Log in

No account? Create an account
29 April 2011 @ 07:38 pm
Dresden Files/The Sentinel Crossover 1/7  
Look at me, I'm writing again! Actually I've been working on this for months now, but I decided that for once I wouldn't post until it was finished. Well the last little bit isn't quite there, but I'm hoping that starting to post will nudge me to finish it off.

Summary: When the police of Cascade are troubled by a ritual serial killer, they call in the services of the only professional wizard in the book.
Disclaimer: Nothing you recognise is mine
Notes:Bookverse Dresden, set just after Summer Knight so some spoilers appropriate. The Sentinel post-canon.

Massive thanks to aeron_lanart for being cheerleader/beta *hugs*

Shaman You

Chicago might seem to the casual observer to be a magnet for all things supernatural. What I wouldn’t give for a quiet life, yet in the last few years I’ve taken on rival practitioners, faerie Queens, vampires and a laundry list of nasties too long to contemplate. That same casual observer might think it wise for me to get out of Dodge as fast as my wizard legs and the Blue Beetle could carry me.

Despite this, I don’t leave Chicago much, never taking a vacation (who’s got the money or the time?). If I stopped and thought about it, I’m probably a little afraid that it’s not Chicago, it’s me. Like the song goes, you always take the weather with you, and in my case that was likely to be a rain of frogs. So I figure better the devil you know, right?

Okay, so I probably could have phrased that better, but you get the idea.

So what exactly was I doing on my way to Cascade, a city near the Canadian border that was infamous for having a crime rate almost as high as Chicago? I’d been paid to.

My client was the Cascade PD, specifically their Major Crimes division. One of their detectives had heard about the work I was doing with SI and, instead of rolling on the floor with laughter, he put in a request for me to help them.

They’d been sketchy on the details, I’d have to wait until I arrived to be properly briefed, but I knew from the papers that there had been a particularly brutal string of murders in the city. The headlines were declaring them satanic rituals, and kudos to whoever was in charge at Major Crimes for inviting an out of town specialist to butt in on their case.

A case file might have been good though; would have given me some reading material for the train ride.

It’s not that I enjoy spending two days on a train for a case; flights are not an option since technology and magic go together like Liz Taylor and Richard Burton – eventually something’s gonna explode. Trains are thankfully still low on technology, although I still needed to be in a carriage on my own if other passengers didn’t want their cellphones and laptops on the fritz. Luckily, not many were taking the train and I was able to stay out of others’ way.

It’s also a happy coincidence that there aren’t security checks on trains. Try taking a rod, staff and human skull in your hand luggage on a plane and see where it gets you. Not to mention the .38 revolver that was discreetly hidden in with my clean underwear. I really have to get around to applying for a license to carry.

The journey was blissfully free of vampires and hitmen, supernatural or otherwise. They’re becoming a recurring theme in my life lately, and they have a bad habit of showing up when you least expect them. So I’ve started expecting them all the time. Paranoid? Not really, since I kinda started a war between the vampires of the Red Court and the wizards of the White Council and along with other enemies I’ve managed to make over the last few years I’m pretty much the top of a lot of hit lists. The White Council included some days.

I detrained at Cascade Central and made my way through the crowd to the cab rank outside, where I had been told to expect Detectives Sandburg and Ellison waiting for me. They would then drive me to my hotel, which Cascade PD was footing the bill for. For me this was red carpet treatment; best I ever get from Murph is a phone call, I usually have to get to crime scenes under my own steam.

Once outside I scanned the waiting cars, trying to spot my ride. After a moment, a man approached me and politely asked,

“Mr. Dresden?” I nodded confirmation and he smiled and held out his hand. “Detective Sandburg, Cascade PD.”

I was immediately struck by two things about Sandburg. Out of all the men milling around the station, he was probably the last one I’d have picked out as a cop. I know I’m freakishly tall, but Sandburg was short for a cop, standing maybe five-six or five-seven. On top of that, his hair was shoulder-length, unruly curls that bounced around when he moved in a way that would have been really attractive on a woman. The second thing that struck me was that he had power.

Not a lot of power; he wasn’t going to be summoning demons or commanding the elements to his will, but I could feel it was there when I touched his hand. I’d have to keep an eye on Detective Sandburg.

He led me along the line of waiting cars and stopped beside a beat-up looking white truck that looked older than I was. I was pretty relieved since me and modern cop cars don’t mix well. Technology, remember?

Leaning against the door of the truck was a man who looked far more your typical cop and must have been Detective Ellison. He was above average height; not quite as tall as me, nobody is, but he was perhaps six-four or so. He obviously worked out on a regularly basis, and had a buzz-cut that screamed ex-military. He nodded at me in welcome before taking my bag from Sandburg and tossing it in the back of the truck. As he did, I felt something pass between him and Sandburg that verged on a psychic connection.

“Curiouser and curiouser,” I muttered under my breath. Ellison shot me a puzzled look, but I just grinned; there was no way he could have heard me. He then looked at Sandburg and they seemed to have a silent conversation, which ended when Sandburg shrugged and got in the truck. Looked like I was partnered with some interesting cops. I just hoped that things didn’t get too interesting during my stay in Cascade.


“So you’re the one claims to be a wizard,” said Captain Banks by way of introduction. He was an imposing man, six feet something of well-built African-American who carried himself with all the authority his rank entitled him too. The man had an impressive glower, somehow magnified by the unlit cigar clamped between his teeth. I strapped on my most winning smile and offered my hand.

“That’s me. Lost items found. Paranormal investigations. Consulting and advice at reasonable rates. No endless purses, love potions, or other entertainment,” I said, reciting my ad from memory. As I said the last statement Banks raised his eyebrow.

“You hear that, Sandburg? No love potions,” he said and pointed his cigar at the man in question, who mimed being struck in the chest.

“You wound me, Simon. Like I need help with the ladies,” he replied. At this both Banks and Ellison laughed.

“Whatever you say, Chief. How about we take Mr. Dresden here through the briefing, before someone says something to finally chink that ego of yours,” Ellison quipped and, although it sounded insulting, even as an outsider I could tell it was affectionate.

We all took a seat around a large table in Banks’ office and Sandburg pushed a file toward me.

“Some of those pictures aren’t pretty,” warned Banks. I nodded my understanding, but after the ruined human remains I’d seen in Chicago I was pretty sure that I could take whatever was in that file. I was wrong.

The three cops discreetly avoided the subject when I returned from the bathroom, but I felt an idiot for ralphing like a rookie. Still, the contents of that folder would have turned most stomachs. I was just glad I’d not seen any of the bodies up close and personal.

I sat back down at the table and went back through the folder, this time managing to hold down what was left of my lunch. When I’d finished, the three cops looked at me expectantly.

“There’s certainly a ritual aspect to these killings, but I doubt it’s Satanic,” I replied warily, not wanting to say too much and then look an idiot if I was wrong. Sandburg nodded enthusiastically from across the table.

“It struck me as bearing similarities to Old Norse pagan sacrifice,” he said. He grabbed the folder and opened it to one of the pictures before passing the folder back and jabbing a finger at it. “See the way they were strung up? And this gutting is distinctive; the way they’ve spread the skin back from the torso…”

I could tell from his voice and manner that Sandburg was preparing to launch into a lecture on the subject, but I was saved by Ellison, who placed a hand on his partner’s shoulder, silencing him.

“I think Mr. Dresden can see for himself, Chief. Let the man keep a little of his lunch,” he said. I smiled, grateful not only for the sake of my stomach, but also for my dignity.

I forced myself to look again at the photographs and try to take in all the significant detail with a dispassionate eye. The bodies had been strung up by the ankles and hung upside down like a carcass in an abattoir, their throats slit.

The thought made me dry-heave, but thankfully nothing more. My mental image of an abattoir made me realise that they had been hung that way in order to drain their blood, yet there was very little on the ground. Obviously it was collected in some vessel.

A cold pit began to form in my stomach that had nothing to do with nausea. Blood could be used in some very black magic and that much of it could create some serious mojo.

The lack of blood also meant that the flaying of the skin had occurred after death, which was something of a relief. As I examined the photos closely I realised what Sandburg had been trying to tell me. All the bodies had been flayed; the skin on the torso had been left attached, but pulled back and spread out like Hannibal Lector did to that guard in Silence of the Lambs.

“They’re being presented to someone, or something,” I said, voicing my thoughts. Sandburg nodded again, curls bobbing enthusiastically.

“Note the way that the muscle has been cut here, and nowhere else. It exposes the internal organs.”

“An invitation,” I agreed and looked up, careful to avoid the cops’ eyes. Last thing I needed right now was a glimpse at any of their souls. Or for them to see mine. “I need to consult… some books on the subject. They’re at my hotel room, I’ll be able to give you a better idea tomorrow what I think we’re dealing with.”

Really I needed Bob’s advice, but I wasn’t about to tell them that I needed to confer with a spirit of intellect. I was almost certain that a magic practitioner was using the kills to collect blood for a ritual or spell. But worse than that, the way the bodies were presented told me that whoever it was, they were feeding a creature of the Nevernever, probably making a bargain with it.

“I hope you’re as good as Lieutenant Murphy says you are. I’ve got a lot riding on you,” Banks said and waved his cigar at me. “The brass are not happy with me for agreeing to this, and they’re even less happy with Sandburg for suggesting it. Only reason you’re here is because Karrin’s Dad was a great cop and she’s shaping up to be as good, or maybe better. You’d better make good on her faith in you or you’re on the first train back to Chicago.”

“Received and understood, Captain,” I replied seriously, but it was hard to keep the grin from my face. Antagonism from the cops was more what I was used to; all that niceness was starting to creep me out.


Sandburg and Ellison dropped me at my hotel, armed with the case file and their business card. I made my way up to my room; it was a nice hotel, a little old and worn around the edges but it had a faded grandeur. I had requested a hotel that still had proper room keys. They’re getting harder to find, even roach motels have electronic locks, but if I kept a keycard on my person for long the magnetic strip would get wiped; it’s the main reason I don’t have any credit cards. Okay, so no company would give credit to a man who lists his occupation as ‘wizard’ either; I never said it was the only reason.

Once in my room, I put down the file, went over to the closet and pulled out the backpack I had stashed there earlier. Inside was an old human skull and inside that lived Bob. Bob is a spirit of intellect, bound to serve me, and a fount of mystical knowledge.

“About time,” he grumbled as I pulled the skull out and put it on a shelf. The orange light of his being glowed fiercely in the eye sockets of the skull. I did feel a bit guilty about leaving him in there, but Ellison and Sandburg had been with me when I dropped my things off; it would have been hard to explain the skull. So instead of apologising I sniped.

“What’s the matter? Afraid of the dark?” I retorted. Bob said nothing. Sometimes my wit is wasted. “I need your thoughts on the case. You have permission to come out, but you must stay within this room and return the second I say we’re finished.”

A cloud of orange lights floated out of the skull and over to the desk where I had placed the file. It hovered over the folder for a moment, then passed through it and the desk before returning to float over it. I didn’t think it was possible for him to blanch, but Bob definitely went a paler shade of orange for a moment.

“Crap,” he said eventually.

“That good, huh?”

“The magic’s not the problem, that’s probably some minor league player looking to get himself an upgrade. But I only know of a couple of creatures from the Nevernever that feed like that and they’re pretty big league,” he explained.

“How big we talking?” I asked, flicking through the folder again, careful to avoid looking too closely at the pictures.

“I’d put them in the same league as your godmother.”

“Crap,” I said eruditely.

My Faerie godmother is the Leanansidhe, a high ranking member of the Winter Court of the Fae and an incredibly dangerous one. I’d gone toe-to-toe with her and barely come out of it alive. If Bob was right, this case wasn’t going to be easy.

My next step seemed pretty obvious; I needed to visit the most recent of the crime scenes. Hopefully, if something had come through from the Nevernever, or someone had worked magic there, there would be some residual energies or some clue that the police overlooked that would help identify who, or what, we were dealing with.

I called Sandburg on the cell phone number he’d given me and asked to visit the latest scene. He was surprisingly enthusiastic and more than happy to accompany me. He gave me his address and told me to meet him there in half an hour.

“Is there anything I should look for?” I asked Bob once I’d hung up.

“Trust me, you’ll know it if you See it,” he replied. His emphasis on the word see made me groan. I hate using my Sight at the best of times and at a ritual murder site it would not be pretty. I nodded and headed for the door.

“Oh, Bob,” I said casually as I opened the door. “Conversation over.”

I left the spirit cursing me as he returned to his skull, turning the air blue with an entire dictionary’s worth of swear words, some of which I didn’t even recognise. Petty? Childish? Maybe a little, but sometimes you have to get your yucks where you can. My motives weren’t entirely selfish; if Bob had been left to float freely in the room and some poor maid had entered she’d have had a hell of a shock. For a bodiless spirit of intellect, Bob sure can be a lecherous sleazebag.

This continues in Part Two
Marcus L. Rowlandffutures on April 29th, 2011 07:55 pm (UTC)
Don't know The Sentinel at all, but this is looking interesting.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: dresdenidontlikegravy on April 30th, 2011 10:39 am (UTC)
Thank you. I have it on reliable authority (my beta) that familiarity with The Sentinel is unnecessary so I hope you enjoy the rest.
anniemareanniemare on April 29th, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)
OOOH! Looks interesting! Can't wait for more!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: crossoversidontlikegravy on April 30th, 2011 10:40 am (UTC)
Thank you! I think I'll post the next part in a few days - I want to give enough space between chapters to give me time to write the ending! *g*
Rhi: Morganavipersweb on April 29th, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC)
*g* I just started listening to the second Dresden book. You've nailed the voice of Dresden really well. Nice start. Looking forward to more.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: dresdenidontlikegravy on April 30th, 2011 10:41 am (UTC)
That's great to hear, thank you so much :)

More will be coming in short order since it is all finished but the ending :)
The other Weird Al: Dresden Files - advertaeron_lanart on April 30th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)
Yay! You're posting!

Edited at 2011-04-30 12:58 am (UTC)
But, I don't want to be a pie,: dresdenidontlikegravy on April 30th, 2011 10:42 am (UTC)
Figured it was about time *g*
Indigo Catindigocat on April 30th, 2011 01:17 am (UTC)
This looks very interesting.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: crossoversidontlikegravy on April 30th, 2011 10:42 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Black Rook: booksgrachonok on April 30th, 2011 05:29 am (UTC)
Not familiar with Dresden at all (and not a big fan of this kind of supernatural either:)), but it doesn't stop me from enjoying this:). Really good piece of writing!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: crossoversidontlikegravy on April 30th, 2011 10:46 am (UTC)
Thank you so much hon. That I take as a really massive compliment. I always try to write crossovers so that fans of either fandom can still enjoy it even if they're not familiar with the other, but to hear that you actually dislike the genre but still like the fic really makes me smile :)
Caro Dee: Talk Fastcarodee on April 30th, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)
First off, I love a punning title and yours is superb. Made me laugh.

Second, a lovely set up for what is looking to be a very fun fic.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: crossoversidontlikegravy on May 1st, 2011 04:50 pm (UTC)
I love a punning title and yours is superb.

Thank you! I thought it was in keeping with the Dresden Files and the fic.

I'm so glad you liked the first chapter, hope the rest lives up to expectations! :)

Btw, icon love! (Which has also made me realise I have *no* Sentinel icons. Are there any comms I might snag some from?)
Caro Dee: TSBBcarodee on May 1st, 2011 06:09 pm (UTC)
Your icon is hysterical! So, so true and the exact reason I love crossovers. *g*

Check out ts_iconart for icons. Also, the weekly ts_newsletter lists any new sentinel icons.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: pleased hamsteridontlikegravy on May 1st, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
Aha! Merci. I'm pretty new to the fandom (only about two years now!) so I really don't know my way around the comms at all. Actually, who am I kidding, I don't know my way around any comms that aren't Highlander or Doctor Who related! :)
Caro Dee: TSBBcarodee on May 1st, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
Then welcome to TS! I can already tell we'll enjoy having you around. :-)
But, I don't want to be a pie,: pleased hamsteridontlikegravy on May 1st, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Not to shamelessly pimp myself or anything, but I have written one other TS crossover Pack Animal. It's Blair/Jim, (though not graphic, I don't do bedroom scenes as a rule) and AU from Sentinel Too so I understand if that's not your bag and you don't want to read it. But if you do, great! :)

Edited at 2011-05-01 07:08 pm (UTC)
But, I don't want to be a pie,: headdeskidontlikegravy on May 1st, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)

Please ignore previous comment since I just realised you *have* read it. mea culpa!
Caro Dee: TSBBcarodee on May 1st, 2011 07:42 pm (UTC)
Hee! Don't worry about it. You posted six months ago which is practically a decade in Internet years, so I was glad of the reminder and had to go check it out again. Wolf!Blair is awesome.

I tend to write explicit slash but I read all over the map. A lot of the TS slash writers on LJ came over from the gen side so gen or non-explicit is still appreciated. It's het that has a hard time getting readers in this fandom.

I will call her George: Sentinel - Writingstrangevisitor7 on November 12th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
OMG! I love this. Your Dresden voice is perfect! I think you should write first person more often you've got a real talent for it!

Edited at 2011-11-12 10:05 pm (UTC)
But, I don't want to be a pie,: blair wickedidontlikegravy on December 13th, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you honey! (and I win the fail award for not replying again!!)