Title: Guiding Light
Characters: Molly, Ramirez, Harry, Father Forthill, Elaine, Murphy, Mouse
Rating: G
Spoilers: Up through Proven Guilty, probably set somewhere between White Night and Small Favor, though no spoilers for either of those.
Summary: A little divine intervention never hurt anyone.
Author's notes: Written for dresdenflashfic's 'Star' challenge livejournal. It sort of has a religious tone to it. I don't know if I have to warn for that, but I figure I better.

The pain was getting so bad she couldn't even tell where it was coming from anymore. She was limping, but was that from her leg hurting or because her stomach hurt on that side? She could barely concentrate to keep her veil up, but managed to do it through sheer survival instinct.

Molly didn't know where in the city she'd ended up. She'd crawled away and started walking, trying to get from one lamppost to the next without passing out. She was aware that walking alone in Chicago at night while injured was stupid, but she kept walking anyway, trying to distance herself from the Things that would be happy to prey on her when she was defenceless. She didn't have a destination anyway. Shouldn't there be some sort of place of meeting set-up in case of separation? Like on school trips to museums or fire escape plans at home.

She fell, unexpectedly. She didn't even feel her legs go out from under her. She landed in the slush and rolled onto her back, staring up at the night sky. All the stars could be seen tonight, a rarity in the city.

Molly hadn't been to church in a long time. She found the sermons sounded like 'guilty! Guilty!' in her head and no confession could absolve her of her crimes, however unintentionally they were committed. That didn't mean she didn't believe in God. She'd seen too much and was too much her father's daughter to deny His existence. It wasn't as if He'd ever failed her, either. If anything, she had failed Him. So, as she lay there, looking up at the sky, she said a little prayer for her friends.

She didn't know if it would help. The explosion had been huge and she was lucky to be walking away from it at all. She thought that if they were dead, she would feel it somehow, though. So she held out hope that they were still alive and that they would get help. She mentioned them all by name – Harry, Murphy, Ramirez, Elaine and even Mouse and the little army of the Pizza Lord, though she didn't know if God covered that realm.

The North Star was shining brightly – not surprising this close to Christmas. She stared at it for awhile, before her eyes focused enough to realize what seemed to be directly underneath it. The high steeple of St. Mary of the Angels looked like it was touching the star. Molly groaned.

"Got it," she mumbled.

She forced herself onto her feet and stumbled toward the church – a comforting and familiar sight. She'd spent many nights in there with her siblings, protected by its near impenetrable threshold. It was just a few blocks away now, and she felt a renewed determination build up, like a second wind.

The Nativity scene out front was lit up and she limped past where Mary and Joseph were smiling beatifically down at the manger. She made it to the side door and fumbled to open it, finally just sort of collapsing against it. It creaked open and she fell into the church.

Her eyes were closed, but she knew the arms that picked her up belonged to Ramirez, even before he spoke. It smelled like Ramirez. A spicy sort of cologne combined with his hair gel.

"Padre, Harry, guys!" he called, pulling her up to his chest. "Molly, you okay?"

"Super," she muttered. She opened her eyes to savour the moment of being cuddled by a wicked hot young wizard. "You?"

"We're all okay," he said. "We got knocked around a bit, but we're good."

"Molly!" Harry said, appearing in her line of sight. His face was covered in little nicks and cuts. "You okay? I shouldn't have made you stay outside, grasshopper. I'm sorry."

"S'okay," Molly said. "I'm okay. I saw the church, so I came...hey Father."

Father Forthill finished up the thanks he was offering and smiled down at her. Harry, meanwhile, craned his head to the ceiling and told it that it was a show off.

"Welcome, child," Father Forthill said.

Mouse pushed past Harry to lick Molly's face, eagerly. She wrinkled her nose at his breath, but patted his head and snuggled him a bit. Murphy and Elaine approached, too and Molly started to feel like Dorothy waking up after her trip to Oz.

"Is she okay?" Murphy asked.

"I had the most lovely dream," Molly muttered. "And you – and you – and you were there."

"She's fine," Harry said. He lit up his pentacle and shined it in her eyes. "Though possibly concussed."

"I followed the star, like the Magi," Molly said.

"Definitely concussed," Harry concluded. "She'll be okay, though."

Molly smiled sleepily at them. As they all began to debate and discuss around her, she listened contentedly, thankful that they were all safe. Maybe association with a Knight of the Cross got you special treatment. Or maybe she wasn't as lost as she thought. Either way, Christmas was as good a time as any to realize you still believed. And a good time to find your way back to those who love you.