“You can tell your pet it’s safe to come out of the shadows now.” said Baruthiel.
Teatime had obviously been listening the whole time because the words had barely left the angel’s mouth before he was once more upon Harold’s shoulder.
“Why in Hades’s name did you agree to that?” his voice was a furious frantic whisper.
“It’s not like I had a lot of choice, is it?” Harold replied, “And I don’t need a load of aggravation from you about it – the Basement and the Penthouse have a common interest for once and it might be useful to pool our resources.”
“Have I somehow fallen through a wormhole into an alternate reality?” Teatime was incredulous, “Those goody-two-shoes types will never trust us enough to share anything they find out and they’ll never believe anything we tell them. By Pluto, If you told them tomatoes were red, they’d still go to the nearest greengrocer and check for themselves. No, we can’t do this, old sock, we simply can’t.”
“We have to, “ insisted Harold, “I’ve already agreed to it.”
“But your Father will be furious!”
“Music to my ears,” commented Baruthiel, “A house divided….”
If looks could kill, Teatime’s glare would have had the local florists rubbing their hands and ordering extra lillies.
“Look Teatime,” said Harold patiently, “I’m not changing my mind on this now. I say we at least give it a try. If it doesn’t work out well…”
Teatime considered this. “Very well,” he sighed after some time, “but don’t come crying to me when these OGS lickspittles slap you with another Binding or worse – as they surely will.”
“They’re here,” announced Baruthiel, as four figures appeared at the end of the alleyway. He sheathed his sword and altered his appearance. Gone were the radiant armour and long flowing locks, to be replaced by a modern-looking army field uniform and a crew cut. Harold could only envy the angel’s mastery of his physical appearance – a skill he was really going to have to start working at one of these days – if he ever got the chance. If only you could get an instructional DVD or something – “Shapeshifting for Beginners” or “A New Face in 10 Easy Steps”. Maybe if he ever got the hang of it he would make that DVD himself. Yeah, right! His Father would be riding a snowmobile to work before these OGS types would leave him alone long enough to a) practice the art and b) stay here on the Brightside. Which rather begged the question: what was going to happen once all this was over. He was about to ask Baruthiel, but at that moment Joshua squad arrived.
This was India’s first encounter with an angel and, although she knew better, she was ever so slightly disappointed that he wasn’t more, well, angelic-looking. Oh, he was beautiful alright and contained within himself an inner light which was unmistakably not of this earth, but she had secretly hoped for wings. Big fluffy white wings – and maybe a halo. This isn’t It’s a Wonderful Life, she chided herself, and he’s not Clarence, so get a grip!
“Good evening, Agents,” said the angel, “Forgive the bizarre location of this meeting, it would have taken place in more salubrious surroundings at OGS HQ had someone not taken it into his head to go running off in the company of Black Sheep.” This last was, of course, directed at Harold but the latter just shrugged.
“Now,” he continued, “I have a very unusual request.”