A/N: I am sorry for making Gabriel so nasty in the last chapter. I too was brought up where if a guy hits a girl, then she should leave. Everyone probably thinks I am a wife beater now, but I wanted to twist Gabriel's persona around a bit. I am sorry if I offended anyone in any way. However, I promise you that he will not remain that way. Maybe I did get a little carried away. Also, I learned that I have been spelling the Cardinal's name wrong. Oops!! Form this point on it will be spelled properly. Sorry about that. With that said, let's move on to the conclusion of the story.
Gabriel had immediately sought refuge in the church after his fight with Anna. He knew that he and Anna had their differences, but he never imagined that his temper would get the better of him. What was worse is that he still couldn't believe what he had done to Anna. The image of his hand striking her face replayed in his mind over and over again. What had he done? How could he have hurt her? He leaned against a huge column and closed his eyes, trying to find answers to his questions, but nothing came to him. A huge lump took shape in the back of his throat. He tried desperately not to let his emotions take over him, but it was too late. He slid down the pillars length as he broke down into tears.
Carl went to look for Anna. He still couldn't believe how angry Gabriel had gotten when he informed him of the Cardinal's wishes. However, the thing that shocked him the most was the way he turned on Anna. Carl knew that Gabriel had quite a temper and it was very hard to control, especially if he was ever pushed too far. But he never thought for a minute he would ever hurt the one he loved more than life itself. He wasn't sure if Anna would even forgive his actions. Carl strolled down the hallway and to Gabriel's room. He tapped on the door.
"Who is it?" a voice said from the other side.
"Anna, it's me Carl. May I come in?" Carl asked.
"Yes of course." Anna weakly replied. Opening the door, he saw Anna sitting on the bed; her head cast down and her hair in furious disarray. Carl walked over to the bed.
"Anna are you alright?" Carl asked as he came to a halt by her side. She looked up at Carl, her face streaked with tears, not to mention the huge purple welt that had formed where Gabriel had struck her.
"Carl, what could I have said to upset Gabriel so much? I was only trying to help him realize what the Cardinal had asked of him. I never thought that he'd..." Anna's voice trailed off as she thought about how Gabriel's reaction. Another tear quietly streamed down her bruised cheek. Carl quickly took the handkerchief from his pocket and gently dabbed the tear away.
"You said nothing wrong to Gabriel. He can be so stubborn at times, but he shouldn't have hurt you like that." Carl said.
"This was nothing compared to the last time if you remember." Anna reminded him. She had been referring to the battle at Dracula's Castle five years ago. Carl chucked as the memory became fresh in his mind once again. Those certainly were the good old days. Carl looked at Anna. He had always admired her for the courage she's shown when faced with life and death situations. When he and Gabriel first met her in Transylvania, he knew she was Gabriel's match in every way. He knew Anna had what it would take to tame Gabriel's restlessness.
"Carl, there are times when I cannot seem to understand Gabriel. It's almost like were..." Anna began.
"That your world's apart." Carl finished.
"Could you maybe tell me about his past?" Anna asked.
"Sure, why don't we get some lunch and I'll explain what I know. Carl helped Anna off the bed and they headed together for the dinning hall.
Meanwhile, Gabriel still was sobbing. It was like he couldn't stop. He had never cried this much in his life. Of course he had never hurt someone the way he had Anna before either. What she must have thought of him now? The one thing that he knew he had to do before going to try and work things out with Anna, he knew that first he must receive God's forgiveness first. Making the sign of the cross, he uttered a phrase all too familiar to him.
"Bless me father for I have..."Gabriel began.
"Sinned. Yes I know." A voice replied. Gabriel looked in the shadows near the altar. He saw a familiar figure standing in the darkness.
"Cardinal Jinette." Gabriel called. The figure walked into the light and Gabriel gasped. There was no way he could still be alive. Carl and the others had buried him a few days ago. What in hell was going on! Gabriel watched as the cardinal approached and stood before him.
"How can you still be alive?" Gabriel said rising to his feet.
"Gabriel, we are not pleased." Cardinal Jinette said ignoring the question. Gabriel knew exactly what the cardinal was referring to. Lowering his head he tried to hold back the second round of tears that invaded his eyes.
"All I have asked you to do and you have done it. But when I ask you to take my place, you become the devil himself. Was my request too much for you to bear?" Cardinal Jinette questioned.
"No it wasn't but I have my reasons for not wanting to do what you have asked." Gabriel replied looking up and meeting his mentor's eyes.
"You're afraid of losing them aren't you?" Cardinal Jinette asked.
"I would die if I ever lost Anna or..."Gabriel began.
"Or your child." Cardinal Jinette concluded.
"You know about the baby?" Gabriel asked.
"That's the main reason you don't want to become the leader of the Order isn't it? You know in your heart that you could easily become a great leader Gabriel. The one thing that you are the most scared of is that if you become the new leader, there may be a chance that your child would have to grow up without you. Isn't that correct?" Cardinal Jinette inquired.
"Yes." Gabriel replied simply. To the cardinal, his heart and mind was an open book. Cardinal Jinette nodded. That's exactly what he thought. Gabriel was reluctant because of the child Anna carried. Gabriel had indeed changed Cardinal Jinette thought to himself.
"Listen to me Gabriel. God allowed me to come back here to show you what would happen if you did not assume my place within the Order. Close your eyes please." Cardinal Jinette ordered. Gabriel did as he was told, but he didn't see anything. Not a single vision was coming to him.
"Gabriel when you open your eyes, nothing will be what it is now." Cardinal Jinette said.
"What does that mean?" Gabriel questioned. As he asked that question, a vision began to take shape in his mind. He was soon to learn the meaning behind the cardinal's words.
Carl and Anna were finishing their lunch and Carl was finishing telling Anna everything he knew about Gabriel's past. There were some things that Anna learned about his past that shocked her, but there was one thing that she was afraid of. She still couldn't believe that Gabriel was the Left Hand of God. Maybe that was God's wrath on her for speaking to his Left Hand that way.
"Anna, I don't think that Gabriel ever meant to hurt you. Even though you may not see that now, he loves you more than life itself." Carl said. Thinking back on everything she had learned, she knew Carl spoke the truth. She had been so wrong even to doubt his love for her.
"Thank you Carl. I feel as though I can understand Gabriel now in a way that I never could before. I must go and find him and make things right again." Anna said. Getting up from her seat, she walked over to Carl and gave him a small kiss on the cheek. Then she left the dinning hall in search of Gabriel. She had a pretty good idea where he was.
Back in the church, Gabriel was still trying to collect himself from the vision that he'd just seen. Cardinal Jinette had told him everything would change and it did. The images frightened him; too frightening to even describe. When he opened his eyes, Cardinal Jinette was gone. He was a ghost sent by God to show him the errors of his ways. He tried for so long to deny his destiny, but now there was no way to run from it. He saw in his vision what would happen if he did. Suddenly, he heard the clicking of heels on the marble floor of the church. Turning around he saw Anna standing behind him. Gabriel saw the bruise on her cheek from where he had slapped her. The sight made his gut twist into a thousand knots. He had to turn away; too disgusted with himself for what he had done to her. Tears once again formed in his eyes.
"Anna, I don't know why you bothered to come to me." Gabriel said to her trying desperately to hold back his tears. He heard the clicking of heels once again as he could feel Anna coming closer to him. Gabriel felt Anna put her hands on his shoulders as she drew him closer.
"Gabriel, I am sorry for all of those things I said to you. I never should have..."Anna began as she felt the tears coming down her cheeks.
"You were right Anna, you were right about everything. Only I was too blind to see the truth and because of it, I hurt you. I don't know if you can find it in your heart to forgive me, but if it can, I can only beg for your forgiveness. Anna could hear the faint sounds of his weeping as she held him close. Taking her head from his shoulders, she forced him to turn around. Even though Gabriel was facing her, his head remained lowered. Anna knew he was afraid to look at her.
"Look at me my love." Anna said touching his cheek. Gabriel looked up hesitantly only to be reminded again of what had happened.
"I forgive you Gabriel." Anna stated taking her fingers and wiping the tears from Gabriel's cheeks.
"I forgive you." Anna said again as she wiped another one of his tears away. Collapsing into her open arms, Gabriel wept as he had never before. As Anna held her beloved in her arms, she whispered to Gabriel that she loved him
Two months later...
"Do you understand the nature of your assignment?" Gabriel asked.
"Yes sir." The young monk replied as he took his leave almost bumping into Anna.
"Pardon me miss." The young monk said, graciously bowing to Anna.
"That's quite alright." Anna said accepting the young monk's apology. With that he scurried away to work on the assignment that Gabriel had given him. Anna looked at her husband who was already busy chatting with another monk. He had been in charge of the Order for only a short time now and it was evident the leader Gabriel was becoming.
"Thank you." Gabriel stated as the second monk took his leave.
"Excuse me sir. Do my daughter and I have to make an appointment to speak with the leader of this fine Order?" Anna asked jokingly. Gabriel laughed at Anna's joke.
"Never." Gabriel replied as he approached Anna and kissed her passionately.
"And how is my beautiful little girl this morning?" Gabriel said looking down at the tiny from asleep in Anna's arms.
"Very well Gabriel. She ate like a horse this morning." Anna stated. Little Abby had been born only a month ago and already she was proving to be a strong child.
"Why don't we all go for a morning walk? God knows I could use one." Gabriel stated. Anna smiled her reply. As Gabriel led Anna out of the chamber in which the monks worked, he knew that his life had changed so much in these past few months and in truth he was thankful that it had.