"F-forgive me F-father, for I have sinned," Lazarus stuttered on his knees in the confession box, "my last confession was last Sunday."
"And what is your sin, child?"
"I-I-" he swallowed, biting back his tears, "I loved another man, Father. I want to ask God to forgive me and cure me. I was weak, Father..." he sniffed and wiped his eyes as tears threatened to spill over, "I beg you to make me strong."
As Lazarus stumbled out of the church, his head spinning, he saw James walking toward the church. He gritted his teeth and stared at the floor, trying to avoid the piercing green eyes. James didn't let him slip by, though. He caught Lazarus by the arm and turned him to look up at him.
"Don't avoid me, Lazarus," he said firmly and Lazarus shook his head, looking away, trying to pull out of his grip.
"You've damned us both. Get out of my way," Lazarus growled, pulling harder to try and loosen the grasp on his arm.
"Did Annabelle say anything?"
"No, she won't speak to me. Get off me."
"I ain't sorry, Lazarus."
"You should be fucking sorry!" He shouted, punching James' nose. He recoiled, his hand flying up to his face as Lazarus ran away from him.
He ran blindly, speeding through the village to the other side, where the Emerson estate sat like an ugly, rich scar on the land. He shot into the woodland, racing past their tree, further into the woods. He wasn't paying attention to the trees thinning until he was sprinting across the vast grounds. Looking around, his eyes widened, but he didn't stop, hoping he could make it to the other side before he was noticed.
No such luck. There was a shout and as he glanced over his shoulder, he saw two of the servants chasing him. They were faster than him and caught up quickly, grabbing his arms and holding him back. He shouted wordlessly, kicking and trying to free himself, but they held on stubbornly, dragging him back to the house.
"Let go! Fucking let go of me!" he yelled as they pulled him closer to the house. They said nothing to him, instead telling another servant to fetch Mr. Emerson. Lazarus wasn't expecting Gabriel to walk out of the house. He was still screaming and struggling as Gabriel moved closer. He cursed and spat and barely noticed as his loose shirt tore in their attempt to keep him there.
"Lazarus?" Gabriel asked, cautiously. The writhing, cussing pauper boy he saw before him now was a completely different person to the boy who had sat at the piano with the music teacher.
"Lemme go!" he shouted, his voice turning hoarse and breaking.
"Calm down, Lazarus!" Gabriel cried, shocked by the boy's behavior.
"No! Let go of me ya shit-head," he snarled at the servant, ignoring Gabriel's alarmed expression.
"What do you want us to do with him, sir?"
"I-I don't know," he stuttered, torn between having him thrown off the premises and waiting for him to calm down.
"Get off me," Lazarus' voice turned into a less aggressive whine as his heart slowed and he realized just who he was making a fool of himself in front of. The servants looked at Gabriel questioningly and he nodded. They let go of Lazarus and watched uncertainly as he sat heavily on the ground, his head on his knees.
"Why are you sitting down there?" Gabriel asked, perplexed. The floor was meant for standing on, not sitting on, after all.
"I feel sick," Lazarus muttered into his legs, his hand reaching up to the tear in his sleeve, pinching the material together as he tried to hide how close he was to tears again.
"Get him a drink," Gabriel ordered and one of the servants nodded, disappearing back into the house. "Lazarus, why were you running through my grounds?" Lazarus' jaw clenched; he was in no mood for Gabriel to highlight how much richer he was, whether he meant to or not.
"I was running through the woods, I didn't mean to leave them. It was an accident."
"The woodland is private property as well," Gabriel pointed out and Lazarus closed his eyes, willing himself to stay where he was on the floor and to avoid punching the rich boy.
"Yeh, but you wouldn'ta noticed me in there would ya?"
"You were still breaking the law."
"Who gives a shit about the law?" he growled, looking up. Gabriel took half a step back, surprised by the anger and upset in Lazarus' eyes.
"Clearly not you," Gabriel muttered, looking away, glad the servant had returned with the drink. Gabriel indicated for the drink to be placed next to Lazarus on the ground and the servant obliged, before walking away again. Lazarus looked down at the drink, fruit juice in one of the servant's plain metal cups. He looked at it in dismay for a moment.
"Even your servant's get fancy shit!" he wailed, putting his head back on his knees, inwardly cursing his parents for not being wealthier, himself for being weak, and Gabriel for his awkward attempt to help him. Gabriel looked at the cup, bemused. It wasn't in the slightest bit elaborate or aesthetically pleasing to him. He couldn't work out why Lazarus was so upset, but he wasn't sure if asking would be a wise idea.
"Why- why don't you take your drink and sit in the garden...? on a bench, not the floor."
"Y'know, I was kinda expecting to be shot for trespassing, not being invited to sit in your garden," Lazarus mumbled, half lifting his head, before resting his chin on his knees, looking up at Gabriel.
"Yes, well, you might be rough, and from the village, but I don't think I could have someone so talented shot..." Lazarus rolled his eyes and looked back at the juice. Of course Gabriel wouldn't have saved him from being punished out of the goodness of his heart; it was always about the talent. People didn't seem to see anything more than good music.