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Gabriel

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You were quite proud of yourself. You had the bunker to yourself for a few hours while the boys went out to get some supplies and probably stop for a beer or two. You’d decided to make cookies. With the world constantly threatening to end, it had been a long time since you’d had the free time to relax and bake anything, especially from scratch, and you were looking forward to surprising your friends.

Baking had always been a zen experience for you. The science of it focused you and wiped your brain of everything else going on around you. Your mother used to say that a bomb could go off behind you and as long as you were busy baking, you wouldn’t even flinch. Which explains why you never noticed a certain archangel enter the kitchen and take a seat at the table, watching you work.

You put the tray of sugar cookies in the oven and set the timer. Grabbing a fresh mixing bowl, you got to work separating eggs for royal icing. You whipped the whites and sugar together with a whisk, relishing the labor of doing it yourself instead of using a mixer. Separating out the icing into different bowls, you pulled out the food colorings and pastry bags from the cabinet. You got to work creating different colors and shades of icing, ideas of designs running through your mind.

You heard the ding of the timer and turned back to the oven, slipping an oven mitt over one hand. You pulled down the oven door and reached inside, grasping the tray one-handed, your other holding the door open. The oven in the bunker was military-grade, but old, so the door tended to spring back quickly if you weren’t careful and cautious. You pulled the tray toward you, but as you started to lift it, you realized your grip on it wasn’t strong enough and you released the door in an attempt to quickly grasp the other side of the pan, forgetting that you didn’t have a mitt on that hand. The door sprung upward and collided with your hand holding the tray, sending the pan and it’s contents flying out of your grasp. It all happened so quickly that you didn’t have time to think. You reflexively grabbed the pan with your un-gloved hand, scalding your fingers on the hot metal. You yelped and released the pan, the oven door slammed closed, and your tray and cookies were strewn about the floor.

“Mother fucking shit! Shit shit shit!” You yelled as you ran to the sink to flip on the cold water. You squeezed your eyes shut against the pain in your fingers. A hand on your shoulder made them snap open as you startled. Your wide, tear-filled eyes caught the sight of sympathetic and slightly amused hazel eyes staring back at you.

“Gabe? How long have you been here?” You asked through gritted teeth. Gabriel cracked a grin at you.

“Long enough. Are you okay, Sugarplum? That was a nasty burn.”

You pulled your hand out from under the flow of water and immediately felt the assault of pain and saw the blisters already threatening to form on your skin. You immediately put your hand back in the water and looked up to the ceiling, blinking rapidly, trying to keep the tears at bay. You were strong, a warrior, a hunter! You’d been slashed and broken and sewn back together multiple times! A little burn would not take you down! Now, if only you could make the nerves in your fingers sending an excess of panic signals to your brain understand that.

“I’m fine,” you said firmly. Or, tried to. Your voice was too shaky to be believable. Gabriel smiled softly at you and reached over to try and pull your hand from the water. You resisted, the water being the only thing keeping the pain at bay.

“Come on, Sugar. Let me take a look.”

You took a deep breath, closed your eyes, and pulled your hand out from under the flow of icy water. You cringed when the pain hit, both at the pain itself and your reaction to it. Here come the tears, again. You chewed at your lip and tried to focus on the soft, purposeful way Gabriel was holding your hand in the air toward his face, seemingly inspecting the burn. You opened your eyes when you felt a strange sensation on your fingertips. Gabriel had your hand to his lips and was kissing each burned fingertip in turn, his eyes on you. With each kiss, you felt a tingling warmth trickle into your finger and heal the wound. He kissed the last finger, but continued to hold your hand to his face for a moment longer, eyes locked with yours, unblinking. Your heart fluttered and there was a new warmth spreading through your body, but you were pretty sure it had nothing to do with the burn.

After a moment of this intense staring contest, you found your voice. “Thank you, Gabriel,” you half-whispered. You pulled your eyes away from him, and as soon as you did, you saw your cookies strewn around the floor and the hardened, half-finished icing sitting in the mixing bowls, ruined. Your heart sank. Gabriel followed your eyes to your wasted efforts littering the kitchen. Releasing your newly-healed-by-way-of-angelic-kisses hand, he snapped his fingers. Suddenly, the mess was cleaned up, and on the counter sat fresh ingredients and clean mixing bowls.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever had cookies that I haven’t just snapped into existence,” he said softly, but earnestly, “think you could teach me?”

You looked at him, the eagerness to cheer you up palpable. He looked like an excited puppy, and the thought made you grin.

“Absolutely! Let’s get started.”