Hanael woke up to the sound of soft knocking at their bedroom door. He glanced at the clock. It was only just after midnight; early enough that it could be any of them. He closed his eyes and focused his powers a moment, and then he recognised the presence at the door. Zafkiel.
He was scrambling out of bed before he'd even thought about whether it might disturb the other two or not. He paused in the act of pulling on his pyjama pants and looked back towards the bed.
Kashael appeared unaffected, his soft breathing still slow and steady, his eyes still firmly shut. Khamuel, however, had turned his head, and amidst the squash of pillows and blankets, Hanael could see one red eye blinking at him.
"Go back to sleep," he said. "It's nothing."
Khamuel wriggled, and Hanael saw his lips twist into a grin.
"Have fun," he replied, his voice teasing, and then his eyes closed again.
Hanael sighed, deciding he didn't want to decipher that right now. He finished pulling on his pyjama pants, and moved to answer the door.
Zafkiel was standing in the doorway, clad in his favourite pyjama top, his legs bare, long and pale in the reflected moonlight. His head was lowered, hair sweeping into his face, and his hands twisted frenetically in front of him.
"Zafkiel..?" Hanael spoke his name softly, and Zafkiel raised his head. Hanael could see, then, that his eyes were red and puffy; could see, then, the streaks of tears down his cheeks.
"Hanael --" Zafkiel's voice choked in his throat. Hanael stepped out of the bedroom, pulling the door shut behind him, shutting the other two inside. Then he reached out, pulling Zafkiel into his embrace.
Zafkiel's head sank gratefully into his shoulder, and his arms wrapped around Hanael's waist, clinging almost painfully. Hanael held him tightly, and let him cry as much as he wanted. Tears wet his shoulder, and he could feel Zafkiel trembling in his grasp. He stroked the younger man's hair gently, and murmured soft, reassuring noises in his ear.
He knew how hard Zafkiel had been trying over the last few weeks to focus on the positive; he knew how hard he'd been trying not to let Mikael's silent treatment get to him. Zafkiel had done his best to smile for them all, to show a brave face, to look on the bright side. But at the same time, he knew how gentle Zafkiel was, and how emotional he was, too. And he could only imagine how much Mikael's attitude must be hurting.
Zafkiel turned his head a little against Hanael's shoulder.
"You said --" his words choked in his throat again, and he gave another small sob. "You said... things would work out, in the end."
Hanael closed his eye.
"I know." He stroked Zafkiel's hair again, tangling his fingers in it. "And I'm sorry."
"Why.. why won't he..." Zafkiel's word trailed off into soft sobs again.
"I don't know." Hanael tightened his embrace, for a moment. "I thought, in the end, he loved you enough..."
That just made Zafkiel start crying harder, and Hanael winced. He hadn't meant to phrase it quite like that.
"Shhh," he said softly, stroking Zafkiel's hair again. "Things may change yet. There's still time..."
"Don't..." Zafkiel raised his head finally. His face was damp and tear-stained, his eyes still wide and glimmering, swollen with unshed tears and anguish. "Don't give me more false hope."
Looking into the raw pain in his gaze, Hanael wanted to cry himself. He knew the sort of things that Zafkiel must be feeling right now, and he knew how much they ached inside, how much they tore at your very self-worth, your reason for being. And yet, there was nothing he could do. He'd tried all he could think of to right this situation somehow, and failed; failed, when Zafkiel needed him the most.
"...I know it's not the same, but we'll be there with you. We won't leave you there all alone," he said softly, because it was all he had left to offer.
The tears in Zafkiel's eyes welled up and spilled over.
"Thank you," he whispered, and lowered his head to Hanael's shoulder, crying all over again. "Thank you..."
Hanael held him tightly, and let him cry, and he silently cursed Mikael for ruining what should have been one of the happiest events in Zafkiel's life.