Characters: Murphy, Harry, Kirmani, misc. cops
Spoilers: Second City
Word count: Just about 2100
Summary: Murphy gets her Christmas spirit boosted with a visit from a certain wizard.
Author's notes: Written for dresdenflashfic's 'mistletoe' challenge. Harry/Murphy holiday fluff.
It was the 27th precinct’s Christmas/Holiday party and Safranski was starting to look tipsy. I exchanged eye rolls with Sid, both of us knowing that the drunker Safranski got, the more likely it became that he would burst into Christmas carols. Considering Safranski sings like a cat being slowly steamrolled, I hoped someone would cut him off before then.
All the cubicles were strung with garlands and the walls were wreathed and bowed, courtesy of Kari, who was always the most festive one there. A Bing Crosby Christmas album was crooning out of the ancient CD player in the corner, which did nothing to soothe my fears that Safranski was going to get musical.
“You don’t look Christmassy, Lt. Murphy!” Kari said, obviously a bit tipsy herself. She had on a ridiculous Christmas sweater and an elf hat that jangled when she walked.
“I’m on duty,” I reminded her. Sid and I had volunteered ourselves this year. If anyone got murdered, there would be at least two homicide cops able to arrive at the scene sober.
“Pft,” Kari said, with a dismissive wave of her hand. “Stop grinching over here and have fun.” She put a bow left over from some Secret Santa present on my head. “There. Now you can be the ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge.”
I snorted despite myself and managed a fairly cheerful smile. This seemed to placate her and she moved onwards. I took a sip of my eggnog and slouched at my desk. Sid had his feet up on his nearby and was sucking on the end of a candy cane, fashioning it into a point sharp enough to pierce someone’s jugular.
“Very stylish,” he said, gesturing to the bow.
I smirked. “It matches your socks.”
Sid had gotten Kari as his Secret Santa and received a pair of socks with a Christmas trees pattern on them. She’d then forced him to put them on. He was good sport about it, but I had to wonder if the candy cane weapon he was fashioning was for her.
“If I die tonight and someone finds me in these socks, I am going to haunt the hell out of that woman,” Sid muttered.
I laughed. “I’ll switch them before I call it in,” I promised.
Sid held his fist out and I bumped it as a sign of agreement.
There was a jingle from the bell on the door of the squad room and Harry entered on its heels. I waved at him in greeting and he smiled back. He made his way over to my desk, ditching his coat and ratty scarf at the coat rack. He was wearing a forest green sweater and that was the extent of his Christmas themed clothing, thank God. I half expected him to show up in some hideous sweater that had dancing reindeer on it, just to be Harry-like. Sometimes I think he delights in embarrassing me.
As he approached, one of the lights on my cubicle went out with a loud pop like a gunshot. Everyone in the room jumped and went on guard, myself included. Training is hard to shake off, even if it’s the middle of a Christmas party. The string of lights went dead and everyone relaxed again when they realized we weren’t under attack.
“Sorry,” Harry said, with a wince.
“How come that happens around you all the time, Dresden?” Sid asked, jabbing his candy cane in Harry’s direction.
“It’s my electrifying personality,” Harry replied, in a serious tone.
Sid rolled his eyes and I grinned.
“Hey Murph,” Harry said.
“Hey Harry,” I said.
His hair was covered with snowflakes, which were rapidly melting in the heat of the office. He also had a bruise on his left cheekbone, one that was small enough now but would probably blossom into a nasty black and blue thing by the morning.
“Sorry I’m late,” he said, brushing at his hair with his hands and sending water drops flying. “I got delayed.”
I resisted the urge to tell him to dry his hair before he caught cold. “Do I want to know by what?” I asked, instead.
“Yes!” he said. “It’s a great story! It involves elves.”
“No reindeer?” I said, feigning disappointment.
“The reindeer are at the North Pole at this time of year, Murph,” he said, matter-of-factly. “They’re very busy.”
“Of course,” I said. “Silly me.” I took another look at the bruise. “You okay?”
“Yep,” he said. “The other thing looks worse, trust me.” He sat down on the edge of my desk.
“‘Thing’,” Sid muttered, grumpily.
Harry ignored him. “So, how’s the party? What did I miss?”
“Nothing,” I said. “Just the gift exchange.” I hadn’t gotten a present, which, drawing on my years of detective experience, made me suspect that Harry was my Secret Santa. Knowing Harry’s budget, though, I wasn’t expecting anything big or anything at all. I was also expecting that, if he did get me something, it would be something weird.
“Oh, that’s -” Harry began. He was interrupted by a ball of wrapping paper bouncing off his temple. The missile had been launched by the slingshot Sid kept in his desk drawer.
He slowly looked around at Sid, who was grinning with satisfaction. “Nice socks,” Harry said, after a moment.
Sid’s grin disappeared and I had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing.
“Now boys, you play nice,” I said. “It’s Christmas.”
Harry stuck his tongue out and Sid thumbed his nose back. I laughed and swatted Harry in the knee.
“Hey! He started it!” Harry complained, jabbing his finger at Sid like a two-year-old.
“You’re closer,” I said.
Harry pouted and Sid crunched triumphantly on the end of his candy cane. I rolled my eyes at the two of them. Do men ever grow up?
“So,” Harry said, reaching for a cookie on my plate. “I’m - “
I slapped his hand away from the cookie. It was a beautifully decorated snowman cookie that I was saving to bring home for Anna. She was coming the next day for us to spend Christmas together.
“Get your own,” I told Harry, jerking my thumb behind me to the treat table.
His eyes lit up greedily at the sight of it and he was gone, practically with a little puff of smoke behind him. He always pounces on food like he hasn’t eaten in days. No wonder he’s so skinny.
“Hi Harry!” Stephanie greeted him, sliding up to the table with speed.
Stephanie is our new civilian aide. She’s probably in her mid-twenties, very pretty and very efficient at her job. She’d been flirting with Harry in increasingly obvious ways since she arrived and had yet to make any headway in getting him to notice her. I didn’t know if he wasn’t interested and was ignoring her or if he was just oblivious. I was leaning towards the latter. Harry goes out with a lot of women, but I think he always initiates the relationship. Otherwise, he can’t imagine why anyone would be hitting on him.
“Hey Steph,” he said, amiably. I watched the two of them in the reflection of my darkened computer screen, interested to see what she would try this time.
“Merry Christmas!” she said, cheerily. She thrust an envelope at him. “I’m your Secret Santa.” Harry put down the plate he was loading up and took the envelope, looking surprised. “It’s a Starbucks card. I wasn’t sure what you, you know, liked, so I figured that I’ve seen you drink coffee, so you must like coffee and…stuff.”
Harry had been nodding along to the explanation and now smiled. “It’s great, thanks Stephanie,” he said.
I doubted he would use the card at all. Once, after an all-nighter, we stopped at a Starbucks for a pick-me-up. Overwhelmed by the prices and the choice, he’d complained that he ‘just want[ed] coffee, Murph’. I’d bought him the plainest choice they had and he’d still declared it too fancy for him. Also the cash registers didn't like him, there.
Harry does love gifts though. He’s always surprised when anyone thinks to get anything for him. He read over the card, now, and smiled. Then he reached over and pulled Stephanie into a hug. She looked delighted.
While they were hugging, she leaned in enough to send him back a few steps. I couldn’t figure out why until I looked up and saw the mistletoe. More of Kari’s work. Stephanie whispered something to him and then got on her tip-toes to kiss him.
I looked away from the computer screen, annoyed. Then I was annoyed at being annoyed. It wasn’t like we were together or ever had been together. I had no claim over him. We’d kissed, but only so he could activate some spell. We were just partners. Friends. I was just annoyed that she had ambushed him like that.
“Boss?” Sid said. He snapped his fingers at me. “Murphy?”
“What?” I said.
“Two DBs near Prosser,” he said, hanging up the phone on his desk. I hadn’t even heard it ring. “You okay?”
“Yep,” I said. I stood up and grabbed my coat from the corner of my cubicle. “Let’s go.”
Sid gave me an odd look, but grabbed his stuff and followed me. The bell on the door jingled noisily as I passed through.
“Murphy!” Harry called, from behind me. “Murph, wait!”
I stopped and turned around, glaring at him. “I gotta go, Harry.”
“It’ll just take a second,” he said. His cheeks were flaming red, probably from the kiss.
“I’ll meet you at the car,” I told Sid. He nodded and passed by us. “What’s up?”
“I’m your Secret Santa,” he said. He thrust a small wrapped package at me. “Which you’ve probably figured out by now. Kari gave me you since I know you the best.”
“Oh,” I said, intelligently. “I mean, yeah, I figured.”
“You have it open it to see what’s inside,” he said, his lips sliding into one of his crooked smiles. “That’s how it works.” He mimed ripping paper.
I made a face at him and carefully undid the tape on the present. There was a little box inside that looked like it had seen better days. It was held together by copious amounts of tape and still looked ready to simply disintegrate. I opened the lid and inside was little medallion.
“It’s a Saint Jude medal,” Harry explained, shifting on his feet nervously. “He’s the patron saint of the Chicago police.”
I nodded. I knew that. My father had a medal he kept in his squad car, until he’d lost it on a stake out. “Wow,” I said, a little lost for words. This wasn’t exactly the ‘dried dragon scales’-like gift I was expecting. “That’s really nice, Harry. Thank you.”
His cheeks went an even deeper shade of red. “I figured you could put it on a chain or on your keys, or just keep it wherever, if you wanted. It might, you know, protect you. He’s the patron saint of lost causes, too. Maybe I should get one for myself.”
I laughed. “You’re not that hopeless. Thank you, Harry.” He smiled. “I have to go.”
“Wait,” he said. I stopped again. He reached into my hair and extracted the bow Kari had placed there, carefully pulling out the strands that were tangled in the staple. “Not very fierce, Murph.”
“Nope,” I said. “Thanks.”
He was still very close and bent his head down to kiss me. It didn’t have quite the passion of the one he’d use to activate the tracking spell, but it wasn’t the peck Stephanie had stolen from him either. It was something in between and something good. When he pulled back, I looked up to see whether there was more mistletoe I was unaware of. Harry looked up, too.
“I don’t need mistletoe,” he said, reading my mind. He looked back down to me. “Do I?”
“No,” I said, trying to force my cheeks to cool down and appear sophisticated and together. “You don’t… I should go.”
“Merry Christmas,” he said, pushing some hair behind my ear. “Keep St. Jude at hand, okay? Take care.”
“I will,” I said. “Merry Christmas.”
I left before anything else insane could happen, slipping the medal into my pocket. In the squad room, Safranski broke out into a horrendously off-key rendition of ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and instead of getting annoyed, I hummed along.
“What are you grinning about?” Sid demanded, when I got to the car.
I shrugged. “Christmas.”