night.