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Diviners of Runawynd

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"Torrin?" With a voice softened to a breeze, Garrick called, struggling for delicacy as he knocked and opened the doorway of the dimly-lit bedroom, "Hey, Torrin."

Underneath a heap of blankets, a small figure shifted, revealing a face that was red with fever. It smiled as wide as its ability. "Hey," It breathed with effort to regain its vocal chords, clearing its throat as it repeated, "Hey."

Feeling every heartstring being pulled towards his ailing friend, the ever-faithful Garrick approached the bedside and sat with fists on his lap and back arched forward.

"You'll… You'll get sick," Torrin warned, knowingly.

"Hah, don't care." The Diviner of Fate wasn't sure what to do, or how to fix the situation, but he knew that this was the most important place he had to be.

Gently, he placed a hand on Torrin's burning forehead, as if he could heal him with unforeseen magic; but of course, he felt powerless. Had it been Keiran or Sylas, they had such skills, but Garrick...? Torrin only melted his eyes shut at the touch, still keeping that smile intact. "Hnnn..."

"You, um," But what could he say?

"You have a job to do, right? You should get to work." The little voice quipped at him from beneath the blankets.

As much as Garrick wanted to argue and force the other out of his ways, the younger one always seemed to know better. He froze for a moment, awkwardly running his fingers through Torrin's wet hair, then said, "Get better, okay?"

"Heh heh," Torrin laughed, "Sure. I'll be back before you know it."

"Can I ask why?" Garrick summarized. Being a man of purpose, he was downright irked that his superior would ask something so trivial of him. "You don't usually give me a whole lot of info, I know, but come on. And no papers on this chick? Nothing?"

In the comfort of his office sofa, the supreme god childishly rocked his legs back and forth beneath his chair while going through an array of tea samples laid out before him on a tray. Cheerfully, he opened each canister one-by-one; having much trouble sniffing out the perfect flavor for the moment. Given the amount of times Keiran had re-sniffed the samples, Garrick feared his search would be forever undecided. "You need a reason to go to earth? I thought you liked it down there."

"I just don't see the point of it, is all. Usually you send me with a mission." Though Garrick considered Keiran's ways to be obscure and oftentimes cryptic, he could typically get a feel for some sort of underlying goal. But this time, he was baffled and had other things to worry about.

"And that I did! Your mission is to get a haircut and ask the hairdresser about her family photo. That's it." At last, Keiran poured himself and his subordinate a cup of his chosen tea leaves. He took another whiff of his recently-acquired tea, then he drew back, back arching and tongue out, then set the steaming beverage aside to cool. Such actions could hardly be fitting to the half-comical, half-severe situation.

"That's it…?"

It was in that moment that the door had opened. Both men turned to see a somewhat sickly-apparition of Torrin with a notebook in hand. "Keiran," A small voice mustered and coughed, "I put those finishing touches on that project you had me do… Please take a look."

Both Keiran and Garrick stopped what they were doing and jumped to their feet. But Keiran was quicker to make the first move, "Ah, Torrin! Goodness, you look absolutely horrid! Worse off than this morning! I told you these documents could wait! Now, hurry, get back to bed. You shouldn't be up like this. Back to bed, back to bed." And with that, the motherly figure urged the petite one out the door and down the hall with a final message, "Health is more important."

There was a delicate nature of Keiran's that only appeared when talking to Torrin. Garrick noted how Torrin was always able to make them smile. He had that effect on people. Always available if Garrick needed someone to talk to or depend on. The more he thought about it, the more he came to realize how irreplaceable Torrin was.

But as quickly as the sunshine came, it left.

Garrick sighed regretfully, wishing he had more time to spend with the younger one. His heart went out to Torrin, and he wished wholeheartedly that he could be at his side, taking care of him, rather than giving into another one of Keiran's bizarre requests.

Keiran waited until Torrin's presence was long gone before he continued, quietly, "Anyway, that's all I want from you. …Today, that is!" He quickly added with a wink, suggestion leaking out and escalating like the steam from his teacup.

"Uhh, I'll go, but I don't see what good it'll do humanity." The blond man ignored the tease, but as he felt his face burn red, he hung his head in self-pity.

"Excellent! Then, let me pull out a map for you…" Garrick's wary eyes watched as a quick hand took to his pants pockets, where his cellphone was swiped then man-handled by Keiran, who good-naturedly took a seat beside the retreating Garrick. To cure/add to such hesitation, Keiran pulled an arm around Garrick's ever-so-tense waist to draw him closer.

Finally content, Keiran pointed things out as he demonstrated, "You just need to go to... THAT salon and get your hair done by a girl with THAT name – no picture and no files this time; you'll meet her when you meet her." Ignoring the boo that came from Garrick's pouting mouth, Keiran continued, "And don't forget to ask about her family photo!"

"Okay, okay. I'll go now so I can get it over with…" And the man was about to stand and do as he said, but a hand pulled him back down.

An oversensitive Keiran peered into his eyes, hand still tight around Garrick's sleeve, "You're not going to finish your tea, darling?"

"Errg," The tea tastes good, but the company… "Y-Yeah, I guess I could-" Give him an inch, and he crawls all over you, what a pathetic bastard.

"Great! We can both sit here together and drink tea and-" While his speech droned on and on in a most energetic fashion, Keiran's body edged closer and closer to the unfortunate victim of his affection.

As soon as physical contact was initiated, Garrick sprung to his feet, "But on second thought, I really should get going."

Vigorously, Garrick's feet carried him in a beeline out the door, but stopped politely to listen to Keiran's final words, "Oh, angel, your game of hard-to-get shall never bore me! Come back safely!"

He had what he needed, he just had to go.

Garrick sat patiently for his hairdresser to arrive. The scenery around him was energizing yet draining at the same time. A cast of mainly women were all around him, all of which Garrick considered to be expensive fashion statements. Not only their hair, but their clothes, and even body language showed signs that they were all quite knowledgeable in the more modern, ritzier part of their society.

It was interesting for Garrick to watch. For about fifteen minutes. He was unfamiliar with all their cliquey terminology, and after a while, began to feel somewhat secluded in this land of stylish youths. But it seemed he stood out for a different reason. Everyone was enamored by the handsome stranger, as Garrick had earned several looks from the people around him.

Despite everything, his mind traveled elsewhere; thinking that his time would be better spent tending his to sick friend rather than getting his hair cut. Even for someone as cryptic as Keiran, this "mission" felt less than meaningful.

Thinking back to Runawynd, he imagined his half-full teacup that was waiting for him in Keiran's office. It must've been dumped down the drain already. How he'd rather be sitting, drinking that tea in good company, perhaps, beside Torrin, who could probably use a good spot of herbal tea, some soup, and a long, soaking shower or bath. Surely, he would have tended to that had he not been here. Now, he left that job to Sylas or Keiran.

Naturally, Garrick never considered Keiran to be "good company" - or at least, not in their previous episode. The man let out a deep, groaning sigh, his eyes watching some of the hair that was being swept away by one of the cuttery's workers. Especially not with that attitude he showed me earlier…

Keiran certainly had a way of upsetting him like no other. Even thinking about him in that manner forced his heart into a fearful corner. Ultimately, he hated how Keiran would display such playful affections. It was nauseating to say the least. It was plain to see that he enjoyed the chase; he said so himself. Maybe it's all just a game. I mean, it can't really be love, can it? He hardly seems serious, that Keiran guy. Besides, that would just never work and for a hundred different reasons. The first of which bein', I-

From his peripherals, the blond man noticed a petite woman approaching him. As soon as he thought to look up, her soft voice inquired, "Hi, are you Garrick?"

"Ah! Oh, ya, that's me." Garrick smiled with charm and gusto at his new acquaintance.

In return, the lady found herself laughing, "Hehe, I hope I didn't interrupt your train of thought there. Your face was so intense, I didn't know if you'd be ready or not."

I hate you, Keiran. I really do.

"I'm Edith. This way. I'll wash your hair first, if that's okay." She led him behind a layer of room separators, where she gestured towards a large chair stationed in front of a sink lined against the wall.

Following along quietly, Garrick hunched his back, hand behind his neck in a shy fashion, and then sat down. Unsure of how to sit, where to position his neck, or what he should do with his hands, he sat somewhat uncomfortably for a moment as the woman worked her way around the sink.

Garrick followed her orders, and soon, his fluffy hair was being soaked in lukewarm water. Although this sense of touch was somewhat unusual for the man, he quickly reveled in the benefits of getting a head massage. While she applied the needed conditioners, her skillful fingers moved through his dripping hair, hitting all the right points as they went.

To Garrick, it seemed that Edith was very attentive in the ways of customer service. She asked about water temperature was too hot or too cold, she asked if the pressure was too much or too little, all the while making careful sure her guest was well-treated. She had a very calm, sweet, and welcoming mannerism about her that made Garrick feel like he'd known her all his life.

After the washing, Garrick was guided to Edith's own station, where he sat facing his own, sopping-wet reflection.

"So, what will you have done today? Just a trim?" Edith asked, commencing conversation via mirror.

And thus, the two began chatting sociably with little difficulty. Unbeknownst to the Diviner of Fate himself, he had a knack for getting people to open up to him.

Amongst all the miscellanea at her station, Garrick spotted a framed photo. Remembering his quest, he changed topics to comment, "That's a great photo. Is that of you and your family?"

"Me and my parents," Edith started as she collected her choice of scissors, "I have a younger brother, too, but he wasn't there for that photo."

Without thinking or wondering about the fallacy of his statement, he commented, "That must be pretty convenient for him, huh? 'Stead of spending all that money on haircuts, he'd get it done by you."

Edith laughed, "I know, right? But you know, he just won't let me."

"Why?" Garrick felt he may have been traveling into dangerous, more personal territory, but Keiran gave him orders to ask about the picture, and he felt he hadn't yet learned the meaning of that mission. Nevertheless, he knew he was on the right track.

"I don't know. But I miss him a lot."

"Did he leave? I mean, how recent is this picture?"

"About a year old on vacation. Oh, I wish I could go back! It was great!" And thus, Garrick noted, she veered off course to switch subjects.

The appointment was finished quickly, and it wasn't long before Garrick could stand to his feet again. He took a look in the mirror to get acquainted with a new haircut, which he had no complaints with, then returned to the front desk with Edith to finish payment.

The two chatted, exchanged money and farewells, then – as Garrick was readying his things to leave – Edith handed him her business card. "Come back in about six to eight weeks from now when you need another trim. Keep in touch."

What does Keiran expect me to do? How am I supposed to help her if I don't even know what her problem is? And so, feeling unproductive, yet oh-so-relaxed and luxurious, Garrick thanked her again and set off out the door to find a suitable location in which he could return to his now-cold cup of tea in Runawynd.

The look on Keiran's face was only too joyous for the simple occasion, "Ohhh my, your hair is lovely! You look like one of those dashing lead males from the newest novel I've been reading!"

"Uh, I don't even want to know." Slouching, Garrick planted himself in his favored location of Keiran's office couch. In all his time of working in Runawynd, the scenery was beginning to grow on him, admittedly. "Anyway, do you want a report on what happened down there?"

The redhead smirked, "Always watching, you know. And no, I'm not all that interested. I just wanted to see you get a haircut. It looks great. And don't worry, it'll probably grow back by the next chapter of your little story." He added with a knowing wink.

There was a soft moment of silence then as the two each took their own deep breath.

"Then I guess I'll get something quick for Torrin to eat and head back to work." Eventually, Garrick gathered his thoughts and stood from the sofa.

"All right, then, you take care, darling! But won't you return to me soon? I might have something else for you to do after your break."

The Diviner of Fate nodded awkwardly, then all-too-quickly made his way out the door.

Keiran watched him leave, inadvertently hoping to read the thoughts of the other. But alas, his barriers were up. Ack, he's getting better at that. I suppose it's only a matter of time until he gets a handle on his magic casting, as well. Ah, how they grow up so quickly! Exhaling another deep breath, the now lonely man stretched his neck from right to left. There was something bothering his dear subordinate, and he'd like to know why. But there were times when even Keiran had to feign disinterest in order to allow fate to change things.

It was in that moment that Sylas appeared on scene. Just in time. It was time for snacks.

The reserved man stepped forward and placed the tray on the table. It took an extra moment for Keiran to speak up, which puzzled Sylas. After all, he knew him only too well. 'Is something the matter?' He communicated through thought like he was afraid his mere voice would break the blessed silence.

Keiran smiled weakly, then replied in a similar fashion, I can see he's walking into something bad.

'Garrick? If you don't mind my asking, why allow him such a mission? It goes against our policies, really.'

Have you checked her karma?

'…Yes. '

Then you should understand what he's up against and why I put him up to it. But I shouldn't let him go, and I shouldn't give him this next assignment. He can't read his own future.

''I have no advice to offer you. It's a decision you'll have to make and deal with.' Isn't that what you'd normally say?'

Haah, yes, I suppose I would've said something like that… But I feel… Feel like things are changing.

'You mean, Garrick is changing?'

I mean, there's a little piece of each of us that will end up changing. Or something along those lines.

Sylas paused to lock his brown eyes onto Keiran's weak posture. Speech could only go so far, and so, allowing himself leave, he took one small wrapped piece of food for himself before exchanging a quick farewell to his master.

Keiran sat, once again alone with his thoughts, which – per opinion of Keiran – can never be considered a good sign. I should stop him. He can't read his own future. I should be his eyes. To watch out for him. To keep him from this danger. If I truly love him like I say I do, then why… Why am I letting him go?

Seconds passed, minutes passed, but time is rarely of essence to the supreme god, who sat anxiously for his subordinate's arrival. To keep himself occupied, he fiddled with paper and pen, scribbling notes and sketches as he went.

When at last Garrick arrived - bright naïve eyes shining - Keiran felt inclined to relay to him part two of his mission. He retrieved his own preset tracking device from the top drawer and handed it to Garrick. His explanation was simple, "Track her via GPS and see how she's doing. And don't worry; this will most likely be the last time you two should come in contact."

There was something strange and surreal about a cemetery. Especially to one of the non-Earthbound like Garrick. Each headstone represented a person that passed on – some too early, some too late, and some that were ready - but Garrick's experience of life and death was different.

When he walked, he did so carefully. Some headstones stood, while others were bathed in the overgrown earth, illegible but hopefully never forgotten. Looking across each of the names made the man think and wonder about the people that might've been.

Before he became fully aware of his surroundings, his hearing perked at a quiet, distant tone. I hear water… Is there a cliff here?

Breaking him from his whimsy, Garrick felt the familiar vibration against his pants pocket. A text. From Keiran, most likely. Unable to judge the urgency of the message, he quietly opened the phone to read, "Hiya~"

Whatever. I'm not responding to that. But as he was ready to shove his phone back into his pocket, a second vibration occurred that forced Garrick to read the second text, "I love you."

He hesitated. Surely, he didn't mean what he said. …Whatever.

Garrick then took into account his mission. According to the blue orb on his ever-convenient GPS, Edith was present, but the vast graveyard permeated with a dimming fog. It was only but a ways in front of him, and yet he was unable to see his target. She couldn't be far.

Cautiously, he took his first few steps while his eyes adjusted to the grey hues the graveyard had to offer. And there, before a small patch of dirt and a relatively recent blank headstone, Edith stood completely motionless like the still of the dead. For a moment, Garrick remained quiet, watching and waiting for some opportune moment to speak with her.

But that occasion of opportunity never presented itself, and so he created one, "Edith?"

Her solemn face looked Garrick in the eyes - not wondering, not questioning. But in an instant, a small smile appeared on her face. "Oh, it's you." Her voice was unusually distant, cold, and surprised. 'What are you doing here?'

A stone face. Maybe it's not her first trip here, then. Mourning. I'm not used to consoling others. What do I say? …I wish Keiran were here to help me get started. He's the one that's good with words. "What are you doing here? Is everything all right?" Garrick questioned generically.

"I- Well, I'm just visiting."

"It's your brother, isn't it? He's not alive, is he?"

Edith said nothing, but merely turned her head to the small gravesite. Perhaps she didn't want to indulge in the topic.

Garrick read the emotion he found in her eyes, and he sympathized. "Is there anything I can do to help?"

It was in that moment that the man realized the graveness of the situation. Edith's small hand reached in her pocket in a slow consideration, then emerged with clean, silver scissors tight in a white-knuckled grasp. The scissors were brought to her skin.

"No." Simply, Edith answered at last. But behind that meek façade, the Diviner of Fate read into something a little more revealing, 'Someone took him away before I had my chance.'

Words should be used carefully, and strategy was needed. Garrick knew he had to say something. "Someone took him away before you… had your chance? To save him?" With newfound understanding per his ability to mind read, his own fears and impending anxieties caused him to shout, "Don't blame yourself! It's not your fault!"

Edith's brows twisted. "What?" 'He's not dead. I know he's still out there. Somewhere. But you wouldn't understand. You need to leave.'

"I… If he's out there somewhere, I'll help you find him!" Keep your eyes on her, not the scissors, maybe she'll forget.

"What?" Voice now wavering with uncertainty and disbelief, she repeated, "How are you doing that?" 'How are you reading my mind?' Her face changed. Her entire demeanor became tense. As Garrick's eyes flickered to the weapon in her hands, the thought of being her savior seemed further and further out of his hands… "You're the one who took him away, aren't you?" Edith accused.

"What? No, I'm sorry, but I had nothing to do with th-"

"Stop lying!" The panicked one shouted, causing Garrick to jump. "Stop lying and tell me where he is! Where's my brother?!"

"I-I don't know." He said evenly, "I didn't do anything, you don't know what you're talking about, just stay calm. I know it's hard, and I'm so sorry-"

Mindreading was a difficult task. There were often three to four conversations to keep track of. What she will say, what she will think, what Garrick will say, and what Garrick will think. It's an art that Garrick learned to master through all his meetings with each human being.

And if there's one thing he learned, it's how words can be deceiving. Her thoughts betrayed her, as thoughts often do, 'He was taken away before I was able to kill him myself.'


There were no further explanations. It was all in an instant that felt like something much more. The once-thought-of-to-be a soft, caring hand pulled Garrick by the jacket, then took to her scissors, shoving the blades into the arm of the dumbstruck figure.

Garrick stood in shock, experiencing an unbearable, searing pain along his limb. His head reeled as he regarded the bleeding wound. It pounded. Everything was numb; his mind and his body still unable to attain comprehension.

'I've never hated someone so much before that I just wanted them dead.' Edith struggled a moment to release the weapon from Garrick's seeping wound, but to no avail, she instead pushed them in further, and Garrick was cast off his feet, off the ground, off the cliff, and rushed backwards to unforeseen waters below.

The wind choked him on his way down. Tightly, his now bloodied fingers squeezed around the wound and around the scissors that wedged into his flesh. Before hitting the water, his body was struck and carried down the bottom of the cliff by sharp rocks that tore the tissue clean from his bones.

'I just thought that if he were gone, my life would be better. The world – my world - would be better off if he was never born.'

He could feel his body crash against the water's surface, then felt water being rushed around him and through him. And though his mind told him to fight and rise and breathe, his body was helpless. And surely, that he understood.

Battered and dying, Garrick left a bloody trail that he watched rise to the surface of the waters. Whatever light that was there dimmed to a mere flicker, then disappeared from life altogether. His sense of self spun, but his mind was still stuck on, Why?

It hurts. Goddamnit, it hurts so bad, my arm. I need to see it. The hell is it so hard to open my eyes?

Shakily, Garrick strained to open his blue eyes. One brief look alerted him of a figure standing above that caused him to double-take. It was Sylas, expression ever-serious and eyebrows knitted tight with empathy as he held onto Garrick's wounded arm. He was ready to give him the healing touch. Oh, my arm… god… The man wanted to close his eyes again to be rid of the bloody sight.

"What're you doing?" Garrick asked even though he knew the answer.

"Healing. Your arm is hurt. One spell will fix it-"

"I don't want it."

Sylas shrugged but respected the nonsensical wishes of the other immediately. Instead, he took to his sterilization kit and heavy bandages at hand to heal it the traditional way – to which, Garrick seemingly had no objection.

At first, Garrick sat in forced silence as he was being treated. He held his own until Sylas began cleaning the carnage and wiping the excess blood away. As he placed the lukewarm washcloth onto the flesh – careful as could be – Garrick hissed out in pain, his whole limb trembled hard as it attempted to pull back. Such pain seemed unbearable for the innocent one to handle.

Patiently, the charcoal-haired man grabbed the arm, waited for Garrick to psyche up, then repeated the process. Again, Garrick whimpered in his throat, unable to hold back or keep his cool.

Although he never intended to mock his pain, Sylas asked once more, "No instantaneous healing?"

"Nnn, no!" Garrick shouted, voice getting caught in mid-whimper.

"Then," Sylas bit his lip, holding back a little emotion of his own. He took a skillful hand to the blond man's forehead, cast some simple magic, and sent the stubborn victim into a gracious, compassionate sleep. "Let me work in peace."

There was a man sitting beside him. He sat there, quietly, reading a book – barely moving, barely breathing. It made Garrick want to close his eyes again and disappear again into his world of slumber and leave that man to his reading.

But as Garrick gave a stir and awakening sigh, Keiran looked over at him right in the eyes. And he smiled; sadly, softly, but relieved all the same.

For a moment, neither man spoke. Perhaps Garrick was waiting for Keiran to start something. But he was proven otherwise. No suggestive wink, no leap into the bed, unnecessary touching, or playing with words. Just a genuine caring smile and a voice that was so soft, Garrick almost had to think twice whether or not he actually heard it. "Good morning."

I hate this guy. Garrick turned away and pulled his only good arm up to his chest where it rested comfortably. Within his chest, he could feel a dull pulse. Like the other members of Runawynd, his body had quick regeneration. Given the damages, he imagined in a day or so, everything would be well again. Everything… That was except his arm. That would take a little longer to heal.

Ignoring the helping hands that Keiran hastily offered, Garrick hoisted himself up a little and craned his neck to take a look at his arm. There were layers upon layers of bandages that were stained deep red. Surely, if he denied healing magic, his arm still had days – or perhaps weeks - to go. Garrick's insides quivered when he recalled the stabbing and the falling…

Garrick's mind was swimming, and he just had to speak, "I guess I'm dead to her now, huh?"

"She is… dead to you. I killed her. The water took her away." Keiran continued to emplace a little extra comprehension, "Some people don't deserve second chances."

The words seemed cold, but such was the philosophy of Keiran. Although Garrick felt prone to argue, he had to reconsider. That girl, Edith, had a whole life ahead of her; the Diviner of Fate could see it. She was young, but with such a murderous intent, perhaps a second chance would be undeserving…?

"'Killed'?" Garrick mumbled, unsure. "Wh-Why would you do that?"

Keiran put the answer to words that struck an odd chord inside Garrick's chest, "What would you do if someone tried to hurt one you felt strongly for?"

How should he answer such an unwanted confession? Garrick merely shook his head, blinking his eyes shut tight, and puffed out a whiff of strained air through his nostrils.

"And Sylas? He carried you home like a knight in shining armor. During all this time, little Torrin's thought have been with you, as well. We all care about you, Garrick. And we're glad you're okay. Strange, though, how she aimed for your arm, rather than attacking a vital point…"

This voice was new - different. Very unlike Keiran, or so he thought. It was so honest and so caring. Everything he said Garrick could believe in to be true.

After his body and mind were able to settle down, pieces of this lopsided puzzle began clicking in place. He was assigned that mission to bring a human to the other side. Even though it may not have been her time, this was justice - justice in her brother's name. For the brother that Garrick had stolen from her, just before he would meet his demise at her hands.

Head rested into the unreasonably soft pillow, Garrick suddenly realized that this was the first time he'd slept in this bed – it belonged to Keiran. He had only seen his bedroom once before by mistake, and was amazed at how quaint it seemed. Especially in comparison to all the luxury Keiran had given him and the other Diviners. Though he may have come across as haughty, Keiran always did offer the best to others before treating himself…

Although he had to admit, Keiran's bed was quite lavish. With wooden posts around it, a drawn curtain, and an enormously thick mattress all made Garrick feel like royalty. It felt embarrassing, almost - too much for such a small person.

Garrick's head whirred again as his eyes reached his arm. Awkwardly, he tried lifting it, but a painful zing bolted across his body that made him think otherwise. He felt pathetic. I can't fight back when I need to. I have no magic like the others. And I always need help. How could I let this happen? Garrick began to lament in a shaky voice, "I-I just, I just want to help people, 'n do my job 'n everything. I thought… I thought I was supposed to help her, but..." Ashamedly, he reached his good arm up to cover his eyes. "Why would she think about killing someone else? Why would she do that?! Why would she hate 'im like that?!"

Keiran's heart shattered, but he had to be strong, "You were undeserving. But it would be naïve to think the good guys always win. I think… humans can be horribly selfish and very destructive creatures. You're so sweet, Garrick. Too sweet. Too sweet for anything humanity has to offer, my angel."

Both men shared a piece of the tragedy. Both men shared in a common understanding. Eventually, before either man lost their sanity, Keiran finally asked, "Can you guess who her brother is?" The question needed to come out. They both could feel it coming.

"I know. I wish I didn't." Though he hoped to suppress the aching tears that clung hypocritically, Garrick accidentally let one slip down his cheek. And with that first tear, came many more. He couldn't contain himself, and felt ashamed for doing so – especially in the presence of another.

Keiran took a seat on the bed beside him, wrapped both arms around the broken man, and placed a gentle hand to Garrick's scalp to rub out the sorrows. He was surprised but enlightened when Garrick returned the embrace by stiffly burying his tear-stained face into Keiran's shoulder. A perfect fit. "Speaking of, Torrin's doing much better since you last saw him. You saved him, you know, Garrick. Job well done."