Things Are Never What They Seem
Disclaimer: Dresden Files belongs to the awesome Jim Butcher; I only own this story and make no profit from this.
Warning: Rated T for language, etc.
Setting: Post-Cold Days (before knowing what would happen in Cold Days), spoilers for the series.
Summary: Things had seemed to settle down a bit in his life and he starts to take a big step-so of COURSE someone has to come and ruin it.
A/N: Dedicated to my great friend NatsMiniMe for her (belated) birthday. Hope you enjoy! :3
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I felt incredibly nervous. Sure we had finally gotten past that awkward part and made plans for a date, but this was still Karrin and I didn't know how she would react. All throughout the dinner (steak was good but not as good as Mac's) and the stroll around a park-found a few Little folk playing pranks on people but nothing harmful-I made a game plan.
We finally head back to my place, sweat dripped down my face. Both from the increasing heat and my nerves. My place was arranged in a similar fashion as my old apartment though everything was newer and more up to date (one of the few benefits of being the Winter Knight.) The place was fairly close to Thomas' place in the Gold Coast, though I had had turned down offeres to live in the rich neighborhood-this was already pushing it in my opinion.
After a quick murmur of Flickum Bicus, I head to the fridge and pull out a couple of Cokes. She murmurs a thanks and we sit in silence for a few moments. I fiddle with the tab on my drink. Christ this felt harder than dealing with a Mother Winter who had one too many jello shots; NOT enough brain bleach in the world to erase that image.
I start, looking at her. She was frowning.
"Something wrong? You've been awfully quiet."
I clear my throat, looking at her more serious than almost any other time. "Karrin." I say softly. "I-" suddenly got cut off by a loud pounding of my door. I let out a bad word and get up. So does Karrin, a hand placed close to where I knew she had a gun holstered.
I stand near the door, closing my eyes and feeling more anything...off. I don't feel anything, but I'd still be cautious; I had more people after me since becoming the Winter Knight, after all.
"Harry, open up the fucking door. I know you're there-" I open my eyes. I'd know that voice anywhere. Thomas, my half brother.
I let down the wards and unlock the door. He hurries in and I quickly close the door behind him. He looked more frazzled than I had seen in a good while. I knew it wasn't because of Justine; he had finally found a way to be with her. "What is it?" I ask him, giving him a worried look. I mean just because I had gained more power when I took the Mantle of the Winter Knight, didn't mean that I didn't still fear things out there; I'd be stupid not to.
"There's Red Court in town."
I wince. Technically there weren't really enough of them to be called a Court anymore but even one Red Court vampire could be a problem. "How do you know for sure?" Karrin asks, ever the cop, even without a badge.
"Lara." Thomas says simply. Ah, of course. One of Thomas' sisters-he had alot-was not only sexy as hell but smart (scarily so), good for her word and also the de facto leader of the White Court.
Where the Red Court were all about blood and false beauty, with the true uglyness hidden behind flesh masks, the Black Court about blood and death, the White Court were about sex and beauty. They did not partake in blood but in the life force from those they took from. "Any other info your sister happened to divulge? Location, number of them...?
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After Thomas briefs us on the situation, we start to prepare. The vampires had arrived sometime yesterday or the day before, no known victims (yet) and were set up uncomfortably close to where Mavra and her Scourge had been before.
"Are you sure you want to-" I get cut off from a glare from Karrin. Of course, I should know better than to ask. She had my back, like I had hers. We were a team and a damn good one in my opinion. "Alright then. But we're getting more help. I don't want to take any chances."
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We arrive at the Carpenters minutes later. After a few stolen moments with my daughter (she now lived with me but often stayed over at Michael and Charity's place when 'work' called for me. Tonight she was staying over so I could, ahem, have some alone time with Karrin in peace.)
I grab Molly and Mouse. You should have seen Molly's reactiojn when she saw me alive and well-never seen someone cry so much and punch that hard all at once.
I eye Mouse as we get into Karrin's car (I still hadn't got a new one yet, been sticking to Nevernever travel.) "Have you gotten bigger since I last picked you up?" Mouse, like Maggie, Mister and Bob (who I had picked back up from my Butters recently) lived with me. He was also no ordinary dog. He just wags his tail at me. I roll my eyes.
Last in the car is Molly who had apparently decided fourth of July had started early as her hair was red, white, and yes, blue. Thomas gets in his car, a brand new Hummer, the one with the bulletproofing this time. Safety over creature comforts. And that was that.
'You took much too long to tell her of your feelings, Harry. Why didn't you during that charming dinner is beyond my understanding.' No one was speaking in the car, this was all internal. I refrain from sighing and rolling my eyes.
'No one asked you, Lash.' I say mentally. Lash was back in my life and I was happy about that, but sometimes she needed to mind her own business. Lash is a Fallen, well former Shadow of a Fallen Angel (it's complicated.) Suffice to say, we had become friends.
I hear her chuckle and speak, voice fading as she gave me some space. 'Of course. But in your line of work, saying it to her sooner is better than later, my house."
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After a few minutes of tense riding, we arrive at a small non descript brownstone. I pull my blasting rod out of my duster, grab a tighter told of my staff as I exit the car. Karrin comes to stand near me, looking tense-rightfully so, gun in hand. Thomas comes over to stand on my other side, looking as calm as could be; only people who knew him, like me, could tell he was sweating a bit.
Molly stood next to him, looking much more nervous than anyone even after her time as the Ragged Lady. She was smarter than to just run nilly willy into a Red Court's nest. I reach my hand out, feeling for any potential magical traps before we headed in here, though mundane ones could also be just as bad (as my healing hand that was torched by Mavra by proxy reminded me.)
I didn't feel anything but I'd still be extremely cautious. I had dealt with Red Court enough to be smart enough to be very wary of them. I still had nightmares sometimes about what they did to me. As we walk forward, I keep an eye on Mouse. As I said before, he's no ordinary dog. He is as intelligent (at least) as a human, can sense Dark things before almost anything else could and many other things besides. He was kind of growling under his breath but it wasm't the reaction I expected of him as we went into a Red Court nest.
The place looked...rather nice actually. Much more recent and better looking than my old apartment. It looked as though whoever lived her had nice taste. Given that said residents were RC though, I made sure I didn't like the place as much as I wanted to. After all, it could get destroyed or set on fire perhaps (what, don't look at me!)
"Doesn't it seem too...quiet?" Molly murmured.
"It's Red Court, Molly." Karrin says, just as quietly. "They know how to be sneaky, especially if they have an inkling that something's amiss."
Yet as we search through the house, there is an air of anticlimax lingering around. Something seemed...off. More than a handful of slavering, blood thirsty creatures of the night I mean. As we all search around I make my way to the kitchen. Other than being very clean there was nothing else of note. I start to head out when I notice a door. From where it was positioned it looked as though it headed into the basement. I pause, making my way cautiously to the door. I close my eyes, feeling for any wards but don't feel any.
This felt more and more like a set up. If I didn't trust Lara's word (which I knew she was good for, for good or bad) then I'd say I'd been suckered into something. As it was, I was freaking baffled. I was about to write the whole thing off when I suddenly hear something. A squeal.
I gesture to Karrin and the others to follow me. I hurriedly open the door and make my way down the steps as quick as possible. And given that I was the Winter Knight, that was pretty damn fast.
"Whatever evil thing you're doing, you better stop n-oh my God!"
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An hour later, I start to calm down. There were indeed Red Court in the basement. They looked eighteen at most and were not only 'vegetarians' (they only fed off animals instead of people) but were incredibly nice. If misguided. You see their vegitarianism and the whole reason they became vampires to begin with was due to a series of movies they had watched.
"They sparkled!" I all but sobbed. "Give me the bloodthirsty monders of old. Why did those things sparkle in that movie?! Those were NOT vampires!" I could hear Thomas and Molly chuckling loudly at me.
"Amen. Those things..." Karrin trails off, shuddering slightly in disgust. She didn't like them either. Oh man, I...
"I love you!" I blurt out suddenly. It gets quiet for a moment. I can see a large blush suffusing Karrin's face. Well. Looks likes being nearly tramatized by a set of sparkly vampires actually turned out for the best. Who knew.
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