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Posted November 26, 2007

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    Twisting the Hellmouth

Fan Fiction: Special Delivery

Title: Special Delivery

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not.

Rating: PG

Spoilers: TV-verse for Dresden files; post-"The Shroud" (10.14) for SG-1.

Summary: Dresden Files (TV), SG-1. So it was kind of a surprise that this gorgeous blonde had suddenly shown up to tell me Daniel had sent her. 1800 words.

Notes: For butterflykiki, who asked for a DF/SG-1 drabble with TV-verse Harry meeting Sam, prompt "gravity".

My name is Harry Dresden, and I'm a wizard. It says so right on my door. Most people who walk by and see my sign don't think much of it; that's okay. I probably wouldn't think much of their jobs, either. Those who do take it seriously are mostly either desperate, or have previous experience with the supernatural; I can usually tell which the moment they walk in my door.

I couldn't tell with this woman. She looked serious, professional; she had short-cut blonde hair, that shoulders-back way of walking that meant she was used to giving orders, and a briefcase in her hands. There were no signs of tears or trembling hands that might have signaled a recent traumatic experience, but she didn't seem all that impressed by the trappings of my job, either; she looked over the books and candles and other magical debris in my storefront with a puzzled and slightly distant frown.

"Hi, can I help you?" I asked, emerging from the back hallway as she approached my desk.

She looked up then, her frown instantly transforming into a polite smile. And wow: big blue eyes, nice features, great mouth. I'd guess she was at least my age, which isn't exactly young, but she wore her years a lot better than I did.

"Are you Mr. Dresden?" she asked, cool as a cucumber, nothing in her tone of voice to give away her intentions.

"I am," I said, walking up and offering my hand. "And you are?"

"Samantha Carter," she replied. Her grip was strong, but not challenging; she let go at the soonest possible moment, and gave me that polite, bland smile again, as though it were a shield. "Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter, actually, with the United States Air Force."

That was a new one on me. I'd worked with the local police force before, but never the military. "And what can I do for the Air Force today?" I asked, giving her my own version of the polite, brush-off smile.

"Actually, I'm here on behalf of someone else," she said. Her smile faded, and she laced her fingers in front of her; it was the first sign of nerves I'd seen. "He said you used to know him. Dr. Daniel Jackson?"

Daniel Jackson. Yeah, I remembered him. An archaeologist with a creative bent and just a little bit of magical sensitivity. Not enough for him to do anything with, or even really be aware of consciously, but enough to make him unusually perceptive. Not a bad thing for a guy who pieced together clues about the past for a living. I'd met him while he was in Chicago working on his third doctorate; we'd crossed paths more than once in the city's more out-of-the-way bookshops.

I'd still been living with my Uncle Justin at the time, but I was kind of in the journeyman phase of my magical training; I'd been doing a lot of traveling and research of my own. Indulging my curiosity, Bob called it. So about the third time I ran into the same guy poking around shelves full of dusty, esoteric volumes, I asked him what it was he was looking for. And ended up making a friend. He never did quite believe most of what I told him about magic, but I never did quite believe his crazy theory about the Great Pyramids, either, so we were even on that score. But we had a lot of interesting conversations about the stranger detours in human history and the possible "real truths" behind them.

Not long after he finished his paper on the pyramids, though, he dropped completely off the grid. When I asked around I was told he'd been laughed out of his lecture, and had last been seen getting into a limousine outside the hotel. No one had seen or heard from him afterward. And then, a few weeks later, his death notice showed up in the local papers.

So it was kind of a surprise that this gorgeous blonde had suddenly shown up to tell me Daniel had sent her. Of course, he could be haunting her; you'd think she'd have come to me earlier, though, since it had been at least a decade since he'd croaked. And I'd have expected her name to be Sarah, not Samantha, if that was the case.

"Daniel. Yeah, I knew him," I said, briefly. "It's been awhile since I last saw him, though."

"Yeah, that's what he said." Carter glanced back over her shoulder, then, at the sign on the door. "Anyway-- he asked me to bring you this."

She turned toward my desk, nudged a few things aside to clear a space for her briefcase, and popped it open. Stacked atop the usual files and papers inside was a spiral-bound notebook with several strange, blocky, almost computerized-looking symbols drawn on its cover in heavy black ink. She took it out of the briefcase, then closed the case again and turned to hand the notebook to me.

I took it, completely baffled, and flipped the cover open to scan the first page.

What I saw there made me feel as though gravity had suddenly been inverted, it was that dizzying. I flipped to the next page, and then the next, gaping in shock at its contents: it claimed to be a partial account of the life, including many of the privately collected spells and rituals, of a man named Moros. Also called Myrddin. Also called Merlin. The Merlin. The wizard who'd revolutionized the structure of the magical world. No one has been able to match him since, and every head of the World Council since his day has been called the Merlin in his memory. There is no record of his death, and none of his writings or artifacts have survived the intervening years; if this document was real-- and despite the fact that it was written in Daniel's handwriting, on modern paper, I was somehow sure that it was-- it was virtually priceless.

"How did he get this?" I asked, aghast, looking up from the pages. "And-- why give it to me?"

"How is-- classified," Carter replied. "But he said he thought you'd understand more of it than anyone else he knew. He'd have brought it himself, but he won't be able to leave the base for the next few weeks, and-- he thought it would be best not to wait, or leave it to the mercy of the postal service."

And the surprises just kept coming. I hadn't heard from him in ten years; he wouldn't have sent the notebook ahead out of any devotion to our friendship, or anything. So it had to be one of two things: either the material was time-sensitive, which was obviously not the case, or he thought someone might prevent him from bringing it if he waited.

"I'm guessing this particular delivery wasn't exactly approved by your superiors, then?" I guessed, gesturing with the notebook.

Carter smiled wryly, but avoided answering the question directly. "Since there's nothing overtly classified in it, and it reads like nonsense anyway, General Landry decided that it couldn't hurt to allow Daniel's request," she said. I wondered what she wasn't saying-- who else in her chain of command might have objected to this little visit.

I shook my head, bemused. "Well, I appreciate this. Very much. I can't even tell you how much it means to me." Literally. "But-- there's one more question I gotta ask."

Her eyebrows asked 'Just one?' but what she said aloud was, "Yes?"

"Since when do dead guys work with the military and handle classified information?" I wanted to know what had happened; he obviously wasn't a ghost.

She stared at me blankly a moment, then grinned, a much more genuine expression than the polite smile earlier. "You saw one of Daniel's obituaries? No wonder you seemed kind of nonplused at first."

"One of them?" I blurted. "You mean there was more than one?"

Carter laughed. "The rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated... on more than one occasion." Then she took a card from her pocket. "Call this number if you have any questions, or insights, you think Daniel might want to hear."

She stressed the word insights; and suddenly I wondered whether I'd been wrong to dismiss the possibility that there was something time-sensitive about this delivery. Was there something potentially buried in this information that the American military wanted, important enough to take a chance on a friend of a friend with an exotic resume? I would bet my next month's rent that there was a complete copy of the notebook somewhere else, being puzzled over by people with high-grade security clearances-- and that one of those files in her briefcase was a report on one Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. I wondered how many bugs her people would waste in the next few months trying to keep track of me.

I tucked the card inside the cover of the notebook, and nodded solemnly. "Of course," I assured her. Privately, though, I doubted I would. Why would I put any of Merlin's secrets in the hands of people who probably wanted to use them as weapons?

"Good," she said. "Well-- I'd better be going, then."

"So soon?" I fumbled with the notebook, setting it down on my desk as I abruptly remembered my manners. Bob would be disappointed in me. "I'm sorry; can I offer you some tea, or anything? A chair? Iím sure you've had a long journey."

"No, that's all right. Thank you, but I have other errands in Chicago before I fly back. It was nice meeting you, Mr. Dresden."

"Likewise, Colonel," I said, clasping her hand again in farewell.

Then she was gone, sweeping out of my life as suddenly as she'd entered it.

I shook my head, and turned back to my desk, eager to read what Daniel had sent me. I couldn't wait to share it with Bob, and hear what he had to say about all of this.

The notebook had fallen facedown when I dropped it on the desk; there were two lines of writing on the back I hadn't seen earlier. The print was quite small; I had to pick it up and hold it close to read it.

"Now I believe you," the first line read, in a familiar hand.

The second line read: "Now, do you believe me?"

That the Great Pyramids hadn't been built by the Egyptians? I thought, baffled. Then I remembered the comments I'd heard about his lecture-- that Daniel believed in aliens. And that, among the legends we'd once discussed, had been the question of whether or not Merlin had actually been human.

Stars and stones.

Maybe I'd be calling that number, after all.


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