Disclaimer: I own nothing of the Dresden files (though I wouldn't mind owning Thomas…or Carlos…or even Harry). The Muppets belong to the wonderful Jim Henson.
Spoiler Alert!: This story is set during White night and has slight references to several of the other novels – You Have Been Warned!!!!
In the long hours before the council healers showed up, Carlos Ramirez would occasionally be awoken by burst of pain or the sudden appearance of a nursing staff member. It was in these brief moments of wakefulness that he and Harry would talk about anything and everything.
"…wait. I ask who would play you in a movie of your life and you pick a Muppet?"
Disbelief coloured Carlos's voice as he raised an eyebrow at the lanky figure draped over the visitor's chair.
"Yep. Crazy Harry"
"Which one was he?"
"The Bolshevik looking one who ran around blowing things up with dynamite."
"…huh. Now that you mention it I do see a resemblance."
"It's slight, but it's there."
"But seriously, a Muppet? You could have picked any action star to play you."
"I've noticed that Bruce Willis has had enough crap kicked out of him in his films to kill a normal person three times over and yet he still survives and saves the day by the end of the movie. Sound familiar?"
"Yeah, but he's going bald. Sorry Ramirez, but I've decided that the only way that the life of Chicago's sole listed wizard can be depicted accurately is through the pleasantly warped creations of Mr Jim Henson. Besides, Sam the American Bald Eagle would be perfect for Morgan."
Trying not to laugh too hard for fear of popping his stitches, Ramirez snorted and replied. "One day I'm going to tell him you said that. So if he's Sam, and you're Crazy Harry, which one am I?"
"I'm picking Elmo."
"Think about it. Young, headstrong, thinks he's way cuter than he really is. It's you in red fur!"
"Heh, you're just jealous that Elmo is way more popular. I'm yet to see a Tickle Me Crazy Harry toy."
Looking up as a nurse entered the room with a syringe of painkillers in her hand, Harry turned on the charm as he gave her what was most likely the weirdest greeting she had ever received. "Nurse Sarah, who is the better Muppet, Elmo or Crazy Harry? You prefer Crazy Harry, right. Who can resist a guy with explosives?"
"No way, Dresden! All females are proven to be venerable to the sheer and utter cuteness that is Elmo. No contest!"
After a moment of silent incredulity, Nurse Sarah smirked before she replied. "Sorry boys, but neither of them comes close to Animal. He's the coolest Muppet."
"He can barely talk!"
"He has pointy teeth!"
"It doesn't matter how ugly he is guys, not only is he in a band but he's also the drummer. Give it up."
Sniggering as they watched her inject the contents of the syringe into Carlos's IV line, the two men quieted down as she turned back to face them. "The shot I just gave you might make you a little sleepy, so try to keep it down and if you feel tired, rest."
"Thanks Nurse Sarah."
As she exited the room Carlos turned to Harry, his movements made noticeably slower by the painkillers running through his system. "You don't have to stay Harry. I'm going to be fine, and you're so tired you look like crap's ugly cousin Dave."
"Not getting rid of me that easily. I'm going to stay until the cavalry arrives. Besides, even looking like this, I'm still prettier than you."
"In your dreams, Dresden."
And with that quiet comment, Carlos softly descended back into a restful sleep.
Later that night
"…I just don't get it. I mean, my head understands how you could do it, but the rest of me is just crying out that it's wrong."
"I know. I felt it too, both when it was happening and afterwards. And the stupid thing is when it was happening…I paused. I knew he wanted to kill me in one of the most hideous ways imaginable, but I paused because it felt completely …wrong…to take a life. "
As the heavy words fell into the rippling silence, both wizards took the time to process the comment After only a couple of hours sleep, Carlos Ramirez had awoken, cursing the wizarding healing process that worked through the painkillers quicker than a normal human. In order to distract him, Harry had started telling stories about his various adventures in wizardry, something that he would not have done had he known where his stories would lead.
"You must have been pretty messed up after that."
"Understatement of the century. I was barely an adult by anyone's definition of the word; I had no home, no family, that stupid Doom of Damocles over my head and more than enough people thinking that I was more evil than Darth Vader, Ted Bundy and Jack the Ripper combined. It took a couple of months of Ebenezer trying to get it through my thick skull that it was something that had to be done before I could even look at myself in the mirror again. A couple of years before the guilt started to fade. And I know that no matter how long I live, the memory will always stay with me."
"Wow. Your life sucks."
"Preaching to the choir, Ramirez. Preaching to the choir."
Later still – close to dawn
"…you are an evil, evil person. Really evil."
"And yet you are still surprised. Now, stop delaying and spill."
Carlos sighed, running his fingers through his hair, before replying. "I guess it all starts with…magic. Do you know how hereditary magic works?"
"A little. If your parents or grandparents had magic you're a lot more likely to develop it yourself, right?"
Picking up the stale granola bar that Harry had fetched from a vending machine earlier, Ramirez opened the wrapper and started to slowly pull it into small pieces.
"Something like that, though certain families have their own forms and variations of it. I know of a family in Argentina where every second generation gets it, no exceptions. There's another group over in the Philippines where the first-born child never receives it, though all the other kids do. In the Ramirez family it's really unique."
"Well, everyone gets a certain ability to do magic but at varying levels. Most are capable of the basics, charms, blessings, but nothing of great power. I have a cousin whose only power is the ability to find loose change. But of every generation, one of the offspring is …stronger."
"I think I know where this story is going."
"Oh believe me, you don't."
"Enlighten me, oh great storyteller."
"Well, you've probably already guessed that I'm the one of my generation who got most of the mojo. This was a bit of a surprise to the rest of the family because as far back as any of the family records go, the strongest child was always…female."
Unsurprised by the hysterical laughter that burst out from the direction of the chair next to his bed, Carlos pelted the wizard with pieces of granola bar until Harry had calmed down enough for him to carry on with his story. "After the shock started to fade, as well as a couple of rather embarrassing questions from my Great-Aunt Maria, the family accepted that I was the first male in over seven hundred years to get the greater powers. Everyone except for my cousin Anna, she of the finding loose change power. She was a little bit pissed that she got ripped off in the powers stakes, and subsequently told all of her friends that I was gay."
"Oh yes. And living in a fairly small town really didn't help matters. So I went through the majority of my teenage years being 'that gay guy'. I had to take Home Economics because the Shop teacher didn't want 'one of those kind' in his class. I learnt most of my fighting skills by defending myself from no-neck homophobes. The only reason I got to take the head cheerleader to my senior prom was because she had just broken up with her boyfriend and was still firmly entrenched in her 'All Straight Men are Scum' phase."
"Huh. And this is why you're still…"
"Well, it's not the main reason, but it was a contributing factor."
"What's the main reason?"
"I haven't fallen in love yet."
"Not to burst your little romantic bubble there, but love doesn't have to be present for sex to occur."
"Yeah, but I want it to be. I know so many guys whose first time was with a random girl that they can't even really remember. I don't want to be like that. You know as well as I do that any type of contact requires a sharing of self, be it a friendly hug, or full sexual intercourse. If I'm going to share myself completely with someone, I want it to be with someone that I care about. Simple as that."
When the silence coming from the chair stretched out for a little too long, Carlos turned to face Harry and caught sight of the funny look he was sending his way.
"…You sound like a cheesy romance novel. Any minute now a swooning maiden is going to come rushing through the door, begging you to save her from an arranged marriage to a villainous knave."
Throwing the last piece of granola bar in Harry's general direction, Carlos lay back in his hospital bed, drained by the long conversation and personal topic. Just as he was about to close his eyes again and try to drift off, Harry's quiet voice drifted over.
"…you are incredibly lucky, you know that?"
Turning slightly to face him, curiosity tinged his voice as Carlos replied.
"And why is that, Dresden? Lucky for my ability to survive? My knowledge of what I want in life? My nearly perfect features?"
"Your ready supply of rare ingredients."
"Do you know how much I have to pay for Virgin's Breath? The lifestyle of kids today is really pushing up the cost of some items. And I always feel like a dirty old man when I'm ordering it."
Falling back onto his pillow, a tone of humour and self-depreciation entered his voice as he replied.
"Great. I could set up a mail order business. 'Pure Ingredients – Fresh From The Virgin' – I could make millions."
"Wouldn't recommend it though. Think about the dangers of one of your enemies figuring out the source of the goods."
"You're thinking Thaumaturgy? Someone using some hair or blood to make a voodoo doll or malevolent charm?"
"Actually, I was thinking about the risk of incessant mockery, but your reason works just as well."
Laughter from the room crept through the doorway and echoed down the hospital corridor until it reached the curious ears of Nurse Sarah, who wondered why a man who had been stabbed in the stomach was so happy.
AN: Okay, a couple of notes here. 1) This is my first Dresden Files fic, so apologies if I didn't get the voices quite right. 2) The spelling of my name is correct (see Stargate: Atlantis). I am not a life-sucking sex vampire. I am a life-sucking space vampire. There is a difference. 3) This story came about because whenever I have had to overnight in hospital, I always wish I could have someone to talk to when the pain meds wore off. Since (according to the book) Harry was already sitting with him, I decided to have fun.
Hope you enjoyed the fic.
Fred the Wraith Queen