I dreamed they stood all in a circle, the men with their dark suits and their long shadows, the gathered brotherhood. There stood Alexander, a Greek statue come to life but with a heart of cold marble yet. There stood Michael, his broad lips so commonly curled up in amusement for once drawn tight and thin. There stood Damien, expressionless behind black sunglasses but hands clenched to white knuckles at his sides. There stood Morgan, never silent but muted now; Isaac, eyes shut tight to avoid what finality another’s gaze might hold; Jonas, shaken and disturbed by the helplessness of a moment in which physical strength was useless. And there stood granite Jonathan, the one man in whom they all sought direction, now motionless so they could not move, silent so they could not speak. To his right a gap in the circle gaped like the raw, exposed cavity of a pulled tooth.

Only Tanim knelt within the circle. Tanim, with his eyes like the wild ocean in storm; Tanim, who spoke only softly, who touched only gently. Tanim, who now cradled Daren’s lifeless body in his arms. The men who stood all around him did not reach forward to take the bloodied, broken corpse of his lover from his embrace, though each longed to undo this tragedy. Jonathan’s silence held them at bay, recognizing this moment as Tanim’s and Tanim’s alone, and so they could only bear witness to the loss which unraveled and united them all. To Jonathan’s left a second gap in the circle yawned like an open wound, and each man ached with the knowledge that this absence could never be filled. Daren, pale as the bloodless dawn, cruel as the sickle Moon. Daren carved all of ice, but who had melted each night to warm the man whose body he held in the darkness. Daren openly disdained, secretly loved, gone forever.

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