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That which does not kill me...

...has made a grievous tactical error.


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Wolf trapped
werewolf_hacker
[Ever since Ben has known about vampires, he hasn't liked them much. They smell wrong, they act snooty, and they give him the willies.

That being said, they've been less problematic to him since he started the Hound of God gig. Last time one of them tried to feed from him, it exploded in a puff of dust and bones, like it had consumed a glassful of holy water.

Of course, last time a vampire tried to feed from him, he didn't have six premeditated and callously unrepented murders hanging over his head--and he wasn't stopped on a dusty little planet for refueling and resupply on his way to a "rescue mission" that will no doubt result in more casualties he won't be particularly sorry for.

So he's very unpleasantly surprised when he's ambushed by a trio of vampires as he's coming (alone) out of a seedy little bar. They've got silver shackles and a wolfsbane net, and it takes them less than no time to truss him up, toss him in the trunk of a car, and drive away, while he swears impotently at them.]

...Guriel!


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[Guriel flinches like a kicked dog and tightens his wings around Ben. He knows that is probably not exactly helping his side of this conversation, but it's purely instinctive and he can't stop it.]

You and me both know what'll happen if I give up this Duty, Captain. The state he's in now, he'll think he's being punished and that Dad did it to hurt him. He'll slide and slide and never quit until he slides right through the gates of Hell itself.

I'm not saying I can stop him sliding, 'cause I know I can't and never could. Only he can do that, him and Dad together. But short of Falling, I'm not leaving his side. Not 'til those gates slam behind him and I know I can't do no more.

Please, Michael. I know I've been a hothead and a screwup and a pain in your ass more times than you or I can count. But I ain't -- I haven't ever asked you to go against your judgment. Not once, not ever in all these ages.

But I'm asking you now. Please, big brother. Please.


[Yeah, his composure went out the window about halfway through that speech. Screw it, he has bigger problems in his life right now.]

[Michael's lips tighten. Guriel's not wrong, not really. That being said...]

He knows what he is doing to you, and yet he continues this path. You don't think a cooler head or a less-involved heart would benefit him? [Or possibly a firm boot to the rear. Michael hurts to see his little brother hurting, and while he's fond of Ben and appreciates his service, he's not so fond of him that he's not ready to give him a slap upside the head to wake him to the realization of what he's doing.]

It's not just my judgment, Guri.

[. . . and there it is. Guriel shrinks into himself, still not bearing to look up at his big brother. This hurts, this whole situation hurts, and he knows that even if he stays it's not going to stop hurting. Maybe not ever, until the ending of all things.

But he's said more times than once that he'll never Fall for anything. Not even Ben.]

If it be His will, Michael. I'd've thought by now maybe you'd know I'd say that.

[Maybe there's a tiny, tiny edge of rebuke in the words, deep down in the mess of hurt. If Michael was coming here with Orders, he could've at least done Guri the courtesy of not making him plead against them without knowing Who they came from.]

[If Guri would look, he'd see nothing but compassion on his big brother's face.] Of course I know, little brother. Father knows too. That was never in question.

And thus...
[A pause.] We stay our hand.

For now. Because you are not wrong. We wanted to make sure you knew your own mind, however.


[And he steps forward and enfolds Guri with arms and wings both.] Oh, little brother.

[Guriel freezes for a bare second before he leans into Michael's arms and rests his head on his big brother's shoulder. Because honestly, all things considered? He really, really needs a hug.

Leave it to Michael to know that.]

I'm sorry, Michael. Should've had more faith in you.

[Michael tighens his wings and arms, stroking his little brother's back.] Hsh, Guri, it is already forgiven. We all know you're doing your best. This situation has no coping mechanism; all you can do right now is watch, pray, and endure.

You still love him, Guriel? And continue to remind him who he is, and to Whom he still belongs?


Edited at 2015-06-07 05:12 am (UTC)

Always, Michael. Long as I'm living.

[Guriel takes a shaky breath and buries his face in the arc of Michael's wing. Sometimes it's good to just let himself be the Least among the Host for a few minutes.]

I don't know how far he's gonna fall before it's over, Michael, or if I can do anything to help stop him. But I won't ever stop being his Guardian first and before everything else I am to him. You gave me the job and I won't let you down.

[Michael sends out a strong pulse of Grace to his brave little brother. If some of it hits the wolf in passing, well. All to the good.] Then you have not failed, and will not, no matter what befall.

Even if he falls all the way, little brother. You must not blame yourself if he does.

I know.

[Guriel sighs and lets the Grace soak through him. It helps, it really does.]

He has his choices to make, same as they all do. I know.

It is a difficult Duty, one made more so by your centuries-old bond. But we have faith that you can perform it, lion cub. Just... [Michael strokes his fingers through Guri's feathers, which are actually disheveled. He's not sure he's ever seen that before. He was going to say "Try not to let your heart break over this," but it appears too late for that.]

Be strong. You are stronger than you know; you can endure even this. We have confidence in you.

[Guriel raises his chin and he feels himself drawing up, bolstered by the words. He's a soldier and a little brother both, and his elder and Captain having faith in him makes all of this feel a little more bearable.]

Thank you, Michael. I'll make you proud of me, I promise.

We are already proud of you. [Michael gives him a brotherly kiss on the hair.] Is there aught you need before I go?

[Guriel makes a quiet noise that is definitely not a sob and buries his face in Michael's wing again. Not that he needs to regain composure, you understand.]

Just . . . would you. Pray with me?

[He knows Michael is always busy, that Things of Import call his brother every moment of every day. But he still just wants to hold onto the moment for a little, tiny bit longer.]

[Well, it's not every day a Hound of God falls and leaves an angel flailing. Today, Guri is the Thing of Import on Michael's list.] I've never stopped praying for you, Guri. [Michael lays one hand on Guri's head and the other on Benjamin's, sending Grace flowing like a river. He raises his face to Heaven.] Heavenly Father, who is with us through all things, we ask that You strengthen my brother through his travail. Lead him, guide him, give him wisdom.

And we ask that You show Benjamin a path through his sorrow that does not lead to his destruction. Impart Your Mercy, o God, and show him Your Love through all things, even things such as this.

Anything to add, little brother?


Edited at 2015-06-07 03:50 pm (UTC)

[Guri scrubs his wrist across his eyes and takes a shuddery breath.]

I know You've got a plan, Dad. Please just help me follow it.

I think that pretty much covers it.

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