And suddenly, the light comes on. Paralyzing.

Zephyr finds himself staring into a small sun at the core of the room. His eyes, so well adjusted to the darkness never flinch. They are moths drawn to the flaming near-vacuum-encased filament. Burning away everything that makes them unique.

His eyes focus—relaxing, recovering, remembering what they are, their purpose, their teeny little place in this grand universe of insignificant pieces combining into even more insignificant wholes—upon a table.

No, not on the table. On the thing laying on the table.

He struggles to his feet, the paralyzing effect of the disorientation wearing off, and places one hand on the table for support. Dizzying images swim through his head, a nightmare of recent memories and fearsome probable futures ransack his brain, seeking a perch to call their own.

At least one is successful.

He sees a name slip in and out of focus on the cover of the folder on the table in front of him.

Brother, he says in that part of the mind that realizes things just a split-second before the rest, what have I done?

Frantically, he tears open the folder, scattering the malcontent pages to the wind. Zephyr finds what he is searching for and holds it up to the light, daring it to crumble to dust before his face under the searing heat so that he can pretend it’s not real.

But he is not so lucky. And neither is the one whose name is scrawled across the paper, a death certificate.

“Euri, no.”

He always was the unlucky one, he thinks.

Zephyr spins as he hears the creak of disused metal behind him. A door he’d not yet noticed opens and a familiar face enters the room.

Not a welcome face, but a familiar one, nevertheless.

“Zephyr.”

“Notu,” is his curt reply.

“Are you okay?”

Zephyr’s fist tightens reflexively around the morbid piece of paper in his left hand. Instinctively, he considers rushing the man standing before him. He also knows that to do so would be a terrible mistake. Determined to show no weakness, Zephyr nods his head. Slowly.

“I’m choosing to believe you,” comes the dry reply from Notu. “After all, if you can’t trust your family–”

“The last of my family is dead by your hand!”

“Brother…” Notu, with deliberate slowness that lends a poisonous air to his actions, begins picking up the papers from the file and placing them back in their obsessive compulsive home. “Let’s not fight today. I haven’t seen you in years and there is so much for us to talk about.”

Notu finishes gathering the papers and places the file on the table between Zephyr and himself. He motions to a chair for Zephyr to sit in.

“Please, let’s do begin,” Notu says, smiling.

His smile eats itself and Zephyr Anemoi begins to cry.

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