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Two Dresden Birthday Ficlets! - Priscellie's Livejournal
Two Dresden Birthday Ficlets!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO CHOCO, AND HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY TO PUCK!
To celebrate the twin happy occasions, GG, Kat, El, and I wrote round-robin Dresden Files ficlets. Both are PG. The first has no spoilers to speak of and takes place shortly before Grave Peril. The second has major spoilers for Blood Rites and Proven Guilty and takes place in some indeterminate time after White Night.
It had been a long day. There had been enough long for several long days, actually. What started out as a simple job to find a lost engagement ring became a wild goose chase across three counties and six different forms of transportation, two of them aquatic, three of them now victims of my involuntary wizardly EMP field. Finally, the ring was restored to its rightful owner, just in time for me to take the world's fastest ice-cold shower and attempt to look more or less presentable for my date.
Showering, changing, and making sure Mister had food took a record half hour, which meant I'd only be about ten minutes late. Assuming nothing went wrong and there wasn't any traffic.
Luck just wasn't with me that night.
Nearly forty minutes late, after fighting my way through three traffic jams (one caused by an accident, one caused by a woman screaming at her boyfriend in the middle of the street, and one caused by the simple fact of too many people on the road), I shambled into the restaurant, hopefully looking suitably contrite.
Susan uncrossed her long, elegant legs and lifted a single eyebrow at me. "Well?" she said.
My girlfriend happens to be extremely talented. In that one word, I heard "you're late," "very late," "there had better be a good explanation," and "about now would be good."
"Oh, you know. The usual. Out seeking thrills and peril and so forth. No excuse, I know. Shall I commit seppuku in your name?"
I swiftly caught the balled-up napkin that flew toward my head and tucked it into my collar as I took my seat.
"I appreciate that you took the time to shower behorehand this time," Susan murmured teasingly. Her black dress was strapless and unadorned, and her makeup was simple, but with her striking features and legs that went on for miles, she could make a burlap sack look amazing. "Any of it worthy of a story?"
"Not this time. Besides. Even if it was, I couldn't tell you. That would be unprofessional." I grinned across the table at her. "You look great."
"Thank you," she said, and smiled demurely. "You look rather less haggard than usual. And, my, did you actually shave?"
Normally I would have protested this cavalier treatment of my looks, but since she leaned across the table to stroke my chin with a single finger, I wasn't complaining.
"I even wore fancy aftershave. You know me. I buy only the best that the dollar store has to offer. Where're the menus?"
"I took the liberty of ordering for you," she said, giving me a sly smile. "Lab tests have proven the human female is very adept at pattern recognition."
My face lit up like a kid at Christmas. "They serve burgers here? I was expecting to have to eat something I couldn't pronounce."
"They do on the children's menu," she said, still smiling that devastating smile. "I ordered two of them, as they looked pretty small. If anyone asks, you're a pair of very advanced ten year olds."
"I don't deserve you," I said gratefully, taking a swig of the Coke Susan had ordered for me.
"You're right. You don't." She smiled at me. "What held you up?"
"Traffic. A lot of traffic."
"For forty minutes?"
I shrugged. "There may have been acquisitive magpie faeries involved as well, but not recently." A memory nagged at me, and I amended, "Not that recently."
"It says certain things about your life," she said, sipping from a provided glass of water with a wedge of lemon in it, "that such things are so un-noteworthy. Perhaps you should consider an alternate occupation, one that attracts less trouble. Like, say, hermit."
"Au contraire," I said. (See? I can be cultured too, you know, hamburgers aside.) "Even hermits are not safe from acquisitive magpie fairies." I reached the bottom of my glass, and the straw made a loud sucking sound.
At that, our food arrived. The waiter gave me the inevitable snooty, distasteful look the French had refined to an art form. "Pour la belle madame--" he said, pronouncing the name of Susan's dish as he placed it before her, a series of syllables that sounded like an embarrassing medical ailment. "Et pour les petits garçons," he added in a sarcastic, disdainful tone, eyeballing me with his nose as he set down my miniature twin plates.
I grinned up at him, and responded, in my absolute best fake-little-boy voice, "Mercy buckets, mister!"
Susan snorted into her water. "Mature, Harry. Real mature. I can't take you anywhere, can I."
"It's my rakish charm," I said. "You love me for it."
"Wiseassery is more like it, and it's one of those things I strive to change about you." She heaved a long-suffering sigh and gave me a smoldering look under her eyelashes. "I'm sure I'll learn to stop trying eventually. Given proper inducements."
I laughed politely at the remark and took a large bite of a small burger. It wasn't bad. Y'know, for the French. I was about to make a comment to that effect when one of the walls of the resteraunt was blown apart.
Every eye was drawn to the ex-wall, where a tall man dressed in white leather was standing, holding fistfulls of flame.
"Dresden!" he screamed. "I found you! And now I will have my revenege!"
The air was tense. The patrons were scattering. The waiter had fainted. I stood up and faced the man, who was poised to blow us all away.
"...do I know you?"
The tall man in white leather spluttered for a moment.
"You--I--YOU STOLE MY BIKE."
Really. Hardly a reason to be throwing fire about. I shoved Susan under the table (I'd apologize later) and took out my handy-dandy blasting rod to return in kind.
Another date down the drain, I thought with a sigh, exchanging blows with the idiot in leather. Well, at least this one wasn't my fault. Mostly.
I wonder if presenting Susan with the idiot's head would make her feel better...
And for Puck:
The shirt was old, nearly worn-out, and barely legible, a testament to the number of times Harry had worn it over the years. To bars, to school, on dates, once or twice to a Council meeting (always safely hidden under his robes). He hadn't quite dared wear it to work yet, but that didn't mean he wouldn't. This shirt deserved to be worn as often as possible.
It was black, with a white stenciled bronco for decoration, but he didn't wear it for the decoration. He'd've worn it with the phrase alone.
Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.
Thomas had dropped by unexpectedly to pick up some things of his that he had forgotten and not at all to hork a few beers. It had happened to be laundry day for Harry, and he was wearing his favorite shirt.
It took Thomas a whole five minutes to stop laughing. After that, Harry got out the plant mister.
A few judicious squirts later, Thomas was finally able to speak again.
"Is this your newest campaign to get some play, little brother? Because as one with considerably more experience in such matters, I can assure you there are better ways. Yanni, for example," he smirked.
"Now, if I was wearing this to get some play, don't you think I'd be wearing it somewhere with, you know, actual females?" He artfully stole one of the beers out of his brother's hand. "Besides. I like this shirt."
Thomas shook his head. "Imagine that. You've learned to flirt with girls who are actually there."
"Bite me," Harry said, eloquently. In the ensuing noogie-fight, the subject was closed.
The shirt's next airing was quite accidental. Molly had just succeeded in inadvertently combusting her first potion, splattering herself with smelly blue goop in the process. She hadn't had the chance to replace her spare clothing stash since the incident with the slime golem the week before, so she raided Harry's closet for something to wear while her shirt soaked in the bathroom sink. She opened the middle drawer of Harry's secondhand dresser and immediately burst out into a fit of giggles. "Is this yours, Harry?" she said, holding it up gleefully.
"Is what mine?" he asked, from the other room where he was waiting while he changed. He'd really rather not give Charity Carpenter another excuse to try to break his nose. She'd probably succeed this time.
"Save a horse, Ride a cowboy," she called back, still giggling.
"Uh, yeah, it's mine," Harry said, the sense of impending doom overwhelming him. "Why? You want it?"
Her smile widened. If she smiled any wider, the top of her head may have fallen off. "This is a lovely garment," she said. "I bet its existance would speak worlds about your character to my mother."
"...name your price," muttered Harry, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"...well, you can't keep wearing that one, there's blood all over it!" Murphy said, from the other side of the bedroom door. "Green blood! I am not taking a man wearing green blood to my family reunion."
"Picky, picky," Harry muttered, grabbing the first shirt he found from his drawer and pulling it on over his head. "Fine, I'm good to go." He opened the door.
Murphy turned around and stopped, her lips moving silently for a moment, then clapped a hand over her mouth. A few muffled sniggers escaped.
Harry stared at her, bewildered. "What?" he said. Murphy didn't dare open her mouth, else she release the building flood, so she just pointed at his chest. Slowly, he looked down...and turned beet-red as realization dawned.
As quickly as he could, he turned his back to Murphy. "So, uh, I guess I'll go...change...then..." he stammered.
"No way," said Murphy with a snort of laugher. "I need to get a better look at this. 'Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy'," she read. She shook her head in disbelieving amusement, giggling uncontrollably. Giggling. Murphy. Harry couldn't help but notice the way her nose and cheeks turned a frankly adorable shade of bright pink when she laughed. He wished he saw it more often.
"This shirt breaks new records in class, Harry, even for you," she said, once she'd gotten the giggling under control.
"That's me, classy to the core," he said.
There was a minute of somewhat awkward silence, then, "I should really change out of this now."
"If you insist."
Magic crackled in the air as Harry ran, making all his hair stand on end. He ducked a flying blob of pink plasma, hurled at him by the unknown assailant, and finally made it to Ramirez's makeshift barrier. Ramirez grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him to safety. Then he looked down and noticed the text. He let go, so that it might be more readable. The young Warden goggled. "That shirt... is amazing."
Harry grinned weakly, out of breath. "I've often thought so."
"Assuming we survive," Ramirez said, jumping beyond the boundaries of the barrier to loose a stream of watery green magic from his entropy glove, then leaping back to safety, "any chance I can borrow it some time?"
Harry snorted. "Molly's already seen it. She bribed me for for a night off our lessons so she could go to some concert in exchange for not telling her mother about it."
"Did she say which concert?"
"Do you mind focusing on the people trying to kill us?"
"Ah, but that is part of my charm," Ramirez said, loosing another volley. "I can multitask."
"Impressive--FUEGO!--I bet you can even walk and chew gum at the same time."
"I have trophies."
Morgan looked Harry up and down, sighed, and said, "No."
Harry grinned. "Yes."
"No. You're a Warden now, Dresden. We have a certain reputation to uphold. I anticipate this will be difficult with you, but you can at least not wear the shirt. And keep your mouth shut."
"You're oppressing my sense of humor," Harry said.
"Wear the damn cloak, Dresden."
Two wizards - one younger, one older - stood outside a large brick building, each holding a can of beer. The two drank in relative silence. For awhile, anyway.
The elder wizard broke the silence. "Hoss?"
"Now, we all know your opinion of the council as a whole."
"And that you can just about tolerate the lot of them on the best of days."
"And even if you get a bit snappy at times, the majority of them are willing to take it in stride."
There was a long pause. The two continued to sip their beers.
"...but did you have to wear that shirt with your robes open while you gave your report?"
Yet another silence.
"I knew I would live to regret it when I got you that rag."
"The look on Langtry's face'll keep me warm on cold nights for the rest of my years."
"......" He stared at the shirt. For a very long time. He went very still. Staring at the shirt. Yes. Staring.
Then he started laughing. "'Save a horse. Ride a cowboy.' Well, Dresden, you just made my day. Deirdre, come have a look at his shirt."
"Hmm?" she lazily wandered over, mouthing the words to herself, then rolled her eyes. "It's not that funny."
"Ummm...can we get back to the killing bit? This is a touching father-daughter moment and all, but...I'm starting to get bored."
Nicodemus turned to face him for a moment. "...It would be a shame to get blood on that shirt."
"A real shame," Deirdre added, rolling her eyes again. "So?"
"...We'll be seeing you, Dresden. Come, Deirdre."
The two Denarians left.
"...I'm still tied up and hanging from the ceiling?"
Tags: dresden files, fic
cue ominous music
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