Tim looked up in surprise when he suddenly heard everyone in the office laughing and when he found the source; he couldn't help but stare with wide eyes.
Gareth had walked into work...wearing clown makeup.
His face had been painted completely white and over this had been added large red circles on each cheek. With blue paint there was painted a smile on his lips that stretched out wide into the red circles on his cheeks.
He was not wearing a clown outfit, which made it seem funnier as he walked in wearing his usual suit and tie.
Gareth refused to indicate that there was anything wrong with the way he looked and he promptly sat down at his desk and started to work on his computer.
He closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath as Tim suddenly burst into laughter next to him.
"Don't…" Gareth said softly.
"What the hell are you wearing, Gareth?!" Tim laughed. "Did you lose a bet or something?"
Gareth was silent, staring at his computer screen to try and avoid this whole conversation.
"Is your mum coming over and you want her to feel welcome?" Tim snickered.
Gareth gave Tim a deadly glare for that one.
"Don't make fun of me mum!" he ordered, narrowing his eyes.
The threat fell on deaf ears however and Tim merely laughed at the angry clown faced Gareth.
"Did you get a second job working at children's parties then?"
"For your information I have to do something directly after work and I won't have time to get the make-up done beforehand!" Gareth snapped. "Now drop it or I'll fire you!"
"You can't fire me."
"Yes, I can! I'm team leader!"
"Team Leader don't mean anything, Gareth!"
Clenching his jaw Gareth turned back to his work, typing away furiously on his computer.
At the end of the work day Gareth got up and left as soon as possible, which was odd behavior since he was usually the last one to leave.
Tim frowned slightly and his curiosity begged him to satisfy it by seeing what Gareth was doing after work.
He followed after Gareth at a distance and slipped into his own car as Gareth got into his Triumph TR3.
When Gareth pulled out and left the parking lot, Tim waited a few minutes to get some distance between them before he then followed after him.
"What are you up to, Gareth?" he muttered to himself, frowning slightly as Gareth led him away from Chasers and any of the apartment buildings. Instead he led him to a children's hospital.
Tim parked away from where Gareth had parked and he waited for Gareth to head for the building before he then followed, making sure that he was far enough away to avoid being noticed.
As he walked, Gareth took off his gray suit jacket, revealing that he was wearing a bright maroon shirt underneath. Instead of a belt he had bright green suspenders on to hold up his pants, the straps painted awkwardly; as if a child or a group of children had painted them for him.
Tim frowned slightly at this change of wardrobe and he held back as Gareth walked up to the reception desk.
The woman looked up and smiled at him and Tim watched as the two of them talked as if they were old friends before Gareth then walked off with a wave.
He hesitated for a moment before he then went to follow after him.
"Excuse me? Sir?"
Tim stopped and turned back to the receptionist with a faint smile.
"I'm with Gareth Keenan?" he offered. She frowned for a moment as she looked him over.
"He's been coming here for two years now…He's never needed an assistant before." She pointed out.
Tim blanched as he tried to think of something to say, surprised by this revelation.
"I suppose he's decided to change things up a bit." She said for him and she calmly pointed down the hallway.
"He's down in the terminal ward today." She explained. Tim smiled and he nodded as he waved to her.
He headed down there at once, still confused about this whole thing.
Gareth had been going to a children's hospital for two years? Dressed as a weird clown? For a moment Tim thought back to all of the asshole things Gareth had done in the past and for some reason it just wouldn't add up right in his head.
He stopped once he reached the doorway, and all he could do was stare in awe at what was going on inside.
Gareth was standing in the middle of a group of children, with a few of them too sick to leave their bed on either side of the bedroom. All of them wore smiles on their faces as they greeted him happily, calling him Mr. Keenan all the while.
Gareth laughed as he spread his arms out and spun in a circle for a moment, "magically" causing a long multi-colored scarf to appear in each hand.
"Right! Who knows the magic word to make these two scarves turn into something else?" he asked, cocking a questioning eyebrow as he looked down at them.
"Hocus Pocus!" all of the children chorused at once and Gareth took the scarves and pressed them together into his hands before suddenly letting go again; causing a rainbow colored bird to fly from his hands.
"You're all a bunch of magicians!" he laughed. "I must have been flipping mad to come here with my tricks!"
No better said then done, Gareth suddenly performed a back flip over the children, landing easily on his feet.
Tim smiled despite himself and he watched as Gareth performed magic tricks, physical stunts that he thought was beyond the thin man, and made the children laugh with his jokes.
Gareth was so busy that he did not notice Tim standing in the doorway watching the whole thing.
Tim looked around at all of the children and he then frowned as he saw one little girl in bed not smiling at all during Gareth's antics.
Tim frowned for a moment as he watched her merely looking down at the ground and without thinking about it he walked over and sat down beside her, placing an arm around her shoulders.
"What's the matter?" he asked. "He's not funny to you?"
The little girl shrugged and Tim smiled.
"Well, he's funny looking to me!" he tried, and made the girl's lip twitch in a faint almost smile.
Tim looked down at her and he then frowned, looking at her ear intently.
The little girl noticed this and she looked at him with a questioning look on her face.
"What is it?" she asked.
"You've got something in your ear…" Tim said, and he then went and seemed to reach into it. "Look at that!" he announced, taking out a coin it.
"You've got coins in your blooming head!"
She laughed then in surprise despite herself and that's when the other children and Gareth realized that there was someone else in the room.
Gareth's face fell when he saw Tim in the room and if not for the white make-up covering his face, it would have been seen that his face grew pale at the idea of Tim making fun of him in front of all of these children. He then started to think about what would happen at work when Tim told everyone and his hands started to shake.
Tim only looked at him with a smile and slowly Gareth's nerves started to relax as he realized that Tim wasn't there to make his life hell, and he let out a sigh of relief just as the children started to swarm around Tim; asking him who he was and what he was doing here.
"Oh him?" Gareth said, thinking quick as he put on a smile. "That's me cousin Tim!" He then leaned down, speaking in a loud whisper.
"He's the weird one in the family…Dresses up in suits and acts like he's important all the time!"
This caused the children to giggle and Tim smiled as he went along with it.
"At least Aunty likes me best!" he countered, sticking his tongue out playfully.
Gareth snorted and waved a hand in the air as he rolled his eyes, causing the children to laugh harder at the two's antics.
For the rest of their time there; Gareth and Tim worked together to entertain the children. They playfully insulted each other, did small magic tricks, and at one point painted the children's faces before it was time for the children to settle down for bedtime.
"Will you and your cousin come back again, Mr. Keenan?" one little boy with leukemia asked.
Gareth looked over at Tim for a moment before he then turned back to the boy and nodded.
"Of course we will, mate! You can bet on that!"
They left the hospital in silence, Gareth's heart still racing badly from the shock of Tim suddenly showing up. He slowly ran a hand down the side of his face, making the makeup smear.
"I suppose you and the others are going to go and have a laugh about me at Chasers then?" he asked, looking down at the ground sadly.
"Why would I do that?" Tim asked, cocking an eyebrow.
Gareth shrugged and sighed as he looked down at the ground.
"So why do you do this anyway?" Tim asked.
"Well…I know it's hard to believe but I used to be sickly myself when I was a child." Gareth said.
Tim stared at the hideously thin and naturally pale man, and he bit his tongue from saying anything.
"I spent a lot of time in the hospital…and I wanted to make children like them have something to look forward to, aye? They don't really have anything else except for doctors and death, you know?"
Tim smiled and he nodded.
"Tell me when you're going again." He said. He smiled when Gareth looked at him in surprise and he then shrugged. "We made those kids a promise to come together remember?"
Gareth smiled shyly and he nodded at this.
The next day at work, Gareth was greeted by laughter from the others, and his cheeks burned with embarrassment as he saw that someone had put a ceramic clown on his desk.
His hands started to shake again as he just stood there, taking the laughter as he stared down at the mocking gift on his desk.
"Oy! All of you need to just piss off and leave him alone!"
The entire office went quiet and Gareth turned and looked in surprise as Tim suddenly walked in and stormed over to his desk, snatching up the clown and holding it into the air.
"All right! Who did this?!" he demanded. "Who thought that this was funny?"
"Well I don't think it's funny making fun of Gareth anymore! And if anyone else tries to start anything I'll bloody smack the spit from your mouth!"
With a sweep of his hand he hurled the clown into the garbage, filling the room with the sound of shattering porcelain before he then wrapped an arm around a still shocked Gareth's shoulders.
"Gareth is me mate! And if anyone else tries to make fun of him then you'll have to deal with ME! Understand?"
Slowly confused nods were given all around and Tim nodded as he gave Gareth a pat on his shoulder.
"Good." With that he went to his desk and started to work.
Gareth looked at the man for a moment in awe, and slowly a smile came to his lips before he then sat down at his own desk and started to work.
"Gareth, can I borrow your stapler?" Tim asked.
Gareth looked up and for a moment there was hesitation before he then smiled and nodded handing his stapler over.