Arsenios Zabat walked down his living room, inspecting the cardboard boxes again. It was hard for him to believe that he would be leaving his flat for a long time, or possibly forever. He traced his fingers along the corner of one of the boxes, mentally going through the list of objects inside it. Photographs he took, a tennis trophy he won at school, and his brother's scarf. He could take these mementoes, tokens of friends and family, but he had to leave the people and the memories behind.
"Where are you going, Arsenios?"
Arsenios spun round, one hand still resting on top of the cardboard box. On the doorway stood a man dressed entirely in white, arms folded across his chest. Arsenios took a deep breath, suffocating a grimace with a smile.
"Moving out. Are you sure you're not coming with me, Rowland?"
"Coming with you?" Rowland spat, and Arsenios took a step backward. "Do you honestly think I would want to come with you, after what you've done to me?"
Arsenios raised a hand, making a half-shrug as he did, "I thought you'd at least consider it."
"I trusted you," Rowland hovered dangerously close now, but Arsenios made no effort to move away. "I trusted you, Arsenios, but you betrayed me."
"I didn’t mean to," Arsenios' tone was apologetic.
"You said, that you would never work with them - that you will always be on my side. What happened to all of that? All of it - humbug?"
"It was for the good of- "
"Of mankind? Of the Others? Arsenios, are you still that naive, optimistic fool?"
Arsenios blinked. Rowland's words stung, but he was determined not to show it. "And you, ever the cynical, angry fatalist?" The man in white scoffed, and Arsenios carried on, "It's just the first step, Rowland. We need to obtain their trust first, and then - "
"And then," Rowland suddenly dropped to a dissonantly low voice, almost a whisper, "they shall betray us again. And mistreat us again, and think we're rubbish again. You know it as well as I do, Arsenios. They shall never respect us - never listen to us - unless we show them what we're capable of."
Instead, he hung his head, shaking it slowly. When Rowland saw that the other man had no answer to his speech, he approached even closer and laid a hand on Arsenios' shoulder.
"You and I," Rowland began again, "we can show them all. My power, combined with yours, and those of which you shall gather, will be invincible."
A heavy sigh raised and lowered Arsenios' body. Sadly, but determinedly, he looked into Rowland's black eyes, "I'm sorry, Rowland."
"Very well then," Rowland gave a brief nod.
The short, simple way in which Rowland accepted his decision made Arsenios raise his eyebrows. All throughout their past arguments, never had Rowland accepted failure so quickly and without comment. But, Arsenios thought, perhaps he expected it? He wondered if Rowland, like him, knew in advance that he would not succeed in convincing him to his doctrine.
The silence that hung in the air was left unbroken, against all odds. Rowland turned to walk away. But at the doorway, he stopped, looked back, and added one last question:
"You understand, Arsenios, that if you are not with me, then you are against me?"
Arsenios looked back at him wordlessly. When he received no reply, Rowland resumed walking away and closed the door behind him.
Well, as you can tell, I shaved a lot off. But I thought your dialogue was spot on, and I don't believe I changed anything there.
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