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Lead You Through It

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What ravages of spirit
Conjured this tempestuous rage
Created you a monster
Broken by the rules of love

A crash and a string of curses coming from a door ahead made the two men heading to the door pause and exchange a long look. Apparently their news had proceeded them. Bennett went to take another step toward the room, but Michaels laid a hand on his shoulder to stop him. Bennett raised an eyebrow at the older man, but Michaels just shot him a look that spoke volumes. After a moment, Bennett nodded, and turned back the way they’d come. Michaels let out a slow breath as he watched his CO leave.

Bennett had made the right decision in allowing Michaels to handle this mess. After all, it was Michaels who’d talked Bennett through his uncertainties when he'd first joined Tear, replacement for a man who was both ghost and legend to his team. Not that Michaels had known anything about TEAR at the time. All he'd known was that Stefan Cervin’s death had something to do with Bennett’s being re-posted on short notice. He’d also understood that it had damned near broken something in his old friend.

So Michaels had done what he could for his friend, and though he’d been many miles away and only able to call and email, he liked to think he’d managed to keep Bennett sane as he earned his mens' trust, built up their respect for him as a leader, become the man they needed.

Considering what Michaels now knew of TEAR as one of its employees – he respected his old friend even more. But damned if he’d expected that helping one soldier deal with stepping into a dead man's shoes would end up being a relevant skill on his CV. He sighed again and squared his shoulders. Then, as prepared as it was possible to be, he strode into the Quartermaster’s office.

He sighed again and squared his shoulders. Then, as prepared as it was possible to be, he strode into the Quartermaster’s office.

Major Sayer’s office was a mess, and so was the Major, Michaels thought tiredly. Not that he blamed the man. He hoped he never really knew what it was like to be in the other man’s place – to have gone from a vital athletic soldier to the man who was forced to stay behind while his friends and colleagues, while his lover, faced the dangers and glory of battle. He never wanted to know how Sayer felt knowing the woman he loved was gone into the fray without him and lost, possibly forever.

He couldn’t get Sayer’s little medic back for him, but he would do his best to keep the other man from shattering until she could return. If she could return. When she could return, Michaels told himself firmly.

He eyed the other man again, strategizing his approach much as he would any mission. Sayer was raging still, loudly and wildly enough that Michaels was fairly certain he hadn’t even noticed his entrance. With that in mind, he pulled a chair near the door and straddled it, content to watch silently until the worst of the helpless wrathful energy had been released. Sayer wouldn’t even be capable of listening to what Michaels had to say until then.

That was alright, Michaels thought, he had time. Bennett would make sure his sergeant wasn’t needed for any task but this one for the rest of the day. Possibly for even longer than that if need be. Yes, he thought again, he had time.

And fate has lead you through it
You do what you have to do
And fate has led you through it
You do what you have to do

It took nearly an hour for Sayer to finally calm, and Michaels was privately impressed with the younger man’s stamina. It took a certain amount of strength and will to maintain a rage that long, especially with the other man’s handicap. Or perhaps simply because of that handicap, he amended. Regardless, he’s ready when the other man finally sinks back into this chair with a ragged sigh, head hanging and hands covering his face.

“You get all of that shit out of your system then?” Michaels said, and he forcefully kept his face passive as Sayer’s head shot up and he spun the wheelchair around to face his audience. His face was every bit as expressive as Michaels’s wasn’t, and the sergeant had a feeling that if looks could kill there’d be a funeral for him any day now. “Well?”

Sayer’s jaw dropped and he opened and closed his mouth as if struggling for something to say. After a moment of that, Michaels shrugged.

“I suppose not, then.” He nodded his head over to a shelf that had managed to survive relatively unscathed. “You might try wrecking that bit then. You seemed to have missed it before.” Sayer’s slack-jawed confusion might have been funny had the situation not been so bleak. “I mean it, Major. Working out the madness is going to be far more productive than keeping it all in. So if there’s any left you need to deal with for now, I suggest that shelf. We’ll have a bloody mess to clean up anyway – might as well do the job right.”

After another moment of staring, Sayer shook his head. Then with a single sharp motion of his arm, he sent the items on the shelf crashing to the ground.

“There. You satisfied now?”

Michaels eyed the resulting mess and then nodded. “Looks like.”

“Good. Then get the bloody hell out.”

“Sorry, sir. Can’t do that.” He went on before Sayer could erupt again, this time at the messenger. “Here’s the thing – you need a minder right about now. And as our CO knows I can handle the post, I’m that man.”

Sayer cursed at him and swung, incensed at the calm matter-of-fact tone of voice, but Michaels just dodged and moved to smoothly stand out of reach of the wheelchair-bound Quartermaster.

“Look, you may not like it, but that’s how it is.” Michaels crossed his arms across his chest and pinned the other man to the spot with a look. “And before you start thinking it’s pity on my part, know that it isn’t. Bennett sent me here as he knows first hand I can probably calm you down. Just like I calmed him down once upon a time.”

This time the look on Sayer’s face was more curious than angrily confused, and Michaels relaxed a fraction, leaning against the battered shelves.

“Major, what do you know about Stefan Cervin?” he asked quietly, and while clearly confused as to the change of subject, after a moment Sayer answered.

“He was a member of TEAR who ended up with the lead field team more often than not. Specialty in archeology and mythology,” He paused and Michaels tried to ignore the fact that his hands started to tremble. “He died on the other side of a Tear.”

Michaels nodded, satisfied the other man had the bare facts he needed.

“Bennett was brought in as his replacement” Michaels swallowed. The next bit was hard even for him to speak of now. “He didn't know. The men, the other staff on the project, they resented him like hell when Bennett was first brought in. Stefan had belonged to them. Been one of them.”

He watched as Sayer began to shake even harder, the unspoken fears he’d tried to keep at bay coming to the forefront.

“Christ, why would you tell me this? Why would you even say it with Tash…” he trailed off and turned away trying to hide the shine in his eyes from the other soldier.

“Because it could happen. Or it might not. Either way, you cannot blame yourself for not being there.” He took a few steps closer and knelt forcing Sayer to look at him again. “You can not. I’ve met your Tash and seen the pair of you together, and one thing I can be sure of is that she will do everything in her power to stay alive until she gets back to you.” He reached out and clasped the other man’s shoulder, desperate to get through to him. “That will not change. Just like the situation would not have change whether you’d been there to stop her from being taken by the anomaly or not. It is not your fault, Sayer. It isn’t.”

The tensing in the other man’s shoulders told him Sayer wasn’t ready to believe him. Not yet, and maybe not ever. It didn’t matter – Michaels would continue to say it as long as needed.

“There may be nothing you can do to get her back, sir. Not on your own. But there are things you can do here, things that may give her a chance in the long run.” Sayer started to argue, but Michaels continued before he could. “That is not some platitude – it’s fact. TEAR and its staff need you. Need you to keep things running smoothly, to keep the lads prepared for anything in the field. Bollocks, just think for a moment. You packed for the lads and for Tash. Are they, or are they not prepared for damned near anything. Including being trapped on the other side of a Tear?” Sayer didn’t answer, and Michaels pressed him. “Are they or aren’t they?”

Sayer took in a shaky breath. “As prepared as I could manage.”

“Precisely. Sir, you’ve done everything you can. Now it’s up to them and to her. At least they have an edge this time compared to Cervin.” Michaels gripped Sayer’s shoulder again. “That edge is thanks to you. I know it. Bennett knows it. And somewhere, your girl's team knows it too.”

And I have the sense to recognize that
I don't know how to let you go

Sayer didn’t bother hiding the tears this time.

“I wish I could believe you, but…” He shook his head. “I don’t know that it’s enough. If… if she doesn’t come back…” He laughed raggedly. “It just isn’t enough.”

Michaels nodded sadly. “I know it. But it’s all you have.” He shrugged tiredly. “We need you here, sir. We need you here, if only to give our remaining men that same edge.”

“I don’t… I don’t know if I can do this,” Sayer whispered, and Michaels tightened his grip.

“I know. But you’re not alone. And if you need to break… I’ll be here, and so will Captain Bennett. Until you get her back, we’ll be here.”

I don't know how to let you go