Summary: What if Justin had never adopted Harry? The Leandasidhe becomes Harry's teacher after a bargain is struck. Violence, a stolen love, uncomfortable questions, destruction, and White Council trouble are all guaranteed.
Rating for violence and language.
A/N: This is an AU story. Suggestions and criticism are appreciated. This is just the first chapter, so a lot will be explained later.
My name is Harry Dresden and I'm currently on the run from a very scary Faery Godmother.
As I leapt out of the narrow tear between worlds, I was bleeding from dozens on cuts and slashed all over my body, but they weren't what worried me. I was pretty sure my left side was frostbitten, and it hurt to breathe. My left arm was shattered; a bit of bone poked out of my forearm. The tumble onto a cement alleyway had also added to my collection of injuries. Trying to suppress screams of pain, I slouched down against the graffiti covered brick wall. Blood already stained the concrete beneath me. The opening into the Nevernever had sealed itself before I evened turned to look at it. I tried to smile through the pain, but I think it came out as more of a snarl. I needed to get moving; even though I didn't think she would or could follow me here, my godmother had pulled off more difficult tricks before. I needed to move, now.
Clutched in my right hand was my blasting rode, a long, thin rod covered in runes and sigils, with blood dripping from the tip. My blood, unfortunately. I heaved myself to me feet once again, clenching my jaw and trying to blink back tears. My heartbeat thudded in my ears, drowning out the sound of traffic, if there was any. I stumbled down the short alley, trying to keep the world from tilting. My backpack thumped against my back, confirming that my cargo hadn't been lost. I couldn't feel the sense of relief that I knew should've accompanied the thought; I was half drunk from pain and blood loss. Thankfully, though, there was no full moon tonight, so if there were any people out, they wouldn't get a good look at me.
I reached the mouth of the alley, blinking away blood and tears. I didn't have anywhere to go, and I had no idea what I was doing. It was a mistake to go back, but I didn't care. I had nothing left. Insane laughter bubble up in my throat, and I tried to stuff it back down. I needed to concentrate; I needed to get as far away from here as I could. I just didn't know how far I could actually get under my own power. Blood had soaked one leg of my pants, and I had managed to lose one of my sneakers at some point. I couldn't think through the pain, and I was scared half out of my mind. It was all I could do to keep walking and breathing.
I don't exactly know at which point I ended up on the ground, but I blinked and suddenly my cheek was planted firmly against the warm asphalt. I tried to keep blinking, but the blood was so thick over my eyes that I couldn't see anymore. My wounds throbbed in time to my heartbeat, and I could only take shallow breaths. Just before the red faded into black, I think I heard the sound of a woman shouting at me, but her voice was just so far away and my mouth wasn't working. Instead, I just let myself drift away. I hurt too much and was too tired to try anymore. The world went away, and for a moment all I heard was the rush of my blood in my ears. Then, I was gone.
My first thought when I woke up was: That beeping sound is really fucking annoying.
I could smell antiseptic in the air and it was just a little bit too cold. I peeled open my eyes, and the white light blinded me for a moment before they adjusted. It was at this point I realized I was in a hospital and that beeping sound was coming from a heart monitor beside me. As soon as I noticed, my heart rate shot up and the beeping became alarmingly fast and loud. A wave of magic went out with my panic, slamming into the monitor. It went up in a shower of sparks, smoke rising from it. The room went mercifully silent aside from my own breathing.
Suddenly I noticed that nothing hurt, not even my ruined left arm. Confused, I looked down at it only to see a giant white bundle in its place, but I think I could see the outline of some kind of splint or brace through it. But it didn't hurt – not my ribs, not my side, not my head, not my leg. I think they juiced me on morphine or something. My head felt fuzzy, like there was a veil over my thoughts. I couldn't think straight. I knew I shouldn't be here, though. I had to get away, had to run…
Just then, three nurses and a few doctors run into the room, all of their faces set in panic. The nurses rushed over to the newly hexed machine while the doctors checked on me. I think they were talking, but the fuzz in my brain was just so distracting. I couldn't make any sense of most of their words. The only one I understood was, "rest." I was tired and still couldn't think straight, so I just stopped trying to make sense of anything and drifted back into the dark.
It felt like I'd only just blinked when I woke up again, but now the beeping I was back. I guess they replaced the one I'd broken. Oops. My self-control wasn't the most reliable when I first woke up. I managed to keep my breathing even and my heart rate steady as I took stock of the room before me; I chose to ignore the how in favor of the where. It was clear that I was in the hospital, probably in the ICU. The room was mostly bare, aside from the monitors beside me, a TV hanging on the wall, and a chair with a woman sitting in it. I did a double take at the last one. The woman was reading some sort of file; she hadn't noticed I was awake. Even sitting down, I could see that she was very small; barely over five feet tall, but I could also see the marks of an athlete on her frame. Her blonde hair was tied up, but I could see ringlets falling from it. Her face was pretty, with an adorably upturned nose, and I guessed she was in her mid-twenties. Her dark blue blouse was slightly rumpled with the sleeves rolled up. I could see the matching gray jacket to her pants hanging over the back of the chair. A golden badge hung from her belt with a gun to match. She was a cop.
Against my better judgment, my heart rate sped up and so did the beeping. She looked at me now, and, seeing that I was awake, put down her file. I could see now that her eyes were a bright, intelligent blue, and right now they were examining me. I quickly looked away, opting instead to look at the bundle that covered my entire arm. The bandages looked fresh and clean; I guess the docs changed it while I was out. The curtain that had covered my thoughts had lifted, but so had the one over my pain. I could feel each wound very distinctly throbbing beneath the thin hospital sheets and bandages, but the pain was duller than before. Carefully, I closed my eyes and tried to rein in the pain. Studying under Godmother, my pain management had gotten almost frighteningly good. After a few minutes, I reopened my eyes, and saw that the cop was no longer sitting in the chair, though her suit jacket still hung over the back. I felt relief wash over me; I didn't have any answers to the questions I knew she'd ask, not any that she'd actually believe, anyway. But then I saw her out of the corner of my eye, right beside me. I managed to suppress the need to flinch away – it would have hurt too much, but my face must've betrayed me.
"You're alright," she said, her voice soft and melodic. If I hadn't seen her badge, I would've never guessed that this tiny woman was a cop. "You're alright." She started to move her hand towards my face, but stopped halfway and drew back.
I could only blink at her. "How long have I been out?" God, my voice sounded awful, like I'd swallowed a bowl of nails. Rusty nails, sprinkled liberally with staples and razor blades.
She frowned when I spoke and reached for a glass of water I hadn't noticed before. She offered me a sip, turning the straw towards my lips. I felt vaguely embarrassed at this, but it was made worse that I actually needed her help. I sipped slowly at the cool water; I swear it was the best thing I've ever drunk. After a moment, she withdrew the glass and turned to look me once more. I was tempted to return her gaze, but I just closed my eyes and leaned back instead, waiting for her to answer me.
"I found you last night just after 3 am; it's a little before 8 at night." Her voice had turned clinical, professional, but she kept the volume down, for which I was grateful. My head felt like an angry faery was pounding it with a hammer, and, yes, I actually knew how that felt.
I'd been out for 17 hours. I kept my eyes closed. There was no panic now, only defeat and confusion. It was too late to run anywhere, but I didn't see how I'd lived even this long. Godmother may have been hurt worse than I thought, or, more likely, she had something else in mind for me.
"What's your name?" Her voice broke my reverie, and my eyes snapped open. "We found no ID on you, only a stick and a black backpack."
Now I did feel panicked, but I was careful to keep it from my face. She hadn't mentioned finding a random human skull, so I decided not to mention it. Bob had been wisely quiet, apparently. I actually thought about what I was going to say, for once. I didn't really see the harm in telling her my name, but I wasn't exactly in the clearest state of mind. I was screwed either way, though. There was nothing she could do for me.
"Harry," I mumbled. My mouth and throat still weren't cooperating with me, and it came out jumbled. She raised one eyebrow, silently asking me to repeat myself. I cleared my throat and tried again; my voice was a bit stronger this time. "Harry Dresden. Who are you?"
I didn't see her get it out, but she started writing in her notebook, nodding as her pencil ran across the page. "Sergeant Murphy of the Chicago Police Department, Special Investigations Division." Her voice was clipped, professional. "Do you know who did this to you?" Something in her tone made it sound more like a demand than a question, and my temper flared. I have major issues with authority figures.
"Oh, yes. I even managed to take pictures and get their autograph, too."
Her eyes narrowed at me; I don't think she appreciated my sparkling wit. I tried to smile mockingly at her, but it pulled at some cut on my face I hadn't notice, reopening it. I reached up with the non-bandaged hand, and my fingers came away stained with blood. I froze as a thought come to me. Blood was not something you just left lying around in the circles I ran in, but that was exactly what I'd done. A puddle of my blood lay in some nameless alleyway and no doubt the hospital had piles of gauze covered in my blood. Bad. That was Bad, with a capital B. My mind raced, trying to work this out, rationalize it. Nobody would know it was my blood in the alley, probably. And it's not like hospitals just give away people's blood. At least, I hoped not.
I snapped out of it when I felt something being pushed into my hand. The cop was trying to hand my some gauze for my cheek. I frowned as I took it and pressed it against my cheek. I'd try and burn it or something later.
"I am trying to help you, you know," she murmured. Her eyes flickered over me and her frown deepened.
I closed my eyes and sank further into the pillow. I just wanted to disappear. "You can't help me. I don't think anybody can." My voice sounded heavy, and years old than I really was. I was young, but my life hadn't been easy so far, and I'd lost the only thing that had ever been mine.
"Who?" The question was simple enough, and so was the answer. But she would never believe me.
"I got my head hit pretty hard," I had no natural ability to lie, but having a faery as your tutor does has its advantages. "Head injuries have been known to cause partial amnesia."
"So you don't remember?"
My eyes were still closed when I answered her; Lea always told me my eyes gave away the trick. "Everything's all jumbled." Which was true. The attack itself wasn't jumbled, not at all. That was crystal clear. But the situation was jumbled, tied up in knots I wasn't sure I could undo.
She didn't say anything for a while, and I finally opened my eyes. She was still standing in the same spot, but she'd put her notebook away, and had her arms crossed and her lips pursed as she stared at me; she wasn't falling for it. I didn't like the feeling of her suspicion; it's never good to have somebody smart suspect you for anything - especially if their suspicions are true.
"Well, Mr. Dresden, here's my card," she pulled out a small piece of card stock and laid it on the table by the bed, next to the half-empty cup of water. "Call me if you remember anything." There was subtle emphasis of the 'remember', but I only nodded at her. She tried to stare me in the eyes, but I kept my gaze firmly on her adorably upturned nose. She looked more like a cheerleader than a cop, but I could tell she was very good at her job. The only reason she hadn't pressed me harder was because I was a victim not a suspect.
I felt my lip twitch a bit at that. I did not enjoy playing the victim role; it hurt my macho pride. I disliked being in the hospital, too; it wasn't like I was afraid of them or anything, though. Hospitals never seemed to be a place for miracles or hope to me, just a place for the dying to die and the injured to sleep. What I really hated, though, was that I couldn't do a damn thing. My world had been torn apart, and now I was literally torn apart.
I looked away before the sergeant did, glancing down at the card beside me before picking it up.
Sergeant Karrin Murphy
Special investigations, Chicago Police Department
I heard her grab her jacket and pause in the doorway for a moment, as though she was waiting for something. For a moment, I wanted to tell her everything. About Lea, about our deal, about the homes, about New York, about Elaine, about the fight. Everything. I don't know why. But I kept my eyes firmly on the card and my mouth firmly close, and she left me alone in an empty hospital room with nothing but regrets and an unforgivable lack of painkillers.