Characters: Monica, Tess, and Jonathan
Rating: G
Warnings: none
Author's Note: I own nothing from the show "Touched by an Angel" nor am I affiliated with it in any shape or form. I'm making no profit off of my stories whatsoever. The character of Jonathan is of my own creation, however.
Summary: Monica and Tess arrive at a beautiful country farm to meet their new assignment whose identity surprises Monica.

'This is such a beautiful country!' remarked Monica as she stepped lively along the gravel road leading to a barn. 'As much as I love the city I still love being able to get away from it all to come to places like these!'

Tess smiled and took in the sights. Inhaling deeply, she said, 'My my it is definitely good to be here again!'

'Again?' Monica looked inquisitively at her, her curiosity rising in the case that they were going to be working on together. 'You've been here before?'

'Mmmhmm, a few times, but not as often as some others.' Tess grinned knowingly at Monica's puzzled frown. 'Don't you worry, Angel Girl, you'll soon know all that you need to know!'

Monica could only chuckle at Tess's words, for it wasn't likely that she would get any further answers, only discover them on her own. With each step in this country with its golden hills marking the gentle blue horizon and the apple orchard that lay just to the other side of the road that she had appeared on, Monica was beginning to feel at peace. The temperature was decent here, neither hot nor cold and the wind that blew only brought reassurance for what lay ahead. What it was would only be revealed when the time was right, this Monica had learnt many times, but she had every bit of confidence that God would see them all through it to complete His beautiful plan.

As Monica continued down the driveway that seemed so long, she looked to her right and saw a small yard covered with lush, green grass that was sheltered by the shade of a tall Black Cottonwood, a native to this land. It measured nearly forty metres in height that was topped with narrow branches that formed a tight cap at the top. Just beyond the two-story country home Monica spied a pair of these trees, just as tall and just as majestic as the first. Whoever lived here certainly loved trees, a thought that Monica confirmed the moment she stepped onto the concrete path and, glancing to her left, spied the forest composed entirely of apple trees.

But Monica wouldn't be going that far, for on the cement steps leading into the rustic home sat a man in a white, blue-striped shirt. Only his short brown hair could be seen for he had his head buried in his arms, which were wrapped around his knees. As Monica approached, she looked to Tess for a quick answer, but she only saw a gentle, compassionate smile resting on her lips. Who was this man? What was Monica's role to be in all of this? To help with the apples? To fix broken things? She searched the outer part of the home, looking for any sign of disrepair but she saw nothing of great importance. Her questions took her back to the man, who still hadn't stirred from the steps.

Smiling as kindly as she always did, Monica offered a friendly, 'Hello.,' that normally would have brought any human's head up, but the man's remained down. Knowing that not all cases were easy, Monica continued, 'This is quite a beautiful piece of land you've got here. Is there a name for it?'

'Sunnyside,' came a very quiet, soft voice.

Monica's smile deepened, rejoicing over this tiny success. She came nearer to him, hoping to draw him out once more. 'It is a lovely name, very fitting too!'

'Your voice,' said he, slowly lifting his head so only his brown eyes could be seen staring right at her in curiosity. 'Have you spent much time in the British Isles?'

Monica chuckled quietly. 'No, but I have been there.'

The man's eyes brightened and he put his chin on his arm. 'I spent most of my recent years there.'

The softness of his voice intrigued Monica, especially when she realised that the brogue was similar to hers, though still different. She found herself sinking down next to him and she asked, 'Where were you last?'

'The Isle of Skye, in Scotland,' he replied. 'That place was also a bit of Heaven as well. I do like this place though.' He searched her with his eyes, alert and curious, just like her. 'My name is Jonathan.'

'I'm Monica,' she replied gently, half-wondering if she should offer her hand but when Jonathan didn't offer his, she relented her own idea and just smiled at him. Monica wanted to know what she was doing there, but felt too embarrassed with Jonathan calmly staring at her to ask him. Why hadn't she been told yet what she was doing there?

'Aren't you going to say "hi" to me?' asked Tess as she came up to a stop in front of the steps. When Jonathan just smiled sheepishly at her, Tess only grinned and continued, 'Or have you forgotten your manners?'

'No, I haven't forgotten anything,' replied Jonathan as he rose from the steps to greet her. He went to her embrace, but hesitated and held out his hand instead. He still smiled, though it appeared to Monica that it was strained as though full of worry and doubt. Who was Jonathan and how had he met Tess before? And furthermore, Monica wondered, just what was she supposed to be doing?

Tess took his hand and held it firmly in hers, then took up his other hand and enclosed them in both of hers. She stared into his eyes, frowning heavily as she said, 'You may not have forgotten me but there are things that you have, haven't you Jonathan McCallister?'

The tone had not been severe but for Jonathan it might as well have been a slap to the face. He paled and his eyes moistened. Withdrawing from Tess's hold, he cringed like a wounded animal and retreated back up the stairs. Presently he ran his fingers through his hair and looked back at Monica with a look of forced cheerfulness.

'There's a bit of apple cider if you're interested in refreshments. I'd have made more, if only it weren't impossible…' Jonathan's words choked in his throat suddenly and his tears came down his cheeks. The last Monica heard him say was, '…alone…' before he disappeared inside.

Monica looked over at Tess, who frowned sadly at the opened door and asked in her worry, 'What just happened? Is he my assignment?'

'Yes,' replied Tess simply, though her voice was sad from the encounter.

'Well, how do you know him? Why is he so sad?'

'I know him because I've helped him along, just as I have helped you.'

'Just as you've helped me?' Monica looked into the house, hoping to catch a glimpse of Jonathan but couldn't even hear him moving in the home. She turned her attention back to Tess. 'Who is he?'

'Before I answer that, it's time you should know where we're at.' Tess helped Monica up and then moved with her into the home. 'Have you ever had a vacation?'

'Me? Not in years!' Monica shrugged and said, 'And the last one I had was at home. It was lovely too. It was nice to be back there!'

'Well for some angels, their vacation isn't at home, but elsewhere.'

Monica stared curiously at Tess, hardly able to understand what she was being told. 'Are we on vacation?'

'No, we're both working,' replied Tess. She looked up ceiling where they both could hear the soft sounds of sobbing. 'But at the moment, he's not.'

'He's on vacation? But if this place is for…' Monica gave a start and looked back at her friend in shock. 'Tess, do you mean he's an angel too?'

'He is,' she replied. 'But why he's so sad? Only the Lord knows, and because we haven't been told why, you can rest assure that this is what your assignment is. Think of yourself as being an angel's angel.'

Monica tried to smile but it faltered. She couldn't honestly say that she felt prepared for trying to help an angel who was hurting so much over something she had to discover on her own. At least she had her friend to help her though, Monica thought with a smile, then proceeded into the kitchen.