“It’s time,” she said, and Desmond helplessly gritted his teeth. “Go,” she nodded. “Go!” she repeated more forcefully when he tried to overcome whatever it was that she cast on him.
“I am going to kill you,” he said quietly, and then she was gone.
He sat up in bed, looking around blindly for several minutes. Finally, he slid out of bed very quietly, got dressed, and left the bedroom, absent-mindedly scratching his right shoulder -- it was itching like crazy. He stopped in front of Sam’s room and waited patiently. A minute later, the door opened, and Sam stepped out, shoving the dog away with his knee. The dog whined loudly, and growled the minute he saw Desmond. Sam ignored the growling, pushed the dog away, and closed the door.
“Let’s go,” he said in unemotional voice, his left shoulder jerking slightly, as if something was bothering him.
Desmond slowly nodded, and they left the house without making any noise. They got into Desmond’s car, and Desmond started the engine, his eyes empty, face expressionless. Sam’s face and eyes matched Desmond’s to the last detail. Both of them looked like they were in some sort of a trance. Desmond started driving and neither of them said a single word for the entire trip.
Finally, after half an hour or so, they arrived to the place that both of them recognized immediately. Desmond brought the car to a dead stop and turned off the engine. They got out, and Sam started slowly walking towards the old watchtower, ignoring the cold wind that ruffled his hair. Then he stopped, unsure of what to do next.
“Just wait here,” Desmond said, and Sam turned around, his eyes completely empty. “Just wait here,” Desmond repeated. “You’ll know what to do.”
With that, he turned around and walked away, the tattoo on his right shoulder blade glowing gold through his thin shirt. Sam watched him get into the car and drive away. Then he turned towards the old watchtower, listening to the splashing water beneath the cliff. He started walking towards the tower, feeling as if he was moving through very thick syrup, and then suddenly, he stopped, swayed on his feet, and collapsed onto the ground, not even noticing the cold. A minute later, he was asleep.
...Desmond drove all the way home, parked the car, and went inside the house, never noticing the open window in Sam’s room. He went into the bedroom, took off his clothes, and carefully slid into bed. He sat up straight, looking at Gabriel. Rayhe was deeply asleep; he didn’t even stir when Desmond got into bed. Desmond nodded slowly to himself, then he blinked rapidly, his entire body jerked, and his eyes rolled all the way back into his head. He collapsed onto the pillow, and a minute later, he was asleep.
“Des... Des, wake up...! Desmond!”
“Mmm,” Desmond moaned. “Go... Away...”
“Des,” Gabriel frowned. “Des, it’s eight in the morning, you’ll be late for work!”
“Ah, crap...” Desmond muttered and opened his eyes. “Oh, son of a bitch!” he screamed and squeezed them shut immediately.
The minute he opened his eyes, his head exploded with vicious pain.
“What’s wrong?” Gabriel said with badly hidden panic, after seeing Desmond’s face. “Des! What’s wrong?!”
“Head...” Desmond managed to squeeze through his clenched teeth. “Oh, God...”
“You have a headache?” Gabriel frowned dumbfoundedly. Desmond hadn't had a single headache in the past two years.
“Mmm,” was all Desmond said, feeling nauseous from the furiously pulsating hell in his head.
“How bad...” Gabriel started saying, and then he saw Desmond’s teeth lock hard on his lower lip, and knew the answer to his question.
He went into the bathroom and soaked a washcloth in cold water. He folded it in half and went back into the bedroom. Desmond buried his face into the pillow, his shoulders tense.
“Here,” Gabriel sat next to him and stroked his neck. “Turn... Des, turn,” he repeated softly.
Desmond moaned once again, jerked his right shoulder, and slowly turned around, his eyes squeezed shut. Gabriel carefully laid the wet washcloth onto his forehead, and Desmond let out a very shaky breath, his body relaxing slightly.
“Do you want me to stay home?” Gabriel asked in a soft voice.
“Mm-mm,” Desmond tried shaking his head, but gave up at the last second. “Phone...” he muttered. “School... Call...”
“Okay,” Gabriel nodded and glanced around, looking for Desmond’s phone.
“Pants...” Desmond breathed.
Rayhe found his pants on the floor and dug in the pockets for a few seconds.
“It’s not in there,” he said finally.
“Pants...” Desmond said again, his fingers shaking.
“Des, it’s not in there,” Gabriel repeated. “Hold on, let me look in the kitchen...”
Desmond mumbled something incoherent, and Gabriel quickly went into the kitchen. He frantically looked around, but the damn phone was nowhere in sight. Finally, he saw Desmond’s car keys on the kitchen table, shrugged to himself, grabbed the keys, and went outside. He found the phone on the floor of his car, right underneath the driver’s seat. He flipped it open and scanned through the address book, looking for school’s number. He found it, pushed the ‘Talk’ button, and pressed the phone against his ear, while walking back into the house.
“Yeah,” he said after a minute or two. “I am calling on behalf of Desmond Rae... He won’t be coming in today... He can’t talk right now... No, it’s not a joke. He has a headache... No, not just a headache, it looks like the worst migraine in the history of the world... He can’t talk right now because he is incoherent... Yeah, okay, I will,” he nodded. “Right, I will... Bye,” he nodded again and turned off the phone.
He walked into the bedroom and put the phone onto the small table next to the bed.
“I called them,” he said and took the washcloth off Desmond’s forehead. Desmond hissed at that. “I am going to wet it again,” Gabriel explained and quickly went into the bathroom.
“Where...?” Desmond muttered after Rayhe came back and laid the freshly cold washcloth on his forehead again.
“I found it in your car,” Gabriel said and brushed Desmond’s hair off his face, knowing exactly what Desmond was trying to ask.
“I don’t know how, Des,” Gabriel said patiently. “But that’s where I found it. I called school, they said that you would have to call them back when you can, to confirm... They thought it was a joke...”
Gabriel sighed and planted a very careful kiss on Desmond’s temple.
“Call me if you’ll need me to come home,” he said, and Desmond weakly squeezed his fingers.
Gabriel left the bedroom, carefully shutting the door, and considered waking up Sam and asking him to keep an eye on Desmond. Then he decided against it, figuring that Sam would probably see Desmond’s car on the driveway and check up on the man anyway. He grabbed his keys and left the house.
...Desmond took quick gulps of air, trying to concentrate on the relief the cold washcloth gave him. He thought that he should’ve agreed with Gabriel when he said that he would stay home. He considered opening his eyes and reaching for the phone, when another wave of pain washed over him. All he was able to was to groan helplessly. He lay very still, aware of the fact that even a slightest move was going to send another killer wave through his head. After half an hour or so, he slid into merciful sleep.
When he woke up, the pain was completely gone. He lay very still, afraid of moving and opening his eyes. Finally, he risked peeling one of his eyes open just a little. Nothing happened and nothing hurt. He opened both eyes all the way, and sighed with relief. He pulled half-dry by now washcloth off his head and sat up. Everything felt just fine.
“Holy hell...” he muttered. “What in the world was that...?”
He glanced at the clock. It was 10:30 in the morning. He sighed and reached for the phone.
“It’s Rae,” he said several minutes later. “No, it wasn’t a joke. I am fine now, however, so I’ll be there in an hour. Yeah, that’s fine. Bye,” he snapped the phone shut, got off the bed, and went into the bathroom.
...On his way out of the house, he registered the fact that Sam’s window was open, but he didn’t think twice about it. The kid would open his window once in a while – he liked fresh air in his room. Desmond got into his car and turned it on. He glanced at the odometer and frowned. It showed ninety more miles than it did last night. Desmond tutted irritably. “Great,” he thought gloomily. “Something is wrong with the damn thing...” He made a mental note to stop by a mechanic sometimes later in the week, and pulled out of the driveway.
“Rayhe, it’s me,” he said into the phone several minutes later, a cigarette stuck between his teeth, eyes fixed on the road. “Yeah, I am fine... I don’t know what the hell it was, but I fell asleep, and when I woke up, it was gone... No, I am driving to school right now... Oh, he was still asleep when I left; he probably turned off his phone... Hey, the kid likes his sleep, nothing wrong with that... Right,” he laughed. “I will see you tonight, yes... Bye, Gabriel,” he finished with unusual for him tenderness and snapped the phone shut.
“Des, I can’t get hold of Sam!” Gabriel said the minute Desmond walked inside the house that night. He had to stay at school later than usual, due to the faculty meeting and several make-up tests. He frowned and kicked off his shoes.
“What are you talking about?” he said. “His car is here!”
“I know that,” Gabriel didn’t even bother with the eye roll. “His car is here, but he is not! And neither is Specter...”
“Hmm,” Desmond frowned deeper. “Probably his ‘fire guy’ decided to come back today instead of tomorrow... He probably showed up to surprise him and they left in his car.”
“What about Specter though?”
“Well,” Desmond shrugged. “Since he is moving in with the bastard soon enough, he probably decided to introduce the damn dog to the new smells or something like that...”
“You are not nervous?” Gabriel narrowed his eyes. “That’s new... I thought you’d be freaking out, since it’s almost the fourteenth...”
“I am not nervous,” Desmond said with a sigh. “Hold on... Are you saying we are completely alone in the house...?”
“That’s what I said, yes,” Gabriel nodded.
“Not even the dog...?”
“Des, I just said that!”
“Rayhe, can you seriously not see where I am going...?”
Gabriel blinked, and then there was a slow smile stretching his mouth apart.
“Where do you want to start?” he asked in a low voice.
“Here...?” Desmond offered, and Gabriel grinned.
...“Rayhe,” Desmond breathed a couple of hours later, when they finally relocated into the bedroom, after making a hell of a mess in the kitchen and the living room.
“Mmm...” Gabriel said breathlessly.
“Did you look at the file...?”
“Mmm, Des, I forgot, I am sorry... I swear, I’ll look tomorrow, okay...?”
“Rayhe... I need you to... Ohh... Oh, right there... Okay, look tomorrow... Mmm...”