“How did it happen?” Beth enquired.
“I don't understand the question.”
“How did Nalael get to him? How come Sam didn't stop him?”
“Nalael knows Sam better than almost anyone. He has gifts that none of us can match, not even Samael. It's not as if he doesn't know where we are anyway; the house used to be their family home.”
Beth opened her mouth to reply, even though she didn't know what she was going to say, just as she heard the front door open. There was a quiet giggle from out in the hall and a whispered response.
“Zeke?” Cassius called out.
“It's me,” he replied loudly enough for them to hear before opening the door. He was grinning widely and clutching Caelan's hand which now bore Zeke’s ring.
He paused in the doorway, seeing the angel leaning against the fireplace. He subconsciously pulled Caelan behind him. He looked at the blue-haired man, searching for a name.
“Gabriel,” he eventually said. “What do you want?”
“I need you to come with me now. Sam is unwell.”
Zeke frowned. “Unwell? I thought angels couldn't get ill.”
“He's dying,” Cassius interjected.
“What?” Zeke looked shocked, his eyes wide. “But... How?”
“Nalael. We found this–” Gabriel held out his hand palm up and a little envelope sealed with black wax crackled into existence piece by piece an inch or two above his skin. “–in Sam's pocket. Addressed to you.”
Zeke stared between the little envelope and Gabriel, frozen in place. Caelan peeked around his shoulder. When he saw Zeke wasn't going to take it, he slid past him and went to take it from the air. Gabriel's eyes narrowed suspiciously and he moved his hand back.
“I know everything,” the vampire said simply.
“Then you must be Caelan,” Gabriel replied, extended his hand again.
Caelan took the little envelope and took his hand from Zeke, who still hadn't moved. He broke the seal and opened it, pulling out a piece of parchment that was burnt around the edges.
“What does it say?” Cassius asked curiously.
Beth saw the wonder in Gabriel's eyes, though she doubted he would have admitted it; he seemed very stubborn and proud in her opinion.
Caelan read through the first couple of lines quietly before reading out loud.
“'Dearest Zechariah, I trust you are reading this. Or perhaps your little toy is. Did you think you could hide him forever? I have eyes everywhere. Nevertheless, I hope you got the attachment to this letter. Did you like it? Will you try and heal him, I wonder? I look forward to your birthday; I have a very special present for you. You'll love it. Until then, have as much fun as you can with the little angels; it won't last very long. Your father, Nalael.'“ Caelan looked up from the letter, his hands trembling a little. “What does he want?”