0.02: Voices.

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Staring into the bathroom mirror, he slowly cinched his tie with the utmost reverence. The longer he dared to look at himself in the reflective surface the more he came to realize how ridiculous he looked. A sense of shame and embarrassment brought tears to his eyes. He'd never be good enough. He'd never be able to dress this way and be the man he wanted to be. He had to accept that sooner than later. With everything else going on in his life, he couldn't let his own securities add to his distress. Something had to be forgotten and left behind. It was easiest, he decided, that it be his own dreams of self-actualization. Otherwise, he'd be selfish.

What was that thing called? Some guy's "Hierarchy of Needs"? Wasn't self-actualization all the way at the top? Good thing it was that high up, Sylus was desperately afraid of heights.

"Morning, Dad," a weary voice came from the open bathroom door.

"Dan!" he shrieked, "Oh, oh god..." he was quick to yank the tie from his neck.

"Why are you taking it off?" Daniel wiped the sleep from his eyes.

"Ah, well, it... It doesn't fit. I-it never will. I just... I..." Sylus visibly slumped. Every ounce of strength this ritual usually gave him was gone. "I was being stupid," he forced a smile, "that's all. Gonna go get changed for work. Meet you at the counter for breakfast?"

"Dad... It's not stupid..."

"Yes it is, Dan. Adults don't play dress-up."

"Sure they do, Dad. Every day. They dress up like businessmen, construction workers, chefs and even janitors. Those are all costumes. When they get home, they're just themselves." Daniel yawned, "And that's all that matters."

Sylus stood agape. His mind struggled to process everything his son had said.

"Don't look surprised. The internet isn't all evil. There's some philosophical stuff on there, too." Daniel scratched his head as he continued down the hall. "Maybe wear the tie under your work clothes?"

Still frozen in place, Sylus' gaze slowly drifted to the tie he held in his hand. Though like everything else in the Mist, it was tinted violet, he knew it had been plum purple. Jeron had given it to him for Christmas the first year he was in town. The memory of crying on him for the first time resurfaced. Along with it came embarrassment and a strange, warm sense of comfort.

"Hey, Dan," Sylus chimed as he joined his son at the island, "What's for breakfast?

Daniel turned to see his father in his drab white and grey work clothes. Under which he knew was a tank top and under that... Something long going down his chest was barely showing through. Daniel smiled.

"I made lazy eggs," he pointed across the kitchen to the counter to a paper plate covered with another paper plate.

"Thank you, Dan," Sylus kissed his son on the forehead before collecting his meal.

"There's toast sitting in the toaster if you want that, too," Daniel mumbled through his mouthful of egg.

"You're too good, Dan," Sylus placed the toast on his plate. His mind managed to stay in one place as they ate their meals in silence.

"I'm gonna go spend the day with Mr. Miles. He wants to teach me how to roast a ham or something." Daniel spoke into his glass before drinking its orange contents.

"That's fantastic, Dan!" Sylus was more than happy to hear that not only would his son not be alone today, but he'd also be kept busy. The pang of guilt for the Miles' and Daniel being forced into this situation shot through him.

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