Truth or Consequences
March 3, 2005 8:04 AM
She had totally put it from her mind with everything going on lately, but her trip to Knockturn last night had reminded her - she needed to speak with Blaise. She sort of wasn't okay with what he was doing, not that she knew exactly what he was doing, but she knew Draco sure as hell would not be all right with it.
Blaise had allowed her to set up the floo in her office to the one in his study at Zabini Manor just in case. After all, he was Draco's emergency contact if something happened. She'd flooed him this morning and gotten a very cranky Blaise, but a Blaise who had agreed to come meet her.
Now she was just waiting.
He had no idea what she wanted. Part of Blaise wanted to think he finally wore down on her females-only rule, but he had to be realistic as well. As he walked into her office, his eyebrow went up. She didn't look too happy.
"Do I need to come back later?"
She made the door slam behind him.
He looked slightly alarmed, but did as she demanded.
"So, I've been hanging out in dive-y bars in Knockturn Alley, listening, ear to the ground and all. Guess whose name I keep hearing from the demons?"
All he could do was blink. "You've been in Knockturn Alley?" Blaise was trying to find a way to work his way out of this, because he knew with this bunch, demons weren't necessarily all that good. "What on earth are you hoping to find out there?"
"What the what is."
It was silent.
"I've been sitting on this for weeks. Draco doesn't know, but I suspect Pevensie does, so it's only a matter of time now."
Blaise snorted. Of course she knew. The little brat probably didn't know the details, but she knew enough so she could blackmail him. "So what is this, my intervention?"
"Yes," Willow said. "Not all demons are bad. Don't get me wrong. I know some that are very, very good, but the ones in there? Bad. Draco's just as adept at pissing demons off as he is humans. If they knew... they could hurt you just to get at him. Let's also add that you're my friend. I'm not very popular these days in the underbelly. I'd feel bad if they hurt you to get to me."
"You're talking like I can't take care of myself. I've been watching out for myself long before you even came along," he said, slightly irritated at the turn the conversation. This isn't what he expected.
"I know," she said softly, smoothing a hand over his brow. "I just worry. A lot. I don't think you're dealing with good people, er things, and I worry about the fit Draco will have when he finds out. Nothing decent happens in Knockturn Alley, and don't get all offended, but you're decent."
Blaise moved his head away from her, starting to get angry. "The whole point is not dealing with a decent sort. I don't know what fairytales you've been filling your head with, but I'm not the nicest person on the planet. I don't necessarily like
nice people, and the ones that try to tell me how to live my life when it's worked just fine for me end up pissing me off."
"I don't care if I piss you off as long as you're alive," Willow snapped. "I don't like having to bury people, and some of the things you're doing business with, could make you up for a burying."
"Then let me worry about my own neck! I'm a grown man! I don't need someone coming along and taking an interest in what I've been doing for years." Blaise glared at her. "This is a part of me, or do you only like certain bits?"
It was always this way. No wonder he kept going back to Ella. She seemed to be the only woman who knew, understood him, and left him alone. Well, most of the time.
Willow hugged him. She could tell he didn't like it when they had just been about to get shouty.
"You shouldn't be left alone. You've been left alone far too long. I would hurt if you hurt. They will hurt you one day. Something will go wrong. I can feel it. I want to stop that from happening. I want you as you are, unmarked, unbroken."
Blaise just sat there, not hugging her back, but that was expected. The only people he was used to hugging was family. He laughed wryly. "Your little mind reading is off if for one moment you think I'm unbroken. That's actually a funny thought."
Willow pulled back to look at him. "You're bruised. There's a difference. I know you're damaged, Blaise. So's Draco, so am I. There are hurts that go so deep the scars will never heal with me. I couldn't stand it if anything happened to you and I could have stopped it. Draco wouldn't survive that, and I love him. Not in a sex type way, but he helped save me when I was drowning once. I can't forget that. I have to protect his heart because of this."
He got it now. She wanted to help Draco, and so that meant protecting him from a problem that wasn't even there. "Let me deal with Draco. I've known him longer than you, and I've seen him go through things you can't imagine. You know what I'm pretty sure he doesn't like? People using him as an excuse to do things. His family's done it; he doesn't need you doing it too. Stop pretending you're doing this for any other reason."
"Don't you get it? I have done things in my past that have tied me irrevocably to the people and things around me. There are days when I can feel the grass growing outside. I get glimpses of what might be sometimes, and I can let you be that. I don't care if you knew Draco in a past life. I care about him too, and I want to protect him. I want to protect you."
Blaise shook her off. "Well good for you. I'm glad someone does. Can I go now? I'm late for an appointment."
"Blaise," Willow said, pouting.
She was honestly worried for him. If he got hurt, it might make her bad side come out. After all, it had shot to the surface rather quickly for Astoria Greengrass, and Willow barely knew her. She'd hate to make Knockturn a hole in the ground just because someone laid a finger on him.
He rolled his eyes. "What are you going to do, Willow? I'm a grown man. You can't come with me and babysit me all day long."
She raised an eyebrow. The idea had merit. Or she could have him followed. That was a very good idea. Now, who to ask. Willow chewed her bottom lip, thinking. He's be furious, but it was for his own good.
Blaise froze. "I was joking, damn it, joking
. You are not allowed to come with me! See if I ever show up here again if you do, and won't that just made Draco the happiest spirit!"
"I didn't say anything," Willow replied, smiling.
She knew just who to ask for this favor.
"I know you didn't, but I'm not an idiot. You're thinking something, and you are to stop it this instant!"
This is just what he needed. Some Gryffindor-type witch with the best of intentions was going to come up with a half-arsed plan to meddle and it would get them both in trouble.
Willow giggled. She couldn't help it. She was feeling much better now that she had a plan to keep him safe. She wondered if he knew how his nostrils flared when he was upset.
She leaned forward and pecked him on the lips.
"You're so darned cute when you're being a crankypants."
Now he was truly irritated. "Now you kiss me? Not when you split my skull open or anything, but when you have me pissed off? And if that was a distraction, it was terrible."
Blaise had seen that look before. Pansy wore it often, and so did Draco if it was appropriate. It meant she had a plan but she wouldn't tell before she was ready. He was going to have to be watching now.
"That was a friendly kiss. A Draco kiss. A Buffy kiss or a Xander kiss except for the fluke. Those were different. There's no fluking with us. We're fluke free."
"Draco and I certainly don't kiss like that. Otherwise, I have no idea what you meant, and honestly, can I go now? This was all you dragged me in here for?"
"Apparently. If I didn't think you'd offer a demonstration, I'd ask how you and Draco kiss. You can go if you like."
She had lots to do now. Mainly make an unscheduled trip to Stygion.
Blaise stood and turned to the door, whipping around at the last minute. "You're not sending one of your slayers after me as a watchdog, are you?"
"No," Willow answered honestly. "I will not have a slayer watching you."
She was sending something better after him.
Short of sending Draco after him, he wasn't sure what she'd do. It made him more comforted and more wary at the same time. "Fine. And no mentioning of this to anyone. I've done just fine for myself before you came along and poked your nose where it doesn't belong."
Willow would not agree to that. She had to tell the person who'd be tailing him.
"I won't tell Draco."
Blaise rolled his eyes. "That's not what I said, but good enough." At her look, he raised his eyebrow. "I'm a Slytherin. Some kids learn nursery rhymes. Slytherin pureblood children learn politics. Now, next time, let's skip all the irritating lovey-dovey 'I want to protect you' crap and get to the snogging, yeah?" he asked as he walked out the door.
"But I do want to protect you," Willow called loudly.
When she got no response she figured he'd left.
"And I will. Whether you like it or not."
She walked to her fire and threw in some floo power.
"Astoria Greengrass' cottage!"
Astoria had her wand pointed at the fire when Willow stepped out.
Willow blinked. Astoria was standing there in a camisole top and some panties. She was looking a little haggard. Like she had not slept in days.
"I just woke. Let me get dressed because I can see it distracts you. There's tea in the kitchen. Help yourself."
Willow walked towards the kitchen in the small cottage. It was not what she'd expect from someone with Astoria's background. She was concerned about Astoria. She said she'd just woken up, but Willow had the feeling she'd not slept at all.
"And the answer is yes," Astoria called.
"For the favor, of course!"
Willow blinked. She was beginning to understand why Xander got so annoyed when she talked in his head.