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Burning Man

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Spook burned tin.

"How?" he asked, breath shaky. The firelight was blinding, but he didn't stop burning. He kept his tin on, kept it high. He didn't even squint his eyes against the light. It ached, but it felt- not quite right, but appropriate. He needed to hurt right now, to feel. Gritting against the pain made him feel strong. Not a coward. He needed that. Lord Ruler, he needed that.

"You sure you want to-?" Spook turned his tin-enhanced gaze on the soldier. That shut him up right quick.

Spook burned tin.

"R-right." The soldier said, then began a cautious explanation. It was clear to Spook that he left out much; trying to protect a kid from the horrors that killed his uncle. But Spook didn't need the whole story. He got the gist of it. His uncle died fighting, while he hid. A coward.

Spook flared tin.

Gravel turned to glass beneath his feet, torchlight burned so brightly that it made his eyes water. Footsteps miles away had the clarity of mere inches, but the soldier telling the story of his uncle's death did so from underwater.

Spook flared tin.

He wanted to cry out; everything was so loud, so clear. Everything but the soldier.

Spook needed to hear. He didn't want to, but he needed to.

Spook flared tin.

The soldier's heartbeat boomed, and the smallest shift in the wind was agony against his skin, but Spook pushed these sensations to the side - he was good at that, ignoring things.

But he couldn't ignore his uncle's death. Not even if he wanted to.

Spook flared tin.

Finally, he shut his eyes, hiding tears. But he didn't stop burning.

He never stopped burning, not anymore.

Spook flared tin.