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30 May 2011 @ 07:44 pm
Dresden Files/The Sentinel 6/7  
Here be part six of Shaman You. Anything you recognise isn't mine, and probably anything you don't, with the exception of the OMC bad guy. Huge thanks once again to aeron_lanart for her invaluable beta.

For those late to the party, you can read from the beginning here: Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five

Shaman You Part 6

Jim drove us back to their apartment in his truck and then I walked back to the hotel from there. My rod was safely tucked inside my duster but I’d left my staff in Jim’s truck; not my first choice, but walking the streets of Cascade carrying it might have drawn attention. Anyway, I didn’t think Emerson would try to take me out, and even if he wanted to he had no way of finding me.

It was a little after nine when I got back to my room; I’d stopped to pick up a little Chinese food on the way. I laid out the take-out cartons and chopsticks on the small table before fetching a beer from the mini-bar. Hell, it was on Cascade PD’s dime, so I was going to make the most of it.

“Bob, you there?” I said by way of greeting, knowing full well he couldn’t have gone anywhere.

“And where else would I be? Even if you had given me permission, it hasn’t been dark for long and I’ve got no Mister here,” Bob complained as the eye sockets of his skull flared into orange life. I smiled.

“How can you be bored? You’ve got a stack of porn there that would make Larry Flynt blush.”

Bob didn’t reply. I shrugged out of my duster, wincing as one of my shoulders cracked as I did so; obviously I’d sustained some minor injuries during my face off with Emerson. No bones broken though, so I was doing better than usual. After checking for any major cuts or bruises I might have missed I dropped into the only chair in the room and opened the first carton.

Chow mein. I’m sure I didn’t order any, but I couldn’t bring myself to care enough to walk back to the restaurant and argue now. Mentally cursing the deficiencies of whoever prepared my order, I opened the other cartons and discovered my kung po chicken, egg rolls and fried rice were also present so it looked like the noodles were a freebie.

Happy about the bonus food and silently apologising to the restaurant, I tucked in with gusto. I hadn’t realised until now but I was starving.

“So, Bob,” I said between chews. “Fenris, if it gets out…”

“It must not get out,” Bob interrupted.

“Yeah, yeah; wolf gets out, end of the world. I know. But if it does get out, how do I put it back in?”

Bob was silent for a minute, presumably thinking. I took a long drink from the beer; it was something French I wasn’t going to even pretend to pronounce. Mac is always berating me for drinking his ales cold but even my poor taste buds could tell this was infinitely inferior to Mac’s home brewed stuff. It was cold and wet and that was good enough for me though.

“I don’t think that you can put it back, Harry. I’m not sure any wizard alive could. But you could probably stop it coming through the door if it is opened,” he answered.

I swallowed a mouthful of noodles.

“Any handy tips?” I said, not really expecting any.

“Actually, yes. There’s a potion that will help. You’re gonna need a pen and paper.”

He dictated the recipe and instructions to create the potion and it all seemed simple enough. It was essentially a Fenris repellent and all except one ingredient would be easy to get; they were kitchen and medicinal herbs that Blair and Jim probably already had in their pantry. The final ingredient wasn’t rare or illegal, but it could be tricky to obtain. I didn’t know where we might get it in Cascade, but hopefully Blair’s knowledge of alternative cultures would mean he might know a source.

“That’s a big help, Bob. There’s a cat loitering in the alley next to the hotel and a strip joint three blocks west. Be back by morning,” I said when I’d finished writing.

“Seriously?” Bob asked. I nodded.

“Knock yourself out,” I answered with a grin. I was feeling generous; we seemed to have all the answers to the case and there’d only been one attempt to kill me this week. I figured that Bob deserved a little vacation time for all he’s done for me over the years.

“Thanks, Harry!” he replied and floated out of his skull and through the window. Once he was gone I picked up the phone and dialled Blair and Jim’s number.

“Hi, Blair?... It’s Harry… Do you know where we can get some wolfsbane?”

*-*

Bob slipped back into his skull just before dawn, chortling quietly to himself. I didn’t ask what he’d been doing, it seemed best for my sanity.

I was awake when he came back; I’m an early riser anyway and Jim was meeting me downstairs at eight. I showered and ate leftover Chinese for breakfast. I could have ordered up, but it was good take-out, even cold, and when you live on the breadline as often as I do it’s hard to waste food.

Breakfast done, I made sure I was ready for battle if it came down to it. I checked my ring was still charged; I hadn’t used it, but better safe than sorry. Then I charged my bracelet and blasting rod. I can summon my will to them both during a fight but it was quicker to release a stored charge and less of a drain on my energy.

We had plenty of time to make the potion we needed, probably even grab some lunch before we headed to the stadium. The game wasn’t until eight and people wouldn’t start arriving at the stadium until early evening so that gave us plenty of time to scour the grounds for Emerson before the game. In fact, for my plan to work we didn’t want to find him before the game; we needed every civilian safely inside the stadium, watching the action on the court.

I’m not used to having so much time to prepare; usually events and bad guys come at me so fast that I’ve no choice but to fly by the seat of my pants and hope for the best. Three square and a full night of actual sleep in a proper bed were luxuries I don’t normally get during a case. A wizard could get used to it.

Task done, I gathered up everything I might need, threw on my duster and, after tucking Bob’s skull safely away and making sure the ‘do not disturb’ sign was still on the door, I headed down to the lobby.

Ellison was waiting for me when I got there and nodded in greeting.

“So, what’s the plan?” he asked without preamble. Looked like he’d decided to defer to me, finally, although he didn’t sound thrilled about the idea. I guessed this was Blair’s doing.

“Good morning to you too, Jim. Depends on how many of those herbs you have at home,” I replied.

“Never thought Sandburg’s experimental cooking would ever be useful for anything. We’ve got everything except the wolfsbane and the asafoetida and he’s out taking care of that now.”

“Then let’s head to your place and make this potion,” I said. He nodded and the two of us walked out into the morning sunshine. Looked like it was going to be a nice day.

I just hoped it would stay that way.

*-*

Back at Jim and Blair’s place, Jim helped me gather the herbs from their pantry and lay them out in their kitchen. He pulled out a big pan that smelled faintly of meat and placed it on the stove before looking at me expectantly.

“I’m going to need a bucket of water and a cloth,” I said.

“What for?”

“To clean that up,” I said and pointed to the chalk circle I’d drawn the day before. Jim chuckled.

“Can’t you just… You know,” he said and wiggled his fingers in the direction of the circle.

“That didn’t work out too well for Mickey Mouse,” I replied with a grin.

That won me a proper laugh from Ellison as he went to a cupboard near the sink and pulled out a bowl and some detergent. Once he’d filled it with water and poured a little soap into it, he headed toward the chalk mark on the floor. I held out my hand for the bowl.

“Don’t worry about it, you’re our guest here,” Jim said.

“And that was my mess. I’m happy to clean it up. Shouldn’t take a minute,” I insisted. Jim shrugged and handed me the bowl, which I took over to the mark and kneeled down to begin scrubbing. I’m sure it was only a few minutes later, but it felt like it took forever to get the chalk off the tiles. Not for the first time I was really grateful to have my little arrangement with Toot-Toot and his buddies back in my own apartment.

Just as I finished, Blair practically bounced into the apartment, paper grocery bag in one arm. I stood up and brushed off my knees before I gave a little wave of hello.

“Morning, Harry. I found the asafoetida in the Asian market; that was pretty easy. None of my contacts in the alternative medicine stores had any wolfsbane though. Apparently it’s too poisonous, not many people still use it,” he said as he placed the bag on the counter. Without pausing for breath he continued. “But, I did manage to call in a favour with a botanist I know at Rainier University. Man, I’d forgotten how smoking she is; we haven’t been out for like a year, but the spark was still there…”

“Chief,” Jim gently chided, amusement colouring his voice. Blair grinned, slightly embarrassed.

“Sorry, yeah, gotta focus. So, this botanist owes me a favour so I got her to give me a dried specimen from her private collection,” he finished and pulled out the plant in question from his satchel and held it aloft for my inspection. “Is it enough?”

“It should be. The potency is reduced the older the sample is, but it only requires a single flower from a fresh plant. Three or four dried should work,” I replied. “Let’s get cooking.”

I made my way over to the stove and took the last two ingredients from Blair. Jim began putting away the other groceries Blair had bought; obviously he had decided to take advantage of the shopping trip. Blair stood next to me, watching what I was doing.

“So what does this potion do?” he asked as I measured out rosemary into a measuring cup.

“It’s like that repellent you spray on your lawn to stop cats peeing on it,” I explained. “We sprinkle this around the doorway and it won’t stop Fenris, but it will make it think twice about coming through.”

“Cool,” Blair said. He leaned further over to get a better view of what I was doing. I took a deep breath to calm myself; I didn’t want to discourage him, but I’m really not used to an audience.

“Hey, Chief, how about you watch Harry from the other side of the counter?” Jim suggested. I’m guessing he heard my intake of breath or a change in my heart rate and realised Blair was in my way. I nodded a silent thanks to the Sentinel and got a grin back, before I returned my attention to the pot.

I measured out all the herbs from the recipe Bob had listed, brought some water to boil and then put the herbs into the pot in precise order. One mistake and instead of anti-Fenris potion we’d have a tasty soup-base.

I noticed that Jim’s disapproval and disbelief seemed to have vanished. Guess a fireball to the head will do that for you.

The herbs had to be left to simmer for forty two minutes before the wolfsbane was added. Don’t ask me why it was exactly forty two minutes, for all I knew Bob had just read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and was just yanking my chain. When it comes to potions, I just do what I’m told. Once that was done, I fed a little of my will into the mix, turning the liquid an impressive looking bright purple colour.

“Now all we need to do is let it cool and then decant it. Have you got any spray bottles, you know the kind you use for plants?” I asked. Jim nodded and then went to dig out a couple of suitable containers.

We killed time playing cards; both men were pretty good, but I was sure Jim was using his senses to cheat somehow – nobody should be that good.

“Harry, this creature, Fenris, it’s from what, another dimension?” Blair asked as Jim pulled yet another pot toward him.

“Not exactly. The Nevernever is a place of magic, and the creatures that live there are magical. Often they cross into our world and most people never know about it. This Fenris is different though; a few centuries back it devastated a huge chunk of ancient Europe,” I explained.

“That’s where the Norse myths about a wolf eating the world came from,” Blair deduced. Give the guy a cigar.

“It took a really powerful wizard to banish from this realm. He used a spell that meant Fenris is unable to have a physical form outside the Nevernever. Creatures of the Nevernever, when they cross over, are formed from the Nevernever and if they’re cut off from its magic then they dissolve to a goop.”

“The stuff they found in Thomas Davis’ insides,” Jim added. I should have guessed that the Sentinel would have spotted that.

“Exactly. Fenris couldn’t maintain a solid form in this world and it dissolved. But the rituals that Emerson has been performing would give Fenris the strength it needs to return completely.”

“And if that happens?” Jim asked as he dealt the next hand.

“Ragnarok,” Blair said in almost a whisper. I nodded.

“And I don’t think I’m nearly powerful enough to banish it. We have to stop Emerson from completing the ritual tonight.”

It was getting near noon when I finally poured the last drop of potion into a bottle and screwed on the spray cap. I placed the bottle on the counter and turned to Jim and Blair, who were now both watching me.

“Okay, we’re as ready as we’ll ever be,” I said. Jim nodded and picked up one of the bottles.

“Then let’s head to the stadium.”

*-*

Blair made us sandwiches, which we ate quickly before hitting the road. I could definitely get used to having a partner like him around to make sure I didn’t neglect my body’s needs. We arrived at Cascade Stadium just before two and parked around back in a service vehicle lot.

Uniformed cops had secured the building the day before and had it under surveillance, but Jim wanted to do a sweep himself before anyone else started to arrive. If I had his senses, then I probably would too.

The three of us stuck together this time, walking the parking lot and grounds first before heading inside.

Once inside, one of the janitorial staff handed Jim a bunch of keys to allow us access to the entire building and we made a thorough search from top to bottom, leaving no closet unopened.

As we neared the highest level of the building, Jim held up a hand to stop us. Immediately on alert, Blair placed a hand on his partner’s shoulder.

“What is it, Jim?” he asked quietly.

“Can you smell that?” Jim replied with another question. We both sniffed and then shook our heads. “Blood. This way,” he added and began moving again.

Blair and I followed him up and out onto the roof of the stadium. It looked like Emerson had managed to get past the police and into the stadium somehow. On the metal roof he had drawn a large pentacle, about six feet in diameter, and various sigils and symbols. It didn’t take a Sentinel to know they were painted in blood.

“And can I get an ‘ew’?” Blair muttered.

When someone writes in blood in the movies it always flows freely, usually from a pen. That’s because they use red ink in movies; real blood is a pain in the ass to draw with. It coagulates and starts to dry almost as soon as it hits the air, making brush strokes short and ragged – Emerson would have used a lot of blood to draw something even this size.

“Can we assume this is the missing blood from the victims?” Jim asked me. I nodded.

Of course I’ve only ever used my own blood or that of an animal. From a butcher, I don’t go around decapitating innocent chickens or anything.

“He’s going to use this as the focal point, as the door,” I replied, staring at the intricate drawings. Then I broke into a smile. “It’s his first mistake.”

“Huh?” Blair said eloquently.

“He’s left it unattended. Arrogant bastard probably figured nobody would come up here. All we have to do is rub this out and he can’t complete the ritual,” I explained and began rubbing at the pentacle with my foot. After a moment, the two detectives began to copy me.

“It’s that simple?” Jim asked, his voice filled with scepticism. I laughed, but there was no humour in it.

“Not simple, no. This only stops Fenris and the ritual sacrifice. We’ll still have to take on Emerson and whatever fancy new power he has up his sleeve. And now he’s gonna be pissed.”

*-*

Shaman You concludes in Part Seven
 
 
 
Black Rook: Jim&Blairgrachonok on May 30th, 2011 07:26 pm (UTC)
You know, I really hope that did stop Fanris and Emerson didn't have a back door somewhere:).
But, I don't want to be a pie,: blair wickedidontlikegravy on June 9th, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC)
You're too cynical. ;-)
Black Rook: Jimgrachonok on June 10th, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
Not cynical, but paranoid:). *off to read the last part*
The other Weird Al: Dresden Files - advertaeron_lanart on May 30th, 2011 07:40 pm (UTC)
Not long to go now! *waits with bated breath*

And Bob would *so* be a fan of H2G2, wouldn't he? I love that Bob in this is so obviously Bookverse!Bob yet I still hear him as Terrence Mann even though he's so different to TV!Bob.

And I want to eat chinese now...


Edited at 2011-05-30 07:41 pm (UTC)
But, I don't want to be a pie,: bobidontlikegravy on June 9th, 2011 06:14 pm (UTC)
The wait is over, for you anyway! I just hope the final part lives up to expectations!

I think H2G2 and Discworld would definitely appeal to Bob's sense of humour and he can't read trashy romances all the time :)

ETA: I'm glad he comes across as bookverse!Bob because I hear TV!Bob in my head and it's hard for me to steer away from that. :)

Edited at 2011-06-09 06:16 pm (UTC)
Matchy西matchynishi on May 30th, 2011 07:52 pm (UTC)
Aaah they finally catch a break with the unattended pentacle! I hope evil guy doesn't have a back up plan l.sjdkfa. Great chapter!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: blair wickedidontlikegravy on June 9th, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC)
*snerk* Another cynic, I don't know where you get these ideas from. ;-)

Glad you liked it! :)
Caro Dee: Difficult Worldcarodee on May 30th, 2011 08:30 pm (UTC)
Hmm... is it me or was that just a little too easy? Don't let your guard down, boys! There's gotta be a surprise about to happen. *eyes suspicious Chinese food container*

The potion making reminded me of Snape, especially wolfsbane. *g*
But, I don't want to be a pie,: blair wickedidontlikegravy on June 9th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Yeah, the wolfsbane made me smile as I was writing it, but it was the logical plant to use! :)
anniemareanniemare on May 30th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
That was easy, but the fight never is. REALLY looking forward to the next one.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: jim n blair laughidontlikegravy on June 9th, 2011 06:22 pm (UTC)
*smiles enigmatically*

I just really hope the next part lives up to everyone's expectations! *is worried*
Rhivipersweb on May 31st, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC)
how fun! Harry is too kind to Bob but perhaps he does deserve it. Also, the added benefit of not being in Chicago so if he does something, it really won't come back to bite Harry too badly.

I like how Jim's attitude has changed a bit towards all this.

Am looking forward to the conclusion. Should be fun to see what happens.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: dresdenidontlikegravy on June 9th, 2011 06:24 pm (UTC)
Also, the added benefit of not being in Chicago so if he does something, it really won't come back to bite Harry too badly.

*nods* Exactly XD

Hopefully the finale will live up to expectations. I have a habit of losing it a bit in final chapters but hopefully not this time! :s
tamrynleetamrynlee on June 9th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
This is amazing. Really smart and fun. I am so glas I found it and I can't wait for the next part.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: jim n blair laughidontlikegravy on June 9th, 2011 06:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! The final part is written, just waiting for my beta to look it over and then hopefully can post it in the next few days. :)

Thanks again for commenting, glad you enjoyed it.