Title: Instrument

Author:

Rating: Teen, for language

Summary: Sometimes, a little help is arranged.

I watched the smoke rise out of the hood of the Blue Beetle with resignation. "At least it waited until after we took care of business."

Business had been a bad-tempered manifestation of a minor demon, called up by accident during a college prank. I could probably have handled it myself, but if Michael had shown up he was probably needed so I didn't argue over the help. It's not polite to turn down such an offer from the Fist of God.

Michael shrugged and waited for me to undo the wire hanger that held his door closed. "Perhaps we are still needed here," he said. He climbed out of the small car, admittedly not the vehicle for either of our long limbs, and was mid-stretch when he went still.

"What's up?"

"There is an Instrument nearby," he said softly. Michael began walking, Amorrachius still hanging at his side.

I swore under my breath and locked my car, hurrying after him. "This better not be about some kid's guitar."

By the time I caught up with him, Michael was helping a kid in a wheelchair make it up the curb. The girl helping him smiled and thanked him before dropping a box in the lap of what was probably her brother.

"Here, Kevin. If you're going to be this much trouble, you can at least help me get some of this stuff upstairs." She stacked another box on top before he could protest.

"Can we help?" I frowned at Michael. Schlepping some coed's boxes around was not how I wanted to spend my time.

The girl didn't seem to notice my expression. "Sure, if you want to. They're kinda heavy, though." She shifted the box in her arms and held out one hand. "Joan Girardi."

"Michael Carpenter." He shook her hand, then reached out and took the box. "This is my friend Harry."

I nodded and gave a sort of welcoming grunt. Hey, it was Michael's idea to be friendly, not mine. She responded by handing over a surprisingly heavy box. "Second floor," she said, picking up a box of her own and leading the way.

It took four trips to get everything inside. Michael seemed fascinated with the girl, and if I hadn't known him so well I would have thought he was attracted to her. After the pack-mule imitation, he stood and talked with her in quiet tones, finally giving her directions to Father Forthill's church. We were back in my Volkswagon, which started without a problem, before I started asking questions.

"Okay, so what was that?"

Michael still looked thoughtful. "An Instrument needed us, Harry."

"And that means what, exactly?"

Michael sighed. "Joan needed help. God made sure we were there to help her."

"So she's like you?"

"Not exactly. She's a favorite Instrument of God."

"Like you."

"No. Any standing I have is because of the sword I carry. God chooses to use Joan directly to carry out His will."

"Like you."

"No, Harry." He was starting to sound a little upset with me. "She's more like Abraham."

"How's that?"

"An ordinary person that God chooses, for reasons of His own, to speak with and give direction."

"So God just shows up and talks with her?"

"Exactly." Michael relaxed and smiled to himself. "Which means that things are going to get interesting in Chicago."

"They were dull before?"