Gabriel wasn't sure where - or even when - he was.

What he was sure of was that it had been an absolutely horrible idea to listen to Dean Winchester.

Because, really, going up against Lucifer? That had been stupid, even if Gabriel had used a fake angel blade - which turned out to be the luckiest decision he'd made all night, since it was the only thing that had kept him from being actually killed.

Even so, something was very wrong.

Gabriel sighed and glared down at the town he was standing over. He was perched on top of an old oak tree nearly as tall as him, which didn't make sense because his true form was larger than the planet Jupiter and most definitely nowhere near the size of a tree.

Gabriel blamed it on the fake blade he'd been stabbed with.

Sure, he'd made it out of some questionable substances, but it had needed to be powerful enough to trick Lucifer. And it wasn't like any of the pagans had been using their weapons - Mercury certainly wasn't going to put that staff to use, and Balder had lost his sword enough times that it wouldn't have mattered either way whether he'd lived or not.

But maybe he should have been a bit more careful about, oh, not getting stabbed with it.

Who knew what the consequences might be.

Gabriel glanced back down at the Earth absentmindedly - and was this even the same one he'd been on earlier? His Father had created so damn many of the things, you couldn't swing a cat without hitting one of them. Mostly, Gabriel had kept to the first Earth, since it was the first one he landed on after skipping out of Heaven and interplanetary travel - or was it technically trans-universal? - would have drawn the exact kind of attention he was trying to avoid.

But first things first. Gabriel needed to find - and probably salvage - his vessel. After that, he'd worry about the fallout from what happened at the Elysian. After all, he wouldn't be able to do much if he didn't even have a body.

His wings, however, didn't seem to be working properly, and when Gabriel tried to fly away all he managed to do was unbalance himself and nearly topple over a few feet to the right of where he'd previously been.

"Ah, fuck!"

Gabriel attempted to regain his bearings and found himself directly outside a house that he was sure hadn't been there a moment ago.


There was a figure in a black cloak sweeping up the sidewalk, and even though Gabriel had noticed the Halloween decorations littering the other houses nearby he didn't think the figure was there for trick-or-treating. The man's soul also made him frown, because there was quite a lot less of it than there should have been, except it was impossible to break a soul.

Gabriel seemed to have landed himself in the middle of some sort of crisis.

The man did something to the door which made it swing open - possibly he'd just turned the knob - and the other two souls inside the house flared with panic, one quickly moving to the second floor. There was also a third soul, which was rather young, and had been carried upstairs with the second, distinctly female one.

There were shouts coming from the entryway, and as green light flashed from inside the door once of the souls inside flared and faded. Gabriel glanced towards where it had been sharply, then up at where he could sense the other two.

It was easier to fly up to the roof than it had been for him earlier, and Gabriel landed on it at the exact moment that Missing-Half-His-Soul burst into the same room as the two that were left.

There was another shout, another flash of green light, and the second adult soul vanished.

Gabriel frowned, but before he could attempt anything, the roof exploded.

Gabriel winced at the unpleasant feeling of rubble going straight through him, instead of being deflected like it would have had he been at full power. Peering into the giant, gaping hole the explosion had created, he saw that directly under it was a crib which held a black-haired baby whose soul was guttering on the verge of going out.

There wasn't a single trace of the man who had gone in there earlier, unless the pile of black cloth on the floor was all that was left of him.

Gabriel observed all of this in a moment and only realized that something was off when he tried to lean away and found that he couldn't.

There was some sort of force acting on him, dragging him closer to the room [or more specifically, the nearly-dead baby] and Gabriel spotted the faint light of a runic circle under the rug which the crib stood on.


Even worse, Gabriel thought he recognized some of them.

Gabriel seized the roof but it didn't do anything to stop him being dragged closer. That circle was meant to protect whoever lay in it, and either whatever had happened in there had messed it up, or it just mistook Gabriel's reduced Grace for the baby's soul. Either way, Gabriel was most definitely not planning on going anywhere near possessing a child.

"I can't! I don't have permission! I'll be trapped!" If the rune array managed to override the natural laws of angelic possession, that was. Shouting didn't seem to do much good, so Gabriel switched to his Grace to try and change the spell, but even that failed.

Fuck magic, Gabriel swore, barely hanging onto the roof and his form growing smaller and smaller as if in preparation to possess the baby. Fuck magic and witches and anything to do with them!

Being trapped in the body of an infant was not on Gabriel's list of priorities, but it was becoming more and more obvious that he didn't have a choice in the matter.

His hands - or rather, the equivalent of them that he had in his true form - slipped off the roof.

The resulting explosion, not of fire or spellwork but of light, lit up the surrounding Muggle neighborhood for miles.

In the ruins of the house, everything was silent.