A LITTLE HELP FROM UP ABOVE

By Barb

 

A/N: This little story came about as the result of a “challenge” by Jordan to write a guardian angel ficlet for her story, On Your Horses Boys. I, being the weak willed person that I am could not resist trying my hand at this concept and thus began my journey into writing my guardian angel series. This one’s for you, Jordan, thanks for helping to create a monster lol.

 

~ ~ ON YOUR HORSES, BOYS ~ ~

 

An angel’s work is ever changing. That’s the line he gave me right before I told him to stuff it. If Michael had been trying to patronize me, he could’ve used a better line than that. Regardless of his reasons for having this break with sanity, I wasn’t about to take his nonsense without a fight. I was not in the bloody guardian program and even if I was, it should’ve been Gabriel handing me the assignment not Michael. After I told my beloved older brother as much, he then proceeded to explain how Gabriel had come to him for help regarding certain charges because the assigned angel couldn’t deal with the stress anymore, and how he being the wonderful older brother that he is had promised Gabriel that he would assign someone to the case. Apparently, Michael had been under the delusion that I would be the best choice for the job, hence our ‘discussion’. Looking back on the whole ordeal, I suppose he had a point. Although I still maintain the idea that he and Gabriel were just too lazy or cowardly to handle the situation themselves, my brothers did me a favor by foisting this assignment onto me. These seven charges of mine needed a guardian, and I needed my faith in humanity restored. I guess you could say that we all helped each other out in the end.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


“We need the best for these charges, Julian,” I mocked, using a whiny version of Michael’s voice. The best my arse, I thought bitterly. “The two of them are just bloody cowards,” I snorted to myself, taking a cursory glance around the dustbowl of a town in the middle of Nowheresville, USA. “Neither of you could manage to put up with this lot for one bloody day, so now you’re sticking me with them,” I muttered. Little brother needs help so big brother comes to the rescue, but when he also manages to muck things up they throw the middle brother to the wolves. “Bastards,” I spat out vehemently as I crossed my arms over my chest in defiance. They couldn’t have stuck me in a more unpleasant locale if they’d closed their eyes and pointed on a map. As I began trudging down the sodden street, I thought about why I had been thrust into this situation. Who was the angel that had been assigned to these bloody fools anyway? Ah yes, Gabriella. She had always struck me as being a competent if not more than satisfactory guardian, which means these “cowboys” as she described them to Gabriel must be more than a handful. “Bully for me,” I growled lowly, paying little attention to my surroundings as I stalked down the road.


I heard noises coming from a little ways down the street and saw a stocky, older lady wearing all black standing next to a bloody and battered man strung up between two support posts outside the front of a local building. Across the way stood a small cluster of men who were arguing with the woman, and a couple of them were trying to restrain a particularly angry man in black who looked as if he was ready to tear the lady apart with his bare hands. Well I guess my search is over, I mused wryly. I turned my attention over to the beaten man who looked as if he was just barely hanging on by a thread and felt my anger begin bubble anew. I was angry at the woman for torturing this poor soul even though I didn’t know him. I was angry for being banished to this decrepit spot of desert, but most of all…I was angry at my brother for sending me after an attack on my new charges had already been perpetrated. “Bloody hell, Michael, how do you expect me to protect them if you send me too late,” I hissed under my breath as I took off down the street. Just what in all the circles of hell had I gotten myself into?

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


“What I wouldn’t give for my flaming sword right about now,” I muttered whilst attempting to massage away the headache that had been building up around my temples. I was used to battling demons not babysitting a group of hapless American men with hero complexes, and their irrational behavior had begun to take its toll on my patience. Their innate desire to protect and defend their own was all well and good, but it was also going to get them very dead if this course of events kept up. “If you lot insist on throwing yourselves upon your swords then why don’t I save us all some time and kill you myself,” I growled from my place in the far corner of the town’s clinic. Honestly, I’d never met a group of humans who appeared to care so little for their own wellbeing, but then again I was also new to this guardian business. I wondered… do all humans behave so irrationally? “Now there’s a scary thought,” I grumbled, pressing my fingers deeper into my temples. I shuddered and shook my head in order to change my train of thought; there was no need to aggravate the situation by going into a meltdown. Insufferable as my charges were, I still had a job to do, and I was damn well going to do it. I gave the men fretting about the clinic another scrutinizing look. These men were lucky that I’d taken an immense dislike to those Nichols characters. Nothing irked me more than those who tortured and killed all the while professing the name of God, except for those who worshiped cows. I shook my head amusingly at the thought. I never could wrap my head around that load of rubbish.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


“Whatever you sow, that will you also reap,” I commented solemnly, gazing at the carnage that I’d dubbed ‘the Nichols’ last stand’ with sadden eyes. This was the price you had to pay for revenge when you sought it out yourself instead of letting God handle matters. I thought Mrs. Nichols’s demise at the hands of her own sons and carriage had been particularly fitting, but then again Michael had always said that I had a twisted sense of humor. I glanced over to where my two injured charges were being tended to and let out a frustrated sigh. The enemy may have been defeated, but the victory had also come with a pretty hefty price. “An angel’s work is never done it would seem.”

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


     My uninjured charges took turns fussing over and tending to the two ailing men before me, and I couldn’t help but smile ruefully at the men’s attitudes as they worked. They sure were a determined bunch. The one called Chris was no longer in any danger of dying; I’d already seen to it. He’s got quite the mouth on him, that one. I’d since learned that he had been the angry man whom I’d seen in the street upon my arrival in town, and my mouth quirked a bit at the stubbornness that he’d displayed since then. The phrase ‘ornery as a mule’ came to mind as I studied the sleeping man. His improvement seemed to go a long way in boosting the others’ spirits, but the one called Ezra was another matter. He’s a tricky little bugger, that one. I’d since learned that he was the man that the Nichols family had put through the ringer, all because he’d conned them into looking in the wrong place for Chris’ senile father-in-law. A brilliant piece of work if I may say so myself, but it would’ve been a more enjoyable victory if it hadn’t have come back to bite him in the arse. I’d come to learn quite a bit about my mischievous charge as I listened to the others’ conversations, and I realized that the two of us had quite a bit in common aside from our silver tongues.


“Which is why it would be a shame to have such a light be extinguished prematurely,” I mused aloud, before steeling my nerve to do what I realized had to be done in order to preserve this man’s time amongst the living. I’d have to make him a deal I knew he couldn’t refuse. “I guess this was another reason why Michael sent me instead of handling this case himself,” I remarked dryly. Neither Michael nor Gabriel was too keen on bargaining with spirits either malevolent or otherwise. Michael especially would never consent to performing an act like this; however, he knew full well that actions like this one were my specialty.


I let my right palm hover over his fevered brow for a moment before I bent down to whisper in his ear. “I’m sorry for the string of rotten luck you’ve had, mate. This whole scene is a bunch of bloody nonsense, and I know that you’d like nothing more than to just say ‘to hell with it’ and let that be the end of things.” I glanced around at the room’s other occupants before returning my attention to my ailing charge. “Normally, I wouldn’t blame you one bit for wanting a nice long rest, but you’ve got people here who care about you and they’d be mighty upset if you were to check out on them now,” I intoned sardonically. I watched his face twitch for a moment and decided to go for broke and play my trump card. “Besides,” I inhaled wearily, “I’d really hate to bungle my first attempt at being a guardian.” I chuckled weakly as I continued to mop his sopping hair away from his forehead, not sure if preying on his weakness for not wanting to disappoint people was going to work or not.

 


As I contemplated a better way to keep my charge in the realm of the living, I took in the grave faces of my other charges. They were all worried sick that Ezra might not pull through, and Chris looked as if he’d worry himself right back to where he had been a few days ago. I thought about how Ezra had put Chris’ safety above his own during this debacle and considered the reason behind his selfless actions. The more I recalled, the sicker I began to feel. It was all about prioritizing, I thought bitterly. “You poor, misguided bastard,” I remarked softly as I watched Ezra twitch and respond to his friends’ concerned voices with low moans. “You really have no idea how important you are.” My lips began to curve into an impish grin as an idea came to mind. I’ll just have to rectify this little error in judgment, with a slight catch of course. I quickly whispered my idea in Ezra’s ear and smirked conspiratorially when I saw his mouth twitch upwards ever so slightly. “Yes, I thought you might be agreeable to that particular suggestion.”

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


     I leaned back against the front of a building across the street as I watched Chris help Ezra up from his ungainly sprawl on the boardwalk. The poor man looked a sight, but I suppose anything’s better than being in a hole six feet under. I knew how fiercely independent the conman was, but I also knew how desperately he needed help from the others, especially Chris, during his recuperation period. “No matter what line of bollox he feeds the man,” I smirked as I watched him bat Chris’ hand away as the man attempted to keep him from falling out of his chair. That had been what sealed the deal to keep his spirit here, the support and devotion of his comrades. “Although I suspect he wasn’t prepared for this level of coddling,” I chuckled as I remembered how stern the others had been about him remaining in his room until he had healed some more. If Nathan had had his way, the poor man would’ve been strapped to the bed in the clinic. I spotted the shopkeeper that Ezra had talked the Nichols boys out of beating to death and grinned. Aside from promising Ezra the smothering care of his friends, I also threw in a fetching cane, because I wouldn’t want to be carted around like some poor sod if I were him. “A man has to have some dignity after all.” I heaved a deep sigh as I thought about what to do next. This job may have been over, but I had a feeling that I was going to be seeing more of these exasperating men in the future. I couldn’t help but shake my head and chuckle, “Bully for me,” at the thought.

 

 

 

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