Fic: Narrow Squeak
Title: Narrow Squeak
Fandom: Dresden Files
Spoilers: Up to Proven Guilty
Summary: Harry and Murphy get themselves into a tight situation.
“God damn it, Harry!”
“I know, I know!” I snapped, feeling along the top of the wall, trying to find any sign of the door.
Murphy, feeling along the floor beneath me, gave the wall a vicious kick. I had the feeling she wished it was me. “Don’t go in there, I said. It’s a trap, I said! But would you listen to me?”
“I am aware it was stupid, thank you!”
“They might as well have stuck a big fucking neon sign on it!” she snarled.
I glanced up—yep, the ceiling was still getting lower. “I get it! Anything?”
“No.” She looked up at me, her blue eyes widened with just the slightest hint of fear. “Harry, get down, there’s no--”
Just then my fingers found a crack, and I grunted, slightly surprised. “Wait, I think I got—“
“Get down!” Her fingers found my duster and yanked.
I always forget just how strong Murphy is. I went down like a collapsing telescope, right on top of her. My duster muffled her swearing, but not much.
“You okay?” I gasped, staring up a little mournfully as the promising crack disappeared under the lowering ceiling.
“Been better,” she said, shoving me as much off her as she could, which wasn’t far. It wasn’t a very big room, maybe three feet square; I’d run into the wall almost immediately, but by the time I’d gotten turned around, Murphy had collided with me, the door had slammed shut, and the ceiling was already about an inch lower.
It was maybe six feet off the ground now, and gaining speed.
“Is it moving faster?” Murphy asked, her voice a bare whisper.
“Not for long,” I answered, extended a hand, and snapped, “Ventas!”
The ceiling should have been slammed back into its proper place. Instead, it continued in its stately way downward. If anything, it was moving faster still. Fuck.
I stared at it, and swallowed. We were going to die.
Or more accurately, I was going to die. Because no way in hell was I letting Murph die without a fight, and I had an idea.
She gripped my hand, and said, “Harry?” in a voice that was absolutely level, without any trace of fear. That’s my Murphy.
“I got it,” I said, squeezed her hand once, and started shucking off my duster. “Hang on.”
“Harry!” Her voice spiraled up, and I smiled, involuntarily. “What the hell are you doing?”
“Trying something,” I answered, as evasively as I could. Murphy letting me sacrifice myself for her was about as likely as me just sitting by and letting her die, so I had to do this sneaky-like. I shoved the duster at her. “Put this on, I’ve got an idea.”
She glanced up at the ceiling, then gave me an incredulous look. “Is this really the time for playing dress-up?”
I rolled my eyes. “Look, just put on the damn duster.” If I could enhance the protections on the leather enough, it might be able to hold off the ceiling…
“I’ll be swimming in it!” She was shrugging it on anyway.
“That’s the idea. Here…” I tugged it over her head, tucked the flaps over her feet. She looked like a little babushka, wrapped up for some reason in black leather, and glaring. Oh, she was glaring.
“This had better be good,” she muttered.
There was no point in replying, so I didn’t. Instead, I wrapped her in my arms and curled up on the floor, making sure she was facing the ground.
Murphy went down with a muffled squeak and a kick that probably bruised my shin, even through the leather. “Dammit, Dresden, what the hell are you doing?”
“Trying something!” I shot back. “Please be quiet!” She subsided unwillingly and I reached for the protections on the duster, feeding as much power into them as I could. It hardly mattered how much I took—I wasn’t going to live long enough to regret it anyway.
The ceiling was getting closer, and I closed my eyes, turned my face towards the ground, and arranged myself over Murphy as best I could. The duster didn’t do well with pressure, so there had damned well better be something between her and the ceiling. Cushioning.
It’s weird, thinking of yourself as cushioning. But I guess that’s all we are in the end.
I wasn’t going to do a real good job anyway. Way too skinny. But I could try.
“Harry…” she said, and for the first time I heard fear in her voice. “Harry, what are you doing?”
I didn’t answer. I could feel the ceiling lowering, could feel the air escaping—meant the door wasn’t airtight, she could get out after—could feel it coming closer and closer. My spine felt horribly exposed. I wondered for one frantic moment if maybe I could squirm under there with her, try to save us both… but no, the duster wasn’t big enough to cover both of us. I was lucky it was big enough to cover her. No. No time, anyway.
The ceiling was lowering.
Murphy’s elbow (or at least I thought it was her elbow) jammed hard into my stomach. “Harry!”
I didn’t answer. Couldn’t answer. There were all sorts of things I could have said to her, things I’d never had the chance or the time to say. But what could I tell her that she didn’t already know?
I thought about it for a heartbeat.
No. She did know that.
I pressed a quick kiss to the top of her head, hoped she felt it through the leather. She knew.
Then I closed my eyes and waited to die.
It took me a minute to register that the ceiling wasn’t moving anymore.
“Harry?” Murphy sounded a lot less frantic, and a lot more uncertain. “What’s going on?”
“I don’t…” I lifted my head just a little, turned so I could see out of the corner of my eye. My light spell had gone out, the magic gone into the duster, but there was a square of lighter black against the ceiling, four feet up. Someone had opened something? Maybe they’d decided gassing us was less messy than squishing.
Then something landed on my back with an audible thump.
I yelped and bucked, trying to get it off. Murphy shrieked and fought her way out from under me, screaming, “What is it? What is it?”
“I don’t know!” I yelped back, and fumbled for my pentacle. A snake, a demon? It didn’t feel big enough to be a malk. A shrike?
Murphy went dead still, just as I felt the chain under my fingers and yanked out the pentacle. I grabbed it, held it up and concentrated. Had she been bitten? Was she hurt? Light bloomed, filled the space, and I reached for her without even really registering the expression on her face. “Are you okay?” I yelled, too frantic to moderate my voice.
“Jesus, inside voices!” she yelled right back, then lowered her own voice. “I’m fine. Um, Harry?” She was holding something.
“What? What is it?” I craned my neck, crowding towards her as best I could. That had been too goddamn close and we weren’t out of it yet.
Murphy’s mouth was twitching, like it does when she’s trying to hide a smile. “It’s a bunny.”
“Oh, great, a…” I blinked, my line of thought suddenly derailed. “A what?”
“A bunny.” She opened her hands, and a very small baby rabbit blinked up at me. It was grey, with a white nose and a collar of white fur around its neck. It was… okay, it was a bunny.
I stared at it.
It twitched its nose.
“I will say this,” Murphy said. “This guy has a weird sense of humor.”
I looked up at her, her hair all mussed golden shine against the dead black of my duster, cradling a small grey bunny, and suddenly wanted to kiss her.
But this was neither the time or the place. So I collapsed into hysterics instead, and opened my arms to her when she followed suit, holding her against my chest as we shook with laughter.
She knew, and there would be another time.
A bunny. Goddamn.
A/N: It is possible I took Pris a little too seriously when she asked for a "bunnies!" fic.