People do funny things when they think you're grieving. Sometimes they do your laundry, cook for you, stay around for days if you have kids or even if you don't, all the while never realizing that the well wishes and condolence cards are really not for the grieving. They're to relive the guilt of living for still being alive. I've learned to forgive the empty promises and the "I'll be there for you"s from those who didn't know anything better to say a long time ago. It didn't make it any less annoying than it was when I was eleven, just slightly more manageable.
I saw the Carpenters at Sunday Mass. I started going regularly after I got involved with Special Investigations. I couldn't face all the weirdness and possible evil without strengthening my faith in the light. My father used to say, "My faith was best served serving my fellow man," when my mom pestered him to go to church. It's funny things you remember about people once they're gone. I sat with the family and comforted Molly as best I could. Without being overt, Father Forthill requested a moment of silence for those given their lives for the protection of others and in the name of God. Then smiled and elaborated, looking at us in the pews, "Or to put it more simply, people who died doing the right thing." Amen. The Carpenters offered me a home cooked meal after Mass, but I had a meeting at Mac's that I couldn't be late for. I said my goodbyes and went to my favorite hole-in-the-wall.
Mac greeted me with his usual grunt and I took a table in the corner. I've been coming here a lot lately. People and non-people were still unsure what to make of me. Was I a wizard or fae who just hid it really well? Was I really just a kick-ass cop? Maybe I was just Harry's girlfriend?
I was happy to let them wonder. Harry and I never hid our relationship, not that anyone could define it. Hell, even we couldn't. He loved me. I loved him. And what came out of it was a few stolen kisses and a friendship that survived demons, monsters and exes. A friendship that somehow seemed to make me his successor.
It took an amusing game of telephone for me to finally get the Captain of the Wardens to meet with me. Molly waited until Carlos was out of wizard jail to contact him and he had to wait until Luccio got out of whatever hole they had locked him in at Edinburgh to contact her. All in all, it took about two weeks after Harry's shooting that the meeting took place.
Luccio and I have crossed paths before and I respected her, mostly because Harry did. I watched him grow up a little while under her command and while they were in a relationship. Anastacia Luccio was very pretty, as the women in Harry's company tend to be. The woman in Harry's company often share a few common traits; they're beautiful, powerful and can either mentally or physically kick his ass. Usually both.
Luccio was one of the few people in the White Council that he trusted and that made me relatively confident that she would answer my questions as best she could.
I slid a beer over to her as a form of greeting. She nodded and took a swig in silence. I gestured to the seat beside me.
"Thank you for coming," I stated.
"Least I could do," she replied, "Picking up where Harry left off is no easy feat. You are to be commended."
Again with that old English. I don't think I'll ever get used to it, still I let out a small laugh.
"And here I was expecting a cease and desist order."
"Normally, that would be the case and only if the council was feeling especially generous," she stated calmly, "Technically, you and your band of allies are vigilantes."
Her matter-of-fact tone told me that this wasn't a threat, at least not yet.
"And what's the White council's policy on that?" I asked, sipping my beer.
She nodded her head at me and slightly lifted her hands off the table in a placative gesture.
"It's complicated… and in your case, unique. You're a known associate of the White Council's black sheep. You're one of the few vanilla mortals who knows just enough to be dangerous. There was a time when that knowledge alone would have warranted a death sentence."
"Officially? We don't condone the interference of mortals in our affairs."
"Better you than us. We're strained and in recovery. If someone kills you and yours, that's one less danger to White Council. If you kill someone, that's one threat that we didn't have to take care of."
I nodded, "So I'm on my own."
I looked up at her, "Where do you stand in all of this?"
She took a swig of her beer and closed her eyes on contemplation. A slow smile eased on to her lips.
"Harry was important to me," she said finally and looked up at me, "I'll do whatever I can to bring his killer to justice."
"Thank you," I said in response, ignoring the urge to remind her that they hadn't found a body yet. I still refuse to talk about Harry in past tense.
"I appreciate the risk you're taking," I continued.
Luccio laughed, "That's what life with Harry is all about, no? You risk life and limb to support his causes because in his own insane way, he'd do the same for you."
I joined in her laughter, "And blow up a building in the process."
She clinked her bottle with mine in agreement.
"You're not alone, you know," she said after a moment, "Harry's may be gone, but his allies live on."
I took a short breath, "As do his enemies."
We finished our drinks in silence.