Author's Note: Please read this it's important! (Especially my regular readers.)
I don't often write stories with a Mature rating, and I never write stories which contain strong language warning.
This story contains a lot of strong language. It is a first for me.
It is a story about two deeply unpleasant people and it's not my usual type of tale. If you don't know what the word vituperation means, look it up. You have been warned.
Her cousin, Boris, was waiting for her on the platform. His scarred and scowling face was scaring most of the first years, and a good number of the older kids too. If you want to be tough, you have to look the part, he'd often told her. He was right.
'What's a' matter?' she asked.
'Yer dad's bin nicked, Mill, mine too. The fucking rozzers raided our place. They reckon that Dad and Uncle Bernie done a blag in that Mudblood store in Diagon Alley. They din't, o' course.' Boris gave her a knowing wink. 'They was both with Mum all night, she's bin down the nick an' sworn to it.' Millicent laughed.
'The law still in't usin' Veritaserum, then?' she asked. 'Arses!'
'Yeah, yer dad, and mine, should've bin out by now, bailed. But Scrimgeour's passed even more emergency laws and they're on their way to Azkaban anyway,' said Boris.
'Fucking bastard Scrimgeour,' she said.
Boris nodded in agreement.
'Even if the rozzers can make the charges stick, my dad, and yours, will be out when He takes over the Ministry,' she began.
Boris hushed her, and looked anxiously around at the still crowded platform. 'Keep it down, Mill.'
'What else is going on?' she asked suspiciously. Boris hadn't said anything she wouldn't have found out when she got home, and discovered that her dad wasn't there. She was used to being self-sufficient. She hadn't been met at the station, or taken to it, for a couple of years.
'Mum don't want you in the house tonight, Mill. She's got a secret meeting with some important people,' Boris told her in an undertone. 'I'm takin' you to meet a mate o' mine. We'll be shackin' up with him tonight, keepin' out o' the way. Yer not supposed to know what's goin' on.'
'I'm seventeen, Boris; eighteen in a few months, an' I'm not stupid. I know exactly what's goin' on,' she said, refusing to be silenced. 'The Dark Lord had Dumbledore killed. Malfoy bottled it, but Snape didn't! He's recruitin', so your mum's secret meetin' will be with her brother, yer Uncle Ivan. I know exactly who and what Ivan Yaxley is! I wanna join, too, Boris. If my mum was still alive…'
'But she in't, Mill,' Boris interrupted. 'An' yer dad says my mum's in charge 'till they get out o' jail, so yer'll do what yer told.'
Millicent Bulstrode snorted in disgust and spat onto the platform.
'Really!' said a well dressed witch with two young children.
'Oh, fuck off,' Millicent told her. The well dressed witch pulled her children close, and did as she was told.
At the furthest end of Knockturn Alley, just before the turning into Knowe Place, the untidy tenements were crowded so closely together that the sun could only touch the cobbles when it was directly overhead. That brief, sunlit, hour had long passed by the time Boris Bulstrode led his cousin along the dingy, shadowed street. She followed him down a narrow side passage, and up to a battered-looking door.
The scorched paintwork and splintered jamb showed that the door had been blasted off its hinges, probably more than once. It had been magically repaired, but not well. Boris led her into a dank hallway and up four creaking flights of stairs. As they climbed, they passed several doors, each bearing a roughly painted number. The final set of stairs ended at a tiny landing on which there was only one door. The number, painted on the door in streaky red paint, was thirteen. Boris opened the door and entered without bothering to knock.
The room was large, cluttered and untidy. It was built in the roof space and, apart from a single dormer window directly ahead, the sloping ceiling reached almost to the floor. In the centre of the gable wall to the right was a large, unmade bed. The brass bedstead was scratched, battered, and in one spot, melted. Ahead, in the window space, there were a couple of iron-bound trunks and, next to them, a couple of grubby-looking mattresses. To the left of the door was a small dining table which was covered with dirty plates.
'Just me, Marcus,' Boris yelled. 'I've brung the kid with me.'
'I'm not a fucking kid, Boris,' Millicent said angrily, rounding on her cousin.
'No, you're not, are you?' a man growled. 'Hello, darlin', I'm Marcus Flint.' He had stepped out from an alcove immediately to her left. One glance showed her that this was the kitchen, such as it was. There was a small stove, two cupboards, and an old stone sink. The tap was still running and the sink was bloodstained.
'Millicent Bulstrode,' she told him. 'Call me Millie.'
She assessed him carefully, and realised that he was doing the same to her. He'd shrugged his robe from his shoulders. It hung from the belt around his waist, leaving him bare-armed and bare-chested. Not that his chest was bare; it was covered in thick black hair, as were his arms. He was the hairiest man she'd ever seen, and she fantasised about running her fingers through it, twisting and pulling.
The man's face was flat, his nose squashed, shaggy dark hair hung untidily over his sloping forehead. He wasn't a pretty boy; he looked a bit like a troll, but he was built like one, too. He was burly and powerful. Despite the fact that he looked like he should be able to take care of himself, he was struggling to bandage his right forearm with his left hand. Blood seeped through the bandage. His knuckles, too, were bloody. He seemed to read her sudden doubts about his power.
'You should see the state of the other bloke, Millie,' he said cheerfully. 'I can't go to St. Mungo's; they'd ask too many questions.'
'Need a hand?' she asked him.
'You know any healing magic?' he asked.
'No, but I can tie a bandage,' she told him. She stepped forwards, grabbed his wrist in one hand and the bandage in the other and pulled it tighter. He grinned.
'Is that the best you can do?' he asked.
She tightened her grip on his arm, and pulled the bandage as hard as she could. He winced.
'Not bad,' he said, grabbing her arse with his free hand and squeezing.
'Hey,' Boris protested.
'Fuck off, Boris,' Millicent and Marcus told him together. They chuckled at their chorused agreement and turned to face him. He did as he was told.
'You've got to know your Muggles,' Marcus told her as he led her across the well-kept lawn towards the blue painted door. He was holding her hand, not something he'd ever done before, but they were Disillusioned and it was the only way he could be sure that she was still with him. 'This is a good part of the city, lots of money, but I can't hit it too often, because the Muggle law crawl all over the place for weeks after a job. We've got to be careful, because Minister Thicknesse is enforcin' the Statute o' Secrecy, 'cos he has to. He in't bothered about the odd dead Muggle, because the Ministry will cover it up, but he don't like us to be blatant.'
Millicent stared through the bay window as they approached the huge brick property with its dozens of doors. She watched as the middle-aged Muggle and his much younger female companion ate, and sipped wine from tall, slender glasses. She turned her attention to Marcus; he trusted her; he trusted her enough to take her with him. He was single-minded and determined; he knew what he wanted, and took he it. He wanted her. Her dad wasn't happy. He didn't like the fact that she'd stayed with Marcus even after her dad had been released from Azkaban, but Marcus had sorted that out. She had found herself a man who could, and would, stand up to her dad for her. She would never have to take her mother's place again.
'Remember what I told you,' he said.
'We're looking for bits of coloured paper, Muggle money. The goblins will exchange the Muggle paper for Galleons,' she said, concentrating on getting it exactly right. 'The blue ones with a twenty on them are worth about four Galleons. The Muggles don't even work for them. They walk up to one of those wall-machines and put a plat-sick card into it, and it gives them Muggle money.'
'Good girl. You know what we're looking for; let's get some money.' He dispelled the Disillusionment Charm and pulled out his wand. 'Alohomora,' he said as he reached the door. It swung open; he didn't even need to slow his stride.
She followed him into a white painted hall with a shiny wood floor. About halfway along the hall hung a huge mirror. It was almost floor to ceiling, and six feet wide. She had no time to look at anything else, as Marcus placed a booted foot on the door to the room where the couple were eating, and pushed it open.
'What … who?' was as far as the man got. He was still struggling to his feet when Marcus punched him on the side of the head, sending him tumbling to the floor.
The woman slid her chair backwards and stumbled back, opening her mouth to scream. Millicent was on her in an instant. Her left fist connected with the woman's stomach, knocking the scream from her. She then grabbed the woman's long blonde hair in her right hand and slammed her face onto the table.
'Shut the fuck up,' Millicent ordered. The woman began to whimper.
'Good girl,' Marcus said again. He reached down, grabbed the man's collar, and hauled him to his feet.
'Please, don't hurt me,' the man begged. 'I have money.' He fumbled in his pocket and pulled out a wallet.
Marcus snatched the wallet. Lifting the man from his feet, he threw him onto the floor and kicked him. The woman uttered a low squeal, but she quietened when Millicent twisted her fingers into the woman's hair and pulled.
'Fifty, hundred, one-twenty, one-forty, one-sixty, one-seventy, and five,' Marcus counted. 'That's…'
'About thirty-five Galleons,' Millicent supplied.
Marcus grinned. 'Not bad, but not good enough. You're comin' with me,' he told the man. He bent down and dragged the cowering man to his feet. 'We're going to that money machine down the street; and you're going to get me as much money as you can.'
'Please…' the man begged.
Marcus punched him in the stomach. 'Shut the fuck up, Muggle filth,' he said. 'If I'm not back in ten minutes, you know what to do, Millie.'
'Yeah.' Millicent grabbed a slender wine glass from the table, threw the wine into the woman's face, and hit the glass against the edge of the table. It made a fine tinkling noise as it broke. She held the broken glass against the woman's cheek. The man paled visibly and began to shake. He wasn't tall, and he was rather overweight. Millicent wondered what the woman saw in such a pathetic specimen. Muggles! She would never understand them. And these days they were everywhere, even at Hogwarts.
Marcus dragged the man from the room, leaving Millicent alone with the woman. Silence fell.
Millicent kept a tight grip on the woman's hair, twisting her head around so that she could look into her face. The woman's nose was broken and the blood was flowing freely, she was a limp and pathetic rag-doll in Millicent's firm grip. This was the first Muggle Millicent had seen up close, apart from the pathetic Mudbloods at school. The woman was crying, and bleeding; she was wretched and feeble, but all Muggles were. They stared at each other for some time.
'Any more money here?' Millicent asked.
'Please don't hurt me,' the woman begged. 'I'm pregnant.'
Millicent again punched her in the stomach.
'The last thing the world needs is more filthy Muggles,' said Millicent. 'Money!'
'My purse is in my bag,' the woman sobbed, pointing at a large leather bag against the wall. 'Take it all,' she begged, 'Just don't hit me. Take the bag, too, it's Dior, Doug paid five-hundred for it, please don't hit me again.'
Millicent threw her against the wall, 'Move, and I'll kill you,' she said. The woman fell into a foetal ball, and made racking, sobbing noises. Millicent shook her hands and wriggled her fingers to release the fine blonde hairs she'd pulled from the woman's scalp. She watched them float to the floor and looked down at the woman in triumph. Muggles were cowardly pathetic scum. She lifted the bag and examined it. It was a reasonably well-made brown leather bag, but there was no way it could possibly be worth—she calculated from the woman's claim—one-hundred galleons. That was ridiculous!
She walked across to the woman and kicked her in the back. 'Lying scum,' said Millicent.
She opened the bag. It was full of all sorts of Muggle rubbish, including one of those little fellytone things Marcus had told her about. She'd keep the bag, she decided, and would examine it at her leisure. She surveyed the room, and, bored, kicked the woman again. She held the power, she was in control. Muggles really were weak and useless. Make them frightened and they'll do whatever you ask!
She heard footsteps in the hall and hastily drew her wand. The door burst open, it was Marcus, he was almost carrying the man, who staggered and stumbled into the room.
'Killing you'd give us too much trouble,' Marcus said, forcefully pushing the man across the room. He pulled out his wand and pointed it at the man. 'Obliviate,' he said. He turned his wand on the bleeding, weeping woman and did the same again.
'Twelve-hundred,' he said, waving a wodge of notes in triumph. He radiated strength, he was unstoppable. 'I'm gonna treat you, Millie. How're you feeling?'
'Fucking randy,' she told him; they Disapparated.
'Oh, fuck, yes,' she screamed, digging her fingernails into his arse. Marcus merely grunted and groaned like the unstoppable rutting beast he was. Finally sated, he collapsed on top of her.
She bore his weight uncomplainingly and looked over his shoulder at the sloping ceiling above her. Taking her left hand from his backside she curled her hand over his shoulder and looked at her ring finger. There was blood under her nail, she realised, his blood. She'd broken his flesh again.
She again admired the ring he had just given her. It was an eternity ring, he'd told her. He'd promised that they would be together forever. But they both knew that it wasn't really true. Tomorrow morning, they would be parted.
She moved her arms, grabbed his shoulders, and pushed him upwards, so that she could see his face.
'If you find another girl while I'm back at school, Marcus, I'll fucking kill you,' she told him.
'If you find another bloke while you're back at school, I'll fucking kill him,' Marcus told her. 'And then I'll teach you a lesson.' He placed a beefy hand around her throat.
'Smooth talker,' she said, kissing his chin and giggling.
'You can't wear that ring at school, Millie,' Marcus said. Grabbing her left hand and kissing it. 'You can't wear it anywhere except in here for a while; it's too hot.'
'I'm gonna keep it hidden, Marcus, on a chain, around my neck. It'll be between my tits,' she said. 'I want everybody to know that you're mine.'
'And you're mine too,' he said. A look of wicked determination flashed across his face. 'Never mind the ring; I'm gonna make fucking certain everybody knows it.' He lifted himself from her, rolled over, and sat on the edge of the bed.
'What're you gonna do, Marcus?'
'I'm gonna mark you, permanently,' he told her, reaching onto the floor for his wand. 'Roll over,' he ordered.
'How?' she asked him, trying not to betray her nerves.
'Burning,' he said fiercely. 'You'll carry my name forever.'
She stared into his coal-black eyes. 'Only if you'll let me mark you, too,' she told him firmly.
'That's my girl.' He grinned, kissed her, and bit her ear.
She rolled over.
'Where?' she asked.
'There,' he told her, putting his finger on her left shoulder and dragging it across to her spine.
She reached onto the bed head and grabbed the brown leather strap from the Muggle woman's bag. The bag had fallen to pieces a couple of weeks ago, not long after she'd taken it. It was supposed to be expensive, but it had proved to be as weak and useless as the woman she'd taken it from. The strap, however, had proved useful. Marcus liked her to use it on him.
She folded the strap in half, placed it in her mouth, and held it between her teeth. 'Ready,' she mumbled.
He sat astride her, his buttocks on the small of her back; he was pinning her to the bed, flesh against flesh. She heard him mutter the spell, and she knew that the tip of his wand would be glowing red hot.
'Hnnng!' she bit down hard on the leather when he started, her teeth grinding into the leather. It wasn't enough, so she pressed her fingernails into the palms of her hand until she felt the blood flow. She fought back the tears, too. She was tough, she told herself; she could endure this for him. The smell was unpleasant. That is my flesh, burning, she thought to herself as his wand moved slowly across her back. She successfully fought the urge to vomit. Then, suddenly, it was over.
He stood, walked to the sink, and she heard the tap turn and the water flow. She took the opportunity to remove the leather strap from between her teeth, and to wipe the moisture from her eyes on the pillow. When he returned, he dropped a cold wet towel onto her shoulder. It slightly eased the excruciating pain.
'My turn,' she told him, sitting up and draping the wet towel over her shoulder to keep it in place. He stared at her. 'You're not scared, are you?' she asked.
'What do you think,' he said.
'I don't think you're scared of anything, Marcus,' she told him, running her fingers through his chest hair and twisting it. 'D'you want this.' She offered him the leather strap.
He shook his head. 'No! I'm not a girl,' he told her. He roughly pushed her aside and lay prone, exactly where she had been. She picked up her wand and straddled him.
The hairs on his back singed and flared as she worked. He didn't make a sound until she bored into his shoulder blade with the dot of the second "i" and even then, it was only a guttural grunt. She had chosen well. Her man was hard, he was hard as Flint.
They stood on Platform 9¾ and he kissed her.
'I'll see you at Christmas,' he told her. 'The Dark Lord's still recruiting, and I've made a few contacts. Bole and Derrick are both in already.'
'Don't kill any Muggles until I get back,' she told him. 'By Christmas I might even be able to teach you something, Marcus. We're gonna be getting lessons in Dark Arts this year, not that poxy Defence rubbish.'
He smiled and slapped her backside, hard. 'Don't forget to write, darlin',' he told her. 'And don't forget that it's my birthday next week.'
'I won't,' she promised. 'I'll tell you what, Marcus, if that fucking snooty Mudblood bitch Granger shows up at school, I'll pull her fucking head off and post it to you as a birthday present.'
'That's my girl,' he said proudly.
Dedicated to Jason Watkins (actor), for one very short interview.