Neal leaned against the wall of the balcony with his arms, barely holding himself up as he looked over his burning city.  He took it all in and knew that it was his fault.  Everyone was dead and it was his fault.

            “Top of the world, ma,” He chuckled to himself, near hysteria.  “My fault.”

            He murmured this last and slumped to his knees, collapsing against the stone railing and held up only by his shoulder against the stone.  He felt his blood leaving his body.

            “I’m glad to hear you say that.  To finally hear that you accept some responsibility.”  A cloaked figure said from the doorway to the Hall.

            Neal moaned, startled by the unexpected voice.  He was even more startled when the figure removed his hood and stepped into the starlight.

            “Ethan?”  Neal asked, “Ethan…”  He started to laugh and cry at the same time.  Once he had seen the real thing, it was obvious that an impostor had been in their midst.  Neal wondered how he could have been so blind:  Ethan’s eyes were intensely alive, while his doppelganger’s eyes were void.

            His laughter turned into painful coughing, blood spitting off his lips.  Neal held his wound and knew that he was already dead.  Ethan knelt beside him to offer comfort to his friend.

            “No…” Neal whispered, and then he gathered the strength to yell.  “NO!!!”  He slapped Ethan’s hand away.  “Let me die.  I deserve it.”

            “No one deserves to die alone, Neal.  And maybe I can help.”  Ethan responded patiently.

            “I don’t want your help, or anyone else’s!  I destroyed the world, Ethan!”

            With that, Neal hauled himself to his feet and hurled himself over the balcony plummeting into darkness before Ethan could even reach out a halting hand.

            Ethan stood slowly, wiping a solitary tear from his cheek.  He looked out over the charred ruin of the city, and contemplated the ending of a world.

            “Even in death your pride got in the way, Neal.”  He said quietly, pitying his friend.  “You didn’t do this alone.  We all had a part in it.”

            He turned away from the cityscape and re-entered the black tower.  Neal’s part was over, but Ethan still had his part to play.

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