"Michael," a voice invaded my senses, but I hardly heard it. My mind was far from this place, and it had all but forgotten the bench I was sitting on. "Michael," came that voice again, a hand finding my shoulder. At the touch, I was snapped back to reality. I looked over my shoulder just after this shock.

            Standing behind me was a slightly small male who was peering at me with innocent, almost child-like emerald eyes that watched my ice, judging eyes. His long hair went past his shoulder blades, and it was the most stunning of gold. It was slightly wavy, and it complimented his thin cheek bones. He was dressed rather simply and in all white. I smiled just a little as I watched this male for a moment more.

            "What is it, Rafael?" I asked quietly, reaching out a hand to pat his slightly before he withdrew it. I found, slightly to my horror and dismay, that I could not yet take my eyes from this younger male.

            "Gabriel wants to see us," came the gentle response of the quieter male. I gave a nod to myself before watching as, from this male's back, two white wings, like the enlarged wings of a dove erupted, stretched, then came into a peaceful position. After observing this, wings that repeated the process came from my own back, and I stood.

            "About what?" I asked quietly, walking along with my dear friend, but he didn't say anything, almost as though he hadn't heard me. Perhaps he really didn't know. However, I couldn't help but worry when I noticed this male looking at the ground as he slowly walked by my side. Something was troubling him, I knew. I figured, though, that I could always ask him about that sometime later.

            "Michael, Rafael, welcome," came a male voice as my friend and I entered a large marble hallway with paintings depicting sin and their just punishments. Standing before us was a male taller than I with hair down to his waist that was almost a whiter blonde than mine. Stern eyes watched my friend and I quietly, and those slate eyes were without emotion.

            "What do you need, Gabriel?" Rafael murmured quietly as he and I both knelt before this male who, on second glance, had white wings, but his were trimmed in pure gold. Soon, we were motioned to stand, and both Rafael and I were quick to obey. No one delayed a command from Gabriel of all people from this world, the world I called mine.

            "Angels have been disappearing on Earth, both white angels and the fallen ones," Gabriel murmured, sighing a little to himself, putting a hand to his forehead. "You two are the most able to investigate," he then added. Rafael and I nodded in unison, and we were dismissed. Quietly, we walked together to the edge of Eden, my world, and looked out into space at the earth. A wallet appeared in my hand, a gift from Gabriel, and my partner and I set off for earth as a glowing sphere of light carried us toward the planet seeped in sin.

            Rafael and I were Arch Angels of the planet Eden. We watched over earth, and we always will. Angels could fall from their heavenly status by breaking very set rules that had been instilled since the beginning of time or perhaps even earlier.

            These rules were very simple. Angels, especially Arch Angels, were not supposed to fall in love with someone from earth, an Earthian, a fallen angel, or an angel of the same gender. These were the thoughts that flooded my mind as Rafael and I came closer still to the earth. A feeling of dread rested in the pit of my stomach, or perhaps it was the pit of my heart.

            I had little time to brood over this, though, since I felt my feet slowly touch the ground. I heard Rafael land behind me, and I, after sparing him a glance, turned to look at our surroundings silently.

            We were in a park, I quickly figured out due to the pond, flowers, tree, and bench near us. The moon was high in the sky, and it had to be late at night, near midnight or so. Tonight there would be no roof over our heads. Then, as a single clock chine rang out to correct my judgment of time, I looked back to Rafael as our wings vanished.

            Now my colleague was dressed in tennis shoes, dark navy jeans, a short sleeved white shirt, and a jacket tied around his waist. His hair and eyes were the same, but his ensemble was somewhat odd on him at first, but I soon found that I preferred him in that then in robes of Eden.

            I heard Rafael snicker as he looked at me, and I glanced into the pond for my reflection. I nearly died of shock when I saw myself in brown leather boots, faded denim jeans, and a sleeveless white shirt with a sports jacket that was on but unzipped. Before long, as I adjusted to this new look, I looked over at Rafael and sat down quietly on the nearby bench.

            "We'll have to sleep here tonight," I murmured quietly, and Rafael moved over to sit with me. The smaller Arch Angel looked incredibly tired, so I didn't argue as he shifted to lay against my chest with his head on my shoulder. I only hoped he didn't feel my arms protectively hold him close to me.

            The next morning, I woke up when that annoying clock chimed eight. Rafael was still fast asleep, but I shifted out from under him without waking the exhausted angel. Silently, I headed into the city, so I could at least try to find my friend and I a place to stay while we were on earth. I finally had to settle for an apartment with only one bedroom, a kitchen, living room, and a bathroom. As far as I figured, I would sleep on the couch while Rafael slept on the bed.

            As I was heading into the park, I heard someone quietly gasp my name. My first instinct was to worry that Rafael was hurt or the like, but I was soon proved wrong again when there was a slight flash of gold, and someone moved to hug me, clinging to me just slightly. A second look made it clear to me just who this one clinging so tightly to me was- Rafael.

            "I woke up, and you weren't there," he whispered to me, those grass-colored eyes peering up at me, looking almost tearful. "I was afraid you'd vanished like the rest." I allowed my arms to wrap lightly around my dear friend to reassure him that I was safe and so was he. After a moment of this embrace, we broke apart, and I began to lead him to the apartment.

            "I have a place for us to stay," I muttered to Rafael. "It costs quite a bit every month, but we'll manage." Rafael then, looking almost starry-eyed, pressed me to know what it was like. "The kitchen is a little small," I explained, "but the living room and bedroom are a modest size." I was then quick to add, "I'll be sleeping on the couch though, so we don't have to share a room of anything." Rafael gave a nod, and I kept quiet. I could not let him know I would rather like to share a room with him.

            "It sounds wonderful, Michael," Rafael murmured, smiling up at me quietly, looking rather enthused about this prospect. For a moment, I thought I felt his hand against mine, but I couldn't be sure. Throughout this, we had been walking along towards the apartment. Once we were there, I showed Rafael to the living room of our rooms.

            I chuckled quietly as Rafael's widened happily, looking like a child on the morn of Christmas. As he went to the window, which had a beautiful look across the park where we'd been, he turned to me, looking into my eyes as though to say something before his joyful look faded into a subdued one. Quietly, he gave a soft sigh.

            "Rafael, what's wrong?" I whispered softly, concerned about my old friend's sudden change of behavior. This kind of mood was foreign on his face. Sure, he was known to be a little moody, just as I was known to be strict and cold, but I had never seen Rafael depressed like this before.

            He looked at me for a moment, and, when he spoke, I daresay I just could not believe him. After holding me in a dead-like stare, he uttered to me, never adverting his eyes, "It's nothing, Michael."