John was fraying at the ends even as he sat apparently calm at his desk, staring coldly at the blubbering man across from him. You could see it in the bouncing of his foot underneath his desk and the subtle tension in his shoulders. This was the fourth man he'd brought in today.
"Allow me to clarify the question," John said, his voice professional. I could see the pulsing vein in his neck, though. "Where is Harry Dresden?"
Ronnie was neither calm nor professional. His jeans were ripped and his white shirt was stained with things I didn't want to consider. His eyes were shifty and bloodshot; he'd clearly been sampling the product. I spared a thought to consider whether or not his information would even be valid.
"I swear, Mister Marcone," Ronnie leaned back in his chair as far as he could, his voice panicked and near shouting. "I only saw 'im on the sidewalk! It might not have even been 'im!"
Marcone leaned forward, hands flat on the desk now. "Where?" This time even John Marcone's ironclad self-control couldn't hold back the anger and disgust from creeping into his voice.
When I looked down and saw my fists shaking, I knew I wasn't doing much better.
"Near th' 'ospital!" The man was crying now, tears streaming down his pockmarked cheeks and snot running from his nose. I found myself fighting to keep my own disgust from showing on my face. "He was walkin' all funny, an' he looked nervous." The man tried to shrink in on himself, clearly afraid of being the bearer of bad news.
John leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes and visibly – to me, at least – forcing himself to relax. "Get out of my sight, Mr. Grey. If you wish to continue living, I would also suggest leaving Chicago."
I was surprised he was being that generous considering his current emotional state. Ronnie fled the office, nearly running into me and practically pissing himself when he did.
We waited in silence while we both reigned in our mutual frustrations.
"That was… unproductive." John finally said with a sigh.
"Fourth guy we've dragged in today," I observed. "Cops are going to start getting curious."
John quirked one eyebrow, the equivalent of a snort. "When are they not curious, Nathan?"
I shrugged noncommittally. "Don't want them getting curious now."
He sighed, scrubbing at his face with his face. "I know, but…"
"But this is Harry we're talking about, and he could be anywhere – with anything." I finished. I knew.
"He's barely old enough to drink," John said desperately. "And he's injured. Severely. And somebody – something – is clearly looking for him. And he won't let me help him."
John's eyes were wild in such a way that reminded me of my mother when she thought she'd lost me at a store as a kid. He looked like the parent of a missing kid with no clues as to his whereabouts, which was probably the best description of the situation. John was the closest thing Harry had to a father, and Harry was the closest thing John had to family. If anything else happened to Harry that he - that we - could have prevented, he'd tear himself to pieces along with anybody who'd hurt Harry.
"I know," I responded evenly, forcing my own panic down.
Harry was like my kid brother – had been, actually, at one point. My own emotions were wild and panicked and violent. But John needed somebody to hold him steady, and that was my job. Here was one problem I could handle.
I took longer to answer this time, swallowing past the lump threatening to choke me. "I know."
John put his head back in his hands, and I could see them shaking. He took a minute to compose himself, and when he looked up he was the same cool businessman that the public at large saw on a daily basis. His eyes were still wild around the edges and a little too wide, but I couldn't hold that against him. I was still amazed he had managed not to shoot any of the useless men we'd dragged in in search of any sort of hint as to where Harry was. He could've left of his own volition, or he could've been taken. The thought of the latter chilled me to the bone, and it was what had driven John into the state he was in.
"Alright," he said finally, minutely calmer now. "Alright. We check the traffic cameras near the hospital. Store security ones, as well. Even if he did blow them out, we'll be able to tell where he's been. We'll find him."
I nodded slowly and exited the room, closing the door quietly behind me. I walked quickly past a few other guards who carefully avoided my eyes until I came to an empty hallway.
And I turned and punched the wall as hard as I could. It exploded in a flurry of white dust and little bits of drywall, exposing a hole maybe six inches in diameter.
I punched it again.
The dust settled, and I sank to the floor, cradling my head in my hands and fighting to keep my breathing under control. I was as ill equipped to handle emotional crises as John was. I was a bodyguard for the mob, for Chrissakes; emotional maturity was not part of the job description. It was odd, the panic I felt; it was practically tangible.
"Don't be a bitch, Cujo."
I choked on a laugh at the memory and held onto it. I needed it then. I needed to believe that Harry was okay and that he was just being overdramatic, that we would find him and everything would work out, even though I was well aware that that wasn't the truth.
A few moments later, I stood up and walked back down the hall, more slowly this time. The guards I'd passed early were running towards the source of the commotion, but stopped when I waved them away, saying I'd taken care of it. When I stepped back into John's office he didn't say a word. He just looked at me, taking in the white dust which had settled over my suit and fist and the tiny cuts decorating my knuckles. I could hear both my and his pager going off. He met my gaze evenly. We understood one another. We nodded sharply at one another, and then set back to work.
I was aware that the Lord's Plan was ineffable, but I could not even begin to guess at where this road might lead. Nothing was as it seemed, and new developments continuously cropped up. From victim, to wanted for questioning, to magic, and now to this. Harry Dresden seemed determined to confuse me.
"Oh, my dear Harry, I do think you're underselling yourself quite a bit."
The woman, barely old enough to be called such, crept up behind Harry seemingly out of nowhere, and I fought the urge to jump. She didn't appear to be more than twenty and was startling beautiful, so much so that the individual features were insignificant. Her hair was dreadlocked and dyed various blues, violets, and shades of grey, reminding me of an iceberg or a glacier. She was clad in skintight blue leather pants with slits up the sides, held together by leather stitching. The black tank top did nothing to hide her torso. Her skin was as pale of new fallen snow, contrasting starkly with blood red lips and cat green eyes.
More disturbing than her inhumanly attractive appearance and inexplicable appearance, though, was her presence, the essence of her being. Cold and violence permeated the air around her, brushing against my senses, combining sickeningly with the sexuality she exuded out of her pores. I wanted to fall to my knees and pray - for the girl and myself.
Instead I closed my eyes and embraced the Lord, holding my faith close. The sickening aura melted away like ice, leaving me vaguely nauseous, but grateful for my faith. I could feel Charity's grip on my arm marginally loosen as the sensation faded, but she was as wary of this stranger as I was.
The new arrival practically draped herself over Harry, who had yet to move. Frost coated his skin where she breathed on him, and her arms slithered around his waist in a nearly proprietary gesture. His jaw worked, and he swallowed thickly. His eyes were wide and afraid, and I could see his body vibrating with panic.
"Always a pleasure," his tone suggested it was anything but.
The woman, who I nearly certain was not mortal, practically purred, stroking at his casted arm slowly. Frost erupted beneath her blue-painted nails. My breath hitched slightly as I realized who I was dealing with. This was not bound for a happy ending.
"Mmm, Harry," she breathed into Harry's ear. "Aren't you going to introduce me?"
Harry shuddered and swallowed again. He wouldn't look at me or at anyone else in the church. His eyes were locked firmly in the distance, and he clearly wished he were anywhere but here. I could see him try to take a deep breath, but he abruptly stopped when it apparently jostled an injury.
"I'd rather have this conversation elsewhere," Harry's voice was shakier than I believe he would've liked, and he was still quivering beside her. I couldn't tell if it were from the cold or fear.
I could feel my own fear choking my throat and settling in my gut, but I reached for my faith once more, and the feeling dissipated. I wished I could do the same for Harry.
"Might I introduce myself?" I took the creature's attention away from her prey, hoping that the Lord would protect us.
The not-woman turned her gaze to me, and I became certain that my revelation was true. Her disturbingly red lips curved into a predatory smile, but this time I was able to keep my fear at bay.
"Oh please do."
"I am Michael."
I could feel the cold seeping into my bones, having a nice party with the fear settled in my gut. I could feel each breath she took, each time sending cold pain shooting down my spine and spreading like ice. I wasn't numb, though; the cold only intensified the pain. Her leather clad leg rubbed absently against mine, but the sensation was anything but pleasant. I could feel myself shaking like a leaf in a storm.
I was terrified.
I heard her lick her lips as Michael introduced himself, and she clearly recognized the name. She knew who he was. The hand that had wound itself around my waist suddenly dug its needle point nails into my side. I inhaled sharply, but otherwise did nothing to acknowledge the icy points just short of piercing my flesh.
"Ah, Sir Knight," she greeted, the seductive tone now gone. "What a… surprise to see you. I've heard all about you."
I swallowed. Of course she knew about him; if Lea knew, then she and her mother likely did as well. I was positive that her knowledge of the Knight would lead to nothing but unpleasant things.
"And your name, milady?"
It was the "milady" that gave it up; Michael knew exactly who he was dealing with, too. I wondered with a brief spark of hope if he would actually be able to handle her; I was all too aware of my weaknesses. The spark died as she breathed her next words across my skin, icy needles digging into my skin and punctuating her sentence.
"I am Maeve, the Winter Lady. The Queen Who Is Yet To Be."
Charity and the Father both inhaled sharply, and for a moment I felt horrible for them. But then Maeve breathed ice across my skin once more, and I was reminded of my own vulnerabilities. I swallowed again, but the stone in my throat wouldn't move. She dragged icy fingers across my waist, the tips of her nails painful even through the shirt.
Michael shifted so that he was squarely between Maeve and Charity and Forthill. Of course, Maeve was still using me as a stripper pole and a human shield, so I was also in the middle.
Fun things always happen when people start acting as human shields.
"Why are you here?" I managed to force out, my breath fogging in front of me.
Maeve turned her full attention back to me, and I had to fight the urge to flee; it would've been futile, anyway. Everything about her was cold and terrifying. Hers wasn't the beauty that men wrote songs and ballads about; hers was the beauty that men killed others and themselves for. She surrounded herself madness and suffering. Her full attention was not something I'd wish on anybody, especially myself.
She nipped at my neck, not hard enough to draw blood, but sending more icy shoots of pain down my back. My knees threatened to buckle, and I just barely stayed upright. I didn't want to think about what would happen if I fell and dragged her to the ground with me.
"I have an invitation to give you, Harry." She bit at my skin again. "Your Godmother wishes to treat with you."
I inhaled sharply, ignoring the protests of my ribs. I would deal with them later. "Why?"
Maeve laughed, the sound like icicles falling against one another. "It's a surprise. She wishes to meet with you on the morrow at a spot of your choosing. Alone."
I forced my panicked, one-track mind away from Maeve herself, considering her words instead. I closed my eyes.
Lea wanted to speak with me at a place of my choosing, which seemed to indicate that she didn't wish to kill me. But she also specified that I be alone, and Maeve mentioned nothing of safety during the meeting. It would not be unlike my Godmother to make such a ploy only to kill me for delivering her an insult. The Fae like games. But what other choice did I have than to accept and hope?
"What are you doing playing message boy for the Leanansidhe?" I asked, forcing false bravado into my voice as I weighed my options, stalling. Perhaps a miracle would present itself in the next few seconds; we were in a church, after all.
Maeve's fingers curled sharply into claws just under my ribs, pushing under a cracked one and digging into a bruise. My breath stopped in my throat, and my eyes flew open. I barely held in a shout but was unable to stop myself from bucking away from her hand and falling against her pelvis.
"Why, Harry, don't you know how I love seeing you?" She purred as she licked at the spot on my neck she'd bitten previously. Her tongue was no warmer than her fingers; she gyrated against my thigh. For a moment I thought I would vomit. "Slate and I miss you. You always were such fun."
I was finally able to force a breath past the pain. I could feel the little overflowing box in my head, full of things I'd rather forget. Maeve had provided more than enough of those memories. Slate had too. I pushed them away. I could still feel Maeve touching me now. I pushed this away as well.
"Tell Lea tomorrow at noon at Mac's." My voice was no longer full of bravado, my eyes shut. I sounded how I felt – scared, hurt, and so very out of my depth. There would be no miracles for me.
Maeve finally pulled away from me, and I instantly felt ten degrees warmer. "Very well. Goodbye, Harry. Feel free to come and visit anytime."
I kept my eyes closed, but I knew the instant she was gone. The aura of cold and power and violence was gone. I realized that I hadn't stopped shaking since she'd arrived. My heart pounded in my ears, confirming that I was indeed still alive. I didn't realize somebody was speaking to me until they touched my arm. My head snapped up, and my eyes flew open. I jerked my arm away, automatically calling power to me. I was afraid and hurt and confused; my mind was jumbled. I was interpreting everything as a threat.
"Harry," Michael spoke cautiously, both arms raised in surrender. "Harry, sit down. Please. You're shaking."
My eyes were wide, my heartbeat too fast. At some point, presumably when Maeve had first arrived, I'd dropped my backpack on the floor. I grabbed it now, ignoring my body's protests. I needed to be anywhere but here. The vague feeling of warmth and safety I'd felt here was gone now; Maeve had ruined it.
"No, no," I mumbled, shouldering the pack awkwardly. "I have to go. I have to leave."
"Stop, please," Charity spoke now. "You're in no condition to be going anywhere. Just sit for a moment."
I shook my head even as hands guided me to a pew. I shook my head even as I sank down. I shook my head even as I set my pack on the floor. I was still shaking. I couldn't think. I couldn't process what had just happened. The little box in my head full of unpleasant things was overflowing, and Maeve was first and foremost on my mind. I couldn't handle this; I was not nearly well-adjusted enough to cope properly.
Lea had been my teacher, and she had taught me well, if brutally. The pain had had a purpose, and I could deal with that. Maeve developed a habit of showing up to my lessons on occasion, which took place on the mortal plane as well as Faerie, as I got older. Lea had to defer to her Queen during these incidences, who would occasionally bring her Knight, Lloyd Slate, along. The pain had no purpose then. Maeve and Slate were both vicious sadists, and I had just been a kid who got dragged out in the deep end of the pool. I didn't know how to deal with that, so I hadn't.
I was good at forgetting, or at least not-remembering, but then Maeve had been here, in a church. I would never get away.
I didn't realize I was hyperventilating until I felt a hand pushing my head down between my knees and several voices commanding me to breathe. I mentally slapped myself and shoved the overflowing box back into the corner of my mind where it belonged. I drew in power, not to cast, but to comfort. The knowledge that I could protect myself again calmed me. My good hand flailed up to my throat, searching for something that I knew I wouldn't find. It was at home.
I waved the hands at my neck and head away, pushing myself upright as I sought my balance. I put my feelings aside, stowing them in the shadows for a moment. I could try to wade through my ocean of issues when I wasn't facing a crisis of some kind. I needed my mind clear; I needed to not be panicking. My eyes were still closed as I forced my shaking limbs to still. A numbness settled over me. Not quite the internal peace I wanted, but the best I could achieve given the circumstances. I released the magic I'd pulled against me like a warm blanket. I opened my eyes.
Charity, Michael, and the Father all stared back at me, the lines of their faces etched with worry. I searched for the fear I expected but found none.
"Are you alright?" Charity was the first to break the oppressive silence.
I breathed evenly, staring at the tip of her ear. "Yes, ma'am. If you'll excuse me, I would like to leave."
The three of them exchanged loaded looks, the message clear. No. He cannot leave.
I swallowed and pushed my rising emotions back again, my face carefully neutral.
"Harry…" Michael trailed off, unsure of how to ask the question. Or maybe afraid of the answer.
I sighed. "You want to know why the Winter Lady went the trouble of personally delivering a message to me."
"Among other things," the Father added quietly. "Son, who are you exactly?"
What are you?
"I'm not Fae, if that's what you're wondering." Some of the tension leeched out of Michael's shoulders, confirming he had been considering the possibility.
"Then who are you to the Fae?" Michael asked, his bass voice devoid of any judgment. I wondered if it was genuine.
"Nobody," I said. "A pawn, same as anybody they meet."
There was a silence. They were clearly waiting for an in depth response. I remained silent. I wanted to trust them; I could tell they were good people. But I was afraid of dragging them into my mess because they were good people. I didn't think they would be able to walk away, and I couldn't bear the idea of another life on my conscience. This was my mess, and, once I understood what the hell was happening, it would be mine to clean up.
"How long?" Michael asked, his voice still kind. The lack of judgment – by all of them – was beginning to throw me for a loop. People judged; that's what they did.
I considered lying. "Birth." Didn't, though.
I heard a sharp intake of breath before silence reigned again. The silent treatment had never been effective on me, though, and I waited them out as I considered how best to leave without using magical force. Making a run for it was an option. I doubted they'd hurt me – they seemed to be decent folk – but they clearly wanted answers.
"Who is your Godmother?"
So they'd been listening. I was vaguely relieved that they hadn't recognized the Leananside's name, at least. Still, I wanted nothing more than to disappear.
"A faerie." I didn't lie, but I didn't explain either. It seemed to be a theme for me tonight.
"You have a faerie godmother?" Charity spoke now, her voice tinged with disbelief. I had long since grown accustomed to the irony, though.
I sighed and nodded. I reached inside for my magic once more, but found it as far away as my emotions. Magic was simply a manifestation of will, but will was fueled by emotion. Right now I wouldn't let myself feel anything beyond the physical, which made my magic harder to use. I felt the wall holding back all the panic and pain cracking, but I ignored it.
The silence was deafening; they clearly had no idea how to proceed when I was giving them so little to work with. I was okay with that; I didn't want them to proceed.
I was confused now, the fear from earlier pushed away by the mystery the boy – man – in front of me presented. I could tell Michael's worry had dissipated as well because he was no longer acting as a human shield.
I bit my lip and looked up at my husband, unable to come up with something more to say. Harry was clearly unwilling to volunteer any information. His desires seemed to fluctuate between melting into the pew and running away; he didn't want to be here. Michael met my eyes for a moment then looked briefly at Father Forthill. We were all stumped.
"Can I go?" Harry's voice was disturbingly quiet and young; he reminded me of a frightened child. I felt the desperate desire to simply hug him and promise that the monster in his closet weren't real, as I'd done for Molly dozens of time, only the monsters in his closet seemed all too real.
Michael flicked his eyes down towards me once more, and I frowned.
"Where would you go, son?" Father Forthill asked, his voice kind.
Harry shrugged, picking at the end of his filthy and still frosted cast. "Not really your concern."
Somehow his words were belligerent and pleading all at once. He didn't want us to ask, not because he didn't trust us, but because he didn't want to hurt us.
"Harry –" I began.
Suddenly he rose to his full height, nearly reaching seven feet tall. I blinked.
"I'm going." His expression said that this time it wasn't a debate. He would leave whether we let him or not. I wondered exactly how powerful his magic – because he clearly had some – was and felt a brief pang of regret that my own latent abilities were unable to sense his strength, followed swiftly by a pang of regret for regretting that.
He limped down to the far aisle, seeing as none of us had shifted to let him through. Michael blinked, clearly shocked to see him moving under his own locomotion. The Father and I exchange looks; we were no less surprised. Harry had reached the aisle; the boy could limp shockingly fast. Shaking the surprise away, Michael quickly walked to meet Harry, gently placing own hand on his uninjured shoulder.
"Please, just let us drive you, at least. You're in no condition to be walking," Michal pleaded.
I saw Harry start to refuse, but then his face twisted in pain, and he stopped. "Okay," he said quietly. "I need you to drive me to my apartment."
For some reason I doubted he wanted to go home for a mere change of clothes.
Fine. At least I wouldn't have to walk around Chicago alone and injured. Most of the thugs nowadays were John's guys, but that didn't mean they'd recognize me or anything. I was just as vulnerable to a random mugging as the next guy. Well, not exactly. I was vulnerable to a random attempted mugging; magic did wonders for self-defense. And, though I wasn't exactly Bruce Lee, I'd been in enough scrapes to take care of myself without magic if necessary.
Most of the time.
Michael and Charity and the Father were all looking at me like I was about to break into millions of tiny pieces; it was unnerving.
"Alright," Michael said agreeably. "Just tell me where you need to go."
I wanted to be suspicious of him and his motives, but I thought he genuinely was trying to help me. His kind face looked up at me, guileless. I sighed and debated whether or not I was being paranoid.
"Yeah, okay," I rattled off my address, waiting for the inevitable frown. My apartment was not in the nicest area of town, and I suspected he would realize that.
"I know how to get there." There was no condensation, no judgment. I'd always been ambiguous about religion itself, but religious people tended to grate on my nerves. Michael and company were proving to be an exception.
"Before you go," the Father suddenly chipped in. "I would like to check your bandages, if I may."
I swallowed as I looked at him. His eyes were robin's egg blue and shone with compassion; he knew I had no intention of coming back.
"Good. I assume you remember the way to my office?"
So that's where I'd woken up at.
I paid no further attention to either Michael or Charity; I would have to deal with them in the car. They would be polite about it, I was sure, but I was also sure that they would ask questions. One of the Queens of Winter had just entered holy ground for the sole purposes of taunting me and delivering a message. Winter was not known for its compassion, and, if Court members were going to be running amok in Chicago, Michael would surely get involved.
I spared a thought to whether or not Michael would show up at my meeting with Lea tomorrow at Mac's. I wondered if he even knew where Mac's was; I'd never seen him there before. Then I wondered if he even drank. Could men of the Church drink?
I made no effort whatsoever to reign in my wayward thoughts as I followed the Father back to his office. I found my mental ramblings vaguely comforting, and I let the numbness slip away. Things better left forgotten stayed away from the forefront of my mind, and I enjoyed the feeling of magic slipping and sliding against my consciousness. Magic wasn't alive, per se, but it very nearly was. It was a force of nature as of yet undiscovered by science, ruled by laws people hadn't even begun to fathom. I understood nearly nothing of the mechanisms which governed it, but that didn't mean I couldn't use it. I felt warm again as magic – wild, unspoiled magic – surrounded me.
We'd made our way back to the office, and the Father gestured for me to sit on the cot from which I'd woken not long ago. I slowly eased myself down, wincing slightly, and watched the Father bustle about the room. He gathered various bottles of what I presumed to be disinfectants along with gauze and medical tape.
"Shirt off, if you will."
I hesitated as I reached for the hem, but only for a moment. The movement was awkward around my cast and busted, well, everything, but the Father made no offer of assistance. I think he could sense my unease.
He inhaled sharply once, but otherwise said nothing as he examined me and considered which supplies he would need. I looked down at my shirtless torso.
Bruises covered most of it, some beginning to fade, but most still a dark blue-black tinged with green. Dried blood had come through the other side of my bandages, an ugly brown color. I winced again as he started to unwrap the bandages, pulling at scabs not quite healed, but he tried to be gentle.
I noticed when he noticed, furrowing his brow in confusion as he stared at the lower portion of my ribs. They had been covered by the bandages but – thankfully – were unmarred. They were tattoos, colored in various shades of blue and white and black. They circled and wound around one another in a bizarre combination of symbols, but the lines of ink never broke. It was somewhat similar to Celtic knot-work, from which I had based it, but it also used Enochian symbols. It circled around my entire torso, back to front. It was not the typical body art of a college kid, and the Father knew that.
He looked up at me, trying to meet my eyes, but I stared at one bushy white eyebrow instead.
"Interesting design," he said mildly, setting the ruined bandages aside and started dabbing at the dried blood on my skin with a cloth damp with alcohol.
I started to shrug and flinched away from the sting at first but forced myself not to yelp like a beaten dog. Manly pride and all, what little I had left, at least. I grunted noncommittally.
Everyone who had seen my tattoos had asked the same question, albeit that wasn't exactly a lot of people. Only John and Hendricks knew what they were for. I had even lied to Elaine to keep up my ruse of minor practitioner/punk college kid.
They were my best form of protection. I had been inspired by Druidic tattoos, which are said to bind the Druid to the Earth. I applied that same theory – binding – to my aura and magic. The tattoo, which had been done by the Leanansidhe using painful methods I'd rather not talk about, was made of up magically imbued inks and dyes. The design, combined with the ingredients and application, worked to bind my aura to my mind and to the wild magic which can be found anywhere. Essentially, this meant that not only was my magical aura nearly undetectable unless you actually entered my thoughts or I was actively using my magic, but it also disguised the cloud of magic which tended to surround powerful wizards. It was still there, of course, but to anyone who would bother to look, it would not be identifiable as my magic. It would appear as wild magic. The tattoos had taken years to perfect. I'd come up with the idea soon after I'd discovered that a White Council of Wizards existed and that I would be a lifelong fugitive from them at age 10.
The Fathered hummed, acknowledging I'd spoken, but choosing not to comment further. I felt awash with relief that he pressed no further. We sat in silence, the only noise our breathing and the sound of cleaning my wounds.
"You can put you shirt back on now," he finally said, sitting back. "I would suggest not doing anything strenuous for the next few weeks, or months, even." He paused. "Do you want me to rebandage your thigh, as well?
I pulled the stained cotton hospital shirt over my head quietly, better at maneuvering my arm through it now that I'd done it before. I looked down, surprised that he knew about the cut on my thigh, but saw that blood had seeped through there, too.
"No, that's alright. I hadn't even noticed it was bleeding again."
He raised one white eye brow at me, disbelief coloring his face. "That does not make me feel better," he chastised.
I let out a surprised huff and smiled. For just a moment he had reminded me of John. He could get surprisingly paternal at times. That thought made my heart ache just a little, and my smile faded. Maybe I should call him; the Sergeant had said he was looking for me.
"Do… do you have a phone?" I asked hesitantly, staring at my scratched palms rather than the Father.
"Someone you need to call?"
"There's one on my desk next to the lamp. I'll leave you to it."
I waited until he was gone before I moved, crossing the tiny room in two strides to find that there really was a phone that I simply hadn't noticed before. Before I could lose my nerve, I picked up the headset and dialed.
"Who is this?"
A/N: I tried experimenting with different viewpoints in this chapter; let me know what you think. Reviews are much appreciated.