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Title: Semiautomagic (part one)
Rating: R
Pairing: slight Sam/Dean
Author: geekwriter143 (aka sneaky_sena)
Recipient: shay_renoylds
Prompt: Sam and Dean end up at the wrong side of a White Court initiative, and the brother love here would be awesome.
Notes: I tried to write this so that people who are completely unfamiliar with the world of Harry Dresden will still be able to follow what's going on. The title is not mine, it's what Jim Butcher, the author of The Dresden Files, wanted to title his first book (it was published under the title of Storm Front instead). I highly recommend the series even though it doesn't really get fantastic until the fourth book. Split into two parts because of length.



Harry pressed his back to the cool brick of the building and glanced quickly up and down the dark alley. He fumbled for his staff, nearly dropped it, cursed and got a good hold on it. He reached up out of habit to touch the silver pentacle amulet he wore around his neck. He breathed in slowly, focused on locking the pain in his ripped shoulder away in a corner of his mind. If he was going to make it out of the alley alive, he had to ignore the pain. At least the damn Black Court bastard had ripped into his left shoulder; his left hand was still mostly useless, anyway, having been burned by another member of the Black Court years before.

What the hell the Black Court was doing back in Chicago was a mystery, but not really that surprising. At least this seemed to be a single, newly created vampire instead of an ancient practitioner like Mavra, the vampire who had nearly destroyed his hand. If she'd gotten the drop on him like this fledgling creature, he would have already been killed to death, and Harry was not a fan of getting killed.

He gripped his rune-covered staff in his right hand, tried his best to ignore the screaming in his left shoulder and arm, and readied himself for attack. He'd taken a pretty serious blow to the head when the vampire had thrown him against the dumpster. He could tough it out. He ignored the waves of nausea and dizziness and took another deep breath. He shook out the shield bracelet that surrounded his left wrist and--

"Come on, motherfucker," came a decidedly human voice from one end of the alley. "We gonna dance around all night or we gonna fuck?"

No. No, that was bad. Civilians around while at least one Black Court vampire was in a rage? Hell's bells, Harry needed to--

"I will kill you, hunter," the vampire snarled from the other end of the alley. "I will kill you and all of your kind."

"Blah, blah, blah. I'm getting blue balls over here, princess. You gonna tease me or you gonna put out?"

The vampire surged forward, past Harry without even a glance in his direction. "You vile slanderer. You disrespectful, squirming--"

There was the sudden hum of metal singing through air and another man stepped out of the darkness and swung a machete fast and hard enough to lop the vampire's head clean off. It landed on the ground with a thump and rolled towards the speaker even as the thing's body continued to step forward.

"Nice," said the first man.

"Ah, I'd take the credit but seriously, you have a talent for pissing things off enough to distract them from the sucker punch."

"It's a gift."

Harry slid down the wall, his head throbbing and his vision darkening to a narrow tunnel. He could smell gasoline and he tried to fight for consciousness but he obviously had a pretty nasty concussion. Harry hated concussions.

The destroyed Black Court vampire's corpse caught fire just a second before Harry lost consciousness.

He awoke several hours later, still in the alley. Dawn was thankfully approaching and he staggered to his feet. There was no one else in the alley anymore and the only thing left of the vampire was a pile of ash.

Harry managed to get to his feet and stagger to the street. Luckily his car, the Blue Beetle, was parked only a few blocks away. He hadn't even been looking for a fight when the Black Court vampire had descended on him. Apparently he'd just happened to walk into the middle of a fight between the vampire and, well, some sort of hunter. That's what the vampire had called him--hunter. Venatori Umbrorum, maybe. Their name meant "Shadow Hunters," in Latin. Or maybe, "Shadowy Hunters." Harry's correspondence course Latin wasn't always perfect.

Harry didn't know a lot about the Venatori Umbrorum. They were a secretive group. Mostly they wormed their way into the highest echelons of politics and academia, used their power and intelligence to help stop the movements and rise of all sorts of supernatural nasties. While they usually employed indirect means to fight, they did have a large amount of firepower at their disposal. Their efforts had been focused on the Red Court, lately, but whose hadn't?

The Red Court vampires were some of Harry's least favorite nasties. They generally looked like gorgeous humans, but Harry had seen beneath the disguise and it was something he wasn't going to forget any time soon. Giant, bat-like, slimy creatures that secreted a highly-addictive, narcotic saliva they often used to enslave humans. They'd gone a step further with a woman Harry had loved--they'd turned her. She had managed to resist the hunger within her, had never fed on a human, but she was infected and there was no cure. Harry had lost his brave, beautiful Susan, now a member of the Fellowship of St. Giles--half-vampires who had all resisted the urge to feed and fought to destroy the Red Court.

The Red Court had been particularly vicious in the past few years. They had declared war on the White Council--the governing body of wizards. Technically, they had declared war because of Harry, because he'd insulted them by saving a young woman's life and taking Susan from them before they could turn her completely. In reality, it was just an excuse. They'd been gearing up and itching for a fight. Harry's actions had just given them a convenient reason and had made Harry something of a scapegoat in some circles of the magical world.

Harry finally made it back to his car. An old VW bug, the Blue Beetle wasn't really blue, not anymore. Various fights and battles had scarred her, and her original blue doors and hood had been replaced with spares in shades of red, white, green, and primer-gray. She wasn't gorgeous, but she was his, and Harry had an affinity for her. The engine wheezed when Harry started the car. Wizards weren't very good with technology; they gave off fields of energy that tended to short out anything made after WWII. The Blue Beetle ran only because of Harry's amazing mechanic, Mike, who didn't ask too many questions.

The early morning traffic was nearly nonexistent, and Harry made it back to his office without further incident. His office was small and worn, but it had a working coffeemaker and a comfortable chair, and at the moment Harry needed both. He set a pot of coffee to brewing and then collapsed into his desk chair. Being attacked by a Black Court vampire with no warning and seeing it destroyed by two average mortals was a strange coincidence, and Harry didn't like coincidences.

Harry raised his right hand to his head and felt the baseball-sized lump just over his right temple. He liked coincidences even less than he liked concussions. He poked around at the lump but didn't feel any cuts or dried blood. Thankful for small favors, he pulled himself up and slowly removed his shirt. Dried blood glued it to his skin and he grimaced as he peeled the shirt away. His shoulder was a mess, thick gashes running down his left arm from the creature's jagged nails. The blood was clotted and dried, but he'd lost a good amount of blood and would need stitches. And probably antibiotics. Dark alleys were a breeding ground for germs as well as nasty things that went bump in the night.

He sighed, cleaned the wounds up as best as he could, and poured himself a cup of coffee. He drank it and sighed again, torn between bothering one of his friends or trucking it all the way down to the emergency room and getting asked a lot of questions he couldn't answer. Well, he could answer their questions, but if he told the truth he'd end up in a padded cell wearing a straight jacket tighter than the ones Harry Houdini, one of his namesakes, had worn.

Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden was a wizard, a pretty damn good wizard, and the only one who advertised in the Chicago yellow pages. His ad read, Harry Dresden -- Wizard Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

He'd been in that alley after retrieving a ruby-encrusted locket that had been stolen from a client. He reached into his pocket and pulled it out. At least he'd found it. Being a wizard was far less glamorous than most people imagined it to be and Harry made his money through plain old hard work. No overflowing pots of gold for Harry, but he'd rather make an honest living than use magic for his own selfish gains any day.

He put the locket back into his pocket, finished his coffee, put on a spare clean shirt, and left the office. He didn't like going to the emergency room, but it was sometimes necessary.

The nurses and doctor asked him questions, of course, but he'd been expecting them and he'd found that a clueless, "I got attacked and didn't see who attacked me," always seemed to work. Given the size of his medical file, he knew the doctor didn't believe him, but he stitched Harry up (blessed local anesthetic, Harry loved it) and gave him a prescription for antibiotics and a stern warning about walking through dark alleys in bad neighborhoods at night.

That taken care of, Harry headed home. His meeting with his client wasn't until one in the afternoon, and Harry wanted some real sleep in his own bed, not some filthy alley.

Harry lived in the basement of an old Chicago boarding house. It wasn't glamorous, but it was home. His cat, Mister, was waiting on the steps leading down to his front door and, as usual, he slammed his shoulders into Harry's shin by way of greeting. Harry had been ready for it, otherwise the blow might have made him stumble. Mister was thirty pounds of attitude, and he graciously allowed Harry to share his humble dwelling.

Harry's dog, Mouse, was even bigger than Mister. Nearly ten times bigger than Mister. He was sitting inside the apartment, wagging his tail as he saw Harry. Mister walked by Mouse without a glance. Neither animal seemed to think that Mouse's enormous size in any way made him the boss of the house.

Harry sighed again and clipped Mouse's leash to his collar. It was pretty much just a formality. If Mouse had wanted to, he could have easily dragged Harry all the way down the block without even panting. Mouse seemed to know that Harry didn't have the desire or the energy to take him on a long walk, though, and he did his business quickly in the boardinghouse's small yard before Harry took him back inside.

That done, he crawled into bed, set his Mickey Mouse alarm clock for noon, and drifted into a peaceful sleep.

**********


Harry's client was delighted to get her family heirloom back and she wrote him a big, fat check to prove it. Harry tried not to seem too grateful. He had rent to pay, not to mention medical bills and car insurance and dog food -- Mouse ate what Harry was pretty sure was an elephant's worth of food a day -- but the whole wizard thing was less impressive if people knew he spent most of his time living hand to mouth.

He was just about to close up his office for the day when the front door opened and two men walked in. Normally, the sight of two very strong, heavily armed men would make Harry nervous -- wizard or not, he was still mortal and bullet wounds really hurt.

Instead, Harry forgot to be nervous and just blurted out, "It's you."

"Uh, yeah," said the shorter of the two. He wasn't short, really, but his companion was even taller than Harry. "We're looking for this guy named Dresden."

"I'm Dresden," Harry said. "And the two of you killed a vampire of the black court last night."

"Huh," said the shorter one again. "Guess you aren't just a hack."

"Stop being a jerk," said the taller one. He held out his hand. "I'm Sam. This is Dean."

Harry came around from behind his desk and shook Sam's hand. The power he felt coursing through Sam explained it, then, how he'd been able to kill a black court vampire so easily. He was a wizard, a strong one, and probably untrained. It could be a problem.

"Dean," Harry said, reaching for Dean's hand after he let Sam's go.

"Yeah, hi," Dean said. He shook Harry's hand perfunctorily then let it drop. He didn't have power. Harry wondered what had made a wizard and a normal join together and fight the way he'd seen the night before.

"Can you really find stuff?" Dean asked.

Sam elbowed him discreetly.

"Ow."

"We need your help," said Sam. "We're looking for something. Um, here." He dug in his inside coat pocket and Harry tensed, then relaxed when he saw the papers in Sam's hand. Sam spread them out on Harry's desk. "This is Bethan Parvanell," he said, tapping the picture of a very familiar little old woman. "She's not...she's involved in some really dark stuff but we don't think she's doing it herself. The real player, we think, is this guy." He shifted the papers around and showed Harry a blurry photograph. The man in it was nearly unrecognizable, but Harry knew him well enough. "Marcone is his name, big time gangster here in Chicago. And he's looking..." Sam sorted through the surveillance photos and pulled out the picture Harry had been dreading, "for this."

Harry looked down at the photo of the ruby-encrusted locket he'd given to Bethan Parvanell not four hours earlier. "And what is this?"

"Seriously bad juju," Dean said. "We need to find it and destroy it before whoever has it can open it and use the power inside."

"Missouri said you were the best at finding things," Sam told him.

"Missouri?" Harry asked.

"Missouri Mosley," Sam explained.

Harry nodded. He'd met her once or twice at his mentor Ebenezer's ranch. She was a practitioner, though not strong enough to be a full wizard. She was also deadly with a rolled-up dish towel--Harry had been on the snapping end more than once when he got in her way in the kitchen.

"So, can you find this thing?" Dean asked.

"We don't have much money," Sam said, "but we'll pay what we can."

"Let me do some digging," Harry said, sorting through the photographs. They were pictures of Marcone and his thugs, most of whom Harry recognized. "How can I get in touch with you?"

Sam handed him a card with nothing but two phone numbers on it. "You can keep the pictures. We've got copies."

Harry nodded and sighed. "I'll call you by tomorrow night at the latest."

"Summer solstice is in three days," Sam told him. "We think that's when it, whatever it is, is going down."

Harry nodded. It made sense.

"And tell Missouri hi from us when you call her," Sam said before he and Dean turned and left Harry's office.

Harry rubbed his forehead with his right hand. Hell's Bells. If the two men were on the level, and he had a sinking feeling that they were, then he'd just handed an object of dark magic right to one of Chicago's most dangerous men, "Gentleman" Johnny Marcone.

He sighed again and started looking through his desk drawers. There was no point in postponing the inevitable. After five or six minutes of searching, he found what he'd been looking for--a business card for one Missouri Mosley of Lawrence, Kansas.

"Hello, Harry." Missouri's voice was warm and strong, just as he'd remembered it. "I wondered how long it would take you to call."

"How are you, Missouri?" he asked. If he remembered correctly, she was a stickler for polite formalities.

"Fine, just fine. Knee been acting up but that's just 'cause of the rain. How are you?"

"I've been better. You sent two men to me."

"Sam and Dean," Missouri said fondly. "How are those boys?"

"Looking for something."

"They always are. How's Sam doing? He sleeping all right?"

"Um," said Harry.

Missouri let out an annoyed huff. "You call me and you can't even tell me how they're doing?"

"We didn't really make small talk."

"Well, what did they look like? They eating OK? They banged up?"

"They looked healthy," Harry told her. "Strong. Sam's power..."

"Lord, I know," said Missouri. "But he doesn't."

"Doesn't what?"

"Know. Are you paying any attention to this conversation?"

"What doesn't Sam know?"

"That he's a wizard. He knows he's got the gift and I told him he was strong, but he doesn't believe it. Doesn't want to believe it, I should say. Poor thing. You know about his girlfriend."

"Um..."

"Harry Dresden, what do you know?"

"Nothing, that's why I called you. Sam dropped your name and I would like to know at least something about somebody before I work with them. He says hi, by the way."

Missouri made a little pleased sound. "Such a nice boy. Do you know anything about them?"

"Just that they know you and can kill Black Court vampires."

"They're good boys. A little headstrong, and Dean could do with a good whuppin' now and again, but good boys. They grew up hunting, know their way around the community, put themselves in a lot of danger."

"Venatori Umbrorum?" Harry asked.

"Oh, nothing so organized. Most times people come face to face with evil, they refuse to believe it, turn their backs, tell themselves they were seeing things or imagining things, explain it away."

"Yeah," Harry said. He was used to that reaction in a lot of people.

"Sometimes, though, the person's made of strong enough stuff to face it, really wants to know what's out there, wants to know how to fight it. That's what those boys do. They're good at it and they're strong and they know it'll kill 'em one day but they keep on fighting." She sighed sadly.

Harry nodded. Not many people were willing to fight like that and he respected those that were. "So what they're telling me is true."

"Don't know. They're not above lying, if that's what you're asking, and Dean's promises might as well be written on wet tissue paper if he thinks that breaking them will keep him or Sam alive, but I can't see any reason they'd lie to you."

"That's what I was afraid of," Harry said. "Thank you, Missouri."

"Oh, it's no thing. And you tell that good looking mentor of yours I said hello." She hung up with a giggle.

Harry raised his eyebrows. Missouri and Ebenezer? He didn't even want to think about it.

So that was it, then. Sam and Dean were on the level and Harry had just dropped some serious bad juju into the hands of a man he hated almost more than any other.

"Gentleman" Johnny Marcone ran Chicago's underworld with an iron fist. He was ruthless and power hungry and, even worse, calculating and efficient. Harry had soulgazed him once, looked into his eyes and seen the man for what he truly was. It had been unsettling. The man was calm and unshakeable and though he had put a lot of pressure on the city's thugs to reduce the amount of violent crime, he was more than willing to get violent--very violent--when he thought it was necessary. Harry had accepted him as an ally several times in the past, but he had never and would never trust or like the man.

Harry rubbed at his forehead again and picked up his phone. He dialed the top number on the card Sam had given him and gave Dean the directions to McAnally's Pub.

**********


Three hours later, Harry walked into McAnally's. It was his favorite hangout--his only hangout, really. Like always, he had to duck to avoid the thirteen swirling ceiling fans positioned on the ceiling around thirteen carved pillars. McAnally's was a pub designed specifically to neutralize the magical energies of wizards like Harry, not to mention humans with lesser powers and creatures of all sorts. McAnally's was neutral ground, no fighting allowed. It was the perfect place to meet two men, one of whom had obviously been heavily armed and the other of whom had vast amounts of uncontrolled power.

Plus, Harry really, really liked Mac's steak sandwiches and dark microbrew beer.

Sam and Dean were already there, each of them having a beer and a steak. They would have looked relaxed to most observers, but Harry noticed the way they had positioned themselves in such a way that they'd be able to make a quick exit while also being protected from sneak attacks from behind.

Harry asked Mac for a beer and a steak and took the seat next to Sam.

"Dude," Dean said, his bite of steak currently only half-chewed, "this is the best bar in, like, the entire world. I think I'm in love with this steak a little bit."

Sam laughed and shook his head, then took a sip of beer. He looked at Harry thoughtfully for a moment.

"What?" Harry asked. "Something on my face?"

"No. It's quiet in here."

Dean frowned and looked around at the tables of people laughing and drinking.

"I mean, it's..." Sam waved his hand near his head. "It's nice. I don't know."

"Are you prescient?" Harry asked him. He wouldn't normally have asked such a direct question, but he had a feeling Sam was more than willing to talk about it.

"I don't know," Sam admitted.

"If prescient means lame, then yes," said Dean, shoveling another bite of food into his mouth.

Sam kicked him under the table. "He's asking if I can sense things before they happen, ass."

"Then why didn't he just say that?"

"I know it's difficult for you to understand, but some people have this special gift known as a 'vocabulary.'"

"Blah, blah, blah, college boy. Vocab's not going to save your ass in a fire fight."

Harry noticed that during the verbal sparring, both of them were smiling. It seemed to be more something comfortable and familiar than something actually meant to wound.

"I have visions," Sam told Harry. "And sometimes I--ow!"

"Dude," Dean hissed.

Sam pursed his lips and tilted his head to the side as he looked at Dean.

"Ixnay on the isionsvay," Dean whispered.

"Wow. How on earth did you ever come up with that ingenious code, Dean? No one could possibly understand what you just said."

"Bitch. I just..." He slanted his eyes over towards Harry, then looked at Sam with a frown.

"Order's up," Harry said as Mac set his steak on the bar. Mac believed fully that if his patrons wanted food, they were perfectly able to come pick it up themselves. "I'm going to get another round."

He stood and walked towards the bar, ordered three more beers from Mac and lounged on one of the stools while Sam and Dean talked. He took a deep breath, let it out, and Listened. It wasn't a difficult skill to master, most people just didn't bother to take the time.

"--bullet in your head," Dean snapped.

Harry could hear Sam's frustrated huff of breath. "He's not going to kill me because I have visions, Dean."

"Yeah, well, we can't take any chances. We don't know how many other psychic kids are out there, we don't know what people are willing to do to get rid of you."

"He has powers of his own, Dean."

"So? Doesn't mean he can't pop you one between the eyes if he gets a hankering for it. This isn't a discussion, Sam. You keep your powers to yourself."

"You're such an asshole sometimes. He's not going to try and destroy me."

"How do you know?"

"I'm psychic, remember?"

"Fuck you. I'm serious, here. We've got hunters on our asses, we've got the Feds on our asses, we've got demons on our asses, we cannot afford to get sloppy just because you want to share your goddamn feelings."

"He can help me control this. Missouri said so."

"There's nothing to control."

"Right. Hi, I'm Sam Winchester, I'm totally normal except for how I light things on fire with my mind."

"That could have been an electrical short."

"It wasn't an electrical short and you know it. I was pissed and I set a lamp on fire."

"It was an ugly lamp, anyway. It deserved to die."

"That's not the point. The point is that I have no idea what I'm capable of. The point is that if I can find somebody who can teach me how to keep my powers under control, then I want to learn. What if next time, it's you I accidentally set on fire? What if I'm pissed or angry and it makes a refrigerator fall on you?"

"A refrigerator? Dude, that's lame."

"I mean it. I don't know how I started that fire. I don't know how I moved that hutch. I don't know what the visions mean or where they're coming from and if he can help me--"

"No. That's final."

"Fuck you."

"I mean it, Sammy. I'm not going to be around much longer and you have to learn--"

"Shut up," Sam gasped, and Harry could hear sudden tears in his voice. "Don't fucking--"

"The months I've got left are gonna go by fast and if you don't learn to take care--"

"Shut the fuck up. Shut up, Jesus, Dean, don't you ever fucking talk like that. Ever."

Harry could hear the shakiness of Dean's breath. "Sammy," Dean whispered, his voice low and full of tender affection. "Sammy, I--"

"You're not going to die. You're not."

"Sam," Dean whispered, so quietly Harry could barely hear him.

"You're such a fucking idiot, Dean." Sam sounded weary.

"Yeah. I know."

"He can help me. If you want me to learn how to take care of myself then I have to learn how to control whatever this is inside me."

Dean was silent for a long moment. Finally, he whispered, "Fine. But, God, only tell him stuff he needs to know, all right?"

"Yeah," Sam said sadly. "OK."

Harry stopped Listening and spent another couple of minutes at the bar so it wasn't completely obvious that he'd eavesdropped on their conversation. He returned to the table with the beer and his food and none of the spoke again until the steaks were gone and the bottles were empty.

"I talked to Missouri," Harry told them.

"I figured you would," Sam said.

"How is that crazy b--" Sam elbowed Dean in the ribs, "beautiful lady?" Dean asked.

"She said you needed a whupping."

Dean grinned. "She loves me. She's just afraid to show it."

"She said what I was afraid she was going to say, which is that you're on the level."

"Why were you afraid of that?" Sam asked, leaning in.

"Because John Marcone is not someone you want to cross if you want to emerge with all your limbs still attached."

"Pleasant," Dean said, nodding.

"And because I gave him that necklace this morning."

Dean shifted back so quick Harry didn't even have time to register that he was going for his gun until Mac's hand came down, hard, on Dean's gun arm. Mac always seemed to know exactly what was going on in his bar and his always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

"Neutral territory," Mac said firmly.

"It's all right," Harry said. "If I'd done what he thinks I'd done, I'd deserve to get shot."

Dean left his gun in the waistband of his pants and slowly moved his arms until both his hands were resting on the table. Only then did Mac let go and step back. "Explain it to me," Dean said.

"Old lady came in to see me about a stolen family heirloom. Nothing seemed off about it except for a Black Court vampire happened to be lurking close to where I finally found the thing. I thought it was coincidence at the time, which makes me an idiot. I've really got to stop believing in coincidence."

"Bethan Parvanell," Sam said.

Harry nodded. "I have to tell you, though, I didn't feel any magical energy on the thing and I touched it with my bare hands."

"Bait and switch, maybe?" Dean asked. "Vamps guard a worthless copy so nobody can find it and they can eat you if you try?"

"Maybe," Harry said. "Though I like the idea of the Black Court having it even less than Marcone."

"So one way were screwed, the other way we're fucked," Sam said, leaning back in his chair and heaving a frustrated sigh.

"Come on, Sammy, those are our favorite odds." Dean seemed strangely cheerful at the thought of going up against at least one of two possibly unbeatable foes. "Show him the thing."

"The what? Oh. Right." Sam dug in his pocket and pulled out a little plastic baggie. "Did you happen to notice if the necklace you found was missing any rubies?"

"One, on the lower right hand corner."

Sam held up the baggie and flicked it a couple times with his fingernail. "The missing ruby enough for you to find where it is?"

Harry grinned and took the baggie from Sam, looked at the small gem inside it. "More than enough," he said. "You boys feel like a road trip?"

"Now you're speaking our language," Dean said, rapping the table with his knuckles.

When they got outside to Harry's car, Dean stopped dead.

"What?" Harry asked.

"Oh, hell no," Dean said, shaking his head. "No, no, no, and no again just so you know that I mean no. I am not riding in that car."

"It's perfectly safe," Harry assured him.

"Fuck safe. If I rode in that car, I'd have to kick my own ass for being so fucking lame. We're taking my car."

"But--" Harry began, trying to warn Dean that the magical energies that surrounded him tended to do things like cause fuses to short and engines to blow.

"He's really serious about cars," Sam said, stuffing his hands in his pockets and following Dean up the street. "He's not going to give in."

Harry sighed and followed Sam. Dean would have to learn the hard way, he supposed, though it was a wonder that a car had withstood Sam's level of magic.

Dean's car was parked in an alley, black in the shadows where few people would notice it. It was from the 60s, Harry was pretty sure, which was probably how they kept it running with Sam riding in it. The older, simpler engines weren't as vulnerable to energy fields as newer technologies.

Dean was already getting into the driver's seat when Harry rounded the corner. Sam went straight to the passenger seat, which left Harry with the back.

"I need a minute," he said and fished around in the pockets of his long leather duster. After a moment he found a bit of twine and threaded it through a hole he poked in the plastic baggie. He paused to create a circle, dangled the baggie from the twine, and after a bit of thaumaturgy--ritual magic that drew connections between pieces of things and the whole--he was ready to go. The ruby would lead them towards the rest of the locket.

"It's more art than science," Harry explained as the ruby in the baggie rose towards the north west. "The spell doesn't understand streets, just direction. It's that way, but we'll have to drive around to find a way there."

"No worries," Dean said, turning the key in the ignition. He smiled as the car rumbled to life. "My girl's never let me down yet."

Harry had to admit that Dean's big, black muscle car was much cooler than the Blue Beetle. Harry wasn't used to feeling cool since he pretty much never had been, but he did take a moment to lean back in the seat and enjoy it.

It took over an hour and more than a few U-turns and dead ends, but eventually they came to a warehouse building with the words Olcott Trucking painted on the side.

"Keep driving," Harry said.

"But the ruby's pointing--" Sam began.

"Keep driving," Harry snapped. "Olcott Trucking is one of Marcone's fronts. He's probably got the road under surveillance in every direction and we don't want to slow down and make them look at us too closely."

"Why don't we just drive in there, grab the thing, and destroy it?" Dean asked.

"Because Marcone has an army at his command, not all of them human. Without a plan, we won't stay alive five minutes. Besides, we don't even know what the locket does, let alone how to destroy it."

He expected them to argue with him, but neither one of them did. Sam tipped his head against the window and closed his eyes. Dean hummed along with some sort of 70s rock that Harry probably should have recognized but didn't.

"We've been researching the locket for weeks," Sam said tiredly, not opening his eyes. "We're tapped out. We know it's Bavarian, we know it disappeared for 60 years and just reappeared in the last few months, but that's about it."

"It's a start," Harry said.

"We need better books," Sam said. He yawned, and even though it was dark out, Harry didn't miss the way Dean grinned and ruffled Sam's hair. Sam batted his hand away but didn't really seem bothered.

"You always think the solution is in books," Dean said. "We've been looking at fucking books for weeks."

"I have better books," Harry said, and gave Dean directions to his apartment.

Part Two

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
_lemon_lyman_
Jun. 7th, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC)
Hey, this looks/sounds super good and I have it bookmarked to read, but I'm working my way through the Dresden books now and wanna avoid being spoiled if I can, so any spoilers beyond book 5? (or am I on 6? whichever one Blood Rights is, that's the last one I read.)
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