; Water

Isolation was a state, or a lack thereof, which Dexter had come to appreciate early in his childhood. It was a natural instinct, he supposed; tigers, also predators, prefer solstice to roaming with its food. Isolation provided him privacy which, in turn, provided him with relaxation and comfort. No pretending. No feigning stupid smiles, tears, or laughs; no reverberating the gestures and affections he had observed others performing for his entire life. He was an actor, a very good one – and a liar, but they went hand in hand. Paranoia diminished in silence. He could think more rationally without noise and stares. Multi-tasking was something humans believed they could do well, but no one could do it as well as him – and he'd be the first to admit it decreased his ability to perform to his highest potential. A better brother, a better husband, a better father, a better blood splatter analyst, a better murderer. He used to be only three of these things (brother, blood splatter analyst, murderer), but a minor accident, which occurred in his attempt to build a normal life with Rita, added two additional titles which he strained to tend to.

Harrison had been a burden in the beginning. Though he cared for the child, he inflicted a guilt which Debra had come close to measuring to; if something was to happen, if Dexter's secret unraveled for the world to judge him by, then his son – who would be young, Dexter assumed – would be tainted forever, just as he had been in a bath of his mother's blood. He wished Harrison would develop into a normal child and live an ordinary life, if he chose such; a dark passenger was the last thing Dexter could ever wish upon him. He hoped to raise Harrison as Harry had raised Dexter, minus explicit lessons of the code. Debra, Rita, the kids… they would be mortified, but their brains had developed. The likeliness of turning into a mass murderer did not exist.

But now he was alone. Rita was dead. The kids were living with their mother's parents because he did not have the capability of raising them without his wife; that was normal, it had nothing to do with his hobby of execution. No one questioned the exchange. A father who loses his wife is usually inept. Still, he did not bathe in the new seclusion as he had expected from himself; her loss was startling and though Dexter was a sociopath, he could almost feel the agony of losing someone he respected. It was like losing Harry, but Harry's death was slow, expected. Rita was full of life. Full of love. If anyone should live, it was her: she was an angel, a woman devoid of sin. A saint.

"Da-da," an infant mumbled. Dexter's gaze fell from the wall patterns he had been losing himself in and to Harrison's groggy eyes.

The father offered his son a small smile and brushed his knuckles against Harrison's baby-soft cheek. "Hey, little guy," he cooed, voice seemingly warm. "What are you doing awake?"

Harrison pulled the stuffed bear closer to his form and looked from where his father sat on a stool beside the twin-sized bed and beyond his shoulder. Stifling a yawn, he mumbled, "Biney."

Biney? Dexter hesitated before shifting so that he could look behind him, into the shadows cast by the dim lightshade residing by Harrison's head; to his surprise, a figure was lurking: a tall male, average build, face hidden well enough to protect the intruder's identity. Still, he knew. Biney. A name so loving, a name that summoned bittersweet memories of a childhood nearly forgotten, a name that would not have been so frightening if he had not been alone with his kin. The sociopath was careful not to excite his son as he pushed himself from the child-like stool and onto his feet, turning to face his biological brother.

"Hey, Harrison!" Brian sang in an effort to relieve negative connotations his brother's reaction may have stimulated. He flashed a famous wide smile for the small boy and rested his hand on the edge of his mattress. "What are you doing awake?"

Harrison long lashes flickered and then, as if Brian's words were enforced by magic, closed.

Dexter still stood as he had with a shot of adrenaline surging through his blood. Brian had invited himself into his house twice since his identity beyond the infamous Ice Truck Killer had been revealed: once, shortly thereafter, when he announced he would be fleeing the state for fear he would be caught and once before Rita's death to visit his newborn and try to persuade Dexter to live with him in the mountainous region of Colorado. It wasn't his visit that bothered him, but rather the fact that Harrison knew Brian by name. Harrison couldn't remember Aster and Cody's names, let alone the uncle who isn't supposed to exist and who lived far, far away. Brian had been with Harrison, unattended. What memories had he left him with? What had he taught him? He had been so careful to relieve his son of fostering his mother's bath of blood. Dammit.

His brother passively turned to him, hands pushed in his pockets, a small smile fixed in the corners of his lips. Brian, though unable to cope with society, was more skillful in transmitting emotions than Dexter. The soft expression he wore nearly tamed the alarm bubbling in his chest, but Dexter was cognizant of the manipulation. His visage remained untouched.

"You're angry, I know," Brian whispered; "but I brought beer. I'll explain."

The brothers were murderers, but Brian was more dangerous; he was a murderer without morals, without a code. He did not uphold standards by which his victims were held by, which made everyone, including Harrison, prey. That was why he could not accept him into his life, even before his son was conceived, and why he regretted not taping him to his table as he had to all the murderers before.

He hadn't, though, because he was the only human being who knew who Dexter truly was and the only being who would ever know – and he still loved him. That love inspired a small nod from the shorter of the two men and inspired him to follow Brian from his son's room and into the darkness of the living area, where Brian seemed to be familiar and flipped the light switch to cast electricity from the fan spinning above their heads.

The eldest brother had changed, physically, from when he had last saw him. His dark, curly hair now reached just above his shoulders and thin facial hair grew around the deep lines wrapped around his upper lip. Various scratches littered his arms but based on experience and textbook knowledge, they would fade within a few weeks and were probably induced by some sort of environmental stimulus, like bark or a bush. His eyes, too, usually rimmed with darkness were instead glittered with sincerity. It was unnerving, to say the least. Brian approached the island countertop where a six-pack of glass beer bottles resided.

"What are you doing here?" Dexter asked, the aggression lost and instead substituted with genuine uncertainty. "How does my son know you?"

"Not by his father," Brian scoffed bitterly. He pulled the cap from one of the bottles and extended it to Dexter, who nursed the staunch alcohol slowly. Brian pursed his lips and repeated the behavior. "I knew you wouldn't let Harrison near me, so I took the initiative and came by on your nanny's routine naps. I'd consider getting another, if I were you, by the way – she sleeps a lot. We mostly play in his room. Sometimes I read to him if he's tired, but he doesn't like to nap when I'm here."

Dexter's brows pushed together. "How long have you been here?"

"Five weeks and three days. Drove up last month. I found a job selling insurance, by the way, and I requested a few weeks of vacation to visit my little brother. It's been so long,…" the Ice Truck Killer's voice suddenly dropped its smitten tone and what replaced it was much more sincere. "I thought you might need me. I heard what happened to your wife. Man, that's gotta be a fucking slap in the face. I liked Rita, sort of. She reminded me a little of Mom."

"Wish I could say," Dexter mused, leaning his back against the rounded edge of the countertop. "Thanks for your condolences, but I don't approve of you seeing my son – especially behind my back."

"Then you wouldn't consider leaving and joining me?"

Dexter's face hardened. They had this conversation before, twice, really, but the last was after Harrison's birth and he had already explained that he hated himself for raising the child with him as his father, much less with a careless murderer like his brother. Even so, there would be too many risks involved with his external life. Debra, in particular, would want to know the details of what was happening. If he managed to convince her, which he had no doubt he could, she would want to visit. She would recognize Brian's presence, even if he was away at the time, and everything would crash. He had built his life in Miami. For over a decade, since Harry's death, he had passed without a friendship that was genuine. It was difficult; despite being void of emotion, he longed for a partner – but he would be able to survive without one. Brian was unnecessary.

His brother placed his full bottle on the counter and approached Dexter cautiously. "When I was a kid, I used to fantasize about seeing you again. We'd be together again, a family. I would be able to watch over you, protect you, just as I promised Mom," his cold digits somehow entwined within his own. The friendliness was kind - gentle, even. Dexter couldn't bring himself to return it, and his hand hung loosely while the other continued to serve as a barrier. "I've been going crazy up there. It's bad enough that we're still apart, but when I heard the news? I couldn't call, I couldn't write. I was worried about you. I know how defensive you are – not that you can talk to anyone. Everyone will reject who you are. You need me, Dex, just as much as I need you. You can't raise Harrison alone. You need better help, you need someone who cares. And your kills, they've been sloppy. How long do you think it will take before you make a mistake?"

Brian coiled his fingers around the bottle's neck and placed it behind their bodies. Without it, Dexter suddenly felt vulnerable, claustrophobic. He was at his mercy, and Brian knew it well; he seized the opportunity to caress his thumb across the stubble on his face and all he kept thinking about was how cold the touch felt, despite the warmth in the other's words and eyes.

And then Brian did lean closer; he was so close that he could feel his lips brush across the crook of his neck, and his hand wandered to his hairline and raked through the short, strawberry locks. He had never genuinely understood sex or anything associated, even when he had given in to Rita, but the small touches closed his mind and made him less rational. He felt connected and secure. He felt stupid. He squeezed the hand still interlocked in his left and allowed for his eyes to drift shut.

"It would be so easy to leave now," he persisted, the trail of kisses merging closer together as a result of the confidence Dexter had evidently provided. "You could say you don't want to raise Harrison in Miami; it's not a good place to raise… a kid… anyway. They'd understand. And you'd want a new… setting to get away from… Rita. It would be perfect…"

The younger brother shuddered under the touch; his eyes rolled to the back of his head, lids shut, and his free hand roamed the smooth surface of the counter blindly. Beer. Is this how an alcoholic feels? He was desperate for that barrier; he needed to fucking think. Brian suddenly yanked a fistful of hair and pressed his waist into his own, crushing him, delaying him from that generous bottle. Desperation leaked from Dexter's lips; "I can't."

The pressure relieved slowly; Brian separated himself from his brother, betrayal stripping age and leaving only the image of a disappointed four-year-old. Dexter's clammy hand finally found his bottle pushed against a wall decoration and he seized it, unsure if the moisture around its neck was his precipitation or the bottle's. Brian turned his head away from Dexter and he couldn't quite recall a time when his brother couldn't bring himself to see him, no matter how much he disappointed him.

"I've killed for you,… I got caught to bring us closer together. My life revolves around you, and you don't give a shit about me."

Guilt. "Biney –"

"I should probably go," Brian nodded, tongue swiping across the face of his teeth. "Your fake fucking sister might come over as a surprise. I'm sure the conversation will go on forever, you know, so I won't have a chance to disappear. Not that you'd remember. I'd just be another corpse in your air conditioner."

Dexter pinched his temple between his forefinger and thumb. "It's not like that. It's not that simple – I can't just leave. My life, the code – it's kept me out of a chair for this long. Moving away,…"

"…with me."

"With anyone would be too risky. I don't want Harrison growing up with his father in prison."

Brian paused for a moment. Whatever thoughts he had must've inspired him to continue his sale, for his digit found its way beneath his chin, lifting Dexter's gaze to his identical set of eyes. "I was only caught because I wanted to be, Dex. I could teach you. You could teach me. Together, we'd be so brilliant. Harrison will never know our secret."

Tempting. Brian was manipulative and as fraught as he was; he was lying, saying anything he could to convince him, and Dexter knew this. Harry's voice was screaming in his ear, commanding him to strike his brother with a needle, but Harry had lied before, too. Harry had betrayed him. If he'd only taken Brian in, or at least given him knowledge of Brian's existence, Brian would have been saved. Each was as lost as the other.

"I'll put in a two week notice tomorrow."

Dexter wasn't giving up. Just,… giving in.

A/N: I've never written in the Dexter genre before, though I've been a devoted fan for years. I recently moved in with my father and in hopes of having him upgrade to Showtime for the new season, I made him watch season one and it reminded me of how much I adore Brian and Dexter. I've always interpreted Brian's obsession with Dexter as something much more involved than a sibling relationship.

This is set, obviously, after Rita's death but in no specific time. I dislike working with exact storyline plots, so I've made this very vague.

Also, I've never written a sociopath before. I usually write highly emotional characters, so this has been a challenge for me, to say the least. Please review, even if you aren't interested in following the story. I appreciate all feedback, negative and positive, and as long as you sign in, I will always reply.

; Isolde Necrophilia