Fandom: The Dresden Files (tv verse)
Prompt: Murphy saves Harry from the bad fairies
Disclaimer: The Dresden Files and the characters who appear here or are mentioned are the based from the books by Jim Butcher and belong to the SCI FI Channel and its respective creators and producers; they are not mine. Written for drackinphoenix's request in the 2nd Annual Femme Ficathon. The title was inspired by the Don Henley song by the same name.
“The Heart of the Matter" by Karen
She could feel the beat and pulse of the music rising up through the soles of her feet and into her bones. She had the distinct feeling of being swallowed up an ocean wave but oddly enough instead of feeling smothered by the wave instead it was soothing and exciting at the same time.
Connie Murphy realized that after the kind of week she had had this was just the kind of stress reliever that she had been needing. She smiled and glanced over at where Harry Dresden sat drumming those slender fingers of his on the arm rest of his chair, more or less in time with the musicians on the stage; glad that she had allowed him to talk her into taking some time off to take in a rock concert.
For what was billed as just another garage rock band they were actually pretty decent although at times, if she was any judge at music, some o the harmonies did seem to verge over the edge into a just a bit of a teeth-jarring dissonance.
That evening on the way home from the concert Harry's stubborn jeep broke down on the side of the road. It was late and he was tired and in no mood to deal with malfunctioning equipment and after realizing that shouting at it or pounding on the dashboard in sheer frustration was not helping matters in any appreciable way Harry finally got out of the vehicle to walk over and open the hood to inspect the engine. He was no mechanic but even he could determine that the engine had been flooded.
Walking back over to the driver’s side of the jeep Harry reached in through the open window and removed his hockey stick; a specially modified hockey stick that had been infused with his own magic, and with that in hand went back over to the open hood of the vehicle.
A shimmer in the air and a corresponding tingle at the nape of his neck that made the short black hair stand on end were the first warning signs that he was about to have more problems than just a flooded engine and perhaps being pulled over by the cops for drunk driving.
Harry glanced up and down the stretch of the long winding road, empty and deserted. Above his head clouds scudded across the starry sky and a fat gibbous moon sailed along, uncaring of his current predicament. In the back of his mind Harry realized that something was very wrong. He turned his attention from studying the flooded engine to studying his surroundings extending his regular senses and some not so regular to figure out what the hell was wrong.
That’s when five or six angular figures shimmer into existence coming from the direction he had taken into town. He squared his shoulders and lifting his magically-enhanced hockey stick into a fighting stance, Harry thought he was ready for anything.
“There is nothing wrong with your car,” said the apparent leader of the group.
“I might have to disagree with you there, old chap,” replied Harry.
“Let us just kill him and be done with that,” whispered the smallest of the six.
“We have our orders,” the leader hissed in an under tone and cuffed the small none too gently on the side of his face.
“It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that you all have such big plans for me,” Harry remarked, as though he had probably drunk more beer than was strictly speaking good for him he had been around long enough to realize that these pale, angular and whispery-voiced folk were not the by-products of either his over active imagination or hallucinations brought on by the fogs of alcohol.
“Look at where you are,” the leader said to Harry. “A crossroads. Enough talk, take him!”
The remaining four barring the leader rushed forward in the manner of a linebacker in a full blitz, but of course much, much smaller but for what they lacked in size they more than made up for in speed.
Harry had just come up with a spell designed to both shield him and stop them in their tracks when the four small, compact bodies slammed into his eyes. As he was knocked flat on his back and as a cloud of blackness swept over him in the back of his mind Harry thought. “I think I was trying to apply logic to an illogical situation. Bully for you, Harry; this might have gone a whole lot better, but it’s too late to worry about that now.’
In her career as a cop Connie Murphy had dealt with many kinds of bizarre cases but until she had taken on Harry Dresden as a civilian advisor to the Chicago PD perhaps there were still realms of the bizarre and the paranormal that were still left untapped, and the moment Murphy was not of two minds exactly how she felt about that.
If she had not come to know Dresden as well as she had in the time they had spent working together she would have come up in the resounding ’no’ category, but now, now she was not so sure. The ransom note had come by courier, and if she had not been seeing things she could have sworn that the courier bore a striking resemblance to the keyboard player from the garage band that had played at the “Blue Moon Rising’ club from last week.
The ransom note had been printed on fine linen paper that kind that specialty stores and curio shops marketed to hobbyists and people who wanted to use the best to submit to potential employers. Over her shoulder she heard Detective Sid Kirmani remark : “That it’s damn odd way for a kidnapper to ask for a ransom and then use expensive paper that smells like it was soaked in violet and vanilla. Makes my nose itch. I don’t like this.”
“Neither do I,” Murphy replied as she held the note up the light and turned it at noticing that in the back of the card there was a watermark but then realized it was the logo of the company that issued the brand of paper.
“Well, we’re not accomplishing much of anything standing around here,” observed Kirmani, and Murphy despite what you might think of me, I’m not as dumb as I look.”
“What’s that supposed to mean,” demanded Murphy.
“Dresden can be a pain in the neck, but I know you care about him.”
“I, I.. Well, as a friend and a colleague, but it does not go any further than that,” she replied as she absently brushed a stray lock of hair that had fallen down over her eyes. “Dresden does have any next of kin and even if he did standard procedure dictates that we wait three days for a friend or family member to report him missing.”
“We’re checking this out now?”
“Figures,” sighed Kirmani. “How much are they asking for?”
“Two thousand dollars.”
“Odd, but where our ‘friend’ is concerned odd and weird and several other similar adjectives come to mind.” He would have continued to expound on this theme but stopped when he noted the warning look in Connie Murphy’s dark eyes and the distinct tilt of one eyebrow. “Right, hand over the note, I’ll have the boys in forensics run it through the lab. In the meantime we can search his known haunts.”
“Funny you mentioned haunts,” Murphy remarked as she opened the door to Harry Dresden’s jeep sitting abandoned by the side of the road. “I’m getting the distinct impression that whoever was responsible for nabbing Dresden had both a warped sense of humor and an overwhelming over confidence.
In her career as a police detective she had worked cases were the kidnappers either did not care if they police knew their identity or not, or wanted them to, because they felt sure that when push came to shove; it really did not matter one or the other.
“Check this out.” She pulled out another postcard size card that had placed in an envelope in the seat on the driver’s side. Opening it out she slipped out the inside note and read it. In the same cursive script were written the following message: “You are ‘here. And if you ever wish to see your friend alive again, come to the abandoned warehouse district alone, at midnight.”
The note was unsigned and rather dire. She cursed under her breath and clenching her hands into a fist crushed the paper and then threw on the ground. Picking it up a moment later she stuffed the note and envelope into one of the pockets of her jacket.
The ground in and around the shoulder of the gravel road was torn up and dusty, indicating signs of a struggle, the keys of the jeep were still in the ignition.
Perhaps what was most troubling of all although she would not let it show on her face or voice that it troubled her especially in the presence of her partner and the other police officers, Harry’s magically-enhanced hockey stick had been propped up inside the open the trunk.
Granted Harry might have had been experiencing car trouble before he had been taken and been caught in the midst of diagnonising the trouble with the engine before his disappearance but she did not think that very lucky. For as long as she had known him, and through him, known of the existence of the paranormal and magic, Harry never went anywhere with some kind of magical or otherwise backup plan.
“I’ve called Triple A,” said Kirmani as he walked over along with a couple of officers flanking him and they’ll have someone come over in a couple of hours to tow away the jeep. I’m no car expert but it looks to me like the engine’s flooded.”
“Good. Murphy nodded in acknowledgment while she considered whether or not to take the implicit message of the note to heart or not.
“Where to next?” asked Kirmani.
‘The abandoned warehouse district.”
“Figures,” Kirmani, Oh, and by the way, the cost for towing that hunk of junk Dresden calls a car won’t go on the precinct’s tab will it?”
Murphy laughed. “If, make that when we find him, you can take that up with Dresden.”
Walking into the abandoned warehouse was tantamount to walking into a house of mirrors at a funhouse. It had appeared quite ordinary from the outside. A three story brick and mortar building with windows facing out onto the neighboring warehouse district with a loading dock in the back and dumpster. The bank of windows had been boarded up and the front door hung off rusted hinges. Inside was an entirely different prospect.
First, the entire ground floor was littered with boxes and crates lined up haphazardly and stacked one atop another leaving only a few narrow aisles in which to walk through. As Murphy and Kirmani strode among them they could stifled laughter coming from the shadows which tilted at bizarre angles when either of the two stared directly at them.
“Are you as weirded out by all this as I am,” Kirmani muttered under his breath.
Murphy nodded in his general direction but did not reply; she just kept walking. She left the front area of the warehouse and crossed through into a high-ceilinged receiving area this time dominated with a stairway and lunch counter along one wall.
The looming shadows of the abandoned and dilapidated warehouse were beginning to make her uncomfortable.
She had sent her partner to conduct a reconnaissance of the immediate area and the remainder of the police officers to secure the perimeter but even so while they had encountered resistance on the way in and had dealt with it; something whether it be her cop instinct, her own experience telling her that something was very much 'wrong with this picture.
Connie Murphy had the distinct impression that were being watched. But her senses and those of her fellow officers found exactly nothing to confirm those vague impressions
A tall angular figure stepped out of a pool of shadows where she could have sworn no one had been before. “Welcome, I am so glad you could make it.”
Skip the pleasantries,” she demanded. “Who the hell are you?”
“Earl Grey,” he replied as he tilted his head to one side as if thinking the matter through. “It is as good a name as any under the circumstances.”
“That’s not a name, it’s an English tea.”
“Dresden told me you were sharp,” the one who had identified himself as Earl Grey remarked. “We’re about to find out just how sharp. Take it away, boys.”
With that shapes, some tall and angular like their leader, others squat and stout emerged from the looming pools of shadow and materialized out the thick, dusty air. They carried sharp windows of a glittery silver metal that made Murphy’s skin itch just looking at it and the equally disquieting glitter of malevolent intent in their dark eyes reminded Murphy of the opening sequence of the Shoot Out at the O.K corral she remembered watching with her father when she was fourteen years old. She shrugged, and thought in the back of her mind, ‘Let them do their worst. I’m committed now.’
The sliver weapons emitted a high-pitched squeal and then let loose with a stream of icy blue energy. Murphy took advantage of cover of more stacked crates and boxes to dodge and weave the streams of energy and took up a defensive stance behind the lunch counter where she would not be as exposed out in the open.
The momentary look of frustration that flashed across the faces of her attackers encouraged and she began to return fire, careful to pick her targets so would not run out of ammo so quickly and be forced to reload.
Above the fray and the noise Earl Grey’s voice rang out. “Good! Excellent in fact. You’re as good as your reputation makes you out to be!”
“If this whole crazy scheme was a kind of test, pal,” Murphy yelled to be head over the din. “Then I for one am I not amused by it!”
His stepped up into the midst of the attackers and placed each of his hands on the shoulders of the nearest within reach and then shouted, “Hold you fire!” He’s waiting for you.”
"Well, this odd," Harry managed to gasp once the gag that looked and smelled as if it had been liberally soaked in formaldehyde had been removed from over his mouth. "Usually these rescue scenes are the other way around." He lapsed into a brief coughing fit and once he recovered his breath added. "Not that I'm complaining, mind you."
"I should hope not," said Murphy with a wry grin of her own. "Or I might just
have to change my mind." She bent over and began to unfasten the remainder
of the ropes that had kept Harry confined to his chair.
“I think we should get out of here, while the getting’s good,” she remarked.
Harry stood up gingerly and bent over to rub the circulation back into his legs and offered her a shaky slightly off-center but confident smile. “You’ll get no arguments from me.”