Coveted

A HariPo oneshot

by mew-tsubaki

Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. This pairing was discovered by me, so please gimme a little mention if you write them! Thanks! It is one of many of Mew and Mor's Weird Pairings, most of which you may find in Mor's and my forum, "Mew and Mor's Weird Pairings Fan Stories," found here (Just take out the spaces!): http : / forum. fanfiction. net/ forum /Mew_and_Mors_Weird_Pairings_Fan_Stories /76194 / Read, review, and enjoy! And check out and join the forum FUN!

- ^-^3

Business in Borgin and Burkes was sluggish and, quite frankly, bound to drop even more.

Tracey Davis had no idea what she was thinking, buying this place from Borgin. No wonder he had sold it to her—with the war over, no one needed a shop like this anymore. Even if Lucius Malfoy had, on occasion, stopped by to do some business, it just didn't count.

At the thought of Lucius, the witch shivered. Good thing Tracey was a wonder at keeping secrets. If Daphne, her friend, knew that Tracey fell for Lucius' charms every now and then…

"I really need a new job," she grumbled under her breath to herself.

Just then, the door to the shop opened, signaled by the bells ringing. Tracey groaned, hoping that it was not Lucius again so soon. But when she saw that tall blonde frame, she frowned.

"Welcome, Mr. Mal—oh." Tracey blinked and shut up. This wizard was tall, blonde, and menacing, but he certainly was not Lucius.

The man grimaced. "Did you almost call me 'Malfoy'?"

"No," she blurted, but the wizard narrowed his eyes at her. "I beg pardon…you just resembled a good customer of mine."

He eyed her skeptically. "Hmph."

"May I help you…?"

"Name's Yaxley and the answer's yes," he replied, eying the wares inside the case. "Do you have anything that holds sway?"

She now eyed him skeptically. "Sorry?"

He sighed exasperatedly. "Any jewelry or something that might sway one's opinions one way or the other."

"An Imperius Curse without the prison sentence."

His grin made her think of Muggle visuals of the Devil. "You said it, luv, not me."

Tracey sighed, going through her catalogue and knowledge in her head. "Nothing too powerful that will last or linger after the person loses touch with it, but…" She slid open the case's door and withdrew a tray. She placed it on the countertop and sifted her fingers through it. "I have a necklace, a bracelet, a pair of cufflinks, two barrettes, one man's ring, an anklet, and a letter opener."

Yaxley picked up each item to inspect them. "Merlin, that necklace is clunky."

"And expensive."

He frowned and put it back down. "And the items work how?"

"One needs only to put the jewelry on. The letter opener should be carried in the pocket, but once the person receives their…gift, the item's magic will work through clothing. As long as it's in their possession, the magic should work."

"Hmm." Yaxley picked up the bracelet, a simple dainty silver chain dotted with a few pearl-like beads. "And this?"

"Seven Galleons."

"That's…"

"Cheap? Yeah, well," Tracey scoffed, "it's not the most-effective of the bunch and, frankly, it's a bit gaudy."

Yaxley put the money on the counter. "I'll take it."

"Whatever you say, Mr. Yaxley."

He nodded to her and pocketed his purchase. He left right away and Tracey returned the tray to the case, locking it with a spell. Yes, she sold questionable items—fascinating, but questionable—but what her clientele did with their purchases was entirely on them.

- ^-^3

Slinking out of Knockturn Alley and through Diagon Alley, Yaxley slipped out into Muggle London, patting the pocket with the bracelet. It was a small token of security, the item. And hopefully it would be more helpful than Miss Davis had led him to believe it'd be.

It had been a month since that soiree at the Malfoys'. That meant a month had passed since Yaxley had first seen Lucius' latest gem, a month since Yaxley had thought of how to ruin Lucius, and a month since Yaxley had set his plan in motion. A lot of it had hinged on Daphne Greengrass' uncertainty over whether she believed Lucius treated her as a possession and not a lover…and so far, things had worked in Yaxley's favor.

He paused outside an alley and knocked on the dustbin to his left. A doorway appeared behind it, in the brick wall, and he stepped through it.

The place—the Gargoyle's Keep—was a quiet restaurant much more charming than the Leaky Cauldron. It was cleaner, for one thing, but the atmosphere was more serious, not so lazy, and it felt more like a place to relax rather than the pub to hit on the way home.

As per usual, Daphne had a table in the back. She waved him over, a tiny smile on her lips. "Good evening, Mr. Yaxley."

"Hello, Miss Greengrass." Yaxley sat down a bit heavily, but Daphne wasn't paying much attention to manners. She had appeared to unwind over the past month since Yaxley had first asked her for a minute of her time. It'd been easy enough. He'd insisted on getting to know her, know the girl who held the heart of "an old friend" (which was such a joke…if Lucius had ever opened his mouth about Yaxley…). Though it was disgusting, Yaxley had offered to regale Daphne with tales from their youth—mainly the ones involving Lucius—and while those tales had hooked her, she'd stayed on for the "interest" Yaxley showed in her.

Daphne chuckled. "You're quite punctual for once, Emrys," she commented, using his first name.

He frowned a bit, barely enough for her to notice, but he let it slide. "I was in the area."

"It's all right. I got here early," she stated with a shrug. "I hope you don't mind that I ordered the usual grainvodka. I just wasn't in the mood for firewhiskey tonight."

Yaxley grinned. "I'm just surprised that you like it so much. My old classmates used to tell me I had horrible taste."

"Then none of them knew how to savor the grainvodka."

He nodded in agreement and started to relax. He could kind of understand why Lucius had his eye on this witch, though she was a bit too sweet for Yaxley's taste. That didn't matter, though. As long as he was able to hold on to her long enough to bring Lucius down, Yaxley would put up with her personality defects for however long he needed to…though he really hoped that maybe only another month or two would do it.

"You wouldn't believe the day I had in the Portkey Office," Daphne began once they'd ordered their dinner. "Some bloke walked in, asking if he could get a small item right then to get to France. France, of all places! And on such short notice!" She scoffed.

Meanwhile, Yaxley tuned her out whilst pretending to listen. Her stories about her job tended to run together for they were all quite similar and it was a wonder that she—or anyone—could keep doing the same trivial thing over and over and over… At a random point, he cut her off. "Daphne!"

"—telling me—what?"

He forced a smile. "I, ehm, got you something…"

Her eyes were wary of him.

"In, ehm, celebration of our…newfound friendship."

Her cheeks took on a healthy red tinge. She really was quite pretty. "Oh! Oh…thank you, Emrys. You didn't have to."

"It was nothing at all," he said, passing her the bracelet.

"But this—!" she gasped.

"Just a small token."

Daphne took it…and her eyes sort of glazed over. Her hands moved on their own to fasten it around her wrist, and her lips curved up at the ends slowly. "Oh, Emrys, it's so beautiful."

He grinned a wolf's grin. "Why, I'm glad you like it, Daphne. Say, what do you say to getting out of here in a little bit? We'll eat and then…"

"I'd love to see your home," Daphne said, not privy of the seductive smile on her own face.

"Excellent, my dear. Excellent."

- ^-^3

Two weeks passed before Tracey had another customer. It was Yaxley again, though.

"Hello, Mr. Yaxley. I take it the bracelet went over well?"

His eyes flashed with something inscrutable. "What bracelet?"

Tracey could take the hint. "Is there something in which my wares might interest you?"

"Yes…" He looked around the store. "I'm looking for something useful, something…enticing."

"I see." Tracey raised an eyebrow, wondering if he'd elaborate. When he didn't, she came out from behind the counter and walked to the right-hand wall. "My store has almost anything. Daggers, masks, vials, cloaks, chalices, canes—"

"Cloaks?"

The witch opened a small closet and the small box in front of it. "There are a few in the box, too, folded. I've some Invisibility Cloaks, though nothing to rival the one in the 'Tale of the Three Brothers.' There's one that makes the wearer like smoke and shadow—a personal favorite," she added, unable to hide her grin. She shook the expression off her face. "Also a traveling cloak that can block out odors, potions, and poisons."

He gave her a look. "What the hell?"

"It better suits the traveling type, one who might be dealing with nasty beasts."

"Ah." He pointed to a dark, navy blue one. "And that one?"

"The smoke-and-shadow cloak."

Yaxley thought and sifted through the clothing. "Anything else?"

"One that is tattered, but the torn pieces can act like vines and such."

"Never mind that. I'll go with this one," he said, holding up the navy cloak.

Tracey nodded, though she was a bit sad to see that cloak go. She never used anything in her store, but she'd always been tempted to keep that one for herself. On the bright side, at least she was making some money—better than she could say of some of the other places in Knockturn Alley or Diagon Alley.

"Goodbye, Miss Davis," Yaxley said with a curt but polite nod on his way out.

Tracey leaned on her counter and watched him disappear and then go up the street through her windows. Yaxley was a bit odd. Well, many of the people who'd visited her store were odd, but Yaxley was… The brunette shook her head. She couldn't quite place it what it was about Yaxley, but she also couldn't determine if she liked it. Well, one thing she knew for sure:

Yaxley was keeping her in business.

- ^-^3

Several nights later, Yaxley panted. He quite liked this cloak.

He turned on his side and caught his breath, feeling the bed shift as Daphne stood and left the room for something. Though his muscles ached a bit—he hadn't imagined her…vivacity—he was feeling quite nice. So it'd been a long time since he'd gotten any tail—so what? He still had it in him…and…

Damn. Daphne Greengrass sure as hell had it in her.

It wasn't the first time they'd slept together. No, Yaxley had managed to persuade her after giving her the bracelet. But tonight… Bloody hell, tonight had been different. Tonight—just like the past two nights—he'd used that smoke-and-shadow cloak and snuck into Malfoy Manor right as Lucius had left on some errand…leaving Daphne alone in an empty bed.

An empty bed. The one she shared with Lucius.

Maybe I ought not to rush this, Yaxley thought, smirking, as he rested against a pillow. Here he was, in his rival's home, having screwed his rival's lover, resting in his rival's bed, knowing said lover would start hyperventilating very soon about Lucius coming home shortly. The only thing the damned bracelet didn't help with was some of the real Daphne leaking through when she worried…and, perhaps, when she was humping like a hippogriff.

"You should go," Daphne said sullenly when she returned, one hand tightly gripping her bathrobe to keep it closed, the other clenching a glass of water. She sipped it.

Yaxley mock-pouted. "I'm so sorry, Daphne, I didn't mean to…"

That helped the bracelet's magic. Her expression softened and she went a bit unattractively slackjawed. "No, I didn't mean it, Emrys. I'm sorry. I just don't want Lucius to catch you here. He—"

"I know, I know," Yaxley interrupted. He'd lost his drive for the night and got up to dress. Sheesh, Daphne was the first witch he'd met who could give him a stiffy and then take it away in the blink of an eye. He scowled.

"Are we all right? Are we still on for supper tomorrow night?"

He sighed. "Maybe. I'll let you know how I'm feeling."

"Emrys…" She turned him to look at her, her bracelet glinting in the light. "I really am sorry."

Yaxley twisted his mouth around uncomfortably before bending and kissing her. She moaned in the back of her throat, and any apprehension left her, so she let him leave.

Good thing, too, as Yaxley nearly brushed Lucius' arm as the men, unbeknownst to Lucius, crossed paths over the threshold.

The Death Eater went straight home for some real sleep, but he had a hard time finding it. His mind was focusing on his plan to bring Lucius down, and his veins thrummed with adrenaline at having almost been caught. But that wouldn't do, to be caught this early on. If Lucius found out, then they probably duel, one of them might be dead, and that'd be that. The thing was, as much as Yaxley hated to admit it, Lucius was a skilled duelist. Though Yaxley, too, was excellent, he knew he had barely a fighting chance against Lucius, especially if Lucius had a reason to fuel him. However, if Lucius thought that he didn't have the one thing that had been his rock for several years now…if Lucius thought he'd truly lost Daphne to someone else…

His mental break would happen before anyone could even say "Azkaban."

It would be great. Fantastic, even. Being Death Eaters had landed many of them in Azkaban once or twice, with a few of them cracking… But Yaxley had to wonder what a psychotic break would be like when the victim had yet to do anything horrific. Maybe Lucius would be too far gone to even harm anyone. And hey, if he could find a way to shut her up, maybe Yaxley would keep Daphne around. She was a pretty good lay, after all.

In the morning, Yaxley returned to Knockturn Alley in a rather good mood. "Good morning, Miss Davis."

She looked surprised to see him back so soon. "Mr. Yaxley. …hello." The witch unrolled her sleeves. "May I help you?"

He pursed his lips, wondering if he really should get another item so soon. "Actually…perhaps I ought to do a little bit of research on my next purchase first. Anything that might interest me?"

She nodded and came towards him. "I just got in a dozen dream boxes."

"That…sounds…"

"Pathetic," she finished for him. "But they're not. You can catch a dream in it to replay, or catch another's dreams. I've read that you can also alter dreams and place fake dreams in people's minds, nightmares," she added. "…but I wouldn't know much about that."

Yaxley grinned internally. Now that was a witch he didn't want to shut up.

- ^-^3

Tracey hadn't been expecting him back when he turned up, but Yaxley had seemed to be in high spirits. Probably had a night on the town, she'd thought offhandedly.

Though she'd shown him the dream boxes and actually several other things, he turned out to be interested only in learning some of the items. He didn't buy anything that day, nor the next few times when he came in, but he was a good sounding board when she discussed her products. A few times, ideas had occurred to him that hadn't for her, and she made mental notes and sometimes tangible ones to mention ideas and features to prospective future customers.

It was a bit funny. She still couldn't name what it was that stuck Yaxley out in her mind, but she found that she kind of liked his company at least. She also found that curiosity had begun to rear its ugly, unwanted head, for she didn't know what he did—for a living, with the items he'd previously purchased, and with the information she shared with him about other things in Borgin and Burkes.

"I'm going to go broke if you stop buying things," she teased one afternoon. Three weeks of his information-collecting and he hadn't spent another Knut in her store.

He chuckled. "Yeah? What if you needed a sick day or had a vacation planned? You could leave your store in good hands."

"Or just close it for the day," she deadpanned, not missing a beat.

Yaxley gave her a dirty look. "I don't care much if I'm getting on your nerves, Miss Davis. I am not unwilling to admit that I'm a selfish man."

"Good. You said it for me," she commented, a smirk playing on her lips. Every once in a while, she wondered if she were pushing it with him and yet… Though he claimed to be impatient and selfish, he always seemed to roll along with her personality. It was kind of pleasant, considering Tracey had always been the one forced to roll with the others—Daphne, Pansy, Draco, Blaise—at school.

He picked up a jar and placed it on the shelf to which she pointed. "I can almost see why you like this place."

"Oh?"

"It isn't the same-old, same-old." The wizard stared at the jar. "There's some story behind each thing, along with some new piece of knowledge to learn."

Tracy smiled. "That's how I see it, pretty much. I'm not doing anything illegal, I'm not in harm's way—much."

Yaxley narrowed his eyes at her. "What do you mean, 'much'?"

"Well…" She shifted on her feet and continued to stock the drawers of talismans—anything so she didn't have to look into his penetrating eyes. "Some people aren't nice. Other's are loonies. And others…"

"Others?"

Tracey sighed. "Others know they're bigger than me, stronger than me. And they like to remind me of it." She went into the back room and dawdled there, hoping he'd drop it. Tracey never liked thinking about Lucius too much, even when he was there, ready to get something new or charm her again… She sighed. Life would be perfect if she weren't in a Lucius world.

When she returned, Yaxley was still placing jars on that shelf, so she breathed a sigh of relief. He actually knew when to drop a subject. "So you're going broke, are you?"

She chuckled. "I was joking…though the economy is a bit suck-ish right now."

Faintly, he grinned. He pointed to a gold pocket watch. "I'll take that, then."

"That thing?" She collected it from behind its glass case. "I was telling you last week about this—"

"Yes, yes, if I write a person's name on the paper along with four destinations and lock it in the gears along with a piece of their hair, I'll always know where the person is." Yaxley stopped his task and came towards her, standing by her side. "That's the point in buying it, luv."

Tracey snorted. "I'm beginning to wonder if you're some kind of thief." Her playful smirk dropped when he glared at her and snatched the watch from her hands. "…sorry."

"Cost?"

"Twenty Galleons," she answered quietly.

"I don't pay you to wonder about me, Miss Davis," he stated after putting the money near the register. "And I'd prefer it if you didn't."

Tracey nodded, hating herself for ruining the calm atmosphere. But her spirits lightened when she realized, as he left for the day, that Yaxley would be back. Surely he would, because he hadn't left her alone so far…and his own curiosities had not been sated.

- ^-^3

Soon enough, it had been a month and then a month and a half. Tracey had been right about Yaxley; he couldn't stay away from her.

No, he can't stay away from Borgin and Burkes, she mentally corrected her conscience. Though it'd be nice to think that Tracey had finally managed to snag a man's attention, Yaxley often looked at her as though she was one of the wizards. If they had any kind of relationship outside of seller-consumer, then it might be that of mates. However, Yaxley and the word "friend" seemed funny in the same sentence to the witch.

"You always ask about the products," she ventured bravely on a lazy day. "You never care to know anything else?"

Yaxley eyed her and studied her for several moments to the point that Tracey felt embarrassed by the sudden attention. "Are you asking that I ask after you?"

"No!" she spluttered, and she gave him a look despite her red face. "Just…"

He smirked, seeing right through her. "Well, well… So, Miss Davis, how was your day yesterday?"

She scoffed and rolled her eyes. "You know well enough—you were here nearly all day yesterday."

He laughed, but it didn't sound mean-spirited. "All right, then, Miss Davis," he tried again, emphasizing her name, "what do you do in your spare time?"

"Shut up, prat," she snarled. "If you have time to poke fun at me, then you have time to move that heavy box in the back for me."

Yaxley held up his hands in defense. "Who said I was poking fun?"

"Git…" She met his eyes and didn't break contact even as he passed her behind the counter to go through the back door. Then once the door was half-closed, Tracey took a breath. Sweet Salazar—did he have any idea of the effect he had on her?

The bells jingled and Tracey looked up, a small funny smile on her face. "Hello. Welcome to—"

"Good afternoon, Tracey," Lucius said smoothly.

Her stomach dropped through to her toes. Not him, not now!

He rested his cane on the counter and looked around. "Are you going to close up shop?"

Her cheeks blazed, and not in the same pleasant way they had when Yaxley had still been in the room. She shook her head. "No, I'm actually organizing some new materials, in fact."

"Hmm." Lucius seemed to sniff at the slightly messy form of the store, but he commented no further on it. Instead, he faced Tracey and fixed her with that slippery smile of his. "So, Tracey… How have you been?"

"Busy," she replied through gritted teeth. Her knuckles were white as she gripped the counter behind the register, so he couldn't see.

"Ah." He nodded as if she'd just politely informed him of all her most recent goings-on. "Does that mean I might not have the chance to steal you away today?"

As Tracey tried to come up with a good excuse, she hear the door to the back room creak behind her, and she went cold. Oh Merlin… She desperately wished that that had merely been the door, and not a sign that Yaxley had returned, and was now eavesdropping. Of all the blasted times, Lucius Malfoy picked now to see her! Though, her conscience taunted, isn't it more Yaxley's fault for always being around…? The witch squeezed her eyes shut for a brief second before answering Lucius. "Not…today, Lucius."

He eyed her, a cobra eying a little field mouse. "…pity. Perhaps tomorrow?"

"…perhaps."

Lucius let it go at that and adjusted his collar. "By the way, Daphne's made mouth-noises about making plans with you soon. You ought to see her first, as her friend. Good day, Tracey."

Tracey glowered at his back as he finally left. How dare he, of all people, tell her how to handle her friendships! He was the man wooing his lover's best mate and he was telling Tracey to—! Tracey internally screamed. Her body reacted to Lucius, not her heart. No, her heart would never, ever react to him. She'd make sure of that.

At last, the door behind her creaked open and Yaxley stepped out. He flicked his wand and let the box drop on the floor, its contents rattling and making Tracey jump. He stood beside her and crossed his arms in front of his chest. "You really almost called me 'Malfoy' that first time."

It wasn't a question. He knew. They were both adults, and he knew. Tracey dropped her gaze to the shining keys of the register. "I haven't seen him in ages."

Yaxley had come off as tense and irritated when he'd first emerged from hiding, but as she raised her eyes to glimpse his expression now, none of that was evident. In fact, Yaxley didn't appear to care at all. "So you really…?"

She turned away from him. "I hate him."

"Hmm. And Daphne…?"

"My best friend from school. She's with him."

Yaxley nodded. "Uh-huh." He turned to her. "Why not just go for him?"

She glared at him with almost as much fury as she had at Lucius moments ago. "How dare you suggest that!"

He gave her a look. "You don't hate him, Miss Davis—"

"Ugh! Do not call me that!" she growled.

A silent beat passed. "He insisted on calling you that at the beginning, didn't he?"

Tracey wanted to disappear to her house. Anything to prevent Yaxley from reading her like a book!

"I honestly don't think you hate him," Yaxley continued. "Maybe you should…push it. Push him."

"What?" she cried.

"Push him. Take him."

"But Daphne—"

Yaxley stared at her, their eyes locked again, and Tracey felt hopeless. "You always seemed intent to help me whenever I came into this shop to buy something…Tracey," he said, trying out her name on his tongue. "Well, now you can help me again. This would help me."

"I…"

He nodded. "Haven't you ever reached for anything in your life? Besides the shop. Haven't you ever tried to guide life instead of letting it lead you around by the nose?"

Dear Merlin… He was making a smidgen of sense, but Tracey got the feeling that it left a bad taste in her mouth. Then again—she looked at him and shook her head.

"Then go for it. If Lucius is really your type, then go for it."

- ^-^3

So she did. She went for it. As sure as clockwork, Lucius returned the next day and Yaxley was not there, so Tracey allowed Lucius to think he had convinced her from the day before. But truly…

Truly, Tracey was wrapping him around her little finger. It was not long before Lucius was actually taking her out to dinner and buying her expensive robes and the like. Before, it hadn't been much more than him grabbing her hand and kissing her senseless in the shadowed corners of Borgin and Burkes, but now…

Tracey sighed as she watched the snow fall outside the window near the closet of cloaks in the store. Lucius came up behind her, mistaking her sigh for a shiver.

"Are you cold?"

She didn't answer, but he didn't wait for her to do so, anyway. He placed his hands on her shoulders and rubbed them in circles, though it did little to warm her. "I'm…fine."

"Your skin is chilly," Lucius stated as he breathed against the nape of her neck and kissed it, having brushed her shoulder-length hair aside.

Tracey's toes curled, and not in the good way. She clenched and unclenched her fists. Hadn't she wanted Lucius all along? Hadn't it not quite been one-sided all this time? Hadn't she allowed Lucius to use her because she actually liked it?

Hadn't she always been jealous of Daphne?

She shook her head slightly, feeling a migraine coming on. Things were so distorted these days. It didn't help that Yaxley had all but disappeared from the picture once he'd convinced her to seize the day. That hurt, for she missed his company.

Lucius' voice distracted her from her thoughts. "Tracey, you really are cold tonight."

As he said it, his fingers drifted from her shoulders to her neck and danced under her collar, teasing the sensitive area above her breasts. Tracey knew he had one thing on his mind. She turned around and looked up at him—and kissed him.

And yet, even as Lucius was the one who undressed her, her mind's eye told her the wonderful lie that Yaxley was the one who made love to her. Yaxley, not Lucius. Only Yaxley.

- ^-^3

A plan could not have come to near fruition any better.

The last thing Yaxley had been expecting was for Tracey, dear Tracey, to be Lucius' witch on the side. Well, he hadn't quite expected Lucius to have a witch on the side from Daphne, though Yaxley wasn't all that surprised. Hell, he couldn't blame him, considering Lucius had married the uptight Narcissa Black, after all.

Yaxley let his sympathies end there.

But… Merlin, it was amazing. When Yaxley had gone back to deliver that box and then cracked the door to watch that scene unfold between Tracey and Lucius—all right, if he were being truthful, Yaxley's first instinct had been to scowl. Lucius just had to be everywhere he was, huh? And honestly! Borgin and Burkes had almost become a kind of refuge, a thinking place for Yaxley. The last thing Yaxley wanted was for the shop or Tracey to carry Lucius' taint with them.

That was before Yaxley watched Tracey's body language around Lucius. Oh, yes. A golden opportunity had sprung.

After seeing Lucius' oily words add to Tracey's flame, Yaxley knew he had to be bold and give Tracey the idea. It would be too easy to let this chance pass, something he noted with mixed feelings. It was with mixed feelings that he'd emerged with folded arms and an iffy disposition, for sure. However… He couldn't let anything get in the way of his plan to ruin Lucius.

So Yaxley urged Tracey. Sure, he had to be forceful and it hadn't been very nice, but she eventually took the bait. Yaxley had been right to assume that she would want to help him…or maybe it really was all her feelings for Lucius. Either way, Yaxley stopped his visits, only watching from afar.

A new pair of earrings appeared one day.

A lovely silk robe adorned her fit physique the next day.

Lucius frequented the store more often.

Nothing had fallen so well into place, nothing…

Yaxley watched from down Knockturn Alley for the umpteenth time as Lucius followed Tracey into Borgin and Burkes in the early evening. Things seemed to be going well for them, even though Lucius still managed to keep Daphne's suspicions down, even if he could not keep her one-hundred percent happy.

Thinking of Daphne, Yaxley left for Muggle London again and rubbed his face. These days, he felt tired, felt his age. Though he hated to admit it, Daphne was finally wearing on his nerves. The fascination with the pretty witch had not outlived his desire for revenge, and Yaxley hoped he could wrap this up soon. But what to do? Let Lucius catch them? Plant something of his for Lucius to find? Perhaps leave a bite mark on Daphne where Lucius was sure to look?

The blonde wizard shook his head. No, he needed to plan things better.

He Apparated to Malfoy Manor where Daphne awaited him at the front door. He'd only stepped inside when she grabbed him by the arm and forced him against the closed door, her mouth robbing him of his breath.

He forced her off him so he could breathe. "Shit, Daphne! Let a man move, why don't you?"

She smirked. "But I haven't seen you as much these days," she said with a tiny pout. She hugged his arm to her, squeezing it to her chest.

Yaxley dropped his eyes, the bracelet hanging off her wrist like a mocking, blaring reminder. He looked away. "I've been busy."

Daphne shook her head. "Then let me help you unwind."

She led him up to the bedroom and then shucked her clothing, helping him with his. She was more feverish about things tonight, and more vigorous in bed than she had been before. Her fire reminded Yaxley of their first night together.

Or Tracey.

He blinked, hovering over a panting Daphne. Had he really just thought of Tracey in such a way?

He shook his head and moved again, hoping that Daphne's pleased groans would drown out his thoughts…but they didn't. Fuck, he internally cursed. But Yaxley was certainly doomed. As he looked down on blonde tresses and teal eyes, the visage faded to sepia hair and chocolaty coal eyes.

Tracey had sepia hair and chocolaty coal eyes.

Oh bloody fuck.

- ^-^3

He knew he couldn't fight it forever. In fact, thinking it was Tracey made things a bit more bearable. Instead of hearing Daphne blather on about something in the Portkey Office again, he heard Tracey telling him about masks and their power. Instead of seeing this dull, rather dimwitted woman who was always smiling, he saw Tracey smirking at him with a knowing look in her eye—she always left him with the feeling that she knew more than she let on. Instead of hearing Daphne's overuse of "Emrys," he heard Tracey hissing "Yaxley!" at him in a way only she could hiss.

And then came the sex. Good Merlin, how he let his mind wander…!

Tracey in his bed, Tracey in his arms, Tracey the one to whom he awoke…the one he might actually hug to him after a bout of lovemaking.

There was no way he'd ever feel the need to do that with Daphne. No, that must be reserved for Tracey.

And yet… Yaxley began to kick himself. What was he thinking? He'd urged Tracey to Lucius in the first place. It was highly unlikely that he'd tug her away from that blasted Malfoy now, not when Tracey had grown accustomed to Lucius' treatment of her.

You wouldn't be able to outfit her with as much as he could, but you offer a lot more, his conscience bitched.

He tuned his conscience out.

Yaxley wondered what Tracey would even think of him now, after not visiting her or the store for months. She was bound to hex him or at least ignore him—maybe lock him out of the shop? Or—good grief—lock him in the shop, in the back closet.

Women were such a bloody pain.

Speaking of them… Yaxley mustered a semi-interested expression as Daphne continued to yak at their table in the Gargoyle's Keep.

"…then I said that we shouldn't do it. And they disagreed with me! Can you believe it? Well, what do you think, Emrys?"

Huh? What the bloody hell was she on about?

"Emrys?"

Yaxley stared at her…and stood up. "You know what? I'm tired."

"Oh, okay. We can go home, if you want."

"No, Daphne, I'm tired of you." He rubbed his eyes wearily and waved her off. "See you around."

Though she briefly appeared crestfallen, her expression grew hopeful. Then again, Yaxley knew it was the bracelet's affect. Damn, he was really starting to regret that purchase. And yet, if he hadn't needed to go into Borgin and Burkes, he wouldn't have forced Tracey Davis into Lucius Malfoy's slimy arms.

No, his conscience argued like a little spectator sitting in his head doing a running commentary, if it hadn't been for the bracelet, then you probably wouldn't have met Tracey at all.

…okay, so maybe he couldn't completely tune out his conscience. Still.

As he couldn't get the girl or the store out of his mind, Yaxley hoofed it into Diagon Alley and veered off the path to the ever-dark-and-welcoming Knockturn Alley. He was glad it was a short trip to Borgin and Burkes, for he didn't know if he could take his internal debate any longer.

"…leave! Don't…"

The Death Eater picked his head up and peered into one of Borgin and Burkes' windows—and did not like what he saw. Tracey was behind the counter, flushed and looking quite scared. She was for good reason, as Lucius was towering over her, positively irate.

Tracey said something indistinctive and Yaxley couldn't hear it through the window, but he daren't open the door and alert Lucius of his arrival. Then Yaxley thought better when Lucius gripped his cane—still with hidden wand—off the counter.

Yaxley reached into his breast pocket and Summoned the smoke-and-shadow cloak and whipped it around his shoulders. Drawing on its power, he slipped inside the door as smoke—it was a much better option than opening the door or loudly Apparating inside. And it was even better when Yaxley landed, threw off the cloak, and bellowed "Stupefy!" before Lucius could even turn to see who he was.

The force of the spell hit Lucius so hard that he flew into the back wall. He landed with a thud on the floor and didn't get up. Tracey's frightened eyes darted from him to Lucius' body back to him. "Cripes… Is he dead?"

Yaxley looked away from her and marched to the body. He nudged Lucius with his toe. A grunt escaped the wizard's crumpled form. Yaxley sighed; damn—it probably would've been better if Lucius had been dead. Then again, that also could've further complicated things. He shook his head. "No. But he'll be out cold for a while." Yaxley knelt down and spoke to Tracey over his shoulder. "Don't move. I'll be right back."

Before she could protest, Yaxley had already Disapparated with Lucius' body. They Apparated to outside of Malfoy Manor, and Yaxley lugged his rival's body up the walk, unceremoniously dropping it on the stoop. Yaxley considered ringing Daphne down, but then he realized he didn't owe her much of anything… All right, so he left a note saying Lucius shouldn't "drink too much," but that was all he was doing. Daphne could find out some other day that Lucius was not as faithful as he may have preached to her.

Back at Borgin and Burkes, Tracey really hadn't moved. Yaxley was concerned—yes, concerned—that maybe he had arrived too late. Her flinching as he neared her only bolstered that line of thought. "You all right?"

Tracey stared at him, still white as a sheet. Then she nodded and let out a huge breath. "Merlin… I just—I'm fine, I really am… I'm just relieved more than anything else."

"'Relieved'?" he echoed, confused.

The witch nodded again. "He appeared, wanting me when I just didn't feel like it. He's been like this the past couple of days… I guess he was finally fed up and he gripped my arm—" She winced upon touching her upper right arm; it was likely bruised. "All I could think was for someone to…ugh…rescue me." She bit her lip and gave him a brittle but genuine smile. "All right, so I was hoping you'd come. But still," she breathed, her voice cracking on the last word.

Yaxley grimaced and drew her to him, gently hugging her and resting his chin on the top of her head. She didn't cry, but she shivered and shook in his arms. As he held her, he started to piece together his thoughts and emotions… No wonder he couldn't ruin Lucius. He wasn't cut out to lead, nor was he cut out to be Lucius.

And, frankly, he didn't want to be Lucius.

The two of them remained quietly together for a while until Tracey eventually pushed him away, embarrassed at having acted somewhat feminine. "Sorry."

The wizard pursed his lips, picking a piece of her hair off his cloak…and holding on to it. "Don't be." He wasn't sure what he thought of it all, either—at least, not yet.

Tracey nodded. "Um, Yaxley?"

"Mmm?"

"Thank you."

- ^-^3

Days sort of returned to normal, and Tracey appreciated that. She hadn't seen Lucius at all, but Yaxley was there again, visiting and helping her every day.

Since saving her from harm, Yaxley had turned… Well, "soft" wasn't the word she was looking for, but he'd definitely changed. He was gentler with her in some regards, and more himself in others. She liked that, being able to be herself around him and having him be himself around her.

On the other hand, there were the times when neither felt much like themselves. Tracey delighted in those, because she could feel it. She could feel the chemistry thrumming between them, like a jolt from Felix Felicis.

She had a pretty good feeling that Yaxley felt it, too. His eyes seemed to linger a moment longer now. His words would fade off or have a heavy feeling to them. He was often nearer her in the store, preferring not to stray too far.

Screw trying to sell him more goods. She wanted him to be around for her…though she was pretty sure he already was.

The idea made Tracey's head spin pleasantly, and she wished to speak with Daphne. She hadn't seen her friend in so long and, even if Tracey could not come clean about her affair with Lucius, she knew Daphne would be happy for her on finding a man.

As luck would have it, Tracey didn't need to figure a time to pay her good friend a visit. Daphne appeared on a Sunday, and Tracey knew Yaxley was sleeping in at home. She owled him not to come that day, since she was going to have some "girl time" with her mate.

"Sweet Salazar, it's been too long!" Daphne said as she hugged her friend.

Tracey blushed and grinned. She had missed Daphne's character. She'd always thought of Daphne as the non-Slytherin Slytherin, for her personality was a bit too bubbly to fit in with their cohorts. And Tracey had always loved that about her.

"So how are you?" Daphne asked, Conjuring a chair in front of the counter. She Conjured a chair for Tracey, too, in front of her.

"I'm well," Tracey replied. "How's the, uh, situation?"

Daphne waved it off. "Oh, Narcissa moved out a while ago, even though she refuses to get a real divorce from Lucius. I don't mind, though. I know Lucius is mine."

Tracey mustered a half-grin. If only Daphne knew…

"Actually," the blonde witch continued, pulling a face, "I've been wondering for a while if I'm really Lucius'."

"What?"

Daphne nodded. "I just—I don't want to be labeled as one of his possessions. But I also wonder if sometimes I'm not enough for Lucius…"

"That's ridiculous," Tracey stated. "Daph, you are, and it's his problem if he doesn't realize it."

"But, the thing is, I almost betrayed him."

"What do you mean?"

"Oh, an old friend of Lucius'… I've been kind of seeing him… I don't count it as anything too serious, but I've just been thinking more and more and comparing him to Lucius…" Daphne reached up and worriedly pushed a blonde hair out of her eyes.

Tracey started to say something when something glinted off Daphne's wrist. Weird, she thought. She could've sworn she'd seen that bracelet before… Silver with pearl…beads… Tracey immediately saw red.

That was the bracelet Yaxley had first purchased.

Tracey shook herself, hoping Daphne hadn't realized her hesitance. "No, no, Daph. Remember how you felt when you first met Lucius and began falling for him? Hold on to that feeling," she said, knowing she was a hypocrite, "and don't let anything change it."

-^-^3

The rest of the visit could not have gone by any faster. As much as she loved Daphne and had felt horrible about what she had done behind her friend's back, all Tracey could do was see red.

She was angered beyond Yaxley's safety. All this time, she had been thinking that maybe they had really hit it off. Maybe he could be the genuine thing. Maybe he wasn't as rough-cut a character as he'd first appeared to her.

When she saw Yaxley the following day, she exploded.

"So whatever happened to that bracelet?" she asked out-of-the-blue.

Yaxley stopped what he was doing and eyed her. "Why, all of a sudden?"

She fixed him with a glare. "I saw it, Yaxley. I saw the bracelet on my best friend's wrist!"

He looked affronted, a feral cat backed into a corner. He sneered. "So Daphne has it. I gave it to her."

Tracey hadn't expected him to be honest. It threw her for a second. "Why?"

"Because, I wanted to ruin Lucius. So I came up with a plan over half a year ago that I would take what was his and destroy his sanity, destroying him, as well."

"So you just decided to screw Daphne?"

"It was part-and-parcel of the plan," Yaxley spat. He stopped hanging cloaks back up. "Maybe if I ruined her, then I'd ruin Lucius. His comfort zone would be breached. His candy would have been stolen from him. He would no longer be the damned Lucius Malfoy everyone seems to love him to be."

Tracey shook her head and pinched the bridge of her nose. "But my best mate…?"

"What do you expect me to say? I didn't know you then. You were just the witch behind the counter here."

She'd had it. She marched over to him and smacked him hard enough that he stumbled, his footing slightly thrown. "You bastard. And it never occurred to you to mention this to me?"

He puffed out his chest. "Someone was busy sharing one cloak with Malfoy!"

"How dare you! I hadn't done much of anything with him until—"

"Until?" he yelled.

"Until you asked me to, saying I'd help you!" she shouted, her eyes glassy.

Yaxley growled and made his way to the door, pushing things around as he passed them and throwing hexes and jinxes everywhere. He left a path of destruction in his wake and, when the door slammed behind him, he knew he wasn't going to clean it up. The mess he'd made—of the store, of whatever he almost had with Tracey—would not be repaired.

- ^-^3

At home, Yaxley was surrounded by quiet. Unbelievable, uncomfortable quiet.

It had been several weeks since their bitter argument, and Yaxley had not been back since. A couple of times, he'd tried going into Knockturn Alley, but he often barely made it to Diagon Alley.

He couldn't look her in the eye. He had nothing to fix what he'd said, what he'd done. He couldn't take any of it back, and he was truly regretting that.

Yaxley had seen firsthand what jealousy and revenge did to a man—look at the Dark Lord, Merlin rest his soul—and he despised that it was happening to him now. If he could go back, he would've told himself to take a good look at that mere "witch behind the counter" and then forget his plan for revenge. Then Yaxley wouldn't have had to deal with Daphne's insipidness and Tracey would never have had to get any closer to Lucius than she'd already been.

At that thought, Yaxley grimaced, internally kicking himself. She was really that willing to do anything for him…? She'd only gone after Lucius because he'd asked her to…?

His pocket clinked, the object inside it reminding Yaxley of its presence. He paused in his wallowing and fished the item out, staring at the golden pocket watch. He'd certainly bewitched the item as directed, but it didn't contain any blonde hairs. No, his plan for revenge was failing and futile. It only made sense that the brown hair he'd picked off his cloak had gone into the watch's gears.

Opening the watch door, he eyed the four destinations he'd written down—"B&B," "home," "out," and "EY." So perhaps it was ridiculous to write his initials as the last destination, but writing "In Danger" seemed another absurd choice, for if she were ever with him, she'd always be in danger. He was always going to be dangerous, Dark Lord or no.

Yaxley stared at the watch's face, observing the hand move from "B&B" to "out." He closed the watch and stood. He hadn't tried hard enough to fix things, to take back what he'd said. Maybe today—maybe today would be different.

He could only hope so.

The wizard Apparated there and made a beeline for Knockturn Alley. Nothing had seemed to change in the time he'd been absent, thankfully. He pulled up on Borgin and Burkes…and his bit of elation disappeared.

The store had a shoddily-written "CLOSED" sign hanging up. Inside, the interior had a layer of dust. But, other than that, it looked as though the damage he'd caused just needed to be repaired and then the store would be good as new. But it was obvious that Tracey wasn't there.

He gripped the pocket watch and pulled it out, opening it again. A curious thing was happening, however; the hand was hovering between "out" and "EY." He'd be lying if he said he weren't shocked.

Yaxley's first instinct was to glance up and down the alley, but he caught no sight of her. He ran into Diagon Alley and looked all over, not caring if any Aurors happened to be about. Still, there was no Tracey.

Annoyed, the wizard exited Diagon Alley and entered Muggle London…and the watch hand drew nearer to "EY." A thought—a random, odd one—occurred to him, and Yaxley crossed London, wondering…

He was exasperated upon reaching the outside of the Gargoyle's Keep, for the hand was just about directly over "EY." How appropriate that one of the places that started it all would be the place to end it…to repair it.

His feet led him past the table he and Daphne had shared to one occupied by a pretty brunette witch. She was staring at a painting in the back, her arms crossed in front of her chest and her legs crossed at the knees.

Yaxley tentatively sat, waiting for her to talk: "You're a bloody moron, you know that?"

He folded his hands on the table and only stared at her.

Tracey kept looking at the painting on the restaurant's back wall. "She—she—" The witch paused, her teeth clenched. "She's my best friend."

Though he didn't want to further aggravate the situation… "Then why did you frolic with the man she loves?"

Her face flushed and she shook her head. She finally looked at him, angry tears in her eyes. "I thought…" She took a deep breath. "I thought I was helping you."

Yaxley's expression softened, and some of the tension in his hunched-over shoulders disappeared. "You did help," he admitted. She'd just helped him figure out that none of this had been worth it at the cost of losing her, however.

"Then why don't I feel good about it?"

"Because I shouldn't have asked you in the first place," Yaxley answered, shaking his head at his foolishness.

Her bottom lip quivered and then she must've thought better of showing her hurt, as she sniffled and swept her hand over her eyes. "No, you shouldn't have."

He waited for several minutes of silence to pass between them. "I…wish I had had other motives for entering your shop that day."

"Mmm." She pursed her lips.

"I mean that."

"Yes, yes, I'm sure you do." She stood and started for the door. "Too bad you hadn't thought of that before."

"Tracey, wait." He hurriedly went after her and followed her back into Diagon Alley, back to Knockturn Alley until they stood in front of Borgin and Burkes. He hoped that she had not meant to sound so final.

Tracey settled him with a scathing look and pointed to the store. "And look what you did to my shop…!"

Her eyes were still brimming with angry tears, but her face was flushed a lively red and she was huffing. Yaxley wanted to chuckle at the sight of her, but he understood that now wasn't the time for that if he wanted to hold on to his family jewels. She looked awfully ready to hex them off at any given moment. But he dared to take a step closer to her. "I know… I'm…"

"Sorry?" she hissed, but she lowered her arm and let him take another step closer.

"I suppose," he stated with a twist of his lips. He wasn't really accustomed to that word… "But I can make it better."

"How?" she asked, a breathy slip-up as she leaned forward on him.

"I can fix the shop. I promise."

Tracey punched him in the arm. "You git! …but it's a start." She looked up at him, a triumphant yet wet smirk on her face. The witch grabbed her wizard by the chin and snogged him in the middle of the street, the shop a mere worry in the back of her mind.

Yaxley held his witch tightly to him, relishing every part of her. He broke, though he didn't want to, for a breath and gave her a small grin. "I know I don't need any Imperiused bracelets for you," he commented.

"You better not," she griped, narrowing her eyes at him.

"No…just a pocket watch." He laughed as realization dawned in her eyes and he tugged her back to him. "Now, please, Miss Tracey Davis, sell me something else as good."

- ^-^3

Exactly. Exactly Yaxley. Oh. My. Merlin. -w- *SWOON* I have had this idea for soooo long and I'm so proud of myself for finally writing AND finishing it (34 pages!). When I first came up with Daphcius, I thought of Traceyax soon after and knew they had to be written. And Traceyax…cannot be beaten. X3 I luv them!

A couple of notes: Daph/Lucius, Tracey/Lucius, and Daph/Yax are all M&MWPs found by me, so I'd appreciate a little mention if you used them, thx. Also, I borrowed some ideas from the 1st Tracius fic I wrote, "Heeding," so that and "By Any Means" (the 1st Daphyax) helped to really bring this together. Check those out, too, if you like, though they're just drabbles. ;] And yes, that pocket watch was partially inspired by JKR's Weasley family clock, w00t! I want one of those clocks…!

And I hope no one minds my giving Yaxley a first name, though I've grown fond of "Emrys" after having written this and "By Any Means." ;3

Thanks so much for reading and please review!

-mew-tsubaki :3