Fic: Laundry Day
Title: Laundry Day
Story Warnings: References to domestic abuse.
Characters: Malcolm Dresden, Harry Dresden, Mama ‘Marcone’, Johnny Marcone
Summary: The fact is even magicians need to clean their tighty whiteys the old fashioned way from time to time.
This is chronologically the first part of my Dresden AU Series.
Malcolm backed through the laundrymat’s swinging doors. Juggling a basket overflowing with dirty laundry and a squirming toddler who was tucked under one of his arms like an ungainly football.
Malcolm crushed down the brief urge he had to squeeze down just a little more tightly. If he cut off the kids air supply it’d shut him up but he’d pay for it later. Child Protective Services and brain damage, he reminded himself sternly. Both very bad things indeed.
“Kid, gimme a sec.”
“At this point kid the only way I could put you down is if I dropped you on your head. Do you want that?”
The brief silence that followed that remark made Malcolm wince. He could almost picture the big brown eyes watering up.
So. Logic was out.
Head swiveling Malcolm could almost feel himself perk up when he saw the little connected row of plastic seats. Score!
Heading over to them, Malcolm leaned down awkwardly so he could plop his heir apparent down on his little diapered bottom.
“There you’re down. Now stay put while I throw these in the wash.”
Harry beamed at him, nodding his head so hard, he managed to knock himself on the back of the head.
Malcolm sighed before he turned away. You’d think the kid would have gotten at least some of his mother’s poise and grace.
No such luck.
The small basket was still clutched to his chest and Malcolm tossed it on the nearest washer before he dug out his detergent and quarters.
A slight tug on his jeans brought his head down sharply.
“I thought I told you...Oh!”
The little boy was probably eight or so years old and his hands had quickly retracted at Malcolm’s scolding tone.
“Sorry mithter. I just wanted to athk if I could play wif yur kid.”
Malcolm had to manfully restrain the smile that threatened the corners of his mouth. The little guy was missing what looked like most of his front teeth and the lack gave him a serious lisp to go along with the tough guy Chicago accent he had going on.
“Yeah sure. Just try and keep out of everybody’s way.”
Smiling briefly he turned towards his son and stretched out his hand.
“Harry. I’d like you to meet...?” Malcolm looked at the boy expectantly.
“Harry. I’d like you to meet Johnny. Would you like to play with him?”
Harry’s smile was sunny as he bounded forwards on legs that were just a little longer and more sturdy than Malcolm was used to. His baby was growing up quickly.
“Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.”
“Great!” Johnny stuck out his hand and waited expectantly for Harry to shake it. When Harry finally hesitantly slipped his hand into the older boys waiting palm Johnny dragged him away with a low shout of delight.
Looking around Malcolm caught sight of a woman who must have been Johnny’s mother. She had the same old money green eyes as her baby boy. She also had a nasty split lip that was threatening to tear open again because she was smiling slightly at the sight of the two boys playing happily together.
He forced himself back to the laundry, trying to listen in to the conversation that his son was having with his new favorite person.
Harry was following wherever Johnny led him.
“All right, do you know who Merlin wath?”
“Course! He was a magician like my Daddy!”
“Your Daddy’th a magithian?
“Mmmhmmm. He does magic tricks. He’s even cut people in half before.”
Harry leaned in close to the older boy’s face.
“Where’s your teeth?”
Johnny’s face fell a little bit.
“Oh. Tooth Fairy come?”
“Yep, I got a dollar. Do you know who Arthur was?”
Harry shook his head no.
“Arthur wath King of Camelot. Merlin wath hith betht friend. They went on adventures.”
“Ooooh! Kill dragons?”
“Yeah! You be Merlin I’ll be Arthur.”
Malcolm managed to shove all of the dirty clothes into a single washing machine as he carefully counted out his quarters.
He might have been able to ‘saw’ people in half but that didn’t mean that anybody wanted to see that sort of thing anymore.
Gigs were getting harder and harder to come by. At least he had managed to find a small theater that was willing to pay a small fee to have him perform a couple of times a week.
Thank God Harry wasn’t picky. When it came to food everything was fair game and Malcolm often had to restrain a sigh of relief that Harry would eat whatever discounted food he had managed to dig up.
Taking a seat on the abandoned plastic chairs Malcolm allowed himself to just lean back and relax for a moment.
Keeping up with Harry was enough to run him ragged. He missed Margaret and her sharp smiles and flashing eyes. The same sort of quick silver gleam present in the son and no matter that Harry was barely three.
As he watched his son play with the older boy. Pretending to be King Arthur and Merlin slaying the dragon, Malcolm hoped that his boy could keep that sort of wonder for the entirety of his life.
No matter what.