Loisel lounged about the house drearily in the days that followed Leland's surprise visit. She'd earlier phoned her friend Mythily, and she'd proposed that Loisel go walking. But if there was anything Loisel did not want to do at that precise moment, it was walk. She rather wanted to sulk about the house for a few more days until an unlucky someone came along and Loisel forced her woes upon them.

That unlucky someone just happened to be her brother's significant other, Thessaly Jameson. Thessaly came around noon to check and see if Jonathan had been by, but the only one in the house was Loisel. Even the twins were off with friends in South Miniver. Thessaly—ever the Empath—made a note of Loisel's misery and asked her about it.

A few hours and a sodden kerchief later, Loisel finally felt up to that walk Mythily had suggested. And it was a good thing, too, as Thessaly loved the outside and needed some comfort, herself.

"I realize it's sort of selfish to ask so much of your brother..." Thessaly said as they roamed aimlessly through the walled gardens of North Miniver. "I mean, he's working every day, and that's a good thing to do, right? He's a good man..." Thessaly murmured, looking out at the trees with her bright, ferret-like eyes.

"But we never really talk anymore... and I get the feeling we're becoming..." she began, then paused, biting her lip. Loisel looked up at her face, studying it closely. However—as touching as Thessaly's heartfelt confessions were sure to be—Loisel was disconcertingly occupied with a bit of sugar collected near her bottom lip. She did her best to ignore it.

"We're growing apart," Thessaly said firmly, after a long pause. Then—as though saying it aloud had driven the point home—she collapsed into tears, Loisel rushing forward and embracing her tightly. Surreptitiously during said embrace, Loisel wiped off the sugar and breathed an inward sigh of relief.

"I'm sorry, Thess..." Loisel said, trying very hard to be compassionate. She stroked Thessaly's nearly-white hair with a weak, unconvincing hand. Thessaly sniffed. "I'm sure my brother still really cares about you..."

"Maybe..." Thessaly said softly, still hugging Loisel. "Maybe..." She then trailed off and stayed quiet for a few moments. Loisel shifted slightly in the uncomfortable silence before Thessaly pulled away.

"Leland Marcello..." Thessaly said slowly, looking into Loisel's face. Loisel tensed upon hearing the name, her stomach tightening. Even the sound of his name still sent a fluttering blush to her cheeks... forget the lady friend in South Miniver. She must've been a trollop. Yes... a trollop. Good one.

"What of him...?" Loisel asked, doing her best to remain cool... and failing miserably.

"Leland said something about Jon..." she said, her voice becoming softer and softer as she pronounced each syllable. Loisel leaned in. "It... it honestly frightens me more than growing apart from him... really..." Thessaly said. Loisel's mind immediately flitted to Leland's talk about the "Sight". Her mouth became almost instantly dry.

"What did he say...?" Loisel asked, just as weakly as Thessaly had spoken before. There was a pregnant pause in which the two girls stood, one just as uncomfortable as the other. Loisel was just about to repeat the question when Thessaly smiled slightly.

"You know what? It's silly... Leland Marcello is a good man..." She said, starting to turn slowly. Loisel tightened.

"I—wait! Please, if it's about my brother, I've a right to know!" Loisel shouted, now frantic and fearful lest her suspicions be correct. Thessaly just kept walking, waving slightly without looking back.

"Thanks for talking with me, Loisel... I needed it..." She said, before turning a corner in the labyrinthine gardens and vanishing from sight. Loisel only stood in the middle of the gardens, her mind entirely vacant but for one conversation, echoing around her skull without end:

"I have the Sight... I can see ahead in peoples' lives to assess whether or not they're infected... Unfortunately, a good chunk of factory workers ended up being Lucid... A pity, that... but, you know. Whatever's for the best of Miniver, right?"...

Jonathan collapsed into his bed, his muscles shaking with fatigue. The last few days he'd worked himself to the breaking point. He figured such devout and consistent work would label him as a good man—as someone important to Miniver... someone who shouldn't be thrown in a Caprice. God knows no one ever seemed to come back from those.

He lied in bed, too sore and sick to even move, for the better part of two hours until—finally—the door opened slowly. He didn't even look up.

"Leland... thank God... I need some water but I'm too weak to get up..." he said slowly. He was greeted by silence. Jonathan frowned and turned his head slightly.

Leland stood in the doorway, dressed entirely in his Gethsemane uniform. His face was grim.

"What..." Jonathan began, too taken-aback to speak for a minute or so. He began again, hesitantly. "What's the matter, Leland?" Jonathan asked, sitting up slowly. His stomach turned to ice, bile rising in his throat. He hadn't come to kill him, had he...?

"My brother..." Leland said, walking into the room stiffly and sitting down gradually onto his bed. He leaned forward onto his knees, narrowing his eyes.

"Is he sick...?"

"He seems to be, sometimes..." Leland said, taking off his black, glossy hat. "He hit another man today."

"Another one...? What's wrong with the boy?"

"No idea..." Leland said, defeated. "Friends tell me it was the lack of a mother's consistent care... others, concealed hatred for a father who abandoned him. There's just something in his face... his eyes, really... they're not right—it's like he's sick, only in his head..." Leland began to mutter, something not usual for Leland, who was usually so firm. Jonathan shifted uncomfortably.

"Did he have a reason?"

"The man was one of the older Gethsemane... He was saying that a bastard shouldn't be in a position of power—they were too weak in the head. It was Martin Bobbins... ignorant old man... no one listens to him..."

"Except your brother..."


"Who... punched him..." Jonathan said, a smile growing on his face. Leland turned to Jonathan with a smirk.

"Technically, I'm not supposed to condone that sort of activity."

"Hell, if I had a chance and a cause half as noble, I'd have kicked the old codger right between the legs," Jonathan said, bluntly, as per usual. Leland chuckled lamely.

"Henry's a real hellion sometimes..." Leland said slowly.

"He cares about you..." Jonathan said. "He's a damn good brother, to be sure..."

Leland smiled weakly.

"That he is... I sent him over to see Loisel, actually... he could use a woman in his life, you know...? Maybe she'll fancy him like she fancies me..." he trailed off. Jonathan frowned.

"What about you...? Why don't you pursue Loisel?"

"I'm... I'm far too distracted right now, Jonathan. I couldn't settle down if I tried..." Leland said wearily. "She's a beautiful young woman, that's not to be doubted... but I wouldn't be able to spend the time with her that she deserves..."

"I'm sure she'd be overjoyed with just five minutes a day..." Jonathan said admonishingly. Leland smiled, almost painfully now.

"I told her I had a lady friend in South Miniver..."

"You did not."

"I did..." Leland said softly. "I was dating another woman... it wasn't entirely a lie... But..."


"But I lost interest..." Leland sighed at last. "I... I'm far too busy right now for any sort of relationship..." Leland rubbed his temples, looking down at the floor. Jonathan shifted.

"You'd better rest..." Leland said, resting his hat on the bed and taking off his coat. "I can see you shaking from here... Too much work in this factory will be the death of you." Leland said, smirking at Jonathan briefly. Jonathan froze.

"R... right. Right, I understand. I was just about to sleep..." Jonathan said slowly, resting his head on his pillow. "Goodnight, Leland."

"Goodnight, Jonathan."

Henry Daedalus Marcello stood at the door, a bouquet of flowers in one hand. True, he had no intentions of wooing the girl within, however if such measures must be taken to ensure he wasn't arrested for punching an elder, he could deal with it.

The door opened slowly, Loisel looking around it cautiously. She'd noticed him standing outside the door for quite some time now, never knocking nor ringing the bell.

"Hello...?" She said, carefully. "Who are you?"

"If I said Mephistopheles, would you let me in anyway?"

"Could I call you Mephis?"

"You could... but it'd be incredibly lazy of you... My name's Henry Marcello—I happen to be the brother of your object of lust." He said with a smirk. Oh, yes... he certainly had Leland's particular brand of odd humor. Loisel blushed deeply, but smiled and stepped back.

"Come in..." she said. Henry stepped in, bowing his head slightly as he entered. Loisel shut the door and watched as he walked inside.

"Pretty little house you've got," Henry said, looking around. He sat down in a divan in the sitting room, just as Leland always did. "Would you like these flowers? I walked out of the house this morning without even realizing I had them. Crazy, isn't it?" He said, smirking again. Loisel blushed.

"... You'd like me to have them...?"

"No..." Henry said, crossing his arms. "No, I'd rather like to carry them around all day, even though I've no real use for them. They really help to support my masculine image." He said. Loisel giggled. All right, the young man was admittedly charming. He smiled and handed the flowers to Loisel with care.

"You're welcome," he said, before leaning back in the divan and sighing contentedly.

"Why'd you come all the way over here...?"

"Do you want the real answer to that?"

"I'd like it, yes..." Loisel said slowly.

"Well, all right. My brother sent me over here in hopes that the both of us would fall deeply and madly in love. This would prevent any further delinquencies on my part, and he wouldn't feel so guilty for leading you on all the time..." Henry said, picking his teeth with a fingernail. Loisel stood in silence for a good minute or two. Finally she spoke.


"Punched an old man," Henry said, almost boastfully. "Went down like a bag of... old man parts," Henry said simply.

"My God!"

"It wasn't him, don't worry. It was old man Bobbins. Punching God's for when I'm feeling particularly devious, cocky, and have a legal will prepared."

"Will Leland be visiting...?" Loisel asked. Henry looked up at Loisel, touching his heart.

"Well, it was nice meeting you, too..." he said, pouting. Loisel blushed.

"That's not what I—"

"I know..." Henry said with a smirk. "He probably will be, yes, as I don't foresee either of us falling in love... Then again, I'm not the brother blessed with the Sight." He said, winking as he stood. "Tell Leland when he stops by to stop playing matchmaker—it just makes me want to punch babies." He said, opening the door and stepping outside without another word. Loisel watched as he closed the door and walked to the window to watch him as he walked to the street, never looking back.

It was only then—when no one was around to see—that Loisel collapsed into prolonged and relentless laughter. Punching babies...

Yes, she definitely liked this man.