The Missing Girl
March 26, 2005 7:28 PM
The woman had been looking in pubs all night because the girl had finally said a name.
"Flint? I'm looking for a Marcus Flint."
Someone pointed her to the bar.
Marcus looked at the woman who was asking for him. People looking for him was too likely to be a bad thing. Especially since the Mark had burned.
His hand went unconsciously to his arm and he rubbed the Mark hidden by his shirt.
"I'm Flint," he said. She didn't look like an Auror. Nettles had assured him that no one would come questioning him about Castleberry, but he couldn't help but be paranoid. And she wasn't a Death Eater. If she had been one of his old compatriots, she would have known how to find him.
"I'm Bedelia Darrow. My sister owns a shop this end. You need to come out back with me. I've found something of yours, I think."
He stiffened, wary. He didn't like the idea of following the bint out into the alley. It was a classic trap scenario, but none of his instincts were saying that it was.
He cast a glance at McGee, who had been frequenting the bar more often, and got a small nod in acknowledgment. His handler would be ready, just in case.
"All right," he said. "Lead the way."
Bedelia led him out. The girl was right where she'd left her sitting on some crates and swinging her dirty bare feet. Though she'd somehow acquired a knife and was peeling an apple in one long strip. There was a man on the ground near her feet wailing in agony and holding his man-parts. Her hair was a matted mess that she would not allow to be brushed, and all she had on was the dress she was wearing - long and black. Not even a bra or knickers on her.
She looked up and looked through them. As if she did not see them at all.
Marcus stopped at the sight of Greengrass, expecting her to gaily announce that he'd done something stupid. Which, in retrospect, he realized that he had. He hadn't seen her since that brief, damnable burn. He hadn't even realized it. Too many things were going on and he'd just assumed that she was busy in her own right.
But she did not seem to notice him at all.
"Greengrass," he growled, moving past the woman who had brought her to him and kicking aside the bloke he vaguely recognized as one of the scum of the Alley.
"Greengrass," he tried again when she didn't respond.
"How long has she been this way?"
"Since Wednesday, I think. I heard screamin' so's I went to peek. I only saw her, poor mite. She hasn't said a word of sense until today. She looked right at me and said your name."
"How doth the little Slytherin, control her Seer's sight, and pour the visions from within, onto the dying of the light. How cheerfully she seems to grin, as she feels her lusty pangs, while welcoming her killer in... with venom-dripping fangs."
"Right then. There she is. G'night." Bedelia hurried off into the shadows and away from the crazy woman as fast as possible.
Marcus stared at Greengrass for a moment, unsure of what to do.
"You've got to be kidding me? Greengrass? Snap the bloody hell out of it!"
She spouted off more nonsense and Marcus ran a frustrated hand through his hair. He didn't know what to do with her. Not when she was obviously fucking insane. He supposed he could contact her sister and have the bint take care of her... But he and the elder Greengrass sister had never exactly gotten along. And he didn't even know how to find the bitch.
A noise from the doorway drew his attention, and he turned to see Tru looking at them with wide eyes.
"Call Graham in," he told his friend. "I have to leave." Tru nodded her head and disappeared back inside as he stalked over to Greengrass and picked her up. She weighed nothing in his arms.
Within moments they were back in his flat, with her seated on the couch. She still showed no signs of knowing where she was.
Astoria made a shrill noise and scrambled off of the couch. She moved to a corner and stabbed the knife into the wood floor by her feet. She started eating the apple peel as she eyed Marcus warily.
She was past knowing, but she felt safe now.
"Yeah, Greengrass. "You're safe here." Safe as he could make her, at least. He remembered that she'd said that she'd spent time in Mungos because she'd lost herself. He assumed that this was the same thing.
He also remembered that she'd said that he made it easier to ignore everything. But he'd have to touch her for that to work. And he didn't like touching. Not to mention that she had that knife. Who knew what she was likely to take offense to.
He took a slow, cautious step towards her.
Astoria glared and him but motioned for him to come closer. There was nothing to fear here, not like with the other man who she'd taken the knife from. This one was curious to her. He made her feel happy. As he inched closer, she felt better.
He slowly sank to a crouch where she pointed, ready to scramble away at any sign that she was going to strike with the knife. But she didn't make any moves towards it. Instead she watched him.
"You're quieter like this, at least. And probably make more sense at times."
Astoria scooted slowly towards him. He was watching her just as warily as she was watching him. Her peeled apple was going brown, but she held it up to him. For some reason it was important that he have some.
He frowned at the apple, but accepted it when she dropped it in his hand. And took a bite when she indicated that he should.
"Happy now," he asked, his mouth full. She frowned at him and he couldn't help but chuckle. Even loony, she insisted on manners.
Astoria scooted even closer to his legs, but did not touch him. She reached out and stopped just shy of laying a hand on his trousers. She wanted to, but she felt like she was not supposed to. That made her want to even more. She curled all of her fingers in except one and touched his slacks with the very tip of that one finger.
He resisted the urge to flinch away. She wasn't wearing her gloves, but she also wouldn't be able to get anything through his trousers.
"I don't like being touched," he told her. "But you're always pushing that. It's one of your more annoying traits."
Astoria stared at him for a long time before making a strange sound and wrapping her arms around his leg and cuddling with it.
"Fuck," he snarled as the force of her body pushed him off balance and he landed on his arse. He threw his arms out behind him to prevent himself from falling all the way over and Greengrass apparently took that as an invite to get even closer.
"Great," he muttered as he glared down at the woman who was now rubbing her cheek against his chest.
The smell of him was familiar and she liked it. It made her feel happy and safe to be here, to be close to him. She was not certain of anything, but that this was what she wanted. Her fingers pulled at his shirt and then she slipped and touched bare skin. His collar bone.
Astoria gasped and sat up, her eyes wide. It was as if everything spun sharply into focus. She was breathing heavily and straddling Marcus? Astoria blinked down at him in confusion.
Marcus remained still beneath her, waiting for some proof that she was actually back. Her fingers were still stroking his collarbone, dipping lower and lower until she skimmed the upper edge of his other tattoo. Finally, he placed his hand over hers, stilling the movement.
"You back now?"
Her hands started shaking.
"I saw it. It burned. And then it was dark. I was in the dark. I went away. How long..." she shifted and made a face. "Where are my knickers? What have I done?"
He considered what she said. "A woman brought you to me. From what she said, she found you Wednesday night. I don't know anything but that." Though, he could guess what burn she referred to.
"You can tell me if you took my knickers. I don't mind."
Her hands were still shaking and she felt woozy. She hoped he had something to drink besides fire whiskey in here.
And she needed to be taking advantage of the fact that he was letting her touch him. At least there was an upside to blanking out for a bit this time.
"I did not take your bloody knickers," he snapped. "You're too filthy to even consider it. You actually stink." It wasn't a lie, but it was said more to get her off him than anything else.
"Then I am borrowing your shower," Astoria snapped, getting up to unsteady feet.
She glared at him defiantly before pulling her dress over her head and stalking towards the bath wearing just her hair.
Marcus could not help but admire the view as she walked away. He was male, after all. Once she was out of view, though, he levered himself up and went off in search of something she could wear.
He found a t-shirt and pair of muggle sweat pants and barged into the bathroom to leave it on the counter. Once he'd dropped the clothes off, he left the loo once again and went to put the kettle on.
He really needed better towels. Astoria got all the grime off of her person and smiled at the clothes he'd left. She wondered if he had looked. Astoria pulled the clothes on and grabbed a comb. Her hair was a mess. It would take her forever to untangle it. She started walking out and immediately noticed a problem.
Astoria hoisted the sweat pants back up and held them there. She waddled to the kitchen to see a very tense Marcus.
"We have a problem."
He looked at her. Astoria wiggled her hips and the sweat pants fell to her ankles.
"I might be slightly underfed."
He grunted in agreement. He supposed that being crazy meant that she hadn't thought to actually eat. Which meant he needed to feed her. He pulled some leftover Chinese take away from the ice box and set it on the table.
"You were eating an apple earlier," he told her as he poured her a cup of tea and set it beside the take away box. He put a bag of sugar and bottle of milk on the table as well as a fork and spoon.
Astoria shuffled towards the table with the sweats still around her ankles.
"I remembered apples. I think I associate them with you."
He collapsed into the chair opposite of her, making it groan in protest.
"Do you remember anything?"
"My head hurt and I fell. There are fragments. Your smell. Right before, and apples. Um... someone triggered the marks, but the energy is all wrong. I don't know."
She moved suddenly and pulled the sweats back up before sitting down. She did not want to think about the bad stuff right now. She was hungry and happy to be safe and not in Mungos.
"Do you wear these? Because my lady parts have now been naked inside them."
He choked on his own tea. "They'll wash. Now eat."
Astoria ignored the fork and ate with her fingers. She could tell Marcus did not appreciate it, but she was not quite ready to be civilized.
"You should see my house in Stygion. I'm different there. I must have been there before... that black dress is one of my there dresses. I was also barefoot. I only go barefoot there. Hmm. Curious."
"Do you also go without knickers there as well?" If so, then he definitely did not need to see her house. He didn't need to think about how easy it would be to pull her dress up and settle himself against her.
"My going without knickers is not restricted to there. Sometimes I am just not in a knickers mood. Are you thinking about having sex with me, Marcus? Because that would be all right, you know."
An unfortunate or fortunate, depending upon how one looked at it, side effect of her missing time often was no brain to mouth filtering. She just said whatever the hell popped into her mind. It normally took her a day or so to get back under control.
He snorted. "No, it would not be 'all right'," he reminded her. "We've had this conversation before."
"You are correct, sir. It would be a vast deal better than just all right."
"No, it wouldn't be. Fucking you leads to brats, remember? And neither one of us wants that."
Astoria made a whining sound. "Does oral sex count as sex? Please say no."
"Yes," he snapped. Because deep down he knew that once he had a piece of her, he'd demand all. His Slytherin nature wouldn't allow for anything else.
Astoria sighed. "Can I stay here tonight?"
"Yeah," he said, reluctantly. "You can sleep on the couch." His fucking flat was going to smell like her again. There was no way he'd let his bed smell the same way. He'd have to buy a new mattress.
"Thank you," Astoria said, feeling much better now.