There are 4 kinds of Homicide
Mar. 15th, 2005 at 12:51 PM
Marcus turned a corner in the little wizarding grocery he frequented and almost plowed into Greengrass. He wasn't surprised. She'd been lurking around, coming into the bar and randomly showing up wherever he was. He didn't always see her, but sometimes he could feel that itch between his shoulder blades that told him that she was near by.
He was just glad she had stayed out of his apartment. He could still smell traces of her from the last time.
"Greengrass," he said, stepping around her and continuing down the aisle.
Astoria spun gracefully and followed him. She was his little shadow.
"We haven't spoken. I felt like a talk."
She was also paying close attention to what he was buying. You could learn a great deal from what a person bought at the grocery and what they put in their trash.
He looked over the shelves of magically preserved meals. He could cook a little, a few basic meals. But most of the time it was just easier to dispel a stasis charm and cast a warming charm. Especially considering his work schedule.
"So, talk." He pulled a few of the containers off the shelf and tossed them into his basket.
"I'm playing nice with the dark witch and doing her a favor. It does involve following Zabini, but I take no pleasure in it. I've watched you beat on a great many people. My favorite is when you step on someone's neck. You have a facial expression that hits me right between the legs."
She was speaking conversationally as she followed behind him, occasionally picking up an item to look at it.
He frowned in confusion at her ramble. "What does following Zabini have to do with me beating people up?" He wasn't going to mention her comment about how it effected her.
"Well, it doesn't unless he somehow manages to get in your way or piss you off. Which, knowing Blaise? Entirely possible. Have you ever considered adding some fresh fruit to your diet?"
He glared at her and stubbornly bypassed the small fruit section. He rather liked apples, actually, and bought a couple of pounds every week.
"If you're following Zabini around, it means you won't be following me
. Seems like a good thing to me."
Astoria sighed and took a bag off the roll before filling it with apples. She took one for herself and started eating it while swinging the bag of a dozen by her side.
"Only when he's in Knockturn. I'll still have plenty of time for you."
"Yippee," he muttered.
He wasn't entirely sure that he liked the idea of her trailing after Zabini like a little puppy. The bloke was known to have some shady dealings, usually in illegal potions. His sort of customers wouldn't like Greengrass hanging about any more than Marcus's own contacts would.
He'd been lucky in that regard so far. He supposed he had her ability to thank for the fact that she always seemed to know when it would be best to disappear.
"Now there's no need to worry. I can take care of myself when I'm not distracted."
She wiggled her apple at him, offering a bite.
He turned his head away from the apple. The last thing he needed was the taste of her in his mouth.
"Not worried," he replied, moving to the next aisle. He grabbed a tin of his favorite tea from the shelf, knowing that she was watching his every move. "I just have better things to do than chase your arse around Knockturn because you were too stupid to notice who you shouldn't bump into."
"So you wouldn't be upset of someone like our friend Castleberry got his hands on me?"
Anyone who did not look at him as much as she did would have missed the slight tensing in his body.
"I'll be careful so you won't have to step on any extra necks."
He grunted in response as he went to the counter to pay for his food. He didn't believe her for a moment. In fact, he suspected that if she knew that she could get away with it, she'd cause trouble just to see him go berserk again.
He also didn't say anything when she added the apples to the pile, just paid his bill and hefted the resulting sack with his left arm, leaving his right free to pull his wand if necessary.
"Why does Rosenberg want you to follow Zabini," he asked, once they were out of the market.
"She's worried about him getting hurt and Draco setting the entire world on fire. I've honestly never met anyone more adept at flammable charms. It'll play out how it plays out. There's nothing my following will do to change that, but it makes me no longer in debt to her."
"In debt," he asked, before remembering that Rosenberg had been the one to save her. He didn't think that the Dark Witch was the kind to keep track of those kinds of debts, though. Not as long as she liked the people in question.
When she opened her mouth to answer, he waved her off. He'd just spotted McGee on the street casually heading in their direction. The other wizard didn't acknowledge him as they passed by, but Marcus could see a tiny hint of a smirk on his lips.
Just what he needed, a handler who thought that he had a girlfriend.
"Hello, McGee," Astoria said under her breath. "I was following him first."
She didn't turn and glare at the man like she wanted, but she did step closer to Marcus - almost touching him.
"Leave it alone," he told her. He could feel the heat of her against his skin.
He turned into Knockturn, glaring at the filthy old witch who liked to hang about the mouth of the alley and mutter disgusting things to children who let their curiosity get the better of them. Luckily the hag scared off most of the brats who ventured into the alley.
Astoria tossed the hag her half-eaten apple and hurried after Marcus.
"I'll leave it alone... if you let me feel your arms. Gloves on, of course."
The look he gave her should have made his opinion on that known well enough, but she just continued to look up at him.
"Oh, please," she said, moving closer to him. "You're wearing sleeves and I have gloves on. That's two layers of protection. I promise that's all I'll do. No kissing or hands wandering to other things."
He glared at her. "I said no touching."
"But I really think you'd like it," Astoria said in a soothing voice, inching closer. "I know I would. Pure appreciation. No pain. Just a caress. Or two. You don't know how trying it is to be around you and not have my hands all over you."
He stopped outside his building to fish his keys out of his pocket, edging away from her at the same time. He blamed his distraction on her and her insistence on touching
him. He didn't even see the bastard throw the hex.
Marcus growled as the blinding hex blurred his vision. He dropped his bag of groceries and spun, pushing Greengrass down and towards the door even as he himself crouched to face the direction the hex came from. The few people who had been in the alley had disappeared.
He didn't bother reaching for his wand, knowing that the blurred vision would make it next to impossible to hit anything with it. Instead, he waited for the next attack, trusting his instincts to help him survive.
He didn't have long to wait. He saw a blur of motion in front of him and feinted to the right before dodging left and tackling the bastard who had gotten the drop on him. The grunt of pain was familiar and it only took him a moment to identify the person it came from.
Marcus's smile was feral as he pulled his fist back and smashed it into the arse's jaw. Once, twice, three times before he felt the man slump to the ground. Hopefully unconcious. Because Marcus wanted to kill him slow.
Astoria was sprawled out on the filthy ground and seething.
"Marcus," she said, scrambling to her feet.
She didn't give a damn about his no touching rule. She put a gloved hand to his cheek and tapped her wand to his temple to clear up the blinding hex before turning to Castleberry and hexing him with an angry shriek. The body bounced up a little before slumping back. She stalked over and kicked the man in the leg.
"Get up. Get up and try that again, you mangy piece of rubbish."
Marcus shook his head to clear the last of the disorientation away. And the feel of her hand. He got to his feet and delivered his own kick, this one to Castleberry's chest. He felt something crack under the force of the blow and gave a grim smile.
"Go upstairs," he said to Greengrass. She'd have to find his keys first. He'd dropped them when the hex hit. But she didn't need to be around for what was about to happen.
"Now," he snapped when she didn't move.
She was not going to obey. Astoria moved slowly, her eyes never leaving him. She crouched next to where he'd dropped his keys and wrapped her hand around them. Then she stayed, waiting.
Marcus glared at her for a full two minutes, but she just crossed her arms and looked damned stubborn. The bloody bitch.
Knowing that she wasn't going to leave, Marcus cast a quick look around the alley to make sure that no one was stupid enough to have come back. Residents of Knockturn tended to be like rats. The scrambled for holes at the first hint of danger. Well, danger that they weren't responsible for.
He pulled his leg up and brought it down on Castleberry's face with his full force behind it, causing blood to spurt out. Two more stomps made it almost impossible to identify the man who was going to leave their world in short order.
Marcus found his rhythm after that, using his heavy boots and his weight to great advantage, long after Castleberry gave his last gurgle of breath. When he finally tired, the bastard was little more than ground meat on the cobblestones.
He finally drew his wand and cast a single spell, making the corpse blaze to life in a furnace hot fire that consumed everything.
He turned to Greengrass, who was looking at him with wide eyes.
"You should have left," he snarled, stalking towards her. He was dangerous right now, and if she had a single shred of self preservation, she would run.
Astoria looked up at him with hooded eyes. Her mouth curled into a smile that went from proper to evil and slightly snarling.
"He should not have attacked you."
She stood slowly. Astoria turned to grab his dropped bag of groceries, giving him a very nice view of her backside in the process.
The fire behind him was sputtering and dying. He cast a cleaning charm on himself and then a stinging hex at the shadow he saw moving out of the corner of his eye. He heard a squeak of pain from that direction before turning back to Greengrass, who had finally straightened up.
"Give me the keys," he demanded, holding out his hand. A cleaning charm wasn't enough. He needed to scrub any evidence from himself and destroy the clothes he was wearing. It was unlikely that the Aurors would do more than a cursory investigation into a rapist's disappearance, but there was no need to take chances.
Hopefully he could clean his boots well enough that he wouldn't have to destroy them as well. He liked these boots.
Marcus took the keys Greengrass dropped into his palm and led her into the building. He cast one last spell before closing the door, flooding the immediate alley with water, washing away any residual evidence, including the ashes.
Astoria immediately started putting away his groceries once they were inside.
"Take off your clothes so we can burn them," she said with some authority. "Then get in the shower. Make the water hot. Do you have any bleach? I'm not one hundred percent certain of that cleaning charm."
She'd helped Daphne clean up dozens of times.
He'd argue with her except for the fact that she was making perfect sense. He stripped just outside of the bathroom, leaving his clothes and boots in a pile.
"Try to save the boots," he called before closing the bathroom door behind him. He was not really surprised that she knew how to deal with this. Her family had been followers of Voldemort, after all.
He turned the shower on pure hot and stepped in, reaching for the bar of soap. Adrenaline was still coursing through his body and causing his libido to have it's natural reaction to not dying.
Once he'd scrubbed every inch of himself, he let his hand slide down and fondle his cock for a moment before remembering that he didn't really have time to bugger around. He jacked off with sure, quick jerks and groaned as he came, before reaching for the soap to scrub again.
Astoria had been shifting through his pockets when she looked towards the bathroom with a frown. That was interesting.
Then she pulled her glove from his pocket. The one she'd dropped. Astoria blinked. He had her glove? Still? Well, well, well. That told her plenty. She saw how often he touched the thing. Well, best leave it with him. Astoria flung the white glove towards the sofa. It slid under there nicely. He'd find it in a week or so.
She tossed his clothing in the fireplace after smelling all of it thoroughly. The boots she did her best cleaning charm on. She'd inspect them later to see if they needed a tossing out. Then she lit the clothing in the grate before walking back to the bathroom door. Astoria pressed herself against it and tried to see something.
Marcus finally shut the water off after a third scrubbing. He wrapped one of his thread-bare towels around his waist and before using another to get the majority of the water out of his hair and off his chest. He was still dripping when he opened the door, causing Greengrass to fall forward.
He caught her instinctively, pulling her against his chest. He could feel her nose against his collarbone, could smell her. His body reacted, despite the fact that he'd just jacked off.
He growled low in his throat, his hands tightening on her arms enough that she'd have bruises. He breathed deeply, drawing her scent into his nose, before turning and thrusting her away from him.
"Start casting spells with my wand. It doesn't matter what. Everyday spells."
He turned away and stalked to his bedroom. Even if he wanted to deal with that sort of fallout, there were still things that needed to be done. He came out a few minutes later, wearing denim trousers and pulling a t-shirt over his head. His skin felt too hot, too tight.
Astoria had cast all sorts of interesting things. They'd have to go back at least fifty spells to see anything good, but his apartment was rather clean. Though anyone looking would find the last few interesting: a binding, a stinging, a lubrication, then a contraceptive charm.
She could still smell his soap in her nose, and the room felt hot. Astoria had undone the first two buttons on her blouse after removing her jacket. She had also kicked off her shoes. She'd like for him to see her as she was in Stygion. She wondered what he'd think of her hair down like that, the flow-y dresses, the bare feet.
She was sprawled out on his floor in her stocking feet when he entered the room. Astoria smiled at him and tapped his wand a bit hard against the side of her throat.
He could tell that she had cleaned and assumed that she had thrown in a few other spells as well. Hopefully enough that Aurors would get bored looking. And the remains of his clothes were smoldering in the fireplace. He'd banish the ashes later.
He grabbed up his boots and sank onto the couch, shifting away from the one spring that was trying to break through out of long habit. He could see a bruise blooming against her throat from where she was holding his wand and it made him think of how else he could bruise her.
He growled, annoyed at his own thoughts, and held out his hand for the wand.
Astoria moved fluidly to her feet. She had her most devious look firmly in place. She held his wand near his hand, but yanked it away when he reached for it. Astoria giggled at the dark look in his eyes. It was exciting to see him irritated. She knew he wanted her. She'd felt that earlier.
"Greengrass," he growled. This was not the time to be fucking around. He still had to make sure his boots were clean. He'd been taught to kill by the best. And how to hide his tracks. Both by his father and by the Ministry. Fucking up was not on the agenda.
She leaned over him and let herself fall onto the couch next to him, her side brushing his. Astoria giggled again before handing him his wand. She leaned her head on his shoulder before he could move away. She knew she was not normal. He'd just killed a man in a very bloody and sticky way and she was giggling and flirting with him.
But she'd seen so much death that it rarely bothered her anymore. She'd been raised with it.
He shrugged his shoulder to try to get her off, to no avail. He growled again before turning his attention to the boots. He went over every centimeter of the outside of them, casting localized cleaning charms anywhere he thought he saw blood and along all the seams and the insides. Then he summoned the boot polishing kit and started buffing out the worst of the scuffs. The mindless, repetitive task soothed him.
Finally he set the rag down and became aware that Greengrass was still on his shoulder and that her hand was stroking his leg, the motion slow and repetitive. He hadn't even noticed.
Another shrug did not dislodge her and he huffed in annoyance.
"I hope you're comfortable," he snapped.
"Very," she whispered.
She could be very devious. Astoria could usually find a way to get what she wanted. She knew what happened with time. Just not when. Perhaps she could be careful, end it before it got to that point. Because she had never wanted anything in her entire life as badly as she wanted him. And not just for sex. Though she was certain she'd love that. But she wanted him. Marcus. She wanted him as a person. He needed her - he just didn't know it yet.
"So what will we do now?"
"You go away. Go home or where ever it is that you stay when you're not bothering me. And forget that today happened."
He wouldn't forget, though. Castleberry had been the first person he'd killed since the war had ended. He wasn't sure how he felt about that yet. He was just now coming out of damage control mode. He still had to decide if he was going to tell McGee and Nettles. Or if he wanted the whole thing swept under the rug.
"I find myself reluctant to leave your side. That was something I did not see. Did you not notice how effortlessly we moved to conceal what had happened. Not that you needed me, but it did make things a bit easier, did it not?"
She moved suddenly from her seated position and started pacing.
"I worry that these men who see fit to monitor you will do something if you tell them the whole truth. That would upset me, I think. I also suspect I would be forced to retaliate. I don't want what I saw as a child."
She stopped pacing and spun to face him.
"But I do want a piece of you. I just haven't decided what part I want."
He watched her for a moment before speaking. "My 'monitors' acknowledge that there are situations in which I have to do things that they do not approve of. And have set up scenarios to ensure that I am protected." It was true, and saying it aloud reminded him that he did have to tell Nettles about the incident. His boss could protect him from Auror interest, but only if he knew about it.
Nettles would question if the death was really necessary, which was the real question in the whole thing. Could he honestly say that he had no recourse but to make Castleberry a greasy smear? No, he didn't think he could.
"Let me worry about it. You go home."
"Oh, you don't get to tell me what to worry about, Marcus Flint. I'll worry about you all I like and then some. If you don't want to be around me because you think you'll throw me down and rip my clothes off, fine. I'll go sit outside the door like a pet that was put out for making on the rug."
She leaned down so she was eye to eye with him.
"I know I'm crazy. So I have to wonder if I really am because I am aware of it? I'm not afraid of you or what you do or what you'd do to me if you ever lost control of those very rampant sexual urges within you."
She straighted back up and took a step away from him.
Marcus shot to his feet, growling in irritation. He loomed over her, almost touching. "Maybe you should be," he hissed. He buried his hand into the hair restrained on her head and used his grip to control her, to pull her up on her toes.
He leaned forward and drew in her scent, his nose almost touching her neck. No fear. The stupid bint wasn't the least afraid of him.
She was thinking that what he did not know about her inner workings was a lot, and if he truly wanted her to go away, perhaps he should take the time to learn how she worked. Then again, perhaps he did not want her to go after all. Because what he was doing right now? Not the way to send her packing.
"You know, when I was a child, Daphne brushed and braided my hair for me. My scalp is actually pretty tough. I was scared of you before, but I can control this. My visions do not own me. I've decided, so you are not going to frighten me off with harsh words or bruises. In fact, you're just ensuring I stay, watching, hiding in the shadows, waiting to burst forth and put my hands on you."
She placed a gloved hand on his ribs before flicking her thumb up and over his pectoral muscle.
He growled again, this time in almost pleasure at her caress. He bit down on her neck, not hard enough to bruise, but he felt her shiver in response anyway.
"You don't want this," he reminded her. "Neither do I." But he seemed unable to resist.
"Oh no. Let us not lie. This, right here, I want. It's the other I can do without."
She was teetering on the verge of doing something drastic when there was a knock at the door.
Astoria pulled back and looked at Marcus. "Gods damn him. If I didn''t think I'd get you in it for doing so, I'd kill the whelp right now."
He snarled and stepped away from her. Another knock had him stalking to the door and slamming it open hard enough for it to bounce off the wall.
A young wizard stood in front of him, eyes wide and a stack of newsprint in his arms.
The young man started trembling. "W-w-would you like to b-buy a subscription to The Daily
-" He was cut off by Marcus slamming the door in his face.
He turned around to find Greengrass giggling, hands clutching her stomach.
"Bugger off," he snapped as he stalked into the kitchen to put to kettle on.
"Fine, I will. I'll be lurking in whatever shadow is near you next time you have an itch you'd like scratched. I guarantee I'm better than your hand."
She slipped her feet into her shoes and grabbed her jacket before heading for the door. She did not bother fixing her hair.
He fisted his hands on the counter and let his shoulders slump.
"Thanks," he said, as her hand closed around the door handle. "For helping today."
Astoria turned and looked at him in confusion. He did not have to thank her. He never had to thank her. She did not understand why he'd said it. It was not like him.