“The fall takes no time and forever.”
~ Courtney Summers
There is a single place in Heaven known as The Garden. It is a place of purity and light. Of raw beauty like nothing else. A place with a history as bright as those that access it. It burns brighter than Lucifer’s wings and warms those who enter to the very core of their being. The Garden is a place of joy, a place where angels are brought into being. It’s also the core of Heaven, the place that’s rumored to be the start of Creation.
It was in the center of The Garden that Heaven changed. At The First Tree, where the angels were born, that Debriel the Archangel changed all of Heaven. It was where Debriel broke a binding on Heaven that had plagued the angels for thousands of years. It was at The First Tree that he reopened Heaven to the Souls of angels. It was there that Heaven was saved by an Archangel.
The First Tree had been quiet for around two years. Until it wasn’t. For the first time in two years things changed. The First Tree shuddered as two small balls of glowing light tumbled into existence.
Two new fledglings waited to be retrieved.
Dean relaxed his wings as Elizabeth carded her fingers delicately through feathers.
“You know they are waiting for us.” She reminded him without any real desire to join the group gathered in Ash's heaven.
“They can wait longer. The dead don’t need to celebrate birthdays.”
“You celebrate mine.” Elizabeth teased softly as she finished her task of evening his feathers out.
“Yours is far more important than anyone else.”
“I think your brothers would be inclined to disagree.”
“Luci only cares about Lilith and Mikey only cares about Fergus'.”
“And Mae only cares about Castiel.” The distaste was strong in her voice.
Dean sighed heavily, turning his head to meet her gaze. “Liz.”
“I know you liked Castiel but everyone in Heaven has heard the stories.”
“He’s redeeming himself.” Dean defended weakly. At least that was the story. Some had doubts. In truth no matter what Castiel did, his Soul remained Damned. What Azazel had done to him as a baby and the things he had done following it had left him corrupt and if he was honest with himself it was why he went out of his way to keep Mae away from him.
“But at what cost, Deborah?” She asked seriously and he flinched at the use of the name he’d given her when they first met.
“All of us have our crosses to bear, Liz. I know you don’t like him but I fucked him over.”
“You don’t owe him anything. He did what he chose to.” Dean sighed heavily, dissipating his wings and rising to his feet.
“I owe him more than most.”
Dean offered his hand which Liz took, rising delicately to her feet.
“Do you know who all will be there?” Liz asked.
“Ash, Cas, Ellen, Jo, Balthazar, Terra and John, Dalara will probably come with Lilly and Ion. Mae refused to miss it since Cas’ll be there.”
Liz nodded solemnly and leaned into his side as they made their way through the heavens to Ash's where a crowd of dead Hunters were gathered to celebrate Jo’s birthday. It was a ridiculous thing that the group at The Roadhouse insisted on doing. If it wasn’t for the group of Hunters Dean wouldn’t bother, the only reason he did was because of Artemis’ memory.
Of course he’d been right, everyone he’d told Elizabeth would be there was there, everyone except Balthazar and Cas. Cas’ absence was troubling. Of all the people that he expected to miss this Cas was the most logical to assume because unlike the other 'party' guests he was alive and had earthly responsibilities. However, with his place as the advocate for Hunters in Heaven it was a bit off that he wasn’t there. Unsurprisingly Mae flew over to him almost immediately, the youngest Archangel’s red and black wings twitching.
“Is he with you?”
“Does it look like he is?” Still, Mae peeked past him as though she expected Cas to come out of nowhere. It took all his willpower not to lash out at him. Mae wasn’t stupid, just untrusting.
“He is in Heaven. I assumed he would be with you.” Samael said, feathers ruffling slightly with distinct annoyance.
Cas was in Heaven? Dean frowned at this piece of information. Cas was in Heaven. Mae’s calm demeanor confirmed he wasn’t dead, not that Cas dying would send him to Heaven, but if Cas was in Heaven, where was he?
“Dean.” His gaze flicked up to see Jo standing there with a disappointed look on her face. “Where’s Bal?”
“Probably off gettin' ya seventy-two virgins t' share.” Jo scowled over her shoulder as Dalara walked over to them.
“Ya might not remember it darlin' but I know all y'ur dirty lil secrets.”
Dean shook his head as Jo flushed. “Can I talk t' ya for a sec, Dean?” Dean frowned at Dalara. They were far from on good terms. In fact, he hated the woman. It was still a miracle in itself that she was able to enter Heaven, with her Soul being half demon. Dean had expected her to go to Hell after Sam mistakenly killed her, maybe even Purgatory. Not Heaven. Never in a million years would he have guessed that.
‘You’ll want to hear this.’ The half-demon added in a prayer and he nodded reluctantly at the sincerity in her tone.
“I’ll be back Liz.” Liz frowned at him but nodded as he kissed the top of her head. A couple seconds later he spread his wings and flew, drawing Dalara’s corrupt Soul with him. After they touched down in her heaven her Soul shivered and she glanced east.
Only demons could do that, shift an aspect of their Soul to keep their emotions masked.
“I got a real good feelin' earlier. Somethin’ bad's about t' happen.”
“What are you? Carrie Underwood?”
Dalara snorted. “How did ya recognize that? Don’t ya listen to classic rock?”
“I saved her from a demon deal when she was a teen. Why do you think she’s a good Christian? You’re getting off track, Dal. Are you fucking with me?”
“At the risk of soundin' like an idiot, my demon's singin’ like no tomorrow. Somethin’ bad’s comin' and she’s thrilled. Somethin’ good too. I ain’t sure what but I got this crazy feelin' earlier. Crazy good. Go to The Garden. I know ya don’t like me but trust me here.”
Something tugged at his Grace at the mention of The Garden and with reluctance he realized she was right. Trusting her in this wouldn’t do any harm and worst case he was a minutes later to the pointless birthday party.
Dalara’s Soul flashed with gratitude before it vanished and she nodded. “Alright. Good. I’m headin' back. After y’ur done in The Garden, find Cas and tell ‘im t' get his lazy ass t' the party.”
Dean ignored her as he took flight across Heaven until he landed at the edge of The Garden. The area was alive with fledgling energy and Dean rushed through to the center only to be stopped by Balthazar.
He bristled slightly, glaring at the weaker angel that had been among the resurrected after the Apocalypse. Apparently Lucifer had killed him. “You should’ve told someone.”
“I know, but just listen for a second before you go all mighty Archangel on me.”
“Crowley’s here.” He said suddenly when he caught sight of amber wings flexing around the side of the trunk of The First Tree.
“There’s two. They didn’t need you, though.”
Dean stared at Balthazar, disbelieving. “That’s not possible.”
Dean ignored Balthazar and shoved his way past him, rounding the tree to see two fledglings wrapped up together under the tree. One hauntingly familiar, an angel he never thought he’d see again. An angel that Crowley had killed. That Michael had killed, claiming that there was no other option.
The second was almost insignificant, almost nothing compared to the sight of his baby brother. The brother that had lost the one thing he held dear to save the world. The angel next to him might’ve been just another cherub if it wasn’t for the glimpse he caught of something wound into its Grace, buried under the combined pile of wings, one set silver blue, one set small and golden.
The second angel had a Soul. A human Soul, impossibly wound into cherub Grace.
They were both gone. Had been for years now. Except the sight of familiar Grace and Soul said otherwise.
Sam was alive.
Gabriel was alive and… a cherub.
What the hell?