Rescued by Love

Early the next morning, before anybody else was up, Kevin awoke from a deep and troubled sleep and felt cold sweat pouring down his forehead. Shaking his tousled brown head and rubbing his eyes, the young angel glanced over at his alarm clock and sighed as he saw the time: 6:00am. Not knowing why, Kevin felt a sense of urging in his stomach to get up and although his body wanted to sleep some more, he got up out of bed and slipped on a pair of socks and pulled a t-shirt over his head before heading for the door and out into the hallway.

As he glanced around him, his eyes traveled over to where Monica's bedroom was and then to Andrew's room right next door. Glancing down at the floor, and not seeing any light coming through as he figured the Irish angel was still asleep, Kevin headed for the door and put his hand on the knob. For some unknown reason, he knew he had to enter and with a deep breath, the youngest angel pushed open the door and poked his head inside, expecting Monica to be fast asleep.

But what he saw instead took his breath away and he had to force himself not to scream. Turning towards the light and switching it on quickly, he glanced around the room and the only thing he saw on the bed was a note on the pillow and the bed was made as if it hadn't even been slept in. Rushing towards the envelope and looking at the name on the front, Kevin felt tears running from his eyes. The simple wording on the front read, "To Andrew".

"No Cupcake, no," He whispered to himself as he shook his head,

"Don't do this, kiddo, please." Knowing he had little time to waste, he bolted into Andrew's bedroom,

"Andrew, wake up!"

The older angel jumped at the sound of Kevin's urgent voice as he immediately sat up in bed, trying to rid the sleep from his mind,

"Kev, what on earth…?"

"Monica's gone, Simba…her bed hasn't been slept in and this was on the pillow," Tearfully the younger angel handed the sealed envelope to the one that it was addressed to.

"What do you mean, 'she's gone', Kevin?" Andrew uttered taking the envelope from him,

"She isn't strong enough to go anywhere anytime soon."

"Maybe she just went for a walk or something," Kevin offered though he had a terrible feeling that was not the case as he watched his friend and supervisor tear open the envelope with shaking hands.

As he watched the older angel's tired green eyes skim through the letter, Kevin felt his stomach churning as he saw looks of horror appear on Andrew's face and as he was finishing up, he didn't miss the hot tears soon streaming down his face,

"Andrew...?" He whispered, wringing his hands in fear.

"No, Angel Girl..." Andrew uttered, jumping from his bed and running past his friend to the Irish angel's room. As he shoved open the door and looked around, but not seeing anything, Andrew entered the bedroom and pulled open the closet door. His best friend's backpack was gone, along with several pairs of clothes, along with her favorite pajamas; turning around and looking up on the shelf to where she had kept the angel bear during the course of the time they had been at the Sullivan's, Andrew's heart leapt into his throat as he realized that, too, was gone from sight.

"This isn't happening," He whispered aloud to himself,

"Baby girl, why didn't you come and talk to me?"

"Andrew? Where is she?" Kevin pleaded, feeling helpless and confused as to what had become of his Irish tongued friend.

"She could be anywhere, Kevin," He whispered through tears as he thrust the letter at his younger charge.

Taking the letter from his friend's hand, Kevin felt tears escaping his own eyes as he read over his co-worker's distraught words,

"She's walking away?" Kevin cried out, looking up at Andrew,

"Will the Father provide for her, Andrew? What is going to happen to her?"

"I don't know, Kevin!" Andrew snapped, before lowering his voice,

"I don't know…"

Under different circumstances, Kevin would have been taken aback by his friend's tone, but the youngest angel knew where it was coming from and he was silent as he watched Andrew slump down onto Monica's bed and put his head in his hands. All was silent in the room for several moments before a knock sounded on the door and a sleepy looking Brady and Tess appeared in the doorway,

"We heard some noises in here..." The human uttered tiredly, rubbing at his eyes,

"What's going on? And where's Monica?"

Glancing up at Kevin, Andrew wiped at his eyes before he turned around and faced his two friends, his pained green eyes meeting Tess'. The blonde angel watched, unable to find his voice, as his supervisor came over to where he and Kevin where, and took a seat next to him,

"Angel Boy? Where's Monica?" She repeated, her voice now holding fear.

Kevin handed the letter over to the older angel, deciding to let Monica explain it as neither he nor Andrew seemed to have the words right now. Fresh tears escaped his eyes as Tess read the letter aloud for Brady's sake, the usually composed older angel now having tears streaking her cheeks as she finished reading,

"Oh that sweet baby," Tess whispered, wrapping her arm around Andrew's shaking shoulders.

"She shouldn't be out there," Brady muttered aloud, his own features distressed,

"She isn't well enough or strong enough to be out there and if she is on foot, she won't last long…"

"You don't know Cupcake," Kevin whispered miserably,

"She ran lap after lap for that coach, Brady, and I don't know where the energy came from other than the fact that she is stubborn…"

Andrew let out a laugh that was very close to a sob,

"She is so stubborn," He whispered, covering his face with his hands.

"Yes, and you saw what all of that did to her, buddy," Brady replied, coming over to where Kevin stood and looked down at the two older angels,

"She should not be out there alone...Can any of you think of where she could have gone?"

"At first, I would of thought she would have gone to the cabin or the beach house," Tess softly replied through her tears as she tightened her arm around Andrew and pulled him close until his head was resting on her shoulder,

"But from what the letter says, it appears that little Angel Girl has gone some place where she doesn't want anybody to find her..."

"Specifically me," Andrew whispered, shutting his green eyes tightly.

"Baby," Tess countered softly,

"You were the only one she left a note for and that speaks volumes of her love for you. She just isn't feeling worthy of that love right now, not yours, not the Father's and not her friend's. Though she does think she relies on you too heavily, Andrew, and thinks that is her downfall."

"I never should have said that," Kevin whispered miserably,

"I didn't even mean it and I though she knew that-."

"Mon' takes everything her friends say to heart, Kev," Andrew replied shakily,

"Believe me, I know this firsthand as I've hurt her with my words many times before, though nothing like this time though…"

Once again, silence filled the room as each angel and human where thinking their own thoughts, before Brady broke it and spoke quietly,

"Why don't we all just go on back to bed, and by the time we're all up we can think of where to look for that little angel..."

"I hate having to leave her alone like this..." Andrew uttered tearfully, gazing up at his friends.

"There's nothing you can do about it right now, baby," Tess stated after Kevin and Brady had gone back to their own rooms, leaving the two remaining angels alone,

"It's been a hectic week for all of us, and you wouldn't be able to concentrate if you don't get some more sleep before you head off to look for her."

"Tess, I can't sleep knowing she is out there somewhere. She is still recovering and is still so weak. For all we know, she could have collapsed somewhere! What if she stops eating again; either to return to that behavior or because she is not being provided for because she walked away? And the weather is changing-it's getting cooler outside every day and she's out there alone, feeling unworthy of any better right now," He shook his head tearfully,

"I love her so much…but are they right? Have I let her rely on me too much? Would it be best for me to give her this time? But then, how can I when she isn't all right physically?"

Tess sighed sadly as she wrapped her arms him once more,

"You two have been given a special gift by the Father, baby; a beautiful gift of friendship. I don't think it is so much that she relies on you too much, but more of the fact that you two have had your share of trust issues with each other. If she is relying on you too heavily, it is because she doesn't trust herself and needs your positive reinforcement. On the other hand, negative attention from you, hurts her deeply, but you don't need me to tell you that."

Andrew shook his head no as he leaned his head against his older friend's shoulder and tried to let out deep breaths, but found them to be shaky. Finally finding his voice again, the younger blonde angel spoke quietly,

"No, you don't...and I wanted to help her so badly last night, and I still do. I just wish that I could take all that I said these past few months back; I wish I could just go back to the day of the party and change everything..."

"But you can't, Angel Boy," Tess whispered into his ear, running her fingers through his tangled blonde locks,

"None of us can change what has happened, but you can change the future, baby. And you can do that starting tomorrow, after you try and get some sleep. Although your Angel Girl thinks that she doesn't deserve the Father's Love right now, He's still with her and He will never leave her alone."

Andrew nodded his head sadly, as Tess slowly pulled away and kissed his cheek before she left him alone in the room. Looking around him, he closed his eyes briefly and whispered, hoping all the while that she could feel him in her heart,

"Angel Girl, I want to help you, sweetheart and I'm not going to stop looking until I find you. You may have given up on yourself, but I have not given up on you for one minute and the sooner you accept that, the sooner we can move forward. I love you, Monica and I'm not giving up."

Chapter 1

By the time the sun had risen over the mountains, the weak and weary little Irish angel had all but collapsed against the base of a tree. She was too tired to cry and still too confused to even think about turning back. She had somehow made it to the mountains, but was far too tired to go any further at the moment as she shivered in the early morning air.

Monica had heard Andrew trying to communicate with her earlier, but though it hurt terribly, she had not responded. She had known he would look for her, but she also knew he would never think she had gotten as far away as she had in the last 9 hours. She had felt his pain when he had read her note, so she had forced herself to walk faster, trying to escape what she knew he was feeling.

She knew she had made a critical error in not packing anything to eat, but she assured herself that she and Andrew had survived in human form in the woods before and she could again if need be. She also knew that she could ask the Father for help, but she felt far too ashamed to communicate with her Creator.

Forcing herself to take deep breaths and continue onwards, Monica ran a hand through her tangled, dirty auburn hair and pushed herself up to her feet again. Lifting her backpack onto her thin shoulders, she closed her saddened brown eyes and although her legs and feet hurt from all of the walking she was doing, pushed herself onwards.

As the human angel reached the base of the mountain, she stopped again and slumped down onto her knees in exhaustion. Sweat was pouring from her brow, and with a shaky hand, reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out a ponytail holder to yank her hair back out of her face. Before she rose to her feet again to try and make it up the mountain, she heard the familiar voice of her best friend once again speak to her heart and she nearly sobbed at the mere sound of his voice.

"Please, Angel Girl...where are you? Why won't you answer me?"

Hearing the pleading and tears in his voice, she left out a strangled sob and without thinking, allowed herself to respond,

"Because it's better this way, Andrew. You don't need me as the burden I am, having to wonder on every case if I'm going to manage to kill my assignment. If I allow you to find me, it will just be the same all over again…I'd rely on you, something would go wrong, and I'd fail. It's my shortcoming, my friend, not yours. You know that there may be times when we disagree or argue, but I can't seem to deal with it and I need to figure that out."

As she finished, she lowered her head and wept bitter tears; for herself, for Andrew, for Kathy, as she curled up into a ball on the ground, feeling cold and alone. She may have stayed there and cried herself to sleep, had a voice not broken into her tears; a voice that sent shivers up and down her spine.

"Well, well, well, what have we here? Angel on the brink?"

Forcing herself to turn around, although her heart was racing with fear, Monica shakily turned around and rose to her feet. As she faced the demon that used to be her caseworker so many long years ago, the Irish angel once again forced back tears as she refused to release them in front of Denise. Unpleasant memories flashed through her mind as she recalled the last time Denise had been involved in their lives; it was the time not long after Philip had stolen her innocence, and he and her former caseworker had kidnapped Andrew, beating him senseless. She had not been face to face with her during that time, but she remembered when Adam had come to her, keeping her informed on their friend's condition, and the little Irish angel felt anger rushing through her human body towards the demon.

"Denise..." She whispered wearily, clenching and unclenching her fists.

Crossing her arms in front of her chest, Denise regarded the angel in front of her and smirked,

"Hello, sugar. Where's your Andrew? Has he been a bad boy again?"

Narrowing her swollen brown eyes at Denise, Monica hissed,

"What are you doing here, Denise? Why don't you just leave me alone-"

"Oh, Angel Girl, I'm not the ONLY one here. I've got some company, you know?" Shooting a wink at the Irish angel, Denise glanced over her shoulder and then watched as Monica's frightened brown eyes traveled to another figure stepping out from nowhere.

"Brianna," Monica whispered, knowing now that Brianna, the angel who had caused so much trouble so many years ago, had turned away.

"That's right, Monica, the one and only," Brianna gushed with a smile,

"I know how much you've missed me."

"Yeah, like a toothache," The Irish angel muttered, knowing it was not very angelic of her, but a part of her was not surprised that Brianna had fallen.

Denise laughed, having heard the remark,

"Well, it seems as if my former supervisor might be closer to coming along with us then we ever dreamed. Nothing like an angel throwing insults to make my day!"

Backing away from the two demons, Monica then felt herself run into a tree behind her and she stared at the two who used to be angels,

"Why are you here now, of all days? When will you leave me and Andrew in peace?"

"Oh, you'll never be in peace as long as we're around," Denise smirked,

"And neither will your Angel Boy-"

"You leave him alone!" The Irish angel snapped, the very thought of either of these...things...harming her dearest friend making her want to throw up again.

"Well, that all depends on you, honey," Denise purred as she took a few steps closer to Monica,

"You see, we are in the market for a fallen angel, and you are about as close as it gets right now, having walked away…"

"Not to mention having killed 3 assignments," Brianna added shaking her head sadly,

"Poor Kathy never had a chance with you assigned to her, Monica. You are, after all, far too emotional and self destructive to handle your assignments anymore. I mean, had you just handled yourself better, that poor girl would be alive and well right now."

Monica sucked in a sharp breath at the former angel's words and she had to force herself to not raise a hand to strike Brianna across the face. Instead, she took a step closer to her and hissed,

"Shut up."

"You know, all those years ago, I would have been crying my eyes out if you told those words to me. But now, they're music to my ears, baby girl," The blonde haired demon smirked as she stepped closer to the Irish angel and reached a hand out to grab the collar of her jacket,

"And you know that if you ever say them again, I could beat you to a pulp! It's my daily activity, so I'd be having a ball, you know?"

Anger quickly welling up inside of her, not just for the two demons in front of her, but for everything that had gone so wrong in her existence the last few months, Monica met her fiery brown eyes with those of Brianna,

"And what makes you think I am afraid of you?"

Denise all but doubled over in laughter as she leaned up against a tree,

"Oh, this is gonna be good," She chuckled as she kept one eye on the twosome, while she stooped to pick up the backpack that was lying on the ground,

"Monica, you are acting so un-angelic," She retorted as she pulled out of the bag a white stuffed bear with wings.

As she saw the demon who used to be her friend yank the bear out of her backpack, Monica wrenched away from Brianna's hold and lunged towards her,

"Get your hands off of him!"

But before she could come any further, she felt the sharp fingernails of Brianna yank her arm and throw her to the ground. As she toppled over, the already weakened Irish angel groaned as she tried to get up, but felt herself being pushed back down,

"Not nice to give orders, Miss Wings," She heard the blonde demon hiss,

"But you may want to watch what our dear Denise has in mind for your little teddy bear here." Shooting a wink at her co-worker, Brianna chuckled as she finished off,

"Aren't you a little too old to play with toys, Monica?"

The Irish angel watched in horror, as Denise's fingers seemed to grow talons that slashed the angel bear into pieces, leaving it as nothing more than stuffing and small patches of soft fur that flew in all directions. Torn between grief and rage, Monica found the strength to get to her feet as she lunged with a cry at Denise, only to feel the talons tearing across her back. Screaming in pain, her knees buckled under her as painful tears stung in her eyes. Looking up, she found herself at eye level with Brianna once more.

"What were you saying about not being afraid of me, Monica?" The demon taunted.

"Please...Brianna..." Monica whimpered, now feeling completely helpless and vulnerable for the first time since she came face to face with the two demons,

"Brianna, no..."

"Brianna, no," The demon mimicked, leaning her head back and howling with laughter,

"I'm a dark angel, Monica, remember? I don't have to play nice anymore; and that means that I don't have to be nice with our little friend Andrew when he comes to look for you. If we could do something as stupid as destroy an angel bear, then wait and see what we can do to an angel."

"You could always choose to come with us, Monica," Denise offered nonchalantly, glancing over at the angel and seeing the great pain she was in already,

"That could save your beloved soul mate and besides, you're almost as good as fallen as it is. Why not just take that last step?"

"I'll never be what you are!" Monica cried out in a combination of anger and physical pain,

"Never! I may have made mistakes, but this is one I will not make, not even for Andrew as he would never expect me to!"

"Are you sure about this, little angel?" Brianna scowled as she rose to her feet and delivered a hard kick into the Irish angel's ribs. Hearing a scream rise from Monica, the demon looked over her shoulder at Denise and watching her nod her head, she turned back to the whimpering angel in front of her,

"I didn't think so."

"Andrew, I want to come with you," Kevin pleaded that morning as his friend and supervisor was just finishing up getting ready to go and search for Monica,

"You know that I want to help Cupcake in any way I can, so why can't I come with you?"

"Kevin, if she's in trouble, I don't want you to get hurt as well," Andrew replied, shrugging into his black leather jacket and letting out a sigh,

"Please understand, Kev. It's not that I don't want you to help look for her...but I just have a bad feeling that something else is up, and if something happened to you too, I'd never forgive myself."

"You don't have to be responsible for me, Andrew, but I am partially responsible for her leaving as I made that stupid comment that night. I'm worried to death about her and now you want me to sit here and worry about both of you," Kevin countered, wishing he could change Andrew's mind.

"Kev, I know you want to help her, I know. But what I still need for you to do is to concentrate on Coach Slade. That man needs a revelation like no other I have ever seen and I'm counting on you to take care of that before anyone else gets hurt, okay?" Andrew replied as he threw some food, blankets and first aide supplies into a box, in the event that he need them.

"But Andrew-" Kevin tried to protest, but his supervisor gently interrupted him as he placed his hands on his shoulders.

"Kev, please just listen to me this time, all right?" The oldest angel firmly insisted, looking straight into his charge's pleading brown eyes,

"I'm not the only one requesting this of you, but the Father is also. He wants you to stay here; will you please do this?"

Silence passed between the two angels before Kevin reluctantly sighed and nodded his head slowly,

"Okay, Andrew...but I don't have to like it..."

"None of us like this, Wonder Boy," Andrew replied, his voice getting choked up as he spoke. Pulling his friend into a quick hug, he then released him and finished packing the rest of the belongings into his duffle bag. As he slung it over his shoulder, the oldest of duo shot a small smile at Kevin before they exited the bedroom and headed down the stairs into the living room.

"You be careful out there, honey, and bring that little angel home to us, all right?" Rose said softly as she moved to hug her friend as he came down the steps.

"That's what I plan to do, Rose," Andrew replied, feeling tears stinging at his eyes as he thought about his best friend being out there alone, confused and not well,

"You won't see me until I have her."

"We know, baby," Tess answered, taking her turn to hug him as well,

"We all love you and you make sure that angel baby knows we love her too."

"Please find her, Andrew," Cindy whispered, standing with Brady as tears streaked her cheeks.

"I promise I will, Cindy," Andrew uttered as tears fell from his sad green eyes. Moving towards his human friend, he enfolded her in a tight hug as he whispered into her ear,
"I promise."

Tightly embracing him back, Cindy closed her eyes briefly before she felt her angelic friend pulling away from her. Offering him a weak smile, she nodded her head as she whispered in return,

"I know you will."

After having hugged Brady and Kevin one last time, the human angel then turned towards the triplets, who were waiting off to the side and he knelt down to their eye level to look at them,

"Don't worry, you guys. You will see Monica again, and she'll be all right. Trust God, okay?"

Throwing her arms around his neck, Wendy whispered into his shoulder and nodded her head,

"I believe you." She closed her dark eyes briefly to ward off tears from falling, but they soon landed on her angelic friend's shoulder.

Sighing softly, Andrew looked over the little girl's head and reached for the remaining children, drawing them close to him as well. After several moments, the angel gently released them and kissed each of their foreheads before rising to his feet and picking up his duffel bag again. As Andrew moved towards the front door, he glanced one last time at all his friends, both human and angelic,

"I love you guys...and I'll be back as soon as possible."

As the handsome angel closed the front door behind him and quickly headed towards his car, he climbed into the driver's seat and threw his bag into the passenger's seat. As he stuck the key into the ignition and started up the vehicle, Andrew muttered aloud to his best friend, hoping and praying that she would reply to him again,

"I'm coming, Angel Girl."

Chapter 2

Monica awoke to darkness and intense pain that seemed to emulate from every part of her human body. It was all she could do to open her eyes and she could only manage that part way. The ground beneath her was cold and hard, but that was all she was able to make out of her surroundings. As she tried to move, she gave out a small cry at the pain it caused her and decided it better to remain as she was rather than to endure the pain. She could sense that she was alone as she rested her cheek against the cold, stone floor.

"They're gone now," A calm soothing voice penetrated the silence around her,

"I'm sure they will be back, but for the moment, you are safe."

"Who are you?" She whispered weakly as she drew in a sharp breath, which only caused pain to shoot through her midsection.

"A friend," He replied, his eyes saddened at the state of the angel, who whimpered softly in pain. He could see her blood soaked shirt where what appeared to be claws had torn through the flesh on her back, and he knew whose work that was,

"You have nothing to fear from me."

"But...I am...afraid..." She uttered, wincing from the pain in her entire human body.

Reaching a hand out, the unknown figure laid a hand upon the Irish angel's hand and whispered softly to her,

"Don't be. I will not leave you, and I will protect you from them when they return. But for now, try to just rest; you're hurt very badly."

Wanting to say more, as she was so confused as to who this person was, Monica weakly nodded her head and lay it back down on the hard ground before closing her brown eyes once again. Before she drifted off once more, the human angel uttered up a simple name, now hoping more then anything that he would find her,

"Andrew..."

Andrew had driven for hours, his eyes searching everywhere for his dearest friend, but there had been no sign of her. He really hadn't thought she would get very far, due to her weakened state, but then again, as Kevin had pointed out, she was stubborn and she had a tendency to push herself beyond her human form limits.

"Baby girl, where are you?" He muttered to himself as he drove up the wooded road, his eyes searching for any sign of her having been anywhere near here. Visions of her, cold, hungry and alone haunted his mind and he nearly ran off the road as he heard a single word spoken to his heart.

"Andrew…"

In that one word he could hear exhaustion, confusion and pain…a lot of pain,

"I'm here, Monica! Tell me where you are?" He pleaded, tears of desperation in his emerald eyes.

"Andy...help me..." He heard her pleas once again, followed by a small sob,

"The mountains..."

Andrew's eyes lit up at those last 2 words, and with his foot, he pressed the gas one final time and sped farther down the road. As he gripped the steering wheel, the handsome blonde angel lifted up prayer after prayer for his beloved friend,

"Be with her, Father...be with us all..."

As he drove further up the mountain, Andrew finally pulled over, deciding that maybe he should continue on foot for bit to see if he could find any sign of her. Grabbing the duffle bag from the passenger's seat, he then locked up the car and put his keys in his pocket, before venturing deeper into the woods, occasionally calling out to her, but getting no response.

He must have walked for close to an hour, when he spotted something and he quickened his pace as he recognized Monica's backpack. It had been torn open, and all her belongings were still inside. His heart racing, he knelt down and picked up a piece of soft, fluffy white fabric from the ground and recognized it instantly. Someone or something had slashed the angel bear to bits, but before he could fully panic, he saw on the ground beside him what he knew to be blood and he felt all the color drain from his face,

"Baby girl, what has hurt you?" He whispered fearfully.

"Well, if it isn't Monica's favorite Angel Boy?"

A taunting voice appeared behind Andrew and his green eyes widened in horror as he recognized that voice anywhere, but before he could turn around, another voice sounded as well and the angel felt his blood run cold at the voice.

"I see you found your dear Monica's stuffed bear, eh, Andy?" Brianna taunted as well, coming forward and grabbing Andrew's shoulder and yanking him to his feet to turn him around to face her,

"It's nice to see you again, darling. I've missed you; have you missed me, too?"

"Brianna," Andrew seethed softly, now fully understanding what had happened to his best friend, now that he was face to face with these two,

"What have you done with Monica?"

"Now don't get that halo of yours all tied up in knots, honey," Denise purred as she ran a hand over his shoulder,

"You see, your Angel Girl refused to come with us, despite the fact that she is hanging onto God by a thread right now. We even told her we'd spare you, but she didn't seem to care…"

Andrew shook his head, knowing that Denise was twisting the truth, and the truth was something he was going to hang onto right now, regardless of what happened,

"No Denise, she knew I would never want her to go with you to spare me. You can lie all you want, but I know Monica."

"Who's lying, sugar?" Denise smirked, raising her hand and running it through Andrew's blonde locks and smiling as he winced and pulled firmly away.

"What did you DO with her, Denise?" He demanded roughly, glaring at her and then at Brianna,

"I'm not going to ask again!"

"That's for us to know and you to find out, Andrew," The blonde haired demon taunted, placing her hands against the angel's chest and giving him a hard shove to the ground,

"And right now, neither of us are telling you." As the angel watched with horror in his green eyes, Brianna's fingers somehow turned to talons and she moved them until they were just inches from his face,

"You do what we tell you, and you may just see your precious Angel Girl alive again...but if NOT..." Reaching down, she scraped at Andrew's shirtsleeve, the claws now tearing through his flesh and the demon let out a laugh at his cries of pain,

"So are we in agreement, Angel Boy?"

Despite the pain, Andrew knew enough to know that he would never make any deals with demons, regardless of the cost to him. He knew that even at the hands of these two, God was still with him, despite the worst pain that they could inflict on him,

"And I think you know, Brianna, that between the likes of you and I, there will never be any deals," He replied, his teeth clenched in pain.

"You know, Bri," Denise remarked, glancing over at her friend,

"These two angels certainly have felt brave today. We've, well, you've been insulted by little miss cuteness and now this one decides he isn't willing to cut any deals. How do we handle this?"

Andrew pressed his hand against his left arm that was now sopping with blood and gritted his teeth as he stared up at the two demons, his heart pounding madly,

"We both know that God is with us, so you can just forget any little plots you have in mind..."

His words were cut short as he saw Brianna coming closer to him, her eyes flashing red and the blonde angel leaned back up against a tree. Crossing her arms in front of her chest, the demon scowled at the angel in her grasp before winking at Denise,

"I think I may have some ideas of how to handle this one, honey."

Andrew steeled his resolve as the demon descended upon him, his body soon engulfed in pain and though he tried to fight back and to shield himself, it wasn't long before his world turned to black.

"Andrew," Monica whimpered softly in her sleep, before she opened her eyes to the darkness and pain once more. She was immediately aware of a soft hand on her cheek and though she knew the touch was not that of her best friend, she welcomed it as not being alone,

"I'm scared." She whispered, her voice barely audible,

"and it hurts so badly…everything hurts so much…"

"I know," He replied softly, feeling the tears of pain that were slipping onto her cheeks and he could feel a fever raging through her from her injuries,

"I wish that there was something more I could do for you."

"Andrew..." The Irish angel whispered her best friend's name again, and horror filled her heart, as she didn't hear him reply to her. Forcing herself to take as deep of breaths as possible, as she was starting to feel Andrew's pain along with her own, Monica closed her eyes as she whispered to the figure kneeling down next to her,

"Help...him..." She uttered, opening her eyes again briefly and wincing at the pain in her head,

"Please, help him..."

"Your friend will be all right, dear," The stranger whispered, although Monica was able to make out a trace of fear in his voice, too,

"You need for me to stay with you."

"He's in trouble, I can feel it…" She whimpered softly.

"Shhh," He said urgently, as he held a finger to her lips,

"No more words right now."

As she obeyed, Monica instantly became aware of the fact that they were not alone and that the demons had returned. Through her pain, she was not able to make out much of what was being said, but the stranger's hand on her own made her feel not so afraid. There was the sound of something or someone hitting the floor a little ways away from her, and then the noises ceased once more.

"They're gone for now," He spoke softly to her,

"And your friend is here now, but he is hurt, just as you are."

Letting out another whimper, Monica forced her eyes open and although her vision was so blurred they couldn't make out the stranger who was helping her, the Irish angel was able to make out a lifeless form on the ground a few feet away from her and she wanted to sob as she knew who it was,

"Andy..."

From the other side of the room, Andrew let out a low groan and tried to open his eyes, but even the slightest movement caused him pain not only in his head, but all other parts of his human body. In the far back of his mind, he thought he heard somebody whispering his name urgently, but he couldn't seem to be able to reply to the voice. Not knowing what else to do, the injured angel shut his eyes tightly again and drifted back into the blackness.

Chapter 3

The hours ticked by with agonizing slowness for the Irish angel, as she was unable to sleep much due to the caliber of pain she was in. Her back and ribs were especially painful which made getting comfortable on the hard stone floor impossible, as no position was comfortable. Her ribs actually felt less painful, which wasn't saying much, so she lay on her stomach with her feverish cheek pressed against the cold floor.

She had just been ready to drift off to sleep out of utter exhaustion, when the voice of the stranger drifted softly down to her.

"I'll be back."

"You're going?" She whispered fearfully, trying to raise her head but was too weak to do so,

"Please…what if they come back?"

"I shall return before they do," He consoled her gently, his hand touching her blood-matted hair soothingly,

"I promise you."

As he departed, Monica blinked back frightened tears as she struggled to make out Andrew's form that was so close to her, yet seemingly miles away. Dragging herself along the surface, each movement bringing tears of pain to her eyes, she slowly was able to bring herself nearer to him and once she had caught her breath, she reached out a trembling hand to touch his arm,

"Andrew?"

Somewhere in the back of his mind, Andrew heard a soft voice calling his name; but his eyelids seemed to be glued shut and even as he tried to open them to see the face that the voice belonged to, every effort caused more pain to engulf his human body. Softly letting out a pained moan, the injured older angel tried to shift his body from where it lay on the cold ground and with all the strength in him, forced his green eyes open.

As he opened them, everything seemed to be blurred and he wanted more then anything to close his eyes again and fall back into unconsciousness; but the pained, though soothing, voice of the female made him want more then anything to keep his eyes open and with a groan, raised them to meet the face of the gentle woman who was looking at him.

Something about her seemed oddly familiar, and it took several moments for Andrew to remember her name and although his voice was barely audible, he was finally able to choke out,

"M-Monica..."

"Yes," She whispered tearfully, clutching his arm gently as tears fell from her tired eyes as she heard the pain in his voice,

"I'm so sorry…I led you into this mess and now you're hurt. I'm so sorry," Fumbling for his hand, she laid her cheek against it as she tried to hold back more tears.

Andrew wanted more then anything to reply to her words, as his heart was screaming out to tell her that she wasn't at fault for anything, but he couldn't find the strength in himself to say anything more, so the injured angel just nodded his head wordlessly. Although it hurt, however, he gave his best friend's hand a light squeeze and met her tortured brown eyes with his and attempted a small smile to let her know that he at least understood.

"Just rest, my friend," She uttered weakly as she again rested her tear streaked cheek against the cool floor, though she kept her hand on top of his, wanting to just feel him near her. She longed to lose herself in unconsciousness, but pain and fear kept that from happening, even as she listened to her best friend's shallow breathing,

"Help him, Father," She whispered aloud, unable to request such a thing for herself at this point in time and Andrew had been innocent in all of this; he had simply been looking for her.

As Monica closed her tear-filled eyes, and just continued to listen to Andrew's breathing, her eyes suddenly jerked open once more at the familiar voice that she didn't want to have to hear again any time soon.

"Seems like they're both awake now, Bri," Denise chuckled as the two demons stood over the two injured angels,

"And looks like our little Angel Girl wants to protect poor Andy from any harm. How sweet is that?"

"So sweet, it makes me want to gag," Brianna rolled her blue eyes upwards before looking down at Monica with a smirk on her face,

"You won't be able to protect him, you know that right, Miss Wings?"

Terror filled the young angel's eyes as she struggled with what to do. Should she not say anything or should she stand up to them, if for no other reason to anger them into hurting her as opposed to Andrew? Her mind was racing all the while engulfed in pain and she was fairly certain that Andrew had fallen into unconsciousness once more.

As she struggled to rise to her feet, the pain in her back and ribs made her feel as if her body was on fire,

"He has nothing to do with this. It has always been me you wanted, Denise, for whatever reason," She managed to say, feeling as if the room were spinning.

"Ah yes, Angel Girl," Denise purred, bringing a hand to Monica's cheek and raking her nails across it,

"But Brianna always wanted Andrew, but you stood in her way and now you are too weak to do that," She laughed, giving the angel a shove that knocked her back down to the floor.

As her head knocked against the hard stone floor, the angel struggled to remain conscious, as the two demons descended upon both she and Andrew once more. She cried out weakly, wanting to protect Andrew, but a moment later, she came to the realization that she was not feeling any new pain and she realized that the stranger, who must be an angel, was protecting them from anymore injury, but the crazed demons were too involved in their attack to notice. A moment later, she was lost in complete blackness.

The stranger, after several torturous moments, removed his body from where it lay on top of both Monica and Andrew's and rose to his feet. Both angels were still unconscious from the attacks Brianna and Denise had tried to lay upon them, and anger filled his heart towards the two demons. Placing himself in front of them and facing the duo, whose eyes were red with fire over his interference, the figure folded his arms across his chest and glared at them.

"Enough is enough, ladies," He snapped, never moving from where he stood,

"Haven't you made your point? Why don't you leave them alone for now?"

"Why would you care?" Denise scowled in rage, taking a step closer to him and staring him down,

"Why do you even care about these little ANGELS? You should know better then that!"

"It's none of your business WHY I happen to 'care for them', Denise," He replied angrily, taking a step away from the two injured angels and coming closer to Denise and Brianna, his dark eyes traveling from one to the other,

"So why don't you just leave, Denise, and take your witch friend with you?"

Denise's eyes were filled with fury,

"You disgust me!" She glowered at him.

"Maybe so," He replied calmly,

"But you both know that I am stronger than you both and that you cannot win as long as I am here."

"Who is he, Denise?" Brianna raged, furious over the interruption.

"I'll tell you later," Denise grumbled, having the feeling that she had been beaten for the moment, before a smile spread across her face,

"This isn't over. They cannot get out of here without your help, and they will never go with you and you know that. Once that happens, we'll be back and that is a promise."

As the two demons vanished from sight, he knelt down once more to the two angels, wishing he knew what more he could do for them both. The wounds that Denise's talons had inflicted on Andrew's arm and Monica's back were deep and he knew terribly painful, he just wasn't sure what he could do to help.

Reaching a hand out and laying it upon the deep wound on Andrew's left arm and then with the other one, laid it upon Monica's back, he let out a sigh as he tried to think of some way to get these two angels out of this place before Denise or Brianna returned. But before he could think any further, a groan escaped from the blonde angel's lips and the stranger quickly removed his hands from both Andrew and Monica, his dark eyes still upon them.

"Oh God..." Andrew mumbled weakly as his green eyes remained shut, and the pain now intensifying throughout his entire body,

"Oh God...help..."

"You're safe for now," He told the older of the angels softly, all the while his heart pounded in this throat,

"The demons have gone for the time being." Deciding to keep it short, he turned his attention briefly to the Irish angel, feeling the bump on her head from when Denise had pushed her and caused her to lose consciousness and he sighed softly. There was no way he could get them out of here until they were a bit stronger, he knew that much, but the question was, would they come with him even then?

"Who...are you...?" Andrew uttered, his eyes still closed as the pain was too intense to even try and open them.

Gulping nervously, the male stranger tried to think of the correct words to say without giving away his complete identity, as he knew that Andrew would be anything but happy; and he needed this angel especially to trust him when Brianna and Denise returned,

"Somebody who will help you two out. Just trust me, okay?"

"I don't see where I have much choice," Andrew murmured before he fell into unconsciousness once more.

"No," the figure replied softly with a sad sigh,

"You don't."

The lone figure watched the two angels throughout the night, watching as Andrew would let out soft moans of pain from time to time, though the Irish angel did not awaken or utter a sound. Day past again into night, and he was beginning to wonder if either of them would ever awaken, though he knew that not being aware of the pain was a blessing for them right now. The demons had not returned and he wasn't really expecting them to for a while as Denise wanted to wait until the two angels refused his offer of help. He only hoped that would not be the case.

Unfortunately, though, and much to his surprise that night, the two demons did make another appearance and the figure felt another rush of anger start to rise inside of himself. Turning to face them as they stood in the darkness, the stranger let out an angry sigh as he rose to his feet again and faced them,

"I didn't expect you right now, Denise-"

"I've changed my mind about a few things," She smirked, shooting a wink at Brianna who stood beside her. Before the lone figure had a chance to reply, the dark-haired demon headed over to where the two unconscious angels lay and knelt down in front of Monica. Grabbing a lock of the Irish angel's hair and yanking her head back, the figure flinched as a few moments later, he heard a whimper escape Monica's lips and her eyes started to flicker open.

"Denise, stop this right now-"

Ignoring the demands of the dark stranger in front of her, trying to ruin her plans, Denise stared straight into the wounded Irish angel's pain-filled eyes and hissed into her ear,

"Angel Girl, I'm really surprised that you haven't figured out WHO your little savior is by now." Here, she nodded over at the one who had been helping her and Andrew,

"You and Andrew know him better then anyone."

Taken by surprise by all that was going on around her, and wanting more then anything to escape and slip back into the darkness, Monica let out another soft whimper as she mumbled,

"What...?"

Giving the angel a shake by the hair, enjoying the painful cries that escaped her, Denise forced Monica to look over at the one who had been here since she had been brought here,

"Get a good look Angel Girl," The demon hissed with a laugh as she watched a pain far greater than anything physical come over Monica's features as she starred into the eyes of the man. Laughing with pleasure, Denise released the angel and smiled at the man,

"Have fun."

As the demons vanished once more, only one word escaped the Irish angel's lips,

"Philip."

Chapter 4

Philip was silent as he stared into Monica's frightened brown eyes and he felt sadness filling him as he knew that she would never be able to trust him, now that she knew her rescuer was. Taking a step closer to her and the unconscious Andrew, who Philip was thankful was still out of it, the demon stopped as he saw the little Irish angel cower up against the wall of the cave they were in and start trembling madly.

"Get...get away from me..." She uttered through her tears, although it hurt to even speak,

"Please...just get away...get away..."

Stopping in his tracks and nodding his head, as he knew that he was treading on shaky ground here, Philip knelt down a few feet away from her and tried to meet her eyes,

"Monica, I really do want to help both you and Andrew here...I know you have no reason to trust me, but that's why I'm here. To help."

Her head was spinning as she tried to come to terms with the fact that the gentle voice and touch she had been feeling since being down here belonged to the one who had hurt her more than any other ever had before. Panic filled her already pain filled eyes as she looked up at him,

"I've been asleep a long time…you didn't…"

Sadness filled his dark eyes as he regarded her quietly for a moment,

"I did nothing to hurt you, little angel," He whispered after a moment,

"And I know that you have absolutely no reason to trust me, but though I've never told you this before, I'm sorry for all I ever did to you. I know that doesn't take the pain away and if I had a way to take it from you, I would."

"You've taken plenty from me," She whispered, tears coursing down her face.

Lowering his head sadly, Philip tried to think of how to respond, but before he could, a groan escaped the lips of the older unconscious angel next to them. Turning his head, he watched as Andrew's pained green eyes started to flicker open and they immediately landed upon Monica,

"Mon'...?" He uttered weakly, his voice laced with pain.

Her brown eyes still on Philip, Monica fearfully moved from up against the wall and slowly scooted over to her best friend, laying her hand upon his gently,

"Andrew?"

Seeing the complete fear in her eyes, even as his entire body screamed in agony, Andrew furrowed his eyebrows as he regarded the younger angel,

"Are...you okay...?" He whispered.

At his words, she wanted nothing more than to completely crumble into tears, as she wondered when was the last time she had indeed been "okay". Her assignment was dead, she had starved herself and was still incredibly weak, she had fallen into the clutches of demons and had led her best friend into the same mess and now she was face to face with the one she feared more than any other on this earth. No, she figured she was about as far from "okay" as she had ever been, but she also didn't want to alarm her best friend, who was now hurt because of her,

"Yeah," She whispered, watching as Philip walked over to the other side of the cave where Andrew would not immediately spy him,

"What about you, Andrew? Are you feeling any better?"

Wincing at the shooting pain in his other arm, Andrew forced himself to keep his eyes open and look at his best friend,

"Other then...my arm and back...I'm alive, I think..."

Nearly breaking down into sobs as she forced her eyes away from Philip on the other side of the cave, the Irish angel leaned her head down and gently kissed her best friend's hand,

"We'll get out of here somehow..."

"They're not...here...are they?" Andrew uttered miserably, his eyes traveling around his side of the cave even as his head laid upon the hard floor.

"Denise and Brianna?" Monica uttered, drawing in a painful breath, as she longed to lie back down,

"No, not right now anyway," Swallowing hard, she blinked back tears as she whispered,

"I'm so sorry about this…"

"Mon.." He began, but she cut him off before he could continue.

"No, Andrew, I am. I've made a complete mess of everything, and now you're hurt…" As a sob escaped her, pain shot down her gashed back as well as through her bruised or broken ribs and she closed her eyes in pain,

"I'm just so sorry…"

"It's okay, Angel Girl..." Andrew struggled to reply, although it took every ounce of strength in his broken human body.

"No, it's not 'okay', Andrew," Monica interrupted, the tears now falling down her bruised face,

"Please don't try and tell me that...when I know you think otherwise..."

"Mon', please..." The oldest angel drew in a painful breath and let it out slowly as he tried to speak what he was really feeling; but the pain was so intense, he just wanted to close his eyes again and drift back into unconsciousness. Feeling his best friend's hand upon his again, he forced his eyes open again and met her's with his,

"Don't say that, baby..."

"Oh, but she's right, sugar," The sound of Denise's voice broke into Andrew's words and Monica turned her head in time to see her and Brianna step into the cave once again and, although she was scared out of her mind, the Irish angel glanced over at Philip and a sense of relief filled her that he was still here,

"It is all her fault, you know that, Andrew?"

"No, Denise," Andrew uttered weakly but the demon was quick to cut him off.

"Oh but it is. Your so called 'best friend' here is the one who ran away because she killed her assignment, then she knowingly told you where she was thus leading you into danger as well," Denise shook her head in mock disappointment,

"Isn't that right, Angel Girl?" She purred as the Irish angel lowered her head brokenly as her tears continued to fall.

Philip seethed with anger at what this demon was doing, but he was unsure as to whether to make himself known to Andrew yet. He knew he was stronger than Denise and could easily stop her and Brianna at any time, but he feared the older angel's reaction to his presence. He knew he had to find a way to help these two angels, one of which he loved dearly, but how would they ever trust him enough?

"Yes...that's true, Denise, but..." Monica weakly uttered, feeling her shoulders trembling violently as she moved closer to Andrew.

"See? She's even admitted it, Angel Boy!" Brianna hissed, taking a step closer and inwardly laughing as she saw the Irish angel cower closer to her best friend as if she was trying to protect him from her anyway she could. Kneeling down next to their eye level, the demon reached a hand out and with her fingernail, traced a line across Andrew's pale cheek,

"You can't protest now, can you?"

"You're lying..." The wounded angel replied, his heart pounding loudly in his chest for both of them,

"Don't...blame her..."

"No, it is the truth, it is…" Monica whispered miserably,

"I didn't lead you here with the intention of you getting hurt, but I should have known it would come to that. But I was once again relying on you to save me, Andrew and after that whole thing with that building collapsing after I asked you to go with Brady, I promised myself never to put you in such a situation again, but I did…I'm so sorry…"

"Angel Girl, listen to me," Andrew pleaded.

"She's useless, Andrew, don't you know that by now? She causes you nothing but trouble and heartache and you both know it is true," Brianna stated, looking from one angel to the other,

"She was right to run away and what else should she have done after all but killing that poor girl.."

Seeing Monica completely break down at the words the demon was saying, Philip could stand it no longer as he walked over to Brianna and yanked her to her feet, his fingers digging into her arm,

"Enough!"

Andrew's green eyes widened in horror as he recognized that voice anywhere and although it hurt, he forced his head to turn to the sound of Philip's voice and felt anger rise up within himself as he saw the demon standing next to Brianna, his eyes glaring daggers at her,

"Oh God...oh God, this isn't...happening..."

Turning his head slightly at the sound of the angel's voice, which was filled with a combination of fear and anger, Philip quickly turned his attention back to the blonde-haired demon,

"I have had it up to here with you two now!"

"Oh, I'm so afraid, Philip," Brianna smirked as she yanked her arm out of his grasp and folded her arms across her chest,

"You think you can stop us! Now that's a laugh..."

As soon as she said the words, Philip grabbed her arm once more, only this time his hold was much tighter and his fingers seemed to physically burn into her flesh, causing her to cry out in pain,

"Yes, I believe I can stop you. Now, I want you both out of here now!"

"You won't get away with this, Philip," Denise grumbled, shrinking back, lest she become his next target,

"The master will not be pleased with you protecting angels!"

"I'll take my chances," He replied firmly,

"The way I see it, you two are wasting time harassing two angels who are never going to turn away," He finally released Brianna's arm, watching as she stumbled away in pain,

"Now, get out of here!" As the two frightened demons vanished from the cavern, Philip turned worried eyes back to the angels. Not meeting Andrew's eyes, he turned to Monica, who was weeping softly, each sob causing shudders of pain to go through her wounded body,

"Monica…"

"Stay away from her!" Andrew snapped, the anger and vengeance that came from his voice surprising even him.

His eyes also widening at the anger in the older angel's voice, Philip obeyed and took a step backwards, although he knew that Andrew could do no harm to him in the condition he was in. But the anger that was evident in the wounded angel's voice was enough to make anyone back away. After he was several feet away from them, he knelt down to the ground and looked at the visibly shaken Monica, who's long auburn locks hung in her face as she held tightly to Andrew's hand,

"Monica...Andrew...I promise I'm not going to hurt either of you-"

"Just stay away from us...and we'll all get along just fine, Philip..." Andrew seethed, although his entire body screamed as he spoke.

"Andrew…" Monica whispered through her tears,

"He's been here with me the whole time…and he hasn't hurt me…he…he helped me…"

Andrew glanced sharply at her, his eyes holding some betrayal,

"What? So because of that, everything else he has done to you no longer matters?"

"Of course it still matters," She sobbed in reply,

"All I'm saying is that he has been trying to help us…he shielded us from their last attack, Andrew…"

"And how do you know, Angel Girl, that it was him?" Andrew raised his eyes up to the demon and glared angrily at him,

"He...would never do that for us..."

"It is true, Andrew, and I need for you to believe me so that I can help you when those two...THINGS...come back..." Philip tried to reason with the angel, but his pleas were falling on deaf ears, as Andrew was feeling so much anger at the moment.

"For all I know, while I was unconscious, you could've done the same thing as them," He snapped, still holding onto Monica's hand tightly,

"Or worse..."

"Andrew, no..." The Irish angel sobbed openly,

"No, that didn't happen..."

"How would you know, Monica?" He demanded,

"Have you been conscious the whole time?"

"Yes!" She cried out, her shoulders heaving with sobs,

"I've been in too much pain to sleep for very long and he has been here with me, since before they brought you in here! I didn't realize who he was because I was in so much pain, but at least he was nice to me, and I don't know what that means exactly, but being down here, hurt and alone, at that moment it meant something!"

"Mon', how can you think he's being so nice to you...after all he did?" Andrew shot back, fear and pain still etched in his voice along with the anger towards Philip. Releasing his best friend's hand, the older angel tried with all the strength he had in his body to push himself up to a sitting position and bit back a scream at the shooting pain in his left arm. His head now spinning as he sat up, Andrew carefully grasped his injured arm in his good one and turned to glare over at Philip,

"Why don't you just leave? We can take care of those demons without you around..."

Philip sighed softly, watching as Monica lowered her head once more and gave into more tears,

"Andrew, I'm going to give you two a little time to talk, though I'm not going far even though I don't think those two will be back today at least. But at least know this: I know what a mess I've made in the past, but I truly want to help you both get out of here and to be honest, neither of you are in any shape to do that without help. I mean neither of you any harm anymore. I care very much about Monica and because of how she feels about you, I care about you as well. I'm sure you don't believe that, but at least try to believe that I can help you both get out of here and away from them and that is all I want to do." Not giving the older angel a chance to reply, Philip walked away and around the corner of the cavern, leaving the two angels alone as the cavern grew quiet other than the sound of the Irish angel's sobs.

"Angel Girl...I'm not angry at you..." Andrew finally broke the silence, his voice softening somewhat,

"It's...HIM I'm angry at-"

"Andrew, I wouldn't be suggesting this if I truly didn't believe he wants to change; he really has been protecting us, and he does want to help..." The weary Irish angel sobbed brokenly, wiping at her eyes to look into her dearest friend's face,

"Please, you have to believe me..."

"It's not you I don't believe, Monica," Andrew replied, his voice still filled with agony,

"I know that you've been telling me the truth, but..."

"But what, Andrew? But what?" Monica interrupted, her voice breaking on yet another sob.

"But...after all he's done to us throughout the years, how can you put our lives into his hands and actually trust him?" He finally asked, questions written all over his face.

"Because we don't have a choice…" She whimpered softly.

"Yes, we do…" He started to argue, but she interrupted him through her tears.

"No, we don't, Andrew. I'm not strong enough to get out of here and right now, you aren't strong enough to be able to get yourself and me out of here and I want you out of here. You never should have been here to begin with," She wept brokenly,

"You're here because of me; because you came to look for me as once again, I made a mess of everything and I still don't have the answers to any of that. But what I do know is that we need help to get out of here."

"God will help us, Mon'-" Andrew once again tried to object, but the little Irish angel laid a shaky hand on his right one to silence him.

"We're in human form right now, Andy, and although deep down I know that He will help us...we also need physical help at the moment, and Philip is the only one around..." Tears filled her sorrowful eyes once again as she spoke, hoping that she was somehow getting through to her friend and supervisor.

"There has to be another way..." Andrew choked out in reply, glancing around him at the cavern and trying to keep his own fear inside so that Monica couldn't see it.

She lowered her head once more, beginning to feel dizzy as the little bit of activity over the past hour had her ribs and back hurting her terribly. Drawing in a trembling breath, she spoke softly,

"I will not go with him without you," She whispered shakily as she forced herself to speak honestly,

"I will stay with you if you refuse to accept his help, but you need to realize that even in spite of our physical injuries, I'm not strong right now, Andy. The things I did to myself over the last two months have left my human body weak and you know that. What I'm trying to say is that I can't fight them. I just can't…" The pain finally getting the better of her, she slowly and agonizingly moved so she was once again lying on her stomach on the cold, hard, stone floor. Closing her eyes wearily for a moment, she whispered,

"I'm just so sorry to have brought you into this."

Chapter 5

"I'm surprised that they haven't returned yet, Tess," Kevin leaned back against the couch as he stared blankly at the television without really paying any attention to it. Letting out a deep sigh, the youngest angel turned towards his friend and shrugged his shoulders,

"The Father hasn't told you anything about what's going on out there?"

"Nothing yet, baby," Tess took a sip of her tea and sighed as she set it back down on the coffee table,

"Although to be completely honest with you, I'm really starting to get worried...it has been 4 days since our Angel Boy left to go and find Monica."

Kevin drew in a shaky breath as fear started to flow through his body,

"So either it's taking him longer to find her, or...or else they're in trouble. Right, Tess?"

"The Father is with them, baby," The older and wiser angel chose to say instead of commenting on the latter part of Kevin's statement.

"I know, but I just can't shake the fact that they're in trouble," Kevin asked softly, turning off the television with a click of the remote,

"Though I guess it is possible that Andrew hasn't found her yet, but then again, she was still in the early stages of recovery from being so sick and it just doesn't seem like she should have gotten that far."

"I'm in agreement, Kevin," Carla said as she entered the room and joined in on their conversation,

"She couldn't get downstairs without Andrew's help, so how could she have gotten so far away that four days later we still have not heard from them?" She sighed softly,

"The triplets are really upset, especially the girls. You know how much Wendy adores Andrew and Angelica, though so shy is so taken with Monica. It's heartbreaking and I don't know how to answer all their questions."

"Tess, I have got to go and look for them-" Kevin started to rise to his feet, but Tess' stern voice caused him to sit back down.

"Did the Father tell you to go any place and look for those two, Kevin? No, I don't think so," She sternly ordered, looking straight into his frightened eyes,

"No, I'm scared for those two babies as much as anyone, and Rose is starting to freak out too, but if the Father is telling us to stay put, then we are to stay put. Miss Wings wasn't even supposed to leave the house to begin with-"

"Now wait a second, Tess," Carla gently interrupted, taking a seat in the armchair across from her fellow angels,

"You're not blaming Monica, are you? She had free will and she used it; and so did Andrew, but anyone in their right mind knows how much he loves her, and he would do anything to find her! I don't think this is either of their faults...I would blame Coach Slade if I were you..."

"That coach is just a human, Carla," Tess retorted, her concern for her two friends transforming itself into anger,

"Monica nor Kathy had to listen to him, but they chose to-."

"Knock it off, Tess," Kevin snapped, unable to believe what he was hearing,

"I won't sit here and listen to you blaming Monica for this. You read that letter, just as we all did. She was and is upset and confused by all that has happened and not yet completely well. She never asked Andrew to go and find her, but he loves her enough to do so without being asked, as he wants to help her. And as far as them listening to the coach, you try dealing with him once. Put yourself in the shoes of a young girl who wants to be an Olympic runner, or an angel who is afraid of getting kicked off the team and failing her assignment. Andrew, even when he still felt anger at her, understood the hold this man had over them and why."

Her eyes narrowing at the younger angel, Tess shook her head as she tried to object,

"Now you hold it right there, baby-"

"No, I will not 'hold it', Tess!" Kevin cried, unable to keep his tears aside any longer as he rose to his feet. Turning back around to face the eldest angel, he shook his head at her as he finished,

"Now, I'm going to go and look for those two-"

"Kevin, you still have to finish your own assignment," Tess snapped in return, rising also to face him head-on,

"And your assignment is still Coach Slade and Kathy's parents. NOT Andrew and Monica..."

"You take care of them, Tess!" The youngest of the trio cried in return, before turning towards Carla who was watching the exchange with an opened mouth,

"Are you coming with me, Carla?" But before the little blonde angel had a chance to reply, Kevin had headed towards the front door and threw it open. What he saw in the driveway, however, nearly knocked him off his feet and he appeared to be speechless for several moments until Carla's soft voice sounded behind him.

"Kevin?"

Turning around and facing his friend, his brown eyes still wide open with shock and confusion, Kevin whispered hoarsely,

"What's...what's Andrew's car doing in the driveway? Didn't he take it to go and find Monica...?"

Hearing the words that Kevin was saying from the front door, Tess rushed forward and looked out into the driveway and the angel nearly gasped as she did indeed see her 'Angel Boy's' car parked there as if it had never been used. Raising her eyes fearfully to the Heavens, the older angel then turned back to Kevin and Carla and spoke in a somewhat shaky voice,

"I hate to say it, but...maybe this is the Father's way of telling you that they are in trouble. I think you're right, Kevin..."

Still feeling disgruntled with Tess, Kevin walked over to the car and saw that the keys were in the ignition,

"I'm out of here," He stated flatly, drawing in a deep breath,

"If they need help, then I can't just sit here and wait to see what happens."

Carla looked undecided for a moment, but knew she was not about to let him go alone,

"We'll be back, Tess," She added, looking at the older angel,

"If the Father didn't want us to help them, He wouldn't have put the car here for us to see," Hearing Kevin start up the car, she didn't wait for Tess to reply as she hopped in the passenger's side and buckled her seatbelt just as the youngest angel sped away.

Several hours later, after Monica had eventually drifted into a troubled sleep on the hard cave floor, Andrew carefully leaned up against the wall, his pained green eyes still open as he found himself unable to catch a wink of sleep. Gazing over at his best friend's still form and seeing her whimper in her sleep from the pain that she was in, the older angel sighed as he reached his good arm out and laid it upon her shoulder tenderly. Almost immediately, she quieted and Andrew let out a sigh of relief.

Sensing another presence in the cavern with them, Andrew turned sharply around and sucked in a breath as he saw Philip enter, a look of uncertainty on his face. Keeping his voice down, the wounded angel demanded,

"I take it you're not going anywhere, huh?"

Philip was quiet for a moment before he responded,

"I really don't think my leaving is in your best interest, Andrew," He stated honestly,

"Can you honestly tell me that if Denise and Brianna return that you can protect yourself and Monica from them? She has no strength left, Andrew and until you heal, you have very little, which leaves you both defenseless against their evils."

Lowering his eyes so that he wouldn't meet Philip's gaze, Andrew sighed shakily and replied honestly,

"No...I guess not..."

Letting out a sigh himself, the demon figured it was safe to step closer to him and knelt down to Andrew's eye level, although the angel never met his look,

"I didn't think so. And that's why I'm here, so that I can fight those two things for you; and I also want to make it up to both of you, Andrew. I know that I may never succeed in doing that, but I figured it was worth a try..."

Finally lifting his exhausted green eyes to meet Philip's, Andrew remained silent as he listened to him speak, not really sure of what to say right now.

"I know how you feel about me," Philip continued softly,

"I caused your best friend much pain, which in turn hurt you as well, and though I can never take that back or reverse the effects of it, maybe I can at least show you by helping you both that I am indeed sorry," He drew in a deep breath, wondering just how much honesty this angel could take from him,

"I had feelings for her from the 1st moment I saw her, Andrew, and being what I am, I demonstrated those feelings the only way I knew how to at the time, never really dreaming of the damage it would do to one so innocent. But by watching the two of you and the bond that you both have, it has made me see that caring for another has nothing to do with taking and everything to do with giving. I only wish I had known that before."

Andrew met his eyes briefly with the demon's before his attention was diverted to his best friend who was slowly beginning to stir.

Monica slowly opened her eyes and felt the searing waves of pain wash over her as she tried to get more comfortable, but her body had stiffened up in sleep and now every movement hurt her,

"Andrew…" She whimpered softly as she closed her eyes briefly once again.

"I'm here, sweetheart," Andrew uttered weakly as he reached a hand out and stroked back her bangs from her pale face,

"I'm right here..." As his voice floated through the quiet cavern, the older angel watched as his friend tried to lose herself in sleep once again.

"You really have a way of calming her, Andrew," Philip stated, sighing softly as he looked over at the angel again, who had once again looked down at the hard floor and away from him,

"It's almost like that just the simple sound of your voice soothes her, you know?"

Andrew gazed down at his dearest friend, who was embedded so deeply into his heart that she was physically a part of him,

"I love her more than my own existence, Philip," He responded in a moment of vulnerability with the demon, as his hand continued to brush at the younger angel's bangs,

"And despite how I feel about you, I love her enough to know I need to get her out of here. I love her enough to know to do that…I have to trust you."

Nodding his head, Philip offered the angel a small smile before reaching over and gently placing a hand on Andrew's shoulder; but he soon removed it as he felt the angel flinch underneath his touch and with another nod, he replied quietly,

"Thank you, Andrew."

"Do you even have any idea of where we are going?" Carla asked once the two angels had been driving for well over two hours,

"I mean, we just keep driving but are you targeting any specific direction?"

"Well, yes and no," Kevin answered after a moment,

"At first I was just driving because I was mad at Tess, but now I get the feeling that we really are headed in the right direction."

Sighing softly, Carla leaned back in her seat before reaching down to the medical bag that was sitting on the floor at her feat,

"I trust you, Kev...if you'll notice, all of Andrew's belongings are still in this car, along with the medical bag; I really think that you made the right choice." The slightly older angel smiled weakly at her friend.

Glancing over at her, Kevin attempted a smile of his own before turning his eyes back to the road ahead of him,

"I just hope we're not too late to help, Car..."

Before Carla could reply, Kevin quickly pulled off the road and stopped the car, his eyes taking in the wooded surroundings.

"Why did you stop?" She asked worriedly, also looking around them and not seeing anything.

"This is where we are supposed to wait," He began hesitantly, sounding a little surprised that this information had been given to him.

"Just wait?" Carla asked in a hushed tone.

"Uh huh," Kevin nodded his head,

"We're not to do anything but wait at this point."

Letting out an impatient sigh, the little blonde angel leaned her head back against the seat of the car, but before she could close her tired green eyes to try and catch a few winks of sleep as it was starting to get dark, something out of the corner of her eye caught her attention and she snapped her head up. Gently grasping Kevin's arm, she nodded over to something on the ground and whispered hoarsely,

"Kev, what's that...?"

Before he could reply, however, Carla had jumped out of the car and raced over to the objects that had caught her attention. Glancing over her shoulder at Kevin, who sat watching her, the older angel knelt down on the ground and picked up the light pieces of soft fur that were scattered everywhere. Feeling tears falling from her green eyes, she then turned her attention over to where a torn backpack sat and her heart raced as she knew perfectly well that her friends were nearby,

"Monica's angel bear...and her backpack..."

Covering her mouth with her hand to ward off a sob, she then spotted blood splattered all over the ground and it took all of her strength to not scream. Instead, Carla grabbed Monica's backpack and raced back to the car where Kevin was waiting.

Chapter 6

Monica awoke with a start, her heart racing from the nightmare that was slowly beginning to fade along with Kathy's cries for help that she had been hearing in her mind. Tears escaped her eyes as she shivered from the cold stone floor. She ached, was hungry and incredibly thirsty and so filled with guilt that it was almost paralyzing.

It took almost every ounce of strength she had to rise shakily to her feet, and she walked with her arm wrapped around her hurting ribcage, her tired eyes trying to find a way out of the cavern, thinking that maybe that would help her balance all of the things she had done wrong, but there didn't seem to be a trace of light anywhere and after a moment, she weakly collapsed back down to the cavern floor. She broke her fall with her hands as she lowered her head, wishing she felt worthy enough to cry out to the Father for help, but she just didn't.

Wondering where it had all gone so wrong, she thought again to the night of Andrew's party and how she had struck Kevin, which had started this whole downward spiral of events. Despite her apology that same night, she was reminded again how that one action had the ability to change so many things.

"Please Father," She whispered tearfully,

"Help Andrew. He is so good and so kind and he doesn't deserve to be down here in this mess," She pleaded desperately,

"Help him, please."

Hearing quiet footsteps behind her, the little Irish angel buried her face deeper into her arms as she feared who it might be, but she nearly sobbed as she heard Philip's voice instead,

"Monica, what are you doing back here? You need to rest, and not cause any more pain to your body..."

"I-I...I was just looking to see if there was a way out," She uttered weakly, never lifting her eyes to meet those of the demon,

"But there isn't, and there's no way I can help Andrew out of this mess that I created. He doesn't deserve this, Philip...he doesn't deserve this!"

"Little angel, you need to go on back and be with him," Philip firmly ordered, kneeling down and gently picking her up off the ground so she was on her shaky feet again,

"You two need to be together, and as I said, you're only going to cause yourself more pain if you continue to move around."

Too upset to argue, she allowed the demon who had once instilled such fear in her to lead her back to the other side of the cavern.

"Angel Girl?" Andrew asked weakly, relieved at seeing her as he had woken up and found her gone.

"She's right here," Philip replied, as he helped ease the weary angel back down to the floor,

"She was looking for a way to get you out of here."

Not knowing what else to say or do, the little Irish angel rested her head on Andrew's thigh, hoping that doing so would not cause him pain, as the tears flowed silently from her eyes.

"Are you all right, sweetie?" He whispered hoarsely, his right hand running gently through her dirty hair.

"I'm just so scared...for you, Andrew..." She uttered, curling her arm around his leg into a make-shift pillow,

"Are you doing any better? How's your arm?" The youngest angel lifted her tear-filled eyes up at him, staring into his exhausted face.

Sighing softly, his hand continuing to stroke her hair, he replied softly,

"Brianna and Denise really did their work on it, but I'll be fine eventually, Angel Girl...I always am." He closed his green eyes briefly and tried to not let the pain show on his face as he continued talking to his best friend,

"Just rest your own body for right now, okay? You don't need to be moving around..."

Resting her head once more, she whispered brokenly,

"Why don't you hate me, Andrew?"

His eyes widened at her words as he felt her trembling against him,

"Monica, what on earth are you talking about…?"

"I've made such a mess out of everything," She uttered hoarsely,

"Kathy is dead because of me and you're here in this terrible place because of me. I'm such a failure and you're being so nice to me, and I don't deserve it. I do things to hurt you over and over again. I do things to hurt myself which you blame yourself for," Words of pain began to tumble out before she could even stop them,

"Everything just hurts so much and now Carol is gone and..and the bear..he's gone too…everything and everyone keeps leaving, so why don't you?"

"Because I promised you that I never would again," Andrew choked out, closing his eyes tightly as he continued to stroke his best friend's limp hair,

"And because I happen to love you more then life itself, Angel Girl..."

Letting out another sob, the Irish angel only buried her face deeper into his leg, her tears dampening his jeans,

"I don't deserve to be loved...by anyone...especially by you or the Father, Andrew..."

"That is so not true, baby girl," Andrew shook his head firmly even as his own tears continued to fall from his green eyes,

"Nothing will make me stop loving you...you should know that...and the Father's love, though none of us deserve it, Monica, is given freely to us. Angel Girl, you should know that better then any angel..."

"But I wish that you two didn't love me so much," Monica whimpered, her head never moving from where it lay against her friend,

"If you didn't love me as much as you did, you wouldn't be down here and injured as you are, Andy...I really should be alone..."

He was quiet for a moment, trying so hard to think of words that would console her as all she could see right now were the things she had lost and he wondered if maybe he was going about this the wrong way, yet he didn't want to upset her any further,

"Why, Monica? So you can keep feeling so sorry for yourself?" His voice was gentle, especially as he knew that his words were not,

"So you can keep beating yourself up over the things you could have done differently? So you can continue wallowing in this self-pity you have yourself so wrapped up in? Is that why you should 'really be alone'?"

She turned swollen hurt filled eyes to him, her lower lip quivering,

"That's not what I'm doing…"

"No?" He retorted, trying to ignore the pain in her eyes,

"That sure is what it looks like. Suddenly you don't feel you are worthy of anyone's love, you feel that those that do love you, should hate you. What else would you like to call this?"

Her voice breaking on a sob, Monica wearily lifted her head from where it lay on her friend's lap and looked through blurred vision at him,

"I don't know, Andrew...I don't know..."

Andrew sucked in a deep breath as he tried to think of the correct words to say without hurting her, but he knew that he had to continue to speak the truth,

"Mon', you KNOW how much I love you. I will never, ever hate you, no matter what wrongs you have done in the past and same goes for everyone else..." His voice choked up a bit as tears started to well up in his exhausted green eyes,

"But you have got to stop feeling sorry for yourself, and telling us to leave you alone when you think you don't deserve to be loved. We've been through this so many times, Monica, and I would've thought you'd realize that by now..."

"But I'm disappointed in myself for the things I've done…" She whimpered miserably,

"Why is it fair that I have you to love me enough to help me get better, but Kathy died because her support, instead of helping her, follows her actions? She deserved that love, not an angel who is too stupid to know what her job is…"

"You can knock that off right now, Angel Girl," Andrew replied sternly, watching as she lowered her head at the reprimand,

"C'mere, Mon'," He urged gently, holding out his good arm to her. He watched her hesitate briefly, before she slowly inched closer to him until her head was resting against his shoulder and he drew her closer,

"You are not stupid and all angels lose their way sometimes. I have, Tess has, Carla…you're no different."

"But-"

"No 'buts', Miss Wings," Andrew scolded, keeping his arm wrapped gently around her waist as he felt his friend's arms encircle his neck,

"You know it's the truth. You just don't want to admit that you're no different then the rest of us..."

"But my mistakes are unforgivable, Andrew," She whimpered through her tears as she pressed her face into her best friend's torn shirt,

"I AM different from the rest of you...at least you, Carla, Tess and Rose...have had good reasons to lose your way; at least you had excuses. I'm just too dense-"

"Angel Girl. Stop. NOW." Andrew gently pulled away and rested his hand underneath her chin to force her to look into his eyes,

"I don't want to hear you continuing to say that kind of stuff; you're going to stop that right here and now. Do we have an understanding?"

The Irish angel fell silent as she lowered her eyes, no longer wanting to talk about this as nothing was changing the way that she felt and the way she felt was that she was no longer worthy to be an angel,

"I'm tired." She whispered.

"Don't do this, Angel Girl," Andrew sighed as frustrated tears filled his eyes,

"Don't shut down like this…"

"I'm just tired, that's all," Monica replied, feeling him release her chin as she laid her head back down once more.

He nodded his head sadly, as he kept his arm wrapped around her,

"This conversation is far from over, sweetheart, as long as you know that."

Not trusting herself to reply to his words, Monica just closed her swollen brown eyes and rested her head on her friend and supervisor's shoulder once more before falling into a troublesome sleep.

Carla awoke early the next morning to a sore neck and with a groan, she opened her eyes and for a moment, she wasn't sure as to where she was; but it didn't take long for her to realize that she and Kevin were still in Andrew's car, in the middle of the woods. Rubbing her eyes, she looked out the window and sighed as she saw that it was raining hard outside. Pulling her light weight jacket tightly around her shivering form, she turned to her left and saw that Kevin was just now waking up as well.

Lifting his head off of the steering wheel, the youngest angel groaned softly and looked through tired brown eyes at his friend next to him,

"Morning, Car..."

"Yeah, and what a morning it is..." She mumbled sleepily in return, nodding towards the rain outside. Sighing softly as silence filled the car, Carla turned to her younger friend again and asked quietly,

"Has the Father told us to continue yet? Or do we still have to 'wait'?"

"We're still supposed to wait," He replied gently, seeing the worry in her green eyes. She had been terribly shaken up when she had raced back to the car last night with Monica's backpack in her hands, as her words had come out amidst the sobs about the destroyed angel bear and the blood on the ground. It had taken him over an hour, despite his own terror, to calm her down enough so she could sleep.

Silence filled the car for a moment before Carla spoke up once more,

"I'll bet it's demons…" She muttered softly.

"What?" Kevin looked over at her once more, not quite having heard what she had said.

"Demons," She replied tearfully,

"I'll bet that is what got Monica and now possibly Andrew too, or else we would have found him by now."

Sitting straight up in his seat, Kevin clenched the steering wheel with his hands and looked straight into Carla's tear-filled eyes,

"Are you...SURE?"

"I have this strange feeling that's what's happening..." She whispered in reply, picking up the backpack from where it sat on the floor and fingering it. For the first time since she spotted her Irish friend's bag on the ground the night before, Carla tentatively started to unzip the pouch and peered inside of it. What she saw in there next, confirmed her worst fears that Andrew was indeed captured by the demons who had invaded their lives so many years ago,

"Kevin..." She uttered shakily, glancing with wide eyes over at her friend.

Leaning over, Kevin peered over Carla's shoulder and nearly threw up as he saw the older angel pull out from it Andrew's blood-stained black leather jacket,

"What's that doing in there?" He whispered fearfully, his eyes never leaving the jacket.

"I don't know, but it must be another confirmation from the Father that we're on the right track...and that they are with those demons," Carla replied through her tears as silence now filled the car, and the rain continued to pound loudly on top of them.

Chapter 7

Tess starred listlessly out of the window and sighed deeply once more. She kept hoping to see some sign of Kevin and Carla, preferably with Andrew and Monica in tow, but so far there was no sign of any of the missing angels. Rose had tried to get out of her why Kevin and Carla had taken off, but the older angel had been too ashamed to admit the things she had said out of fear. She knew she needed to talk about it though as the guilt was eating at her.

The Sullivan's had been very quiet the last 24 hours and Tess shook her head sadly. Cindy looked terrible, having just lost her mother, and now having two scares on top of each other with the angel she considered a sister and now the absence of the three other angels she deeply cared about had left her feeling terribly upset and concerned.

Brady seemed equally as worried, though he tried to pretend it was from a medical perspective, but Tess knew the Irishman well enough to know he was incessantly fond of her two angel babies. She knew Brady looked at Andrew as somewhat of a best friend as the two were often found just chatting when they were able to spend time together and it was Andrew he went to when advice was needed, and to Monica as a sometimes little sister he just wanted to help and keep safe.

Wendy had been tugging on she and Rose constantly, asking when her angel, Andrew, would be returning and when Tess had to tell her that she just didn't know, the tears that filled Wendy's eyes about broke her heart. The little girl had also taken to having nightmares over the last few nights and her screams had everyone racing to her room in the middle of the night where she would cry out for her angelic friend.

Angelica on the other hand, already painfully shy, seemed to withdraw even further. The little girl had been confused enough through Monica's illness and now, though silent most of the time, despite their attempts to get her to talk, seemed to know that her angelic friend was still in trouble. While Wendy had nightmares, Angelica would slip unnoticed into Monica's room in the middle of the night and curl up there to sleep.

Even rambunctious Paddy, was much more reserved of late, and seemed to know better than to pick on his two sisters at the moment and he too, found himself missing his angelic friends.

"Tess?"

The sound of Wendy's voice caused Tess to turn around in her chair and her heart saddened as she saw the look on the little girl's face,

"What is it, baby?"

"Is Andrew home yet?" She asked quietly, a hopeful look in her blue eyes although they were flooded with tears,

"I miss him so much..."

"I know you do, sweetheart," The older angel replied as she patted her lap and lifted Wendy up to sit there,

"I miss that Angel Boy as much as you do, along with my other Angel Babies..."

"Are they okay?" The child rested her head sadly against the angel's shoulder and looked pleadingly up into her brown eyes.

"God is always with them, baby, so no matter what happens, they will be okay," Tess replied softly, running her hand through the little girl's blond hair,

"And you know that if Andrew and Monica are together, which I think they are, they always take very good care of each other too. So, the best you can do right now, honey, is pray that God brings them back to us soon."

"I pray every night, Tess," She whispered tearfully.

"I know you do, baby," She replied softly,

"And God hears your prayers and He will answer them. We just have to be patient." Looking up, Tess caught sight of Angelica, standing near the living room door listening. The quietest of the triplets was still a bit of a mystery to her, sometimes reminding Tess of a frightened fawn, ready to flee at the slightest loud noise. Still holding Wendy in one arm, she motioned to the other little girl,

"It's all right, baby. You can join us."

Hesitating slightly, Angelica slowly entered the living room and stood on Tess' other side with her head hanging low even as she felt the older angel's hand running through her own blonde locks.

"Sweetheart, what are you thinking?" Tess gently prodded, wishing that the little girl would look at her, which she never did.

"I want Monica," She finally uttered, twiddling her thumbs as tears fell from her soft blue eyes.

"Oh sweet baby, I know you do," Tess uttered, which caused the little girl to finally lift her head and meet her eyes,

"And you will see Monica again..."

"But I want her now," Angelica cried, the tears now flowing down her cheeks,

"I want her now, Tess...why won't God send her and Andrew home?"

"Because it has to be in God's time, baby," Tess explained softly, sighing sadly as Wendy buried her face against her shoulder as she wept,

"I know it's hard for you to understand…"

"I don't understand…I don't!" Angelica cried out in an extremely rare angry outburst,

"God took my grandma and that should have been enough, but now He wants our angels too! I think He's mean and I don't like Him very much right now! He isn't being fair!"

Before Tess could even try to reply, Angelica pulled away from her and fled up the steps, her sobs echoing behind her.

"Tess...she's not right, is she?" Wendy whispered through her sobs against the angel's shoulder,

"Does He really want Andrew and Monica away from us-"

"No, Wendy," Tess gently interrupted, looking straight into the little girl's eyes,

"No, that is not true. Baby, do you know what free will is?" Seeing Wendy shake her head no, the angel attempted to explain,

"Sweetheart, God has given us all, humans and angels, free will. That means that we are all allowed to do what we please, despite what He wants; and sometimes the consequences of those choices aren't so good..."

"So He's punishing Monica for leaving, and then Andrew for looking for her?" Wendy frowned through her tears, as she found that rather difficult to believe, especially after all that she'd heard about Him being a loving God.

"No, this is not a punishment, sweetheart. Everything we do has consequences, sometimes good and sometimes bad-they are just the results of our actions. Monica was safe here, but she was still upset and confused about some things and chose to leave to try to work those things out, so she was no longer safe. She may have stumbled into some trouble out there because she left, not because God was angry with her for leaving. Same with Andrew, he chose to go and look for his best friend, and because of that, he may have found a little trouble too, just like sometimes you get into trouble when you walk out your front door. You could fall and hurt yourself, but God isn't punishing you for going outside." Tess explained this the best she could,

"God loves those two angels very much, baby, and He is with them right now, even if they have forgotten that."

Wendy nodded her head sadly,

"I think I understand. I just wish I could help them somehow."

"You are helping them by praying for them, honey," Tess replied gently,

"And God will answer that prayer."

By the next afternoon, neither Denise or Brianna had bothered to make any more appearances and for that, Philip was grateful. He had kept a close eye on Andrew and Monica throughout the night, although he never bothered to make an appearance as he knew that both angels needed to rest, and also talk to one another in private without him around.

Poking his head out from around the corner of the cavern, the demon sighed softly as he saw that the two injured angels were now awake and talking; or rather, Andrew was the one who seemed to be doing most of the talking and every now and then, Philip managed to overhear a few painful sobs escape Monica's lips, and then the older angel's reassuring voice following, although he was able to make out some firmness in it.

Sighing softly, Philip softly stepped forward and made his presence known for the first time in 24 hours,

"Are you two doing any better?"

Andrew sighed softly, his mistrust of the demon having faded some in the last few days as he had not tried to harm them and had actually been rather protective in keeping watch for the demons,

"Physically, a bit better, I think," He replied, glancing over at his best friend, who had turned away to hide tears,

"Emotionally, we're still working on."

Philip nodded his head, a little surprised at Andrew's reaction and he wondered if the older angel was perhaps coming to trust him a little bit. Looking over at the Irish angel, his expression saddened, seeing the miserable look on her pale face and he longed to be able to help, but was unsure of whether his help was welcomed or needed,

"Little angel?" He asked softly.

"I'm fine," She stated tearfully, trying to wipe at her tears with a trembling hand,

"Never been better."

"Monica." Andrew sternly interrupted, turning her head to face him and he looked straight into her dark eyes,

"Don't lie, Angel Girl." The human angel glanced briefly over at Philip before turning his attention back to his best friend,

"Please don't..."

"No, really, I'll eventually be perfectly fine," She wiped quickly at her tears and lowered her eyes to the ground,

"No worries here."

Knowing full well that the Irish angel wasn't being honest with them, as he had overheard parts of their conversation, Philip just nodded his head and chose not to press the issue,

"It appears that Denise and Brianna have decided to finally leave you two alone...so how about this? Today, I'm going to look around and try and find a way to get you two out of here, and if all goes well and you aren't hurting too badly...you could be out of here by tomorrow. How does that sound?"

"That sounds like a plan I can live with," Andrew replied with a small sigh of relief,

"Thank you, Philip, for your help."

"Promise me something?" Monica spoke up softly, her eyes on the demon. Seeing him nod his head, she continued,

"Promise me that if anything goes wrong tomorrow, that you get Andrew to safety. Don't worry about me as I doubt I'm going very far anyway-."

"Monica!" Andrew all but exploded, his frustration coming to a head. It wasn't that he was angry with her, but more frustrated that he was unable to get through to her.

"You want me to be honest? Well, I'm being honest and this is how I feel," She retorted shakily,

"You don't deserve to be down here. This is my mess; the mess I started over two months ago after your surprise party that has done nothing but drag innocent people and angels into it, because I'm too incompetent to have any idea of what I'm doing."

"Angel Girl, please don't..." Andrew all but pleaded to her, reaching his good hand out and cupping her face in it. Tears immediately flooded his green eyes as he felt his dearest friend reach her hand up shakily and grasp his hand in her own.

"I...have to, Andrew...you're the innocent one in this whole mess, and Philip has to promise me that if I can't be saved...at least you will," The weary Irish angel uttered painfully, finally finding the courage to meet his eyes.

Deciding that these two had much more they needed to discuss, Philip rose to his feet,

"I'm going to do everything in my power to get you both out of here and to safety. That, little angel, is my promise and the only one I am making." Before she could argue, he walked around the corner of the cavern once more.

"What has gotten into you?" Andrew asked, trying so hard to understand,

"This isn't like you, Monica. I've never seen it take so long for you to bounce back from something like this-."

"I didn't realize that there was a statute of limitations on bouncing back from killing someone, Andrew…" She replied tearfully.

"Listen to me," He laid his hand firmly upon her shoulder as his stern green eyes bore into hers,

"You did not kill Kathy. Bulimia killed Kathy along with the fact that her parents refused to listen to the doctors and to angels who were telling them the truth. That's the bottom line, Miss Wings, like it or not."

"Yes, and she was my assignment, Andrew!" She cried tearfully, looking at him through blurred vision,

"But I was too wrapped up in my own feelings, and how things weren't going so well with you, that I forgot that I was even an angel from God, and Kathy was my assignment! I went along with her, Andrew, and she's dead now because of my actions-"

"Stop that, Monica!" The other angel cried, not knowing what else he could say; but his friend hoarsely interrupted.

"I'm sorry, Andy...I'm sorry...but this is something that I believe with my entire heart, and nothing you say will change my mind." With a pain-filled sob, the weary human angel rose shakily to her feet and walked over to the other side of the cave, sitting down heavily on the hard ground and sobbed.

Just after midnight a small figure crept slowly down the stairs, being extra careful to not make any noise at all for fear of waking someone. Stopping in the kitchen, she opened her backpack and piled in a few pieces of fruit as well as a handful of cookies, before zipping it up once more. Slinging it over her shoulder, she grabbed her jacket from the coat rack before slipping quietly out the front door.

Feeling a little scared at being out at this time of night, she quickened her footsteps, even though her heart was pounding in her chest. Thinking she heard someone behind her, she only forced herself to walk faster, too afraid to turn around, but the steps seemed to be keeping up with her. Finally, she stopped dead in her tracks and whirled around, her blue eyes wide with fear, before she let out a relieved sigh,

"Angelica! What are you doing?" Wendy demanded, seeing that her sister had followed her out of the house and down the street.

"Coming with you," Angelica whispered, her eyes frightened as she looked around them,

"You're going to find the angels, right?"

Wendy sighed once again. She had wanted to do this alone, especially since Angel was as timid as she was,

"Yes, but you should go home, Angel…"

"Oh, and like you're so innocent yourself," Angelica sarcastically replied, rolling her blue eyes to the dark sky. But she then turned serious again and faced her sister, wrapping her jacket tighter around her shivering form,

"But if you're going to find the angels, so am I. You know I love them, too..."

"I know, Angel, I know..." Wendy interrupted, her teeth chattering,

"Well, if you're coming with me, then keep up. I want to find them as soon as possible..." Reaching for her twin sister's hand, the two girls started walking down the sidewalk and after several minutes of silence, they reached the end of it, and Angelica turned fear filled eyes to Wendy.

"Wen, we're not even allowed to cross the street yet-"

"Yeah, and we're not allowed out past midnight either," She shot back sarcastically, looking both ways before grabbing the other girl's hand again,

"C'mon." As they ran across the street and reached the other side, Wendy reached into her backpack and pulled out a chocolate chip cookie for her sister,

"Here. Have this; it'll keep you from getting hungry at least for a few minutes..."

As she nibbled on the cookie, Angelica tightened her hold on her sister and best friend's hand before whispering into the night air,

"Wendy...I'm scared..."

Her natural protectiveness of her shy sister taking over, Wendy squeezed her hand reassuringly,

"I am too, a little, but it will be okay."

"Daddy is gonna be really angry with us," Angel whispered as they kept walking. Being the quietest of the three children, Angelica had never found herself in trouble with her sometimes-stern father, and she was in no hurry to start now,

"You don't think he'll spank us, do you?"

Wendy gulped, as she urged her sister to walk faster,

"Not when we show up with Andrew and Monica. He'll forget all about us being out so late as he'll be so glad to see them. He misses Andrew too and he's been really worried about Monica, so it'll be okay."

Before Angelica could reply, a bright headlight of a car coming towards them startled the two children and Wendy tightened her hold on her sister as it suddenly stopped beside them. Squinting in the dark at the driver, Wendy walked tentatively over towards the window and peered inside; the driver was a pretty woman, with a head full of blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes. A smile a mile wide was on her face and the little girl almost immediately felt at ease with her,

"Hi." She whispered.

"What are you two kids doing out here at this time of night?" The driver raised an eyebrow and turned the car off for a moment,

"You should be home in bed. You didn't run away now, did you?"

"Uh, no...we're just looking for some friends of ours," Angelica uttered, not trusting herself to look deep into the woman's eyes.

"Well, if you two need a lift, I'd be more then happy to help." Another smile spread over her face as she leaned forward and opened the passenger side door.

"Uh, Wen, we're not allowed to ride with strangers-"

"Angel, mom and dad will never know," The other little girl interrupted, shaking her head at her twin,

"And we can't just continue walking like this, with no money on us," Leaning closer, she whispered into Angelica's ear,

"And she seems nice." After a brief moment of looking at one another, Wendy breathed a sigh of relief as her sister nodded her head and she climbed into the offered passenger seat while Angel opened the door to the back. As the woman behind the wheel started the car, the twins buckled up their seatbelts and Wendy was the first to break the silence,

"I'm Wendy, and this is my twin sister Angelica. What's your name?"

Glancing over at her, the blonde woman grinned somewhat mischievously as she answered,

"Brianna."

Chapter 8

Monica awoke early the next morning, having cried herself to sleep on the floor the night before. She opened her swollen eyes slowly and looked over to Andrew, noticing how he was awake and seemed to be engaged in prayer. Her own heart ached to speak with the Father, but she still didn't feel worthy enough to do so and she felt fresh tears fill her eyes. She hadn't meant to come across as harshly last night as she had, knowing her best friend was only trying to help her, but she didn't even know what it was she needed right now.

Rising shakily to her feet, she walked over to her dearest friend and sat down beside of him before wordlessly curling herself into his arms.

Somewhat surprised at this after last night, Andrew drew her close to him and silently waited for her to speak.

"I'm sorry about last night," She whispered after a moment, resting her forehead against the side of his neck,

"I'm just really confused and I don't know what the answers are anymore."

"I know, Angel Girl," Andrew whispered back, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and resting his cheek against her head,

"I know how scared and confused you are; but I want to help you through all that, but you have to let me. I need you to let me..."

Sighing softly as her tears flowed, Monica looked up at her friend and whispered,

"Forgive me?"

"You know I do," The older angel gently pulled her closer to him and kissed the top of her head,

"We're in this together, little one, and I'm not going to leave you to deal with it alone."

"I know you won't…it's just that…" She sighed softly, as she weakly lowered her head once more.

"Just what, sweetie?" He asked gently.

"It's just that, I don't know what I need right now, from you or anyone else and that is what makes this so hard. I can't say that I know what would make me feel better, or what you can do to help me. It just all feels so wrong…all of it," Her voice broke off as she wept softly,

"I keep thinking I rely on you too much, but yet, I love knowing you are near and I never get tired of having you here. You always make me feel…I don't know…special. You always let me know that the door is always open to talk to you and I take advantage of that. But I know that even best friends don't see eye to eye all the time, but when we don't…it throws me into such a tailspin and I don't know how to handle it and I don't handle it…instead, I can't focus on anything else, not even the things I was created to do…"

Andrew was quiet for a moment as he thought about all she had said, relieved that she was beginning to open up to him. His hand ran through her hair soothingly as he listened to her soft sobs before he finally replied,

"I think that what you need to do, little one, is to remember something important. Disagreeing, or arguing or whatever you want to call it, is just that. You know, you and I could be yelling at each other, and the entire time that is going on, I still love you. It doesn't stop, Monica, just because we disagree on something. It doesn't mean you've lost me, or that I won't be there for you when you need me, even if it seems that way. This last time, I know, was especially hard, and I've explained to you the things I was feeling at the time. But sweetie, once I knew you were in trouble, nothing could keep me away. Don't you see that?"

"You've always been there for me in my darkest moments, Andrew..." Monica whimpered softly, once more resting her head gently against his upper shoulder,

"There's never been a time, when it really and truly counts, that you haven't been by my side to see me through it all." Sucking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly, she shrugged her shoulders and continued helplessly,

"And I'm forever grateful that you are, but...but no matter what, you always wind up getting hurt over and over again, and a part of me can't stop thinking that if I just rely on myself more often, then I won't have to worry about you-"

"Now, let's just stop right there, Angel Girl," Andrew gently interrupted, pulling away slowly,

"You do not have to worry about me, and you need to stop beating yourself up about thinking you rely on me too much. Mon', I'm your best friend, and I don't think you rely on me too much."

"But I DO, Andrew, and I don't think that will change, no matter what you say..." The Irish angel shook her head slowly and let out another choked up sob.

"You know, Kevin said that out of anger and you always take everything to heart, sweetheart," Andrew sighed softly,

"But Angel Girl, you need to think about the times when the tables have been reversed. You jumped back on board a sinking ship to be with me. You ran back into a school were kids were firing guns to help me. You led me through a flood when I couldn't see. You walked back into a house after four years in hopes of making things right between us again. All those times, Mon', you stood the risk of being hurt or you were hurt. Did I expect those things from you? Of course not. And all those times are no different from now. You were in trouble, and as your friend, I not only wanted, but needed to be there for you. Nothing that those demons have done have made me regret it either, because I would rather be here with you, then somewhere safe worrying about you. It's friendship, Monica. We rely on each other and help each other through the dark times. That's what it's all about."

Monica lowered her head to the ground as her long auburn locks fell in front of her face,

"I'm just so sorry, Andrew..." Moving her head so that she was looking up at his compassionate, though sad, green eyes, she drew in a shaky breath,

"I just love you so much it hurts...I'm so sorry, for everything..."

Without saying a word, the older blonde angel reached his right arm out again and pulled her close to him tightly. A small smile spread across his face as he felt her arms wrap around his waist tightly, and as he stroked her matted hair, he whispered softly into her ear,

"Mon', please just understand, and trust what I'm saying. You have nothing to be sorry for, sweetheart, and I love you more then my own existence...you're so much a part of me, Angel Girl, and I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that by the time this whole thing is over, you'll realize this, and never ever forget it."

"But Andrew, you say that I have nothing to be sorry for and I do," She whispered painfully,

"Kathy is dead and okay, maybe I didn't kill her, but I certainly didn't help her. She was my assignment and I did everything all wrong and made a bad situation worse. Not even you can deny that."

Andrew fell silent once more, never loosening his tight hold on her and he measured his words carefully,

"No, you're right, I can't," He responded gently, kissing the top of her head to reassure her that he had more to say on this topic,

"There were things you could have done, like talked to Kevin or to Brady and Cindy, when you felt like…no, when I made it feel like you couldn't come to me. But at the same time, you had a lot on your plate, honey, and you know what else? You keep focusing on the mistakes you make and just completely ignore all the good things you have done. Monica, you have been through so much in the last several years, more than any angel should have to deal with and look at how you turned most of it around. You came up with a course to spare other angels the pain you felt and do you know what truly amazes me?" Seeing her tearfully shake her head, he continued softly,

"The fact that the demon who hurt you so terribly that I thought your heart would never heal, you have managed to turn around. At one time, all Philip wanted to do was hurt us, but now, because of you, he is helping us. There are moments when it is all I can do to keep from wanting to punch him for all he put you through, but you…you have found the good in him and even I can see that it is there. Monica, given the things he has done, I'm not sure I could have done that if I were you, but you did, sweetheart." Gazing down at her, he saw the combination of doubt and trust in her dark eyes, and he reached to stroke her bruised cheek lovingly,

"You made a mistake with Kathy, yes. You were confused and hurting, because of me, but you didn't kill her, Monica."

Choking on another sob, the Irish angel forced herself to look up at her dearest friend and into his compassionate eyes,

"Do you...do you really think this...?"

As he continued to stroke her cheek, Andrew tilted his head to the side as a few tears welled up in his eyes,

"Do I really think this? What do you think, Angel Girl?"

"I'm still finding it so hard to believe that I don't have anything to apologize for, Andrew...but at the same time, I know that you would never lie to me..." Monica gently leaned her weary head against his right shoulder again and drew in a shaky breath,

"You never have lied to me before..." She closed her eyes tightly for a moment as she continued to lean against him, and a small tearful smile crossed her face as she felt his gentle hand through her hair.

"No," He whispered gently,

"And I never will." His eyes widened in surprise as she then burst into tears as she held onto him tightly,

"Oh sweetie, what?" He pleaded, his own eyes shining with pain over her tears.

"I just…I just love you so much…" Monica sobbed, managing a shaky laugh through her tears,

"Just so much, Andrew. You touch something inside of me no other angel ever could. You make sense out of things that don't make any sense…and sometimes it just makes me want to cry to know that I have someone as wonderful as you in my existence. I never want to let you go…not ever…"

Allowing a chuckle to escape his own lips, Andrew nodded his head and tightened his arm around her trembling shoulders,

"That's perfectly all right with me, sweet girl. I've got all day to hold you..." At those words, he smiled tiredly as he felt her arms tighten around him.

"I love you so much," Monica whispered into his chest as her tears continued to fall.

"I love you too, baby girl." Came the reply as Andrew rested his cheek against her head and only held her tighter.

"So, where on earth are you two kids headed this time of night?" Brianna asked sweetly, glancing over at Wendy.

"We're looking for our friends, Andrew and Monica," Wendy replied looking out the window and wondering where they were going.

"Andrew and Monica? As in the angels?" Brianna asked, feigning surprise.

"Do you know them?" Wendy asked hopefully, her eyes wide with her own surprise.

"I do and I think I know where they might be as well. Would you like me to take you to them?" The demon asked, glancing in the rear view mirror at Angelica, who was still looking rather nervous.

"Yes!" Wendy cried out, her heart racing,

"That would be wonderful! We've been so worried about them!"

"Are you an angel, too?" Angelica finally spoke up, her voice trembling slightly.

"In a way, I would say that I am," The blonde-haired demon shot a wink at the little girl through the rear-view mirror,

"So you better hold on for the ride, because it may get a little bumpy." She laughed inwardly as she was able to make out the slight fear in her baby blue eyes.

"Uh, what does that mean, Brianna?" Wendy whispered, her eyebrows furrowing as she looked at the driver.

"You'll see soon; don't worry, honey," Brianna shot a cheerful smile the little girl's way before turning back to the road in front of her.

Angelica swallowed hard, not liking how she was feeling at all and not sure if she trusted this Brianna person either. There was something about her that made a chill go up her spine, like when Paddy would toss one of his rubber spiders on her,

"Where are we going?"

"Just on a nice little journey that neither of you will forget anytime soon," Brianna chuckled, as the doors of the car suddenly locked.

Pulling at the lock on her door and finding that it would not budge, Angelica felt tears of real fear fill her eyes,

"Wendy," She whimpered softly,

"I wanna go home…"

"Why did you lock the doors like that?" Wendy demanded, trying to sound braver than she felt.

"Oh, no real reason," Brianna shot a grin the youngster's way before turning her attention back to her driving,

"You two don't want to fall out of the car now, do you?"

Fear now starting to rise within her, Wendy scooted closer to the demon and placed a hand on hers to try and stop the car from going any further,

"Let us out, Brianna-"

"It's not nice to boss adults around now, is it?" Brianna snapped in reply, slamming on the brakes and Angelica screamed as she covered her face with her hands. As silence passed through the car, Wendy gulped and looked around her; they now seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but trees and a large cave far up ahead surrounding them. But before she or her sister could speak any further, Brianna turned towards the little girl and Wendy bit back a scream as she saw the demon's eyes turn a fiery red,

"You two obviously don't know who I really am, now do you? Kids..."

"Let us out!" Wendy cried out, struggling with her door, but it would not budge, so she quickly climbed over the seat into the back, where Angelica was weeping and trembling in fear. Wrapping her arms protectively around her sister, Wendy whispered,

"It's okay, Angel..I won't let her hurt us…"

Brianna laughed as she listened to those words,

"Trust me, honey, if two angels can't stand up to me, there is no way two sniveling brats are going to!" Pulling the car up closer to the cavern, Brianna climbed out and then opened the back door, quickly grabbing both children roughly by the arms.

"Let go of me!" Wendy screamed, trying with all of her strength to pull away from Brianna's grasp, but found it tight and firm. Letting out a choked up sob, she eventually gave up and whimpered softly,

"What have you done with Andrew and Monica?"

"You'll eventually see in a few minutes, sugar," Shooting a wink both kids' way and laughing at the tears in Angelica's blue eyes, Brianna continued to drag the helpless children into the darkness and towards the entrance to the cavern,

"I never thought the day would come when I would have so much fun...besides beating up your two angel friends, that is..."

Having heard enough and more terrified than she had ever been in her young life, Angelica quickly gave Brianna's hand the hardest bite she could muster and was briefly rewarded as the demon released her, but only long enough to backhand the child across the face and send her reeling to the ground.

Screaming, Wendy struggled to get away to help her sister, but Brianna quickly grabbed a handful of her hair,

"Unless you want more of the same, I'd cool it if I were you, brat," She hissed, before yanking Angelica to her feet once more by a handful of hair.

Her cheek smarting, and her head now screaming in pain from where the demon was dragging her from, the little girl whimpered softly as she now didn't have the strength to fight anymore. Several minutes passed in silence, except for the quiet sobs of the twins as they were dragged through the cavern and it only took the sound of Wendy's scream to bring her head back up.

"Andrew!"

Her tear-filled blue eyes widening, the two little girls were only briefly able to catch a glimpse of their angelic friends in the corner of a small part of the cavern; both angels appeared weary and in pain, but at the sound of the child's voice, both of their heads shot up and Angelica wanted more then anything to go to them. But before she or Wendy could, they felt Brianna drag them farther into the cavern and the next thing she knew, she felt herself being thrown to the ground in a heap.

"Your angelic friends think they are getting out of here today, but if they leave, they leave the two of you behind," Brianna hissed at the terrified little girls,

"They can't get to you here, so there is no sense in bawling for them. They either come with me to spare you two or they leave you both here to die. That is their choice." With a laugh, the demon vanished, leaving the two children alone in the tiny cavern that no longer seemed to have any entrance.

"Are you okay, Angel?" Wendy sobbed, quickly going to her sister and wrapping her arms around her tightly.

"I'm scared, Wendy," Angelica wept as she trembled with cold and fear,

"I wanna go home! I don't wanna die here!"

"We're not gonna die, Angel; we're going to be just fine, and so will Andy and Mon'." Gulping, Wendy turned her head and looked around the dark cavern. Although she didn't want to admit it, she was as frightened as her sister and wanted to do anything to help rescue her two angelic friends. Tightening her hold on her slightly younger sister, Wendy whispered through her own tears,

"God is with us, Angel; and He won't let Brianna win this fight. You must be strong; you have to be..."

"I'm…trying, but it's so..cold…." She replied, her teeth chattering even as her cheek throbbed.

"I know," Wendy replied, shivering herself as she held onto her sister, wondering what would become of them. Andrew and Monica would surely not chose to follow the demon, so where did that leave she and Angel? Deep down inside, she knew her angelic friends would do everything they could to save them, but would it be enough to protect them against the worst evil she had ever felt before?

"Try to sleep, Angel," She whispered soothingly,

"They'll find us…I'm sure they will…"

Chapter 9

"Wendy! Angelica!" Andrew yelled as loudly as he could, despite the hoarseness of his voice, but before either him or Monica could get to the girls, Brianna had dragged them away from them, leaving the two injured angels alone once more. Feeling his dearest friend sinking back into his arms, sobs tearing through her at what they had just witnessed, Andrew tried hard to hold back tears from his own eyes, but found it nearly impossible,

"Oh my God, she's got the girls..."

"Andrew...she can't hurt them...she just can't!" The Irish angel sobbed, pressing her face into her best friend's chest again,

"Not Wendy and Angel..."

"Angel Girl, neither Brianna or Denise are going to hurt those two precious children-"

"How do you know that, Andrew?" Monica painfully interrupted, lifting her head and looking up at him,

"They're human beings, not angels like us! She could seriously hurt them for all we know..."

"No, I forbid it," Andrew firmly replied, his voice shaking madly as he spoke,

"Those...things won't come anywhere near those two; I would think Denise and Brianna have enough common sense to know not to mess with the kids..."

"Andrew, they never thought twice about hurting you, or me for that matter; they never have since Denise turned away," The Irish angel's voice choked on a sob as she objected,

"What makes you think that they won't harm two innocent little girls?"

"They will given half the chance," Philip's voice interrupted the two angels as he approached them carefully,

"We have a much bigger problem, you two. Brianna wants you both to come with her or she leaves the little girls here to die," He sighed sadly, looking completely uncertain as to what to do,

"Those are her conditions. She knew she didn't stand a chance stopping you two from getting out of here today-that is why she has done this."

"I told you, Andrew," Monica whimpered, rising painfully to her feet and walking over to the wall,

"Wendy! Angelica!" She cried out tearfully, raking her fingers along the stone wall as if trying to claw her way through. Desperately she turned back to her best friend and Philip,

"See? This IS my fault! I left and you followed me and now the twins have come to look for us! That's why they're here!"

"Monica, no," Andrew began softly, hating to see the progress they had made last night all go bad in a matter of minutes.

Leaning up against the wall, despite the pain in her back, she shook her head, her eyes glassy with tears,

"If we can't save them, then I will go with Brianna," She stated firmly, though her voice trembled,

"And I'm not arguing with you about it. Those little girls are completely innocent in this and I won't allow them to be hurt."

"Angel Girl, I forbid that!" Andrew cried, and although his whole body was still screaming in pain, the angel rose to his feet shakily and felt his head spinning as he did so. Laying his good hand against the wall to steady himself, the older angel took deep breaths before slowly heading over to where his best friend was leaning against the wall on the other side of the cavern,

"You are not going with her! Do you understand me, Monica-"

"Andrew, there's no way I'm going to allow two innocent children to be harmed, or even killed, because of my actions all those months ago!" The weary younger angel sobbed, her eyes watching her friend and supervisor stop in front of her until their eyes were meeting,

"I'm sorry, Andy...I'm sorry...but that's the end of this discussion."

"No, it is not the end of this discussion!" He snapped at her, the pain and terror he felt at the moment fueling his temper,

"I'm still your supervisor and I'm telling you that you are not doing this!"

Monica regarded him in stony silence for a moment, before replying in a whisper,

"Once I go with Brianna, you won't be my supervisor any longer. Maybe it's the answer I've been searching for; what the Father wants from me, as I certainly haven't felt worthy to be an angel any longer anyway."

"Miss Wings, you are going to listen to me-"

"No, Andrew," Monica firmly replied through her own tears. Taking a step away from her dearest angelic friend, the Irish angel shook her head,

"I'm so sorry, but...I need to be by myself right now." And with that, Monica turned away and walked shakily over to another side of the cavern several feet from Andrew and Philip and curled herself up into a ball on the floor, burying her head into her folded arms.

Shaking uncontrollably at this sudden turn of events, Andrew turned to Philip, his expression one of complete distress,

"This cannot happen, Philip! There has to be another way…" He glanced back at Monica, knowing full well that she would do this if it came right down to it and the thought of losing her was more than he knew he could ever bear.

"I don't want to see it happen either, Andrew," Philip replied, his face full of sadness,

"But I don't know what else to do. I can stand up to them for you two, but can't manage all four of you, not with Brianna able to kill those children in a moment's notice, should I try. You're both angels and are stronger, but those little girls are defenseless against her."

Unable to stand on his own two feet any longer, as he knew that he was going to collapse any minute at what was going on around him, Andrew headed back over to the wall and slumped down against it to the ground once again. As he did so, he shot one last look over at his dearest friend, who wouldn't even look his way; in fact, she appeared to be trying her hardest to not look at him at all. As he saw the tears streaming from her swollen brown eyes, only then did he allow his own to fall.

"Wendy? Angelica?" Cindy called down the stairs late the next morning, and Tess and Rose glanced up upon hearing the woman's voice from the staircase. Glancing at one another, the oldest of the duo rose to her feet and headed over to where their friend was coming down, panic written all over her pretty face,

"Rose! Have you seen the girls anywhere? They're not in their room, and Paddy said he hasn't seen them...do you have any idea where they could be?"

"I haven't seen them, honey…not all morning," Rose frowned before turning to Tess,

"Have you seen them today?"

"I haven't seen them since last night when they were both so upset about Andrew and Monica being gone," Tess sighed, before her eyes grew wide,

"You don't think those two little ones would go looking for them, do you?"

As soon as those words were out of Tess' mouth, Cindy's eyes flooded with tears and she shook her head. Finding herself speechless for a few moments, the human turned back around and shouted up the stairs to Brady,

"Brady! Brady, please come down here!"

Upon hearing his wife's desperate voice, which was filled with more concern then he had ever heard before, Brady hurried towards the top of the staircase and raced down it to see Cindy, Rose and Tess standing in the living room, all three of them wearing shocked expressions on their faces,

"Sweetheart, what is it?"

"Honey, have you see Wendy or Angelica at all this morning?" The hysterical woman demanded, hoping that her husband had, so that she could put her worries aside that the twins did leave to go and look for Andrew and Monica.

"No, I haven't. Why?" His brow furrowed with concern as he waited for an answer.

"Oh my God, oh my God," Cindy sobbed as she covered her face with her hands,

"They did…they went to look for the angels…Their beds haven't been slept in…Wendy never makes hers on Saturday until we make her…my babies are out there somewhere!"

Trying to take in the situation, Brady laid his hands on his wife's shoulders shakily,

"Now lets not go jumping to conclusions. They know better than to pull a stunt like this, sweetheart…"

"And they also know better then to not leave the house, or cross the street without our approval!" Cindy cried, her hands shaking madly,

"They're nowhere in this house, and there's only so many places they can hide! They're out there somewhere...looking for Andrew and Monica, and now maybe even Carla and Kevin, and my babies could have gotten in the same horrible situation as they did! Oh my God, this can't be happening...please Father, please, this can't be happening..."

Noticing how her human friend was starting to hyperventilate, Tess gently grasped Cindy around the shoulders and led her over to the living room couch gently,

"Now, c'mon baby, calm yourself for a few minutes, all right?"

"I can't calm down, Tess!" She cried out in between sobs,

"My parents are gone, my sisters are gone, my friends and now my two little girls! How can I calm down? They are just babies…they can't be out there all alone!"

Sitting down on the other side of his wife, Brady drew her into his arms and held her tightly, all the while trying to keep his own fear at bay,

"We'll call the police, Princess. They probably won't do much until the girls have been missing for 24 hours, but we can at least report it so they can keep a look out for them. Chances are they will show up here soon, tired and hungry and with a great deal of explaining to do."

"I don't know, Brady, I really don't know..." Cindy continued to sob, holding tightly to her husband as if he was her lifeline,

"I'm a mother, and I know in my heart when something is wrong with my children; it's called a 'mother's instinct', Brady, and I'm not imagining this feeling..."

Gently pulling away, Brady kept a gentle grip on his wife's shoulders as he looked into her frantic eyes,

"It will be okay, Princess. Trust me, okay?"

"I don't know when things have ever been okay these last few months, so I don't see how they can be okay when my two baby girls are missing," With that, Cindy pulled away from her husband and looked to the other remaining angels,

"Excuse me." Without any further words, she turned her back and hurried up the stairs to the second floor again.

Wendy awoke a little while later, shivering with cold and feeling more than a little hungry, but of course, her backpack was gone and so was the little bit of food she had brought with her. Gazing down at Angelica, and seeing her shivering as well, she laid a hand on her forehead and felt it to be warm with fever and she knew the situation was going from bad to worse, especially since she wasn't feeling all that great either. But she also knew that she had to stay strong enough to protect her sister.

"Awake again, are we?" Brianna's voice sounded through the dark cavern, causing Wendy's eyes to widen and Angelica to wake up and instantly begin to whimper in fear,

"Oh, don't be afraid yet. I have a feeling that today is going to be a good day for the three of us."

"You're…gonna let us go?" Wendy whispered shakily.

"In a sense, it's a possibility. Your angelic buddy, Andrew, will still have to find you, but if things go my way, I'll let him."

"He and Monica will find us," Angel whispered tearfully.

A look of mock sadness came over the demon's face as she shook her head,

"No, that's where you're wrong, sugar," She replied before laughing, deciding that if these two kids were going to get to go home soon, they would have a few emotional scars to show mom and dad,

"You see, your angel friends were going to get out of here today because they have a poor excuse for a demon over there helping them out. But you two have changed all that! Because you ran away to find them, I now have you two to bargain with and my bargain is that an angel falls away from God in order to let the two of you go," Seeing the twins eyes widen, Brianna lowered her voice to whisper as if sharing a marvelous secret with them,

"And I think Monica is gonna take that plunge for the two of you. Of course, you'll never see her again, but you will get to live."

"No!" The twins cried at the same time, although Wendy's blue eyes were filled with the utmost anger,

"No, she will not fall! I know her, and she would never leave God-"

"Well, you're sorta right about that," Brianna smirked before shooting a wink the child's way,

"But I also know that she would do anything...ANYTHING...if it meant saving you two and that pathetic angel, Andrew. Even falling."

"You are such a liar!" Angelica lashed out, jumping to her shaky feet and looking up at the blonde-haired demon.

"Maybe so, but it's what I do best," Brianna laughed before grabbing the fragile shoulders of the twins and pushing them back down to the hard ground,

"Now sit back down!" As Wendy and Angel reluctantly did so, the demon crossed her arms in front of her and continued in a threatening tone,

"Now, if only tonight goes as planned, you two will be going home...with only ONE angel, and that Angel Girl will be mine. All mine. Wow, I've waited for this day ever since I fell...although it wouldn't hurt to have that handsome blonde angel that you love as well, Wendy."

"They're not gonna fall…they're not…" Wendy sobbed bitterly,

"Andrew won't and he'll stop Monica…he won't let her do that!"

"Oh, sorry, wrong again," Brianna smiled, deciding to wreak a little more havoc on the vulnerable children,

"You see, Monica has screwed up so badly lately that Andrew really doesn't care about her anymore. He knows that everyone would be better off if she just fell. See, she keeps messing up her assignments and because he is her supervisor, it looks really bad on him, so he's really hoping that she just comes with me so he can be rid of her, once and for all."

"You're such a liar," Angelica whispered through sobs,

"She's his best friend and he would never ever do that…"

"I know this is terribly hard for the two of you," Brianna replied, trying her best to look sad,

"If only you hadn't run away this wouldn't be happening."

"How dare you say these things about Andrew?" Wendy cried through her own sobs, knowing that this demon was lying through her teeth,

"He's an angel, and you're only a demon-"

"Oh, ONLY a demon?" Brianna raised a thin eyebrow as she headed over to the two cowering children and towered over them again,

"Wendy, dear, once this is over, Monica or Andrew will no longer be an angel and you can thank Denise and I for that." And in the blink of an eye, Brianna had vanished from the dark cavern, leaving the twins alone once again and in tears.

Chapter 10

Andrew walked slowly and stiffly over to the other side of the cavern where Monica was now sitting with her back up against the wall and her head lowered. Though painful, he sat down beside of her, noticing her swollen eyes and the way her entire body was shaking. He was quiet, unsure of what to say to convince her that what she was considering was wrong, but he knew he had to somehow.

"You and Philip haven't thought of any way to save the twins, have you?" She whispered, breaking the silence, though she refused to look at him.

"Not yet, but we will, Monica and it will be a way that doesn't jeopardize you, I can promise you that much…" He began firmly, feeling sick on his stomach at the very thought of her going with Brianna.

"There is no other way," Monica whispered brokenly,

"And we all know it. It's only fair that it is my fault that they are down here to begin with, so I need to take responsibility for my actions for a change," Leaning her head back and looking up at the void space above them, tears streamed down her pale face,

"I'm not going to rely on you to get us out of this one, Andrew and I can't risk those two little girls; I love them and their parents too much to do that. I'm not really worthy to be an angel anyway, not worthy to be working for you, so if it's an angel she wants, then she'll get one…" Covering her eyes with one hand, she sobbed softly.

"No, Angel Girl!" Andrew cried, now unable to stop the tears from flowing down his face. Reaching his hand out, he grasped his best friend's hands and pulled them away from her face to force her to meet his green eyes,

"Please, sweetheart, don't do this...please don't do this-"

"I have to, Andy," The Irish angel sobbed brokenly, leaning forward and resting her forehead against her dearest friend's chest one more time,

"I'm so sorry...I'm so terribly sorry for everything...but I have to do this, to save you all-"

"Monica, no..." Andrew wrapped a shaking arm around her own trembling shoulders and closed his eyes tightly,

"Baby girl...you cannot do this! We'll find a way out of here, and get the twins out as well; I know we will..."

"I can't risk that and we are running out of time," Monica choked out,

"She will kill them, Andrew…she has no conscience. She and Denise drive humans to their death every day and it can't happen to them, or to you…"

"But this is not what you want, Mon'! I can see it in your eyes-." Andrew pleaded desperately.

"No, of course it isn't," She wept, feeling a part of herself already beginning to die,

"What I want is to turn back the clock on the last two months, so I can do things over again and get them right this time, but I can't! I did those things, all of them and they are unforgivable. Even you will be better off without me…"

"Angel Girl, I won't be anything without you," Andrew firmly interrupted, tightening his hold on her as if he let her go, she would disappear before his very eyes,

"You know that-"

"I don't know that anymore, Andrew..." The human angel sobbed, her own arms wrapped around her best friend as tightly as she could,

"But I do know I'm going to miss you so much..."

"Monica, you're not going! I forbid it!" Andrew then pulled away and grasped the younger angel's chin in his hand and forced her to look at him again,

"Do you understand me, Angel Girl, you're not..."

"Just remember how much I love you, okay?" She whispered, choosing not to respond to his demand. Reaching up, she touched his face, as if wanting to memorize it for all eternity, her fingers running through the tears on his cheeks,

"Please, don't ever forget that."

"Angel Girl, please, don't do this," He sobbed openly now, taking her tear-streaked face into his hands,

"You need to talk to the Father…"

"I can't," Monica whispered shakily,

"I'm too ashamed…"

Before she could continue, Brianna and Denise appeared in the cavern, each one holding tightly to one of the twins,

"So, what is your decision?" Brianna asked sweetly,

"Coming with us, Angel Girl, or do you two prefer to watch these two sweet, innocent children die?"

"Monica, don't do it!" Angelica screamed, trying to wrench herself free from Brianna's grasp, but the demon backhanded her across the face once more, which caused the child to whimper in pain.

"Shut up, you little brat!" The dark angel hissed, before turning her narrowed eyes to the two sobbing angels in front of them,

"What do you say, Miss Wings?"

The Irish angel turned her head and shot one last glance at her dearest friend, who was grasping her hand in his and refusing to let it go. Before she could reply, Andrew's voice interrupted her and Monica wanted to curl herself up in his arms and never let him go at just hearing the pain in his voice,

"Please, baby girl...please, this is wrong, Monica-"

"Angel Boy, this is Monica's choice, not yours," Denise interrupted, tightening her fingers on Wendy's fragile right arm and laughed as she cried out in pain,

"Although it wouldn't hurt for you to come as well."

"Never! And Monica's not going with you!" Andrew sobbed, his voice though filled with complete pain, also held fury towards the two demons.

"Andrew..." Monica softly interrupted him, gently pulling her hand away although her heart shattered as she did just that,

"I-I have to..."

"No, you don't…you don't!" He cried out, feeling as if his heart were being ripped from him.

"She's hurting them, Andy," She whispered, the tears never ceasing to end. Looking into his emerald eyes that she knew so very well, she struggled to find the words she wanted to say, lest she never have the chance again,

"I don't know what will happen to me," She whimpered, her voice catching in a sob,

"But I want you to know how much I've cherished every moment of our friendship since the moment we met. There is no other angel who could be more special to me or who could touch my heart the way that you do every single day-." Her voice broke off, as she wept, knowing this was impossible. Instead, she threw herself into his arms and covered his face with tiny kisses,

"I love you…I love you so much…be safe and give everyone my love, even if they can't understand…"

"Monica...don't..." Andrew pleaded, his voice soon breaking off as he felt his best friend being ripped from his arms and her cries tore through his heart,

"Angel Girl..."

"Sorry, Angel Boy, but she's no longer yours," Denise smirked, shooting a look at Brianna and the two demons threw the twins to the ground next to Andrew and she wrapped an arm around the sobbing Irish angel's neck in a near death grip,

"Have fun explaining this to your other ANGEL friends, sweetie!" And in the blink of an eye, the two demons and their new victim, disappeared in a puff of smoke.

There was complete silence in the cavern for a moment; even Philip appeared in shock over what had just happened and the sacrifice that had just been made. But as the smoke cleared, the demon looked over and saw Andrew hit his knees as he fell to the floor, sobs filled with more pain than he had ever heard from angel or human emerging from him as his entire body convulsed with complete agony.

The twins, sobbing softly, approached him and wrapped their small arms around him and felt him clutch them back tightly. Both children were too filled with grief and guilt that Brianna had instilled in them to do anything more than cry, the pain of their angelic friend piercing straight into their innocent hearts.

Hesitantly approaching the sobbing angel and the twins, who hadn't released their hold on Andrew yet, Philip knelt down on the ground next to the trio, not sure as to what to say just yet. Instead, he just watched as the hurting angel just closed his eyes tightly and didn't say a word to any of them. With a shaking hand, the demon reached out and gently stroked back the twin's tangled blonde hair, but his motions went unnoticed as none of them spoke.

'I cannot believe this happened...' He thought to himself and for one of the first times ever, he felt sadness pierce his heart as he recalled the Irish angel's sobs echoing around them as she disappeared with Denise and Brianna.

Feeling the fact that the twins both seemed to be running fevers, Philip cleared his throat and tried to find his voice though it shook with emotion,

"We need to get them out of here, Andrew," He whispered softly,

"I know the way." Seeing the angel nod, Philip picked up Angelica in his arms.

"We can't leave…" The little girl whispered through her tears,

"Monica…"

"She isn't here any longer, darling," Philip said softly, his own eyes wet with tears, something he had not felt in centuries.

"Who are you?" She asked, holding onto him as they began to walk.

"A friend," He replied, with more conviction than he had ever felt before.

Angel nodded her head, deciding to accept that answer, and looked over Philip's shoulder at her sister and Andrew, who were right behind them. Her angelic friend's eyes were blurred with tears, but he remained silent and didn't say a word as they continued walking; Wendy was holding onto their friend as tightly as she could as they walked, while the angel supported her with his right arm.

Burying her face into Philip's shoulder, Angelica continued to sob quietly and wasn't able to make out the words that Wendy was saying to Andrew next to them,

"I'm so scared, Andrew..."

Philip was able to make out the words the little girl spoke to the blonde angel, but as he turned and looked over at Andrew, he sighed as he noticed that he still wasn't speaking. Instead, he only saw him nod his head and his tears only flowed faster down his bruised face.

Kevin looked up from where he and Carla sat in the car and he gasped as he saw Andrew and another man carrying Angelica and Wendy through the woods,

"Car…" He uttered, his mind racing with questions.

She looked up and gave a small cry, as some of the color left her face,

"What is HE doing with them?"

"Who is he?" Kevin asked, feeling a combination of relief and confusion as he prepared to get out of the car,

"And what are the girls doing here and…where is Cupcake?"

"That's Philip," Carla spat out his name as if it left a bad taste in her mouth, before she opened her door and got out of the car, her green eyes filled with anger. Approaching the group, she all but snatched Angelica from his arms,

"Get away from her!"

"Simba!" Kevin cried out as he too approached them quickly, but he halted in front of his supervisor, never before having seen the look that was on his face now. He could tell his friend was hurt, but this was more than that. Way more than that…

Reaching out and gently taking Wendy from the older angel, Kevin handed the remaining little girl over to Carla, who wasted no time in getting her into the backseat of Andrew's car. Ignoring Philip completely, the youngest angel gently wrapped a supportive arm around his supervisor's trembling shoulders and led him over to the car where Carla was waiting,

"C'mon, Simba, let's get you in there. We'll be outta here in a few minutes...after Carla and I have a talk with him." Watching his older friend look through tear-filled eyes at him, but still not saying anything, Kevin felt confusion filling his heart once more and he quickly opened up the backseat door to help Andrew inside.

Once the angel had shut the door, he and Carla exchanged wide-eyed glances before heading back over to where Philip was standing off to the side.

"What are you doing here?" Carla demanded, feeling a little braver in front of this demon with Kevin by her side,

"And where is Monica?"

Philip was quiet for a moment, trying to get his own emotions under control before he began to speak,

"I was here to help your friends. You may not believe that, but it is the truth. Monica encountered Denise and Brianna a few days ago-."

"Brianna?" Carla asked, despite her mistrust of the demon.

"She turned away some time ago," Philip explained softly,

"They beat your Irish friend up pretty badly and trapped her in the cavern. When Andrew came to look for her, the same happened to him. I was helping them to escape when the children showed up and Brianna got hold of them. She and Denise knew that they were no match for me, but with them threatening two human children, I couldn't keep all four of them safe…"

The angel's eyes widened as they watched tears fill the demon's dark eyes as he continued,

"I'm sorry, I tried…Brianna would only spare the little girls if one or both of the angel's agreed to fall and go with her. Monica…well, from whatever has been going on lately, said that this was all her fault anyway and she didn't feel worthy enough to go to God, so she…she went with Brianna and Denise in order to save the children and Andrew. He tried to stop her, but…." He shook his head, unable to continue.

"No...that can't be true!" Kevin cried, taking a step backwards as his heart raced frantically,

"Cupcake would never...she wouldn't..."

"She kept saying that she had no choice, and...and she loves those two children with all of her gentle heart; and she would do anything to keep Andrew from getting hurt anymore then he already is," Sighing deeply, Philip shook his head sadly,

"I'm sorry, Carla. Kevin...I know how much she means to you..."

"And why should we believe you?" Carla demanded through her own tears, although deep down inside she had a terrible feeling that for once, Philip was telling them the truth.

"Just ask Andrew." The demon responded somewhat shakily,

"He hasn't spoken a word since that little angel departed, but just look into his eyes. Look into Andrew's eyes, and you'll know that I'm telling you the truth."

Through tears, the two younger angels looked over at the car and saw Andrew's head bowed as sobs shook through him once more, even as Wendy huddled close to him and Angelica wept into her hands.

"Oh dear God, no…" Carla uttered, her voice catching in a sob,

"Kevin, no…she couldn't…this isn't happening…"

As Kevin caught his friend up in his arms as tears streaked his own cheeks, he looked over and saw that Philip had vanished.

Chapter 11

Rose hurried down the steps of the Sullivan's house late that night upon hearing Tess' cry from the front door telling her to come quick, and before long, the angel along with Cindy and Brady, had ran towards the front hall and there were gasps all around as they saw Carla and Kevin helping an injured Andrew and two sobbing little girls into the house.

"Angel Boy!" The Search and Rescue angel cried out as she ran towards the three angels and two humans, but the rest of the group was too quick for her as Tess had hurried to help Andrew onto the couch and the Sullivan's had gathered their girls into their own arms. Out of the corner of her blue eyes, she watched as Carla and Kevin exchanged glances with one another, while they continued to hold tightly to each other's hands; but something didn't miss her watchful eye, and that was that Monica was still missing...

Rushing forward to where Andrew was sitting on the couch with Tess beside him, who was speaking quietly and asking questions, Rose knelt down next to her friend and placed her hands gently on his knees,

"Honey...are you okay? Where's Monica?"

But the blond angel could only shake his head before he lowered it and gave into painful tears, which caused fear to fill the two older angel's hearts.

"Baby, what is it? Where is your Angel Girl?" Tess asked gently, smoothing back his dirty blond hair.

"It's our fault!" Angelica burst out suddenly, sobs wracking through her small body,

"Brianna said it was…if we hadn't run away to help them, Monica wouldn't be gone!"

"Sweetheart, what are you talking about?" Cindy asked gently, holding her sobbing daughter close to her, feeling the way she was trembling.

"Monica had to go with them to save us…" Wendy whimpered from where she was in Brady's arms,

"She went with the demons…they were going to kill me and Angel…we're sorry…we're so sorry…if we had stayed home, it would have all been all right…Andrew…we're so sorry…" Burying her face against her father's chest, she sobbed hysterically.

"Brianna?" Tess and Rose repeated the angel's name that had caused so much trouble so many years ago. Glancing down at the Search and Rescue angel, Tess continued.

"Brianna was there?"

"She ended up turning over to the dark side a few years ago, Tess," Carla finally spoke up, squeezing Kevin's hand to try and keep her emotions under control, although the tears never ended,

"She and Denise are now a team, and they beat up Monica, and when Andrew came to search for her, they did the same to him...Oh Tess, in order to save Angel and Wendy, along with Andrew, Mon' gave herself to them...she gave herself..."

Her blue eyes widening with shock and horror, Rose turned back to Andrew and rose to her feet to sit on his other side on the couch,

"Andrew?"

"He hasn't spoken one word since it happened..." Kevin uttered through his own tears, wrapping his arm around Carla's trembling shoulders,

"Philip...he explained everything to us..."

"Philip?" Tess and Rose both said at the same time, all the while tears streaking their cheeks at the shock they felt at what their angelic friend had done.

"He..he helped them escape," Carla sobbed softly,

"I don't know why, but he did…he said once the girls were there he couldn't help all four of them with the twins being human and Brianna watching over them the way she did…"

"What…what does this mean?" Cindy uttered through her own tears.

There was silence in the room for a moment before Brady spoke up hoarsely,

"If an angel falls, she falls away from God and to the darkness…" He uttered, knowing that no one else wanted to say it.

Andrew buried his face further into his hands upon hearing the words and barely being able to fathom that they were being said in regards to the best friend he had ever known in his existence. Surely, it couldn't be true…if he thought hard enough, he could still feel the silkiness of her auburn locks against his hand, feel the warmth of her as she snuggled closer to him, hear her soft Irish brogue telling him what was in her heart. Was he never going to feel these things again? Already, he could no longer feel the connection they had in his heart. It had vanished instantly in the smoke when the demons had taken her, her cries of pain being the last thing he had heard and then…

Silence.

Unable to hear anything else going on around him, as his mind was so set on his dearest Irish friend and trying to believe that what had just happened was a nightmare, Andrew didn't respond even as he felt Rose's arm wrap around his shoulders and her soothing voice, though thick with tears, in his ear. In the back of his mind, he was however able to make out Brady's voice giving orders and the next thing he knew, he felt one of his older friends gently pulling him to his feet.

"We need to get all three of them upstairs and into a shower, and then get them to bed," Brady softly spoke, his eyes on his blonde angelic friend, his heart shattered at the look he saw on his face,

"And being doctors, either Cindy or myself are going to have to take a look at that arm; looks like those things scratched you up pretty badly..."

Even as he said the words, the human didn't hear any words coming from Andrew's mouth and Brady found himself starting to grow more and more worried by the minute. Exchanging a look with Rose, he shook his head before reaching down and picking up Wendy in his arms once again, while Cindy took Angelica, and the small group headed up the stairs.

Late that night, Tess starred listlessly at the fire in the fireplace. Everyone had gone to bed, the twins having cried themselves to sleep and exhaustion and shock finally overtaking Andrew. The older angel watched the flames flicker and dance and tears filled her eyes as she felt the heat from it, and wondered just what kind of heat her beloved Angel Girl was in at the moment.

"Tess?" Rose said softly, as she sat down next to her friend, her own eyes red and swollen from tears.

"A part of my heart is gone, Rose," Tess whispered, her eyes never moving from the flames,

"Those two angels have been my babies for as long as I can remember…I don't know how to go on without one of them and I don't think Andrew will ever be the same again. He loves her so much and so deeply. I know we're supposed to trust the Father's plan, but was this part of His plan? To have that sweet little angel baby go with those monsters…" Her voice trailed off as anger began to fill it,

"I know as sure as I'm sitting here that Monica may have gone with them, but she never turned her back on God!"

"From what Andrew and the twins witnessed, and from what the others have said...I know that little Angel Girl didn't turn her back on God," Rose softly replied as she wiped at her eyes,

"Although our Angel Boy hasn't spoken a word...Wendy and Angelica have; I really don't believe that this was part of the Father's plan. Not this...Monica's His angel-"

"Was His angel," Tess interrupted as her tears started up again.

Silence once again followed those last three words and Rose sighed shakily, leaning her chin in her hand and her blue eyes staring at the flames,

"I just wish I knew what had happened in detail, Tess...Andrew is the only one that was in there with Monica a week ago, but he won't speak to anyone. Not even the twins."

"I think that Angel Boy is in shock, Rose," Tess quietly answered, never turning her eyes from the fireplace,

"And he's got good reason to be..."

"Yes," She sighed, her heart heavier than she could ever remember it being,

"If he saw his best friend taken away by those two, then I'm sure he is. The girls said he tried to talk her out of it, but all she would tell him was how much she loved him and all of us, before…"

"I can't bring myself to believe, Rose, that this is it. That this is the end and that we'll never see her again. All those times I scolded her for asking so many questions, for not being patient…" Tess shook her head as the tears continued to fall,

"I'd give anything on this earth or in heaven to hear that Irish voice again asking me anything at all. If I could fall long enough to get her back, I would in a heartbeat, but it doesn't work that way."

"Didn't something like this happen once before, Tess? Many years ago?" Rose asked softly, searching for any hope she could find.

"Yes, but the Father had already sent Andrew for her by now," Tess replied shakily,

"He brought her back in terrible shape, but she was at least with us. The circumstances were different to a degree. This time, she was already feeling like a failure because of Kathy and apparently nothing that poor Angel Boy could say to her convinced her otherwise…"

"I'm so worried about all of them, Tess," The slightly older angel continued with a sigh, leaning her head back against the couch as the tears fell from her loving blue eyes,

"This has taken a toll on all of us; but I know that nobody here feels as much pain as the Father and Andrew up there..."

Tess lowered her head down to her hands as her friend spoke, and she couldn't find the right words to say in reply. Finally after several moments, the supervisor turned back to Rose and softly said,

"I'm going up there to check on that baby. I don't want him to be alone right now..." As Rose nodded her head in understanding, her eyes still staring at the orange flames in front of her, Tess quietly headed towards the staircase and towards her younger friend's temporary room.

Opening the door softly, Tess sighed softly as she moved to sit down on the edge of Andrew's bed, her hand gently running through his now clean blond hair. She watched as he opened his pain-filled eyes and met them with hers before he sat up and allowed his former supervisor and friend to take him into her arms.

As she wrapped her arms around him and felt violent sobs wracking through him once more, she held him as tightly as she could as tears coursed down her own mahogany face,

"I know, sweet baby," She whispered softly into his ear as she rocked him gently,

"I feel it too, Angel Boy and I wish that there was something I could say to make it better, but…there just isn't, sweetheart."

Wishing that her friend would say something, but finding that the only sounds he made were through the sobs tearing through his human body, Tess closed her dark eyes and tightened her strong arms around the younger angel,

"I know you miss her, baby...we all do..."

Opening his mouth to reply to that, no sound came out however, and Andrew only buried his face deeper into the older angel's shoulder as his sobs intensified. Tess' heart broke as she felt his body tremble under her touch, and she wanted more then anything to comfort him with words, but she knew that there were no words that she could say that would bring that to his shattered heart.

A scream in the night brought Cindy up out of bed and racing down the hall to Angelica's room. The little girl was thrashing around in her bed, her forehead bathed in feverish sweat as tears raced down her bruised face.

"Angel! Sweetheart?" Gathering her daughter into her arms, Cindy held her tightly as Angel continued to sob,

"Mommy's here, baby. I'm right here.."

"M…Monica…" Angel sobbed, holding onto her mother tightly as she came out of the nightmare,

"It's my fault, mommy…I shoulda stopped Wendy from going…or told you and daddy…now she's gone…she's gone and she's never comin' back again! I'm sorry…I'm sorry…"

"Oh, love, it's not your fault. Sweetheart, it's not your fault; you only wanted to help Monica and Andrew," Cindy tried to soothe as she rocked her daughter gently on the bed.

"But Monica's gone now because we went to go and try and help...we'll never see her...again! Mommy, I'm sorry...Monica...Monica..." Angelica buried her face deep into her mother's soft shoulder as her sobs never lessened.

Feeling her own tears falling from her eyes at the thought of her angelic sister now in the darkness with two demons, Cindy closed her blue eyes tightly as she couldn't find any more words to say. After several moments of silence, she finally broke it and ran a gentle hand through Angel's hair,

"Mommy's got you, baby girl. Mommy's got you..."

"But nobody's got...M-Monica anymore..." Angelica whimpered softly,

"She doesn't have her Father anymore, momma. She's all alone now..."

Cindy closed her eyes against the tears as she tried to find words that would help them both,

"Sweetie, lets you and I pray, okay? Lets pray that God still keeps a watch over Monica, because He knows that she did what she did to save two little girls and her best friend, okay?"

Angelica nodded her head as her mother folded her own hands against her smaller ones and after a minute, Angel's trembling voice whispered through the room,

"Dear God, its me, Angelica. I want to thank You for helping Wendy, Andrew and I get here safely today, but God, could You maybe do something else for us? You know what happened to Monica and we all love her a lot and we're really scared for her. I know how scared I was when Wendy and I were trapped and mommy and daddy weren't there to help us and now Monica is without You and…and I know she's scared. She was only trying to help us, God, so please, don't be mad at her. She doesn't belong with those horrible demons who only want to hurt her…she belongs with us and with You and with Andrew. Please God, keep an eye on her and if You can, help her find her way Home. We all love her and we know You must still love her too, right? Amen."

As the prayer finished, Angelica dissolved into tears once more and Cindy continued to rock her youngest triplet until she had finally cried herself to sleep. Laying a gentle kiss on her forehead, Cindy walked out of the room and closed the door softly behind her, before she slid down to the floor and lost herself in her own tears.

Prologue

Early the next morning, Andrew wandered quietly into the bedroom that his best friend had occupied over the last few weeks, his tear-filled eyes taking in his surroundings. He had half hoped to walk in here and find her curled up, sound asleep, nestled under the covers, as she loved the warmth of a bed when in human form. But reality had shaken him once more as he found the bed made and no sign of her anywhere in the room.

The few belongings she had with her were still in his car, as no one had the heart to bring them into the house last night. The same ones who were so intent on destroying her had destroyed the angel bear that he had given her and she had dearly loved and now the room just felt…empty much like his heart.

Sinking down onto the bed, he felt his eyes welling up with tears as he wondered where his Angel Girl was right now, how much pain she was in, how alone she felt and how frightened she must be. Though he could no longer feel her in his heart, he knew her better than anyone other than the Father and he knew she had to be feeling all these things. He knew that though Denise and Brianna could take her, they could not make her a demon-couldn't force her to be evil and that brought him some small comfort. But on the other hand, where did that leave his dearest friend? Tortured for the rest of eternity? Being kept in solitude, alone and scared? The possibilities were endless and none of them comforting.

The only comfort the angel could find right now was in his mind, in his memory and he closed his eyes, allowing the tears to escape as he remembered times that would forever be near and dear to his heart, just as his best friend would forever be.

Flashbacks

Gently laying a hand on her shoulder, Andrew gazed at her face, fighting back tears of his own,

"You okay, sweetheart?"

Turning her eyes away from her best friend's loving, green eyes, the younger Irish angel looked sadly down at her hands, which were clenched tightly together on the marble windowsill,

"It's almost time...isn't it, Andrew?"

Her quiet words taking him by surprise, the Angel of Death softly squeezed her shoulder as he sighed,

"It is, Monica...but that's not what I came here to ask you..."

Her eyes once again gazing up into her friend's face, Monica raised her thin, dark eyebrows curiously and removed her hands from the windowsill, not saying anything...but allowing her question to shine in her eyes. Her friend was always able to tell what she was thinking about...or worrying about...and never have to ask her why she was thinking it or questioning her thoughts...

No longer able to hold back his tears, Andrew moved his hand to her back and gave it a gentle rub before holding his hand out to her, just like what he'd done for Tess hours ago,

"One more dance? For old times sake..."

Her emotions coming to the surface, Monica allowed her tears to streak her cheeks as she wordlessly took the angel's soft hand and pressed herself up to his own body, tightly wrapping her arms around his waist as they swayed slowly, right beside the window, to the continuation of the jazz music still playing. The song was nice and soothing...but at the same time caused Monica's tears to trickle onto Andrew's white shirt and his strong arms to only tighten around her slim shoulders.

Opening her tear-filled eyes, they suddenly widened as she found Andrew and Tess walking towards her along the concrete path of the park. The gentle wind blowing her hair into her face, Monica raised her hand and brushed the loose strand of hair out of her eyes and quickly wiped at her eyes, brushing away the stray tears in them.

Looking closer at her friends, Monica's eyes widened more with confusion as she suddenly noticed that Tess was holding the hand of a young-looking woman. She looked to be at around 17 years old with her shiny, chin-length, blonde hair and sparkling green eyes that matched Andrew's. She wore a pair of beige pants and a green and cream-colored T-shirt with a gold necklace around her neck. From Monica's viewpoint, she couldn't tell what was at the end of it, though.

As her friends came closer, Monica shakily stood to her feet and took a hesitant step closer to her fellow angels and the young woman. As she was finally almost face-to-face with Andrew, she watched as Andrew stepped over to her and, without saying a word, wrapped his arms around her waist in a tight embrace. Her eyes clouding over with more tears, Monica tightly wrapped her own arms around her best friend's neck in return, resting the side of her head against his soft shoulder.

Feeling Tess' gentle hand run through her shiny hair as Andrew continued to hold her, the Irish angel calmly drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly, forcing herself to remain calm.

After several minutes of just lovingly hugging his best friend to himself, Andrew gently pulled away from her arms and grasped her hand instead in his own. Giving the angel a loving look and a friendly smile, Andrew broke the silence as he started to speak, nodding over to Tess and the blonde-haired lady, who was still holding their older friend's hand.

"Monica…We want you to meet someone," Andrew started, his voice loving and calm,

"This is Carla." Turning back to Monica and watching her facial expressions, he shut his mouth for a moment, refusing to say anything more until Monica and Carla were introduced to one another.

A quizzical look showing on her pretty face, but finding herself smiling despite the circumstances with Denise and Kathleen the past week, Monica met Carla's pretty, green eyes and extended her hand to the young woman,

"Hello, Carla," she quietly whispered, shaking the girl's hand,

"My name is Monica."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Monica," Carla replied with an over-friendly smile, her eyes shining with love,

"A real pleasure…"

"You didn't have to get anything for me – "

"Oh, but I did," Monica interrupted, taking his hand in her own and placing a small delicate object in his palm. Meeting his teary, green eyes, she watched as he slowly opened his hand and lifted up a gold necklace with a small locket at the end of it. Tears falling from his eyes, he gently opened up the locket and nearly burst out crying at the picture inside. Inside the small locket sat a picture of him on one side and Monica on the other. Turning the necklace back around to look at the front, he read the engraved words, even more tears coming:

"Best Friends Forever"

Gently taking the necklace from his hand, Monica unfastened the clasp and placed it around Andrew's neck. Watching as her dearest friend looked down at the heart-shaped locket that hung from his neck, the Irish angel leaned forward and planted a tiny kiss on his tear-streaked cheek as her own continued to flow.

"Oh, Monica…" Andrew whispered, looking back at her, love showing in his eyes towards her,

"Monica, I wish I had something to give to you – "

"You don't have to give me anything, my friend. I got this for you because I want you to always remember how much you mean to me. Keep this close to your heart and know that I'll be there for you again if you ever need me. Just like the Father would never forsake you or leave you."

"You would think it would get easier, but it never does, Andrew and this time especially…" She looked away for a moment and when she looked back to him a moment later, tears streaked her cheeks,

"I feel like I just found you again…"

Andrew managed a trembling smile as he moved to stroke her cheek,

"You never really lost me to begin with, Monica. Yes, it felt that way, but my feelings for you never changed-I just thought they did." Noting her expression, which was bordering on her breaking into sobs, he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and led her over to the steps so they could sit down for a minute,

"I have something for you, sweetheart. The last time we were at the cabin, you gave me something very special, and after all we've been through the last few years, I wanted to do something special for you before we go our separate ways for awhile." Reaching into his jacket pocket, he pulled out a small, but long-shaped box and handed it to her.

Hesitating long enough to wipe at the tears, Monica carefully opened it,

"Oh Andrew," She whispered, gently pulling out the gold charm bracelet. It was small and delicate, with several small charms hanging from the chain and her eyes clouded with tears once more.

"Here, allow me," Andrew smiled as he took it from her and fastened it around her right wrist. Then, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and feeling her snuggle close to him, he continued,

"Each charm represents something, Monica," He explained, his fingers moving to the bracelet,

"The dove, of course is a symbol of the Father's love for you and the next one, the praying hands, are a reminder that even when things get tough and you think you have nowhere to turn, you can always turn to Him. The hourglass is a reminder that it is just a matter of time before we see each other again," He paused, kissing the side of her head as he felt the gentle sobs causing her shoulders to tremble, and he fought back his own tears once more,

"This one," He continued in a gentle whisper, indicating the two joined hearts on the bracelet,

"Is a reminder of our friendship and they are joined because nothing on this earth is really strong enough to pull it apart," Spinning the bracelet one last time on her wrist, he came to the last two charms, the first of them, being a fawn,

"I picked this one because I want you to remember that sometimes we make a decision to help someone or something, but it doesn't always turn out exactly how we may want it to, but we have no way to know that our hearts tell us to help. Only the Father knows what will happen and why and it isn't for us to question nor to blame ourselves." He closed his eyes briefly, feeling the tears escape them.

Drawing in a trembling breath, Monica lightly touched the last charm, which was a book,

"And this one, Andrew? Tell me what it means."

"That one is a history book. If you look at it closely, you can just make out the word 'History' on it," He pulled away to be able to face her and took her hands up in his own,

"And they say that history can never repeat itself, so what the one means is that the things that happened on this porch four years ago, will never happen again, sweetheart. That is my promise to you."

"Just remember, baby, the Father is always with you." Tess replied, noticing Monica who had just slipped quietly into the room, unseen by Andrew, whose back was to her, and the older angel suppressed a smile.

Andrew jumped, startled when he felt hands cover his eyes, but then his lips twitched with a smile, wondering who this culprit was. He knew who he wished it was, but Tess had said no, so he was left guessing.

"Guess who, baby?" Tess smiled, knowing that if her Angel Girl spoke it would give away her identity.

"I have no idea," Andrew chuckled, reaching up to take the hands away and turning around at the same time, tears filling his eyes at the sight of his best friend, who wasted no time in flinging herself into his arms. Spinning her around as he held her tightly, he then put her back on her feet and pulled away to look into her tear-filled eyes,

"It is so good to see you, sweetheart," He said softly, moving to kiss her forehead.

"I've missed you terribly," She whispered in return, her eyes shining with finally being reunited with him once more,

"Oh Andrew, more than you can imagine!"

Unable to stand it any longer, Andrew went to her and tried to pull her close as her anguished sobs echoed through the room, but she somehow found the strength to fight him once more, pulling away from him.

"No, Andrew, no! You can't….I'll only hurt you…"

But Andrew grabbed hold of her arms and would not let go, even as tears streamed from his green eyes at the pain she was feeling,

"What did she tell you, Monica? What did she tell you?"

"That I'm just like her!" She cried out in anguish,

"That I was sent to my so called parents because I failed an assignment and was being punished…that I'm a demon stuck in a human body and once my punishment is over, I'm going back with her! I always knew I was different…but I always felt closer to you and Tess than to mom and dad…like somehow I didn't belong there, but I was stuck there just the same and now I know why…I know why!"

With a jerk, she escaped his hold and raced towards the door, knowing she had to get away from him, knowing she would never forgive herself if she hurt him somehow.

Though he felt sick with what he now knew she believed, he came up behind her quickly as she fumbled with the door handle as she was blinded by tears, and he wrapped his arms firmly around her waist. She was done running and he would see to it, regardless of what it took.

"Let me go!" Monica cried out, struggling with the little bit of strength that she had left within her,

"Oh God, Andrew, please let me go!"

"Monica, listen to me," He held her as tightly as he dared as she struggled against him, before he repeated his words more sternly,

"Listen to me!"

Her legs finally giving out from under her, she sank to the floor, with Andrew following,

"Please…please…let me go…" She whimpered, even as her head fell back to rest upon his shoulder as her tears continued to flow.

"No, sweetheart, I won't," He whispered, one hand moving to stroke the dampened hair back from her face,

"Not until you hear me out."

"I don't want to…hurt you…"

He smiled tenderly through his own tears as he held her trembling body close,

"You won't, sweet Angel Girl. You don't have it in you to hurt anyone."

"Whoa, Angel Girl. What was that for?" He teased, catching himself before he fell and hugging her back tightly.

Pulling back briefly and only continuing to stare at him, Monica couldn't stop smiling as tears only poured down her cheeks,

"Have I told you how much your friendship means to me, Andrew? Have I told you lately that everything you've done for me since we first met has touched me deeply, more than you can imagine?"

Raising both eyebrows, Andrew found himself speechless as he pulled her back into his arms, and smiled as she felt him clutch him back in a death grip,

"Sweetheart, you know I would do anything for you. That's what friends are for, correct?"

"But not everyone would do what you have done for me, Andy," Monica whispered into his chest, hugging him even tighter as she smiled broadly through her happy tears,

"You're…I don't know how to say this without sounding like a total idiot, Andrew…"

Pulling away for a moment to grasp her shoulders and look deep into her eyes, Andrew spoke,

"Then just say it, baby. Mon, I won't laugh at you."

"I almost feel like…I don't know if angels can have soul mates or anything, but if we can…you'd be mine, Andrew," Monica finally said, her eyes flashing with happiness and complete love for him,

"I've seen human friendships die terrible deaths and so many of them don't forgive each other, but…you do, Andrew. Your friendship to me is unlike any friendship I've ever experienced or seen. And I love you so much for it. Not just for what you've done over these last 13 years, but also for forgiving me for all of those times that I've done wrong to you or lashed out…like when we first met. I never would have thought that when you first appeared that you would become my best friend and such an important part of my life…"

Happy tears forming in his own eyes, Andrew felt a blush rise to his cheeks, but he stayed silent as she continued speaking her heart.

"I know I probably sound silly, Andrew. I mean, I've told you before how much you mean to me, but – after these last 13 years, I've felt so much closer to you and have grown to love you even more as a friend…" Laughing a bit, she added,

"If that's at all possible since you've been my best friend for over 40 years now."

Chuckling with her, Andrew felt his face grow an even deeper shade of red and at the feel of Monica's had to his cheek, he turned his eyes to her.

"You're blushing," Monica giggled, lowering her hand,

"And that's another thing, my friend…I've never met anyone, either them being human being or angel in human form, who isn't afraid to hide how they're really feeling and not worry about feeling silly. I've always loved that about you, Andy…I always have."

"Oh, Monica," Andrew choked out, smiling until his dimple in his right cheek showed and the tears only continuing to flow down them in happiness,

"I – I don't know what to say right now. I guess what I do know is that there is nothing on this earth that I wouldn't do for my Angel Girl. You know that by now, sweetheart."

"Yes, but I wanted you to hear this, since it's coming from deep inside of me right now and I knew that I had to tell you. Right now." Monica continued to look into his eyes, her own vision blurred with tears,

"I love you, Andy."

Finding her arms being wrapped around his neck once again, Andrew held her as tightly as he could without choking the air out of her being, and kissed the side of her head,

"Right back at you, baby…Right back at you."

"What is it, Andrew? Something is wrong-I can see it."

"Sometimes I think you see too much for your own good, Monica," He replied with a sigh, wondering if he should tell her. He hated to burden her now with her trying to get back to good health, but he knew it was too late. She already knew something was wrong.

"They have Brianna, sweetie, and have given me an ultimatum- her or me by tomorrow night. I let her down, Monica, just like I have let you down so many times in the past. I'm just so sorry that I haven't been a better friend to you…"

"Oh Andrew," She uttered, her eyes filled with sorrow as she wrapped both of her smaller hands around one of his,

"A better friend? Andrew, other than the Father, I couldn't have asked for a better friend than you."

"No Monica, you're wrong. You could do much better…" Andrew responded, as he tried to pull his hand away, but the little angel, even in her weakened state, wasn't about to let go.

"There are two things I am sure about, Andrew, each and every day. One is that God loves us and the other is your friendship. Just like God reminds me a hundred times a day that He loves me, you do the same, my friend. The way you hold me when I'm afraid, and let me fall asleep in your arms when I'm upset. The way you take my hand when we are walking somewhere and the way you always want to protect me from harm. And you aren't always able to do that, but the fact that you want to and that you feel so badly when you can't, just makes me love you more," Her voice trembled as she spoke, and watched the tears that fell from his eyes,

"You told me yesterday you would change places with me and I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that if you could, you would. Andrew, you tell me a million times a day how much you care about me, and then, just when I need to hear it the most, you say it in words and then it is all the more special to hear," Her voice caught in a sob as she continued,

"A better friend? Andrew, I could search the whole world over, humans and angels alike and not find one other who touches my heart the way you do…every single day."

"But Monica," He said softly, looking into her tear-filled eyes through his own blurred vision,

"You wouldn't be in the condition you are in now if it weren't for my leaving you…"

"Andrew, since when is that tender heart of yours responsible for everything bad that happens? There is evil in this world and you cannot control it. Kathleen did this, Andrew, not you. You went to help who you thought was a friend and you had no reason to believe I wouldn't be all right," Reaching out her hand she softly touched his cheek with a touch so light and full of love, he closed his eyes,

"You told me the other night when Kathleen had me in the darkness, to not let her win. Remember that? But right now, my friend, she is winning with you. She and Denise are the reasons you feel this way. Don't let them, Andrew. They are only as powerful as we allow them to be-don't give them anymore power than what they deserve and they don't deserve any. And as far as what you are thinking, about giving yourself to save Brianna, get that out of your head right now. If you even try, I will come and find you and bring you Home. Because I, for one, need you and I don't want any other best friend…only you, Andrew, only you…" Her teary eyes met with his as he lowered his head to the bed and sobbed; releasing all of the pain and guilt he had been feeling since this whole thing started.

Reaching out, Monica gently stroked his tangled blond hair as he released his pain and exhaustion, wondering if he had even really slept since she had first fallen ill. Gently kissing the top of his head, she continued soothingly,

"You've been through so much yourself, sweet Andrew and you saved Carla tonight, of that I have no doubts. Thank you…thank you for helping her and for being there for me. The Father will take care of Brianna, Andrew," She whispered, smiling as she heard the words come to her heart from above,

"He wants her to turn back to Him, Andrew, and she has to do that on her own and once she does, there will be angels there to help her. But she needs to put her trust back in Him and you cannot do that for her, no matter how much you want to. The Father is proud of you, Andrew, but He wants you to rest now in knowing that He is taking care of the rest."

Lifting up his head, Andrew reached out and pulled his friend into his arms, something he had longed to do ever since he had left her that morning. Burying his face in her hair, he felt her arms wrap around his waist,

"Thank you, baby," He whispered hoarsely as his hands ran through her hair,

"Thank you for making me see the truth."

"Isn't it funny how everything happened to get us to this point?" She mused aloud, resting her chin in her hand,

"I mean, I started out hardly able to stand the sight of you and now look at us. At the time, I couldn't imagine having felt closer to any other angel other than Kathleen. But other than that time on Erin's porch, everything has been more or less perfect." She hesitated, seeing a pained look cloud his handsome features and she reached for his hand, knowing how much he hated remembering that time,

"I'm sorry," She said softly, not wanting anything to mar this day.

He managed a small smile as he sighed and held tightly to her hand,

"It still amazes me that you can just accept what happened that day now that it is over."

"Because I forgave you a long time ago, Andrew," Monica replied gently, her eyes never leaving his,

"But I don't think you've ever forgiven yourself."

"How can I, Angel Girl?" He asked in a whisper as he held her gaze,

"When you are human and have a nightmare, you dream of Denise and Kathleen. For me, it is that day, that moment on that porch that comes to my mind. I see that look on your face, that look of sheer devastation and betrayal so deep, that not even I can fathom how you could have ever forgiven me for it," He lowered his eyes, knowing she was giving him the opportunity to speak his heart about it,

"And because of that one moment of anger that I didn't even know I was capable of, you were gone for four years, blaming yourself for everything until it snowballed into that night I found you sitting on my bed in this cabin, crying your eyes out…all because of that one terrible action on that porch that day. So, to answer your question, Monica, no, I have never forgiven myself for bringing one I love with all my heart, so much pain."

With tears in her eyes, Monica watched as his shoulders shuddered and tears made their way down his face, and she got up from her chair and walked around behind him, wrapping her arms around him tightly. Kissing the side of his head, she just held him for several moments as she tried to think of the right words to say to relieve this several year old torment for him,

"You know," She whispered softly into his ear,

"Just like the Father forgives all his children, I forgave you, Andrew. It was a horrible moment, but I also know it was a moment that will never happen again. I've said words to you before in anger that carried the same sting as your actions on that porch that day, and you've always forgiven me and I never had any doubts of that forgiveness. I've lied to you and taken you for granted before and countless other things that I wish more than anything that I could take back. But even as angels, we don't have the ability to turn back time and undo those things we've done wrong. Instead, we have to learn from them and we learn to be careful in knowing that it is easy to take anger out on those we love the most," Releasing him, she moved to kneel down beside of his chair and she took his hands up in her own. She waited until he finally met her gaze once more before she continued,

"You and I learned because of that day, that friendship is not only a gift, but a fragile one that has to be treated with love and respect. We also learned, I believe, that some things are just not meant to be separated-like you and I and that no matter how terrible something is, our friendship is strong enough to overcome it. Andrew, those four years I was gone were not spent in anger at you. They were spent MISSING you and in trying to find a way to make things right again, because, well, I couldn't bear the thought of it ending any other way. You are so much a part of me that sometimes I don't feel complete without you. Please let it go, my friend and release yourself from this guilt, if for no other reason than because I can't bear to see you hurting, but even better yet, because it is over and all is indeed, forgiven."

Through tears, Andrew nodded his head as he rose to his feet, pulling her up with him so he could hold her tightly as he released the remainder of his tears. He closed his eyes as he heard her whisper,

"I love you, Andrew," and he had to smile as with those simple words, he finally felt the burden releasing itself from his heart.

"Three year olds on a sugar high," He rolled his eyes,

"Sounds like fun, Angel Girl."

Sighing softly at this rare bad mood of his, she looked in the mirror, surveying her reflection,

"Is my halo on straight?"

Andrew smirked as he watched her as he retorted,

"Monica, in all the years I've known you, your halo has never been on straight."

She scowled and stuck her tongue out at him, relieved when he at least chuckled,

"Mine isn't the one off kilter tonight, Angel Boy," She shot back, her eyes flashing mischievously,

"I think yours is permanently tangled, if not ready to self destruct."

As she walked over to the side of the room, he mimicked her silently, really in no mood to go along with this. Oh, he loved her dearly and though he wouldn't admit it, she looked adorable in the angel costume, but he would much rather just give her a pat on the head and send her out to play while he spent the evening here.

"I saw that," She turned around, folding her arms across her chest and tilting her head to the side, the halo shifting down on her head and making her look like not a happy angel at all. Sighing softly, she decided maybe she was using the wrong approach. After all, you could catch more flies, or in this case, bumblebees, with honey than with vinegar,

"Andrew, please come with us. I know you don't like Halloween and I understand why, but that is why I wanted to show you the fun side of it. I planned this for you, so you have to come. Please?"

He groaned, hating it when she took that tone with him as he now knew he had already lost the battle. One little pleading look from the younger angel and he was sucked right in, whether he liked it or not,

"Okay, okay, I give up. I surrender, sweetheart. I'll go, but I'm not wearing the costume!"

A smile lit her face, as she moved to hug him, her halo bonking him in the face as he rolled his eyes once again as he wondered what he had gotten himself into,

"Okay, no costume, but how about just these?" She held up the antennae and placed them on his head, with a giggle,

"For tonight, instead of Angel Boy, I now pronounced you Bumblebee Boy!"

Andrew sat on the edge of Monica's bed and wrung out a cool cloth, his eyes filled with pain at the sight of her battered and swollen face,

"This may hurt, baby," He whispered regretfully, as he moved to gently wipe at the blood on her face, watching miserably as she winced as the last thing he wanted to do was to cause her anymore pain, which was another reason he was glad she had not asked about Tess.

Monica closed her eyes briefly as she felt the cool cloth sponging her face. She moved her fingers gingerly, realizing that now the effects of the drug had all but worn completely off, but in its place, she found herself beginning to tremble uncontrollably as her mind went back to all that had transpired in the last few hours.

"Monica?" Andrew's green eyes filled with alarm at her sudden reaction and he wondered if her human body could possibly be in shock,

"Sweetheart, what…?"

Her eyes found his as she opened them once more. Ignoring the pain, she sat up and flung herself into his arms,

"Just hold me, Andrew, please? Just hold me…"

Wrapping his arms around her, he suddenly felt frightened, though he had no idea of why,

"I've got you, little one, I've got you."

"Tighter," She uttered tearfully, her cheek resting against his chest,

"Tighter and don't let me go…please, don't let me go…"

Pulling away from Tess, the Irish angel turned to her best friend, suddenly feeling at a loss for words for the one who had pulled her from Philips's clutches two days ago, despite the fact that they hadn't spoken in months due to a misunderstanding. Shyly, she met his green eyes, which were shining with love,

"Andrew…" She began uncertainly, wanting to tell him a million different things at once. Instead, she wrapped her arms around his waist as she kissed his cheek,

"I love you." She whispered, knowing that no other words were really necessary.

With tears welling up in her brown eyes, Monica shakily took the box from him, before wiping at her eyes as she tore at the gold paper slowly. As she opened the box, a puzzled expression crossed her face as she looked up at him. Seeing him nod his head as he smiled, she looked closer, understanding now filling her heart and she burst into tears as she threw her arms around him,

"Oh Andrew…thank you! Thank you!"

"You're welcome, sweet Angel Girl," He whispered as he held her tightly,

"Tess helped me with it last night."

"But it was his idea, baby," Tess replied with a smile.

"He knew what you really wanted for Christmas, Monica." Carla added with a grin.

"Thank you," Monica repeated, smiling through her tears,

"I think it's the best Christmas present I've ever received," She added, kissing her friend's cheek,

"I love you," She whispered fiercely into his ear.

"And I you," Andrew replied, wiping the tears from her eyes, while his own shone with happiness….

"You worry about this friend a lot, Monica. What is the big difference between us that you can care about him and not me?"

Andrew and Carla watched as the Irish angel lifted her eyes to Andrew once more, a flicker of warmth emulating through the pain in her eyes,

"The differences, Philip, are too numerous to count. Andrew cares about me…loves me with all the love an angel is capable of feeling. Where you bring me nightmares, he chases them away. He gives me back the self worth you take away with your constant reminders of what you did to me. He protects where you antagonize. He is a gift from God, and one that I am thankful for everyday."

"And this kind of love is enough for you?" The demon questioned, never taking his eyes off of the angel who had captured his heart.

"Love is from God, Philip and His love is enough for me, and even though that is the truth, He still gives me friends who love me as well. What more could I want?" Monica felt her heart pounding in her chest as she remained as calm as she possibly could, despite the fact that she was trembling.

"Are you saying, little angel, that even given the chance, you could never love me?" He asked softly, almost sadly.

"Philip, I'm an angel. I'm not even capable of the kind of love you're speaking of. I'm not made that way-."

"But if you were?" He pressed her, loosening his grip on Andrew somewhat as he awaited her answer.

"But I'm not," Monica repeated, but seeing that he wasn't going to give up on this, she continued hesitantly,

"But if I were, the answer would be no because…" Her brown eyes moved to those of her best friend as tears fell from her eyes,

"Because if I were made that way, I think my heart would already belong to someone else."

Andrew closed his eyes as tears fell onto his cheeks. No, they were not made that way, but to hear her venture such an answer touched him deeper than anything ever had before, other than the love he felt from the Father and he wanted to weep at her simple honesty in front of one she feared more than all other evils of the darkness combined.

"C'mon, I have a surprise for you," He winked as he took her hand and led her up the steps,

"Close your eyes, Angel Girl."

"Andrew? What…?" But seeing his hopeful expression, she obeyed and closed her eyes as he led her inside the house.

His hands on her shoulders to guide her, he stopped a few steps in and whispered to her,

"You can open them now." He smiled as her eyes filled with tears once more at the sight of the table being set for dinner for the two of them. There was a vase of wildflowers on the table in the living room and wonderful smells coming from the kitchen,

"Happy anniversary, sweetheart."

Her hand flew to her mouth as she thought about the fact that it was the anniversary of their friendship and she had never even thought about it,

"Andrew, I forgot…I'm so sorry…I just…"

"Shhh," He said softly, turning her to face him once more,

"It isn't like you didn't have other things going on, sweetie, and I know we usually meet in the restaurant, but after everything, I wanted this year to be a little different, a little quieter perhaps."

"I don't know what to say," Monica whispered with a tearful smile,

"Other than thank you, and I love you so much." She wrapped her arms around him once more and hugged him tightly.

Not knowing what to say and feeling a sob escape her, she stood up on tip-toe and wrapped her arms around him tightly, feeling him holding her tightly and lifting her slightly off the ground,

"I love you so much," She whispered into his ear.

Closing his eyes against the tears, he only held her in silence for a few moments, wondering when the next time would be that they would be able to share such a moment. Finally forcing himself to pull away, he also forced his next words, in hopes that somehow they would help her in the days, weeks and months to come,

"I'm proud of you, baby girl," He uttered tearfully, taking her face into his hands and looking into her pain filled doe-eyes,

"Just so proud. This takes so much courage, Monica, more than I think I could ever have in a similar situation," His fingers brushed at her tears as his expression began more serious than she could ever remember seeing him,

"But with that being said, don't be a martyr, Angel Girl. If it's too much, you tell Jamie, all right? Promise me!"

Sobbing openly now, the Irish angel nodded her head as Andrew pulled her fiercely back into his arms,

"I love you, sweet girl," He whispered to her, the tears now escaping his eyes, as he knew he had to let her go and having no idea what condition she would be in the next time he saw her and that terrified him.

Feeling the slight shudder of her shoulders, Andrew rubbed her back gently as he rested his head on top of hers,

"Why the tears, Angel Girl?" He whispered softly to her.

Closing her eyes, she offered up her thoughts, not wanting to keep anything from him, not now and not ever,

"Tell me it will always be like this, Andrew. That you'll always be here…that you'll always be my best friend…"

"Always, my dear Angel Girl," He whispered into her hair as the tears started up in his own green eyes at her question,

"Until the end of eternity, you will always be my very best friend, my Angel Girl...and I will always be here. Nothing will ever take me away from you, and that's a 'cross my heart' promise, sweetheart."

Tightening her arms around his shoulders, Monica pressed her forehead deeper into his shoulder and whispered hoarsely,

"Don't let me go yet, Andrew...don't let me go..."

After several minutes of silence in the room, Andrew still found himself staring into space as he wasn't sure of what to think anymore. Most of those memories had warmed his heart, but half of them still caused him even more ache; just the realization that the little Irish angel who was his heart and soul was gone forever didn't settle well with him at all, and it took all his courage to not break down into tears again.

Reaching down onto the bed and picking up the object that he had brought into the room with him, Andrew looked down at it and ran his hand over the frame that Cindy had repaired after he had smashed it the night this whole mess had started. Tears now filled his green eyes as he re-read the poem his best friend had hand written for him and given to him the night of his party.

Guilt once again tore through the blonde angel as he remembered his words to his friend after she had struck Kevin; words that told her that he wouldn't forgive her, and that he was disappointed in her for her actions, even after she had apologized. Now...now she was gone forever, and he would never see her again; he would never touch her again; he would never hear her Irish voice or hear her cheerful laugh, or feel the way she felt in his arms.

The tears now blurring his vision, Andrew set the framed poem onto Monica's nightstand and leaned his head against her pillows, curling his arm around it. As he buried his face into it, images of the day before when he had last seen his dearest friend flashed before his eyes before he soon cried himself to sleep again.