Spoilers: Mentions of Boone Identity, Second City and Soul Beneficiary, but nothing serious.
Summary: To Harry there’s something deeply comforting about waking up in the morning with someone in his arms.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Never were. Don't sue.
Author's Note: Well, this is the morning after fic for In The Still of the Night. No graphic smut like the first one, but I've wanted to write this since I wrote In the Still of the Night. It's really just shameless awkward fluff, but I've already promised a friend that I'll write more Harry/Murphy smut, so I'm not quite done with this story line.
To Harry there’s something deeply comforting about waking up in the morning with someone in his arms. He likes that he’s not alone for once and the extra body heat keeps out the chill of his apartment. He lingers, half asleep, assessing his current condition. He’s a little sore, but it’s not terrible. His companion is sleeping mostly on top of him, her head tucked under his chin. He opens his eyes slowly, just to enjoy the process and looks down at his chest. A tangle of brown hair blocks his view and in a split second his whole plan to wake up slowly packs its bags, says see ya and takes the next flight to China. He can’t believe he forgot just who was in his bed with him. Bob’s right. He really is an idiot. Murphy’s in his bed, he and Murphy slept together and he is so screwed.
He doesn’t want to move, breathe, or make any sort of noise just in case he wakes her and they have to deal with this. Hells bells, it gives him a headache just to think about trying to deal with it. They work together, they need to keep things professional, and boy they’ve just blown professional out of the water.
Staring at his ceiling he tries to figure out what he’s going to say when Murphy does eventually wake up. Starting off with an apology seems like a bad idea to him. Women didn’t like it when you apologized after sleeping with them. He didn’t exactly feel like apologizing either. Last night… stars and stones, he is never going to forget it. Everything is burned into his memory, from the way Murphy looks after being kissed within an inch of her life, to the feel of sinking inside her for the first time. He touches his tongue to his lip and still tastes her there. There’s no way he’s going to forget or regret this.
Murphy stirs suddenly and he goes very still. For a moment he thinks he should fake being asleep, give her a chance to sneak out so they never have to talk about this. Except, he’s a gentlemen and he can’t do that to Murphy or to them. Instead, he waits and watches Murphy wake up. Unlike him, she snaps to awareness in a second. She doesn’t tense up like he expects, but she doesn’t relax against him either. He’s not sure if that’s a good sign or not. Mostly, things are simply awkward, really, really awkward.
“Mornin’” He says like the idiot he is.
Murphy shifts around to face him, their skin sliding together and stirring Harry’s interest. He’s reminded of the feel of her skin slick with sweat from last night. That’s just what he needs to make this more awkward, an erection. Thinking thoughts about Morgan in a mini skirt, Harry tries to focus on talking to Murphy, not jumping her. Again.
He’s seen Murphy in a lot of ways. He’s seen her as a tough and determined cop, as his sarcastic and clever friend, and as an angry and heartbroken daughter, but he has never seen her like he sees her this morning. There’s a softness about Murphy right now that makes his breath catch in his throat and tightens something around his heart. Her hair is a mess, floating around her head in a tangle of brown. He wishes he could hold her eyes longer than the briefest instant he looks; they’re beautiful. Her skin is still flushed from sleep, and her lips are slightly swollen from last night. The need to kiss her takes him by surprise and he’s leaning towards her before he even realizes what he’s doing.
He stops himself centimeters from her lips, feeling her startled breath flutter across them. He remembers last night, when that breath was ragged and harsh against his neck and tightens his fingers just a little around the sheet under his hand. Oh, he’s got it so bad for her. He tries very hard to focus on Morgan ala mini skirt thoughts while he works up the courage to say something to her. Or maybe she’ll save him the trouble and say something first.
They’re both spared the trouble when there’s a ring from downstairs. His phone. Someone needs a wizard. Harry thinks he needs one too to get him out of this one.
“You should go get that.” Murphy says sliding away from him. He feels her loss like when Bob was stolen, but it’s the right thing. Staying close to her like this isn’t helping him deal with this at all. He moves to the foot of his bed, grabbing his boxers and jeans from the floor. As he gets dressed, he doesn’t look towards her though he’s curious to see if she’s looking. It’s a little weird getting dressed wondering if she might be looking at him.
He stops at the top of the stairs and sort of looks over his shoulder, “The bathroom’s just down that way to the right, there’s a spare toothbrush under the sink. Uh, but the hot water’s kinda iffy.” With that he flees, although since he wants to seem more manly, he calls it a strategic retreat. The phone call turns out to be pointless, someone looking for party entertainment, and when it’s finished, Harry sits down on his desk. He puts his head in his hands and groans softly to himself.
He can’t get his thoughts straight. He wants to go back in time and stop this from happening, but he also wants to go back upstairs and go for another round. He’s completely conflicted over this. Resting it all on Murphy’s shoulders is unfair. He can’t do that. They have to work this out and he has to come to a decision. Hells bells.
He’s so busy arguing with himself that he doesn’t notice Murphy’s come down the stairs until she clears her throat. He looks up to find her dressed and looking awkwardly around. He stands up for some reason.
“I have to…” She hesitates, looking away from him, “I have to get to work.”
He doesn’t expect those words to hurt so much. They sting, though, like a new burn. He tries not to let it show. “Okay.” He’s not going to force her to stay. It’s not the right thing to do, even though he does want her to stay and she probably does have to work. She’s always got something on her desk.
He stands around while she gets her jacket from the front shop and then returns with it on. She goes to the door and he has to shove his hands in his pockets to keep from reaching for her. She opens the door and steps through, but she doesn’t close it behind her.
“I’ll come back tonight.” She says and closes the door. His heart skips a beat with hope. She’s going to come back. Okay, so that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to sleep together again, he tells his inner caveman. It just means she’s going to come back and they’re going to talk about this. In a daze he wanders to the fridge and gets a Coke.
“Well done!” Bob crows from behind him, scaring the hell out of Harry.
He jumps and nearly spits soda all over the kitchen floor, “Bob!” he manages when he swallows.
“Oh, Harry, if I was corporeal, I might just hug you.” Bob’s grinning from ear to ear, looking like someone got him a year’s subscription to Hustler magazine.
“I have to ask you to forgive me for losing faith in you.” Bob bows dramatically, “I was so very wrong about you.”
“Bob, what the hell are you going on about?” Harry growls, already sensing where this is going and not liking it one bit.
“The Lieutenant and you! Finally!” Bob shakes a finger at him, “Oh, I thought it was never going to get through to you two. I have had to sit on the side lines and watch you just fail over and over again to catch the signs. You proved me wrong!” Bob chuckles richly, “And did it so well. I have never seen such power conjured through sex! I thought this place would blow apart!”
“Shut up… wait, what?” Harry stops tuning Bob out and frowns at the ghost, “I did magic last night?”
“I’d say so. Weren’t you listening to those moans of rapture?”
“Bob, it’s Murphy, don’t… don’t talk like that, okay? Show her a little respect.” Harry says, unnerved by Bob’s eagerness. “I didn’t work magic magic last night.”
“Yes you did. The wards lit up, the candles moved with you, and at climax, the shelves in the lab shook with the magical energies you two created.”
Harry’s blushing. Bob saying climax just makes him really uncomfortable, “I didn’t know I was doing that.”
“Understandable, from the sound of it you two were… busy.” Bob’s smirking again and Harry walks away from him. He doesn’t like Bob talking like this, especially when it’s Murphy who was his partner. He doesn’t like the idea that he had been working magic last night without meaning to.
“What’s going on, Bob?” He asks, feeling uneasy.
“It’s simple, Harry, sex magic.” Bob’s eyebrows leap up in excitement.
“Bob, come on. That stuff’s used by amateurs.” Harry mutters, looking down at his front desk in embarrassment. This conversation is almost worst than the conversation he’s going to have with Murphy eventually. He hasn’t had that yet, but he knows it’s going to be uncomfortable for them both. This conversation is just uncomfortable for him.
“Yes, usually, because they cannot work up enough faith in their own powers otherwise. Think about it Harry,” Bob shifts around to stand behind the desk, “Magic is tied to emotions and belief, sex between two people who are deeply in love…”
“I’m not in love with Murphy,” Harry sputters, head jerking up in surprise. Bob rolls his eyes. “I’m not!”
“Fine, sex between two people who care about each other deeply,” Bob pauses to make sure that turn of phrase doesn’t set off Harry’s alarm bells, “is a wealth of power. Think about it, dark wizards will pick anyone off the street to help with their spells, using sex and then sacrifice to fuel them. Lo… deep emotional connections can take that minimal power and amplify it to rival some of the strongest wizards.”
Harry goes quiet, thinking. He’s cared about a lot of the girls he’s slept with over the years, even loved a few, but he’s never done magic while… doing that. “Murphy doesn’t have any power.” He says eventually.
“It doesn’t matter.” Bob shrugs, “The power comes directly from the souls of the people involved.”
“Wait, Bob, connection of souls?”
“If the feelings are strong enough. Harry, I don’t see why you’re having such trouble with it. It’s magic, the oldest magic there is. Various magical cultures all over the world have some sort of magical ritual tied to sex. The more dedicated Wiccan sects will still perform the joining ritual.”
Harry goes quiet. He remembers that when he and Murphy came back to his apartment, he lit some candles in the front shop, but he did that with a match. He had offered Murphy a drink and they’d walked back towards the living area. She had said something about a close call, his brain kinda freaked out and next thing he knows he was kissing her.
It had been electric. Like when he’d been zapped by Brennan. His whole body had thrilled at the feel of Murphy’s lips under his. He had always felt like that, from their first kiss when he was drugged to the one that upped the ant vomit.
Harry stops in his tracks in the middle of his shop as it slowly starts to dawn on him. After he kissed Murphy when he was drugged with that potion, the effects had started to wear off faster. He had started to remember things quicker, get his mind back in order and he’d been able to come up with a reasonable explanation for the writing in the air. In that alleyway, now that he thought about it, that spell had kicked up even before Murphy had slapped him. He’d been distracted at the time and then stunned from the force of Murphy’s hit, but it was clear now.
“Ah, so he sees the light.” Bob says.
“It doesn’t matter any way,” Harry replies, “It was a mistake. Look at the way she ran out of here this morning. It won’t be happening again.”
It’s hard for Harry to focus during the day. He has work to do, but while he’s doing it, his mind wanders where it shouldn’t go. Replacing candles makes him think about the way Murphy’s skin looks in candle light. Going upstairs for socks, he looks at the bed and can see her there, laid out underneath him, straddling his hips on top of him. He can’t tear his mind away from the night they’ve spent together. He’s lucky enough to keep his mind focused on his clients, but when he’s on his own, his mind goes to Murphy.
He will not admit it, but he’s watching the clock, counting down the hours until she comes back. He knows the talk they’re going to have is going to be hard and he’s scared. He’s scared he’s going to lose his friend, more than he’s scared he’s going to lose a lover. Murphy keeps him from being alone, she gives him a chance to do good things, and she gives him someone to talk to. If this screws everything up, he’s going to feel her loss like an ache in his chest. If he wasn’t so focused on what he’s going to say when she does show up, he would have noticed his chest is already aching.
A knock at the back door sends him scrambling up from his couch where he wasn’t really reading any way. His heart skips a beat when he opens the door and it’s Murphy. She must have stopped at her place before going to work because she’s wearing something different than what she had on when she left. Her hair’s up too. Harry likes the look, but there’s a hesitance in her eyes that makes him nervous.
“Come in.” He says, stepping back to let her in. Murphy glances at him before stepping inside. She’s definitely nervous and that makes him nervous too. He closes the door behind her and rubs his hands on his jeans, an old habit he picked up from his dad.
Murphy stands near his pinball machine that sometimes works with her arms crossed over her chest. She looks around the room, eyes lingering on everything but him. He’s sure that’s a bad sign. “I did a lot of thinking today,” She says first, still not looking towards him.
“I did too.” He says lamely. He’s not ready to make the first move on this. It’s Murphy, but that doesn’t mean he wants to be vulnerable to her.
“Those weren’t people.” He isn’t expecting that and blinks at her. She turns to face him, “And you don’t have some sort of specially rigged hockey stick, and that writing in the air wasn’t some sort of trick.” His eyes go wide as his mind realizes what she’s saying, or beginning to say.
“Murphy, you said…” He starts to say, but she cuts him off.
“I know what I said.” She looks down at the floor, remembering the same conversation he is. Your world cannot exist. She didn’t have any idea how hard those words were for him to hear. He really wants Murphy to believe in him, which means she needs to believe in magic. Magic makes up who he is and he knows he’s closer to Murphy than anyone else besides Bob. The difference is Bob knows about magic, Murphy’s in denial about it and that hurts.
“I know what I said,” She says again, looking towards him for the first time, “And I’ve either lost my mind for thinking like this or…”
He takes a step towards her, his heart racing in his throat, “Or you believe in magic?” He didn’t mean to make it a question, but he’s never been good at hiding his nerves. Murphy makes and noise and wheels away from him, taking a few steps towards the hallway where it all started. His mouth waters at the memory of how her lips tasted.
“I saw something last night that doesn’t make sense to me. I keep seeing things that don’t make sense, or see you do things that are… are impossible.” She says, sounding angry but he doesn’t think that anger is directed at him, “I keep changing reports, changing testimony because I can’t explain it and if I tell people it’s magic, they’ll lock me up.”
His hands clench into fists. He hates the idea of people looking at Murphy like she’s crazy. Murphy doesn’t deserve those looks. She’s too good of a person to have people look at her like that.
“I need you, for once, Harry, to tell me the truth,” She turns to face him, her chin up to meet his eyes. “After everything that’s happened, I deserve the truth.”
Harry looks at her and sees she’s deadly serious about this. Whatever his relationship with Murphy is after this hinges on his answer. No pressure, he thinks to himself. The after everything comment should bother him. From any other woman, it would have. Just because he slept with her doesn’t entitled her an answer, but Murphy’s not playing that card. Murphy’s talking about Boone, Munzer, her dad’s miraculous recovery, all the bad things he’s brought into her world from his, she wants an answer for. She’s right too, she deserves an answer.
He drops his shoulders and sighs heavily, “You’re not going to like this.”
“I already figured that out.” She says dryly and it makes him smile a little. That’s the Murphy he knows.
“Come on,” He says, heading for his lab. He thought about lighting up the runes like he did for dragon Murphy, but his hockey stick is in his lab. The lab will be more impressive than his wards any way.
“Where are we going?” She asks, sounding slightly suspicious.
“My workshop.” He answers, pulling open the heavy metal door and heading inside, letting her follow if she wants.
“I’ve never noticed this door before.” She says from right behind him. He’s relieved, more than he expected to be, that she followed.
“You’re not supposed to. The wards on it should make your eyes skip over it unless you know it’s there.” He explains, walking around the table. He holds his hand out and his hockey stick flies right past her into his hand. “You’ll notice it now after this.”
“Holy Mother,” She whispers, eyes wide. She looks at him, “How did you do that?”
He can’t help but smile a little. Dragon Murphy had asked the same thing. “Magic.” She frowns, but she doesn’t roll her eyes like she usually does when he talks about magic. It’s a good sign, but he’s trying not to get his hopes up.
“Stay there.” He says as he wraps both hands around his hockey stick. He reaches inside himself and touches the magic that lives within. He draws it out from somewhere behind his heart and lets it flow down his arms and into the hockey stick. He keeps one eye on Murphy to see how she reacts. The runes on his stick glow gold and that light flows down into the floor and soon every symbol he’s painstakingly carved into the stone and wood of his lab is glowing too, making the small room blindingly bright. Murphy has a hand shielding her eyes, but her mouth isn’t hanging open in awe, it’s set with grim determination. He pulls the magic back into himself, slightly drained from the light show. He sets the hockey stick against the table and leans his arms on it. He doesn’t say anything. He waits for her.
“I was really hoping I was crazy,” She says after a few minutes and sits down on the steps into the lab. “I was actually hoping I’d lost my mind.”
“Well, sorry to disappoint.” He snaps with more venom than he intended. He sighs, and paces a few steps away from her, rubbing his hands over his face. “Sorry.”
“Yeah, me too. Things would have been a lot easier if I believed you.”
He laughs a little, “Yeah, right, you wouldn’t be you if you believed me right off the bat.”
“Yeah.” She sighs, “I think I knew this day was coming, after the thing with your uncle. I didn’t want to believe it.”
“No one does, Murphy. In this day and age, magic doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t work. Wizards are just kids’ stories and multi-million dollar movie plot lines.”
“Except you.” Murphy gets up and runs a hand through her hair, “And there are more of you aren’t there?”
Harry nods, “A lot more than you’d think.”
“What do I need to know?” Murphy asks, sounding very much like the cop she is.
“Depends on what you’re dealing with,” He leans back against the table, facing her. “Like that fertility doctor who ruined your date? He was killed because he was getting to close to an incubus’s plan to have a son.”
Murphy snorts, “Incubus?”
“Hey, wizards are real, why not an incubus?” He counters her skepticism. “You’re going to have to stop thinking it’s impossible and start believing it’s real.”
She looks like she’s going to argue with him but just nods instead, “And those things last night?”
“Ghouls.” Harry’s slightly proud of Murphy for this. She may not believe yet, but she’s thinking about it and considering the possibilities. What really makes him proud is that she’s listening to him. She’s not dismissing him outright. That’s a very good feeling. “They’re fast and deadly and they should have ripped us to pieces.”
“Like ghosts?” Murphy’s nose winkles up in confusion.
“Sort of, but not really.”
“That doesn’t help me,
“I know, it’s just complicated. Look,” He runs a hand through his hair, “You shouldn’t get involved with that. It’s not safe.”
Murphy snorts, “Are the men folk trying to protect me again?”
“Murphy, this isn’t like that.” Harry stands up, “Those things aren’t human and they live by eating human flesh. You don’t have any magic to protect yourself with, bullets and bullet proof vests don’t work in my world.”
Murphy seems to think it over for a moment, “So those missing people were probably eaten by those things?”
Harry nods, “Someone is calling a bunch of ghouls to the city. I’m going to find out why.”
“You can protect yourself from these things?” She sounds skeptical, but after the number of times she’s had to call paramedics for him, he understands why. He’s never really given her a reason to believe he can defend himself.
“Yeah, I can.” They both fall into silence, knowing now they have to actually talk about the other thing that happened that night. It’s going to be a harder conversation than the one about magic.
“Murphy,” He starts, looking down, “About last night…”
“Yeah…” Murphy also looks down. They’re right back to this morning, awkward and unsure about each other. They can talk about magic easier than they can talk about sleeping together. Something about that strikes Harry as just a little stupid.
“I didn’t… mean to take advantage of you.” He stammers out eventually. It’s not an apology, he tells himself. He said he wasn’t going to apologize right off the bat and he didn’t.
“It felt kind of mutual to me.” Murphy says. He looks up, a little startled she’s so okay with it or at least seems to be okay with it. She’s nervous though, she’s playing with the sleeve of her shirt, which is one of those Murphy quirks he’s noticed.
“Yeah. It… it was.” He says, licking his lips nervously. His heart is racing again, but for a very different reason than before. Maybe it’s because she’s starting to believe in magic, maybe it’s because he’s wanted to kiss her since he woke up with her in his arms, or maybe because she’s blushing just slightly, but something makes him take a step closer to her. Murphy doesn’t retreat. “It was… pretty good too.”
She gives a nervous half-chuckle, “Only, pretty good?”
Harry thinks he might just die on the spot. Murphy doesn’t think it’s a mistake. Murphy’s… Murphy’s flirting with him about it. Albeit they’re both acting like teenagers on their first date, but hey it’s more than he expects. He tries to swallow down his nerves and work up something close to a smile, “Well, I don’t want to over inflate your ego.”
“Yeah, my ego is the one we have to worry about.” She snorts and actually smiles. He’s not going to die from some horrible monster or dark wizard like he’s always thought; this woman’s smile is doing to do him in. Hells bells, that’s horrible, he thinks to himself, right out of a chick flick or one of Bob’s novels, but it appears to be the truth. And then her word choice sinks in.
“We?” He says, his heart completely stopped now.
Murphy turns a very cute shade of pink and looks like she wants to kick herself. She faces him though, head on like always, “You have a problem with that?”He thinks he hears Bob whisper “just get on with it!” from behind him and decides this might be one of those times where Bob’s right and he should just shut up and listen. So, he reaches out and pulls Murphy into his arms. She doesn’t fight him. He makes sure she’s securely in his arms before he lowers his mouth to hers and kisses her. He has no problem with we.