by Lisa H
Title: ...or in Heaven
Written by Lisa
B/K property of Fontana/Levinson et al.
Toby reached the appointed spot, slightly out of breath. He knelt beside the clear running stream and scooped up a double handful of the sweet water. It still amazed him how the water was warm to the touch, yet so cold going down his throat. Standing, he scanned the area around him and called out, "Hey, you here?"
"Yeah, I'm here."
Toby frowned slightly as he looked around, not seeing the owner of the voice. "Well, where are you?"
"Over here, behind this cloud."
Toby snorted a short laugh--that certainly cleared things up. "Chris, we're surrounded by clouds! Can you be more specific?" He caught movement from the corner of his eye and turned to see Chris step from behind one of the multitude of snow-white cotton-candy clouds that were scattered over the lush valley they were in. His eyes lit up at the sight and he quickly crossed the short distance between them. They embraced, then began walking along the stream bank.
"Why are you so late?" Chris asked.
"I keep forgetting how long it takes to walk anywhere."
"Yeah, wings are a lot more efficient, but they can really get in the way, ya know?" As if to prove his point, he pulled Toby into his arms and ran his hands up and down the other's back.
Toby pulled away, smiling, but his smile turned to a frown as he looked at Chris.
"What is it?"
"Your halo, Chris...why is it always so tarnished?" He reached up and plucked the dingy golden ring from the space above the dark head. Pulling up the hem of his robe he began vigorously polishing.
"Toby, come on," Chris pleaded. "Don't worry about that right now." He tried to grab the halo, but Toby sidestepped him and continued his cleaning. Chris sighed and shook his head.
Toby glanced at him. "You don't have to just stand there watching."
"What, your halo need polishin'?" he asked with a leer.
"Hmph. My halo is just fine, thank you. Tell me what you did this morning."
"Oh yeah." Chris brightened to the subject. "I spent some time with Mother Teresa. I was helping her give St. Paul a hard time; he wouldn't let her in to see the Big Guy."
"Mother Teresa, huh? What's she up to?"
"She wants to take a group of volunteers down below."
"No....further down below. She wants to distribute care packages.... portable fans, ice packs, moist towelettes, that kind of thing."
Toby looked at Chris through narrowed eyes. "Are you serious?"
"The truth...I swear." Chris placed one hand over his heart and raised the other. "Look where we are, you think I'm gonna break an oath here? She's bored without anyone to take care of." Toby nodded and continued with his polishing.
Chris chewed a bit nervously on his bottom lip before speaking again. "I'm kind of on the you-know-what list with John the Baptist."
"What? You finally got St. Peter talking to you again! What happened with John?"
"Well, I was telling a bunch of Archangels this joke about Marie Antoinette and I didn't know he had come up behind me. Uh, and the punch line was----"
Toby closed his eyes. "Please don't tell me-"
"Yup....Off with his head!" Toby groaned. "C'mon Toby, don't you think he should be gettin' over it by now? It's been a few millennium."
"I imagine being decapitated is something that stays with a person for awhile."
"Yeah, well," Chris pouted, "those holier-than-thou Archy's could've told me he was there. And he's had his head back forever."
Toby smiled. "He'll forgive you, everyone always does. Here, your halo's done." He tried to put it back in place, but Chris ducked out of the way and grabbed Toby's own halo from his head. "We might as well take these off now, so they don't just end up falling off in a minute."
Toby looked at him with a wide-eyed expression. "Why would they fall off?"
Chris grabbed the front of Toby's robe and pulled him close. "No wonder you never get in trouble. You have that `huh? what?' innocent look down pat."
Both angels laughed as they sank to the downy grass.
An hour later Toby was wakened by the distant sound of a trumpet blaring. `Oh great,' he thought. He nudged Chris, who woke in time to hear the next blast of sound. "C'mon Chris, we're gonna be late for something."
Chris sat up, wiping the sleep from his eyes. "Man, Gabriel is always blowing on that damn horn."
"Sorry, old habits die hard. That `gosh darn' horn....better? What is it now?"
Toby stood and put out his hand to help Chris up. "I don't know, I didn't check the schedule today. We better hurry, whatever it is."
"We need to clean up." And with that Chris was splashing into the stream. Toby walked down the bank several feet before wading in. "What're ya doin' down there?" Chris called. "I was going to wash your back."
"That's why I'm down here, we're going to be late enough as it is, especially since we have to walk!" Toby tried to glower, but the sight of Chris' wet body sparkling in the sun wouldn't let him do anything but smile.
"Don't worry baby, I'll talk us out of getting in trouble."
Toby knew that was probably true, he had done it many times before. He remembered the day not so long ago...or had it been very long ago? Time here flowed so seamlessly, he couldn't be sure. At any rate, he and Chris had miraculously shown up at the Pearly Gates at the exact same moment, looking just as they had the last time they had been together, in the holding area of Oz. St. Peter was not about to let them in, but Chris had lost none of his magic touch for charming anyone out of anything. And once inside, it had been just as Chris had promised all those years ago....in the face of their overwhelming love and devotion, God didn't have the balls to keep them out; it also didn't hurt that the Almighty had great sense of humor.
They had just gotten dressed and were adjusting their halos when St. Mark appeared over the hillside, gliding just a few feet in the air as he searched for the missing pair. As soon as he saw them, he alighted, shaking his finger in their faces. "You two are very late! Do you know what you are supposed to be doing right now?" They both shook their heads, trying very hard to look chastised. "Singing in the choir!"
Toby bit down hard on his tongue and Chris covered his mouth to stifle his sudden attack of strangled coughing as they made every effort at some kind of composure.
"You two get to the Cathedral as fast as you can." St. Mark let out a large breath of frustration as looked the two over. "But don't show up without your wings, St. Cecelia is mad enough already!" He was off, shaking his head and muttering to himself about once again having to be the one to track those two down.
As soon as he was out of sight, both men exploded with laughter. "Hey," Chris said when they finally calmed down, "maybe we should have told him we were doing a little rehearsing on our own." He waggled his eyebrows at Toby and smiled his dazzling smile. Toby shook his head and playfully pushed at Chris, who pushed back, then took off at a slow run. He looked back over his shoulder, grinning and motioning to Toby to come on. Toby gathered up his robe and began running, running to catch up to the most devilish angel in Heaven.