Disclaimer: Not mine. 'Tis Jim Butcher's. I seek to make no profit to make from whatever it is I'm writing.

Notes: Set sometime between Fool Moon and Grave Peril

Holy Water

Father Anthony Forthill had seen many things in his life, many of them at least slightly frightening. People with weak constitutions were rarely inducted into the Ordo Malleus, and so the most he did when presented with the very tall man in the black leather duster was raise an eyebrow.

"Can I help you, son?"

Brother Mario had taken one look at the man before coming to him for backup. Nefarious-looking men over six and a half feet tall weren't a common sight on the Church grounds, and it probably didn't help that the man was sporting two black eyes and a bruised jaw.

"Padre," the man greeted him, "I'm looking for Father uh… Anthony Forthill?"

Ah, the plot thickens.

"I am he," Forthill replied, "What can I do for you?"

"Oh," the man looked slightly uncomfortable for a moment, "Um. I'm Harry Dresden. Michael Carpenter told me I could come to you if I needed any help."

Forthill took the business card Dresden offered him, and managed not to chuckle as he glanced over it. It was a close thing.

"You're a Wizard?"

"Yes," Dresden confirmed, "I have a staff and robe and everything."

"A true magus?"

He shrugged, "Would you believe me if I said yes?"

"White Council?"

His eyes widened at that, just a little. Enough, however, to make him aware that the Wizard was younger than he'd thought. Clearly much younger than Michael, mid-twenties at the most.

"How did you-"

"The Church has its' ways, Mister Dresden."

What the Church really had was a millennia-old distrust of practitioners, ending with a healthy record of prosecutions which were horrific in hindsight. But he supposed his statement captured the essence; the discovery of the Council was quite possibly what prompted discretion (and later regret) on the part of the prosecutors.

Michael had never been very fond of practitioners (something about how he had met Charity), and a recommendation from him for one was nothing to be sneezed at.

"You're Michael's friend?"

"I'd like to think so."

Forthill nodded, and stood aside to let him enter. Michael had never mentioned a Wizard, but he did always try very hard not to discuss his work when the children were around. On the other hand, Charity had muttered something (distinctly uncomplimentary) about a mouthy practitioner with a deathwish the last time he'd had to take her on an emergency trip to the hospital. He'd assumed it was her hormones talking again at the time.

Ah well, live and learn.

"And how may I help you, Mr Dresden? I trust it's not by guiding your soul down the path?"

"He-uh, heck, no," Dresden grinned, and followed it up with a slightly nervous look towards the ceiling, "Uh, I need some holy water. Pretty badly."

"Of course. I'm sure I have a few phials in my room-"

"About five gallons worth."

Fortill stopped, and stared at the man.

"I've already got the drum in my car," Dresden jerked a thumb over his shoulder, towards the door, "You just need to bless it. If it's all right, I mean."

He stared harder.

"Padre? Is it a problem? Because it would really help."

"Ah, no. I suppose not. It's just… unusual, as far as requests go," Forhill shook himself, "Bring it in please, and I'll see what I can do."

Oh, he was definitely going to have to follow up with Michael about this one.

More Notes: This could be a part of a series of random slice-of-life vignettes. :) Haven't decided yet.