[She’s patiently waiting on Tzuriel to let her into a building when she hears someone call him. She whips around to look at who this someone is, just in time to see the a taller angel scoop the smaller one in a massive embrace. Her hand moves to cover her mouth, as she earnestly attempts to hold back her small laughter.]
This must be one of those “friends” you mentioned earlier, Tzuriel.
Yes, this is Elisheba, he’s one of the captains…
And who is your friend?
[The taller angel lets Tzuriel go. While he doesn’t hug Liviya, he does shake her hand warmly.]
[“Bumps” such as being tortured, she thought. But looking around this Heaven, she could understand how he thought everything that happened was worth it - to get to here. She secretly hoped one day her Heaven could work through its bumps and be more peaceful, like this one.]
So, about seeing those garrisons? I must see proof that this peaceful Heaven of yours can still maintain a decent army. [There was a hint of teasing in her tone. She hadn’t joked in ages, literally. It was almost as if she were gradually becoming more comfortable here than in her own Heaven. This Heaven lacked the fearful atmosphere, frightened obedience, which often haunted the Heaven she knew.]
Of course. This way.
[There’s a cluster of buildings not too far away with a more military look to them. He’s about to let her into one when someone calls Tzuriel’s name. Before he can react, he’s scooped up in a bear hug by a much taller, blond angel.]
Elisheba… [Tzuriel laughs, sounding a bit embarrassed.] Hello…
[She looks at Tzuriel as he speaks and his words are reassuring. As they make their way out of the library, she turns her attention to the angels moving about and talking. It is all very peaceful and very strange. So different from what she’s used to, what she grew up with. It’s fascinating to see Heaven in working order without the use of violence. She nods as he directs her on where they’re going next, though her attention is still fully on the other angels going about their day.]
You are blessed to live in this timeline, Tzuriel.
I know. [He smiles] There have been some bumps in the road, but it’s been worth it in the end.
[She panics slightly as she sees two angels come into sight, but it subsides as she notices they seem indifferent to her presence.]
Of course. …And they don’t mind me being here? [She keeps her eyes on the two angels.]
No, they don’t. This is your home as well, sister. Remember that.
[Outside the library, things are equally busy. Angels walking to and fro, some reading from tablets, others talking in circles over maps and scrolls. A few seem to be speaking about nothing special, just the weather and this or that thing that happened on earth. Others are talking about more serious things, movements of demons and places where a bit of divine intervention might be helpful. All in all, it’s very calm, very peaceful.]
I would like to visit the garrisons. They still have leaders here, yes?
[He realizes he’s neglected to tell her that technically he is one of those leaders. But that can wait. As they exit the library, a few angels walk past. They look like scribes of some sort, too busy with re-organizing the still disorganized sections of the library to notice the two of them.] Things are still being re-built in some parts of heaven…
He has a big brother instinct like whoa if you’re a younger angel he’s just going to be like “hi what do you need what can I do for you”
He’s the same way with human kids.
Really spending time with fledglings is his absolute favorite thing to do, he doesn’t even mind being asked fifty thousand “why” questions or being climbed on, he just really likes kids.
He can come across as zealous or harsh sometimes (his first reaction to Lady being pregnant was to confirm that the child was Aziraphale’s, for instance), but once he warms up to you that diminishes and he’s more understanding.
He’s working on his anti-demon prejudice but it’s still a thing.
Once he considers you a friend he will do basically anything for you.
He’s secretly a bit jealous of Aziraphale for having a normal life, and seriously awed by the concept of families and having children and being in love.
He’s also kind of a dork sometimes but shhh he doesn’t like to talk about it.))
[She looks across the room at him, a laugh of disbelief slips from her mouth.]
If I were you, I’d make time.
[She’s smiling as she turns her attention back to the books lining the rows in front of her.]
There’s so many. It’s almost overwhelming. Back home I own five books. Between you and I, I’m not entirely sure I’m even suppose to possess those. A few were gifts from the humans I’d watched over during my brief visits to Earth.
Hold onto those. The humans are good storytellers. [He offers her his hand.] Come on, there’s more.
In the beginning, there were angels, but not all the angels were made at once. Tzuriel was one of the later angels; when Lucifer fell, he was still a child, too young to truly understand what was happening.
[His smile eases her uneasiness a bit and she follows his backwards glance. She wonders briefly who, exactly, this Aziraphale is and why Tzuriel is going to be killed for this, but those thoughts are soon forgotten as they enter… what must be this world’s Heaven.]
[She takes in the huge, book-filled room with awe. Her hand slowly slips from his as she makes her way over to one of the numerous shelves of books. She…thinks her Heaven has a library. She’s not sure. She’s never actually been in it. Never needed to.]
This… is amazing, Tzuriel!
[Her eyes are lit up. There’s so many books. Where would one even begin?]
The Library. [He looks around with a smile on his face.] I used to come here all the time when I was younger. I never have the time anymore.
[She’s entirely unsure of this and a hint of it shows across her face, but she wants to see if it’s true. If there can really exist an orderly, peaceful Heaven, without archangels and without the harsh methods which hers employed. She nods.]
Alright then. Thank you, Tzuriel.
[He smiles again, but glances back in the direction they came from.] Aziraphale’s going to kill me for this, but…off we go.
[There’s the flutter of wings and suddenly they’re somewhere else entirely. It definitely isn’t Earth. It looks like a rather large library.]
[She watches him, not liking the bitter smile that has formed on his face.]
The Voice? I’m sorry… I’m not sure to whom you are referring. And Michael has helped my Heaven. He led it. He was brave and strong and a good leader. He kept us together and safe.
[Her expression turns into mild horror as he recounts what Raphael has supposedly done to him and the scars she can feel on his grace serve as evidence to back up his claim. She wants to pull her hand away. The pain he must had went through to bear those. Angels aren’t known to be emotional, but she can almost swear it breaks her heart and suddenly she can feel her vessel’s eyes becoming misty.]
[Her voice is a mousy whisper when she speaks and she looks down] I am sorry that happened to you.
[She looks back at him] …Is it possible for me to see your Heaven… for myself?
[She has no idea what to do with this. A part of her would very much like to run off and hide and pretend she hadn’t heard or felt any of this. She had always looked up to the archangels, excluding Lucifer, of course. Michael was a strong leader before he was unable to do so anymore and Raphael… his very name meant healing. Liviya had never met him, personally, but it was hard to imagine an archangel, whom she always revered, doing such things. At least, without good reason. But as she looks at the angel who has been nothing but kind and helpful to her, she simply cannot imagine him deserving the things he’s described.]
[He pulls her hand away from his chest, hiding the evidence of his ordeal, but still keeps it clasped gently between his own.]
You seem kind, Tzuriel. I am sure you mean well, brother. But you can’t expect me to believe that everything I’ve been taught since my creation is wrong, that the archangels were wrong. I know better than to doubt Heaven’s ways, even if I may not always understand them. We’re enduring pain and misery currently, but we will have peace someday. It’s written. However, peace cannot come about unless there is order. My Heaven’s ways may seem harsh, but they’ve kept order.
[He smiles, bitterly.]
Of the archangels, only one has helped Heaven in any respect, and that is the Voice. Michael has not been seen for years, Lucifer is still locked away, Gabriel had the good sense to leave millennium ago, and as for Raphael…
[The smile fades. Even saying the name makes him want to cringe.]
He carved and butchered us in the name of order. Look.. [He takes her hand, rests it on his chest. There are scars on his grace, as though he’d been eviscerated.] This is what he did in the name of order.
As far as I can tell, the archangels do not know what is best for heaven any more than an ant knows what is best for London. My heaven has order, my heaven has peace, and we accomplished it through understanding. Through words rather than violence. And we did it without the archangels, without direct orders from Father. We remain an army, yes, but as a preventative measure. We do not seek war, and it is better this way.
[Her tone stays almost even as she speaks, not rising. If anything, it quiets.]
How can you say that? At least in my world, it was war out there and we were soldiers in training. Heaven needed us to prepared, to grow strong enough to protect our Home. We didn’t have the luxury of being children. We had to sacrifice our personal comfort for the greater good, for the fate of Heaven.
[As she speaks the last few sentences, there’s conviction in her voice. Conviction drilled into her practically from the moment she came to be.]
[He can’t be angry with her, because he would have said the same thing not too long before.]
And what has this plan won your heaven, exactly? Pain. Pain and misery. My heaven was not so different long ago, and it opened my eyes. The way we were, it was wrong. We were wrong.
Most likely. On the plus side, Heaven is much more peaceful here.
[She perked up, slightly, at that. She had no evidence what he said was true, but she wanted to believe it. A peaceful Heaven has been a wish of hers for years. Even when Michael was in power, peaceful couldn’t exactly describe her Home.]
What’s it like, besides peaceful?
Well, we’ve been looking after the planet, trying to keep things calm. It’s all still a bit military, but not as bad as it used to be.
Okay. Tzuriel. I just have one pressing question, which I’m compelled to ask. Why would I be walking down a road, when I could simply fly? It’d be much faster and therefore obviously the much more logically sound means of travel.
…it’s a…thought experiment, an example, it’s not meant to be…never mind.
[She thinks, “Who’s “Lady”? as she kneels down beside him on the asphalt. She looks at him, with a slightly curious expression, before turning her attention to the diagram he’s drawing on the ground.]
I always thought time was more… of a straight line - one timeline, which you could only go forward or back on.
Not quite, not entirely. [He pauses, summons up a second color of chalk.] Say this is you, and you’re walking down a road. [He draws a single line.] You have to decide if you’re going to go right or left. Say you decide to go right. [He keeps drawing the line.] But what you don’t realize is that every choice you could have made creates a new timeline. In this case, one where you go left. [He draws a new line in the second color of chalk, branching off from the other line.] Now, this new line isn’t accessible to you, you can only move along the string of your own choices, your own paths. But out there, in the grander cosmic scheme, every choice has been made, every option tried. Some people can move between these lines at will, though it’s very rare. Sometimes people cross them by accident. I believe that’s what happened to you.
[Gives him a “you have got to be kidding me” look.]
Okay, I was wrong. This just got a lot more confusing.
This makes so much more sense when Lady explains it…uhm… [He summons up a piece of chalk, kneels on the asphalt, and starts making a diagram.] See, time it’s a strict progression of one action to the next, it’s more like… [He pauses.] Like the branches of a tree.
Proceed. I doubt this situation can get much more confusing.
This…isn’t the world you know. My heaven is not the heaven you know. You are from a different…I can never remember if the right word is timeline or dimension, but the point is, here, none of what you described has happened. Here, Lucifer is still in the Cage, Heaven is still open to us, and things are doing well, shockingly enough.
It went how it was supposed to go, how it was written. The seals were broken and Lucifer was freed. At least, that part went as planned. At the end, Michael left us to go fight Lucifer and… he never came back. Our home was a mess without him, or any of the other archangels. [Her tone was somber.]
….Except… there did seem to be some tension. I don’t know much about Heaven’s top secret affairs, but there was a bit of an “off vibe”, now that I think about it. I think I overheard someone say the Winchesters were trying to seal Hell forever and Castiel was rebelling.
[She rubs her temples] I think I’m getting a headache. I don’t guess this makes any more sense to you than it does me? I apologize I don’t have more detail to give.
It’s all right.
[He stops to think for a moment.] Answer me this, the plan to open the Cage and start the apocalypse…how did that go?
[She looks at him skeptically with an eyebrow slightly quirked, but proceeds to do as she’s told.]
…Well, I don’t know much, honestly. It was just a normal day. I was carrying out my duties, along with the rest of our siblings, and then next thing I know I’m… falling. Like I’d been cast out. But I didn’t do anything to deserve it, I promise! After I fell, I noticed the sky was lit up with falling angels. All of Heaven. …I can still hear our siblings talking sometimes. I’ve heard rumors one of our own is to blame. An angel named Castiel.
I’ve been wandering on Earth alone since that night.
[He makes a face.] That’s…interesting. Very strange. [He finally stops when he feels like they’re a safer distance from the house.] What else has happened in heaven? Before everyone Fell?
[She keeps her small smile until he asks her if she’s all right. She’s neither smiling nor frowning as she thinks over her reply. How does one answer that? Physically, she’s fine. Angels are pretty resilient. But she has this feeling inside that she’s not fine. Nothing’s fine. Everyone’s locked out of Home. She puts on a brave face and nods once]
Yes, thank you, Tzuriel. I only scraped my wings. I’ll recover. Angels are made to be fast healers, after all. What about yourself? [Clearly concerned.]
[The wound on his neck has progressed to the point where he doesn’t need a bandage any more. But he’s taken to wearing a scarf to cover the wound, which still formed a pink line across the side of his neck.]
I had a run-in with some demons, but I am well otherwise.
[As he turns all smiles, she slowly starts to smile. It’s the first time she’s done that in a very long time. She doesn’t recognize him either, but she can tell by the grace that he’s family. And family’s good.]
Likewise. I guess I never realized how big this planet is until I started searching for other angels.
It’s alarming, I know. [He shakes her hand warmly.] I’m sorry, I don’t know your name…I’m Tzuriel.