Michael raised himself, for the most part. He taught himself to fly, and when he broke two wings on the first try, he mended them himself. He figured out the basics of life by himself through trial and error and pain. For decades – no, centuries – he thought he was the only one of his kind, destined to rule over a now barren and deserted planet and to reside in an empty Heaven.
Then Lucifer came along, and Michael swore to himself that he’d raise his little brother with love and affection. When Lucifer learned to fly, he didn’t break any wings because Michael was there to guide him and hold him up while he got used to the feel of air currents against his feathers. Michael taught him everything he needed to know about life, so that Lucifer didn’t have to go through the agony of finding out everything the hard way as he had.
When Raphael was born, Michael didn’t let Lucifer help raise him because he didn’t want his little brother to know what it was like to take care of a child at such a young age. As Raphael grew, Michael couldn’t help the spark of resentment that began to burn within him. When Raphael no longer needed to be cared for, Michael felt burnt out and bitter.
Michael was done raising children by the time Gabriel came along, so he left his youngest brother in Lucifer’s care.
Then the littler angels began to pop up throughout Heaven. They were weaker, and looked up to the Archangels for guidance and support. Michael wanted no part in their upbringing, and at that point, neither did Lucifer.
Raphael saw to the raising of most of the angels, and Michael watched as he grew colder as the number of charges in his care grew exponentially. Gabriel took care of a few of the angels as well, about a hundred or so that he insisted were special. Unlike his older siblings, Gabriel never tired of caring for their younger siblings, and never grew weary or bitter.
Later, Michael would reflect that his first mistake was choosing to raise Lucifer. He should have let the younger angel suffer, as he had, so that he would stay as obedient and unquestioning as Michael had. He’d realized his mistake as soon as the fighting began between himself and his favorite younger brother.
His second mistake was letting Lucifer raise Gabriel. He’d realized that several days after he’d thrown Lucifer down to Earth when he returned to Heaven and Gabriel was gone.
His third mistake was letting Gabriel raise his own ‘special’ breed of angels. He should have insisted that Raphael take care of them all, or better yet, have done it himself. He didn’t realize his folly until the first of Gabriel’s former charges rose up and rebelled against the Apocalypse, and didn’t fully realize the extent of his error until Gabriel himself returned to join the ragtag group of would-be Apocalypse-preventers.
Sometimes Michael thought he’d made a mistake with Raphael, too. Sometimes he thought he should have loved him more. Sometimes he thought that he should have helped him with the baby angels so that he wouldn’t have become as bitter or as hopeless. And when Raphael ordered the Apocalypse, Michael thought that perhaps he’d made his greatest and indeed his only mistake in the form of Raphael.
It didn’t really matter what his mistakes were, though, he thought as he took in the sight of the blue sky above him for the last time. He’d pay for them now. He was falling – not from Heaven, not to Earth, but down in the deepest, darkest reaches of Hell – inside a fragile human body alongside the first of his many mistakes trapped inside a human that had ensured that he would be making his last error very soon. He could escape, could jump out of his vessel and make a frenzied leap for freedom, but he didn’t, and that, Michael reflected as the Earth swallowed them and forever ensured that the blue sky above was out of reach, was his last mistake.