Author's Note: Sorry for the long break, but thank you for all your encouraging messages! It's always nice to see that people out there are interested in reading this story! I will do my best to release chapters a little more consistently as I plan to attempt to work on this fic for NaNoWriMo. :) As always, thanks to my beta! You rock, mate!


Chapter 13

"Coconut and Marzipan"


January 23, 2032

"Don't look so unpleasant, Scorpius," Albus insisted. Scorpius huffed in annoyance as Albus patted his back. They walked along the dirt pathway towards a small shop on a hill. Morning in Cahersiveen was a peppered grey, a vast change from the California sky, and it made the distant shop stand out with its brown and red brick walls. There was a billowing smokestack on the side of the old brick building. Albus was pleased to see that someone was in, at least. They were on a tight schedule.

"I am not being unpleasant, Albus." That was a lie. Scorpius had practically been pouting ever since they took the Portkey to Ireland. The Portkey had to be calibrated to land outside the surprisingly powerful wards around the shop. Someone certainly didn't like to be surprised. Though that should have pleased Scorpius, he had instead been bubbling with complaints. It was only fear of seeming childish that kept Scorpius from actually airing his grievances. Not that he made any effort to hide the fact that he had them. "This is simply what my face looks like when I'm forced to meet someone I would rather avoid."

"You don't like him?" Albus looked genuinely surprised as he quirked a brow. " I was unaware you had even met him."

"Albus..."

"No, Scorpius," Albus said, exasperated as he stopped walking, "I'm being serious. Why don't you want to meet Mr. Finnigan?"

"Potter, you do know who he is, don't you? He was rather well known in the Ministry, even if he did have to step back after the accident."

"I would think having him on our side would be quite beneficial." Albus folded his arms, a deep frown setting on his lips. He could understand where Scorpius was coming from, but he still believed that having someone with Seamus Finnigan's expertise and experience could only be a benefit.

Scorpius watched Albus for a few moments, sizing him up. When he realized that Albus was standing firm by his decision, he sighed. Albus internally cheered at his small victory. "It would if he believed us. But this is a risk." Alright, now it felt like much less of a victory. "He could go to his Ministry friends and then we would have to fight off Belrose and the whole of the Ministry of Magic as well. Not my idea of an improvement."

"Don't be such a worry wart, Scorpius. He will believe us."

"How do you know?"

"Intuition," Albus provided without missing a beat.

Scorpius visibly cringed. With a slow shake of his head, he turned and continued to walk towards the hill at a brisk pace, his hands shoved into the pockets of his coat. "Merlin help me, I'm actually following a Potter's intuition." Albus just laughed as he jogged to catch up to him.

They both slowed as they walked closer to the building. Albus briefly paused to read the sign outside of the door. "Finnigan and Son." He had briefly met Seamus Finnigan several years ago at a Christmas party and he recalled that Seamus had been a Curse Breaker working for the Ministry. But, that had been prior to the accident. He had not heard much about what happened to Seamus afterward. No one had or if they had, they decided to not mention it. From the looks of things, Mr. Finnigan was now running a repair shop of some kind. Scorpius reached out and grabbed a hold of his wrist and sent him a concerned look. Albus knew that he was giving him one last chance to change his mind, but they had come too far to turn back down. Giving Scorpius a small smile he removed his hand and squeezed it wordlessly.

Not giving Scorpius a chance to speak, he stepped into the shop. The shop was cluttered with various half-repaired tools and appliances. There didn't seem to be anyone around, however, neither customer nor proprietor. Scorpius hung back by the door, as if ready to leave at any moment. "Hello, is someone here?"

There came an immediate thud behind the counter followed by a string of profanity. Albus looked surprised, Scorpius smirked. Soon, a young boy, looking to be around ten years old stood up, rubbing the top of his head, musing his red hair. "Oi, no need to yell, mate." The boy had smudges of grease on his cheek from fixing the tractor and was wiping his hands off with a towel as he regarded the two men in the shop. "If you've got something you want fixed, you'll have to fill out a requisition form first."

Remembering himself, Albus finally spoke up. "Oh, my apologies. My name is Albus Potter and this is—".

"Perkins," Scorpius interrupted as he took a few steps into the repair shop, running his fingers along the frame of an old grandfather clock. "Harold Perkins."

The boy looked at the two men suspiciously for a few moments while Albus studied the boy in return. He wore muggle clothing, a dirty jean and t-shirt ensemble. Albus thought for a moment he was a Muggle, but then realized that a boy his age probably had not even begun his magical education and had probably spent more time with Muggles than he had magical folk of his own ilk."Name's Aedan Finnigan," the boy finally said, flashing them a charming, toothy grin as he held out a hand. Scorpius looked at the dirty hand with distaste, but Albus grabbed it without a second thought, returning Aedan's smile. "So, are you gents customers or...?"

"Oh, sorry, no. Actually, we are here to speak with your..." He paused for a moment. He had said he was a Finnigan. He didn't recall Seamus mentioning any siblings and he looked far too young to be Seamus's brother. Aedan was most likely the "Son" portion of "Finnigan and Son." "Father," he concluded. "I'm sorry for not sending an owl ahead of us. We only need a moment of his time."

"Oh," Aedan muttered, turning his head away. This piqued Scorpius's interest so he moved to stand Albus.

Albus was not quite sure what to make of the change of mood in the young boy so he continued. "Do you happen to know where he is?"

"Mm, 'bout six feet under?" The boy offered.

Albus' eyes widened. "What?" He was sure that the boy was speaking in English, but his meaning made no sense to him. Perhaps "six feet under" was an example of delightful local slang.

"He died on a job." Or not.

"What?!" Scorpius cried out instantly. His distress was not so much that Seamus was dead, but more from the prospect that he had somehow missed such important news. Albus knew that Scorpius fancied himself something of a "Lord of the Grape Vine," so this had to come as a terrible shock.

It certainly was a shock for Albus, in any case. As soon as he recovered, Albus fell back on his experience from working at Peppertongue and was suddenly more concerned for Aedan's well being than the well being of his original plan. "Oh goodness… I am so sorry to hear that, Aedan! When did it happen?"

"Hmm," the boy hummed lightly as he looked up, thinking back."About five years ago."

That made Albus pause. That was around the time of the Christmas party when he had first met Seamus Finnigan. But he had heard his parents talking about him just earlier that year. "But..." It had to be a joke. "What?"

There soon came laughter behind them as a man, looking to be around Harry's age walked in. He had a jacket around his shoulders and a pipe between his lips. "Aedan, stop being a bother and go set the kettle,"he said around his pipe as he scratched his scruffy beard. Aedan sniggered as he nodded his head, running into the back part of the shop to set the tea. "Sorry for his foolishness, Albus. It's nice to see you again," he said, taking off his jacket with his left arm. The right sleeve of his sweater was pinned up, the arm missing.

Albus now better understood the nature of Seamus' accident and he did his best to be respectful and not draw attention to it. "Oh, thank god!" he declared, "When he said that you were six feet under… I thought he meant you died," Albus explained anxiously.

"I'm just fine. Granted, lost a wee bit of weight since you last saw me," he said patting his right shoulder. Albus blurted out with nervous laughter before quickly covering his mouth. Seamus just grinned, obviously not the sort of person to enjoy an elephant sitting in the room. "He means his real father."

"Real?"

"So, he's adopted then," Scorpius surmised.

"Right you are." Seamus walked behind the counter and took a seat on a stool. His focus was on Scorpius now. "What did you say your name was?"

"Perkins." Scorpius answered him with full sincerity. Albus always admired that about him. Most of the time, Albus was a rubbish con man. When questioned, he sometimes forgot his own lie.

"I suppose that's a marked improvement over 'Malfoy.'"

Both Albus and Scorpius visibly tensed, though only Albus seemed shaken. Scorpius, however, was otherwise relaxed after the initial shock. He dropped the smile and the pretense and crossed his arms, leaning against one of the counters. "So you know who I am."

"Even assuming your parents didn't both have your picture plastered all over their offices," He began to explain as Albus inwardly grinned,"You still look exactly like your father did at your age." Mrs. Malfoy seemed to be the sort of person to keep dozens of pictures of her family around in her office, but what surprised him was the possibility that Mr. Malfoy might do the same. It just helped to make them seem more human in his eyes.

"I get the feeling that was not a compliment."

"So, you are as clever as they say."

The atmosphere became quiet and tense. Albus interjected, hoping to salvage their meeting. "Ah… so, Mr. Finnigan—"

"Seamus," the older man cut in, "Seamus will do."

"Alright, Seamus, thank you." Albus tried the name. It was odd to be so informal, but he supposed it fit the situation better. The fact he was allowed to use it might be in his favor. "Well, we are here in the hopes that you would be able to do something for us."

"Mhm." Seamus leaned against the wall, tilting his stool backwards slightly.

"We hear that despite rumors that you have left a life of adventure and danger for the comparative safety of running a repair service, you still dabble in elements of your former profession." Albus hoped that if he managed to get what he wanted to say out all at once, Seamus would not become suspicious.

Instead, Seamus just cocked his head. "What?"

"He means we want you to make explosives," Scorpius summarized. "Lots and lots of them."

"Well, well, well," Seamus tutted, an impish grin sliding over his lips. "What on Earth sort of thing have you gotten yourself into?"

"It's for a party." Albus was thankful Scorpius had taken over the reigns. This sort of thing was more his forté than Albus's. "We wanted to make an entrance and figured we would trust the best there is."

"Well, you have quite the silver-tongue don't you?" Albus was not sure that was meant to be praise or not.

"That, I will take as a compliment." Scorpius either thought it was or was determined to make Seamus think he had.

After a long pause in which Seamus seemed to be analyzing them both intently, watchful for any signs of deception, he shrugged, having found none. "Very well. But I will need some time. I can't get all of the materials or this many explosives without drawing someone's attention."

"Understood," Scorpius said as he pulled out a small black book, jotting something down. "We have about a month."

"Certainly cutting it close aren't you?"

"What can I say? We live dangerously." Scorpius grinned and Seamus snorted in response, slipping the pipe from between his lips. He opened his mouth to speak, but there came a voice from the back room, approaching them.

"Seamus, I will have you know that Aedan is making a mess of the kitchen." A man, around Seamus's age and wearing the fine robes worn by workers in the Ministry strode into the shop. He paused when he noticed Albus and Scorpius. "Oh, hello. I hope I'm not interrupting anything?"

"Hello," Albus greeted. When Scorpius said nothing, Albus realized the reason. The man standing before them was Dean Thomas. He had been making waves in the Ministry as of late and was exactly the sort of person they could not afford to cross.

"We should go," Scorpius said quickly. "We will contact you later, Mr. Finnigan. Thank you for your cooperation." And with that, he turned on his heels and left the shop with Albus in tow.

Scorpius seemed ready to get away while they were still ahead, but Albus was curious. "Wait," he whispered, grabbing a hold of Scorpius' sleeve and tugging him to a small window. Climbing on one of the old barrels, he peered inside. Scorpius, finding the whole thing juvenile, kept watch.

"What was that all about, Seamus? That was Harry's son and Scorpius Malfoy, wasn't it?"

"Maybe." Seamus shrugged as he emptied his pipe. Wand in hand, he sat in front of a half dismantled clock, tinkering with it.

"That's unnecessarily cryptic don't you think? What exactly did they want to talk to you about?" Dean pried as he picked up wrench, turning it over in his hands.

"A job."

"Seamus..." he warned, patience running thin. His frown reminded Albus of his mother's.

"Don't give me that Dean."

"Seamus, you don't need to take on odd jobs. You make enough from the store."

Seamus shoved the clock clear off the table, cogs and screws flying in all directions. Albus winced, Dean didn't respond. "Why do you think it's always about the money?" Seamus shouted, temper flaring.

"Then what?"

"This whole bloody thing." Seamus was quieter now, frustration clear on his face as he raised a hand, rubbing at his right shoulder.

Dean sighed, rubbing at his forehead. "Not this again."

"Yes, this again."

"Must we always have this argument?"

"So long as you insist on keeping me here, then yes." Albus felt a wave of sympathy for Seamus had he not felt earlier. He had assumed that because he had joked about his arm, he was alright. But it was obvious that it bothered him. "I feel so useless, shoved in the middle of nowhere like this, given a little shop so I can just play the part of shopkeeper. I'm tired of having nothing to do." No, maybe it wasn't his arm that was bothering him. Maybe it was how he was treated because of it.

"I would think raising Aedan would have you preoccupied enough," Dean countered with a small smile.

Whatever rage had been bubbling in Seamus seemed to deflate. "Don't go bringing him into it, Dean. It just isn't the same."

"Then, what is the problem?" He asked, stepping closer to Seamus and gently putting a hand on the side of Seamus' neck. "How am I to help if you just yell but never tell me anything? You said you wanted something to do. That's what I gave you."

"I used to have adventure Dean," he explained, words so soft they were practically a whisper. Albus had to strain to hear the rest of what he said. "I used to face down danger and villains."

"Adventure that nearly killed you, or have you forgotten?"

"I haven't."

"I think you have." Dean let his hand drop away from Seamus and fall to his side. He clenched his fists so tightly they trembled. "Do you have any idea how devastated I was when I thought you had been killed? It was hard enough losing Aedan's parents… but thinking you had perished with them…"

Seamus was quiet for a few moments before proceeding cautiously. "I understand, but all the same, I can't keep living this boring life, Dean. I know what you've been doing," he explained and Dean twitched, "and for the most part I appreciate the sentiment."

"Seamus..."

"But I can't keep doing this."

"You have Aedan to take care of now. You can't just go throwing yourself in danger."

"I figured, if something happened to me, you would just take care of him," Seamus pointed out.

"Well, of course I would. That isn't…" It was clear that Dean was thrown off by the words. "That isn't the point and you know it."

"Oh come off it, mate. It's just a small job." Albus began to feel bad. He had no idea that asking for Seamus' help would have inconvenienced him so much. "It's not as if they're asking me to go fight Vol-"

"Seamus..." Dean growled, shuddering slightly. Even after all this time, some wizards and witches still couldn't bear to hear the Dark Lord's name. Albus had heard stories of what had happened during those times and couldn't really blame them.

"It's just some fireworks. That's all. Besides, I'm not much good to anyone like this, am I?"

"Dad, tea's ready," Aeden interjected as he walked out from the backroom. "Thought I'd make some sandwiches and - oh, they're gone. Pity." Seeming to notice the tension he glanced from Seamus to Dean and then back to Seamus. Dean looked at Aedan as he smiled, holding an arm out. The child grinned as he walked over to him, giving Dean a tight hug.

"Go on and get started, Aedan," Dean instructed, ruffling Aeden's red hair, kissing the top of his head. "Your dad and I will be joining you soon."

Aeden nodded his head as he turned around. He threw Seamus a worried glance, but went back to the back without another word.

When they were alone, Dean took a step towards him. "Seamus, listen, I-"

"No, there's nothing to be sorry for, mate." Seamus rubbed the back of his head as he sighed. "I guess I just need a vacation."

Dean nodded. Slowly, he smiled. "Maybe the three of us could take one soon?" he offered. "I'm going to a conference in Glasgow in a few weeks."

"Glasgow?" Seamus asked, making a face. Albus had to admit, Glasgow wasn't his idea of a fun vacation either. "Mate, I think they're having you on. Glasgow. You should petition for better trips!" Seam declared as he threw his arm around Dean's neck, tugging him towards the back where Aedan had wandered off. "Like the Bahamas!"

"Seamus," Dean said, shaking his head as the two of them disappeared in the back.

"Would you hurry up?" Scorpius hissed.

Albus pulled away and was about to tell Scorpius to just be patient when the top of the barrel he had been standing on collapsed. Before he even had time to cry out in surprise, Scorpius had swooped in and grabbed him.

The look of surprise on Albus' faced matched the one on Scorpius's. He had moved without thinking. Albus panted softly, his heart still racing. Scorpius recovered much faster.

"Albus, for the love of-"

"My hero," Albus cut in as he wrapped his arms around Scorpius' neck, giving his forehead a light peck.

Scorpius flushed slightly as he glanced away as he suddenly let go of Albus, letting him fall to the ground. "Let's go."

Albus just laughed as he got back to his feet, dusting himself off as he followed after Scorpius.


January 26, 2032

Scorpius had spent the last few hours setting charms on small boxes. Paper charms were not something that had been taught at Hogwarts, but several of the witches and wizards in their little army came from around the world and they brought with them countless new charms and spells Scorpius had never even seen.

The paper charms were just one of them. It was clever, though a bit too poetic for Scorpius.

He had just finished plastering the last of the boxes with the charms when there came a loud, impatient knock at the door. Scorpius was annoyed at the interruption until he opened the door and saw an equally irate Albus, arms crossed and his foot tapping quickly. "Hello." Even to him, his words sounded weak.

"Really?" Albus snapped. "You stand me up for lunch three days in a row and that's all I get? 'Hello?'" He stepped past Scorpius and into the room, not even waiting to be invited in. They were past that point, anyway. Albus sat down on the bed and frowned sharply.

Scorpius genuinely felt terrible. He had been so busy the last few days... No, there was no use in excuses. He should have let Albus know he had to cancel. Leaving him like that asked a lot, even for Saint Potter, the Second. Picking up the still-wrapped box his mother had sent him, he held it out to Albus with a small smile. "Chocolate?" There was no need to unwrap them. His mother always sent him incredibly expensive sweets.

Albus glared up at him. For a moment, Scorpius was worried that maybe he had truly ruined his relationship with Albus. Luckily, a moment later, Albus's poker face faded as he took the box and gingerly peeled the wrapping away. "Fine," he muttered as he picked up a delicately handcrafted chocolate and took a bite. The small moan that he tried to stifle made Scorpius inwardly grin. He knew all was forgiven. After eating a few more pieces, Albus finally bothered to look at all of the small boxes around the room. "What's all this then?"

"The boxes?"

"No, the other suspicious charm coated things in your room," Albus laughed as he licked the chocolate from his lips.

"I like to think of it as an insurance plan."

"What are all these symbols?" Picking up one of the small boxes, he turned it in his hands. He shook the box, but no sound came from it. He supposed that was part of the charm.

"Just something I picked up."

"What exactly do they mean? Wait, this looks like the box you had a while back."

"It's just a special charm so that only the person who is supposed to open the box will be able to."

"What exactly do these symbols mean, though? Who is the box for?"

Scorpius grinned. Albus looked like a child whenever curiosity was beginning to get the better of him. He could have told Albus, but that would not have been remotely as entertaining as watching Albus squirm. "What, and spoil the fun? I thought you enjoyed playing detective?"

Albus hummed softly as he set the box of chocolates away as he examined the box, turned it over every which way. He tapped it with his wand, attempting every charm he personally knew. Scorpius sat down on his desk and watched him. It was like watching a cat with a new toy. After a while, Albus looked up at him and grinned triumphantly. "I know what they are."

"Oh, is that so?" Scorpius chuckled.

"Well, your box said 'bad faith', which was a reference to your name," he explained. "I suspect that's how the charm words, through the power of declaration. Now, while my full name hasn't got much of concise meaning..."

"That's true," Scorpius agreed.

"My initials do!"

Scorpius made a show of contemplating Albus' words. "Asp."

"Asp, exactly!" Albus declared, puffing his chest out slightly, proud of his deductive abilities. "So, I suspect that is what these symbols refer to."

"Asp, you say?"

"Vipera aspis, yes! I mean, really," he muttered with an impish grin, "Who else would you be giving a gift to if not me?"

"Now, that is true! You certainly do deserve some sort of prize for putting up with me."

"You're right. I do. Remember that when my birthday rolls around," he added with a snort.

Scorpius was about to return to his work when he noticed the book that Albus had set on the bed beside him. It looked old. "What is this anyway? I've seen you reading it for days now. You are usually such a quick reader, I would have assumed you would have finished it by now," he asked as he picked it up, flipping through the pages.

"Actually, I'm doing research."

"What, about Hogwarts?" He ran his fingers along the old covered of the book. It looked like something that would have fit right at home in the Hogwarts Library. What Albus was doing with such a book, he had no idea. He probably picked it up at some point when they had gone back home from the holidays.

"The Founders, to be more specific."

"Interesting," he muttered. Interest in trivial information was more Albus' hobby, anyway.

"You know, there are a lot of secret about Hogwarts that few people know about."

"I'm sure."

Albus cross his arms again as he clicked his tongue disapprovingly. "Don't you find that interesting?"

Scorpius rolled his eyes. "We are facing an army of power hungry witches, wizards, and Muggles that have more resources and bodies than our side does. I would have assumed you would have been too interested in that to have energy to spare doing extra research on unrelated rumors," he snapped, tossing the book to the bed beside Albus.

He regretted it immediately as he looked at the genuinely hurt look on his face. Albus looked down and muttered a softly, "Sorry."

"No," Scorpius murmured, sitting beside him. "I'm sorry. That came out wrong." The two sat in relatively silence for a while. Eventually, Albus slipped an arm around Scorpius's waist and scooted closer, resting his cheek against his arm.

"Actually, for what it's worth, it might not be completely unrelated," he murmured, voice still soft, though no longer sounding cowed.

"How do you figure?"

"Well, according to this..." he started, picking up the book and flipping to a page in the pack of the book. There was pictograph of the Basilisk that had once dwelled in the Chamber of Secrets. "'Far beneath the castle, there is a weapon that was created to keep the magical world safe from harm. If it exists, it seems like exactly what we need."

Scorpius glanced at the page. Reaching out, he turned it to the page before then flipped to the page after. He admitted quietly to himself that such a weapon would certainly prove beneficial to them."So there's supposedly a huge weapon under the school? Why haven't I heard of anything like this until now?"

Albus laughed nervously. "Well, the rumor fell out of vogue well before our time. or even our parents or grandparents. Sorry. Perhaps it wasn't as useful as I thought it might be."

"Don't be sorry," Scorpius assured him. He paused for a moment, not wanting to be to forward, before he leaned closer and pressed a soft kiss against Albus's temple.

Luckily, that seemed to be the right thing to do because Albus scooted closer. "It's partly your fault. You never have me do anything that really challenges me. I get bored. I get to thinking."

"I really shouldn't allow that in the future," he said, grinning from ear to ear.

Albus looked at him. "What are you thinking?" Scorpius waggled his eyebrows, suggestively. Albus' flushed as he shoved him away. He huffed as he took the box of chocolates, putting one in his mouth. "Don't think I've completely forgiven you for standing me up these last few days. Do you think I just wait around for you to invite me out for lunch?"

Even though Albus had done just that.

"Never," Scorpius chuckled as he made his way back to Albus's side and laid down, his head in his companion's lap. "If I promise to take you out on a proper lunch soon, would you consider forgiving me?"

"We always go out to restaurants."

"No, not to a restaurant," Scorpius explained. "Some place nicer. Just the two of us."

Albus could feel his heart racing, cheeks heating. Scorpius just grinned up at him with that damn charming smile of his. Setting the box down he reached out, softly carding his fingers through Scorpius's hair. The blond's smile softened. Albus twirled a lock of platinum hair around his finger. He liked it when Scorpius left his hair uncharmed. It was softer, more pliable, Albus liked touching it. Eventually, Albus remembered his voice. "I suppose that will do."

Scorpius laughed softly, the sound breathy. "Then if you forgive me, how about a chocolate?"

Albus grinned as he complied.

Scorpius made a face.

"Coconut..."

Albus laughed as he pressed a second piece to Scorpius' lips. "It'll be coconut and marzipan until you give me this promised lunch. It's the only way I can keep you honest."

Scorpius ate the second piece, nipping playfully at Albus' fingers in a half-hearted protest.


January 27, 2032

Belrose slipped her fingers along the soft silk material of the black vest. It would look perfect for Lucas. She still felt bad about having to leave him with that horrible excuse for a human being during the holidays and fully intended to make it up to him. After all, her time of glory would be coming soon and Lucas would be standing beside her when the moment came.

He would have to look as lovely as she did.

"So, this is what you are doing instead with your reprieve," a voice said from just behind her, having all of the warmth of velvet, though hinting at a sharpness hidden just underneath. Belrose didn't need to turn around to see who it was, so she didn't. The man continued to speak as he walked beside her. "Interesting strategy, Casandra," the man murmured as he reached out and sweep her blond locks over her shoulder, revealing her slender neck.

"Gabriel," Belrose greeted. She smiled as she said the name through gritted teeth, but her eyes filled with barely contained disgust.

"Don't say it like that," Gabriel purred. Slipping an arm around her waist, she spun her around. "You make me sound like such a bad guy." Gabriel was a well-dressed man, wearing a black business suit. His black hair was slicked back and his eyes were an icy blue.

Belrose would have hexed him into oblivion, but she was painfully aware of the eyes on her and Gabriel. She still had a reputation she had to uphold. "What do you want?" She continued to smile as she reached out to place her hands on his arms, digging her long nails deep into his skin.

He winced just slightly and let her go, but Gabriel never lost his grin. "I saw your guard dog having lunch with a sweet young thing in the cafe in the book shop. I would have thought that you would have euthanized him long before you retired him. I supposed motherhood had made you weak."

"I would have thought that spying would have been beneath you," she sneered, reaching out to smooth his tie.

"You seem to be losing your handle on your people," he said softly, taking a hold of her hand and bringing it up to his lips, kissing her fingers. She could tell that the women around her were probably melting at the sight of him. She supposed to the uninformed person, Gabriel was quite the attractive specimen. But she had seen him at his worst. She knew the sort of scum he was.

When her time came, he would be the first to be slaughtered.

"I still have a month; there's no reason to send in the execution squad quite just yet."

He leaned in close and she thought he would kiss her cheek, but instead, he whispered into her ear. "That son of yours is a real sweetheart." Belrose saw red. The window near them suddenly cracked. The shopkeeper scrambled to mend what had suddenly broken. "Oh, touchy subject is he?"

"Stop," she muttered, pushing at his chest.

Instead, he continued, this time, pressing his lips to her exposed neck. "I wonder if he is anything like this mother."

More cracks began to form. "Shut your mouth."

"I bet he is, in all the ways that count," he muttered. The cracks ran lower and lower. "If he's not careful, someone might take advantage of him." The glass began to strain.

Belrose grabbed a hold of the front of his shirt and pushed him behind one of the standing walls, away from prying eyes. "I will kill you," she hissed angrily.

"I bet he kisses like you do," he murmured against her neck, brushing his teeth against her racing pulse. "I'll show the world exactly what a monstrosity he is. Just like his mother."

A few meters away, the glass window completely shattered, sending glass shards flying everywhere.

"When he screams for me, I promise, he'll really be screaming for you."

Belrose opened her mouth to scream a curse, her signature spell on the tip of her tongue, but Gabriel was faster. He crushed his lips against hers, attempting to claim a kiss.

Power struggles was a game Belrose had been playing before Gabriel had even be born. Grabbing him she pulled him closer and kissed him in return. The kiss was violent and served an express purpose.

Gabriel was the first to pull away after Casandra had bitten down on his tongue so hard that she had drawn blood. He panted as he grinned at her. "As much as I would love to take this to its logical conclusion... I really should go, Casandra, my love," he purred, moving with her back into the main area, back into the spotlight. She could see the look on the faces around her. She knew that they thought happened.

She laughed darkly to herself. They were probably envious of what she had. They had no idea.

Fools, all of them.

"You too, Gabriel, my pet." He took a hold of her chin and tilted it up, kissing her again before leaving the shop to the car that waited for him outside.

A young attendant, obviously smitten by Gabriel's devilishly charming airs, walked up to her under the guise of helping her choose something. "Who was that?"

Belrose chuckled as she picked up the vest she had been eyeing earlier. This girl was as big a fool as she seemed, her voice all husky and filled with exposed desire. Belrose was always one to extinguish foolishness at its source. In this instance, she was doing an act of community service.

"Him? Oh, he's just my husband."