Gabe’s eyes creaked open slowly and painfully. Ugh. What happened, he wondered as he stared blearily into the dark. The blackness of wherever he was didn’t stop him from noticing that his arms were outstretched and chained to the stony, freezing wall behind him.
He flexed, testing the bonds; iron, cold and tight around his wrists. The movement made the shackles bite into his skin, and they burned where they had chafed already. His ankles were bound as well, but he had no memory of being chained up. The last thing he remembered was Abby’s worried face after they had…kissed…
He shivered as the cold began to seep in, and he realized that he wasn’t wearing a shirt. When did he lose his clothes? At least he still had pants on. He tried to hunch forward, huddle in on himself for warmth, and stopped with a gasp at the shock of pain that slid up his ribs. His stomach ached and burned, and he could feel hot blood oozing from deep, slicing cuts that hadn’t been there before.
He could tell from the way the pain hit him that he had left his body behind. It didn’t mean much here; whether he had a body here or not wouldn’t stop him from being tortured. If anything it would probably hurt more, and damage his body wherever it was.
He opened his mouth and sucked in a shallow breath, tensing at the throb of agony that followed. He could feel the flaps of skin opening and closing with each breath, and he shuddered again, this time not only from the cold.
This awakening was grim, the polar opposite of the gentle, albeit brief, touch of Abby’s lips against his. This freezing cavern that he found himself imprisoned in was so different from the garden he had been in with the girl he loved. And in that instant, he knew where he was. He was in the only place he could be. He had fallen in love with his charge. He was in Hell. But she wasn’t human. That shouldn’t have happened.
It didn’t make sense. If Abby was actually human, he would be shocked. He didn’t know what she was, but Abby Shepard was no ordinary human being. Not that he cared; he loved her, and that was all that mattered. But still--how did he end up here? Falling in love with Abby shouldn’t have enforced the penalty, and he was pretty sure that a demon hadn’t dragged him down.
Raph couldn’t have managed something like that-not at his level-and who else would want him cast into the pit? Something else was happening here; something much more powerful than him was pulling strings here, and it was beyond his scope to understand. He didn’t care about all that, though. He just needed to get back to Abby.
The sounds of a door being unbolted and pushed open demanded his attention with a shriek of unoiled hinges. The torchlight spilling into the cell was bright enough that he had to look away. He blinked hard and tried again, and was greeted by a sight that took his breath away in the worst way possible.
He knew her immediately; there was no mistaking the Queen of Hell. Satan walked leisurely into the room, resplendent in a red robe that hugged her curves and offset her shiny copper curls. There was a soft jangling noise of metal on metal as she pulled something into the room behind her on a thin silver chain.
The door shut and robbed the room of light again, aside from the small flickering ball of flame that floated above Satan’s open palm. It was too dark for Gabe to see what had followed her in, though he could hear it shuffling quietly in the background and a muffled thump as it took a seat on the stony floor.
His eyes were on Satan the entire time, adjusting to the dim light that picked her out against the cell that seemed all the more dark for her presence. “Satan.” He gritted out, disgust dripping from his slurred words. “I’d curtsy, but I’m a little tied up right now.” He coughed wetly, and tasted blood on his tongue. Speaking had been difficult--his shoulders were beginning to ache where they were being stretched apart, and he could feel liquid pooling in his chest. That couldn’t be good.
The Queen stared at him for a moment, and then Gabe noticed the spark of recognition light up her eyes. “Charming!” Satan exclaimed, turning her hand and dropping the fireball into the open space between them, where it remained floating in midair.
She took a step towards him, deftly sidestepping the flame, and gave him a coy smile. “Utterly charming! I know who you are. Let me get a good look at you; so very like your father, aren’t you? Not as smart as daddy though, it seems.” The look she gave him was a mockingly sympathetic smile. “The Archangel Gabriel would know better than to screw around with little miss horror show. Oh, Gabe,” She reached up and patted him on the cheek. “didn’t they teach you anything at the Academy?”
Gabe jerked away from her touch with a snarl, and instantly regretted it as the movement tugged at his wounds, re-opening them. He hissed in pain and sagged against his bonds.
“Oh?” Satan raised her perfect eyebrows and glanced down at his stomach. “Well. That isn’t something you see every day.” She said conversationally, leaning down to get a closer look.
He flinched back as her hand ghosted over the strange, deep cuts, and she looked up and gave a breathless laugh before returning to her exploration. “You’re more interesting than I thought!” she grinned, caressing the lines carved into him in a pattern that he found himself recognizing as she did
“A…pentagram?!” he whimpered in pain as she drove a long-nailed finger into the slice below his navel, the torn, bloody flap of skin gliding over her fingertip as she traced the pattern.
“A pentagram,” she confirmed, making her gory way through the carving. “And a very powerful, ancient one at that. Someone used you as a portal, boy.” She straightened up, crooking the finger still lodged in his chest.
He bit the inside of his cheek to keep from crying out, but a low groan escaped his lips.
“Congratulations. You just became interesting enough to keep alive.”
Gathering the blood that had pooled in his mouth, Gabe spat at her as hard as he could.
The splatter landed above her plump red lips, still curved into a cold, crazed smile. Her tongue snaked out, running over the blood and bringing it to her mouth. “You are going to be fun. I can just taste it!” She smirked and dragged her hand down his chest, nails scratching at the skin, to stop suddenly at the centre of the pentagram. “Maybe I’ll make you my new pet.”
Her eyes flooded with glowing pitch, and Gabe could only scream in agony as her power pierced his flesh, the blazing, oily heat of it searing his skin and trapping the blackness below the surface. His skin crawled as he felt her power oozing slowly through the new scars, writhing lazily within him. It clung to him, climbing up his chest towards his heart.
He glared at Satan in fury, stormy-blue eyes burning into her now bright green gaze that seemed…far too familiar. He squinted, sharpening his vision before the thin black lines began to obscure her teasing pout. Those eyes…It wasn’t possible! Horror gripped his mind before a much darker, deeper, older horror clawed its way in, and he couldn’t.