It just came to me. He'd come to the Boss with a case, and they were snarking at each other, as per usual, and I realised something. The UST was coming off them in spades. I didn't even consciously notice at first, they've been acting like that around each other forever, and then this little voice at the back of my head went: Get a room already.
I choked on a mouthful of coke, and went bright red.
Harry gave me a look, and smacked my back, before going back to talking to (read: sniping at) Marcone. And Marcone was watching him with this... patient, amused look. As though he found Harry's sarcasm endearing. It was very strange.
So, I had to admit that the little voice in the back of my head might just have a point.
I watched them more carefully after that. I noticed that Marcone, who rarely touches anyone or allows anyone to touch him, would casually touch Harry's arm, or back. That Harry, who claims to think Marcone is the scum of the Earth, was more and more eager to work with said Mafioso. Harry doesn't do that. Not unless the world, or a child, is at stake. He has heap big morals and refuses to compromise them, no matter what. So, he doesn't think working with Marcone compromises his morals anymore, or he's thinking with his little head, not his big one.
It was during one of their arguments that I realised how deep it went for them thing. Harry had blown up at Marcone who came to tell him that he'd started a new rumour about Harry working with him. Harry'd only just got the last rumour squished.
"What? No, you didn't!"
"What?" Harry ran a hand down his weary face, and Marcone's hand made an aborted gesture towards him. "What did you do?"
"Do I need to speak slower? I don't see how you could fail to comprehend the sentence 'I have started a rumour that you're working for me'."
"I just... how stupid are you? I've only just got people to start believing that the last rumour was unture. I work with the police! They need to trust me!"
"You can only work with the police if you're alive. My name carries a certain weight. I was trying to do you a favour. Really, you could be more gracious."
"Gracious? When you've screwed me over? No one's going to want to hire me when they think I'm in a mobster's pocket!"
"Harry, you exaggerate."
"My friends call me Harry."
"Mister Dresden then." He waved an irritated hand as though the matter meant nothing, but you should see how he reacts when Harry calls him 'John'. I wonder suddenly if that's a sexual tension thing. That he really likes Harry's voice and it gets him... you know what? I'm not going there. It's too close to parental sex.
"I know what this is! It's another plot to get me to work for you!"
"Excuse me?" Marcone's voice had gone all cold.
"You want people to stop hiring me, and they won't if they think I work for you, I'll have no money coming in, and I might just be desperate enough to take up your offer!"
"That's just charming."
Harry was getting louder, and Marcone was getting colder. I decided to put a stop to it.
"ENOUGH!" I stormed over and stood between them. "Harry, Marcone has built this half monkey, half pony monster to please you, but he's getting the feeling that you don't like it. What's with all the screaming? You like monkeys, you like ponies. Maybe you don't like monsters so much."
They stared at me. Hey, they weren't fighting any more.
"Mister Dresden, is your apprentice quite alright?"
"She usually makes more sense than that."
"Isn't it enough to know that he ruined a pony, making a gift for you?" I asked, looking at Harry. He frowned.
"Grasshopper, were you playing with spells again?"
God! Men. And how come when he makes obscure pop culture references it's okay?
"You two really need to get laid. Preferably with each other." I didn't mean to say that out loud. Harry started spluttering, and Marcone's eyes (his green, green eyes that Harry mentions every time he describes him. I really should have picked up on this sooner) have gone wide and cautious.
"What the hell are you talking about Molly? Hell's bells! What's wrong with you? Have you been consorting with faeries?" Harry spluttered on and on, trying to explain, and Marcone is smiling now. A definite cat's got the canary smile. He nods to me, and I wink back. At least someone gets it.
"Harry, I was just trying to say that Mister Marcone is trying to do a genuinely nice thing for you, and you're jumping down his throat. He was offering you his protection as a mob boss, and as a Baron. You get it? You're doubly protected under the Unseelie Accords, and you're double protected on the streets." Harry looked thoughtful so I turned to Marcone. "And you, Harry's trying to tell you that it would have been nice to have a little warning. You know he doesn't like change, and you just made a big change in his life without warning him. He could have warned Murphy and his other friends if you'd let him know ahead of time and then he might not have so much trouble fighting off this rumour. Also, he's right about the client thing. He might not have as much money because of this, which does seem a bit manipulative on your part." Marcone's turn to be thoughtful. I flounced back over and collapsed onto the sofa, picking up my discarded paperback and pretended not to listen.
"She has a point, I did kind of overreact."
"You did, but I should have told you what I had planned. I truly didn't do this to force you into anything."
"I... I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I think I believe you."
"Good." The corner of Marcone's mouth twitched.
I high fived my subconscious.
A few days later, I was listening to JoCo at Harry's. When it got to Skullcrusher Mountain, I saw Harry listening hard. I'm pretty sure he got the reference I'd made the other day now. He was blushing. Hopefully, now he's figured out that Marcone is into him, he'll do something about it.
But then, this is Harry we're talking about.
What do you think? This is the first of a series.