working at the diner at night usually isn’t too bad for gabriel. or at least it wasn’t until he got a second job working at hillard’s garage. it was more demanding than he’d thought it would be, servicing the cars, getting up when he needed, and trying to juggle with his parent’s calls, trying to goad him back onto the path they wanted for him. he knew that with some spit, some determination, and a bit of juggling, he could do it. he wasn’t a do nothing, and he was going to prove, some way and some how, that he could make it on his own without going back to his parents.

it had been real easy at first, but it was starting to wear on him, feeling as if the more sleep he got, the less restful it was. and then, it seemed as if sleep kept being harder and harder to come by. what was worse, a feeling he’d been ignoring for years felt as if it were slowly moving to the forefront.

he couldn’t exactly put his finger on what was so weird about boston, year after year, but whatever it was… something about it felt bigger than usual. less like something lurking behind the shadows, and more as if it were starting to readjust, coming into focus.

or maybe, his brain was frying like an egg and he just wanted one real rest.

coming into cosmo’s diner at eleven at night, getting to work usually went well. it wasn’t a huge night shift, and there wasn’t anything going in town to warrant a lot of people. taking a snatch of sleep here and there wasn’t a big deal, and when he could take it he would, leaning on door ways or against the back counters, or even sitting in the back to shut his tired eyes.

normally, five minutes was all it really took. one quick snatch of sleep, just enough to keep him going. he thought it would be another snatch, sinking into the seat, putting his head down, and shutting his eyes.

there wasn’t a dream. just the smell of mostly burnt coffee, the pull of deep darkness. five minutes. just five--

“gabriel,” the hand shaking his shoulder was almost violent, sharp nails digging into his skin as if they were talons. it helps snaps him back into wakefulness, eyes round, panic filling him. he looks up, expecting to his mother or maybe his grandmother, momentarily forgetting where he was.

instead, it's... molly patton, her red hair pulled back, and looking like, well. shit. the thought is punctuated by the fact that the bags under her eyes looked like bruises against her pale skin, her red hair a messy halo around her face, and she clearly didn’t dress like she usually did for a shift. her uniform hadn’t been ironed, her nametag was pinned upside down, and gabriel didn’t know what made him feel this way except he did feel as if something spectacularly wrong was going on.

he hadn’t known her that long, all things considered. she’d breezed years ago, and they talked on and off. mostly on; she knew more about cars than he did, something about her coming off as more cool than any adult he knew. and this… didn’t seem like her.

like a whip, though, her face changes after he assesses her. he can’t get out a greeting at her; her eyes narrow, her hand retracts, and she seemed to be shaking with anger. she looks like she’s about to curse him out if he’s honest, and he’s never been more confused in his life when she instead throws something at him, turns on her heel and flees to the women’s room.

he looks down with bewilderment at what she’s thrown to him. it’s a brown bag, and as he opens it, he’s surprised to see a wrapped sandwich, a bottle of melatonin, and what seemed to be an analog clock, with constellations for the background.