Disclaimer: I own none of the characters from Negima I'm just borrowing them for awhile. The Dresden Files is copyright Jim Butcher. This story is licensed under the Creative Commons as derivative, noncommercial fiction. This story is not canon to either series, though Dresden Files fans can slot it in after Turn Coat and Negima fans after the group returns from the magical world.

The Substitute, a Dresden Files meets Negima fanfiction

Chapter One

Takamachi Takahata strode down the hallway with the tall, brown haired man, his stance somewhat apologetic. "I'm sorry we had to ask you to do this, but..." he shrugged, his light brown hair standing up slightly.

The man wearing the duster coat shrugged slightly, "Well, I owed you a favor. But are you sure this is going to be all right?"

"The headmaster has cleared it," Takamachi said as they reached the classroom. "Stay here, I'll introduce you."

Within the classroom the normal ruckus continued, thirty teenaged girls chattering happily and waiting impatiently for the start of class. "What sort of teacher do you think we'll get?" Nodoka asked nervously. The rumor mill was already buzzing over Negi Springfield's leave of absence, though it was suspiciously silent over who was replacing him.

"Hopefully it'll be a interesting one," Yue noted calmly, the black haired girl calmly sipping from a juice box. Despite having gained magical powers and adventuring on other worlds, she still loved the drink boxes..

"It's Takahata-sensei!" Asuka sighed happily, the orange haired girl leaning forward eagerly. Yes, she missed her pactio-parter Negi, but the chance to be taught by Takahata-sensei was too good to pass up!

"You'll be getting a new teacher this term," Takahata ignored the disapointed murmurs, "who will be filling in while Negi is on leave."

"That sounds interesting," Konoka murmured to Asuna, the beautiful healer looking thoughtful.

"So instead, an associate of mine from the United States will be filling in," he finished. Takahata turned to the door, "You can come in, now."

"From the United States?" Setsuna blinked, the bkack haired swordswoman sitting close to Konoka, as usual.

The class watched, wide eyed, as the tall, slightly rugged looking man strode in, dressed in the usual suits teachers wore. Unlike most teachers though he had a leather duster on, one that looked like it had been through a war or two. He reached the desk and turned to the class, his expression serious, but also somewhat kind.

"Wow," Asuna murmured.

"My name is Harry Dresden," he smiled wryly, "I'll be teaching English and being your homeroom teacher this term."

0o0 Some hours earlier 0o0

"Let me get this straight," Harry Dresden said as he paced the office of the headmaster of Mahora academy, "your teacher was attacked by a Red Court vampire?"

"Yes," Takamachi nodded grimly. "It shouldn't have been able to get through our wards, but Negi successfully toasted it. However, that creates a whole new problem."

"Now you know how I feel," Harry muttered, remembering how his own entirely justified toasting of a vampire caused all sorts of problems.

Harry was here in his official duty as a Warden, in this case trying to recruit the reclusive magical community at Mahora into the White Council's war with the Red Court. It hadn't gone well, the headmaster and staff determined to hold onto the hard won neutrality they had negotiated with the vampire court. Worse some of the staff had been overtly hostile, including the young Negi Springfield.

Negi Springfield sat in the chair in the office, the boy looking extremely miserable. Looking at how down the kid was made it hard for Harry to hold onto his annoyance. "You okay?" Harry asked the boy gently.

"Ni, I'm not okay," Negi sighed, pushing up his glasses. He looked away as he sighed, "I honestly thought I could... reason, with him. Reach out to him, somehow."

Harry felt another pang of sympathy for the kid. From reading his file Harry saw he had mostly won over his enemies, in some cases even convincing them to trade sides. Negi had rarely needed to kill, unlike himself, and had gone through much of his magical career with no blood on his hands.

"You didn't have a choice," Harry said sympathetically, even though he was pretty sure the boy wasn't going to buy it.

Takahata watched Harry trying to comfort Negi, surprised once more by the semi-legendary combat magician. He had worked with Harry Dresden once, years back, but he never expected the young man to have grown as much as Dresden had. Add to that the tall tales about him (Sue the T-Rex? REALLY?) and it was hard to believe this was the same man.

Shizuna Minamoto stood nearby, the busty woman looking thoughtfully at Negi and Harry. "With the headmaster gone, what do you think we should do?" she asked quietly, wearing her usual casual clothes, her pink hair down on her shoulders.

"I'm not sure what we should do," Takahata admitted. He raised his voice a bit, "Harry, do you have any suggestions?"

Harry patted Negi once on the shoulder, then walked over to Takamachi. "Well," he scratched his stubbly chin, "the good news is the Red Court itself won't push this, I think. They want you to stay neutral, so trying to avenge their guy is out."

"I see," Shizuna noted, feeling mildly amused at how Harry was trying not to notice her more... prominent features.

"The bad news is that the maker of that vampire who attacked Negi will almost certainly insist on payback of some kind," Harry scowled.

"Like...?" Takahata frowned.

Harry dropped his voice a bit, "They're gonna want the kid dead. If they can't do that, they might settle for a payoff of some kind." He smiled grimly, "You'd be best off stashing the kid somewhere very safe until they get frustrated and quit."

Shizuma frowned, "That's going to be difficult, as Negi's classes start up again tomorrow."

Harry shrugged, "Find someone to cover for him, and make sure they can protect themselves from a vampire." There was a long beat of silence as Shizuma and Takahata exchanged a glance, smiled, then looked at him. "Oh, hell no," Harry started to protest, despite having a sinking feeling deep in his gut...

0o0 Back in the classroom 0o0

Harry kept a confident look on his face, despite feeling like he was facing down a school of very cute pirahna. With big smiles. 'I'm glad I've been training Molly the last few years,' he mused as he took roll call, 'at least I might have a chance of understanding these kids.'

Harry looked up to meet those kids' eyes, being careful not to linger too long in case of triggering a soulgaze. They seemed excited to have a new teacher but clearly some of them were very worried about Negi, too. From things Takahata had said, he knew that most of the class was in the know about magic, so...

"I know you're probably worried about Mr. Springfield," Harry said after a moment, "it's perfectly understandable. While I can't say too much about his situation, I can assure you he's fine."

The girls visibly relaxed, and Harry settled into teaching the class. Thankfully his training of young Wardens came in handy too, and the kids seemed to forgive his occassional flubs. While he wasn't a expert in Japanese he knew the language, much better than he knew Latin. Of course that was in part because he needed to pick it up after Molly started using it for spell-casting, but it was also worth learning on it's own.

"He's not bad," Yue conceded as the girls moved on to their next class, talking together.

"Hmm," Nodoka nodded, looking glum.

Yue patted her friend on the shoulder, "Don't worry, I'm sure Negi-sensei will be fine."

Not far up the hallway, Konoka was looking at her friend with amusement. "I knew you liked older guys," she teased, "but falling for the new teacher on the first day?"

Asuna blushed, "I have not fallen for him."

Setsuna smiled coolly, "There's a bit of drool on the corner of your mouth."

Asuna reflexedly went to wipe it, then flushed as she saw both girls grin. "Mean, very mean," she grumbled, yet privately she hoped to run into Mr. Dresden over lunch hour.

Harry felt a surge of relief finishing up the class before lunch, even though this had been easier than most days in his life. As he had told Molly a few times, one of the bigger tricks to being a wizard was projecting absolute confidence. As long as people thought you knew what you were doing, you could often carry it off.

Deciding against eating lunch in the staff room Harry went outside, taking in the school as he found a place to eat. The sheer size of the campus still surprised him, the Mahora academy nearly equaling a small city with all the facilities requited. And train lines, police and the whole nine yards. And even crazier, a diverse magical community hidden just under the surface, the 'straights' mostly kept completely unaware.

The fountain was reasonably peaceful as Harry sat down, unwrapping a sandwich as he felt the blasting rod he wore strapped to the inside of his duster. It was a comforting feeling as he ate, enjoying the sunlight as he munched away.

The blonde girl appeared from the shadows as if she had teleported, looking like she was barely a child yet dressed in a Mahora senior uniform . Harry however knew better, for the girl was actually a ageless vampire, the 'puppet mistress' known as Evangeline A.K. McDowell.

"Mr Dresden," Evangeline said as the tall robotic student Chachamaru Karakuri shadowed her, "we aren't going to have any problems, are we?"

"As long as you don't attack me or harm a student," Harry answered honestly. He drank some coffee from his thermos as he added, "I don't agree with the school's attempt to reform you, but it's not my call to make."

"Fair enough," Evangeline conceded as she walked over to where he sat, Chachamaru following loyally behind her. "I heard about the attack on Negi," she added grimly, "if there's anything I can do, let me know."

"I suppose you can't pull strings with the Red Court?" Dresden asked curiously as he finished off his food.

"Not as many as you'd think," Evangeline actually pouted a bit as she explained, "daylight walkers like myself are a very rare breed, and are resented by some other vampires."

"I can't imagine why," Harry murmured.

"Be nice," Evangeline chuckled.

Harry took a drink then sighed. "Is it me, or is the majority of class out there hiding in the woods watching us?" he asked, seeing tuffs of hair and shadowy bodies out in the woods.

Evangeline laughed as she leaned back, savoring the sunlight. "It's not just you," she chuckled, "not used to girls being curious about you?"

"Something like that," Harry said wryly.

To be continued...