Dec 10th - Past

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Okay, guys, serious warning for a change. This is Gabriel's past and it's dark. Maybe have your best mate on stand-by so you can whine about how that nice little story, publishing a chapter every day, just left you hanging for a day only to come back to turn your screen into a pit of darkness. Maybe have some chocolate beforehand. And yep, please yell at me, if you feel like it. It helps a lot.

Gabriel lost time again, drifting in and out while lying curled up on the shower floor, water raining down on him.

At some point, the shaking had been so bad, he felt like he was falling off the face of the earth, his muscles locked so tight it hurt.

Why had the mad stayed? Why didn't he just leave? Wasn't that the first rule of hook ups?

He remembered a conversation he once had had over drinks in the small hours of the morning after closing a deal in his disguise as his own attorney. He had just bought a big but failing medical tech branch of a corporation he intended to break up and sell the parts for profit, seeing if there were some departments left he would develop a bit before merging them with some other firms he owned.

An attorney from the team across the table had been at the bar when he entered it at 3:36 am. They got to talk.

"The expensive sex you pay for is the cheapest you will ever have", the woman had said over an Old Fashioned, somewhere in her 50, beautiful and cold as marble in winter. "You get a professional that knows how to cater to your tastes, there are no expectations beyond and when you close your door behind them, it is most definitely over."

Gabriel feared nothing more than what the feelings between two people were able to cause. And so he decided to follow that advise. First, every few months, then every year, and then even that tapered out. After finding a man that could give him, what he wanted, he had jetted him around the world, to wherever he had been at the time. Always Dec 27th. Until one year, he didn't make the call to set the appointment.

It had worked for him, had felt save.

He had grown up a werewolf. They were lonely figures, normally, but some paired up and had families. Some even formed packs, but they were so hierarchical they were worse than the military.

One of his parents had often been gone for months. When they had lived together, jealousy and yelling had been a big part of their life.

Memories pressed on the edges of his mind and Gabriel focused on the water all around, the feeling, the smell, the sound, trying to dissolve before he could be drawn under into the hell in his head.

But there they were, images, flickering behind the curtain of water.

Their flat in Berlin Neukölln. Groundfloor, two bedrooms, direct light only in the afternoon for an hour or two. A little courtyard our back, the ground bocken cement, a walnut tree, that had decided to grow in one of the cracks, making it worse and worse every year.

Gangs had taking over the part of the city towards the nineties, German not spoken by many anymore as a first language. Gabriel had revelled in the violence for some time, understanding that his father was proud when he got into fights and won. Being a werewolf wasn't passed on to children. You have to be bitten to become a werewolf, even if both parents are one. And Gabriel knew that seeming worthy to his father was a must, if he wanted to be made into a werewolf at sixteen.

But then, one day, Gabriel had come home and his mother had been lying on the kitchen floor, screaming. She had been gone for nearly six months. Obviously, she had been pregnant, at the time.

Before the ambulance could reach them, Gabriel had bundled a little brother into his T-shirt, rocking him lightly in his arms, while tiny eyes blinked slowly open and closed again, not focusing on him, but still... While blood and amniotic fluids soaked into his jeans, he knew that if he didn't take on the little chap, no one would. His parents had tried to be a family when he was born and his father left for the first time, when he was four. Gabriel knew that his mother wouldn't stay until his brother was weaned. He was often alone for days, his parents deeming him old enough.

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