" Do you want to smoke?"
Aislin was waiting outside, on the balcony. It was late.
Henry had always used to come to this place to think when he was lonely.
" I don't smoke," he said.
" Just this once," Aislin said, pressing a cigarette into his hand. " As a celebration."
Henry knew neither of them felt much like celebrating anything, so he accepted it. He watched as Aislin lit his own.
" Can I get a light, then?" he asked, putting it to his lips.
Aislin moved closer to him, and he put the tip of his cigarette against Henry's own.
That was a moment, and it passed. An orange glow that strengthened, then settled.
When he drew away, exhaling smoke, he looked lonely.
" I can't think right, lately," Aislin said, looking out over the training grounds. " I can't concentrate or focus. Everything's all messed up because Grandfather's sick."
" I know," Henry said.
In his heart, it was deja vu; like when he had had to watch his mother slowly fading away, only for her life to be ended by the demon army right when he thought he'd triumphantly come home with a cure.
He wondered if maybe because it was the second time he'd had to sit through something like this, his heart had grown numb.
" You're crying, Henry," Aislin said.
He reached over and wiped Henry's tears away with his hands.
" It's alright. I am, too..."