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True Magic by faithdaria

Title: True Magic
Fandom: Dresden Files, bookverse
Rating: Teen
Spoilers: Slight ones for White Knight, now AU because of Turn Coat
Author's Note: I swear, this was written years before Changes.

Today my mother told me I was just like my father.

She said it affectionately, one corner of her mouth quirking up in a smile. I smiled back; when my mother smiles it’s hard not to return it. It was clear she’d meant it as a compliment, unlike when Morgan had said it the first time I met him.

It’s easy to see the comparison sometimes. Like him, I’m very tall and on the skinny side of things, with dark hair and sharp features. My sister Maggie is envious of my height; she got mom’s small build and blond hair, although we both got Dad’s dark eyes and offbeat sense of humor. Dad worked hard to teach me his slightly battered sense of chivalry, and I’ve been told more than once that I’m at least as stubborn as him. And of course, Maggie and I are also practicing wizards.

There aren’t many of us right now. The war with the Red Court nearly wiped out the entire adult wizard population, but we won that war and the children of those wizards are growing up now. The human race is hard to kill. The score or so of wizards who did survive were some of the strongest and most adaptable, and they’ve taught my generation everything they knew. And with the exception of Donald Morgan, the only surviving Warden of the White Council, every single one of them will say that we owe our lives to Harry Dresden.

It’s evolved into a sort of hero-worship amongst my generation of wizards, which is annoying as hell. My father would hate it, being held up as an example by the same people who would have had him executed without a second thought at the beginning of the war. That’s probably why Morgan doesn’t say anything about it. He knew Dad well enough to know that Harry Dresden would especially hate praise coming from him. Saving the White Council was an accident, an afterthought on the way to his true purpose. He was just trying to save my sister Maggie, and everything else was in the way.

Maggie has only talked about what happened once, to me and Mom right after it happened. Dad was training her, since no one wanted to be responsible for a Dresden. She’d just turned eighteen and Dad was starting to bring her on missions where there was a lesser chance of mayhem. They’d been walking to MacAnally’s to meet with the Wardens when the ambush began.

She only remembered the fighting in flashes; scenes of blood and pain and our father’s fire. A vampire had clawed her knee within the first few minutes, leaving her on the ground, too disoriented to do much magic. Dad stood over her with his staff and blasting rod, fending off attacks and trying to buy enough time to get her onto neutral territory. She says the look of comprehension on his face when he realized that they would both die trying to escape is something that will stay with her forever, almost like a soulgaze.

Somehow he managed to close a circle around the two of them, separating them from the vampires. He leaned over Maggie and told her he loved her, that he was sorry for what had happened, and to tell me and Mom that he loved us. Then he began his spell.

We put together what had happened afterwards, looking at the results of the spell. It was so simple, really. All vampires of the Red Court are connected. Somewhere way down the line, they had a common vampire ancestor. Most wizards can’t really use this connection because it’s too weak.

Most wizards aren’t Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden.

Dad had known for years that he was born with the ability to command and destroy Outsiders. It was one of the reasons so many people wanted him dead or on their side, and it was something that frightened my father just a little. But it hadn’t frightened him so much that he hadn’t sat down and figured out how to use it.

Maggie said he knelt next to her, chanting for several minutes, and she could feel the magic stirring in side the circle. Then he reached out with his hand and broke the circle, and she blacked out.

When she came to, it was completely silent. Dad was lying across her; Morgan was standing over them both with an odd look on his face. And every single vampire was gone. Not just dead, but entirely gone. Over the course of several weeks, it became apparent that every single Red Court vampire had disappeared. They weren’t in the Nevernever, they weren’t hiding in Undertown, and they certainly weren’t in the realm of mortals.

But all that mattered to me was that I was twelve years old, and my father was dead. He had known the spell would kill him, and he had done it anyway. It took me two years to forgive him for that.

The magically inclined that I meet all walk differently around me because of my father, especially the ones who knew him before. It’s like they’re all waiting for me to prove myself worthy of the legacy, like my father was Luke Skywalker. But at the heart of it, my father was just a guy who loved his family enough to die for them. The magic was just a bonus.

My name is Collin Malcolm Dresden. Today my mother told me I was just like my father. I’d like to think so.