Katie's Hope (Chapter Seven, page 1 of 15)

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"I didn't expect to see you here," Rhyn said, taking in Gabriel's muscular form as he fought the sparring dummies behind the Sanctuary. He assumed Gabe brought the dummies with him; he'd never seen them before. Nearby were more of the assassin's belongings: a few books in a large crate full of dark clothes. "You moving in here?"

"Maybe," Gabriel grunted and continued his merciless beating of the dummy. "What're you doing here?"

"Kris gave me one of Andre's old jobs."

Gabriel stopped and looked at him, taking in the dagger at his belt. Sweat coated his exposed chest, and he wiped his brow with his forearm. Considering how much Gabriel couldn't tolerate sunlight, Rhyn was surprised to see him during daylight at all, let alone without his shades.

"Makes sense," he said at last. "You've got the guts to do what he won't."

Again, Rhyn heard the uneven note in Gabriel's voice. His friend was troubled, and he didn't know why.

"You here for Sasha?" Gabe asked.

"Yes, though Kris said I have to wait for him to wake up and give him a chance to defend himself," Rhyn replied. "Fucking rules."

"How's Katie?"

It was midmorning on this side of the world, and Rhyn squinted up at the sky. He purposely didn't think of her, even though she was the reason he'd chosen this path. He felt the loss of their bond like he'd felt the isolation of Hell. He hated it.

"Fine," he said. It was the assassin's turn to give him a hard look. "How long do you think Sasha will be before he wakes up? I don't want to stay long." And risk seeing her again. "I don't think he'll wake up soon. The healer's been working with him constantly. Seems to be in some sort of coma."

"Lucky bastard," Rhyn grumbled. "Everything okay?"

"As good as it is for you."

Gabriel gave him a ghost of a smile.

"I didn't think you'd be allowed away from your mistress," Rhyn said as he sat on a boulder near Gabriel's crate of clothes.

"She ordered me up for a job, but I'm considering not going back." "Life's a bitch."

"It's worse than that, Rhyn. I think sometimes I should've moved into the cell beside yours in Hell. At least there you know what kind of shit you'll go through."

Rhyn listened, sensing his friend was more than troubled: he was deeply disturbed. Gabriel began to beat up the dummy again. Rhyn watched, not wanting to leave for fear of being alone.

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