The Substitute

Chapter Eight

Epilogue one

"Thank you for all your help, Mr. Dresden," Konoemon said formally as the wizzened old man walked with Harry to were the train station connecting the campus to nearby cities was.

"It's nothing," Harry waved it off as the taller man continued, "since my being here caused you to be targeted, it was the least I could do."

Konoemon actually looked amused as the older man noted, "I doubt the Red Court will attempt that sort of attack again."

The vampiress Violet and her minions had been annhiliated by the students and teachers at Mahora. In fact the Duke sent to negotiate had all but admitted the Red Court intended to declare the campus off limits. The idea of their entering the war because of some attack seemed to scare them for some reason.

"I am sorry that we cannot come into the war on your side, however," Konoemon added regretfully as they walked along the sunny path.

Harry could understand that, even if he didn't really like it. Despite all the mages living here the school was full of innocent bystanders, and formally entering the war would put those children at risk. Harry would never endanger a innocent if he could help it, and he respected the school for taking the same stance.

"I understand your reasons," Harry shrugged. He grinned suddenly, "And the spells your staff have taught me will make things very interesting for the vamps next time we meet."

"Indeed," Konoemon agreed with his own smile. He looked up at Harry curiously, "I noticed that you didn't tell your students you were leaving?"

Harry looked sheepish, "I'm not good at saying so long. I did leave a note with Negi, he promised to read it to the class later."

"Hmm," Konoemon nodded. He looked faintly amused, "And Toko sensei?"

Harry blushed. "Another note, this time given by Takahata."

Konoemon snickered, the old man clearly amused by the situation. They reached the station and waited for the train, even as the students passing by looked curiously at the tall westerner along side the Headmaster. A few girls also looked rather interestedly at Dresden, but he didn't seem to notice. He was almost as clueless about that as Negi, Konoemon decided.

"It has been interesting, having you as a teacher here these past few weeks," Konoemon noted gravely. "If you should ever decide you were interested in becoming a teacher," he looked at Harry steadily, "we would welcome you."

"Thank you," Harry smiled, bowing slightly. He couldn't see himself doing it now, but he was a wizard. He had a long natural life ahead of him, assuming something didn't manage to kill him, and anything could happen.

They said their farewells and Harry boarded the train out from Mahora. As the train pulled out he looked back at the school, the sprawling buildings and the massive tree that grew in the center of the campus. As they moved on, a odd feeling crept over him: somehow, Harry knew he'd be back here again. Someday.

Epilogue Two

"Harry did WHAT?" Asuna yelped, her long twin ponytails nearly standing on end.

Negi Springfield blinked innocently, his glasses perched on his nose. "He asked me to read this note," he gestured with the paper, "as he suddenly had to leave yesterday."

"Oh man," there was a mass groan from the girls, several looking rather distressed. While t was true that no one would displace Negi in their hearts, the teacher had become someone they liked.

Evangeline was frowning, the blonde haired vampiress sitting in the back of class as usual. She was rather annoyed at Harry leaving, it had been fun having a new student to abuse. Plus, she had a fondness for older, tough guys like Harry and Nagi. And to be honest she was peeved he had left without telling her.

Setsuna Sakurazaki was also annoyed, though less for her own sake than her teacher Toko. She knew the older woman had been growing fond of Harry, and if he had left without telling her too...

With a bang the door to the classroom opened and Toko Kuzunoha barged in, the model looking older woman glaring around her. "Where is he?" she blurted.

"Sensei?" Negi blinked in bewilderment.

"Dresden," Toko said flatly, "he just left me a note and..." After a moment she realized she was airing her personal business in front of a classroom of students and shut up. "Excuse me," she said and stomped out again.

Setsuna sighed, running a hand over her face. 'Harry, wherever you are you had best hope Toko doesn't find you,' she thought.

Perching outside in a tree Kotaru scowled as the boy watched the goings on. He and Dresden had never finished their interrupted fight, and he wanted to know which would have won. 'Maybe I can track him down later?' he mused, bounding away into the trees.

Kaede Nagase watched her friend bound off, then turned back to class as Akane tried to get more information out of Negi. Apparently Harry had packed up and left yesterday after classes, and it appeared he wouldn't be returning. She felt a slight pang at that, rather liking the clumsy western wizard.

Still,' Kaede thought as Negi tried to get the class back on track, 'anything is possible.'

Meanwhile, in another part of the school Mana Tatsumiya awoke from a dreamless sleep, the dusky skinned, black haired shrine maiden blinking in confusion. It took a moment for her to remember her recent assignment, hired to deliver suppression fire against Harry Dresden. With unexpected magical power he had blasted apart her crow's nest, sending her flying.

'I'm not imprisoned,' Mana noted the perfectly normal room she was laying in, the unbarred windows and no restraints keeping her to the bed, 'what happened?'

Looking around Mana saw a vase of flowers sitting by the bed, with a card attached. With a groan she forced herself up and grabbed the card, then slumped back down on the bed to read.

Sorry about blasting you off the roof, the note read in Harry's usual scrawl, I still don't quite know my own strength. Talking to your classmates tells me your a pro, and didn't do what you did out of malice. Under the circumstances I'm willing to let it go, assuming you don't come after me again.

'Huh,' Mana grunted in relief.

I told the campus authorities that you were in a accident. They didn't buy it, but don't seem to want to push the issue. I guess you work for them at times too?

"Very sharp, Harry-sensei," Mana mused aloud.

Anyway, no hard feelings and I hope you get well soon. Below that it was signed, Harry Dresden.

Mana put the card aside, laying back. It was so nice dealing with someone who understood the realities of being a professional. She wondered who he dealt with that generated such a attitude, then decided it didn't matter. Maybe one day they'd meet again, and if so she would thank him personally.

Epilogue Three

Harry Dresden was never terribly comfortable in the grey cloak of a Warden, and he was less comfortable dealing with the Council. They always felt like they were talking down to him, and it didn't help that his Latin wasn't the greatest. 'Stupid correspondence course,' he thought.

"So," the Merlin, head of the council concluded, "you failed to bring the mages of Mundus Magica over to our side?"

"True enough," Harry answered him calmly despite the old wizard's scorn, "but I think I brought back a heck of a consolation prize."

"Oh?" Ancient Mai asked, the oler woman looking intrigued.

Harry chanted in Latin and gestured, "Three arrows of light!" The three bolts zoomed out and simply vaporized the desk he was aiming at, blowing it into splinters. "Mundus Magica retains combat magic we've lost," he said as ripples of surprise spread through the watching wizards, "and they've taught some to me."

The Merlin looked stunned a moment but rallied, "Thee magics were forbidden..."

"And we need them, considering we're barely holding our own against the Red Court," Harry said right over him. He turned to the group of Wardens watching as he said, "I'm willing to teach these spells to anyone interested."

Carlos Ramirez grinned as the young Warden asked, "Can we learn to blow up stuff that easily?" At Dresden's nod he grinned, "Count me in."

Anastasia Luccio, Captain of the Wardens, nodded in agreement. "We need these magics, Merlin," she stated, ending the argument.

From the glare Merlin was giving him Harry figured this wasn't over between them, but that was tomorrow's problem. Leading his new students out of the council chambers he shook his head ruefully, "I was figuring one person at a time..."

"You'll manage," Anastasia said, clapping him on the shoulder. She dropped her voice as she asked, "What's this I hear about you and 31 girls?"

"WHAT?" Carlos yelped, looking at Harry indignantly, "You didn't tell me!"

"It's not what you think," Harry blushed and frowned at Anastasia, "I was subbing as a teacher at a girl's school."

"That sounds even worse," Carlos laughed.

Harry smiled fondly as he shrugged, "It wasn't that bad."

The end?

Notes: Yes, I am considering a part two, where the girls end up in Chicago. For now, however, I'm putting this story to bed. Hope you've enjoyed reading...