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Previous.

The house seemed to be vibrating with more energy than usual as William went down to the kitchen for lunch. As he entered the large, sun filled room, he saw that everyone was still there, which was surprising seeing as he never got up before noon and that by then, most of them were gone doing whatever job Pete had given them. He always enjoyed that time alone, the best part of working by night. He had his entire days to laze around and read books that made him look clever.

Greta greeted him by pushing a plate with a stack of pancakes in his hands and telling him to eat quickly because there was a lot of cleaning to be done. A chorus of complaints came from the younger ones and the only thing that stopped William from joining them was the look Greta gave him.

He couldn’t remember the last time Greta had called a cleaning day and that was the scariest part of the whole thing. His worst fears were confirmed when he was assigned to clean the library with Hayley.

“I wonder if it this place was ever dusted,” Hayley asked after she was done drawing abstract shapes on the edge of the nearby shelf.

They both agreed that the answer probably was never, before beginning to wash the windows. Hayley was precariously standing on the tip of her toes, balancing between a chair and the windowsill. As she was washing, the sun began to cascade inside the room and changed the ambiance of it. It went from a gloomy dusty library to a sunny dusty library. It couldn’t get worse, William concluded.

“To be honest, I don’t think they ever cleaned the entire house since Patrick fired their maid. That was four years ago, when his father died,”William commented as he grabbed a broom.

He had never really cleaned a house before and was pretty much clueless at what needed to be done. However, Hayley really seemed to know what she was doing and apparently liked to boss him around, so he let her do it. There were more chances that things would get done if she was in control. Also, even if she was three times smaller than he was, he had the feeling she could easily kick his ass.

“I’ve always wanted to ask you something,” she said quietly after an hour or so of intensive cleaning. William would have never thought it would be so hard but there he was, sweating and panting like he was running a marathon or something.

“What is it?”

“You and Gabe…were more than friends. It must be hard now, no?”

William bit his lip and stopped dusting the floor. He hadn’t thought about it in a few weeks now and was sure that the wound had begun healing. It hadn’t.

“It’s easier when I don’t think about it,” he answered after a while. “And, I mean, it’s silly. It’s not like he’s dead, you know? He’s just gone.”

“Sometimes it’s worst to know that someone we love left intentionally.”

He nodded and they fell into a silence that extended until they were done with their room. As soon as they were, Greta stormed in as if she had been waiting by the door and ordered William to go upstairs and prepare two new rooms.

Entering Gabe’s ex-room for the first time since he left was easier than William would have thought. It looked just like every other unused room; the bed was unmade, the folded sheets looking lost on the bare mattress and there was nothing to give the room personality. When Gabe was using it, it was cozy and inviting, the lights dimmed by the scarves he had put over them, clothes lying around and that particular smell hanging in the air that William was very glad was gone. Leaving the windows open for three weeks was the best idea he had ever had.

He was feeling ridiculous for having such difficulty getting over that man. He didn’t talk about it, kept it for himself and acted like he didn’t really care whether the Cobras were there or not. Hayley’s question confirmed that no one had any clue at how he was feeling about the whole thing. It had taken everyone by surprise when, one morning, the Cobras were all gone, saying they were going solo again. William could easily understand; Pete really could be an asshole at times.

William tried to focus on making the bed as perfectly as possible to push the unpleasant thoughts away. Preparing two rooms meant two new people and he hoped that they wouldn’t be like the ones Pete had hired recently. Not that he had anything against them; they just made him uneasy for unexplainable reasons. Well, for one, they were very young, which was annoying most of the time. Also, they didn’t really fit in with the rest of them, and not even Patrick was able to explain what exactly they were doing around here. All William knew was that they kept running errands for Pete and that they were being trained to manipulate guns. Had it been anyone else, he would have been worried by such decisions,but he knew better than to doubt Pete’s decisions. If it made sense to him, it would to the rest of them eventually. All he knew for now was that there was a horde of kids not even in their twenties yet hanging around the house and disturbing his routine.

The rest of the day went by in a blur of brooms and cleaning products and before he knew it, he was nearly forced into cleaner clothes and then positioned near the entrance door. Patrick walked in first, a tired look on his face. All he said was directed at Pete and was about them being followed when they left the station. When he finished by telling their boss that they had dealt with them, William felt a shiver running down his spine without really understanding why.

He met Jon’s eyes and his friend shrugged, looking bored out of his mind. Tom was nearby and so was Travie, the first looking terrified by newcomers while the latter had that same relaxed look he always had. William could see Hayley and Andy trying to sneak out of the room without being seen by Greta while Adam, Mike and Michael were already gone, leaving as soon as everyone stopped paying attention to them. William was considering telling her about them when the newcomers walked in.

The trio was no older than twenty but there was a different vibe to them, one that Pete’s kids lacked and that made them look mature and something else he couldn’t name. They kept close to each other, especially two of them who were almost holding hands.

“Everyone, this is Ryan, Brendon and Spencer. They’re going to work with us from now on.” He paused for a second, his eyes searching the small crowd. “Joe, Andy. Come upstairs with me, we have work to do. These three need to have never existed.” He turned to the three men and smiled. “If you need anything, ask one of them.”

The three boys turned their gaze on the crowd of people staring at them and seemed reluctant to speak. Greta saved them by stepping forward and taking care of the presentation. William glanced at the clock on the wall, getting impatient as he had many things to take care of before going to work. Greta was barely done presenting them when he was making his way out of the room.

“Andy. Go find the Michael's and Siska and meet me in the library. Who knows what they’re up to this time. We have stuff to deal with before we open tonight.”

-

Tonight was a good night. William had spent most of it in his study, located over the cabaret and had managed to finish all the paperwork he had to give Pete the next morning. He had come in once or twice but had miraculously left without really bothering William, which was - as previouslysaid - a miracle.

William stretched his arms and his back until it popped, making him wince. He made a neat pile with the sheets and shut off the lamp resting on his desk. As he went down the stairs, he could hear the music coming from the other side of the wall more clearly, and he smiled. He stepped outside, locking the door, the late February wind chilling him instantly as he fiddled with the stubborn key. He cheered happily under his breath as he finally got it secured and quickly entered the cabaret.

He looked around the room and yes, it was a good night. The lights were dim, the dark red drapery and deep brown wood paneling making the atmosphere warm and comforting. The room was filled with a film of smoke, the dusty smell of cigarettes and cigars not enough to cover the persistent smell of humidity and alcohol the place had always had, for as long as William could remember.

On the small stage on the far right of the room, Greta was seated behind the grand piano, her eyes shut as she played a soft song. A spotlight made her waves of blond hair shine and almost sparkle, her porcelain skin flawless under the unforgiving lighting. Her voice was low and barely covered the conversations, only adding an entrancing layer to the sounds of the bar. She ended the song and opened her eyes, meeting William's, and smiled before starting a new one. He smiled back one beat too late and bit his lip before looking away.

A few meters away from Greta's stage, Pete was heatedly discussing with Brendon, who was just as passionate about what he was saying. Their voices were lost to William's ears, making them look like they were gesticulating for no reason. Sitting at the same table than them, Patrick and Ryan were rolling their eyes and shaking their heads in mutual exasperation. Several glasses were lying in front of them, probably explaining the not-that-abnormal energy of Brendon and Pete and the fact that Patrick was sitting with them without flinching or looking like a terrified puppy. William wasn't surprised to see the tables surrounding theirs empty, a perimeter of fright separating them from the rest of the crowd.

The three of them had been around for a little over a month now and it was already clear that being scared of them was the norm. William had never seen them in action but he had heard about their work. The entire city had heard of their work. A few shots one night had been enough to get Pete to spill the beans and tell him all about what they were doing back in Vegas and why he had them come to Chicago. In hindsight, he would have preferred not knowing.

Jon was sitting at a table with two men who looked too drunk to even remember their own names and William definitely didn't let his mind come up with what Jon was about to do. He was not thinking about this, tonight was a good night. Jon had joined Panic, as they called themselves, maybe two weeks after they arrived. He had been pretty much lethargic ever since Tom fell ill and to see him active was a good thing. It just would have been nicer if Jon being “active” wasn’t roaming the streets to mercilessly kill people who had offended Pete.

The place was sadly quiet without the Cobras there to be loud and obnoxious - and that too was something he wasn’t allowing himself to think of, especially not Gabe. Definitely not Gabe. Even if he had received a letter from him since he left, he was missing him. That was stupid and unreasonable, but he couldn’t help it.

“Bill!” Adam said loud enough for William to hear him and waved him over.

William crossed the room in a few long strides and sat on a stool at the bar, smiling at his friend and silently thanking him for getting his head off a certain man he wasn't supposed to think of at the moment.

Without even asking him what he wanted, Adam served him a glass before going back to his job. A warm arm wrapped around William's shoulders, pulling him closer to whoever that arm belonged to, though William had a guess.

“Hi Gabe,” he said without looking to the side, the hand squeezing his arm briefly at the name answer enough.

“You’re back,” and yes, that was cold considering who he was talking to, but giving Gabe too much attention was a dangerous bet.

“I am. Didn’t miss me too much?”

“Don’t be stupid. I’m not a girl. I bet you missed me more than I ever cou-” he stopped mid-sentence, startled by the sudden silence surrounding them.

He spun his stool around to look at the room, ready to step up and stop whatever it was that needed to be stopped. Or, really, ask Travie to stop it. Even Greta had stopped playing and she barely ever stopped playing, only ever did when something really bad was about to happen. William glanced at her, met her worried eyes and followed the direction of her gaze to a table where two men were standing, their faces a bit worried but mostly terrified as Jon was standing in front of them.

William sighed, a long and heavy sigh that actually released some of his tension and oh God, he was turning into Patrick. He motioned at Greta to start playing again and met Pete's eyes, hoping to get the message through to keep talking. The last thing he needed was something coming and ruining his night that was definitely going to stay good.

Eventually, the sounds increased but that wasn't enough to cover the loud bang of the front door closing after Jon and his two victims, making William wince and bite his lip.

“Sisky,” he said under his breath and immediately, a glass filled with an amber liquid appeared in front of him.

“This has to happen,” Gabe said in his ear and William nodded, sighing again, a shiver traveling up his spine at the faint brush of lips on the shell of his ear. He decided to take it as unintentional, for his sanity's sake.

“My night was good,” he whined. He always found himself whining when Gabe was around.

“It still is,” Gabe said before taking a long sip of his drink. “Nothing happened, alright? We'll erase the past minutes. What happened since I left?”

William turned his face to Gabe for the first time since he sat down next to him and saw his large grin, his glistening eyes and he couldn't help but smile back. The presence of Gabe was significantly raising his mood, his hand on the small of his back making him feel tipsier than he should be after only two drinks. He hadn’t quite seized how much he had missed him before he was back. He felt even more stupid now that he realized it.

“How’ve you been since I left?”

Miserable.

“Good, good. I can’t complain. Business as usual, you know? We had some issues with some of our bootleggers but otherwise, nothing out of the ordinary,” he said nonchalantly, which earned him a quirked eyebrow from Adam.

“You’re such a terrible liar,” Gabe said in a laugh. “I should ask Siska how you were. He would tell me the truth. I don’t need it, though. I can easily guess that you were as bad as I was.”

Well, that was surprising. William hadn’t expected Gabe to have missed him. Maybe he had underestimated the man, even after all that time.

“Why did you leave? And now, how long are you here for?” William asked, deciding that it was the best question of all the ones he had in mind, which were all too girly or too pitiful.

“I don’t know. It’ll depend on many things. Let’s not think of that right now, okay?”

William frowned at how he was avoiding the questions. It was so typical of him.

“Where are your Cobras?”

“Still in New York, they didn’t -”

“Gabe!” William exclaimed, feeling his heart tightening. “You switched sides! How could you do that?”

“Hey, there, relax, I didn’t switch sides! I told you we wanted to work on our own. I’m still sticking with Pete, don’t worry. New York’s a big city; the Ways don’t have it all.”

Gabe’s hand slipped from the small of his back to his hip and William closed his eyes.

“Who are the new kids?”

William was thankful for the change of subject. He felt bad for doubting Gabe’s allegiance to them. He followed Gabe’s gaze to where Brendon, Ryan and Spencer were now sitting on their own.

“That’s Ryan, Brendon and Spencer. They’re Pete’s new toys. They arrived last month from Las Vegas. They call themselves -”

“Panic. I know who they are now. So that’s where they went? People from down there were wondering. No one’s complaining, though. It would explain why I shuddered after meeting their eyes.”

“Yeah, they do that, especially Spencer. What have you heard about them?”

“They were working for a casino owner, going after people who cheated, won too much or owed him money and had to get rid of them. I’ve heard they’re not - rumors are they enjoy doing it.”

“I’ve heard the same. Butcher had to work with them one night and he said the same. One of them, Brendon I think, actually laughs when they do it. And now Jon joined them so I’m kind of uneasy around him, too.”

Gabe raised his eyebrows as he finished his drink.

“So he got over Tom?”

“Kind of. I mean, I’m sure he’s still pretty shaken – we all are – but Tom is still there, he’s not dead, he’s just -”

“Not him anymore, I know. Is he speaking?”

“Barely. And even then, only to Travie, Jon and Patrick.”

“He’s shell-shocked.”

William nodded and took a sip of his drink. It was really hard to see Tom going from one of their best bounty killers to a study worker. Gabe pushed him with his shoulder when he noticed his saddened mood.

“You still have to stick around until this place closes?”

“He doesn’t,” Adam answered before William could open his mouth. “Go catch up somewhere else. Mike and I will close.”

Mouthing his thanks to Adam, he finished his drink quickly and got up, followed by Gabe.

“Which hotel are you down at?”

“A hotel? So I’m not welcomed anymore in your bedroom, William Beckett?”

“Punk.”

“Thought so,” Gabe said happily, his arm slipping around William’s shoulders.

He was grateful to be held close by Gabe since his coat wasn’t thick enough to protect him from the cold wind as they walked to what Pete liked to call the “orphanage”. It was, in a way, as most of them had no family left, but it still felt weird to call a house full of criminals an orphanage.

“We gave your old room to Brendon and Ryan,” William commented as they walked down the hallway to his own room. “Spencer has Nate’s. They wanted to be close. They probably get separation anxiety. They’re really something.”

It was probably the last thing William said of all evening because shortly after, Gabe was quite strongly pushing him back on his bed before climbing on it himself and kissing him. William clung to the back of his shirt, pulling him closer, trying to crawl into his skin so he would be allowed to keep him by his side forever, and never before that moment had he noticed just how much he had missed Gabe.

They only fell asleep at dawn, when the first rays of sunlight fell into their tired eyes and casted a golden glow over Gabe’s moist skin, when they were both too exhausted to move anymore.

William woke up when someone began banging on the door. From the time on the clock, they only had slept for four hours. He cursed loudly and hid his face in his pillow, feeling Gabe moving in closer to him.

“Hey! You could share! I know Gabe’s back!” Pete called through the door.

Of course it was Pete. Who else could wake them up for something as childish as sharing Gabe. Anyone else knew better than to ask William to let go of Gabe when he had him for himself.

“Fuck off, Pete. I’ll come to see you later today. I have stuff to tell you. For now, let us sleep. Bill needs his eight hours of sleep, otherwise he’ll whine all day.”

“Shut up,” William grunted into his pillow.

“Bill has work to do today. He needs to be ready by one or Michael said he would get him out of bed himself. He has important people to meet and deals to make. As for you, Gabriel Saporta, we need to have a long, long conversation about why exactly you thought it would be okay for you and your little Cobras to leave in the middle of the night without telling anyone. So get up now or I’m calling Michael and Travie.”

Getting out of bed was more difficult than William had first thought. His whole body was aching and he felt sticky from sweating too much. Also, as soon as he rolled away from Gabe’s warm body, he got that feverish feeling of having the inside of his body warmer than his skin.

“William, you’re pouting,” Gabe laughed, stretching in a complete lack of self-consciousness.

“Yes, I am. I’m cold and tired and I need to go meet boring people who will try to sell me their crap for twice the price it’s worth.”

“Admit it. You’re just mad because we don’t get to spend the day together.”

William pouted more, which made Gabe laugh and look triumphant.

Kissing Gabe one last time, he hurried downstairs to grab something to eat before meeting with the rest of Santi. He only met Hayley in the kitchen.

“Where’s Greta?” he asked, sitting at the counter and reaching for a sandwich.

“I don’t know. She asked me to make lunch because she wouldn’t be there on time. I think she had to meet with someone. Where’s Gabe?” she asked with a crooked smile.

“He’s trapped in Pete’s study. He owes him explanations. He’ll probably be stuck in there for the day. You know Pete.”

She nodded frantically and shrugged.

“You’re beaming. You’re worse than a girl, Bill. Disappear now, before your little friends get angry.”

The day ended up worse than what William had imagined. The men they were meeting with were stubborn, way too stubborn, and it made bargaining with them nearly impossible. If William didn’t know that they were selling the best whisky this side of the Atlantic Ocean, he would have stopped working with them months ago, but they were, as a matter of fact, so he dealt.

He was in a pretty bad mood when they got back home, just in time for dinner as Greta yelled from the kitchen. He really didn’t want to join everyone. All he dreamed of was to go to bed and sleep for days.

“Bill! They’re celebrating me!” Gabe candidly said when he saw William walking into the dining room. “There’s wine – red wine because I know how you hate white – and loads of food! I helped Greta all afternoon!”

“Did she actually let you cook something or did you only cut vegetables and put up the table? Because if you cooked it, I’m not eating it.”

“I’m not that bad of a cook.”

“Last time I ate something you made, I was sick for three days.”

“That’s because you are a wimp.”

“No, it’s because you used outdated cream and salt instead of sugar.”

“You were the only one who was sick. Admit it, Beckett, you are a delicate flower.”

William sighed, deeply – seriously, he was turning into Patrick and it was getting worrying – and ignored Gabe’s attempt at picking up an argument with him. He could hear Brendon laughing under his breath and he glared at him until he stopped.

“Alright, so you need to explain something to me,” Brendon said halfway through the meal. “Who are you, Gabe? I mean, you show up last night and everyone is your best friend. I’m just curious.”

“He used to work with us,” William began before Gabe could answer, “he and his Cobras. There are five of them, including Gabe. They do what I do with alcohol but with drugs. They get it inside the country so they can sell it to dealers. One night, they all left without saying a word and we didn’t hear about them for four months, until one single letter last month. And now Gabe shows up. They’re reliable people, aren’t they?”

“I used to be with them,” Michael chimed in. William was thankful for his friend to stop him before the anger he could feel slowly boiling in him got out. “They helped me when I left Australia and arrived in New York three years ago. They offered me a job and hid me from Interpol, which is still kind of a big concern now.”

“Interpol? Isn’t that the international police or something?”

“Yes. I screwed up badly. I had to get away from there before they arrested me. Anyway, I was with the Cobras until they sent me to Chicago and I met William. Long story short, he offered me a job and it was way more appealing than dealing drugs so I agreed and he traveled back to New York with me to talk to Gabe.”

“That’s when we fell madly in love with one another,” Gabe joked and William let out a cold laugh.

“Oh yes, totally. That’s why you threatened to kill me if I didn’t leave.” William said frostily.

“And then you began flirting with me.”

“I wasn’t flirting. I was manipulating you. It worked, you let me keep Michael. I got what I wanted.”

“And then some. If I remember well, it ended with your tongue in my mouth.” Gabe smirked.

William smiled around his glass of wine. He met Gabe’s eyes and smiled wider when he winked at him.

“I then offered you to work with us and you turned me down, only to come back three months later,” William added.

“I’m a complicated man.”

“That you are, my friend,” Pete concluded. “Is it clearer now, Brendon?”

He nodded and the conversation deviated somewhere else, leaving William alone with his memories. He couldn’t bite back his smile every time he thought of how he had met Gabe. It was a miracle that they didn’t end up in a fist fight. More than once William had feared he would punch him as they fought over who would get to keep Michael.

William looked up at Gabe, at his smiling face and really tried to not think about when he would leave. Gabe met his eyes and his smile softened as he winked again. William held his gaze and slowly sipped on his glass of wine, trying to remain serious.

“Stop undressing each other with your eyes and get a room,” Patrick snapped, breaking their moment. “We already have to deal with Ryan and Brendon on a daily basis, we don’t need two more.”

The surprise of Patrick saying something like that was eclipsed by the final confirmation that Brendon and Ryan were indeed together. The sharing of a room part had been seen by everyone as a symptom of coping with the death of a close friend. The closeness had been blamed on them being best friends and getting separation anxiety. William wouldn’t be able to tell for the others, but he had never put any second thought in their behavior until Patrick shoved it in their faces that yes, okay, Brendon and Ryan were just like Gabe and he.

The meal lasted for a very long time and with the wine flowing as much as it was, William was half asleep by the time it ended. He had his head resting in his hand and wasn’t really paying attention to the conversation anymore. Gabe’s warm hand on his back and his soft laugh and words in his ear were the only things that made it possible for him to make it from his chair to his bed.

“I’ll leave with you whenever you want,” William whispered, moving into Gabe’s side. “Seriously.”

“William, don’t be foolish. Your place is here and you know it. Your sleeplessness makes you a liar.”

William tried hard not to feel rejected in that moment.

-

Gabe had been there for more than two weeks. He would get up early and stay for hours in Pete’s study; it was like he wasn’t there at all. He would crawl in bed late at night, too tired to do more than kiss William and fall asleep deeply. At first, William didn’t want to complain. But it was getting on his nerves to only see him when he was done with whatever he had to do with Pete, that work was more important than spending some time with William. He was getting bitter and he hated it.

One night, when he heard Gabe tip toe into the room in an attempt to not to wake him up, he sat up and switched on his bedside lamp.

“Did I wake you up?”

“No, I was waiting for you,” William said coldly, watching Gabe’s expression change as he undressed.

“Is something wrong?” Gabe asked, sitting in bed next to him. “You’re being really distant lately.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I mean, you disappear in the middle of the night, I don’t hear from you for six months and then you suddenly reappear, only tospend your days locked up with Pete doing fuck knows what. What am I supposed to think? You don’t tell me anything and expect me to not ask questions.”

“No, of course not. You need to trust me on that one. I can’t tell you. I really can’t.”

“I don’t trust you. Not anymore. I’m - I’m so angry at you! You think you can slip in and out of my life without any explanations. I don’t know what Iam for you, but for me, you’re –” William stopped mid-sentence and decided to fall into a frustrated silence. There were some things he wasn’t ready to say out loud.

“William,” Gabe sighed, rubbing his face. He looked older than William had ever seen. “I swear that if it were only commitment issues, I would tell you. It’s so much more complicated.” He stayed silent for a moment and when he opened his mouth to talk, it was with a sadness William had never heard come from him before.

“I’m going to tell you. I trust you to keep this a secret. I can’t keep this to myself anymore. Patrick said it would eat me up if I didn’t share and I guess he was right,” he paused for a long moment.

“We had to leave because Victoria and Ryland couldn’t stay here any longer. You know what Vicky-T did to her late husband, right? Well, some friends of his decided it would be nice to have a little revenge on the widow. We had to get her as far from here as possible but no one could know, for your own sake. If they found you and asked about her, you wouldn’t be lying to them.”

“And then Ryland. Ryland is not doing well. You heard about Guy Ripley. You met him, probably. I always thought he was a character Ryland had invented to take away some of the guilt he was feeling about our job. I was wrong. He had no control over Guy. Well, at first he did. He was intentionally deciding when he was Guy. But it got bad, to the point where his sane part was taken over by Guy. You understand that? The character he invented took over his real person. He was losing it. We had to find him a doctor. We saw Victoria’s need to get away a good opportunity to take Ryland to a specialist as well.”

“You could have told me about Ryland, I would have understood why you left,” William said softly.

“He didn’t want me to. He didn’t want people to know about his condition. In one of the rare moments when he was himself, he made it clear that we had to keep it to ourselves. I couldn’t go against him, he’s my best friend. He trusts me and I had to respect that.”

“How is he doing now?”

“He’s on and off. He has good and bad days. When Guy is there, it’s terrible, unlivable. Guy is a horrible person. I don’t know what he does to Ryland but when he’s there, he sounds so scared and troubled. I don’t recognize him anymore. You wouldn’t either. He’s gotten so bad ever since we settled in New York. I don’t know what to do anymore. It’s part of why I came here. I wanted to know how Pete and Patrick dealt with Tom.”

William combed his fingers through Gabe’s dark curls, biting his lip. If Ryland was even as little as half as bad as Tom was, William felt terrible for him. He felt really bad for how he treated Gabe. The older man took a deep breath and continued.

“The other reason why I came back was to warn Pete. The Ways have information about you guys. I heard some of their gang discuss things they really shouldn’t know about you. Pete and I have been discussing strategies and new ways of protecting this place. We don’t know how they learned that. We’re thinking there’s a spy or someone like this.”

“A spy? You mean - there’s someone in this house who’s giving the Ways information about us? This can’t be - I can hardly believe it. Do you know who it is?”

“We have some theories but I really can’t tell you. For your own safety, you understand that?”

William wanted to protest and say that he could be trusted but the pained look on Gabe’s face convinced him otherwise. The last thing he needed was to be tormented and pushed on to say things he couldn’t share.

“Why did you plan to do?” he asked instead.

“Sending someone there. Having a spy of our own. I can’t tell you anything else.”

William nodded and pulled Gabe closer, letting him rest his back against his chest and burying his face in his soft curls.

Next.

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