There was nothing so annoying as trying to make a deal with a lowlife while your so-called partner is too busy snogging his girlfriend to help out. Or at least that’s what Cillian thought as he argued with said lowlife, who went by the confidence-inspiring moniker Weasel, over the price for a vial of unicorn’s blood in a small alcove between two buildings on Knockturn Alley. Cillian was usually pretty good about selling his merchandise for the right price, in fact he was generally considered the master, but some people were just difficult as all hell to barter with. Weasel was one of these people.
“Five galleons,” the small, shady man insisted angrily. Cillian shrank back from the spit that Weasel was emitting. He hated dealing with Weasel. He was a prick and he spewed saliva everywhere when he was getting angry about something – which was just about always.
“Ten,” he shot back.
“Ten? You must be barking mad if you think you’ll get ten galleons for that tiny vial of UB.”
Cillian sighed. This was why he liked Elliott to be around when he was dealing with people. Elliott was tall, muscular, and able to thoroughly intimidate just about anyone if he narrowed his eyes, puffed out his chest, and crossed his arms. Of course, if anyone knew him like his friends did, they would realize he was about as scary as a fluffy teddy bear. Still, his looks seemed to inspire fear, which was all that mattered in their business.
But unfortunately, the most fearful Elliott had gotten caught up with his girlfriend Rocky and Cillian had ended up leaving them to their own devices because it annoyed him to hell and back to be around the couple when they were being all romantic. He much preferred their epic rows – at least those were entertaining.
“Ten is as low as I will go,” Cillian told Weasel firmly. And for once he wasn’t bluffing either – it had cost him five galleons to get the damn blood and he would be damned if he’d sell it for less than ten. He didn’t care if it was a tiny bottle – UB was rare and as far as he was concerned, ten galleons was a more than fair price. Besides, he knew Weasel was pretty desperate. Weasel was always pretty desperate.
Weasel must have seen that he wouldn’t budge because after a few moments of deliberation he sighed and handed over the ten galleons. After he tucked the vial into his coat pocket, he shot Cillian a glare and barked, “You’re lucky I don’t kill you here and now for all the times you’ve ripped me off, you bloody git.”
Weasel stalked away after he was satisfied with his last threat, his vial of UB tucked safely into the inside pocket of his jacket. Cillian didn’t know whether he wanted the blood just to drink it or whether he wanted it to use in some dodgy potion, but was glad he was desperate enough to buy it. Products like UB were shady and he didn’t like having them around for too long, so he generally tried to sell them as soon as he got them.
At some point during his bartering session with the forever strange Weasel, evening had turned into night and the sun had completely disappeared, leaving Knockturn Alley swathed in darkness – not that a place like Knockturn ever projected much of a feeling of lightness. Still, it was definitely more eerie at night and the eerier it was, the more likely it was that people would be looking for sellers like Cillian.
There was a tap on his shoulder and he turned around to see Elliott standing there. “Hey mate, Rocky and I found a girl looking for some Juice, and by the sound of her pockets, she’s got more galleons than bloody Gringott’s. You still got that little bit left over from that last batch?”
Cillian nodded and patted his coat to indicate he had some Polyjuice stowed away on his person. Elliott grinned and motioned for Cillian to follow him. A few moments later, they were standing at the corner of a building with Rocky and a girl wearing a hooded cloak; ratty red hair tumbling out from underneath the hood. Rocky looked annoyed with the young girl – although Rocky being annoyed was nothing too extraordinary. She had her arms folded across her chest and she kept flicking her brown hair over her shoulder. If this girl continued to annoy her, it wouldn’t be long until Rocky was muttering under her breath in Spanish.
“We’ve got it,” Elliott told her. “Fifteen galleons.” Fifteen was a more than ridiculous amount of money for Polyjuice Potion – no one who knew their stuff would ever pay such a high price for it, but if she had as much money as Elliott thought she did and if she was as young as she looked, she might just be naïve enough to pay it.
Cillian had a weird feeling about the situation, though. There was something about the girl that had bells ringing in his head. She was familiar looking – he knew he had seen her somewhere before. Definitely not in a setting like the one they were in, though.
“Fifteen?” the girl deadpanned. “You’re barmy. I’ll pay two.”
“Fifteen,” Elliott repeated calmly.
“It’s Polyjuice, you dolt, not Liquid Luck. I will not pay more than two galleons for it,” she countered angrily. “I may be young, but my parents didn’t raise an idiot.”
At the word ‘parents’, Cillian suddenly knew exactly who she was. Hastily he grabbed Elliott’s upper arm and dragged him several feet away.
“What’s up?” Elliott asked confusedly.
“Do you realize who the hell this is you are trying to sell to?” Cillian asked him in a low, angry voice. “That’s fucking Lily Potter. You know, daughter of Harry Potter, the Minister of Magic.”
Elliott’s eyes grew wide. “Oh, shit. Damn. I had no idea. She had her hood up and – bollocks.”
“Yeah and now she has seen all of us except Ashley and knows that we are criminals selling shit on the streets illegally. We’re totally screwed.”
“What the hell is going on you guys? That little runt is pissing me off,” Rocky announced as she came up to them.
“That ‘little runt’ is Lily Potter,” Cillian told her.
“How could you be so stupid, Elliott?” she demanded, immediately turning on her boyfriend with her hands planted firmly on her hips.
“Are you serious? You were with me the whole time, Raquel.”
“Shut up – both of you. We need to figure this out.”
“Oi! You guys done with your little pow-wow yet? Because I don’t have all night,” Lily yelled over to them.
“Look,” Cillian said as he walked back over to her, “I don’t know what you’re thinking coming here and trying to buy anything from us, but we aren’t who you think we are. We’re just taking a walk. And whatever you think you saw here – you didn’t see here. Do I make myself clear?”
“Are you trying to threaten me?” she asked incredulously. “I know you know who I am. If you know what’s best for you, I wouldn’t be trying to do any intimidating. Now, you’ve got something I want. Can we work out a deal or shall I floo home and tell daddy dearest about the most interesting group of people I met today?”
“I haven’t got what you want. What’s a little girl like you want with Polyjuice anyway, huh?” Cillian asked.
“I am not a little girl and it’s none of your business what I want with it.”
“Bugger off,” Elliott said. “We’re not selling.”
Lily sighed and shifted on her feet. “Look, I’m not trying to get you lot in trouble. I just really need that potion. I’ll even pay five galleons for it, which is way more than it’s worth, and you bloody well know it.”
“We’re not selling to you, chica. Or to anyone else for that matter. So forget about it,” Rocky told the girl, her voice a mix of annoyance and a Spanish accent that she didn’t have but tended to adopt when she was trying to make a point. “If you want Polyjuice, you’re just going to have to get it the legal way.”
Getting Polyjuice legally was a bit of hassle. You couldn’t just walk into an apothecary and buy it. You had to go through the Minsitry, which involved a lot of forms and paperwork and questions. Nothing anybody really wanted to deal with if they could help it.
Lily blanched. “I can’t do that. It has to be a secret.”
“Whatever,” Rocky said disinterestedly. “Not our problem.”
A mischievous smile found its way onto Lily’s face. “That’s too bad, because if you lot won’t cooperate, well, I’m going to have to make it your problem. So here’s the deal: you agree to let me stay with you for a week and I’ll agree to never tell anyone about this little business you’re running.”
“Are you completely mad? You want to crash with us? For a week?” Elliott asked incredulously.
“Yes, that’s the deal. Take it and you’ll be rid of me after a week and never hear from me – or my father – ever again. Leave it, and I’ll see to it you all find yourselves in front of the Wizengamot by tea time tomorrow. I’ll even say you tried to kidnap me.” She crossed her arms across her chest in a satisfying manner and smirked devilishly at the three shocked people in front of her.
“You wouldn’t dare,” Rocky growled, her eyes narrowed to slits.
“Oh, daddy, it was awful! First they tried to take my money pouch, and when I resisted,” she paused and took a deep, shuddering breath as if she were just barely containing her sobs, “they tried to grab me and take me away! I was so frightened, daddy! I only just managed to escape! Please find them!”
Her eyes shimmered with realistic looking tears and she swiped her fingers under her eyes and sniffled for effect before regaining her composure and reverting back to her cocky smirk. Despite the heaps of glittery black eyeliner she had applied around her green eyes, she pulled off the innocent look quite well. The three of them simply stared at her, unable to decide if she was just batshit crazy or if they needed to be seriously concerned. Probably a little bit of both.
“As you can see, this will all go down much nicer for all involved if you simply take me up on that deal.”
“But…why?” Rocky questioned, her eyebrows knitted together in confusion.
Lily shifted on her feet a little, a slight cringe upon her face. “I just don’t want to be at home, okay?”
“Okay… so all we have to do is let you stay with us for a week, and this whole incident will be forgotten?” Elliot asked.
Cillian raised his eyebrows. “You know, we don’t exactly live the life of luxury I’m sure you’re used to, princess. With you, there’ll be five of us in a dingy little flat. Not exactly comfortable.”
“I don’t care. Either you’ll take the deal or you’ll do a stint in Azkaban. I assure you that the cells there are a lot less hospitable than your ‘dingy little flat’.”
The three of them exchanged glances with each other before Cillian spoke up, “Fine. You’ve got yourself a deal. Just one week, though, and then you’re out and we better never hear a word of you again.” He paused and then looked at Elliott and Rocky, “Let’s apparate home.”
“Go home? But we’ve got business to complete,” Elliott said pointedly, referring to the various items they had wanted to get sold that day.
“Not with a Potter tagging along we don’t.”
“Fine, let’s go back,” Rocky conceded and within moments she and Elliott had both disappeared with a pop.
“Come on,” Cillian prompted reluctantly, holding out an arm for Lily to grab. She did so and a second later, the little alley was empty.
The lives of the criminals, however, had just gotten much more crowded.
a/n Woop, first chapter! I am super excited about this story. So far it's been really fun to write and I really like the characters, so I hope this first chapter was enjoyable for you to read! A big thanks to Gubby, Gina (she made the banner!), Annie, Jane, Sarah (she named the story!), Julia, Lily, and anyone I've forgotten because they have all helped me in some way with this, whether it be just reading my rambles or helping with something plot-y.
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