They gazed at each other. One with curiosity and some contempt, the other with disdain and revulsion. Two sides of the same human being. The first a dark and sinister creature of the destruction, the second a shining beacon of morality.

"To think that I could become this," the good Sparrow said, eyes narrowed and hands hovering, ready to grab a weapon or cast a spell if need be. The other was a veritable personification of every evil deed the former had avoided. Every fork in the road that led down a dark and dangerous path, every seductive evil which had called from some dark alleyway with promises of wealth or freedom.

The wicked Sparrow scoffed. "Get off your high-horse. I can't believe I could ever be so… weak. And shiny."

"If you think me weak, then that's your mistake," the good Sparrow shot back. The pair circled one another. Neither moved to attack – the fascination had truly yet to wear off. But both seemed poised to react to whatever move the other made. Like twisted mirror images, they were captured in this stalemate.

A smile curled the edges of the wicked one's mouth. "Fair enough. I suppose there isn't a universe where I'd really be a weakling, after all."

The good Sparrow scowled. "I would say that you are living proof to the contrary."

A growl met this challenge, and the wicked Sparrow readied for a fight. There was a click as the gun was pulled free of its holster. "You wanna say that again?"

The other matched their move and drew their gun. "Oh, I wasn't talking about physical strength," they replied, not bothered in the least by the threat which still lay thick upon the air. "Obviously you have that. I was talking about moral strength. You know, the will to do what is right, self-restraint, respect for human life – it's clear you have none of that, murderer. I can see it written all over you."

There was a pause. The pair stopped circling, and instead merely stood, each sizing the other up. Then the wicked one shrugged. "Well," said they, "I guess that's a fundamental difference of opinion." Then a strange expression overtook their face. It was a rather smug look, a calculated thing that twisted their features and sent just the slightest tendril of dread down the other's spine. "But I'll tell you what. If you're me, then I know this for sure – you had to make that choice, up in the Spire, the same as I did."

The dread solidified, and the good Sparrow stiffened. Don't, they thought, but of course even vocal pleading wouldn't have worked on the hardened heart of their doppelganger. The other leaned closer to them, so that their eyes met – red on blue, dark against bright.

"I wonder if you asked a man on the street who was better – someone who saved every person they loved, or someone who sacrificed them… what would their answer be?" the wicked Sparrow mused cruelly. "I know what my children would say. My living, breathing children. Not to mention my dear old dog. But how about yours? Or can't they comment from the afterlife?"

There was a silence you could have heard a pin drop in. Then a bang, as loud as a firecracker. Neither one had been expecting it. The wicked Sparrow's eyes only just had time to widen before the bullet ploughed through the front of their skull and sent them tumbling to the ground.

The good Sparrow looked down at their fallen self, and then at their own hand, still shaking slightly with rage and hatred and pain, and a thousand other emotions, but not the least of which was jealousy.

Sacrifice was, after all, a supreme load of shit.

Turning, the good Sparrow wandered from the strange room – the mysterious other plane of existence where they had encountered their opposite self. That one's world will be better off without them, they thought in a last-ditch attempt at justification. They didn't hear the final words which rang out in the chamber behind them, sounding just after they had left.

"Son of a bitch, that's three times now!"