Strength in Weakness

Prompt: I loved him more for his weakness

“Did I ever tell you,” Ezra said, his voice faint, “that I had a brother?”

Morgan’s brows twitched and she shook her head. “I was under the impression you were an only child. There’s no mention of siblings in your file.”

Ezra’s lip quirked in a sardonic smile. “Yes, well, you have Berklian record keeping to thank for that. They didn’t want anyone knowing what they were up to and… most of the victims were too ashamed to admit the truth.”

“What is the truth?” Morgan whispered, straightening.

Ezra lowered his paintbrush and tilted his head slightly. “During the Occupation… you remember they had rules about how many children we could have?”

“One boy and one girl,” Morgan said, nodding. Her brows twitched. She’d never even thought to wonder what they would do if someone had two sons or two daughters. “What happened to your brother, Ezra?”

“Dunno,” Ezra said, sounding sad. He sighed and shook his head, tears welling in his eyes. “They let my parents keep us both until we were six and then… I knew something bad was coming. My parents were arguing, even more than usual and Da was crying…”

“The Berklians took him?” Morgan breathed.

Nodding, Ezra said, “Mother said he was going to a new family and he may have, but… I never thought about it, except to wonder how my mother had chosen me as the one she’d keep. I know Da… he wouldn’t have chosen one of us over the other. He’d never have been able to make the decision.”

“Did you… ever figure it out?” Morgan asked. Part of her dreaded the answer. Ezra seemed so upset and she couldn’t see any way to help.

Ezra nodded. “Mother gave birth to me,” he said. “Connor was born through a surrogate. It was… She somehow saw me as more her child than my brother.” He shook his head and took a shuddering breath. For a moment, he seemed so… vulnerable. Then the moment was gone and he was back to painting.

“Are you all right, Ezra?”

He nodded. “I’ll find him,” he said, his voice weak. “I don’t know how, but I’ll find him.”


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