James had pulled a few more stunts since his first defiance of Clove. It was apparent that Clove was his favorite target, due to the fact that his reactions were quite satisfying.
Brant wasn't exactly sure what had come over his younger brother. James was so unlike Brant. So why was he now walking on the same path as Brant had so many years earlier? Especially after he had said he wouldn't. It's not like this kind of behavior came naturally to James. He thought he had always raised him to obey authority, not disrespect and rebel. On a ship this kind of behavior risked lives. It just wasn't like him. Brant couldn't help but wonder what was bothering James.
Brant silently worried about his brother as he walking into a sitting room where James was waiting.
"James!" It came out harsher than Brant had intended, but it got James' attention.
James turned away from the roaring fire to look at his brother; he had a triumphant glint in his eye and a slight smirk on his lips. Brant was startled at how much James had changed in a month, how much James now resembled himself.
"James," Brant said again. "I just got out of a meeting with Mr. Clove."
James smirked. "Guess he's been telling you about my behaviour?"
Brant raised his eyebrow at his younger brother's tone and silently wrestled with how to respond. How did he tell a younger version of himself to smarten up when he wouldn't even follow his own advice? James would only see him as a hypocrite.
"A month ago you never would have done any of this. I've raised you better than this."
"Not by example."
Brant cringed inwardly, but his face remained expressionless and James took it as an invitation to keep going, to keep battering at his brother emotionally.
"I may not be perfect, but you don't try to change. You are so caught up in your rogue image and you hide behind it and the BlackFox as if bullets were flying all around you." James turned on his heel and strode calmly out of the room.
Brant sank into a large chair and sighed. Right now he felt like a failure. With the enormous task of raising James put on his shoulders, he had made many mistakes, but never had he thought this would happen. Never had he thought James would turn out like him.