Title: The Novice God (3/?)
Fandoms: BBC!Sherlock, The Dresden Files (TV), and Supernatural.
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Harry Dresden, Bob, Connie Murphy, Anna, a few others.
Spoilers: The entire Dresden Files TV series. Takes place mid-season 7 of Supernatural, and post-series 1 of Sherlock.
Genre: drama, action, friendship, possibly angst or hurt/comfort in parts
Author's Note: Shout-out to quickyfant and joonscribble for their continued urgings for me to post this chapter! They are both beyond wonderful, and it's a thrill to write for them.
Summary: Castiel has risen as a new god, unpredictable and uncontrolled. Meanwhile, Sherlock Holmes runs into something unusual while investigating a young blind girl who can now see, and Harry Dresden tries to find a place of safety for his friends.
( Chapter 1: A Doctor and a Detective Get Caught in the Rain )
( Chapter 2: A Wizard and a Ghost Find Themselves in the Eye of a Storm )
* * *
Sherlock's glossy black shoes practically spit fire as he bursts through the hospital's glass doors and into the A&E's waiting room. His coat flies out behind him, drawing up papers in its wake until he collides with the front desk. He bends across the peeling linoleum counter to speak to the attendant there, a middle-aged woman holding a corded phone to her ear.
"Amelie Gibson," he snaps, just as John collapses, panting hard, against the desk beside him. "Which room is she in? I must speak with her immediately."
"Sherlock, you're a sight. Let me do this." John squeezes into the space between the detective and the front desk, forcing Sherlock to take a hasty step back. John smiles at the startled-looking attendant. "Ah, hello, Mrs..." He reads her name tag. "Dawn. We're with Scotland Yard. My name's John Watson. Ah, we're here to visit a young girl who came in here about an hour and a half ago? Amelie Gibson? Please excuse my friend. He can be a bit... " John peers at Sherlock, who narrows his eyes and looks cross, "...excitable."
Flustered, Dawn pushes her glasses higher on the bridge of her nose and consults a nearby computer monitor. "Ah, well," she stammers, while typing, "it is well-past three in the morning, so I s'pose we're all entitled to get free passes when we're crabby at this hour. Don't let it trouble you, hun."
Sherlock's fingers tap impatiently against his leg, until finally Dawn takes off her glasses and scribbles a few words onto a piece of scrap paper. Her chair squeaks when she leans over the desk to hand the paper to John.
"Here's little Amelie's room number," she says, "but don't make a mess for me, alright? There's only supposed to be two visitors at a time back there."
Sherlock's hand stills against his leg, bringing into focus the waiting room chatter. A woman is crying (her young lover was shot by her husband. Obvious from the age of her handbag and the position of the blood splatter on her sleeve), an older gentleman is praying in Arabic for his son (victim of a hate crime, if the crumbled up note in his hand is any indication), and a young teenager is hissing through the drug-numbed pain of a fractured wrist (Ecstasy. Thought she could fly. A lucky fall, especially from a hotel's second story balcony).
"I'm sorry," John says, "Two visitors? Who else is -- "
Sherlock explodes from John's side, hurtling for the doors to the hospital's inner rooms. Dawn barely has enough time to electronically unlock the doors before Sherlock is running through them. Her eyes wide, she stands up from her chair.
"Is...is he going to be a problem?"
John shuts his eyes with a careful, measured sigh. "No, don't worry, it's fine. I'll be watching him for you." He thanks Dawn and follows Sherlock's path through the hospital, guided by the numbers in his hand and a general feeling of familiarity with places of a medical nature. Along his way to Sherlock, he encounters a number of shocked, laughing, and furious medical staff, who are no doubt floundering about now in the wake of Sherlock's frantic run. John knows that feeling very well, and so is careful to offer sympathetic smiles to anyone whose eye he happens to catch in passing.
Rounding the final corner to Amelie's room, he feels a cold draft brush by his skin, as though he has stepped beneath a vent. He comes to a full stop when he sees Sherlock in the center of the hallway, standing as still as a corpse. Sherlock's eyes are fogged over, as if he has been drugged, and not one inch of his body seems to have any strength in it. He stands there, swaying, no expression left on his face.
"Sherlock?" All of the breath in John's lungs seems to bottom out, leaving a creeping, empty hole in its wake. "Are you -- "
The back of John's head explodes with pain, a heaviness falling on him that disrupts north, south, east and west and topples the entire world on its head. Sherlock's form distorts, kaleidoscopic, parts of his body seeming to stretch and come from all corners of the room. Sherlock's head stares down at John from the ceiling, while his legs and arms peek out from opposite walls. His great coat swirls across the shapes of everything, overlaying equipment, lights, and doorways with impossible reach, and John has the lurching impression that he is about to fall from a very great distance.
Dancing over the wall, a shadow collides with John's shoulder, spinning John into the ground and becoming the dark form of a running man with nearly black skin just as it disappears around the corner, moving faster than anything John has ever seen.
The fog recedes as abruptly as it had come. Panting, John takes hold of a nearby hospital cart and forces himself to stand. His hands shake visibly, rattling metal instruments, and his head feels like it's been emptied with a rusty spoon. In front of him, Sherlock appears to be in a similar state, clutching his chest and crouching low on the floor, his eyes wide but his lips pressed tightly together to hold in what appears to be great pain.
When John staggers around to see where the running, shadowed man had gone, there is nothing there, only the well-lit, obsessively clean hallways of a perfectly ordinary hospital. John tries to control his breathing, tries not to think of the shadows a fellow solder had once told him sometimes float across battlefields, collecting men from the sand as they begged to die. Tries to remember that he is not supposed to think about the fairy tales of superstitious soldiers any longer.
His shoulder, right where he was hit, is throbbing. When he turns, he finds Sherlock ripping nicotine patches from his arm with a shaky, upwards twist of his lip, as though the patches have done him a grand disservice.
"John," Sherlock says, and his voice is only slightly rougher than it should be, "you fell. Are you all right?"
"I'm fine." John rubs at his shoulder until it stops hurting quite as badly. "Are you?" John staggers the remaining few feet to his friend's side to help him from the ground, where Sherlock is still crouching. "What the hell just happened?"
Surprisingly pliant, Sherlock lets John help him up. "That was...unexpected."
"This is going to sound completely mad, but did you just see a weird looking shadow fly by just then?"
Sherlock gives him a long, hard look. Perhaps only John could recognize the vague drift of horror that floats through Sherlock's eyes at having been asked this question, though he does not answer.
Their arms brushing, they stare, together, into the open doorway of a room in which a young girl sits in her hospital bed, her face tilted slightly to the side. She stares at them with wide-eyed wonder, as if they are both the most grand and wonderful thing she has ever seen. Given that she supposedly had been born blind, and was only now, at the age of nine, starting to see anything at all, perhaps they were. The thought made an unnerving amount of sense.
Sherlock shares another look with John, appearing far more subdued and calm than he has in many weeks, though there still remains a firmness in his eyes. "I propose we gather more data."
Side by side, John and Sherlock step into Amelie Gibson's hospital room.
* * *
The bar and restaurant posing as a front for the High Council's activity in Chicago is in an absolute uproar when Harry walks through the door, Bob's skull secure in his backpack and Murphy sticking close to his side. Murphy's 13 year-old daughter, Anna, looks with dark, curious eyes into the chaos of hundreds of loudly arguing, squabbling people of magical origin. Harry can recognize wizards and magical wardens here in the dozens, outnumbered and struggling against much resistance to calm down everyone else.
"Oh my god," Anna gasps, "this place is amazing. Look!" From the crowd, she points out a stunningly gorgeous individual who is leaning against a sleek, glossy piano as if it owes him something. "He has rainbows shimmering on his skin!"
"No, it's not," Harry protests, grabbing her hand and lowering her finger so that she'll stop pointing at the Fae. When the man's eyes float across the crowd, flat and dark and not even trying to fake pleasantries as they head in their direction, Harry angles his back to prevent the Fae's eyes from catching any of theirs. "Trust me. I know these things. Don't make eye contact with that guy."
The club, built for smoky jazz and the slow, sensual waltzes of exclusive, high-end clientele, is crowded from wall to wooden wall in every direction. The heat of their countless bodies is stifling, not to mention fragrant, and Harry holds up his hockey stick to try to field their way through the abnormally crowded building.
"Okay," Harry puts a hand on Murphy's back to help guide her to the back of the building, where the doors to the private offices begin, "there's obviously something big going on, so stick close to me."
Her arms crossed around her daughter's shoulders, Murphy lets out a sharp laugh. "Really, Dresden?" Her gun hand twitches noticeably as a man with black eyes staggers past them, a can of beer held firmly against his lips. "Is that your professional opinion, or are we operating under a hunch here?"
"Murphy," Harry says, keeping his arm close to her, "this is me we're talking about. They are the same thing."
In the back of the crowd, a shock of tightly-cropped, blonde hair jumps into view.
"Dresden!" The Warden known as Amber, her slim form dressed in dark jeans, a turtleneck and a fitted denim jacket, begins to muscle her way over. "Over here!"
At the call of Harry's name, the crowd shifts gears, and Harry experiences the terrifying sensation of an entire building full of potential threats landing their gazes on him. In seconds, the chatter of arguments dies down like the final drops in a rainstorm, and Harry's heart lurches frantically in his ribcage. He has very few memories of that many gazes turned on him being a good thing. Murphy, meanwhile, reaches for the gun in her jacket, but she doesn't pull it out.
"Um," Harry stammers, just to break the silence. "Hi there. How is everyone doing tonight? If this is a party, I want to know what happened to my invitation, because I definitely didn't get that in the mail."
Like the drop of a flag at a racetrack, the crowd surges in. Yells and reaches become personal, individuals of all races and types just about knocking each other over in their mad dash to get to Harry, who barely has time to raise the hand he wears his protective bracelet of charms on to cast a protective shield around himself, Murphy and Anna.
Fists and claws make the shield buzz and flicker with white-hot, damaged energy, and Harry swings his staff around to bat off the nearest attackers. Murphy fires a shot into the air that rains plaster down on the crowd, then swings the gun around with a terror-struck, but stubborn expression. A few individuals -- including a vampire -- leap back, but not for long.
Amber, joined by the sudden involvement of at least half a dozen wardens of the High Council, fight to where Harry, Murphy, and Anna struggle to hold off their attackers.
"Back off!" Amber shouts, a sword in her hand sparking with vivid, angry blue lightning. She swings the flat end of the sword, smacking a nearby foe in the head. "Back off now! Or else the High Council will withdraw the protection agreements it's made with everyone here! This is a direct order from Ancient Mai herself! Back off, all of you, for your own protection!"
The other wardens kick their way through a slowly dissipating crowd, protective shields on their own wrists humming almost invisibly around their bodies.
When Amber reaches Anna, she takes her hand and pulls her to follow. "Don't be scared. We're going to look out for you."
"Scared?" Anna whirls around, taking in the sights and, as usual, picking up on factors no one else has noticed yet. "They look more scared than I do."
Led by a circle of wardens towards the building's inner rooms, Harry takes a moment to try to see the world from Anna's perspective. Everyone in the room, save for the quietly stoic, wordless individuals, holds in their eyes a low-level panic, like lambs being led to the slaughterhouse. These people are not just angry; they are also terrified.
Murphy taps Amber on the shoulder, and the short-haired blonde turns to face her just as they reach the edge of the crowd.
"You're Harry's friend?" Murphy asks. "I remember you."
"Yes." Amber ushers them through a heavy door, while the rest of the wardens stay behind to try to maintain order. When the door booms shut, Amber pushes a large, metal rod through the door handles to keep it closed. "We met once, briefly." She smiles tightly, barely revealing any teeth at all. "I'm just sorry we have to meet again under these circumstances."
"Which reminds me," Harry falls into step beside the slim woman as she leads them down a plush, lavishly decorated hallway with many doors, "what, exactly, are these circumstances again?"
Amber's eyes flicker in Murphy's direction. "Dresden, the Lieutenant and her daughter are not of our world."
Harry waves that off. "Don't even start with that. Murphy just fought off a bunch of Crowley's demons with me, not to mention saw all of your cheery welcoming party in the lobby out there, so I kind of think that counts as an initiation."
Amber looks like she wants to disagree, but she only frowns and shrugs. "Very well. Nevertheless, Ancient Mai has requested a private meeting with you, and you alone." She turns to Murphy. "We would be grateful if you and your daughter would stay in the room we have prepared for you until the meeting has concluded."
Murphy catches Harry's eyes over Amber's shoulder, and Harry nods. "It's okay. You can trust Amber. Besides, everyone here knows that if anything ever happened to you or to Anna, well, I'd just have to kill someone."
"That's not very nice," Anna interjects, with narrowed eyes that clearly show her disapproval. "You shouldn't kill someone unless you have absolutely no other choice."
"You have a smart kid." Amber comes to a halt outside of a closed, iron door and produces an ornately-carved, golden key. "Anyway," she says, ushering Murphy and Anna through the doorway, "this will be your room. I took the liberty of gathering ammunition for your weapon, in case of -- " She falters, her hand clenching around the doorknob. "Well, it's there if you need it. Hopefully, you won't, but you never know."
As Amber closes the door behind her with a final instruction for Murphy to keep the door locked, Murphy hears Amber's retreating voice asking Harry if he brought Bob along with him.
Left alone in a small, velvet-and-silk garnished room, Anna and her mom catch each other's gaze.
"So," Anna says, in the almost eerie silence. "Did you tell Mr. Harry yet?"
Murphy stands facing the closed, iron door, her breath tight in her chest. "No." She looks around until she finds the promised boxes of ammunition for her gun. The bullets are silver-capped, and a hand-written note on the box says they have also been blessed with holy water. Not sure what to think about this, she still loads them into the pockets of her leather coat, hoping the softness of silver won't compromise their quality. "I'll tell him later. Right now just doesn't seem like the right time for more bad news."
Next Chapter: God has an Identity Crisis, and a Man is Pursued
- Mindset: content