With a snarl, Fiearius slammed both his palms against the rickety metal door and marched into the cramped bedroom without a word of hello or warning. Inside, Dez sat on the edge of his bed, leaning on his knees as he read from a book. He looked up in surprise, opening his mouth to speak. But Fiearius, burning with rage, had no interest in what he wanted to say.
“You need to leave,” he heard himself growl.
Dez blinked at him slowly. “Excuse me?”
“Leave,” Fiearius snapped, pointing out the door. “Leave. Now. Get off my ship before I force you off.”
Carefully, Dez put his book aside and stood up to his feet. “Am I entitled to ask why?”
“No,” was Fiearius’ immediate answer. “No you’re fucking not. Just get. The hell. Out of here.” It was taking all of his self control to not just grab the man by the throat. And with the way Dez did not immediately follow his order, he thought he might have to.
In fact, he just stood there, his brow creased, his eyes searching over him. At last he said, mildly sarcastic, “Oh. She found out, didn’t she?”
Fiearius’ fingers curled into a fist. “Don’t ev — ”
“And let me guess,” Dez went on. “She’s left you? Funny, didn’t I tell you that exact thing would happen?”
“You don’t want to keep talking.”
“Didn’t I say that she wouldn’t understand? That she’d give up on you the moment you showed your true colors?” Dez regarded him with interest. “Honestly, can you say you’re surprised? Surely you saw this coming.”
He had. Of course he had. Every second he hadn’t told Leta about the Flush, he could feel them inching closer to their end. The entire time it hung over him, he knew he was failing and that things were getting worse, not better, but he had become an expert at ignoring it, denying it, pretending that it wasn’t that big of a deal. Of course he knew it was coming. But that didn’t change anything.
“I’m not fucking kidding, Dez.” His was fighting to keep his voice below shouting levels. “I want you gone.”
“So you said,” Dez agreed. “But let me understand this. The girl leaves you because of your drug habit and you’ve decided to blame me?”
“Because you gave me that drug habit, you piece of shit!”
“I gave it to you because you asked for it,” Dez pointed out. “You knew exactly what you were getting yourself into. I didn’t force you into anything.”
“Bullshit? Alright, so you didn’t come hobbling down to the brig and beg for the pills? I just imagined that. So what, did I sneak them into your food? Crush them up and make you a drink? Or did I just force them down your throat by hand?”
“You told me to take them!”
“I told you that they would help eliminate the effects of ARC. And I told you that I thought it was the best course of action. But it was your choice to take them. It was your choice to take as many as you did.” He set his stony stare on him and added coldly, “And it was your choice to lie about it.”
Fiearius felt like he’d been punched in the face. He let out a low groan and started to pace short lengths in front of the doorway, trying to get the whirlwind of anger and frustration and despair under control. His hand dug through his hair as Leta’s furious stare burned into his mind. And then she turned and walked away. And kept walking. Until she was gone.
He didn’t even realize he’d slammed his fist into the wall until he heard the thud echo through the room. A sizeable dent was crushed into the metal. He gingerly drew back his hand, blood shining across his knuckles. His breathing started to even out.
“I should never have listened to you,” he breathed, keeping his eyes fixed on his hand. “About Flush. About the Titan. About joining the Society. About any of it.” The rage starting to come back, he glanced over his shoulder at the man standing still as a statue in the center of the room. “All your advice always leads to shit.”
Dez’s eyes narrowed on him and for a moment he said nothing. Until at last, he scoffed. “Ever since we were kids, Fiearius, you’ve come to me with your problems. You got in a fight at school, your father kicked you out, you took too much Flush, your girlfriend left you. And every time, without asking for a single thing in return, I’ve fixed your problems. All of them. But if one of my solutions doesn’t turn out the way you’d like? It’s my fault.” He lifted his brows at him and Fiearius felt compelled to look away.
Behind him, he could hear Dez gathering his small pile of belongings and shoving them into a bag. “You want me to leave? I’ll leave,” he said, sounding apathetic to the idea. “But maybe you should think on who’s really to blame in all of this. And maybe. Maybe you should take a real hard look at where you stand.” He felt his hand clap his shoulder and then drift off as his footsteps headed for the door. “Because you wouldn’t be standing there if it weren’t for me.”
Fiearius could say nothing. He felt like he’d been emptied of emotion, and he wasn’t even sure he could feel anything. After the last hour, between Cyrus and Leta and now Dez, there was nothing left in him. His feet moved on their own, taking him into the hallway where he watched Dez’s back disappear into the darkness as he left the ship.
Fiearius couldn’t say how long he stood there, staring into the black. Until finally he heard footsteps down the hall behind him. Then they stopped, some thirty feet away. He didn’t turn around as Cyrus spoke.