And I want a moment to be real,

Wanna touch things I don't feel,

Wanna hold on and feel I belong.

And how can they say I never change

They're the ones that stay the same.

I'm the one now,

'Cause I'm still here.

.

I'm Still Here ~ Johny Rzeznik


Rain fell over Eden. The fields and the forests that had once been shining vibrantly under the sun were now cloaked in the watery blues and grays of the downpour. Mist was forming in the land's higher regions, and the steady rhythm of droplets pattering on the foliage lulled the animals to a sense of tranquility.

A cave was tucked away behind rows of olive trees, which provided Lucifer with a bit of cover as he stood near its entrance. As an archangel, he did not need to take shelter from the rain, but Blue was still sensitive to the elements, and he would much rather have his sibling in a dry, secured place. After all, given Blue's delicate size, a single raindrop might as well have been a boulder being hurled from the sky. And Lucifer was not sure what a direct contact with water can do to a newly-formed fledgling.

Lucifer held Blue snugly in his hands, and every so often he could feel his sibling twitching underneath, almost as if it was shivering from the cold. He looked up just in time to witness a spectacular bolt of lightning flash and spread across the clouds like electric veins. Moments later, the rumble of thunder filled the air and shook the ground in a way that resembled a heartbeat, and in an instant, it was as if the sky was alive.

Rather than be awed at the sight, Blue shrank further into Lucifer's hands and emitted a wave of fear.

"Shh, it's alright. It's just thunder, nothing to be scared off." cooed Lucifer as he turned himself away from the cave's mouth. "Someday, perhaps, I'll teach you to shoot lightning bolts." he added, smiling at his tiny sibling.

Blue gazed up at him with an unreadable expression.

Smirking, Lucifer took Blue deeper into the cave before any more lightning and thunder occurred. It felt odd navigating his massive form through a cramped space in the earth, but somehow the experience was not as uncomfortable as he had expected. Eventually, Lucifer stopped moving when he encountered a group of dozing cheetahs in the middle of the path.

"It seems like we're not the only ones seeking shelter from the rain." he commented.

One of the cheetahs stirred in its sleep which, in turn, woke up its neighboring kin. The other cheetah then started licking its companion and soon the sound of contented purring could be heard.

"Do you hear that?" Lucifer asked Blue. "It means they're happy with each other's presence."

Since it was impossible for the cheetahs to see them, Lucifer let himself hover over the animals so that Blue can have a better look.

"When you're strong enough, you get to spend plenty of time with our siblings. You'll be safe, warm," Lucifer paused as the cheetahs snuggled closer together. "…cared for."

Blue's form flexed a little in response, as if it was longing to feel the presence of the other angels, or at least the brood of fledglings he had 'hatched' with. Lucifer took a bit of warmth from his Grace and wrapped it around Blue in an unconscious effort of apologizing to his sibling for being abandoned in the first place.

After some time, being stuck in a cave was turning out to be a boring way to spend the rest of the day. Lucifer cupped his hands more securely around Blue before he took flight, out of the cave and onto the stars.

He whizzed past cold raindrops and managed to avoid getting hit with a single speck of water. As he penetrated the clouds, lightning and thunder became more noticeable and frequent occurrences. The winds blew with the force of a hundred angels' wing-beats and Lucifer could let himself believe that, here, the sky was truly, incredibly alive. Unfortunately, this intensified Blue's distress.

"Hold on. We're nearly there." said Lucifer.

He beat his wings faster and, in an instant, he burst out of the thick layer of gray clouds and found himself in the place between the planet Earth and the magnificence of the galaxy. It was like a moment of twilight, when it was neither day nor night but instead something entirely different.

The slight trembling in Lucifer's hands reminded him that he was still holding a panicked fledgling.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry for frightening you." Lucifer murmured, trying to calm down his sibling. He gently stroked the edge of Blue's light several times and ultimately succeeded, or at least he hoped he succeeded; it was hard to tell since Blue lacked most facial features.

Regardless, Lucifer was certain that the spectacle in front of them will cheer up his distraught sibling. "Look at where we are." he said, elevating Blue on one hand.

Beyond them was an infinite blackness dotted with an equally infinite number of stars. From this angle, it was almost like staring up at the largest canopy ever created, except the void of space did not quiver like how leaves would when the slightest puff of air went by. However, the stars were always in motion: their lights were constantly swirling and spinning as if they were caught in an eternal dance, pulling rocks and forming planets in a manner similar to calling out partners to join them. Solar systems developed and galaxies grew; colors flared and faded to an impossible beat and everything was just… wonderful.

"It's a marvelous sight, isn't it?" said Lucifer. "And you know what? You're more brilliant than any star." he told Blue, lowering his sibling so that it met his eyes.

Lucifer sought out a cloud to sit on. Technically, it was not necessary; he can remain airborne, completely still, for days if he wanted to, which was ridiculous but could at least do it. The reason for placing himself onto a cloud was to put all his focus on Blue, rather than divide it with anything else, like flying.

"Do you remember the bee you were chasing?" Lucifer asked.

Blue scrunched its face (or what currently represented its face) and emitted a bit of a glow, like what a tiny creature would do to appear larger.

"Yes, it is bigger than you." chuckled Lucifer, although he quickly became serious. "But your mission is more important than the bee's. Your purpose is more significant than any animal, plant, or galaxy that Father has created, or will ever create."

He could be imagining things, but he could have sworn that Blue was tilting its head in confusion.

"You were made to directly serve God, and there is no higher purpose than that." said Lucifer. He stared out at space for a while before returning his attention on Blue.

"I suppose that's our core definition: purpose." he stated. "We all have a part to play in this world, from making sure the flowers bloom to igniting a cosmos."

He paused to let the words sink in. Lucifer briefly wondered what Blue will do when he – or she – matured. Would his sibling gain authority over simple matters, or would Blue surprise everyone by taking on a nearly impossible responsibility? It was hard to imagine the latter given Blue's present fragility, but there was always hope.

As if to prove that point, Blue attempted to fly again. It managed to hover and wobble in the air for about a single heartbeat before clumsily plopping back onto Lucifer's hand.

He smiled. "Most things are fleeting, but not us. We're created to last forever because we have very important things to do in God's overall plan." he said, then softly added, "You're alive for a reason. Never forget that."

There was silence for a moment before it was broken by the sound of purring. It did not take long for Lucifer to realize that it was Blue who was purring and that, again, his sibling was copying animal noises to express itself. Although he was pleased that Blue was putting in effort to communicate, he wished he could hear its true voice.

"Are you kidding me?"

Lucifer did not need to turn around to know that that annoying tone of voice belonged to Gabriel, but he did so anyway.

"What are you doing – ?" he began.

"I'm looking for the great, big, glittery dunderhead who calls himself Lucifer." interrupted Gabriel. "Do you have any idea where I've been trying to find you? And then I see you here nesting on a random-ass cloud – !"

"Watch your language." interjected Lucifer.

Gabriel pulled a face at him. "I don't give a flying crap about my language right now because the big guy's looking for you."

That caused Lucifer to become rigidly still. "God?"

"The other big guy." said Gabriel.

Lucifer remained unmoving as the feeling of elated honor shriveled away like a piece of fruit under a formidable source of heat. Of course the 'other big guy' had something on his mind. He placed Blue onto the cloud before the urge to crush overwhelmed him.

"What does he want?" Lucifer impassively asked.

"You mean besides getting that stick out of his massive – " Gabriel stopped when Lucifer glared at him. "As if Michael trusts me to get my hands on the really juicy info. All I know is that he wants to 'discuss' something with you." he said.

"Just me? What about you and Raphael?" inquired Lucifer.

Gabriel mock-gasped and began wiping imaginary tears out of his eyes. "Aww, someone cares about me!" he said in an exaggeratedly sweet voice.

If it were not for Blue's presence, Lucifer would have punched him to the next continent. "Gabriel, as insufferable as you are, you're still an archangel. Whatever Michael needs to 'discuss,' we should all be present." he unperturbedly stated.

"Nah, I don't really care. It's probably another boring staff meeting, and you remember what happened last time Michael hauled me into one." said Gabriel.

Neither of them said anything for a moment, albeit they both erupted into fits of laughter a short while later at the memory of that one brilliant incident.

"Trust me, I'm better off outside the office." said Gabriel as he composed himself. He looked over Lucifer's wings and noticed Blue. "Hey, you don't think it's about that, do you?" he questioned.

Lucifer spared a glance at Blue, who appeared to be imitating the movement of clouds (which was slightly adorable). "If you told him – "

"I did not tell him! Sheesh, keep your sparkles on." Gabriel remarked.

Sensing that the moment of peace was officially gone, Lucifer scooped Blue up and gave the fledgling to a startled Gabriel. "Take Blue back to my chambers. No side-stops." he ordered.

Gabriel choked back a laugh. "Seriously? You're calling him…" He began turning Blue over in his hands as if their sibling was nothing more than a pebble and Gabriel was trying to pinpoint any distinguishing feature. "…her, it, whatever Blue?" he snickered.

"It's temporary." said Lucifer.

Gabriel was still amused at his lack of creativity. "Oh hey, pick up some new insults from Michael for me, would ya? I'm starting to run out and he thinks up the most creative stuff when he's with you." he said.

That might as well have been his way of saying 'good luck' to him. "Just take Blue home." said Lucifer.

After taking one last look at Blue in Gabriel's hand, Lucifer took off.

O_x

This was unbelievable. This was… unacceptable!

God was apparently planning on creating a new species – humans – and Lucifer generally had no problem with that. In fact, he delighted in new life. But God wanted the angels, every one of them, to protect the humans and love them more than they will ever love God. The humans, as Michael had briefed him earlier, were going to be immensely flawed and will one day destroy paradise in the midst of their own struggles. What was more, the birth of humanity was to be God's greatest achievement, and the world would be theirs to command. There had been some other details, but they had become lost in a haze of fury.

Lucifer wanted to rip out the core of every sun in the universe.

The reason why Michael had wanted to talk to him alone was because he wanted to know how he would react to the news before announcing it to the others. Michael had thought that if Lucifer embraced the concept of humanity, then their brothers and sisters would easily follow in his belief. Obviously, Michael now had to think of a gentler approach to when he will broadcast it throughout Heaven.

Michael, of course, was not too pleased with God's plan either, but being the sickeningly obedient son that he was, he took it in stride. Lucifer, on the other hand, was absolutely furious.

How could God ask them to do this? How could He ask him to do this? It was not right. He will not stand for such a disgrace!

Seething, he immediately flew to his chambers, knocking several angels in mid-flight along the way. To be honest, he had no clue of the actual extent of damage he caused in such a short span of time, but he did not care. He wanted the entirety of Heaven to know that he was angry.

At least Gabriel would be pleased to hear that his and Michael's recent argument had indeed brought on insults of the highest, most creative degree.

If the doors to his chambers did not serve the purpose of giving him privacy, Lucifer would have annihilated them off their threshold in pure rage. Once he sealed off all the entrances, Lucifer tried to locate the nearest target he could incinerate. His yearning to destroy, however, immediately dissipated when a tiny, practically inconspicuous sound reached him.

"Buh…"

Lucifer scanned the whole area, and his Grace swelled with joy and lit up his form with incredible radiance when his gaze landed on Blue.

"Buh… Buh-rother…"

From the other end of the room, Blue was very shakily floating upward – No, the fledgling was not floating, it was flying! Sure enough, the barest impression of wings was visible and they were doing their utmost best to keep Blue in the air.

"Bro-other…" Blue was fluttering its way toward Lucifer. "Love…"

Blue was talking. Blue was talking and flying. This was the most remarkable blessing Lucifer could ever ask for; he almost wanted to weep in sheer gratitude.

He caught Blue just as its strength was beginning to waver. For what felt like forever, Lucifer merely stood in place, holding onto his sibling like he had the most beautiful miracle in his hands. It had only been across the room; nonetheless, that was the longest distance that Blue had conquered without falling. And it had uttered its first words.

Consumed with happiness and the desire to protect, Lucifer held the fledgling even closer. "I love you, too." he murmured.

As he continued to hold his sibling, he could feel a change happening within the small form: a growth, a shift, a spark of higher consciousness… And like the whisper of dawn promising a new day, Lucifer heard Blue's true name.

"I love you, too… Castiel."

He can deal with humanity some other time.

O_x

"Castiel. I don't understand why you're fighting me, of all the angels."

"You really have to ask?"

"I rebelled, I was cast out. You rebelled, you were cast out. Almost all of Heaven wants to see me dead and if they succeed, guess what? You're their new public enemy number one."

End.


And that finally concludes Notes Tied to Balloons! Thank you once again to everyone who has read this story! Thank you for your support, your words of encouragement, and for sticking with this thing until the very end. It really means a lot to me, and I wish I could hug each one of you but I physically can't, so here's me showering you all with my love and gratitude! And I do apologize for the, oftentimes, long days it takes for some of the chapters to go up. Every once in a while, I get crushed with stress, run out of ideas, and have mild cases of OCD when it comes to editing and sentence constructions. So, yeah. Sorry for the weeks/months you guys had to wait.

ANNOUNCEMENT: It's official now. I've decided to make a sorta-sequel for NTTB, featuring the angels that were not given their own stories here: Inias, Hesther, Samandriel, and the rest! I'm still not sure on what the title will be, so don't ask me on what that series will be called (my brain is mush as of the moment).

Why is it a "sorta-sequel" you ask? Well, after realizing how damn mind-numbingly, insanely, complicated it is to think up of several stories and span them into exactly three chapters, I've decided to shorten the next batch of stories. It would still be like NTTB, but not exactly. Basically, it would just be a collection of one-shots, instead of short multi-chaptered stories. I know it kinda sucks and it's unfairly lazy of me, but there's a buttload of stuff I need to do in the coming months, like make sense of my job (oh hey, I got a job and apparently I have to contribute to this thing called society) and revise my novel for the nth time. I'll still post fanfic but, for now, I don't see myself working on any lengthy fics. Still, you never know!

In the meantime, look forward to the other angels fledgling!Cas will be interacting with! I already have ideas fleshed out for each of the next angels. Any character/s you guys want to read about? Any suggestions for their stories? Let me know!

And for the last time, thank you for reading Notes Tied to Balloons.

PS: I've made a Doctor Who fanvideo. You can find the link on my main page if you wanna watch it :D