“Hello” Lou smiled as the tree let the four daemons in Sylver and the others all moved to get a look at the newcomer.
“How are you Dawn?” Sylver and Morgan asked together Lou sat down after a tight hug from a very happy Deacon.
“Fine” Dawn said not sitting down, “where…” Sylver smiled pointing to the wall of roots.
“He’s asleep” Allegra said “I checked him a moment ago.”
“I’ll be quiet” Dawn said crossing the strange room.
Gabriel was curled up on his side one hand near his face the other gripped the handle of one of the axes. Dawn smiled and knelt down gently taking the axe from his claws and picking the other one up, he set them aside and sat down.
“Hey, sweetie.” He whispered leaning against the wall.
A few hours later Gabriel opened his eyes slowly, his back ached and he tried to stretch but a pair of arms wrapped around him and a body pressed against his back stopped him. The smell of sulphur, mud and trees made him smile slightly.
“Dawn?” he said quietly, hearing voices in the main room. The daemon grumbled in his sleep and gripped the vampyre more tightly. Dawn's fingers brushed the scar that ran over Gabriel's shoulder and he flinched, growling.
“Go back to sleep” Dawn muttered shifting slightly he gripped Gabriel's shoulder properly the vampyres breath hitched and Dawn opened his eyes. “Sweetie, what's wrong?”
“Let go” Gabriel said his teeth clenched Dawn unwrapped his arms from the thin form and sat up.
“What is it?” he asked firmly, Gabriel sat up and rubbed the side of his neck.
“Sorry, Dawn” he said.
“You’re hurt.” Dawn frowned but Gabriel shook his head.
“No” he said.
“Then what?” Gabriel looked at him thinking for a moment then he sighed.
“I suppose you should know.” Gabriel said. “It’s just the scar on my shoulder.”
“It hurts?” Dawn frowned gently pulling Gabriel's t-shirt aside, the vampyre let him. Dawn looked carefully at the deep scar that ran along the join between Gabriel's neck and shoulder.
“They all do.” Gabriel said “I don’t know why.” Dawn carefully ran a finger across the little bit of the scar he could see, the vampyre winced.
“Anyway,” Gabriel growled pulling his shirt back. “Where the hell have you been?” Dawn smiled.
“Exactly” he smiled. “I’ve been in Hell.”
“That’s why you smell like a matchbox.” Gabriel grumbled Dawn laughed.
“Yeah,” he said “and it’s good to see you.”
“And you.” Gabriel smiled letting Dawn hug him even wrapping one arm around Dawn's shoulders. “Are you better, now?” he asked as Dawn let him go, the daemon held his wrist up and Gabriel frowned at the red band.
“Who did that?” Gabriel asked as his claw passed through the magick band without any effect.
“That would be me.” A voice said. Gabriel turned quickly to see a daemon standing at the end of his little compartment.
“I take it you're Lou?” Gabriel growled.
“You don’t remember?” Lou frowned.
“Obviously not, if I'm asking.”
“Well, you haven’t changed.” The daemon laughed “I am Lou”
“Lou” Gabriel repeated a frown on his face his eyes focused on the floor. “Lucifer.” Something tugged in his memory.
“How are you?” Lou asked sitting down.
“Fine” Gabriel said suspiciously.
“You didn’t sound it a minute ago,”
“You do know it’s rude to listen in?” Dawn growled.
“I do but I do it anyway.” Lou smiled “so what's wrong?”
“Nothing” Gabriel snarled.
“Gabriel” Dawn said “this is the person to ask about your scars.” Gabriel glared at him.
“I'm not asking anyone about anything.” Gabriel growled “especially not a complete stranger.” Lou smiled.
“I was exactly the same.” He said.
“You?” Gabriel said quietly Lou nodded.
“She got me too.” Lou said gently realising how touchy the vampyre was on the subject.
“Why?” Gabriel said lighting a cigarette.
“For someone not asking questions you're doing well” Lou smiled. “and I did something wrong.”
“In her eyes or yours?” Dawn growled.
“hers.” Lou nodded his smile bitter now, “always hers.”
“Lou?” Dawn said wondering how to word his question. “Could you…?”
“Could I show Gabriel?” Lou asked lightly, Dawn nodded. Lou shifted onto his knees unbuttoning his shirt. “I will just say first that I do have some recent injuries, the new ones are black”
“Why black?” Gabriel frowned.
“I'm not positive but when a daemon dies temporarily the manner of death still shows. It’s like a very painful shadow of what happened.” Lou tugged off his shirt and Gabriel saw the puncture wound near his hipbone and without the collar of the shirt he saw a thick black line around his neck.
“What happened to you?” Gabriel asked Lou smiled.
“I won’t tell you now, that’s a story for later.”
“It looks painful” Dawn said.
“It’s bearable.” Lou stood and Dawn beckoned to Gabriel to stand up.
“Nice tattoo,” Gabriel's aid seeing the thick black ink that curled over the daemons back.
“I was young.” Lou smiled.
“That’s what you told me when I said that.” Dawn said standing too.
“So I did” Lou replied turning his back on them. “Look closely they're almost gone now.” Gabriel could see the shiny scars beneath the black ink of Lou's extensive tattoo.
“You’ve got a few.” He said Lou laughed and turned around again pulling his shirt back on.
“I had more than a few.” He smiled. “They still pull a bit even now.”
“Gabriel's ones hurt.” Dawn said expecting something from the vampyre and ignoring the glare.
“Hurt?” Lou said a small knowing smile on his face. Gabriel flushed very slightly.
“It’s nothing to be ashamed of.” Dawn said seeing the blush.
“It’s not that simple, Dawn” Lou said as Gabriel sat down and the two daemons copied him. “Is it?” Lou looked seriously at Gabriel who looked away annoyed that the two daemons were being so personal.
“Why not?” Dawn frowned “it’s not your fault, it’s hers.”
“Dawn,” Lou said gently “when I was at the palace I truly believed that I had done wrong, and Aura had to do what she did. Knowing now that it wasn’t right is fair enough but it doesn't stop the niggling doubt in the back of my head.” Lou looked at Gabriel as something cracked nearby. The vampyre was pale and tight lipped Dawn took his hand carefully. Lou nodded, understanding. “Dawn you had something for Gabriel.” Dawn looked up feeling distinctly left out.
“Yeah” he let Gabriel go and wriggled leaning back he dug a hand into his pocket and pulled out the jewellery box. “here.” He said holding it out Lou smiled and stood.
“”I’ll leave you two alone, I need to speak to Deacon, poor guy, I don’t think he quite believes that I'm real.” Dawn smiled and Gabriel nodded not taking the box from Dawn. Lou inclined his head slightly and left the little compartment.
“Go on” Dawn said still holding the box out.
“Dawn,” Gabriel said “I think I know what it is but first,” he took the box as Dawn pushed it towards him, his claws slid across the little catch. “Are you alright?”
“Fine” Dawn said a little too quickly Gabriel just pulled a disbelieving face. “Alright, how long have your scars hurt?” he asked Gabriel looked away.
“All of them?” Dawn frowned Gabriel nodded.
“That why you don’t like being touched?” Dawn stated
“Yeah” Gabriel admitted “one of the reasons anyway.”
“Why didn't you tell me?” Dawn sighed taking the box he put it on the floor he leant forward gently gripping Gabriel's chin and making him look up.
“I couldn’t.” Gabriel muttered his eyes still not meeting Dawn's.
“Come here.” Dawn smiled carefully wrapping his arms around him, Gabriel let Dawn hold him for a moment before pulling back. Dawn smiled fondly at him.
“You can tell me anything you want too.” He said “I won’t love you any less.” Gabriel's smile was, if possible, half sad and half grateful. He leant back and dug in his coat pocket.
“I got something for you too.” Handing Dawn the twisted bottle.
“Thanks” Dawn smiled Gabriel frowned.
“you're not going ask what it is?”
“I already know.” Dawn said “we saw Rega just after you.”
“The tiger.” Dawn said Gabriel nodded “he realized who I was to you.”
“Probably the smell of Holehallow,” Dawn said “or the fact that for the last few weeks you’ve only fed from me.” Gabriel struggled to open the small box again, Dawn held his hand out. Gabriel growled in annoyance and passed him the box.