Prodigal by sarahlizzie

Summary: Spoilers for 5.19! Gabriel has been forgiven and has returned to fight alongside his brothers, but Michael is less willing to forgive.

A/N: I assume that in reading this, you have heeded my warning about the spoilers. In which case…*bawls* Gabriel!! Noo! I couldn't resist writing this family reunion after Gabriel dies, only because he's the epitome of awesome, and Michael's a dick of the highest order, but I still like him. HigherMagic and I were speculating about what happens to angels when they die, and I thought that they went back to heaven, and that they just couldn't take a vessel anymore. Maybe they get the human treatment, you know? The whole 'getting to 3rd base at your prom' thing. Like a retirement. What do you think? Do they just cease to exist? Can they be resurrected? Share your ideas :)

Like officers standing watch on a quarterdeck, the two archangels stood with hands clasped behind their backs, keeping watch over Earth and its many problems.

The elder looked out across Earth with a shrewd, commanding expression. He was the acting Captain; taking control in the place of an absent father, and for the sake of everyone around him - for the sake of his younger brothers - he had to hide his inner panic behind a brave face.

The younger, newly returned, was looking to his brother, his eyes silently begging for forgiveness.

Gabriel finally broke the silence, covering up his insecurity with his usual swagger and bravado.

"Hey, bro," he began quietly. "Long time no see."

Michael kept his stoic gaze firmly focused on Earth. "Yes. Almost two thousand years."

Gabriel nodded, looking down in shame. "Helluva two thousand years it's been, too." He looked back at his brother hopefully, wishing he could elicit a reaction for his return. "You know, the one thing I was wishing the whole time I was down there? 'I wish Michael was here. He'd love it so much.'"

"You don't mean that." He continued staring down at Earth, not satisfying Gabriel with even a look. "We were the reason you left."

Gabriel turned, a little defensive. "I didn't leave because I stopped loving you guys. I left because I was sick of all the fighting." He took a step closer to his brother. "And you know? Not a second went by when I was down there when I didn't miss you like hell."

At this, Michael finally turned. He stared at his brother with an expression of disbelief, but upon seeing that Gabriel was genuine, turned his body to face him and finally relinquished his territorial gaze over Earth.

"Do you mean that?"

Gabriel nodded and smiled, having won a little personal victory.

"…Because I recall you saying to Lucifer that you wanted to kill me as much as you wanted to kill him."

The younger archangel stared at Michael, wide-eyed, and with his lips parted in surprise. He had known his brother could be the King of the Assholes, but to throw that in his face was definitely below the belt.

"Wh--what?" Gabriel sputtered, laughing a little. "Oh, Lucy…you know him." He jabbed a finger at his chest to emphasize his point. "If I had told him I was on your side, he would have thrown a temper tantrum and he wouldn't have listened to a thing I had to say."

Michael narrowed his eyes a little, still distrusting of the other angel.

Gabriel changed his tactic, almost begging now. "Come on, Michael. You know me. I'm too much of a coward to kill him. Hell, I ran away from my own family because I didn't like the fighting." He shook his head, silently cursing himself. "I never wanted to kill him. I went into that fight knowing I was going to die. I don't want to kill him, and I don't want to kill you."

There was a long silence. Its weight crushed Gabriel - sure, he'd been happy about jumping out of the frying pan, and sure, he'd lived the good life for two millennia as Loki, but the one thing he kicked himself for every day was being on such bad terms with his brothers.

"You'll be happy to know that I believe you," Michael finally said, turning back to resume his watch on the planet. "I understand that you just want peace; I understand that it hurts you to see your brothers kill each other. And I won't include you in it all."

Gabriel, smiling, also resumed his place. "Thank you, brother."

There were a few more moments of silence - Gabriel felt more at ease now; now that he felt his brother was beginning to trust him again; now that he felt he was being forgiven.

"So what made our Father forgive you?" Michael suddenly said, causing Gabriel to look accusingly back in his direction.

"Our father," he said, lip curling into an angry snarl, "forgives everyone." He stepped closer, looking into his brother's eyes which were again fixed firmly on Earth. "Have you ever heard of a little story called 'The Prodigal Son'?"

Michael's eyes flickered to look into his brother's.

"Yeah, that's what I thought." Gabriel began to pace, walking out a small circle around his brother. "You see, the father forgave his lost son as soon as he saw him. I guess that's what happened to me."

Michael simply stared at him as he paced infuriatingly, saying nothing.

"I seem to recall another part of the story…oh yeah. The other brother." He looked pointedly at Michael. "The other brother, the loyal brother…" he jabbed him in the chest to emphasize his point. "He was jealous of the brother who was so readily forgiven. And you know? He was a real party pooper. He wouldn't join in the celebration for his brother's return."

Michael looked away, exasperated. "What is it you want, Gabriel? A slaughtered calf? Wine? For me to welcome you back after all you did? After you abandoned us?"

Gabriel simply smirked at his brother, returning to his place and clasping his hands firmly behind his back. He smiled out over Earth, eyes twinkling with two millennia's worth of laughs.

"Bro, all I want you to do is strap on your party hat."

A/N: :D 3 So…yeah. Angel death theories are much appreciated. As are reviews :)