“Work with a demon?” cried Agent Mercury, “Are you serious?”
“Quite serious,” replied Baruthiel calmly. “The decision to combine forces was not made lightly, I assure you. Now I can’t put any pressure on you to do this, but I would strongly recommend it.”
The agents’ faces were so comically frozen in disbelief that Harold was tempted to whip out his phone and take a picture. He suspected that it would be a poor start to their working relationship though, so he forbore. What puzzled him was that the female agents had changed their appearances. The older one – Agent Gucci, was it - looked amazing (for a human). The younger one though looked faintly ridiculous and distinctly ill-at-ease in her blonde wig, make-up and heels. He felt a smile starting a tug-of-war with the corners of his mouth.
For her part, Agent India couldn’t believe her ears. She couldn’t have been more taken aback if the angel had suggested they team up with Gandalf and his pixies or Hobbits or whatever those little guys were. Surely Mercury would say no and then they could nail that – wait a minute – was that demon smirking? At her? The nerve! She felt the weight of the taser in her hand. Oh, If only…. Come on Mercury, just say no, she urged him silently. Just. Say. No.
“Does director Opal know about this?” asked Mercury, apparently impervious to India’s thought-beams boring into the back of his head .
“He has been informed, yes,” replied the angel. “He says that, as you’ll be the ones directly affected you should decide whether you want to work with a Fallen.“
“I vote no.” said India, straightaway.
“Oh, quelle surprise,” whispered Teatime, sarcastically.
“I would vote yes,” said Othello, “Except we can’t have demons running around unbound and I’m assuming,” and, here he turned to Harold, “that you wouldn’t agree to be Bound?”
“Correct” Replied Harold
“Since when do we ask demons for their permsision before Binding them?” said India, incredulously. “Surely, we should just do it and then the question doesn’t arise!”
“I think it would be more productive if all parties in this arrangement were willing rather than coerced.” Interjected Baruthiel. “But your point is well made.”
Othello thought for a moment then said to Harold, “Perhaps as a compromise, you could base yourself at our HQ and a member of OGS could accompany you at all times when out and about.”
“I’d be OK with that,” said Prada, “Besides, it’s about time we had some eye-candy about the place – no offence, gentlemen.” India shot her a scandalised look.
“I’d be OK with that too, I suppose,” said Mercury drily, “but probably not for the same reasons as Agent Prada.”
“Well?” Baruthiel was looking at Harold. The latter’s brain went into top gear as he tried to consider the ramifications of agreeing to this latest idea.
“Just a moment,” he said, walking a few paces away down the alley. “What do you think, Teatime?”
“I hate to badger you over this but I think you should never have agreed to work with these people in the first place,” replied the monkey sternly, “but that’s academic now. I suspect refusal to join their little party at this point would be unwise: these OGS lackeys on their own are dangerous enough but with Baruthiel as well.. No, we’d better make the best of it, old button.”
“OK,” said Harold, returning to the group. “I’m in.”
“Good,” approved the angel, “Now I must go.” He addressed Harold in Celestial, “The Penthouse has placed an unprecedented amount of trust in you, Fallen. Betray that trust and I will take it as a personal affront.”
And with that, he was gone.
“So, what now?” said Harold brightly.
“Back to HQ for you, then a good night’s sleep for the rest of us.” Said Mercury.”There’s just about room in the car I suppose, let’s go.”
“Will my room have an ensuite?” Harold asked India jokingly, in an attempt to break the ice.
“Hardly.” She replied sullenly, “It’s not like we’re going to roll out the barrel for the likes of you.”
“Could you at least run to a lovely cup of tea then?” Harold continued, “Only Teatime is rather partial to it.”
“Stop talking to me.” India snapped.
“Just being friendly,” Harold said, “We are going to be working together after all.”
“So? It doesn’t mean we have to do small-talk.”
Harold sighed. These humans were no fun.