He sat on the edge of Heaven, looking down upon Creation, specifically, the planet Earth. He listened to her people, and knew despair.
"Why do you weep, my Prince?" He heard Gabriel behind him, and quickly wiped his tears on his sleeve.
"Oh. Uhh, no. No, I wasn't crying."
Gabriel came and sat next to Jesus, placing a friendly hand on the young messiah's shoulder. He'd always been fond of God's boy, and the lad had come to look on Gabriel as something of a favorite uncle. They'd talked frequently when Jesus was alive, and even more so after he died.
"Jesus," he said with a smile. "You are a horrible liar, for good reason." He put his arm around the boy, giving him a quick squeeze before removing his hand. "There is no shame in weeping for them. I have been known to do so myself."
Jesus bowed his head, sniffling. "I know. And I know they bring so much of it on themselves. But... their prayers... I..."
Gabriel nodded, understanding. "You hear them, and you want to answer them. You want to make it all right for them."
"I do," Jesus whispered, his knees up around his chin.
"You tried that once before."
Jesus sighed, weary. "And they killed me for it, I know." He turned to Gabriel. "I'd like to think they've learned something since then."
"I'd like to think so too," Gabriel shook his head. "But we both know they haven't."
"Then, what do we do?"
Gabriel stood, motioning for Jesus to do the same. "What we have always done. What your father has done from the very beginning. Give them opportunities to be great. To be kind. Give them the chance to love each other, and to find salvation in their own hearts."
"Will they?" Jesus looked down over his shoulder at the blue-green world turning below him.
Gabriel laughed. "There are always some that do. And from them we draw our hope. Now come," he clapped the young demi-god on the shoulder. "You feel up for a game of basketball? I got everyone together."
A small smile worked its way across Jesus' face. "Yeah," he said. "Okay."
"There's a lad."
The angel and the messiah walked back toward Heaven. "One thing, though," Gabriel said as they walked. "I get Moses this time. That man is a demon on the court."
"Oh great," Jesus said. "Who do I get then?"
"You can take Mohammed," Gabriel offered.
"Good," Jesus replied. "And I get Buddha, too. But you have to take Lao Tzu."
"Awww, no fair! He sucks worse than Gandhi!"
Jesus rolled his eyes and laughed. "Fine, you big crybaby. If it'll make you feel better, I'll take Lennon too."
Gabriel smiled to see his young friend laughing. "As a matter of fact," he said, "that does make me feel better. Thank you, my Lord."
"Yeah yeah," Jesus brushed off the title as they walked on.
It was a great game, all told. In the end, Jesus' team won by 4 points, and even Lao Tzu scored a basket.