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Fic: Wizard’s Peek

Wizard’s Peek
By PaBurke
Summary: Harry Dresden and robots (even from outer space) are non-mixy.
Spoilers: Somewhere between the first Transformers’ movie and the second. Book Six-ish for the Dresden Files.
Warnings: Gratuitous destruction of property.

~df~tfmr~

Mouse and I have a system for our run; a couple streets to the park and then we use the far trail to really sprint. It’s great practice for running for your life. No one can see us there, which is a good thing because sometimes Mouse looks more like the mystical creature he was than the dog he pretended to be. So when Mouse turned his head the wrong way for our morning run, I knew it wasn’t going to be good, but I didn’t expect it to go so bad. Of course, Mouse growls ‘danger’ and we run towards it.

We stopped at the tree line, so we were still hidden, and saw that a dump truck had gotten cornered by Hummer rescue unit, a big black truck and a bunch of army trucks. We could see the army men evacuating residents in a hurry. The last of the stragglers were now on the last bus out. I wanted on that bus and away from the military and that was before the dump truck transformed into a giant robot. The robot shot at the military and the military returned fire.

“Hells bells!”

This wasn’t my first transforming, homicidal giant robot. Six months ago, a robot disguised as a Coast Guard ship had killed a bunch of people near the island where the ley lines cross off the coast of Chicago. The resident little fairy people had asked for my help. I had taken Molly and Murphy and it was a good thing that I had. Molly and I had dispatched the robot easy enough. Whatever it is that runs the robots is similar enough to electricity that it was ridiculously simple to kill it with pure magic.

But whatever it is that runs the robots is similar enough to magic that killing the robot released energy into the atmosphere and that energy searched out the nearest compatible vessel.

That would be Molly and me.

We were overwhelmed with the energy and magic. It opened our Third Eyes beyond our control and made magic flow over and through our skin like water. We were acting like we were drunk; happy drunks that could accomplish anything. We were most certainly ‘high.’ It took Murphy a considerable amount of time to herd us back into our dingy and then she took us to the Carpenters to sleep it off. Charity and Michael were not pleased, though they understood that it had been unforeseeable. They kept us safe and occupied the three days it took for us to come off the high. Okay, so Molly was better faster, but that’s not my fault.

Then the confrontation in front of me went two hundred times worse when the Hummer and the big black truck also transformed into giant robots. Where did they come from? As glad as I was to see that only the dump truck wanted to kill people and the other two wanted to protect them, I also knew that if any one of them died, I would be instantly high again.

And my already questionable judgment would disintegrate into nothing.

I was starting to back away when Mouse barked. A head on the other end of the clearing turned. It was the runner in hot pink. She was one of the few out and about this time of day and she had been missed in the civilian evacuation. The dump truck decided that two against one was something that he wanted to retreat from and was heading straight for Hot Pink. He was going to kill her out of spite. I couldn’t let that happen, so I threw magic at the dump truck. I struck him down and then I turned and ran in the opposite direction. Mouse was with me. The military should be good enough to finish off the job. I didn’t want to be around when they did.

I hadn’t gotten away from the giant robot fast enough. I hadn’t heard anything but silence. In the next moment, I could feel the magic hit my bloodstream like a tsunami. I was awash in the buzz. I wouldn’t be able to get to a safe place. I was already stumbling and seeing things that were there, but weren’t there. I needed a friend. My dog was great and was keeping me on my feet but Murphy? Help?

“Hey!” someone yelled. “How did you get back here?”

I turned to see an African American soldier in an unfamiliar uniform, but that was in the background of a White Knight so brilliant that it had me blinking spots out of my eyes. “Man,” I told him, “You are really white.”

His affronted look was the last thing I saw before the spots merged into a dull, black, empty space.

xxxx

I woke to silence, cold air, warm blankets and wet sandpaper moving on my hand. The sandpaper was at least familiar. I turned my hand so that I could scratch the side of my dog’s face. “I’m fine,” I muttered to Mouse. Mouse licked my wrist as I petted him. When I was too tired to continue, the sandpaper went away.

I was drifting in the warmth and then the bed shook like an earthquake. My eyes flew open and I tried to sit up ‘cause beds break under the combined weight of Mouse and me.

“It’s okay,” a voice reassured me. I turned to see the speaker. He was a soldier with a higher rank, I thought. “We reinforced the bed and bracketed it to the wall. We couldn’t make him stop trying to join you, so we made the bed able to survive it.”

“Ahh,” I stalled for time as I searched my memory. It was really blurry. And disconcerting. Mouse settled beside me and I petted the massive head he placed on my stomach as I gathered my thoughts. “Thanks,” I questioned. I had no idea where I was.

“We’re just outside of Chicago,” the soldier said. He smiled. “You ask that every time you wake up or have some coherency. My name is William Lennox. That’s normally your second question. No, you didn’t hurt anyone who didn’t have it coming.”

I winced. “The dump truck?” I confirmed.

“You got him,” the soldier told me. “Ratchet –that’s the Medi-Hummer- witnessed it.”

“Oh.” I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what the military planned to do with me.

“We’ll deliver you back to Chicago as soon as you are yourself,” Lennox offered. “You have told us several times that you have responsibilities there and don’t want to be anywhere near dying transformers.”

“Really?” I asked. “You’re just going to let me go?”

“You were really frank with us. You told us what a high it was when a transformer died and that you didn’t want to get addicted and start searching out transformers to kill for your next buzz.”

I winced.

He continued in a conversational tone. “We don’t want you killing Autobots, who are our allies and there’s not a lot of Decepticons around. Not to mention the damage you can do when you’re… high.”

I winced again. I seemed to remember standing on one edge of a junkyard facing the big, black truck as a robot. We had been playing a game of trying to get the car wrecks onto the other’s territory.

I had won. Power is my forte and the field ‘of battle’ hasn’t been big enough for the two of us.

“Junkyard?” I confirmed.

“Ironhide said that it was the most fun he’s had since he arrived.”

“I hit him with a burning car,” I remembered. “Two at the same time. He went down.”

“He’s fine,” Lennox told me. “Ratchet hurt him more for his stupidity when we took Ironhide to get checked out.” Lennox waited a moment. “He wants a rematch.”

“Hell’s Bells, no.” I had already done way too much magic in front of normals, not to mention normals in the military.

Lennox relaxed the slightest bit. “So does that mean no more magic shows?”

I suddenly remembered an audience and someone accusing me of hiding a mechanism under my clothes and me… “I stripped?”

“It was the best magic show ever performed in one’s boxers,” Lennox teased.

I slung my arm over my eyes in a vain attempt to hide. I was so embarrassed. Morgan and the rest of the White Council better not find out about this. Molly better not find out about this. “How long have I been gone?” I asked.

“Four days.”

Too long. Molly, Murphy and others would be looking for me. What if someone from the White Council found out that I wasn’t watching over Molly? They would kill her and come looking to kill me. I sat up and swung my legs off the side of the bed. “I’ve got to get back.”

“Let’s feed you first and see what electrical items fritz in your vicinity. That’s how we’ve been judging your state of mind,” Lennox informed me. “You peaked forty hours ago and seem to be decreasing in power since. We were expecting you to be close to your normal this morning.”

“Good,” though I wasn’t pleased about the military knowing more about my powers than I do. There was something about this man that I trusted. “Aren’t you a little high in the food chain to be babysitting me?”

Lennox shrugged. “You said that I was another White Knight who could be trusted and no one wanted to make you feel threatened. You called Bobby a White Knight too but that really annoyed him, so you get me.” Lennox thought about it. “You also said some things that we assumed were complimentary about the Autobots but since you could drain energy from them just by being in the same area, we like to keep you far from them.”

“That’s good.” Memories were filtering back into my brain. Apparently, I have a secret desire for everyone to know the truth about magic. I’d talked a lot.

Lennox was standing next to the door. “You coming?”

I blinked and nodded. Standing wasn’t too difficult and hey, I could walk in a straight line. Mouse jumped off the bed to follow. Lennox led us to a cafeteria table. We passed several men in uniform. They all nodded pleasantly to me.

I lengthened my stride so that I was beside out guide. “Why isn’t anyone afraid of me?” I asked in an undertone.

Lennox looked a little surprised. He sat at the table and nodded to a cook. “I guess we’re used to the Autobots and they’re bigger and stronger with more firepower. Most of us just put you in the same category as them. Not to mention the story you told us about the energy source and the ‘Con in the middle of Lake Michigan. You can handle yourself if there’s a problem and its one less thing that we need to do. The Decepticons might try to dig it up again. There is some discussion about posting a guard…”

“You don’t want to do that,” I told him.

Lennox nodded. “So you’ve been saying, but you’ve been rather vague as to why.”

“I have?”

“Yes. If it’s your secret, you’ll probably tell us, but as soon as others are involved you shut down.”

“Good.” I hadn’t meant to say that aloud but Lennox didn’t look insulted.

In fact, he looked smug. “So you are our guard to that island.”

“I am?”

“Yes. You agreed to it, especially since we offered to pay you and to make the island yours entirely and legally. We’re also paying you enough money for taxes for the next couple decades. You’re kinda easy to buy off when you’re high.”

As if an island where the ley lines crossed (and the required taxes) was cheap.

I grumbled but my mind was racing with how having legal possession of the ley lines would help or hinder my life. It was going to upset the magical balance of Chicago. Marcone was going to be pissed. So would the Merlin and the White Court.

The idea held certain appeal.

“I assume that there’s paperwork?” I asked.

“Yes.” Lennox sounded bereaved. This was a man with piles of paperwork to do and he hated it. “But you refused to sign them until you were sober; something about strengthening your bond with the island.”

The cook arrived with two plates of delicious smelling food, one for Lennox, one for me. I hadn’t even taken a bite before Mouse nudged my hip with his head. “Can I have a plate for Mouse?” I asked Lennox.

Lennox nodded and motioned to the chef again. “You’ve been really fidgety about us feeding Mouse and Mouse refused to take any food that didn’t come from you.”

“One of us had to be in full control of our faculties.”

Lennox nodded his acceptance of the situation. An African American that I vaguely remembered from before stopped at the table. He dropped a cell phone onto the table and slid it my way. I used my plate to bump it back to him.

“I can’t touch one of those any day of the week,” I said.

Lennox nodded. He picked up the cell phone and pressed some buttons. He must have been pleased with the results because he ordered, “Bobby, take this man home. He has duties to fulfill.” Lennox offered me a business card, “for when the ‘Cons return to the island,” and a firm handshake. I accepted both. “Oh and make sure he signs the nondisclosure form.”

Bobby rolled his eyes but said, “This way, sir.”

One quick, no nonsense paper to read and sign that if I told anyone about my little adventure the US military would respond in horrible ways and then ‘Bobby’ Epps was droving me back to Chicago himself. I could recognize my surroundings. He wasn’t trying to trick me and drive me elsewhere. Aside from the crazy rap blaring out of the radio, the cab of the Jeep was still.

“Can I turn down the music?” I asked. The letdown of not having the extra magic was starting to hit and my headache was massive. The base guitar of the song was making it worse.

“No. A black brotha needs his beat.”

“Is this about me calling you white?”

Bobby bristled.

“I was talking about the state of your soul. Pure.”

Bobby’s head whirled my way. “I’ve followed a lot of orders that resulted in…”

“Warrior,” I cut him off. “The Third Eye doesn’t lie. A warrior for freedom.”

Bobby relaxed a tiny bit, and puffed up with pride but the seriousness of the situation was too much. “’Sides if you don’t change it or turn it off, I might accidently hex the radio and you won’t have any music for your return trip.”

Bobby huffed, but he was grinning when he turned down the volume and changed the station to classical. “Better?”

“Yes.”

I had shown the military what I could do and not only was I free, I was also the sole owner of a sparkly, magical island. I was feeling pretty good about my day until Bobby stopped the Jeep in front of my house and I saw Murphy detach herself from the shadows in such a way that I knew it was one of Molly’s veils. I was immensely pleased that both women were alive and then I realized that Murphy was pissed.

I muttered a couple curse words under my breath.

“I’d’ve thought that you would be happy to see a pretty lady like that.”

“She’s pissed and has several black belts and likes big guns.”

Bobby perked up even more. “Sounds like my kind of lady. She seeing anyone?”

I refused to dignify that with an answer as I climbed out of the Jeep. I held the door open for Mouse who made a beeline for the tiny, pert blonde.

Murphy let me take two steps toward her before demanding, “Where the hell have you been, Harry?” She was fondly petting my dog even as she was yelling at me.

Epps cheerfully told her, “He was on a bender.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Murphy snapped. “Harry doesn’t go on…” Her voice trailed off and her gaze sharpened even more. Murphy didn’t say another word, but Epps realized that the cop knew exactly what had happened.

“You didn’t tell us you had help dispatching the ‘Con on the island,” he hissed.

I shrugged, unrepentant. “Whoops.”

Epps was no dumbie either. “Was she your DD?”

“Pretty much.” No need to involve Murph more than she already was. At least Molly had the sense to stay behind the veil.

“That’s good. If another ‘Con hits the island, you’ll survive your own stupidity after.”

I glared, but Epps was addressing Murphy. “Tech Sergeant Epps, ma’am. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Murphy shook his hand, but didn’t offer her name in response.

Epps wasn’t insulted and I was glad. He did offer Murphy a business card. “Here’re all our phone numbers. I was supposed to give them to Dresden but you have a cell phone and we both know that Dresden can’t. The next time you kill a ‘Con, call us and we’ll take out the garbage. You don’t want that kind of rubbish laying around. ‘Course if you’re only feeling lonely, you could call me up and I’ll show you a good time.”

Murphy read through the business card. “I assume that a ‘Con is a type of robot?”

“Yes’m. What did you do with the last one?”

“Sunk it in the middle of Lake Michigan.”

Epps nodded. “We’ll retrieve it. Do you know about where? Do you have coordinates?”

Murphy rolled her eyes. “With the way… energy was flowing off him? He directed me until he said we were over the deepest part of the lake and then he pushed it under.

Epps didn’t look surprised. “He’s your friend, ma’am.”

Murphy looked up at me and I shifted nervously. She was going to make me pay for the four days without contact. “Mouse is,” she finally said. “He’s the smart one.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Epps agreed.

I loftily ignored them and walked down the steps toward my apartment door. I was checking my wards for intrusions when Murph walked up behind me. Molly unveiled herself by my side.

“Epps gone?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Did you give him your number?” It was the last thing I should have asked but…

“No.” She paused. “I’m surprised they let you go. But I’m glad they did.”

I smiled at these two most important women in my life. “We reached a mutually beneficial arrangement.” I paused and unlocked my door. “I glad to see both of you.”

I walked into my place and the women followed me. I closed the door after Mouse.

It was good to be home.

~df~tfmr~

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
jedibuttercup
Jun. 17th, 2011 12:16 am (UTC)
Neat concept. =)
faithburke
Jun. 17th, 2011 12:25 am (UTC)
thank you, I was trying to write something light n fluffy. Didn't quite hit the mark.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )