Summary: Morningways are always trouble. Mai's POV.
"Dresden. Dresden, get the hell up."
Harry Dresden has been curled up in a ball on the floor and now flinches at the sound of my voice. He opens his eyes with a preemptive wince, like he expects to find something nasty there when he does. I guess I count as something nasty, because he winces again when he realizes it's me.
"It wasn't my fault, Mai," he says, automatically. "I had nothing t'do with it."
His voice is vaguely slurred and I wonder if he's been drugged, or if he's just exhausted. He closes his eyes again and I shake him, roughly.
"Dresden, I'm giving you five seconds to get up, or I'm going without you," I say. "I have people fighting in here for you, I'd like to think I didn't drag them here so you could sleep through your own damn rescue."
Dresden opens his eyes again and forces himself to sit up. "Mai's come to rescue me," he says, to no one in particular. "World's gone crazy. Locusts'll be next and then..." He seems to lose his train of thought. "Whatever." He looks up at me. "Hi Mai."
"On your feet, Dresden," I order, impatiently. "Now."
He pulls himself up, using my jacket for support. I put a hand on his chest to steady him and hold out his wand for him.
"Can you use this?" I ask.
"I don't have any drums," he replies, matter-of-factly. He takes it from me and it lights up in his hand. "Oh. Guess I can."
"Try not to kill me with it," I tell him.
He gives me a lopsided smile that reminds me of Margaret Morningway. I growl at him, but he keeps grinning. I grab his sleeve and pull him along behind me, my own wand at the ready.
"Let's go," I say.
"Where'r we going, Mai?" he asks, eagerly.
"Out," I reply.
"I don' wanna go out with you," he says, stumbling after me. "You don't like me."
I shoot a fireball at a teenager who's coming at me with a knife. Half the members of this damn cult are kids and half of that half are so far gone on Third Eye, there's no hope of bringing them back. The other half are safely removed and will be back with their parents once we sort them out. It wouldn't have happened without Dresden, as much as I hate to admit it. The boy goes down with a shout of pain and I step over him, Dresden tripping behind me. I don't enjoy hurting children, despite the rumours that say I eat them for breakfast.
"Your face is all 'rrarr'," Dresden informs me. He shoots off a surprisingly well-aimed blast and knocks a crazed looking girl back through the door. "S'probably why they're trying to kill us."
I don't like Dresden. There's too much Morningway in him and Morningways are always trouble. Nearly a century of trouble, maybe more. Maggie Morningway was almost an exception. She would have been, if she could have stopped that stupid need to fix things. The same need that drove Dresden into freeing a couple dozen kids by trading himself for their place, when he should have just contacted the council and let us handle it. Dresden always has one foot in stupid and one foot in heroic and I'm left with the mess.
We make it out of the building and I pull Dresden over to the curb, forcing him to sit down. Around us, strung out teenagers are wandering haphazardly, being tended to by our medical team. Dresden stares up at the stars. I push my demon face back into human form after a girl starts screaming. I'm wearing my young face today, to infiltrate the headquarters easily.
"The altar's down," Morgan says, coming up behind us. A line of trainee wardens trails him. "Vandervall is in custody. The building is burning."
"That's not my fault," Dresden declares, quickly.
Morgan and I ignore him. I give a few orders and Morgan herds his trainees away again. Dresden looks exhausted.
"Thanks, Mai," he says, suddenly. He smiles his stupid Morningway smile at me, sleepily. "For coming for me."
"I had orders," I say. "I would have left you there."
Several things happen next, in a few seconds span. Dresden's eyes widen, he pushes me to the ground and puts his hand up defensively. A teenage girl slices a knife down and it gets stuck in the shield he's thrown up, about two inches from my head. Damn Morningways. One foot in stupid, one foot in heroic, and me, left to decide how the hell I'm supposed to handle them.