When forced to spend excessive amounts of time around my supposed love interest, one Richard Zeeman, I am always swamped by an immense longing for Billy and The Pack. Not Richard's pack, though there are a few decent, sane, pleasant to talk to people in it, but Billy's friends who don't judge me for playing DnD and who I can always count on to use logic and tactics in a fight instead of just growling, posturing, and trying to muscle their way through the throw downs. Even if muscles do help.
But beggars can't be choosers, and after that fateful night on the Island when the rescue mission went more pear-shaped than usual and I bounced Ivy and a still recovering Kincaid through the veil despite Nicodemus' warning. I'd woken up in a graveyard in St. Louis missing three feet and being stared at by a kid named Larry who I had dubbed Cujo-lite. Turned out Nicky wasn't kidding about the Island being a dangerous place to crossover. We'd ended up boring a hole straight through the NeverNever and popping out the other side. The Outside. As part of the transition we'd all been adapted to fit the world we were now a part of, and somehow that meant I was a supernatural consultant (nice surprise) and a woman (not nice surprise) short (very not nice) and a necromancer for hire. Luckily I still retained enough from my speed reading of Kemmler to draw parallels and muddle through. Which is another unpleasant thing about this world: my magic has gone all squirrel-y and other than raising roadkill on command I had about as much control as I did when Justin first found me.
For a while there I wondered if Captain Luccio had experienced the same thing when the Corpsetaker switched places with her. If so, I have a whole new respect for the woman. Luckily, once I found her I had Old!Ivy with all her Archive powers intact to help me adapt and work on getting things back to normal. For me. It's slow going but we've been making progress.
Where was I? Oh. Yeah. Werewolves. So in this world -a world in which everyone kept calling me Anita, at least until I screamed in the freaking White Court vampire's face and filed for an official name change, Hello, Harriet- I have a shape shifter admirer/stalker, a vampire admirer/stalker who through some series of events I'm not totally clear on resulted in my being his personal Knight, and a group of kitty-shifters that have sworn their allegiance to me. Apparently because they're all pussies. Pardon the pun, it's been a bad week and my finding the corpses of tortured/eaten women tends to make me tetchy. Usually I try to think of the Pard as a less gutsy version of Toot and his friends... but then I get even more homesick.
And then we're all in the middle of the Ozark's because Richard, that's my werewolf stalker, was arrested for rape. Which he didn't do: I cornered him and did a soul gaze which got me my answers and sent him into a mini-coma, but was still being charged with unless we could figure out who was actually committing the crimes and killing people. After all my time with Justin I can recognize a demon summoning from a mile off, I've done them myself once or twice, and so I called in Kincaid -who instead of having the moniker of Hellhound has been promoted to just plain old Death- for backup.
Which brings us to the now.
I really oughtn't have called him. I grinned and pulled the trigger on my revolver -Anita had come equipped with a Browning and a Firestar but I prefer my old standbys, though the recoil took some time to readjust to- neatly knee-capping the jerk who'd been sacrificing women to summon up the demon. It was vaguely lizard shaped, scaled, and clawed with clicking mandibles. He'd looked worse. I waved. It wasn't everyday I saw someone from home. Even if he was a demon. "Hiya, Chauncy!"
The demon jumped in surprise and turned away from Mrs. Zeeman, who was bound and gagged at his feet, and stared at me as if searching my soul.
"Dresden," He purred my name and I stifled the uncomfortable shiver that went through me. The guy was an expert at manipulating people and he had three of the four parts to my Name. If he got the last bit he could make me do anything he wanted. "What a surprise to see you! The spirit world has been in such an uproar ever since your little showdown with the Fallen on Demonreach. Everyone thought you dead."
I shuffled in my boots and tried to ignore the numerous eyes that were bouncing between me and Chauncy. Kincaid, bless him, continued tying up the bad guys with his usual efficiency and ignored my shenanigans. I inched closer to Mrs. Zee and pulled the trigger lighter from my new duster's pocket -I'd gone on a shopping spree, because raising the dead pays surprisingly well, though recently I've considered joining Ronnie in her PI business to get back to my roots and away from the Fang gang- and clicked it on. It was no blasting rod, but as I mentioned my magic's been pretty iffy.
"Well, as you can see I'm not. Now why don't you go back to the great beyond or whatever it is called and leave us mortals alone?"
"Perhaps, Dresden. Perhaps. But not without my lovely offering..."
I snarled spat his True Name, it sounded vaguely like I was hurling a loogie, and poured my will into my lighter arm with a follow up snarl of, "Fuego!"
It wasn't the column of burning death I was accustomed to, but it cut through the distance with unusual precision like a needle of white-hot magma and sent Chauncy cowering in the containment/summoning circle with an agonized cursing of my existence. He poofed away, whimpering, the ectoplasm that made of his body bursting, and I sighed as the sounds of sirens hit my ears. Richard snapped out of whatever fancy he was in and rushed to help his mother. I pocketed my lighter and holstered the revolver.
Then I glared at Asher. The pentacle around my neck started glowing a soft blue. He wisely backed off and contented himself with staring at me with his good side all glowing in the moonlight. No doubt he would report back to JC, was possibly already in mental commune with him, about my little stunt. Stupid vampire super powers. Oh, well. Time was a wasting.
"Kiiiiiiiincaaaaaaid." I whined, uncaring when he corrected me with a huff of Edward. The only reason I hadn't gone insane with the transition was because the King existed in this reality, too. And I was not above using my new-found curves to win free dinners. Even if I had the money. "I don't want to deal with the cops. Let's skip out and get some Burgers."