A meeting between the Sanctuary team and team Dresden and Murphy.
Fandoms: Dresden Files w/Sanctuary
Characters: Harry Dresden and Connie Murphy from fandom A: Will Zimmeran, Henry Foss, Ashley and Helen Magnus from fandom B.
Recipient: for researchotaku's multfandom request for crossovers using similar 'gimmicks. or themes.
Request details: http://community.livejournal.com/fic_on_demand/1090507.html
Disclaimer: The Dresden Files and the characters of Harry Dresden and Connie Murphy are the original creations of Jim Butcher and adapted for television on the SCI Fi Channel; they are not mine. Sanctuary and the characters who appear here or are mentioned belong to SCI FI channel and its producers and directors; again, they are not mine.
"Practical Magic“ by Karen
Will Zimmerman did not particularly care for the Windy City, for one thing it was aptly named and it was gritty and noisy for his tastes, but then Dr. Magnus had been the one to insist that a much-needed vacation was in order. If she had in fact another agenda behind that rather vague and bland remark than so be it.
After a year or two spent working under Dr. Magnus he should have come to expect it.
It had taken him a long time to wrap his head around even the very idea that there were things that went bump in the night, and then that they actually existed in the waking world alongside of such commonplace and humdrum objects as mixing bowls and deep dish pizza and Comiskey park Chi-town baseball.
That last one had been Henry's idea. Will had gone along more out of a sense that Henry usually knew where he was going.
Set Henry down in an unfamiliar city, what have you and within a few hours, minutes at least, Henry could could find his way around and armed with a tourist guide book direct one to the nearest mass transit stations and landmarks.
Thinking of just that very idea Henry and Will exited the wide double door of the light rail train and stepped down on the concrete of the platform.
They both ignored the occasional exhortations from passersby for either money for bus fare or to clear a path in the densely packed crowd. Will asked, "I thought we were supposed to meet up with Helen and Ashley by now."
Henry nodded and grabbed his arm and steered a clear path through the crowd of the weekday rush. "Yeah, but Ashley called and said that she had stumbled on a promising lead and wanted to follow up on it." With a wink and flashing Will one of his
trademark loopy teeth-baring grins as Henry replied. "You know what she can get up to when she in one of 'those' moods."
"Yes, well," Will sighed and then added. "It's good that Ashley puts such, well, enthusiasm into her work."
Will realized with a sudden flash that a vacation was, for lack of a better expression, just what the doctor had ordered.
The problems confronting them would more than likely not go away any time soon, and they were numerous. Even without the ever-present threat represented by the Cabal; their work with those who depended on them back at the Sanctuary and by extension everyone else would continue. Helen had been unmistakably adamant about that, Cabal or no Cabal.
He had gone into this entire business with his eyes wide open, respecting and acknowledging the risks; and he had found the risks acceptable. He would never quit, never back down. No matter what. But sometimes, it really was really hard.
Will, after a moment's hesitation returned the other man's smile and realized that if Henry could be this relaxed and back to his gruff but charming self maybe just maybe some of the problems facing were not as dire as he had previously considered them to be.
"Come on!" shouted Henry as they dashed up the stairs of the tunnel that lead up to the street level. "We'd best hurry!"
“Have you tried calling Ashley's cell-phone? asked Will as they emerged from the tunnel and began walking north down a north-west branching street.
"Yes," replied Henry, "glancing around for a few seconds to get his bearings before added. "But she's not picking up. You were probably thinking that this jaunt has been way too easy, am I right?"
"Well," hedged Will. "Either she's not answering, or do you think something's wrong?"
"Oh come on, man!" exclaimed Henry exasperated. "Don't hedge, Will, you're really awful at it. You know Helen. If we're here. Then she's looking for something."
"Both of them can take care of themselves, you know," replied Will.
“Yeah, Yeah. I know they can, but just in case that Ashley really is in trouble, humor me and let's get the lead out!"
The tunnel that Harry Dresden and Connie Murphy had entered about the same time that Will Zimmerman and Henry Foss were riding the El train was not well lit or as densely packed with people as the the one where Will and Henry emerged into the warm sunlight of Chicago summer.
Instead it was dank and smelled of mold and metal and dirt.
Harry Dresden wrinkled his nose mostly because it was an unpleasant of odors that presented themselves to his olfactory senses and also because of the lingering traces of what perhaps had been the presence of paranormal activity. The problem he thought, in the back of his mind, "Something's not right"
“Could you be a bit more specific, Mr. Dresden,” replied Murphy as she carefully negotiated a standing puddle of muddy water and then waited for his reply as she brandished her flash light around their immediate surroundings in a wide 360’ arc.
For her part Detective Connie Murphy did not stop walking having worked with Harry Dresden on any number of odd and convoluted cases that normally would either end up in archives of police records in weird, unsolved or ones that were too bizarre to touch, for one reason or another. When the bizarre or the weird cropped up as they had been rather more frequently of late that was when she come knocking on the door of one Harry Dresden: specialist in the paranormal.
Skeptical by nature Connie Murphy was a cop with a cop’s instincts and her rather stubborn nature insisted that there would always be a logical and clear-cut solution to every problem. It was an instinct and a mind-set that had served quite well over the years.
But, despite her better nature and inclinations, she had begun to realized that maybe, just maybe she could wrap her mind around to this change in her thinking. Harry, was well, Harry and he had a way, a nuanced reason about him that made her want to believe, believe in him. So when he uttered those last words, she instinctively steeled herself for whatever kind of trouble would do doubt follow.
Harry darted a quick inquiring glance at her wondering if maybe he had been mistaken in his earlier assessment. There was every possibility that his instincts were wrong in this instance. Maybe that faint trance like a scent upon the air, a hair-line tremor across his senses was nothing more than a residual echo. A paranormal had been here and recently.
“We’re definitely on the trail of something or someone. The tracks we came upon at the tunnel’s entrance could not have been more than several hours old.”
“Why would anyone be down here in the first place?” she asked.
“The service tunnel once lead to a iron refinery that supplied a smelting operation” he replied.
“According to schematics the police department managed to get from the company that performs routine maintenance down here. However, the smelting operation has been shut down for at least five or six years,“ added Murphy wrinkling her own nose in distaste.
“Iron refinery, maybe that’s why the standing water in those puddles smells so awful.”
Harry nodded in acknowledgement of her remark and continued to scan, pushing his own paranormal senses farther and farther out, even out beyond the range of their flashlight.
A human being had also been here recently, and what anyone in their right mind would be doing in these abandoned maintains tunnels by choice, was anyone’s guess. So far, the clues in this particular case had lead them here and here they would remain until matters were resolved.
Farther down the tunnel where the gloom was a bit deeper. Ashley Magnus glided down the branching corridors apparently taking the left and right turns at random. Ashley had also noticed the similarity of rusted iron to blood, the latter a smell that she was very familiar with. He mother and director of the Sanctuary had been very explicit in her instructions that Ashley was not to rush recklessly into anything, especially in a strange town. And yet, here she was, underneath the city chasing phantoms.
Up until this point the two of them had been taking their investigation one cautious step at a time but the sounds of thuds, grunts, groans and some kind of hand gun quickened their pace and their adrenaline.
In an unspoken accord the two broke into a run. Rounding a corner and they came across a rather unexpected scene. A blond white woman wearing leather slacks and a leather jacket that had seen better days was holding at bay a half dozen shimmering paranormal phantoms. The problem in determining just how many of the phantoms were present was made even more difficult due to the poor lighting and the fact that at no one time did they remain solid for very long. Instead they shimmered in out of sustainability much in the manner of a heat mirage.
“What the hell!” exclaimed Harry reaching for his own magically-enhanced weapon and Murphy had already drawn her own side arm from where it rested in its holster strapped to her leg.
“How do you want to play this?” Harry asked tossing the question over his shoulder at her.
“Maybe a few warning shots?”
“As densely bunched as they are, firing into that melee and you might risk hitting the girl,” he replied.
“If I see a clear shot, I’ll take it,” she replied.
Meanwhile Ashley fumbled in the pockets of her leather jacket frantically searching for her cell phone. Kicking out the semi-invisible but quite threatening hands that reached for her legs and were in the process of wrapping themselves her torso. Her booted foot connected with a quite satisfying give and a groan from whatever it was she had connected with.
At last, managing to retrieve her phone she flipped it open and hit the automatic dialer. “Mom, its Ashley. I know I was not supposed to jump into the middle of whatever it is that causing bizarre manifestations in the old iron refinery. But, I could really use some help down here.”
Much later, once the separate groups had become reunited at the outdoor café where Dr. Magnus had previously arranged to meet up with Will and Henry she had come face to face with Harry Dresden and Connie Murphy.
“According to my handy-dandy meter of the weird,,, interrupted Henry before a sharp nudge in the ribs courtesy of Ashley cut short the remainder of whatever else he had been about to say.
“A lot of this could have been avoided, “ remarked Harry if you had simply come to me for anything you might have needed, Dr. Magnus.”
“How come you actually advertise, as a specialist in the paranormal,” exclaimed Henry in mingled disgust and a bit of admiration at the nerve of a self-professed wizard. “I mean, no harm, no foul, but putting yourself out there like that.” Henry shrugged and then spread out his arms. “Well, just think about it for a sec or two.”
“What Mr. Foss is trying to say, is that given the times in which we live,” she paused and reached up to finger comb through the tangles in her long brown hair. “It shows nerve and a certain degree of bravado. It also dangerous and I was concerned that it might endanger yourself and others.”
“More than we’ve already been endangered?” demanded Harry.
“Hindsight gives one perfect clarity of vision when it is far too late to do anything about the given situation,” replied Helen as she idly stirred the plastic spoon in the cup of coffee that sat in front of her place at the table.
“Let me get this straight, “ Harry replied. “You’re a scientist specializing in the paranormal.” He paused as he chewed over his next words . “Is that not something of a contradiction in terms?”
“No. But I understand why one might believe that to be the case.” Helen sighed. “No offense is meant, Detective Murphy. But I had hoped to avoid an encounter with the police.”
“My bad, Mom. Me maxima culpa,” muttered Ashley under her breath as she crunched the ice in her glass of Pepsi while at the same time refusing to make eye contact with any one person seated around the table for very long.
“Is that because you have something to hide?” demanded Murphy ignoring the girl whom she had categorized into the following area: rebellious teenager, troublemaker and a trouble-maker.
“Not in the way that someone in your position might suppose.“ Helen sighed and reached over across the table to make and hold on to eye contact with the other man. “Believe me when I say that given the delicate nature of my work and well, what’s that quaint expression, Will?”
“Huh,” replied a startled and rather agitated Will wondering how long it would be before the police detective decided that she had had enough of the bizarre and sometimes rather meandering explanations that their team routinely used to get the law off their backs or to prevent them from inquiring too closely into the activities of the Sanctuary. “I believe, Helen, that the expression that you’re looking for is: “It’s complicated.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Murphy replied. “I’ve seen some strange things in my time. Try me.”
“Maybe some other time, Ma’am,” added Henry.
“I’ll have you know that I’m not the type to take ‘no for an answer,” Murphy replied.
“I realize that,” interrupted Will in more mollifying tones and then added. “We appreciate the help that you give Ashley down there in the abandoned tunnels, really we do. It’s just I guess, we’ll have to settle for less than satisfying answer, under the circumstances.”
“You the one they send in to sweet talk would-be crazies?” asked Harry in an attempt to defuse some but not all of the tension in the air. “The coffee’s getting cold and it really is good coffee, Colombian, I think.”
“Yes, it is good coffee, a dark roast, “ replied Will, “And to answer your previous question. Yes, I am, thank you very much.”
“Okay, okay,” Murphy replied. “I don’t have to like it. Officially I can’t well, I can’t imagine the reaction I’ll get when I submit my report, but then that’s more or less half the fun these days.”
“Dr. Magnus, the next time you feel like visiting the Windy City,” added Harry, “call ahead first or better yet, I can give you my business card.”
Helen Magnus nodded. “That would be acceptable.”