PROLOGUE

Andrew came down the stairs early in the evening, stifling a yawn as he had just woken up from a nap. Their last assignment had been long and involved, not to mention intense and though it had turned out beautifully in the end, it had left them all exhausted. Now they were being treated to a weekend off at the cabin, along with Rose, Philip and Carla, and the supervising angel had decided to take advantage of the down time to catch up on some sleep for his human form.

Glancing out the window, he could see the snow continuing to fall on this cold late February evening, and he smiled, loving the forest setting all covered in the shimmering blanket of white. It always made things feel fresh and new to him, almost like a clean, white slate and he had always found the snowflakes fascinating as they fell so silently to the ground below.

Hearing the television humming softly in the living room, he walked in to find Kevin munching on popcorn in front of an old horror movie and he smiled as he saw his dearest friend fast asleep on the couch, with Molly, the kitten he had given her for Christmas, sleeping and purring softly on her hip.

"Were you able to catch any sleep, Kev?" He asked softly, waiting for a response until Kevin could swallow the handful of popcorn he had just put in his mouth.

His eyes never leaving the horror flick, he shook his head,
"Not tired."

"Why am I not surprised?" Andrew shrugged his shoulders and yawned again as he moved over to the chair next to the couch and sat down in it, running his fingers through his disheveled blonde locks,
"You're rarely ever tired, Kev..."

"Got that right, and I won't be able to sleep tonight after watching this horror flick," Kevin pointed to the television screen and stuffed another large handfull of popcorn in his mouth.

"What movie is it?" Andrew questioned, leaning his head back and smiling once again at the sight of his sleeping best friend and Molly, who looked so peaceful on the couch.

"King Kong. The old version that is," The youngest caseworker replied as a mischievous smile spread across his mouth,
"The other versions are just plain cheesy."

Andrew chuckled softly, but it suddenly turned into yet another yawn and before he could reply, he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder and he turned around to see Rose standing behind him, a cup of hot chocolate in her hand,
"Did you have a good nap, honey?" She asked gently as she handed him the cup with marshmallows in it.

Nodding his head as he took a small sip of the drink, Andrew replied softly,
"It was just what I needed; it's been a while since I've been able to actually sleep for a few hours without waking up."

"I'm sure you needed it, honey. This last assignment was rough on all of you, though you all handled it beautifully I heard," Rose smiled at him.

"Where are Philip and Carla?" He asked curiously, shaking his head at the fact that Kevin's eyes never left the television screen.

"Carla is finishing up an assignment and Philip went for a walk. He's been a little distant lately," Her blue eyes held concern,
"Your Angel Girl tried to talk to him a few hours ago, before she fell asleep, and he was very distant with her and that isn't like him."

"No," Andrew agreed, his brow furrowing with concern,
"That isn't like him at all."

Rose fell silent for a few moments before she took a seat on the stool across from her younger friend and looked into his eyes even as he took another sip of the cocoa,
"Maybe you could try and talk to him once he returns, Angel Boy? I know that you two have grown close since he returned several months ago and he's able to talk to you..."

"I can give it a shot, Rose," Andrew replied with a nod of his head,
"Although I can't promise I'll be able to do it though. I mean, if Monica can't get him to open up..." He stopped in mid-sentance and shook his head with a frown,
"Usually, he'll tell Monica anything as well, but now he won't."

"Well, just give it a try, honey," Rose reached over and patted his knee,
"And see what happens."

Offering his former supervisor a smile and another nod, Andrew was about to reply when the front door opened and Carla appeared, shivering in the heavy jacket she wore,
"Man, it's so cold out there!" Her teeth chattered as she spoke, closing the door behind her,
"I don't see how Tess is able to stand being out there in this weather on that lengthy assignment...she hates the cold."

"Did you expect it to be sunny and hot outside, Carla?" Rose teased as she watched the young blonde angel shrug out of her jacket and shake the snowflakes from her chin-length blonde hair.

"Well, it is in some parts of the world," The younger angel replied with a smile,
"Just not where we are unfortunately." Walking over to Kevin, she glanced at the television,
"What on earth are you watching?"

"King Kong, now be quiet," Kevin shushed her as he offered her popcorn to keep her quiet, which she readily accepted.

"Of course I'll try to talk to him, Rose," Andrew turned his attention back to his older friend once more,
"I want him to know he can come to any of us with anything that is on his mind." He glanced over as he heard a soft mumble escape his best friend as she began to wake up.

Rubbing her eyes sleepily with one hand, her other hand reached down to pet Molly, hearing the soft "mew" when the kitten knew her friend was now awake and in return, the little gray ball of fluff got up and walked up the angel's body to get closer for some more attention. The first thing she saw was the giant gorilla on top of the Empire State Building and she groaned softly,
"Another one, Kev? You were watching 'Godzilla' when I fell asleep."

"Yup, and 'Jaws' is next on the list, Cupcake, so shush," Kevin hissed as he grabbed another handful of the popcorn and stuffed it into his mouth, his brown eyes wide as he watched the next scene of the movie.

"I think the other room is calling my name," Carla shook her head with a roll of her green eyes,
"I am not up to watching 'King Kong' or 'Jaws'..." Feeling a kernal of popcorn being tossed at her head, the little blonde angel turned around and stuck her tongue out at Kevin, who had once again turned his eyes back to the television set,
"I'll pretend like you didn't do that, Wonder Boy."

Chuckling at the scene in front of him, Andrew shook his head as he watched Carla disappear behind the kitchen door and he ran a hand through his hair once more before turning to face Monica,
"Molly just loves you, Angel Girl..."

"And I love her," The Irish angel replied as she yawned tiredly even as her hand stroked the kitten's soft fur. A smile spread across her lovely face as the small animal walked across her chest and nudged her head against Monica's head, all the while her purr filling the living room,
"Hey there, sweet Molly; how's my girl?"

"She really is a lovely animal," Rose commented, turning her eyes to the kitten on Monica's lap,
"She's going to get plenty of love throughout her life, I just know it."

"I think there are a couple of angels who are going to make sure of that, Rose," Monica replied, sitting up and casting a smile Andrew's way. Glancing over at the television once more, she cringed slightly as she watched the giant gorilla's huge paw swiping at the planes that buzzed around his massive and angry face. She shook her head worriedly,
"Those poor people in those planes…"

Andrew lifted his eyes in amusement,
"Angel Girl, my guess is they are really model planes suspended with a piece of invisible wire or something. No one is in them, sweetie."

"Perhaps," She replied, not paying that much attention as she watched through horrified brown eyes as the planes fired bullets at King Kong, wincing as he roared out his dismay.

Exchanging a glance with Rose, Andrew shook his head as he got to his feet,
"I am so not doing this later, Angel Girl," Seeing her puzzled expression only briefly as she glanced back at the movie, he reached for her hand and pulled her to her feet,
"I am not waking you up tonight from dreams about a giant cat on top of the cabin, so lets go. You know you don't fare well with horror movies."

Rose chuckled as Andrew wrapped his arm around his best friend's shoulders as she followed them into the kitchen with Molly scurrying close behind them,
"Andrew's right, little angel. I put you on a pot of coffee and it should be ready by now."

"I see you guys heard the voice of reason," Carla grinned as her friends entered the kitchen,
"I can't stand horror flicks."

"Well, they aren't my favorites," Andrew remarked as he took a seat in one of the chairs and tugged Monica onto his lap,
"And someone else here forgets that it is me who has to wake her up in the middle of the night after she watches one."

"I don't forget," Monica argued with a giggle as she wrapped her arm around his shoulders, making herself comfortable, grateful for time to just be close to him after their last assignment,
"Has Philip come back yet?"

"Not yet, honey," Rose shook her head as she took a seat across from her two younger friends at the kitchen table,
"But hopefully he'll be back soon and our Angel Boy's going to try and talk to him."

Turning her head to her best friend, Monica squeezed his shoulder as a gentle smile crossed her lovely face,
"If anyone can get him to open up, you can, Andy."

A sligh blush rising to his cheeks, Andrew lowered his green eyes for a brief moment before returning her smile, although his was still a bit tired,
"I appreciate the support, Angel Girl; it's definitely worth a shot. From what Rose told me, he wasn't acting like himself earlier..."

"No, he wasn't," Monica's face took on an almost sad look and she let out a soft sigh,
"But hopefully whatever is on his mind will be out in the open soon. I honestly can't stand seeing him like this..."

"Neither can I, sweetie," Andrew replied with a sigh as well,
"Neither can I."

CHAPTER 1

Later that night, Andrew looked up as the front door opened and Philip walked quietly inside. Kevin had finally tired of watching movies and had retired soon after Rose and Carla had headed upstairs, and he had finally ordered Monica off to bed as well after she had started to drift off against his shoulder. Seeing the surprised look on Philip's face upon seeing him there, the younger angel smiled,
"Hey, Philip. We were worried about you."

Attempting a smile, the newest angel shook his head,
"Nothing to worry about, Andrew," He replied, taking a seat on the edge of the chair,
"I just lost track of time is all."

Andrew nodded his head in understanding,
"Happens to me all the time, especially when something is on my mind," He stated pointedly,
"Monica was a little confused by her conversation with you earlier and she and Rose both are concerned that something is wrong."

"I just had a few things on my mind, Andrew…I didn't mean to hurt her, you know that-."

"I don't think you did, buddy, but we're all worried about you. You're part of this angelic family, so to speak, now and we're here for you and I want to make sure you know that. Making this transition may have been hard for you and we didn't realize it," Andrew ventured a guess as his friend was doing little to open up to him.

"I'm fine, Andrew," Philip stated, rising to his feet,
"And while I appreciate the offer to talk, there really isn't anything to talk about."

Rising to his feet as well, Andrew stopped in front of his
friend before he could leave the room, a compassionate look on his handsome face,
"I don't want to stick my nose in where it doesn't belong, Philip, but I think there is something you need to talk about...the others have said you haven't been yourself lately; what's the deal?"

"Really, buddy, nothing's wrong-" The newest angel tried to smile as he started to brush past his friend, but Andrew's hand on his shoulder stopped him.

"Phil." Andrew interrupted, waiting until the angel turned around to look at him again,
"I know that's not the truth; you've always told Monica what's on your heart, even before you turned back. Why the sudden change? You know we'll always listen to anything you have to say..."

Feeling like he was trapped, Philip lowered his head and stepped past Andrew once again, only this time heading back into the living room and taking a seat heavily on the couch,
"How in the world do you know this stuff, Andrew?"

"I've been around this group of angels for a long time, Philip, and the one thing I know is that they are always there. Everyone one here loves you and is more than willing to help you through whatever you need help with. That's why the Father gives us friends." Andrew replied with a warm smile.

Philip was quiet for a moment, before he spoke up softly,
"I guess I'm having second thoughts. Not about coming back to God; don't get me wrong, but I keep thinking about the things I've done in the past, to you and Monica especially. I mean, I physically hurt you, Andrew and what I did to Monica…" He lowered his head to his hands,
"I would never have been able to forgive me if I were her…"

"But she has, Philip," Andrew said softly, his heart filling with sympathy,
"Yes, that was a terrible time, but we've both forgiven you and it's time for you to forgive yourself."

"What if I can't, though? Does that mean that the Father will be mad at me?" Philip quietly asked, his dark brown eyes turned to the fireplace.

Placing a compassionate hand on the older angel's shoulder, Andrew answered softly,
"The Father can forgive you for anything and everything if you only ask; and you have asked, so He's forgotten it all. Just because you haven't forgiven yourself doesn't mean that He can't forgive you." He waited to see if his friend would reply and when he didn't, the blonde supervisor continued in the same gentle voice,
"Philip, what brought this to your mind anyways?"

"It's just...something happened before I talked to Monica, and..."

"And?" Andrew gently pressed, removing his hand and his brow furrowed as he saw Philip turn to face him, his face slightly pale,
"Phil, whatever this is, you can trust me. I promise."

The older angel looked undecided for a moment, before he shook his head,
"It isn't important, Andrew, and it is my issue to deal with. Thank you for listening though," He got to his feet once more and managed a smile at the other angel,
"You look tired, Andrew. Get some rest."

Andrew sighed as he watched Philip head upstairs. He knew that there was more to this story then he had just been told, but Philip seemed completely unwilling to share anymore of it with him. He only hoped that their newest friend would not continue to pull away from them.

"Did you talk to Philip last night, Angel Boy?" Rose asked early the next morning as her former charge and younger friend made his way down the steps and into the living room, his blonde hair disheveled, his green eyes still tired and he was still dressed in his night clothes. Taking a sip of her coffee, the Search and Rescue angel patted the seat on the couch next to her and waited until Andrew sat down.

"I tried, Rose..." He finally replied with a shake of his head,
"But I didn't get much out of him unfortunately. He was wondering why we've come to care about him so much and why we've managed to forgive him regarding the past. It still appears that he hasn't forgiven himself for everything yet, and he's still beating himself up over it..." He fell silent for a moment before continuing,
"At first, he was trying to make it seem like nothing was wrong, though, but I could really tell that something is up. Something happened yesterday that he's not telling us..."

Glancing over at his friend, he leaned his head back against the couch and asked,
"Speaking of which, where is everyone?"

"Philip left a note for all of us, explaining that he's gone out for another walk," Rose sighed softly as she reached for the piece of paper on the coffee table and handed it to Andrew,
"Monica's still asleep, Kevin's singing in the shower and Carla got called away for a quick assignment."

Glancing down at the note in his hands, Andrew read the scrawled message quickly.

Everyone,
I've got a lot on my mind right now, so I've decided to take a walk in the mountains for a few hours. I should be back before too long. Don't worry about me.
Philip

Andrew sighed heavily as he laid the note back down and shook his head,
"I don't know, Rose. I'm kind of surprised he even told me as much as he did last night as he still has guilt over helping Denise attack me all those years ago and I think his guilt over what he did to Monica is why he was so distant with her yesterday as he can't look at her right now and not remember. I had thought he had forgiven himself before he ever asked the Father to come back, but I guess he hasn't."

At that moment, Monica came down the stairs, still dressed in her pajamas and it only took Andrew a second to know that something was not quite right by the slight look of distress in her dark eyes, though she smiled at them before heading into the kitchen for coffee.

When she returned a moment later, Andrew met his eyes with hers,
"What's going on, Angel Girl?"

She looked surprised for a moment, though she knew how well he knew her, as she stopped in the middle of the room and sighed,
"I had a nightmare," She began tentatively, her expression uncertain,
"Usually when I dream about Denise and she's intent upon harming you or I, I wake up screaming, but this was different…it wasn't like that, yet usually when she invades my dreams, she isn't far away…"

"Denise?" Rose and Andrew repeated the demon's name at the same time and the blonde angel's face paled as he glanced over at Rose and then his best friend,
"You dreamt about Denise?"

Sighing heavily, the Irish angel nodded her head as she took a seat next to her best friend on the other side of him, setting her coffee down on the table in front of her,
"Yes. Only this time...it wasn't me she was after."

His stomach churning at her words, Andrew gulped as he glanced at Rose again,
"Who was it, Angel Girl?"

"Philip..." Monica replied weakly as her palms started to sweat and she clenched and unclenched her fists,
"She was after Philip this time...trying to bring him back...with her..."

"Oh dear Father in Heaven..." The oldest of the three uttered as she looked up at the ceiling and shook her head,
"Andrew, do you think that is what has got Philip so upset?

That Denise made an appearance to him yesterday afternoon?"
"It certainly does make sense and it seems just her style to bring up to him all the damage he did all those years ago," Andrew replied worriedly.

Monica looked up sharply, her eyes troubled,
"Is that why he acted the way he did with me yesterday? He's still thinking about that?"

"He told Andrew as much last night, honey,:" Rose replied gently,
"He doesn't understand how either of you can forgive him for those things."

"But he knows," The little Irish angel insisted sadly,
"I've told him more than once it's forgiven. He knows I'll never forget and how could I? But he isn't who he was back then and we all know that," Sighing, she lowered her head sadly,
"I wish he had told me; I could have reassured him."

"I think he's going to need more then just reassurance this time, sweetie, especially with Denise here..." Andrew sighed softly and his green eyes suddenly widened as he remembered the note Philip had left for them,
"Oh God, what if she's with him right now...? He did say he was going for a walk; what if she's made an appearance to him again?"

"Calm down for a minute, honey," Rose gently interrupted as she placed a hand on his shoulder to try and calm him down,
"There's always a good possibility that she didn't; and even if she did, I think Phil is smart enough to know to come to us if it gets too bad, don't you think?"

"You didn't hear him last night, Rose," Andrew shook his head with a frown,
"He's almost as stubborn as I am, and that's pretty bad. I don't know if he'll decide to come to us...One of us is going to have to get him to open up about it and admit it one day."

"Maybe we should go and look for him," Monica uttered, tears stinging her eyes which she blinked back,
"I don't want anything to happen to him and Denise has always been able to know what someone's weakness is and that is what she plays on, so surely she is reminding Philip of those other times and ignoring the good things he has done since then."

"If it is Denise, and I have little doubt that it is, I'd prefer you not be around her, Angel Girl," Seeing she was about to argue, he held up his hand to gently silence her,
"It wasn't all that long ago that you fell to save the girls and I and I don't want those memories coming back at full force, number 1 and number 2, the misguided feelings Philip used to have for you infuriated Denise. So I think it is a much better idea that you stay here."

"But I don't want you going out there alone-," She protested, fear present in her dark eyes.

"I'll go with you, honey," Rose spoke up, wanting to put Monica's mind at ease a little bit, plus she didn't want her Angel Boy going alone either, though she could still see the frustration and worry in the Irish angel's eyes,
"Go and get changed Andrew, so we can try to get to the bottom of this."

Nodding his head, the blonde angel hurried up the stairs and to his room and only moments later, Andrew returned, dressed in blue jeans and a black t-shirt with his leather jacket thrown on top. His hair was still disheveled slightly from not having combed it, but he didn't seem to care. Hurrying back into the living room, he let out a deep breath,
"Ready whenever you are, Rose."

"Be careful if you meet up with her, Andrew..." The Irish angel pleaded, fear already evident in her eyes as she rose to her feet and grasped onto her best friend's hand looking straight into his piercing emerald eyes,
"Promise me."

"You can bet your angel halo I will, sweet girl," Andrew answered, kissing her forehead and her cheeks gently,
"And if that isn't enough, I cross my heart; I'll double cross it if I have to." Pulling her into his arms for a quick, tight hug, the older angel then pulled away and kissed her cheek one last time,
"We'll be back soon."

Seeing his Irish friend nod her head reluctantly, Andrew turned back to his former supervisor,
"Let's get this over with..."

"You know you aren't worthy to be on their side," Denise stated as she looked at Philip calmly, as she crossed her arms across her chest,
"All the lousy things you've done to them; beating Andrew senseless and nearly destroying Monica. They are only pretending to forgive you, Philip, as no one, not even angels can possibly forgive those things."

Philip lowered his head, hearing words he had been telling himself for the last few years,
"God has forgiven me, Denise, and that is enough."

She laughed, the sound echoing through the snow-covered mountains,
"That is not enough for you and it never will be. You love them, Philip, and you know you don't even deserve for them to be nice to you. You've done too
many terrible things to them and no matter what nice things you have done since, nothing can erase the pain you have caused."

"No, nothing can, and I keep telling myself that-"

"Then why don't you give up the fact that they are ever going to forgive you?" Denise snapped as she glared daggers at the angel,
"You may love them, but they don't love you."

"Stop it, Denise, okay?" Philip lifted his head, forcing himself to remain calm in front of the demon, hardly able to believe now that he had once used to be exactly like her,
"Just stop it! I may have not been able to forgive myself, but if you're trying to get me to return to you all, you've got another thing coming..."

"We'll see about that, sonny," The demon rolled her eyes in annoyance,
"We'll just see about that. You will belong to me again if it's the last thing I do..."

CHAPTER 2

"He has to be around here somewhere," Andrew muttered more to himself than to Rose as they continued to walk through the snow in search of Philip.

Rose suddenly fell silent as she stopped and held a finger to her lips, as the sound of voices filtered through the air,
"You hear that?"

"I sure do and it sounds like Denise," He replied, his eyes narrowing in anger,
"Let's get there before this goes any further."

Grasping onto her friend's hand and holding it tightly in her own, Rose's heart pounded wildly in her chest as she watched Andrew's fiery emerald eyes look from the right and to the left, determination evident in them to find the demon,
"That monster is going to regret she was ever created if she so much lays a hand on Philip again..."

Resting a gentle hand on his arm to try and calm him down once more, the Search and Rescue angel interrupted him,
"Calm down, honey...you can't face her with all of this hatred..."

"Maybe not, Rose, but I am going to see to it that she stays away once and for all," Andrew murmured angrily as he finally saw two figures up ahead and he pulled his hand away from his former supervisor as he made his way to the two,
"Denise!" He shouted, glaring angrily over at the demon as both she and Philip turned to face him and Rose.

"Well, well, well, look who it is," Denise purred with an evil grin,
"A couple of members of the God squad coming to the rescue."

"You're not welcome here, Denise," Rose replied coldly, her blue eyes on the demon.

"Oh Rose, you hurt me so," Denise laughed, rolling her eyes.

"I mean it," Andrew snapped, trying to swallow as much of his anger as he could,
"In the name of God, leave this place and His angels alone!"

Rolling her eyes to the sky and letting out a groan, Denise narrowed her eyes at the three angels before turning to face Philip one last time,
"You'll regret the day you ever left me, Philip. Believe me, you will never sleep peacefully at night until you're mine again..." With a final glare, the demon disappeared from sight.

As soon as she was gone, Andrew hurried over to Philip and noticed how pale his friend was. Resting gentle hands on his shoulders, the blonde angel asked quietly,
"Why didn't you tell us?"

Finally breaking out of the trance he was in, Philip shook his head as he tried to answer to the best of his ability,
"I-I just...I thought it was just my imagination; I didn't want to mention that she had made appearances to me the last few days..." He stopped and lowered his head to the ground.

Frowning, Rose made her way over to her two younger friends and asked,
"You mean she has made more then one appearance to you? This wasn't the first time?"

Shaking his head, the newest angel sighed heavily,
"How did you know she was here to begin with?"

"If my Angel Girl dreams about demons, we all know they aren't far away, Philip, and we put two and two together," Andrew explained gently,
"She had ties to both Denise and Kathleen and something about those ties has never died. But what I want to know is what did Denise tell you?"

Philip shrugged his shoulders,
"Nothing I haven't already been telling myself, Andrew," He replied softly.

"Honey, you know that all has been forgiven by both the Father and His angels," Rose said as she laid a hand on his arm,
"Now it's time for you to accept that forgiveness and forgive yourself."

"It's not that easy, Rose," Philip uttered miserably, the pain in his voice unmistakable,
"Some of the things I've done don't deserve forgiveness, not even from God, yet alone from the ones I've hurt."

"Buddy, nobody on this earth deserves the Father's forgiveness. Nobody," Andrew replied gently, compassion and sadness in his eyes that his friend doubted their own forgiveness,
"But He gives it to us freely and not only has He forgiven you, but He's also forgotten it the day you asked Him to forgive you. Philip, it took me years to forgive myself for some of the things I've done to caused my Angel Girl pain all those years back by running away from her and some other things I'd rather forget..." He fell silent for a moment before continuing,
"But with my best friend's encouragement and love, I was finally able to forgive myself and so will you. You've just got to trust us and the Father, buddy."

Sighing sadly, Philip lowered his head in shame once more as he replied quietly,
"Denise said that you all are just pretending to forgive me...that's not true, is it...?"

"No, honey, no," Rose shook her head sadly as she rubbed his arm lovingly,
"You know that Denise is nothing but a liar and liars are from the enemy. You however, are from God and God is truth and He tells His angels the truth. We all have forgiven you and we all love you."

"And that's the truth, Philip," Andrew added, smiling at his friend,
"You're hearing it from both of us now, and I can almost guarantee, you'll hear it from another little angel when we get back to the cabin."

"Speaking of which, we need to get back as I'm sure she is frantic by now," Rose replied, seeing Andrew nod in agreement,
"So if you are ready, Philip…"

The angel nodded his head solemnly,
"Yes," He responded softly,
"I think I'd like to be with all my friends right about now."
Andrew smiled as they started walking in the direction of the cabin,
"Then that's where we'll be."

Several hours after Andrew, Rose and Philip had returned, Monica walked into the kitchen to grab herself a bite to eat when she spotted Kevin seated at the kitchen table, picking at his plate of food in front of him and an unreadable look on his face. Frowning slightly at the way he didn't seem to be eating, the Irish angel walked over to him and asked softly,
"You okay there, Kev?"

"Oh yeah sure, I'm fine," The youngest angel replied quickly, never moving his eyes to look at Monica.

Raising a thin eyebrow at his short tone, Monica felt her heart flip flop as she then knew that something was on her younger friend's mind but he just didn't want to say what it was,
"Would you like to talk about it?" Seeing him shake his head, the Irish angel pressed on,
"You're not eating...you're usually stuffing your face, Kev-"

"Cupcake, I said I'm fine," Kevin interrupted, some irritation showing plainly in his voice. Giving her a pointed look, he shoved back his chair and rose to his feet,
"In fact, I'm not even feeling hungry right now."

"You don't seem fine to me," Monica pointed out softly. Fact was, Kevin was always teeming with fun and mischief and to see anything but that was almost disturbing,
"You seem really upset about something and all I'm saying is that I would like to help."

"Back off, Monica, okay? You always push because you think you know best and that is all well and good, but nothing is wrong. End of discussion," Kevin replied, almost coldly, before he headed out of the kitchen and a moment later, she heard the front door close.

The Irish angel sighed heavily as she sat down in a chair, trying not to feel totally miserable about the conversation, but it always seemed that she and Kevin were either really getting along well, or not getting along that well at all. This time though was a mystery as she wasn't sure of what she had done wrong, if anything.

"Looks like somebody's awfully moody this afternoon," Philip's voice appeared in the doorway and Monica's head jerked up, her brown eyes watching him shake his head towards the door,
"Kevin just stormed out of here, ignoring me when I asked him what was wrong. Looks like a lot is on his mind..."

Not wanting to discuss what had just occurred between she and Kevin, the Irish angel decided to change the subject,
"Are you all right, Philip?" She asked gently, hoping that he would open up to her this time. Andrew and Rose had told her when they had arrived home what had happened earlier with Denise, but she wanted to hear it from the newest angel himself and know for a fact that he was going to be okay,
"I haven't talked to you since yesterday..."

Sighing somewhat wearily, he took a seat across from her at the table and fiddled with a napkin before replying,
"I'm sorry about yesterday, Monica. I guess I was being moody myself...things have just not been going well for me the last couple of days I guess."

"Would you like to talk about it?"

Appearing deep in thought for a few moments, Philip finally shook his head but offered a gentle smile the Irish angel's way,
"Not yet, little angel. I know that Andrew had already told you what happened this morning, but I'm not ready to really and truly talk about it. But when I am, you two will be the ones I'll come to, okay?"

Monica nodded her head a bit sadly, unable to feel that she had just hit two dead ends in less than two minutes with two angels she cared so much about,
"You know, I'm a bottler too, when things are wrong and Andrew has slowly been trying to break me of it over the years, and I think I've been doing better. But the one thing I've learned is that when things don't make sense to me, sometimes they make more sense when I open up about them. The other thing you should remember is to not listen to anything Denise says, because she will find the one thing you are feeling vulnerable about and use that as her target. You've been forgiven for the past, Philip, and the future is wide open."

"I'll keep that in mind, sweetness," He replied softly, looking into her discouraged eyes,
"I suppose if you can forgive me, anyone can."

"I wish you wouldn't say that," She whispered sadly,
"You've more than made up for it, Philip, and I'm not trying to tell you what to do, as I don't know what is best for anyone," She stated, thinking of what Kevin had said as she got up from her chair,
"Just know that you don't have anything to prove to me or to make up to me, okay? You're not who you were back then and you haven't been for some time," Still seeing uncertainty in his eyes, she didn't know what else to say to convince him,
"Excuse me. I think I'm going to go and take a nap or something, but at least think about what I said," Having said that and frustration eating at her, she left the kitchen and headed upstairs.

His eyes watching the little Irish angel leave him alone in the kitchen, Philip sighed wearily and rose to his feet, heading towards the refrigerator and looking through it, trying to find something to chew on to get his mind off of all of his feelings. Noticing a leftover dish from the previous night, the angel grabbed it and some utensils from the silverware drawer before heading back out into the living room, suddenly feeling the need to be alone again with his thoughts.

Swinging back and forth on the porch swing that late afternoon, Andrew was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't even notice Rose coming out through the front door and taking a seat next to him,
"You're still angry, aren't you, honey?"

Slightly startled at the sound of his friend's voice, Andrew glanced over at her before turning his green eyes back to the snow-covered ground. Tightening his heavy jacket around him, the younger angel wrapped his arms around himself to warm him up before answering,
"I can't believe Denise even has the gall to show her face here again...after the last time..." He stopped in mid-sentence and shook his head in disgust.

"You've always known she has never lacked for gall, Angel Boy," Rose reminded him,
"And with Philip coming back to us, she is feeling like she has lost and my guess is she is not enjoying that fact."

Andrew was silent for a few moments before he sighed, deciding he'd may as well tell someone this and that Rose would be the easiest to tell,
"The Father has asked me to work with Philip until Tess has finished her assignment, as it isn't a good idea for him to be alone right now. He'll eventually report to her as soon as that is possible."

Rose's eyes widened for a moment,
"So he is going to be working with you, Monica and Kevin?"

But Andrew shook his head adamantly,
"No. Kevin has little experience with demons and he isn't seasoned enough yet to be dealing with one as evil as Denise. As for Monica, for the reasons I stated this morning, I don't really want her around her either. What happened a few years back was far too painful for her and Denise knows that the same way she knows what most hurts Philip, and I'm not going to have her reminding Mon of that horrible time."

Rose was silent as she waited for him to continue, wondering where exactly this was going and who was going to supervisor her Angel Boy's two charges. Catching his older friend's look, Andrew sighed heavily before turning back to the snow-covered ground.

"The Father has also asked me to ask Monica if she would supervise Kevin until Tess returns..." He continued in almost a whisper, his green eyes still not facing her. He wasn't sure of how he was going to approach his best friend about this; after all, it appeared that his youngest charge was being rather moody at the time and something was bothering him. He had been out here when Kevin had hurried out the front door and slammed it shut behind him, not even so much as greeting him before he hurried away.

"You don't sound too happy about that, honey," Rose observed, reaching over and laying her hand on top of his.

Andrew didn't reply for a few short moments and after he shrugged his shoulders and finally turned back to his former supervisor, the younger angel replied quietly,
"I don't mind temporarily supervising Philip; not in the least...it's leaving Monica and Kevin alone while I'm gone is what I'm worried about."

"Well, your Angel Girl used to supervise before coming to work with you, so it won't be anything new to her," Rose offered, trying to understand exactly where the problems laid.

"Yes, she did," Andrew replied softly, trying to think this through,
"The problems are that she and Kevin have had a bit of a tumultuous relationship in the past and they have always worked together as equals. True, they have been getting along very well the past several months, but right now, something is bothering him, and that concerns me with leaving right now, plus I don't know how he'll react to his peer suddenly being in charge. I know Monica will handle herself well, but I worry about her having the confidence to do it as she has expressed no desire at all to return to supervising," He smiled wryly,
"Not that I want her to as that would mean being away from her all the time and you know how I hate that."

Rose chuckled and nodded her head,
"If there were ever two angels who belonged side by side, honey, it is you and Monica, so yes, I understand," Growing serious once more, she continued,
"My feelings on this are that Kevin should be mature enough to handle this situation. He has taken direction from her before when she has tried to help him on assignments and there haven't been any issues. This situation should be no different. And I think it would be good for your Angel Girl to stretch her wings a little, even if temporarily."

"Yeah, so do I, but that doesn't stop me from worrying, you know? When those two fight, they really fight, and I don't want to not be around if it happens," Andrew leaned his head back against the swing and looked up at the sky,
"But before I tell the Father what I want to do, I'm going to have to talk this over with Mon and Philip...and also Kevin, and see what they think."

"Everything will be okay, though, Angel Boy; He has always promised us that," The Search and Rescue angel reassured as she squeezed his arm gently and smiled lovingly at him.

"I know that, too, but with Denise around, who knows what can happen?"

CHAPTER 3

Andrew knocked softly on Monica's door shortly thereafter and after hearing her call to come in, he opened the door and entered the room. Seeing her sitting in the chair near the window, knees drawn up to her chin, he knew something was on her mind,
"Hey there, Angel Girl," He greeted her softly as he moved to take a seat on the bed near her.

"Hey yourself," She replied with a small smile in his direction. Seeing the serious look in his eyes, she continued,
"You look like you came up here with something to talk to me about."

"Well, yeah, I did, but now I'm wondering if we should first talk about whatever is on your mind, sweetie," He remarked, holding his hand out and waiting until she laid hers into it, before closing his fingers around it,
"You're looking a little troubled, Monica, so why don't you tell me what is going on?"

Sighing softly, she shook her head,
"It isn't any big deal. I guess I'm just not feeling very effective to help anyone today is all, so I figured I'd stay up here out of the way," Letting out a small laugh, she continued,
"I guess everyone else's moodiness is rubbing off on me. Maybe I'm thinking that if I can't fix them, I'd may as well join them," She gave a small wink in his direction, despite the fact that she wasn't exactly kidding.

A sympathetic smile played on Andrew's lips as he squeezed her hand gently,
"I saw Kev before he left the cabin; he really seemed like something serious was on his mind...but I wouldn't take it personally, sweetie; he'll come around soon."

Smiling back, the Irish angel returned the hand squeeze and nodded her head,
"I know." She lowered her brown eyes before lifting them again and asking softly,
"Anyways you said you wanted to talk to me about something?"

"Yes, I do, Angel Girl." Releasing her hand, he patted the bed beside her and waited until she had taken a seat next to him before he started,
"Mon, something has come up earlier today and I want to talk to you, Kevin and Philip before I give the Father an answer." Drawing in a deep breath and letting it out, he reached for both of his best friend's hands and held them tightly in his own as he gazed into her curious eyes,
"Angel Girl, the Father has asked me to be Philip's temporary supervisor until Tess returns from her assignment; and until that happens, I'm going to need for you to be Kevin's temporary supervisor too. Sweetie, Kev hasn't had that much experience with demons and I can't risk either of you fighting Denise while I'm supervising Philip. That demon is around, we saw her this morning, and I don't want either of you to get hurt..."

Sucking in a deep breath, she lowered her head for a moment as a dozen thoughts ran through her mind. She was more than concerned about supervising Kevin, especially if his current mood stuck around and she was also afraid of supervising again at all as it was no longer something that interested her and she was worried that if she did it this time, she could possibly be promoted again and she was quite happy right where she was with Andrew and Kevin. But she also knew he was counting on her right now,
"So, you're going to be dealing with Denise?" She uttered, taking another route until she could get her bearings.

"Yes and I'll be fine, Angel Girl. I don't want you worrying your pretty little head about that. Philip is struggling and needs someone around right now," He watched as she nodded her head, though some fear for him was still evident in her eyes,
"Now, tell me how you feel about supervising Kevin?"

Sighing softly, she nodded her head,
"I'll do it. You know I'll do it, Andy."

Breathing a sigh of relief, Andrew wrapped his strong arms around his best friend's shoulders and hugged her to him as tightly as he could,
"Thank you, Angle Girl...thank you."

"I'll do my best with him, even if he is a grump most of the time," Monica's lips twitched with a slight smile as she embraced her friend and supervisor back tightly,
"And maybe I'll be able to find out what's on his mind..."

Laying gentle kisses on her head, the older blonde angel smiled down at her as he nodded his head,
"I trust you, baby girl. I trust you with all of my heart."

"Hey, Kevin, hold up," Andrew called out later as he sat in the living room with Monica and Kevin came in the front door and immediately started to head upstairs,
"I need to talk to you for a minute."

Seeing Kevin hesitate, the little Irish angel rose to her feet and headed for the kitchen,
"I'll leave you two alone to talk."

Thanking her with his eyes, Andrew motioned to the seat next to him and watched as Kevin tentatively sat down,
"Is everything okay with you, Kev?" He asked first off, wanting to give his youngest charge the chance to say what was on his mind.

"Everything's fine, Simba," Kevin replied, forcing himself to sound more cheerful as he wasn't in the mood for a lecture from his supervisor,
"What did you need to talk to me about?"

Drawing in a deep breath, Andrew began and explained about needing to supervise Philip until Tess could as Denise was tormenting their friend and fellow angel,
"He needs the reinforcement right now, Wonder Boy and I for several reasons, I don't want you or Monica around Denise right now, so….Monica is going to be taking over supervising until Tess returns and I return to you two."

His brown eyes widening in surprise at this bit of news, Kevin was tempted to start an argument, but he bit his tongue and knew that wasn't what Andrew needed right now. He could tell by the serious look on his supervisor's face that this was a serious matter and what he needed was for him to go along with it,
"Again? You're leaving as our supervisor again?"

"It's only temporary, Kevin," Andrew argued gently, looking straight into his youngest charge's eyes,
"And it's not my choice, but the Father's. Will you be willing to do this for me, though, Kev?" His green eyes took on an almost pleeding look and Kevin lowered his eyes to floor and was silent for a few long minutes.

Finally lifting his head though, the youngest angel leaned back against the couch and sighed heavily,
"So I'm going to have to do what Cupcake says, huh?"

Laying a caring hand on Kevin's shoulder and squeezing gently, the blonde supervisor replied,
"For now, yes. But if it will make you feel any better, you both will be doing what the Father says, and it shouldn't be more then just a few weeks, Wonder Boy; I'll be back later and Tess will soon be supervising Philip once she returns from her assignment."

Andrew waited patiently to see what else Kevin might say, clearly able to sense that he was stewing a bit over the situation. Wanting to alleviate any problems that could occur over the next couple of weeks, he decided he'd better do some more talking,
"Kevin, I'm really not foreseeing any issues. Monica isn't going to try to make any changes in how the three of us do things and she'll still have her part of the assignments to handle. The only differences are that the Father will be relating the assignments to her and that she'll be there if you need any help, and that isn't all that different as she has helped you in the past," He hesitated for a moment before he added,
"It's obvious something is bothering you, Kevin, that has nothing to do with this situation. I have offered to talk it out with you and so has Monica and if you decide not to, well, that is your choice. But what I don't expect is for you to make the next few weeks miserable for both of you because of whatever this problem is you are having."

"I told you I don't have a problem," The younger angel responded curtly, getting up from the couch,
"Fine, Monica is in charge until you come back and I'll try to be a good little angel. Now if that is settled, I'm heading upstairs," Ignoring the shocked look on his supervisor's face, Kevin took the steps two at a time until he was out of sight and a moment later, Andrew heard his bedroom door shut.

Running a weary hand over his face, more concerned than ever with the situation, Andrew then looked up again as Monica came out of the kitchen, a pensive look on her face. Sighing heavily, he met his eyes with hers,
"You may very well have your hands full, Angel Girl," He told her gently, surprised when she nodded her head and responded calmly.

"I know."

Later that evening, after Monica and Rose had gone to bed and he figured that Kevin had been asleep for some time now, Andrew headed quietly over to Philip's bedroom and, noticing the light still on, knocked softly on the door. Hearing the angel's voice for him to come in, Andrew cautiously opened up the door and stepped inside, noticing his friend sitting cross-legged on his bed, reading a book,
"Hey, Phil; can we talk for a few minutes?"

Setting the book down on the nightstand, Philip ran a hand through his hair before motioning to an extra chair next to him,
"Have a seat." As his friend sat down, the newest angel turned his attention to Andrew and asked softly,
"What's up?"

Surprised at how calm he appeared right now, Andrew leaned back in the chair and attempted to start this conversation as carefully as possible,
"Buddy, I want your opinion on something if you don't mind. I just got the Word from the Father this afternoon, but I wanted to talk to Mon and Kevin before I talked to you about it..." Seeing the confusion on the angel's face, Andrew continued,
"The Father has asked me to be your temporary supervisor, starting next week until Tess returns from her assignment. Once she comes back, she'll be taking over for me; I've already got things settled with Monica and Kevin; Monica will be taking over for me until I return..." He fell silent for a moment as he saw Philip's eyes widen slightly at the news,
"I want to know though, what you think about this."

Philip was quiet for a moment, considering all that had been said, before he replied,
"Under normal circumstances, Andrew, I think I'd be relieved as I feel like I've been trying to do this on my own the last few months. Though I know I am never really alone, I haven't been back on this side in a very long time," He paused and gave a small sigh,
"But with everything happening with Denise, this feels more like you've been sent to baby-sit me so I don't fall again."

Andrew shook his head adamantly,
"Don't look at it like that, Philip, please. You should have been given a supervisor from the start, and that is part of the reason," He hesitated, not sure of how to get around the rest of this tactfully,
"Denise can be trouble for the most seasoned of angels, Philip, yet alone a new one. All the Father wants is for you to have some reinforcement until Tess returns. The Father doesn't want to risk losing you and neither do we."

The older angel nodded his head sadly,
"And this is all because I can't forgive myself for the things I have done and now I'm hurting you all again as you have to be away from your charges, one of them being your best friend."

"No, Philip, you're not hurting me, okay?" Andrew gently replied, his emerald eyes filled with seriousness,
"Although I am a bit nervous leaving Monica alone with Kevin at the moment, considering something is on his mind, that doesn't mean you've 'hurt me' by this." He watched as the angel lowered his head to the bed and sighed softly,
"Philip, what will it take for you to forgive yourself for this? The past is the past..."

"I know that," The slightly older angel replied, never lifting his head,
"But won't that make me a horrible angel if I'm able to forgive myself for torturing you and Monica for so many years?"

"No!" Andrew raised his voice slightly as he tried to meet his friend's eyes again,
"No, that does not make you a horrible angel, as you call it. It just means that you have a sensitive heart, and you're afraid to forgive yourself and accept that we've all forgiven you."

Blinking back tears he would never allow to fall, Philip spoke up in a whisper,
"Andrew, I made Monica's existence a living hell for years and dragged you right under with her. What I did caused you to feel responsible for it happening, which caused this whole terrible chain of events that lasted years, Andrew! Now here you are trusting me and helping me, and she's learning to trust me and I don't deserve that from either of you."

"Philip, everything that happened has shaped us into who we are now, and that isn't necessarily all bad. Would I love to erase that time for all three of us? Of course I would, but if you hadn't met Monica, you wouldn't have met me and you wouldn't be sitting here now, an angel of God," His mind raced as he tried to think of things to tell him that might help,
"Had I not left her during that terrible time, I might still be running away when things get tough between us and all those things not happened, Monica might not be fighting back in similar situations when she feels threatened. Don't you see, the Father can take anything, ANYTHING and use it for good, even with His angels."

Still noticing that the other angel's head was still down and his dark eyes were still filled with sadness, Andrew sighed heavily before reaching over and laying a hand on Philip's shoulder,
"What are you thinking about?"

"I'm just thinking about all you're saying, man, and I want to forgive myself...I really do; but it's so hard," The older angel whispered miserably, finally lifting his eyes to meet those of his friend,
"I'll try, Andrew, I will, but I'm not going to make any promises..."

"That's all I'm asking, my friend," Andrew smiled in relief as he squeezed Philip's shoulder gently.

Letting out a trembling breath, Philip slowly nodded his head as he leaned his head back up against the headboard,
"I guess it won't be so bad to have you as my supervisor after all; you're pretty neat, Andrew." He attempted a small smile over at his friend as he spoke.

Andrew chuckled as he shook his head,
"You'll love Tess, Philip. I worked with her for a long time and she's wonderful."

"I know she is," Philip replied with a small sigh,
"The one thing I do know in all of this is that I am surrounded by wonderful angels. I only hope that is enough."

CHAPTER 4

The following morning dawned far too early as Monica and Kevin prepared to leave the cabin and the Irish angel's heart was heavy. Kevin was still not in a good mood, having done little more than grunt at them all morning and on top of that any separation from Andrew was not something she enjoyed, especially not this time when a demon was involved.

"So where are we headed?' She asked softly, trying to prolong having to say good-bye for as long as she could.

"It's up to you, Angel Girl," Andrew replied, pressing his car keys into her hand. He could see the tears just below the surface in her dark eyes and his heart went out her. He hated being away from her as well and Kevin too, but he was doubly concerned right now with Kevin acting the way he was,
"You two can stay at the beach house or the Sullivan's if you want and the Father will give you guys your first assignment tomorrow morning," Reaching out, he gently laid a hand against her cheek,
"I'll be fine, sweetheart and I'll call and check on you two as soon as I can."

She nodded her head, not quite trusting herself to speak at the moment. Wrapping her arms around his waist, she hugged him tightly, pressing her face against his strong chest,
"I love you," She uttered, trying to swallow back tears,
"Please be careful."

"You can bet your pretty little halo I'll be careful," Andrew replied into her auburn hair as he hugged her tightly in return, wrapping his arms around her slim shoulders and kissing the top of her head,
"And I love you right back. I'll see you two before I know it, Angel Girl."

Not wanting to release him just yet, as she wanted to savor the moment of the feel of his arms around her, Monica tightened her arms around his waist and held onto him until she finally felt him pulling away slowly,
"I'm going to miss you so much," She whispered as he took her face into his hands,
"But I promise I'll keep an eye on Kevin for you; you have my word, Andy."

Nodding his head, Andrew stroked her cheek as he replied softly,
"I know you will. Thank you for doing this, sweetie..."

"You know I'll do anything for you when you ask it of me," The Irish angel replied in a tearful whisper as she brought his hand to her lips and kissed it softly over and over again,
"Go and supervise Philip, my friend, and Kevin and I will be all right. I promise."

Placing the back of his hand on her head, he pulled her close to kiss her forehead,
"I'll call you tomorrow night. Just let me know where you are." He looked at her knowingly, as he knew he didn't need to explain the connection that they both shared.

As she nodded her head and gave his hand one last tight squeeze, he turned his attention to Kevin and sighed before he approached him,
"I'll talk to you soon, Kev, okay?"

Not looking at him, Kevin shrugged his shoulders,
"Whatever and whenever, Andrew," He replied as he started to turn away.

"Kevin," Andrew stopped him by grabbing hold of his arm and waiting patiently until his youngest charge looked at him before he continued,
"If you need to talk, Monica's offer still stands. Whatever is on your mind, can't stay there forever."

Not replying, Kevin gently pulled away and headed out the door to the car, leaving Andrew to run a hand through his hair, as his eyes met with those of his best friend, his concern evident in them.

"It'll be fine, Andy," Monica tried to sound positive, though the worried look in her dark eyes betrayed her.

Knowing that his dearest friend was trying to be as positive as possible for his sake, Andrew managed a weak smile for her as he nodded his head reluctantly,
"Thank you again, baby. You have no idea how much it means to me for you to do this...if you have any problems, though, don't hesitate to tell me-"

Gently placing a finger to his lips to silence him, Monica smiled somewhat teasingly up at him as she shot him a wink,
"Don't worry your pretty little head, Angel Boy; we'll be fine."

Unable to hold back a laugh, Andrew pulled her into his arms for a final tight hug before pulling away and kissing her cheek,
"Drive safe, Angel Girl."

"I will," She replied softly as she headed for the door,
"Be safe. I love you."

Standing at the door, Andrew watched them drive away, worry creeping into his heart once more. It was going to be hard enough trying to help Philip stay strong against Denise, but now he had to worry about Kevin's horrible mood and he could only hope that Monica could control her temper as there would be no one to referee this time.

A tense silence filled the car as Monica quietly drove along the highway towards the beach house, every once in a while shooting a quick glance over at Kevin in the passenger's seat. On other occasions, the youngest angel would be chattering up a storm, but now he sat staring out the window, his arms folded across his chest and a pout playing on his lips.

"You're awfully quiet, Kev," Monica finally broke the silence as she glanced once more at her co-worker.

"Yeah." The youngest angel mumbled in reply, never turning his head from the window. As he fell silent once more, the Irish angel sighed as another uncomfortable silence filled the air for a few minutes.

"So do you want to stop by to grab a bite to eat before we head to the beach house?" Monica tried to make conversation once again, offering Kevin a cheerful smile, but it immediately faded as he replied back curtly.

"Whatever you want to do, Monica. I don't care."

Sighing softly and resolving to keep her frustration in check, she nodded her head, silently deciding there was no way she would be able to sit at a table with him and not talk,
"Okay then, we'll just head to the beach house and we can eat there if we're hungry," Not getting any response, she glanced over at him once more,
"Kevin, whatever is on your mind, I really want to be able to help you. I hope you know that."

"For the four hundredth time, Monica, I'm fine, okay?" Kevin snapped, keeping his eyes focused out the window.
Clutching the steering wheel until her knuckles turned white, the Irish angel managed to keep her voice controlled,
"We can play this however you want, Kevin, but we still have to work together and I really don't want it to be unbearable. That's all I'm asking, okay?"

"Then don't be bossing me around and we'll get along fine," He retorted angrily.

"Kev, I'm not trying to boss you around-"

"It sounds like it to me," He interrupted, glaring harshly at the Irish angel,
"Now just leave me alone, all right? And get it into your head that I'm fine..."

"Well, you sure have me fooled," Monica muttered under her breath, almost expecting for her co-worker to say something, but was surprised when he didn't. Coming to a red light, the slightly older angel rested her forehead against the steering wheel, whispering up a silent prayer,
"Father, give me patience, please...please help me to control my temper through the next few weeks with Kevin..."

Almost immediately, Monica felt a peace fill her being and she drew in a deep breath and nodded her head. Turning her dark eyes back to the road and pressing the gas as the light turned green, the Irish angel fell silent once more. The next 30 minutes passed by increasingly slow for her until finally, they pulled up to the beach house and Monica killed the engine.
Kevin was out of the car in a flash,
"I'm going for a walk. Don't bother waiting up," He threw over his shoulder before he stalked off down the beach.

Monica starred after him, wishing she knew how to get him to open up to her as this situation was beginning to frighten her. Though she knew she was only supervising temporarily, this situation was bringing back unpleasant memories of her first supervising role. She had been supervising an angel that her best friend now had to deal with as a demon.

"Will you be sticking around for awhile, Rose?" Andrew asked that afternoon. Much to his relief, the afternoon had been quiet, though Philip had not really been up to another talk just yet, but the good news was that Denise had not shown up again.

"I can if you would like me to, honey," The older angel replied, seeing worry in his emerald eyes over so many things,
"Carla can work alone for a few days as she does so well."

Breathing a small sigh of relief, Andrew took a seat on the living room couch and Rose sat down next to him, resting a gentle hand on his knee,
"Is something on your mind, Angel Boy?" She asked softly, looking into his green eyes.

"I guess I'm just a little concerned is all, Rose...and with Monica and Kevin gone, and Tess still on her assignment, it just would feel a bit odd to be here by myself, you know? Philip's still kind of distant after what has happened, and...I just like having you here." A blush rose slightly to his face as he shrugged his shoulders with a tiny smile.

Smiling in return at the comment, Rose wrapped a gentle arm around his shoulders and gave him a squeeze,
"And I like having you here, honey." The Search and Rescue angel gave him a wink and was relieved to see him smile again.

"And I can't help feeling worried about Mon and Kev; Kevin has been in such a bad mood the last few days, and this isn't normal for him," The supervisor's brow wrinkled as he shook his head,
"Whatever is bothering him, I hope that he'll be able to talk to Monica about it, because he sure hasn't talked to me."

"He certainly isn't acting like himself, that is for sure," She commented softly, shaking her head,
"Do you think your Angel Girl can handle him?"

"I think she can, it's a matter of how she does it that worries me. She's been working so hard on her temper, but Kevin knows how to push her buttons when he is angry about something and sometimes he can play dirty, by drudging up the most hurtful things he can find and that worries me. I hope I can wait till tomorrow night to check on them."

"Do you know where they went yet?" Rose asked curiously, watching as he nodded his head.

"The beach house, which was a wise choice, I think. With Kevin acting this way, he doesn't need to be around the Sullivan's as they are working on their own problems still and with Cindy and Angel both being pregnant…well, it was a good choice to not go there." He replied, relieved with at least that much of the situation.

"That is a good thing," Rose agreed with a nod of her head,
"Do you have any idea of the assignment you'll be starting tomorrow with Philip?"

"Not yet," Andrew replied, glancing over at her,
"We'll be getting that tomorrow, but the Father has told me that the assignments will start off simple, as Phil is still learning and all that; plus, the assignments can get rather hectic, and we don't need him worrying about those on top of Denise." The younger angel visibly cringed at just the mere mention of the dark-haired demon.

"You know that if you need any help if Denise ends up showing up again, you can always come to me, honey, all right? There's nothing I wouldn't to try and help you," Rose smiled gently at him as she ran her fingers through his silky blond hair.

"I know, and thank you," He reached over and squeezed her hand tightly,
"I'm glad you're here, Rose. You always seem to somehow make me feel a little bit better."

Another smile appearing on the elderly angel's face, Rose reached for him and pulled him into a friendly hug for a moment,
"That's why I'm here, Angel Boy. That's why I'm here."

"I just hope I can help keep Philip strong against Denise," He said with a sigh as the hug ended,
"I've been thinking a lot about how he feels and I think I'm at least starting to understand it more."

"How so, honey?" Rose asked, always enjoying watching the younger angel's minds at work. The newer angelic generation had ways of thinking things through that the older generation didn't always consider.

"I guess I'm remembering that horrible day on Erin's porch all those years ago as that is something I've never completely forgiven myself for and I don't know if I ever will," He appeared thoughtful for a moment,
"But I did finally get past it with my Angel Girl's help and maybe that is the key with Philip. To at least get him past it, even if he can't forgive himself at this point…"

Her elderly face taking on a sympathetic look, Rose reached for his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze,
"I'm sorry to hear that you still haven't forgiven yourself, Angel Boy; but I think you're on the right track about Philip."

"So am I, Rose," Andrew turned his emerald eyes to her and held her gaze,
"And that's what I'm determined to do."

CHAPTER 5

I said I'll be ready in a minute!" Kevin yelled through his closed bedroom door early that morning, annoyance heard in his voice,
"Just lay off, Angel Girl!"

Flinching at the harshness of his tone, Monica took a step back from the door and decided to give her co-worker a little more time. It was just a little past 10:00AM the next morning, and the Father had given them their new assignment over an hour ago, and she knew that they had to get going soon so that they wouldn't be late; but on the other hand, she didn't want to miss her best friend's phone call either. Stepping into the kitchen with a sigh, the Irish angel was about to pour herself another cup of coffee when the telephone finally rang and she raced towards it before it could ring a second time.

"Andrew?" She spoke her best friend's name as soon as she picked it up and smiled when she heard his laughter on the other end.

"How'd you know it was me, sweetie?" He asked, the laughter still heard in his voice.

"I just knew, that's all," She grinned in reply, twirling the phone cord around her finger while leaning up against the counter,
"You did say you were going to call, so I figured who else could it be?"

Chuckling, the blonde angel nodded his head even though he knew his best friend couldn't see him do it,
"True, true." His masculine voice then turned seriousn and the teasing stopped,
"How are things going there, sweetie? Is Kevin cooperating?"

Thinking that "cooperating" was a strong word, however not wanting to worry her best friend, nor lie for that matter, Monica instead replied as cheerfully as she could,
"We're doing okay, Andrew. No need for you to worry."

"Has he talked to you at all about what is wrong?" Andrew asked, his voice uncertain as he tried to read what it was she was not telling him.

"No, but I did reinforce the offer on the ride down here yesterday and he…had a few things to say about that," She replied vaguely, moving to pet Molly, how had just jumped up on the counter for some attention. Deciding to change the subject, she added,
"How are things there? Denise hasn't shown up again, has she?"

"No, Angel Girl, she hasn't and we'll be headed out soon," Andrew replied, concern evident in his voice,
"I think I have an idea about how to help Philip though."

At that moment, Kevin stormed into the kitchen, his jacket in hand as he headed for the back door,
"Are you coming or what?" He snapped, as he walked out the door, slamming it behind him.

Monica winced and Molly jumped at the loud noise, a soft "meow" coming from her as the angel turned her attention briefly back to the phone,
"I've got to go, Andrew."

Having heard Kevin's words and the door slamming, Andrew replied,
"Mon, things aren't going quite as well as you're trying to get me to think, are they?"

She was quiet for a moment, before she let out a soft sigh,
"There have been no blow ups, Andy, and I really need to go or we're going to be late."

"You call me tonight, understand?" He told her worriedly, so not wanting this situation with Kevin to escalate.

"You know I will," The Irish angel promised, her heart filling with love once again for her best friend,
"I love you."

"I love you too, Angel Girl. Take care," Andrew replied back and after bidding good-bye with her, the two angels hung up the phone and Monica leaned back against the counter, running a hand over her face and hoping against hope that she would be able to make it through this day with Kevin without any blow ups.

"What are you doing in there, examining the back of your eyelids or something, Monica?!" Kevin suddenly shouted from the front door, his voice laced with annoyance,
"You were the one wanting me to hurry up, so come on already!"

Forcing herself to keep control of her Irish temper, Monica sucked in a sharp breath and after petting Molly a final time and giving her a loving kiss, the Irish angel grabbed her bag and started towards the door, all the while thinking,
'This is going to be a long day..."

"You did very well, Philip," Andrew grinned as they arrived back at the cabin later that day after the assignment had been completed,
"It looked like you had been doing this for centuries."

Philip smiled the first real smile he had felt in days,
"Thank you, Andrew, but you more than helped."

Before the supervising angel could reply, Denise appeared before them, a disgusted look on her face,
"Oh please, stop telling each other how wonderful you both are. It's nauseating."

"Get out of here, Denise," Philip told her, trying to keep his calm in front of the demon.

"A two year old could have handled that assignment and you know why? Because that is all the more someone with such an evil heart could ever handle, Philip," Denise told him with a toss of her dark hair,
"They're just trying to keep you busy until you fall again and you will. You certainly aren't worthy to be with them, not after the horrible things you've done."

Shaking his head angrily at the demon, Philip clenched his fists tightly and glared into Denise's hard eyes,
"You are so full of lies; that's all you do, Denise, is lie through your teeth..."

Crossing her arms in front of her, Denise tilted her head to the side and smirked at the two angels,
"Yeah, so what's your point? You're still a pathetic loser who can't seem to do anything with his life then pray to God," With a roll of her dark eyes, the demon chuckled,
"You'll come to your senses sooner or later-"

"He HAS come to his senses, Denise," Andrew interrupted, his voice low and angry,
"It's you that hasn't come to yours. What part of 'no' don't you understand?" Before Denise had time to reply, however, the blond angel continued,
"In the name of the Father, get out of here and do not come back. We won't tell you again, Denise..."

Rolling her eyes again to the ceiling, Denise let out a dramatic sigh before shaking her head,
"You're no fun, Andrew, and neither are you, PHIL."

"Well, since we bore you so much, just go away, Denise," Philip replied, knowing she would be going as Andrew had commanded it in the Father's name.

"For now, but I'll see you soon, and hopefully without your guardian angel!"

As the demon vanished, Philip sighed and sank down onto the couch with a shake of his head,
"I wish she'd just give up."

"I don't think she will, Philip, not at least until you move on in the way you are feeling about your past. She'll prey on that as long as you hold onto it," Andrew replied gently as he sat down next to him.

"But how in the world do I let go of it?" Philip asked with a shrug of his shoulders,
"It just won't happen, Andrew...what I did was so unforgivable, and although I'm slowly starting to realize that you all and the Father have forgiven me, forgiving myself is not that easy..."

Sighing softly, Andrew leaned back against the couch and realized that now was the time for him to explain about that horrible moment between Monica and himself on Erin's porch so many years ago. Turning to his friend, the blond angel began,
"I have something I'd like to share with you, if you don't mind, buddy." Seeing him nod his head, Andrew started,
"Many years ago, I did something that I thought was completely unforgivable. Something that I never thought I'd be able to forgive myself for..."

His brown eyes widening, Philip turned his full attention to his friend and temporary supervisor,
"What could you have done that was so horrible, Andrew?" He asked, curiosity now getting the better of him and his own feelings of guilt was put on the back burner for now.

"We had an assignment a long time ago actually working with a friend of mine's daughter who had an accident and lost her leg. She blamed me as I was there when it happened and Andrea, the daughter, knew I was an angel," He drew in a deep breath, the painful memories rushing back at him at full speed,
"Andrea though she wouldn't speak to me, took to Monica instantly and I was jealous of that fact and I was angry about it, despite the fact that it wasn't Mon's fault. One day, Monica was alone with her and Andrea asked her to get her something to drink and while she was gone, Andrea swallowed a handful of pills."

Philip's eyes widened as he listened to the story,
"So what happened?"

"When Monica came back, she thought Andrea to be asleep until Adam showed up to take her Home, which was right before Tess, Erin and I got back. Monica was devastated of course and we were out on Erin's porch and I was laying to her, telling her it was her fault. Things got heated between us and I…I slapped her, Philip," Tears stung his eyes at the memory, even after all these years,
"What I did caused her to be gone for the next 4 years and even when she returned to try to make things right, I denied her and by the time I came to my senses, lets just say, she wasn't in the best of shape, all because of a moment of anger on my part. I still haven't completely forgiven myself for that moment, hurting her like that, both physically and emotionally, though she forgave me long ago."

Philip soon realized that his jaw was partially open as his friend retold the story and when he spoke, his voice was eerily quiet,
"How did you manage to get past it?"

"It took a long time, to be honest, Philip," Andrew replied with a heavy sigh as he blinked back more tears at the memories,
"It really wasn't until many, many years after the incident when Mon and I had a break from our work, did I finally tell her that I hadn't completely forgiven myself. She reminded me of many things, Philip, but mainly that she had forgiven me long ago and that she had put it past her; she reminded me of her love for me and that I needed to forgive myself. We're all the Father's children, Philip, and if He can forgive us, what right do we have to hold a grudge against ourselves for stuff that has happened years ago?"

"I understand what you are saying, but I think its just going to take some time," Philip sighed, wishing he could just put it behind him as Andrew said, but he had a feeling it was going to take more than just wanting it for it to happen.

"Well, time we have, Philip," Andrew smiled, glancing over at the phone and wishing it would ring. After thinking about that terrible time on Erin's porch, there was nothing he wanted more right now than to talk to his best friend.

At the end of the day, Monica watched miserably as Kevin stormed off to his room, before she sank down onto the couch. Today had been more than long, though the assignment had gotten resolved with little help from her temporary charge. She wasn't sure if his lack of efforts had been intentional or because there had been other things on his mind, but he had nearly made a terrible mistake in a crucial moment and it had forced her to intervene, which had infuriated him. She had held her tongue, despite the fact that he had almost been downright hateful the whole way back.

Resting her head in her hands, she drew in several deep breathes to try to calm herself down, knowing she needed to call Andrew as she had promised to do so. Right now, however, she more felt like a good cry and a good night's sleep.
But a thought crossed her mind as she let loose of the many tears, and that was that she had promised her best friend that she would call him once they returned to the beach house, and despite how terrible she felt about what had happened with Kevin, Monica wasn't about to break another promise to him, not after she had just regained his trust a few short months ago.

Wiping at her tear-filled eyes, she drew in a trembling breath before reaching for the telephone next to her, despite the shaking of her hand and punched in the number of the cabin. Forcing herself to remain calm and to not break down, the Irish angel listened as the phone rang a few times before she heard someone pick it up.

"Angel Girl?" Andrew's familiar voice answered on the second ring and Monica's brown eyes stung with tears at just the sound of his voice.

"Hey, Andy," She whispered shakily, not sure if her best friend would even be able to hear her; but even if he couldn't, when he replied, the concern in his voice was unmistakable.

"What happened today, sweetie?" He asked gently, noticing that she was on the verge of breaking down already.

She sighed softly, closing her eyes as she pressed her fingers up against them to hold back tears,
"It was just a tough day, my friend, that's all, and I miss you."

Andrew was quiet for a moment, knowing she was being vague as not to worry him,
"If I have to come down there to find out what is going on, I will, little girl, so why don't you level with me instead, okay?"

A small sob escaping her, she struggled to calm down,
"Okay, okay…Kevin almost blew the assignment and I had to intervene before it all went wrong. I waited until the last possible moment to see if he would realize what he was doing, but he didn't and now he's furious with me. He spent the whole ride back here tonight telling me exactly what he thought about it and it was pretty ugly, though I just let him rant," She drew in a shaky breath as she continued,
"The assignment is fine though and all is well as far as that is concerned."

Letting out a heavy sigh as he listened to his best friend explain the details of what happened with Kevin, Andrew replied gently,
"Oh Angel Girl..."

"Right now, though, I'm glad we're not in the same room with each other or else he would start biting my head off, Andrew," She continued, running a hand across her forehead as she felt the start of a headache coming on,
"I did the best I could today, but I honestly don't know if my best is enough..."

"Hey now, don't say that, Mon," He gently interrupted,
"From what I hear, you are doing perfectly fine, sweetheart; Kevin's the one that's causing all the trouble, and deep down you know that. Just keep doing what you're doing, and if he reaches his limit, don't be afraid to get firm with him. You're the supervisor right now, Angel Girl, and he needs to learn to respect you despite what's on his mind."

Falling silent for a moment, she bit back the other things she wanted to say, such as how hurt she was that Kevin was even being this way with her and how afraid she was of losing her temper with him, but she didn't want to put anymore on Andrew's plate,
"How are things there?"

Holding back an exasperated sigh at her change of subject, he replied,
"Fine. Denise showed up but didn't stay long and Philip seems to be doing better. Monica-." He stopped himself then, realizing how short he had just been with her and having heard her sharp intake of air at his tone,
"I'm sorry, I'm just worried about you two is all and I'm forgetting that you're worried about the situation here," Not hearing anything from her, he smiled as he continued,
"You know, I was talking to Philip earlier about something that might help him and ever since talking to him, I've wanted to talk to you, just to remind you of what a very special little angel you are to me."

Sniffling softly, Monica felt a blush rise to her cheeks as she responded, a hint of teasing in her voice, despite the fact that she still felt rather upset about everything. But on the other hand, Molly had just jumped up into her lap and her best friend was letting her know he loved her, so things couldn't be all that bad,
"Well, it takes one to know one, my friend."

Chuckling, Andrew shook his head as a blush rose to his own face before he replied,
"Anyways, sweetie, I told Philip about how you helped me to get past most of my guilt after that incident at Erin's, you know? You did help a lot, Mon, and I really hope that what I told Philip helped him..."

Feeling her blush deepen, Monica shrugged her shoulders and replied quietly,
"I didn't do that much, Andy-"

"Oh yes, you did, Angel Girl, you helped me more then you realize and I just love you even more for it," The older angel replied, a smile evident in his voice,
"But anyways, although he mentioned that it would take some time, I have a feeling he'll get there eventually and when he does, Denise won't even have the gall to come after him again."

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 7

The next moment after Andrew had disappeared from the cabin, he reappeared seconds later in the living room of the beach house and he saw that his best friend was still holding tightly to the telephone, as if he was still on the line. Frustrated and anguished sobs escaped her being as the older angel knelt down in front of his charge and best friend, gently taking the phone from her hand putting it back on the hook,
"Hey, hey, Angel Girl, I'm right here. I'm right here, sweetie."

At the sound of his voice closer then ever, Monica wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand and lifted her head, her eyes widening in shock at seeing him here with her,
"Oh Andy...it's all such a mess...Molly..."

Without a second thought, the blond angel wrapped her wet form in his strong arms and held her to him tightly,
"Shhh, you need to calm down first of all, Mon, if we can settle anything."

"I-I tried, Andy…I really did…I didn't mean for this to turn out this way…" She wept softly against his chest, so relieved to have him here with her.

"Hey, you have done a great job, sweetheart," He whispered to her,
"None of this is your fault and you got Kevin to finally say what is wrong, so now we have someplace to start, and we're going to find your kitten, okay? With the rain, she is probably hiding and I'm willing to bet that once the rain stops, she is going to turn up. We'll find her, little one, I promise." Pulling away, he took her face into his hands and repeated his last words,
"I promise," Seeing her nod her head, he smiled gently at her,
"You're shivering. Go and put on something warm and dry and we'll talk and wait out this rain."

Wiping at her eyes, she nodded her head once more, before looking up at him,
"I'm really glad you're here."

"Me too," Andrew replied, kissing her forehead gently,
"Now go."

Nodding her head with a quiet, "Yes sir," Monica rose to her feet and hurried off into her bedroom and after the door closed behind her, Andrew also stood up and took a seat on the couch, letting out a heavy sigh. As he ran his hand through his blond hair, he suddenly lifted his head as he heard the sound of his car pulling into the driveway and the door slamming shut. Drawing in a shaky breath, as he knew that Kevin had finally decided to come home, Andrew stood up from the couch and mentally prepared himself for when his youngest charge would come inside.

The car keys still in his hand, Kevin opened up the front door and was about to head down the hall to his room, when he saw Andrew standing in the living room and a moment of anger churned inside of him,
"What are you doing here, Andrew?"

"I came by to check up on you and Monica, and it seems that it was a good idea considering the way things are going around here..."

"Nothing's wrong, Simba, all right?" Kevin replied, annoyance evident in his voice.

"No, I think something is wrong. Monica told me everything, including how angry you are about what has happened with Paddy," Andrew calmly stated, making his way over to his charge,
"Why in the world didn't you tell us you were feeling like this, Kev?"

His face flushing red with anger towards the Irish angel, Kevin tossed the car keys onto the counter and marched past his supervisor and into the living room,
"Because you two didn't care the least about my feelings, that's why."

"You know that isn't true, Kevin, however neither one of us are mind readers," Andrew replied crossing his arms in front of him,
"When we were on vacation, you seemed fine so why were we supposed to think otherwise?"

"You always know when Monica is not okay!" Kevin fired back heatedly.

"Because Monica and I have been together for a much longer time, Kevin and there are times when she still has to tell me what is wrong. If you wanted help, all you needed to do was ask for it and we both would have been there for you, however, I do have issues with you taking your anger out on me and especially on her when she is trying to do a job I asked her to do."

"And that's another thing," Kevin snapped angrily,
"I don't like her supervising me! She interfered with my assignment yesterday and I don't appreciate that!"

"Kev, from what I'm being told by both her and the Father is that the assignment would have been failed had she not stepped in as you weren't doing what you were supposed to be doing," Andrew countered, knowing what he was saying was doing little to diffuse Kevin's anger, but still needing to speak the truth to his furious charge,
"And your track record hasn't improved much since then either as you were late this morning and then you just take off tonight while she is out looking for Molly, who you accidentally left out when you left the door open this morning," A chill went through the supervisor as he saw a look cross Kevin's face,
"Kevin, tell me it was an accident that you left the door open…"

The younger angel was quiet for a moment before he replied, his voice not as angry but still holding intensity,
"I was mad at Monica about yesterday…"

"You let her out on purpose?"

Both angels turned their heads to see the Irish angel had come out of her bedroom, having changed into dry jeans and a sweater. Her eyes were filled with hurt as she looked at Kevin,
"If you were mad at me you should have taken it out on me, or better yet, talked to me about it. I can't believe you would do something like this…"

"And I can't believe you never shut up about any of this, or I may never would've let Molly go on purpose," Kevin grumbled under his breath, folding his arms across his chest.

Monica's dark eyes widened in horror at the words spoken from the youngest angel, but before she could reply, Andrew had planted himself in between his two charges and raised his voice a notch,
"Okay, that's enough! Kevin, that's ENOUGH!"

"What? Just because I let Molly out-"

"What has gotten into you lately, Kevin?" Andrew demanded, his full attention on the youngest angel right now,
"I think I can understand why you're a bit angry at us for supposedly not taking your feelings into consideration; but to not come to us about it when you first started to feel this way, and to let Molly out on purpose to get even? Kevin, can you make me understand this?"

"I have nothing to say to either of you," The youngest caseworker fumed, turning his back on both Andrew and Monica.

"Every time you get mad about something you do this, Kevin," Monica stated, hurt evident in her voice as her eyes brimmed with tears,
"Instead of talking to us, you get angry and you either say or do something hurtful and I don't understand it either. You know in your heart had you just talked to us, we would have been there for you, but when you're laughing and making jokes, how are we supposed to know the difference between you just being happy and you hiding something? For the record, I didn't want to interfere with your assignment yesterday; I waited till the last minute, hoping you were going to fix it and I'm sorry if it upset you that I interfered. We could have talked about it last night and maybe resolved it, but you were too busy shutting me out to do that. You're supposed to be my friend and I would have talked to you about it, but for you to let Molly out because you were mad at me…" Feeling the hot tears of hurt getting ready to spill over, she walked over and grabbed her jacket before heading out the door.

Kevin swallowed hard, trying to hold onto his anger though he was beginning to feel like a total jerk, at least for letting the tiny kitten outside,
"I really don't feel like talking anymore," He muttered, starting to walk away but Andrew grabbed his arm.

"That's fine," He stated, his voice as controlled as he could make it,
"But you and I are talking later, got it?"

Jerking his arm away, Kevin headed down the hall,
"Whatever."

Lifting his green eyes to the ceiling, Andrew shrugged his shoulders helplessly as he whispered,
"How am I going to be able to fix this before tomorrow morning, Father?"

Hearing the Father's voice speaking softly to his heart, Andrew let out a deep sigh and nodded his head before heading after his best friend, who had just closed the back door behind her. She was standing on the porch, looking out at the ocean and her dark eyes searching for any sign of little Molly. Reaching his hands out, he laid them gently on her shoulders and rubbed them soothingly,
"We're going to find her, little one."

"I can't believe Kevin does such things, Andrew...why does he do them?" Monica whispered miserably, feeling a terrible ache in her heart.

"I don't know, Mon; but I do know that I'm going to have a long talk with him tonight after he cools down some," The older angel replied, his hands still rubbing her shoulders,
"I'm sorry about all of this, sweetie..."

"You didn't do anything, Andy," Monica turned her head to meet his green eyes briefly,
"You're just trying to help."

"Yes, but I'm sorry he hurt your feelings by what he did. He loves you, Mon', he's just having a hard time right now," He told her softly.

"He sure has a funny way of showing it," She muttered, swallowing back tears,
"Molly? Kitty, kitty. Please come out, baby…" She turned to face him once more,
"Maybe you should bring someone else in to supervise while you are working with Philip."

Closing his eyes for a moment and feeling absolutely terrible about this whole situation, he struggled for the right words to say,
"I know you can do this, Angel Girl and I'm going to talk to him tonight and things should be better in the morning…"

"He hates me, Andy-."

"You know that isn't true, Monica," He started to protest, but she interrupted him.

"He let Molly out on purpose, Andrew. That's the one thing he could have done to really hurt me. I just hope he got the satisfaction out of it he hoped he would so it was worth it to someone…" Gently pulling away, she walked down the steps to the sand,
"Molly?"

Following his friend down the steps, Andrew joined in the search for the small cat and called out for her,
"Molly? Come on out, baby, it's okay."

"Molly kitty, where are you?" Monica called out once more, cupping her hands around her mouth. The next few minutes seemed like hours for the two angels and just when the two angels were about ready to go back inside, Monica heard a tiny "meow" just a few feet from her and as she whirled around, she saw Molly huddled underneath of shrubbery, shivering slightly from the cold. Without a second thought, the Irish angel wiggled out of her jacket and made her way over to the kitten, picking her up in her arms and wrapping her in the coat tightly.

"Molly," Monica pressed her face into the kitten's soft fur and felt her tears fall happily upon finally finding the cat,
"Oh Molly, I'm so sorry..."

Wrapping an arm around his best friend while with the other, stroking the kitten's fur, Andrew led the two back towards the beach house,
"Let's get back inside. I'm sure she's going to need something to eat and drink, and get her warmed up, Angel Girl."

Hurrying back inside the house, Monica grabbed a dishtowel from the kitchen and wrapped the kitten up in it, all the while trying to tell if she was unharmed and much to her relief, other than being cold and a little frightened after her outdoor adventure, Molly seemed fine,
"You had me so worried, sweetie," She said softly to the kitten, as Molly began to purr loudly now that she was warming up in the towel.

Andrew busied himself getting food and water for the kitten, all the while trying to figure out what to do about this nightmare with Kevin. If things weren't better after his talk with him, he would be more than reluctant to leave in the morning and he really didn't want to bring in another supervisor, though he knew Rose would do it if he asked, but it still didn't eliminate the problem of tension between his two charges. Kevin had hurt Monica's feelings terribly tonight by letting Molly out and the supervising angel didn't want to risk anything of this nature happening again or he knew he would never be able to salvage the friendship between the two younger angels.

Several minutes after the two angels had gotten the small cat something to eat and drink, Andrew let out a sigh of relief as he and Monica headed back out into the living room and Molly curled herself up on his best friend's lap, purring loudly once more now that she was back with her owner.

"Well, we've got one problem solved," Monica was the first to speak as she stroked Molly's fur with gentle hands.

Reaching out and stroking Molly's fur as well, Andrew smiled gently at his best friend before brushing a strand of hair out of her eyes,
"You look exhausted, sweetie."

"I am, really," The Irish angel replied tiredly, unable to hold back a yawn any longer,
"Today has been one long day..."

"Why don't you catch some sleep out here? It looks like Molly's not going anywhere any time soon," Andrew nodded towards the kitten who had fallen asleep on Monica's lap and the two angels chuckled,
"I need to go and talk with Kevin and see if I can talk some sense into his head."

Monica's expression clouded at the mention of Kevin as she lowered her dark eyes to hide the hurt lingering there,
"Best of luck," She responded softly, stroking Molly's head.

Smiling sympathetically, Andrew grabbed the quilt from the back of the couch and covered her with it,
"Get some sleep. We'll try to keep yelling to a minimum."

Looking worried, Monica nodded her head as she lay down on the couch, adjusting Molly to a comfortable position as her best friend ran a gentle hand through her hair and a moment later, she was fast asleep.

CHAPTER 8

Knocking on Kevin's door first before opening it, Andrew walked inside and found his youngest charge sitting on the bed, still looking more than a little agitated,
"You and I are long overdue for a chat, Kevin," Andrew informed him sternly,
"So you'd may as well start talking as I've got all night."

"Why are you always taking her side?" Kevin grumbled irritably, his brown eyes turned to the window and looking out at the ocean,
"That's not fair-"

"No, I'll tell you what's not fair, Kevin," Andrew interrupted in the same stern voice,
"What's not fair is that you expect Monica and I to read your mind every time you're angry or upset. What's not fair is purposely letting Molly lose just to hurt Monica. What's not fair is you blaming all of this on us, and on Monica's intervening with your assignment when you would've failed it if she hadn't! That's what's not fair, Kevin, and I've given you the benefit of the doubt when you've made mistakes more times then I can count, but you're pushing my buttons here, Kev. So please, get talking."

Kevin's face flushed a deep red as his supervisor reprimanded him and it took everything in him to not snap,
"You should know why I'm angry, Simba. I told you that you and Monica were avoiding my feelings-"

"Did it ever occur to you that it wasn't intentional, and that we didn't mean to do it?" Andrew demanded, leaning up against the wall of the bedroom.

"It still happened, though," Kevin mumbled under his breath, leaning back on his bed and staring up at the ceiling.

"You have a mouth, Kevin and you use it plenty to joke around, so maybe you should try using it when something is bothering you, instead of waiting until you are so angry that you get downright mean. Now, I'm sorry that we didn't know you were so upset as had we known we would have taken whatever time you needed and deep inside you know that. But you aren't innocent in even that part of it, as you never said a word or even acted like you were so troubled. Do you really expect us to know something is wrong when you seem to be acting like yourself?" Andrew asked, trying to keep his anger out of this, but he was angry at what had happened here today.

"Paddy died, Andrew!" Kevin snapped, his angry eyes turning to face him,
"You were always closest to Wendy and Monica to Angel and me to Paddy, so why would you think I would be okay with it?"

"We had a week off, Kevin and you had plenty of time to let us know what you were feeling," Andrew retorted, looking right into his charge's eyes until Kevin looked away,
"The other thing that is really bothering me in all of this is that every time you get angry like this and you and Monica quarrel, you dredge out the nastiest things to say or do to hurt her feelings. She was the first one to ask you what was the matter a few days ago and to offer you an ear to listen. Do you want your relationship with her to be unfixable, Kev, is that it? Now I know you aren't always responsible for the disagreements, but this time you were and regardless of who was responsible the other times, the things you say and do are nothing short of just plain mean and it scares the living daylights out of me, Kevin."

Kevin's face paled at his supervisor's words and it took a few minutes before he finally replied,
"Of course I don't want it to be unfixable, Andrew-"

"Then stop doing this, Kevin, before it WILL be unfixable. If you do this one more time to her, or even to me, there may be no more forgiveness on our part. I don't think you want that, am I right?" Andrew folded his arms across his chest as he looked sternly at his charge again.

"No..." The youngest angel replied, most of the anger suddenly dying from his voice and in its place, regret and sadness.

Sighing heavily, Andrew closed his emerald eyes, trying to keep his temper under control and as he opened them, he made his way over to his friend and charge and knelt down in front of him,
"I just want to help you, Kevin. Monica and I want to help you; we always have when you were upset, and we always will. Do you know why? Because we love you, regardless of the things you sometimes do that tick me off. When you're feeling like this again, come to us! That's what we're here for, and that's one of the reasons you've got a supervisor in the first place!"

Lowering his eyes, Kevin whispered softly,
"Did you find Molly?"

"Yes," Andrew replied feeling a little of the tension leave his body,
"Cold, wet and hungry, but otherwise unharmed, thankfully, or I don't know what Monica would have done. You've got a lot of fixing to do with her, Kevin, I won't lie to you. She's very hurt and is asking for me to bring in another supervisor until I can come back. Personally, I don't want to do that as I think she needs this and that it could be good for her, under normal circumstances and the last two days have been far from normal. But if you are going to continue to make things hard for her, I'd just as soon ask Rose to come and supervise you two as I don't want Monica's confidence taking anymore of a beating than you have given it the last two days." He knew he was still being stern with his charge, but he wanted to drive this point home once and for all as he didn't want anymore problems like this in the future,
"So, you tell me, Kevin…I need to know where things stand."

"I...I want things to be back to normal, Andrew. But I'm not sure I want Monica to continue supervising me...it's always you that's been the one that's done that..." He started, avoiding his older friend's stern eyes.

"And you know as well as I do that Philip is going to need someone to supervise him as well. I have until tomorrow to make that decision, and if I need for Rose to take over, you've got to tell me soon, Kev," Andrew sighed heavily as he tried to meet Kevin's eyes once more.

"So I really have no choice then?" The angel asked weakly, lifting his head,
"Monica has to supervise me? If I don't decide on that, I'm going to be disappointing you, aren't I?"

"Kevin, everyone has a choice, you know that," Andrew replied firmly,
"Just tell me what you want, that's all I need to know."

Several moments passed by in silence as Kevin contemplated over what his supervisor was saying and finally with a shaky breath, the youngest angel replied quietly,
"I'll try to not be such a jerk tomorrow to Monica..." He stopped as he noticed that Andrew didn't say anything and so he continued,
"She can stay, and I promise I'll try to handle things differently..."

"I'm expecting you to have the same respect for her that you've always had for me, Kevin. I expect that and nothing less. You have a job to do and so does she and I asked her to do this for me. She didn't want to, but because I asked it of her, she agreed. I don't want anymore bad reports, Kevin. Understood?" He held Kevin's gaze, his green eyes still holding their sternness.

"So, you're saying she tattles on me, is that it?" He muttered, instantly regretting the words as he saw Andrew's eyes narrow.

"She doesn't lie to me, Kevin, when I ask her a question. Truth be told, she has tried to protect you when I've called by being vague about how things were going, until tonight when she was so upset about her kitten," Andrew replied tensely.

Flinching at the sternness of his supervisor's words, Kevin fiddled with the bedspread as he lowered his dark eyes from Andrew's again,
"I'm sorry about the kitten...and I'm sorry for being a jerk, I guess..."

"Don't tell me that, Kevin, tell her that when she wakes up," Andrew nodded his head towards the doorway and then turned back to his charge,
"I'm going to expect more from you the next time I see you. Do we have an understanding?" Seeing that the young angel was still contemplating over his words, Andrew repeated,
"Kevin?"

Sighing loudly, Kevin nodded his head and finally looked back up at his friend,
"Understood, Andrew. I'm sorry to have caused you to come all the way down here and have to resolve all of this..."

"So am I, Kevin," Andrew replied, rising to his feet and heading for the door,
"Good night."

Closing the door behind him, he sighed softly, hoping things would indeed go better tomorrow. Walking into the living room, he smiled as he saw his best friend asleep on the couch with Molly still curled up with her. Not wanting to leave without saying good-bye, he knelt down beside of her and reached out to touch her cheek tenderly, smiling as she sleepily opened her eyes,
"I've got to go, sweetie. I think tomorrow will be better for you, but feel free to let me know if you have any problems."

"I wish you didn't have to go," She whispered sadly, reaching for his hand and lacing her fingers through his,
"I much prefer having you here."

Andrew lifted their conjoined hands to his lips and kissed her fingers gently,
"I would prefer being here with you as well, little girl; but unfortunately, I can't," His emerald eyes took on a sad look for a moment before he smiled down at his best friend once more,
"But I'll see you soon, baby, okay? It shouldn't be too much longer; at least I hope not."

"I hope not too," Monica whispered back with a sleepy yawn. Carefully sitting up so as to not disturb Molly, the Irish angel reached out for him and with no words spoken between them, she wrapped her arms tightly around his neck and held onto him for a few moments,
"Thank you though, for coming here and helping."

Rubbing her back soothingly, Andrew smiled before pulling away gently and kissing her forehead,
"Anything for you, Monica, you know that," With a final smile for his best friend, he then helped her to lay back down on the couch and gave Molly a final loving pet before rising to his feet,
"I'll catch you soon, sweetie."

"Be careful, my friend," She whispered softly to him, watching as he readied to leave,
"I love you."

"I love you too, sweetheart," He told her with a smile, those three little words always warming his heart when she spoke them to him.

Watching as he blew her a kiss before vanishing from the room, the Irish angel sighed as she tried to go back to sleep. She had felt better with Andrew here, with everything that was going on with Kevin and she was starting to realize that after this, she didn't care if she ever supervised again. After all, including Kevin she had only had three charges and as far as she was concerned, only one had turned out well.

Sighing once more, and now worrying about tomorrow, Monica decided it was probably going to be a long night.

CHAPTER 9

Andrew made his way down the stairs of the cabin early the next morning, hours before he and Philip were supposed to head off to work and he ran into Rose, who was in the process of making breakfast in the kitchen. The blond angel smiled at his friend and after greeting her with a warm hug, he pulled away and asked,
"How'd things go last night while I was gone?"

"Things went well, honey. It seems like our angel Philip has been on God's side all of his existence," Rose shot her young friend a wink as he moved to help her with the cooking,
"How did things go at the beach house? Did you find Molly, and get a chance to talk to Kevin?"

Nodding his head, Andrew mixed the batter for the pancakes and smiled at her,
"We found the little cat not too long after I arrived, and I gave a good talking to Kevin. He apologized and he said he would work on not giving Monica a hard time today; so I'm just going to be praying that he keeps that promise and that I get no more complaints from now on."

"Sounds like a successful night then the whole way around," Rose smiled,
"How on earth did the cat get out?"

"Kevin left her out on purpose as he was angry with Monica; he actually isn't too happy with either of us at the moment. He says we didn't take into consideration his feelings after Paddy died as he and Paddy were so close," He sighed softly,
"He never said a word about being still being upset, Rose, and he was acting perfectly normal until a few days ago. I'm still not convinced he is over being mad and I know Monica is very hurt by what he did last night, so I'm just praying things are better today."

"Doesn't sound like they could get worse than they were yesterday, honey," Rose observed, taking the pancake mix from him and pouring a spoonful onto the griddle.

"No, not really, but-."

The sound of a loud crash coming from upstairs, caused both angels to stop talking for a moment, before Andrew turned and bolted towards the steps,
"Philip!"

Following behind her young friend, Rose's heart pounded loudly in her chest as Andrew took the steps two at a time until he finally arrived in Philip's room and the oldest angel stopped in her tracks as she saw the newest angel on his knees in the middle of the floor, holding his hands above his head as if he was trying to avoid being hit. The lamp from the bedside table had been unplugged and was now scattered in pieces all over the floor around Philip.

"Philip, are you okay?" Andrew yelled as he made his way to his friend and knelt down next to him, reaching a hand out to lay it on his back,
"Philip, answer me...are you okay?"

"She will not go away," The angel replied in a shaky voice, finally lifting his head and looking through dazed eyes at his two friends, his eyes finally meeting his temporary supervisor's green ones,
"She will not leave me alone..."

"Denise." Andrew growled under his breath, his eyes narrowing into slits at the very mention of the demon that wouldn't leave their lives.

"She didn't hurt you, did she, honey?" Rose asked gently, helping Philip to his feet.

"I think I'm all right, Rose," He replied, standing some what shakily on his feet,
"I'm just not sure of how much more of this I can take."

"You take it until she goes away, Philip," Andrew replied firmly,
"She'll go away once she knows you aren't going to turn back."

Philip was quiet for a moment knowing he was going to regret his next words,
"Sometimes, I think that would be the easier thing to do as this is all causing you so much trouble."

As soon as those words escaped his lips, Andrew exchanged a look with Rose that clearly read that he needed to be alone with Philip for the time being and after the Search and Rescue angel nodded her head in silent understanding, she left the room and closed the door behind her. After she left, Andrew placed his hands firmly on his friend's shoulders and waited until he had looked him directly in the eye,
"Philip, what do you mean by that? You can't seriously mean it-"

"I think I do," The angel lowered his head in shame,
"I'm causing nothing but trouble-"

"Now looky here, Philip," Andrew interrupted sternly as he tried to meet his temporary charge's sad eyes again,
"What is it going to take that you are NOT causing US problems? It's that demon that's pulling all of these stunts, not you!"

"But she'll leave me alone if I go back; she'll leave all of you alone if I just give her what she wants-"

"That's what the enemy wants, Philip, and you know it," Andrew interrupted, anger filling his heart towards Denise all over again,
"That is EXACTLY what she wants, and you'll only be giving up if you do this." Seeing that his friend was about to object, Andrew jumped in before he could say anything else,
"Did I tell you about that time when I nearly got pulled over to their side many, many years ago by two demons who looked exactly like Monica and I?"

"Andre and Monique," Philip replied quietly,
"I remember what happened…"

"They didn't give up until I stood up to them and that is exactly what you need to find within yourself to do with Denise," Andrew continued firmly,
"Believe it or not, you have a handful of angels who have gotten very attached to you and you'll really upset the balance around here if you go back to the darkness."

A slight blush rose to the angel's face at Andrew's words,
"Attached, huh?" He said with a small grin,
"You make me sound like a puppy, Andrew."

Relief flooded the supervisor's face as he laughed at his friend's words,
"Well, yeah. You followed my Angel Girl home and we all decided to keep you."

Unable to hold back a laugh anymore, Philip shook his head and rolled his eyes playfully at the younger angel's words,
"Next thing I know, you're gonna be putting a leash on me, Andrew..."

Doubling over with laughter, Andrew rolled his own eyes before meeting his friend's eyes again,
"You never know, Phil." He shot a wink at the angel, who let out another chuckle,
"This a really good sign. Laughing is good for you."

"Yeah, I'm laughing at you, Andrew," Philip shot back teasingly.
Shaking his head again, Andrew reached over and embraced his friend quickly before pulling away and resting his hands on his shoulders again,
"Seriously though, just think about what I told you. You've put up with that thing for a long while now; none of us want to see you give up now, buddy."

"Well, I'm starting to think that maybe you bunch of angels are worth putting up with her for," Philip replied with a smile.

"Glad to hear it, Philip," Andrew grinned back,
"Now lets go and get some of those pancakes Rose was cooking. I'm starved."

Chuckling softly, the older angel shook his head,
"You're on, Andrew."

Monica awoke feeling more than a little out of sorts after a restless night's sleep of worrying about how Kevin was going to be today as well as beginning to feel angry about him letting Molly out yesterday to get "even" with her. She tried to swallow the frustration though in order to get through the day, but she knew it was showing in her voice when she rapped on Kevin's door that morning,
"Let's go, Kevin!"

Hearing the youngest angel let out a sleep yawn from the other side, Monica held her breath as he finally replied, his voice tired but not filled the annoyance like the past few days,
"I'll be out in a few minutes, Monica!" He called back before another yawn escaped him.

Deciding that was at least a small improvement, the Irish angel turned on her heel and headed out into the kitchen, feeling her stomach grumbling with hunger. She hadn't eaten since the previous night after they had returned from their assignment, and right now she could eat about anything and find it excellent. Several minutes after she buttered herself some toast and was taking a sip of her coffee, she heard Kevin's bedroom door open with a creak and the youngest angel poked his head into the kitchen.

"I hope you slept well," Monica greeted him, not meeting his eyes as she took another long sip of her drink.

"Not too badly," He replied warily, wondering if a storm was brewing right beneath the surface of her dark eyes,
"I'm sorry about letting Molly out."

"I'm just glad she's okay," She replied tightly, still not meeting his eyes, a stinging remark on the tip of her tongue though she bit it back somehow.

"You're really mad at me, aren't you?" Kevin ventured, deciding to just get whatever this was over with.

"I'm tired of being your doormat whenever you are ticked off," She replied, her voice holding a hint of anger,
"So yes, I guess you could say I'm mad at you."

"I deserve it, I know," Kevin quietly replied, not moving from where he stood in the doorway,
"Feel free to tell me whatever you need to, Monica; I deserve it and nothing less..."

"That's right, you do," Monica responded curtly, taking a bite of her toast before meeting Kevin's eyes with her angry dark ones,
"I may not be your real supervisor Kevin, but I am your temporary one and whenever I try to help you when you're angry, you take it out on me and I can't tell you enough how sick of it I am. I've been more then patient, Kevin. Both Andrew and I have..."

Kevin nodded his head in regret as he made his way slowly over to the kitchen table and took a seat across from the Irish angel,
"You have...and I took it all for granted. All of the kindness you both have displayed towards me..."

"Then why do you do it, Kevin? If you think we're so kind to you, then why do you say the things you do?" Monica demanded, leaning back in her chair and staring straight at him.

He shrugged his shoulders helplessly,
"I don't know…you're an easy target when I'm mad, I guess…"

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" She snapped at him, trying to swallow her rising temper,
"I guess Molly was an even easier target then, wasn't she? After all, she's just a defenseless little kitten who had nothing to do with any of this. I know you're not happy about my supervising you, but what else was I supposed to do when Andrew asked me to? Do you think I want to be doing this, because believe me, I don't. I love you, Kevin, I do, but right now I'm so mad I can hardly see straight."

"I'm sorry, Monica-"

"Well, guess what, Kevin? I was sorry too, the last few days when I kept apologizing to you. I was really and truly sorry, but my apologies didn't matter in the least to you, did it?" She fired back, narrowing her eyes and glaring at him,
"All you cared about was firing accusations about Andrew and ignoring everything I had to say."

"I'm listening now, Monica," Kevin pleaded, hating himself right now for his actions earlier, but he knew that the Irish angel needed to get all of these emotions out and he deserved every angry word.

"And I hope you continue to listen," She snapped back in reply, finishing off her breakfast and putting her empty plate and coffee cup in the sink,
"Now let's go before we're late. We can't miss this assignment, not after we missed the last one."

Nodding his head miserably, Kevin got up from the table and followed her out of the kitchen,
"Monica, I know I've been a total and complete jerk to you and I'm really sorry."

"You always are after Andrew talks to you," She retorted angrily, not looking at him to hide the hurt in her eyes,
"If he didn't talk to you about it, you'd just keep on doing it. If he hadn't been here last night, there is no doubt in my mind you'd be snapping at me this morning too."

Hanging his head sadly, he knew he couldn't deny her words as they were probably true and he was beginning to wonder if maybe he had indeed pushed her too far this time and their friendship was indeed unfixable as Andrew had said it could be one day. On top of that, neither she nor Andrew had bothered to try to talk to him about Paddy, only about his attitude and he still felt hurt about that.

As the two angels climbed silently into Andrew's car and drove away from the beach house for their assignment, Kevin leaned back in his seat and looked out the window, his eyes away from Monica, and lifted up a prayer that things between him and his friends would eventually be all right.

"Thanks for breakfast, Rose," Philip smiled at the Search and Rescue angel as he and Andrew polished off the last of the pancakes,
"You're a great cook."

"Well, thank you, honey," The oldest angel replied with a laugh in her voice,
"I'm glad my cooking isn't too horrible. But you can also thank Andrew, because he was helping me when he got up." She shot a wink at her younger friend and grinned as he rolled his emerald eyes.

Wiping his mouth with a napkin, Andrew took both his and Philip's plates to the sink and quipped back at Rose,
"I still prefer your cooking though, Rose."

At that comment, the three angels started laughing again and with a shake of his head, Philip pushed back his chair and rose to his feet,
"Should we get going now, Andrew?"

"Sure thing, Philip," Andrew replied, moving to give Rose a kiss on the cheek,
"The Father has a full day planned for us, it seems."

"I don't mind full as long as it is quiet," Philip replied, casting Andrew a knowing look.

"Well, hopefully, our reoccurring demon will chose today to do other things, and give you a break, honey," Rose remarked with a sigh,
"Now get out of here, you two, so you aren't late."

"Yes, Ma'am," Andrew grinned, winking at her as he followed Philip out the door.

CHAPTER 10

"I'm so glad that assignment is over with..." Kevin rubbed his forehead with his fingertips, feeling the start of a headache coming on,
"That one was awful..."

'Serves you right', Monica thought to herself, but chose to not speak those words. Instead, she shot a quick glance at her temporary charge before turning her eyes back to the road ahead as she continued driving back to the beach house,
"It wasn't peachy, but it got settled." She replied back tersely,
"And we don't have to leave for our next assignment until tomorrow afternoon, so we've got a whole morning to rest after that nightmare."

Turning his head away from the Irish angel, Kevin stared out the window as his fingers continued rubbing his temples. Normally, the youngest angel would have been thrilled to be given the chance to sleep in, but with Monica angry at him over his attitude the last few days, he found that he wasn't looking forward to spending the morning with her.

He had to give her credit, though. Had it been him angry with her, Kevin knew he would have probably and unfortunately done everything in his power today to make it miserable for her. Monica on the other hand, though she had been cool with him, had let him handle his part of the assignment with no interruptions, though she had stuck around long enough to make sure his mind was on what he was doing and determined not to screw up as he had yesterday, he had made certain his mind was where it should have been.

As they pulled up to the beach house, he sighed as she got out of the car without a word and headed inside, immediately scooping the little kitten into her arms, almost protectively,
"I'm going to go lie down for awhile, Monica," He offered softly,
"My head is killing me…"

Though concern flickered briefly in her eyes for a moment, she heard herself replying coldly,
"Suit yourself."

'I deserved that', Kevin thought to himself as, without another sound, made his way into his bedroom and shut the door behind him. With a heavy sigh, the angel kept the light off before collapsing on his made bed and stared up at the ceiling, a groan soon escaping his lips,
'I've never had a headache before, but if this is what it feels like...I can't say I enjoy it. I'm not even hungry...'

Back in the kitchen, Monica set out some cat food for Molly and with a sigh, she then rose to her feet; but almost as soon as she was about to put on a pot of coffee for herself, she felt another presence in the room with her and she drew in a sharp breath,
"No, Father, please..." She whispered to herself before turning around and coming face to face with Denise.

"Hello, Angel Girl," The demon mocked, a smirk on her once beautiful face as she crossed her arms in front of her chest,
"I hope you and Kevin are enjoying yourselves."

Forcing herself to put on a brave front that she wasn't feeling, especially after having fallen several years ago and having to deal with Denise from that side of things, the little Irish angel narrowed her eyes at her,
"What are you doing here, Denise?"

"I'm hurt, Monica," Denise replied, attempting to look wounded,
"Can't a former charge just stop in to say hello to her former supervisor?"

Feeling a pang of guilt that she had not felt in decades over Denise making mention of her once having been the demon's supervisor, she forced her voice to stay steady,
"Not when that former charge is a demon, Denise."

"Speaking of former charges, it doesn't seem like your supervising skills have improved very much over the years, Mon'," The demon replied, purposely using one of Andrew's many nicknames for her,
"You're making a mess out of this temporary situation too it seems. Holding a grudge isn't all that angelic now is it?"

"I refuse to let you make me feel guilty, Denise," Monica whispered, her voice eerily low,
"And I'm not holding a grudge. I'm angry, all right?"

"Oohh, anger," The demon chuckled before rolling her eyes,
"That's not very angelic either, Monica-"

"Look, I'm handling things the way they need to be handled; and I'll forgive Kevin when it's time. So if you'll excuse me, I don't think that this is any of your business and I'd like for you to go now," The Irish angel narrowed her dark eyes at the demon in front of her before turning around and starting towards the coffee pot. But before she could take two steps, Denise reappeared in front of her.

"I make things my business, little girl," She hissed, leaning up against the counter,
"I can't believe you don't want to catch on old times! You mean you don't want to tell me about your little trip to the dark side all those years ago?"

Swallowing the lump that had formed in her throat at hearing those words, Monica pressed on, knowing what the demon was trying to do and unwilling to allow herself to show the pain her words continually caused. Instead, she decided to fight fire with fire,
"That little trip brought Philip back to God, and that just drives you nuts, doesn't it, Denise?"

Seeing the demon's eyes narrow in anger, the Irish angel continued, for once feeling like she and the Father had the upper hand with the evil demon,
"And there is nothing you can do about it. Philip is on God's side now, and that is where he will stay, so why don't you just go and crawl back into the dark little hole you crawled out of and leave the rest of us alone?"

"Don't mess with me, Angel Girl," Denise seethed, her eyes wild with anger,
"This isn't over until I say it is over."

"Though I'm sure this is hard to fathom, Denise, but this isn't about you. I know you're accustomed to everything being your way, but I can assure you, you will fail this time," Monica replied calmly.

Shaking her head in fury, Denise clenched her fists as her fingernails dug into the palms of her hands,
"You've got that one wrong, Monica. Philip will be mine again; he was mine way before he turned back to your stupid GOD-"

"Maybe so, Denise, but I do know that before that happened, Philip always belonged to God. He just turned away from Him in a dark moment, and although he hasn't talked much about his past, I do know that he's changed and he's good now. He'll never belong to you anymore, or your master, so you can forget about it." Monica continued to speak as calmly as she could, despite the anger burning in her towards the demon.

"You had better watch your back, Angel Baby," The demon snapped,
"I may crawl back into that hole you mentioned right now, but I won't stay there for long, because my assignment isn't finished yet." With a final glare, she disappeared from the kitchen.

Not even realizing she was holding her breath, Monica slowly let it out and slumped up against the counter. Hearing Molly meow at her feet, the angel looked down and picked up the bundle of fur in her arms, feeling her nuzzle her face against her head,
"She'll give up eventually, Molly," She spoke to the cat,
"I'll make sure of it."

Shuddering slightly at Denise's threat for her to watch her back, Monica placed Molly back on the floor and considered calling Andrew to let him know, but decided against it. She didn't want him worrying about her as he had enough to contend with right now. Moving to the refrigerator to find something for dinner, she stopped suddenly as she heard Kevin come out of his room with a soft moan. Turning around, she saw him head for the bathroom and a moment later, she heard the sounds of him being violently ill.

Her heart leaping to her throat and all thoughts of her anger towards him pushed aside for the moment, she bolted to the bathroom as he had left the door open,
"Kevin?"

The younger angel gasped for air as he was all but doubled over on the floor and she was at his side in an instant, her hand instinctively feeling his forehead and finding him burning up with fever, yet shivering violently at the same time.

"I…I feel terrible…" He uttered weakly, his face deathly white as he tried to catch his breathe.

"Hang tight just a moment, honey, and let me go and get you something to drink and some medicine-"

"No...nothing to drink..." He choked out before he started wrenching once more, his arms wrapped around the toilet bowl,
"Cupcake..."

Kneeling down next to him, her anger slowly starting to diminish, Monica reached a hand out and rubbed his back while with the other one, she grabbed a damp washcloth and laid it on his forehead,
"We need to get you back to bed, Kevin...and I'll grab you a bucket in case you feel the need to get ill again."

"I-I want to die..." The youngest angel uttered miserably as he felt Monica help him to his feet and he instantly felt like he was going to fall over,
"Monica, I feel like I'm going to die..."

"You're not going to die, Wonder Boy," She uttered, tears filling her eyes at his words, as she managed to support him in order to help him back to bed. But she had to find that bucket immediately as no sooner did she get him settled, as he was sick again.

After another 6 rounds of that, the youngest angel could do no more than to lie curled up on the bed, in a feverish sweat, moaning in pain and Monica was quickly becoming frantic as she gently stroked his sweat dampened hair, continually wringing out cool washcloths to lay across his forehead, anything to make him feel a little bit better.

But by 3:00am, Kevin was no better and he wasn't even keeping water down at this point and Monica was terrified he would dehydrate, as he had been sick so many times.

"Just let me die…let me die…" Kevin moaned again and again, in more pain than he had ever felt before as an angel in human form.

"Kev, I don't know what else to do…" She uttered through tears, now feeling truly afraid and she knew Kevin was not coherent enough to answer her. On the verge of hysterics and guilt eating at her at how she had treated him today, she bolted out to the kitchen and ignoring the time, she shakily dialed the number to the cabin.

The telephone rang once, twice, three times before Monica let out the breath she was holding when she heard someone answer the phone. Andrew's voice sounded more then sleepy as he picked it up and groaned before answering,
"Hello...?"

Guilt starting to eat at her for having to wake her best friend up at a time like this, Monica twirled the phone cord around her index finger as she started speaking a mile a minute,
"Andrew, I'm sorry to have to wake you up at a time like this, but we've got a serious problem over here." Before her best friend could reply, she continued talking quickly,
"Kevin got sick when we got back from our assignment this evening, and he started throwing up. This was hours ago, Andy, and he's not getting any better. He keeps getting worse! He's sweating like crazy, and he can't even keep water down; he's going to dehydrate if this keeps up, and I'm really getting scared-"

"Whoa, whoa, hang on, Angel Girl," Andrew interrupted, sitting on the edge of his bed as he held the phone up to his ear, trying to take in all she was saying,
"Kevin's sick?"

"Sick as a dog, Andrew; something had to have happened, and I don't know what else to do, so I decided to call you..."

Beginning to wake up and hearing his friend's tear laced words, he interrupted gently,
"You did the right thing, sweetie. I'm going to get Rose and Philip and we'll be there soon, okay? Keep doing what you are doing for him."

"Please hurry, Andrew," She uttered, her voice trembling with fear and exhaustion,
"I've never seen anyone so sick before and I'm scared…"

"We're on our way, honey. Hang tight and take care of Kevin, okay?" As he hung up the phone, Andrew quickly changed into jeans and a sweater, before waking Rose and Philip and it wasn't long before the three of them were speeding to the beach house.

By the time Rose pulled her car up to the beach house almost an hour later, Andrew was the first out of the car and racing towards the front door. Testing the knob and finding it unlocked, the blond angel bolted through the front door, Rose and Philip right behind him, and it wasn't long before he appeared in the doorway of Kevin's bedroom. Knocking softly, he watched as his best friend's head shot up and a cry escaped her as she hurled herself into his arms.

"I'm so glad you're here...he's so sick..." She whispered into his chest, her hands clutching his jacket.

"We'll take care of him, sweetheart," Andrew whispered back, finally pulling away and heading towards Kevin, who had finally managed to fall asleep, although he was restless,
"Go and try to catch some sleep, Angel Girl; the three of us are here now." He gently rubbed her arm and gave her a gentle smile to try and soothe her.

"I was so angry at him the entire day, Andrew..." She whimpered, her eyes darting over to her co-worker again,
"And now...now he's so sick, and I feel terrible for what I did..."

"What did he eat today, honey?" Rose asked, feeling the youngest angel's forehead and shaking her head at how hot he was.

"He had lunch with his assignment, so I'm not sure," Monica responded shakily,
"I can't sleep until I know he is okay…"

"What are you thinking, Rose?" Andrew asked worriedly, deciding he would talk to Monica later about whatever had transpired today.

"The symptoms sound like food poisoning, Angel Boy," She replied with a small sigh,
"If he isn't doing better by tomorrow afternoon, we'll need to get him to a hospital, especially if he can't keep water down."

"A..A hospital?" Monica uttered, tears welling up in her eyes,
"He's that sick?"

Philip wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close to him,
"It could be serious, little angel. It depends on what was wrong with whatever he ate…"

"I can't believe this is happening," She whispered wearily,
"First Denise shows up here and now this?"

"Denise?!" Andrew and Philip repeated the demon's name at the same time and the blond angel's green eyes narrowed into slits at the mention of her,
"That thing had the gall to show her face here tonight?"

Flinching a bit at the look her best friend had in his eyes, clearly seeing the deep anger in him towards Denise, the Irish angel nodded her head quickly,
"She...she showed up right before Kevin got really sick...she told me to watch my back, and-"

Slamming his hand into the doorway, Andrew bit his tongue to hold back any words that would upset his best friend any further,
"Rose, I'm getting this distinct feeling that...THING is in on this somehow..."

"We don't know that for sure, honey," Rose tried to calm him down as she grasped him by the shoulders and turned him around from the doorway,
"Right now, just try and take deep breaths as we need to take care of Kevin right now; and little angel, I really believe you should head off to bed. You look like you're about to collapse any minute, sweetheart."

Tears filled the Irish angel's eyes as she thought about what a mess she had made today. She had been cold and uncaring to Kevin and had angered Denise and now Kevin was sick and taking one look at the youngest angel made her want to break down and sob,
"I'm sorry…I made her angry…I-."

"What happened, Monica?" Philip asked quietly, his saddened eyes downcast.

"She..she was throwing all these things back at me…and when she threw back when I fell, I told her that the fact that you were back with us drove her crazy and I told her some other things too…I never thought…I didn't mean…You should have brought Rose in to do this, Andrew…you should have brought her in to supervise!" A sob escaping her, she turned and fled from the room.

Andrew rested his head against the wall with a heavy sigh, and anger still tingeing his voice
"This is all such a mess."

Exchanging a look with Philip, Rose wrapped an arm around her former charge's shoulders and drew him gently away from the wall,
"Honey, I'll tell you what...why don't you go and talk to your Angel Girl, and try to get her to sleep, and Philip and I will take care of Kevin here; we'll call you if we need you."

Attempting a small smile, although he wasn't feeling up to smiling at the moment as he was so angry, the young blond angel nodded his head reluctantly,
"Thanks, Rose..."

After the supervising angel had left Kevin's room, Rose sighed softly before turning back to Philip,
"There's a lot of work that needs to be done here, honey, so I hope you're ready."

CHAPTER 11

Andrew softly opened the door to Monica's room to find her sitting on the edge of the bed, her hands covering her face as she wept softly and he wasted no time in sitting down beside of her and drawing her into his strong arms, managing to push aside his anger at the demon for her sake.

"Shhh…it's okay, Angel Girl. It's all going to be okay," He whispered, cradling her against his chest.

"I'm sorry…I'm so sorry…" She whimpered tiredly,
"You shouldn't have left me to do this, Andy…I haven't gotten any better at it since Denise…"

Feeling anger filling him and having a strong suspicion that Denise had used that as one of the things to fire back at his best friend tonight, he somehow kept his anger at bay,
"Hey now, have you forgotten about Carla?"

"My track record still stinks," Monica remarked, managing to slow her tears with his calming presence close to her.

"Listen to me, Angel Girl," Andrew whispered into her hair as he rocked her gently,
"We've had this conversation before, haven't we?"

"Yes, but it's still true-"

"You were a terrific supervisor for Carla; the best one an angel could have asked for. It was never your fault when Denise chose the other side. You did the best you could," The supervisor tried to reassure her as gently as possible,
"What do you think Carla would say if she heard you saying these kinds of things about yourself?"

Pressing her face into her best friend's chest as she held tightly to him, Monica's heart fluttered nervously as she contemplated over what to say in reply to the question,
"I don't know, Andy..."

"She would say that she wouldn't have wanted a better supervisor even if she was given the option," Andrew answered for her, resting his chin on top of her head,
"She loved you then, and she still loves you now."

She was quiet for a moment as she calmed down further, but then, her best friend could always calm her down, no matter how bad things seemed,
"You're right…you always are," She whispered, not moving from where she was leaning into him,
"But I still could have done better with Kevin this morning. I was still angry with him and I told him so…"
"Which you had every right to do," He replied patiently,
"Providing that Irish temper didn't rear its ugly head."

Hearing the slight teasing tone in his voice, she managed a small smile,
"No, it didn't. I was good. But now he is so sick and I know it's because of what I said to Denise. I know it's wrong, but I had the upper hand with her for once and I liked it."

"But you still kept a hold of your temper, I'm sure," He replied as he looked down at her,
"You didn't yell, and you remained calm. In fact, what you told her was true...Unfortunately, though, Denise has free will just like all of us, even when it means that she wants to harm the Father's angels." He felt his best friend and charge flinch in his arms and he felt his anger rise again towards the cold-hearted demon,
"But with the Father watching out for us, as He is always in control, He will bring Kevin around when it is time, and we are all going to be here for him. I don't think you're angry at him anymore now, are you, sweetie?"

Shaking her head, even from here it rested against his strong chest, the Irish angel sighed softly,
"No, I'm not...in fact, those arguments feel silly compared to what's happening now. I don't want him to end up in a hospital..." Another sob escaped her and she tightened her hold on her friend.

"None of us do, little one," Andrew answered quietly,
"But what's done is done; we can't turn back time, no matter how much we want to."

"You're staying, aren't you?" She whispered hopefully.

"For now, yes. I had wanted to keep you and Kevin safe from Denise, but as that didn't happen, there isn't any sense in staying away from you two," He replied giving her a gentle squeeze as he felt some of the tension leave her with his words,
"You did very well taking care of Kevin tonight, sweetheart. You did all the things you should have done, including waking me up at three in the morning." He smiled, hearing a shaky laugh escape her,
"You need to get some sleep, Angel Girl."

"But I'm so worried about him, Andy…"

"You've been up all night with him and it's nearly five in the morning. I promise I'll let you know if there is any change, okay?" He finally pulled away to look into her tired and worried dark eyes.

Nodding her head tiredly, Monica wrapped her arms around his neck in a final hug before she released him and allowed her friend to pull back the covers for her. Climbing into bed and hugging her pillow close to her, the Irish angel met her best friend's green eyes before her eyes started to close,
"I love you so much..."

"Right back atcha," He replied with a smile as he kissed her forehead gently,
"Get some sleep, and I'll see you in the morning." After she had nodded off, Andrew quietly left the room and closed the door halfway behind him before heading back to Kevin's room. Once he arrived, he noticed that his youngest charge was now awake and Rose was bathing his sweaty forehead with a damp washcloth.

"Oh Kev," Andrew shook his head in sympathy as he entered the room and knelt down next to the bed.

"A-Andrew?" Kevin uttered weakly, his voice hoarse from continually getting sick,
"I feel horrible…"

"I know, buddy, I know," Andrew replied gently, resting a hand on the younger angel's shoulder,
"But we're all here to take care of you," Picking up the cup of water and straw Monica had beside of his bed, he brought it close to Kevin's face,
"Try to take a little water for me, Kev…"

The younger angel gave out a low moan,
"I'd really rather not…"

"Just a little bit, Wonder Boy. We have to keep trying it so you don't dehydrate." Andrew replied softly, hoping Kevin would comply but also knowing his youngest charge was not the best patient.

Groaning in pain, the youngest angel decided he really had no choice in the matter so, trying to not get sick, he took a tiny sip of the water his supervisor had brought close to him and immediately felt like he wanted to bring it back up,
"No more...no more...I want to die..."

"That's all right, Kev, you did just fine," Andrew reassured as he squeezed his charge's shoulder gently while with the other one, he set the cup back down on the nightstand,
"We're all going to stay here with you throughout the night; but Kev, if you don't get any better by morning, we'll have no choice but to get you to a hospital...Rose thinks this looks like food poisoning-"

"No, please not a hospital," Kevin pleaded miserably as he leaned his head back against the bed and closed his eyes,
"Please...not a hospital; anything but that-"

"Honey, food poisoning is a really serious matter," Rose jumped in, kneeling down by the bed next to Andrew, her blue eyes serious.

"Just let me die and then I won't have to go…" He uttered, feeling his stomach lurch once more,
"I'm never…eating again…"

Under normal circumstances, Andrew would have laughed at the remark, but he knew at the moment that Kevin meant it,
"We'll just wait and see what happens," Andrew soothed softly, taking the cloth from Rose and wiping at the beaded sweat on his charge's forehead.

"Where's Cupcake?" He asked weakly, wanting to change the subject from going to the hospital.

"Sleeping, though we had to make her," Andrew replied, exchanging a glance with Rose.

"She was really great, despite how ticked off she is at me," Kevin mumbled, moaning softly as his stomach lurched once more.

"Was ticked off, you mean," Andrew corrected him, dipping the cloth in a bucket of cool water and wringing it out to place over Kevin's forehead once more,
"I just talked to her, buddy, and she's no long mad; in fact, she's just plain worried about you. We all are, Wonder Boy."

"I deserved it..." He groaned, wanting to just go to sleep and never wake up,
"I'm sorry for my attitude earlier, Simba...I really am..."

"Kev, you don't have to apologize anymore," Andrew shook his head as his eyes met with those of his charge,
"I've forgiven you and so has Monica. Just concentrate on getting well right now, okay?"

"Are you all staying here?" The youngest angel mumbled quietly, his voice barely audible.

"For now, yes," Philip replied, standing behind Rose and Andrew and his dark eyes focused on the sick angel.

"Try to sleep, Kevin, okay?" Andrew told his youngest charge,
"We can talk about all of this when you are feeling better. Mon' and I are all ears when you are up to talking about Paddy and I know she has a few things she wants to say to you as well. But for now, try to rest."

Weakly nodding his head, Kevin closed his brown eyes and Andrew breathed a sigh of relief as he said a silent prayer for rest and healing for his charge. Rising to his feet, he turned around to face Philip and saw the look of devastation on his face,
"Philip?"

"This is my fault," He uttered sadly, not meeting Andrew's eyes,
"Denise came here because I wouldn't go with her, so she tried to get me through Kevin and Monica and because of me, you weren't here with them, Andrew."

"Philip, don't blow this out of proportion," Andrew replied firmly, but his friend interrupted.

"It's the truth. Kevin is sick, Monica feels responsible and Denise did this because of me," He whispered,
"I need some time alone…excuse me."
Drawing in a deep breath, Andrew looked over to Rose, seeing the concern in her eyes as well,
"Looks like things aren't as close to being situated as I once thought, Rose."

"No honey," She agreed, wrapping an arm around his waist,
"It looks like we still have a ways to go."

CHAPTER 12

Kevin moaned in agony late the next morning and he immediately felt like he was going to get sick again. Looking over to the side of his bed, he noticed his supervisor sound asleep next to him, his arms resting on his chair and his head resting upon them. Even in sleep, the sick angel could tell how exhausted his older friend was from the last few days, and Kevin let out another groan as he looked up at the ceiling.

Hearing a noise beside of him, Andrew opened his green eyes and yawned, rubbing the sleep from his eyes before turning his head to Kevin. Concern immediately filled his eyes as he saw how pale his charge looked,
"Hey, Kev, how you doing this morning?"

"Like I've been ran over by a speeding train," The youngest angel mumbled miserably, wanting to just roll over and be done with his life,
"I wanta die, Simba..."

"We're going to have to get you to the hospital, Kevin," Andrew said regretfully,
"You need an IV to keep fluids in you."

"No, Simba, please…" He begged, not even wanting to think about it.

"There isn't any choice, Kev," He sighed, feeling his charge's forehead and shaking his head,
"You're still burning up…"

"Just give it a little longer, please? I don't want to go to the hospital…"

"He has to go, Andy?" Monica uttered, as she walked into the room. Seeing her best friend nod his head, she felt tears fill her eyes as she knelt beside the bed and caught Kevin's hand up in her own,
"Kev', I'm so, so sorry about yesterday…"

"Don't apologize, Monica..." Kevin moaned as he tried to squeeze her hand, but found most of his strength gone,
"It was...my fault; I deserved it, Cupcake..."

"No, you didn't," The Irish angel choked on a sob as she wiped at her eyes with her free hand. Glancing over at her best friend, she whispered miserably,
"Andy..."

"Go and get Rose and Philip, and then call the hospital. Tell them we're on our way," The supervisor commanded, looking over at his dearest friend and then back at Kevin,
"Kev, I'm really sorry about this...but I have to..."

Moaning in agony, Kevin reluctantly nodded his head, knowing he had lost the battle. Falling silent again, he watched as the Irish angel darted out of the bedroom and down the hall to where the two older angels were sleeping.

"Come on, buddy," Andrew said softly, lifting his youngest charge from the bed and into his arms,
"Let's get you settled in the car. Monica will come with us and Rose and Philip can follow in her car."

At the movement, Kevin felt his stomach lurch once again,
"You'd better make a pit stop, Simba, unless you want me to have revenge for that carnival roller coaster awhile back…"

Relieved that Kevin's sense of humor was still remotely intact, Andrew got him to the bathroom in time for him to be sick once more as the older angel rubbed his back gently. Once Kevin seemed stable once more, Andrew picked him up and headed outside for the car, meeting Monica at the door.

"I'll ride in the back with him," She offered, climbing in first in order to help Andrew get him into the back seat, so she could cradle his head on her lap. Running her fingers soothingly through his brown hair, she whispered softly to him,
"You're going to be fine, Kevin, and despite the fact that I was a shrew yesterday, I love you."

Managing a weak smile, the younger angel replied as Andrew backed the car out of the driveway,
"Yeah, well, I was a dork two days ago and I love you too, Cupcake, so I guess we're even."

The tears making their way down her face at his words, Monica felt another pang of guilt in her stomach,
"Maybe so, Kev, but I just want you to get better..." Her hand continued running through his dark hair soothingly as she met his eyes with hers.

"I hope so too," The angel moaned softly, resting his hand on the Irish angel's knee and squeezing it tightly, all the while feeling his stomach lurch in pain again,
"Oh God, I hope we get there soon..."

"It shouldn't take long, buddy; just hang tight," Andrew called over his shoulder as he stepped on the gas, going a little just over the speed limit,
"Just let us know if you start to feel worse, all right, buddy?"

"I don't think I can feel any worse then I do right now," He groaned in reply, closing his eyes tightly.
Seeing the deathly whiteness of his face, Monica met her best friend's eyes in the rear view mirror,
"Hurry, Andy, please…he looks terrible."

"Thanks for the compliment, Cupcake," Kevin mumbled, managing to make her laugh through her tears.

"You're impossible even when you're sick, you know that?" She replied, taking his hand into hers and squeezing it gently.

"Keep him talking, Mon'," Andrew told her softly, glancing over his shoulder at her,
"We're nearly there."

"Keep me talking?" Kevin groaned as he looked to the front of car and then up at Monica,
"That's a first..."

Squeezing his hand hard, the Irish angel narrowed her eyes down at her younger friend and quipped back,
"You know what we mean, Wonder Boy...we just want you alert when we get there; just please, do not pass out, all right?"

"I'll do my best..." The caseworker replied back as he winced from the pain,
"I hope you mean it when you say we're almost there...I don't want to get sick on Cupcake's lap, Andrew..."

Running a hand through his dark hair, Monica's tears came once more, even as she replied in a shaky whisper,
"Right now, I won't yell at you if you do; but please, try to hold it for just a few more minutes, all right? If Andrew says we're nearly there, then we're nearly there."

"We're here!" The oldest angel called back from the front seat as he pulled the car up to the front of the Emergency Room. Putting the car into park and jumping out, Andrew glanced behind him and noticed that Rose and Philip had just pulled up as well; coming around to the back, the angel opened up the door and reached for his youngest charge,
"C'mon, buddy, let's get you in there." With all the gentleness in his being, Andrew managed to pick Kevin up off of Monica's lap and carried him into the ER.

Jumping out of the backseat and preparing to move Andrew's car over to the parking lot, Monica felt Philip's hand on her shoulder,
"Little angel, I have this. Go."

"Thank you," She uttered before breaking into a run to catch up with Kevin and Andrew and arriving just as they were wheeling Kevin back into the ER,
"We have to wait?"

"Yeah, Angel Girl," Andrew replied, worry flickering in his green eyes,
"They'll find out what is wrong; if it is food poisoning and they'll let us know as soon as they can," He sighed heavily,
"I need to go and move the car…"

"Philip is doing it," She assured him, wrapping an arm around his waist, her own expression showing her concern,
"Kev must be so scared. Nothing like this has ever happened to him before," Her dark eyes clouded slightly then cleared as she thought about Denise, sure that the demon was the one responsible for this.

Wrapping an arm around his best friend's shoulders, Andrew drew her close to him as he moved over to a set of plastic chairs and took a seat, his arm still around her,
"With Denise, anything can happen..." He mumbled, annoyance showing plainly in his voice.

Flinching a bit, Monica tightened her hold around her friend and rested her head on his shoulder,
"Do you think Kevin will be okay, Andy?"

"Only God knows, Angel Girl; but knowing Kevin as well as we do, he's going to fight this battle and being an angel, he will get through it," He kissed the top of his best friend's head and then rested his cheek against the top of her head,
"And keep praying for him. You've been really strong through all of this, and we both need to be strong for him right now."

"I still feel so guilty about this," She whispered softly to him,
"As much as Kevin can infuriate me, I didn't want anything like this to happen to him…I just wanted to make him feel bad for awhile about letting Molly out and that was wrong…"

Andrew rubbed her shoulder gently,
"There was nothing you could have done to have stopped Denise, sweetie. If it is food poisoning, she did that before she ever talked to you last night. As for being angry at Kevin, you were right to tell him how you felt and my understanding is that neither of you picked a fight with each other about it. You handled things as best you could and that is all I ever ask from either of you."

A small smile crossed her face at his words, as she moved to wrap her arms around him and kiss his cheek,
"You know something? For as mad as I was the day you became my supervisor, I couldn't be any happier now, Andy. Kevin and I are so blessed to have you guiding us, my friend."

Smiling slightly at her words, Andrew gave her a gentle squeeze back as he kissed her cheek,
"And I couldn't have asked for better charges. You two are the greatest, you know that?"

Giggling, Monica shook her head as the two friends released each other and she gave him a playful swat on the arm,
"If you say so, my friend."

"I do say so," Andrew chuckled, despite the worry in his heart for Kevin, and leaned over to kiss his friend's cheek again,
"I do."

Two hours later, the foursome was finally told where Kevin's room was and that the diagnosis was indeed food poisoning. The doctor reassured them that Kevin would be fine hopefully within the next 24 hours as they treated the fact that he was dehydrated.

The youngest angel was dozing more peacefully with the help of medication when they arrived in his room and the angels breathed a sigh of relief that he seemed to be in less pain then he had been when they had arrived.

"Thank you, Father," Rose uttered softly with a soft smile.

Andrew approached his charge's bed and ran a gentle hand over Kevin's head,
"You're going to be fine, buddy. Just fine."

"He looks like a little kid," Monica remarked, a trace of sadness in her voice as she viewed her co-worker,
"I don't think I've ever seen him so sick or so still before."

"Before you know it, though, he's gonna be back to his regular self, I'm sure," Philip quipped, hoping to lighten the mood between his three friends. He shot a wink over at Andrew and Monica and was relieved when he saw them smile back at him.

"I heard that," Kevin's weak voice sounded and all four angels turned to see him, his dark eyes fluttering open,
"I'm hearing everything you're saying about me..."

Shaking his head, Andrew took a seat beside his friend and charge's bedside, his hand still running over Kevin's head,
"How are you feeling, buddy?"

"Like I don't want to eat, Simba," He groaned, his eyes turning to his supervisor,
"I'm gonna live, aren't I?"

"Yeah, Wonder Boy," Andrew smiled gently at his friend and charge,
"Seems you have a long and full existence ahead of you."

"That's good to know," He smiled weakly,
"I wasn't so sure for awhile there."

Exchanging a glance with his other friends, Andrew was about to comment when a dark presence suddenly appeared in the room with them and his eyes narrowed in anger as Denise winked at him.
"Well, hello, Angel babies!" She crooned sweetly, glancing over at Kevin,
"Aw, not feeling well, Wonder Boy? I'm so sorry to hear that…allow me to introduce myself," She reached for his hand and grabbed it in a death grip,
"I'm Denise…you may know me as Philip's friend or Monica's first charge and it's a pleasure, a real pleasure."

His own eyes turning fearful as he finally came face to face with the demon his friends had talked about before, Kevin then felt anger burning inside of him as he weakly pulled his hand away,
"Get away from me..."

Before Denise could reply, Andrew made his way over to the demon and stood in between Kevin's bed and her,
"Leave this room, and our existence, NOW, Denise. We will not tell you again."

Folding her arms across her chest, Denise smirked at the angry blond angel before reaching out and giving him a light push,
"You know you're so cute when you get angry. You should do it more often, Andy."

"Back off, Denise," Monica spoke up, managed to keep her voice controlled. Though the shove to her best friend had been light, it still angered her and she had always felt a sense of responsibility when Denise wreaked havoc on her friends,
"You're not welcome here. You never were."

"You know, little one, you've gotten awfully lippy lately," Denise growled at her,
"And I thought I warned you last night…"

"Denise, I'm warning you…" Andrew stated, his eyes smoldering with anger as he saw Rose and Philip move protectively closer to the ailing angel.

"You can't fight me with anger, sugar, you should know that,"
The demon quipped with a smile.

Stepping closer to the demon, all the while trying to keep most of his anger under control, Andrew responded, his voice dangerously low,
"I am going to count to three, Denise, and if you're not out of here by then..."

"I'm so scared, Angel Boy," Denise mocked, rolling her demonic eyes the ceiling,
"Give me a break, Andrew."

"One," Andrew started, and even as he came to three, he still noticed that the demon was still in the room and with a prayer of strength, the angel felt the light of God's Love surround him and he glowed brightly in front of her,
"I warned you, Denise. Now in the name of the Father, get out of here before I personally escort you out. You were never welcome to begin with, and you never will be."

Scowling, she rolled her eyes,
"You've gone too far, Andrew…both you and Philip. But don't worry, I'll get even. I'll hit you where it hurts the most, Angel Boy, and I know right where that is," Her voice trailed off as her eyes wandered to Kevin, then Monica, then back to his,
"I'll see you soon sugar."

Monica let out a deep breath as the demon vanished from the room. Though she had not missed Denise's reference to hurting Andrew by hurting Kevin or her, she was hoping that Kevin had missed it,
"Are you okay, Kev?" She asked gently, moving to the bed and taking his hand, not ready yet to meet Andrew's eyes or discuss the demon's threats as her temper felt on the edge of eruption.

"Remind me never to run into her in a dark alley," Kevin uttered weakly,
"But yeah, Cupcake, I'm okay."

Andrew forced himself to breathe easily, as his green eyes were turned the other direction so that his friends couldn't see the look on his face. Finally after several long moments, the blond angel finally turned around and looked back at his friends,
"She won't hurt either of you. I won't let them."

His brown eyes widening, Kevin weakly reached for his supervisor's hand and replied,
"She's too stupid to hurt us, Simba..."

"Kev, she's done it before," The Irish angel replied in a whisper, shaking her head as she finally found the courage to meet Andrew's still frustrated green eyes,
"She's not afraid to hurt us..."

"But she won't this time," Andrew interrupted, his eyes traveling from his two charges and then to Philip,
"She's gone too far, and I won't let her do it again."

CHAPTER 13

"I mean it, Monica," Andrew ranted, as he paced the floor that night once they had returned back to the beach house once knowing that Kevin was resting peacefully,
"Once Kevin is out of the hospital, I want both of you to go Home till this is finished."

"No, Andrew," Monica repeated once more, her eyes on him as she sat on the sofa in the living room,
"You aren't being fair about this…"

"I'm your supervisor, I don't have to be fair," He retorted sharply, his eyes flashing anger that she knew was not directed at her.

"You're angry with Denise and not thinking straight, Andy. I'm not going Home and leaving you down here to deal with this and Kevin will say the same thing," She replied calmly, figuring one of them needed to be.

"I don't care, I refuse to leave you both down here, with Kevin vulnerable, and an easy target for that demon!" Andrew snapped back, not meaning to come off as harsh with his best friend, but his anger at the demon was getting the better of him,
"I can't do that, Monica-"

"But I can, Andrew," Monica interrupted in the same calm tone,
"Kevin and I have handled each other for several days now, and we can handle Denise if she decides to make an appearance. Don't worry about us, Andy."

"Angel Girl, I said back at the hospital that I wouldn't let Denise do anything to you two, and I meant it," The oldest angel continued his rant, although Monica could tell that his voice had lowered somewhat,
"What if she gets a hold of you somehow?"

"But she may not," The Irish angel answered back, looking straight into his eyes,
"With God on our side, she won't win, no matter how badly she wants to."

"Are you forgetting that the last time you tangled with her you wound up falling, Monica?" He asked, his fury refueling some at the memory of that terrible time as he shook his head,
"I'm not willing to risk it again with you or with Kevin. You're going Home and that's final."

"No, it isn't final," She replied rising to her feet to face him,
"You know that if I thought you were right, I would do whatever you asked me to do. You know that. But you are not right about this, Andy."

"But what I say goes, little girl-." He began, but she interrupted him.

"You have never been that way with us, Andrew and I'm not about to have you start now because you are upset with Denise. You say Kevin has no experience with demons, but you aren't willing to let him learn, and I've dealt with her worst and can deal with whatever else she decides to deal out. You're constantly asking me to trust you and I do, now trust me with this…"

"You know I trust you with everything, but I can't let her do this-"

"Andrew, please, just listen to me and listen to yourself!" Monica walked closer to him and walked until she was meeting his eyes,
"Kevin will never be able to learn if we are sent Home; you know that. And we cannot go Home every single time Denise or Kathleen roll around. They're going to show up, and Kevin will have to learn to deal with them, the same way I did. Don't you understand, Andy? Don't you understand what I'm talking about?"

His face paling somewhat, Andrew slumped down on the couch, his eyes still on his best friend,
"I do, but...but I can't let her hurt you like that again! You were the one she first went after right before she fell..."

"Because she hates me, and she hates God, and she hates you for loving me," She replied patiently. Still seeing the stubborn look on his handsome face, she continued,
"Just think about this, please?"

"I have thought about it, Monica and I'm not willing to risk the two of you. She's threatened you twice now in two days and she's evil enough to make good on her threats," He replied wearily.

"Andrew, if I go Home, all I'll do is worry about you. Don't you understand that I'd rather face her worst with you then to be elsewhere and worry about what could be happening?" Tentatively, she reached for his hands and held them in her own as she looked up into his eyes,
"Please let me stay with you. We've always been stronger together than apart."

"I hate to admit that you're right about that..." He replied with a weary shake of his head. His hands still holding hers, he pulled her down next to him on the couch with a sigh,
"I really don't want to do this, Mon..."

"But it's the truth though," Monica interrupted gently, squeezing his hands tightly,
"You know it's the truth. We've been through much worse, my friend, and Denise's threats could be hollow for all we know. Please, Andy, please let me stay with you. At least we'll know that the other is all right."

Several minutes passed in silence as Andrew contemplated over all that she was saying, and finally, though hating himself for saying it, he replied back quietly,
"All right. But we're all going to be together, you hear me? I'm also going to have Philip stay here with us as well, as he still needs a supervisor and Tess isn't back yet from her assignment."

Relief filled her heart as she released his hands and flung her arms around him, giving him enthusiastic kisses on his cheeks and nose,
"Thank you!"

Unable to help but laugh, he hugged her back tightly,
"You're a mess sometimes, Angel Girl, but I love you anyway."

"You know it, Angel Boy," She quipped back, pushing her concerns to the back of her mind,
"And I love you too, even when you are trying to out-stubborn me."

"New Scrabble word?" He asked innocently, chuckling as she whacked him over the head with one of the sofa pillows.

Kevin awoke in the middle of the night, almost feeling confused about where he was at the moment; but reality soon hit him as he looked around the room and noticed that he was in the hospital. Sighing sleepily, he lifted a hand to rub at his tired eyes, trying to figure out why he woke up this early in the morning. But just as he was about to close his eyes again and try to go back to sleep, another presence in the room caused him to turn his head and he sucked in a sharp breath.

"I thought they told you to get lost?" The youngest angel demanded as he glared angrily at Denise, despite how horrible he still felt.

Shrugging her shoulders, Denise made her way over to his bedside and laid her hands on the bed railing,
"Aw, c'mon baby. You mean to tell me that you don't want to have some company!"

"I don't recall asking for any," Kevin replied coldly, determined not to let his fear show. This was new territory for him and he wasn't exactly feeling up to par to take this on at the moment.

"Well, I'm afraid you're just stuck with me," She remarked, walking over to where his IV's were hanging and turning off the machine. She knew this wasn't a life or death situation, but she could stand to make him highly uncomfortable with not getting the fluids his body had lost last night,
"How about a little reminder of how you felt last night?" She asked sweetly as with a flash of her eyes, Kevin was immediately doubled over in pain,
"You're way too easy, sugar."

"G-Get out of here," Kevin moaned miserably, as the pain stabbed at him once more, coming in droves from the evil demon.

Before Denise could take another shot at the sick angel, a noise next to Kevin's bedside sounded and the demon narrowed her eyes as she watched the machine turn itself back on and Rose suddenly appeared beside it,
"Oh great, darling Rose is here to save the day-"

Resting a gentle hand on Kevin's shoulder and noticing that he was starting to breathe easily again, Rose narrowed her blue eyes at Denise and moved forward so that she was standing in between the two,
"Denise, I thought we told you to get out of here."

"And I thought I told you that I wouldn't stay away, Rosie Posie." Denise winked at the angel and smirked.

"Maybe not, but this angel needs his rest without you disturbing him," The angel interrupted sternly, her eyes still narrowed into slits at the demon,
"So in the name of the Father, the Almighty and the Creator of this universe, go back to where you came from, Denise. You're not winning, and you never will."

"You angels sure do like to throw that phrase around," Denise growled at her,
"but don't worry, I'm not through here. Not by a long shot," She smiled over at Kevin,
"Until next time, Wonder Boy."

As the demon vanished once again, Rose moved to run her hand through Kevin's tangled hair,
"Are you all right, honey?"

"I'm glad you got here when you did, Rose," He replied, still trying to calm down,
"I don't like her very much."

Smiling slightly, the older angel spoke once more,
"None of us do, Kevin, we're just forced to deal with her sometimes. I'm staying right here with you, honey, so try to rest. I'm going to call Andrew and let him know what happened."

"Rose, wait till morning, okay? He was tired and as you're going to be here, I'll be fine," He replied wearily.

"That's a fair deal, sweetheart," Rose replied with a soft sigh,
"I just hope he's sleeping and not still pacing the floor worrying about you and Monica. He doesn't take Denise's threats or the safety of his two charges lightly."

"The next time you see him, Rose...will you ask him to not worry about me?" Kevin pleaded, looking up at the oldest angel through tired eyes,
"I love him and all, but sometimes I think he worries too much...I don't want him doing it now, especially when his plate is already full."

"Yes, I will, honey," Rose agreed, gently squeezing his hand as she took a seat in the chair close to Kevin's bed,
"But I want you to try and rest now, all right? Denise won't be appearing anymore tonight, not with me here; and you know that if she tries anything funny, I won't let her anywhere near you."

Smiling slightly in her direction, the youngest angel nodded his head as he felt his eyes close in exhaustion,
"I appreciate that, Rose. Thank you..."

Monica awoke early the next morning and slowly sat up in bed. Rubbing the sleep from her dark eyes, she looked over and sighed softly as she saw her dearest friend sound asleep in the chair in her room.

Quietly getting up, her heart bursting with love for his protectiveness of her, she grabbed the quilt from her bed and gently covered him with it, before softly kissing his cheek. She then headed out to the kitchen to call the hospital to check on Kevin.

Ringing his room, she was surprised when Rose picked up the phone and was completely dismayed upon hearing that Denise had been there last night and had tried to hurt her younger co-worker,
"Is he okay?" She uttered, her voice holding urgency.

"Still sound asleep," Rose reassured her in a hushed voice so as not to wake the angel,
"How is Andrew this morning, sweetheart? Has he calmed down? He was pretty worked up last night."

Sighing softly, the young angel sank down in a kitchen chair, remembering the previous day,
"I don't think he got much sleep last night, Rose. I think he was awake most of the night, keeping watch over me because I woke to find him sleeping in a chair beside my bed."

"Oh dear," The Search and Rescue angel let out a soft sigh herself,
"I'm sorry, little angel..."

Shaking her head, Monica leaned her chin in her hand while she held the telephone with her other hand,
"It's not your fault. I was finally able to at least convince him that he shouldn't send Kevin and I back Home once Kev's out of the hospital, but besides that...I can tell that he's still worked up, despite that we were joking around before I went to bed."

"I've been worrying about this," Rose remarked with another sigh,
"Ever since you were gone those three days, I knew he was going to get worked up the next time one of those demons showed up and he isn't going to be happy over what happened last night. I hope you don't lose your battle to stay, honey."

"I don't intend to," Monica replied confidently,
"And I'll tell him what happened last night with Kevin. Are they releasing him today, do you know?"

"His doctor hasn't been in yet, Monica," Rose replied in response to her question,
"And as Kevin is still asleep, I don't know how he is feeling. Though food poisoning only last about 24 hours generally and it should be more or less out of his system by now, though he isn't going to forget this little experience anytime soon."

"I know," She stated sadly, thinking about their co-worker, who so loved food,
"We'll be there, Rose, as soon as Andrew and Philip wake up. You're staying with Kevin, right? I'd come relieve you, but my angelic body guard would not be happy if I headed there alone."

Rose chuckled softly at her words describing Andrew,
"I'm just fine, so I'll see you when you get here."

"All right. Thanks, Rose," With that, the little Irish angel hung up the phone and rested her forehead in her hands, unable to believe that Denise had paid a visit to Kevin during the night.

Before she could think any further of how she was going to explain this to her best friend when he got up, Andrew's voice interrupted her thoughts and she jerked her head up to see him coming into the kitchen. His clothes were rumpled from having slept in them, and his blond hair was in disarray,
"Morning, Mon."

A small smile appeared on the corners of Monica's face as she rose to her feet and made her way over to him, hugging him tightly for a moment,
"Morning, Andy." Releasing him then, she looked up into his tired eyes,
"I can't believe you slept in that chair all night. Weren't you uncomfortable?"

"I'd have been more uncomfortable in my room worrying," He remarked with a yawn, sitting down at the table.

"Well, at least let me fix you some breakfast," She offered, moving to put a bagel in the toaster for him before taking a container of orange juice out of the refrigerator.

"Thanks, Angel Girl," He managed a weary smile for her,
"Though I think this morning calls for coffee."

"An angel after my own heart," Monica teased lightly as she moved to start a pot, trying to delay telling him what had happened for as long as possible, though he opened the door much sooner than she would have liked.

"Who were you talking to before I came in?" He asked, running a hand through his tousled hair as he watched her evade his gaze.

Sighing softly, she replied,
"Rose. I called to check on Kevin," As the bagel came up out of the toaster, she put it on a plate and grabbed some cream cheese before she placed them in front of him.

"She's at the hospital already?" Andrew inquired as he spread the cream cheese on his bagel, his suspicious eyes lingering on her.

Sitting down beside of him, Monica finally met his gaze,
"She was there most of the night. Denise paid Kevin a visit. She unplugged his IV and caused him some pain, but he's fine," She added, stressing the last two words.

As soon as the words were out of his best friend's mouth, Andrew dropped the bagel he was about to take a hungry bite into back onto the plate and turned horrified eyes back to Monica,
"What?!"

Flinching slightly, Monica lowered her head before drawing in a shaky breath and reaching a hand out to lay it on top of her friend's,
"But he's just fine now, Andy. Please, don't get all shook up-"

"You're saying that DENISE set foot into Kevin's room, with nobody in there, and tried to hurt him?" Andrew demanded,
"Is that what Rose said?"

"Yes, but she got there in time to stop her, before Denise did any damage," The younger angel tried to reassure him, squeezing his hand tightly.

"My God, I can't believe we all left him alone during the night..." He mumbled angrily to himself, releasing his best friend's hand and lowering his face into his hands,
"What was I thinking about?"

"You were thinking about the fact that he would have nurses in and out of his room all night, Andrew-." Monica implored him, but he was quick to interrupt.

"But not with him consistently, Monica, and we both know that all Denise needs is a tiny opening to do damage! How could I have been so stupid?" He berated himself, pushing his chair away from the table and rising to his feet.

"Andy…" She pleaded softly, but he shook his head.

"I need a little time…alone," He stated firmly before he turned on his heel and exited the kitchen.

Drawing in a shaky breath, Monica lowered her head to her hands once more, wanting more than anything to go after him, but knowing better than to do so at the moment,
"Denise," She muttered underneath her breath,
"I'm warning you…stay away."

CHAPTER 14

"Sweetness, are you all right?"

Monica looked up, startled, several minutes later at the sound of Philip's voice and the Irish angel sighed heavily as she leaned her head in her hands,
"I don't know right now, to be honest, Philip..."

"Something's wrong; I can tell," The newest angel tilted his head in confusion as he took a seat, still dressed in his night clothes, next to Monica,
"Did something happen with Andrew?"

Monica shook her head immediately, not yet looking into his concerned dark eyes,
"No. Not with Andrew..." She drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly before continuing,
"Denise paid a visit to Kevin last night...I called the hospital to check on him, and Rose answered, informing me about what had happened."

Philip's eyes widened as he replied,
"And where is Andrew now?"

"He said he needed some time alone," She stated sadly, shaking her head,
"He's blaming himself or blaming he and I for not knowing better, which we should have as we've been dealing with her long enough. He wanted Kevin and I to go Home once he is out of the hospital, but I talked him out of it."

"That may not be a bad idea…" Philip began, but the Irish angel was quick to cut him off.

"No, Philip, it's a terrible idea and I'll fight it every step of the way," She stated firmly.

"This is my fault," He sighed heavily,
"It's me she wants…"

"And she would never be bothering any of us, if I hadn't lost her as a caseworker," Monica replied with a sigh of her own.

"Monica, no...that wasn't your fault; it was Denise's, and you know it," Philip objected, reaching for her hand and taking it in his own,
"You did the best you could do under those circumstances. Denise was blaming you for all of her failed assignments, Monica, instead of taking responsibility for her own actions..."

"But I still lost her, Philip," Monica objected with a weary shake of her head,
"I still lost her, and now she's part of the dark side and our enemy; and she won't leave us alone...she won't leave you alone, and she's trying to hurt Kevin by doing that. And I have to say that it's working..."

"Little angel, we don't need you blaming yourself as well-"

"Well, then what am I supposed to do?" Monica shrugged her shoulders helplessly,
"One thing keeps leading to another, and it all started because I lost my very first caseworker."

He squeezed her hand gently as he looked knowingly into her eyes,
"You know, blaming yourself doesn't solve the fact that you are worrying about Andrew and that is what this is really about."

Monica smiled wryly, a slight blush rising to her cheeks,
"I know. I hate seeing him so upset, especially about Denise or Kathleen. They were both my problem first and because of his friendship with me, they are now his problems as well and now seem to be Kevin's too. I know he wants to protect us, but the Father will do that, just as He will with you, Philip."

"Andrew doesn't want any of us to face her alone, sweetness. She makes too many threats and he knows that if he is there, he can reassure us and help us stand up to her. He feels an incredible sense of responsibility to you and to Kevin especially, to not let harm come to you. He takes his role as supervisor and friend very seriously."

"I know he does," The Irish angel whispered, lowering her head with a heavy sigh,
"That's part of what makes him a fabulous supervisor and best friend..."
"I sense a 'but' coming," Philip lifted an eyebrow as he waited for her to continue.

"But...you're right; I worry so much about him all the time. I hate it when he gets hurt because of Denise, whether it be emotionally or physically, and because she has tried to harm Kevin again...Andrew's now so upset, and you know that when he gets upset, he shuts us out," She continued in one breath,
"A part of me understands why he wants Kevin and I to return Home, but I'm not about to leave him here to face all of this by himself, Philip."

Drawing in a deep breath, the newest angel released Monica's hand and grasped her shoulders gently so that her eyes met his,
"Sweetness, I think you need to talk with Andrew about this. You need to explain to him that he's not at fault for any of this; none of you guys are. Denise had done these kinds of things since she turned away..."

"But he said that he wanted to be alone," The little Irish angel weakly objected.

"And I think that nine times out of ten, you are the one exception to that rule," He replied gently with a smile,
"I think you know that too."

Smiling now, albeit a little sadly, Monica nodded her head,
"I do know that," Rising to her feet, she shyly kissed the newest angel's cheek,
"Thank you for reminding me."

Quietly, Monica walked out onto the deck of the beach house, seeing her best friend leaning up against the railing, staring intently at the ocean. Gently, she wrapped her arms around his waist from behind and rested her cheek against his shoulder blade,
"Tell me what you're thinking, Andy," She urged softly.

He was quiet for a moment, before sighing softly and replying in a tone that was more serious than she had heard in a long time,
"I'm thinking we never should have left Kevin alone last night as we both knew better. I'm thinking that you and Kevin need to go Home, but that you are too stubborn to do that. I'm thinking that I should pull rank on you and make you go, but I don't want you furious with me, plus a part of me wants you here; the part of me that is thinking I need my best friend as opposed to the supervisor part of me that wants you to go Home. I'm also thinking of how to best handle this situation with Denise when we all have assignments to deal with-Philip and I, as well as you and Kevin, but I don't really want you and Kev working alone right now…" He drew in a deep breath, his eyes still focused on the horizon,
"That is what I am thinking."

Giving her best friend a gentle squeeze, she leaned her chin against his shoulder and replied,
"It's not your fault, though; trust me, Andy."

"It sure feels like it, though," The older angel lowered his head in shame down to his folded hands on the railing,
"It's been a while since I've felt this much shame towards myself, Monica...you've been acting more responsible then I have lately-"

"Now that's not true, sweetie," Monica gently interrupted, turning her best friend around so that their eyes met. Sadness filled the younger angel's eyes as she saw the deep frustration and self-blame in his emerald eyes,
"I think deep down in your heart, you know that you've done all you could these past couple of days."

"No, that isn't true," He replied, shaking his head,
"Leaving Kevin alone like that should never have been an option. He is defenseless right now and I left him at Denise's mercy. He's already thinking we abandoned him regarding losing Paddy and now we abandon him with Denise running around looking for revenge."

"Kevin knows now that we didn't abandon him and he knows that he should have been honest about it where Paddy is concerned. No, we shouldn't have left him last night, but Andrew, it had been a long two days for both of us, and though we should have been, we weren't thinking.," Reaching out, she took his hands into her own and squeezed them tightly,
"Andrew, you are a wonderful supervisor, but you aren't perfect, anymore than I am and you are acting responsibly, to some extent, too much so. Sleeping in a chair last night, was not necessary. I am not lying in a hospital bed and though I love you for trying to protect me, I stood up to her the other night alone and I can do that again, if need be," She smiled thoughtfully,
"To be honest, it felt good to do that as I've been letting her walk all over me long enough. So don't think you need to handle this all on your own, Andy. You have help, if you just accept it."

Andrew lowered his eyes to the ground, not sure of how to reply. Finally, he released his best friend's hands and turned back around to face the ocean to hide the stinging of tears in his green eyes. As he stared ahead of him, he once again felt his best friend's arm wrap around him and the simple action caused the tears to slowly fall from his eyes,
"Angel Girl, it's not that I don't believe you...but I still feel rotten..."

"Then let me help you, my friend," The little Irish angel pleaded, looking up at him from where her chin rested on his shoulder,
"Let us help you. Andy; Philip thinks the world of you now, and so does Kevin, and they both want to see you happy and not blaming yourself. We all know you're not perfect, and we don't expect you to be. We just want you to be you, Andrew, and nobody else."
Still not getting a response from him, she continued determinedly,
"You are giving Denise exactly the reaction she hoped for, you know. There is nothing she likes better than to have any of us feeling guilty and like we failed and you know that, Angel Boy. Don't play into her hands, Andy. You're better than that and smarter than that. You can't protect Kevin or I twenty-four hours a day and if you did, we would never learn anything about trusting the Father or ourselves. He has always gotten us through whatever has happened and He will help us this time too, and that is something else you know and tell me constantly."

Andrew felt almost speechless at her words, wondering where on earth his best friend seemed to have suddenly gotten confidence that she had been lacking for years. Though this was what he had been hoping for as long as he could remember, it was still taking him by surprise,
"You're right, Mon'. I've given Denise the upper hand so far and I'm sure she knows that and is celebrating that fact."

"Right," The little Irish angel grinned,
"So lets rain on her parade, Andrew."

Unable to stop a tearful smile from appearing on his face, the older angel cracked a grin as he turned around again to look at his dearest friend lovingly,
"Have I told you lately how much I love you, Mon? Just how much...?" His voice choked up as he spoke, his green eyes looking straight into Monica's.

Tightening her arms around his waist, Monica pulled him close to her as she nodded her head,
"You tell me every single day, Andy; and I love you right back, my dear sweet friend. You have a heart of gold, Andrew, and I wouldn't have you any other way." With her arm still around him, the Irish angel shot him a wink as she pulled him towards the doorway,
"Let's go back inside now before Philip really starts to worry." As the two angels exchanged smiles with one another, they headed back towards the door and into the beach house.

Rose looked up tiredly and smiled when she saw Andrew and Monica, hand in hand, closely followed by Philip, come into Kevin's hospital room. Raising an eyebrow at Monica, remembering their earlier phone discussion, she managed not to laugh when the Irish angel shot her a wink.

"He's still asleep?" Andrew asked incredulously, noting how Kevin still seemed to be resting peacefully,
"Has his doctor been in to see him?"

"He'll be here soon, I'm sure, honey," Rose remarked, smiling at her former charge,
"But your charge here seems to be feeling better judging by how well he is sleeping."

Moving over to stand next to his older friend, Andrew reached a hand out and smoothed back Kevin's brown hair,
"You're gonna be fine, Wonder Boy...I know it..."

Reaching for his hand, Rose gave Andrew's a gentle squeeze while smiling reassuringly up at him,
"You've got that one right, Angel Boy. Your charge doesn't like hospitals, so he's determined to be out of here soon." She gave him a wink and was relieved to see a smile appear on her young friend's handsome face.

"He hates hospitals; he was the one who was trying to convince me to not bring him here to begin with," The blond supervisor replied, shooting a glance at Rose before turning his attention back to Kevin. Sighing softly, he took a seat next to her, his hand still stroking back Kevin's tangled hair,
"You look like you didn't get much sleep last night either, Rose."

The Search and Rescue angel gave his hand another squeeze as she shrugged her shoulders,
"I caught a few winks of sleep, but I wanted to be awake in case anything happened with your Wonder Boy."

"Why don't you head on home, Rose?" He urged, seeing her tired expression,
"We can handle things from here and a few hours sleep will serve you well. Hopefully, we'll be there soon, with Kevin."

Nodding her head, Rose replied,
"I would actually appreciate that, honey. I'm afraid this old angel's human form is feeling a little weary. But you call if you need anything."

"You know we will, Rose," Monica replied with a smile at their older friend as she walked over to the other side of Kevin's bed and carefully sat down on it, being careful not to disturb the sleeping angel.

As Rose bid them good-bye and left with Philip, who volunteered to drive her back, Monica gently took Kevin's hand into her own, relieved at the much more peaceful look that was now on his face, even despite Denise's appearance last night,
"He looks a lot better," She whispered to her best friend, her dark eyes never leaving the youngest angel's face.

"Yeah, he does," Andrew replied, relief evident on his handsome face. Rising from his chair, he also took a seat on Kevin's other side, reaching for his left hand,
"I'd be surprised if he's not allowed to come home..."

With the hand that wasn't holding onto her co-worker's, the little Irish angel reached across Kevin's bed and linked her fingers through Andrew's, holding tightly,
"I'm sure he will be able to, my friend. Just have faith." She gave him a gentle smile and nodded her head.

Before Andrew could reply, he felt a movement of the youngest angel and he turned his full attention back to Kevin as he watched his eyes slowly open and look up at the ceiling,
"Good morning, sleepy head," He greeted his youngest charge.

Kevin blinked, as if trying to remember where he was, before he smiled up at Andrew,
"Morning, Simba," Looking over at the Irish angel and noticing her holding onto his hand, he squeezed it gently,
"Good morning to you too, Cupcake."

"How are you feeling, Kev?" Monica asked him softly.

"Much better than yesterday," He replied with a grin, realizing it to be the truth,
"Wow, a lot better actually."

"That is wonderful, Kevin," Andrew replied, relief evident in his green eyes.

"So when can I go home?" The angel looked between both of his friends and smiled tiredly as he heard them both laugh.

"That's more like our Wonder Boy, Mon," Andrew replied with a shake of his head, releasing his charge's hand and patting him on the shoulder.
"Do you feel well enough to go home, buddy?"

"You bet I do, Simba," He replied, nodding his head enthusiastically,
"I'm hungry actually..."

Exchanging a glance with his best friend, Andrew shook his head as he laughed,
"I never thought I'd be glad to hear you say that again, Kev..."

"How about I go find your doctor and see if we can spring you from this joint?" Monica asked with a grin.

"That would rock, Cupcake," Kevin nearly beamed, even though he was still feeling a little weak from his ordeal.

Andrew looked as if he were about to protest her going anywhere alone, but remembering what she had said earlier, he stopped himself,
"Thanks, Angel Girl."

Winking at him, as she knew what he had been thinking, she hopped off the bed and headed out the door,
"I'll be back in a jiffy, if I have to page the doctor myself."

Grinning back at her, Andrew nodded his head as he watched his best friend disappear out the door before turning his attention to his youngest charge. Before he could say anything, Kevin spoke up kind of tiredly,
"It seems that you're feeling a bit better regarding this whole Denise thing, Simba..."

Pushing aside the slight feeling of guilt starting to creep back in his heart, Andrew pasted a smile on his face for his friend as he gently squeezed his shoulder,
"I'm just glad she didn't hurt you, Wonder Boy."

"I'm fine," He replied back with a wink,
"I can be tough as steel when I wanta be, Andrew." He gave his supervisor and friend a goofy look and smiled broadly as Andrew laughed loudly, the laughter echoing through the hospital room.

CHAPTER 15

The drive home from the hospital was cheery, as Kevin's doctor had released him, having been very pleased with the way his patient was feeling. After signing the discharge papers, Kevin had been more than eager to leave the hospital, though he had been a little disappointed upon standing up and feeling how weak he was from being sick and lying in bed for two days. But his angelic friends had assured him in a day or so, he would be back to his old self.

Andrew chuckled at something Kevin had just said, noting that his best friend had elected to sit in the back with Kevin for the ride back and he understood why. If Denise decided to show up, it would be far better to have her stuck in the front seat then in the back with Kevin and he was actually relieved that she had silently chosen that. It seemed that after their mistake with leaving Kevin alone last night, that now they were both on their guard as far as the demon was concerned and he was continuing to be amazed by the strength his dearest friend was showing and that too came as a great relief.

"I just want to raid the fridge when we get back," Kevin lamented,
"I'm starving and I need to get my strength back."

"If I recall, Kev, two days ago you never wanted to see food again," Andrew remarked, glancing back at them in the rear view mirror.

"Yeah, I know, can you believe it, Simba?" He quipped back with a shake of his head,
"Me, the food angel, actually saying that I never wanted to see a plateful of food again!"

"The food angel?" Monica raised her eyebrow at her youngest co-worker and giggled,
"That's a new one I never thought I'd hear come out of your mouth, Kev..."

"I think it fits him, Angel Girl," Andrew remarked from the front seat, glancing in the rearview mirror and winking at his two charges,
"That and Wonder Boy, of course," he added teasingly, which caused both of his friends to laugh from behind him. But the laughter coming from the three angels didn't last long as Andrew suddenly felt the car slowing down and he frowned in concern as he glanced down at the gas mileage.

"What was that?" Monica asked, frowning as well as she felt the car come to a complete stop in the middle of the road.

"It sounds like a flat tire or something," Kevin remarked, glancing over at his supervisor to see his reaction.

"Have you got a spare one in the trunk, Andrew?" The Irish angel asked, concern in her voice; but as her best friend shook his head in frustration, Monica leaned her head back against the seat and sighed,
"Now what are we going to do?"

"I don't know, but I'm going to check it out and make sure that it is a flat," Andrew grumbled under his breath as he shrugged off of his seat belt and climbed out of the car.

Monica watched as Andrew closed the door behind him, but just as she turned to say something to Kevin, Denise appeared in the front seat and grinned back at them.

"Well, now, isn't this cozy?" She asked sweetly, looking at each of the two angels in turn.

Kevin's eyes widened as he instinctively reached for the door handle to open the door, but panic filled him when he found he was unable to open it. Reaching to try to unlock it, he quickly found that he was unable to do that either and he struggled to keep calm,
"What do you want now?"

Denise feigned hurt as she looked at him,
"Now is that anyway to greet your newest friend?"

"You're no one's friend, Denise," Monica replied calmly, keeping an eye on the demon, all the while noticing that Andrew had spotted Denise and had figured out that he was unable to get in the car. She could clearly see the panic that etched his handsome features and she only hoped he remained calm.

"Open the door, Denise!" Andrew shouted angrily from outside the car, slamming his hand against the window his anger growing as the demon stuck her tongue out at him, before turning her attention to the two angels in the back seat.

Reaching back, she grabbed Kevin's wrist, sinking her nails into his skin,
"So you think you get to go home now, do you?"

Seeing Kevin wince in pain, and before Denise could even think, the little Irish angel, grabbed hold of Denise's wrist, the same hand that was holding onto Kevin,
"Let him go, Denise," She stated calmly, though her eyes held fire as she met them with the demons,
"And I won't ask you twice."

Denise tried to make it seem like the Irish angel's fingernails weren't digging into her flesh, but she was unable to hold back a wince as her eyes met with Monica's,
"You know that you can never fight hate with hate, Angel Girl-"

"Let. Him. Go. Now. Denise." Monica interrupted, narrowing her fiery brown eyes at the demon, unwilling to loose this battle, especially when she saw the pain etched on Kevin's face,
"NOW." She repeated, tightening her hold on Denise's wrist.

Unable to take it anymore, the demon growled as she dropped Kevin's hand and Monica released her hold, although her eyes were still on her face,
"Now get out of here." She ordered calmly,
"And if you know what's good for you, you won't show your face around here again, Denise." As Denise glared angrily at the two angels in the backseat, Monica watched as she finally disappeared from the car and the locks on the car unlocked by themselves, which caused Andrew to pull it open quickly, his green eyes flooded with deep concern and anger, all mixed into one.

"Are you two all right?" He asked, his voice holding both urgency and intensity.

"I think so," Kevin replied, holding his wrist,
"She certainly is a problem child."

Taking his wrist from him, Monica was relieved to see that though Denise had broken the skin, she had not managed to draw blood,
"You must have nine lives, Kevin," She teased gently,
"I think you are once again going to be just fine."

But Andrew appeared to not be amused, though he chose not to comment,
"We're going to have to walk the rest of the way, it seems, unless we get a miracle. The tire is indeed flat."

Before any of his charges and friends could reply, the sound of a car horn honking caused Andrew to nearly jump out of his skin and as he whirled around, he saw the familiar face of Tess pulling up in her car next to them,
"Need a lift, Angel Babies?"

"Tess!" All three angels cried at the same time, and with a quick nod of his head towards Monica and Kevin, who immediately started climbing out of the car, Andrew raced towards his own supervisor who was just now starting to climb out from the driver's seat.

"Tess, what are you doing here?" The older blond angel cried as he threw his arms quickly around his friend and gave her a peck on the cheek before pulling away.

"You said you needed a miracle, and I just finished my assignment, so here I am." She gave each of her babies a smile, deciding to not mention the little incident that had occurred with Denise,
"So are you just going to stand out here in the middle of the road, or are you going to get in the car?"

"I don't know about them, Tess, but I'm getting in," Kevin grinned as he took the front seat, shooting a look at his two friends,
"I deserve to ride up front for a change. I've been sick."
"And apparently intent on milking that one for awhile," Monica grinned as she got into the back with Andrew. She was unable to keep from smiling, even as Tess started driving towards the beach house, though she reminded herself not to get too cocky where Denise was concerned. The demon may have backed down today, but that didn't mean she would the next time.

"Tess," The sound of Kevin's voice interrupted her thoughts,
"Can we stop and pick up a pizza and something for you guys on the way back?"

"A whole pizza?" Tess asked, casting him a glance,
"Just for you? You think you can manage that?"

"Oh ye of little faith," The youngest angel replied, causing Tess and Monica to erupt in laughter.

Only Andrew remained silent.

"Tess, you're back!" Carla, Philip and Rose looked up from where they were sitting in the living room and the little blond angel smiled as her four friends came through the door; but her smile then turned downward into a frown as she looked at Andrew,
"What happened to your car, Andrew?"

"Flat tire," Kevin answered for his supervisor, as he noticed that his friend still wasn't saying anything,
"Tess picked us up on her way back from her assignment."

Philip rose to his feet, a smile appearing on his face as he met eyes with his new supervisor,
"So I take it you heard about taking me on as a Caseworker, eh Tess?" He turned to look over at Andrew and then back to Tess,
"Andrew did a fine job while you were gone, I must say."

"That's because Angel Boy is a wonderful supervisor, baby," Tess replied, smiling over at Andrew, who didn't even look up to acknowledge the compliment.

Monica cast her best friend a concerned look, clearly seeing how close he was to losing his temper and she had already decided she would rather he lose it with her than with the demon. Though she didn't enjoy being the one he blew up at, he was far too dangerously close to losing it with Denise, and that could make things one huge mess. What troubled her the most was that this just wasn't like her best friend to act this way, but she decided to wait it out a few more minutes to see if he snapped out of it,
"Kevin, slow down with that pizza," She admonished with a grin, seeing as her co-worker was already inhaling his third slice,
"Your stomach hasn't seen food in a few days and you got a nightmare pizza anyway, complete with everything."

"No need to worry, Cupcake," He replied, after biting into another slice,
My stomach of steel has returned."

Shaking her head with a laugh, the Irish angel headed over to the couch and took a seat, reaching for a slice before Kevin could stop her. As she chewed, Monica turned to look over at her best friend and her worry once again filled her heart; he was still standing next to the door, arms crossed and a furious look on his face that she could tell he was trying to hold back,
"Andrew, you want anything?"

Andrew shook his head in reply and spoke up for the first time since they had run into Tess,
"No thanks." With that, the supervisor turned on his heel and raced up the stairs to his bedroom, closing the door behind him.

"What happened out there, Tess?" Rose whispered, concern in her blue eyes towards their Angel Boy,
"It seems like it's much more then a flat tire..."

"Well, Denise caused it, if that is any indication, but it seems that two out of three angels handled themselves just fine," Tess replied just as quietly,
"Andrew on the other hand, needs to keep a tight grip on his temper right now and he seems to be barely winning the battle."

Unable but to overhear the two older angels talking, Monica laid her partially finished piece of pizza on a plate and rose to her feet,
"Excuse me," She stated politely as she headed upstairs as well.

Philip gave a low whistle,
"I'm not sure if that was the best decision right this moment."

"I don't know, Philip," Tess remarked thoughtfully,
"That little angel has had a pretty good head on her shoulders here lately from what I've been hearing."

"So how are you feeling, honey?" Rose asked as she looked over at Kevin,
"Not that I need to be asking judging by what is left of that pizza."

Smiling with bits of pieces of pizza hanging from his teeth, Kevin answered cheerfully,
"I feel so much better! I can't believe I ever said I never wanted to eat again; me, never eat again? That'll be the day..."

"Andy?" Monica stepped into her best friend's room and was somewhat surprised to see him laying face down on his bed, his arms wrapped tightly around one of his pillows. Closing the door softly behind her, she moved over to the bed and took a seat next to Andrew, laying a gentle hand on his back,
"Andy, what's wrong?"

His voice slightly muffled from the pillow his face was pressed into, the older angel replied,
"I think you know what's wrong, Monica..."

"Well, no, not exactly," She replied tentatively, feeling the tension in his even from where her hand was resting,
"I know this isn't like you and I know that we had this discussion this morning and I thought this was all settled."

"Well, you thought wrong," He replied tensely, fighting to keep his anger in check as he didn't want to lose it with his best friend.

"Obviously," She retorted, knowing she was treading on thin ice at the moment, but she wanted him to let this out, even if it meant at her,
"I don't understand what has come over you, Andrew. You never act this way with Denise and you've stood up to her calmly in the past, so why is now so different?"

"Just back off, Angel Girl, okay?" He replied, his mind moving faster than he could even begin to keep up with,
"It's different this time. I have you and Kevin to worry about."

"We went over all that this morning and Kevin and I are fine, Andrew."

"Yeah, until Denise popped up an hour ago," He grumbled, never moving his head from the pillow and his fists clenching the pillow case until his knuckles turned white,
"She could've hurt you for all I know."

"But she didn't, Andrew," Monica objected, rubbing his back even though she tried to keep the impatience out of her Irish voice,
"Kevin's fine, and I'm all right. She didn't harm either of us-"

"Angel Girl, that doesn't stop the way I'm feeling towards her, all right?" He unintentionally snapped at her,
"I have a responsibility for you and Kevin, and I'm not doing a very good job at it, so let's just leave it at that, okay?"

"No, Andy, it's not okay," The Irish angel stubbornly replied, letting out a heavy sigh as she noticed that her best friend still wouldn't look at her,
"Andrew, will you please just look at me?"

Finally looking at her, she saw the fury in his green eyes as she tried to mentally prepare to face it,
"You're not our protector, Andy. You are responsible for supervising us, not for being our bodyguard. You are heaping all of this responsibility on yourself that doesn't need to be there, don't you see that? God takes care of all of us-."
"And what about when you fell, huh?" He replied heatedly, his eyes continuing to blaze into hers.

"That was a decision I made!" She stated back, more firmly then she had intended,
"My intentions were good, but it was a mistake. I should have trusted the Father, just like you need to be doing now."

"Since when do you have all the answers, Monica?" He replied angrily, his anger beginning to get the better of him,
"Two days ago, you certainly didn't have any."

Monica's face flushed red as she tried to hold her tongue and not lash out at her best friend; she knew that he was hurting and angry right now, and even still blaming himself, but she couldn't help starting to feel angry right now as well at the words he was saying,
"Why are you doing this, Andrew? I don't mind that you're taking your anger towards Denise out on me, but to say something like this-"

"Monica, please, just leave me alone, all right?" He snapped in reply, turning his head to the wall again.

"Why? So you can continue bottling that anger up inside of you for the rest of eternity? I'm not about to let you
do that, Andrew, and you know it!" She yelled, grabbing his arm and turning him around to face her, not daring to flinch at the fire in his green eyes.

"Monica, I'm warning you, just go," He stated as steadily as he could,
"I don't want to say anything that I'm going to regret later."

"I think we both know that I'm not going anywhere," She replied, fighting to keep her anger in check. It had been so long since she had really quarreled with him that this felt very unfamiliar and very uncomfortable, but she was unwilling to walk away,
"How about instead of hurling insults at me, you tell me why you are really so angry? This is exactly what Denise wants and you know that!"

"Yeah and I guess you should know as she was YOUR Case worker, huh, Angel Girl?" He spat out at her, his temper reaching its peak.

Monica drew in a sharp breath as she rose shakily to her feet, staring down at her best friend with angry eyes,
"I can't believe you would say something like that...especially now, Andrew!"

"I only said it 'cause it's true! She WAS your Caseworker!" He snapped heatedly, glaring at her through slinted eyes,
"Now get out of my room, all right?"

Shaking her head in dismay and frustration, the Irish angel whirled around and was about to storm out the door, but before she left, she drew in a shaky breath and turned back around, speaking to Andrew's back,
"Despite everything you just said, and how you're acting right now, I still love you." Without waiting for a reply, she whirled around and walked out the door, shutting it behind her.

As his best friend departed, Andrew lowered his head to his pillow again and gave way to sobs, all the while his heart filling with more guilt over how he had just treated Monica.

CHAPTER 16

Andrew had only been alone for a few short moments when he suddenly felt that he wasn't alone any longer. Wiping angrily at his green eyes, the angel lifted his head and sucked in a sharp breath as he saw the real object of his anger standing next to his door, arms crossed and a smirk on her face,
"So you're angry at me, aren't you, Angel Boy?" Denise grinned as she winked at the angel,
"That's not very angelic of you; getting all huffy and puffy about a nice demon like myself...and what about yelling at your supposed best friend like you did? That wasn't angelic either, if I do say so myself."

"Well, now that you mention it, Denise, I'm not feeling all that angelic at the moment," Andrew snarled at her,
"It would have been nice had you shown up ten minutes ago so I could have taken my anger out on who justly deserved it!"

"I'd say I timed it just right, sugar," She smiled sweetly at him,
"I was enjoying the show far too much to interfere, Andy. It was a welcome change from all the sugary sweetness you two usually show each other. Besides, she deserved what you said to her. She's gotten far too mouthy the last few days."

Fury rose up in him once again as he glared at her,
"It's called confidence, Denise, and there is no doubt in my mind that you hate that trait in her, but you listen up. You stay away from Monica and Kevin and Philip, you got that? I'm no longer playing these games with you!"

"Oooohhh, touchy are we, Angel Boy?" Denise grinned, an evil spark in her dark eyes,
"You don't scare me, Andrew. It'll take a lot for me to go away-"

Unable to just stand there and let her talk like that, the angry angel made his way over to the demon and grabbed the collar of her shirt, pushing her up against the wall and sticking his face in hers,
"If you so much as lay a hand on ANY of them ever again, Denise...you will pay, and I do mean pay! Do we have an understanding?"

Wrenching herself free from his grasp, Denise smirked at the handsome angel as she replied,
"We'll never have an understanding, Angel Boy. Those three little angel charges of yours are my assignment, and I refuse to take another punishment from the Master, so I'm not leaving until I'm good and ready, Andy."

"Denise, for the last time, I'm warning you," He threatened towering over her.

"Philip will be mine again, Angel Boy," She snarled, looking up at him with hatred in her eyes,
"And Kevin will cower at my feet before this is all over and as for your precious little Angel Girl…I'll beat that confidence of hers into submission until she is more timid and mousier than she has ever been. She'll be begging for me to have mercy on her and when she does, I'm going to laugh!"

Anger unlike any he had ever felt before welled up inside of him at her words and before he knew what had happened, he had reached and struck the demon as hard as he could across the face,
"Philip will not go with you, Kevin will not fear you and Monica will never beg you for anything. She's better than you will ever be, Denise; they all are!"

"Andrew!"

Andrew whirled around at the sound of Monica's voice again, and his face paled slightly as he saw not only his best friend looking at him, but Kevin, Rose, and Tess as well. Turning back around to face Denise, he sucked in a sharp breath as he noticed then that the demon had vanished from sight, leaving him and his four friends alone in his bedroom.

"Andrew, why did you do that?" Monica cried in horror as she hurried over to her best friend and grasped his upper arms,
"I went downstairs to get the others because I was worried about you, and when we came back, we heard all this yelling! Andrew...we saw everything..." Noticing that he wasn't speaking as his face paled even more, Monica tried to meet his eyes steadily,
"Why did you slap Denise, Andrew? Why?"

"Because he allowed his anger to get the better of him, that's why."

All heads turned at the sound of Sam's voice and Kevin gulped, still unsure of what he thought of the Angel's Angel. Tess and Rose looked more than a little concerned that he was here, though Monica's dark eyes never left Andrew's face as she asked softly,
"Why are you here, Sam?"

"I think Andrew knows the answer to that, my dear," Sam replied calmly, his eyes on the blond haired angel, who had yet to utter a sound,
"And I believe you do too."

"I'm sorry, Sam," Andrew uttered, taking deep breathes to try and calm his anger,
"I don't know what came over me…"

"I think you know the answer to that, too, son," Sam tilted his head to the side as he regarded his former charge, his eyes though stern, also held care and deep concern,
"You were trying to protect your two charges, but you also had no right to strike Denise. You can't fight hate with hate; you know that, Andrew..."

"I know, Sam, I know," Andrew interrupted, tears threatening his emerald eyes as he turned his head away from the Angel's Angel.

His eyes still stern and in control, Sam continued quietly,
"You know where you have to go, Andrew. I don't have to tell you..."

His eyes widening in surprise, Kevin turned to look at Rose and uttered,
"Where?"

"God's Country, Kevin," Sam replied for the Search and Rescue angel, his eyes never leaving Andrew,
"As of right now, you're dismissed from this case, Andrew."

As Andrew weakly nodded his head, having expected this from the moment Sam had shown up, Kevin cried out in shock,
"No! You can't do that! We need him here!"

Tess wrapped her arm around the youngest angel in order to silence him, her eyes, though holding sadness, also held understanding for what her dearest friend was doing,
"It will be fine, baby. Andrew just needs a little time to think is all."

Andrew fought back tears as he finally met Sam's eyes,
"Sam, can I have five minutes, please? I need to talk to Monica. Then you can take me."

Understanding in the Angel's Angel eyes, Sam nodded his head,
"We'll be waiting downstairs, Andrew."

After Kevin, Rose and Tess had each hugged their friend goodbye before following Sam out of the bedroom, Andrew waited until the door had closed behind them before he turned sad green eyes to his best friend in front of him,
"Angel Girl...I'm so sorry. I really am so sorry...I'm out of control, I know that..."

Before he could finish, Monica had stepped forward and wrapped her arms tightly around his waist, burrying her tear-streaked face into his shirt,
"I'm worried about you, Andy. All of us are, including Sam...or he wouldn't do this..." Her voice broke on a soft sob as she only tightened her hold on him, knowing they had only five short minutes before he had to leave.

"Will you forgive me, sweetheart?" He whispered into her hair as he rested his forehead on her head.

"You know the answer to that; I can always forgive you," The Irish angel replied, her voice thick with tears.

"I know that you take everything I say to heart, but sweetie, do not take the things I said a little while ago that way, okay? I was angry, but not at you," He pulled away and took her face in his hands, his tear-filled eyes searching hers. Seeing her nod her head through her own tears, he continued urgently,
"You heard Denise's threats. I want you to be careful and I need you to look out for Kevin especially. Tess will take care of Philip, but I need you to watch out for Kev, Monica, okay?" His heart broke at the fact that when all he had wanted to do was protect them, which was what had gotten him into trouble in the first place, in the end, he had to give up all his control over trying to do just that,
"I know it's asking a lot of you and after the things I just said to you a while ago, I have no right to ask anything of you-."

Bringing a finger to his lips, she silenced him as she struggled to stop her tears,
"It's forgiven and it's forgotten, Andy. You know you can ask anything of me and I will do all I can to do as you ask. Of course I'll watch out for Kevin and for myself and the Father is watching out for all of us."

Andrew nodded his head miserably, wanting more then anything to stay here with her and the rest of his friends, but he knew that he had no choice, and his five minutes were almost up. Leaning down, he kissed his dearest friend's forehead lovingly and rested his forehead against hers as he spoke through his tears,
"I love you, baby girl..."

Wrapping her arms around him again and holding him as tightly as she could, the little Irish angel whispered shakily back,
"I love you too, Angel Boy."

Andrew closed his eyes and gave her hair a loving stroke one last time before pulling away,
"I've gotta go now...I'll try to be back as soon as I can, Mon, okay?"

"I know," She whispered, managing a smile for his sake.

As she watched her best friend in the entire angelic realm leave the room to go and meet Sam, the little Irish angel swallowed back a round of hot tears. She and Kevin were now on their own, with Denise's threats made abundantly clear and if nothing else, she knew one thing. No matter what it took, she would make her best friend and supervisor proud of her.

"How could you take him away from us like that, Sam?" Kevin cried after the Angel's Angel had returned from taking his supervisor and friend to God's Country. The youngest angel's eyes held anger and confusion as he spoke,
"We need him here, and you know that!"

"Kevin," Sam gently interrupted as he walked into the living room and took a seat next to Andrew's charge,
"Andrew needs some time to think right now; he's got alot of anger and hatred going on right now in his heart, and he needs to deal with that first before he returns."

"How's he going to deal with it without us here to help him?" Kevin continued his rant.

"Who do you think, son? The Father will help him," Sam replied a little bit more firmly this time.

Sitting down beside of Kevin, Monica rested a hand on his arm to try to calm him,
"We've all been sent there from time to time, Kevin," She explained gently,
"It isn't punishment. Sometimes, things down here get difficult even for angels and Andrew wanted to protect us so badly it was marring his ability to see the situation clearly. In God's Country, he'll be able to gain back his perspective, with the Father's help." Still seeing some anger in the younger angel's eyes, she added softly,
"I don't like this either, Kevin, but it will do Andrew so much good to be close to the Father right now and hopefully he'll be back with us sooner than later."

"I still don't like it," Kevin grumbled, though his tone was much softer this time.

"But it is necessary, honey," Rose added softly, though she too, had hated to see it happen to her former charge.

"It will serve him well," Sam agreed, with a sigh,
"He has so much pent up anger at Denise and he cannot fight her with that and he knows that, so half the battle is already won," He smiled reassuringly at the youngest angel, before turning serious once more,
"Now, with Andrew gone, Monica, that places you in charge once more. You know what Denise's threats are and this will not be easy. But my greatest concern is you, Kevin. Not only has the demon decided to prey on you of late, but I need to make sure you can answer to Monica until Andrew is able to return."

Sighing heavily, Kevin lowered his head to his hands, trying to push aside the frustration that was eating at him, as he knew that wasn't what Monica needed right now,
"How long do you think it'll be before Simba can come back?"

"It all depends on him, son," Sam's tone softened as he replied back,
"He's got free will, too, you know, and he needs to decide what to do with it; whether to stay angry at Denise and let it eat him up, or hand it over to the Father. It's Andrew's choice right now, Kevin."

"It'll be all right, baby," Tess tried to reassure the youngest angel, reaching over and placing a hand on his shoulder,
"God's Country isn't a horrible place to be; as Monica said, we've all been there, and we all have learned our lessons. And so will our Angel Boy."

"And I'm sure Andrew will be able to turn this around relatively quickly," Monica replied confidently, knowing her best friend well and knowing that he was just as anxious to get back to them as they were to get him back.

Kevin nodded his head, knowing he had to deal with this as if he was upset about this situation to the point where it marred his judgment, he could be in trouble with Denise,
"I hope so," He replied, exchanging a look with the Irish angel,
"Yes, I can answer to Cupcake. After all, she dealt with me getting sick all over the place a few nights ago, so it is the least I can do." He winked at the others, forcing himself to put his dismay aside.

"I'm glad to hear it, Kevin," Sam replied, relief visible in his eyes. He looked at the two younger angels, then at Philip,
"You three are going to need to be very careful as Denise seems determined this time. But I have total faith in all of you and so does the Father. Good always triumphs over evil and it will this time too."

Reaching for Monica's hand and linking his fingers through hers, Kevin couldn't help feeling a sense of fear forming in the pit of his stomach over that statement,
"We're always careful around her-"

"No, honey," Rose gently interrupted, meeting Kevin's eyes,
"Be extremely careful. More careful then you have ever been in your existence. You still haven't had much experience around Denise, or any of her co-workers...but Andrew and Monica have, plenty of times over the years and when they want revenge, they do it in the nastiest ways. Take what Sam is telling you to heart, Kev, and stay close to Monica as you two and Philip are the ones she's after."

CHAPTER 17

Andrew slowly wandered around God's Country the next morning. He had been deep in thought ever since Sam had brought him here yesterday and he felt calmer and more peaceful than he had for some time, despite his concern for his friends still down on earth.

He knew he had been wrong in losing his temper with Denise, not to mention striking her. He despised the demon for all she had put he and his best friend through over the years and now with her adding Kevin to the cycle, he had just lost it altogether, not feeling as if he could take anymore from her. But despite his feelings, he should have kept his cool. Monica had been trying to tell him that, and despite the fact that he knew she had forgiven him for his cruel words yesterday, he still felt guilty over them. The two of them hadn't argued like that in years, and here she had been working on holding her temper, per his request, and he had been the one to lose his, not only with her but with Denise.

"I didn't set a very good example, did I, Father?" He stated sadly as he continued to walk.

"My angel, you're not perfect, and I don't expect that from you," Came the Father's loving, reassuring Voice,
"I know what was in your heart, and why you acted out like that; and that's why you're here in the first place, so that we can talk and so that you can return to Earth with your friends soon. I know that anger in your heart, Andrew, and I want to take it from you."

Sinking down onto a nearby log, the angel rested his head in his hands for a moment before looking up at the clear blue sky,
"I'll take that's Your way of saying that I didn't set a good example." He shook his head before continuing,
"I'm sorry, Father, I really am...I'm sorry for taking my anger out on Monica like that, and I know I should have responded in Your love towards Denise, but...it's just so hard and I don't know how to let that anger go..."

"You aren't to let it go, My angel, you are to give it to Me. I'm waiting to take it from you, but you must be willing to part with it first," He replied to Andrew's heart patiently,
"You are gaining nothing by holding onto it, Andrew. When anger dwells in your heart, it grows, like it has with you, causing you to use angry words against an angel that you love so much. I know that you don't want things like that to continue to happen, so release it to Me so that your heart may be filled with My love instead."

"I know, Father. You're right about all of this, but you always are. It's just so hard, because I am so angry with her right now…" He sighed heavily as he raised his head to look up at the sky.

"Giving up control, Andrew, even control of anger is never an easy thing to do, but anger does not serve you in any way. Your friends are going to need you soon, so the sooner you are able to rid your heart of anger and guilt, the sooner you may return to them," The Father explained gently.

Andrew lowered his head as he replied softly and quietly,
"I want to return...but I just feel so guilty..."

"And I can take it from you in the blink of an eye, My angel," The Father reassured him, the love in His voice unmistakable,
"You say you want to return to your friends; I want you to return to your friends, and your best friend, but only if you will hand over all of those conflicting emotions. I want to fill you with My love again, Andrew."

"I don't know if I can..." The angel shook his head sadly, his emerald eyes still looking down at his hands,
"I want to, but I don't know if I can..."

"You don't have to do anything, Andrew; I will help you and I will do it for you. Just hand it over, My precious angel; just hand it over."

Andrew's mind fumbled over all of it once more. He knew that allowing God to take this from him was the only way, but his anger ran so deeply right now, it almost didn't feel possible despite the fact that he knew the Father made all things possible. Denise had hit sore spots with him today and had caused him to say things to Monica that he hadn't meant. She had been displaying confidence he hadn't even known she had, and with a few angry words, he had tried to take it from her, and he was not taking that lightly. He had reminded her of what she considered to be her failure with Denise, though her confidence seemed to stem from finally standing up to the demon, more than once, in a calm fashion.

He had been unable to do that. His sense of responsibility for his two beloved charges ran too deep. He remembered all too clearly the many times his best friend had suffered at the demon's hand and where he had also suffered by Denise's actions, the pain she had inflicted on Monica was always placed before his own. He always had been able to handle her attacks on him, more so than to watch her hurt someone he loved.

Now, she had been targeting Kevin and the youngest angel had little idea of how to deal with her, though so far, Kevin had displayed courage and faith in dealing with her. But Denise knew he was not experienced and Andrew knew that the demon hated Monica's confidence and there was little doubt in his mind that Denise would try to attack based on these two things.

"Father, please help me give this up to You," He whispered, feeling afraid for his two charges,
"It's so hard to be away from them anyway and now, especially now, I need to be there to guide them, even though I know that as long as they listen to You, that You are guiding them. Help me give this up, Father, please…"

"You know that I will, My son," He replied to His angel's heart lovingly,
"You know that I will."

"Well, baby, Andrew sure taught you well while I was gone," Tess shook her head in amazement as she watched Philip walk back to her after he had just finished his assignment,
"You really don't need much supervision it seems..."

Smiling slightly, the newest angel shrugged his shoulders,
"Andrew said the same thing." He then lowered his head, trying to hide the sadness in his dark eyes, but it didn't go unnoticed by the elderly supervisor.

"What's wrong, baby?" She asked, placing a hand on his arm gently.

"I'm thinking about Andrew right now, Tess," The younger angel replied with a soft sigh,
"Will he be all right? I mean, after what happened with Denise the other day..."

"I'm sure he will be, Philip," Tess reassured him,
"Andrew and the Father will work all of this out. That baby just needs reminding that he cannot always be in control and that he has to give that up to God along with his anger at Denise."

"Well, it's easy to get angry with Denise," He remarked with a sigh,
"I know that first hand."

"I know you do, honey," She replied, giving his arms a squeeze,
"But you can stand up to her now with the Father behind you. You know that, don't you?"

"I'm getting there, Tess," Philip managed a slight smile,
"I still have to remind myself at times after being in the darkness for so long."

"Well, if you need reminding, just ask. The Father loves you, baby, and is very proud of you," Tess smiled reassuringly at her newest charge.

"He is?" Philip's dark eyes widened in amazement,
"I don't get why He would be proud of me..."

"Because He has forgotten all of the things that have happened in the past, Philip, and He is now looking at all of the things you have done to help out your friends," Tess replied with another smile for her charge,
"I know you probably don't believe me, baby, but it's the truth, and we wouldn't speak of anything less to you or to anyone."

A slight blush rose the younger angel's face as he attempted a broader smile for his supervisor,
"Thanks, Tess..." Trying to push aside his mixed feelings for now, he straighened his shoulders and followed Tess down the sidewalk,
"So where to now?"

"Well, I've just been informed that we have another short assignment, Philip," The older angel replied,
"Then we should be able to head back to check on the others."

He noticed the concern in her brown eyes and knew what it was for,
"You're worried about Monica and Kevin too, aren't you?"

She sighed heavily and have a slow nod,
"I am. Though I must say, our Angel Girl is handling herself well, but I know that infuriates Dense. She's accustomed to Monica being afraid of her and she isn't showing any sign right now. I'm just afraid Denise will do all she can to destroy that little angel's confidence, and Andrew has worked on that confidence for years. With Kevin just learning how to deal with that demon, I'm afraid he may not be of much help to her if Denise tries to break her. But I'm sure Andrew knows all that too and it's just another reason for him to want to get back to them quickly."

"I'm sure he wants to come back to them as soon as possible," Philip felt more then sure for the first time in days as he smiled slightly at his supervisor,
"I'm positive he does."

At that time, Monica sat in Andrew's bedroom on the spare bed that she was always beside his, her knees drawn up to her chest and her thoughts far away. Philip and Tess were away on some assignments, Kevin was downstairs in the kitchen and Carla and Rose had to head off on some short Search and Rescue cases for the next couple of hours; and still, her best friend had not returned from God's Country.

"Father, I pray that he's coming through...we all need him back here..." With a soft sigh, she rested her cheek on her folded arms and closed her eyes; but they snapped open as the door to the bedroom opened suddenly and Monica's eyes widened in surprise as she saw Philip standing on the other side,
"What are you doing back so early?" Although she was shocked, she couldn't stop a smile from forming on her lips.

"Our assignment got cancelled," He replied, his dark eyes upon her,
"So I thought I'd come up here and spend some time with you."

"I'd like that, Philip," The Irish angel replied with another smile as he walked over and sat down on the bed beside of her,
"Did everything go all right today?"

"Fine actually," He smiled at her in return as he rested a hand on her knee, still gazing into her eyes.

A puzzled expression crossed her face as she looked at him,
"Is everything okay, Philip?"

"Of course it is," He replied, his smile broadening as he gave her knee a squeeze,
"Why wouldn't it be? Everything's cool."

Frowning slightly, the Irish angel shrugged her shoulders as she pushed aside her slight uneasiness in order to smile at her friend,
"No real reason. You just seem a little...different is all..."

Smiling in return, Philip shook his head as he scooted closer to her on the bed,
"Actually, I've never been better, sweetness."

Monica's brown eyes widened in surprise upon hearing those words coming from her friend's lips. Earlier that day, the newest angel had never even said anything like that; he had always stated that he was coming along and now he was doing better then ever?

"I'm glad to hear that," She finally replied, her arms still wrapped around her legs.

Still smiling at her, Philip reached a hand up to stroke her hair,
"You're so beautiful, little angel," He said softly.

Feeling more than uncomfortable now as her heart began to pound loudly in her chest, Monica inched away from him slightly, though he only moved closer to her once more. She had no idea of what to say and she was truly beginning to feel frightened.

"You don't have to be afraid, sweetness," He said gently, his hand moving to her face,
"You know, I've tried to forget that time when we first met, but I haven't been able to. Even as an angel, I've continued to love you and I've tried to hold back my feelings for you, but I'm unable to do that any longer."

"Philip, stop it," She whispered shakily as she jerked out of his reach once more, but he grabbed hold of her arm and held it tightly,
"Philip…you're scaring me…"

"Oh come on, little angel, just one kiss; that's all I want," Philip moved until his face was just inches from hers, but before he had a chance to kiss her, Monica moved her hand and slapped him straight across the face.

"Stop it!" The horrified angel cried, trying to move away from him, but his grip on her left arm tightened and Monica thought her heart was going to pound out of her chest,
"Philip, what are you doing?!"

"You know what I've always wanted, sweetness, and I'll never stop until I get it," He smiled, his dark eyes boring into hers until Monica finally turned away,
"Don't turn me away, little angel. Not again."

"Don't do this," She shook her auburn head hard as he forced himself even closer to her and wrapped his arms around her waist tightly,
"Philip, don't! Please!"

"You always did like it rough, didn't you, sweetness?" He smiled at her as he threw her down on the bed and held her there.

At his words, the flashbacks hit her hard, as they hadn't in so many years. Hot, frightened tears fell from her eyes as she fought wildly against him, but even with both of them in human forms, she was no match for his strength,
'No, Father, please….' Her heart cried out as then in terrified desperation, she silently cried out one other word…
'Andrew…'

"Andrew!" Kevin cried out gleefully as his friend and supervisor walked into the kitchen and he bounded over to hug him,
"You're back!"

Smiling as he embraced his youngest charge, the handsome angel nodded his head,
"Sure am, buddy. The Father and I had some good talks and I think I'm all squared away now and ready to be back here with you guys."

Giving his friend a tight squeeze, Kevin finally released him and smiled broadly,
"Cupcake's gonna be so thrilled to see you, Simba. It may have only been two days, but it started to feel like two years..."

"Well, I learned my lesson, Wonder Boy," Andrew replied with a smile as he playfully ruffled his charge's dark hair,
"So where is everyone?" He asked then, glancing around the kitchen and not seeing any of his other friends.

"Assignments. Tess and Philip should be back pretty soon, and Rose and Carla just left on a few small cases. They shouldn't be too long; and Cupcake's up in your room."

Andrew was about to reply to him when he all of a sudden heard his dearest friend speaking to his heart and the older angel's green eyes widened in surprise as he heard the fear in her voice.

"Monica?" He uttered out loud, it only taking him a split second to bolt out the kitchen door and to the stairs, taking them two at a time, as his heart raced, not even realizing that Kevin was only two steps behind him.

Flinging open the door to his room, he felt as if his heart stopped at what he was seeing as his face paled. The sight of Philip trying to force himself on a sobbing and trembling Monica felt like a kick in the stomach and his first impulse was to punch the angel who he had been calling "Friend".

"Philip! What are you doing?" Kevin cried out in horror, the sound of his voice causing his supervisor to refrain from grabbing hold of the older angel.

Looking up, Philip suddenly released the trembling angel and vanished from sight and Andrew didn't waste another second in getting to his dearest friend, who had huddled at the far end of the bed. Her dark eyes appeared focused on things he couldn't see and he knew she was experiencing flashbacks from the first time her path had crossed with Philip.

Taking her face into his hands, he spoke gently to her, trying to keep his own voice from shaking,
"Monica? Angel Girl? C'mon, baby, come back to me. You're safe now, sweetheart…"

Trembling from head to toe, Monica lifted her shaking hands to her best friend's hands that were on her face and tried to force herself to speak,
"A-Andrew...? Andrew..."

Nodding his head, Andrew forced back tears of his own as he met his dearest friend's haunted eyes with his own green ones,
"I'm here, baby girl; you're not hurt. You're not hurt, Angel Girl."

"Andy..." She finally came out of the nightmare she was in and threw herself full foce into her best friend's waiting arms, too much in shock and afraid to even cry,
"Andy...he tried...he tried..."

"Shhh," He whispered, holding onto her tightly as she continued to tremble violently. His thoughts were in turmoil over what had just happened and he couldn't begin to understand. All he knew right now was that his best friend was terrified and that he was sure he would face a night full of bad dreams with her,
"You're okay, sweet girl," He soothed, his fingers working into her hair.

"Cupcake, are you okay?" Kevin uttered shakily, worried about how white her face was and the way her entire body shook as Andrew held her tightly.

"I…I don't…understand…" Monica uttered, a sob then escaping her,
"I thought…I thought…Andrew…"

"How could Philip do such a thing to her again?" Kevin fumed, his dark eyes holding anger towards the angel they had all called "friend" as of late,
"Andrew, I'm so confused about this..."

Holding his best friend as tightly as he dared to his chest, Andrew glanced over at his youngest charge through tear-filled eyes and shook his head,
"I'm confused, too, Kevin..." The oldest angel let out a shaky sigh before kissing the top of Monica's head,
"I don't understand either what just happened with Philip..."

"Was that really him?" Kevin's question took Andrew by surprise, and the supervisor almost expected for Monica to pull away from him and yell that it was him, no question about it. But much to his relief, she had slowly started to cry herself to sleep in his arms, her arms wrapped as tightly as they would go around him.

Shaking his head in total confusion, Andrew rested hsi cheek on the top of Monica's head as he finally found the words to reply,
"I honestly don't know, Kev; but I do know one thing. Once Philip makes an appearance to us again, he and I are having a long talk...and I can guarantee that it will not be pretty."

CHAPTER 18

An hour later, Andrew still sat by Monica's bed as she slept restlessly, occasional frightened whimpers escaping her that he tried to soothe away. Kevin had been in and out of the room several times, his brown eyes showing a mixture of anger and protectiveness, that at least reassured the supervising angel that no matter how at odds his two co-workers could be with each other, when it really mattered, their loyalty to each other was unwavering.

"Tess and Philip are back," Kevin stated as he came into the room once more, his eyes flashing fire.

"Kev, stay here with her, okay? The dreams are back for now and I don't want her waking up alone or being alone until we get to the bottom of this," Andrew said as calmly as he could manage. Truth was, his heart was still racing over what he had seen earlier and from how afraid his dearest friend was, and he was working overtime right now to keep his anger in check. Leaning down, he brushed his lips against her forehead before standing up and starting for the door.

"Be careful, Simba, okay?" Kevin asked, as he took the seat Andrew had just abandoned and wrapped his fingers around the Irish angel's cold hand.

Nodding his head and trying to offer Kevin a reassuring smile, he stepped out of the bedroom and quietly closed the door behind him. Looking up, he immediately found himself staring into Tess's eyes.

"Baby, you're back!" She exclaimed happily, moving to hug him, but she immediately felt tension in his body, though he hugged her tightly.

Confusion filling her, Tess released her young friend from her arms, but kept a hold of his upper arms,
"Angel Boy, what's wrong? What is it?"

"Tess...is Philip down there?" Andrew nodded towards the staircase, his expression guarded and angry as the name of the newest angel escaped his lips.

Nodding her head, the elderly supervisor replied,
"Yes he is, baby; we just returned from some short assignments. Why? What's wrong, honey? Did you need to speak with him?"

"Tess...something happened several hours ago. Philip did something to Monica...or rather, tried to do something to her, but Kevin and I walked in before it happened-"

"Andrew, Philip was with me the entire time," Tess gently interrupted, her heart pounding loudly in her chest as she slowly started to realize what it was exactly her Angel Boy was saying.

Andrew took in a deep breath as he met her eyes with his own,
"Are you certain, Tess? The whole time? Because when I got back here, he was trying…who appeared to be Philip, was trying to force himself on Monica…"

"The whole time, Andrew," Tess reassured him, her eyes filled with great worry,
"Is your Angel Girl all right?"

"Well, he didn't get a chance to hurt her, thankfully, but she is terribly shaken up, as you can imagine," Andrew sighed heavily, running a hand through his hair as he tried to control his anger, not wanting sent back to God's Country, especially not now,
"It must have been one of Denise's buddies then and now not only is Mon' totally upset, but Philip is going to be devastated as well. Kevin is with Monica now, as I don't want her alone in case that demon comes back to try to finish what he started…" His green eyes blazed with anger at the mere thought,
"And I'm going to need to tell Philip…"

"Oh baby..." Tess let out a heavy sigh of her own, not liking the sound of this as well. She gently wrapped her arm around her friend's shoulders one more time as she spoke,
"I'm so sorry, honey..."

Running his hand over his face as he fell silent for a few tense moments, Andrew finally spoke again,
"Could you go and stay with Mon and Kevin, and maybe even tell them the truth, while I go and try and talk to Philip? This is going to be hard enough as it is, and I need to do this by myself."

Giving him another tight, reassuring squeeze, the older angel replied with another sigh,
"Of course, baby. Of course."

Finally releasing him and heading towards the bedroom where the two youngest angels were, she turned back around before Andrew walked down the stairs,
"God is with you, Andy, don't forget that."

"I know that, Tess. I do," He replied quietly before heading down the stairs.

"Philip?" Andrew approached his friend and took a seat on the stool in front of the chair in which the other angel was sitting,
"We need to talk."

Philip's eyes widened at this greeting from his friend as he smiled,
"You're back!" But his smile soon faded, seeing the grief and deep concern in this eyes,
"What's going on, Andrew? Something happened while we were out, I take it."

Andrew nodded his head slowly, wishing that there were an easy way to say this, knowing that Philip still held himself highly guilty for what he had done to Monica so many years ago,
"Philip, when I got back tonight, a demon who looked like you was up in the bedroom with Monica…."

Tears instantly filled the newest angel's dark eyes as he shook his head hard,
"No, Andrew..."

Biting his lip, the supervisor continued quietly, his voice getting choked up as he spoke,
"I'm afraid so, Philip...he pushed himself on Mon, after she said no; and...she thinks it was you..."

"No!" Philip cried out as he rose to his feet and looked down at his friend,
"Andrew, that wasn't me...I wasn't here all day; I was on an assignment with Tess! You have to believe me!"

Rising to his feet as well and grasping his friend's shoulders gently, Andrew looked into his saddened eyes and interrupted,
"I believe you, buddy; Tess told me the truth upstairs just a few minutes ago. It's Monica and Kevin that's going to need the convincing, and Tess is working on that right now."

Philip was quiet for a long moment as he lowered his head, fighting tears,
"It all came back to her, didn't it?" He asked, his voice scarcely a whisper,
"It doesn't matter that it wasn't me this time, it was once, and now it's all come back."

Andrew's eyes were filled with sadness as he looked at his friend, wishing once again he had a different answer,
"Yes, it has, but you know she has forgiven you-that she long ago forgave you. I think that even without being told it wasn't you, she had a suspicion that it wasn't as one of the few things she said to me was that she didn't understand. Those memories, Philip, will always be in the dark recesses of her mind and will come out when triggered. It's an unfortunate fact, especially for her as she doesn't want to think or remember that time, but it's also made her who she is."

"I'd like to see her, but I guess I'd better wait." He replied after a moment, still not looking up and feeling sick inside about this.

Sadness filled the younger angel's emerald eyes as he nodded his head reluctantly,
"You will have to talk to her sooner or later, Philip. It'll be the only way to get past it all." He watched as Philip nodded his head in reluctant understanding,
"If I know my Angel Girl at all, which I do, I know that she'll believe you, my friend."

"Maybe so, but now I don't think I'll ever forgive myself..." With a sad shake of his head, the angel turned towards the door, speaking over his shoulder to his friend,
"Excuse me. I really need some air before I get sick..." Turning back around, he hurried out the door of the cabin, shutting it firmly behind him.

"How could that not have been Philip, Tess?" Kevin asked in total confusion, his eyebrows furrowed as he listened to what the elder angel was telling him as Monica still slept,
"How could a demon have disguised himself as our Philip...? It doesn't make any sense at all..."

"Baby, there are evil look-alikes everywhere," Tess frowned in annoyance at the mere mention of the demons,
"There's some that look like our Angel Boy and Monica here; and we found out years ago that there's even one that looks like Rose. So it doesn't really come as a total surprise that now there's one that resembles Philip, especially since he was of the dark side before he returned to the Father."

"It wasn't Philip, was it?" Monica whispered, having heard the last part of the conversation as she had slowly started to wake up from her restless sleep.

Reaching down, Tess gently stroked the hair back from Monica's still pale face, seeing the haunted look in her dark eyes,
"No, baby, it wasn't. Philip was with me all day today and deep down inside I think you know he would never try to hurt you like that again."

"I do," She whispered, her voice laced with tears.

"Cupcake, are you all right?" Kevin asked gently, his eyes filled with worry.

She was quiet for a moment before uttering softly,
"I'm really, really scared…what if he comes back? I don't want to go through that again…I CAN'T go through that again…"

"You WON'T go through that again, Cupcake," Kevin interrupted, looking straight into his co-worker's frightened eyes, his own eyes holding firm resolve,
"Not if I can help it. If I have to fight off that demon with my bare hands, I will. You will not go through that again, Monica!"

"It almost happened, Kev...if you and Andrew hadn't shown up," She whispered miserably, her eyes darting around the bedroom,
"Where is Andy...?"

"He's downstairs talking to Philip, Angel Girl. The REAL Philip," Tess answered, smoothing back her young friend's auburn hair with gentle hands.

But before she could continue, the bedroom door opened again and Andrew stepped inside, his face a mask of sadness and concern for his best friend. Their eyes met for just a brief moment before the older angel made his way over to her bed and took a seat right at her other side.

"Hey, sweetie," He greeted her softly, reaching for her hand and bringing it to his lips,
"Are you feeling a little bit better?"

"A little," She conceded, her eyes still haunted as she clutched his hand tightly,

"I'm afraid, Andrew. I'm afraid he's going to come back, though I think Kevin has just appointed himself as my protector," She tried to smile, but it came out feeble at best.

Andrew smiled thankfully at his youngest charge, before wrapping his best friend up in his strong arms,
"Neither Kevin nor I are going to allow any harm to come to you, sweetheart. Until the Father helps us win this battle, and He will, one of us will be with you at all times, right, Kev?"

"Absolutely," Kevin replied firmly, his brown eyes showing his protectiveness.

"How did Philip take the news, baby?" Tess asked, looking over at Andrew, her own eyes holding concern.

"He's devastated," Andrew replied sadly,
"He understands the old memories that this has drudged up and the last thing he wants is to cause Monica more pain about what happened all those years ago."

Feeling a tear slide down her cheek, Monica whispered softly,
"Until this is over, I'm going to wonder every time I see him if it is really him, Andy…I don't want to hurt him, but I don't know what else to do…"

Tears welling up in his own emerald eyes at the thought of how much this had to be hurting both his best friend and Philip, Andrew rocked Monica gently in his arms as he tried to find the correct words to say to try and comfort her, "None of us want to hurt him, baby girl. But realize that he understands, and if we all do this as gently as possible, he won't be hurt."

"But I'm sure he doesn't even want to come near me now, does he?" The Irish angel whispered into her friend's strong chest.

Glancing over at Kevin and Tess and seeing the sympathy and sadness in both of their eyes, Andrew sighed softly as he replied, "No...Right now, he thinks it's best to stay away. But we'll all get past this, Angel Girl; I know we will."

"I'm so sorry about this…" Monica uttered sadly, unable to finish her thought before Andrew pulled away and cupped her face in his hands.

"None of this is your fault, sweetheart and you know that," He told her firmly, wishing he could remove the haunted look in her eyes and the fear that he knew was in her heart. Of all the things Denise could have masterminded for her, this was the worst she could have done. This was one old fear he never wanted his best friend to have again and the demon had brought it back with a vengeance.

"I know, but I'm still sorry it happened at all just the same. I won't even be able to talk to Philip alone until all this is over and I'm worried about him," Her dark eyes met with his as she blinked back tears.

Pulling her back into his arms, Andrew hugged her fiercely, his love for her filling his heart. Even facing her greatest fear, her worries were still with the angel who had caused them all in the first place, so very long ago, and it was only further proof of her total forgiveness towards Philip,
"I love you so much, Angel Girl…just so much," He whispered softly to her, feeling anxious to let Philip know this bit of information as he was certain it would make him feel better.

Tess smiled at her two younger friends as she extended her hand to Kevin,
"It's getting late, babies, and I think some sleep is in order. Andrew, I assume she is staying with you tonight?"

"Every night until this is over," He replied firmly, saying a silent prayer that his best friend's nightmares would be kept to a minimum tonight.

Kissing each of their heads in turn, Tess headed for the door, waiting until Kevin had bid his two dearest friends and co-workers good night, before going out and softly closing it behind them, offering up prayers of her own for this situation not to get any worse.

CHAPTER 19

Philip's thoughts were in turmoil as he stopped walking through the woods and looked up at the darkened sky. Andrew's words to him a few hours ago kept coming back to him, and although he knew that his friend hadn't meant to hurt him by telling him about this demon look-alike who had tried to attack Monica, the dark-haired angel did feel a hurt deep in his heart along with more guilt,
"Father, how am I ever going to get past this? I'll never be able to face Monica again..."

"You're right; you're won't," A voice identical to his own sounded from behind him and the angel clenched his fists into tight balls as he slowly turned around, coming face to face with the demon who was in Monica's room just a few hours ago,
"You'll never be able to face her again, and she'll never find it in herself to forgive you again. You stupid angels; you think that God can even forgive you? That's a bunch of bull."

Anger filled Philip's heart at this demon who had betrayed the little Irish angel a few hours ago as he lunged at him furiously and grabbed hold of his shirt collar, backing him up against a tree,
"Number one, buddy, who ever you are, I know that God has forgiven me. Of all the things I doubt right now, that is not one of them. Number two, if you so much as lay one finger on Monica again-."

The demon threw his head back and laughed, before looking directly into Philip's eyes,
"Now that is more like the Philip we remember; hot headed and violent. So, we finally hit a sore spot with you, did we?"

"I mean it," Philip replied, struggling to keep his voice level,
"I don't care what you do to me, but you leave her be! She has nothing to do with this-none of them do!"

"Well, if Andrew's little Angel Girl doesn't, then maybe I can go after that angel who had to break the news to you a few hours ago about my little attempt on Monica-"

Tightening his hold on the demon's collar, Philip's eyes narrowed into slits as he felt himself fuming in anger,
"You are NOT going to touch a hair on either of their heads. Andrew or Monica! You're going to have to get through me to hurt them...and you're going to have to get through God..."

Rolling his identical dark eyes in annoyance, the demon shoved the angel away from him, sending him to the ground in a heap,
"You angels can never stop talking about your wonderful GOD, can you? I can't believe you left us for THEM, Philip! You so don't belong there, you know that?"

"No, I don't know that. This is where I belong now," The angel stated firmly as he rose to his feet, gaining confidence with his words,
"And no matter what you try to do to them, I know that nothing would hurt them more than for me to go back to the darkness."

"Maybe we'll just see about that. If I do away with that blond angel, then the sweet Irish one is mine for the taking," He sneered in reply.

"You'll have to get through Andrew, Kevin and I first," Philip stated calmly, feeling the Father's love burning in his heart,
"And if that doesn't deter you, then I can assure you, that Tess will. She is one angel you don't want to mess with, especially not where Monica and Andrew are concerned. She has a motherly passion for them and you will not soon forget it if you cross her path," Feeling himself beginning to glow with God's love, he looked the demon straight in the eyes,
"I believe you know what happens next…"

"This isn't over, Philip," He growled as he readied to vanish,
"Not by a long shot." And with that threat, the demon was gone.

As soon as he was out of sight, Philip shook his head as the anger continued to fill him towards the words the demon had spoken, and with as much confidence he could put in his voice, he spoke to thin air,
"That's where you're wrong. This WILL be over soon. I will make sure of it..."

"Baby, where have you been?" Tess looked up from the book she was reading in the living room as Philip walked through the front doors of the cabin, his dark eyes filled with many different emotions,
"I was starting to worry about you."

Sighing, the angel collapsed in the couch opposite his supervisor and leaned his head back against the cushions,
"I had alot of thinking I needed to do, Tess; that's all." He turned his eyes over to the elder angel and asked quietly,
"How's Monica doing by the way?"

"Andrew's up with her right now, baby, in case she wakes up in the middle of the night," Tess replied, setting her book down on the coffee table,
"So far, there's only been one nightmare, so that's a good sign."

Philip shook his head sadly,
"That poor little angel," He stated with a sigh,
"I hate the fact that this has all come back to haunt her and I know how hard it is on Andrew as well as he loves her so much," He was quiet for a moment before speaking again,
"Do you think it would help if I talked to her? Are they still up?"

Tess smiled, relieved that he was willing to take this plunge so soon,
"She just woke up a little while ago, baby, and it usually takes her awhile to settle down again after a bad dream, so that is very possible. And yes, I think it just may help her as she was terribly worried about how this was all affecting you."

His eyes widened in surprise at her words. He had already known of Andrew's concern after their earlier conversation, but to hear that after her ordeal tonight that the Irish angel was worried about him seemed unfathomable. Yet it had to be true,
"She said that?"

Reaching forward and taking his hand into her own, Tess squeezed it gently as she replied softly,
"Yes, she did, baby. I was in the same room with those three Angel Babies when she told Andrew that."

"I'm really concerned that my presence is only going to scare her more, to tell you the truth...but I can't put it off, and I'm still holding onto that small thread of hope that I can help her," He replied with a soft sigh, trying to push aside the confrontation he had just had with his evil look-alike,
"Would you mind if I go up there right now?"

"No, of course not, baby," The supervisor replied immediately, patting his knee before he rose to his feet,
"You know you don't have to ask my permission." She smiled as her new charge leaned down to kiss to her cheek and with eyes filled with hope, she watched as Philip made his way up the stairs and towards Andrew's bedroom, all the while lifting up a prayer that they were both right.

As the young angel gently knocked on the door of the room, Philip held his breath as he waited for someone to answer and as Andrew finally opened the door a crack, the angel attempted a small smile,
"Hey, Andrew," He greeted his friend quietly, shifting from one foot to the other,
"Can I come in?"

Silently asking the Father if this was indeed Philip and hearing the gentle and reassuring response that it was, Andrew smiled tiredly as he opened the door,
"Of course you can," He replied, looking at his friend knowingly,
"You want to talk to Monica…"

Seeing Philip nod his head, Andrew held up his hand, indicating for him to wait as he walked back over to Monica's bed, where the younger angel was sitting up, her dark eyes holding fear and uncertainty,
"Sweetie, Philip would like to talk to you, if that's okay?" Sitting down beside of her, he rested his hand against the side of her head,
"It really is him, Monica; the Father confirmed it and I won't be far. I promise, okay?" Though he trusted Philip completely, the problem was that he didn't want to risk the look-alike demon showing up and trading places with his friend without his knowledge and he knew his dearest friend was thinking the same thing.

Her own tired eyes looking into his, she nodded her head, her expression one of complete trust for her best friend,
"Okay, Andy," She replied softly, knowing he would allow no harm to come to her. When it came to this particular situation, she knew Andrew would do anything and everything to protect her and she rested in the knowledge of knowing that.

Kissing her forehead, touched once again by her complete trust in him, Andrew rose to his feet and walked out the door, but left it cracked and not intending to leave the hall.

Cautiously, Philip approached the little Irish angel and slowly sat down beside of her, unsure if being this close to her was a good idea, but he saw no fear on her face and let out a quiet relieved sigh.

"I'm so sorry about this, Philip," She whispered tearfully before he could speak.

"No, sweetness," He replied, shaking his head furiously,
"You have no reason to be sorry and I want you to be careful right now. I want you to be as careful as you and Andrew know how to be as I don't want that kind of harm to come to you ever again."

"I promise I will be," The Irish angel replied firmly, her eyes steadily meeting his,
"Both of us will, Philip..."

Philip lowered his dark eyes to the bed for a few quiet moments before he raised his head and met his eyes with Monica again,
"I ran into that look-alike just now, little angel; just an hour ago, in the woods..." He sucked in a sharp breath as he watched Monica's brown eyes fill with fear all over again,
"I won't let him hurt either of you, Monica; but I still want you to be extremely cautious now. Who knows what Denise has up her sleeve at this very moment?"

Grasping her friend's hand and giving it a gentle squeeze, Monica drew in a few deep breaths before she attempted to speak,
"Just as long as you keep that same promise, and not let them hurt you too, all right?"

"I don't want you worrying about me, sweetness, okay?" He began softly.

"But I do, Philip," She interrupted softly, looking into his eyes, "You're my friend and I worry about my friends."

"I'm not certain I deserve that honor, Monica," He replied with a small shake of his head.

"That's where you're wrong," Monica replied, managing a small smile,
"You helped me when it mattered most and I'll never forget that," Taking him by surprise, the little angel reached up and hugged him tightly.

Although he was hesitant at first, Philip finally wrapped his arms gently around her in return and hugged her back,
"But, Monica..."

Pulling away, Monica looked up at him and interrupted in a soft voice,
"No buts; it's the truth, and know that I wouldn't speak of anything but the truth. You've helped both Andy and I, are we are eternally grateful and I want you to promise me that you'll be as careful as the rest of us. Okay?"

Philip fell silent for a few more moments as he contemplated over her words before replying quietly,
"I will be careful, but if Denise or that other demon try anything with you or Andrew again, know that I'm going to be there to try and help..."

"I do know that, Philip," She replied, her eyes taking on a slightly frightened look once more,
"And I'm counting on that."

Andrew awoke early the next morning, much to his chagrin, as neither he nor Monica had gotten much sleep last night. After talking to Philip, his best friend had a second nightmare and he had awoken to screaming and it had taken him a good hour to calm her down enough to sleep once more.

Knowing a shower would wake him up, he looked out into the hall for someone to sit with Monica as she was still asleep and not wanting to leave her alone, especially after hearing that Philip had run into the demonic look alike the night before. Just as he was about to give up hope on anyone being awake, Kevin's door opened and the sleepy eyed angel walked into the hallway, rubbing his eyes.

"Morning, Simba, if you guys even got any sleep last night," He greeted with a yawn. The last nightmare had woken him up as well and he had bolted into Andrew's room, convinced the demon had returned.

"Actually, neither of us got any sleep," The supervisor replied with a tired yawn as he ran his fingers through his disheveled blond hair,
"Probably about two hours at the most, I think..." Seeing the sympathy in his younger friend's dark eyes, Andrew's green eyes turned hopefull as he asked tiredly,
"Speaking of which, would you mind watching Monica while I take a shower? I shouldn't be any longer then 20 minutes; but I think the water will wake me up a bit..."

"You bet, Andrew," Kevin reached out and patted his supervisor on the shoulder,
"Go on and I'll take care of Cupcake for a few minutes."

"Thanks, buddy," The older angel replied with a grateful smile as he headed towards the bathroom,
"I shouldn't be too long."

"Take your time, Simba," Kevin returned his friend's smile before Andrew disappeared behind the door and the youngest angel headed immediately towards Monica's room. As he slipped inside, he kept the light off as he noticed that his Irish friend was still fast asleep.

Kevin sat down beside the bed, careful not to make any sound that would wake her. He knew how frightened and vulnerable she must have felt with that evil demon, and he knew that any sleep she could get was to be treasured.

He couldn't help but think back to just days before when they had been so angry with each other, or rather, he had been so mean to her. Looking at her lying there he had a sense of what Andrew must feel... an overwhelming need to protect the Irish angel.

Just as he was beginning to relax a tall, dark figure appeared in the room, on the other side of the little angel's bed. Kevin leapt to his feet, stealing a glance down to be sure that Monica was still sleeping soundly. When he saw that she was, he looked warily back up at the figure, praying that it was his colleague and not the demon who had terrorized his friend.

"Philip, please tell me that's you..."

CHAPTER 20

"Why wouldn't it be me, Kevin?" Philip shrugged his shoulders nonchallently as he smiled in the youngest angel's direction. Moving to the other side of Monica's bed, he took a seat, his dark eyes still on Kevin, who looked more then uncomfortable,
"You don't have to look so tense, pal."

Frowning in concern, his heart thumping loudly in his chest, Kevin grasped the little Irish angel's hand protectively in his own and held it as he faced who was hopefully his fellow angel,
"Why didn't you use the bedroom door, instead of just appearing? After what's going on..."

"Hey, relax!" The dark-haired angel winked at Kevin as he took a hold of Monica's other hand,
"I just wanted to see how Andrew's Angel Girl is doing, that's all."

Kevin's stomach churned, feeling certain this was not Philip. Their friend would never act so nonchalant about the
things that had been happening, especially things that centered around the things he had done years ago. Before he knew what was happening, he had furiously slapped the demon's hand away from that of his Irish friend's,
"Don't touch her!"

Monica's tired eyes fluttered opened just in time to see who she immediately knew was not Philip, back hand Kevin across the face and send him reeling across the room. A cry on her lips, it was immediately silenced as the demon clamped his hand hard over her mouth.

"One peep out of you and you will regret it, and don't even think about using your connection with your blond haired buddy or what I just did to Kevin will seem like a love tap compared to what I'll do to him. You got that?" He growled in her ear.

Instead of agreeing like the demon was demanding, Monica shook her head and wrestled away from the look-alike's hold,
"Get away from me..."

His jaw sore from where the demon had slapped him, Kevin wearily pushed himself to his feet and glared through slinted eyes over at the bed,
"Just keep your dirty little paws off of her!"

Narrowing his eyes angrily at the youngest angel, the demon look-alike grabbed hold of the collar of Kevin's night shirt and yanked him forward until their eyes were meeting,
"You are going to keep your little mouth shut, buddy, or I'll shut it for you!"

Before he had a chance to reply, Kevin watched out of the corner of his eye as Monica leaped off of the bed and darted across the room towards the bedroom door. Raising his voice, he shouted after her,
"Go Cupcake! Go and get the others!"

"Andrew! Philip!" Monica's tear-laced voice filled the hallway, immediately bringing the two angels out of the rooms.

"Monica?!" Andrew cried out, seeing the distress on her face, as he laid his hands on her shoulders.

"He's back…Kevin…." She choked out, her eyes clouding with frightened tears.

"What's going on?" Tess demanded, coming out of her room having heard the commotion.

"Monica's demon is back…" Andrew uttered, looking over at Philip who was already on his way into Andrew's bedroom,
"Tess, stay with her," He stated firmly, heading for the bedroom as well.

"Andy…" The Irish angel's exhausted brown eyes were filled with fear, about the demon, for Kevin and for he and Philip.

"I mean it, Angel Girl. I don't want you in there," He stated over his shoulder, not missing the look in her eyes and grateful when he saw Tess draw the younger angel up against her.

Not wasting any time, the handsome blond angel pushed open the door to his best friend's room and his emerald eyes immediately narrowed in anger as he saw the demon look-alike, holding Kevin by the collar of his shirt and his hand was raised as if about to slap the young angel,
"Get your hands off of him!" He snapped in anger, relieved when he released his hold on his youngest charge.

"I knew she was going to use that connection to get you in here," He growled, dropping Kevin to the floor and facing Andrew and Philip.

Ushering Kevin to him, Andrew pulled his young charge close to him as his eyes narrowed at the demon,
"Who do you think you are, making an appearance here again? I thought we told you to get out of here."

"And I told your little friend Philip here," He paused to nod at the newest angel before turning his attention back to the blond supervisor,
"That this isn't over yet."

"Get out of here!" Philip demanded, his dark eyes angry over this particular demon's constant reappearances, "Now."

"Rest assured that I'll be back," The demon hissed angrily,
"I'm not through with any of you, least of all her," A small smile crossed his face right before he disappeared,
"Denise is my supervisor and I always complete my assignments."

As the demon faded from sight, Andrew stood in shocked silence for a moment, briefly trying to force himself to not send Monica Home immediately. Shaking the thought from his head, he turned to his youngest charge,
"Kev, are you all right?" He asked worriedly, his hands resting on his shoulders.

Fear present in his eyes, Kevin found the strength to look up at his older friend and nod his head,
"I-I'm all right...is Cupcake okay...?"

"Tess is with her right now," Philip replied, anger present in his own dark eyes as he thought of the demon who had just disappeared from the room,
"Are you sure you're all right, Kevin?"

Trying to nod his head as bravely as he could, Kevin moved his eyes away from his fellow angel and replied,
"Yes."

Hugging his youngest charge close to him, Andrew closed his eyes tightly before opening them again and nodding towards the door,
"Let's get out of here..."

Not seeing Tess or Monica in the hallway, the three angels hurried downstairs to find them in the living room, the older angel speaking softly to the younger one, who was trembling slightly over another narrow escape with the demon.

Shakily, the Irish angel rose to her feet, and approached Kevin,
"Are you okay?" She uttered, the visible presence of fear in her eyes though she felt completely overwhelmed at his trying and succession in protecting her from the demon.

"I'll be fine, Cupcake," He replied gently, moving to hug her tightly.

"He's gone for now," Andrew remarked quietly, his eyes on his two charges, wondering if they would even argue at this point if he asked them to go Home.

Pulling away from Kevin, Monica whispered, a tremble in her voice,
"Let me get some ice for your jaw…" Not waiting for any response from anyone, she hurried to the kitchen.

"She's so scared," Kevin observed miserably, this situation beginning to feel more and more uncomfortable.

They all jumped when Philip banged his fist up against the doorframe, a furious look in his eyes,
"This has got to stop," He stated, his voice dangerously low.

"How, though?" Kevin whispered as he watched Andrew take a seat next to him on the couch and wrap his arm tightly around him in support,
"No matter what we say, they won't stop..."

"Well, they're going to have to sooner or later," Andrew replied, his green eyes still holding anger as he held tightly to his charge,
"They can't keep doing this forever, because eventually they'll give up. They have to!"

"Denise never gives up," Philip shook his head, his eyes lowered to the ground as he tried to keep his temper under control in front of his friends, as he didn't want to frighten any of them,
"But she'll have to, I agree with you there. But she's stubborn, more stubborn then any of us combined."

Before any angel had the chance to reply, the front door of the cabin swung open and Carla and Rose walked through the door, engaged in conversation. After they had hung up their coats, the two Search and Rescue angels faced the small group in the living room and the smile faded from Rose's face,
"What's going on? Something's wrong, isn't it...?"

As the two angels exchanged glances with each other and then took a seat, Tess explained all that had happened in the last twelve hours, watching the horrified and shocked looks on her two friend's faces, "So," She concluded heavily,
"We seem to have a real problem here."

Reaching across and laying a comforting hand on Andrew's knee, Rose attempted a small smile,
"But the good news is we have our Angel Boy back and that comes as a great relief to all of us, especially your two charges."

He managed a smile for her as he sighed softly,
"And to me as well, especially now with this demon showing up. He's got us all pretty worked up, Rose, especially my Angel Girl."

Glancing towards the kitchen, Kevin frowned as the Irish angel had gone to get ice nearly ten minutes ago. Wordlessly, he rose to his feet and headed through the kitchen door, his heart breaking when he saw his friend sitting at the table, a bag of ice in her hands as she wept softly. He guessed that she had been trying hard to hold onto the new found strength she had found lately, but yet this latest problem with the demon that looked like Philip and seemed intent to hurt her had sent her emotions reeling and who could blame her?

Kneeling down next to her chair, he stated softly,
"Cupcake, you know you don't have to hide anything from us. We know you're scared…"

"I'm more then scared..." The Irish angel whispered through her tears as she lifted her head up from the table and looked at her co-worker,
"Something is going to happen before this is all over, I know it will..."

"No, Cupcake, no," Kevin shook his head fiercely as he grasped her hands firmly in his own and met her eyes with his own frightened ones,
"Nothing is going to happen to you; they're going to leave us alone eventually. God always promises us that-"

"But when?" She whimpered miserably, lowering her head to the table as she allowed more tears to fall.

Fighting back his own tears, Kevin shook his head dejectedly and replied in a choked up whisper,
"I don't know..." A tense silence filled the air for several more moments before Kevin helped his friend to her feet and continued,
"C'mon, you don't want to be alone right now, Monica. You know that Andrew's going to find out how you're feeling sooner or later."

Weakly nodding her head, she handed Kevin the bag of ice as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders to lead her back out into the living room, where their friends were engaged in quiet conversation, which halted as they all looked up when the two angels returned to the room.

One look at his best friend brought Andrew to his feet, so clearly able to see her absolute terror over this demon that had already inflicted more fear than Denise ever could. He took her tear-streaked face into his hands, forcing her to look at him as he saw it all in her doe like brown eyes; a fear that went deeper than the rest of them could only speculate as she was the one who had been through it so many years ago.

"Andy…" She uttered helplessly, the one word saying it all-she was afraid right down to her soul and she needed him.

Wrapping her up in the safety of his arms, he felt her shuddering though quiet sobs against his chest,
"I know, Angel Girl," He whispered to her, hearing all it was she wasn't saying,
"I know."

Looking up as he held her tightly, Andrew's eyes met with Philip's as a silent understanding passed between the two angels who had once been enemies. Though their reasons were slightly different, as one had once inflicted the terrible pain, and the other had fought for years to take it away, their resolution was the same. No matter what it took, or how long, neither was about to allow that kind of hurt and pain to come to their gentle friend ever again.

To be continued...with "A Battle in Heaven"

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