A/N: Did I mention there's a plot? Also, there is use of a gender-neutral pronoun from here on out. Ze/zir/zirself. Get used to this pronoun.

Meg had found them.

Samandriel had known it would only be a matter of time before such a thing happened, before the demons came to collect what they considered theirs. Their source of information. Their angel.

He was a prized commodity to them, even if he hadn't been treated as such. How many years had it been since one such as him had fallen into their hands? Millenia? Samandriel truly didn't know. That wasn't his division. Angels weren't told what they weren't meant to know.

Except that they were. Deep down, programmed in places in their minds - their wiring - that they didn't even know existed. Until someone went poking. Until a demon knew just how to crack them open and get what they needed to know.

Crowley had been that demon. Frankly, Crowley knew too much about a lot of things, but it was his knowledge about what made angels tick that had allowed him to do the demons' dirty work. Meg and her 'siblings' had hunted Samandriel down, captured him, and handed him over to Crowley. Even though Meg hated the 'businessman,' she did the best for her father.

Not Lucifer. No, Lucifer was the demons' god. He was their creator. There was a difference between a Father and a father. Meg's father was a fallen angel. An old Watcher by the name of Azazel.

It was a name that Samandriel knew well. All of angel-kind knew it well. The Watchers had abandoned Heaven and spoiled humanity; they'd paid dearly for their actions. Azazel among them. He had been bound.

The demons wanted him freed. Meg most of all. Though she was not a nephilim, he was her father. Family, it seemed, was still a driving force for Azazel's self-adopted kin. The Watchers had done well, in that aspect. Family had always been their goal, even if that meant one they had corrupted themselves.

Azazel would tell them what to do, the demons had said. He would give them a greater guidance than what they had currently. Crowley hadn't cared about that, he'd admitted. He just liked prodding at his new pet. Because his new pet liked to squeal and talk.

But his pet also listened.

And he escaped.

Crowley may have gleaned from him a way to unbind Azazel - pried it from channels of information Samandriel shouldn't have had, hadn't known he'd had - but Samandriel had learned from the demons, too. He knew their plan, and when he'd flown from the abandoned warehouse he had been imprisoned in, he had tried to reach Heaven. He had to tell Michael what was going to happen; he had to tell anyone. However, his wings had failed him. He had fallen into a human's house, broke himself worse than Crowley could ever dream of doing, and the vital information he held remained untold.

He should have told someone. Despite his fear, his shame, and the horrible, torturous memories that haunted him…he should have told someone.

Because Meg found him. He hadn't sensed her, just as he had failed to do the first time. Only, this time, when she came to claim him, she brought creatures Samandriel had never seen before. Not in person. Oh, he knew what they were. The hounds of Hell. And he knew that they would chase him and Adam mercilessly. They wouldn't stop until they had him. He had resigned himself to that fate the moment he had finally, after a day of forgetting the world around and focusing solely on Adam and their game, sensed the demon and her hounds.

But Adam?

The hellhounds would kill him.

They would spare Samandriel, leave him broken and bloody for their mistress, but they would kill anyone else that got too close. The creatures enjoyed the hunt, but they enjoyed the kill more.

Samandriel couldn't let them have him. Not Adam. Not his friend. So, he'd ran. He had firmly grasped Adam by his arm and he'd ran. It was a small chance he had to save the boy, but it was one he had to take. He wouldn't be able to live with himself if something were to befall Adam. Something dark and devious. Because of him.

The demons would torture Samandriel and, in the end, kill him, but the knowledge of Adam's death would be worse.

He had foolishly thought that, if Adam could just make it upstairs, past the salt line by his door and in a place hard for the hounds to reach via another route, that the boy would be safe. Hell, he could have been right. He would never know. Because Adam hadn't run upstairs when they'd finally reached the house. He had broken his bat on one hellhound, fallen inside, and then just remained. He had looked at Samandriel with unadulterated panic and worry when Samandriel had commanded him to run. He had wanted to help, that stupid, stupid boy. His stupid, stupid friend.

And, when the window broke, the first hellhound leaping for not him but Adam, Samandriel lamented the fact that he had failed again. As the hound ensnared his wing in its maw, instead of Adam's face, Samandriel gave in to his despair. He cried out, he was pulled down, and he could only watch as a second hound tackled Adam to the ground. He could only scream as his friend did, watching the beast's claws tear into Adam's abdomen, tear into his vital organs and doom him to death. Watch as Adam, despite the immense pain he was in and the terror flooding his veins, stared right back at Samandriel as he tried to lamely fight off the creature.

Because Adam was more worried about him. Samandriel could see it; he could feel it.

Adam had always been more worried about others than himself. As a child, he had tried to take care of his mother. Not that she needed it, really, but he'd felt it was owed to her. In his young mind, she worked all the time with no breaks, and so he tried to give her some. And that compassion only grew as the young boy grew older. It became the inspiration for his dream. His plan to become a doctor, or even a nurse. He wasn't picky. He just wanted to help and heal.

That dream was shattered as Adam's life was being torn from him. It was shattered as Samandriel's wings were by the creature clawing at his back and biting. It was shattered as his house had been by an angel that was meant to protect humanity, and had doomed one of their flock instead.

Adam was dying, and Samandriel didn't want that. No, Adam was meant to live, Adam had to live, and he would live. Because, despite the pain wracking his fleshy body and his Grace, Samandriel still had power. It was fraying at the seams and volatile, but it coursed through Samandriel, and it had the power to destroy any of Hell's creatures in range.

With an enraged cry, he released that power. His Grace surged up and out of his core, into his wings - the path of least resistance - and then it exploded outward with a piercing wail. Everything was bathed in white light and dull heat. The sound of glass breaking was only muffled, to him, by the sound of his own energy and the cries of the Hellhounds as they boiled in their own skins. The blast only lasted a few seconds, but that was all it took. His Grace drew back into his core, once again weak and straining against the damage that had been wrought on him, and everything was still. Everything. Even Adam.

Panic surged through Samandriel as he looked over at the body of his friend. At first, he wondered if he had killed the boy on accident. If his power had been too much for the younger to handle. Yet, Adam's eyes were fine; they were closed. He wasn't breathing. His heart wasn't beating.

He wasn't dying anymore, he was dead.

Samandriel felt the unfortunately familiar sensation of tears prickling his eyes. It was a common misconception that angels could not feel. Especially for the lower ranks that spent most of their time on Earth rather than in Heaven. Humanity was contagious, really. And pain was well-known to him.

However, his grief wasn't all-consuming. Not yet. He could see Adam's soul. It was a bright, little thing that was doing its damnedest to hold on to its body, tendrils of energy wafting up from his chest only to suck back down, as if the sky terrified it. It probably did. Adam was a good candidate for an earth-bound spirit. But it wasn't the sky that was frightening, it was the reaper that hovered near the corner of the house, like a translucent shroud draped over bony limbs and a horrific face.

It was waiting, he knew. Waiting for Samandriel to do what he planned to do, whatever that may be. Angels could carry souls the same as reapers could. But, unlike reapers, they could heal. Since Samandriel had 'arrived' on the scene first, the reaper was giving him the right-of-way. Which was what Samandriel needed.

"No, no." He whimpered, flinching at the shocks of pain traveling through his body as he began to crawl towards Adam. "Adam."

The soul responded to his voice, rather than his command. It drew itself from its body more.

"No!" He shouted hoarsely.

With an almost startled flicker, it ducked back down. The reaper shifted anxiously. Normally, angels and reapers were on friendly terms, but Samandriel couldn't help but curse at the creature as he reached Adam's body, placing his right hand against the gaping wounds that had leaked Adam's blood all over him and the floor. The still-steaming body of the hound that had caused such wounds lay lifelessly on the other side of the boy.

Samandriel shifted his Grace's attention, away from his shattered wings and ripped body, down his arm and to his palm. He poured the energy into Adam, trying his best to seal the wounds. The soul flickered again. If he could just heal the damage, if he could do so fast enough, Adam's soul would easily slip back into the body. It was trying to do that on its own, after all, even with nothing to go back to.

He couldn't go fast enough, however. The more Grace he pulled away from himself, the worse his pain got. The worse his pain got, the less concentration he could muster. His wings were too damaged. They felt like they were killing him. And they could, he noted mutedly. If he expended too much energy and his true form was damaged too much… Away from Heaven and its healers…

Samandriel glanced at the slowly - too slowly - closing gashes on Adam's stomach before he let his head fall to the boy's shoulder. He was shaking with the effort not to fall completely. The healers, he had thought. They were in Heaven, but Heaven wasn't far for an angel. He couldn't fly, of course, but they could. They could arrive in an instant, if they would.

If they would.

But why wouldn't they? He was damaged. His distress call would take priority, especially since he'd not spoken to the Host in what felt like ages.

Struggling to continue healing Adam and struggling to stay conscious, Samandriel prayed. He prayed for healers, and he prayed for Adam, and he prayed that that determined little soul would just stay put for few minutes longer as its hold on its body began to waver.

He didn't know who answered his call. He couldn't see anything anymore, he was barely there, and the Grace leaving his body through his palm wasn't even an afterthought anymore - it just was. But he felt them as soon as they landed. There had been no pomp to the arrival, just absence followed by presence. A large presence. Powerful.

Samandriel barely had time to be confused by the energy he was feeling. A hand - fingertips, really - touched his back gently, and then the other's Grace was coursing through him.

It set him on fire.

The foreign energy traveled through him like lightning, scorching him while it healed. It arced off his wings and traveled through him, through his hand, down into Adam. He felt like a wire, allowing the current to flow.

It was too much. Even if it was healing him - and Adam - the energy was too much, too strong. His body gave out on him. Everything did.

Raphael was an Archangel. All of angelkind knew of this. Many humans knew of this, as well. However, that was not the point. The point was, being an Archangel, one of the Seven to have stood in the presence of God, ruler of the Third Heaven, and a lot of other titles that ze didn't particularly care about but had been prescribed to Raphael regardless, ze really should not have been bothered to answer prayers of the devoted or even those of fellow angels.

Unless it was a True Emergency, of course. Which it rarely ever was. Thankfully. Because Raphael was generally busy handling the affairs of Heaven that could not be put on hold just because someone was dying.

God rest their soul.

So, why Raphael received one prayer that had been aimed at no one in particular - shot out into the aether like many prayers were these days - ze had no idea. It was an unwelcome prayer, that was for sure. Raphael had furled zir nose up at it as soon as the resonating voice of a human began to bounce around zir very core. Sometimes, ze loathed that ze could not shut the accursed things off.

And it was a very arrogant prayer, too. Demanding in a way that wasn't rare but definitely surprising. The nerve. Honestly. Yet, Raphael couldn't silence it, so ze listened. Boredly. Staring at the faces of zir subordinates as they rambled on about healings they had done, or mercy killings as was the case with many of the Rit Ziens.

That was a dedicated group, the Hands of Mercy. Almost cruel in how little they seemed to care for their charges. Raphael often wondered if they were capable of feeling empathy or compassion, anything other than the clinical 'feelings' that constantly adorned their faces. If there was anything other than the almost sick satisfaction they had regarding a job well done.

Wondered though ze did, ze didn't particularly care. Their Father had His reasons for creating all of them the way He had. As long as they performed correctly, why care?

Anyway, as Raphael listened to the annoying prayer, ze caught on that something was amiss. Ze frowned, an action that was not missed by the Rit Zien in front of zir. They cocked their head to the side, and Raphael understood the other was confused as to why ze was frowning. Raphael waved zir hand at them to dismiss them, sending out a short feeling of ease at them; it had not been them that sparked Raphael's own confusion.

The Rit Zien left, as well as the others crowding around zir. They knew ze was in no mood to receive them.

The prayer was by someone dying, that much was for certain. Those always had an extra feeling of urgency. The closer the soul got towards the Veil, the stronger it became. But that wasn't the off part. No, this person was praying for someone else. A more noble brand of prayer, Raphael had to admit, and, unfortunately, all too common for zir tastes. Still, Raphael had no intention of answering the prayer.

Until the name of Samandriel passed this person's - this man's, this boy's - mind.

Samandriel. That name registered with Raphael, naturally. Angels rarely forgot one another; Archangels never forgot anyone. When the threat against Michael entered the prayer, Raphael remembered just why the name meant something to zir other than 'angel.'

Samandriel was the little lost one. Michael had been complaining about him just recently. He hadn't returned to Heaven in many Earth days, which was not like Michael's subordinates. Michael was punctual and he liked his Flock to be the same. They knew better than to disappoint him. He was not a kind person when faced with disobedience, least of all dissension. It would have been unwise for the little one to delay any longer, lest he wanted to suffer Wrath.

Yet, here was this human, crossing over as time moved on, praying for someone, anyone, to save Samandriel. Raphael frowned. Michael's angel was in trouble, he was near a human that knew of his angelic name, and the theory of rebellion was immediately tossed out the window. Something wasn't just amiss, something was wrong.

Raphael spread zir brilliant, green wings to fly to Michael. Ze had to warn him that something might be targeting his forces. After all, that was the only theory that made sense to the analytical Archangel. However, before ze could move, another prayer shook zir core.

This time, it was Samandriel on the other end of the line. He was severely injured. Raphael could feel it through the link. The pain evident in the other angel caused zir own wings to shudder, if only minutely. Ze was, after all, the Healer. No matter how much ze loathed interfering in matters, instincts always took precedent over rational thought.

Instead of praying for himself, however, he was asking for assistance for an 'Adam.' Raphael scoffed at the name. It had history, after all.

Samandriel was desperately asking for assistance for this boy. Pleading. Begging. It was pathetic, really. Unbecoming of an angel. If Raphael hadn't known better, ze would have thought Samandriel had become a little too attached to his charge. However, ze did know better.

It was no coincidence that ze had received both prayers. A reason existed for everything, as far as the Archangel was concerned. It was governed that way. And, now, ze was obligated to fulfill both prayers, wasn't ze?

With a swift, downward stroke of zir wings, Raphael flew - in a way humans coined teleporting - to the source of the prayers.

Upon zir arrival, ze immediately knew zir surroundings. Ze was in a house, first floor, in Madison, Wisconsin. Most of the glass had been shattered within it. The air still vibrated with recently released power. The smell of Grace was everywhere, as well as the burnt, disgusting stench of dead hell spawn.

Raphael's gaze traveled over the smoldering husks of hellhounds and landed onto the crumpled form of Samandriel. His Vessel was young, roughly the age of the broken boy he was hunched over. The boy - this Adam - was dead. His soul clung desperately to its body. And this little angel was trying his best to heal the poor thing.

He was a fool. He was killing himself. Raphael would never understand the attachment the lesser angels formed with the humans. Ze had half a mind to leave them to their fate. However, ze knew a Sign when ze saw one. Ze were ordered to heal these two, and so ze would.

Raphael stepped languidly over the body of a hound and came to stand over the pair lying on the floor. Samandriel felt zir then, but the little angel was too exhausted to do anything. He didn't even flinch when Raphael placed zir fingertips between his shoulder blades and wings.

That was all the contact Raphael needed to heal the two of them. Archangel, after all. Any more power would overload the lesser one and fry the human.

Zir Grace traveled into Samandriel, instantly restoring his depleted Grace - and more. Through Samandriel, Raphael healed Adam, as well. The angel fell unconscious, comically smothering the soul back into its body, which it immediately began to knit back together with.

Raphael stood back up and glanced at the reaper that still hovered in the corner.

"You have no purpose here," Raphael intoned. "Leave."

The reaper had the audacity to smirk, translucent lips pulling up to reveal skeletal teeth.

"No purpose yet," it rasped. "Angels aren't immune to our touch."

"I am aware. Take your riddles and leave. You bore me and your presence is irritating."

The reaper vanished without further reply. Not that Raphael needed, or desired, one. It had said what it needed to. 'No purpose yet.' Ze cast zir eyes down to the bodies of the hellhounds. A demon was outside, as well, just across the road from the house. They would be foolish to enter while ze remained. They would be foolish to enter, period, Raphael amended when ze felt the presence of another Archangel just outside.

Samandriel was protected, as well as the human boy. For now. That's all the confirmation Raphael needed. Ze spread zir wings wide once again. This time, when Raphael flew, ze flew to Michael.

War was coming. Raphael could feel it.

Meg smirked from her vantage point across the street, hands in her pockets as the breeze teased her hair. It was a bit too warm and muggy - what with the demonic omen rolling in - to be wearing the leather jacket she did, but, well, it looked badass. Who gave a damn about heat? Certainly not a demon. Hellfire, y'know? Ya get used to it.

The hounds currently ripping their way into that stupid human's warded house were her babies, trained and pampered by her and her alone. Crowley could boast all he wanted about how big Growly was, but her pets? They were built for speed and bred for slaughter. Hers were better. They would bring her what she wanted, no questions asked.

And she wanted the angel.

Little Samandriel. Ridiculous name, if you asked her. Way too long. So, she just called him 'Feathers.' He hated it, after all. He hated her. She reveled in it.

She had missed teasing him. She had often wished to get in on the action with his torture, but Crowley was a hog and she had shit to do. Like freeing her father. It'd been ages since Azazel had been thrown under that mountain in the middle of nowhere. Ages, yet she still missed him. She missed his guidance and his ruthlessness. But! He was getting out soon. Very soon, if her siblings had done as they'd been told.

And all thanks to Feathers.

She really should thank him, whenever her hounds got around to dragging his sorry ass out of that house to drop him by her feet.

Unfortunately, she'd counted her chickens before they'd hatched.

She had less than a second's warning - a ringing in her ears - before the bottom floor of the house exploded in a brilliant light. She cried out, covering her face with the crook of her arm to keep from getting blinded. She heard the cries of her hounds over the shattering glass and the car alarms down the road, and her blood boiled in rage.

"You fucker!" She screeched, throwing her arm down as the light vanished.

That goddamned angel had killed her pets! She wanted to rush in there and rip him to shreds. Not with her hands, no. The best torturers never got their hands dirty. But she knew better. If the bastard still had juice left in 'im than she could just as easily be smote. No, all she could do was stand by the side of the road and seethe, nails digging into the palms of her hands.

Maybe she could call in back-up. Maybe they could raze the house. Make it look like a gas leak. They were good at that. Demons were exceptionally cunning and resourceful when it came to getting what they wanted. Sure, Feathers might be fried in the process, but he deserved it, and they already knew what they need to. Wouldn't be a loss for her.

Any plans she could have conceived were put on hold shortly enough.

She felt the angel as it descended, her hair raising on her arms and spine tangling with the power of it - as well as the instinct to run. Azazel had been an angel, too. Once. Still was, technically. However, he'd never made her feel like this. Whoever was touchin' down in there was big. Yeah, no way she was going in there now. Calling for help would be a waste, as well.

She rolled her eyes. And she'd been so close, too. She wanted to kill something. A lot of somethings. Maybe a bar full of drunkards. Or some nuns.

The arrival of a second big angel - Archangel, she realized belatedly - came silently and without warning. Meg merely felt the need to turn around, so she did. Quickly. Jumping back like a cat.

Her breath caught in her throat. Angels were impressive, in their own right. Brilliant, shining beacons lost in a sea of people. They weren't everywhere, contrary to what the saps on Earth thought, but when one was around, any hellish creature and psychic in the area could spot them from a mile away. But Archangels? Hoo boy.

She'd never paid attention in Sunday School. Of course, she'd never been to Sunday School. She had no idea who was who, really, when it came to angels. Some names here and there, but not faces. Meg had no idea who was standing behind her, but he was beyond impressive. The halo? Twice the size of Feathers'. The wings? Golden and amber and resting, tucked neatly behind the Archangel's back like he hadn't a care in the world.

The expression on his face, on the other hand, was clearly unamused. Borderline pissed. Meg wanted to snark at him. She really did. The words just caught in her throat at the thought of being killed just before Azazel's return. That would suck. A lot.

The Archangel folded his arms and raised an eyebrow at her.

"This isn't over," Meg snapped, more bravado than anything. But, demons were good at that, too.

The Archangel rolled his eyes and snapped his fingers.

Meg was pleased when she discovered she hadn't been destroyed at that snap.

She was not so pleased to be at the bottom of a saltwater lake.

Gabriel felt it when Azazel's cage opened, just shortly after he'd sent that demon on her merry little way. It was a small blip in the fabric of Reality, but it was a blip nonetheless, and he knew his siblings had felt it, too. The Archangels, anyway. The everyday riffraff? Not so much. Then again, the normal guys hadn't been responsible for caging the asshole in the first place.

How the demons figured out how to open that cage was up in the air. Though, Gabriel had a clue. It definitely had something to do with the little wiener kid currently snoozing on his BFFs chest on a living room floor.

When he'd started trailing the kid, he hadn't realized just why the demons had been so interested in him. He'd thought he'd just been a chew toy that'd run away. Gabriel'd trailed him to keep things off his back until he'd healed. Have a little fun in the process. Gabriel hadn't realized the underlying current of 'betrayal.' If he had, he would have said something. Done something, actually. When it came to the Big Things? He didn't like sitting on his hands.

Perfect, he thought bitterly. Just perfect. He threw his head back and sighed loudly.

"And I was having so much fun," he muttered.

And now he had to work. First order of business? Shut off all those annoying car alarms, fix the broken glass, and, oh yeah, wipe the neighbors' memories. He could see them peeking through curtains; he could hear them freaking out. That had to stop. Seriously.