Title: Embrace
Rating: G
Coupling: None
Fandom: Good Omens - not mine~!
Notes: Something I've meant to write for a long, long time. Aziraphale fic. Not slashy or anything, but sad. I don't cry when writing, really - but I almost did, this time around. I just woke up this morning, and this needed to be written - so here it is.

~Tomo
www.amberstone.net
http://knivesnomiko.pitas.com
~~~~~~~

She gave the impression of someone robbed, of losing more than she had, of being utterly and entirely drowned in the flood of time that some would call a life. Hair that had once been soft, carefully braided and tied was now shorn around her ears, dark and thin, oily - her eyes were sunken down, giving the impression that she was forever looking inside of herself, not across the faces of those seated in the lonely room. Hands? Tiny, thin things, plastered with translucent skin that barely seemed to contain her bird-like bones and snaking blue veins.

She looked so cold. She was seven.

Often she slept, seldom was she awake any longer - that was a blessing in itself. Dreams were sweet release, dreams in which she could walk and play again, could eat what she liked, could leave the hospital room that had been home for two long years. Since the car accident.

So many problems. So many mistakes.

What was left of her family no longer bothered to hide their raw grief, would cry in front of her when they had once struggled to keep an appearance of optimistic anticipation. Her father had died with her legs, her little brother was small and young and didn't quite understand - he sat next to her bed, watching her breathe, watching pale, blue-tinted lips open and close, struggling for every breath. She hated the glassy, plastic oxygen tubes, would cry when the nurses insisted, but fell asleep once breathing was effective again.

The girl hadn't walked in two years. She hadn't laughed. Recently, even speaking seemed to be out of her reach, the only thing she would converse openly about was the man with the wings.

He stood in her room and watched her dream, sometimes she would open her eyes and catch a glimpse of long wings and soft hair, would feel his timeless gaze - and it would dissipate so quickly, like mist on water. She suspected he was still there, but could not be seen - it made her sad, for he felt so beautiful.

Her family did not believe her when she told them he was standing there, with gentle eyes and glowing feathered wings. It made her mother cry, beg her to stop being fatalistic, sometimes the woman would scream that it would be alright if the little one would just try a little bit harder, make a greater effort, stop sinking into herself.

She was only seven. She hadn't been outside in a year.

The man with the wings visited often, now. These days he appeared like shimmering heat across a burning highway, and sometimes she would try to touch him, and her brother would watch with wide, amazed eyes as her fingers slipped through nothing at all.

Sometimes it looked like he was praying.

~~~~

"Please, Father. I beg thee. Give me permission, give me one chance! I can see into her soul, I can see the places where her body does not quite fit, I can see the synapses and veins - I could complete her, Father. I could make a miracle of her. She could have five more years, ten more, fifty - she could live!"

A lifetime is not in your hands to decide

"She is so young, so unbearably young. She has a spark, potential! Father, she cannot move, cannot breath, cannot laugh - let me do my duty as an angel! Let me give her back the life taken from her before You sweep her away!"

These things were meant to happen Aziraphale

It is not for you to choose

She will be ours

Angel

"She doesn't want this. She dreams of open fields, and grass, and walking. She dreams of everything she used to have - she's had seven human years of life, and only five were truly lived. Take her, but give her time! Please, Father, give her time!"

She was meant to be mine

You were meant to bring her to me

This will not change

"Just a little bit more, Father! Please!"

Aziraphale

Do not cry for this

Would time make parting so much easier for you or her

In time she could fall

In time her innocence would be lost

In time she would not be special like she is now

"She will always be special-"

She is to be an angel

Is that not the greatest honor of all

"Yes, Father, but -"

Bring her to me

".......now?"

Now

~~~~

When she opened her eyes, she could see him! Surprise flooded through every limb, her face excited, amazed - he was the most beautiful thing. Tall and lean, robed in white about his waist, eyes pools of eternity. Pale skin, wings that fluttered behind him, masses of feather and down and soft, soft skin.

Her mother was asleep, but her brother watched her, his eyes quarter-round and filled with amazement.

She reached out her tiny, starved hands, a faint smile touching her lips. He looked like a beautiful, beautiful dream come to life. "You're the man that watches me sleep," she whispered, awed.

"Yes," he said, with a voice like the millennia.

"I could never see you before, just sometimes, when I was lucky."

"You are lucky, now."

Voice quavering, stuck with something between fear and awe, she lowered her hands. "Are you an angel? Do you come from God?"

"Yes, little one. My name is Aziraphale."

"An angel..." she breathed, sitting up. Her body lay, head cushioned, unmoving. "Are you going to take me to God?"

"Yes. God has something very special for you, little one. You are to become like me."

The girl was ecstatic - she turned to her brother with amazement on her face. "Did you hear him? He wants to make me like him! He wants to take me away!"

The boy looked hurt, unable to see the angel, but believing his big sister none the less. "Don' leave- You'll make mom cry. Don' go."

The words made his sister furrow her brow, looking concerned, drawn in - falling back into what she was. "That's right. If I go the way daddy did, mom'll only be worse. That's not fair."

Eternity laced with irreparable sadness, soft and loving. "Come with me, young one. You haven't the time."

"You'll have to take care of mom, then." She put a hand on her brother's shoulder, and he nodded, mesmerized by the half-transparent ghost of his sister. "You'll do a good job, I know you will."

"I will. Promise."

"Promise."

She stuck out a pinky and he took it with his own, expression hardening into a childish look of determination. "I'll just tell her the angels wanted you."

Another smile, so rare, so precious, it pushed the angel's limits, and he found himself shedding warm tears.

"Right," she said.

"Will you say hello to daddy for me?"

The girl nodded, stuck out her arms for an awkward, young hug, a display of affection that was no doubt rare. Her brother buried his face against her neck, and she held him tight for a moment, her voice quivering as she spoke again. "I will. Be good and I'll come back and watch over you."

"Promise?"

"Promise."

"G'bye, then."

"Bye," she whispered back, and crawled to her hands and knees - sinking back at the same time. She reached for Aziraphale's hands, and the boy reached for hers, and he pulled her palms tight against his own.

"You can walk now," Aziraphale whispered to her.

"Sister?" Called the boy, sudden, unexpected tears filling his eyes.

"I can walk?" She tried it, standing hesitantly on the bed and falling forward into Aziraphale's arms - he caught her and held her tightly. For a moment she was silent, then reached out to touch his wings, adoringly. "You're warm."

Aziraphale kissed her forehead and spread his wings wide. "It's time to go."

The five year old was shaking his mother, whose eyes opened sleepily, filled with confusion. "Mommy, mommy, the angels took her! Mom, wake up, she's gone away! She's going away, you have to wave goodbye!"

"What do you mean- what are you talking about, hon?"

He waved furiously towards the center of the room, where girl and angel still stood, together. "Wave, wave right now, mommy! Wave!"

Hesitantly the woman raised her fingers and wiggled them, not understanding.

"Okay," said the girl. "We can go now."

Aziraphale tucked her close against his ivory neck, knelt for a heartbeat and leapt away, tears and realization trailing in his wake.

They rose upwards, spiraling into the painted sky as the sun set all around them. Below the little boy and his mother sobbed - the girl, cradled in an angel's embrace, cried with them.

~~~~