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A Brother's Plight

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Orion was feeling uneasy.

It was a simple night, he had woken up early after a foreboding dream and wanted to see his brother, Sirius. Yet, the metallic smell that emanated from the room was unsettling.

“...Sirius?” The boy, Orion, called as he knocked on the door another time. He wanted to see his older brother, but he wasn’t opening the door.

“Sirius??” Orion was concerned. It wasn’t all that common for Sirius to leave his room; Why would he now? It was too early for anyone to be awake. Orion sighed and pulled out the spare key Sirius had given him and inserted it into the keyhole.

“I’m just gonna see if you’re in here,” He hollered as he heard the door unlock, grasping the handle. The door creaked as he lightly pushed it open. Once the guests in their manor left… Or, rather, a way out actually showed itself, he should oil these doors.

His train of thought halted as he was about halfway into the room.

“Huhh…” Orion groaned as an indescribable odour hit his nostrils. His face scrunched up as his hand flew up to cover his nose out of reflex. The charms around his wrist jingled at the swift motion, the noise standing out as the only one in the room. Sure, it was normally quiet in this room. But the sheer weight of the silence hanging in the air was deafening.

Orion felt his mouth go dry as anxiety reached up and grabbed hold of his throat. There was definitely something bad in this room.

“S-Sirius?” He croaked as he moved further into the room. He could see nothing out of the ordinary, but the smell only grew more nauseating.

It was early in the morning, or at least that’s what the clocks read. No one could tell by looking out the window anymore, there was no sun or moon to indicate the time. Orion thought Sirius might have been asleep when he knocked on the door. He thought that, maybe, Sirius just wasn’t woken when Orion called to him. But Sirius wasn’t on the bed. He wasn’t anywhere to be seen.

Orion swallowed as he turned his gaze to stairs that lead to the small, upper level of the room that Sirius never let anyone into. He stepped forward as his mind filled with ideas as to where Sirius might be, what this gross smell was, why he felt so anxious about Sirius not being in his bed. The stairs creaked quietly as he moved upwards, the smell noticeably getting more potent. The silence made his heartbeat all the more conspicuous.

Orion reached the top. The short climb upstairs had almost been for naught as he nearly fell back down.

“Sss...Siri….Sir…sss…” His voice fell short as he saw his older brother, Sirius Gibson, lying in a pool of his own blood. A large wound covered nearly the length of his torso, so red he couldn’t tell how far down it went. There was so much blood. There was no room for life.

Sirius was dead.

Orion could barely register it at first; He could only hear his heartbeat in his ears as he stared down at his brother. His heart sank has bile rose up his throat, Orion forcing it back down to make room for the shriek he emitted. He stumbled back and hit the wall behind him, books tumbling from bookshelves at the force. The painting of Lady Dorothy fell from the canvas as Orion practically melted, sweat and tears and saliva dripping down his face as he tried to figure out how he was going to cope with the situation.

“Orion?! Was that you who screamed?” Claire came rushing into the room, Ashe following behind as Orion jumped at the sudden noise.

“Did something happen??” Ashe’s hair bounced wildly as he flew into the room, making eye contact with Orion’s panicked eyes from the bottom of the stairs. Claire was already rushing to his side as his legs gave out, choking on his words as he attempted to explain the problem.

“Sss...Sirius...He’s…” He luckily didn’t have to go much further for Claire to gasp as she reached the top.

“What happened to Sirius?” Ashe innocently asked as he climbed the stairs. The concerned light in his eyes quickly darkened into a horrified one as he gasped alongside Claire.

“Mmm...M-my brother…” Orion mumbled as he wiped his face of the tears that had risen. Claire quickly lowered herself next to him and encased him in her arms protectively, stroking his hair in a comforting motion. He clung to her torso as his usual calm, agitated, serious manner crumbled away.

“Sirius! This can’t be!” Ashe exclaimed as his eyes widened, sweat running down his face as he took in the sight.

“We...Who...What did this?!” He asked, frantically scanning the room for any threats.

“We have to tell the others!”

“You go get Wilardo and Noel, I’ll sit with Orion,” Claire insisted as Orion rose to his feet, his eyes narrowing as he stared at the ground with a bitter expression.

“A-alright!” Ashe ran away with loud footsteps, thumping up the stairs to the other’s rooms. Claire and Orion turned away from Sirius and went back down the stairs. They set themselves at the long desk that was placed in the middle of the room. Orion quietly lowered his head down onto it, laying down and closing his eyes.

“Did a demon get in here?” He whispered, a question more directed towards himself.

“But he had a seal on his door,” Claire commented, glancing upwards in thought.

“That would mean a human did it, though,” Orion narrowed his eyes, “One of you killed my brother.”

“...You’re right. Let’s let Wilardo and Noel take a look. Maybe they have something to say about it.” Claire shifted uncomfortably in her seat. Orion grunted in response, reluctant to interact with anyone.

Noel came scrambling into the room, in some sort of blind panic as he noticed Claire and Orion.

“Thank god you two are safe! Where is Sirius?” He cried out, running a hand through his frazzled hair. He was bouncing on his feet and rapidly looking around the room, nervous.

“Is he really…?” Everyone knew Noel cared for Sirius greatly- He cared for everyone greatly. Claire didn’t want him to see Sirius in the state he’s in now, but poor Noel was waiting to confirm Sirius’ passing.

“...He’s up there.” Claire motioned to the stairs. While Noel cautiously made his way up the steps, Wilardo and Ashe wordlessly entered the room. Wilardo noticed Noel inspecting something at the top of the stairs, and considering the news he received from Ashe, he decided it was best he inspected it too.

“...This wound is relatively fine… Like a gash, but a little cleaner. I’d say it was a knife,” Wilardo examined, holding a hand to his chin. Wilardo had never been very expressive, but the concern in his eyes was evident, albeit hidden behind the bland gaze he upheld. Orion muttered,

“I need to go lie down,” and exited without another word. The demons that wandered the halls didn’t scare him tonight; He had better things to worry about. It would be day time soon, anyway.

As Orion walked, he thought about Wilardo’s words.

“A knife?” He thought out loud. “Don’t Ashe and Noel use knives?” Orion stopped in front of the dining room. “Though, there’s nothing that would stop anyone from grabbing a knife from the kitchen…”

“Orion! Are you okay??” A voice called out behind him.

“...Speak of the devil…” Orion mumbled, turning around to face the teal haired bundle of energy that was Ashe.

“Do I look okay to you?”

“I’m sorry! I’m just worried… I can’t imagine what it’d be like to lose a sibling.”

“Well, don’t imagine.” Orion’s angry personality was fading back as he just wanted to go lay down in his room. However, he had let Wilardo stay with him in his vermillion coloured chambers, but was now considering kicking him out. What if Wilardo killed Sirius? Orion wouldn’t take that chance.  

“Sorry if I angered you… You like meringues, right? I’ll make some for dessert tonight!” Ashe suggested. Orion raised an eyebrow, surprised Ashe recalled him mentioning his liking for meringues. As much as he just wanted to focus on finding the culprit and/or curling up and crying, he really could go for some meringues.

...But what if Ashe poisons them?

An irrational intrusive thought bubbled up from Orion’s paranoia, but he quickly pushes it out and decides he’ll have Ashe eat one first. Just in case.

“Sure, ok. I’ll be going now,” Orion continued upstairs. As he fumbled with the keys to the red room, Noel hurried up the staircase behind him, somehow looking like more of a mess than he did earlier. He mumbled something along the lines of,

“I hope you’re ok,” to Orion before entering his room. Orion wondered what Noel was thinking. Considering he had known Sirius for only a little less than Orion had he figured that Noel must be almost as panicked as he was.

Unless he found some reason to kill him, Orion thought. He sighed to himself. He’d never seen Noel hurt a fly. He knew Noel. He trusted Noel. At least, he tried to.

At last, Orion finally made it in and collapsed down on his bed. He wouldn’t dare go back to sleep, but he needed a moment to clear his thoughts of the chaos alone. Sirius… He wouldn’t be able to see any sort of light in Sirius’s eyes again. Orion ran a hand through his matted hair. He felt like he shouldn’t cry anymore. He let out enough tears after that terrible moment. He would find the killer and…

...and what? Orion knew he wanted to find the murderer, but what would he do with them? He wouldn’t kill them. If he did, he wouldn’t be any better than they were. But… they killed Sirius.

Orion quickly realized he was at war with himself.

“Ugh…” He sniffed. He didn’t want to get overwhelmed until after he, and all the innocents in the mansion, were safe. Maybe coming here to sort out his thoughts was a bad idea. He now wanted a distraction.

As if on cue, the door opened to reveal Wilardo, holding two cups of what smelled like tea.

“Hey, I brought some tea, if you wanted any. I have some questions,” He said as he placed the cups down on the table.

“Right, ok.” Orion got up and placed himself down on a chair, grabbing the warm mug and sipping. Mentally thanking Wilardo for the drink, he placed it on a coaster and turned to face the indigo haired man.

“Did you find anything? Where did you look?” Orion asked.

“Not anything of use, except that the weapon was probably a knife. Ashe checked the drawers, Noel checked the wardrobe. Nothing. Anyway,” Wilardo paused a moment to sip his own beverage, “I wanted to ask what you were doing in there so early in the morning.” His dark eyes seemed to become a little darker, his iconic frown still on his face as he awaited Orion’s reply.

“Ah, that. I was just wanted to see him, we hadn’t gotten much time to chat after you and the others trespassed. I wasn’t expecting… I wasn’t…” Orion trailed off. He couldn’t lose his focus, not in front of Wilardo. He would catch some sort of weakness, the last thing Orion needed was to be suspected by Wilardo of all people. The one who carries a pistol around.

“That’s all?” Wilardo asked.

“That’s all,” Orion confirmed.

“Ok. Well, thanks.” Wilardo drank his tea, leaning forward to place his elbow on the table. Orion leaned his head on his hand and let out a long breath of air. He glanced at Wilardo every so often, making sure his hand was away from his gun, or he didn’t have any knives.

“I didn’t kill him,” Wilardo suddenly spoke up, noticing Orion’s eyes scanning him.

“That’s a stupid thing to say,” Orion mumbled. “Idiotic…”

Wilardo chuckled before downing the rest of his tea, breathing out as he placed the cup down.

“You’re right, that was stupid. Trusting me would be kinda dumb, too,” He grabbed Orion’s mug as he finished.

“I don’t think you should sleep in here anymore,” Orion quickly said, leaning away from Wilardo.

“...Yeah, that’s probably for the best. I have a sleeping bag so I’ll just hole up in the dining room.” Wilardo surprisingly agreed without another word, grabbing his bag and leaving the room. Orion glanced at the flowers Wilardo was always sorting, deciding to let Wilardo come back for them on his own in fear of messing them up.

Orion’s thoughts began to wander to other predicaments before someone rapped on the door.

“Orion? ...Breakfast is on the table if you’re ok to eat,” Claire’s voice rung out. Orion got up, swallowing whatever dark thoughts had boiled up and opened the door for her.  

“I’m fine.” He said. He wasn’t fine, but he felt he needed to be, for now at least. It would help keep his head in the game.

“Who made breakfast this morning?” He asked, walking with Claire to the dining room.

“Ashe did,” She replied. “Also, Noel won’t come out of his room. I hope he's alright,” She glanced at the ground. “I’m worried about him now.”

Orion grew concerned from this news. Noel said he usually works during the night and sleeps during the day, which is why the only time he ever sees Noel is in the evening or early morning. Chances are Noel was just sleeping, but if Orion were in Noel’s shoes, he would not sleep in a situation like this. He hoped Noel wasn’t hurt, or worse.

They made it to the dining room and Orion decided to take the head of the table. Ashe noticed his entrance and grabbed a plate for him, setting it down in front of him. Orion didn’t bother to thank him as he waited for Ashe to take a bite first, just in case. Ashe did, prompting Orion to do the same. Ashe was definitely a good cook, but Orion wasn’t really focused on the food.

“I’m going to try investigating Sirius’ body again,” Claire quipped. Orion was taken aback by Claire’s statement, why would anyone want to go back in there?

‘However,’ Orion cut off his original train of thought with another one, ‘I should probably do the same.’

Orion really didn’t want to go back, but he had seen a dead body or two before.

“I’ll go with you,” Orion said. If there was anyone he wanted to go with, it was Claire.

“Alright, thanks, Orion!” Claire flashed her standard smile and thumbs up, earning a small grin from Orion. Claire had always made him happy, as annoying as she may be.

Orion noticed how everyone seemed more focused on him rather than Sirius. They were making some sort of effort to comfort him, which he appreciated, but being doted upon at a time like this felt… concerning, almost. Oh, well. No point in getting annoyed about something so small. Orion gave himself his usual reminder whenever his mind wandered too far:

There are bigger things to worry about.

Orion quickly finished his meal and calmly thanked Ashe for the food. Ashe nodded and grabbed his plate, taking it up and placing it into the sink as Claire and Orion left the room.

“Okay… Here we go. Let’s look for clues,” Claire opened the door cautiously. The two stepped into Sirius’ room, the smell significantly worse than before.

Orion didn’t feel like wasting time and approached the body, avoiding looking at Sirius’ pale face as he inspected what used to be his brother.

“...Wilardo was right, his wound does look like a knife wound,” he observed.  

“Yes, he did say that…” Claire followed, searching the rest of the room.

Orion’s stomach had started swirling when he first discovered the corpse, and it hadn’t stopped. He couldn’t believe he hadn’t vomited between that time and now. He wondered how he could just observe his older sibling’s lifeless body so casually. He must have burnt himself out the first time, but now he was just getting frustrated that he couldn’t find anything significant.

“There really isn’t anything, huh,” Claire sighed. “I’m going to go help with the dishes.”

“I’m looking a little longer. Surely there must be something,” Orion folded his arms with a huff.

“Good luck, then!” Claire waved lightly as she exited.

Orion turned to the dresser drawers in the back of the room. He felt deflated by this point, surely someone would have checked in there while they were investigating. No harm in trying, though.

He sifted through the clothes, drawer by drawer. He reached the top one and dug, still finding nothing. Orion was not the tallest, he could barely see inside, resorting to tossing clothing onto the ground next to him to get a better view.

Rip.

“Guh!” Orion grunted as his hand hit something sharp in the back. His heart thumped, this was what he was looking for. He stood on his toes and felt the handle of the blade, lifting it out gingerly. It was a bloodied scalpel.

“...How...did no one find this…?” He asked himself.

‘Not anything of use, though judging from the wound, the weapon was a knife. Ashe checked the drawers, Noel checked the wardrobe. Nothing.’

Orion remembered what Wilardo told him.

‘Ashe checked the drawers.’

‘Ashe.’

“Ashe...this is Ashe’s scalpel.”

“Did you find anything, Orion?”

Orion jumped and the scalpel clattered to the ground at the sudden voice behind him. He whipped around and his eyes met the snake-like yellow orbs that belonged to Ashe.

“Ah, you did! Good for you,”  Ashe smiled, but his eyes didn’t match his mouth.

“...Why, Ashe?”

“Why? That’s… complicated,” he raised a finger to his chin, shifting his body so he was blocking the stairway to the exit.

“Well, it’s not like we’re rushing,” Orion also turned to a more ready stance. He could barely breathe, it felt like he was suffocating under Ashe’s heavy gaze. His brother’s killer.

“Hm, well. I’ve told you about the witch’s heart, right?”

“What does Sirius have to do with that stupid, make-believe rock?”

“It’s not make-believe. You think I’d be so stupid as to chase after something non-existent?” Orion only glared harder at Ashe after that sentence.

“He was in my way. The idiot… you’re better than he was, right, Orion?”

“Huh?”

“If you could have any impossible wish granted, surely killing some stranger is worth it,” Ashe smiled again. “You understand where I’m coming from?”

“That… Is the most ignorant thing… I’ve ever heard.” Orion glowered at Ashe. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He should just push Ashe right back down those stairs and make him feel what Sirius felt. What it felt like to die.

“Killing someone to get something you want? Selfish. You greedy, ludicrous, bastard.” Orion picked up the scalpel from the floor.

“The more you want your wish to come true, the more willing you are to kill for it.” Ashe chuckled for a moment. Ashe deserved to die as Sirius did, Orion thought. He would kill Ashe. He would avenge Sirius.

Before Orion could act on his muddled thoughts, he felt a great force shove him into the bookcase. Books fell from the shelves, raining on the two young men as Ashe shoved his scalpel into Orion’s chest, squeezing a hand over his mouth to prevent noise.

“That’s alright. You’ll join him soon,” Ashe mumbled, pushing him into the closet.

As Ashe closed the door and Orion leaned on it, he tried to sputter out a shout. However, he could barely lift his arm from how quickly his body had gone numb. His blood was pooling out over the door. His throat was filled with the metallic liquid. Ashe had aimed to kill and kill he did. Orion would, in fact, be joining Sirius soon.

“Haahh...Ashe...your wish...can not be granted.”

In one swift moment, Orion had passed away quietly in Lady Dorothy’s wardrobe.