Spoilers: None that I can think of
Rating: PG (for some brief gore)
Summary: Harry gets some help from an unexpected place.
Author's Note: Done for the 4th challenge @ dresdenflashfic. The prompt word was 'Light'. About two days after I wrote this, I finished reading Grave Peril and found out Harry's birthday is Hallowe'en. If I'd known that, I would have included it, but since it's not official TV canon, I suppose it's all good.
Hallowe'en is one of the worst nights of the year for me. While you contently dress up your munchkins as pirates and princesses, I'm fighting off demons that want to eat your munchkins, eye patches and all. It's a big night for demonic activity and I can't possible be everywhere I need to be, but I do my best. I never get thanked for it, either. I don't even get any candy.
One of the best parts of Hallowe'en is that it ends at midnight. All the creatures from the Nevernever have to go back home, no matter what they're up to. So, I only have to last out until then. I was so not gonna make it tonight, though. I didn't know what time it was but I knew that even if it was one minute to midnight, I'd be dead before then.
The demon I was fighting knew it too, and he wasn't being very nice about it.
"Any last words, wizard?" he snarled, lifting his claws to tear across my throat.
"You suck," I said. I'd used up all my wizardly banter in the first hour of the fight. I was bleeding and broken and bruised. It was the best I could come up with. "And you're ugly."
I had my hockey stick up in front me, it was shaking along with my arm and the rest of me. I wasn't afraid, just cold and suffering from blood loss. Death didn't really scare me. I don't want to die, but dying to keep a bunch of munchkins alive didn't seem like a bad way to go. Plus, there's a little trick we wizards can do, just before we die. Whatever curse you throw out with your dying breath is one potent spell. All your magic drains out with that spell. You could do amazing things with it. If you timed it right.
The demon was cackling evilly, which I think is a law for demons before they kill anything. I stared him down and prepared to think of something nasty to say before I was gone. It's very hard to think with blood pouring from your chest, though. I wavered a little and my eyes went out of focus. If I wasn't already sitting in a corner of an alley, I would have fallen over.
I was sort of out of it, so I can't really say for sure if the light come in slowly or all at once. All I know is that one moment there was demon about to claw me to death and the next there was the brightest light that I had ever seen. It hurt my eyes and even when I closed them it bled through my eyelids like daylight.
The demon howled in either rage or pain. I could hear whispering, a spell of some sort that I didn't know and couldn't begin to decipher. It almost sounded like music. I opened my eyes again to try to figure out what was going on. Maybe I was just dying and that was the light you're supposed to see.
"Be gone, demon," the whisper finished, sounding ethereal. Then it added, "Before I kick your ass to the 9th level of Hell," which wasn't as ethereal, but no less musical sounding.
There was a scream of rage (definitely rage this time) and the smell of brimstone as the demon disappeared. I wasn't very conscious at this point and sort of gaped at the light, which started to dim into the shape of a person. The person turned towards me and dimmed into a woman, a young woman with a pleasant face. She was all golden and pale yellow, but there were hints of colour here and there. A bit of red on her lips, brown in her eyes, black in her hair.
"Harry?" She said, crouching down in front of me. "Are you alright?"
"Uhn," I said, still gaping.
She reached out and tried to put a hand to my head, but it passed through with a cold sensation that made me shiver in addition to shake. She glared at her hand with a glare that would have made lesser limbs become corporeal that instant.
"I tried to come sooner," she said, apologetically. "But the barrier was still too strong. I can't stay long. Are you alright?"
"Yeah," I managed to get out.
She smiled, a wonderful smile that gave me a peaceful, loved feeling I hadn't felt since my dad was still alive.
"Good. Now, don't you dare try to fight anything else, Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. You get to the payphone on the corner and you call 911. It's nearly 11:30, it'll be over soon. You hear me?"
"Yes'm," I said. There were tears on my cheek, but I didn't know why.
"I don't think I'll be able to do this again," she continued, still smiling, but sadly now. "If it weren't tonight I couldn't do it at all. So be careful. You're a very good boy, but you should look after yourself better. Eat more." She looked a bit frantic suddenly. "I have to go. I can't think of anything else I should say...there must be something...Hell's Bells." She shook her head in frustration. "It's time. Alright." She stood up and started to glow brighter. "Stay safe."
I nodded a little. "Thanks..." I swallowed. "Mom?"
She smiled again with a bit of a wink and disappeared in a burst of light. The darkness of the alley closed over me with a snap that was almost painful. There was a bit of the musical sound echoing around. It told me it loved me.
"I love you too," I whispered back.
I forced myself onto my feet, wiped my eyes and moved slowly down the alley. You know how I said Hallowe'en is the worst night for me? It's not really. Not anymore.