Mitch was what one would call a felon. One of those guys who had squeaked his way into Heaven by the skin of his teeth. The sort of guy St. Peter had looked down his nose at as he opened the gates. That sort of guy.
However, it had been a couple centuries since Mitch had exited the material world for the immaterial, and he was bored out of his mind. It was difficult to perpetrate crimes in Heaven due to a general lack of circumstance. There was nothing to steal, nobody gambled, and kidnapping had never been Mitch's gig. And really, there was only so much time one could spend lounging around on cotton-candy coloured clouds before the whole shebang started to make you want to vomit. Mitch was not at the vomiting stage. He was way past the vomiting stage. In fact, he was at the 'kill-me-now-and-end-my-misery' stage. Unfortunately, he was already dead.
So the obvious solution to this thorny problem was to hop, skip, and jump his way back to Earth to have some fun. The problem with this solution was that Mitch lacked clearance to head back down (the Big Guy didn't like felons mucking about) and he didn't have a job that required him to do so.
Half-jokingly, Mitch had filled out an application to become a guardian angel.
Half-shocked, Mitch had showed up on the time and date he had been assigned for his interview.
There were three categories of Guardians. There were Guardian Demons, Guardians, and Guardian Angels. Guardian Angels were the most well-known; they did horribly saccharine things like saving small children from deadly illness, making sure puppies didn't get run over by trains, finding lost mittens, etc. They made Mitch rather ill, actually. Guardians were generally beings from Purgatory who had been around the reincarnation track one too many times and had been eternally delegated to help other beings be more successful than they had been. Guardian Demons, on the other hand, tended to sway things the other way. They did their very best to ensure that Hell fulfilled its weekly quota of dammned souls. All three had access to Earth, but since Mitchell had applied as an Angel, he hadn't expected the panel he saw as he walked into the interview room.
Firstly, the fact that the interview took place in Hell should have warned him. Mitch nervously flicked his dark blue eyes around the room, assessing the panel in front of him as he grinned, knowing his smile reflected his unease at suddenly being thrown into this particularly unexpected situation. Female demoness, scantily clad? Check. Bland Purgatory rep? Check. Handsome, white-clad Archangel with large, feathery wings? Gulp.
It wasn't like everybody in Heaven didn't know who the Archangel Gabriel was, but Mitch had never seen him before. Since he tended to dodge Heavenly Authority when he could manage, that made a lot of sense. The redhead, however, had not considered the possibility that the Archangel could be, simply put, hot. And not in the wearing-a-turtleneck-in-Hell sort of way, although Mitch was suitably impressed by Gabriel's endurance. Was the being even sweating?
Realising he'd been staring, Mitch brought his eyes up to meet Gabriel's somewhat intimidating gaze. The Archangel, in turn, began to examine the folder in front of him, and Mitch prevented himself from rolling his eyes. Heavenly Authorities were such pricks sometimes. Can't be making too much eye contact with the felon, now can we? Can't hire the felon without a complete panel interview, now can we?
It had been a joke, anyway. Geez.
But Mitch good-naturedly answered the questions posed to him by the sketchy female demoness (blah blah riches blah blah power blah blah corruption blah blah wanna sell your soul? blah blah), then the boring Purgatory rep (blah blah blah blah blah blah), and then it was the Archangel's turn. Mitch braced himself for the condescension he was sure would follow. After all, Gabriel was one of those Upper Authorities in Heaven, and he probably didn't want to hire someone like Mitch. And with Mitch's luck, he'd end up herding reincarnated sheep around a meadow for the next few centuries until he could put in for a transfer.
There was a long pause, then the Archangel looked up at Mitch again. Mitch looked back at him. Blue gaze met blue gaze, and Mitch noticed the Purgatory rep shifting uncomfortably while the demoness rolled her eyes elaborately. The pause stretched on and Mitch considered running a hand through his somewhat spiky red hair, then decided against it.
What?! Mitch's jaw dropped as Gabriel strode out of the interview room, then scrambled to follow him to the chuckles of the demoness and the hyperventilation of the Purgatory rep. Well, he would've been bored working for either of them, he supposed, but he wasn't expecting the Archangel to be much better.
Warm tendrils of air encircled the being as he stepped out of the door, pulling him apart and pushing him together at the same time. Blinking his blue eyes rapidly, Mitch looked around to see what was happening as his surroundings started to blur in and out of focus. In less than a second, he was standing in a relatively cool (well, anything would be relatively cool as compared to Hell, so that may have not been the most accurate description Mitch had ever come up with), light blue room with a series of doors and porcelain bowls. The Archangel stood calmly running his hands under the water that poured out of one of the metal lumps atop the smallest bowl.
Gabriel's wide, feathery wings were no longer visible, and his attire had changed from pure white to black and blue. Mitch stayed where he was, unsure of what he was supposed to be doing. To his left, behind one of the doors, came the sound of water rushing just before the sound of a lock being undone. A man opened the door, nearly hitting Mitch. The being walked towards Gabriel casually, avoiding the odd looks the man was giving him.
The Archangel turned calmly, now-black turtleneck emphasising the delicacy of his features and pale complexion. Mitch shifted uncomfortably, able to see the dirty look the man was giving the both of them in the mirror in front of the small porcelain bowl. Clearly, Gabriel had noticed too, for he returned the man's look in the mirror with an intimidating one of the same caliber Mitch had encountered just a few minutes previously.
What had he gotten into?
The pair of angels exited the room dignifiedly and entered the main room of the building. It was warm (although less so than Hell had been), with all sorts of smells floating around. Mitch sniffed the air with interest. Nutmeg, cinnamon, chocolate, coffee...all sorts of lovely smells. Through a fogged window at the front of the room, rain drizzling onto a mostly-deserted street could be seen; on the window-seat was a plump brown pillow, and right in front of that window-seat was a still-steaming cup, a muffin, and a newspaper. There were few customers in the shop—a bespectabled old, white man, a pair of spiky-haired young Asian men, a trio of young, blonde women, and another younger, Asian girl—but nobody particularly interesting.
While Mitch had been taking in his new surroundings, Gabriel had made a beeline for the windowseat and, in record time, had curled up on the plump cushion with the steaming cup and the newspaper. He looked, Mitch decided, vague amusement painting his features, like some sort of cat.
And for the time being, Mitchell really wanted one of the beautifully-smelling drinks. Since he didn't have any money, the logical solution was to pick the pocket of the first person who passed him by. And thankfully, since someone was entering the shop right at that moment, it didn't take long.
The tall redhead waited for the young, Black man to pass in front of him, then started to reach for his back pocket when--
GABRIEL, WILL YOU PLEASE TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR ASSISTANT?
Mitch started, then looked over to the Archangel, who had clearly reacted in a similar manner from the very irritated way he was currently dabbing at his clothes. There was a short pause, and then...
"ASSISTANT?!" Gabriel and Mitchell exclaimed in disbelief at the same time. The people in the shop looked up, each wearing an expression ranging from confusion to annoyance. Mitchell coughed and returned his attention to the menu as Gabriel glared at the ceiling, still dabbing his sweater. The redhead couldn't have been more confused until Gabriel appeared behind him, touched his shoulder, and said "We're leaving," before walking out the door, expecting Mitch to follow him into the rain.
Euegh. Mitch hated rain.
Regardless, he followed the Archangel out the door, taking a left and walking a few feet as they passed the window of the shop they had just left. Mitch noticed that the muffin (now with two bites out of it), newspaper, and cup had all been left on the side table. He then returned his attention to Gabriel, who had shoved his hands in his pockets and was muttering under his breath. Mitch wasn't quite sure he wanted to hear what was going on. He had the nasty feeling that it related to the Voice that had just addressed the both of them, and he had the even nastier feeling that the Voice belonged to the Big Guy.
"Er," Mitch started to speak, then realised he didn't have much to say. "Thanks for the job?"
Gabriel stopped and looked at him dead-on with those infinite blue eyes.
It was going to be an awful long next couple of centuries, wasn't it?
A/N : Well, I'm glad Mitch finally told me what's up! Gabe and I have been kind of in the dark for a little while...Mitch is kind of the one running the show here, but that's all right. I'll probably be alternating viewpoints every chapter from now on, just because I'm not sure we'd ever get anywhere if it were just Gabe and I. Thanks very much to Firegirl210 and S. Kelly for the reviews!