Bytown e1c7: Good Irish Lads
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Liam Kelly had never been alone. He was born into a rollocking family of six siblings and two doting parents, and grew up with a seemingly endless roster of friends. Even on the cusp of his wide-eyed trip across the ocean to forge a new life in the wilds of Upper Canada, he had his brother, Rían, by his side. Liam Kelly had no idea what it was to be alone, and the shock felt like being crushed by a falling tree.
Out in the woods, hands numb from the cold and sweat soaking his clothes, he worked through the pain and sadness that had been gutting him whole, this past day. The men who knew said nothing to him. The ones who didn't continued to make jokes; he did his best to smile, though he wasn't quite sure if his mouth was making the shape he wanted. By the looks they gave him, he was getting it all wrong.
He became aware that a voice was speaking to him, somewhere nearby, and it took him a moment to focus on the sound and realize it was Adam, his partner on this hellishly frozen day. Liam frowned and shook his head to loosen the haze. "Sorry, what were you..?"
Adam seemed both surprised at that, and understanding. "I was asking if they'd caught the bastards yet."
Liam didn't know, he realized. He didn't know much of anything, except how hollow he felt.
"No," he said, because really, they never did catch bastards. That was what had made Rían sign up in the first place. And now...