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“I feel like we are getting too friendly.”

“I think you are worrying too much about having good things happen to you."

“Are you going to dig into my past to discover why I do?” The food was simple yet tasty enough that he almost wouldn't mind.

“No, I’m enjoying my dinner too much to taint it with work.”

Two bites and then: “Why did you become a psychiatrist?”

“Mostly because of my brother. He, well, he had a particular way of looking at things and I want to understand it."

"Was it recent?"

She stuttered in her movements a little; no one ever asked. "His death? No, it was years ago; I was eight and he was twelve, I think."

"So you’re trying to reconstruct a thought pattern a child might have had thirty years ago?"

Mischa cut through the pig’s stomach more aggressively than necessary. "It was a very odd one."

Will looked thoughtful for a moment before he added softly: "I could help you."

"Reconstruct a thought pattern from thirty years ago? Of a child you never met?"

He shrugged. “You know what I do. It will be only as accurate as the information you provide but you seem invested enough in this that it might be worth a go.”

“Thank you.” Surprised. A little overwhelmed by the prospect suddenly. “Thank you.”

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“I visited my childhood home two years ago.” Careful not to get any grease or powdered sugar on it, Mischa pulled out the album. “It was sad to see it have fallen to ruins. Oddly enough, one of the few things which survived was my brother’s snail garden.”

Will reached towards it. “Has he ever told you why he kept it?”

“Something about change and fireflies, sacrifices and following your nature.” She stopped and then a laugh escaped her. “He was weird like that and I wonder whether he would have outgrown it at some point.”

The reply was accompanied by an one-shouldered shrug: “Some do, some don’t.” He flipped through the volume, eyes flicking over the pencil sketches; they were far from perfect. Great for a child at that age but certain lines were too short and others a bit too long to be a proper reproduction of reality. “I think he would have belonged to those who don’t.”

“Because of the drawings?”

“It’s more their purpose and execution and not their subject,” he clarified and traced the graphite with his index finger. For a moment, it irked Mischa, the oil would smudge the strokes which already weren’t in the best condition to begin with, relaxed, however, when she saw that no damage was done. She kneeled down next to him. “He sought transcendence and as soon as he thought he had achieved it, he would revel in it. Looking for new challenges to reap more fruit.”

“I saw the inklings, I think.” She pinched the corner of the page between her finger tips, still gingerly. “To influence. Push and pull. He coaxed me into situations I had no impulse on my own to venture into.”

“Did he change you?”

“He was the cause but not always the perpetrator.” Steam had stopped rising from their mugs and its absence left an uncomfortable feeling in her chest. “The tea has gone cold. Excuse me, I’ll be gone only for a moment.”