Written by: CI and KP
"What are you talking about, Sam?" Andrew asked with a heavy sigh as he wrapped his arm around his best friend's shoulders and felt her lean into him in defeat.
"Patrick is headed for the city and the streets, my friends," the oldest angel explained grimly,
"And there is plenty of danger there, especially lately. Runaway children have been found murdered the last few weeks and so far they have no suspects. Patrick Sullivan is walking right into that scenario."
"He isn't going to listen to us, Sam," Kevin spoke up nervously,
"He hasn't listened to any of us the last few weeks."
"No, he hasn't," Sam agreed, sitting down in a vacant chair,
"And he is pretty upset with angels right now, but he won't know you as angels once you find him."
"What are you saying?" Andrew asked, not sure if he liked where this was going.
"Tomorrow morning you three will be transformed into runaway children and on the streets yourselves, so you can gain his trust. This assignment won't be easy, especially with winter approaching and the danger involved, but that boy needs to learn to appreciate what he has, before he loses his life out there."
Monica looked up in near horror at what Sam was suggesting, as being transformed in this way was not something new to her. She had spent 13 years as a human child many years ago and the one thing that stayed with her was the feeling of helplessness that had consumed her, especially when an adult took a notion to try to hurt her. But before she could object, Andrew spoke up, his voice harsher than she could remember hearing it for some time.
"Forget it, Sam," He snapped, his green eyes filled with defiance,
"I am not leading them into that. I won't."
"I'm afraid you have no choice, Andrew," Sam replied, keeping his voice as calm as he could. Under different circumstances, he most likely would have given his own former charge a piece of his mind, but he knew where the anger was coming from, so he settled on being firm instead,
"By tomorrow, none of you will be here at the Sullivan's; you'll be...out there somewhere."
"You're making this sound like we're supposed to have FUN out there, Sam!" Andrew snapped back, his green eyes shooting dagers,
"Haven't we all been through enough this last month and a half?"
Cringing slightly at his supervisor's tone, Kevin just lowered his head and waited until the Angel's Angel replied.
"Yes, I say that you have, but this is not my choice, Andrew; it's the Father's and you're going to abide by His plan and do as He says," Sam firmly replied, his stern eyes never leaving Andrew's.
"Sam, I am responsible for Kevin and Monica's well being, and I can't believe you are asking this of me," Andrew argued.
"Patrick needs help, Andrew. It's plain and simple and you three are the ones to give it to him," Sam replied as patiently as he could.
"Not like this," The supervising angel replied firmly,
"It's one thing to be human, but human and children is too much. Mon' went through that years ago and I have no desire to see it happen again to her or to Kevin! And how am I supposed to take care of them when I'm not myself either?"
"Andrew, the Father will take care of all of you, you know that," The Angel's Angel replied,
"This has to be done. There are no negotiations unless you plan on walking off this assignment."
"Why can't Tess do this instead?" Monica spoke up wearily as she continued leaning against her best friend, avoiding Sam's eyes as she spoke.
Silence passed at the Irish angel's question before Sam sighed heavily and lowered his head. He remained silent for a few moments before he answered as best he could,
"Tess...Tess is currently in God's Country, and you know that's not possible." A look of disappointment in the supervisor over her attitude earlier that week crossed his mahogany face before he faced the three angels again, and then turned to Philip for the first time,
"You'll be remaining here at the Sullivan's until further notice, Philip." As the newest angel nodded his head sollemly, Sam turned back to the other three,
"Andrew, you have two choices here right now...you can either walk off the assignment right now, or you can stay and be patient until it gets resolved. It's up to you, son."
Andrew was silent for a moment as he felt all eyes in the room upon him,
"Can you give me till morning, Sam? I need to talk to my charges."
Nodding his head in agreement, Sam rose to his feet,
"That sounds like a good idea. The three of you need to be on the same page with this," He looked at the three angels for a moment, almost chucking at the fact that Kevin looked intrigued, though Andrew and Monica looked anything but that,
"I know this has been a long, hard assignment for you three and I understand your concerns, Andrew, but in light of everything you especially have gone through the last few weeks, you know you have to trust the Father in all things. I'll see you in the morning."
As Sam vanished, Andrew sighed as he saw his best friend lean forward, her head in her hands and he reached to gently rub her back, sensing her discouragement as he felt it too,
"What do you guys think?" He asked softly.
"I think it sounds kinda cool, Simba," Kevin responded, trying to keep his enthusiasm under control,
"I've never gotten to do anything like this before."
"Mon' and I have," Andrew replied quietly with a heavy sigh as he removed his hand from his best friend's back and ran shaky fingers through his blonde hair,
"Sometimes it can be fun, but...the last time Monica had to do something like this, it lasted for 13 years, Kevin."
Kevin's eyes widened in shock as he repeated,
Nodding his head, Andrew met his youngest charge's brown eyes steadily,
"You know that she was the daughter of Carol and Patrick Hendrickson, before Cindy or her twin sister were born, and the assignment lasted for 13 long years." A tiny smile appeared on his face for a a brief moment as he thought about that time,
"Alot of the things that occurred during then I'll always remember...having a child-like Cupcake on my hands was really neat, and I grew to love her even more, you know?"
Lifting her auburn head and looking over at her two friends, Monica's face paled as she whispered shakily,
"How am I going to be able to do this again, Andrew? How?" Seeing the helpless look in his frustrated green eyes, the Irish angel drew in a deep breath,
"Are you even willing to do this, Andy?"
Drawing in a shaky breath, the older angel lowered his head and ran a hand over his face as he thought about her question long and hard,
"I so want to just walk off of this assignment and never return, to be honest with you, Angel Girl...but I know that would disappoint the Father."
"But hey, at least we'll all be together, Simba," Kevin tried to lighten the mood a bit as he took a seat on the other side of his friend and rested a hand on his shoulder,
"It's not like any of us are gonna have to go through it alone."
"You're right, Kev'," Andrew said with a deep sigh and a slight nod of his head,
"And we can't just leave Patrick out there. Eventually, he is going to cool off and his stubborn pride is going to keep him out there. He needs us on this one and so do Brady and Cindy and the girls. As much as I don't like the idea, I don't see much of a choice and with what the Father did for Philip and I yesterday…I can't say no."
"I can't wait to see you guys as munchkins," Kevin chuckled, feeling relieved now that the decision had been made.
Andrew forced a smile as he turned back to his best friend, watching worriedly as she rose to her feet,
Turning to face him, the weary angel met his eyes with her own,
"You know I won't walk off the case, Andrew…I wouldn't do that to you or to the Father, but to say I'm happy about this would be a stretch. I just feel a little overwhelmed right now…we just spent three weeks watching you in agonizing pain from this assignment, and I'm not sure…I'm not sure I can handle anything else going wrong…"
"Sweetie, I understand-."
"I know you do," She whispered as a tear ran down her cheek,
"I just spent three weeks feeling helpless to help you and knowing that I may wind up feeling that helpless again in a child's human form…what am I supposed to do if someone tries to hurt either of you?"
"God is always there, little angel," Philip reminded her gently.
She lowered her head as more tears filled her eyes,
"I know, but He was there when that man set that house on fire too and my best friend along with it…I'm sorry…" She uttered before turning and hurrying upstairs.
As Philip started to rise to his feet to follow her, Andrew stopped him gently,
"She needs a little time, then I'll talk to her. She has valid fears about this and I have the same ones," He sighed heavily and ran a hand over his face, knowing his best friend was tired right down to soul right now as they all were after the last six weeks of seemingly one battle after another. The problem was, he didn't know what to do to renew any of their spirits by morning.
"Andrew, where are we going?" Monica asked several hours later after dinner at the Sullivan's, as the two angels plus Kevin and Carla, had pilled into Andrew's car and "went for a drive", as her best friend had put it.
Glancing at Carla and Kevin in the review mirror and offering them a small smile, as the two youner angels knew what he had planned, Andrew glanced over at his best friend and replied,
"You'll find out in a few more minutes, Angel Girl." He watched out of the corner of his eye as Monica sighed softly before leaning back in the passenger seat and looking up at the roof of the car,
"I thought that we all needed a little bit of time to relax before we head off for this new assignment, and I have an idea..."
"And a good one at that, Andrew," Carla remarked with a smile,
"You three could use to burn off a little pent up frustration and I'm just glad to have been invited along."
"Yeah, we took pity on you," Kevin remarked teasingly and was rewarded with an elbow in the ribs, which in turn caused him to begin to tickle the blond angel.
Andrew chuckled, hearing the squeals of laughter coming from the backseat,
"Now don't kill each other before we get there," He warned playfully, before feeling Monica's hand on his arm as he glanced over at her.
"I'm sorry I'm in such a bad mood," She said softly as the other two angels continued their banter in the backseat,
"The Father finally healed you and I'm so happy about that…it's just a little hard to see right now is all."
Nodding his head in understanding, Andrew reached for her hand and pressed it to his lips in a gentle kiss,
"I completely understand, sweetheart, and you have no reason to apologize." Shooting a loving look her way, he smiled as he felt her lean into him and rest her head on his shoulder as he continued to drive.
"I'm still sorry, though," The Irish angel whispered softly,
"I was acting like I was the only one who was frustrated about this, when I know that you're not happy about it either..."
"That's why I'm taking you someplace where you can relax the rest of the evening, little girl," Andrew whispered back as he pulled up to a stop sign and gently kissed the top of her head,
"And we're going to have fun, even if I have to tickle you to death to make you have fun." He smiled to himself as he heard a chuckle escape her and felt her hook her arms through his as she snuggled closer to him.
"Hey, Andrew, are we there yet?" Kevin called up from the backseat.
The oldest angel rolled his eyes as he shook his head,
"I forgot what taking road trips with him was like," He remarked softly, causing another giggle from his best friend as he pulled into the parking lot of the club,
"Why, yes we are, Wonder Boy."
Still teasing with Carla, the two youngest angels got out of the car as Carla broke into a run to get away from Kevin's tickling as the youngest angel bolted off after her. Both of the older angels laughed as they got out of the car and Andrew immediately reached for Monica's hand as they followed the other two inside.
Kevin and Carla had already found them a table near the dance floor and were already ordering something to drink when Andrew and Monica arrived not far behind them.
"You're behaving, right Kev?" Andrew asked his sometimes mischievous youngest charge with a wink.
"Don't I always behave, Simba?" Kevin smirked as the waitress at their table took the rest of their orders and walked away,
"Have I ever had a moment in my existence where I don't behave?"
"I can think of quite a few," Carla winked as she nudged the youngest angel in the ribs.
As the two youngest angels continued going at it across the table, Andrew laid his hand over his dearest friend's and waited until she turned his way before he held his hand out to here,
"May I have this dance, Angel Girl?" He watched as Monica's eyes blurred with tears as she nodded her head eagerly and he pulled her gently to her feet and lead her out to the dance floor.
Feeling Andrew's arm encircle her waist as he held their other joined hands close to his heart, Monica rested her head against his shoulder as the song began to play. Closing her eyes, she listened to the lyrics.
There is a child inside my heart tonight.
No one can see that child but you.
If I hold on to you too tight,
You understand. You hold me, too.
You are the one who reaches through
When Im afraid, you warm the air.
And when I close my eyes to sleep,
You are my peace. You are my prayer.
You are my home.
You make me strong.
And in this world of strangers,
I belong to someone.
You are all I know.
Youre all I have.
I wont let go.
Others may leave, but you will still be there,
Touching the tears that fill my eyes.
When I am lost, you are my light.
You are the love, that never dies.
You are my home.
You make me strong.
And in this world of strangers,
I belong to someone.
You are all I know.
Youre all I have. I need you so.
I will not walk away from you!
I will not let you go!
Youre the only home Ill ever know!
You are my home!
You make me strong!
And in this world of strangers,
I belong to someone!
You are all I know!
Youre all I have.
I need you so.
I wont let go
You are my home
As the song gave way to the next one, Andrew continued to sway gently with his dearest friend in his arms. He had not missed the tears that had escaped her eyes as they had listened to the lyrics and he as well blinked back tears at the song that reminded him so much of what they shared and had shared over the years. This was one of those times when he wished that there were words to express what he was feeling for his gentle friend, especially after the last three weeks when she had almost continuously been by his side,
"You know I'll do everything in my power to keep you safe in the upcoming weeks, Angel Girl," He whispered hoarsely, his emotions rising to the surface.
Nodding her head against his strong chest as she moved her fingers through her best friend's silky blonde hair, the little Irish angel whispered hoarsely,
"I know you will. With all my heart..."
Even as the next song gave way to a faster beat, Monica and Andrew continued to sway slowly to the music, both angel's eyes closed and they didn't even notice that Carla and Kevin had just now gotten out onto the dance floor as well. Leaning his chin against the Irish angel's head, Andrew whispered softly so that only she could hear,
"I'll never let you go, Angel Girl. I cross my heart I will never let you go."
The first time Andrew was aware of the following morning was that he was cold. Shivering to be exact and the ground felt hard and cold beneath him. He sat up quickly, his heart racing as he tried to remain calm as he looked down at himself.
The transformation had happened.
He was surprised it had occurred so quickly, though he had told the Father last night prior to falling asleep that the three of them were willing and ready to accept this assignment. Still this was a rude awakening. He ran a trembling hand over his face, as he surveyed his situation. His body seemed awkward and lanky, much like Patrick's at this age, so he decided he must resemble a 14-year-old teenage boy. He was also aware of the fact that his hair was a bit longer, indicating to those unaware that he had been on the streets for some time. He was dressed in faded and worn blue jeans and a green sweater that was also well worn at the elbows. Drawing in a shaky breath, as he heard a slight whimper beside of him, he dared to take a look at his two charges.
"A-Andrew..." A child-like voice sounded first, and Andrew gulped as he realized that must be Kevin's voice. Turning around slightly as he brushed the hair out of his face, the angel covered his mouth with his hand as he took a look at his youngest charge. Kevin appeared alot shorter then him, almost looking to be 9 or 10 years old; his face was dirty and brown hair almost reached his shoulders. He was dressed in a pair of blue jean overalls, and a blue t-shirt underneath. A torn jean jacket with barely any buttons was wrapped around his shoulders and the shoes he were had many holes in the toes.
"Simba...Kevin spoke for the first time and was surprised at the real change in his voice,
"That's really you, isn't it...?"
"Afraid so, Wonder Boy," He replied, trying to remain calm as he watched Kevin take in his new childlike form.
Looking up, he grinned, unable to hide his excitement at something new to him,
"Wow, this is cool! Look how short I am!"
Andrew almost had to chuckle, despite the situation, over his youngest charge's enthusiasm, even though he didn't feel it himself,
"And you wanted to see us as Munchkins?" He teased with a sigh.
Kevin's smile softened then, as he looked down at the remaining angel, who was still asleep, though shivering slightly,
"I think I'm still an inch taller than Cupcake though…"
Andrew finally allowed his green eyes to fall on his best friend and he actually felt glad that at least this sight was familiar to him as he felt a tug at his heart. Figuring her human form was slightly older than Kevin's, though slightly smaller; Andrew gazed down at the angel who was curled up tightly for warmth purposes. Dressed in a blue and pink pinafore that was well worn and dirty, with a tattered pink and white scarf around her shoulders, Monica's hair was longer than it had been in some years, part of it tied back in a slightly messy ponytail, and looked much as she had when she had been the Hendrickson's daughter.
Feeling shaky on his feet, Andrew knelt down next to his best friend and reached a slightly grimy hand out to touch her cold cheek. Feeling her shiver and then murmur in her sleep, the older human angel sucked in a sharp breath as he watched her open her dark eyes and tried to focus on him. Almost immediately as her eyes adjusted on him, Andrew felt a shiver run up and down his spine as she jerked awake and gasped,
Exchanging a look with Kevin, Andrew realized just then that the beautiful Irish accent was completely gone, and in its place was just a normal voice of that of a 12-year old girl,
"It's me, Mon'..." The human angel replied in a whisper as he watched her look down at herself and then over at Kevin.
Looking around her, Monica swallowed hard, realizing what had already happened as she tried to adjust to this situation. Human and a child had always made her feel vulnerable, and now was no exception. Taking in the appearances of Kevin and her best friend, she sighed heavily,
"I guess this is it, huh?"
Kevin chuckled softly as he shook his head,
"Your voice sounds weird like that, Cupcake, but I guess the Father didn't want it to give you away once we find Patrick."
Sitting up, she shivered as she drew her knees up to her chest for warmth,
"I guess…" She replied softly, trying to also get used to the sound of her own voice, wishing that something about herself felt familiar.
"Well, I'm starved," Kevin announced, as he stretched sleepily,
"What fridge do we raid?"
"I'm afraid it doesn't work like that, Kev," Andrew replied gently, looking over at the youngest angel,
"We have to find food and before we do, I think we need to set a few ground rules between us for the duration of this assignment, as there is danger involved."
"What kind of danger?" Kevin asked as the threesome took a seat on the hard ground and the two younger angels looked at Andrew.
With a slightly shaky sigh, Andrew wrapped his own arms around his knees and looked at each of his charges and friends, still trying to come to grips with the changes in all of them,
"There's lots of gangs on these streets, as well as drugs. The Father has told me that children have been victims of murder around this area and we've got to be extremely cautious. Which means that the three of us have got to stick together, from the time we get up to the time we go to sleep...we all look more human then ever before and we're easy targets, just like all the other runaways around here..."
"Do you think we'll find Paddy at all, Andy?" Monica whispered, her voice trembling as she met her best friend's eyes with her own.
"Yes, sweetie, I think we will eventually, though it might take time. The Father didn't put us out here to not find him, but he may still have some money in his pocket, so it may take until the money runs out for the trail to get warm." Andrew replied patiently. Noticing her miserable expression, he wrapped an arm around her shoulders as he continued speaking,
"For all intent and purpose, we are now a family, in as true of the sense of the word as we can come. We look out for each other and no one wanders off alone."
"So how do we eat?" Kevin asked, this being a very serious point for him with his appetite.
"Sometimes restaurants will give out food to the homeless," Andrew replied steadily,
"Other times it may be a matter of digging through trashcans," Seeing the disgusted look on Kevin's face, he continued once more,
"I know this is a bit on the exciting side for you, Wonder Boy, but this is a very real and very dangerous situation. We're going to be faced with problems we've never been faced with before, like finding food as we are human, and finding places to sleep that are dry and as warm as we can find and I can't stress enough the importance of staying together. If one of us gets lost out here, who knows when we'll meet up again and that is one thing I don't want to think about."
"Understood completely, Andrew," Kevin replied, nodding his head although his stomach growled. Placing a hand over his thin stomach, the youngest angel glanced between his two friends and changed the subject,
"So can we get going to look for food now? I don't know how much longer my empty stomach will hold out...after all, we didn't have breakfast this morning..."
"Pancakes sound so good right now," Monica whispered miserably as she already felt a few tears welling up in her brown eyes,
"Actually, just about any kind of breakfast sounds good..."
Grasping his best friend's hand tightly in her own and pulling her to her feet with him, Andrew wrapped an arm around her shoulders again and immediately felt her clinging to him just as tightly,
"We'll find us something to eat first, and then start looking for Paddy...he can't be too far ahead of us..."
As the threesome started walking away from the alley they had been sleeping in and stepped out onto the sidewalk, Andrew didn't miss the looks they were getting from passerby and he forced himself to not flinch at the disgusted looks. Instead, he tightened his arm around Monica's small shoulders and listened as Kevin spoke up on his other side,
"Do you think we're even in the same city, Andrew?"
"Let's hope so, Kev. I don't think the Father would position us too far away from where Paddy is going to eventually show up," Andrew replied, rubbing Monica's shoulder gently to try and warm her, shivering himself a little in the late Fall morning.
Nodding his head, Kevin glanced ahead of them and saw 4 teenagers, who didn't look much better than they did, heading in their direction and he swallowed hard as they seemed to viewing the threesome warily. There were three boys and a girl traveling together, all relatively dirty and the youngest angel only felt a bit of relief when he noticed a look of kindness in the girl's hazel eyes.
All seven of them stopped walking as they came face to face and Andrew felt his best friend huddle closer to him as he spoke up,
"You're new around here," The oldest boy stated, surveying the threesome as if trying to tell if they presented any threat. Seeing the oldest of the three angels nod his head, he continued,
"Where you from?"
"Here and there," Andrew replied, trying to remain as vague as possible in order not to tell any lies,
"We were just on our way to find breakfast as we're all pretty hungry."
The four teens exchanged looks as silent communication passed between them. They had been on the streets long enough to know that there was safety in numbers and these newcomers seemed harmless enough,
"We know a place if you want to come along…"
"That would be great!" Kevin piped up with a grin, with brought chuckles from the other 4 young people.
Smiling sympathetically at Monica, the teenage girl reached out a hand and lightly touched her arm,
"No one here is going to hurt you," She offered gently.
Instead of replying, Monica just nodded her head into her best friend's chest and tightened her arms around him as she looked at the foursome suspiciously. Although she was still an angel like before, the childlike fear was starting to overcome here, and she wasn't about to immediately trust anyone at this time.
Noticing the way the Irish angel wasn't saying anything and feeling the fear in her, Andrew spoke up for her,
"She's just a little scared...you know how it can be..."
"Seems like you've been on the streets for quite some time," One of the teenage boys stated as they started leading the three angels towards the restaurant to grab some food,
"I'm Jim, by the way, but you can call me J.R."
"Why the change?" Kevin spoke up, glancing over at his two friends and co-workers
"Whenever anyone is on the streets, we never go by our real names," The teenager girl replied, glancing over her shoulder at the youngest angel,
"Like my real name is Robin, but I go by Jane, so that nobody will know who I really am."
"So, what about you two?" Kevin asked, as he kept up the pace with the older kids, though still under Andrew's watchful eyes.
"He goes by Thorn," JR spoke up as he referred to the oldest boy with long brown hair that was pulled back in a ponytail,
"And this," He pointed to the youngest boy of the foursome, who had sandy blond hair, much like Andrew's,
"No one ever told you to change your names?" Jane asked, looking at Andrew, as she wondered about this new threesome and if they were siblings. She had noted the way he kept an eye on the excitable young boy and the young girl, who was either very much afraid or very shy, kept a tight grip on him, which he seemed quite comfortable with as he kept his arm snugly around her frail shoulders.
"No," Andrew replied as he shook his head,
"Since we've been out on the streets, we've pretty much been on our own."
Jane smiled as they kept walking,
"Well then, maybe I could help you out as far as names go," She offered.
"I'm sure they can name themselves, Jane," Thorn replied, casting her a side-glance.
"No, actually, I'd appreciate the help," Andrew told her with a smile, his reasoning two fold. First off, when they did find Paddy, going by their real names was not a good idea, however, he didn't really have the heart to do it. They had already lost their physical identity this morning, Monica had lost her accent and he wasn't about to be the one to dub them with new names as well.
"You might want to tell us your real names first?" Jane suggested as they turned a corner and stopped walking for a moment,
"Maybe that would help us figure out something for you..."
"Well, my name is Andrew, this is Monica," He nodded down at his best friend who's face was still buried in his shoulder,
"And this guy over here is Kevin." He shot a small grin over his shoulder at his youngest charge.
"Are you three siblings or something?" Hotrod questioned, leaning up against a brick building.
"No, but we feel like family," Kevin answered seriously with a small sigh,
"We're best friends to tell you the truth."
Nodding her head, Jane tapped her chin with her index finger as she surveyed the newest trio before her and a small smile crossed her face and she pushed her shoulder-length black hair out of her eyes as she pointed at Andrew first,
"I must say, those green eyes of yours stand out, Andrew. There has got to be the perfect name for you..."
Andrew blushed slightly as he awaited her decision, running his fingers through Monica's hair in an effort to silently sooth her.
Tapping a dirty finger to her chin in thought, Jane suddenly smiled and pronounced him,
"Emerald! I think that is perfect and it suites you." Seeing Andrew nod his head slowly, he watched as she turned her attention to Kevin,
"You like to eat and have made that very clear when we mentioned breakfast," She began thoughtfully,
"If you could eat anything, what would it be?"
"Ice cream," Both Kevin and Andrew stated simultaneously before they both laughed.
"Ah, Emerald, you know him well," Jane grinned, before turning back to Kevin,
"Well, the name 'ice cream' is a little girly, but how about 'Ice' for short?"
"I can live with that," Kevin grinned, before he looked a bit concerned,
"Though my name may make me hungry at times."
Jane returned his grin before turning her attention to the painfully quiet young girl who was clinging to Andrew,
"Now, as for you…" She watched as Monica looked up at her briefly before looking away once more and the older girl smiled,
"'Fawn'," She stated knowingly,
"That is what those big, brown eyes remind me of, and you're as quiet as one too…"
No sooner had the words been said, than the shop keeper from the store they were standing in front of came out of his door hollering at them,
"Get away from my shop, you bunch of hoodlums!" The elderly man shouted, his face red with rage,
"You're scaring away my business! Now get out of here before I call the police!"
"Mr. Manson, are you always this cranky?!" Thorn shouted over his shoulder as the small group started to walk away,
"We're not even touching your property!"
"I'm warning you, I'm gonna call the cops and have you thugs arrested if you show your face in my area again!" The store owner growled as he shook his fist at the youngesters,
Fear flickering briefly in Monica's eyes, the human angel tightened her hold around Andrew's waist as she felt him move quickly away with the rest of the group and several long moments later, they were far away from the store and JR and Thorn looked up as they saw that they had reached the destination for breakfast,
"Well, looks like we made it! Don't worry about Mr. Manson, you guys, he's always like that..."
"Nice guy," Kevin remarked under his breath, as he prepared to walk in the front door of the restaurant, but Thorn gently stopped him.
"This way," He directed, leading them around to the back of the building near the alley. The rest of the group waited while Thorn knocked on the back door and waited for an answer.
"Well, hello, baby."
At the sound of this voice, Andrew, Monica and Kevin all looked up in shock, seeing Tess holding the back door open for them, though they said nothing as Thorn spoke.
"We have some others with us today, Tess, if that is okay."
"Of course it is, baby," Tess replied as the 7 of them piled into the back room and Thorn, Jane, Hotrod and JR all took seats at the large steel table in the kitchen, motioning for their new friends to do the same.
Monica felt tears forming in her dark eyes as she watched Tess, remembering the last time she had seen her when her friend had been yelling at her. She opened her mouth to say something but immediately closed it as she looked down at the table.
"So who have we got new here this morning?" Tess asked as she began to fix up plates for the 7 of them.
"This is Emerald, Ice and Fawn," Jane replied with a smile as she looked over the newest members of their group,
"We just met them this morning."
Andrew smiled faintly as he tried to swallow his shock at seeing Tess here and looking over at Kevin, he saw that he was equally as shocked by this turn of events. Monica still looked positively miserable and the oldest angel gave her hand a squeeze under the table,
"Thank you for letting us join them, Tess," He replied softly.
"Well, this bunch stops in for breakfast when food out there is hard to find, and now in late October most of the tourists are gone and I hate to see them go completely hungry," A trace of sadness lingered in her eyes as she surveyed the three angels.
"That's nice of you," Kevin spoke up, accepting the plate of food offered to him as he never met Tess' gaze. Glancing over at his two friends, the youngest angel saw the same confused look on their faces as well, and he knew that the three of them had to find some way to talk to her before they left the restaurant that morning.
"So who's up for a smoke before we head out?" Thorn asked as he rose from the stool and grabbed a pack of cigarettes out of his back pocket. Glancing over at Andrew, Monica and Kevin, the teenager offered them some,
"You three wanta come with us?"
"Uh, no thanks, we don't smoke," Andrew replied quietly, knowing this was the perfect opportunity for them to talk with Tess privately,
"But you guys go on ahead..."
"Suit yourself, Emerald," Hotrod shrugged his shoulders as he, Jane and JR accepted a cigarette each and headed towards the back door,
"We'll be leaving in a few minutes; we won't be too long." He watched as the trio nodded their heads before the small group walked out the door and closed it tightly behind them.
"Tess," Andrew began softly, confusion evident in his eyes,
"What are you doing here?"
"I asked to come, Angel Boy," The older angel said with a sad sigh,
"I wanted the chance to apologize, especially to Monica and Kevin for the way I treated them…" She drew in a deep breath,
"I didn't like the feeling of taking your charges away from you, baby, and instead of talking to them and you about it, I took it out on them instead. I guess I didn't want them to enjoy working with me, because they should have been with you in the first place."
Andrew smiled as he got off the stool to hug his longtime friend,
"I understand, Tess, but you denied them a great privilege of knowing how wonderful you are to work with. Mon' knows but Kevin didn't," He smiled as he winked at her,
"Though we assured him this was not the norm for you."
Wrapping her arms around her 'Angel Boy's' shoulders, tears filling her eyes as she felt just how much smaller he and the other two angels were, Tess ran a hand through his longer blonde hair,
"No, it wasn't, baby, and I regret all of it..."
Pulling away from his former supervisor, Andrew looked up at her as he continued,
"Don't be too hard on yourself, Tess; you do know now, and that's all that matters, at least to me."
Reaching a hand out to stroke Andrew's dirty cheek, the older angel nodded sadly before looking over at the two younger angels, who hadn't spoken for the last few minutes,
"I hope you two babies can forgive ol' Tess, too. I was so wrong to do that, and I promise that if I have to spend an eternity making it up to you, I will."
"I just may hold you to that, Tess," Kevin replied with a wink to let her know he was kidding, before he turned more serious,
"All is forgiven. We were all under a lot of stress with everything that was going on with Andrew and the Sullivan's. Someone had to snap."
She chuckled softly at the youngest angel's words before she turned to look at her Angel Girl, who looked as if she absolutely wanted to crawl out of this child-like form she had been placed in for the time being,
"Baby girl," She said softly,
"I am so sorry about the way I laid into you a few days ago. I was so far out of line, I cannot even begin to tell you…"
Shakily getting down from her stool, the Irish angel burst into tears as she threw her small body into Tess' arms, the emotions from today now coming to the surface. She didn't feel or sound anything like herself and now she had to even answer to a different name, nor did her friends look the same, and she clung to Tess as the one thing she had seen today that was unchanged.
"Oh Angel Girl, I'm so sorry," Tess whispered into the angel's long auburn hair as she rubbed her back,
"Tess is so sorry..."
"Nothing feels the same..." Monica spoke for the first time since early that morning, and as Andrew listened, he was unable to stop the tears from forming in his green eyes,
"I don't sound the same, look the same, or...or..."
"I know, Monica," The mahogany skinned angel closed her eyes as she finally pulled back and looked into the Irish angel's face and then Andrew's and Kevin's,
"But you know that it's only temporary, until you can get Patrick to come home again; you know better then anyone, Angel Boy, that it's only temporary..." As her friend nodded his head sadly, Tess turned back to Monica,
"But keep a hold of the Father in your heart, and keep a hold of your Angel Boy and I know that He will see you all through this long road ahead."
"I'm so...scared," The human angel whimpered as she wiped at her tears, looking at each of her friends through blurred vision.
As Andrew stepped forward, Tess nodded her head at him as he gently pulled his best friend into his arms,
"I know you are, little one," He whispered softly to her,
"And there have been enough changes the last few weeks to last a lifetime and they've thrown us all for a loop, but sweetheart," He pulled away to meet her eyes with his own,
"Some things haven't changed."
Looking into his green eyes, she understood at least that much, as they were filled with the love and compassion she could always find there, as she tried to stop her tears,
"I hate feeling this vulnerable, Andy…" She whispered tearfully.
"I know you do, but I'm going to take care of you; you and Kevin. I promise you that. You know I wouldn't let anything happen to my little Angel Girl," He replied as he tenderly wiped the tears from her face.
"I know you won't," Monica uttered tearfully as she grasped his hands in her own and squeezed them tightly, closing her eyes for a moment until she sensed Kevin stepping forward as well and standing next to them.
"We'll all take care of each other," The youngest angel promised,
"That's my promise; and we will find Patrick soon and before you know it, this nightmare will be over with, and maybe...just maybe, the Father will give us a much-needed break after this. I have never been on this long of an assignment before..."
"Well, you can't say that anymore, Ice," Andrew winked at his youngest charge and he was relieved when his three friends started laughing, Monica included. Shaking his head, the older angel gently nudged Kevin in the side and added,
"I still prefer Wonder Boy, though."
"Are you still going to be around, Tess?" Monica asked softly, some sadness still evident in her eyes, though she was feeling a little better after Andrew's reassurances.
"I don't know, babies," She admitted honestly,
"I asked for the chance to be able to talk to you all this morning and the Father felt you could all use a familiar face as you get accustomed to this new situation," She sighed sadly herself, not enjoying seeing her three friends in these roles. Gathering them all close to her, she continued softly,
"This is going to be hard, you three, but you know that," She looked at the two youngest angels as she continued,
"Trust Andrew, you two. He will do all he can to see you both through this. Kevin, I can tell you are still finding this very exciting, but things are going to get harder as colder weather is right around the corner and food gets hard to find. What you are going to learn is that not everyone has it easy out there, but don't lose hope, baby. The Father is going to see you through all of it," Seeing him nod his head, she looked at her Angel Girl,
"I know you're afraid, sweetheart, but try not to let it overpower you. We all understand your fear of being in vulnerable positions and this one is certainly that, but the Father is there and so is your Angel Boy and they will both do all they can to keep you safe," She touched both of their dirty faces lovingly,
"Both of you," She added before looking to Andrew,
"My greatest comfort in all of this, baby, is that they have the best supervisor in the business with them and they in turn love you and will look out for you as well. You may not always have all the answers, honey, but don't be too hard on yourself when that happens. God is always on your side, and so are Monica and Kevin," Feeling tears stinging in her eyes, she gently kissed each of their cheeks,
"You need to go now. The others are waiting."
"Thank you, Tess," Andrew said softly, tears in his own eyes as he hugged her tightly, followed by the other two angels. Having said their good-byes, he grasped Monica's hand in his own and followed Kevin to the door as now with reassurances, they prepared to greet the day and all it would hold.
"Where do you all sleep while you're out here?" Kevin asked his millionth question as the four teenagers and three human angels continued walking down the street,
"I hope not some alley, 'cause that's where I spent last night and it smelt disgusting."
"Don't worry, kid, we found a much nicer place several months ago," Hotrod answered as he glanced at Kevin over his shoulder,
"At least it's better then some old alley...and there's no parents around, so that's a good thing."
Cringing slightly at the reminder once again that they were nowhere near the Sullivan's, or the rest of their friends, Kevin huddled close to his co-workers and shut his mouth as they continued following the group down a deserted road.
"So you do this every morning?" Andrew asked quietly, glancing at Jane as she nodded her head.
"It's good exercise for us, and it will be for you," She smiled brightly,
"Plus, some of us have been out here for several years so we're used to it."
"Several years?" Monica spoke up for the first time, shock overcoming here that these teenagers actually liked being out here,
"You mean...you actually like it out here?"
"Well, the Fawn speaks!" Thorn threw at her as he let out a laugh,
"But in answer to your question, yes we do like it out here. I for one, was raised in an abusive home, ran away at 14 and I'm now 16; so I've been on my own for 2 years, and have enjoyed every minute of it."
"Do you eat out of trashcans?" Kevin asked with a pensive look on his face.
"Sometimes," Thorn responded back to the younger child,
"When Jane was younger, she used to be able to get money out of people…they tend to take pity on homeless little girls, but once you're older, other than someone like Tess, you're usually on your own," He stopped walking for a moment and looked thoughtfully at Monica,
"You could be our ticket to some better meals, Fawn. You have that sad sort of look about you that people find hard to resist. Jane, you could teach her."
Seeing the horrified look on the younger girl's pretty face, Jane offered softly,
"It isn't like cheating them out of it, Fawn, and if you get hungry enough, you'd be surprised at what you'll do."
"But...but I can't lie," The little Irish angel whispered, glancing up at her best friend as she felt her heart racing.
"It's not lying, Fawn," JR jumped in as they reached the end of the road and turned a corner onto a dark street where old, beat up cars and vans,
"After all, you'll only do it when you're hungry, so that's not lying."
"It feels like it, though..." Monica whispered in horror, but she stopped as she felt Andrew's gentle hand on her slim shoulder. Looking up at him, she watched as he knelt down to her ear and whispered reasuringly.
"It's okay, Angel Girl," He whispered soothingly,
"You're not lying to anyone, Mon'; this is what life is like on the streets, so it's okay."
Feeling her lower lip beginning to tremble, she only gave her head a jerky nod as she lowered her dark eyes to hide the tears that were threatening them.
"Good," Thorn responded a bit gruffly, seeing the exchange between the two,
"Since that is settled, Jane, you can start teaching her today. Cold weather is going to be here soon and we can't always count on Tess for hand outs."
"And we're home!" Hotrod spoke up with a grin as they rounded the next corner.
Andrew's eyes widened as he looked at what seemed to be an abandoned train yard, with several dozen run down train cars. The place was empty and garbage littered the ground, but he had to admit, it was better than an alley,
"Wow," Was all he managed to say as he looked around him.
"That car is ours," JR announced, pointing at one of the train cars,
"You can share it with us, or pick one of your own."
Feeling herself trembling once again, Monica grasped onto Andrew and looked up at him with fearful brown eyes. Sensing what she was thinking, the oldest angel annouced,
"We'll pick our own, but thanks-"
"Can I stay with them, Sim...I mean, Emerald?" Kevin asked, turning hopeful eyes to his friend and supervisor.
Raising an eyebrow at his youngest charge, Andrew contemplated it for a few moments before he sighed softly and shook his head,
"Kev, remember what I said earlier?"
"Look, Emerald, chill for a few minutes, okay? If Ice here wants to stay with us, then let him! We won't bite," Thorn crossed his arms in front of his chest as he stared the older human angel down with hard dark eyes,
"Or don't you trust him?"
Felt as if he was caught between a rock and a hard place, Andrew swallowed hard and tried to answer as nonchalantly as possible,
"Of course I do. He can stay if he wants," Though it was not the answer he wanted to give and he could clearly sense Monica's distress, he had been left with little choice as he didn't want to battle his youngest charge, who seemed to still be looking at this as a game.
Kevin, seemingly oblivious to Andrew's hesitation and Monica's distress, grinned widely,
"Cool!" He exclaimed as he quickly clamored up into the train car behind JR and Hotrod.
Seeing Monica's look of disapproval that she threw at him, Andrew returned it with one that clearly read, "What did you expect me to do?" as she tearfully looked away from him.
"Fawn, when do you want me to teach you about the easiest ways to get money out of people?" Jane asked gently sensing the rift between the three friends and wanting to proceed carefully.
"Later," Monica replied, she turned away, angry tears filling her eyes as she ignored what Andrew had said earlier about staying together as she walked off into the train yard. It wasn't so much that she was angry at Andrew and she liked Jane, JR and Hotrod well enough…it was Thorn. She didn't trust him and she didn't like the way he suddenly seemed to be making decisions for her and for Andrew and though she knew it wasn't a very angelic thing to feel, she wished she could start glowing right about now just to scare the living daylights out of him.
As the small group started to depart, Monica heard footsteps hurrying after her and knowing it was Andrew, the little angel refused to turn around so he couldn't see the frustrated tears in her doe like brown eyes. As the finally made her way to the train car next to the one Kevin had just climbed into, Monica slumped down on the first step and lowered her head to the ground.
"Angel Girl, I'm sorry back there," Andrew started as he made his way to her, nearly out of breath from his mad dash after her,
"I really am..." The older angel knelt down in front of his best friend and laid his hands on her cold ones.
"I know," Monica whispered, still keeping her eyes away from his.
"What else could I have done, Monica?" Andrew shrugged his shoulders helplessly,
"Thorn had me in a rough spot, and I don't like it anymore then you do that we've had to split up..." He moved his hand to touch her dirty cheek and was relieved when she finally lifted her miserable brown eyes to meet his green ones,
"I'm sorry, sweetheart." He repeated quietly,
"I never like to see you upset...NEVER. And this is no exception..."
"But what about us sticking together? Will we even be able to do that if Kevin continuously hangs around Thorn?" Monica spit out the name of the older boy and her eyes narrowed in anger,
"I'm sorry, Andrew, but that boy makes my skin crawl..."
"I don't know, Angel Girl, I think he's harmless enough. He's just used to being the leader amongst his friends and maybe he feels threatened…" Andrew offered softly.
"But I don't want him making all the decisions for us…I don't want him making them for me!" She cried out, frustrated tears spilling onto her cheeks,
"No one asked me if I wanted to beg money from people! No one asked me if I wanted to be sitting out there, by myself, amongst all those people who look at us like we're circus freaks, asking them to take pity on me. But all of a sudden, it's decided. I don't want to answer to him! I answer to you and the Father! You know how I feel about being like this," With trembling hands she indicated herself in this childlike form as she continued,
"There are people out there who want to hurt us, you said it yourself, and I don't want to be one of them, Andy, and especially not because of some decision Thorn makes!"
Andrew's compassionate and understanding green eyes brimmed with tears as he took in everything his dearest friend was saying and it was a few moments before he replied,
"But I will not let anything happen to you or Kev. If Thorn wants you to do something that you're not comfortable with, just look at me and I'll find a way to get you out of it. He's not the head boss around here. God is."
Closing her eyes tightly to stop another round of hot tears, Monica gripped his hands as tightly as she could before speaking up again in a trembling voice,
"I just hate this...I hate it already, and I just want to go Home. Not back to the Sullivan's, but Home, Andrew. We've been away from there for over a month now, and I'm homesick..."
"So am I, little one," Andrew sighed softly as he released his best friend's hands and motioned her towards him. As the human angel took a seat on his leg and wrapped her arms tightly around him, Andrew closed his green eyes again and held her tightly,
"So am I."
Written by: CI and KP
Late that night, Kevin sat up, unable to sleep, as he was so cold. As his eyes grew accustomed to the dark, he realized that Thorn and Jane were sitting up near the entrance to the train car, smoking and talking quietly. Slipping out from under the ratty blanket he was sharing with JR, he walked over to them and sat down.
"Can't sleep, huh Ice?" Thorn asked him, flicking the ashes from his cigarette.
"It's so cold out here at night," Kevin replied, shivering as he wrapped his arms around himself trying to get warm.
"This will warm you up," Thorn replied, thrusting a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag at him. Seeing the unsure look on the younger boy's face, he shrugged,
"I'm not forcing you, man, but it is the best way to beat the cold."
Feeling completely numb from the cold fall night, Kevin reached for the bottle and tentatively brought it to his lips, gulping down a swallow of the whiskey. It burned going down his throat and he thought for a moment he might be sick, but a moment later, a warm feeling began to creep up on him and he sighed with relief as he handed the bottle back to Thorn,
"Much better, thanks."
"Any time," Thorn replied, tucking the bottle back into his jacket and leaned back against the step, taking another whiff of the cigarette between his fingers,
"If you need another chug, just let me know. I've got lots of bottles nearby."
Wiping his hand over his mouth, Kevin shook his head as he replied,
"I'll get back to you..."
Shrugging nonchalantly, Thorn rose to his feet and dropped the cigarette to the ground, pressing down on it with his foot before turning back to Kevin and Jane,
"Well, I'm gonna go for a walk. I should be back before everyone else gets up." Jane nodded her head and leaned back next to Kevin on the step as they watched the oldest teenager walk away.
"He doesn't go with anyone?" Kevin asked, amazed that he would walk out by himself with so much danger around them.
Jane shook her head firmly,
"No, and I don't know where he goes or what he does. Maybe he just gets restless, I don't know…"
Kevin sighed, feeling the rumblings of hunger in his stomach, as they hadn't eaten since breakfast,
"Are we going back to Tess' place in the morning?" He asked hopefully, but Jane shook her head.
"We try not to take advantage of her and go too often. We went today because we hadn't had much of anything to eat in three days and we wanted you three to meet her," Jane yawned as she stretched her arms over her head,
"Well, I'm headed to bed. I have a feeling Thorn is going to want me to work with your friend tomorrow so we can get some money for food and for cigarettes. He gets really grouchy when he runs out."
Resting his chin his hand, Kevin nodded his head as Jane started back into the train car,
"G'night." He mumbled and a a few minutes after the teenager had disappeared, the human angel rose to his feet and started to head in the direction Thorn had gone. Although he wasn't sure where in the world he was going, the angel just started walking.
Several minutes passed before Kevin looked up spotted Thorn rounding a corner not too far ahead and he was clutching his tattered jacket close to his body. Curiosity getting the better of him, the young Caseworker kept his distance as he followed the teenager until they neared a deserted alley. Not wanting to anger him, or startle him, Kevin drew in a deep breath and spoke up,
Startled, Thorn whirled around and narrowed his eyes at the human angel,
"What the hell are you doing, following me like that?" Glancing down, he noticed that the stollen items in his hands were visible to Kevin and Thorn glared over at the angel,
"You had better not tell anyone what you saw me do, Ice, you got that?"
"You stole those?" Kevin gasped, looking at the bottle of whisky and the packs of cigarettes in the human's hands.
"Look, I do what I have to do, okay? The whiskey kept you warm, right?" Seeing Kevin nod his head, he continued,
"Well, it doesn't grow on trees and neither does the money to buy it with, so unless you want to freeze to death during the next several months, you'll shut up and let me provide it to you."
"I won't say a word, Thorn," Kevin promised as the older boy started walking again and Kevin fell in step beside of him.
"We'd better get back before your friends miss you," Thorn replied, a slight trace of sarcasm in his voice,
"I wouldn't want you to get in trouble."
"I'm not going to get in any trouble," Kevin stated defiantly,
"We all do what we want to do."
Thorn chuckled. He had to admit, the kid was cute and had guts,
"Whatever you say, Ice. Whatever you say."
Andrew opened his tired green eyes later the next morning to the sound of a sharp rapping on the other side of the train car door. Moaning softly and turning over onto his other side, his human body still feeling tired from the previous day, the angel covered his head with the torn up blanket as he heard the sharp voice of Thorn on the other side.
"Emerald! Fawn! It's time to get up, you night owls!"
"Why can't he just shut up for once?" Andrew heard Monica grumble wearily next to him as she pressed her face into her best friend's shoulder,
"I'm so tired..."
"So am I, Angel Girl, but we have to get up sooner or later," The older angel glanced at his watch and saw that it was just a little bit after 10AM,
"It'll be all right today, Mon', don't worry."
Lifting her head off of his shoulder, Monica groaned once again and sat up on the hard floor,
"I wish there was something to brush my hair with; it's so matted it's disgusting."
Unable to control a laugh, Andrew looked over at her and shook his head,
"You sound like a teenage girl to me right now, Monica..."
"That's cause I am at the moment," The human Irish angel retorted, although she couldn't control a giggle,
"And you don't look so cute either." At that comment, Andrew stuck his tongue out at his best friend and wopped her over the head with a pillow.
"Yeah, that's it," She replied with a pretend scowl,
"Give me a few more cooties with that pillow, as only the Father knows where it has been." Standing up and hugging her arms tightly around her to try and get warm, she gave a slight cough, trying to clear from her throat the scratchiness from being so cold all night, despite the fact that she had snuggled as close to Andrew as she could possibly get.
"Lets go, you two," Thorn's voice bellowed once more from outside,
"We have work to do today."
"Yes, your majesty," Monica mumbled under her breath, causing Andrew to raise an eyebrow at her.
"He is one of the Father's children, Angel Girl," He reminded her with a grin.
"I know," She sighed, tightening the knitted scarf around her neck, as her stomach growled hungrily,
"It's just that some of His children are more obnoxious than others."
Putting a hand over his mouth to stop the laugh from escaping, Andrew shook his head at his best friend and was about to reply when another pounding ont he door was heard,
"Did you two hear me in there or not?!"
"YES!" Monica and Andrew both shouted at the same time and the next thing they heard was the sound of the teenager cursing under his breath and walking away, his shoes crunching on the gravel as he walked.
"I guess we really have no choice right now, Angel Girl," Andrew let out a heavy sigh as he shoved the worn blanket off of him and stretched his arms over his head,
"Now if only the Father gave us a comb or two to get the tangles out of our hair..." No sooner had he said those words did two small combs appear next to the two angels and Andrew winked at his best friend before picking one up and slowly moving it through his longer hair. Mumbling under his breath as he realized once again why he had chosen to cut it in the first place, the angel pushed the long hair out of his eyes before throwing it back in a ponytail.
Moments later, the two angels finally emerged and were greeted with a scowl from Thorn, who's arms were crossed and was leaning against the train car next to their's,
"It's about time, kids. What were you two doing in there anyways?"
"None of your business," Monica mumbled under her breath as she crossed her own arms in front of her.
"What'd you say, Fawn?" Thorn threatened as he took a step closer and examined her,
"Tell me, what did you just say to me?"
Seeing the older boy towering above her, she swallowed the fear she was feeling, refusing to be bullied by him,
"I said it was none of your business." She replied, though her Irish voice be gone, her temper was not.
"Ya know, I think I preferred you quiet and not so mouthy," Thorn retorted menacingly as he took another step closer to her.
"Well, I think I preferred you not in my existence," Monica snapped, her dark eyes flashing anger. Before she knew what had happened, Thorn had given her a hard shove that sent her reeling to the ground with a small cry of pain.
The whole exchange having taken place so quickly, Andrew hadn't had time to react, he now quickly stepped between his best friend and Thorn, his green eyes full of fury,
"Don't you ever touch her again. You got that?" He stated, his voice low and intense.
"Then I suggest you teach her some manners," Thorn replied calmly, as he turned to walk away as if nothing had happened,
"We'll be leaving in a few minutes. We need to find food and she and Jane have work to do today."
"I'm not going anywhere! And you can't make me!" Monica shouted after him as she allowed her best friend to pull her to her feet and she grasped his arm with shaking hands,
"I refuse to take money from people, and I'm not going to abide by your orders, Thorn...or whatever your name is..."
"Do you realize, Fawn, that I am the boss around here, and that what I say goes?" The teenager demanded, taking a step closer to the two and gripping Monica's arm like a vise,
"You realize that you have no choice in the matter-"
As she was about to wrench her arm away from the human, she felt Andrew's hand grasping Thorn's and shoving it off of her. Whimpering slightly, the younger angel clutched her best friend tightly as he faced Thorn, eyes narrowed into slits,
"I thought I told you to keep your dirty hands off of her; I won't tell you again..."
"How you gonna make me, Emerald?" Thorn sneered as he grabbed the color of Andrew's shirt and pulled him so that the angel was in his face,
"You think you're gonna protect Fawn over there?"
"Yes," Andrew replied as calmly as he could, though he could now smell alcohol on Thorn's breath,
"I know I'm going to,"
"You and what army?" Thorn replied, drawing back his fist as if to hit the younger human angel.
"Stop it!" Monica cried out, completely unwilling to see her best friend hurt after all the pain he had been through in recent weeks and with every bit of strength in her small human body, she threw herself at Thorn, causing him to lose his grip on Andrew, but the repercussions were painful as Thorn furiously backhanded her in the jaw and sent her flying to the ground once more.
Anger like none he had ever felt before, welled up inside of Andrew and before he even knew what he had done, he had punched the drunken teenager squarely in the face, knocking him down as the furious angel now towered over him,
"You want to fight!? Let's go then, Thorn! At least pick on someone close to your own size instead of a little girl! C'mon!"
Hearing commotion, Jane, Kevin and JR came flying out of their car and the youngest angel's eyes widened in shock and fear when he heard his supervisor threatening Thorn.
Jane's cry of "Stop it!" seemed to jolt the angel back to reality as he realized exactly what he had done as he tried to calm his racing heart. Never before had he done anything like that. Though he knew in part that it had come from very teenage emotions, he still had trouble believing what had just happened.
"Emerald, what in the world are you doing?" JR shouted as he and the rest of the group rushed over, not even noticing that Kevin had shot a surprised look Andrew's way.
"He didn't do anything!" Monica shouted back, tears streaming down her face as she placed a shaking hand to her already swollen cheek,
"I don't understand why you all continue to take orders from Thorn; he's nothing but a creep!"
"That is IT, little girl!" Thorn scowled as he struggled to his feet, shaking off Jane's hand as she tried to keep him steady,
"You aren't going to talk to me that way-"
Placing himself in front of his best friend again, Andrew glared angrily at the teenager once again before he whispered to Monica over his shoulder,
"Get back in the car, Mon'..." Seeing that she was about to object, the older angel put more firmness into his voice as he looked her square in the eye,
Without a second thought, she turned around and raced up the steps to the car she shared with Andrew and shut the door behind her, but she leaned her ear close to it so that she could hear the words being spoken outside.
"Thorn, why are you doing this? Are you drunk or something?" Kevin cautiously asked, his brown eyes still on his friend and supervisor as he could only wonder what had occurred earlier with Thorn and his two co-workers.
"Listen, Ice, this is between me and your buddy here. They're refusing to take direct orders, and they should know the consequences of those choices," The human growled as he clenched and unclenched his fists.
"Thorn, I think you need to sleep it off," Jane said gently, carefully taking his arm,
"This isn't really him, Emerald…" She apologized, trying to smooth things over.
Surprisingly enough, Jane's touch seemed to calm the out of control teenager as he lowered his angry eyes to the ground as he allowed Jane to lead him back to the car, but not without tossing over his shoulder,
"You and your little Fawn better watch your backs."
Not caring that JR was still there, Andrew turned to Kevin, his voice shaking,
"I don't want you staying in there with him, you got that?"
"Andrew!" Kevin objected, fully prepared to argue,
"It was cold last night and maybe he had a little too much whiskey to try and keep warm, but he isn't usually like that!"
"I don't care, Kevin," Andrew replied sternly,
"He attacked Monica, he tried to attack me. I'm not even sure if we're staying!"
Furiously, Kevin looked at his supervisor,
"You can do what you want! I'm not going anywhere!" Turning away, the angel turned child stomped away.
"Kevin, please just get back here!" Andrew hurried after his charge and grabbed his arm, turning him around,
"Just listen to me for a moment, okay?"
Sighing in exasperation, Kevin forced back his anger for the moment and turned to look at his friend again,
"Andrew, I'm not mad at you, okay? Let's get that straight for right now...but I saw what the real Thorn was like early this morning, and he's not like that! He's become a friend, and I don't want to leave. You and Cupcake can, but I'm not-"
Grabbing his charge by the shoulders, Andrew wanted to give him a rough shake but decided against it, not wanting to make things worse,
"Kevin, you saw what just happened there-"
"Yeah, and you had a right to react like you did; after all, we're human right now," Kevin lowered his voice a notch so that the others couldn't hear him,
"Listen, Andrew, I think it'd be best if you and Monica just went on without me, but I need to stay here."
"Kevin, this is not a game, even though you may think it is. We have a job to do out here and that is to find Patrick. Thorn is dangerous and I can deal with him threatening me, but not Monica. I cannot keep her here with him, Kevin, so we have to leave. Are you coming or staying here." Andrew asked a final time, hoping his charge would do the right thing.
Kevin was quiet for a moment as he dropped his eyes to the ground. Finally raising them, he replied,
"I'm staying here."
Written by: CI and KP
"Lets go. We're leaving."
Monica looked up from where she sat on the floor of the train car, her hand against her throbbing jaw. Seeing rage still present in Andrew's green eyes, she could only utter,
"I said, we're leaving," He replied sharply, even as he paced the floor of the car, trying to get his emotions under control,
"Kevin refuses to go, but you and I are out of here now!"
"We can't leave Kevin behind!" She cried out, staring at him in disbelief, trying to figure out what was wrong with him,
"We're supposed to stick together and if that means staying here, then so be it!"
Slamming his fist up against the wall of the train, he continued his rant,
"Don't argue with me and while we're at it, you need to start controlling that temper of yours! It made things 10 times worse out there, do you realize that? You kept egging him on and it has to stop!" Watching her eyes widen before she lowered her head, the older angel struggled to calm down. What was wrong with him? It was Thorn he was angry with…. or was it himself for not being able to control his own temper and also for allowing her to get hurt? Was this what Paddy had felt after Angel's assault by George Keyser and Amy's accident; just this incredible teenage rage that for a few moments he had felt unable to control? Was that the understanding he was supposed to be gaining from this?
Running a shaky hand over his face, Andrew forced himselt to take deep breaths as he tried to calm down a bit. Closing his eyes, the human angel leaned up against the wall of the train and slumped down on the ground next to Monica. It was a few moments before he finally spoke up, his voice quiet,
"I'm sorry, Monica...I'm really sorry..."
Noticing that his best friend wasn't speaking, as her head was still lowered to her hands, Andrew looked over at her through tear-filled green eyes,
"Angel Girl, it's not you I'm furious at...it's myself, and Thorn. Never you..."
After several tense moments of silence between the two human angels, Monica hesitantly crawled over to where he best friend sat and kneeled down in front of him,
"We cannot leave Kevin behind, Andrew...please, we can't do that."
"Our assignment is finding Patrick, Angel Girl," Andrew leaned his head back as his eyes stayed focussed on his friend,
"We have no choice right now..."
"Maybe I can talk to him…" She pleaded softly, but he cut her off.
"No. He is with Thorn and I don't want you anywhere near Thorn. Kevin is looking at him as some kind of hero or something. I don't care if he was drunk, he had no right…." Sighing softly, he reached out and gently traced along her swollen jaw with his fingers,
"Sweetie, we have to go. He threatened both of us and I'm not about to let him hurt you again."
"I shouldn't have said the things I did," Monica whispered tearfully,
"I'm sorry….I just didn't want him thinking I was afraid of him…"
No sooner had the words come out of her mouth did Andrew interrupt her again as he laid a finger over her lips,
"I'm the one that's sorry, Angel Girl. I took my anger out with my fist, and I had no right to do that." Seeing the tears streaming from beneath her brown eyes, the older angel wrapped her up in his arms and held onto her fragile body as tightly as he dared,
"I'm sorry, sweetheart..."
Clutching him tightly back, Monica nodded her head against his shoulder as she whispered,
"I know, but I don't want to leave Kevin behind; what if he hurts him...?"
"If he so much as touches a hair on his head, I think the Father will tell me, Mon'," Andrew whispered shakily as he felt guilt fill his heart over the choice they were making,
"But right now, since it's just the two of us he's threatened, we have to get out of here..." Pulling away, he looked deep into her frightened eyes and waited until she nodded her head reluctantly in agreement. Kissing her forehead gently, the angel finished,
"Then let's get out of here."
No more then five minutes later, the two angels had gathered what few belongings they had with them and opened the door to their train car. Looking around to make sure that nobody was in sight, Andrew held his hand towards his best friend and helped her out as well. Releasing it, he wrapped a secure arm around her shoulders and held onto her tightly as they walked quickly, yet quietly across the deserted yard and out onto the street again.
After searching for Paddy for the next few hours and coming up with nothing, Andrew's mind was going a mile a minute. It had been over 24 hours since they had eaten and they were going to have to find a place to sleep, preferably out of the cold night air. He was starting to grow weary, though it was only late afternoon and after walking for hours, he could feel the tiredness settling over Monica as well, though she never uttered a word of complaint. The events of the morning had left them both tired and a bit discouraged, even if a little bit wiser about trusting people on the streets.
"Are you getting hungry?" He asked her gently, knowing it was a foolish question, given how long it had been since breakfast yesterday.
Monica nodded her head as a weary cough escaped her,
"Yes," she whispered softly,
"And really thirsty."
His stomach growling as well, Andrew looked up and relief instantly filled him as the two angels came upon a fruit and vegetable stand up ahead. Placing his hand on his best friend's thin shoulder, he waited until she turned to say something,
"There it is..." He dug his hand in his worn out jeans pocket and wanted to burst into tears as he realized that the Father had provided them with a few dollars to buy some of the food,
"The Father came through."
Wiping at the tears on her face, the human Irish angel clutched her friend's hand tightly as they walked quickly to the stand. An elderly lady was standing behind the table, a bright smile on her face, and as the two human angels walked up to her, the ladies' face filled with complete sympathy and love,
"Well hello there, children. What can I get for you this afternoon?"
Her brown eyes on a pile of juicy oranges off to the side, Monica's mouth watered as she listened to Andrew ask the question,
"How much is everything?"
"Honey, I've seen homeless kids around here all the time, and I don't make them pay for anything," The elderly woman smiled at the angel as she saw the exhausted look on his face as well as Monica's,
"Go ahead and take what you want, sweetheart. Here's a bag for you two to put what you want in it," She leaned over next to her chair and handed a paper back to Andrew, the smile never leaving her face.
Almost speechless, Andrew nodded his head,
"T..thank you…thank you so much…"
She smiled, seeing the looks of thanks on their faces as they gazed at the piles of fruit and vegetables and she shook her head, immediately able to tell how hungry they were,
"No need to thank me. The good Lord provides well enough for me, so the least I can do is help provide of those less fortunate."
Smiling his thanks once more, Andrew turned his attention back to Monica,
"Get whatever you want, baby," He told her gently, watching as she hesitantly placed two oranges, two apples and two tomatoes in the bag.
"You call that a bag full, honey?" the woman shook her head as she approached them and quickly filled the bag with fresh fruit and whatever vegetables didn't need to be cooked. Then she reached behind her and pulled out four bottles of water, which she placed on top,
"That should keep you two going for awhile," Seeing the exhaustion in their eyes and having the feeling that they were new around here, she continued,
"If you take this back alley here, there is an abandoned shed near the junk yard. Not the warmest, but better than the streets themselves and you should be safe for the night."
"Thank you..." Andrew repeated, still in awe over how generous and nice this elderly woman was; something about her reminded him a bit of Rose, and just the thought of his former Search and Rescue supervisor caused fresh tears to well up in his eyes.
"Honey, there's no need to thank me," The woman shook her head as she rested a hand on Andrew's shoulder and then on Monica's,
"I'll be here tomorrow as well, so if you need anymore, just say the word, all right?" As the two friends nodded their heads, the lady smiled at them,
"Now get eating; you two are hungry, I can see it plainly with these old eyes of mine."
Still feeling rather speechless, the little Irish angel wiped at the tears on her cheeks as Andrew took the bag from her trembling hands and held it with one hand while with the other, he wrapped around her shoulders again,
"W-we appreciate this so much, ma'am..."
"Nonsense, little one," She chuckled,
"The pleasure has been all mine."
A moment later the twosome were headed down the alley in the direction they had been told to go and sure enough at the end of it, right inside the junkyard gates, was the shed. Andrew led the way to make sure it was safe, but always making sure Monica was close behind him. Opening the door, he found it dirty, but dry and there was even a stack of tattered blankets in the corner.
Looking around, he found a flashlight as well as some candles and matches and he also discovered that the door had a dead bolt on it, which he quickly locked, feeling safe for the first since they had left this morning. Lighting the candles in the now darkened shed, as Monica watched, he then grabbed some of the blankets and first wrapped one around her trembling shoulders. He had noticed her cough periodically throughout the day and was thankful that thus far, she had not complained of feeling poorly, though he wasn't sure she would tell him if she were.
As they sat down on the floor, he managed a smile at her,
"Dinner is served, Angel Girl."
Monica's fingers trembled as they tore at an orange as she had never felt more hungry and the sweet nectar of the fruit could not have tasted any better had it been a steak. Though her mind kept returning to Kevin despite the fact that she tried not to think about it, but she couldn't seem to get rid of the lump that had formed in her throat.
"I'm worried about Kev, too, Angel Girl," Andrew broke the silence as he knew exactly what she was thinking about. As he bit into an apple, he watched as his best friend looked up at him, her eyes wide with surprise,
"I know it doesn't seem like it, but I'm worried sick about him, Mon'...out there with Thorn and the rest..."
"The other ones aren't so bad," The younger human angel weakly replied, lowering her eyes to the orange she was still eating,
"Maybe he'll come around soon, and he'll decide to stay away from Thorn," Andrew leaned back against the wall, hoping against hope that he could believe those words he had just spoke,
"Kev is smart enough to know when someone is bad news..."
"I hope so," She replied softly. Finishing the orange, and though she still felt hungry, she was overcome with exhaustion, despite the fact that it was relatively early. Grabbing another blanket from the stack, she wordlessly curled up on the dirt floor, using a piece of the blanket as a pillow.
Watching her with ever growing concern, Andrew reached a hand out to stroke her hair away from her face,
"Sweetheart, are you okay?"
"Just tired," She murmured softly, closing her eyes at the feel of his gentle touch as she tried to push the thoughts of their situation and Kevin aside for now.
Once again, Kevin was unable to sleep during that night. Thoughts of Andrew and Monica kept running through his head, and the warning his supervisor had given to him the last time they had spoken, about Thorn being dangerous. Although he tried to not believe the words his older friend had spoken to him, he also knew better then to doubt what he was saying; didn't Tess say during that first morning on the streets? To trust Andrew?
"And I didn't..." Kevin murmered to himself,
"Instead, I betrayed him again...the second time in a month in a half..."
"You talking to yourself again, Ice?" Thorn asked as he and JR appeared in the entrance of the train car. At the sound of the familiar voice, Kevin wrapped his arms around his knees and looked up. As the youngest angel was about to reply, his brown eyes grew wide as he saw a third person next to the two teenagers, and he would recognize him anywhere...
Pushing aside the shock that he was feeling that he had finally found him, Kevin snapped his mouth shut and gave a tired smile instead,
"Where have you two been?"
"Just around; you know we sometimes don't sleep during the night," JR answered, before turning towards Patrick,
"By the way, Ice, this is Patrick, other known as Pat. He's a newby around here as well, but obviously you two haven't met him yet. Pat, Ice. Ice, Pat." The teenager introduced the two males.
"Hey," Pat replied, looking at the other new boy suspiciously for a moment.
"Hey," Kevin replied, his heart racing with even more fear now. If Patrick was here, where were Andrew and Monica?
"So this is all of you then?" Patrick asked, surveying the three boys.
"Jane and Hotrod are asleep," Kevin offered, indicating the boxcar where the other two runaways were fast asleep.
"And we had two more, but we got rid of them this morning," Thorn growled, lighting up a cigarette.
"What exactly happened this morning, Thorn?" Kevin asked, not knowing if he really wanted to know the full truth, or if he would even get it from Thorn.
Thorn rolled his eyes as he took a drag off his cigarette,
"Fawn decided to get lippy and tell me what she was and wasn't gonna do and Emerald wanted to get in my face about it. So I got in Fawn's face with the back of my hand and you saw what happened from there…"
Kevin suddenly felt completely sick on his stomach at knowing what had happened. Andrew's temper had exploded because Thorn had hit Cupcake, and for the first time, the youngest angel felt a trace of anger at Thorn, though he tried not to show it.
"So I figure, who needs them?" Thorn continued in disgust,
"Emerald had a chip on his shoulder anyway and Fawn's little sweet and innocent act was just that, an act."
"Thorn, that's not really true..." Kevin shook his head, but was interrupted as the oldest boy shot him a dirty look.
"Do you want the same thing to happen to you, kid?" He demanded, staring him down as he flicked the ashes off of his cigarette,
"Because I could do it to you if you'd like..."
"Uh, no, I'd prefer not..." The angel stuttered, suddenly feeling like a shrimp compared to the others.
"But anyways, Pat," Thorn turned back to Patrick, turning his attention away from Kevin,
"You didn't really miss much. Those two are probably long gone now, minding their own business and sticking together like super glue; believe me, you wouldn't want to meet them." He nudged the newcomer in the ribs as Patrick slowly smiled in return.
Now feeling really sick to his stomach, Kevin placed a hand on his lean tummy and mumbled,
"I'm going back to bed..."
Getting no response from the others as they were once again engaged in conversation, Kevin climbed back into the car and under the well-worn blanket. Closing his eyes, he felt tears escape them, knowing now what a huge mistake in judgment he had made. Thorn was no friend; the friends he had let loose this morning as he had made the decision to stay here. What had he been thinking, especially after he had heard the older boy threaten his two dearest friends? The worst part of this was that now that Paddy had shown up, he had no choice but to stay with this group.
Tightening the blanket around him, he whispered tearfully into the cold night air,
"I am so sorry, you guys…"
Written by: CI and KP
Andrew awoke before Monica the next morning and immediately felt a kink in his back. Groaning softly, the angel rolled over and soon realized that he had moved over onto a sharp stick on the floor in the middle of the night and had stayed for the next few hours. Sitting up, the human angel carefully rubbed his back and wanted to throw the stick across the shred, but decided against it as he didn't want to wake up his best friend, who had apparently slept sounder then he did.
Moving from the tattered blanket that was still wrapped around him, Andrew moved to the door and unlocked it, poking his head outside. The warm air greeted him and he almost wanted to smile at the sunny day; but the weather didn't match his mood, so he shut the door softly once more and bolted it back up. As he turned back to his best friend, Andrew knelt down next to her and laid a hand on her cheek, and was surprised at how warm she was.
Suddenly hearing a moan coming from the sleeping figure, Andrew stroked her cheek softly until he saw her open her eyes and look up at him,
"I feel horrible, Andy..." She uttered weakly,
"My back hurts, and my head..." Sitting up, she winced slightly at the pounding in her temples,
"I rarely ever get headaches, but this one is horrible..."
"I don't feel so great myself, Angel Girl," Andrew whispered back, wrapping his arm around her shoulders to steady her so that she wouldn't collapse,
"I wish I had some aspirin or something for you to get that headache to go away."
Coughing, she leaned into him heavily and closed her eyes, wincing at the pain in her head,
"It's okay…" She uttered weakly, not wanting him to worry as they had enough to worry about.
Thinking for a moment, he then remembered the money in his pocket,
"No, it isn't okay," He replied gently,
"But if you feel up to a short walk, we can head to the store and I can see what kind of medicine I can get with the money the Father gave us. I'd go by myself, but I really don't want to leave you alone…"
Opening her dark eyes, fear instantly filled them,
"Don't leave me alone, Andrew, please…"
"Never," He replied, kissing the top of her head, before he rose to his feet and gently pulled her up with him,
"Lets go see what we can buy before you get any sicker."
Nodding her head, Monica tightly clutched Andrew's hand as he gently let her out the door of the shed and moments later, they were on the street again. His eyes searching for any drug store nearby, Andrew also kept on the lookout for any possible sign of Patrick anywhere; but much to his disappointment, there was nothing.
Minutes ticked by in silence as they just kept walking, and just when Andrew thought his patience was going to wear thin, he noticed a store across the street and relief flowed through him,
"Let's try that place, sweetie." As the youngest angel nodded her head wearily, Andrew led them carefully across the street and seconds later were standing in front of the door. As the angel pushed it open, instead of making it all the way inside, he heard a loud voice coming from inside the store which caused Andrew to nearly jump out of his skin.
"What are you kids doing in my shop?!" The male voice demanded, coming into their view and glaring at them,
"No hoodlums are allowed in my store, have you got that?"
"Sir, please...I just need to buy some aspirin for my friend here," Andrew nodded in Monica's direction as he spoke, his green eyes pleeding with the owner,
"She's got a nasty headache and I have the money to pay for it-"
"Well go someplace else!" The man shouted in their direction,
"You're not welcome in this place!"
Trying not to let his anger get the better of him as he felt Monica tremble at his side, Andrew dug into his pocket and pulled out the money, showing it to the man,
"See? I'm not going to steal anything!"
"I said get out!" the man hollered one more time,
"Or I'll call the police!"
"Andrew…" Monica whimpered, frightened tears burning in her pain-filled eyes.
Furious now, Andrew nodded his head curtly, lest he say something he regretted and with his best friend's hand firmly in his own, they headed back down the sidewalk,
"I can't believe that guy! Someone should send him an angel. Tess could straighten him out, I'm sure!"
Monica remained silent, her head continuing to pound as she walked beside of him for another several blocks. It was then that she saw the store they had been chased from yesterday morning and she only hoped her best friend wasn't going to try there, but she was wrong.
Andrew walked through the door, his arm tightly around Monica's shoulders and before Mr. Manson could even protest, he spoke up,
"Please, Mr. Manson, I have the money and I just need some medicine for my friend. Just let me buy it and we'll be gone. I promise."
Looking at the young boy in front of him and the pale younger girl by his side, who looked terrified, Mr. Manson sighed,
"As you don't have that thief Thorn with you today, go ahead."
More than relieved, Andrew quickly picked up two kinds of medicine, making sure there was enough money for both and paid Mr. Manson, making sure to thank him, before the twosome headed back outside.
Before they could even head back the way they had come, the sound of an alarm going off, caused Andrew to look up and then he felt someone slam into him.
"Watch where you're going, Emerald!" Thorn snapped, before he took off in the other direction.
"Thorn, what are you doing?!" Andrew yelled after the teenager, but Thorn continued running in the opposite direction, ignoring his yells.
"Okay, that's it, I'm calling the cops. That kid is going to jail this evening!" Mr. Manson raged, slamming his fist down next to his register,
"He won't be seeing the light of day for a while..."
"Mr. Manson, I can try and talk to him," Andrew offered hesitantly, watching the older man's face,
"I really dont know if it will help, but I can try and get him to return the stuff he just stoll..."
"Do what you want, kid, but I don't think that'll make much of a difference right now," Manson fumed in anger,
"I take it you don't know Thorn that well, huh?" He watched as the two angels shook their heads before continuing,
"He's been around this part of town for 2 years now, and he's a no-good thief, I'll tell ya. He comes in constantly to try and steal stuff, and although some time I'm able to get him away, most of the time he ends up stealing behind my back. He's also hooked on drugs and on alcohol..."
Andrew's green eyes widened in horror at what the store owner was telling him...and to think that Kevin was with that monster right now, and thinking him as a friend. Feeling Monica flinch next to him, Andrew tightened his hold on her before turning back to Mr. Manson as he finished.
"Stay away from that creep as much as possible, kids. He can do anything he wants to and not have a care in the world what happens to others," Sighing heavily, he reached for the telephone,
"I'm still calling the cops, so you two kids may wanta get going. Your friend looks incredibly pale." As the owner turned his attention back to the phone, Andrew and Monica started for the door and once they were back out on the street, the older angel was the first to speak.
"We're going to have to find a way to get Kevin away from Thorn. Kev is far too impressionable yet and a guy like that could get him into a lot of trouble, not only on the streets but in the angelic realm as well." Andrew shook his head worriedly. Getting no response from his best friend, he stopped walking just as he felt her swoon slightly, catching her to steady her,
"Sweetheart?" He asked urgently, unable to believe how pale she was at the moment.
"I…I just felt a little dizzy for a minute…" Monica uttered, trying to focus on his face,
"Lets get you back," He replied, really beginning to worry now. His best friend's human form had always seemed particularly susceptible to human illness and he was very much afraid that if she got really sick this time, he wouldn't be able to do much for her. Holding onto her tightly to support her, they started to walk once more, but before they could get very far, the sound of sirens were heard and two police cars pulled over right beside them.
The next few moments would forever remain little more than a blur, as Andrew felt himself being yanked away from Monica and thrown up against the police car. As he felt the officer searching through his pockets, he was completely confused when one of the said,
"Yes, boys, here it is," and looking over, Andrew was horrified to see a gold watch in the officer's hand.
"We've been trying to catch you for two years, punk," The officer stated as he placed handcuffs on Andrew and read him his rights.
"No!" Monica cried out, now understanding completely what had happened when Thorn had bumped into her best friend,
"You have the wrong kid!"
"That's for Mr. Manson to decide when he comes down to give a positive ID, kid," the officer replied gruffly,
"And considering he still had the watch on him, that isn't likely."
Tears racing down her pale face, she pleaded once more,
"Let me come with him, please!" As she tried to make her way to Andrew however, one of the officers roughly pushed her away.
"You're not under arrest, so this would be a good time for you to find your way home to your parents-."
As Andrew was turned around their eyes met, Monica could see how white his face was and the deep fear in his eyes and she only cried harder with the realization that most of that fear was for her.
Andrew kept his eyes on his best friend as he was shoved inside the car, wishing he knew of what to say to her. As the door closed, he pleaded, speaking up for the first time,
"Please…she has no one else…"
"Not my problem, kid, and you have much bigger problems then her right now," The officer replied as the car pulled away from the curb.
Hanging his head in defeat, Andrew felt the tears fall from his eyes. Kevin was in the hands of Thorn, he had just been arrested and Monica's worst nightmare was coming true. She was sick and alone on the streets of this large city.
Watching the car pull away, Monica turned and headed back to Mr. Manson's shop, knowing he was the one person who could clear this up and quickly, but unbeknownst to her, across the street, Thorn grinned widely. He knew exactly where she was headed and he was not about to let that happen.
As the human angel quickened her pace and made her way as fast as she could back to Mr. Manson's store, Monica was just about to open the door again when she felt someone grab her from behind and drag her quickly around the corner. It all happened so fast that Monica wasn't sure what was going on until Thorn finally released her and shoved her in the direction of two other men.
"You think you're going to tell Manson the truth, Fawn?" The gruff teenager demanded, smirking as he watched the two taller guys all dressed in black grab hold of Monica's upper arms roughly,
"Sorry, kid, but they've got other plans. There's no way I'm gonna take the fall for this; your little friend Emerald is gonna have to do the time...maybe even for a few years-"
"NO!" Monica started to shout, but was silenced as one of the men covered her mouth with his hand.
"You. Just shut up, okay?" He ordered, pulling out a knife from his pocket and holding it up to her slender throat,
"Just shut up, and I won't kill you. Believe me, I won't regret it if I decide to do it..."
Chuckling and shaking his head at the angry and frightened tears streaming from her brown eyes, Thorn folded his arms across his chest as he addressed his two comrads,
"Do what you want with little Fawn here. I'm going back to the others; I've got another little kid to take care of...you know, Ice. I think he has sorta a big mouth, and I'm gonna make sure his stays shut as well." As he turned around to head off, he looked back over his shoulder once more at the two older men,
"I trust you to take care of her, and you know what could happen if you fail me."
Written by: CI and KP
Andrew sat alone in a jail cell, his eyes riveted on the floor, though they were filled with the utmost sadness. He had been booked, photographed and finger printed and then thrown in here to await Mr. Manson to give a positive ID that they had the right kid and that was the only thing that kept him going right now. He knew Mr. Manson could and would clear his name; the man wanted Thorn in prison, of that there was no doubt. The question was, how soon would he get down here and where would he find Monica once he was released?
He knew legally, he could only be held for 24 hours without charges being pressed, but 24 hours seemed like an eternity to him right now. Things had changed this morning in a matter of 5 minutes, so he knew 24 hours could do some serious damage. Under any other circumstances, he would have welcomed the warmth and safety of the jail cell, but only if the little Irish angel was here with him and that was not the case.
Andrew's greatest fear came from Thorn's threat against he and his best friend. "Watch your backs" he had said and the older boy certainly had a way of getting even. Andrew hadn't even felt him slip the watch into his pocket as if he had, he would have immediately returned it to Mr. Manson and all this would have been avoided. But his greater fear lied with wondering if Thorn had been nearby when he had been arrested and had he then come after Monica and the thought of it brought tears to his eyes. In the form of a 12-year-old girl, she was no match physically for the older boy and now, with her getting sick, she was all the more vulnerable to whatever Thorn might do to her and her fear this morning over even the possibility of being left alone, broke his heart. She had wanted so much to keep the three of them together and in the end, it was she who had been left completely alone on the cruel streets.
He was equally worried about Kevin, though at this point, his concern was intermixed with some anger as well. Had they stayed together and this had happened, at the very least, his two charges would be together right now. But he also knew that if his youngest charge had any idea of what Thorn had done this morning, he would have seen the truth. Kevin was impressionable, but he loved he and Monica, of that much, Andrew knew. He remembered his fierce protectiveness several days ago when Philip had first appeared at the Sullivan's and he knew that Kevin's reaction would be no different now, if he knew the full truth. Andrew's one comfort there was that he believed whole-heartedly that Jane and JR were good people. What he didn't know was if Thorn threatened Kevin, if the other two would have the courage to stand up to Thorn.
Sighing softly, he tried once again to reach his best friend through their communication of the heart, but once more, her voice was silent.
Kevin looked up late that afternoon and saw Thorn walking towards him, a smirk on his face. Resting his chin in his hands, the youngest human angel turned his eyes away as the teenager neared him,
"Where've you been?"
"Doing some business is all," He replied, taking a seat next to Kevin on the step of the train car,
"I ran into your two friends down town actually..." He watched as the young angel's eyes lit up in surprise, but before Kevin could say anything, Thorn continued with the smirk still on his face,
"Don't worry about Emerald and Fawn, Ice. They're fine." Seeing the sad look evident on the boy's face, Thorn pulled out a bottle from behind his back, wrapped in another paper bag,
"As a matter of fact, you look like you could use some perking up, kid. Care for a swig?"
Frowning in disgust, Kevin shook his head hard as he scooted away slightly,
"No thanks. I'll pass today..."
Shrugging nonchalantly, Thorn rose to his feet again and started to head back inside the train car,
"Whatever you say, Ice." Turning back around, the teenager stopped before heading back inside the car. Shooting a quick glance Kevin's way, he noticed that his back was turned and with a smirk showing plainly on his face, he opened the bottle of alcohol and poured a good amount of it into the cup filled with juice sitting behind Kevin and chuckled to himself before putting the cap back on the bottle and heading quickly back inside the boxcar.
Scowling in the direction Thorn had gone, Kevin picked up his cup and took a drink and as he swallowed, he felt the liquid burn his throat. Knowing instantly what Thorn had done, it took everything in him not to go after the older boy, but he knew that would not be wise. Disgustedly throwing out the rest of the liquid in the cup, he felt his stomach growling again and looking up, he saw JR approaching,
"Hey JR, I'm starved. Want to go on a food hunt?"
"Where's Thorn?" JR asked, and for the first time, Kevin saw a little bit of fear in the other boy's eyes for Thorn.
"Inside," Kevin motioned to the car as he stood up,
"C'mon. I don't want to go alone and my stomach is beginning to understand that digging through trashcans thing."
JR grinned as the two set off,
"Well, maybe we'll get lucky and not have to do that today."
"Where do you usually go during lunch?" Kevin wrapped his arms around himself to try and warm up in the cold air,
"Besides trashcan hunting..."
"Occasionally, we head over to see Tess, but most of the time, we end up having to beg for money so we can buy some. On those rare occasions, we find a food stand outside of some shops and a few nice owners sometimes give us free food. But as I said, that's very rare that that happens...most of the people treat us like scumbags," JR replied, shrugging shoulders as they continued walking down the street.
Before Kevin could reply, they spotted Hotrod coming quickly down the sidewalk; the younger boy's face was unusually pale and he looked like he had seen a ghost. JR tilted his head to the side and gazed over at his friend,
"Hey, man, what's up? You look like you just saw a ghost..."
Ignoring the statement, Hotrod forced himself to take deep breaths as he spoke up shakily,
"Have either of you seen Thorn?"
Glancing at one another, Kevin frowned as he replied slowly,
"Back at the trainyard. Why do you ask?"
Hotrod ran a shaky hand through his hair and he looked like he wanted to say something, but decided against it and said something else,
"I just saw something that I never thought I'd see...and I'm going to have to talk to him soon...He's done something terrible to Emerald and Fawn."
Kevin felt his own face pale upon hearing those words as he swallowed hard,
"He said he ran into them and they were fine…"
"He's a liar too," Hotrod replied angrily,
"And they were kinda all right when he ran into them, though Fawn didn't look so hot, but they're both in all kinds of trouble now."
"Tell me!" Kevin demanded, his heart racing,
"They're my friends and I have to know!"
"Well, he planted a stolen watch on Emerald and the police got him. He was arrested and taken away. I was getting ready to go and help Fawn, but then Thorn showed up again and he…he turned her over some gang members from the rougher neighborhood…they had knives…." Hotrod shook his head worriedly,
"Thorn has gone too far this time."
"What?" Kevin gasped at those words, and the youngest human angel backed up a step, his eyes growing wide,
"Emerald is in jail right now, Ice," Hotrod finished angrily, his dark eyes blazing over what the leader of their group had done to Andrew,
"And later on, I'm gonna have to find the courage to confront him..."
"Andrew was...he was arrested...and Monica, she..." Kevin stuttered, not even paying any attention to what the other two boys were saying. His attention was only focused on his two dearest friends, and the trouble one teenager had gotten them into. What had he done? Suddenly, the angel wasn't feeling all too hungry at the moment; instead, he was feeling sick to his stomach,
"I'm sorry, I-I'm not feeling too well...I'm going back..." He nodded his head in the other direction and before the duo could say anything, Kevin had bolted off and as he rounded a corner, he leaned over and started retching. Tears spilled down his face in anger, guilt and horror. His two closest friends in the entire angelic realm were in deep trouble and there was nothing he could do to help them.
Monica's head pounded harder as she felt herself being led down alley after alley, all the while trying to remain conscious, as she felt more and more dizzy. Her chest felt tight and for the first time in days she felt incredibly warm. The fear was causing her heart to pound quickly as she wasn't sure when the last time was she had felt so afraid. The hands that guided her were rough and she suddenly very confused about where she was as she had been taken down so many side streets. The neighborhood they were in now didn't look good to her. There was graffiti everywhere and garbage and the sounds of arguing and loud music sounded from inside many of the apartment complexes.
Her vision blurred by tears and certain these two older boys planned on killing her, she took a deep breath and tried to steady her nerves. She had felt their grasp loosen on her somewhat and in one final attempt to get out of this situation, the little Irish angel bolted, racing as fast as her weakened body would allow her.
A moment later, she gave a startled cry as she felt herself being thrown roughly to the ground, one of the boys directly on top of her. As he rolled her over to face him, new terror set in as she started to fight as hard as she could.
"You're looking to die, aren't you, Fawn?" The one boy hissed as he raised his knife into the air,
"Well, Thorn is looking for that to happen too."
Even as her heart continued to pound loudly in her chest and she was frightened as could be, Monica sucked in a deep breath and with her right foot, she kicked the boy straight in the crotch and as he yelled loudly and fell off of her, Monica rose to her feet and started running again as fast her weakened legs could carry her. Just as the angel thought she was starting to lose them, she felt a stinging in her right hand, but chose to ignore it until she just reached the next alley.
But before she could continue, the young angel cried out as she felt herself being tackled again and tears instantly flooded her eyes as she looked into the furious face of the same boy once more,
"You little witch! You're gonna pay for this, yes you are my dear..." As he raised the knife and was about ready to plunge it into her heart, the boy felt a tapping on his shoulder and he turned around, even as his free hand continued to hold onto Monica's thin neck.
"What?!" He demanded, glaring at his counterpart.
"I don't think Thorn really wants us to kill her, dude," The second boy stated, glancing over at the struggling angel,
"Plus, we can really get into a heap of trouble if we do that. I think he just wants us to hurt her, but not kill her..."
"After what she just did to me, she deserves to die!" He snapped, looking down at the young girl beneath him, smiling at the way she was shaking violently.
Monica closed her eyes for a moment, her heart whispered desperately,
"Andrew…they're going to kill me…I'm so scared…I'm so scared." Opening her eyes once more, she saw the knife heading for her and in one final attempt, she raised her hand to block what seemed to be the inevitable.
A cry of pain escaped her lips as she felt the knife plunge deeply into her hand and as the boy yanked it back out again, the pounding in her head and the pain she felt suddenly seemed to block out their arguing voices as her eyes closed and she welcomed the blackness.
Andrew lifted his head suddenly as he heard his best friend speak to his heart for the first time and he felt his heart leap into his throat as he heard the words she spoke,
"Andrew...they're going to kill me...I'm so scared...I'm so scared..."
"Monica...Monica, don't give up, little angel. Fight for me, please just fight for me...I love you, sweetheart, and I wish I could be there with you..." His voice broke on a sob as he lowered his head to the floor once again and ran a hand across his face to smear away the tears. Just as he was starting to close his eyes, however, a voice on the other side of the jail cell sounded and Andrew glanced up to see his arresting officer looking at him, arms crossed and a disgusted look on his face.
"I'm just coming to tell you that Mr. Manson isn't coming down here until tomorrow to identify you, kid. He thinks that you should stay in here for at least 24 hours to think about what you've done-"
"Officer, I am not the kid that stole that watch!" Andrew cried as he rose to his feet and wrapped his hands around the bars of the cell,
"I'm not Thorn-"
"I guess that determination will be made tomorrow, kid," He replied gruffly,
"Seems to me you were caught red-handed."
"It was planted on me! You have the wrong kid!" Andrew pleaded, his vision blurred by tears.
"I said tomorrow!" the officer repeated before he turned and headed back to the door.
"Tomorrow may be too late!" He cried out, but the door shut and the human angel sank down to the floor and sobbed brokenly. As the minutes ticked by, he was suddenly aware of the fact that he was not alone, as he looked up through blurred vision, his voice trembling,
"Hello honey," She whispered softly as the angel immediately fell into her arms,
"The Father thought maybe you needed a friend right about now, so He sent me."
Burying his tear-streaked face into her shoulder, Andrew clutched his friend as tightly as he could before he finally found his voice,
"Oh sweet Angel Boy, I know how hard this is," Rose soothed as she gently rocked him back and forth while running a reassuring hand through his hair,
"But I'm just glad I'm able to be here with you right now." Not getting a reply from her friend, the Search and Rescue angel closed her blue eyes as they filled with tears as well and gently rubbed his back,
"It'll be okay, honey; it's gonna be okay..."
"What about Monica...?" The younger human angel weakly asked, never lifting his head from where it rested on her shoulder,
"W-will an angel be...be with her...?"
"Oh yes, He's going to send her an angel of her own really soon, sweetheart," The older angel whispered into his ear,
"And I'm going to be with you throughout this whole mess, you have my word."
"You're staying here tonight?" He whispered weakly.
"Yes, Angel Boy, and God willing this will all be cleared up in the morning," She replied gently.
"Mon' said…she said they were going to kill her…" He choked out,
"She's been so scared and she's sick, Rose…she can't fight them…"
"Oh, I think your little Angel Girl will do a little better than you think, honey. Afraid or not, she's starting to develop a feisty side to her, no matter how bad she feels, and the Father is with her, and you and Kevin too." She reassured him, pulling away to look into his face.
"It's just so...hard, Rose..." Andrew tried to steady his voice as he lifted a hand to wipe at his eyes,
"I-I don't know how much more of this I can take; I just...I just wanta go H-Home..."
"I know you do, Angel Boy, and you will soon," Rose soothed as she lifted a hand and wiped at the remaining tears on his cheeks,
"God still loves you just as much as ever, and He's never going to leave you and He will let you all come Home soon. Trust us, honey."
"It's tough being human," The younger angel uttered weakly as he looked down to the floor,
"I don't even...feel like an angel right now, Rose..."
Noticing that her 'Angel Boy' was about to burst into tears once again, Rose reached over once more and wrapped him up tightly in her strong arms as he released his emotions. She wanted so very much to say some more encouraging words, but at the moment she wasn't all too sure of what she could say to comfort her friend.
Saying a silent prayer for help, she smiled in thanks as she began to speak softly to him,
"You know that the Father never gives any of His children more than they can handle, honey, and even if you don't feel like you are handling things well right now, rest assured that you are. He needs you to trust Him right now, that He will see you all through this. He's proud of you, honey, for being the leader He knew you could be and He's proud of your Angel Girl, for sticking by you, even when you don't have all the answers. Kevin is still learning and he will learn plenty from this experience," She smiled, thinking of something else,
"I'm going to tell you the same thing I told your two charges prior to your healing not long ago; that they needed to keep repeating the word 'trust', especially when they found it the most difficult to do so. You hang onto that, honey and you don't need anything else."
Written by: CI and KP
"Thorn!" Hotrod called out as he and JR returned to the train yard,
"We need to talk!"
Walking out of the car, a cigarette hanging from his lips, Thorn looked more than a little annoyed at this interruption,
"What about?" He asked coolly, looking at the two boys.
"I know what you did this morning, to Emerald and Fawn," He stated firmly, trying to not feel afraid,
"You were way out of line, Thorn. Emerald is totally innocent and you know it! Fawn is just a little girl, for heaven's sake!"
His eyes narrowed into slits as he looked at Hotrod and JR, and with another puff of the cigarette, Thorn threw it to the ground and stepped on it,
"I don't know what you're talking about, man-"
"Don't you dare play innocent on me, Thorn!" Hotrod snapped in reply, as he walked closer to the taller teenager and glared at him,
"You know full well that Emerald is the one who's in jail, and you sent Fawn off to those two gang hoodlums-"
"You did what?" Jane's voice interrupted the heated argument as she stepped out of the train car as well and stared open mouthed at the trio,
"Thorn, what did you do?!"
"I didn't do anything, Jane!" The teenager snapped back at her as he folded his arms across his chest,
"Hotrod here must be mistaken."
"You planted a watch on Emerald that you stole from Mr. Manson's store, knowing he would call the cops. Then when they arrested him, you had two gang members from the east side of town take care of Fawn!" Hotrod continued angrily,
"You were ticked off because they got the better of you yesterday when they stood up to you and you hate it when anyone stands up to you, Thorn! Well, get used to it, pal, because I'm going to the cops and telling them they have the wrong kid, and let them know who the real thief is! Then I'm gonna help Emerald find Fawn, if she's still alive!"
"Thorn, how could you do that to them?" Jane demanded angrily,
"We're all supposed to stick together!"
"They started it!" Thorn snarled as he jumped out of the train car and grabbed hold of Hotrod,
"And you aren't going anywhere, you got that?"
"You started it, Thorn," JR replied as calmly as he could,
"It was obvious Emerald led the three of them and you tried to take over and when they wouldn't let you, you got mad."
"Shut up, you fool!" Thorn shouted as he grabbed Hotrod around the throat and turned him towards the train car and pushed him up against it,
"You aren't going to the police! I'll see to it myself that you won't-"
"Thorn, stop it!" Jane cried as she grabbed the older boy around the shoulders and tried to wrench him away from the younger teen. But Thorn was too quick and shoved her away, knocking her to the ground in a heap,
"How could you have changed so much the past few days? I don't get it..."
"He was always like this, Jane; we just never really saw it until now!" JR shook his head in anger as he helped Jane to her feet,
"He's probably been stealing for the full 2 years we've known him..."
"He has," Hotrod gasped for air as he tried to shove Thorn's hands away from his neck,
"That's what the cops told Emerald when they took him away! They said that they have been looking for him for 2 years...and they totally have the wrong kid! You've got to turn yourself in, man; you'll only make things worse for yourself if you don't-"
Before he could continue, the teenager felt Thorn's fist come in contact with his jaw and with a loud groan, he crumpled to the ground in a heap and put a hand on his face. After several moments of trying to catch his breath, Hotrod shakily rose to his feet again and got into Thorn's face, his own face now red with anger,
"I'm going to the cops and then I'm going to find Fawn, and nobody can stop me, man! Not even you!"
"Oh yeah?" Thorn growled as he pulled a sharp knife from his pocket and brought it to Hotrod's face,
"You were saying?" He smirked as he watched out of the corner of his eye as Jane gasped loudly and clung to JR tightly, both pairs of eyes on the duo.
Hotrod continued to meet Thorn's eyes steadily,
"I'm not backing down this time, Thorn," He replied calmly, before he lunged at the older boy with all the strength in him. There was a struggle, as Hotrod tried to hold the wrist that held the knife, but before too long, the younger boy was finally defeated by Thorn's strength.
Jane screamed as she watched Thorn plunge the knife into Hotrod's neck, before she turned away, unable to watch the life draining out of her friend.
Her screams brought Patrick and Kevin running from opposite directions, both of them stopping short and looking on in horror at what had just happened.
"What have you done?" Kevin cried out, his face deathly pale as he looked away, unwilling to watch any longer.
Standing up, Thorn turned to the rest of the group, his expression one of complete calm,
"If any of you even so much as think about crossing me, you'll get the same." He stated coldly, before turning and walking away.
Jane bolted over to Hotrod and knelt down beside of him, her tears falling like the rain, as she smoothed his hair back from his face,
"Hotrod? Hotrod? Oh God, please…"
"He's gone, Jane," Kevin whispered, approaching her, tears in his own eyes, as he felt for a pulse. Finding none, he reached down with a trembling hand and closed the boys eyes one final time.
The rest of the afternoon and through the night passed increasingly slow for Andrew, and before too long, the human angel had fallen asleep against Rose, her strong arms wrapped protectively around his thin shoulders. With a sigh, the elderly Search and Rescue angel looked up at the clock on the other side of the jail cell and saw that it was just after 8:00AM.
Closing her sad blue eyes, Rose contined stroking Andrew's blonde hair before lifting up a silent prayer to their Creator,
"Please Father, if it be Your will, let this whole mess start to come to a close before too long. He's trying so hard to trust You, but I can feel it in him that he's having his doubts again. Please just be with him, and those other little ones out there. Thank you, Father..."
Opening her eyes, the older angel felt her friend stir in her arms and she smiled slightly as he looked up at her,
"Good morning, Angel Boy."
"Hi Rose," Andrew uttered sleepily as he sat up and rubbed at his green eyes.
"How did you sleep, honey?" She asked softly, trying to smooth out his tousled hair with her hand.
"Not the greatest…I was afraid to sleep, afraid I'd miss Monica trying to talk to me…" He lowered his head sadly,
"But she never did, which either means she is protecting me or…she is physically unable to."
Rose regarded him with sympathy in her blue eyes, but before she could respond, the door opened and one of the police officers walked in with an older man, who took one look at Andrew and gave an exasperated sigh.
Turning to the officer, Mr. Manson shook his head in annoyance,
"You've got the wrong boy! This one is harmless and if he had the watch on him as you say he did, then it was Thorn, as he calls himself, that planted it there," Shooting an apologetic look at Andrew, he continued,
"This young fellow was in my store yesterday, yes, but he paid cash for medicine for his young friend. I can assure you, he didn't steal a thing."
The officer's dark eyes widened in shock as Mr. Manson spoke, and he stuffed his hands in the pockets of his uniform,
"Are you absolutely positive about this, Mr. Manson?"
"I'm 100% positive about it!" Manson snapped, turning to look at the officer next to him,
"Release him, he has no reason to be here in the first place!" Turning back to Andrew, he shook his head apologetically,
"I am so sorry about this, kid..."
Andrew was silent for a few moments as he listened to the keys rattling of the cell, and he rose to his feet as the officer swung the door open, although slight doubt was evident in the man's eyes,
"All right then. You're free to go, kid."
Shooting a surprised look Rose's way, who was invisible to the other two humans, Andrew walked out but before he followed the duo out the second set of doors, the human angel spoke up,
"Um, officer? I can tell you where Thorn really is..."
The officer looked over at Andrew for a moment and seeing nothing short of sincerity in his green eyes, he nodded his head,
"I'll grab a squad car and meet you around front, kid."
Feeling a slight bit of relief at long last, Andrew turned around to thank Rose, but found that his friend had vanished. Giving his head a brief nod of understanding, he turned and followed the officer out of the cell hold.
"I'm telling you, we have to get her outta here!" The boy looked at his fellow gang member, before he turned his eyes once more to the young girl who had not once woken up since she had faded into unconsciousness yesterday. There had been much bleeding from the stab wound to her hand, and she was shivering in her unconscious state, her face and forehead bathed in feverish sweat. The only sound she had made since yesterday morning was the deep wracking cough that would shake her, before she would fall silent once more. They had kept in her a small shed overnight, keeping watch lest she escape, but her eyes never opened.
"I still say we just kill her," His comrade stated firmly in disgust.
"I don't want that on my hands, man!" The other replied angrily,
"She's just some kid who ticked off Thorn! You know how he works. She's probably going to die anyway-."
"I want her dead NOW!" The second boy shouted, folding his arms across his chest and glaring at the unconscious angel, who let out a slight whimper in her sleep,
"Are you gonna help me or not?"
Sighing in annoyance, the younger boy shook his head and grabbed the knife from his comrade's hand and threw it to the ground in disgust,
"Look, why don't we just dump her in this alley, and then be gone? Nobody will ever find us, and you know that Thorn won't ever tell the stupid cops who we are!"
The older boy looked ready to object, but he shut his mouth tightly and rolled his eyes to the morning sky,
"Fine, have it your way. Pick her up, and follow me." As the other gang member rougly picked her up in his arms and followed his friend through the smelly alley, he kept glancing around them to make sure nobody was nearby. Breathing a sigh of relief, he stopped walking and dumped the human Irish angel where his friend directed.
"Now let's get out of here! Because if we get caught, you're going down with her!" The older gang member growled as he grabbed the younger one's arm and the two started running down the alley, and before long they had disappeared from sight.
Keeling down behind the dumpster where Monica's body had been deposited, Philip's eyes filled with sadness as he gently smoothed her sweat dampened hair from her deathly pale face. Working quickly, he tied a handkerchief around her hand to try and stop the bleeding, before he shrugged out of his jacket and wrapped it snugly around her small form.
Cradling the unconscious angel in his arms, he whispered softly, though she could not hear him,
"Hold on for me, little angel. As soon as it is safe, I will take you back to your Andrew."
Written by: CI and KP
Andrew's eyes searched the streets for any sign of his best friend or Patrick as the two police cars raced towards the train yard,
"How am I ever going to find either one of them, Father?" He whispered in near defeat as he watched the hundreds of people who were along the streets.
"You okay back there, kid?" The one officer asked as they approached the train yard.
"More or less," Andrew replied, his eyes widening somewhat as he saw no one out and about in the yard.
"Looks like we've got bigger problems," Officer Herald stated to his partner,
"We'd better call for back up and an ambulance. Looks like we've got a kid down in there…"
"Oh God..." The human angel whispered to himself, his eyes instantly filling with tears as he saw Hotrod's body,
"You know that kid?" Officer Herald glanced over his shoulder at Andrew as his partner pulled the car into the lot and it came to a screeching halt.
"Yes...I do..." Andrew murmured and as soon as the car stopped completely, the angel shrugged off his seat belt and bolted from the vehicle. The sounds of police sirens in the distance drowning out in his ears, Andrew fell to his knees next to the unconscious teenager on the ground. A large knife wound was visible on his neck, and as a former Angel of Death, he knew instantly that Hotrod had been dead for quite some time,
"Oh Hotrod..." He lowered his head and closed his eyes as he rested a hand on the boy's still hand.
At that moment, the angel looked up and his eyes met with Thorn's as the older boy came to the entrance of the boxcar. As their eyes met, Andrew could clearly see the hatred that shimmered in them, before he looked up at the officers and said softly,
"That's the kid you want and my guess is that he is responsible for this too."
Quickly, Officer Herald drew his gun and pointed it at Thorn,
"Get down here, kid. We don't want any trouble. We just need to take you downtown for some questioning."
Lighting a cigarette, Thorn watched them with drunken interest,
"Maybe later, boys. Right now, I gotta have me a little funeral."
"This isn't a joke," One of the other officers stated sternly,
"You either come to us peacefully, or we come to you."
Andrew's saddened eyes looked up at Thorn,
"Don't make it worse than it already is, Thorn."
"What do you know, Emerald," Thorn spat back,
"Did you enjoy your jail time? Hope you said your good-byes to little Fawn before they carted you away, as you won't get another chance…"
Andrew's green eyes narrowed in anger, but he watched his temper as he shakily rose to his feet,
"That's a lie; I know she's still alive, wherever she is...Thorn, you're just making this worse-"
"Shut up, Emerald!" Thorn snapped back, leaning against the train car and taking a wiff of his cigarette,
"You don't know anything; in fact, I'm surprised they released you so easily, you know? I woulda loved to have come to your trial-"
"Look, Thorn, you're really pushing it, "The second officer warned, his gun still aimed on the drunken teen as he took a step closer,
"I'm going to be nice and give you another chance to come to us willingly."
Laughing, Thorn threw the cigarette on the ground and crossed his arms in front of his chest,
"Nobody can make me come to you. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some business to take care of."
As Thorn jumped down out of the train car, the officers wasted no time in arresting him, though he was foolish enough to struggle. He stood no chance however, and soon he had been handcuffed and was swearing violently at the officers. But the deed had been done and Andrew knew Thorn was no longer a threat to anyone.
For the next few hours, he watched detectives work the crime scene and watched Hotrod's body being taken away. It was nearly evening by the time they were satisfied, having found Thorn's knife and feeling certain that not only was it the murder weapon, but that the fingerprints on it were Thorn's.
As the last car drove away, the human angel lowered his head in exhaustion, worry and anguish as tears filled his green eyes.
Resting his weary head in his hands, Andrew just sat there on the step of the train car he had shared with Monica several days ago, the tears never ending. Lifting a hand to try and wipe them away, the human angel finally looked up as he sensed a familiar presence near him and his jaw nearly hit the ground as he saw Philip walking towards him, carrying a lifeless Monica in his gentle arms. His best friend's hand was wrapped up in a hanky, while Philip's jacket was wrapped securely around her thin shoulders and Andrew could instantly see the sadness in the other angel's brown eyes.
"Andrew..." Philip greeted his friend as he finally neared the shocked human angel,
"Andrew, the Father directed me to her this afternoon...and He wanted me to bring her to you."
Choking on a sob, Andrew stayed put on the front step and wasn't sure of what to say as he watched the angel kneel down in front of him, Monica's lifeless body still in his arms. Finally finding his voice, Andrew whispered hoarsely,
"She's still...alive, right?"
"Yes, my friend, she is," Philip reassured him gently,
"She isn't well though." Seeing Andrew reach for her, he gently deposited the unconscious angel into his lap, watching through tears as Andrew clutched her as tightly to himself as he dared as he gave way to the sobs once more.
"Oh sweet baby girl, I thought I had lost you…" He sobbed unashamedly as he cradled her in his arms. Brushing back her hair, he felt how hot she was and he only wanted to cry harder, not knowing what he would be able to do for her. Trying to control his emotions, he asked shakily,
"What did they do to her?" His voice held fear and Philip knew what he was thinking.
"They roughed her up a little, Andrew," Philip replied, resting a hand on his shoulder hoping to offer some small comfort,
"One wanted to kill her and tried, but she fought back and the knife was instead plunged into her hand. She's been unconscious since yesterday morning and they deposited her behind a dumpster earlier today. I stayed with her until Thorn was taken care of, so I could bring her back where she belongs….with you."
Burying his face in her dirty auburn hair, Andrew forced himself to gather together his emotions so that he could look over at his friend,
"Thank you...for bringing her back...again..."
"It's always my pleasure, Andrew," Philip replied quietly, squeezing his friend's shoulder gently,
"I care about both of you, you know that; but that little angel is your whole world..."
"She is..." The young human angel whispered as he only held onto his best friend tighter,
"Oh God, she is..."
Sighing softly, Philip nodded his head sadly and there was silence between the two before Philip heard the Father speak to his heart and he knew that he had to get going,
"I better get going, my friend. Take care of yourself, and your Angel Girl, and I'm sure before you know it, this whole nightmare will be over with." He smiled in Andrew's direction and was relieved when his friend weakly nodded his head.
Before departing, the angel leaned forward and wrapped both of his friends in a gentle hug before releasing them and stepping away,
"I'll see you around." With those final words, Philip disappeared from the trainyard.
Feeling slightly overwhelmed for a moment, Andrew carefully stood to his feet, with Monica still in his arms and walked up the steps into the train car. What he saw there nearly made him break down into tears all over again as he was reminded of the Father's unfailing love for them.
There were now several additional blankets, which though worn, still looked warm, as well as water and a cloth, some medicine and well as supplied to take care of the stab wound.
"Thank you, Father, thank you," He whispered as he gently laid his best friend down and immediately wrapped her up in a few of the blankets.
The sound of Kevin's voice caused him to turn around as his eyes met with the sorrowful ones of his youngest charge. At first he wasn't sure of what to say even as his eyes flooded with relief that Kevin was all right, though he still felt intense disappointment in the decisions his charge had made,
"Kev, are you okay?"
Kevin bit his lip to try and ward off the tears that threatened his eyes,
"Yeah, I'm okay...Andrew, I, I'm really, really sorry..."
Andrew held up his hand to silence his young charge and after having made sure his best friend was warm and comfortable, the older angel quietly walked down the steps of their train car so that he could talk to Kevin in private without waking Monica up,
"I know you are, Kev...I do..." He lowered his head for a moment before he continued in a cool whisper,
"But why? You knew that Thorn was dangerous, Kev..."
"I know, Andrew," Kevin lowered his head in shame as he took a seat on the first step and ran a shaky hand through his hair. He looked up as he watched his supervisor and friend take a seat next to him,
"I know I betrayed you, not once, but twice in the past month and a half, and I feel terrible about it...it wasn't until recently that I realized what a fool I was for staying here, and not believing you about Thorn. I should've just looked at the evidence, but I didn't...instead, because I stayed, you ended up arrested, and..." The youngest angel's voice choked up as he spoke,
"And Cupcake was nearly killed. I almost lost the two angels I love most twice in one month, and I'll never forgive myself."
Andrew was quiet for a moment, before he spoke up again. Though there was no anger in his voice, it was heavy with disappointment,
"Kevin, I'm not angry with you, please understand that. We all have choices to make and we don't always make the right ones, but at the same time, I need to be honest," Seeing Kevin nod his head miserably, he continued,
"I don't know what disappointed me the most. The fact that the very first thing we agreed on was staying together, because of the danger, because of the situation. But the very next day, Kev, you turned away from us in order to stay here…"
"I didn't realize what Thorn had tried to do that day…to you and to Cupcake, until he told me and by then you were already gone…" He tried to defend his actions, knowing that the attempt sounded pitiful, even to him.
"Why should that have mattered, Kevin? I said it wasn't safe to stay and you heard Thorn threaten Monica and I. What other reason did you need?" Not getting an answer, Andrew continued wearily,
"The other thing about this that I'm having trouble with is that had you stayed with us, so much of this could have been avoided. I very well may have still wound up arrested, but Monica would be in much better shape than she is right now. I could have left her with you while I went to find medicine for her, but as you weren't there, I couldn't leave her alone as she was petrified, especially after what Thorn did and his threats. Had you been there, you both would have been safe," He drew in a deep breath and laid a hand on Kevin's shoulder,
"To work together, Wonder Boy, we have to be able to trust each other and I won't say that my trust in you is gone, but it certainly is strained at the moment."
Kevin let out a shaky breath as he lowered his guilt-filled eyes to the ground,
"I never meant to make it seem like I didn't trust you about this, Simba...I honestly didn't mean it..."
"I know that, Kev," Andrew reassured him as he removed his hand from his youngest charge's shoulder,
"And if we work together, I'm sure this strained trust in us can be repaired. But that's only if we stay together from now on, Wonder Boy...do we have a deal?"
Nodding his head tearfully, Kevin soon felt his supervisor wrap his arms tightly around him and hug him. Embracing him back with trembling arms, his heart still filled with so much guilt, the youngest angel whispered sadly,
"I'm so, so sorry..." He kept repeating over and over again.
Unbeknownst to the two human angels, another figure was standing off to the side of the train car and Paddy's brown eyes were filled with the utmost anger as he listened in on the conversation. How dare they disguise themselves as runaways, when they were really sent to bring him back home? Clenching and unclenching his fists in anger, the teenager made a vow to himself that someday soon he was going to get even.
Andrew laid awake late that night, gently bathing his best friend's feverish forehead with a cool cloth in hopes of getting her fever to break or to at least wake her up as he was getting concerned. He had already tended to the deep stab wound on her hand and though she had whimpered slightly in pain, she had never woken up. He couldn't help but wonder if she felt safe in the darkened world where she was now and that was the reason she had yet to come to.
Sighing softly, he tenderly wiped the cool cloth along her cheek, his eyes widening as she left out a soft moan and her eyelashes fluttered, before she painfully opened her dark eyes.
Tears filled his eyes as he smiled down at her,
"Hey there, beautiful," He whispered softly to her.
Looking up at him, Monica managed a weak smile as she closed her eyes once more,
"Either I'm dreaming, or I'm Home…" She uttered, her voice hoarse.
Sadness filled his eyes for a moment as he laid the cloth on her feverish forehead,
"We're not Home, baby," He told her regretfully, as he stroked her hair back from her face, wishing he could tell her otherwise.
"But you're here," She replied softly,
"And that is close enough to Home for me right now."
The tears made their way down his face slowly as he nodded his head,
"And I'm just so relieved you finally woke up...you've been out of it since yesterday, baby..." Seeing the shock evident in her pain-filled eyes, he asked her softly,
"Do you remember what happened earlier, sweetheart?"
"Not a whole heck of a lot, Andy..." Monica lifted a shaky hand and rested it against her forehead and touched the cool cloth,,
"I...I mainly remember two gang members, and..." She stopped as she let out a shaky cough and her face paled slightly as she said the last few words,
"And a...a knife...I remember kicking him in the crotch."
His green eyes widening in surprise, Andrew was unable to hold back a chuckle as he shook his head and rested his head against hers gently,
"Man, first you break Keyser's nose and now you wop someone in the crotch; you're getting good there, Angel Girl..."
Managing to giggle as well, Monica reached with her non-wounded hand and grasped her best friend's hand in her own,
"I'm so glad you're okay now..."
"Mr. Manson cleared my name and then I led them to the real culprit. Thorn is in jail now and you have nothing to fear from him any longer," He told her with a gentle smile. He wondered if he should tell her about Hotrod now or wait until she was feeling a little bit better.
"And Kevin?" She asked weakly, her eyes searching his.
"He's fine. Sound asleep over there in the corner. He'll probably want to talk to you later as he's feeling pretty badly," Seeing her nod her head as she closed her eyes again for a moment, he caressed her cheek gently,
"How are you feeling?"
"Not great," She admitted, trying to move the fingers on her left hand and wincing at the pain that shot through her.
"Then lets get some medicine in you, okay?" Carefully, he helped her to sit up, keeping his arm around her for support as he handed her a few tablets and a cup of water.
Monica sighed softly as she looked up at him,
"I'm sorry about this. We have enough going on without you having to take time out to take care of me."
Smiling slightly in her direction, Andrew set the empty cup on the floor next to them and watched as she carefully leaned back into his arms and rested her head against his shoulder. Wrapping a gentle arm around her shoulder and allowing her to lean into him, the older angel whispered,
"You have nothing to be sorry for, sweet baby; in fact, I remember telling you once that I love taking care of you and now is no exception." Resting his cheek on her head, he sighed softly and closed his eyes for a brief moment until the little Irish angel spoke up weakly.
"Something's wrong, though, Andrew..." She uttered, wincing once again at the pain in her hand,
"I know something is wrong..."
Nodding his head, Andrew helped his best friend to lay back down under the blankets and gently grasped her right hand in his, bringing it to his lips and kissing it softly,
"Sweetheart...Hotrod was killed yesterday while I was still in jail. Thorn...the cops and I found his body this afternoon, and Thorn confessed to killing him..." The human angel lowered his head to the ground and tried to blink back a round of hot tears for the sake of his best friend.
Monica closed her eyes at this news as she turned her head away to hide tears, her heart breaking for the little boy,
"Why are humans so cruel to each other, Andy?" She whispered sadly.
Finding his own blanket, he lay down beside of her and waited until she had curled into his arms, her bandaged hand lying on his chest,
"I wish I knew, little one. If we had the answer to that I guess we'd be out of jobs though."
"Days like yesterday can make me wish we were, Andrew," She replied, trying to shake the feeling of defeat she was feeling,
"I feel tired right down to my soul…"
"Me, too, sweetheart, me too..." And with that, he felt the rising and falling of his best friend's chest and he knew that she was sound asleep. With a tired sigh, the older angel closed his green eyes and before long was asleep too.
Written by: CI and KP
Kevin opened his eyes early the next morning and rolled over to see that his two friends were still sound asleep on the other side of the room. Groaning softly, Kevin moved his wrist to the light check his watch and plopped back down on the blankets as he noticed the time: 6:00AM,
'What am I doing awake at this hour?' He thought to himself. But as he closed his brown eyes again, he suddenly remembered something that he had forgotten to do the previous night and it caused the angel's stomach to clench.
'I forgot to tell Andrew about Paddy...' He thought again, shaking his head at his carelessness,
'I'm gonna have to tell him as soon as he gets up...' With a groan, the youngest angel shoved off of the blanket and got to his feet, heading towards the door of the boxcar and as he opened it, he watched as the sun was just beginning to rise over the horizon and a feeling of sadness crept into his heart that none of them where at Home like they wished.
Sinking down on the front step of the train car, Kevin rested his chin in his hands as he mentally prepared himself for telling his supervisor the rest of the truth from the last few days.
"Kev?" Andrew's sleepy voice sounded from behind him as the older angel came and took a seat next to his youngest charge,
"You're up early. Are you okay?"
Kevin managed a small smile as he nodded his head,
"I woke up remembering that there was something rather important you needed to know and I can't believe I forgot to tell you yesterday. I guess I was just so glad to see you and so worried about Cupcake…"
"What is it, Kevin?" Andrew interrupted gently, his eyes meeting Kevin's.
"Patrick is here. He turned up with Thorn the other day…"
Andrew's eyes widened in surprise at this news, though he felt a huge sense of relief. Now if they could just get the kid to go home, then maybe the three of them could too,
"Well, that certainly makes our jobs a little easier."
Sighing in relief that his friend wasn't upset with him, Kevin looked him in the eye and asked softly,
"So you're not upset with me for forgetting to tell you...?"
His eyes widening even more at the question, Andrew turned all the way around and looked firmly at his youngest friend,
"No. I am not angry at you; in fact, I'm-"
"Well, Emerald and Ice are up early."
Andrew stopped talking in mid-sentence as he heard Patrick's voice behind him and with a deep breath, he turned around and looked at the teenager for the first time since he had left the Sullivan house several days ago. The angel attempted to put aside his worries that Paddy may recognize him for who he really was, Andrew rose to his feet and smiled tiredly,
"I just came outside to talk to my friend. You're Patrick then, huh?"
"That's right, but I go by Pat," He replied, eyeing Andrew coolly.
Andrew was unable to miss the mistrust in Paddy's eyes and for a moment, he was sure that their identity had been given away,
"Well, glad to meet you, Pat. Fawn is still asleep or I'd introduce you. She hasn't been feeling very well the last few days."
"I guess I'll meet her later then," He replied with a shrug,
"I'm headed out to find breakfast. Want to come along, Ice?"
Glancing over at Andrew and seeing him nod his head, Kevin grinned in agreement,
"Food sounds great. I'm not sure when the last time was I had something to be honest."
Though he had a meal in the jail cell the other day, Andrew nodded his head,
"If you find anything, and can bring some back, that would be great. I'm kind of hungry and I don't think Fawn has had anything in a few days either."
"Sure, whatever, Emerald," Paddy nodded his head and as Kevin caught up with him, the teenager glaced back over his shoulder at the angel,
"Catch you later." Now completely ignoring him, the duo headed off, and as Andrew watched them depart, he couldn't get the feeling out of his stomach that they had been recognized.
"So you and Emerald back there are friends or something?" Patrick commented as the angel and the teenager started down the street in search of breakfast,
"You two seem to know one another well."
"Yeah, he and Fawn are my best friends, and I've known them for a while...or rather, as long as I can possibly know them considering I'm still young," Kevin let out a small chuckle but stopped as he noticed that Paddy didn't so much as crack a smile.
Reaching into his pocket, Paddy pulled out a thickly rolled joint and lit the end of it, inhaling it as the air filled with the sweet smell,
"You want a hit?" He offered Kevin.
Horrified by what Paddy was doing, Kevin shook his head,
"No thanks, man, I'm not into drugs."
"That's too bad. It would do wonders for that guilt complex you are carrying around with you," He replied, taking another hit and holding the smoke in his lungs for a moment before finally exhaling.
"Guilt?" Kevin asked, completely perplexed.
"Yeah, Hotrod told me before he died that you stood up your two best buddies back there to stay behind with Thorn. That was a low blow, man. You must feel terrible, especially considering Emerald got arrested and Fawn was almost killed."
Flinching slightly at the reminder of just how awful he did feel, Kevin folded his arms across his chest and pulled his thin jacket tighter around him to try and keep himself warm,
"Maybe so...but it'll go away eventually..."
"It doesn't always go away, Ice," Paddy shook his head as he took another hit of the joint,
"But then, I could be wrong. I ran away from home just a few days ago because nobody understood me, or where I was coming from and my stupid parents thought that they could lock me up in my room for the rest of my life, but it didn't work. They figured the guilt trip would help instead, but once again, it didn't work, so I figured, the hell with them! I hold no regrets to it whatsoever; but I can see it on your face that this guilt isn't gonna leave you any time soon...Trust me on this." He held up the joint in between his fingers and grinned,
"This really did help me."
"I'm sure your parents did what they did because they love you, Pat," Kevin offered, trying to stay on solid ground,
"It certainly doesn't sound like they were abusing you or anything."
"Whatever," Paddy replied gruffly,
"But then again, things aren't always what they seem," He shot an angry glance at Kevin.
The look Paddy gave him, chilled the young angel to the bone as he was starting to get the feeling that Paddy was onto them, though he had no idea how that could have happened. He was trying to regain his senses when Patrick spoke up once more.
"Sure you don't want a hit?" He asked, offering the joint one more time. Seeing Kevin decline with a shake of his head, he scowled,
"You're such a wimp, ICE." Turning on his heel, Paddy headed off in the opposite direction, leaving the angel standing there.
More certain now, Kevin debated going back to tell Andrew his suspicions, but remembering how hungry they all were, he decided to find food first. That would give him a little time to talk to the Father as well about his mistakes as well as his suspicions.
Andrew's stomach growled as he bathed Monica's forehead once again with the damp washcloth next to him, and he let out a quiet sigh so as to not wake up his best friend from her peaceful sleep. It had been a few hours since Kevin and Patrick had gone to hunt for some food, and the angel had yet to hear from his friend or their assignment. A concerened frown crossed his tired face as he wondered what could be keeping them.
Before he could continue contemplating over where they were, Andrew heard the door to the traincar creek open and his charge's head poked inside, but Paddy was nowhere to be seen. Sighing in relief that his friend was back safely, Andrew offered Kevin a small smile as he nodded his head,
"There you are, Kev. Where's Paddy?" He asked as he rung out the washcloth before laying it across Monica's forehead once again.
Sighing heavily, the youngest angel came inside and shut the door tightly before setting down a bag of food he held in his hand,
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about, Andrew...some strange things happened earlier, and I need your advice." A pleading look crossed the caseworker's young face as he looked at his supervisor.
"What happened, Kevin?" Andrew asked, his own concerns about Paddy's behavior earlier now coming to the surface.
Taking a seat near his friends and keeping his voice quiet, Kevin drew in a deep breath,
"First off, he's smoking marijuana, but the worst part is…Simba, I get the feeling he knows who we are and he is not happy about the situation."
"Who knows who we are?" Monica asked sleepily, opening her tired brown eyes to look at her two friends.
"Hey Cupcake," Kevin's expression softened at finally being able to talk to his friend since she and Andrew had returned,
"I'm glad you're gonna be okay."
"Thanks, Kev," She replied with a small smile,
"I'm glad you're okay too, but what are you talking about? Who knows who we are?"
"Paddy," The youngest angel replied, watching as Monica's eyes widened,
"He arrived while you two were gone."
"What makes you think he knows, Kevin?" Andrew asked, pulling a blanket over his best friend who had just moved to rest her head in his lap.
"Just by a few of the things he said and how he said them," Kevin explained, looking at his two friends in turn,
"He made a remark about 'things not always being what they seem' and then when I wouldn't get high with him, he told me I was a wimp and kind of shot the name 'Ice' at me like it was a joke. Then he took off."
Andrew's green eyes widened in surprise and he fell silent for a few short moments as his hand stroked Monica's tangled auburn hair,
"How in the world could he have found out, Kev...?"
"That's what I'd like to know," The youngest angel frowned in worry as he rested his chin the palm of his hand,
"Either he's smarter then we thought and can see right through us, or he overheard a conversation between us...that's all that I can think of right now."
"Andrew, when are we gonna be telling Jane and JR who we really are?" Monica asked sleepily, lifting her eyes to meet her best friend's green ones,
"Maybe that'll help bring Paddy around if he's as angry as Kevin says he is..."
"The Father hasn't told me yet, little one," Andrew sighed heavily as he leaned up against the wall,
"But it should be soon...this can only go on for so long before Patrick explodes and reveals that he does know who we are.
Her heart feeling heavy once more, Monica rested her wounded hand on Andrew's knee, wincing at the pain of moving it,
"If he knows who we are, then why are we here?"
Not knowing how to answer her question, Andrew chose to bypass it for the moment until he could think of something,
"I got an uneasy feeling this morning that Patrick recognized us as well," He admitted finally,
"Maybe he heard us talking last night, Kevin, as we had the door open. He seemed almost angry this morning before you two left."
"He's angry and very bitter," Kevin replied heavily,
"And if he knows who we are, we'll never gain his trust enough to get him to go home. If he knows the truth about us, it just looks like we are lying to him."
Andrew closed his eyes tightly and took a deep breath before attempting to answer Monica's question, as she was still looking up at him with worried eyes,
"I wish I knew why we're still here, you two...but I don't. I honestly don't. Maybe the Father wants us to get through to Jane and JR instead; I don't think Paddy finding out about us was part of His plan, but that's just my thought..." He sighed deeply as he shook his head sadly.
"So what now?" Kevin shrugged his shoulders helplessly as he looked between his two friends.
"The only thing I suggest right now is to wait and see how this all plays out before we reveal ourselves. That's all I can offer..."
Written by: CI and KP
"Hey guys," Jane said softly, popping her head in their car early that evening,
"JR and I have some apples and brought you guys some."
Andrew smiled as the twosome climbed up into the car, and he looked from changing the wrapping on Monica's hand,
"Where have you guys been?"
"Hiding," JR admitted truthfully,
"Ever since what happened with Hotrod…." His voice trailed off as he looked at the floor.
"Thorn is in jail," Kevin offered, looking at each one of them,
"He isn't a threat here any longer."
Sighing in relief, Jane rested her chin in her hand and whispered,
"Well that's a major relief... I just didn't want anyone else to get hurt after what happened to Hotrod, Fawn and Emerald..." A sad look crossed the young girl's face before she spoke up again,
"Have any of you seen Pat?"
Exchanging a look with Andrew and Monica, Kevin whispered tiredly,
"Not since this afternoon to tell you the truth...he left and didn't come back."
"Well, I guess he'll return when he returns," JR shrugged his shoulders and folded his hands in his lap,
"He's not really our problem right now; from what I've seen of Pat the last few days, he's almost as stubborn as Thorn is."
"If not worse..." Kevin grumbled to himself.
"Stubborn isn't the word for it," Jane replied tensely,
"I kind of wish he'd just move on as well. I trust you guys, but Pat is a little strange for me."
"You can say that again," JR remarked disdainfully,
"He's starting to get heavy into the drug scene as well and I'd rather not have him around here if it's okay with you guys."
Monica's dark eyes filled with sadness as she looked away, thinking of how it hadn't always been that way. She could recall much happier days with when the three little triplets had rushed to the door to greet she and Andrew when they would visit when the kids were smaller. Paddy had always been happy go lucky back then, full of life and mischief, tormenting his sisters, but so much had changed so quickly and she could think of nothing to do to stop it,
"Maybe we can help him?" She offered softly, not meeting anyone's gaze.
"You can try if you want to, Fawn," JR shrugged his shoulders again,
"But I'm not going anywhere near him...but if you, Emerald and Ice want to try and help him, be my guest. Nobody's stopping you."
Cringing a little at the teen's words, Kevin lowered his head as he sighed softly,
"I already tried this morning, JR, and all he wanted to do was make me try marijuana with him." He drew in a sharp breath as he kept his eyes away from his friends,
"I'm not sure if I'm the right kid to talk to him anymore..."
"You never told me he tried to get you hooked on the drugs, Kevin!" Andrew cried as he stared wide-eyed at his young friend.
"Yeah, I did," Kevin replied softly,
"I said when I wouldn't get high with him, he called me a 'wimp'."
Knowing he had somehow missed that part of the story, Andrew felt a shudder go up his spine. If Patrick knew the truth, he would already have known that there was no way Kevin would do something like that, so why would he even offer? Unless he was trying to take advantage of the less experienced angel in order to get even with them for being here in the first place,
"I'm proud of you, Kev, for telling him no," He replied softly, looking at his youngest charge.
Though Kevin didn't reply, his eyes shimmered briefly with tears, not feeling worthy of any praise from his friend and supervisor with the guilt still running through him about what he had done. He may have been thinking straight enough to tell Paddy "No" but he certainly hadn't been thinking straight in letting his friends move on without him.
"I'm going to talk to him," Monica spoke up quietly, breaking the silence,
"We can't just write him off."
Grasping his best friend's right hand in his and giving it a gentle squeeze, Andrew met her eyes with his steadily and replied,
"If you're planning on talking to him, then I'm going with you, all right?"
Although she was about to object, as she was a bit frightened about facing the teenager, the Irish angel reluctantly nodded her head and whispered miserably,
Late the next morning, Monica was the first to wake up and with a yawn, she first realized that she didn't feel as terrible as she did the previous day. Although her hand still hurt tremendously from the knife wound, the rest of her body didn't feel so weak. Raising her head from the pillow, she noticed that Andrew and Kevin were already awake, and that Jane and JR had already headed back to their own traincar.
Noticing that his best friend was looking at him, the oldest of the three turned around and immediately headed to her side, kneeling down in front of her,
"How are you doing this morning, sweetie?"
Attempting a smile for him, she nodded her head,
"Better, my friend. Better..." She fell silent for a moment before she continued, her voice now shaking slightly,
"I think...I think I want to talk to Patrick now, and get it over with, you know?"
"I heard him come back this morning," Kevin offered with a sigh,
"So, I'm sure he is around here someplace. You guys, be careful, all right? He isn't the same Paddy we once knew and I don't want either of you getting hurt."
"It'll be fine, Kevin," Andrew assured him, as he rose to his feet and extended his hand to Monica to help her to hers. He kept a tight hold on her right hand as they exited the car, feeling the fear in her and feeling a little nervous himself.
It didn't take them long to find him and Andrew could instantly tell that the teenager was strung out on something that judging by the look of him, had to be more than marijuana,
"Good morning, Pat," He called out as they approached him, not wanting to startle him,
"We were hoping we might be able to talk to you for a few minutes."
Patrick regarded them in cold silence for a moment, before replying,
"I'll bet you do."
Taking a seat in front of him, all the while keeping a gentle hold on his best friend, Andrew flinched somewhat as he tried to find the correct words to say,
"What makes you think it's anything bad, Pat?"
"Oh maybe because your little friend, Ice, probably blabbed to you all about me wanting him to get strung out on the good stuff," Patrick replied, leaning against a rock and taking a whiff of the marijuana in his hand,
"He did, didn't he?"
"Okay, so he did...but there's other stuff we wanta talk to you about, Pat-" Andrew continued as gently as possible, but was cut off by the teenager.
"Like what? About you two being angels, and that you're going to try and get me come back home? Is that it, ANDREW?" Paddy snapped as he glared harshly at the two human angels.
Monica felt her stomach lurch at Patrick's words as she felt her spirit weakening even more. But she knew she had to try; this boy was Cindy and Brady's son and even more than that, Patrick Hendrickson's grandson, a human she had loved more than she had ever loved any other. Besides that, she reminded herself, Paddy was God's child, regardless of how hateful he was being right now,
"Yes, Paddy, you are absolutely right, but we're here because God sent us because He loves and we love you and your family loves you. They are worried sick about you and if it is help you need, they can get it for you, for the drugs, for the alcohol, for the anger you're feeling. Whatever it takes, but you have to give them a chance."
"She's right, Paddy," Andrew added as gently as he could,
"But you have to come home in order to give them the chance. The streets are dangerous; you know that as Hotrod was killed yesterday. There are other Thorns out there who are just looking for someone to take their anger out on and one day that someone could be you."
"Just stay away from me, all right?" Paddy snapped angrily,
"I've had it with angels and with my family! I'm done, you got that?"
"Paddy…" Monica pleaded softly, reaching out a hand to touch his arm, but she drew it back in fear as the teenager, who had once loved them, pulled out a knife and pointed it at her.
"I said, stay back!" He yelled, his face red with anger.
Andrew's face paled as he wrapped his arms tightly around his best friend and held her as he looked in shock over at Paddy,
"Patrick, you don't mean this-"
"Just stay back, or I'll...I'll do something I'll regret!" The teenager lashed out as he waved the knife around in front of the two angels. The commotion going on outside caused JR and Jane to bolt out of the boxcar, while Kevin ran down the steps of the other one, and as soon as the two teens and one angel saw the knife, Andrew yelled over to them.
"Stay back! Just stay back, all right?"
As the two younger kids nodded their heads in horror, Andrew backed away from Patrick with Monica still in his arms and tried his hardest to calm the teen down,
"Patrick, please...just set the knife down and let us talk about this, okay?"
"There's nobody I want to talk to anymore!" He yelled in fury as he glared harshly at Andrew,
"Nobody, you hear me?! In fact, I don't see why there's any point of living anymore!"
Monica's tear-filled eyes widened in shock as she tried to pull away from Andrew to stop Paddy, but her best friend held tightly to her,
"Paddy, this isn't the answer, you know that!" She pleaded, her voice catching in a sob,
"Think about your parents and your sisters; how are they ever going to understand this?"
Patrick looked at her calmly as he replied,
"You're the angels. You figure that out," As soon as the words were said, the teenager turned the knife on himself and plunged it deeply into his heart as he collapsed on the ground.
Andrew suddenly felt as if he couldn't breath as he watched in horror what Patrick had just done, the angel's face deathly pale. So focused on his own disbelief and incredible sorrow, it took him a moment to realize that Monica was screaming, seemingly unable to stop as she cried out the teenager's name again and again.
As the Irish angel's screams slowly turned into heart-wrenching sobs, Andrew caught her in his arms as she collapsed to the ground and he felt himself being dragged down with her. As his own tears flowed nonstop, he looked horror-struck over his best friend's head as he saw an Angel of Death he didn't know by name stoop down to Patrick and lean over him.
Feeling like he was going to throw up, Andrew covered his mouth with one hand as he watched through blurred vision as the Angel of Death glanced over at him and then at Monica, before turning to Patrick's spirit,
"Patrick?" He called the teen's name and watched as Paddy's dark eyes opened in surprise and looked up at the angel.
"What...happened?" He uttered somewhat wearily,
"Who are you? What happened to me?"
Sighing sadly, the Angel of Death laid a hand on the teenager's shoulder as he answered the question,
"You're dead, Patrick. You just killed yourself."
Patrick swallowed hard as he looked up at the angel,
"So what happens now?"
"That is up to you," The angel replied gently, looking at the spirit of the teenager,
"Do you ask God's forgiveness for the things that you have done?"
Patrick was quiet for a moment as he looked over at the two angels who had just tried to talk to him only moments ago. Though sobbing himself, Andrew was rocking Monica gently in his arms, as she too wept violently, her face hidden against the older angel's shoulder.
Tears stinging his eyes, Patrick looked up at the Angel of Death and whispered shakily,
"Then it's time to go Home, Patrick," The angel replied as he put his arm around Patrick's shoulder, preparing to lead him into the bright light.
Turning around one final time, Patrick's eyes met with Andrew's as he whispered,
"I'm sorry…" Before allowing the angel to lead him home.
Written by: CI and KP
Kevin felt as if the world had come crashing down on him as he stood rooted to his spot, watching with tear-filled eyes as the Angel of Death lead Patrick Home, and then his tortured brown eyes came upon his two best friends and with a sob, the youngest angel ran as fast as his legs could carry him to them. As he knelt down beside the two weeping angels, Monica's hands clutching Andrew's shirt and repeating Patrick's name over and over again, Kevin wasn't sure of what to say at the moment as he was in too much of a shock.
Shooting a quick glance over his shoulder at JR and Jane, Kevin turned away before his eyes could meet them and spoke for the first time to his friends,
"Now what?" He weakly asked, his voice laced with tears.
"I don't know..." Andrew sobbed as he looked over Monica's head at his youngest charge, who he continued to rock in his arms,
"I don't know..."
No sooner had Andrew said the words, did Kevin realize something had changed. He was now back in his normal human form and looking over at his two friends, he saw that they were too, though their tears had not stopped nor their positions changed. Knowing what he had to do, the youngest angel turned with tear-filled eyes to Jane and JR, as the light of God's love surrounded him,
"Don't be afraid," He said gently, the Father's love giving him strength,
"We're angels, sent by God. We were sent to help Patrick, who was a good friend of ours, but now God wants me to give the two of you a message."
Jane's eyes were wide as she reached over and grasped JR's hand,
"Angels?" She managed to choke out.
"Yes, Robin. God sent me with a message for both you and that is that it is time to stop running and time to go home. To the parents that God entrusted you to. He knows that you may not always see eye to eye, but that is part of growing up. God doesn't want to see any of His children lost or hungry or cold. He doesn't want to see you in danger and you are in danger if you chose to stay out here," A teary smile appeared on the angel's face as he continued,
"God loves you and He wants you to be safe."
"Why would He love us now?" Jane choked out through her tears as she tightened her hold on her friend's hand,
"My parents...they have trouble believing in God, you know...and I've always doubted His Love..."
"But it's true," The young angel whispered tearfully,
"Everyone has moments of doubting His Love. Believe me, the three of us have had our share..." He looked over at his two closest friends before turning back to their assignments,
"But He will never stop loving you, and He is really proud of you as well for the help you tried to give to His angels these last few days."
Sniffing, Jane glanced at JR and then back at Kevin before speaking up again,
"But...but how do we get home? I've been on the streets for a long time, and...and I don't have enough money..."
"Check your pockets, Robin. You too, Jim," Kevin replied softly as he nodded his head. As the two humans did so, he smiled weakly as they pulled out two bus tickets,
"God really does want you to go home now. Today. Your parents and your siblings are waiting for you there, in the same place you left them."
Turning to look at his friend, Jim said softly,
"Are you ready to go home?"
Robin nodded her head tearfully,
"Yeah, I am. I really am." Turning once more to Kevin, she managed a smile,
"Thank you….and we're sorry about your friend."
"He's with the Father now," Kevin replied softly and as the two teens turned to leave, he felt the glow around him begin to fade. Turning back to his two friends, who still seemed in shock over what happened as Andrew continued to clutch Monica tightly to him, he approached them quietly,
"The Father says it is time to go Home, you guys. Paddy will be found before the day is through and he has ID on him, so Cindy and Brady will be notified…" His voice trembled slightly as he related the words the Father was telling him.
Although his two friends never spoke as their sobs seemed to quiet, Kevin forced back his tears again as he watched Andrew nod his head weakly before pulling away from his best friend. As he shakily rose to his feet, pulling Monica up with him, Kevin watched as he wrapped his arm tightly around her shoulders, his green eyes pooling with hot tears. With a shaky breath, the youngest of the trio approached them and took Andrew's shaking hand in his own and with a final glance back at the trainyard that had been their "home" the past few days, the three angels disappeared.
"The Father said you needed to see me?" Tess asked quietly as she met up with Rose some time later in a grassy field. Her dark eyes held deep concern as she faced the eldest angel.
Nodding her head numbly, the Search and Rescue supervisor faced Tess for the first time since that day Sam had taken her away and looked deep into her eyes,
"Yes...I do. Tess, I have some bad news, and we have to share it with Brady and Cindy immediately."
"Did something happen to my babies, Rose?" The slightly younger angel asked somewhat shakily.
"No...they're physically all right, but..." She stopped and lowered her eyes to the ground before raising her head and looking back at Tess,
"Patrick isn't. Oh Tess, he killed himself just a few hours ago, and our friends have been sent Home for the time being, while we have to deliver this news to the Sullivan's..."
"Oh dear God in heaven," Tess uttered weakly, trying to adjust to the words Rose was telling her,
"How did this happen?"
"Patrick somehow found out who Andrew, Monica and Kevin were and when Andrew and Monica tried to talk to him this morning, he just got angry and he pulled a knife on them before turning it on himself," Rose explained sadly.
"Brady's only son," Tess whispered softly with tears in her eyes,
"And that sweet little Cindy has lost so much in her life. I just hope they can get through this.."
"I just hope everyone involved can get through this, Tess," Rose replied with a heavy sigh. Seeing the questions in her friend's eyes, she continued,
"Andrew and Monica…they're devastated…beyond devastated, Tess. I've heard that their spirits are positively crushed by what happened. Kevin is holding his own to an extent, but a lot of things happened out there on the streets and he feels that he betrayed his two friends and he isn't taking that lightly. I just have this terrible feeling that the storm they've been fighting isn't over yet…"
"Now what?" Tess whispered as she lifted a hand to wipe at the tears streaming from her eyes,
"Those three babies are beyond heart-broken, and the Sullivan's..."
"We're called to head to their house, Tess," Rose sighed sadly as she felt her own vision blurring up,
"Andrew, Kevin and Monica are no longer on this case. The Father wants them to stay Home for now, so it's you and I that are to go there now. Are you ready, Tess?" The older of the two reached a trembling hand out and placed it on her friend's shoulder.
With a shaky breath, the supervisor gave her head a reluctant nod,
"As ready as I can possibly be right now, Rose..."
Cindy opened the door after hearing a knock and her red and swollen eyes grew wide at the sight of Rose and Tess. Shakily stepping out onto the porch, instead of inviting them in, she closed the door softly behind her,
"I guess you've heard…" She managed to choke out as another round of tears began to fall from her blue eyes.
"Oh baby, we're so sorry," Tess uttered, drawing the weeping human into her arms and holding her tightly,
"Just so, so sorry, sweetheart."
Laying a gentle hand on Cindy's shoulder, Rose spoke up softly,
"He's with the Father now, honey, and at peace…"
"I don't…I don't even know what happened," Cindy sobbed brokenly,
"The police weren't sure if he had been murdered or…"
"He took his own life, Cindy," Rose told her as gently as she possibly could,
"The decision was his."
Cindy closed her blue eyes in despair as she wept softly on Tess' shoulder,
"Why would he have done such a thing..."
"I don't know, honey...Monica, Andrew and Kevin tried to hard to get through to him, but Paddy was so filled with anger, that he woudn't listen," Rose whispered as she stroked Cindy's shoulder soothingly,
"In the end, their words just weren't enough..." The elderly angel closed her eyes as her voice suddenly became choked up.
Although she still couldn't bring her sobs under control, Cindy found the strength to pull away from Tess and she lowered her eyes to the ground,
"We...we have to head down and identify his body now..."
"Would you like us to come with you, or stay with the girls while you go?" Tess asked gently as she brushed a strand of hair out of Cindy's tear-streaked face.
"No, you can't…" Cindy uttered, trying to wipe at her eyes,
"Brady says he is finished with angels…he said he should have kicked them all out when he told Monica to get out…." She covered her face with her hands as she wept.
Rose's eyes widened in horror,
"He can't mean that, Cindy. Those angels are devastated by this…they love this family…we all do…."
"He does mean it…he does…." Cindy sobbed bitterly,
"And I don't know how I feel…I want to know if God wants anything else from me….He took my sister, my parents….is He coming after my daughters next or my husband….?"
"No, and it wasn't God's will that Paddy take his own life-" Rose started, but Cindy weakly interrupted through her tears.
"But he's still dead..." She continued to weep brokenly,
"I...I know I'm not angry at you...or Andrew and Monica..." Her voice broke on a sob,
"I love them so much...but Brady-Brady doesn't want you all around anymore...I honestly don't know what I'll do, but I know...I have to abide by his wishes..." She lifted a trembling hand to wipe as many tears away as she could,
"I-I'm so sorry..."
Exchanging horror-struck looks with one another, Tess was about to reply when Cindy continued through her sobs,
"I have to get back, Tess...Rose...Amy's father is coming over to t-take care of the girls while we head downtown...you should go, too..."
Tess nodded her head, blinking back tears,
"If you need anything, baby…."
"I know, Tess…I know…" Bursting into tears once more, she shook her head,
"I can't believe any of this….I lost my son and now I'm losing my friends….I'm going to miss you all so much….I love you all, but it has to be this way…"
As Cindy closed the door behind her, the two oldest angels exchanged a look between them,
"I can't believe what we have to tell those poor angel babies now…" Tess whispered.
"No sense putting it off, Tess," Rose replied sadly,
"Hopefully, the sooner they know, the sooner they might heal."