Characters: Harry, mentions of his parents and Justin
Spoilers: Not spoilerish really, but won't make much sense if you haven't seen 'What about Bob?'
Word count: 967
Summary: Harry buries the past. Pre-Series.
Author's notes: Done for the 'Earth' challenge at dresdenflashfic. Set about a month after Justin's death. Introspective.
Harry Dresden sighed as he looked down at the patch of dirt in front of him. It was near the back of one of the corner flowerbeds in the Morningway Mansion’s courtyard. The earth had been undisturbed for...he tried to count, probably ten or twelve years at least. He drove his shovel into the ground and began to dig a hole. It didn’t take him long to hit what he was looking for. The point of burying it there was to keep it safe, not to lose it forever. He’d always put just enough dirt over it to make it unobtrusive, but not too much that he’d become obtrusive digging around for it.
Harry crouched and worked the wooden box free from the earth. It was worn, as was to be expected considering it had spent twenty years or so in the garden altogether. The lock on it still held, however, though it jumped open quickly when he waved his hand over it. He carried the box over to a stone bench underneath a large tree that Harry had spent a good deal of time in as a kid.
He took a seat on the bench and put the box down beside him, opening the lid and looking inside. At the top was a dried corsage he’d sported for some formal thing he’d attended with an old girlfriend. That must have been the last time the box was opened. He took it out, trying to remember why he thought it was so important at the time. He remembered being head over heels for the girl, though they had broken up soon after.
“Story of my life,” he muttered, setting the flower aside.
Harry’s Box (as it was always referred to in his mind) was full of things. Things that he wanted to keep a secret. Things that he wanted to keep safe. Things that, for one reason or another, he wanted to always have. Upon arrival at the mansion after his father’s death, he soon came to realize that a lot of things that were a part of his old life would not be tolerated in his new one. His uncle didn’t like him speaking of his father or the type of magic he had performed. Old clothes were replaced with new, more expensive ones, and many of the objects Harry cherished were dismissed as childish trinkets. So the Box had come into being as a way to make sure nothing very important would be lost.
The Box had his ‘wings’, a pin given to him by a pilot of one of the many airplanes he’d traveled on. He’d gotten to go up to the cockpit that time and was given the pin on completion of his tour. A stack of postcards from different places he’d been was also in the Box, along with several newspaper clippings, yellowing with age and held together with a paper clip. They were reviews of his father - only good ones, of course. Some of his favourite comic books sat at the bottom and a few hockey cards. There was also a picture of his mother, heavily pregnant with him, smiling at his father, looking as though the camera had caught them by surprise. It was the only picture Harry had of the three Dresdens together. There was a small bottle of dirt from Maggie’s grave - something Malcolm kept with him since he couldn’t pay regular visits to it. Harry had kept it after his father’s death, as well as adding another vial from Malcolm’s grave. Reminders of who he was, no matter who his uncle would have liked him to be.
Harry sorted through the box, deciding what he wanted to keep. It ended up being all of it. He’d find a new spot to put it all at his place. Maybe the comics or hockey cards would be worth something. He could use the money now that all of his uncle’s inheritance was given away. The money was just a painful remainder of what he’d done; he could never spend it in good conscience. So he had divided up between a few orphanages and a couple of charities aimed on helping kids who were missing one or both parents. He thought that would be appropriate.
He put the stuff into a bag and looked into the empty Box. Putting his hand into the pocket of his coat, he withdrew a ring. It was a Morningway heirloom, one his uncle had given to him on his 18th birthday. He’d worn it dutifully for awhile to please his uncle, but it had been relegated to the back of a drawer once he’d left home. Now, he didn’t want anything to do with it. He’d tried too long to be a Morningway and now he had proof that the name wasn’t anything he wanted to live up to. He tossed the ring into the box (no longer a Box without the important things in it) and added a battered voodoo doll to it. Then he closed it up, locked it with a spell and buried it back in the earth.
Harry gathered up the bag of things, gave one last glance to his hiding place and patted the climbing tree in farewell as he headed back into the bare mansion. Sheets were draped over the remaining furniture. The rest of the house’s contents had been moved to storage or sold, except for the skull which was now residing in Harry’s apartment. The splinters of wood had been swept up in the Front Hall and he passed through it with a firm refusal to remember what had gone on there only a few weeks previously. He exited the building and shut the door, gave the key a firm twist and locked away the past behind him.