|Down With the Sickness
Author: the ersatz diplomat PM
Even wizards get the flu. And no, there's not a potion for that. Quit asking questions.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Humor - H. Dresden & K. Murphy - Chapters: 3 - Words: 3,982 - Reviews: 72 - Favs: 46 - Follows: 34 - Updated: 02-15-13 - Published: 04-22-11 - id: 6928355
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Based on the Day by Drabble Not-So-Bleak Midwinter Prompt #2: a picture of a man and a dog in the snow
For JRush, whose reviews make me feel all warm and fuzzy where my heart's supposed to be. Don't worry, folks, I've been out-of-commission for a while, but I'm back in the game and working on Unfinished Business.
My dog loves the snow. And I mean really. Though, I suppose if I had a fur coat and was from Tibet or somewhere, I'd probably love it too.
But I don't, and I'm not, so I'm currently freezing my skinny wizard ass off, sitting on a bench at the dog park, watching Mouse and a German shepherd chase a squirrel between the leafless trees.
I was the only human around, save for a few girls in tracksuits. They and their bite-sized, beribboned dogs avoided me like the figurative plague. Wasn't surprising. I was pretty sure that between the big black coat, the unwashed hair and the violent shivering, I looked even scarier than usual.
That didn't stop the petite blonde who sat down next to me. Her cheeks were pink from the cold and her hair was windblown, but Karrin Murphy, like the similarly cute and lethal honey badger, don't care.
She had a paper cup, I noticed, as I gave her a sideways look over the upturned collar of my coat. Steam wisped out the vent in the plastic lid.
"Caramel apple cider," Murph said, taking a sip and making a pleased little noise that—well, it went a long way toward warming me up. Not that I was going to tell her about it. "Feeling any better today?"
I sniffled. I had made it off the couch and down the street today, but I was still borderline pathetic.
"Christ, Dresden. Go to a doctor."
"Can't afford it," I said hoarsely, then coughed. "No insurance."
I had spent more money than I actually had trying to keep the docs from amputating my burned left hand. It had wiped out what miniscule savings I'd manage to scrape together and, of course, the only case I'd gotten in the past few weeks happened to be the flu.
…Which I'm pretty sure I'd caught from Murph, who had to be forcibly sent home from work the week before by, well, everyone else there.
Thomas must have told her where I was. The sky had been blue that morning, but it was overcast now, and felt colder than it probably was. Karrin watched, smiling, as Mouse blitzed past in four-wheel drive, flinging snow everywhere. I watched her drink her caramel apple cider and wondered how much of it I could get down between grabbing it from her hand and getting my face broken by her fist.
I didn't get the chance to find out because she turned toward me, her expression contemplative.
"Don't you know, like, a witch doctor or something?"
I stared at her, blinking.
"Just a suggestion," Murph said as she held out a second paper cup.
"Oh, thank god." I seized it. "I was about to knock you out and steal yours."
"In your weakened state? I'd like to see you try."
"I will end you, wench," I growled. And then sniffled again.
"Uh-huh," she said with a smirk, and whistled for Mouse. The big dog bounded toward us.
I took a tentative sip and choked. "Glah! What the hell is this?"
It tasted godawful, so it was probably really healthy. "Are you sure it's not poisonous?"
"Reasonably sure," she said, clipping Mouse's leash to his collar and scratching behind his ears. "Come on, my car's across the street. You'll catch your death out here."
"You sound awfully certain about that." I peered through the hole in the lid. The contents were a murky, sickly green. "Where are we going?"
"Because, Harry," she said, as if it were perfectly obvious, "Much like a small child, or a suitcase at the airport, you shouldn't be left unattended. And you shouldn't be out here in the cold."
"Mouse needed to run," I protested, stopping in the middle of the icy street.
"I've got a yard." She caught my sleeve and pulled. "You're coming with me."
"Every time you say that, I end up in handcuffs. Not that I'm complaining."
Murph handed me her cup and pushed me toward the passenger door of the Saturn. I made it into the car and somehow buckled up with one useless hand and the other numb from cold, and may have accidentally switched the drinks around when I attempted to put them in the cupholders. Possibly. At any rate, mine tasted immensely better the next time I took a sip.
After wedging Mouse into the back seat, Murphy got in, keyed the ignition and pulled out into traffic. I didn't even have the energy to make the stereo squawk properly, and we went several blocks in silence before she reached for her drink. She brought it to her lips and then stopped and gave me a sideways glare.
"Classic blunders, Murph." I settled back into my seat and took a long pull from the paper cup, already feeling sleepy in the warmth of the car. "You fell for one. Oh, man. This is really good."
To be continued! Reviews fuel my soul. :D