The assembled angels waited quietly. With the obvious exception of Uriel, angels tended to be quiet and orderly. But the whole mass, an entire fleet’s worth, was milling about a little. The Archangel Michael stood in front of the crowd. Sour faced as ever, the heavy gold claws on his blue gloves clicking against his tablet as he scrolled through the document one last time.
Whispered conversations in anticipation of what was to happen drifted like smoke in still air across the field where they’d gathered. After all, it was entirely unprecedented.
Baby angels weren’t a thing that existed, not in Heaven or anywhere else in Creation.
Michael called his name. The Archangel Gabriel walked forward and held out his hands obediently. One moment there was nothing, and then he was holding a tiny baby swaddled in purest white cloth in his leather gloved hands.
Gabriel was transfixed. It seemed to him that nothing had ever felt so heavy and yet so incredibly fragile. The sleeping baby was all chubby round cheeks and warm-toned tan skin and little wisps of fine blue hair peeking out of the swaddling. Tiny nose, tiny lips, tiny eyes with infinitesimally fine blue eyelashes.
Michael cleared his throat impatiently.
“Ah! Uh. Eremiel.” Gabe stammered, head jerking up. “This child’s name is Eremiel.” Michael ticked something off on his tablet and gestured dismissively for Gabriel to move along.
Gabe barely breathed as he headed away from the assembled throng, feet automatically taking the path towards home. He could hardly drag his eyes away from the baby. Before long he sat down heavily on a roadside bench and settled the child carefully on his lap. He took his gloves off and stuffed them awkwardly in a pocket.
His bare fingers brushed delicately against Eremiel’s cheek and the baby blinked sleepy, brilliant green eyes at him. The baby smiled and Gabriel felt as though his heart would stop. A baby. He had a baby. A baby ANGEL. To raise and mold into a proud warrior. And it was wiggling, kind of a lot now actually.
Gabriel carefully loosened the swaddling cloth. Baby Eremiel flailed his tiny limbs at freedom and made happy gurgling noises. He had tiny cloven hooves. So tiny. Deep blue like his hair and perfectly smooth, completely unmarred by ever being walked on. Gabriel had never seen hooves so tiny and so perfect in his life.
Unexpected tears welled up in his eyes and he wiped at his cheeks with the back of his hand. Eremiel’s chubby little hands waved and grasped towards the movement with claws so tiny they were just chips of translucent material. With exaggerated caution Gabriel let the baby grasp his finger, claw curled delicately away from the child.
Eremiel laughed with joy, ineptly squeezing Gabriel’s finger. The baby’s tiny claws were like being stuck with pins.
Tears start to flow freely from his red eyes just as a scarlet claw clapped down on his shoulder.
“YO, Halo! Ya get your sprat already?” Uriel said. When Gabriel turned towards him Uriel’s shit eating grin turned to confusion.
“Look at his little hooves!” Gabriel’s voice was full of wonder and distress, tears streaming down his cheeks. “Itty bitty wittle hoofie woofities!” He cooed at the baby. Eremiel blew a spit bubble and kicked said hoofies.
“Uh…” Uriel muttered in shock. This wasn’t happening. Gabe wasn’t like this. Surely, a baby couldn’t have just broken his mind like this. Not in, what, like ten minutes?
“Look, look at the baby!” Gabriel carefully lifted the giggling Eremiel up from his lap to show Uriel and gasped. “Oh my gosh , his wings.” Tiny and useless and covered in fluffy white down, they weren’t even as long as one of Gabriel’s fingers. They stretched and flapped awkwardly like a newly hatched chick. The pure white down of the baby’s tail nub was a stark contrast against his warm tan skin.
“It’s the softest thing I’ve ever felt!” Gabriel was all but sobbing now. “You have to feel this!” Gabe stood and held the baby out, with incredible care to keep supporting all of him so it wasn’t actually very far from his body. Uriel warily ran the back of a finger along one tiny fluffy chicken wing. Gabriel didn’t seem to notice he hadn’t taken his gloves off.
“That’s real soft, alright.” Uriel agreed, hoping that would satisfy Gabriel’s unexpected mania.
“Do you want to hold him?” Gabriel asked hopefully and Uriel hoped his internal cringe wasn’t obvious. He had to think fast.
“Uh, no. That’s ok, I’m good.” Uriel responded. “You should probably be getting the little guy home, yeah? Babies need lots of… things. I assume.”
“Ah, you’re right. I’ve just a been a little… overwhelmed.” Gabriel seemed to take a step back towards normalcy and wiped at his bleary red rimmed eyes. “His name is Eremiel, by the way. Isn’t that right, Eremiel?” Eremiel made a burbling noise in response. “Yeah, we should get you home and get you some clothes, huh? And trim your little claws. And trim my claws…”
“Oh look, there’s Ramiel. I need to talk to him.” Uriel squinted into the distance theatrically. “See you later, good luck with the baby!” He was already jogging away. ‘I have got to tell Mike he fucking broke Gabe.’ He thought as he booked it straight out of Crazy Baby Town.
Gabriel waved goodbye. He didn’t see a hint of pink anywhere, but his vision was blurry from crying. He really did have a lot to do. He shifted the baby carefully in his arms and wrapped the swaddling cloth loosely. He was sure he’d never beheld something so small and so perfect before in his life.
Eremiel blew his first raspberry and laughed uproariously at his own ingenuity as Gabriel headed home.