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That which does not kill me...

...has made a grievous tactical error.

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For guriel, the AU of the first meeting between them in CoG, continued...
[The Army, blessedly, expedites Ben's trip home. He and Guriel go on a transport from Bagram to Ramstein in Germany, and from there on a commercial flight to New York. They're flying coach, which Ben hates, because he knows that can't be comfortable for Guriel's wing like it is, but he can't afford the upgrade to first.

They're in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, on a planeful of cranky people giving Guriel a side-eye. No one's had the guts to actually say anything, however, for which Ben is grateful. It's dark, and he's dozing off in the aisle seat...

When a three-year-old several rows up decides he's had enough of this shit, thanks, and decides to let everyone on the plane share his displeasure.

Ben's eyes snap open. Amber. Hair sprouts across his shoulders under his uniform, and there's nothing of either him or Dhibi looking out from under his suddenly-shaggier brows.]

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[Guriel's been half-asleep -- only because it's too dark now for him to see anything through the window (when the sun was still out he had his forehead plastered to the pane, gazing down with awe and wonder and longing at the view below). The discomfort of the cramped quarters isn't unbearable, and he's learned to make the best of a lot of uncomfortable situations in his life.

But when Ben wakes, Guriel does, too. The child's distress pings the caretaker in him, even though it's been a very, very long time since Guriel had a child in his care . . .

But he's got more immediate concerns now, because Ben is clearly not okay. He lays his hand on Ben's forearm.]


[Ben is fighting Something, in the back recesses of his mind. He's not even sure what it is, exactly, just that it terrifies him on a visceral level. He's breathing hard through clenched teeth, and he squeezes his eyes shut.]

...Guriel? What. [His voice comes out in a strangled huff.]

[Guriel doesn't know, exactly, but he can feel it through the link that the ring creates between them -- Something dangerous and angry. The hair on the back of his neck rises.]

I don't know exactly. Something's . . . wrong.

[Something that reminds him too much of his last Master's anger and that monstrous wolf they brought into the cave . . .]

[Ben's fingers are white-knuckled on the armrest. He hasn't sprouted claws (yet), but Something wild and horrid and wrathful is tearing at his psyche, fighting for egress.]

Make it stop. Make it stop. Please make it stop...

[Guriel closes his eyes, trying to think. He doesn't know exactly what he's dealing with, but he somehow knows deep down inside that whatever it is will be catastrophic if it escalates.]

Please, Father. Help me, help us.

[Dhibi said Guriel was the Alpha of this Pack. He's not really sure that whatever is happening here will heed that, but it's the only idea he's got right now. He takes a deep breath and opens his eyes, trying to make his voice as authoritative as he can. It feels viscerally unsettling to be speaking like this to someone wearing his ring, but . . .]

Whatever you are. Or whoever. You leave him alone and never come back.

[Whatever the Thing is inside him, it recoils with a confused whine. Ben relaxes, marginally, and gets his breathing under control, though his eyes are still squeezed shut. He swallows hard past a dry throat, pulling his knees into his chest and wrapping his arms around them, leaning toward Guriel.]

What. What was that.

[The toddler is still screaming, and whatever It was has been pushed into the background, but he can still feel it in there. Pounding and clawing in counterpoint to the tantrum.]

[Guriel shakes his head and wraps an arm tight around Ben, sheltering him.]

I'm not sure. Just . . . something angry. Something very, very angry.

Are you okay?

No. [He shivers under the arm. They're drawing definite stares now.] I really, really hope that the tantrum up there tapers off soon, Guriel, because whatever this... thing... is, it wants to eat that kid.

Please don't let me wolf and eat that kid, Guriel...

[Guriel shudders, cold horror coiling in the pit of his stomach, because he really was hoping that neither he nor Ben was ever going to have to dwell on that particular horror again.

Which, well. No such luck, apparently.]

I won't.

He hesitates and then shifts his wing to shield the both of them, hoping that will help -- and hoping it will block some of the more prying eyes around them.]

. . . I think maybe it might be a good idea for me to take the ring until he stops crying.

Edited at 2015-10-18 04:18 am (UTC)

[The wing serves to further calm him, and he nods wordlessly, sliding the ring off his finger and pressing it into Guriel's hand.] I don't really feel right wearing it anyway. [But they're covering him as "owned," at least until they get home, because it's just safer and less confusing for everyone involved all around. He feels the loss of connection, and shudders a bit.]

...maybe if you sing for me, it'll drown that out? Might calm the kid down too.


[Guriel takes a deep breath and slips the ring onto his finger. He's not sure he feels entirely right wearing it himself yet, but it gets easier and feels more natural every time. And this way, he won't have to worry about trying to physically hold Ben down, if it comes to that.

He clears his throat and starts singing quietly in Hebrew, a Psalm he's used as a lullaby for time out of mind.]

The Lord is my light and my salvation,
Whom shall I fear?

[Ben goes limp with a shaky sigh, but nearly jumps out of his skin when someone lays a hand on his shoulder. His own hand shoots out in a lightning-fast automatic reaction and grasps the wrist attached to the hand in a punishing grip. A feminine gasp makes him twitch again and drop it like it burned him, and he looks up to see the flight attendant there. She looks as though she's had her fill of dealing with stupid people on this flight, long-suffering and tired.

"Sir, I'm sorry, but your angel's singing is disturbing the other passengers."]

...is it. [Funny, the kid has stopped screaming. He wonders just how much a four-hundred pound wolf rampaging through the plane would disturb the other passengers and decides not to ask. Instead, he heaves a sigh.]

I'm sorry. I had a nightmare. His singing is soothing; he's just trying to settle me.

[For a very brief moment Guriel's a little bit crestfallen, but he gives the flight attendant a genuinely apologetic look (that doesn't quite meet her eyes).]

I'm sorry as well. I didn't mean to bother anyone.

[She drops her voice. "I thought it was beautiful, myself, but some people apparently don't know a good thing when they hear it. Can I get you two anything? I could slip you a couple of minibottles on the house."

It's been ages since Ben's had alcohol of any kind. The insurgents were not big on amenities in that cave, and he studiously stayed out of the NCO club on base.] That's awfully nice of you, miss. A rum and Coke would go down nicely, if you don't mind. Guriel? You want anything?

^-^ guriel Expand
[Ben sighs.] Not particularly, but I'm functioning. Let's finish up and go home, yeah? [He checks the list, which is still... fairly daunting. Ugh.]

One aisle at a time. We can do this.

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