Andrew stared briefly at the closed eyes of the man sitting on the makeshift bunk, gun resting far too securely in the strong, calloused hand that caressed it almost lovingly. At first, he had been surprised to find out that he would be dealing with this human, and not a case-worker. Now, he understood.
Sometimes, on very rare occasions, there was a point where a case-worker was not the best hope to communicate with a person about faith and God's love for all his children. Andrew knew well, the human capacity to endure in the path of great adversity and not break under the weight of such pain. It produced people who had the potential to do a great deal of good... like the man he had come to see.
Letting himself become solid, Andrew waited till the man registered his presence. It didn't take long. With an instinct honed in numerous battles, the man had the gun in his hand pointed directly at the intruder that had suddenly appeared to disrupt his solitude.
"Who the hell are you? How the hell did you get in here?!"
Andrew smiled wryly, saying, "Andrew. And I can assure you; 'hell' has no part of my being here."
The man frowned at him and said, "What the fuck are you getting at, stranger?"
Andrew smiled and let himself be filled with the love of the Father. He could read the confusion in the man's eyes, and the reluctant awe, as it became clear that his 'visitor' was something special.
"Bodie, my name is Andrew. I am an angel. I'm here to bring you a message from God. The message is that he loves you and that he wants you to know that he is proud of you."
Bodie stared wordlessly at the glowing being in front of him. He wasn't drunk, he wasn't on drugs, and he was sure enough of his faculties to know that he was seeing what he was seeing. He silently placed the gun on the bed beside him. He didn't know much, but pointing a gun at an angel didn't seem like too sensible a thing to do.
Tiredly, self-deridingly, Bodie said, "I'm a mercenary, Andrew. I've been worse. I've done some highly questionable things in my life. Why on earth would God love me? I'm not worth the bother."
Moving to crouch down to eye level with the exhausted man, Andrew addressed him, saying, "He knows all that you have done, Bodie. He knows the strength and goodness of your heart. His love and forgiveness are infinite. Ask, and you will receive it."
Bodie rubbed tiredly at his eyes and said, "I wish that I believed that."
Andrew moved to sit beside the soul-weary man and placed a gentle hand on his wrist, saying, "You can, Bodie. You can. He loves you very much, as He loves all of his children."
"I still don't see why I merit a visit from an angel. Shouldn't you be off visiting the quiet heroes of the world - inspiring them, telling them that God loves them?"
Andrew shrugged at his human charge, saying, "His wisdom is infinite. He makes sure that His children have the right angel, at the right time, and with the right message."
"And you're the right angel for a mercenary?"
Andrew grinned and said, "I admit, it's not my prime role in His service. Still, sometimes an angel needs to learn things too. I have watched you a lot in the last few years... He felt that I would be the angel best suited to you and your life."
"You've been watching me? Why?"
Quietly, calmly, Andrew said, "I have the joy and responsibility of bringing people to the presence of the Father when it is their time to go. You have been round death a great deal in the last few years. I have noticed you... I have noticed your desire to protect what life that you can... and your sorrow and rage on the occasions that you are too late."
Digesting the angel's words, Bodie's eyes widened slightly when he understood the unspoken meaning behind them. "You're the Angel of Death, aren't you?"
At Andrew's nod, Bodie gave a wry grin. "This God of yours have a sense of humour, does he? Sending the Angel of Death to bring a message of love to a merc like me?"
"Your God too, Bodie." Andrew grinned. "And yes, I would have to say that sometimes His sense of the ironic is quite impressive."
Bodie felt his spirits lift in the presence of the wryly amused angel. It went against the instincts honed over the last few years, that, and the shell of cynicism that he'd built round himself to protect him from his own feelings, but he did believe. With that belief came hope, and that was something he hadn't had in a long, long time.
"You can't just be here to tell me God loves me, Andrew. That seems like an awfully small task for an angel like you."
Andrew could see that some of the man's barriers were breaking down, some, not all. It would take a while for a lifetime of mistrust and self-reliance to allow faith and hope to take up an equal measure of space in Bodie's heart.
"It is an important enough message, Bodie; one that I am always proud to carry, and no, that is not my only reason for being here tonight. You've already decided that this life is not for you - and you are right. He has other hopes and plans for you."
A hint of suspicion returned as Bodie said, "And they are?"
"You are walking a path that is going to lead you towards the opportunity to do a lot of good for others. You have more dark times to live through, but you've already started to walk on a path towards helping others. You may not believe this yet, but it is the truth.
"He wanted you to know this. He also wanted you to know that you will not walk this path alone. You will find good people along your path. People that will become friends and people that will become family. He promises you that, Bodie."
Andrew moved to stand again, and addressed Bodie for one last time. "Remember, God loves you, Bodie. He loves all of his children.
"Peace, my friend."
Then, there was a bright light, and when Bodie opened his eyes again, the angel was gone.
It had been several years since Bodie had seen that distinctive mane of blond hair, but he'd never forget that face. Striding along the hospital corridor, Bodie called out, "Andrew, wait!"
Heart in his mouth, Bodie approached the Angel of Death and said, "Why are you here, Andrew? It's not--" the words died in his mouth. No. Please, don't let him be here for Ray.
Seeing the worry in Bodie's eyes, Andrew smiled reassuringly at the CI5 agent. "No, Bodie. I'm not here for your friend, Ray. I just wanted to check up on you. I know you've been worried about your partner."
Walking along the corridor with the angel, Bodie said, "If you're not here for him just now, does that mean that he's gonna be okay?"
Andrew smiled at the suppressed tension in the man's frame as he asked about his friend. "Yes, Bodie. That's exactly what it means. He's very proud of you both, you know. You've done a lot of good together."
Bodie shrugged his embarrassment and acknowledgment of the compliment they had been given, and Andrew smiled inwardly. Bodie and Doyle were two extremely gifted, if volatile, law enforcement agents, but they did not take praise well. It was not in their nature.
"Doyle will be up and annoying you again before you know it, Bodie. I promise."
Andrew stopped outside a closed door, and said, "I'll have to leave you here, Bodie. Mr. Gerald has lived a full and happy life. His family is with him to say goodbye, but it's time for me to take him home.
"Be well, Bodie. Look after yourself, and your friend. I'll see you down the road."
"Okay, Andrew... and Andrew, thanks."
Bodie watched as Andrew, disappeared from view. He then made his way up the corridor to head towards the intensive care wing and his partner. It had scared him more than he'd thought possible when he'd found his partner lying on the floor of his flat with two bullet wounds in him, but an angel wouldn't lie to him. Andrew wouldn't lie to him. Doyle wasn't going to leave him alone in the world again, at least not this time.
And for now, that was enough.