Dresden let out a pained grunt as he was pulled into a hug, and then another hug “Hell’s Bells, Carlos” he managed to wheeze through his wince “We’ve really got to have a talk about personal space.”
The hug was still going, though with significantly less pressure being applied to the mass of wounded nerve endings that was Harry Dresden “It’s good to see you too Grasshopper.”
The hug ended, and Harry tried to focus on what needed to be done. As much as he hated to ruin the mysterious wizard routine vanishing had given him, he really needed to know exactly how royally they were boned. Were they talking about the King of England here, or just some Nigerian Prince whose actual existence was questionable?
“I swear, mom, it wasn’t my idea to throw a wild party” he said towards the imposing and motherly figure in the door, before deciding that perhaps something else was due, given that the aforementioned wild party had given most of her home a fantastic New Gore Smell. ”Hi, Charity. Uh…What exactly did I miss?” He asked, gesturing to the bruise on his temple as if that was sufficient exposition for his lack of Wizardly Insight.
Molly let go of Harry reluctantly, half afraid that if she did he would disappear again. However, he didn’t go anywhere when she released her grip. When she saw her mother, she brightened even more. “Mama!” she cried happily, running to embrace her mother. After a moment, she realized that Harry was looking at her, and began to explain what had happened over the past few nights.
“After you left, Ca—Warden Ramirez showed up with his team, and started staking out the house. Then Mr. Marcone—” she gestured at the man still unconscious on the couch—“and his bodyguard, Mr. Hendricks arrived, and Billy Borden, and Wizard Ebenezer McCoy. When He Who Frolics in the Flowers showed up again, it pretty much ripped straight through our threshold. Then Lea showed up, and we ran off one way, with me disguised as Ms. Gard, and Lea took them into the Never Never, with Ms. Gard disguised as me. And then….we came here, because it was the most warded place I could think of.” she trailed off with a shrug. After a moment, she looked at Harry, eyes and voice sharp with worry.
“I want to know where you were, Harry. You promised you’d be back, and you weren’t. What happened?”
Releasing the grip he had on the two other wizards, Carlos felt suddenly awkward. He stepped back, leaving Molly closest to Dresden, and ran his hands through his hair. It didn’t take long, luckily, for Dresden to defuse that awkwardness as well.
“Dresden, you hijo de puta, if you ever make me come all the way out to Chicago to cover your tail again, I will get right up in your personal space just enough to beat your skinny ass.” He offered Harry a cocky smile, but inside he was suddenly worried; his Wardens hadn’t checked in since the madcap escape and Carlos feared the worst. At a time the Wardens could afford no losses, they had lost two young wizards to the Outsider. That, too would be answered for. For now, though, Carlos had to carry it inside of him. He stayed silent as Molly explained the situation, moving over to lean on the wall, which afforded him a vantage point on both Dresden and Molly and Thomas making pancakes, which smelled excellent.
Noticing the woman outside—who bore enough of a resemblance to Molly (or Molly to her) that he guessed she was Mrs. Carpenter—and the not-so-thrilled look she was giving him before she turned her attention to Dresden, Ramirez gave a little impudent wave and smiled charmingly. At the sound of his name in Molly’s retelling, Ramirez refocused on her, noticing the stumble over his first name and raising an eyebrow. Deciding to ignore it for now, he closed his eyes and relaxed, inhaling the scent of pancakes and the subtle pull of the vampire. Speaking of the vampire, why hadn’t he and Harry had a scene? I would think, a little voice in his head chimed in, that a vampire would be more of a surprise than another regional head of the Wardens. That line of though, however, was clipped short when Molly half-confronted Dresden.
-“I want to know where you were, Harry. You promised you’d be back, and you weren’t. What happened?”-
Yeah. They were all wondering that.
Thomas glanced over at Ramirez for a split second, noting Ramirez’s sudden tiny note of interest in his direction. He’d been observing the situation with all the senses that he could with his back turned. He put the first batch of pancakes onto a paper plate, he hadn’t found enough non-paper ones in the kitchen to use, and started on the second batch. At Molly’s question he turned around entirely. “I think we’d all like to know what happened, Harry. I, for one, am very interested.” It’s his way of saying he was concerned. He glanced over to the woman in the doorway. “Would you like any pancakes, Mrs. Carpenter? While I’m making them?”