So, I suck at the whole scheduled writing plan. I'm updating this now. Vote in the poll on my page, even if you hate the story, or else you may end up hating it even more. Yes, readers, I'm putting it up to you on who dies during the Leviathan mess. I'm also completely redoing season 8 so send in ideas if you want to see them in action. Seriously, it was terrible. This is, as you, know, the prequel and since I don't have to watch the actual episode I'm posting this first. Hopefully I'll have the next chapter of 'Wake up this week or next. Sorry for the disappointment!

Disclaimer: If I owned the series, it would have been off the air long ago. I'm too lazy to do work.

Chapter Four: Arms of the Angels (5 months old)

Angel was smarter now.

He knew what happened outside of the golden gates and why. He knew that nobody would come for them and if not for Jibril, that he would definitely die alone. With but the ashes of his already fallen siblings, which don't speak, by the way, to keep him company, it's a wonder he was still breathing. Angel had never actually run into another living angel after being thrown out of the garden, but demons he'd seen plenty of. Angel shivered. Demons. Not the beautiful daemons that their father had created as companions for the Archangels, or even twisted versions of them. Just…evil.

One could say that he'd been touched by that evil. Angel's wings no longer shone like the sun, instead showing ash-covered down. His eyes were glinting slightly amber in the light, as if demon blood had been splashed into them to mingle with the pure gold. And he had grown. Not much but still, he could now walk amongst the thorns and broken weapons like a reaper with the damned. One dying brother had looked at him in actual fear, wondering if he was a prince in Hell come to torture him for all of eternity. Apparently the princes were beautiful, but Angel didn't know that. He took to hiding his face with his now long golden hair. It had grown quickly and now went down to his shoulders in endless tangles.

Not that the sight of his wings were much better. Sooty as they were, the feathers were an absolute mess since there was nobody to teach him how to straighten them. Angel could admit to using those symbolic gates as a scratching post more than once, but they itched. He molted constantly and the feathers were practically dead as they fell all around him. Like rose petals. He was quite the sight to see and for the few who lived through those battles outside the gates, they never mentioned the tiny wraith that flittered through them with an impenetrable shroud of darkness. Exaggeration, it seems, is not just a human trait.

Admittedly, they thought he was Death, for even though they knew the Horseman to be locked away by Michael and the Lord himself it was still petrifying to them. The Legion knew fear and Death like an old nightmare and some even put them together, but others had a certain respect for Death. An end and the beginning of something else, something unknown and with a certain beauty to it. Of course, they had never met him and had no wish to but some, a rare few, were curious.

And that was how the young angel Erael found a brother.

He had just joined the Legion and wasn't ready to die. Maybe that was why the Horseman left him alone and slaughtered the others. Out of all of them, he knew he was obviously alive and the ones who had fled back over the gates were cowards, but would live to fight another day. He wouldn't. The pain in his wing assured him of that. Stupid tone-deaf gatekeeper…

He was going to die out here. Maybe Death was a cruel master, after all. Then he was tickled by a little something right under his eye. Erael reached up and plucked a tiny piece of down from his skin, then gasped softly. A fledgling's feather. There was a fledgling? Out here? he glanced around wildly then caught the tiny wraith that was rumored to haunt the battlefield of Heaven's doorstep. He stifled a gasp. "Oh, father."

Pain forgotten, he rushed forward as quickly as possible to scoop the fluffy bundle of joy into his arms. The very dirty, disheveled, squirmy, cuddly bundle of feathers. His first glimpse of the fledgling was it's eyes. Wide and golden, they were blinking up at him in an almost stunned manner through the mass of hair. Like he wasn't expecting anyone to come for him. But Ereal's first poke of Grace was met with a surprised squeal and even more squirming. Cuddling it gently, he slowly processed the surprisingly powerful Grace that met his own. As the baby stopped moving, Erael's blood boiled. He didn't have a name and he was almost certainly a new angel. He was so adorably tiny, yet he had been here for months alone with all of this death.

Meanwhile, Angel was in shock. He was getting smarter and he had known that no one would notice him. He hadn't known that this would happen. But he liked it. He sunk into the arms cradling him and hummed happily when long fingers carded their way through his tangled hair. A rocking motion startled him from his daze as he realized that they were moving towards the lake. The arms put him down gently and then there was wet and cold and uck! all over him. The hair that was already in his face began to course into his slightly opened mouth, causing all the grime to meet his tongue. Hacking on it, he started hiccupping and reaching for the owner of the arms.

Erael scooped him up again and waded into the water with him, sitting the fledgling in his lap and moving the mess of tangles away from the tiny face. He began working at the knots as carefully as he could but there were a few stubborn ones that needed to be tugged on. The little whimper was nothing compared to the fuss Raphael had made when Lucifer got burrs in his hair. That obnoxious caterwaul could be heard for miles, as well as the scolding Lucifer got from Michael for his pains. It took immeasurable time to get all the kinks out and when he did, he gently plugged the wee fledgling's nose an dunked him underwater. He didn't even struggle; just relaxed and floated back to the surface.

Erael was pretty sure he loved this fledgling.

Once he was all clean, the warrior got a better look at his charge and practically choked on air. He had pupil less eyes, gold rimmed with amber. The amber hadn't been clear before now and they reminded him of Lucifer's eyes. God, the violet edged blue that could turn any angel to ice. This one warmed him, made him feel safe and loved. A fledgling made him feel like that. The wings were huge for his body and were a blazing, brilliant gold that forced him to turn his eyes away. His brother's hair was the same color. Flaxen even when wet. Running trembling fingers through it with heat at the tips, he dried it and carefully tied it back in a simple braid. This fledgling was precious, more so than any.

He had found a baby Archangel.

Falling slowly to his knees before the golden child, he murmured, "How has no one noticed you?"

Jibril popped in for a visit in someone else's mind for one. Because nobody is looking for a fledgling. It isn't time for us to be found yet, brother. We will be alone for a good long while, but still. Better than being dead, incapacitated, decapitated, tortured or nailed to a cross and stoned. Wait. That hasn't happened yet. Point is, it's the lesser of most evils and truthfully, we haven't lived out our purpose yet. When we have done that, then we can come home for-well, not for good, but for very long time.

Far beyond shock at this point, he asked, "Who are you and how do you know these things?"

The voice snorted. You mean you can't tell? I'm this little bastard in a few million years. Okay, more than a few million years. Ain't I adorable? Getting on with it. Erael. That's you, right? My memory doesn't go that far back. Erael. You were the first of my brethren to show love and mercy instead of hatred and fear. You will be rewarded for that in time, although you now curse my future name and good-naturedly spar with me every day. At least I HOPE it's with good intentions… You never can tell, because of th-wait. Spoilers. Sorry.

Erael glanced at the tiny Archangel who was blinking up at him. He muttered, "Father, am I glad that you cannot talk yet! What, exactly, is a bastard?"

No answer.

The babe blinked up at him adoringly and he couldn't help but gather him up in his arms again. He cuddled close before falling into a restorative daze. Erael's eyes softened to twin puddles of green mush as he lifted them both out of the water. Striding back to shore with the youngster at hand, he thought about why he had been the one to find this precious gift from God. He was nothing special and nor was he of the Seraphim, who had raised all three of the Archangels with devoted care. His wings were not colorful or delicate, he had little experience in battle and most importantly, he hadn't the slightest idea how to care for a fledgling beyond cleaning one.

This had been comparatively tame compared to Zachariah's hissy-fit. It had been a favor that Erael would never again commit himself to.

Sluicing water from both his and the Archangelet's face, he sighed under his breath, "What am I to do with you, little one?"

He giggled. Obviously, the fledgling had little to no idea about what was going to happen to him or what he was trying to decide. But if that were true, why did the steadfast and understanding look in his eyes tell him just the opposite? It was slightly scary, so Erael just decided to pretend as if he had never seen it in the first place. He might keep his sanity intact, that way. With that decision made, he turned longingly towards the gates and the faint hymns he could hear from behind it. They were probably trying to drown out the Keeper. Didn't really do much good, though.

Thunder boomed beneath him and he knew that they would likely be electrocuted if he forced them to stay any longer. The flinch from his little limpet told him that yes, electrocution hurt and that is was indeed not a thing to be experienced by anyone at all. And then he realized that he didn't actually have a choice, since there was no shelter in Heaven's 'ghetto'. Not a tree(or at least, one that he wanted to climb) in sight, nor plant nor rocky outcrop for them to take shelter under. See, this was why Heaven should have a doorbell. Or an actual door to knock on. He mused about how stupid that idea was and absently wondered if someone would make something of it one day.

Nah.

Erael winced at the unhappy storm grumbling and moaning under his feet and he began to feel the first tingles of electricity. He thought about the consequences. If I sleep in one of Irakiel's trees, we'll be safe until he actually finds us. Then he'll kill me slowly and painfully while making the fledgling watch. If I don't, we'll be electrocuted for Father knows how long. Great. Life or death; either way, it was going to hurt. Being the serious angel that he was, Erael promptly climbed the tree furthest away from his brother's deathtrap and settled them down for the night.

The Archangelet settled sleepily on his lap, eyes drifting shut as his mouth gaped in a massive yawn. Again, being the serious angel that he was, Erael did not coo or aww about the adorableness of these actions and simply shut his eyes. The rain pattered away and unbeknownst to him, trickled like tears down the fledgling's exposed face. Hey, he never said he was good at caring for the babes. But said little one didn't actually mind and fought sleep for just a little while so he could watch the drops dance for him. And dance they did. Surrounded in a corona of subtle colors, they created pictures for him amongst the darkness of Heaven's outskirts, causing him to giggle and preen. The patter turned into his very own lullaby as the rain slowed, Erael never noticing. He was deep in meditation trying to reach that thrice-damned gatekeeper but the most information he received was about how his pitch was slowly improving.

Whoopee.

Well, he didn't notice and that was what might have saved them all in the end…nah, it's actually not all that important. Angel pouted sleepily, though, since his new guardian had missed the show. He got revenge by shifting and stepping upon a very sensitive place of the male angel's anatomy. The reaction was better than his water pictures.

As they say, the show must go on.

Making a strangled sound, like a cross between a moan and a scream, he slumped over and out of the tree. And right into a patch of Irakiel's Irises. The screaming of the flowers made a chorus with the miniscule whimpers that partially shamed him until he remembered he'd just gotten stomped on by a very tiny, yet strong foot straight to the nads. He was entitled to a little complaining. A giggling fledgling poked his head over the ledge, squeeing in delight at the angel curled up in a ball of misery amongst the broken stems. Then an angry Irakiel came. "You ***********, I'll ********************* you so hard your fledgling will feel it! Look what you've done to my plants, you *****************************!" (In the interest of keeping this as short as possible, the author has left the creative swearwords to your own imagination. Just imagine them very long and descriptive, said in a homicidal fashion.)

Angel's eyes widened at the new words and he inevitably decided to announce his presence to the world by attempting to repeat the cusses. The fury in the gardener's eyes was drawn out by mortification, guilt and a prayer of Father, Michael would kill me if he found out…

The unhappy gurgles signifying the fledgling's inability to say the complex ancient Enochian swears made him slump over in relief. The tree swatting him over the head with a disapproving branch helped, too. Erael moaned, "If he is yours, then in the name of our Father, I am begging you to take him. If not, take him anyways. It is less painful in the battalion."

The flowers hadn't exactly been forgotten about and so to add even more insult to injury he…well, suffice to say a fully grown angel kicking you in the nads is much more painful than those of the younger variety. Now, Erael would have been entirely content throughout his immortal life without knowing such things but even though Atropos hadn't been created yet, she still seemed to have a certain hatred for him. The reaction this time was no more than a squeak. The Archangelet didn't seem to like that much. He started chattering angrily at the gardener, waving his tiny arms for emphasis so that the tree had to wrap a branch around him for fear of falling. At the same time, it gave Irakiel an even harder whap on the head.

"Hey, whose side are you on anyways?" He grumbled about ungrateful plants and had to duck another branch. If trees could snicker, that one would have. Also, there was the unfortunate fact that all of the excitement had woken up Angel for good now and there was no need to stay in the tree when there was perfectly good grass on the ground. The ground that was a good ten feet down and would, at best, break his leg. At worst? Well, let's just say there wouldn't be the need for a caretaker. Amazingly enough, they didn't have to do anything. A massive female wolf trotted up to the tree, put her front paws on the branch and gently grabbed the fledgling from the tree.

Giggling, he cried out, "Lu'a! Lu'a!"

At least, that was what it sounded like anyways. Erael found himself a little too busy staring at the massive she-wolf with a fledgling clamped in her jaws. It wasn't unheard of for wild animals to attack the little babes so it was quite understandable, right up until she licked at his hair and gave him a major cowlick. He giggled again and clumsily clapped his hands. She gave him a short, impromptu bath while making a loud sound that, if she had been a cat, may have been mistaken for purring.

It didn't end there, either. Both his and Irakiel's jaws dropped when a doe poked her head through the brush and boldly walked straight up to the wolf. She almost seemed to raise an eyebrow before flopping over and letting her prey nuzzle and straighten the golden locks. The tickle of air against his ears made Angel give a full on belly laugh,, eyes twinkling as thunder rumbled below them. Then the moth came, along with several birds and a gerbil. Nobody had any idea where the gerbil came from.

There was now a veritable menagerie crawling around the fledgling. Foxes curled up around him to make an interesting fur coat, a bear roaring a warning at Irakiel, a duck settled on his head, there were snakes and lizards in his hair, a songbird was snuggled under his hand, an alligator was under his feet, Angel was currently sitting on a turtle and leaning against the wolf queen. In addition, there were mice scurrying around his feet, an owl who somehow found the room to perch on a little shoulder and when there was no more room, a massive vulture took up Erael's forearm and an osprey dug it's talons into a frozen Irakiel's head.

A voice laughed in his head. Trust me, it gets better. Just wait for it.

An elephant then decided it wanted to join in and was summarily gawked at by he others, who attempted to vacate the premises when the creature made to sit down. The paralyzed angels just watched all of the chaos before Erael noticed the wolf crawling on her belly with the Archangelet in her maw. She glanced nervously behind her and kept scooting away. The babe simply giggled and yawned. For a thing so small, one would think he would be incapable of this. The voice snickered. This? This is pretty small compared to what we're going to do to Lucifer when the time comes.Erael was pretty sure he was about to faint.

He was one hundred percent sure Irakiel already did.

So, I'm alive. Don't kill me. Vote in poll, receive sleepy baby Angel cuddles. That is all.