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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 (13/?)

Table of Contents

Title: putting out your fires with gasoline, Book Two of The Matter of Chicago
Rating/Warnings: PG, no warnings.
Word Count: uh, I'll get the new word count next time around.

Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four | Chapter Five | Chapter Six | Chapter Seven | Chapter Eight | Chapter Nine | Chapter Ten | Chapter Eleven | Chapter Twelve

Notes: Let's not even talk about how much Florida is kicking my ass. JFC.

"What the hell is the Dionysus?" I asked after Charity finished reading aloud the article to the living room. Michael had returned home from work and he, Charity, and I were trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

Molly was hovering in the doorway. The adults of the household-- and me-- were upset about something, which drew her like a moth to a bonfire. "It's a club over in Beverly," she said helpfully. "Kind of risque, you know? There's a lot of drugs and stuff going on there." In unison, the three of us looked up at her. She blushed. "So I hear."

"And John owns it?"

"I guess?"

Michael added, "It was built by a company that gets most of its work from him, I believe."

Given how much real estate business John did, I wasn't surprised. I looked back to Molly. "What have you heard about it?"

"Um." She was plainly nervous. "N-nothing, really." Her eyes kept darting to her mother. She knew more, I was sure of it, but was not going to say anything in front of Charity. I made note of that before leaning back against the sofa to think.

Susan's article had been a bit sensationalist, but clear. John had built a swath of nightclubs: Ganymede in gay-friendly Boystown, Atropos for older party-goers in River North, Orpheus tucked away near the Art Institute, Ouranos in the Gold Coast sprawled over the open-air top floor of a building, and now Dionysus in Beverly. To the average mortal, they just seemed like a line of thematically named nightclubs targeting various demographics.

But after months of investigating, following the progress of each one, talking to the clientele on the down-low, and tricking some honest statements out of the contractors, Susan had found a more nefarious purpose. Each club doubled as a 'safe zone' for creatures Susan suspected of being succubi and incubi. There were discreet back rooms for sexual liasons, carefully monitored by the club staff.

Susan described the creatures well: visibly human, but unspeakably beautiful, regal, dangerous, seeming to exude sex appeal. One account she'd gotten out of one of the back room guests detailed skin that seemed to gleam like it was metallic and eyes that glowed chrome even in the dark.

Essentially, she'd written a lot of good descriptions of White Court vampires.

It got worse. Not only were John's clubs catering to the White Court's taste in snacks, providing an environment of drugs and casual sex the police were curiously disinterested in, but they were actively driving other clubs out of business. One apparently well-known place called Club Zero was closing its doors along with plenty of others around the city.

If you wanted to have a night out on the town and planned to hit a club, there was a good chance you'd end up in one of John's establishments, and subsequently right into a lions' den of sex vampires.

The thing was... it made no sense. John had put the full force of the Outfit into getting rid of the Red Court, and I really doubted it was just to put the Velvet Room out of business. He'd made Bianca St. Clair swear to remove the Red Court's influence from Chicago entirely.

With that in mind, this entanglement with the White Court baffled me. Why get rid of the bloodsuckers just to hand everyone over to... life-energy-suckers? John had a bigger game, I was certain of it.

Not that I hadn't realized this meant John was keeping more secrets from me. But it helped his case enough that I was going to let him explain why.

I got up and grabbed my newly-warded jacket off the table and my staff from where it rested against the wall.

"Harry?" Michael frowned at me.

"Something's up and I don't like it." I shrugged into my jacket. "I know this is short notice, but can I leave Mouse here? I'll check in once I talk to John, let you know what's happening."

"We can watch the dog for a while. Keep us in the loop."

"You got it." I nodded and headed for the door. John's messenger boy was still in the way.

"Out of the way, pal," I told him sternly.

"Mr. Marcone--"

"I'm going to drop by Johnny's office. Save him the trip."

"I don't think--"

I put a hand on his shoulder. "Listen. I'm walking out of here. You want to try to keep me here, remember you're standing in the way of a wizard who's gotten more than a few buildings leveled. You think you're going to stop me, buddy?"

The goon blanched. Then he stepped aside.

I smiled at him and patted him companionably. "Good choice," I commended him before getting in my car and leaving.

I stopped at the first payphone I could find and got out to call and find where John was. Instead of John, Hendricks answered the phone.

"Where is he?"

"Jesus, Dresden, where are you? Tell me you're at one of the safe houses--"

"I'm not using kid gloves here, Cujo," I snapped. "I know John's got reason to pull this, and I'm willing to hear him out, but he needs to explain now."

"He can't. He's... in a meeting."

I focused in on that little hesitation. A major leak about John's criminal and supernatural business happened, and he was in a meeting? Yeah right. I knew this "meeting" wasn't exactly on his official schedule. "Who's he got?"

Hendricks sucked in a breath. "I can't, Dresden, but..."

When I asked point-blank, I tended to get a straight answer. If Cujo couldn't say... my gut twisted with fear and worry. "Susan."

"You're near Chinatown, right?" I opened my mouth to tell him I wasn't, but he went on. "Might want to get to one of the safe houses," he finished before the line went dead.

... Oh, Hendricks was good sometimes. "Thanks, Cujo," I said to the dial tone before getting back in my car and heading towards the Chinatown safe house.

Every safe house John set up had a sparsely furnished room in the back with heavily insulated walls and little furniture. No one had ever come out and told me so, but it was obvious what these rooms were for. I tried to avoid them; inevitably, I'd find myself focusing on a stain on the floor, trying to figure out if someone had bled there. I was never able to stop imagining what John and his people did in those rooms.

Compromise. Everything in my life had become rooted in compromise between John and me. Give a little, get a little. Meeting halfway.

Now, I just needed John to get with the program. I'd give him the thing with the Shroud, since that... ended up being a lot more complicated than I would have ever guessed. But this, I wasn't going to excuse. There was a line, and John jogged right over it and kept going.

I charged into the safe house, not breaking stride as I opened each door, passed each goon, and followed Hendricks as he went to unlock the door to the interrogation room.

I burst in, all fiery indignation. "John, don't you fucking dare," I snapped once I was inside.

John turned, expression almost blank, thankfully not going a gun or knife. He narrowed his eyes at me, then looked over my shoulder at where I presumed Hendricks was lurking in the door. "Harry..."

I ignored him, walking by to talk to the other person in the room. "Are you okay?"

Susan, my ex-girlfriend and investigative reporter for the Midwestern Arcane smiled warmly at me. She'd cut her hair shorter since the last time I saw her, the dark curls pulled back by a vibrant red bandanna that matched her blouse. She looked better than I remembered, feminine and strong, especially considering she was in one of the Outfit's interrogation rooms. She was in an uncomfortable looking metal chair with her wrists handcuffed to the arm rests. She didn't seem too upset, lifting her hand as much as she could to toodle her fingers at me. "Harry, long time no see. You look good, how's it going?"

I grinned back at her. "Oh, you know. The usual. You look..." I whistled, and Susan laughed. "Not sure about the bracelets. Silver's not your color."

Behind me, John groaned. "Harry--"

"Well, they were a gift. I didn't want to hurt his feelings." She tugged at one of the cuffs, letting it rattle. "Don't suppose you can get me out of these?"

I started to give a flippant reply. Susan always brought that out of me, an easy playfulness that kept us going past our romantic expiration date. John was there, grabbing me by my collar and twisting me around, not amused at all. "Do not do this right now, Harry, there is too much at stake," he ground out at me.

Like I needed to be told that. I nodded significantly to my ex-girlfriend tied to the chair. "I can see that," I said dryly. "I also saw her article. Something you forgot to mention, John?"

John's lips thinned into a furious white line. "You already appear to have made up your mind on the topic." He drew a cuff key out of his pocket and tossed it at me. I fumbled to catch it. "Why don't you and Ms. Rodriguez play catch up while I attend to more pressing matters. Three knocks on the door to have it unlocked. Come find me when you can be bothered." John left the room.

And slammed the door shut behind him.

Stars and stones, I don't think I'd ever seen him that livid before. His control was just gone, he wasn't even trying.

For a full five seconds, I thought about following him, finding out just what had happened to drive him to such a state. Behind me, Susan cleared her throat and jangled a handcuff at me.

"Right. Sorry." I went to unlock her from the chair.

She watched me intently as I worked. "Seems like your boyfriend's pissed."

Boyfriend. Huh. I'd avoided putting a name on him and that one didn't sound quite right. "Yeah, that's... really not like him." I stood back as she rubbed her sore wrists. "What happened?"

"Well." She crossed her legs at the knee. Her shoes were gone, I noticed. Susan had a predilection for those sharp stiletto heels, which could be used as a weapon. John, and by extension most of his people, were paranoid by nature. "That article I wrote, I actually wrapped it up months ago. I've been watching Marcone's clubs for while now. Have to, to establish contacts like that. Typed it up, had it looked over by my editor, good to go, and then!" She spread her hands in a shrug. "Suddenly we're not publishing. It's pushed back until I can find more evidence. Okay, so I do some more digging, get two more individual accounts and almost get..." She snapped her fingers at me. "What's it called when a supernatural creature gets its claws in you?"

I gaped at her. "Enthralled? You almost got enthralled?"

"Hey! Hey, no, hold your horses there, wizard. I'm fine."

"Enthrallment is big deal, Susan!" I dug both hands into my hair and paced in front of her. "You could have called me!"

"Yeah, because when I'm investigating a supernatural presence in Chicago, the best way to stay undetected is bring a giant-sized wizard along with me," she said, rolling her eyes. "You can't be inconspicuous if your life depends on it, Harry. I did this before I met you and I kept it up after we broke up."

"But..." It was so dangerous. The frigging White Court, and Susan was putting herself into their territory over and over again. For a story.

"You know them," Susan said. "I can see it on your face. The succubi."

"White Court. We call them the White Court. They're a type of vampire. Instead of blood, they feed on... emotions, strong, evocative feelings." I propped myself up on a wall, rubbing my face. "If they were using the nightclubs as hunting ground, then they probably feed on lust. But I'm pretty sure they can leech anything powerful off you."

"But that's emotions. It's not like we run out."

"You're not magical. You don't know." I murmured a bit of faux-Latin and a small sphere of sunlight hovered above my palm. "This, here? It's fueled by my emotions. This one is happiness, but you can use anger or fear or any strong emotion, basically. If I'm slinging spells for hours on end, I'd run out of fuel."

She leaned forward, and I could see her fingers twitch, like she wanted a pen and her reporter notepad, maybe a recorder. "What happens if you run out?"

"I came close once." I smiled. "Remember back with the loup garou? I ran myself into the ground, couldn't do anything after. It hurt when I tried. Took a while to get back on my feet. It's like I had to grow it back."

"Back when Marcone dragooned you."

"Yep. He had really lucky timing there." God, how different my life would have been if the chips had fallen differently that day. Things to keep you up at night. "So, you threw yourself into danger, almost got enthralled, possibly killed, then what?"

Susan sighed. "There's one thing I don't miss about you... So I expanded the article, added a good five more pages to my notes on it, and sent it back. I was sure I'd covered all my bases and it'd get in the paper."

"But it didn't."

"Nope. It was too risque, it implicated some powerful people, the editor didn't want to take the risk." She snorted. "The Arcane isn't the kind of paper to get sued by the kind of person Marcone is. I knew there was pressure to keep my article quiet."

"But you got it published anyway," I prompted.

"Only online." She recrossed her legs the other way, making a show of it. "The webmaster's a friend of mine."

I smirked a little, getting the drift. "I'll bet." Susan could be very good at making friends. I'd fallen to her charms myself with few regrets. "You got it published..."

"And two hours later, I get home and there are two linebackers in suits waiting for me." She waved a hand at the room. "And here I am."

"Okay. Thanks." I blew out a breath. "This is a mess."

"Yeah, I'm starting to get that impression." She looked at the door, eyes darting. "You don't think he's going to throw me in the lake or something, do you?"

"You'll be fine. I'll get you out of here." I went to her and leaned down, kissing her forehead lightly. She reached up and hugged me, an arm around my neck. I inhaled deeply, like I'd always done when I'd been with her. The perfume was... different. Spicier, something less floral than I remembered.

I pulled back, coming back to the now. "I got to talk to John."

Susan squeezed my shoulder. "How are you? I never pegged you as liking the guys, to be honest."

"I didn't either. But, you know." I tried to shrug nonchalantly. "He's persuasive."

She grinned, bright and amused. "Really, now?"

"Hey, leave me alone. I'm not the one to ask about this."

She arched a dark eyebrow at me. "Not the one to ask? Why, did you sleep through your sexuality flip?"

"I- I am not talking to my ex-girlfriend about how I went gay. It's not happening." I made for the door, my only escape route. "Sit tight, I'll make sure he doesn't have you killed."

"Gee, thanks," Susan replied lightly and leaned back in her chair. She lounged, settling in for a long wait.

I knocked on the door like John said and was let out by one of the goons. He pointed me in the right direction and I headed upstairs to where John was.

The ground floor was made up to at least appear like the average home, passable as a residence to anyone nosy enough to get inside. Upstairs, that facade was gone. There was a small armory, a panic room for mortal threats, a second panic room for supernatural threats, and a communications bay that was hooked into the Outfit's network. The computers were off, and likely had been since I'd arrived. I knew John hated replacing equipment when it could be avoided, even if he never said anything.

In what was likely meant to be a master bedroom, there was a desk, Hendricks, another goon I didn't recognize, and John. John was sitting behind a desk, braced his elbows with his hands clasped. His face was leaning against his hands, his eyes shut.

I lingered in the doorway, not sure whether I should walk in. For the moment, I just listened.

"... and we've lost Orpheus too," the unfamiliar guy was saying. "Went quiet an hour ago. Kay, Jaime, and Zucker went to look into it. They're gone too."

Hendricks frowned deeply. "Zucker? Franklin Zucker? His mother's got dementia. Only family she's got."

Without opening his eyes or reacting, John said, "Send help over. Take someone from from one of the outliers. In fact, pull everyone in, everyone who's not on a high priority assignment."

"Got it, Boss," Hendricks said and got out his phone.

"That's Dionysus and Orpheus. Any others?" John asked. The goon stiffened. "Well?"

"We... don't know. Ouranos is ten minutes past check-in and we haven't been able to access the network over there."

John exhaled hard through his nose. "Go. Find out. If Ouranos goes dark, shut them all down."

The goon left the room, shouldering me aside. I didn't hold it against him. He seemed like he was in a rush. Hendricks was by the window, talking on the phone, and John hadn't moved, so I let myself in, nudging the door shut behind me quietly.

"I'm thinking of a number," John said quietly. "Between one and a hundred. It's the number of lives Ms. Rodriguez may have just cost us." His eyes opened, focused on me. "That's staff only, by the way. I have no idea just how many people are in my clubs at any given time. That number would be far larger."

My mouth went dry. That sounded bad. Really bad. "Okay. Start from the beginning. How'd you know about the White Court?"

"My dealings with Ms. Gard and her employer." John leaned back in his chair, rocking idly. "All of my important projects are done with you, but I have surveillance and reconnaissance contracted out to supplement your work. One of the things brought to my attention was an establishment called Club Zero, owned by the Raith family."

I remembered Bianca's masquerade and the White Court vampire I'd met there briefly before Lea got over-friendly and Bianca tried to vamp me. "Raith's White Court."

"So I learned. Ms. Gard debriefed me on the basics of the White Court. I used my contacts to find what holdings the Raith family had in Chicago and put eyes on the locations."

"When was this?"

"Around the time we were in the thick of it with the Red Court," John said. "There was no way to redirect resources to deal with the White Court problems, but I needed to do something. Ganymede already was a great success in Wrigleyville. I had more clubs built, usually in areas with Raith holdings. I've been preparing."

"Why didn't you bring me in on it?" Especially after the Shroud thing, that seemed strange of him.

He spread his hands. "I planned to, when I had something to offer. As it was, I was still establishing myself as a competitor to the Raith's clubs and drawing their clientele away. When we were in a position to do something, I was going to tell you." He sighed. "But then, Ms. Rodriguez happened."

And from what I overheard, that had been a complete disaster. "What happened there?"

"We received an advance copy of her article from her publisher. I knew that if it saw the light of day, our entire operation would be compromised. I put a lot of effort in keeping my ulterior motives against the White Court quiet. I was a nuisance, but not a threat. That article exposed just how wrong they were about me."

"So you squashed it."

"Yes. Or," he grimaced. "I tried. Ms. Rodriguez must have figured that out and worked to get it posted on the Arcane's website."

"Yeah, she got flirty with the webmaster. She's good at that."

John nodded slowly. "And in doing so, she may have lost me many of my people, ruined years of work, and incited conflict with the White Court. You see why I am... upset."

"Yeah, but you're not killing her." I can't believe I had to say that. I had to tell my.... not-boyfriend that he wasn't allowed to kill my ex-girlfriend. John gave me a dry look. "No, I mean it. No killing her. She was doing her job. She's doing good things, trying to dig up supernatural dangers and inform people about them."

"Her article--" John started, voice rising.

"Paints a really great picture of the White Court, why they're dangerous, and informs people on how to avoid them." I leaned over the desk and caught one of John's hands, holding it tightly. "I know, you're pissed and feel responsible for your people, but don't blame Susan when it's the White Court that did this."

John stared up at me, then at our hands. He seemed to lose steam, shoulders sagging, eyes closing. I bent down, held his hand against my lips, and waited.

He came unknotted slowly as I watched. When he could breathe deeply, he said, "Fine. But she's never working in this city again. She's undermined my authority and caused too much damage."


"No. That's final. I cannot allow her to stay." He pulled his hand out of my grip. "She'll receive a very nice offer in the next week from a publication out of this state and she will take it and leave." There was zero room for argument in his voice. This was how it was going to be or he wouldn't spare her.

The goon from earlier came back in with a status report. "Ouranos is clear, boss, but there was a fight. They threw out a few White Court guys. We think they got 'em all."

John nodded silently, then returned his gaze to me. "Tell Ms. Rodriguez she's free to go. I have things to do."

I let out a breath I'd been holding. "Thank you." For not killing someone, how did this become my life? Hendricks was supposed to be John's voice of reason, not me. The fact that I was anyone's voice of reason was terrifying.

"We'll talk about this later," John said, and gestured for Hendricks, ready to launch headfirst into damage control.

"So, what you're saying is I have to leave Chicago or the mafia don is going to have me fitted for cement shoes," Susan said after I explained the situation to her. "That's what you're telling me."

I'd gotten her out of John's clutches as soon as possible. Leaving Susan with him when he was that unsteady would have been tempting fate. He could have easily vanished her the moment more bad news came up. So I took her out to dinner at Mac's for old times' sake. If she was going to be run out of her home, might as well fill up on the better parts of the city, I figured.

"Susan, it was that or he was just going to kill you," I told her seriously. "He's lost a lot of people and he doesn't react well when that happens."

"Jesus, Harry, don't do me any favors." She took a deep drag from one of Mac's brews.

"Hey, I tried! What did you expect when you pushed that article through?"

Susan glared at me and set her bottle down on the table hard. "What, should I be grateful that I'm going to be forced out of the place I've lived in for years? Get a little perspective, Harry."

"I'm sorry," I said, not sure what else I could say.

"You know, it's really weird. I remember back when you first met Marcone. You hated him." She smirked, a quiet nostalgia taking her features. "It was scumbag this and criminal that. Now you're sleeping with the guy. I keep in touch with the local bloggers and reporters-- they say it's not just sex either. You have a dog now?" She shook her head. "It's like you've been enthralled or something. What happened?"

I couldn't tell her. I couldn't tell anyone. I was pretty emotionally oblivious on my best days, but even I knew admitting that I was in love with John Marcone was a phenomenally bad idea. It was enough that I knew. I'd never let it get out, another target on our backs.

We were eating thick steak sandwiches and I slowly chewed a big bite to give myself time to think of an answer that wasn't trite. None came to mind. "People change."

"Oh, I know that. I just never included you in that. Not like this, anyway." She blew a curl out of her face. "Don't take this the wrong way, but you were a moralizing shit sometimes, Harry. I'm saying this as a friend."

Laughter bubbled out of me at that. Sitting there with Susan was like a glimpse into another life. She was right: I'd changed. The me from two years ago wouldn't have recognized the me of today. The whole looked the same, but the details were all wrong. John had changed me. The Carpenters had changed me. Cujo had changed me. Smaller things, like Anavi's tough love, the Alphas' very modern acceptance and support of my choices, having the kind of resources I once only dreamed of, they changed me too.

I was miles away from the man Susan had known. And I was okay with that. I liked the new life I'd carved out of the smoldering remains of who I once was. I mean, two years ago, the prospect of being in love with someone would have been depressingly unlikely. For that alone, I had to be thankful.

Susan put down her sandwich, staring at me. "Harry..."

Something in her tone was heavy, her gaze too knowing. Women were, in my experience, always way too observant. It wasn't fair. I shook my head at her, a silent request. If she somehow got an inkling of what I was thinking, that was fine, so long as she kept it quiet.

Susan's eyes were locked to mine for a long moment, one of the few people in the world who could do such a thing. Once upon a time, she'd looked upon my soul, saw what was lurking there, and had fainted dead away.

But she got back up, hit on me again, and keep at me in the name of her story. I'd seen that in her. She had seen enough to know she needed to be afraid of the world hidden in plain sight. Instead of curling up and trying to keep away from the danger, she sought it out. Susan knew, deep at the core of her, that it was very likely her job would lose her her life or even her soul.

But she did it anyway. In our soulgaze, I saw a woman out on a wide, dark ocean. There was no land in sight. She floated out there, abandoned by the departing ships of her family and her skeptical friends. Her curiosity and unbreakable determination was wrapped around her like a golden life preserver. In the water around her were black shapes, close enough to threaten, too far to see clearly.

She hung on, and would fight and struggle to keep afloat, keep her head above water until her legs gave out.

This was not a woman John Marcone could silence. Susan would keep on until she finally got in too deep.

I took her hand in mine and asked, "You need help moving?"

She sighed, resigned, having lost the battle. She'd keep fighting her war. "Nah. I'll be fine."

"I know you will." I kissed her knuckles lightly. "I know you will."

After dinner, we went our separate ways. And that was the last time I saw Susan Rodriguez.

Hell of a lady.

Chapter Fourteen

And as a bonus, take a look at the MoC covers that I posted earlier. Newly added is this hideously gorgeous, newly-colored version of the Book Two cover. alexwhitewell is kind of ridiculously good, okay.

Tags: ,

Still liking this. A lot. Also, nice shifting Susan out of the picture w/o half-vamping her. :D Can't wait for more.

What a beginning! I am eagerly awaiting chapter 14th and I am very curious as to what Molly knows.

You have no idea how much I love this series, it's actually hard to find the words to describe how much :D

I can't wait for the next part!

Now, I have a question, does Marcone know Thomas is Harry's brother? He is the type of person who would research every little thing about the Raith family and I could see him finding out about it and not knowing how to tell Harry.

I'm excited for the rest!

He doesn't, no. But Thomas will be back soon anyway. 8D

I hope the rest meets your expectations! ♥

\o/ Raith arc! I like how you've had Harry change, and how, when at least one of them is rational, they can influence each other.

First big blip I've found in one of your fic: I'd find myself focusing on a stain on the floor to focus on, Huh?

oh, that paragraph got rewritten a few times, not surprised it has a typo. :fixes: Thank you.

Loved how you treated Susan here!

I have so, SO much love for your kick ass!Susan. She gets a lot of crap in fandom, so thank you for writing her as this perceptive, tenacious, sexy and fun woman. Kinda Lois Lane for the supernatural set, but with a smaller circulation.

Love Harry's realization that "Oh hey, I've changed! And that's not a bad thing, akshully!" More introspection along those lines might possibly, potentially, kind of, sort of, perhaps lead to a healthier, happier Harry... Oh, wait. Nevermind.

And, oh John! Harry expects you to keep things - business related things - from him, but did you honestly believe you could disappear his ex without him finding out? Would I be out of line in thinking there's an awkward conversation in the boys' future?

Also? Loving this!

I think Butcher was a sexist asshole in how he treated Susan (he fridged her twice, which is almost impressive, really) but I think the character concept is really great. She and Marcone are not so different, actually-- both trying to be relevant in the supernatural community despite their vanilla mortal status and hitting road blocks along the way.

One of my betas apparently imagines Susan as Carmen Sandiago. And now I do too.

Give John a break. He's not being rational, having potentially lost a lot of his people. 8(

Farewell, Susan! I have high hopes for her future in occult reporting.

There's White Court vamps afoot and Marcone & Dresden have innocent(ish) people to avenge. Springtime in Chicago's fine weather for a war, no? A little one, at least.

Y'know what just occurred to me? Susan's position--alone in dark water, watching everyone leave her as threats loom and she exhausts herself just trying to tread water--that's basically what Harry's position is in-series. Marcone yanked Harry out by the scruff of his neck and claimed him as loot for the betterment of his dread pirate fleet. I have full confidence in Susan building herself a raft with railguns and setting sail straight for the monsters.

I am actually shocked we have yet to have a pirate AU. Somebody please fix that.

I might have said it before but I'll say it again: there's so much potential here for Susan to be the evil bitch ex and I'm so glad you're not taking it.

Can't wait to figure out what the plan Marcone had in mind before even was. I still don't get it.


I think "killing his ex" comes under the heading of "Things which must be discussed first."

omg. i was about to go to sleep but i

Sorry about that last comment, i think I got too excited and hit enter by accident >__>

I loved this chapter!!! can't wait for the next one :D

Huh. GREAT chapter. Nice job with Susan. Really loved seeing Marcone lose his cool. The last time he saw her though, eh? I can't decide if he just never runs into her again, or if she gets herself or Marcone gets her killed.


Really loved Harry's introspection there. Well done :)

Yes! Harry's happy enough to use sunlight still!

Sorry, that kinda slipped out... XD

I must have read the existing parts of MoC meanwhile up to four times at least - a truly brilliant AU! I very much like the changes you've wrought in the story as well as in the characters - not too much, often just very fine nuances with big effect.
I'm looking foreward to all the good things still lurking in the back of your very fertile mind ;-) !

I think i just read the best thing on the internet evar.
And golly, i really hope my ignorance of LJ is showing, because if that little date under the poster's pic means date of post and not date of joining LJ or something, i think i might just crawl into the corner and die.
and then read the series again...