Noon needed time away from everyone. From Dame Primus, from Suzy, from all the Denizens of the Lower House. For five months it had been nothing but numerical busywork as everyone tried their hardest to clean up the mess the disposed of Mister Monday had left behind. Millennia of debt needed simple sorting before payment could even begin.
Noon thought that he very much deserved a break.
He was alone, closed off in a dimly lit section of the Office. He wasn't sure if other Denizens knew of its existence, though highly unlikely; it was furnished. Nicely furnished and immaculately maintained. If there were Denizens that knew of this place, they never visited when Noon was around which was fine by him. He was lying on a daybed, his arms crossed over his chest, eyes closed, relishing the sound of silence. He was asked no questions by various Ink Fillers. No orders to be had from Dame Primus. No wild antics from Suzy. Just peace. Tranquility. Nothing but the blissful darkness behind his eyelids.
That is, until the whispering hinges of a door broke the silence.
Noon opened his eyes and, at the sight of who was at the door, sat up. "Brother?" he asked.
"Greetings... Noon." Dusk spat out the title. "I thought I would find you here hiding from your responsibilities."
"How did you know I was here?" Noon asked. For all he knew, Dusk could have been the one maintaining the room.
"You have the habit of hiding in shadows. I guess that part of you hasn't changed. However, that doesn't make up for all that has. That is why I've come by, to get things out in the open. To get things straight."
Noon watched his brother approach the daybed. He couldn't tell if it was a trick of the darkness or not, but there was something in his face that Noon didn't like: a twisting of sorts, the crinkling of his brow, the narrowing of his eyes, the wry-looking smile.
"What do you mean?" Noon asked.
Dusk sat beside his brother on the daybed. "You've been distracted lately."
Noon snorted with contempt. "How can I not be distracted? Alterations and developments of the Lower House must be made as quickly as possible. I have to see to it that--"
"That's not what I mean."
Dusk's words matched his glare: subtle and cold. Noon shivered and drew away from his brother.
"What do you mean then?"
"Things between us have changed... ever since our roles were reversed," Dusk hissed, grabbing onto Noon's leg. "I don't like this darkness, brother. The shadows, the ministrations of the night, I hate it. I hate it all."
Noon swallowed hard as he began at the task of dislodging Dusk's hold.
"And I'm hating you," Dusk continued. "But even more than that, I'm hating the boy who made me this way."
"That 'boy' is the Heir!" Noon cringed at the way his voice caught in his throat. "You can't--"
"I can hate whomever I want! I may have sworn fealty to him indirectly via the Will, but I am still allowed personal preference, as long as it doesn't get in the way of service," Dusk snarled. "Titles, plenipotentiary powers, my master, my own brother, all those things have been or are being taken away from me; I will not allow my hatred to follow suit."
Noon could only stare as Dusk began to crawl the length of his body, continuing his tirade.
"But do you want to know what I hate most of all, even more-so than the Heir?"
Noon couldn't move. The way his brother spoke had every joint in his body locked. His words were sharply articulated and aggressively calculated as though he had the speech sitting in the back of his mind for quite awhile.
Seeing that Noon wasn't going to give a response, Dusk answered the question for him, the words spiked with such distaste that Noon envisioned them as drops of poison in his brother's mouth.
"I hate the fact that you want to make him yours."
Noon was taken aback by the accusation.
"That's not true!" he said in his defense, struggling to sit upright. Dusk pushed him back down.
"It pains me, brother, but it is true. I can see it in you, the desire. It's like that horrible cliche of that secondary realm you dote on, 'It's as clear as crystal!' Remember, we were Made in one another's likeness. Dawn. You. Me. We may not be biological kin, but we do have a common bond. I know what it is I am seeing."
"Brother..." Noon trailed off closing his eyes. He was found out. He didn't realize he would feel this bad about it, but he did. Five months and he was already found out.
He could feel Dusk situating himself on top of his body. The weight shifted to his legs, then to his arms.
"I bet you wish it were that boy on top of you right now, am I right?" Dusk hissed.
"You're a lousy liar," Dusk said as he placed his hands on Noon's shaking shoulders. "Why are you so upset about my knowing? Are you ashamed, brother? Mortified?"
Noon had no answer; he just squeezed his eyes shut tighter.