There were many times when Sebastian felt incredibly guilty about how little he got to see his family. He had moved out as soon as he was old enough, to go to London and start his career, and at that time, Gabe had just been a small boy. Ever since then, Seb had been trying to do what he could to be a good brother, but he often times just got caught up in his work and making sure his department ran as smoothly as possible. He didn't like to take the time away in case something went wrong and he needed to be there to make it right again.
But things had been quiet. Things were quiet enough that he felt safe taking a day away from the hospital to spend with his little brother before school was back in session. He'd already missing Christmas, but not by very much. The new year hadn't yet passed. It wasn't perfect, but it was much better than he'd originally anticipated.
Instead of traveling to where his father and stepmother still lived, Sebastian invited the teenager over. It would be much less painful for everyone this way, since the man didn't much like Gabe's mother nor did he see eye to eye with his father very much anymore. Perhaps time as a whole family would have been nice, but time with just the brothers was nicer.
It was near time for Gabe to be arriving and Seb was admittedly a little nervous. It'd been a few months since they'd seen each other and teenager were prone to sprouting like weeds and changing overnight so he wasn't entirely sure what to expect. The tree was still up, charmed to never wilt, and there was a gathering of presents waiting to be opened. It was a poor offering in an effort to make up for how terrible he'd been as a brother, but Sebastian hoped it went over well all the same.
Sebastian had invited Gabriel Rowe over, and the kid was excited. Seeing his half-brother-whom-he-just-called-a-brother was always exciting, and he had nearly forgotten his camera and the wrapped gift for Sebastian on his way out. Almost. He tucked them into his schoolbag with his wand, threw the bag around his neck, and left the house.
It was cold and snowy outside, so he had dressed in as many layers as he could without losing the ability to move. It wouldn't take him terribly long to reach Sebastian; he had memorized the route, and he didn't live awfully far away anyway. It was him being at Hogwarts that made it hard for them to see each other, which they almost never did. Gabriel wouldn't be mad at Sebastian for that.
Dodging the onslaught of cars with all the reflexes of a punctured cat, he managed to make it across the street only slightly shaken and disturbed by only a few car horns. He knocked out a little tune on his brother's door (even though he was actually tone deaf) and hopped foot to foot as he waited.
As he waited, it was all Seb could do to not start pacing around his apartment. He just had to convince himself that he wasn't nervous. Or at least that there was no reason for him to be nervous. At least he was making an attempt at getting the two of them some time in the same room this time. He'd failed miserably at that over the summer months.
Hearing a knock on the door, he headed across the room, having already been on his feet, to open it. He expected Gabriel to be on the other side, but there was always the chance it was someone else. However, seeing his brother, Seb smiled faintly. "In you get, it's too cold to stand on the doorstep," he instructed as he moved out of the way. "Tea? Or something equally warm?"
Gabriel didn't waste any time sliding into the apartment and over to the nearest surface so he could set down his school bag and shrug off his jacket. He rubbed his hands together and looked up at Sebastian with a genuine smile. "Hi, yes, tea, would be fantastic, thanks," he breathed out quickly, but before his older brother could go off to do anything, he jumped forward to give him a quick hug.
Sebastian had just started turning to go start the tea when he felt admittedly very cold arms wrapping around him. If the angle were better, he'd have certainly returned the hug, but as it was he wasn't in a position to move his arms nor was it very long. "I've been well. How have you been?" he asked, returning the small talk and putting off tea for just a moment longer. The apartment was nicely toasty so hopefully Gabe wouldn't freeze to death in the meantime.
"Cold," Gabriel answered. When he broke the hug, he scrambled into a chair to stay out of Sebastian's way. "I met Aurelia," he blurted out. "She's very nice. I'm happy for you." He continued to rub his hands together; he would warm down soon enough, but it wasn't something that would just instantly vanish.
Once his brother had let go and retreated to a chair, Sebastian moved to go get tea ready for the two of them. However, he hadn't gotten further than the doorway when he heard Gabe speaking. He spun back around and looked at his brother. "You met Aurelia? When?" he asked. Why had he not known about this before now?
"Uhh....I don't remember. I came to visit you and she was here. You'd run off to work already," Gabriel explained. "We mostly talked about each other. Don't worry, we didn't gossip about you." He grinned up at his brother, which he should have already been doing, because just seeing Sebastian made Gabriel feel a little warmer.
Between Sebastian trying to figure out why neither Gabe nor Aurelia had decided to tell him they'd met and worrying about how that conversation had gone, he wasn't really sure how to feel about the whole situation. There were too many times when Rei was over for breakfast to pinpoint the exact time too. "I hope that went well?" Because his brother and his girlfriend getting along was important.
Gabriel shrugged. "She's pretty cool. She's into magical theory, she puts up with you, and she looks nice. What's not to like about her? You can get tea while you agonize over whether you should worry about us meeting, which you shouldn't. You're not embarrassed of me, are you?"
"Of course I'm not embarrassed by you," Sebastian said without hesitation. "I'm just trying to wrap my head around the two most important people to me meeting without my knowledge." He did really need to get that tea started now. His brother could probably use a bit more thawing out still. "We'll talk more once I have the tea," he promised as he turned to head to the kitchen again.
Gabriel smiled. He did really love Sebastian, no matter how much time they spent apart. He was family, but he was a different sort of family. His father was family, for example, but they weren't close. The boy watched his brother go off to make tea and kept his mouth shut in the meantime, relaxing in the chair and closing his eyes.
Thankfully making tea wasn't a long or arduous process, so Sebastian could get back to his brother fairly quickly. Once he had both mugs filled with the warm drink, he headed back to the other room and held one out. "Unless your tastes have changed, it should be to your liking." They might not get to see each other all that often, but Seb did make an effort to remember things like food and drink preferences, things that would make it less like they saw each other a handful of times a year.
"Not much has changed," Gabriel admitted with a small smile. He accepted the mug with a "thanks" and blew on it, but he was smart enough not to take a sip yet. "Sit down. You have lots to tell me." Sebastian always had the most interesting stories, even if Sebastian didn't think so. There were benefits to having a brother working at St. Mungo's.
He was grateful to hear that things hadn't really changed. That made some stuff a bit easier, like making tea. It was a little thing to be happy about, but it made him feel less like a failure as a brother just because he was really busy with his job. Taking a seat on an armchair, he curled his hands around his mug and looked at his brother. "Have lots to tell you, do I?" he teased. He knew the boy liked hearing the horror stories from his job.