Chapter 37: Treatment

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Even Cyrus couldn’t deny how good it felt to walk up the ramp and return to the Dionysian. After his week on Vescent and the long night he’d spent with Addy on the Beacon, it felt like he hadn’t been back in these dim halls in ages. He hadn’t wanted to leave Addy this morning, but now that he was here, he felt his spirits lift. Everything was back to normal, at last. He was home.

As he strode through the empty cargo bay, he looked around for Fiearius, whom he’d barely had enough time to say three words to since their reunion. Leta’s condition had been more dire and Cyrus himself had been rather distracted. But now, he found himself missing his brother and feeling an urge to catch up on what had happened over the last week. He weaved through the hallways, checking the crew lounge, the kitchen, the dining hall and he was just leaving the empty bridge, assuming his sibling must still be asleep in his quarters (it wouldn’t be that surprising…) when Fiearius passed right by him in the hallway without a word.

His eyes were fixed on a tablet in his hand and he didn’t seem to notice Cyrus was there at all. He just walked straight into the bridge and dropped into his chair. Cyrus turned and followed him, feeling rather slighted.

“What, not even worth a hello?” he remarked, pausing in the bridge door and folding his arms.

Fiearius looked back at him, clearly startled that he wasn’t alone. “What?” was all he managed before he realized his error. “Sorry, didn’t see ya there.”

“Well that makes me feel really appreciated,” Cyrus mused, but as he watched his brother, he quickly understood that he wasn’t in the mood for jokes. A grim look set in his eyes and Cyrus had the strange sensation he wasn’t used to of, for once, being in better spirits than his sibling. He sat down in the co-pilot’s chair. “You alright?”

Fiearius continued to stare at the tablet in his lap for a moment before letting out a heavy sigh and tossing it away onto the dashboard. Cyrus tilted his head to try and get a look at what he’d been so focused on, but the screen had shut off. Fortunately, Fiearius didn’t seem to notice.

“I’m fine,” he claimed, without the tonality to back it up. “How ‘bout you? Feel good to be back?”

“Yeah,” was Cyrus’ immediate answer, though he added importantly, without entirely knowing why, “But I’ve only really been back for half an hour.” Why had he admitted that? It wasn’t like he wanted Fiearius to ask about last night. It was none of his business. He didn’t want him to ask.

But when Fiearius just lifted his brows and nodded distractedly, Cyrus felt his own forehead crease into a frown. Okay, maybe he did kind of want him to ask.

“Sorry I wasn’t around last night,” he said, the hinting apparent in his voice. “I wanted to sit down and talk with you, but I was busy.”

Fiearius didn’t take the bait. “That’s alright,” was all he said.

“I was on the Beacon,” said Cyrus matter-of-factly.

“It’s okay,” said Fiearius.

“On the Beacon. With Addy.”

“I wasn’t around either. It’s fine.”

Of all the things Cyrus was irritated by, the last thing he expected to be on the list was Fiearius not reacting to this particular news. In fact, he thought he’d be glad. Yet here he was, fresh off the euphoria train and his brother not paying attention felt like the biggest snub in human history. And he thought he knew why.

“Okay, there must be something wrong with you,” Cyrus concluded. “When have you ever passed up the opportunity to tease me about getting laid?”

Fiearius blinked at him slowly in vague surprise. “You got laid?”

Cyrus hadn’t felt so defeated since he’d gotten stuck on the Titan. “Nevermind,” he muttered, admitting defeat. “So where are we going next?”

Fiearius averted his eyes. “I don’t know. Quin’s been trying to call me all week. Probably wants to try some other stupid plan.”

Cyrus felt a pang of guilt. “The Titan wasn’t a stupid plan,” he said. When Fiearius cast him a skeptical glare, he amended quickly, “Well it wasn’t genius either. We were just outnumbered and unprepared, that’s all. How should we have known that they’d be ready for us?”

“We should have known,” said Fiearius sharply. “I should have known. And I never should have put you or Leta or any of our people out there. It was stupid.”

Although Cyrus wanted to say otherwise, he couldn’t exactly disagree, nor would it have helped to. So instead he asked, “Well what are we going to do now then?”

The look Fiearius gave him was not one he expected. He hadn’t seen his brother’s expression so hopeless since they’d first left Satieri. It was like the question had sliced through his last shred of optimism and he’d plunged into some mysterious dread Cyrus couldn’t explain.

“I don’t know,” he answered at last. “Probably nothing for a while…”

“Nothing?” This certainly didn’t sound like the brother he knew. What the hell was the matter with him? “Are you sick or something?” he asked, mostly joking as he reached across to put his hand on Fiearius’ forehead, but his brother slapped his hand away with such quick reflex, it made him jump. Cyrus expected a snappy retort, but Fiearius didn’t even reply. He just turned his chair thirty degrees away from him and Cyrus was perplexed.

“…Fiear?” he ventured carefully, genuine worry starting to flood through him. “Are you sick? Is Leta sick? Is it ARC? Is she going to be okay?”

But Fiearius was just shaking his head. “Daelen’s checking her now, she’ll probably be fine,” he told him which was a relief, but not entirely.

“And you?” Cyrus prompted.

Fiearius let out a heavy sigh and turned his chair away even further. Cyrus felt himself go rigid. What the hell was going on?

Finally, Fiearius looked back at him. “Cyrus, I need to tell you something.”

——–

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