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The Matter of Chicago: A Dresden Files AU
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July 2013
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Luce [userpic]
BOOK TWO: putting out your fires with gasoline [4/?]

Table of Contents

Title: putting out your fires with gasoline, Book Two of The Matter of Chicago
Rating/Warnings: NC-17 overall, PG currently
Word Count: This chapter: 4,875. This book: 20,045.

Notes: This is a good time to get caught up. The plot's going to get even more heavy after this point, up until the end of this arc. Also, I'd like to preemptively apologize for the lame self-indulgent scene in Chapter Five.

Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three

of lessons and guidance

Father Vincent was apparently a patron of Fed-Ex. Who knew?

The Shroud samples arrived just a little while after Charity, Sanya, and Michael got back. I signed for a package that turned out to be a small glass case with a single thread framed in the center.

I walked to the kitchen and put a dollar in the swear jar before marching back out and announcing, "You have got to be fucking kidding me."

Michael held up a hand and I tossed the little case to him. He looked at it solemnly, handling it carefully with both hands. "Is something wrong with it?"

"It's a single thread, and not even a very big one at that." I ran both hands through my hair, blowing out a slow breath. "That complicates things." And we didn't have time for complications. If the Vatican managed to trace the Churchmice to Chicago, well, no offense to the Vatican, but I couldn't help but think they'd be two steps behind a group of people who'd had such an illustrious career in crime and had never been caught. The Shroud was going to John soon.

"How so?"

"It's a very small sample. And it's been separated from the Shroud since the Eighties. It won't have the oomph for two attempts. So I basically have one shot at this, right?"

Michael nodded. "Sure."

"Well, the tracking spell won't last indefinitely and I'm worried it won't be that strong."

Sanya frowned, looking disappointed. "So it won't work."

"Oh, it'll work. But we need to know where the hand-off is going to happen first so we can be in the area." I joined the others in the living room. Sanya was helping himself to one of the last pieces of pizza Shiro and I left as Charity read the paper and Michael borrowed Shiro's sharpening stone. He dragged it slowly against the blade of Amoracchius, steadily working on it. I needed some brainstorming help, so I asked the room at large, "If I were a neurotic, paranoid mafia overlord, where would I want the buy to happen?"

Charity shook her head. "Seller's market. If these Churchmice worked so hard to get the Shroud and smuggle it to Chicago, they're going to set the terms. They have the most to lose."

"And they hold the physical Shroud. They hold the power in the deal, not Marcone," Shiro said.

Good point. "So if I were a bunch of Catholic artifact smugglers, where would I want the sell to happen?"

Sanya hummed loudly and put his pizza down. We waited for him to chew and lick the grease off his fingers. "Somewhere public. They are in someone else's territory. Marcone has the, how do you say.... home field advantage?"

Charity nodded along. "They'd want to keep away from him until the drop. He likely won't know where it'll be until it's time to make the deal. If he doesn't have forewarning--"

"--He can't put goons all over, take out the Churchmice, and get the Shroud for a five-finger discount." I sighed. That made things clearer. If we were right, anyway. "If I still had access to his schedule, I could make a guess to where it'd be happening."

Sometimes the Fae had really good timing. I heard a tapping noise on the glass leading to the porch. Shiro was closest and leaned over to move the curtains. "Harry."

I got up and went to look. Outside the door, knocking on the glass to get our attention, was Toot-toot. He was holding one of the Outfit pagers in both hands, the weight of it making him buzz his wings frantically to stay aloft. Score.

I opened the door and gave Toot my hand to land on. He did so gladly and rested on my palm as I took the pager and passed it to Sanya. It was best I didn't touch the thing too much. It would suck to scramble the thing before getting to use it. "Hey there, Toot. Were you seen?"

"You doubt me, Harry Dresden?" Toot huffed, half out of anger, half out of breath. He took a hovering leap to my shoulder and sat there. I let him; he'd done what I needed, so I couldn't begrudge him a break. "Took box from one of the squires while they weren't looking. You did not mention how heavy this box would be."

"Sorry, Toot." I walked back to the coffee table and picked up the last slice of pizza. I took it and Toot out onto the porch and set them both on the guard rail. "Last one I have, it's all yours."

I left him out there to enjoy his pizza and rejoined the others. Sanya was already messing with the pager. I went to stand on the other side of the room, giving the device a wide berth.

The Russian Knight frowned at the display. "What is this? Some kind of code? Athena, Ganymede, BT LSD1, FA, IOI..."

"John's people have this network they're all tapped into. I think you get more access if you're higher up in the Outfit, but they use that to coordinate things and keep track of people," I said. "I was hoping that we could use that to get an idea of what John's got cooking and keep an eye on things."

"I see. It could be a good aid in our search."

Charity folded her newspaper in half, peering intently at one of the pages. "Sanya, is there anything on that pager about this evening?"

Sanya bowed his head and started fiddling with the buttons again. I wandered over to stand behind Charity. "Why, what's up?"

She wordlessly held the paper out to me, tapping a finger against a column on the city events page. The column was titled Historical Arts Society's soiree for charity. Soiree? Really? I skimmed the article about the Chicago group that donated extensively to art programs for the city schools and to the contemporary art museum to fund exhibits and yearly festivals. "What am I looking for here?"

"Last paragraph," Charity said.

I read: The evening gala will be hosted by CHAS chairman John Marcone in the Drake Hotel's Gold Coast Room.


"That does narrow things down a bit."

I took a good chunk of the emergency fund and handed it to Sanya. If we were going to gatecrash a formal party with mob security, we needed disguises. Michael had his Sunday best that would barely work if he wore a bowtie, but the other two Knights hadn't come to Chicago expecting to need tuxedos and mine was back home.

"You and Shiro rent some tuxes for us."

"You're not coming?" Shiro asked me, looking me slowly up and down. "Should we take your measurements?"

"No rental place is going to have anything that fits me. Just get the longest pants you can. I'll make do." It took heavy tailoring to make me look good in anything, so I didn't have high hopes for this. "I have to stay here and get the rest of the stuff ready."

I excused myself to the house extension where I'd left my things. The Historical Arts Society's soiree was in just a few hours and I had a lot to take care of. There was the matter of finding the Shroud, but also I was sure we were going to need some magical help in making sure John didn't catch us. If he did, I couldn't see a way for us to rescue the Shroud. Not without some open combat with John and his people and, well. I wasn't sure I could go that far. Not so soon.

I laid out all the tools I had brought to the Carpenters' over a table that was basically just some plywood supported by cinder blocks. Nothing like my set-up at home, but it'd have to do. After taking stock, I unwrapped Bob from the linen and set him next to the array of magical ingredients. I gave a loud tap against his cranium and he came awake.

"This isn't the lab," he said slowly.

"How astute of you to notice." I stacked a few more cinder blocks by the makeshift table so I could sit on them. "We're laying low at the Carpenters for a while. So, while we're here, you're not to speak or show signs of being more than a skull unless it's just you and me in a room. Only exception being if someone tries to hurt you or something."

"All right, all right. We have spent your entire adult life hiding me from the Wardens, Harry. I can do subtle, unlike some people I could mention." When I didn't laugh or banter back, his eyelights dimmed soberly. "What's going on?"

"I need a veiling potion of some kind."

"I've given you a recipe for that. Remember? With the loup garou?"

"Yeah, but I'm missing a lot of stuff. Here." I set Bob so he could see everything I had to work with. "We need another recipe, something I can make with what I have here. I have only a few hours to get things ready. I can't be running around looking for ingredients right now."

Bob whistled softly. "I see. This is not ideal..."

"Nothing about this is ideal. Take a look, see what you can come up with. I have a tracking spell to prepare for."

Delegation complete, I started working on how I was going to find the Shroud. I made a career off my tracking abilities. Every wizard had their aptitudes and mine lay in redirecting and channeling energy, making connections and manipulating those connections to get the outcome I wanted. That was Thaumaturgy in a nutshell, my specialty. Despite what everyone said about me, I was good at things that didn't include setting things on fire. I could string together a tracking spell off nothing.

I took an old compass Charity had unearthed from her jewelry box and worked on dismantling it with a tiny eyeglass screwdriver. A little creative magic demagnetized the thing, leaving the needle tilting aimlessly under the glass. Popping out the bottom and removing the mechanism, I took the Shroud thread out of its case and used some tweezers to carefully twist it around the long spoke of the compass, murmuring softly as I did my go-to tracking spell. "Segui notro testatum," over and over, imploring my will to move from my hands to the compass and work into the metal and glass. I would have usually added a spot of my blood or a lock of my hair by now to tie the spell to me, but I didn't want to do that with this one. The others needed to be able to use my Shroud-detector in the event that I got taken out somehow.

"Boss," Bob said while I was still thinking about how I wanted to go about that. "Got an idea. Write this down."

I grabbed a pen and the moleskine I tended to fill with notes on magical theory and spell components. Bob rattled off a recipe, explaining as he went. It was different, but given what he had to work with, I was impressed. It'd do the trick as nicely as anything else he'd given me in the past.

"Great, I'll get that going. Going to need a big batch for all four of us."

"I expect good payment for this. I'm working with limited resources and deserve a... uh." Without another word, Bob's eyes went dark.

I blinked in surprised, but without his chatter, I could hear why he'd shut up. There were timid steps approaching, lighter than Michael's or Charity's would be on the unfinished floor of the expansion. I went quiet, waiting for whoever it was with one hand on my blasting rod.

Molly poked her head around the door. Her body stayed mostly hidden by the frame and she looked nervous. "Hey, Harry."

"Molly," I said evenly. "Back from your test?"

She smiled faintly. "Yeah, um, it was okay. S-so Mom sent me to see if you needed any help?"

I let go of my blasting rod and sat back on my little cinder block chair. "Your mother sent you to see if I needed help with my magic?" That didn't sound like Charity. At all.

Molly winced and looked at the ground. "Okay, so maybe while we were out, Daniel read me the riot act about trying to set you up with Sanya while you're having trouble with John and I felt really bad?"

I nodded. "That sounds much more likely." She was toeing the ground and not looking at me and just seeming completely miserable. I sighed and decided to throw her a line. "Want to watch some magic?"

Her face lit up like Christmas and she bounced over. "I won't get in the way, I promise."

"Yeah, yeah. Grab a cinder block, sit, and please, please don't touch anything." I got my bunsen burner going for my potion brewing as she sat next to me. She was practically vibrating with excitement. I never noticed some great interest in magic from her before. Now, she watched my hands work avidly as I collected the ingredients I needed from the mess on the table and set them aside.

"So, what're you doing?"

"Potion brewing. The Knights and I need to lie low tonight at a fancy dress party. Three swordsmen and a wizard tend to draw attention." I set the pot on the burner and measured out my first component: normal Chicago tap water. I poured it into the pot and waited for it to heat a little.

Molly leaned forward on her tucked legs, her elbows on her knees, her chin balanced on her fists and her eyes wide and curious.

She didn't need to ask. I could tell she wanted a rundown. "Look, don't try any of this on your own. It doesn't work without talent in the Art anyway, so if you don't have some magic in you, it'll just end up being a mix of non-edible symbolism and it's just not a good idea. Got it?"

She nodded. "Okay, so what'd you just do?"

A smile fought across my face. Her enthusiasm was obvious. "Potions start with a base that sets the tone of the potion and gives you to something to actually drink. I'm using tap water from the city line because it's something everyone is familiar with, but its taste kind of varies from place to place sometimes."

Molly kept nodding, though her brow creased a little. If she had any questions, she held onto them for the moment. So I went on, grabbing the next ingredient. "What I'm going for is a potion that will act as a veil."


"Illusory shield. I'm not good at veil magic so I need a potion to do the heavy lifting for me. This one will make anyone who looks at us see what they want to see." Shreds of newspaper went into the pot, the ink staining my fingers as I dropped it in. Perfect.

"What's the newspaper for?"

"Well, after the base, a potion gets seven ingredients, each compelling a certain sense. The newspaper is for the touch." I showed her my hands. "See how the ink clings to my fingers? Something mundane and simple, but easily spread. This'll let me apply the veil to whatever I'm holding. So if I get my hands on the Shroud, no one will notice me carrying it around."

"Gotcha. What's after touch?"

I grabbed the next closest thing. It was a little bag filled with chips of wood. Each was painted white on one side. I tipped some into the pot. "Mind. White picket fence. It's cliche, but it represents something everyone wants or hears they should want. Still mundane, but pretty universal."

Molly pursed her lips. "Hm. Maybe for Americans."

I frowned at her. "Well, yeah?"

"I'm just saying. It's not universal. Just really common around here."

"I was generalizing." I shrugged. "I'm the one brewing the potion. It's my magic that's going to make the whole thing work. So if the symbolism works for me, it'll make a good potion."

She laughed and held her hands up. "Okay, okay, got it. What's next?"

I added sound, a half-remembered song I'd sealed in a bottle. For spirit, I burned a sealed envelop and added the ashes. A piece of a fogged, imperfectly made mirror acted for sight. Smell was a bit of the air off the lake, taken early one morning, filled with potential and wonder. And finally for taste, I added one of the oatmeal raisin cookies Charity made, nothing extravagant, but welcome and comforting.

I finished it off with some of my will, and the product was a big batch of potion that was permeating, soothing, and illusory. It seemed to speak, simmering in the air. Calm down, nothing strange to see here. It wasn't strong enough that the party-goers would see us as what they most desired, but it'd make us seem like what they wanted to see. Other attendees, maybe members of security or the hotel staff. As long as we didn't look like ourselves, it'd work. Oddly enough, the potion was just tapping into something that mundanes already had in spades-- denial. It invited an observer to see what was safe and acceptable. Not three swordsmen and a wizard, basically.

"Cool," Molly said in a softly awed tone of voice. I smirked. It was nice to share magic with an appreciative audience.

"Want to help me out?"

She practically jumped to attention. "Sure!"

I handed her a needle. "Go find your dad, ask him to prick his finger on that. I need a little bit of blood."

Molly took the needle and bounded off, all youthful vitality and excitement. I watched her go, vaguely pleased. I wasn't sure Charity would approve of me showing Molly a little magic, but it wasn't like she could emulate anything I did. And I liked Molly. Sure, some of the time she drove me crazy and I wanted her to get past her teenage years as fast as she could, but she was a good kid and seemed to like my company as much as I liked hers.

I enjoyed being Uncle Harry. It was a weird almost-responsibility. I was there when I was needed, but obviously had my own life out of the house.

Or, I hoped I did. But I still refused to think about the future, about John, about what would happen after dealing with this Shroud business. I just wanted to focus on my job and get is sorted. I could deal with everything else afterward.

Bob winked one eye on, glancing around, then fixed both his eyes on me. "Well, isn't she scrumptious," he opined happily.

I pointed sternly at Bob. "No. Off limits. Completely off limits. Leave the girl alone."

"But think of the possibilities, boss! She's all nubile and dying to know about magic. You're older, more experienced, and a font of magic knowledge. One thing leads to another--"

"No. Ugh, no, Bob, that's gross." I pulled a face. Even the idea of it was just... wrong. That deep knee-jerk kind of wrong that came with thinking about family like that. Hell's bells.

"In that case, what about me? I'm older, more experienced, and know far more than you do of magic. I could teach her so much."

"Bob," I said warningly.

Bob sighed explosively. "If you let me have some time with her, I'd never ask you for payment ever again?"

"I'll pass on that deal, thanks."

"Your loss. Well, not really," he muttered in a disappointed tone, and his eyelights went out again.

Molly came back, holding the pin in one hand, her other cupped under it. "Here..."

"Thanks." I grabbed the compass and flipped it over. Taking the bloodied needle from Molly, I tapped Michael's blood onto the compass. Once I got a good few drops on the flat side, I burned the remaining blood off the needle. Grabbing another one, I pricked my own thumb and added my blood too. The remaining I again burned, leaving a faint acrid smell of coppery smoke in the air.

Molly watched intently. "Why'd you do that?"

I blew gently on the blood, urging it to dry. "If I use both mine and Michael's blood on this, both of us can use it. If something happens to me--"

"No, I got that, actually. Why'd you burn the blood? Sterilizing?"

I shook my head. "No. Leaving your blood around is dangerous in the supernatural world. Someone with magic ability can use Thaumaturgy to--" Molly raised her eyebrows at me. "Thaumaturgy. Form of magic dealing with interconnectivity. Someone good at Thaumaturgy can use your blood, your hair, your Name, or any item that's important to you to get a lock on you."

She shuffled over and sat down by me again. "My name?"

"No, your Name," I said, enunciating the capital N carefully. "If you can help it, never give anyone your full name from your lips. If a warlock gets ahold of it, they can use it to do some nasty things to you. If you ever have to give it, try to say it wrong."

To say she looked skeptical would be an understatement. "If you don't want to tell me, that's fine, you know."

"I'm serious. There are hundreds of John Smiths in the world, but each one says it differently. Knowing precisely how someone pronounces their Name can give you a link to them. For the straights, it lasts for a few months. For wizards or anyone with magic, it'll last longer before it gets stale. Immortals, their Name is absolute. That's why we can summon creatures of the Nevernever by getting their Name."

"I... Okay." She looked perplexed by what I was telling her. For her, this was all new. I'd grown up knowing these dangers. "I'm not sure I get it... Why do magical people's Names last longer?"

"It's... complicated." I glanced to the window, noticing how the sun was starting to set. Sanya and Shiro would be back soon. I got busy pouring the cooling veil potion into some individual bottles, one for each of us. "It's not something you need to deal with."

"But what if it is? Or, uh." She folded her hands in her lap, her knuckles white. "I'm curious. Come on."

I looked down at her hands, then at her face. "Mols, why so curious?"

"I can't be interested?"

There was no reason she couldn't be. But something seemed off. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to pinpoint what, exactly. "Magic is deeply linked to a person's nature. Mundanes, you guys change your nature regularly. You're always evolving, deciding to be someone else. If I have your Name, for instance, I probably couldn't use it for more than a week since teenagers are, you know. Teenagers."

"But with magical people?"

"We're... by no means immutable, but having a wizard's Name connects you to his magic. You can summon him by it or bind him or try to hold sway over him. It's like how a wizard doesn't break a vow on his power lightly. It'll destroy our magic. It's leverage. Mundanes don't have that to worry about, so there's less to control." That was the extreme layman's version, but Molly was nodding along, seeming to understand more. "Okay, I gotta wrap this up and get ready. It's going to be a rough night."

"Right, yeah." She got to her feet and stood over for me for a sec, not leaving. "Hey, Uncle Harry?"


"Are you... okay? With everything going on and John..." She gestured aimlessly, but I understood what she meant.

"I'm fine."

"Sure. But if you weren't and if... if this doesn't go well for you and him..." She cleared her throat. "We are building this big expansion. We'll have room, you know."

My hands stilled. "I know, Mols."

"'Kay. I just wanted you to know that. That we'd be happy to share. All the little Jawas love you and I do too, okay?"

My throat was getting tight. This was not the time to be reminded that the Carpenters had spent the last year or two absorbing me into their family. It didn't get better when Molly stepped up behind me and hugged me, her arms tight around my shoulders. "I know you think I'm just a teenager, but if you wanted to talk, I'd listen. And I wouldn't tell anyone. I can keep secrets."

I tentatively reached up and put one of my hands over hers. "Yeah. Same to you, kiddo."


"Yeah." I swallowed around the lump in my throat. "Go see if your mom and dad need help getting ready."

She did, but not before giving me a quick kiss against my hair. She left me quickly, like she was embarrassed by all the sudden emotions going on. I couldn't blame her. It took more focus than it should have to stop shaking minutely and get a cork in each potion bottle. Stars, I was just a wreck lately.

Bob agreed. "You," he said quietly, "are such a girl."

"Shut up, Bob."

I got myself together and went to meet everyone in the living room, potions under my arm and compass ready. The blood had dried on it and it was just waiting for me to set it off before it'd be honing in on the Shroud.

Michael was already dressed in a suit and tie, looking nice but maybe too homespun with that beard of his. With the potion, it would work though, even with his sword slung over his back. The rest of us changed into our rented tuxes. Shiro and Sanya's looked fine, especially Sanya's if I let myself be shallow about it. But mine... didn't. Not like the one John got me, anyway. It was almost long enough in the legs, but I had to be careful to keep the pants from falling. The jacket was too short as well, not quite covering my wrists. Being tall was a real pain sometimes.

"I also rented us a limo," Sanya said. "Shiro suggested it might make us look more, ah... legitimate."

"Good idea." I hadn't thought about it, but no magic I was capable of would have kept us veiled if we showed up in Michael's truck or the minivan. "What was left over?"

Sanya frowned. "Left over?"

"The cash?"

"Oh! Ah..." He got a bashful look. "I spent it all. I assumed a man carrying that sort of currency around was not hard for money. Was I wrong?"

I sighed. Crap. I didn't have much left over from my fund, and with my bank account likely still frozen... That was going to make my life difficult, especially if this didn't blow over as I hoped. John wouldn't keep my account away from me indefinitely but I knew how stubborn he could be. It didn't look good for me.

I couldn't indulge in a pity party. I had work to do. "Okay, I have potions for each of us. Don't take them now," I said, giving a bottle to each of the Knights. "I'm not sure how long they'll last. But they'll make you appear inconspicuous to anyone at the soiree. They might see you as another guest or an employee though, so be ready to play along if you have to.

"This compass," I held it up, "will help pinpoint the Shroud. I'll activate it when we get close. It'll work for both Michael and me. It should point to where we need to go."

Michael took over from there. "We looked up the Drake's layout while you two were gone and Harry was busy. The Gold Coast Room is at the far end of the ground floor with access to the mezzanine level. If the Shroud's being held in one of the guest rooms, we should have a better shot leaving through the mezzanine and heading for the stairs from there. If it's in the basement, we'll have to figure out a way of getting down there undetected."

I hated having to play it by ear, but we didn't have time to do any recon on the hotel. I added to that, "If you see Marcone, steer clear. We don't want to try to stop him because we'll fail, trust me. We just need to get the Shroud before he does and we're golden."

"Unless the Order shows up," Shiro pointed out. Pessimist.

I shrugged. "We'll handle them if we have to."

"If it comes to that," Michael said, "get the Shroud to Harry and he'll escape with it while we hold off the Denarians."

"Michael, I appreciate your concern for my safety, but--"

He cut me off. "Actually, I just thought you'd have the best shot at it, Harry. Remember when you jumped out of Lake Point Tower?"

Oh. Right. I guess I did have a knack for grand escapes. "Okay, fair enough. I could do that." If I took a moment to double-check the latch of my shield bracelet, no one noticed.

This wasn't going to go well. I could feel it.

At the time, I had no idea just how wrong it'd go.

Chapter Five

This chapter should've been called "of foreshadowing" amirite

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OMG this was great! I actually appreciated a little breather before all the heavy stuff come down next chapter. ^_^ And aw, Molly was so using him but was sweet about it, so yay? Pesky kids. But that line about them having space for Harry was just ... ::sniffs:: Liking the potion! I feel like Butcher kind of gave up on potions later in the series. They were fun. :)

Apparently Butcher considers potions a crutch that Harry didn't need anyone one he got into hardcore spell-slinging. But I am not Butcher and I really like them. 8D

That's a shame. And Snape would not approve!

Oooh, lovely interaction with Molly, and I'm looking forward to self indulgent scene in the next chapter. I'm all about self-indulgent scenes.

Molly is actually quite fun when she's not pressing all my squick buttons. Glad you liked!

One of the (many, many) things I loved about the first book was how the lack of money troubles gave Harry the chance to build up his friendships with his loved ones, and I'm glad to see the results continuing here. I'm a ridiculous sap, so it's always so wonderful when fic writers do something about that painful longing Harry has for family and a home.

Which is basically long-hand for 'Molly's hug and invitation to stay with her family is pretty much the highlight of my day, thank you for that.'

And also, thank you for this altered relationship with Molly. Honestly my opinion of her varies from book to book (if not chapter to chapter), especially when Harry... addresses certain things about her (i.e. her crush and especially her looks). Not exactly my favorite bits, those. But it's good to see hints that things shaping up to give her a better chance than Butcher did. Maybe since she grew up with more exposure to Harry--did she call him uncle in canon? I can't recall--and sees him as family and someone very much in a relationship with someone else, she won't have that rock star/idol crush messing with her common sense.

Thanks for the new chapter! I'll just be over here in the corner, re-reading.

I was surprised at how much I really started to enjoy writing Molly in this chapter! I mean, in the book, I fucking hated Proven Guilty and I find Molly really uncomfortable. But in MoC, the relationship is different and Harry's more genuinely an uncle figure. Once you strip out the problematic infatuation part of Molly and Harry's relationship... She's really fun to write.

I don't think they call him uncle in canon... Hm.

Glad you liked! 8D

Your updates fill me with joy. They also wreck havoc on my schoolwork, since between this and the Dresden meme and the Sherlock meme, I'm...accomplishing almost nothing, except at the last minute. >.>

This version of Molly seems so sweet. Hopefully she'll also be less wrecked.

Also, and I know you kind of addressed this in another comment, but I'm curious: how AU is your storyline? I know the obvious changes that Harry directly influenced have changed, but what about background plots that could have still occurred without his intervention, like Summer Knight's fairy upheaval?

I know that feeling. Ugh, schoolwork...

:thinks about: "Less"? Hm... Maybe. Certainly differently wrecked tho.

I'm not doing Summer Knight because... unlike Death Masks, I have nothing interesting to add to the canon. My basic rule is that if I can't take the canon, twist it in such a way that it makes almost a new story, then I ignore it. The only reason DM is getting a retread here is because it's a defining arc for Marcone's character, and Book Two is all about his character arc. For events like that, just assume they didn't happen or that someone else took care of them.

Hm. About what I figured. It would probably be more of a headache to have it happen in the background anyway, considering what Harry prevented in the first place.

Its midnght and i was asleep but i woke up and thought to check my LJ and what is this wonderful thing i see???

Ganymede = Michael? How scandalous XDD What's LSD1, though, security? Force Authorized?! =o= Now I'm real curious. Information on Incident, possibly? I don't remember what happened in the book, it's really been quite a while and I won't have time until after exams to go for a re-read. But, I can see how the whole thing could go sideways in an instant.

Aww, th suit doesn't fit. I guess it didn't cross his mind to bring the formal clothes John bought him. Though that would be a painful reminder.

But wouldn't Marcone want to see Dresden? Though I guess right now he's split between Harry and the Shroud. I wonder how the rest of the goons would see them if they're told to look for them.

Ganymede is one of Marcone's clubs. It was mentioned in the Interlude. LSD1 refers to something going down on Lake Shore Drive. (This isn't going to come up in the fic, so I'll just tell ya. 8D)

Oohh, freebie? *makes grabby hands* No! Must resist rereading long fics before exams are over >_<

Aside from reading your fic I also like reading everyone's cmments. It's been asked a couple or so times already so maybe it would help to just make a general Note about the different world you're hoping to take your fiction?

I really love reading the teaching moment between Harry and Molly as well as her telling him he'll always have a place to stay. :)

I never hated Molly's character in canon verse. Sure, it was weird seeing her have a crush on Harry, but they have fun interactions most of the time. Such as her replacing his coffee with OJ and telling him to not eat donuts. Also, trying to cook healthy food for him, but instead, burning a boiled egg. :D
But I really like really this bonding moment between them. I hope it turns out better for Molly than in the book.

My issue with Molly was less her and more how Harry reacted to her. But I digress. Glad you liked!

Mols, need to work on your subtlety...

Oh, why start now?

Yay new chapter!

I have it in my head that the potion just won't work on Marcone. He's always aware of his surroundings, he normally obsesses over Harry anyway, and now they've had a falling out? Harry keeps stumbling on the thought of Marcone, but that's a regular thing for someone fresh out of a relationship. Marcone would have that only worse, because even if he's good at blocking out his extraneous thoughts, his self control has started going out the window where Harry is concerned. Now that Harry is connected in his mind with that little girl, that's just another layer of obsession.

Harry? Avoiding Marcone's notice? Naaaaaah

Aren't some of things in Summer Knight really important, putting aside Elaine and Harry's involvement in preventing the apocalypse? Like Lea selling Harry's debt to Mab? Oh, and what happened to Kravos? Did he die in a boring way, or did he die by ritualistic suicide in prison after getting caught? Because if he did, that's a lot of people getting hurt just because Harry's no longer directly involved with them.

Are we gonna learn the pager codes eventually?

I want to see you write Lash. You have no idea how much I want this.

About the potion... :smiles: You'll see. :finger to lips:

I... don't deny that SK and a lot of stuff in the books I'm not covering are important in the original canon. But they're kind of not here? Some stuff you mentioned-- especially Harry's debt-- will come up in this book, but the rest? I'm trying to say this without sounding like an asshole or pretentious but... Basically the plot of The Matter of Chicago is not beholden to the plot of the original books. DM is being remixed only because it's vital to John's character arc. The next arc is going to be pretty close to brand new, and Book Three's plot is almost wholly new. Kravos? He either never existed in this universe of Harry took care of him with John's help in the months between this book and Book One. The Faerie apocalypse? I don't know. As I mentioned above, I have nothing compelling or interesting to the plot of SK, so I won't tackle it. It'd be superfluous and not good reading. And if the Faerie apocalypse never happened, I would imagine Elaine is still Summer's. Maybe she'll turn up, but it won't be until Book Three, I would think.

I'm very sorry if this sounds like I'm blowing you off or something. I promise I'm not. I just... Every single event of Book Two is sketched out in the plot outline, and certain canon events just aren't going to happen.

S-sorry... I'll stop raining on your parade now. :shuffles away:

You're not raining on my parade or anything, don't worry! :) I was just curious as to whether or not they would matter in the long run. There are all these other events that would spiral out of control very quickly if Harry wasn't around to keep them in check. So, I was wondering if I should be watching out for the repercussions of them being different. I like your way better though, since I don't have to keep referring to the canon to find out which events should happen when.

Oh, good! I'm sorry, I know a lot of people have these expectations and I'm trying to work some in (Mouse, Thomas, Ivy, for example, have been worked into the plot) and I wanna please, but I also have this... stupid and complicated plot. So. Yeah. If someone/thing you wanted to see show up doesn't, it's not personal. I'm just telling a different story from Butcher.

So I guess the rule of thumb should be if I don't mention it, it didn't happen in this AU? IDK. :coughs:

Mouse, Thomas, Ivy, whoever, if they show up I'm sure to start squeeing to see your take on them.

Thanks for clearing stuff up for me!

I wasn't sure Charity would approve of me showing Molly a little magic, but it wasn't like she could emulate anything I did.

Oh, if only you knew, Harry.

I have to say, I really love the way you write the interactions between Harry and the Carpenters. They really feel like a family, you know?

And Toot is, as always, awesome. Toot should be in more fics. :)

but it wasn't like she could emulate anything I did. Oh Harry. LITTLE DOES HE KNOW.


*starts humming a funeral march?*

Go, Molly! :D (And... pfft, Bob!)