Written by: CI and KP

The Irish angel sank down into a chair on the deck as her legs felt as if they would give out from underneath of her as she watched him approach her as her sobs came harder. Sympathetic green eyes filled with great love and compassion watched as her small shoulders shook with tears of pain and he somehow found his voice.

"Monica."

Slowly, she looked up at him through blurred vision, but her reaction was not at all what he expected,

"The dreams have come back, haven't they?"

Tears sprang to Andrew's eyes as he shook his head firmly,

"No, sweetie, this isn't a dream."

"Of course it is, Andy," Monica whispered sadly,

"You've been gone two years…the Father is taking care of you now and somehow He will help me get over you…"

Seeing her lower her head once more, Andrew approached her slowly and carefully knelt down in front of her. Then with all the love in the world, he took her face into gentle hands and raised her head to meet his eyes.

The moment seemed frozen in time as neither of them even seemed to breath. Her hollow dark eyes searched his briefly before she closed them again and reached up to lay trembling hands overtop of his. Her tears falling rapidly, she whispered, not ever opening her eyes,

"Don't let me wake up…please, don't let me wake up…"

"Baby...you are awake..." Andrew whispered as tears flooded his own eyes at the feel of her hand in his,

"The Father told you to come out here so you could see something..."

"H-How did you know that...?" She whimpered, hardly daring to lift her head to look at him, all the while hoping and praying with everything in her that she would never wake up from this,

"The Father...He just..." Unable to continue, she held tightly to his hand and continued weeping.

"I know, because He told me to come here, Angel Girl," Andrew replied through his tears, trying to meet her eyes,

"Baby, look at me...please."

"This isn't real...it isn't real..." She whispered tearfully,

"I know it's not real..."

His heart pounded loudly as he prayed she wasn't so deep in grief and pain that she couldn't see that this was the truth, he continued softly,

"I so want to hold you, sweetheart," He whispered, not wanting to frighten her as he knew how uncertain she was right now,

"I really am here, baby. I cross my heart, I'm really here."

His words, his warm hands on her face…a strangled cry escaped her as she weakly flung herself into his waiting arms as sobs shook her being.

Andrew closed his eyes tightly, the tears still managing to get through and sliding onto his cheeks as he held her as tightly as he dared. He could feel the intensity of her sobs and how tightly she clung to him as he moved enough to kiss her forehead before pulling her tightly to him once more,

"I'm here, baby," He repeated, crying openly now,

"I'm right here."

But all the little angel could do was cry and cling tightly to him for the next several minutes. She barely felt him lift her slight frame into his arms and carry her inside to the living room so he could sit down in the chair and draw her into his lap. After several more minutes, he pulled away and took her pale and tear streaked face into his hands once more, laying tiny kisses on her cheeks,

"I love you, little girl and I've missed you so much…just so much, Monica…"

"I...I love you so much, Andy...I thought-I thought-" Her voice broke off as she clung even tighter to him with desperate hands, as if she let him loose even a little bit, he would disappear again.

"I know, sweetie..." Pressing his tear-streaked face into her shoulder, he continued rocking her like she was a small child on his lap, never once loosening his grip,

"I wasn't so sure myself."

"W-When did you come back...?" She uttered tearfully, burying her face in his neck as she almost feared the answer. Had he been back longer then just a few minutes? Still holding onto him, she listened as he replied through his own tears.

"I've been back for 6 months, baby girl." Hearing another strangled cry escape his dearest friend at those few words, Andrew let out a deep breath as he continued,

"I'm so sorry, sweetheart; but I wasn't allowed to see you-"

"Until I made things right with the Father," She finished for him, fresh sobs escaping her as she pressed her face deeper into his shoulder blade.

Andrew nodded his head as he ran his hand through her tangled hair, which was now so long,

"That's why it was so important that you did that. When I last saw you, I didn't know if that was the reason I hadn't been able to come back. I didn't know it for sure until the Father sent me back…"

"When you…when you disappeared from my dreams…" She choked out in between sobs, as she looked up at him,

"Andrew…"

"I know, baby, I know," He whispered, hearing her sobs intensify once more. Gently, he placed his hand on the back of her head and pressed her face to his chest, content to just hold her and wait until she calmed naturally. She had been through too much in two years for him to even consider trying to quiet her. Right now, she was only a whisper of the vibrant angel he had left behind and he quietly allowed her to cry out her grief, rocking her gently and whispering words of love and reassurance to her until her sobs began to quiet.

"I missed you...I missed you more then...more then I ever thought I could miss anyone," She softly wept now, still holding him around the neck as tightly as her weakened arms would allow,

"I felt like...I felt like my heart had been ripped from me, Andy..."

Resting his cheek against her shoulder as he gently rocked her trembling form in his arms, Andrew nodded his head as he replied in a quiet whisper,

"I wasn't the same without my better half either...oh sweet Angel Girl, it feels so good to hold you again..."

"I-I almost forgot...what it f-felt like, Andy...I forgot what your arms felt like..." Shaking her head against his shoulder, she continued weakly,

"I didn't ever want to forget that...or forget you...I just c-couldn't..."

Kissing the top of her head repeatedly, he replied just as softly,
"You remember now, though, don't you?"

"Y-Your arms always were the safest place on this earth…" Monica uttered, burying her face in the nape of his neck,
"Hold me tighter, Andy, please…"

Tears springing to his eyes once more, he held her fiercely to him, listening as she took deep breathes to try and calm herself further,
"I've got you, Angel Girl and I'm never letting you go again."

"Don't say that," She whispered shakily, tightening her own still trembling arms around him, still afraid she was going to wake up from this dream eventually,
"Don't make any promises to me you can't keep. Though I don't want to think about it, one day the Father might have other plans for us," A weary whimper escaped her at the thought even as she forced herself to continue,
"But you're here now…I need you so much, Andy…just so much…"

"And I'm here for you, Angel Girl; I'm here," He uttered through his tears as he clutched her tightly to him,

"You know I am, don't you, sweetheart?"

"Are you...are you positive this isn't a dream, Andy?" She whispered shakily, never lifting her head from his shoulder,

"I-I don't know if it's r-real..."

Briefly pulling away so that their eyes were meeting, Andrew looked straight into them and spoke quietly, his hand reaching up and stroking her cheek,

"It's real, little one. This is all real. You're not imagining it, and you're not dreaming it. I'm right here in front of you, and I'm holding onto you so tightly right now..."

Breaking down into fresh sobs, the Irish angel flung her arms around her dearest friend once more and held onto him like a lifeline,

"I-I never want to let you go...never, ever again..."

"I don't plan on it, Angel Girl," He whispered, resting his cheek against her hair,

"I don't plan on it."

Late that night, Monica lay awake in bed, Andrew fast asleep beside of her, but the little angel's eyes refused to leave his face. Though beyond fatigued, her mind wouldn't rest and her eyes refused to close.

Andrew had insisted that she try to sleep, clearly able to see her physical and emotional exhaustion, but she had nearly gone beyond tired, to that place where sleep became impossible. She had refused to leave his side, so he had lain down with her, but had drifted off first, his arms wrapped tightly around her.

She took in every detail of his sleeping face and felt the familiar sting of tears in her eyes as she reached out to softly brush his hair back from his forehead, still unable to believe that he was really here. For two years she had dreamed of his coming back and had given up all hope on it ever happening and she couldn't help but think that to sleep would risk her losing him all over again.

Andrew stirred slightly at her soft touch and slowly opened his eyes to meet her tired gaze,

"Angel Girl," He murmured sleepily, though surprised to find her still awake,

"You should be sound asleep by now…"

"I know," She whispered hoarsely from many long hours of crying. Her hand continued stroking his silky blond locks before she rested her head against his shoulder,

"But I'm a little scared, Andy..."

Lifting his emerald eyes up at her, he frowned as he asked gently,

"Scared of what, sweetie?" He then let out a long yawn before turning his eyes back to his best friend.

Sighing softly, she closed her dark eyes briefly before replying,

"Scared that...if I go to sleep, I'll wake up and you'll no longer be here with me. I-I'm afraid if I do sleep, I'm going to be all alone again..."

"Baby, you were never alone," The older angel shook his head tiredly before yawning once more, forcing himself to keep his eyes open.

"I know, Andy...but I've spent two years without you, and I just don't want you to disappear from my sight," She shook her head hard as she spoke, her trembling hand still running through her best friend's hair.

Reaching up, he took the hand that was stroking his hair and gently kissed her fingertips before folding her smaller hand into his,

"I'm not going anywhere, sweetheart. I promise that I'm not."

Her trusting eyes searched his, worry still evident in them,

"Cross your heart promise?" She whispered, a lone tear making its way down her face.

Sympathy tugging at his heart, he pulled her closer to him,

"I double cross my heart, Angel Girl. Even in your dreams, I always told you the truth, right?"

"Yes," Monica whispered simply.

"Then even if you still think this is one of those dreams, know that I am telling you that I will physically be right here with you in the morning, okay?" Seeing her nod her head, he smiled, wishing he could see her smile back at him, but it wasn't to be yet,

"Okay then, little one, sleep. You're wiped out, Monica," Reaching over he gently stroked her hair, watching as the soothing motion left her fighting to keep her eyes open.

But before she fell to sleep, the little Irish angel tightly grasped onto his right hand and held it in her own as she whispered tiredly,

"I love you so much..."

As she slowly drifted off, Andrew leaned down and kissed her forehead several times before whispering back, tears forming in his green eyes,

"I love you too, my sweet Angel Girl."

Early the next morning, Andrew awoke with a start and as he rubbed some of the sleep out of his emerald eyes, he turned his head to the window and noticed that the blinds were pulled up and the bright sunlight of the morning was streaming through his window. Turning his head, he noticed that his best friend was no longer beside him and before he had a chance to worry about her, he heard a gentle knock on his bedroom door and Monica poked her head in. As she walked inside, Andrew couldn't resist a smile as he saw that she was carrying a tray piled with breakfast, and a glass of orange juice; a vace of wild flowers were set up in the middle of tray.

Pushing himself up on the bed and sitting up, he waited until his dearest friend had taken a seat across from him and said,

"Breakfast in bed, Andy."

"It wasn't necessary, Angel Girl, but it looks great," He replied warmly, reaching over for her hand and giving it a squeeze, before digging into what she had prepared, realizing how hungry he was, all the while watching her carefully,
"Did you get any sleep last night?"

"Some," Monica replied softly with a shrug to her shoulders,
"I haven't been getting much for awhile now and I think my human form is accustomed to only a few hours at a time."

"Well, we'll need to change that," He replied firmly before taking another bite of toast, not missing the fact that he could tell that there were things on her mind, but he waited, knowing her well enough to know she would soon tell him and with her next comment he knew he wouldn't be waiting very long.

"Can I talk to you about some things?" She asked quietly, her still tired eyes steadily meeting his.

"Do I even need to answer that question?" Andrew replied gently, his eyes warm as he met her gaze.

Not answering his question as she knew that was an invitation to tell him what was on her heart, she continued softly,
"I've just been thinking about everything and worrying about how you feel about things. I mean, I know that in the dreams you were upset about my…my trying to end my existence and thinking about it now…now that you are here, I realize how stupid that was," She swallowed hard before she continued just as quietly,
"And even more than that…the fact that it took me two years to trust the Father again. When I think that this all could have been avoided…that you could have been here six months ago or even sooner…" Her voice trailed off, before she added, her voice barely audible,
"I'm having a really hard time with that one…"

Sadness filled the older angel's green eyes as he reached for his best friend's hands and held them tightly in his own. Giving them a gentle squeeze, he finally replied,

"But it's all over now, little one..."

"Maybe so...but I missed out on two full years with you, because I was so angry and so sad," She whispered miserably, holding onto his hands as tightly as she could,

"I didn't mean for it to happen...but nothing like this has ever happened to an angel before; and I didn't think that it would happen to you...I wanted you to belong with me, and only me, Andrew. I just could not stand the thought of never seeing you again..."

"You know what, baby?" Waiting until Monica looked his way and held his gaze steadily, Andrew continued,

"I think, if I was in the position you were in these past two years, I think I would've felt incredibly angry myself. I wouldn't have understood why something like that had to happen to my best friend, and I would probably shut people out as well." Seeing the tears running down his dearest friend's pretty face, the older angel lifted a hand to wipe them away before grasping her hand in his again,

"You had a right to be angry, little girl-"

"But not like that," The Irish angel shook her head forcefully, shame flooding her dark eyes,

"I not only shut our friends out, but the Father too. I wouldn't listen to Him, I wouldn't trust Him, and I even told Him that I...hated Him."

"Anger is a natural part of grieving, Monica," He said softly,
"And you directed that anger at the One you felt was responsible. You had no way to know what the Father's plan was."

"But I still should have trusted Him," She lowered her head sadly,
"My stubbornness not only kept you from me, but from our friends too and they know that. I feel like I had this whole thing in the palm of my hand and I blew it. I know that the Father has forgiven me, I know that, but it was all still my fault. You tried to tell me, Kevin tried to tell me-they all did and I wouldn't listen and because of that, everyone suffered without you. It's all I can do to face you right now, knowing that, but I don't know how to face them…"

Sadness filled his heart at her words as he gave her hand a gentle tug towards him, waiting until she had settled up against him to wrap his arms around her from behind. He felt her lean her head back against his shoulder as she fought back tears and he kissed her cheek lovingly,
"No one blames you, Mon'; no one. They have all been just plain worried about you, because they love you so much and they all understand how hard this was for you. No one is angry or resentful because it took you so long to come back to God and you know what? If you had done this a year ago, or right after I was taken away, I don't know if I would have been returned right then and there. None of us know that, sweetheart."

Her eyes still downcast, Monica grasped her best friend's hands as he continued to hold tightly to her, not sure of how to reply for the next couple of minutes. Finally, with a heavy sigh, the Irish angel lifted her worn-out brown eyes up to Andrew,

"How do I let go of this guilt, though, Andy?" She asked sadly, her eyes starting to blur with tears,

"My heart is still so heavy, and I can't help thinking that if I did trust Him sooner...I wouldn't have wasted two precious years without you..."

"Baby, everyone grieves differently," Andrew tried to soothe his broken-hearted best friend, squeezing her hands tightly,

"No angel has ever gone through what you have gone through before."

Sniffing back a round of hot tears, Monica lifted her eyes to meet her best friend's again, and didn't miss the sadness evident in his own eyes as well,

"Help me, Andy...please, help me..." Her last words broke off as a soft sob escaped her.

"You know I will," He whispered to her softly,

"But first you need to cut yourself a break, Angel Girl, okay? The Father had a plan and He knew all along how it would turn out, you know that. You also have no reason to feel guilty, as the Father has forgiven you. In His eyes, it's over, sweetheart. You understand now about trusting Him at all costs, something that is hard to do, even as angels. You've gained understanding as to how humans feel when death occurs. Monica, all these things will serve you as a Case worker and you weren't the only one questioning the Father. Kevin did and even the others to extents; everyone learned something from this experience and what is most important is that I am here now and with you, and you don't have anything to fear. God loves you, Angel Girl, and I love you and our friends love you. They don't hold you accountable for this and neither do I, okay?" He kissed the top of her head, thanking the Father for giving him words that seemed to be calming his hurting best friend,

"So don't hold yourself accountable. You were hurting and doing the best you could and all the Father and I want to do is to take that hurt from you now and to see that gorgeous smile of yours again. So let us do that, baby, please?"

Monica was quiet for several moments, before she slowly nodded her head, taking in all he was saying to her and all that the Father was speaking to her heart. Drawing in a deep breath, and swallowing back tears, she replied softly,

"Okay," Feeling more strength than she had felt in two years, she looked up at him as he wiped away the remainder of her tears,

"So that only leaves me with a few questions then," Seeing him raise his eyebrows in amusement at her lighter tone, she continued,

"First off, I'd like for Kevin to be able to come down here tomorrow. He really looked out for me while you were gone and I miss him."

Chuckling softly, Andrew hugged his best friend close as he whispered lovingly into her ear,

"You know you don't even have to ask me that, Angel Girl. I'd like to see him, too."

"It's so good to see you both in the same room with each other," Kevin spoke the next day as he finally released Andrew from a tight hug and moved to greet his Irish co-worker whom he hadn't seen in 6 long months,

"Cupcake..."

Catching the youngest angel's hands up in her own, Monica blinked back tears as she smiled at Kevin,

"I'm so glad you agreed to come, Kev..."

"Monica, I've been waiting to come here for a long time," The angel interrupted, looking at each of his best friends and co-workers,

"You have no idea how happy I was when you called me, asking me to come to the beach house."

"We both wanted you here," She replied softly, squeezing his hands tightly,

"And I wanted to thank you for everything the last two years. I know there were times when I barely got by, but I couldn't have done it without you. You were really there for me, even when I pushed you away."

Releasing her hands to hug her tightly, Kevin replied with a smile,

"That's because I love you, Cupcake. There was nowhere else I would have been."

Andrew grinned widely, unable to be more pleased by the growth that had taken place in the relationship with his two charges. Their relationship had often times been rocky in the past but it seemed more solid now than he could ever remember seeing it and it warmed his heart,

"I'm waiting and it just isn't happening…" He remarked, a twinkle in his green eyes.

Pulling away from Kevin, Monica cocked her head and looked at him curiously,

"Waiting for what?"

"For the bickering to start," He replied with a wink to them both,

"Surely this must be the calm before the storm…"

Folding her arms across her chest, Monica shot her best friend a mock stern look and shook her head,

"You brat."

Chuckling, Andrew backed away at his friend's look,

"Not me, Angel Baby..."

"Yes, you," The Irish angel nodded her head as she moved towards him threateningly, Kevin's laughter floating behind them. As Monica moved closer and closer to her best friend, she couldn't hold back a giggle as Andrew fell backwards onto the couch; before he could sit up, the Irish angel held his hands to the couch and winked at him,

"You're not going anywhere, Angel Boy."

"We're in human form, Angel Girl, and I can assure you that you will lose this battle," He told her with a grin, knowing he was stronger than she was. Folding his fingers over hers, he was easily able to sit back up, despite her best efforts, doubled with giggles that he was delighted to hear. She was bouncing back and he could not be more pleased.

"That's so unfair," She lamented, her voice catching in a laugh as she flopped down on the sofa next to him.

Kevin grinned widely, his heart nearly bursting at finally seeing his two friends together again, and the life back in Monica's dark eyes. He hadn't heard her laugh or seen her smile in two long years and he had missed the sound,
"So, what's for lunch?" He asked with a grin.

The other two angels laughed as Andrew wrapped his arm around his best friend and tugged her closer, watching the contentment that cross her face as he did so. She hadn't ventured more than a few feet from him the last two days and that was fine by him. He had missed having her so close and being able to touch her and he was more than making up for that now and in return, it was not unusual for her to just suddenly wrap her arms around him without a word,
"We can head into town for lunch if you two want?" He offered, glancing out the window at the beautiful, sunny spring day.

"Can you do me a favor first?" The Irish angel asked, looking up at him,
"Providing Kev can wait that long to eat?" Hearing Andrew chuckle as he met her gaze, she continued with a slight blush,
"I miss my short hair and you're the only one I would allow to cut it."

"I'm hurt, Cupcake," Kevin sulked mockingly, a mischievous glint in his eye.

Grinning over at her youngest co-worker, Monica's eyes flashed with mischief before she turned back to her best friend, giving him a squeeze around the waist,

"So, will you, Andy?"

Andrew kissed the top of her head as he winked down at her,

"You know I will...as long as Kevin over there quits the puppy dog looks." Giving his youngest charge a Look, the supervisor added,

"You're not the one cutting her hair, Kev; it's out of the question."

"I never get to have any fun anymore," Kevin pretended to pout, slumping down into the chair next to the couch.

Shaking his head as he rolled his eyes, Andrew smirked at his younger friend, although his eyes were shining with laughter,

"Oh right, you never get to have any fun...if you had a middle name, 'fun' would be it, Wonder Boy."

"Well, since we aren't eating for at least an hour, I'm raiding the fridge," Kevin decided with a huge mock sigh,

"And unless I could give Cupcake a Mohawk, I don't want to play anyhow."

Andrew and Monica laughed as Kevin bolted to the kitchen,

"Well, his appetite came back with you, Andy." The Irish angel chuckled, shaking her head.

"Seems that way and so did yours, Angel Girl," He smiled, having been relieved earlier when she had eaten a huge breakfast and even physically, she was starting to look healthier, even after three days.

Smiling back at him, a thoughtful look crossed her face as she got to her feet,

"I'll be right back," Not noticing the puzzled look on his face, she headed back the hall to her room and returned a moment later with his leather jacket held close to her. Smiling, she explained softly,

"I think it is time I returned this to its rightful owner."

Tears instantly filled Andrew's emerald eyes as he rose to his feet and accepted the jacket from her hands,

"Angel Girl..."

"I had it with me the entire two years," She lowered her head for a brief moment, recalling the day once again when Andrew had been taken and when Rose had slipped the leather jacket over her shoulders to try and comfort her; that was the day she hadn't let her best friend's jacket out of her sight,

"I'm sorry to say that it's starting to smell like me now..." She shrugged her shoulders with a light chuckle, relieved when Andrew joined in, all the while wiping at his eyes.

"I wouldn't have it any other way," Andrew shook his head as he laughed, leaning down to kiss her cheek. But before he could say anything else, a small meow sounded at the two angel's feet and they both looked down to see Molly looking up at them with inquisitive eyes. His eyes filling with love for the cat whom he had given to Monica as a Christmas present, the angel reached down and picked her up in his arms, his hand petting her soft fur gently.

"I think your friends aren't the only ones relieved that you're back, Andy," The Irish angel whispered as she watched the cat curl up in Andrew's arms and start purring.

"Well, I missed your little cat too," He replied softly, scratching the cat behind the ears as her purr grew louder.

"She was wonderful company while you were gone," Monica remarked, moving to pet the little cat,

"She was never more than two feet away from me. I think she knew something was wrong."

Looking back up at his dearest friend with a wink, Andrew replied teasingly,

"Thank you for returning the jacket. I thought I may have lost like I lost a flannel shirt once upon a time."

She smiled at him as she gently took Molly from his arms and set her down on the floor, before wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing his cheek lovingly,

"I don't need it anymore. I don't need it to remind me of you now that I have the real thing."

Feeling a blush rise to his cheeks, Andrew hugged his best friend tightly back in return,

"You can still keep it, though; it looks better on you anyways."

Laughing into his shoulder, the Irish angel tightened her arms around his neck as she rested her head against his shoulder,

"Still. I do know one thing, though; and that is that I would take you over a flannel shirt or jacket any day."

"I would hope so, sweetie," Andrew teased, kissing the top of her head gently. Giving her another squeeze, he finally pulled away and looked deep into her eyes, moving his hand so that it was resting on her cheek,

"I love you so much, Mon; and I do mean what I said the other day. I am never letting you go, ever again."

Her dark eyes shining, even as happy tears glistened in them, she replied softly,

"I'm holding you to that, my dear friend, and you can start right now," Feeling him wrap his arms around her once more, she added,

"I love you too, Andy and though I will always trust God with you now, you're still my Angel Boy…always."

The End

CI and KP