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Getting to Know Q

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                The first thing Gabriel noticed after Lucifer killed him was that he was not, in fact, dead.

                The second thing he noticed was that he wasn’t in his own reality anymore. He did a quick check of himself to make sure that his Grace and vessel were both in good condition, and was relieved to find that they were. The soul of his vessel was gone, but the man had been sleeping for thousands of years anyway, living in a sort of interim Heaven Gabriel had made for him (sending the man to the actual Heaven had seemed too dangerous, since it could give away his identity). Still, it was strange to feel the emptiness there where he’d been.

                Gabriel shrugged. He’d get over it.

                Honestly, he was more concerned with the fact that he was not dead, although he was definitely pleased with that turn of events. If he had to guess, he’d say his Father had brought him back to life, which brought up a mixture of feelings he wasn’t sure he wanted to deal with right now.

                Instead, he decided to check out this new reality. It seemed to be running several hundred years faster than the one he was used to, but there was no sign of an Apocalypse here. Gabriel had no idea if that was because the Apocalypse had been averted or because it had never even been on the table.

                He reached out with his Grace until he found the subdimension that, in his own reality, would have housed Heaven. He didn’t know for sure if that was what it was here, of course, but he had to find out. If he was honest with himself, he was drawn to the idea that this world could have a version of his home where he’d be welcomed. He stretched his wings, revelling in the fact that they were still there and that he was not dead, and flew.

                “Well, this sure ain’t Heaven.”

                Gabriel didn’t know what this place was, but one look at it and its occupants made it abundantly clear that it was not his home. There were beings here, but they weren’t angels. Most of them seemed to be made of consciousness and energy, and their forms were hazier than an angel’s True Form would be.

                “Don’t tell them that,” one of the beings said, turning to face Gabriel. Like the others, his form was hazy, but Gabriel could also see the impression of one particular form – a male humanoid – underneath, as though it was frequently assumed. His consciousness was energetic and curious, rather than calm and almost bored, like most of his brethren.

                Gabriel thought he liked him.

                “In that case,” he said, “maybe we should go somewhere else, and you can tell me what it actually is.”

                The being considered him for a moment, then gave the impression of a shrug and sent off a burst of affirmation. “Sure, why not? I’m bored anyway.” He didn’t exactly have facial features here, but Gabriel could have sworn he pouted. “Sisko hit me”

                “…Okay then,” Gabriel said. “I’m Gabriel, by the way.” He usually didn’t give out his real name the first time he met people, but since Heaven didn’t exist in this world, he thought it was fairly safe.

                “Q,” the strange being responded. “So is everyone else here, but I’m the most interesting.”

                Gabriel smirked. “I’m sure.”

***

                A short flight and a long discussion later, Gabriel was finally up-to-date on the workings of this reality. He and Q were both fully capable of telepathically explaining everything, but Q liked to talk, and Gabriel didn’t have anything pressing to get to. He’d done what he could for the Winchesters – surely the fact that he’d been resurrected in a different reality was a sign to stay out of the Apocalypse kerfuffle for the time being.

                “And now that I’ve explained the mysteries of the universe,” Q said dramatically (he said everything dramatically), “It’s your turn to talk. How did you find the continuum? Why don’t I know who you are? I’m supposed to be omnipotent.”

                Gabriel laughed. “I guess your omnipotence doesn’t extend outside your own reality.”

                Q’s features, now that he had them – he’d assumed the form Gabriel had seen imprinted on him in the Continuum – widened in surprise.

                “Really? How marvellous” he exclaimed. “Think of all the people out there I could visit. The Continuum won’t be pleased to find out that there’s something they don’t know or have power over.” He smirked. “I can’t wait to tell them.”

                Gabriel grinned at him. From what he could tell, the Continuum didn’t actually interfere much in the workings of their universe, so he wasn’t really concerned about their impact on any of the others, even if they eventually spread to them.

                For the next ten minutes, he recounted the important details of his own reality – the existence of angels and demons and pagan gods, the current Apocalypse, and most importantly, his own antics as a Trickster. Q seemed to appreciate the stories, interrupting every once in a while to ask for details about a particular trick or to give advice or suggestions.

                Some of them weren’t half bad, too.

                By the time he’d finished his story, Gabriel had an idea.

                “You know,” he started, “I bet we could get up to great fun here together if we put our minds to it.”

                Q considered for precisely 0.23 seconds before his face lit up in mischievous glee. “I like your thinking, monsieur angel,” – for some reason, Q refused to use Gabriel’s name, preferring instead nicknames and French, which he claimed reminded him of a good friend – “I think we could do great things together.”

***

                The first place they visited was a ship in what Q said was known as the Alpha Quadrant to the people who lived there. It was named “Enterprise” and Gabriel thought from the excitement in Q’s face that he probably knew the people there.

                Of course, even if he’d missed the facial expressions, he would have caught on by the time they arrived and were greeted with, “What do you want this time, Q?” said at the same time by no less than four people on the bridge of the ship.

                “Why Jean-Luc, I’m hurt!” Q exclaimed, faking a pout. “I just wanted to introduce you to a new friend of mine.”

                Gabriel grinned at them. “Hello,” he drawled, “I’m visiting from a different dimension, thought I’d visit you guys for kicks.”

                Gabriel wasn’t used to this – popping in and announcing that he was something supernatural without people flipping out over it – but he thought he enjoyed it. He got the amusing facial expressions without any of the staking. The Winchesters could learn from these people – talk first, stake later. Those things may not kill him, but they hurt.

                The man Q had addressed as “Jean-Luc” sighed, and looked about 200% done with the whole conversation already. “Don’t you have anyone else to go bother, Q?” he asked.

                Q made a show of pretending to think about it, then shook his head. “Nope. No one nearly as much fun as you, Picard.”

                Picard didn’t look particularly surprised by this information, and instead turned his attention to the rest of the crew, who were watching the exchange with varying levels of irritation and amusement.

                “You may return to your duties,” he said, and the crew immediately shifted back to their consoles, although Gabriel definitely caught a few glancing at them from the corners of their eyes.

                Turning back to Q and Gabriel, he said firmly, “Since there is little I can do to make you leave, I have no choice but to let you remain on my ship. However, I expect you to treat my ship and crew with respect, both of you.” He fixed a glare on Q. “I will not have you tormenting my crew.”

                “Who, me?” Q said innocently. “I wouldn’t dream of it, Jean-Luc.”

                Picard looked at Gabriel next, the same expression clear in his eyes. Gabriel raised his hands in mock-surrender. “Hey, I only go after those who deserve it. If your crew members are good people, we won’t have anything to worry about.”

                Of course, Gabriel highly doubted that the entire crew was good people, but he certainly wasn’t going to tell Picard that. As long as he didn’t kill or permanently injure someone, he was going to call it fair game – as long as they deserved it, of course. Save for a few misguided attempts at helping the Winchesters, he prided himself on only pranking people who truly had it coming.

***

                “Well, that was fun,” Gabriel commented as he and Q appeared on an empty moon somewhere in the Beta Quadrant. “Although I think that ensign may have taken your comments a bit personally.”

                “I don’t know why he didn’t like me,” Q protested, “I was just doing what he asked.”

                Gabriel smirked, remembering the incident. One ensign in the engineering department was foolish enough to wish out loud that they were a Maravellian dragon, since they didn’t have to do ten hours of calibrations. Q and Gabriel had decided to grant the young ensign his wish, and he had been surprisingly ungrateful. They’d turned him back, of course – although not without watching in amusement as the rest of the crew tried to figure out what to do with a sulking dragon.

                “So, now what?” Gabriel asked. “Any other crews who will welcome our company?”

                Q smiled at the sarcasm. “Well there was this one space station, but the captain hit me.”

                Gabriel thought about it. “What if you pretended to be someone else? We could play tons of pranks that way, and they’d never have to know it was you.”

                Q smirked at him, “There is a wonderfully amusing doctor there, and a flamboyantly mysterious Cardassian tailor,” Q said. “I’m sure we could find lots to keep them busy.

                “I’m sure,” Gabriel said smiling. “Where is it?”

                Q told him.

                Gabriel snapped his fingers, and they flew off.

                This was going to be fun.