"Would you slow down for just a minute?" the
frustrated Mercurian shouted.
If there is one way to get a Cherubís attention, it is
to show distress. Jaymiel stopped rummaging about her
Cathedral to face Francis. "Iím sorry," she said
contritely. "I don't mean to ignore you. But Iím ≠"
"Busy," Francis sighed. "I know. Comes with the job,
I expect." Jaymiel nodded. "But even the Commander
of the Host takes time off every now and then, you
know. Come on, you need a break."
"Right now? But I have to ≠"
"You have to relax," the Mercurian insisted. "Don't
you have any competent Servitors?"
"Of course!" the Archangel replied indignantly.
"You've met most of them! How can you ≠"
"So why don't you let them show you how competent they
are by taking care of the emergency du jour?" Francis
asked, a slight smile playing around his mouth.
Jaymiel raised a paw and opened her mouth, but nothing
came out. "Oh, all right," she grumbled, dropping the
paw and lumbering over to Francis. "What did you have
in mind, beloved?"
Francis paused dramatically before declaring, "Movie
She looked at him askance. "A movie? I hate to sit
still for that drek. It had better be a good one."
"Oh, it is," he assured her. "I think you'll like
And she did like it. Francis had selected a
light-hearted science fiction comedy. But rather than
laughing and relaxing, as he had intended, the
Archangel got ever more intense and excited.
"That's us!" she exclaimed halfway through the
picture. "A Mending team, practically! This is
great!" By the time the credits were rolling, she was
pacing the room. "What a great concept... protecting
humanity from what they can't handle, and cleaning up
anything they do manage to see! Protecting... hm,
think I should get Zadkiel in on this?"
Francis looked at her dubiously. "In on what? You're
"Sure! If I can pry some artifacts out of Jean, equip
some Soldiers... cuts down the disturbance. We could
base out of a Tether... use old Earth hands as backup
for the others, and keep less, ah, discreet but useful
celestials on call in the Tether, out of sight. It
"Jaymiel, it was a movie."
"So? I like the idea. Tell you what, make us
reservations at that nice café in Paris. I'll ask
Zadkiel to come by and pitch it to her. If she thinks
it's too outrageous, I'll drop it."
"Fair," Francis admitted. "Table for three, coming
Jaymiel gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Thanks!"
she chirped, before flitting off to make arrangements
They made an odd trio at the café. Francis, with
typical Mercurian good sense, was wearing stylish
European casuals. Zadkiel wore the uniform of the
local gendarmes, as she usually did. Jaymiel looked
like she had just crawled out from under a
transmission, as she usually did.
"So, what do you think?" the younger Archangel
Zadkiel tapped her finger on the table. "No one's
going to like the idea of either of us keeping tabs on
their Servitors all the time. I'm not sure I like it,
honestly. Smells too much like The Game."
Jaymiel paused. "Uh... hm, that's true. I didnít
look at it that way. Well, we wouldnít have to do
that, then. The movie was just for inspiration, after
all. Monitoring demonic activities, then? Surely
everyone would have to admit that'd be useful?"
"Ye-es," Protection answered slowly. "But don't
expect field agents to actually file reports with you,
if theyíre not Mending. Honestly: can you see one of
Gabriel's pausing long enough in the chase to file
"Um... no." Jaymiel dropped her gaze into her café au
lait, disappointed. "But it would be so much more
efficient if they did..."
Zadkiel gave her a friendly pat on the shoulders.
"I'm not arguing. But this is reality. Hey... if
there were only one right way to do things, I'm sure
God wouldíve said something by now," she smiled.
"Work with who you can, and let the loose cannons do
"It's the 'loose cannons' that cause me the most
headaches," Jaymiel grumbled.
"Well, tell you what," Zadkiel said. "I think the
idea does have some merit. It has style, if nothing
else, and sometimes a certain style is all you need to
get volunteers knocking down your door. Given our
realities, I think Protection's role would be limited - the sorts of monitoring we'd need to do to prevent
obvious celestial activity isn't going to go over well
with anyone. I'll see if I can get some interested
parties to do what they can, though, and send them
your way. But it's an excellent paradigm for
"You think so?" Jaymiel asked, disappointment fading.
Zadkiel nodded. "Sure. You're all about containment.
If your cleanup squads can pass for mysterious
government men rather than Soldiers and angels, all
the better. There are enough human conspiracy
theories out there that are so totally wrong... let
the curious run down those paths, and thus keep out of
the Truth about the War."
"Oh, thank you!" Jaymiel exclaimed, spontaneously
giving the ancient Archangel a hug. "I'll get right
on it. I'll start it as a group of Soldiers, I
think... maybe one day, I'll have the resources to
create a minor Choir to assist them..."
Zadkiel covered a smile; Jaymielís mind was already
obviously far away from Paris. "Well, thank you for
lunch," she said amiably. "It sounds like you have
plenty of planning to do, so I'll let you get to it."
Mending nodded absently, recovering long enough to
shake Protectionís hand before she left. Then she
started shuffling back towards Notre Dame, still
mumbling to herself.
Francis, respectfully silent while the Archangels
discussed matters, sighed and took care of the check.
He sometimes wondered, if Bronwen would talk, if he
and she would find anything in common. The care and
feeding of Archangels... He hurried after Jaymiel,
smiling despite himself. As unlikely as it seemed, he
rather enjoyed the idea of forming an actual team of
Men in Black.
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