Gabriel left his agent's office shortly after four. Roché had wanted to discuss Gabriel's progress on his next novel (which was coming along fairly well) and the interview he was scheduled to have two days later with a major magazine (they "absolutely had to have" the newest New York Times Bestselling Author for a feature). Gabriel wasn't sure he wanted to actually do the interview (he found it generally threw off his writing process), but Roché was sure, so he went with it. Roché was typically right.

Tonight was his three-year anniversary, and he wanted to be home a little earlier. He had a nice, romantic evening planned—he was going to try his hand at actually making dinner for once (at the risk of burning down the apartment building) and he was picking up a carton of Moose Tracks ice cream. He couldn't wait to get home, even though he would probably end up embarrassing himself when it came to making dinner. But the best part was going to be after.

He was going to ask Kali to marry him.

He hadn't told anyone, of course—not Roché, not even his best friend Castiel. It was going to be a big surprise for everyone. He was looking forward to seeing their faces. They'd probably think he was fucking with him—he had a trickster streak a mile wide—but when they realized he was serious, their expressions would be priceless.

His first stop was Nino's for everything he needed to make a halfway-decent Italian dinner (even though neither of them were Italian, they both had a liking for it) and to pick up his ice cream. He loved sweet stuff and always had candy hidden in random drawers of the apartment and ice cream in the freezer. Then he went to the jewelry store to pick up the ring. He'd ordered it several weeks before, but he had them hold it until today because he didn't want it to get lost or stolen.

It wasn't until he actually got to hold the ring that it really sank in. He was actually about to get engaged. He couldn't help grinning—a few years ago, he would have never expected it, but here he was, only hours away. It was strange, but he was excited.

An hour and a half after leaving Roché's office, he let himself into his apartment and went straight for the kitchen, grocery bags in hand. "Kali?" he called, setting the bags on the counter. He patted down his pockets quickly to make absolutely sure he had the ring.

There was no response, which was strange. He hadn't even seen her this morning, but he knew she was back from her studio by now. She was a painter and he was used to her keeping odd hours—taking off in the middle of the night or not coming home for two or three days at a time—but she always called if she wasn't going to be home that night, and she hadn't called today.

He assumed it was a given that she'd be home tonight, of all nights, though.

Gabriel went into the living room and saw Kali sitting on the sofa, her back to him. She seemed tense, sitting up straighter than usual. "Kali?" he asked softly. He suddenly had the feeling that something was really wrong.

She finally turned, standing up. She was actually an inch or two taller than him—he was only five-eight, and that was a rounded-up estimate—but he didn't typically notice it. He did now, though. "Hi, Gabriel. How was your day?"

"It was fine—what's going on?"

She gave a small sigh, looking like she wanted to be anywhere but right there. "We have to talk."

"About what? Honey, what's going on?"

Her expression shifted from uncomfortable to resigned. "I'm leaving you," she said bluntly.

Disbelief flooded through him. She had to be joking.

But as he waited for her to laugh, to say that she was just fucking with him, her look never shifted. She was serious. "I… I don't understand."

Rolling her eyes a bit, she said, "It's over, Gabriel. You and me. We're done."

His hold on his calm exterior was slipping. "Why tonight, of all nights? You couldn't do this last night, or last week, for that matter?"

She looked puzzled. "What's tonight?"

Are you fucking kidding me? "You can't be serious."

"I'm sorry, Gabriel, but I honestly fail to see today's significance."

Oh, my God. He felt like she'd punched him in the stomach. "Our anniversary," he murmured, running his fingers through his halo of long, golden-blond hair. He turned away, suddenly feeling like an idiot.

Where the Hell had all this come from? Ten minutes ago, he was the happiest guy in the world, so certain that he was going to be engaged tonight. Ten minutes ago, everything was fine. Hell, nothing about her demeanor had really changed. There had been nothing to indicate how tonight would end.

He'd been blindsided.

"I'm sorry, Gabriel. I didn't remember."

No shit, you didn't remember. "Why now?" he asked suddenly, spinning back around. "What changed between us? I thought things were going great. I thought…" I thought you'd say yes.

She sighed, crossing her arms. "We're at two different places in our lives. You're ready to settle down—aren't you?" She looked pointedly at his jeans pocket. "You were going to propose tonight, weren't you?"

He swallowed hard and nodded.

"I'm not ready for that. Not yet."

"That's fine—I can wait." There was a note of desperation in his voice. "I'm perfectly fine with waiting until you're ready." He knew he was grasping at straws, that when her mind was made up, nothing could change it, but he couldn't stop himself from begging. Three years they'd been together, and after all that time, he couldn't let it just fall apart. Not like this. It couldn't end like this. "Please, don't…" His voice trailed off. It was futile. She had that look on her face, that one when they fought that said I'm right and you're wrong and there's nothing you can say to convince me otherwise. Numbly, he went back to the kitchen.

She didn't follow him, which was okay with him. He didn't know what else there was to say.

Gabriel lifted the carton of ice cream out of the bag and slid it in the freezer. The carton was getting soft and he didn't want melted ice cream all over the kitchen floor. It would be just another mess he wasn't sure he had the strength to clean up. Then he started in on the other perishables in the grocery bags, but halfway through, he was struck by the futility of it. His plans for dinner were fucked. He had no strength to try to throw together a home-cooked meal now.

He ran his fingers through his hair again before bracing his hands on the counter. He didn't have the strength for anything anymore.

"I already moved my things out," Kali's voice said behind him. He didn't turn to meet her eyes. "I paid this month's and next month's rent. Consider it reparations."

Cold shock and devastation stabbed into his chest. "You already found somewhere else to live?" he half-asked, still staring straight ahead.


"How long have you been planning this?"

"About a month."

He was gutted. "Oh," he said softly.

There was the sound of keys clacking as she fished them out of her purse and laid them on the table. It was the sound of the last three years of his life going out the window.

"Kali—" he started, finally turning around to face her, but he stopped when he saw her expression.

"Just don't. Don't make this any more difficult than it has to be."

"Kali, please." Please don't leave me. Please don't do this. Don't walk out that door. "I can't…" Kali Gupta was everything to him, everything he needed in his life. She was snarky and stubborn and brilliant and creative and understood his crazy writer's mood swings and now she was walking out of his life. He knew he looked like a fucking mess, his golden-green eyes red and shining with tears, his hair standing on end from running his fingers through it a hundred times, but he couldn't care. "I just can't—"

"Gabriel. Stop. Just stop." She crossed her arms again. "There isn't anything you can say to change my mind. I've given this a great deal of thought, and to be honest, your behavior is just indicating that I made the right choice."

She might as well have slapped him. "My be—three years, Kali! Three years! I love you and I'm trying to keep you from making a huge mistake! We've been together for three years! I just can't let that go. I can't let you go. I can't just give this up. Please, you know I'd do anything for you. It doesn't have to end like this." But he knew, just like a few minutes ago, that it was useless.

Kali looked at him for a few moments, a mixture of pity and disgust on her face, before sighing. "You're going to make someone happy one day. Just not me." With those parting words, she walked out the door.

He didn't realize he was falling until his knees slammed into the floor. No, no, no, no! He tried to summon the strength to pick himself up and run after her, but he couldn't. He gasped, falling back against the counter and pulling his knees to his chest.

The tears came now, spilling down his cheeks, and he grabbed his hair. Heart pounding, he opened his mouth to cry or scream or sob out her name or something—but his voice refused to cooperate. All that came out was a wrecked sort of gasp, a dry sound of nothing left.

There was nothing. He couldn't breathe—every time he inhaled, it felt like the air didn't make it to his lungs. His heart was breaking, cracks crisscrossing through it, spiderwebs of emptiness threatening to shatter him. She was gone, really gone, and he knew—he just knew—that she wasn't coming home.

"Please," he whimpered, staring at the doorway as if that one word could somehow bring her back.

But it couldn't. It was over.


So this fic was inspired by my own battles with writer's block (which hasn't come up yet, but it will). The title is subject to change. It used to be "The Flourishes of My Former Life" but that seemed a bit like I was having delusions of grandeur or something. If you have any other ideas, let me know!

Not sure how long this will be yet - it's looking like it'll be about 20 chapters right now, but it may end up being longer. Who knows? (I want more than one Sabriel scene! In Pilot Light, all the pairings just get one really smutty full-on sex scene, and I think this one needs more.)