He went up to Aislin's room to get the book.

He wondered if he could kill him, then.

It would be easy to tell the others he had been attacked for discovering his true identity. They evidently didn't think too highly of him in the first place.

He had scarcely knocked on Aislin's door before it opened.

Aislin smiled at him and welcomed him in.

" You came," he said, voice warm.

" You invited me," Henry said.

He was wearing a light, flowy black houserobe and his shirt was unbuttoned.

" Let me get your book, I was just settling down for the night," he said, and turned to rustle around in his belongings.

" What exactly is it?" Henry asked politely, waiting by the door.

" It's a collection of essays from various sources about changes in intentionality of magic usage since the re-unification," Aislin said. " I haven't gone through it myself, but it says it has a section on grudges and negative emotion in it."

He held out the book for Henry, and so Henry took it.

There was a moment as he turned it around and studied it.

" Why don't you come in and sit down for a little while?" Aislin asked.

" I don't have time, it's late," Henry said.

Aislin sat down on his bed, a forlorn expression crossing his face. He began to rummage through his pockets, and drew out a small case.

" ...I know, but... I need someone to talk to," he said, soft, and took out a cigarette. He lit it with the tip of his finger.

" About your grandfather?" Henry asked.

A dark, heavy look settled into Aislin's gaze as he took a long draw, and exhaled.

" The doctors told me it'll be soon," Aislin said. " ... He's not responding to treatment anymore."

Henry sat down next to him.

" I'm sorry," he said. " This is hard on me, too."

Aislin leaned his head on Henry's shoulder.

" I feel like everything's crumbling away from me," he said. " I don't know what I'll... what I'll do when he's gone. I'm afraid that... my brother is going to take everything away from me."

Henry felt that if he had encountered this person the first time he had lived through this world, he would pity him. But the ashes and smoke still lingered in his mind.

That was what he'd do. He'd leave the Order on a revenge quest, kill everything in his way, and ravage the continent out of despair. That was what he'd do.

" Henry..."

" Yes?"

" ...Did you mean it when you promised that you'd be by my side forever? As long as I stay a virtuous man?"

Henry looked down at the book in his hands.

" Mm."