Note: This work is unfinished because I have lost use of my computer. It will be finished as soon as possible.))
Nearly choking to death on his toothbrush was not what Jonathan would consider an ideal morning. To be fair, Sock wasn’t trying to hurt him when Jonathan looked up from brushing his teeth and saw him way too close behind him in the mirror. If Jonathan died by accident Sock would be out of a job. Meanwhile, the little demon was laughing his ass off by the sink, clutching his stomach doubled over in gleeful amusement at Jonathan’s plight.
“Come on, its not that funny.” Jonathan grumbled and started to finish brushing his teeth.
“You didn’t see yourself!” the floating menace said through a large, toothy smile. “You looked like you were about to DIE. I’m glad you didn’t though, or I’d be out of a job.” He continued and “elbowed” Jonathan in the rib. Predictable. It went right through him, of course, but it still felt oddly cold and tingly where it brushed through him. After that he moved to his room to finish getting dressed; Sock talked at him the whole time as he changed into his school clothes. He’d gotten used to seeing Jonathan in his boxers from the several months Sock’d been here, but he still talked just a little bit faster and didn’t make as much eye contact as he normally did when trying to bother him.
It was fairly obvious that Sock had feelings for Jonathan, but he had elected to ignore it for the most part. He wasn’t the best at connecting with people or deep emotions and all that. He had a hard time developing crushes, and it tended to be only after he’d known someone for quite some time...Which was a whole different pain in the ass because he’d suddenly caught feelings for friends he’d had for several years that he wasn’t interested in and they could tell. It’s ended more than one friendship.
Oh well. It didn’t really matter anymore. Jonathan finished getting ready and got on the bus, immediately putting on his headphones and tuning out the world. Sock was quiet on the bus. He’d learned that it was the one place that Jonathan absolutely refused to take off his headphones and talk. He’d start off sitting next to Jonathan, but in a few minutes he’d get bored and start to fidget. By the time they got to the school he was up and pacing around the bus and observe the other students. Jonathan knew this attitude was pretty textbook ADHD, but he’d talked to Sock about it before and he’d never been to a doctor or anything. His parents “didn’t believe in it.” Well, that certainly worked out for them.
Sock immediately started talking again when the bus parked, even though he still had his headphones on. He hadn’t even gotten out of the seat yet, he waited for everyone else to get off first.
“...And that’s why rabbits aren’t considered true rodents, but are in their own group called lagomorpha!” he declared as Jonathan made his way inside. Sock could talk for hours on end about animals and their classifications and the like. He was a pretty smart kid. Jonathan... not so much. He had pretty solid D’s in all of his classes. No matter how much he studied, he just didn’t understand anything. The only thing he was decent at was the guitar, and even that he wasn’t good enough to make a career out of it.
“Mhm,” Jonathan responded to Sock without making eye contact while he got his books out of his locker and sat down in the back of his first class. He got out his phone and opened up the notes app so he could “talk” to Sock without seeming like he was speaking to the air. To anyone observing it just looked like he was texting someone like the rest of the class did before the teacher started.
“It sucks that you have math class first period.” Sock said and rested his chin on Jonathan’s shoulder.
“Yup. Sucks I have school at all.” He texted back.
“Hey...I know something you can do that will ensure you’ll never have to go to school again!”
“Let me guess. Kill myself?”
“Yeah, but then I’d spend an eternity with YOU. That’s far worse in my opinion.”
“You’re so mean,” he whined and stuck out his tongue.
To be honest... Jonathan was actually considering it. He wasn’t very smart and had a diagnosis for a good number of mental issues that would keep him from getting employed at a lot of places. Most companies don’t look at an autistic schizophrenic kid and think, “Yes! That’s who I want to hire!”. But he refused to give Sock the satisfaction of knowing that.
Soon the teacher came in and told everyone to put their phones away. Talking with Sock was definitely a high energy task but it wasn’t nearly as bad as trying to understand algebra. This was the third time he’d taken Algebra 1; he’d failed it both times. The second time he did even worse; nobody knew how that even happened. Surprise! It was depression. Sock seemed pretty interested in it, though.
“Oh I remember this class! I took it...5 years ago? They let me in when I was in like the 7th grade because of some placement test I took.”
God damn him. Jonathan spent the rest of the class taking half-assed notes then doodling on the rest of the page. The teachers knew by now not to call on him because he never knew the answer and all it did was embarrass him. So at least he wouldn’t be bothered.
This continued for the next few classes until lunch, where Jonathan sat by himself in the corner. He let himself whisper to Sock here, since nobody really came up and talked to him. Well, that girl Lil did sometimes, whenever she was around for lunch, anyway. Most of the time she just kind of wandered the halls.
Sock was trying to gross out Jonathan with the hole in his chest, which he had long grown used to, when they could hear the sound of an ambulance pulling up next to the school.
“What’s going on?” Sock asked.
“How should I know?” Jonathan responded. If there was an ambulance someone was probably hurt...he hoped they were okay.
“I’m gonna go check it out.” Sock said with a little too much enthusiasm and darted through the wall. He was back about 15 minutes later, and Jonathan had finished eating by then and was making little scribbly drawings in his notebook.
Sock popped up from the pages into Jonathan’s face. “I’m back!” he shouted.
“Jesus Christ can you stop doing that?!” He hissed at him.
“Not until it stops being funny!” Sock chimed. “Anyway, I saw what happened. They were taking someone out on a stretcher. Looked like one of the football players. Had a seizure or something.”
“Oh.” Jonathan said. He actually felt kind of bad. He didn’t know who this person was, but he couldn’t help but hope they’d recover.
Unfortunately, they did not. Zack Phineas Melto did not show up to school the next day. And wouldn’t for any days after.
Zack woke up in his room. His memory was a blur of head pain and bright hospital lights. He looked around, unsure of how he had gotten home. One thing that he’d noticed immediately was that his room was different. It was the same room, but it was clean and smelled...fresh. There was a faint ray of sunlight coming in through the window. He curled up on the bed into the corner. Something wasn’t right. He definitely couldn’t have cleaned it up this much, and there’s no way in hell his dad would. Quickly he reached under his mattress for the stuffed bunny he’d had since he was a child, hidden away from his father who said he was “too old for those kinds of things”. When he found it, he was surprised to find it in perfect condition. All of the dirt had been washed out, and not a single tear or hole remained. Ok, he was definitely dreaming now. He remembered being in a hospital, maybe he was in a coma? Yeah...that had to be it. Normal dreams weren’t this vivid.
His thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door.
“Zack?” a friendly sounding voice chimed from the other side. “Are you awake? Can I come in?” it asked.
“...Sure?” he said timidly. When he answered, a taller, darker skinned woman with purple hair came in and sat down on his bed.
“Are you feeling ok?” She asked. Her voice was immensely sweet and comforting, immediately giving her a presence of someone that could be trusted.
“Kind of?” Zack replied, relaxing just a little bit. “Where...where am I?” He asked. He knew for a fact now that this was not his house.
“Oh. You don’t remember, do you?” She said a little sadly. “You’re in heaven, my dear.”
Zack stared at her blankly. Most people might have been significantly more upset, but he was just...relieved. He felt like a weight was lifted from his shoulders. His home life was not the best; his parents were divorced and he was living with his severely abusive father who moved him across the country. Because of it he’d considered offing himself more than once. The fact that a natural cause had gotten to him first kept his conscience clean.
“It’s nice here.” He complimented quietly. Much nicer than his old room.
“Thank you, love!” the woman said to him. She seemed relieved that he adjusted quickly. “My name is Providence. I’m who created you humans!”
Zack’s mouth fell open. He was speaking to God. “I...I....” he stammered.
“Oh, shh shh, don’t worry about it sweetie.” She reassured him and reached forward slowly to pat his back, hesitating at first to make sure he was ok with being touched. When Zack relaxed towards her she continued, soothing him. “I’m greeting you to heaven personally because I have a special job for you!” she chimed and handed him what looked like a small kindle. On it was a picture of Jonathan. Jonathan Combs. The awkward and lonely kid in his school that he had...quite the crush on. Zack blushed slightly and took it. The page had a lot of information on it. Most of it was basic things, like his name, picture, and birthday, but it also had more specific things such as likes and dislikes. What caught his attention was a little meter next to his picture that read “Happiness”. It was...low. Very low. The red on it glared at him, filling him with sadness. He knew that Jonathan wasn’t the most enthusiastic person, but he had no idea he was this miserable.
“I’m assuming you can see what the problem here is.” Providence said, looking at the tablet. “And I’m recruiting you to fix it! I know you were quite fond of him, so I thought you’d make a perfect guardian angel for him!”
“Angel?” Zack said, surprised. “I can’t...I can’t do that!” as much as he cared about Jonathan, this was a lot of responsibility. And he was pretty sure Jonathan didn’t like him very much...
“Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll appreciate the company.” She smiled, reassuring him. “Normally you’d need some time training for this role, but we’ve been losing too many people lately. The world is going through some hard times.” The sadness returned to her voice.
Zack contemplated for a minute, then decided that he would take up the offer. His anxiety was outweighed by the thought of Jonathan hurting himself.
“Ok.” Zack said resolutely. “I’ll do it.”
“That’s great!” Providence exclaimed. “You’ll start first thing in the morning. He can’t see you, that might startle the poor boy. Just help him out every once in a while! Replace lost items, put something nice on his desk...little things like that.” She gave him a bright smile, which Zack returned. Suddenly a Bluetooth device on her ear started to beep. “Whoops! Sorry love, I have to go attend to some other business. I’ll be back in a few days to check your progress. Go ahead and go through your door to go and start, ok? See you around!” She left through the door in a hurry.
Zack lay down on the bed, contemplating his situation. For the first time in a long time...he was happy. After he worked up the nerve a bit, Zack left through the door and entered into Jonathan’s bedroom.
Jonathan looked so peaceful asleep. He still had bags under his eyes, but he was more relaxed than usual. Zack went over and pulled the covers up over him a little more. Jonathan started to stir a bit, and this startled Zack, but then he remembered that he wouldn’t be able to be seen and relaxed again. The sleeping boy started to open his eyes a bit.
“...Sock?” he mumbled. “Is that you?”
Who...who was “Sock”? He remained silent. Maybe it was his cat or something.
Jonathan sat up, confused by the silence. Sock usually responded to him. He rubbed his eyes a bit, and focused on the blurry shape in front of him.
“Zack?!?” He half yelped, pushing himself backwards. “What the HELL are you doing in my room?”
“Wait, you...you can see me?” Zack asked, startled.
“Of course I can see you!” Jonathan hissed. “You’re right in front of...” He paused when he noticed that Zack was floating. Suddenly the events of the day passed through his head. The ambulance. The jock. It must have been Zack.
“Oh.” He said, quietly this time. “That was you on the ambulance, wasn’t it?”
Zack took a moment, then nodded his head sadly.
“But...why me?” Jonathan asked. “Why are you here?”
“I was assigned to you.” Zack said nervously.
“Oh goddammit.” Jonathan said, exasperated, and fell back onto his pillow. “Just what I needed. Two demons haunting me.”
Wait...two? Demons? What was he talking about? “I think there’s been a misunderstanding.” Zack tried to explain. “I’m not a demon. I’m an angel.”
Jonathan looked at him again, puzzled. “What do you mean?” He asked.
“I mean I’m an angel.” Zack repeated. “I’m supposed to watch over you. Make sure you’re happy.”
Well, that was better than demon he supposed. Still someone else that would be following him around all day though...
Suddenly, a figure phased through the wall on the other side of Jonathan. He was shorter than Zack and his green eyes were reflecting in the dark, but that was all he could make out.
“Who are you?!” Zack asked, startled by the sudden intruder.
“Who are you?” He asked back, more of him visible now.
“I asked you first!” Zack sputtered out.
“I asked you second.” The figure said and crossed his arms.
Was this the demon that Jonathan was talking about? He puffed up his chest and announced: “I’m Zack Melto. I’m Jonathan’s guardian angel. Who are you and what are you doing here?”
Sock chuckled. “Really?” He said. “I’m his demon. Nice to meet you.” He smiled and extended his hand, but he did not seem the least bit friendly. The gesture seemed more like a threat than anything, and it probably was. Zack didn’t shake his hand. Something told him not to.
“Wow, you must have a lot of friends.” Sock said sarcastically and put his hand down. Zack glared at him. This was going to be more difficult than he thought.
Jonathan groaned and rolled over, pulling the covers over his head. “Can you guys finish the introductions somewhere else?”
“Sorry! Can’t do that, Johnny Boy.” Sock said and poked his cheek through the blanket. “It’s my job to torment you, remember?”
Zack scowled at him. “Well it’s MY job to make sure he’s NOT tormented!”
“Both of you SHUT UP!” Jonathan shouted, silencing the two of them. They glared at each other, but kept quiet.
Sock decided it would be best to retreat for now. An angel might be capable of hurting him. He’d have to ask Mephistopheles about what to do.
“This isn’t over.” He hissed at Zack and disappeared through the wall again.
When he was gone, Zack sighed and sat down on the bed next to Jonathan.
“Sorry about that.” He said quietly. “I’ll make sure he doesn’t come back tonight.” Jonathan didn’t respond. He did get a small “ding” on his tablet though. The happiness meter had gone up by one point.