Antimodes closed the door carefully, dimming the sounds of pain from within the small room. And ran straight into Caramon Majere.
"How is... how is-“, the tall man said, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. He was pale, a gaunt look to his otherwise handsome face, and there was a shadow in his eyes, giving him the appearance of someone haunted. It made Antimodes only too aware of the recent happenings and he heaved a sigh.
"He will be alright. Your brother is stronger than you give him credit for," Antimodes said, patting the young man’s shoulder in sympathy.
"I need to, I mean..."
"I’m afraid that is impossible right now. He is not in the right state to-"
"I don’t care."
"No, you listen. First you force him to take this awful test-"
"We would never force-"
"And then... and then you let this happen. It’s all your fault that he’s... like, like this. And I have a right to see him." The young man gained more confidence during his rant, jabbing one strong finger into Antimodes’ chest. "I’m his twin, you don’t know anything." He drew strength from his statement, straightening up to his full height. "I’m his twin," repeating, he shoved the mage aside, reaching for the handle but Antimodes’ hand slapped against the wood, keeping the door locked.
"I think we need to talk first."
"There is nothing to talk about." Caramon refused to look at the other man, staring with unseeing eyes at the oaken door, leading to the guest room where his brother lay recovering slowly from the after-effects of the test and something else. Something the mages kept carefully hidden from him.
"Your brother k-"
"Don’t you dare say that. Don’t you dare." Antimodes took a step back, raising his hands in a placating manner. Caramon was a gentle man, but when provoked, he could be fierce and dangerous, especially where his brother was concerned. “He was out of his mind, he was hurt. In pain. He didn’t know what he was doing."
"I think your brother knew ex-"
"No. No, he did not. How can he? He has not been himself ever since- This wasn’t the Raistlin I know." Despite his anger at the Majere brother for denying what was right in front of him, Antimodes also felt a stab of great sorrow when he saw him pinching his closed eyes with his fingers, holding back the tears and breathing out in a sigh, fighting for control. Antimodes had to tell himself that it had been for the best that Caramon had witnessed what Raistlin was truely capable of, no matter how cruel it seemed to the both of them.
"This wasn’t Raistlin," Caramon whispered furiously. "It wasn’t real. None of this is real. He needs me."
No, Antimodes thought. You do. He could not force him to acknowledge the truth about his brother and about himself. His only hope was that it would come with time and that he would understand soon for his own sake. This codependency was unhealthy, destroying them both from within and Antimodes feared that it would be Caramon whose spirit would be broken and left to die at the end of their shared road.
Antimodes watched helplessly as the young man entered the small guestroom, watched as Caramon barely managed to withhold his own moan of agony upon seeing his twin lying broken on the pallet; bare chest wrapped in blood-stained bandages, the fever giving his strangely coloured skin an unhealthy sheen.
"Raist." He seated himself on the edge of the mattress, careful of the sudden shift in weight, and stroked the now white hair, holding his brother’s hollow cheek in one large palm. Raistlin reached for his elbow reflexively and tried to pull himself up.
"Brother...," the coarse whisper sounded relieved and as he awkwardly hugged Caramon, a cough shook his haggard body violently, sharp shoulder blades casting dark shadows over his back. It seemed as if only Caramon's strong arms held him together.
"What have they done to you..."
Antimodes had to close the door, unable to watch the brutal tenderness in Caramon’s face any longer.