The Demon’s Surrender – Nick and Anzu
Nick knocked the sword clean out of Anzu’s hands: it went slamming and skittering down the roof tiles, and ended as a bright thing lying in the gutter. Anzu looked at Nick, his hands open and empty as if he was begging alms, and saw Nick advancing with the sword in hand. He stepped up to meet it, almost stepping directly onto the blade, chin tilted up so Nick could see his brother’s eyes, and his own sword leveled at his brother’s heart.
“Go ahead,” Anzu said. “It’s a body like any other, to be used and thrown aside like trash. I’ve done this a thousand times before. So have you.”
“I remember,” Nick said. He took a step back.
Anzu pursued his advantage, taking another step and another, eyes glittering. Even his hair seemed to coruscate like sunset. Nick was the shadow to his sun, face set and pitiless.
“It’s no different,” Anzu whispered to him. “He’s no different. That you thought he was: that was the lie, that’s why you’re in pain now. Don’t believe it, Hnikarr. They’re liars, and this is the greatest lie of all. Don’t let them make you into this.”
Nick violently threw down his sword. Anzu did not hesitate for a second. He stepped in, close enough to stab, and caught Nick’s black hair in his fingers, forcing him to meet his eyes.
“It was all a lie,” Anzu murmured, cruel and almost pleading, both at once. “I’m your brother. Not him.”
He kissed him savagely on the mouth. It only lasted a second, before Nick shuddered and turned his face away.
“Don’t,” he said in his cold voice, untouched even by this. “Alan wouldn’t like it.”
“Are you stupid?” Anzu asked. “Did they break you? It doesn’t matter what Alan likes, or what Alan wants, or whether Alan would think you’re a good boy. He’s dead. I killed him. That’s what they’re for. They die. And they never matter.”
“I know they die,” Nick said. “You don’t think I was prepared for that?”
Nick kept his face turned away, a shadow refusing to see the sun. His voice was so indifferent, it was almost dry: just reporting the facts.
“If he was dead a thousand years,” he said. “He would still matter. More than you ever did.”