James was waiting, perched on the edge of Lazarus' bed when he returned home, a smile on his face and arms laden with food Emily had near enough forced upon him. He looked up, surprised to see James already there, though a smile spread across his lips. Dumping the food on the table, he almost skipped across the short distance between him and the bed.
His arms wrapped around James effortlessly as he sat, making it into one fluid movement. James sat stock still, his eyes still fixed on the spot in front of him.
"James?" Lazarus asked, his smile slipping a little.
Sunlight tried to lift a little of the gloom in Lazarus' room, but the flimsy shades blocked out most, and the funk of depression within the room was stifling. The pianist lay on his bed, stomach down, his cheek pressed into his rough pillow. His blanket was tangled somewhere around his ankles and flopped lifelessly over half his back. The rest of him stayed exposed. He looked like some fallen angel in an oil painting, captured by some unknown hand.
What little light ventured through the premature and seemingly permanent twilight in his room to reach the floor, Lazarus stared at blankly. It had been nearly a week since he had seen James, but the memory of it felt no less painful now as it had done five minutes after his beau had left. His pale blue eyes glittered listlessly with stale tears that broke free and made their peace with his mattress when he blinked.
The hollow banging sound of knuckles knocking against his door emanated throughout his tiny house, sudden and loud. He did not flinch at its abruptness, though.
"Go away," he moaned hoarsely, his voice barely loud enough to reach much beyond his bed. The person knocked again. "Fuck off," he shouted irritably, loud enough for the person to hear outside, this time. There was a hesitant silence from outside, and more knocking. "Oh, for fucks sake," he groaned, turning his head so his face was pushed fully into his pillow.
"Sir? Lazarus?" a familiar woman's voice spoke. He looked back over at the door, frowning a little. What was Emily doing here? "Master Emerson wishes to speak with you." He sat up at that, wide-eyed.
"I can speak for myself, Emily," Gabriel's voice was laced with both amusement and just a little irritation, "we're not at the manor now."
"Apologies," she muttered. Lazarus barely heard any of this exchange as he rushed to get dressed and make himself look at least half-way human.
"Fuck, shit, bollocks, buggery!" he yelled, forgetting himself as he stubbed his toe on the table, hopping around, clutching at his foot.
"Are you quite alright?" Gabriel asked, his face creasing into a concerned frown.
"Sorry," Lazarus said, opening the door to reveal his dishevelled appearance, "sorry, I hurt myself. I didn't mean to swear so loud."
"It's fine," Gabriel chuckled.
"Um," Lazarus hesitated, glancing back into his room and realising quite suddenly how messy it was. "D'you wanna come in? It's kinda messy, but I can clean up a little and give you somewhere to sit." Gabriel nodded, causing Lazarus to slip back inside and rush around, cursing and tidying in equal measures. He waved them over to the table to take a seat once it was cleared enough to be comfortable.
"You look terrible, Lazarus," Gabriel commented as he turned his chair to face Lazarus where he sat on the bed.
"Rough week, I guess," he replied, as vaguely as possible so he could try to stop the memory from once again playing in his mind. Of course, it didn't really work.
"I gotta go, Lazarus. M'sorry, but I can't be with you anymore. I love you, but I just can't run the risk,y'know?" James muttered quietly. He couldn't look up to face Lazarus' reaction. He couldn't face those beautiful eyes filling up with disappointment and tears.
"We've been careful, though. Only Anna knows, no one else does! No one's even guessed."
"I been getting weird looks. Maybe it's just in me head, y'know, but I can't help it. I can't do this secrecy thing no more." He stood up, breaking Lazarus' loosening grip on him, and walked out. It was as simple as that.
"Anything interesting?" Gabriel inquired lightly. Lazarus shook his head.
"Not to the likes of you," he chuckled a little, ignoring the little wave of bitterness that swept through his mind as he once again cursed how he could never talk freely about anything regarding his relationship with James unless it was with his sister. And even she was reluctant to talk about it at times.
Fuck you, James, and all the problems you have caused me.