A/N: This piece was actually written in collaboration with Emma Bertelsen, and it is an extract from a longer novel. Or at least the extract from an idea of a novel 😉
Daniel awoke with a pounding head and a dry throat. His left arm was asleep, caused by the man currently resting his head on it. Jacob was it?
He was still asleep, thank God, and Daniel tried to remember when they’d gotten back to his apartment.
Slowly pulling his arm back, he held his breath as Jacob only reacted by rolling over in his sleep and mumbling something intelligible. Sitting up, Daniel reached over to the night stand to get the two aspirins lying there. Next to the pills lay a small bag of pixie dust that was easily hidden away in the drawer. As an extra precaution he made sure to lock it. It’d cost him a pretty sum, and Daniel was in no mood to come up with a lie to explain the shimmering powder to his current bed partner.
He should probably go through his apartment before Jacob woke up. Make sure it was completely magic-free. What a bother.
Pulling on a pair of jeans, he headed towards the kitchen, where he found a self-stirring teaspoon on the counter. A pair of shoes in the entrance was currently tapping away and put up a valiant fight when he banished them to the cabinet. A pair of boxers lay strewn on the bathroom floor. Not exactly magical, but preferably to be hidden away nonetheless.
In the living room he practically fell over the old door sign that had used to hung outside his office before he’d been forced out of business. Detective Jackson, it said. Private Detective, Specialising in the Supernatural. How embarrassing. It must have fallen off the wall, and Daniel reminded once again himself that he really needed to throw it out. Instead it was hidden away between two books on the bookshelf.
Feeling relatively confident his apartment was now pleasantly boring, he was trying to decide whether he should prepare some scrambled eggs or an omelet when the doorbell rang.
Groaning, Daniel decided whoever it was just had to live with seeing him half-naked. A decision he immediately regretted when he opened the door and found a little girl on the other side.
“Are you the detective?” she asked softly.
Apparently she wasn’t selling cookies.
“Yes. I mean no. I mean I was. I used to be. Who’s asking?”
Had she come all the way over here on her own? She could hardly be more than seven or eight. Daniel tried to ignore the tightening in his stomach. He was in no mood to find some little girl’s lost puppy.
“I know someone who needs your help.”
It was definitely much too early in the morning for this.
“Do your parents know you’re here?”
“They’re dead,” she said, stepping past him to enter his apartment.
Hardly capable of kicking a little girl out, Daniel wondered if he should offer her something. What did little girls drink? He might have a carton of apple juice in the fridge somewhere.
“Hey, Danny, I was wondering…” Jacob had woken up, but his words quickly died away when he caught sight of the little girl currently making herself at home.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know that you had your… daughter on visit?”
Large brown eyes looked up at Jacob. “You need to go home,” the girl told him. “Immediately.”
“I need to go home,” Jacob willingly repeated, leaving with a last nod goodbye to Daniel. He didn’t even go back to the bedroom to put something over his boxers. He just left.
“What the hell was that?” Daniel asked as soon as the door had closed after him.
“He was a disturbance.”
“You can’t… you can’t just… what are you?”
The girl shrugged, looking around with curious eyes. “I’m Lea,” she introduced herself, and Daniel didn’t give a bloody damn about her name.
“Are you going to help me or not?” she asked, sounding impatient. “It’s a matter of life or death.”
Daniel wasn’t ready to deal with matters of life or death before he’d had his coffee. It didn’t seem like he had a choice.
“How did you do that?” he asked, refusing to be distracted. “You just asked him to leave, and he just did.”
“People usually do what I tell them.”
“Then why not just… tell me to help you?”
“It only works with simple actions. I need your full potential if this is going to work out.”
“I… see. What exactly do you need my help for?”
“I need you to find someone for me. A girl. She has been hidden away, but her location has been compromised. She’s in danger, and we need to find her and warn her before they get to her.”
“Who gets to her?”
“Natas. He’s been chasing her for decades, and if he finds her…” The brown eyes were far too mature for her young face. This was a child who’d seen evil.
“But why me?” he asked, still trying to understand what just happened. How could she know so much about all of this? His discovery of magic had been a combination of years of research and sheer dumb luck.
“Because you’re the only one who can to it. You’re human. He can’t get into your head as he can with me.”
For several seconds Daniel just looked at her. Her small face was far too serious, and her eyes desperate. Making a decision was surprisingly easy.
“What do I need to know?”