The elevator ride up was quiet and the main area of his office floor was dark and just as quiet. He stared across the vast darkness to his private office. Instead of exiting the elevator Gabriel pressed his code into the keypad and rode up to the penthouse floor. 

As the doors of the elevator opened the lights came on and the shutters lifted on the large wall size windows. He moved across to the windows and took in the city scene that was lit up for the night. Making his way to the wine cooler he pulled a good bottle and uncorked it to breathe. 

Forgoing a glass in his current agitation, the Councilor carried the bottle to the bathroom where he stripped out of the clothing given to him by Sen and he stepped into the shower.

Seated on the shower bench he let the heated water pour down on him as he drank from the very expensive bottle. Only after at least half the bottle was gone did Gabriel wash up and climb out. He had the beginnings of a good buzz going on as he pulled on pajama bottoms and made his way to bed. Sen had actually walked out on him. Alright that was his choice to make. So why did it piss him off so much? It wasn’t the fact that Sen had walked out, it was the statement he’d made prior to doing it. Did this mean every time they had a disagreement he’d throw that up and leave? If so why were they even living together? 

He had thought the wine would calm his thoughts or at least dull them so he could sleep. No such luck.. “Well if I’m awake I might as well be working.” Climbing back out of bed Gabriel finished of the wine, tossed the bottle and spent the rest of his sleepless night pouring over contracts, arranging his meeting schedule and looking through promising investment portfolios.

He knew where to find Gabriel once he realized the man wasn’t coming home. But he’d taken a walk through the college edge of town, instead of going directly for the main city area. He still needed to clear his head. He’d ended up where he normally ended up, not at a bar, but at Mariah’s coffee shoppe. After that, he felt more apt to face his love, his kindred. He felt Gabriel’s unease.  He needed to figure this out. 

Standing at the door to the penthouse, he watched Gabriel for just a minute before being noticed. So he made his way on inside. 

“I was told that I had no choice but to bring these to you, because the cherry cookie tarts are your favorite. And a bag of your favorite hand mixed tea because you were probably still awake and a fifth of whiskey to add to said tea so that we can both sleep and rest.” Senias placed each part on the desk in front of Gabriel.  “But that’s because, maybe Mariah thought I would come up with an excuse not to face you. It’s not that I don’t want to be near you, I just needed to clear my own head. Now, I can talk.” 

Closing the portfolio he’d been looking at, Gabriel lifted a brow to his lover, “Alright, now that you want to talk, let’s talk.” He was still mellowed out from the wine and his barriers dulled from it so he wasn’t holding himself back at all from Sen. 

Gabriel rose from his chair and moved to take the bag of tea in his hand. He walked to the kitchen and set the kettle on without saying a word. It was only once he had the tea cups set did he speak, “You could’ve said you needed the moment. I wouldn’t have denied you that.”

“I was tired of saying anything with that audience. Nothing I said would’ve gotten through to her and I just wanted to get away from her. I know what she was and I know you  would feel if I said anything or kept being there…”

“No it has nothing to do with how you feel towards her, Senias. I’m upset because you made very clear you had places to go away from what I thought was our home. You were pissed when I hesitated at letting you in and now..” Gabriel had his palms flat on the island counter as he looked across the space at his dragon. “You want to take a walk then do so. You need a minute then take it, but don’t throw in my face the fact that you have so many other places you could be other than our house.”

“I wouldn’t be leaving because of you, I’d be leaving because of her,” he mumbled, while watching Gabriel’s hands. Besides, Gabriel was welcome at any of his lairs or homes. He even knew where his true lair was. 

“You don’t get it do you? I will always choose you no matter who it is, Sen. But you walked off from me and I wasn’t sure where you’d end up going. After your walk would you be at home, at your lair beneath our home, or were just saying fuck it and going to end up at one of those other places you tossed out there.” The kettle whistle blew and he pulled it from the heat. He pulled two tea satchels from the bag and laid them one in each cup followed by filling the cups with the hot water. 

Senias listened. He was quiet as he reopened the whiskey and poured a shot’s worth into Gabriel’s cup and two… maybe three for himself. Then, he put it down on the island between them.  He dipped the spoon into the tea then moved it to the sugar so the spoon would be covered in the little granules. He stirred it good and brought the hand tied bag back out and tossed it in the sink before looking straight at Mr. High and Mighty and asking very calmly, “If it’s our house, why did you get to invite someone I don’t want near me into it to live?”  Then, he lifted the cup and took a drink. He was putting it back down when he added, “And it was also quite an enjoyable feeling to be told to behave in front of Sebastian Evansworth and the complete stranger that I had issue with.” Then, the dragon lifted the cup and emptied it.  Instead of bothering with more tea, he refilled the cup with more whiskey. 

Instead of snapping back like Sebastian would have, Gabriel quietly processed what Sen was saying to him. “You’re right I owe you an apology on that.” He stirred the tea, removed the satchel and added just a small touch of sugar.

“Mmmm… didn’t expect the kettle to call the pot out, did you?” Senias toasted Gabriel.  Then, he gulped the second cup and put it down on the counter, while enjoying the slow burn down his throat and into his belly. In his eyes, maybe… just maybe they were both at fault. But Gabriel more so than him on this… because he actually told him to behave in front of that damned vampire. 

He couldn’t help the snort and laugh that happened when he rethought of that. He looked at Gabriel and blinked a couple of times, trying to hold it in.  “Behave… you looked at me and…” 

“Yes I’m well aware of what I said.” He set his cup with a little more umph than necessary.

“So what are we going to do about this? Neither of us are used to sharing, asking, being together on things. We’ve lived our own lives all these years. So, can we agree that there’s a learning curve? Can we not, learn?” Senias asked as the alcohol finally began making his mind feel more at ease, even as his draconic senses came forward. 

Taking the whiskey bottle Gabriel added more to his second cup of tea and fixed it up, “Of course we can. If I didn’t think we could learn with each other I wouldn’t be putting much faith in us now would I.” He drank his second cup down and moved to rinse the fragile ceramic bit out.

“And for the record, I never stopped our connection. You could have just asked where I was,” Senias whispered. “I’m sorry that I became… angry… and… defensive… and tossed up my many homes and lairs like I did. But, to be fair,” He looked across the island into Gabriel’s eyes, “You are welcome in any of them. No one else. But you.” 

With a deep  breath and exhale, Gabriel turned to rest back against the sink, “You know I never had such a connection before you and so at times like that I sometimes unintentionally forget that you’re in my head too.” He looked down at his pajama pants and bare feet as he shoved a hand through his hair causing it to partially stand up. “It isn’t easy being a human in your world and sometimes even I feel out of my depths.”

“In your head? You make it sound like I can listen in on everything. I’d go insane,” The man looked down at the island and smirked.  “You don’t show that you feel out of your depth, Gabriel.” 

His brown gaze lifted to his dragon and he just shrugged, “You have years and years of experience and knowledge to fall back on Sen. So when things like what happened in the clinic go on and it seemed like you were done, and I only have about a pinky nails worth of experience compared to you. What I’m saying is I’m trying Sen, and I’ll keep trying until the day I die or you no longer want me.” Gabriel gave the semblance of a smile, “Whichever comes first.”

“I can’t imagine no longer wanting you,” the words were out there, and he’d not take them back. 

“Right now I think I’m too drunk to think much, but I’ll answer your question for you. I’ve never had a sibling, I faintly remember wishing for one when I was a kid.  I grew up around the Pack and all them had multiple siblings, yet here I was with none. Now I find out I may have a sister and the dragon that I love can’t stand to be in the same room with her.” He breathed deep and his hands gripped the edge of the sink at each of his hips as he looked at Sen, “I choose you. I’ll let her know that I’ll find her a place, but she can’t stay in our home.”

Pushing off from the sink Gabriel walked around the island to take his lovers hand in his. He stood before the dragon and tipped his head back. “Told you, always you.”

“I… could handle the gatehouse. Somewhere so that I don’t have to immediately be near her.” He took the hand and kissed it before pulling Gabriel slowly into his embrace. “I’ve heard this is called a compromise. I hope, I’m doing it right.” 

“Yes you are doing rather well at compromising.” Gabriel grinned as he watched and listened to his dragon. “What is your problem with Lical anyways?”

“I just need to know her. I need to know she wasn’t tainted by the darkness surrounding her parents. And on the flipside, she needs to know what happened. You do, too. And when we were in the moment, in that clinic room – everything was going ta shit and moving way too fast.”

“It would seem a lot faster than any of us wanted it to..” Gabriel stopped talking when Sen went on.

“I’m about to make an insane suggestion.” Senias turned to walk over to a chair so his tipsy wouldn’t knock them both down.  He flopped into it and took a deep breath. “A truth ceremony.” 

“A what? Who even does those?” Gabriel asked knowing that he would not like the answer. 

“Sebastian can do it. He’s pulled it on me before as a practical joke. It’s a vampiric ritual of mediation. He’s … I think he may have used it in Council before when you were there?” 

Rubbing his face, Gabriel tried to think back through his muddled mind. “Is that what it’s called? Maybe we simply sit down with Lical and talk without all the magic?”

“Well, she’s not going to believe me otherwise. And I don’t think she’ll admit things, herself – if it goes against the history she has fashioned for her mind. So, if you mediate and Sebastian puts us where we will only be able to tell the truth and he can affirm it to all of us – it’s worth trying.”  

“I hate using magic when it’s not… you know…” Gabriel shook his head. “Okay. I agree it is well worth the try. Now if we can get them to agree to it.” Gabriel move back to his desk, setting down the cup to open his cookies. Taking a bite, he was generous enough to make his way to Sen’s chair. “Now that’s all settled want to go home or stay here?” Gabriel sat astride his dragon and held a piece of cookie out to him, “Want some? It tastes pretty good.” He was still dressed for bed so either way he chose Gabriel was ready.

Sen’s eyes moved down Gabriel’s flawless body and back up again before he took the offered bite.  “I’m sure it does.” 

They were not leaving the penthouse tonight…

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