Alec Hardison hasn't been back in Chicago since the last time Harry Dresden asked him a favor. This time, he's here with the whole team, doing a solid for a friend of Elliot's. Or at least, that why he was in Chicago. Nothing explains the fact that he's standing in the Field Museum at midnight with Parker, Harry and Molly staring at T-Rex bones in the murky light provided by their flashlights.
"Sue," Parker says, like she can hear what he's thinking. "Her name is Sue." Parker, it seems, has bonded with the dinosaur skeleton. In retrospect, Hardison is not at all surprised.
"You really brought her back to life?" Parker asks Harry, her eyes never leaving Sue and her flesh rending teeth. Molly is the one who told Parker the story of Harry's death defying T-Rex ride. It's a highly edited version from the one Hardison had heard from Harry himself, but that didn't stop Parker from being intrigued.
"She wasn't alive. Not really," Harry explains.
"Alive enough to attract its spirit and make us spend the night in a museum haunted by the ghost of a T-Rex," Molly says under her breath.
"Her," Parker says. "Not it, her."
"Either way, there's a seven ton Tyrannosaurus Rex ghost who seems to delight in scaring the docents and we need to send it... her back to where she belongs," Harry says.
"She belongs in one piece," Parker says. She has explained twice already that Sue's skull isn't real, that the real skull is up stairs on display, but Hardison doesn't understand why it bothers her so much.
"She's happy here, Parker," Harry says. It's been an interesting working relationship, Hardison admits, but Harry's been willing to make allowances for Parker ever since Mouse rolled over and let Parker rub his belly.
"You're sure?" she asks.
"It's her home now. She would have never come back here if it wasn't. Even with all my power, I couldn't have put her back anywhere but her home," Harry says.
"So why is she eating the docents?"
Molly smiles. "They must look tasty."
"Oh. Okay," says Parker, clearly considering the concept.
"Let's get to it," Hardison says before they can get off track again.
Hardison and Parker's part in tonight's activities had mostly been in the prep work. To set the ghost to rest, Harry needs one of Sue's bones, and getting that bone without setting off every alarm in the museum is their job.
"Ready?" Parker asks.
Hardison checks his cell on last time and then responds, "Ready."
image by thegiantvermon