Trolling around Knockturn
4:24 PM July 6, 2005
Blaise was on his game and knew exactly who he wanted to talk to. He was doing this for Willow and wasn't going to take no for an answer. Casually, he strolled down the main area of Knockturn. For this, he wasn't dealing with petty dark magic junkies or gamblers with everything to win and nothing to lose. This was more serious than that.
Pevensie had followed him when she saw him walk by. If he was going into Knockturn, he'd need back-up. At least he was not going to any of the seedier places.
Astoria pressed the heel of her boot harder into the man's shoulder. "I am about to stop asking nicely."
She turned when the door to the shop opened. Astoria pressed hard with her boot heel and pointed her wand at who was coming in the door.
Blaise pulled his wand as soon as he saw the owner on the ground, but groaned when he saw it was Astoria. "Damn it, Greengrass. I need information out of him. Stop playing with him."
"Well, I need information as well. You're going to have to wait your turn. And you have a shadow."
He furrowed his brow and turned around, groaning again when he saw Pevensie in the shadows. "Bloody hell. Between the two of you, I'll go to an early grave."
Blaise turned back to Astoria. "Look, I just need to find out where Becklin is. That's it. I'm not here for money or for those amulets he thinks I don't remember loaning him and not getting paid for."
Astoria sniffed the air. "Becklin's who was meeting Rayne. Fabulous. Looks like we're in this together for now."
Astoria twisted her heel slightly and the owner cried out in pain. "Where is he?"
Content to let Astoria handle things her way for now, Blaise walked over to Pevensie. "What the hell are you doing?"
He made a glaring face at her.
"Look, you have a lot of enemies, Blaise, and I... uh oh."
She was looking past him to Astoria, who had pulled her gloves off and placed them on the man's face. Pevensie blinked when Astoria suddenly lurched away and actually threw up.
His head had rolled her stomach. This man was sick in a way that horrified her.
Blaise tried not to gag as he banished the vomit from the floor. "What the hell happened?" He walked over to the store owner and kicked him over. "Did he poison you?"
"In a way," Astoria replied, opening her clutch and taking out a mint. "His insides are foul."
Pevensie walked over to where Blaise was, standing close to him as possible. Astoria saying someone was rotten on the inside gave Pevensie the wig.
Astoria gave the man a nasty smile. "I know your secrets now."
Blaise rolled his eyes. "Yes, yes, we're all sharing like good little children. How about you tell me where Becklin is?"
"So you can get there first? No way, Blaise. We'll all go together. Like an outing."
He felt like breaking something in frustration. "This is a private
conversation I'm going to have with him. We know each other. He's not going to do anything stupid!"
This was why he never had a business partner.
"And I've told you my terms," Astoria snapped. "Don't mess with me, Blaise. Not when it has to do with the bloke who's been messing with Marcus and Draco."
Pevensie looked from Blaise to Astoria, not sure who would win this battle of wills.
doing this for Willow at her request
and with Draco's blessing. Get the fuck out of my way, Greengrass."
Astoria kicked the shop owner and knocked him out. "Oops. Now he's sleeping. Guess we'll have to do this my way."
Pevensie leaned over to Blaise. "Maybe we should just let her come along?"
Blaise was two seconds away from hexing Astoria beyond recognition. "If you fuck this up for me and I lose my shot at helping her, don't you think for one moment your attachment to Draco will save you because you wanted to be a spoiled little bitch and play hero."
"Get over yourself, Blaise. I've seen my death, and it isn't you."
That surprised Pevensie so much she gasped out loud. She could not even imagine knowing how she died.
"You won't kill me because deep down, way deep, a part of you likes me on some level."
"And a part of me liked Mr. Spear a few doors down but that didn't stop me from removing his toenails when he pissed me off, now did it?" Blaise spun on his heel and headed for the door. "Fuck you, I'll find him some different way."
Pevensie grabbed his arm and whispered, "Don't be such a pride-monster. She knows where he is. Maybe if you play a little nice, she'll let you talk first. Maybe if you're nice then she'll let you do all the talking."
He shrugged out of her grip. "I don't place nice, especially not to her and her way of things. He owed me and he would have told me where Becklin was without having to knock him out. Believe it or not, he's actually not such a bad bloke down here. And if I go with you two, Becklin won't trust me, so forgive me for not liking this plan."
"I don't think she's going to be reasonable, Blaise," Pevensie whispered. "She's not wearing her reasonable face. Granted, I don't know what it looks like, but I'm guessing that ain't it. She has the crazy eyes."
"I could care less about reasonable," he said loud enough for Astoria to hear him. "You both have a way of ruining delicate meetings I need to attend. With that track record, I'm not risking something like that."
"If I allow you to do this your way," Astoria said. "Will you allow me to come along?"
"Me too," Pevensie said. "I'll behave. I swear it."
Blaise glared at her. "You do realize my way involves you leaving me the hell alone, right?"
"I think I shouldn't leave you alone in Knockturn," Astoria said. "But I will let you ask all the questions."
"You will stand outside the door. It's not like something's going to creep out at me from the shadows where Becklin is."
"I think I should be somewhere where I can see you, Blaise. I have a bad feeling." Astoria frowned.
Pevensie looked at him with worry.
"I don't care," he said stubbornly. He was more serious about this than any other thing he'd done in Knockturn. "Wait outside or I leave now. If I feel uncomfortable when I get there, I'll let you come in."
"No, if I feel uncomfortable, I am coming in to get you. Oh my gods, Blaise, if I let you get harmed, Draco would kill me. Even if you were being stubborn."
"Fine!" he snapped. "Where the hell is he?"
Astoria slipped her arm through Blaise's. She led him out the door. Pevensie followed them. They went to the far end of Knockturn and entered a building with no sign.
Pevensie frowned. It was dark and there were not enough exits.
Blaise made a face. "Was that so hard?" He should have just left and looked for Becklin on his own. The wizard was closer than he thought. One of the trusty bodyguards looked at the group warily, and Blaise rolled his eyes, not even for show.
"I just have a few questions. These two will remain out here."
"Something bad is going to happen," Astoria whispered and shivered.
Pevensie eyed the bodyguard. She could probably take him.
"Settle down," Blaise said firmly. After taking a look at Pevensie, he sighed and gestured toward her. He didn't feel comfortable leaving her out here. "I don't want you out of my sight. Draco will kill me if something happens."
"Oh so I get to stay out here with the man who wants to put his hands on me, and she gets to go with you?" Astoria asked.
Blaise made a face. "You have two things going for you--you're wicked quick with a wand and you're Marcus Flint's piece." He turned to the bodyguard. "Don't be a moron."
Her steps fell in line behind his and he just gave up, walking first into the room where Becklin was seated looking over a book. He was immaculate as always and had a grin on his face that told he'd heard everything that happened outside.
"Hello James," Blaise said lightly.
"Blaise... and friends." He looked up and over to the two newcomers. "Introduce us?"
"I'm Astoria Greengrass."
She could not tell if it was that he knew her sister or that he knew who she had sex with, but something about her name sparked something.
"I'm Pevensie the Vampire Slayer. Against me, your bodyguard would be useless."
Astoria reached over and pinched her arm.
Blaise glared at her, trying to get the seriousness of the situation in her head. "Shut. Up
Becklin chuckled and gestured for them to have a seat. "She's American and doesn't know better. But the other one," he looked at her through narrowed eyes. "She does. I've done business with your sister, Miss Greengrass. I hate that she's taken her business to the mainland. Do say hello for me."
Astoria nodded slightly and pulled Pevensie close to her, conveying that Pevensie was under hers and by default Marcus' protection as well. They did not sit down.
"I will pass on your greeting when she visits Marcus and I next month."
Becklin chuckled. "I'm not stupid. I'm not going to start a war with the Council. I've seen what that one can do." He'd gestured to Pevensie. "I take it this isn't purely social?"
Blaise sighed and rubbed his forehead. "I need information about a magical transfer between a human and an object."
"Dabbling again?" Becklin asked with a small grin, and Blaise glared at him.
"It's for a friend."
"And how much do you want this information for your friend?"
And there was the catch Blaise was expecting.
Astoria was going to have a freak out, and that would not be good for business. This was bad, though. Very bad. She knew what but she asked anyway.
"What do you want?" Astoria snapped.
Becklin looked at her and dismissed her. "Blaise is the one asking something of me, and so Blaise is the one to ask that
"She said it pretty much the same way I would have."
"Rumor is you've stopped your side job here in the alley. I have a few things I'd like for you to handle for me in exchange for this information."
Blaise didn't even blink. "Deal."
"NO!" Pevensie's hands were fisted at her sides.
Astoria sighed. "Blaise, I know you care for... her, as do I, but can we do this my way before you go agreeing to things without knowing the terms?"
Becklin chuckled. "I believe he already agreed."
He turned around and glared at Astoria. "If your way is anything like what we just left, my response is hell no."
"You don't know what he's asking, and I do," Astoria said through her teeth. "There's a handle that I am absolutely about to fly from. You are so stubborn, Blaise Zabini. You have no idea what I can do when I am angry. I don't even know."
"You know Draco and Willow wouldn't want this, B," Pevensie said. "Let me break fingers until he tells us what you want."
Becklin just sat back and laughed. "Oh it's so cute. But if you go the path of violence unnecessarily, you'd just be starting a war with all the thugs you like to play with in the bars down here." He stood. "These jobs I have for Blaise are special, and he's agreed. If it would make you feel better, I'll give you my information before Blaise does his jobs, just to hold up my end of the deal."
"They'd lose," Pevensie said with confidence. "They don't want to mess with the Watcher's Council - a group, I might add, that defeated the First and destroyed a hellmouth. Also... a group that contains the Dark One. How do you think she's going to feel when she finds out you're messing with her boy here?"
Astoria smirked. "Is she still cute?"
It was silent for a moment.
"All right, so he agreed," Astoria snapped. "Yes, we want the information first. And I'll be watching you, if things go badly, you'll find yourself under Marcus Flint's boot heel. Also, not finished here. I want to know about Ethan Rayne."
Blaise was just waiting for hexes to fly but was surprised when Becklin reached behind him and plucked a book off the shelf and handed it to him. "Tell Miss Rosenberg I said hello, because she is
the one who sent you for this information, yes?" He leveled his gaze with Pevensie. "The Dark One is one of the few magic users powerful enough to extract magic from an object. I'm not an idiot. She knows exactly what he's doing down here."
He took the book and kept it firmly shut, intent on leaving, but Astoria was still staring at Becklin.
"Ethan, you say? Now why would a sweet girl be mixed up in Rayne's business?"
"Did you miss where I inferred that I belong to Marcus Flint? Or where I'm Daphne's sister? Whatever makes you think I am sweet? He's been messing with the Dark Marks. This is having an effect on a few people I care for, so naturally I am irritated. He was about to meet with you the day I snatched him."
Becklin looked irritated. "You're the reason he was late? That really was rude. Why should I be inclined to tell you anything?"
"Have you ever dealt with a Seer before, sir? A real one, not a tea leaf reader. Do you know what one who is well-versed in their gifts can do to you? To your mind? Do you know what they can make you see?"
Pevensie shivered and moved as close to Blaise as possible. Draco had mentioned before that all the Slytherins he knew and had known could be truly frightening in their own right. It was usually when they felt someone they cared for was being threatened. Right now Astoria didn't exactly look like all her fires were burning. There was a less than sane look in her eyes. Pevensie had gathered that Astoria had spent some time in a mental hospital even though Draco had never said so outright.
Blaise took a step so he was more or less in front of Pevensie and blocking her view. "Watch it, Astoria."
"What an ironic phrase," Becklin said, and nodded to Astoria. "Let me rephrase. What is in it for me?"
"You should help me because when you cross me in the future, I will remember this moment and not turn you into a dribbling vegetable with jelly for brains. By the time you cross me, I will have enough tenure as a Seer to make your brain liquefy and drip out of your nostrils."
"Eww," Pevensie whispered.
"But should you aid now, I will not forget that you did so."
Becklin nodded, and Blaise let out a small sigh of relief. "Very well. What is it you wish to know? He's not giving you any trouble, is he?"
"Nothing of the sort. I only what to know what it is he wanted of you? Why were you meeting?"
"The same thing everyone wants of me. Information."
"Must you be so vague? This is why I do not like asking people questions with word. I'd rather just see into their hearts. Nothing vague there. What information was he wanting?"
"I am vague because knowledge is my currency. I do not give away more than I have to. Ethan wanted to know about the Dark Marks and the magic that bound them. There are still a few marked Death Eaters about, and I helped him locate them so they might be...questioned."
Now they were speaking of matters dealing with Marcus, so her temper was up again.
Becklin narrowed his eyes. "That I do not know. I was not present for the conversations, nor do I know who he talked with. I gave him a list of numerous names. All the information I provided him with is public knowledge, but he isn't exactly free to walk into a library."
"Did you give him the names Flint, Malfoy or Greengrass?"
Astoria was shaking.
"I gave him an exact copy of the list of marked Death Eaters the Ministry keeps. So yes."
"Oh shit," Blaise muttered.
"You gave him... my love, my dearest friend... and my... SISTER
The word sister was shrieked rather shrilly, and Pevensie jumped.
"The list is
public knowledge, Miss Greengrass. I simply made it accessible to him."
Blaise took a step forward next to Astoria. "He's right and now is not the time to get hysterical."
Astoria ignored Blaise for glaring at Becklin. "I wasn't planning on getting hysterical. I was planning on getting violent."
"I could do that," Pevensie offered.
"There is no need for violence," Blaise said firmly at Pevensie before turning back to Astoria. "He just answered your question. What happened to honoring that?"
"I never said what would happen if I did not like his answers." She looked at Becklin. "Never again give those names out so freely. My shaky hold on my sanity might slip again. I do terrible things when I am not in control of my mind."
Becklin didn't say anything, which Blaise actually took as a good sign. He held up the book he'd been given. "Are we done here?"
"I would say totally," Pevensie said.
"For now," Astoria replied.
She was upset and feeling disconnected.
Gently, Blaise tucked her hand in his arm and led her out, nodding his thanks to Becklin. Once they were back in the alley, he relaxed a bit, but still kept a wary eye out. "Where are you headed?" He didn't trust her to make it back in one piece. Flint would kill him if something happened to her and he didn't make sure she was okay.
Astoria blinked. She knew a question had been asked of her, but she could not make herself answer. She was falling away. She was so upset that she could not hold herself here. Even Blaise's voice had sounded like it was from a distance. She was already beyond pulling herself back.
"Damn it," he muttered. He shrunk the book he'd been handed by Becklin and started to walk back to Diagon. "Pevensie, is someone picking you up?"
"Probably... unless Draco asked Astoria to do it. In which case, we're so screwed. What's wrong with her?"
"It's complicated. I'll take you both to the Council myself just in case she was sent for you." They reached Diagon and Blaise led them to a darker corner away from the flow of traffic. "I'll take her first then come back for you. Stay in this spot."
Pevensie frowned and leaned against the wall. Draco was going to be upset about this - all of this.