Lazarus sat at one end of the bench and Gabriel sat at the other, silent. He sipped at the fruit juice, staring at the lush grass spread out before him and feeling more out of place than last time. At least last time, I'd made an effort to dress smart and the like... this time, I'm dirty and in normal clothes. Dirty in more than one way... he grimaced, trying to push the priest's ruthless questioning to the back of his head. He had gone to confess and be forgiven, not interrogated. S'pose I've never sinned this bad before, though. Maybe that's what happens with everyone who sins bad.
"Why were you running through the woods?" Gabriel asked after a while, his curiosity getting the best of him.
"Don't matter," Lazarus grunted, not wanting anyone else to find out about his crime.
"You were running across my family's land, remember? I think that gives me some right to know."
"You rich kids are all the fucking same, aren't you? Can't just leave it." He growled, still not taking his eyes off the grass.
"It's not because I'm wealthy that I want to know, Lazarus," Gabriel scowled, irritated by the boy's stereotyping, "and I'd really rather you didn't use so many profanities."
"Curiosity killed the cat," he mumbled, sighing. "Someone got me in shit is all." Gabriel gritted his teeth against Lazarus' vulgar language, knowing the boy was doing it now just to wind him up.
"Please, Lazarus, stop swearing!"
"I'll swear all I bloody like. You ain't the king," he snapped, but couldn't hold back the bark of laughter at Gabriel's indignant expression. "Bit of cussing never killed no one."
"Just because it didn't kill anyone, doesn't mean you have to do it," Gabriel grumbled, "how did you get in trouble, then?" he asked, deciding it was better to change the subject before they ended up fighting; Lazarus was still irritable and agitated. The last thing he wanted was an angry pauper boy attacking him.
"It don't matter how I got in trouble. I should prob'ly go see my sister; she's the one who's mad at me, but I don't wanna." Gabriel was still interested, questions lining up in his mind, but a dangerous look flashed in the boy's eyes and he decided it was best not to push it.
"So you thought you'd run through the estate instead?"
"Been looking for some place to stay that ain't my parent's place. Figured the next town might have somewhere, and somewhere I can just forget about it all. Your estate is just the quickest route."
"Do many people use the woods as a shortcut?" Gabriel asked, his eyebrow lifting slightly.
"Dunno. Prob'ly." Lazarus shrugged and drained the cup, putting it down on the bench between them with a clunk of metal against stone. Gabriel considered what the boy had said quietly. He wasn't sure where he stood with the boy. Sometimes Lazarus was pleasant, and good to talk to, almost like his friends from other wealthy families, and others, like this day, he was sullen and cursed and didn't bother to hide his accent. It was confusing; he wasn't used to people showing their emotions so openly, and his mood swings seemed to be rather extreme. At least, they were extreme to him.
They sat silently for a while; Lazarus seemed to be mulling something over, and Gabriel was loathe to disturb him while he was in such a foul mood.
"What's on your mind?" he asked eventually when it seemed that the boy was going to sit as silently as a statue all evening.
"Nothing. Everything. I dunno."
"How can you have everything and nothing on your mind at the same time?"
"That's why I said ‘I dunno' ya stupid cock."
"Must you insist on using inappropriate language?" Gabriel asked, exasperated. Lazarus smiled for the first time in quite a while.
"Yeh," he nodded, "pissing you off is entertaining."
"Then I shall endeavor to rise above your taunting," he muttered, attempting to hide his irritation. Lazarus scowled. "Now, tell me, what is bothering you so?"
"Why would you care?" Gabriel was silent, unable to give a real answer and he nodded, looking away over the grass again, up at the manor, "just bein' nosy. It ain't a good quality," he muttered, standing up.
"Where are you going?"
"If you're not gonna shoot me, then I'm gonna go where I was hoping to get to earlier."
"The town on the other side of the estate?"
"That's the one, yeah."
"Why can you not just go back and apologize to your sister for whatever you did to anger her?"
"'Cause she ain't gonna forgive me for it. Am I allowed to go now, your highness?" Lazarus asked in a bitterly mocking tone, with a mock bow. Gabriel glowered at him.
"Fine, if you must. I was rather hoping you might play for me soon, but I shan't know how to find you in a different town."
"Yeah, well how many people do you know called Lazarus?"