Thanatos rarely left Nemesis's side during the extended stay with the mindhealer's. Nemesis's recovery was very slow, and weeks would go by without any sign of progress. Sometimes he would talk, but it was as if he lived in the past. He would scold Sicham, or talk as if Hinthinia was with him. Thanatos secretly feared that his friend would never recover.

Pandemonium stood facing Thanatos outside of Nemesis's little room in the Healer's wing. From the way Pandemonium was standing, Thanatos knew that he wasn't going to like what he was about to say.

"Second, I have noticed your absence from my office."

"Nemesis is still recovering."

"What does that have to do with your job?" Pandemonium asked. Thanatos blinked, not really sure of how to answer.

"Nothing, I guess. But, Nemesis has always been my friend."

"Nemesis is not my second. You have a responsibility. Is it more important to be a friend, or to do your job?"

"But, he needs me."

"Second, things like this happen. It is the Lord's job to stay focused on the main goal, not fall apart when tragedy happens. Part of our job is to risk our lives...and, yes, even our sanity...to see the job through to the end."

"But, what if he never recovers."

"As Lord, you know that we have plenty of other Shadows to take his place." Pandemonium stated coldly, "Now, are you going to be the future Lord of the Shadows, or would you rather play the good friend?"

Thanatos looked down, unable to meet his superior's eyes. He felt as though someone had dumped a bucket of cold water on him. He knew that Pandemonium was pushing him, forcing his hand. And he didn't like being manipulated. But, he also knew that currently there was no one else who could fill Pandemonium's job as well as he could. He met Pandemonium's gaze, and nodded briefly.

"I'll report at the usual time tomorrow morning." He said. Pandemonium watched him for a second before nodding. Without another word, the Lord turned and headed back to his own office.

"Than." Nemesis turned away from the window.

"Yeah, Nem." Thanatos held his breath, wondering what nemesis wanted.

"Scandal...is he..." Nemesis held his breath.

"Yes, Nem. I'm sorry." Nemesis bowed his head. He raised it again to look at Thanatos, "and Hinthinia...and her father." His voice broke slightly.

"Yes, Nem." Thanatos didn't know what to say. Nemesis went back to looking out the window.

Finally Nemesis began to make progress. Than was sitting with him, talking, when the messenger appeared in the door. Thanatos and Nemesis looked up at the young man. He handed Nemesis a package and turned and left as quietly as he came.

Nemesis looked down at the package in his hands, then looked up at Thanatos. Thanatos shrugged slightly. Nemesis carefully untied the string that bound the bundle together. As he peeled the wrappings away, Thanatos noticed that his hands began to shake. When it was finally opened, both men sat staring at what the package contained. The pair of knives lay there, the leather lovingly shined to pick up the sunlight. Thanatos moved quickly, taking the package off of Nemesis's lap. He went out to the hall to signal one of the mind healer's.

Nemesis's recovery was very long. But slowly, he made progress. Finally he was allowed to return to his own room, as long as he agreed to daily meetings with the mindhealers. Thanatos convinced him to begin to have weapons practice again.

He stood at his window, looking down at the familiar view. He rested one arm against the window frame, and rested his head on his arm. He felt a lot older then he really was.

Someone knocked on his open door. He lifted his head off his arm and turned to see who it was. Mayhem stood in the doorway, concern in his eyes. Nemesis dropped his arm and smiled at the younger man. He waved him inside and turned toward his chair. Mayhem dragged one of the chairs from the table so he could sit across from Nemesis.

"The healers wouldn't let anyone, except Thanatos, in to visit you." Mayhem said quietly, "How are you, old man?"

"Better, I guess." Nemesis looked down at his hands. Slowly he clenched them into a fist. After a moment he relaxed his hands. Mayhem watched him for a moment in silence.

"I don't really know what to say right now." He confessed.

"I understand."

The pair sat in silence for a moment. Neither one wanting to be alone, but not knowing what to say to each other.