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That which does not kill me...

...has made a grievous tactical error.

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Wolf trapped
[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.]


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[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.

Thy Will be done. Amen, and amen. [Michael tightens his embrace and increases the flow of Grace, pressing his lips to Guri's hair again. He's not sure who needs it more at this point, his little brother or his brother's wayward Charge.]

I love you, lion cub.

[Guriel's heart swells, and he squeezes Michael's ribs in a crushing adoring-little-brother kind of a hug. He is definitely not sniffling because he is a big tough warrior angel who doesn't sniffle.]

I love you, too, Michael.

Thank you for coming.

How could I stay away? Your grief cried out to the Heavenlies. [Michael cradles Guri's head.]

Watch and pray, little brother. And know that we all watch and pray with you.

[With a final tightening of arms and wings, he disappears.]

[And Guriel leans back with a sigh, feeling somewhat lightened by his elder brother's words.

He and Ben still have a long, awful road ahead of them. But Guriel can stay the course. He'd never disappoint Dad or Michael by doing otherwise.]

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