March 20, 2005 4:09 PM
Blaise was getting a headache. Normally he got twitchy little headaches when he dealt with idiots or Draco when he was pissed. The full-blown migraines came from hours of screaming children, screaming Draco or his mother. Period. This instance he had a twitchy little headache from dealing with an idiot.
As nice as yesterday had been, Blaise was more irritated at the disruption on the stairway. He had been so close
. He was out a girlfriend, out a proper home, and now was talking with one of the most moronic wizards he'd ever met.
"I'm going to stop wasting my time and yours. Do you want this deal or not? The interest rate is the lowest you'll find and I can guarantee positive results within a three percent error margin. Who the hell else is going to give you that deal?"
The scrawny, hunched over man he was currently dealing with fancied himself an important part of Knockturn and had yet to be knocked down a few pegs. There was also a rumor he liked to take advantage of the people he borrowed things from. Blaise half-hoped he tried that stunt with him. He hadn't been able to hex people in a while.
"Take it or leave it Crowley."
"It's expensive," the man simpered.
"Well it sure as hell isn't going to come cheap. You can't expect to find it lying about in a school trunk, now can you? Yes or no?!" Blaise snapped.
He honestly seemed to think about it, but Blaise was used to the script by now. He would drive a hard bargain, but they would accept it because he had the best artifacts and supplied the best black market potions. He had some of the best connections and if he didn't have the connection someone wanted, he'd get it.
It was a miracle more people hadn't tried to kill him off for being so perfect, he thought.
Blaise handed over the small box which held two potions and a small knife he'd need for the ceremony. "Knife will be returned in this box along with the bottles and stoppers. Drip anything on the velvet inside and it's your toes for compensation."
He walked away, content with the deal. Maybe he'd get a spot of violence. But when he heard someone following behind him, he growled in irritation. It wasn't Crowley; he wasn't that stupid. There were eyes on him in Knockturn, and it was getting fucking old.
Astoria was bored. It was always the same thing. The haggling, the bargain, the deal, the treats. Boring, boring, boring. Though Draco would definitely be annoyed about this. Astoria could see the fallout already. Draco's fits were epic, the stuff of legend. Astoria ducked back when Blaise turned to look for her. She stifled a giggle. He knew she was there, and it was probably killing him that he could not find her, but Astoria excelled at stalking. She always had. People noticed Daphne first because Daphne was loud and brash. Astoria blended into the shadow.
She'd learned how to draw attention to herself, but she could just as easily take it away.
Blaise quickly made his way through obscure alleys. He had another appointment that he'd been putting off. It was a pleasure appointment that he was looking forward to. When he got to the correct door, he leaned forward, tapping his wand against the wood and whispering the password. When he entered, he was greeted to the sight of a few wizards, a goblin, and a few demons crowded around a poker table.
"Hello boys. Ready to be robbed?"
"Oh you must be joking," Astoria said loudly, walking up behind Blaise. "Are we playing for kittens or galleons? Or are you actually planning on robbing these people, er individuals?"
Blaise had to take a deep breath or else he would hex her on principle. This was who was following him? Why the bloody hell was she doing that?
"What the fuck, Greengrass?"
"Oi, is this the one you were supposed to get hitched to?" one of the wizards asked.
"Nah, that one's the proper one who was promised to the Malfoy whelp. Zabini got stuck with the unkempt whore."
Blaise immediately stood in front of Astoria so she wouldn't hex one of his poker mates outright.
Astoria stepped around Blaise and got in the man's face. "That's my sister you're talking about. Call her a whore again, and your entrails will become your out-trails. Or perhaps I should just let my newest friend have you. I'm sure you know Marcus Flint. Ask anyone in Back Alley Bar what he does when I get upset. Not that I need him to do damage. Perhaps I should just owl Daphs and tell her you're talking trash? I'm sure she'd understand about your calling her a whore, being such an understanding person."
Daphne used to deal in Knockturn. She was known for hexing people because they looked at her wrong.
"Blaise..." one of the demons trailed off warningly, and he resigned himself to waiting another week to play poker. He made sure to grab her arm on her sleeve and started to pull her out of the room. "Next time you come, try to leave your yapping bitch at home?"
He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her out of the room forcefully. "What the fuck are you doing following me?" he snapped.
Astoria backhanded him. "Let go of me. I'll show him a yapping bitch. Daphne isn't the only one who kills people for no good reason."
Despite his stinging cheek, Blaise got in Astoria's face. He was angrier than he'd been in a while. The urge to hex her or at least hit her back was very strong. She wasn't behaving like a female who didn't get into tussles. "No she isn't, and I don't see Marcus fucking Flint anywhere in the vicinity and hell if I'm going to go about saving you. And don't you ever
hit me like that again."
"I didn't hit you that hard, Blaise. Don't be such a lightweight. I don't need Marcus to kill anyone for me. I can do it myself, but why kill? I go for the pain every time. Living hell? Much better than death."
He didn't want to deal with this. His evening was no ruined so there was no point in staying. "Fuck off, Greengrass, and stop following me. Go pant after Flint."
"Can't," Astoria said. "I told Willow I'd keep an eye on you. Besides, your poker buddies would have fleeced you tonight. The scaly demon had telepathy. You can thank me later."
Blaise stopped in his tracks and spun around slowly. He should have known. She said she'd get someone to follow him. He'd tried to make her rule out anyone clever enough to do it, but she was just as good at Slytherin reasoning as he was. "Willow put you up to this?"
"Well, she was going to ask me, but technically, I volunteered. Oh don't be cross about it. As dark as she's been, she doesn't get it. Leaving people to bugger up all on their own is not her forte."
"Well she should make it her forte!" he snapped. "I do not need you to babysit me, Greengrass! I don't need a babysitter, period! She's worried I don't know the people I work with and deal with, when I've known them since I was a teenager! If she wants me to get killed, then she should keep doing what I'm doing because having a little witch like you sure as hell isn't a good sign on my part!"
"You are so over dramatic. Nice to see that hasn't changed. I know what I know. You don't know some of these people as well as you think. At some point, you get turned upon. I think it's so epic even she saw bits of it, and that's what she's trying to stop. Because what do you think Draco would do if he lost you? I mean, to the people, or things, that took you from him? Think about that for a moment. You've seen Draco go berserk. What would he do?"
Astoria just glared. She knew what Draco would do. There was a volatile side to him that when properly motivated could be truly frightening.
Teeth clenched, Blaise marched back up to Astoria. "I am so bloody tired of my actions being judged against the reaction of Draco Malfoy. I got that from Willow and I don't need to be dictated the same thing out of your mouth. Sometimes, and this is only sometimes, but sometimes I don't give a shit what would happen. You want to see me do something dangerous that would make Draco snap?"
He leaned down to whisper in her ear.
"Keep. Pushing. Me."
Astoria turned slowly with wide angry eyes. He'd been close enough for her to pick up on it.
"Did you forget with whom you are dealing with?" she hissed through clenched teeth. "I should kill you myself. You don't deserve to have them love you like they do. Selfish arrogant bastard. You can't even humble yourself for the person who cares most about you in this world. I hope when he goes out on that patrol that will nearly kill him and his little slayer, that I am wrong. I hope he gets finished off before he sees what's going to happen to you because it will probably kill him anyway."
Astoria spun on her heel and started walking off. She couldn't do this, couldn't follow him. She would have to find another way to pay Willow back. What happened was going to happen here. She'd just had no idea how bad it would be, and she refused to have a front row seat for it.
Blaise wanted to follow her, spin her around, and demand she take everything back, but he was ever so tired of people doubting him and explaining Draco's feelings for him. So he was a selfish arrogant bastard. He knew it, but did people have to remind him every chance they had?
He leaned against the wall in Knockturn, contemplating what to do. Ironically, he just wanted to go back to the Manor, get drunk, and sleep for a week, not caring if Ella or his mother were there.