Sisters Fight Like Cats and Dogs
Astoria had been tense since the day several coven members had gone straight to Wiltshire. She had felt Willow slip before she even slipped. It was her frantic floo call to Irulan that got the coven to the council house so quickly. Emily had been to visit since then. She was back and not entirely pleased with Astoria’s choice of suitor - those were her words.
Daphne had been a wreck since then too. She had not even checked on WIllow, and she was avoiding everyone. Not so unusual for Daphne, but she was ignoring Astoria too. That was not acceptable.
Astoria slammed into her cottage in Stygion. “Daphne!”
Marcus was with her despite his many, many protests that he would like to avoid her sister. Astoria had wanted him along because if he were there, they’d be less likely to get into a physical altercation.
“That’s what I was going to ask you,” Astoria said. “Why are you avoiding me?”
“You’re always with him, and he doesn’t like me,” Daphne said, backing away.
“You’re lying,” Astoria countered.
Daphne bristled. Then she tried to apparate. Astoria’s nasty smile was slow.
“No one can apparate in or out of the cottage any longer. I had Draco correct that. Well, Marcus and I can, but anyone else...”
Daphne bolted for the back door. Astoria sent a hex at her bookcase that toppled it and blocked Daphne’s path.
“What don’t you want me to know, Daphne? What have you done?”
Daphne didn’t say anything. She just stood there looking like a cornered animal. At least she had not drawn her wand.
“Marcus, if you would grab her and hold her please?”
Daphne had a look of disbelief on her face. “Tori-”
“You come to me or I’ll have you brought.”
“Stupid, fucking,” Marcus grumbled as he went to hold Daphne. The bitch darted away from his hands. Almost anyone else and he’d think that she was scared of him, especially after their last run in.
He managed to snag the back of her shirt on the second pass and reeled her in, holding her upper arms to keep her still.
“Why the fuck am I doing this again?”
“So I can do this,” Astoria said.
She walked forward and placed the palm of her hand on Daphne’s cheek. Daphne tried to turn her head away to prevent it.
At first Astoria wasn’t sure what she was seeing. Daphne’s mind was so jumbled, but then it spun sharply into focus. She sucked in air through her nostrils, making them flare. Then she screamed in a mimic that was like the scream Willow had done when she had lost control. Astoria fell to the floor, and when Marcus started to let go of her sister to reach for Astoria, she shouted.
“Marcus, no! I’m fine, I’m fine. Don’t let her go.”
Astoria just stared at her sister, breathing heavily. Then she started crying.
“How could you, Daphne? She trusted you. What you did had consequences. Do you know what they’re talking about doing to her because of what you did? And for what? Petty revenge? You lived. You’ve already beat him.”
Astoria was starting to shake. She did not think she had ever been this angry.
“I should let Marcus kill you. I should let him kill you to rid the world of your poison,” Astoria spat out.
“I’d gladly do it,” he growled into Daphne’s ear. He was pretty sure that Astoria would not tell him to, though. For all that she was a Slytherin, her heart was surprisingly soft, especially when it came to friends and family.
“What the fuck did she do?”
“She drugged Willow, took vials of her blood to give to the demons who made the dark marks burn and sold the rest to Terence fucking Higgs. She aided the demons because they raised Fenrir fucking Greyback and she wants to kill him. The coven is talking about binding Willow’s magic. You know what happens when you have power and they try to bind you, Daphne. Why would you do that to her? She’s my friend. Why would you do that to me? Why don’t you just avada Draco while you’re at it? Poison Marcus? Take everyone, everything. It’s what you always do.”
“Astoria, I had-”
“If you say you had no choice, I will tell him to crush the life from your body,” Astoria shouted.
Marcus’s hands had started to tighten as Astoria had revealed what her sister had done. How fucking stupid could she be? Everything he had heard indicated that the Dark One was already unstable. Finding out that someone she trusted had betrayed her... Daphne’d be lucky to have Marcus kill her. He’d at least make it quick, for Astoria’s sake.
His mind started whirring. Could he find Higgs, kill him before he had a chance to use Rosenberg’s blood for whatever the fuck he wanted it for? He wasn’t sure, but the possibility of someone using blood magic on Rosenburg meant that he had to try.
“Get out,” Astoria said in an emotionless tone.
“Leave and do not come back unless I call for you,” Astoria said. “You are not my sister.”
“You would choose her over me?”
Astoria looked up at Daphne. “I choose the world as it is, not as a burning cinder. You don’t even know what you’ve done, do you? She could kill us all with a thought. She’s special, Daphne. I thought you understood that. You aren’t worthy of her. Go. I am giving you your life today, but return to England without my calling you back, and Marcus has my permission to kill you.”
“Get out. You’re dead to me.”
Marcus used his grip on her arms to pick her up and carry her to the door. She squirmed around, trying to get loose, but he just held on tighter, squeezing his fists against her ribs. Astoria ran to the door before him and opened it, allowing him to throw Daphne out onto the walkway. He tossed her hard enough that he could hear her skinny bitch of a frame bounce on the cobblestones.
Astoria slammed the door once he had stepped back, and when he turned to her, he could see her shaking.
“I’m so angry. I’m so angry with her. Why does she have to be so selfish all of the time? I love her dearly, but I don’t like her very much right now. If she decides to test the waters and show herself again, please don’t actually kill her. Just make her think you’re going to.”
Astoria took a deep breath.
“Oh gods. I have to tell Snape what she did.”
He grimaced. From what Marcus had seen, their old mentor considered Willow one of his, and Slytherins did not like for their things to be messed with.
“I think Higgs owns property in Knockturn. You don’t think that Daphne would be stupid enough to warn him, do you?”
“The demons concern me more than Higgs, but yes, I do think Daphne would be stupid enough to warn him. She was stupid enough to provoke a dark witch. He’s one of Daphne’s... well, I don’t know what you’d call him. They’ve had sex. He likes to share. One time he wanted me and Daphne, you know, like at the same time and I basically told him where he could put that idea. I’m not overly fond of him.”
He growled at the idea. Marcus did not share. At all. And he did not understand those who did.
Astoria grinned and put a hand on his chest. “I told him he couldn’t have me. It’s the past anyhow. No need to be upset over it. I’m yours and I’m not going anywhere. At this juncture, you’d have to repeatedly use a repelling charm to be well rid of me.”
The way she was beginning to feel about Marcus Flint frightened her sometimes. She had been the sort of girl who didn’t mind sharing once upon a time, but he was changing her mind on that. Astoria didn’t think she’d want anyone else even trying to understand him and to know him as she was beginning to. She wanted him and his idiosyncrasies all to herself.
“Higgs used to have a place in Knockturn Alley, back near the bar. I’ll ask around, see if he’s there. We need to find him before the world ends.”
“The world’s not going to end, Marcus. Not yet,” Astoria said. “Unless this has changed Willow’s cards. Perhaps I should go see her, but after what happened with Abbott, I highly doubt anyone’s going to let me lay hands on her.”
“Probably not,” he agreed. There was no point in reminding her what a fuck up that was. “What about the other bints in the village? Or your knitting circle?”
“There is this new girl in the village. She went to Hogwarts and could probably get close enough,” Astoria said. “I’ll have to try to speak to her. She knew Daphne and that has not endeared me to her at all.”
“I know Daphne,” he pointed out. “Doesn’t mean that I like her.”
He turned from her and made his way into the kitchen to grab a snack. Eating gave him time to think. To figure out what to tell Nettles. If
to tell Nettles. The sodding Ministry was looking for an excuse to do something to Rosenberg. To lock her away out of fear. This would possibly give them that excuse.
“I find that I get the guilt by association a lot being her sister. People think I’m like her because we share bloodlines. This one keeps her distance because of Daphne.”
That was something that he did not have to worry about. His own “accomplishments” had far surpassed any familial connections that he had. He’d even outstripped his father’s brutality. There was no point in doing something half way.
He tossed his apple stem into the sink as he finished off the last of the core.
“What do you want me to do?”
“I can’t ask this of you.”
His look said she could and now she had better.
“We need to know if Higgs still has the blood, and I think it would be best if your boss didn’t know this had happened. They already want to lock her away. If they try, they’ll have a battle the likes of which they have never seen on their hands. Though this is, of course, your decision. Just like outing Theo was.”
Astoria wasn’t happy about that, but it had been Marcus’ decision. She couldn’t tell him what to do, and she didn’t want to.
“Telling anyone would be a mistake,” he agreed. “I personally like the world turning, if only for my own health. I’ll see what I can find out.”
“And on a personal note, I wouldn’t be terribly upset if Higgs didn’t exactly walk away from your questioning. Not that I am asking you to kill him, mind, but a limp might be nice.” Astoria smiled. “I’ll just be a moment then we can leave. I have to take Daphne out of the wards.”
Astoria started walking to the back of the cottage.
A limp. Right. If he got hold of the sodding bastard, Marcus was going to give Higgs a hell of a lot more than a limp. He’d be lucky to walk again. Or breathe. And not just because he was stupid enough to steal Rosenberg’s blood.