In a Mirror, Dimly

I lied… this is really the last part of “The Stars Say Goodnight”.  In case anyone is wondering what the title means: I just like the sound of it.

**

As an auxiliary agent, Mikas was different from most other agents in Obrian Intelligence.  They had jobs that changed, depending on what was required of them.  Even those like Andrien, classified as investigators, had new assignments regularly.  As they completed one investigation, they were assigned a new one.

Auxiliary agents were given a single task and expected to perform that duty every day.  They were seldom re-assigned.  Mikas’s assigned duty was that of a bodyguard to Andrien.  That was how they explained it to him, anyway.  He glanced at his reflection in the mirror and hid a smile.  He was dressed in black and gray, the colors of the Service.  “I look pretty good,” he said, brushing lint from his shoulder.

“You’d look better if you cut that hair,” Nicholai quipped.

Ignoring him, Mikas looked down at his new badge.  It had his codename written under the Reindeer seal of the Service.  His deer had six points, a nod to his years of experience with Veligradian Intelligence.  “Legion,” he said, touching the letters.  He wasn’t sure how he felt as that for a codename.  It was fitting, but it bothered him.

Shaking his head, he tucked the badge away and headed out of the dressing room.  Then, he headed down the corridor towards where the healers and councilors worked.  He’d seen Andrien safely to his office.  He was on his own time, for the moment.

He peered into one office and felt his cheeks warm.  He’d never seen anyone for help with this, but he needed to understand what was happening, especially with the knowledge that one of his alters frightened him.

Straightening, he stepped into the room.  A young man was seated at the desk in the reception area.  “I was told that… I should speak with a councilor,” he said, his voice soft.

“Told by whom?”

“Chief Rail,” Mikas said, flushing.  He stepped closer to the desk and added, “I’m… do I use my actual name or my codename?”  It was an odd question, but all of this was new to him.

“Either is fine,” the young man replied, shaking his head.  “We’ll need both names eventually, anyway.”

“Auxiliary Agent Legion,” Mikas said, shrugging.  “Mikolojus Grigoravicius.  I have… friends inside my head?”

The young man blinked at him and then nodded once.  “I’ll see if I can get you in with Master Lark right away,” he said.  He stepped away and ducked into an office.

Mikas shivered and glanced out through a nearby window.  He sounded insane just trying to explain why he was there.  How come Rail was so certain that he wasn’t?

“He said that… if it bothers you, that’s a sign you aren’t mad,” Dmitri said, his tone gentle.  “If you thought it was normal for us to be here, that would be a sign of madness.”

Sighing, Mikas nodded.  He whirled around when he heard a door open.  The young man had returned to his desk.  He met Mikas’s eyes and nodded.  “Go right in,” he said.

“Thank you,” Mikas said, nodding.  He slipped passed the desk and moved to the open door of the office beyond it.  Peering inside, he found a young woman seated at the desk inside.  “Master Lark?” he said, blinking.

She looked up at him and smiled.  Tucking a lock of brown hair behind one ear, she moved to her feet.  “Hello, Legion,” she said, waving him inside.  “Would you prefer that I use your name?”

“Mikas,” he said, nodding.  He stepped inside and touched the door.  At her nod, he eased it closed.  He followed her with his eyes as she moved over to a comfortable chair near the window.  “I’ve never… done anything like this,” he admitted.

She smiled.  “Come and sit,” she invited, waving at a chair that was adjacent to her own.  As he joined her, she met his gaze.  “Brook said that you have… friends?”

Mikas flushed and touched his temple lightly.  “They sort of live in here,” he said.  He shrugged.  “Chief Rail called it something, I think, but I wasn’t there and Nicholai doesn’t remember what he said.”

“Have you always had… friends?” Lark asked, as she drew out a notebook and began writing.

Shrugging, Mikas closed his eyes.  “I’m not sure,” he said.  “I feel like they’ve always been there, but… they only really started feeling… separate when I got older.”  He opened his eyes and looked at her.  “They deal with things that… I can’t.”

Lark nodded in understanding.  “Do you know how many… friends you have?” she asked, her gaze was intense.  Her eyes were bright and inquisitive, but there was no judgment.

“I’ve known of five for quite a while,” he said, shrugging.  He looked down and fidgeted with his sleeve.  “Last night, I had this terrible nightmare and… I think there’s another trying to… come out.  She scares me.”

“I see,” Lark said.  She scribbled in her notebook and said, “The others don’t frighten you.”  There was no uncertainty in her voice.  She smiled when he blinking surprise.  “You’d hardly call them friends if they scared you, Mikas.  Tell me about them.  Who’s the oldest?”

“The oldest in age or… who’s the first one I remember?” he asked, blinking.

She nodded.  “Let’s start with the first one you remember,” she said.

“Lukas,” he said, blinking.  He smiled faintly.  “When I was little… I wanted to draw, but Papa said that boys don’t draw and color.  Since I didn’t want to make Papa angry, I didn’t draw.  Lukas would instead.”

“Is he good at drawing?”

“He’s… amazing,” Mikas said, flushing.  He’d seen some of Lukas’s sketchbooks.  It still astounded him that such beautiful pictures came from somewhere inside him.  He frowned.  “I left his sketchbooks home… in Veligrad.  There wasn’t time to get them.”

“It’s all right, Mikas,” Lukas said, his tone gentle.  “My books were full anyway.  I’ll get a new ones.”

“How old is Lukas?” Lark asked.  “What’s he like, besides being an artist?”

“He’s the same age as me,” Mikas said, blinking.  “We’re twins.”  He smiled and chuckled softly.  “He looks the same as me, but… his hair is shorter.”

“Does it bother you to have these friends?” Lark asked.

Mikas swallowed thickly and then shrugged.  “It’s not… normal, is it?” he said.  He shook his head.  “It’s not as scary as it was when I didn’t know why I was forgetting stuff or blacking out or why I did things without really wanting to, but… It worries me.  I’m scared that I’m going insane.”

She smiled and patted his leg.  “You’re not,” she said.  “What you have is a personality disorder.  While there’s no cure, there are ways to help you adjust and integrate your other personality states into the main one.”

“You know what’s wrong with me?” Mikas said, blinking away tears.  He wiped at his eyes and then released a soft laugh when she nodded.  “That’s a start.  Isn’t it?”

She nodded.  “Most of what we’ll be doing will be therapy based,” she said, her tone gentle.  “If you have time, we can start now.”

“All right,” he said, glancing at his watch.  “I’ve got about an hour before I have to meet Andrien back in his office.”

By the time that Mikas had left her office, he wasn’t sure how he felt.  A part of him felt better, but he was also frightened.  Master Lark seemed to want to associate with as many of the others as she could.  She’d spoken to each of them in turn and Mikas had felt the strange detachment that came when one of them was in control.  However, at the end, she’d asked to speak with the new one.  Mikas had blacked out.  He couldn’t remember what had been said, no matter how hard he tried.

Master Lark had said the new personality state called herself Katrina.  She was definitely the person he’d seen in the mirror.  However, she didn’t want to talk to Master Lark or Mikas.  That revelation had frightened him even more.  Who was Katrina?  Where had she come from?  Perhaps most importantly of all: was she dangerous?

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