A/N: This is a collab between my friend and I. I don't know if she has an ffnet account, but her tumblr username is theproblemwithindecision. I do have her expressed permission to post up this collaborated fanfiction, as long as credit is given where credit is due.

On that note, this chapter is written by her. With the exception of bonus chapters, we take turns writing chapters.

Please enjoy, and review. :)

Words: 504

It had taken months upon months after the discovery of the ring to build the place of comfort.

His initial thoughts were that being lost was horrible. When he found the flowers, though, he thought the garden was beautiful enough for it to even out in the end.

It was the kind of place Matthew's brother had once told him God had made especially for people like him, people like Mrs. Grimes, people who got lost in the woods. People who wanted to be lost.

The weightlessness of the metal in his hand and the way it reflected light, the way it absolutely glowed under the minimal light of the early spring fog… The flowers, the quiet, the way the thunder rolled and rumbled in a way that always sounded far away. There was something about the garden in which he had found the ring.

There was something peaceful and beautiful about the field of flowers that had the kind of diversity that called for the term garden. There was something natural about digging up that ring when he saw that mound of freshly upturned soil. And when he felt the whip of wind that was kicked up by the big, beautiful, grey wings of something off in the distance, Matthew held onto that ring like it was his. He fell back and stared, watched as shadowy figure retreated and then returned. He watched quietly as something crept up and poked its head out from behind a tree.

He was certain —he was sure that he had died.

When he had read Death in the Woods for school, he had imagined it just the way it had unfolded before him. He had imagined the shape of the clearing, the density of the forest surrounding him. He had thought of what that place Mrs. Grimes had been turned into a thing of beauty in, and of what it might look like in later years, in days when the dogs grew hungry and went to mourn, in days that the sun blazed and beat upon the ground, in days when thunder storms were just far enough to give that garden a feeling of calm, even when the panic of impending death should taint the air with the smell of ozone and fear.

The first time he saw the angel, he was certain he had died.

His name was Francis. He spoke with an accent. His wings were grey, and large, and beautiful. He was quiet, and careful, and undoubtedly the sight of heaven itself.

It had taken months upon months after the discovery of the ring to build the place of comfort, and it had taken him days in a daze to come to terms with just how alive he was, but it had happened. And the first time Francis smiled at Matthew, after months of the two of them constructing their home of comfort and flowers, Matthew gave a breathless chuckle and nervously offered Francis the reminder of his status, nervously offered him a ring.