May 22, 2005 2:32 PM
She was getting nowhere, so she needed to ask Kasie some probing questions. All of Mac's leads on the mysterious man who had sent flowers on Kasie's birthday were leading to nothing. With their dear undead Mr. Sharpe out of the way and his hellhounds decapitated, she had to focus on something. Neville had been busy with work lately, so that left Kasie.
Kasie's mystery man seemed as good a place as any to start occupying her time.
"So... have ya heard from yer boy again?"
Kasie was playing with her snapping fake flowers when Mac asked her question, and she frowned. "Who started the rumor I had a kid?"
"The mon who sent ya flowers on yer birthday. Have ya heard from him?"
She looked down at her feet and wiggled her toes. The nails needed to be repainted. "No. I won't, either. Those were just... well, I don't know what they were."
"Ya think he let ya call him by his real name? He call ya yers? I dinna even know yer real name."
Kasie still looked at the floor, but she smiled. "He's the one who convinced me to run away from my foster parents when I was nine. Taught me how to pick pocket. Got me my first connections. I know his name, and yeah, he knows mine. Even gave a hint on the note he gave me."
And that told her nothing. How was she supposed to find this guy when she didn't even have a name? Still, there was a hint to Kasie's real name. The letter B.
"So yer no' goin' to tell me yer name? I'm assumin' somethin' wit' a B. Is it bad? It canna be as bad as Morag."
Kasie snorted. "Nothing's as bad as Morag." It suddenly occurred to her that perhaps that was rude. "Um, no, it's not bad. Why is this so important? I don't like it and I don't answer to it."
"We're friends, godsdammit. I wouldna tell anyone. Ever. Tis me knowin' ya a little better."
"Then tell me his name then? Iffen ya dinna like yers so well, can I know his?"
"Why would you want to know his name? He's like me; he doesn't use his real name. He stopped using it before I stopped using mine." She looked off to the side, remember when he declared himself 'Jared'. It had lasted for about a week before he got tired of it. "He always hated it when I came up with exotic names. He hated
Kasie. I think that's why I use it so much."
"Well, what do ya call him now? Hey you? Yer m'friend. I'm curious 'bout ya. Ya have met most of m'family. Tis between us. Swear."
She huffed and crossed her arms. "I haven't seen him in years. Almost a decade. But when I talked to him and we were alone, I'd call him... Michael. Michael Tuckers was his name."
Mac could have crowed in triumph. It probably was not his real name, but it was something to go on.
"Tha's kinda boring. And I like Kasie. It fits ya."
Kasie grinned. "I like it too. My other name is super boring. I hated it. I like yours though, because it's unique. No one would ever get confused if they were asked, 'Hey, know that Morag girl'?"
Mac ignored her use of the name Morag. She was named after her grandfather's mother. Her Nana was always telling her she should be proud of her name. That the original Morag MacDougal had been a fierce creature indeed.
"Sure ya willna tell me?" Mac prodded. "It's no' Beatrice, is it? Betty? Becky? Belinda? Be-rumplestiltskin?
Kasie scrunched her nose and shook her head. "No, thank God. It's none of those."
"Brenda? Bonnie? Babette? It's no' Bambi, is it?"
"No," she giggled. "Although you trying to guess is pretty funny."
Mac made a face. "Barbara? Bebe? Bella? Bernice? Lord, tis no' Bertha, is it?"
"Do I look like a Bertha to you?"
"No, but tis called guessin' for a reason, Miss B. Bess? Beth? Beulah? Beverly?"
Kasie froze and gave out a nervous laugh at what Mac had said. She'd said her name, but hopefully she was better at hiding her feelings than she had been recently. "Yeah, I'm totally a Beulah. Keep going."
"Bianca? Blanche? Brigit? Blythe?"
"How long are you going to do this? Do you have a baby name book somewhere?"
"I read one once when I were bored... Brandy. No? Breanna? Brenna? Briony? Brittnay? Brooke?"
Kasie had begun tapping her fingers. She was getting twitchy again, and wished that Mac would run out of names soon.
Mac noticed the tapping. She grinned. "Ya can end it by tellin' me... Bunny?"
It wasn't funny anymore. Her foot started tapping along with her fingers. "How many more names you got?"
Mac raised a brow. "Brunhilde? Bailey? Babina? Bathsheba? Bedelia?"
"Bethany!" She snapped loudly, then let out a loud huff of air. "It's Bethany. Beth. There. Now you know my name."
Mac glared. "I said Beth, dammit. For fock's sake, Kasie. Tha's not tha' bad. I dinna know why ya couldna tell me tha'."
"I know you said it," she muttered. "I heard you say it. I'm not deaf."
"Then why dinna ya tell me I go' it? I told ya I wouldna tell anyone."
Kasie shrugged. "It's just a stupid name, but it's like a key. It can unlock lots of bad stuff."
Mac leveled her gaze at Kasie. "I have bad too, ya know."
It was silent for a moment.
"Do ya know why I dinna like Blaise Zabini?"
Kasie had to think hard on which one that was. He was the guy with the ridiculously expensive watch. Kasie realized she didn't know why Mac attacked him, only that she had. She shook her head.
"He made me drop m'guard. I let him... have me. After... immediately after, he told me he seduced me on a bet. I were sitting there tryin' to put m'clothes back on while he walked off to collect his winnin's. He bet with the boy I despised most in the entire school. I were betrayed by someone I'd come to care for. I were stupid, and for m'kind to be tha' dumb... I dinna truly trust anyone outside m'family again until you. I dinna like to admit it, but he broke somethin' in me besides my maidenhead. I weren't the same after. I'd always been a brawler, but I were cold. I sore I'd never let anyone make me feel tha' again. He laughed and told me thanks for helping him get those galleons. He laughed. I gave him everythin' of m'person, and he laughed."
It was silent for a moment.
"Though it did give me a reason to finally knock Terry Boot's teeth out."
While she couldn't relate to Mac, she could realize how bad that was. "No wonder you attacked him when you saw him again. Why is that magic lady going after him? They were caught making out by someone. Do you think he's going to do it to her?"
"Abbott? I understand it. He talks a pretty talk, and he can make ya forget yer own name. There's a part of me tha' recalls our time together and misses tha'. I were happy. He has this way 'bout him. He canna settle wit one, though, and Abbott doesna strike me as the sort to share. Aye, I think he'll break her heart awful, but her friends here will mend it."
"This?" she made vague gestures. "Yeah, this is why I always worked with girls. Didn't have to worry if they were staring at my ass instead of my target."
"Most boys were afraid to try to court me," Mac said with pride. "Especially after what I did to Boot, but Neville is brave. He likes to downplay tha', but he knows how to use a sword. M'brothers taught him to fight. Brody just adores him. Nana says I knew him as a toddler, but I dinna recall. I wish I could. Mayhap tha's why I trusted him almost instant-like."
She grinned at that. Neville had yet to come by and meet Kasie, but that was going to be a special meeting. He was going to learn why her nickname was Nut-Case Kasie. "I scared boys away. They were icky and pointless."
"Like girls then? Because I'm sort of taken." Mac grinned at her.
Kasie shook her head while making a face. "Nah. Boys have their good points. Literally. Besides, girls have emotion. I don't do emotion."
"Really?" Mac asked sarcastically. "I dinna notice."