Length: 1009 words
Book or TV verse: TV
Characters: Harry, Bob
Summary: Harry is bored and Bob is attempting to distract him. Pre-Series, set a couple of months after Harry inherits Bob.
Author's Notes: guardian_chaos asked for 'Harry and Bob interaction, preferably happy'. So...well, it's not Christmas morning, but it's happy. :-)
"Oh, for the love of God, Bob, just make your damn move!" I snapped at the ghost. "You know you're going to beat me anyway, you might as well just get it over with."
Bob raised his eyes from the chessboard with a maddening smirk on his face. "Yes, but beating you is so easy, I like to make it a challenge for myself."
I made a face and slumped with my chin in my hand, beating on my desk with my wand impatiently. "I think you cheat."
"How can I possibly cheat, Harry, I cannot actually move the pieces," he protested, with a roll of his eyes. "Stop that tapping, you'll set something on fire."
I set the wand down. "Don't sell yourself short," I told him. "We both know you could figure out someway to get me to cheat for you."
"Most likely," he agreed. He looked as though I'd just given him a great compliment. "But as I've said, you are such a poor chess player I wouldn't put myself through the effort."
I glared at the phone while Bob deliberated some more. It'd been more than two weeks since I officially put my shingle out as a wizard for hire and I had yet to receive any clients. Bob kept patiently reminding me that it would take time for the word to spread. I didn't have time, though. I had rent due in another week and enough food to last a few days if I rationed it. I was also bored out of my mind. Which was why I was reduced to playing chess with Bob, even though I suck royally at it. Bob says that I don't have a properly strategic mind.
"Ring," I commanded the phone, making a magicky gesture with my hands. "Ring...now."
It didn't ring. I frowned at it and put my chin back in my hand, tapping my wand again. Bob sighed.
"Is your life always this tedious?" He asked. "Should I get used to this?"
"It sort of comes and goes," I admitted. "Sometimes things blow-up. That's sort of exciting."
" 'Blow-up'," Bob repeated. "Delightful."
I smiled a little. The past couple of months had been hell, but it was nice to have Bob around again. He seemed to have settled in after a few weeks of awkwardness while we tried to figure out how the hell this was going to work. Now that everything was sorted out, I needed to have a real job for the first time in my life. I'd done a few odd jobs here and there to get by, mostly for people who were friends with people I'd helped. Otherwise, I'd been out of the country as much as possible, but those days were over. Uncle Justin's money was helping a few orphanages around the city and I was living on reward money I'd earned tracking down a stolen idol for a Chinese village. Which was now gone. The money, not the village.
"Alright," Bob said and I perked up my interest. "This piece, there."
I moved it for him. We'd long given up any attempts of using that weird chess code 'knight to B7' or whatever. I couldn't keep track of it when I was a kid and I wasn't any better now. I analyzed the move, picked up a piece and set it down somewhere else. Bob sighed.
"Checkmate in two," he declared. "I am quite embarrassed on your behalf. Not to mention mine. I clearly did not do well in my attempts to teach you."
"I never listened," I admitted. "It was boring. I just wanted to do magic. I never got why chess was so important."
"Every young man should be able to play chess," Bob replied now, as he did when I was a kid. "However, you were too busy drawing that infernal superhero..."
"Spider-Man," I agreed. "Spider-Man is cooler than chess, Bob, I'm sorry."
He smiled slightly. "Very well. He will not help you win this game, however. This piece here. You are now in check."
"Bah," I said, unenthusiastically. "Story of my life."
Bob smiled again. He was doing that more now. I'd broken him out of his servant complex with a strict regiment of teasing and glares and he was back to being more of the teacher I remembered from when I was a kid. I didn't need a servant, I needed a friend. I was old enough now for him not to intimidate me. Too much.
"Perhaps - " Bob began.
The phone rang. I resisted snatching it up. I didn't want it to look like I had nothing better to do than sit around waiting for people to call. I twitched while it rang twice more and then picked it up.
"Harry Dresden's office," I said. A smile broke out on my face. "I think I can help, ma'am. Would you like to come down here or should - yes, that's fine." I scribbled down an address. "I'll see you in half an hour, then. Thank you. Goodbye." Bob raised an eyebrow at me. "I have a gig!" I pushed one of my chess pieces around. "And checkmate." I threw up my hands in double triumph and stood up.
Bob looked surprised. "How did - "
"No idea," I said, grabbing my jacket. I stuffed my wand in the pocket of it and the address in after it. "With any luck, we'll eat properly tonight. Well, I'll eat properly, it'll be more metaphorical for you. Where are my keys?"
"On top of the refrigerator. Be careful."
I opened the shop door and turned back before I left. "Thanks for letting me win."
He grinned one of his 'up to something' smiles I hadn't seen in a long time. "I won't make a habit of it," he replied. "I was merely tired of seeing you mope."
"I shall mope no more," I declared, with genuine glee. "I'm a professional now. Like Spider-Man, with less Spandex."
He just smiled and gestured for me to be gone. He looked pleased though. I thought, as I headed for the jeep, that, provided I didn't get myself killed, this whole thing might work after all.