Fic: He Knows If You've Been Bad Or Good
Title: He Knows If You've Been Bad Or Good
Fandom: Dresden Files (TV-verse)
Summary: Harry, Murphy, a bunch of runaway elves, and Santa. Dun-dun-dun. Written for featherjean in the fandom_stocking exchange.
"Huh," Murphy said, her breath puffing white on the air, and leaned against the warehouse door as it shook behind her.
See, what a lot of people don't understand about a lot of Christmas spirits (Santa Claus, who's actually a big bad fairy thanks to all the belief he gets every year, his helpful little elves who are actually really damned scary, reindeer, et cetera) is that they're actually fire spirits. I mean, seriously, why else would Santa dress in red? Or be stupid enough to venture out into a Chicago winter? Or move fast enough to get around the whole world in one night? You think ice can move that fast? Yeah, right. Another thing a lot of people don't understand is that Santa's elves are kind of mental from working for Santa for so long, and that they tend to run away a lot.
So... the upshot of this whole business was that I'd gotten set on fire.
By Santa's runaway elves.
And not with a flamethrower either.
Fortunately for me, Murphy is both very quick-thinking and just plain very quick. She'd shoved me out the door of the warehouse we'd cornered the elves in, tripped me into a snowdrift, and ordered me to stop, drop and roll while she blocked the door. I got it out pretty quick (my favorite leather coat's pretty flame-retardant) and just lay in the snow for a moment.
"So," Murphy said, after a moment. "What do we do now?"
"I'm fine," I said, from my snowbank. "Thanks for asking."
She grinned in my direction. "I figured there'd be a lot more screaming if you weren't. What do we do now?"
I looked up at the stars, and shrugged. "Dunno. Is it midnight yet?"
She shoved her coat sleeve up and checked her watch. "Five minutes 'til. Why?"
"Oh, good," I said, and got up out of the snow. Reluctantly. I was still kind of overheated. "Just enough time."
Murphy gave me a narrow-eyed look. "Just enough time for what?"
I didn't answer, being too busy working things out in my head. If I could just get the timing right... "Hey, Murph, can you give me a countdown?"
"Just enough time for what, Dresden?" she asked again, but obediently shoved her coat sleeve up again. "Four minutes. What are you doing?"
I kicked some snow into a rough circle around me. "Working! I'll explain in a minute." Okay. Okay. Christmassy things. What was Christmassy?
The door started to judder and shake in its frame, and Murphy abandoned her clock-watching to shove her entire weight up against it. "Dresden! A little help here?"
"Working!" I called again. "If this works you won't need to worry!" Red things were Christmassy, and green things. With a sigh, I pulled off my brand-new red and green scarf (present from a friend of mine) and draped it in front of me. Bells were Christmassy, but I didn't have any of those. Bits of wrapping paper... "Hey, Murph! You got wrapping paper on you?"
She gave me a look. "Do I look like I carry wrapping paper around?"
Crap. I twisted around. Evergreens... couldn't find much of that in urban Chicago. Lights would explode around me. Christmas cookies had all been eaten.
Aw, hell's bells. I was going to have to depend on the Christmas spirit, wasn't I?
"Harry!" Murphy yelled, from the door. She'd somehow managed to shove her sleeve up again. "Thirty seconds! This better be good."
I took a deep breath, closed the circle, concentrated hard, and Called.
My eyes flew open with the force of that Answer. "Murph!" I yelled, as soon as I had breath again. "Duck!"
She dove into the snowdrifts beside the warehouse door as it burst open, leaving me in my circle with my scarf at my feet, facing a bunch of little Christmas elves in red and green, with pointed teeth, wicked smiles and fire sparking at their fingertips. I grinned at them.
"Hello, boys," I said. "Here comes Santa Claus."
The brightest of them had about a second to look worried before my air support came roaring in over my head, in all his red and reindeer'd and not-very-jolly glory. I dove for the ground.
When all the noise and fireworks were over, the warehouse door was scorched (quite a feat for solid metal) and the elves were gone. Murphy's dark head popped out of the snow beside the door. "Harry, what..." she began, and trailed off, staring at Santa, staring at her.
He gave her a very toothy smile, then looked at me. He hadn't even gotten out of his sleigh. I tell you, that is one badass fairy. "Wizard. Very nice."
"Thanks," I said. "I've been a good boy, I promise. Can I have a new box of drumsticks? I've run out."
"Certainly," he said. He dug in his sack for a moment, threw me a wrapped box, then turned back to Murphy. "And what do you want for Christmas, little girl?"
Murphy got over her astonishment real damn quick, let me tell you. "I'm not little. I want a rookie with some sense," she said, tartly, hesitated a moment, then added, "And a sleigh bell for my daughter." I must've looked astonished, because she scowled at me and said, "She really likes The Polar Express, okay?"
Santa rolled his eyes, but leaned forward and pulled a bell off the edge of his sleigh and tossed it to Murphy. "There. The rookie will take longer."
Murphy shrugged. "As long as there's some common sense I don't care."
"We shall see," Santa said, then shook his reins. The reindeer rose slowly and silently into the night, and Murphy came to join me, the sleigh bell jingling in her gloved hand.
"That was weird," she said, and tucked the bell into a pocket.
"Yeah," I said, and grinned at her. "But fun!"
She rolled her eyes, but grinned back. "If you're crazy. Which you must be. Drumsticks? Really?"
"I didn't see you asking for world peace," I told her, tucking my drumsticks under my arm and starting back for the car. Only now that the fairies were gone did I notice it was cold.
"I'd be out of a job," she said, and added, "Besides, I think a sensible rookie is rarer. Merry Christmas, Dresden."
"Merry Christmas, Murph."