Gabriel didn't think he had ever seen Lazarus quite so happy in all the time he had known him. The days of skulking in the lobby and attempting to become a part of the wall were long gone, and now, Lazarus practically bounded into the music room.

"Practice time already?" Gabriel asked, looking up in surprise.

"Yes, but I tire of the piano. Even I need a break from it occasionally," he smiled, slipping comfortably into the more formal register.

"Mmm," Gabriel nodded, watching Lazarus' gaze wander over the other instruments in the room. "You're looking happier than ever. What is it that's put you in such a good mood?"

"I've finally escaped my father," he grinned, turning back to the rich boy, "I've my own house, my own income, my own admittedly strange circle of friends, and a wonderful lover."

"Ah," he nodded, understanding, though he wished he hadn't understood, "you and your sins," he shook his head, "you'll never reach heaven."

"No, but I shall have lead a happy life. And I feel that being happy now is just as important as taking care of your soul. I still go to Mass, and confessions."

"It's a start, at least," Gabriel laughed, "well, anyway, what is it you wish to do today, then, if it's not piano practice?"

"I was considering learning how to play the viola," he replied, gesturing to the string instrument's case on top of the piano.

"I'm afraid I can teach you no more on the viola than I can on the piano. I suppose we could persuade Mr. Murphy to teach you next lesson, though," he tilted his head slightly. "Out of curiosity, do you learn anything else, beyond music?"

"Like what?"

"Reading, writing? Art? Languages?"

"No, why would I learn those?"

"How can you go without reading, or needing to write something, or converse with the peoples of other countries?" Gabriel seemed shocked at his illiteracy, and Lazarus was also surprised.

"When would I ever need to write anything other than music?" he laughed, but Gabriel shook his head slightly in disbelief.

"I think we can afford to suspend music lessons in favor of lessons in how to read and write!" he said, eliciting a raised brow from Lazarus. 


The End

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