Title: Of Seraphs and Men (1/2)
Rating: Teen (for some swearing and violence in the next chapter...just to be safe.)
Pairings: No romantic pairings, just brotherly Gabriel/Castiel
Genre: Family/ Drama
Spoilers: None, some references to episodes, but nothing spoilery
Warnings: Wee!Castiel, butchering of Christian/Angel mythology, mild bullying, some cursing, dysfunctional families, angels breeding (sort of), fluff with a side of angst, something like that.
Word Count: 5,595
Summary: Gabriel has never had to deal with such a troublesome fledgling before. Heaven help him.
A/N: Um…I don't really know why this popped in my head. I love angel family fics, so decided to write my own. All from Gabriel's POV. I have taken so many liberties with angel mythology I don't even know where to start. I use the term 'seraph' to mean young angel (not mature yet), same goes for 'fledgling'. I'm just gonna misuse the HELL out of those words ok? I tried to use all the angels mentioned in the SPN series, but also threw in some other names I found on Google. Oh google. In my head all the angels look like their hosts, and kid Castiel is like a mini Jimmy. I know that probably doesn't work in real life but pshhh this is fanfic yo.
The voice boomed out over heaven, and angels paused in their everyday activities to listen, before casting amused glances at each other, some shaking their heads in exasperation as a worried figure flitted by them.
"Oh Father, where has that little seraph gotten to…"
He had searched everywhere. In the holy garden, where he had to face a rather bemused Joshua, along the alabaster corridors of the library full of texts that had yet to be written, the armory (weapons wouldn't be invented for a good couple of million years, but for some reason Michael insisted they have one), heck he'd even dared a peek into Raphael's nest before nearly getting barbequed by lightning.
Raphael could be such a miserable grump in the morning.
Angels blinked and murmured in disapproving tones as he passed by in a flurry of agitated feathers. Archangels weren't often seen out and amongst the rest of the lower ranking angels, but Gabriel seemed to be a constant presence among them. He was usually looking for something. Or perhaps more specifically, someone.
He accidentally disturbed a choir of cupids practicing their praises, and there was a great din of outraged squeals and screeches as the cherubs flapped their little wings in agitation, pages of music scattering and harps twanging.
"Well I never-"
"Shoot, I had just gotten it right too…"
"Now now, let's try it again!"
Gabriel smiled apologetically, skirting around them as they bickered, hurrying away. A female angel with beautiful deep indigo wings passed him, chuckling and shaking her head.
"Lost your little charge again Gabriel?" she asked bemusedly, even giving him a wink.
The archangel smiled sheepishly, shrugging. "What can I say, Hael? That kid has a mind of his own. I look away for a moment and poof! He's off."
The angel jerked her head behind her, wings angling the same direction with a delicate rustle. "You might be in luck; I saw a certain seraph skipping off in that direction. I think he wants to see the Ocean again."
Gabriel grinned, brushing the tip of a wing to hers thankfully. "Many thanks sister."
Hael turned out to be right; a few moments later Gabriel spotted a very familiar figure and the archangel froze, eyes wide.
The fledgling was balancing precariously at the very edge of a wispy cloud, peering over the edge curiously at the Earth below. Gabriel nearly had a heart attack as the little angel toppled forward, tiny wings flapping furiously and arms pin wheeling. Gabriel shot forward in a flurry of wings, managing to grab a fistful of gossamer tunic as he pulled Castiel back from the edge.
"What are you doing!" he tried to yell, but his voice came out more of a breathless squeak as he dragged his little brother away from the edge by an arm. "You almost fell!"
Gabriel had never had to deal with such a troublesome fledgling before. To be honest, he hadn't really dealt with any fledglings before. It had always been left to some of the other, lower-ranking angels like Laliah or Jophiel to keep an eye on the young ones, and for a good reason; archangels weren't exactly known for their amazing parenting skills. The Morningstar frequently just forgot that he was supposed to be watching them, Michael scared them with his booming voice and fiery wings, and Raphael….well she was terrible with kids. Last fledgling she had raised had been Zachariah, and everyone agreed that had been a huge mistake.
But Castiel was different; the last angel to be born.
Gabriel still remembered it; he had been talking with Anael at the time, in the hushed corridors of the library. Michael had nearly set fire to the place as he flew in, a whirlwind of anxious energy and impatience, sending pages of parchment fluttering through the air. A tiny little bundle had been roughly thrust into Gabriel's surprised arms, Michael's face thunderous.
"Raise him, Gabriel," his brother had grunted. "This is the last to be born, as Father has decreed. I entrust him to you."
No amount of protesting had done him any good, Michael had been adamant. It was nearly unheard of; an archangel playing wet nurse to a fledgling, but reluctantly Gabriel had obeyed. He didn't really understand it, but if it was Father's will, then so be it.
Sometimes he thought Father had a very sick sense of humor.
The little angel dropped his eyes, toes fidgeting at the cloud beneath them. Judging by the wobbling of that lower lip, Gabriel was going to have a crying Castiel on his hands in the next few minutes if he wasn't careful.
"M' curious. Wanna see."
Oh no, no not the look. Sure enough, the little seraph risked a glance upwards, eyes wide and just beginning to water.
Gabriel felt himself deflate, his wings sinking. He was such a sucker for the dejected look. It was the eyes. Castiel's grace was so very bright; it seemed to constantly be trying to escape, to force it's way out of his tiny body through the only window it could find; his eyes. It swirled there now, a beautiful cerulean blue. Gabriel sometimes joked that it was that color because Castiel stared at the Ocean too much.
The fledgling was obsessed with the idea of life in the Ocean. Gabriel had to fly him into the water to explore and chase fish at least once a day, if not more. Gabriel figured it didn't hurt anyone, and it wasn't like Plesiosaurs were around yet, so there wasn't anything too big that might eat the little runt. Yet.
"See what? You can't fly yet you little beast, you know that," he said more gently, large wings arching forward to brush against his charge comfortingly, reassuring himself the little seraph was ok.
Castiel's fluttered in response, tiny feathers touching Gabriel's long brown ones timidly. All fledglings had wings, but they couldn't fly until they saw their first millennium at least, sometimes even longer than that. Castiel's were still just baby down; eventually he would grow his flight feathers, and then he would start training with Saraphiel. Gabriel found himself looking forward to that; watching the little angel spread his tiny glossy black wings and take his first flight.
As hard as he tried to stay angry, it was impossible with Castiel. All in all, the little squirt was adorable, and Gabriel never managed to stay angry for very long. That's probably why Castiel got away with a lot more than the other older fledglings did. Gabriel was such a pushover.
Those little black wings flapped experimentally, and Castiel looked up at his brother, eyes shining, tantrum suddenly averted.
"Anael said…said fish is gonna come out f' the ocean. It's gonna walk. Wanna see it!" His wings drooped a little. "Can't see from'ere."
Gabriel smiled, ruffling his wings against Castiel's affectionately. "I'll take you to see it kiddo, if you stop running off."
Castiel grinned happily, slipping a tiny hand in Gabriel's and following the angel willingly. Gabriel retraced his frantic flight from earlier as Castiel skipped alongside.
"When?" he asked, little hand tightening in Gabriel's as they passed by the still bickering cupids. "When we gonna see fish?"
Gabriel stifled a sigh, shooting a smile down at the little seraph. "Soon, Castiel."
In the beginning Gabriel had tried to put Castiel in with the other fledglings under Anael's care, but the little seraph had just cried and cried until Gabriel, at his wits end, tucked the little one into his own nest, lined with soft wisps of cloud. He had promptly stopped crying at that, snuggling into Gabriel's arms happily and hugging the archangel's offered wing. Since then Gabriel had spent many nights with sticky feathers; unfortunately, as is the way of most young things, Castiel loved chewing on them.
Gabriel's nest was close to the other archangels', and as they neared, Raphael poked an irritable head out of her own, eyes narrowing as she noticed them approach.
An angel's nest is incredibly personal to the individual, taking the shape and form of whatever they so chose. Raphael had chosen a storm cloud to line her own; and it rumbled aggressively as she straightened, wings stretching irritably.
Raphael was testy even on a good day. Why she was considered the angel of healing and love was beyond Gabriel; yet another testament to Father's twisted sense of humor no doubt.
"Finally found the little monster?" she grumbled, eyes sharp as they landed on Castiel. The fledgling shrunk away from her, burying his face against Gabriel's leg as the archangel pulled him a little closer. He squeezed the small hand in his reassuringly, smiling over at his irritable sister.
"He just wanted to see the Ocean. No harm done!" he chirped cheerfully.
Raphael snorted, ivory wings shifting restlessly as she stretched. Thunder rumbled around her. How she could actually enjoy all that racket, let alone sleep in it, he'd never know.
"There's always harm done when Castiel is involved," she said snidely, her wings shivering slightly in quiet amusement at her own joke. Gabriel's eyes flashed, wings bristling with indignation as he stiffened. Castiel clung harder to his leg, little fingers digging bruises as he attempted to hide his whole being inside Gabriel.
"Just what are you-" Raphael cut him off with a wave of her hand, motioning him away with a bored expression.
"Save it Gabriel. Get the little terror back to the nest, Lucifer is on the tirade again."
As if to prove her right, a loud voice boomed across heaven; startling some other angels nearby, who's wings poofed in alarm, reaching some rather hilarious dimensions. Michael.
An answering rumble could be felt underfoot as the voice echoed away, accompanied by a sudden burst of lightning, and Gabriel rolled his eyes. Lucifer.
Castiel unglued himself long enough to peer around Gabriel's legs towards the noise, temporarily ignoring his fear of Raphael.
"Mornin'star wants to see the fish too?" he asked hopefully. Raphael guffawed loudly, and the seraph dove for cover behind Gabriel again.
"Oh isn't he just precious," she sneered, hooting with laughter at Gabriel's thunderous look.
Scowling angrily at the heartily amused Raphael, Gabriel turned, starting towards his own nest. Castiel refused to give up his death grip on his one leg though, and he ended up indignantly hobbling away as Raphael worked herself into a hysterical laughing fit.
Ushering Castiel into the nest, Gabriel was relieved to find all was quiet, Michael and Lucifer's arguing muffled. Gabriel gratefully sank down into the soft downy cloud, wriggling contentedly. Below them stretched the endless Ocean that Castiel was so obsessed over, above them a dark glittering sky with bright constellations. Gabriel had fashioned the nest so the fledgling could look at both safely without the danger of falling. Often Gabriel would lie on his back, Castiel a warm weight on his chest as they traced the stars and constellations together, safe in their nest.
Gabriel came back to himself as Castiel snuggled up against his side, little feet and hands cold against his skin, and the archangel affectionately crooked a wing around the tiny seraph.
"It was a nice thought kiddo. But I don't think Lucifer wants to see the fish today. He's busy."
Castiel shifted against him, little hand grabbing a fistful of feathers and rubbing his cheek against them. He had done it since he was born, and though it was uncomfortable, the fledgling seemed to take comfort from it, so Gabriel allowed it.
Pushover. That's all he was.
There was a sad sniffle, and Gabriel felt a slight wetness against his feathers. "He's always busy. Always arguing." Gabriel ran his hands down Castiel's back soothingly as the seraph hiccupped, sniffling slightly. "Don't like it."
Gabriel sighed, fingers smoothing down the soft baby down of the little angel's wings.
"No-one likes it," he murmured. "But they'll sort it out eventually. They always do."
Apparently comfort time was over; Castiel clambered into Gabriel's lap in a heavy heap of stubby limbs and feathers, winding him as little feet caught him in the stomach.
"Take me to see fish!" the seraph demanded, eyes determined and arms crossed. Gabriel managed to catch his breath again, shaking his head and chuckling.
"Stubborn aren't you? Not yet, Castiel. Why don't we go see what Balthazar and Uriel are up to huh?"
The two fledglings were only a few centuries older, the closest siblings Castiel had to his own age. Castiel crossed his arms with a pout, little nose scrunching up in distaste, and tears gone as quickly as they came.
"Don't wanna. Uriel called me a bad word."
Gabriel could imagine that. "Did he now? And what was that?" But Castiel merely pursed his lips, shaking his head stubbornly.
Gabriel snapped his fingers. "Hey, why don't we go find the Metatron? I bet he'll have some fun stories for us."
Castiel sighed in a rather dramatic way, falling forward to sullenly bury his face in his older brother's chest, muffling his voice. "He's loud."
It took all of Gabriel's willpower to not roll his eyes. "Well that's kinda the point…"
His only answer was the stubborn shake of a small head against his chest. There was just no pleasing this kid.
Thunder rumbled through heaven again, making even Gabriel's nest shudder, and Gabriel cast a worried glance outside. They were really at it today. Gabriel could hear the indignant squawking of Raphael as she was jostled in her own nest, and managed a secretive smile. Serves you right.
Castiel fingers were bordering on painful as they dug into his wings, the seraph's own trembling and quivering. Gabriel sighed heavily.
"Alright. Let's go see the fish," he gave in begrudgingly.
So Gabriel took him to see the stupid fish. Little brat nearly stepped on it.
Gabriel gazed out over the sunny plain, stretching his wings wide and enjoying the sun. A gentle breeze rustled the grasses, and the archangel stretched his wings wider; enjoying the caress against his feathers.
Castiel was nearby; crouched low to the ground studying something on a blade of grass. He was murmuring to it, and satisfied the fledgling wasn't in any immediate danger of getting into trouble, Gabriel let his gaze drift.
Anael was further out on the plain, russet wings folded primly against her back as she gestured towards a grazing herd nearby for the young ones in front of her. She was the closest to what heaven had to a schoolteacher, and taught the fledglings about the world, heaven and earth.
Well, the older ones at least; Castiel was still too young, and if he had to admit it, Gabriel kind of wanted to teach the fledgling those things himself.
A bored looking Balthazar stood by her side, eyes cast to the skies as Anael held firmly onto one arm, preventing the young angel from wandering off. Balthazar was known for sneaking off during lessons, often taking other fledglings with him and Gabriel knew it drove Anael crazy. Now and then the scholarly angel would say something to him and he'd roll his eyes, pointedly ignoring her.
Ah teenagers. Gabriel mused. Not looking forward to that stage with you Castiel.
A smaller angel broke off from the small gaggle of fledglings, picking a stick up off the ground. Gabriel snorted as he recognized the dappled grey wings that twitched and fluttered in barely repressed excitement. Virgil.
The little mischief maker started to prowl forward towards Anael; the female angel's attention having been distracted by a disagreement between Uriel and Rachel. It seemed the little female seraph had grown bored by the lesson as well; she was attempting to drag a very unwilling Uriel to see something hidden from Gabriel's view.
Sensing his time of victory was near; Virgil lunged forward with a battle cry, tapping Anael on one wing with his stick and startling her enough that she released her grip on Balthazar.
The two promptly took off into the grasses with whoops of pleasure; giggling madly and wings fluttering as Anael gave chase with an angry shout. Sensing their freedom as well, the other fledglings promptly scattered in all directions, and their squeals of happiness echoed over the plain. The sound startled a nearby herd of grazing Dinocerata, and the beasts stampeded away with irritable bleats.
Gabriel chuckled as several other angels struggled to get the fledglings under control. He should probably help but…this was just too fun.
Raphael was watching the proceedings with a scowl, as per usual. She was perched on higher ground, overlooking them all and keeping an eye out for danger. Zachariah lurked in her shadow, and she turned to him, murmuring something in a tone too low for Gabriel to hear. Solemnly the younger angel nodded, and then promptly re-appeared in the middle of the chaos. The fledglings weren't impressed with his barks for order, Rachel kicking him in the shin and another fledgling sticking a tongue out at him, much to Gabriel's joy.
Michael was no-where to be seen, but that wasn't unusual. The archangel didn't really understand fledglings very well, their boisterous energy too much for his strict solemn personality. Fledgling-watching duty was always handed to Gabriel, and he didn't mind too much; the little ones were fun, and made a nice change to the boring monotony that could be heaven.
The fledglings were still scattered and unruly when Lucifer landed in the middle of the plain, his wings a graceful blaze against the blue sky. Abandoning their play and exasperated keepers, all the young ones flocked to him with happy squeals, little wings flapping excitedly. With his easy charisma and natural beauty, Lucifer was a favorite of the young ones.
The archangel patted Uriel's head fondly, saying something to the adoring flock. Gabriel caught a glimpse of burnt sepia wings, and grimaced to himself. Great, the creeper has arrived…
Azazel followed the Morningstar closely, the older seraph quiet and sullen, ignoring his younger siblings as they milled around him. Gabriel had never really taken to Azazel. He was never very far from Lucifer's side, and never said much, he just…stared. A lot. It was creepy.
Anael returned, expression harassed and hair flying. In each hand she held the tip of a wing, and she shook the troublemakers sternly. Balthazar and Virgil squirmed, flapping their free wings defiantly, but quieting down as they noticed the Morningstar.
Anael nodded thankfully to Lucifer, shooing her now more subdued class back to their lesson. Lucifer watched them with an amused smile, before noticing Gabriel. He smiled softly, walking through the tall golden grasses towards his brother.
"Greetings Gabriel. It is good to see you."
Gabriel smiled back as his brother approached. It wasn't often Lucifer was seen around, especially without Michael. It was a nice change.
"Hello to you too. You're quite the celebrity round here I see."
The Morningstar paused a few yards away, eyes trained on Castiel, still playing in the grass.
"So it would seem," he murmured quietly.
Gabriel could see now, Castiel had caught a dragonfly. The young angel held the insect up towards the sun, beaming at it happily and oblivious to his audience. He cupped a small hand around it, leaning his face close to the resting insect.
"And when you get there, tell Father that. I think He'll want to know," he whispered.
Opening his hand wider, he blew gently on the emerald green dragonfly. Its iridescent wings shivered, and after a slight hesitation, it set off into the air with a thrumming buzz.
There was something unreadable in Lucifer's eyes as he watched the insect disappear into the blue sky.
"Tell him what Castiel?" The archangel asked, his wings twitching slightly.
The seraph froze, eyes widening as he noticed the archangel, and Gabriel had to suppress a smile. Poor Castiel. Like the other fledglings he adored Lucifer, but was too shy and in awe of the archangel to actually talk to him. Any times the two did interact, Castiel had just gawped in horrified awe before scuttling away to hide somewhere.
Gabriel took pity on him. "Castiel told the dragonfly to take a message to Father," Gabriel shifted his sun-warmed wings, sighing happily. "About how beautiful Earth is, right kiddo?"
In a blink, Castiel darted towards the safety of Gabriel's spread wings; curling under them and peering nervously out at Lucifer.
The Morningstar smiled at the shy youngster, but it didn't reach his eyes. It made Gabriel sit up a little straighter, the edges of his good mood dissolving into sharp shards of unease. Lucifer was up to something.
"You enjoying the day Castiel?" Azazel was staring at the seraph as well, eyes hard and intimidating. Luckily Castiel was too preoccupied with Lucifer to notice, but Gabriel did. His wings puffed slightly in warning, and noticing, Azazel dropped his gaze, staring at the ground instead.
Castiel was nodding shyly, still peering out from between Gabriel's long feathers, and Gabriel was suddenly seized with the ridiculous urge to hide him from view; to wrap his charge in his wings and just fly away. Away from Lucifer.
The Morningstar straightened, sharing a look with Azazel at his side as the archangel turned away.
"Better enjoy it while you can." Lucifer shook his head sadly, ignoring Gabriel's sharp look, and smirking at Azazel. "After all, mankind will destroy it all before long."
Azazel's wings shook with mirth as the two moved away; Gabriel glaring after them. I forgot how dickish you can be Luc. Problems with Michael again?
Small fingers were tugging on his wing, and Gabriel looked back down to find those huge blue eyes looking at him worriedly.
"What did he mean?" Castiel asked fearfully. "Mankind? Are they bad Gabriel?"
Gabriel shook his head, pulling the fledgling closer to him and chucking him gently under the chin.
"No, nothing like that. Lucifer was just…joking," Yeah right. "Something wonderful is coming Castiel. Something Father has planned for a very long time."
The little seraph cocked his head to the side curiously. "Mankind?"
Gabriel nodded. "Humans. Men. Women. Children. Creatures like us, but they won't have wings, or powers. Father's greatest creation."
The little angel smiled slyly, eyes sparkling with curiosity.
"Even greater than you?"
Gabriel knew that look. He had seen it mirrored back at him after Raphael had found her nest had been occupied by a family of extinct Pterodactyls that had no business being in heaven. Balthazar had been quick enough to get off the scene before being busted, but Castiel hadn't. Gabriel had tried to scold the unrepentant seraph under Raphael's furious gaze, but it was such a good prank he had mostly just wheezed and choked with repressed laughter instead.
That look meant Castiel was joking.
Gabriel laughed, grabbing the little angel and tickling his sides mercilessly. Castiel's peals of laughter drew the attention of some of the other angels, who shook their heads in disapproval, but Gabriel didn't care.
He wondered if it said something about him, that he seemed to be constantly losing his charge.
This time Gabriel found him in the garden. Joshua had simply jerked his head towards a large oak tree with a quiet and knowing smile, and Gabriel found the young seraph huddled beneath it, wings drawn around him like a protective cocoon.
Castiel didn't move at his approach, staring sullenly straight ahead, chin propped on his knees.
Gabriel settled down behind him, reaching his hand out to run his fingers soothingly through the long ebony flight feathers that had finally come through. They were a glorious inky black, and Gabriel groomed them gently as they sat there in silence. Finally Castiel shifted slightly, and Gabriel paused his grooming.
"They say I'm a freak," Castiel muttered, eyes watching a butterfly as it flapped its way past the two angels towards a flower.
Gabriel snorted, smoothing down the wings that had started to twitch in agitation under his hands.
"Who did? Uriel? You know he's just tying to get a rise out of you Castiel."
The young angel shook his head angrily, wings beginning to puff. "Everyone thinks so. They don't even have to say it."
"And what makes you think that?" Gabriel tugged a loose feather free, causing the young angel to jerk slightly. Apologetically he soothed the feathers back into place with gentle strokes.
Castiel sighed, his wings drooping. "We were studying the humans. There was this family….they just had a baby and it was all red and screaming. I was curious, so I asked if we came out like that too." He huffed angrily. "Micah yelled that I ask too many questions, asked me why I couldn't be like everyone else and just accept things. So I asked him why it's a bad thing to question things. He just got angrier. All the other angels never questioned God, why did I have to be so different? I told him the Morningstar asked questions too, so I can't be that different."
"And what did Micah say to that?" Gabriel could see it now, the old angel puffing up like an indignant hen, feathers bristling. Micah had always been a bit of a traditional type; easy to rile up. Gabriel should know, it had been most of his entertainment in his younger years. He'd have to have a word with the angel later.
Castiel shrugged sullenly, wing nearly jerking out of Gabriel's grasp. "He yelled that was the problem, that it was all Lucifer's fault heaven was in trouble, and God was gone and of course I would be on his side. That maybe I was to blame as well. Then he flew off in a huff. The others they just…stared at me."
The seraph turned his head, eyes searching Gabriel's own desperately. "What did he mean? What did I do? Is…is it my fault God doesn't talk to us anymore?"
Gabriel tried to calm the rage that threatened to overwhelm him. He would kick Micah back to the damn Cretaceous, make him wear a meat dress and dangle him in front of a T-Rex, for making Castiel think that.
Just because the old fool was freaking out didn't mean he had to take it out on the seraph.
Gabriel knew this day had been coming. Heaven had been uneasy for a while. An ominous tension had begun to seep through the angelic ranks, putting everyone on edge and tensions were running high. Unfortunately the culprits kept to themselves, leaving the rest of heaven to deal with the repercussions. What Gabriel wouldn't give to just slap a bit of sense into Michael and Lucifer.
Lucifer was angry; he hated the humans that were growing below on Earth. He hated that he had to serve them, grovel in the dirt at their feet. He was prideful, and stubborn and so very…well Lucifer. This wasn't even the first time this had happened, ok so maybe the humans were new, but Lucifer throwing a tantrum definitely wasn't. No big deal.
In fact Gabriel had seen Lucifer throw a very similar tantrum back in the day. Back when God had asked him to do something very similar to what was asked of him now; to love something.
In the beginning, God created the majority of angels, including the archangels. But there were only a few of them, and God decreed that more angels were needed, but he wasn't just going to poof them out of straight air anymore.
Technically, angels were genderless, but God introduced to them the concept of taking on an identity of their own choosing, male or female. Heck some liked to be both. Gabriel preferred taking on a male form most of the time, just because he got too distracted by his own breasts as a female and would never really get anything done.
Genders meant that now the angels could breed; in a sense at least. Fledglings were created by two angels molding small shards of grace together. God would then breathe life into that shape and voila; baby angel. It wasn't often done, it was a painful process and a lengthy one; fledglings took many, many years to mature, and most angels either weren't powerful enough to spare such a drain on their own grace, or just couldn't be bothered. Then there was the whole 'God has to approve to make it live' thing. Most angels didn't consider it worth the hassle.
It fell to the most powerful angels mostly to produce young ones when needed. Of course that meant the archangels. No-one really kept track of which fledgling was whose; after all, it wasn't so much as fathering an angel, as it was just donating a piece of you to make another sibling.
In fact, when Gabriel thought about it, all the younger angels were technically from one of the archangels, though they didn't know it. He thought back to the fledglings Castiel usually trained and studied with.
There was Uriel, stern, serious Uriel. He did have a sense of humor sometimes which could be misleading, but he was definitely one of Raphael's fledglings. Virgil, with his disciplined manners and skill with weapons, definitely Michael's. Little, loyal Rachel was probably Michael's as well. Balthazar, the lazy, snarky one, with a quick wit and sense of humor…well that one was definitely Gabriel's.
But Castiel? There was only one angel in all of heaven who could have produced a fledgling with such a bright grace and beautiful wings.
From the very beginning, the Morningstar didn't want fledglings. He didn't see why they were necessary; thinking that surely the number of angels in heaven were enough. Why should he sacrifice a part of himself to form something beneath him, then love it?
He and Michael constantly argued about it. But Lucifer eventually did obey, after a great deal of sulking.
He didn't produce many young ones, not like the other archangels had. Actually, Gabriel could only remember two others off the top of his head. There had been the whole disaster with Icarus; poor little thing had tumbled right out of the sky into a volcano when Lucifer hadn't been paying attention, and had never really been the same. Azazel had turned out marginally better, but Gabriel wouldn't exactly call it a success, that seraph gave him the heebie jeebies at the best of times.
Maybe it was for the best Castiel had been given to Gabriel to raise.
Castiel had been the last fledgling born, the last to feel the touch of God. God hadn't decreed any more fledglings to be born since Castiel's birth, in fact God hadn't really been heard from period.
Some angels believed it was Lucifer's fault. That it was because he was questioning, defying, and this was their punishment; an absence of God.
Now with Lucifer and Michael fighting again, forcing tensions even higher, angels were even beginning to blame Castiel for God's absence, which was ridiculous. Gabriel put those gossipers down as soon as he heard them crop up, but Micah had apparently slipped through.
So what that Castiel was the youngest angel in all of heaven, the last to be touched by God? That didn't mean his existence had driven God away. So what if he was opinionated, always questioning and wondering? Just because Lucifer was a bit of a douche, didn't mean Castiel was one too.
Tensions between Michael and Lucifer had been worsening for centuries, because they were both immature buttheads. They'd sort it out, they always did, they just had to be left to it; they'd done it before. The last thing heaven needed was to be blaming a young fledgling for something he had no part in.
It was bad enough Heaven had grown fearful of its prodigal son.
The leaves of the great tree rustled over head as Gabriel curled his dusky brown wings around his charge.
"Castiel. I'm going to tell you something and I want you to listen to me."
The seraph leant back into his embrace, nodding tightly. Gabriel breathed out slowly, pressing a chaste kiss to the bowed head in front of him.
"You are not a freak. You've done nothing wrong. Micah…well apart from being a massive jerk, is just scared. I think a lot of us are. So some of them look for an explanation for things, even if it doesn't make any sense and it's pretty stupid."
Those beautiful black wings were beginning to relax, and Gabriel combed them more firmly, kneading the tight muscles at the base of them.
"But what they forget is God doesn't make mistakes. You, and all of us, are just the way God made us and intended us to be. He intended for Lucifer to be a stubborn ass, for Michael to be a humorless stick in the mud, Raphael to be…well terrifying, and me to be damn handsome."
It had the desired effect, and Castiel chuckled slightly, shoulders relaxing. Gabriel wrapped his arms around him, hugging him. It had been many years since the seraph had been small enough to fit into his arms, and Gabriel felt a deep longing for those days again. Those simpler, and much more innocent, times.
"So you ignore crotchety old Micah. Cause that's just the way he's intended to be, and you're intended to be a curious little questioning weirdo." Gabriel grinned, mischievously giving Castiel's head an affectionate flick. "Have faith little brother."