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Lazarus meekly followed Gabriel to the dining room where Emily was laying out food for them both, his traitorous stomach grumbling with anticipation at the thought of a proper meal. It had growled when Gabriel had mentioned food, and the young lord had laughed and half dragged him out of his bed to eat.

He was vaguely disappointed that Gabriel hadn’t followed the script in his head and kissed him passionately, promising to never leave his side again. He sighed a little to himself and shook his head, telling himself to stop being such an idiot as he sat down and tried to conceal the longing that was surely in his expression.

Despite his internal embarrassment at his own thoughts, Lazarus managed to wolf down his lunch greedily, even helping himself to seconds. His lack of table manners made Gabriel laugh lightly; Lazarus ignored him, too hungry to really care.

“So what’re we gonna do t’day?” Lazarus enquired around his mouthful of chicken.

Gabriel’s lips formed a gorgeous half smile, and his eyes sparkled with amusement in the snowy light spilling in from the wide windows. “Whatever pleases you, my friend. Relax, I suppose. You should probably still be resting.”

“Can I play your piano?” he asked, mentally dismissing the idea of resting. How could he relax or be restful with the recent events still pursuing each other and his humiliation around his head? Was it even possible to do something that didn’t fully occupy his mind? Probably not, was the conclusion that he came to.

“If you think you’re well enough,” Gabriel nodded, still amused. Lazarus shrugged, too busy trying to chase the image of Gabriel and himself sat in the tree he shared with James for so long. The thought of Gabriel leaning over him, trapping him on the branch he rested on as their lips grew so close they could taste each other’s warm breath...

The young lord watched, entertained as an inexplicable furious blush coloured the boy’s pale cheeks. The blue eyes stared intently at the chicken bone on the plate before them, avoiding looking up at all costs. He started to poke at the remains of his food, something apparently on his mind. A frown replaced the embarrassment, and Gabriel tilted his head a little.

“Do you...” Lazarus’ voice was hesitant, “do you think it’s so wrong that-” his head snapped up as he was interrupted mid-sentence. Emily smiled, her expression startled at the piercing look in his eyes. Sheepishly, she began to clear up, moving out of his way hastily as he pushed back his chair and exited the room.

Gabriel gave it a few minutes before following him up to the music room. He found Lazarus glaring at the ivory keys of the piano, perching on the edge of the stool. His elbows were resting on a few of the keys and his skinny fingers were tangled in his hair.

“Lazarus? What’s the matter?” he asked cautiously.

“Nothing,” Lazarus said quietly. Gabriel pulled a chair over and sat down next to him, waiting for him to stop lying. “I jus’... I jus’ have a load o’ shit on my mind, s’all,” he mumbled, carefully lowering the lid on the piano before smacking his head down on it, making sure he was facing away from Gabriel. He’d had enough trouble controlling himself while they were eating. He wasn’t about to make things worse for himself. His hands had moved to his lap and there the slender fingers twisted around each other absently, as though writhing in pain. He supposed it was a sort of pain that he was feeling. After all, he was quite hopelessly in love with Gabriel and it would be nothing short of destructive to let slip how he felt.

“Tell me, Lazarus. It’s clearly something important; maybe I can help?” Gabriel’s voice was a musical lilt sweeter to the boy’s ears than anything man could have created with an instrument, even when it had that commanding tone to it. Maybe even especially when it had that commanding tone to it. He’d always been partial to letting James take control of him; perhaps it was the same with Gabriel.

He watched the blonde youth shiver a little, as though a sudden cold breeze had passed over him. He reached out a comforting hand and gently touched his shoulder. Lazarus stiffened at the touch, lifting his head off the piano a little. Gabriel had always considered the shade of blue he had chosen for the music room to be decorated with a rather beautiful one, but now as the boy turned his bright, widened eyes toward him, he realised he had been absolutely wrong. The colour of Lazarus’ eyes was lighter than that of a perfect summer sky, yet somehow more vibrant and striking. He didn’t realise he was staring intently into them until the expression on Lazarus’ face turned from one of shock, to one of uncertainty.

“I can’t,” Lazarus said, unsure now if his secret had been as well kept as he thought it had been.

“Why ever not? I was always under the impression that friends were supposed to share their troubles.”

“This ain’t one I should be sharin’. Not with anyone.” This made Gabriel frown. What could Lazarus be hiding that no one should know of?

The End

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