The Dresden Files, all rights and characters belong to the awesome Jim Butcher. This is released as not for profit fan fiction. Please enjoy. :)
Chapter 1 "The Awakening"
She awoke to a blindingly bright flash of lightning that sent electric tingles over her body and the immediate booming thunder that shook her insides. Soaking wet she pushed herself up from the grass and mud. Her long golden hair was matted to her head and hung around her shoulders like ropes. In her hand she clung to a piece of paper.
Scared and alone she turned in the darkness as the downpour washed the mud from her shoulder and legs. She could feel the cold grass underfoot as she took in her surroundings, turning slowly in the darkness while mud and water welled through and over her toes.
In front of her was the wide expanse of Lake Michigan, the wind blowing the water into white caps that crashed against the shore. To her side there were the dark outline of trees and as she turned she saw the lights of the city rising above the trees of the park and a sidewalk nearby.
She stumbled as if not used to walking and made her way to the sidewalk and headed for the sound and lights coming from the street. Her skin was cold as the rain and wind buffeted against her naked body. She was unsure where to go but knew that she needed to find shelter as she stepped off the sidewalk into the street.
There was a blaring noise and brilliant light to one side of her as she felt the impact throwing her body into the air as everything swam in her head and then went black.
Harry was in the middle of a rather happy dream, he was at a Bar-b-q with Murphy and the Carpenters at their home. The children played volleyball and other games while the grownups talked and prepared the food. Harry and Michael were designated as grill masters each with their own grill, Michael was cooking the rib eye steaks as Harry tended to the hamburgers and hot dogs. Murphy and Charity were laughing as they came out to the table with their arms loaded with everything from chips and dip to Charity's famous potato salad.
From somewhere in the distance came the sound of a fifties rotary phone ringing. Harry looked around and everyone seemed to be looking at him with distain. The phone rang again and the scene dissolved as Harry opened his eyes.
"This had better be important!" He thought as he looked at his alarm clock that told him it was twelve thirty. He rolled out of bed and hurried the few steps to his living room and lifted the receiver.
"This had better be good!" he said sharply into the receiver.
"Harry, get to Cook County Hospital. There's something you need to see." Murphy said sounding serious.
"Murph? What's so important it can't wait till morning?" he asked genuinely concerned, scratching his head and becoming aware that he was standing in his living room in his boxers again as the late fall chill settled onto his skin.
"We have a Jane Doe in the ICU and all she had on her was your card. Literally, she walked out of Lake Front Park nude and was hit by a minivan. They found your card in her hand." She said, "You need to get down here."
"Ya, sure. I'm on my way." I said. It's not like I go giving my card out to naked people. The few that have my card are either friends or clients. Murphy knew my friends, so I had to wonder which of my clients was laying in the ICU. I hadn't worked a case in over a month and she was from out of town so I doubted it was her.
I went to my room and pulled on a clean set of clothes. Then I headed for the door, on the way out I grabbed my duster and staff just in case.
Since it was late and we were in the middle of a fall storm, the streets were conspicuously empty so I made good time to the hospital. When I arrived I parked in visitor parking under the building and took the stairs up to the emergency room.
When I came into the emergency room, I saw the usual. There was a nurse behind the desk and three of four cops in uniform standing around talking to each other or into the mic's at their shoulders that connected to the radios on their hips. There were a smattering of patients, first time parents with their babies who's fevers would be gone before they got to the triage nurse, parents of older children who were either sick or had minor injuries and older people whose children had brought them in for various reasons.
As I looked around I saw Murphy come out of one of the doors and waved me over.
"This way Harry." She called as she held the door open for me, waving off a nurse who was coming to head me off from the, "Authorized Personnel Only" door. "He's with me." She said flashing her badge. The nurse looked at her and gave her a tired smile, then turned away to tend to the next patient in line.
Murphy was five foot even and dare I say it, petite. She had short blond hair that outlined her exceptionally attractive face. If Murphy had heard me describe her that way, she would probably give me a round house kick to the face that would make Chuck Norris envious. She wore black slacks, a white button up shirt and a black blazer. Around her neck she wore a golden badge that read Sargent C.P.D.
Still sleepy, I pulled my police consultant badge from my pocket and clipped it to the lapel of my duster as I stepped through the door.
"So who's hurt?" I asked as we headed down the hall with a red line on one side leading to the ICU.
"I have no idea Harry." Murphy said with a grimace. "We've run her prints and got nothing. The guys downtown are running her face through the missing person's database. For all intents and purposes she just appeared at Lake Front Park out of thin air, no car, no ID, nothing." She said shaking her head.
"So you said she had my card?" I asked.
"Ya and that's all she had, not even any socks or jewelry Harry. Then she stepped right into the path of a family on their way home from a birthday party. It's a good thing they hadn't been drinking and had good brakes or she could have been killed." Murphy said, leading me into another room and closing the door.
The room was dark and had large bay windows on three sides. This was one of the rooms where family was allowed to wait while their loved ones were in surgery or waiting for the doctors to give them more information. Harry had sat in this very room a few years back waiting with Charity Carpenter while they worked on Michael. Waiting was the worst part, knowing that he may not make it out of the operating theater, but hoping against reason that he would pull through. He ended up spending a few months in the hospital and still bore the scars and indignities from that night, but Michael refused to stop fighting and returned to his family.
"There," Murphy pointed across the hall to another room with the blinds opened. "Do you know her?" Murphy asked.
I turned to follow her finger and saw the athletic blonde laying on the bed with wires on her head and tubes coming from her mouth and into her arms and machines beeping and flashing all around her as she slept.
The curve of her face was familiar, the nose, the brows and the shape of her figure. I knew this woman and she knew me, more intimately than anyone else ever could know me. She had lived in my head as a shadow for a few years and this was the image she manifested to me when we would talk.
"Lash…" I said dumbfounded and my head spun as confusion and a wellspring of emotions from fear to elation rushed into my head all at once. I sat down without thinking about it and almost missed the edge of the couch.
"Harry, are you okay?" Murphy asked as she rushed over to my side and helped me to slide further back on to the couch, steadying me and partially holding me up. "You know her, don't you?" Murphy asked with a concerned and knowing look on her face.
"Ya, I know her Murph." I said in a dazed voice, not wanting to say any more until my brain was online and I figured out how to explain this to Murphy.
"Harry, what's going on? I've never seen you like this, talk to me." She said softly sitting on the table across from me. She took my hand in hers as she looked at me with more than simple concern, her eyes were worried but it was mixed with caring. She could tell I was upset and that set off alarms in her head.
"Has she done anything? You know spooky stuff?" I asked looking past Murphy to the beautiful and bedraggled woman in the room across from us.
"No. In fact before they sedated her, she couldn't even tell us her name. She appears to have Amnesia Harry. The only reason we called you is because of the card. Do you know her family? Is there someone we should call?" Murphy asked both concerned for the woman and hoping to find out who she was that it would elicit such a strong response from me. Murphy once said I had the emotional depth of a saucer, so my response seemed to really worry her.
"Nobody you'd want to call Murph. We need to talk and we need Father Forthill ." I said squeezing her hand and dropping my head into my free hand, rubbing my eyes.
"Harry, is she dangerous?" Murphy asked her cop instincts kicking in.
"I honestly don't know." I said through my hands.
"Then who is she?" she asked.
"Honestly, I'm not 100% sure of that either. If she's who I think she is, she's not a danger. If I'm wrong then she's extremely dangerous." I said looking up still not able to wrap my head around what was happening.
"What do you mean extremely dangerous?" Murphy said releasing my hand and turning to check on her patient.
"You've seen the Denarians. Well, she's either one of them or its good twin sister. I can't be sure from here and I can't go in there with all that equipment on her. Hells bells I'm not comfortable being this close to hospital equipment." I said standing. "I need to take a walk." I said needing to clear my head.
"Wait a second Harry. You mean the fallen angels? If she isn't evil, then why is she here? What is she?" Murphy asked beginning to look as confused as I was.
"You're guess is as good as mine." I said.
"If she's not good, then we have a serious problem on our hands here." She said connecting the dots. "What do we do?" She asked.
"That's why we need Father Forthill and maybe Sanya here. They can tell us if she's a danger and take care of her if she is. If not then maybe they can help her, hell I don't know Murphy." I said pacing about the room wanting to be anywhere but here.
"Harry, what is it? What aren't you telling me?" Murphy said with both hurt and anger in her voice, her cheeks beginning turning pink.
"Murphy," I said not looking at her, "It's complicated." I said shaking my head.
"She isn't one of those we fought at Demonreach, I'd recognize them! How do you know her Harry?" Murphy asked becoming insistent.
"It's a long story." I said turning to head for the door.
"Harry, talk to me. Damn it Dresden, I need you to tell me!" she said raising her voice as she squared her shoulder giving me a flat look.
"Murph, you're like family and you know I care about you, but this is none of your business. Call Forthill, he's the one you need down here, not me." I said as I left the room slamming the door in my wake.
Anger, shame, fear and more anger rushed through my brain as I quickly left room, walking past the nurses' station heading for the nearest exit. As I passed by the stations, phones began to ring and computers began to die, alarms went off and the printer began ejecting blank paper and pouring them onto the floor. Hells bells, I needed to get out of her and fast.
I don't know why Murphy didn't follow me out of the room. It isn't like her to let someone just walk off without an answer. All I can say is that I'm glad that she didn't. Murphy is like family to me and I was ashamed that I had treated her like that, she deserves better. But the truth was that I really didn't know what to tell her. How could I explain that she had spent two years in my head? She was my constant companion and had ended up being a friend and someone I cared about. She had given up her own life (?) to give me a chance to live.
All I knew was that I didn't know what I knew. I didn't know who or what the woman in the ICU was and I didn't want to face her, whatever she was. If she was Lasciel then I'd have to kill her and if not, what then? I felt like an old wound had suddenly been ripped open and had acid and salt dumped into it. On top of that, I'd yelled at Murphy. I know how bad I felt about it, I'm sure she wasn't any happier being on the receiving end of my idiocy.
I walked out of the large double sliding glass doors of the hospital and walked into the cold wet night. I found some benches outside the emergency room and sat down. I pulled my duster up close and turned the lapels and collar up to shield my face from the wind and rain and sight of anyone who might be passing by as I dropped my head into my hands.
I don't know how long I'd been sitting there, my mind spinning in circles. I wished that it could be Lash but when we were together she was in my head. If she pulled a Pinocchio on me and was a real woman what would that mean? How would that work? How would that change my relationship with Murphy?
Sure we had decided on many occasions that it wouldn't work between us, but the fact that the question even came up, especially on multiple occasions made me wonder if we were wrong.
She had given me a back rub a few months back after I helped stop a group of maniacal bad guys from taking over the world. Although nothing really happened, when it was over we hugged, then I kissed her. It was at the same time the stupidest and most brilliant thing I'd ever done. Kissing her was amazing. It was soft, warm and just felt right on so many levels. Every nerve in my body and synapse in my brain came to life in that moment. Then, she gave me a surprised look, made an excuse and quickly left.
We haven't talked about it and she hasn't brought it up, but it didn't stop me from attending the Murphy family picnic a few weeks later at her mother's firm behest. We still worked together and talked like nothing happened, so I decided to let it go. Chalk it up to experience. Just like it never happened, but it hurt, not because she had rejected me because she hasn't. We have an understanding that it couldn't work but in that moment, I didn't believe it. It bothered me that it didn't bother her. It hurt because she didn't think it meant enough to be upset or even tell me to buzz off.
Now Lash, or someone that looked just like her, was lying in a hospital bed. We had shared something besides my brain. She knew me, she got me and even knowing everything I've ever done or thought, good, bad or indifferent, and she still cared about me, enough to die for me.
When she was burned out of my brain, I missed her for a while. I wouldn't admit that even to myself but it's true. I missed her comments, insight and just her presence. I missed her popping into my shower or passenger seat so I wouldn't be alone. I missed her.
What the hell was I thinking? She was a fallen angel, how could she care for a mortal? I'd been through this over and over again after she was gone and now that she might possibly be back. What did that mean? I'm a man and we're not supposed to have all these emotions! We simply don't know what to do with them. I sat lost in the useless pursuit of trying to apply logic and rational thought to emotions, while the cold rain pasted my hair to my head and ran down my back and chest. I sat there feeling completely alone my heart and mind awash in despair.
"Harry?" said a familiar voice. "Harry what are you doing sitting in the rain?" Michael asked.
I looked up and Michael and Father Forthill were walking up the sidewalk towards the emergency room doors, Michael was holding an umbrella over the Fathers head with one hand and his cane in the other as they made their way towards me.
"Son, are you okay?" asked Father Forthill not knowing if the lines of water on my face were from the rain or something more.
"I'm fine Father," I replied, "I just needed some air."
Father Forthill and Michael exchanged knowing glances and the priest went the rest of the way into the hospital on his own while Michael came over to join me on the bench.