Author's note: There is a cafe in Traverse Town's First District, just next to the item shop that Huey, Dewey, and Louie run (lovely children). But don't worry about missing it if you visit, as most of the town square is just scenery for it. Honestly, it would be like a man seeing his wife but not what she is wearing. (This happens of course, but only to men, and not always). Back on subject: I mention this café because, as we all know, a café is a great place for brooding; and wizards, as we all know, like to brood over things; so, as we all know by now, the café has a wizard in it, doing what wizards do best.


Harry Dresden was brooding, alone if you don't count his tea. He was broke, as usual; but trouble, and therefore work, wasn't coming his way anymore; so he actually had to worry about the prospect of being homeless. Surprisingly, it was easier to find business in Chicago than in a world that actually believed in the arcane. Harry sipped some tea with his back to a red brick corner, giving him a safe spot from which he could see the rest of First District. This and that grumbled through his head unhappily, the usual disappointed him, and a strange new occurrence bothered him slightly. It was his usual day. Within a moment, he was joined by another common patron of the Café. She sat in a second chair at his table, off to one side of his corner, and signaled for some tea. A younger girl, almost old enough to not be a teenager, jogged over to the table and set it down in a flourish, then ran back to the bar, kicking her feet up behind her as she went.

"Isn't she that pocket monster kid?"

Harry Dresden cast a sidelong glare at his guest and friend, Samus Aran. "Yes. Yes she is," he mumbled. "Johnny's little girl." He sipped some tea and resumed glowering, alone. Samus chugged her tea full on, seemingly at ease with the extreme just-poured temperature.

"You aren't going to honestly try and brood through my entire sit here like last time, are you, Dresden?"

He looked away from his thoughts and smiled at her grimly. "I was planning on doing exactly that, actually." He resumed brooding again to prove the point.

Samus shook her head, setting a platinum blonde braid of hair loose in the lightest breeze available.

"How's business going for you, then?"

Harry scoffed. "Terribly. This town is absolutely loaded with wizards, sorcerers, the fae…" he gestured onward and sipped some tea. "There isn't really a centralized police force to contract me, and no one seems afraid of the arcane enough to bother hiring a consultant. I feel useless."

She smiled sympathetically and tried to loosen him with a jab. "And you still won't sell love potions?"

"I'm a Wizard, not a Magician."

She smiled suggestively. "Wizards don't make love potions?"

Harry eyed her over his tea. "Respectable wizards don't."

Samus leaned back in her chair, the open posture of hers telling the entire world that she was as confident as anyone could be. She didn't have anything to be self-conscious about, of course, but her blue, form-fitting Zero Suit left little to the imagination. A lesser woman would be embarrassed. Dresden swallowed hard despite himself.

"What about you?" He mumbled. "How has a bounty hunter been finding work in such a calm Traverse Town?"

Harry had met Samus here many times before. After his home, Chicago, was attacked by heartless, Harry had found himself lying in a blue room that Samus had just checked into. That was several years ago. She set him up in town and showed him around. He was a Wizard for hire, and had the niche market in his old life. She was a bounty hunter, and there was always room for contract killers.

"I mean, seriously," he added. "Who could possibly need killing here?"

She smiled at him with what first appeared to be coyness, and then turned to concern.

"Who else? Nobodies."

Harry blinked. "What Nobodies? We haven't had Nobodies around here for years let alone Heartless and- and Unbirths! Remember those? That was…" He added a vague gesture, which the waitress mistook for more tea. She was there in an overly excited instant.

"Here you are, sir!" She forced another cup on him and disappeared. Her father, Johnny, had raised her to work hard, and to call everyone "sir" or "mamzel" but seemed to forget lessons on thinking and restraint.

Samus was coy again. "So there are no Nobodies. People are still afraid." She sipped some tea full-on. Harry was wise enough to let her be manlier, and sipped only conservatively. If she didn't want to savor the flavor, that was fine by him. "Wait, wait, wait. You guard against Heartless? Did you get a hold of a keyblade in the last day or two?"

Samus shrugged nonchalantly. "My clients say I'm better than nothing. Good logic if you ask me."

Harry shook his head. "But you don't have any real weapons for them, do you? Could you really kill a considerable amount?"

She nodded. "That's what I do. I walk rich kids to school, guard expensive things, travel with merchants. Whatever puts munny in my pocket."

Harry nodded. "Makes sense, I suppose."

They sat in silence, brooding and ruminating, until Samus looked around the café and wondered aloud, "I think we're the only two people that actually stayed here."

Harry glanced at the third chair at their table curiously. "Yeah. Johnny's been gone a while."

She nodded. "Not just him, though. There's…"

A wave of nostalgia settled on them then, along with several years' worth of memories.

"Well," Samus said. "Yeah. I suppose we should remember our arrival here first."