Closed They say "no"; but I say "yes"

Crispin Applewhite

intrepid explorer; curious
 
Messages
35
Blood Status
Unknown
Relationship Status
Single
Sexual Orientation
bisexual
Wand
Knotted 8 Inch Flexible Dogwood Wand with Hippogriff Feather Core
Age
9/2044
With the amount of times that Ezra had told Crispin not to go to Bleak Street, it was inevitable that he would eventually, at some point, end up there. These things did tend to happen when children (yes, children, because teenagers are still children) were told not to do things that they shouldn't be doing. Generally it's probably a better idea either to encourage it, or to simply ignore it. At least that's what Crispin tells himself as he goes about setting foot into Bleak Street. He'd been to Knockturn alley once, when he was a child. He can't tell if his mum remembers that or not, but it wasn't long before Lucien was born. His mother had been looking for something, or maybe someone, but most of what Crispin remembered was being buried close to her skirts. Now he was almost basically an adult and if he wanted to go to Bleak street, well he could and who was going to stop him anyway? His mum was going to be gone all day today so she wouldn't notice he wasn't home unless he didn't manage to get home before nightfall. Which wouldn't be a problem because he didn't intend to be here all that long anyway. Just a quick dip in and out and maybe have a look at Borgin and Burkes so he could see the kind of things that Ezra used to carry. He seemed pretty adamant that Crispin shouldn't be spending any time here, like he was an expert or something.

Pfft - it's just a street. How can a street be a bad place?

@Jericah Edogawa
 
Jericah couldn't figure out why they all had to go to New Zealand this year. At least Corey, Roxas, and Yuki had the option to not go. When her parents had announced that they would all be staying in New Zealand for a week for a family vacation and to shop for school supplies and a wand for the triplets and Yuri. She supposed it made sense since five of her siblings were going to Hogwarts New Zealand this year, but she and Kakeru could have stayed at home since they were 17! Well, probably not Kakeru. But the point still stands. She was old enough now and shopping for the first year was not much excitement. At least her father had finally relented that she and Ru could go wander Obsidian Harbour on their own while the younger ones shopped for wands. Dad bid them goodbye with the reminder to not split up since they weren't familiar with the area. Mum with a kiss and a reminder to stay away from Bleak Street.

It was probably predictable that Rica had left her twin within half an hour. She didn't even mean to this time. Though she couldn't tell which of them got distracted by one thing or the other in the shops. If asked, she would say it was Ru. And so she just continued wandering around. It must have been an hour when she was starting to get bored and the shops' exteriors had begun to slowly change. She didn't pay that any mind and just continued on her way. It took her quite a while to see a sign that was telling her that she was already in Bleak Street, which her mother had told her to avoid. She thought about that for a bit but decided that there was no harm in looking around, she had been in the street for about 10 minutes now and nothing bad had happened so it was probably just her mum being paranoid. Besides, the shop she was standing outside of had such a nice display of jewelry - the sign said Borgin and Burkes.


@Crispin Applewhite
 
Borgin and Burkes was the kind of shop that, when looked into, was probably not the kind of shop he should be looking into. Not many students his age should have been, honestly - but he'd already been here longer than he intended to be and as yet nothing terrible had happened. So the place was... creepy, a lot of places were and it was hardly like he'd spent almost seven years at Durmstrang without learning some of the darker aspects of magic and he was pretty confident he could deal with anything that happened. Wasn't that the point of learning defensive magic in the first place. A well timed protego or whatever and not to mention he was a pretty good duellist. He'd won a couple of times since he'd joined the club in his second year. Maybe he wasn't an overall champion but that didn't really need to matter did it? He didn't think so.

When he almost stepped into someone else he looked her up and down and smiled. Now he just had to pretend he knew what he was doing. She wouldn't know he didn't know his way around, would she? She looked to be about the same age as him, so maybe they were both just... curious? Or maybe she knew way more about all of this than he did, which meant he should probably fake it until he actually knew where she stood in the whole affair. "Eyeing off the necklace, huh? I've been thinking about getting it myself for a couple of days, but I can't decide," he said, gesturing to the pendant in the front of the window. A couple of older wizards walked past them, one of them shooting them a curious look, but so far no one was really making an effort to engage them, which was good. Crispin wasn't sure he would know what to say if someone actually asked him a question. "I used to know the owner, couple years gone now. Pity he shut up shop, used to give me a good bargin," he added, trying to make himself seem a lot more important than he was.

@Jericah Edogawa
 
Jericah hadn't dared go into the shop even if the jewelry did look interesting. While she had an allowance, she didn't think she brought enough to buy anything from the shop even if some of the things looked ancient from what she could see from the window. Things that looked really old she knew were either really expensive or just not worth paying for so she didn't want to bother with taking a bulk out of her own savings for anything. Besides, the shop looked like one that would not allow her to leave without a purchase. They probably had a pushy owner or salespeople. Either way, she was pretty content with just looking over at the jewelry from outside. Besides, if she made a purchase and her mother saw - she shuddered - it just wasn't worth the trouble.

Rica had just been about to leave and go check out the next few shops when a boy had come up to her and she had to raise an eyebrow.
"It's a pretty necklace, but I was actually looking at the earrings over there," she said, gesturing over to the pair at the corner of the display. "Getting it for a girlfriend?" she crossed her arms, looking the boy over. He seemed to be the same age as her though she wasn't quite sure. Now that she was with a fellow teenager though - or at least she was pretty sure he was one, she didn't know what her mother was fussing about. Bleak Street didn't seem to be awful, though she did seem to be getting a few looks from some lingering wizards. She had to snort though at the guy. "You? Know the owner? You sure about that pretty boy?" She didn't think the guy was that familiar with the area. He was getting pretty weird looks too and really, that sounded like something her classmates would say. Teenage boys seemed to be a universal thing - she did have a lot of brothers after all.


@Crispin Applewhite
 
"I said I used to, the previous one... or the one before that one. It was a few years ago now," he said, not wanting to reveal he'd been about... five or six at the time. He wasn't sure how many hands this had been through since then though, so it was hard to really have a proper estimate. He wasn't even sure how long for Ezra had been the owner until he'd sold it to... whoever had it next. All he knew was that his mother and Ezra had met back here, she'd told him about Lucien and the rest was kind of history. Lucien didn't remember a lot of it, and Crispin had never been here, but he remembered some of the conversations. Sort of. "Used to come here all the time," he lied, quite smoothly actually so he was pretty proud of himself for that one. He certainly didn't used to come here very often and in fact he didn't think he'd ever been here before. Even if he had been to Knockturn Alley, this was very clearly not England, though he did suddenly find himself wondering if maybe there was some kind of attachment between the places as it did look very vaguely familiar. Maybe it was because this place reminded him, kind of, of Ezra.

That probably wasn't a good thing. He'd grown up knowing that Ezra was a different person with him than he had been in some of Crispin's younger memories. He didn't remember a lot, but he remembered that for some reason his mother had left, and she still didn't really fully trust him, so that had to mean something right? Maybe it was Lyra's influence? Bet that pissed his mum off, though probably not, she had her own things she dealt with on a regular basis so maybe she just liked having someone else to look after them from time to time, which maybe didn't sound fair. He loved his mum, she just... sometimes seemed like she had a lot going on, and he never quite knew how to ask her if she wanted/needed help.

"I think the earrings are a good shout too, but I'd be careful, I hear some of the things they sell here," well most things, probably, "have tracking spells in them that allow the owners to track them back down when you die in mysterious circumstances." He wasn't actually trying to scare the girl, but he was trying to make it seem like he sort of knew what he was talking about. Did he know more than here? Did she belong with this crowd? He really couldn't tell, but he didn't think so. Surely he would know a dark wizard when he saw one right? She just... didn't really fit the picture he had of someone from around here in his head. She was too... nice looking?

@Jericah Edogawa
 
Jericah was unimpressed. She had ten siblings. When one had Yuki for an older sibling, Ru for a twin, and six younger siblings, it was easy to develop a bulls**t meter. Ro could lie better than this dude and bless her sister's soul but Rica was pretty sure that Ro would be panicking before she could even think of a lie. "So you knew the last or the one before owner of the shop like what? Ten years back?" she challenged. If he thought that she would be impressed that he knew a shop owner when he was a child, then he would be quite mistaken. Uncle Liam's family had a company in the UK which her dad's sister runs. Knowing a shop owner in a dingy street was hardly worth noting.

Rica wasn't sure however if she should listen to anything the boy had to say. The information on the products were ... interesting. If they were that kind of shop then perhaps her mother wasn't just being paranoid. Although, it was also coming from a boy who was claiming to know the previous owner or the one before that not sure. The information source was hardly credible. Maybe he was a creep.
"I see," she hummed before taking a step back from the possible creeper. "And you said you were thinking of buying a necklace?" That was basically how he approached her right? Well, she supposed she shouldn't judge if he was buying the necklace for himself - it did look pretty with all the gems. Then again, why would you buy a necklace that could have tracking charms in case of mysterious death for yourself? "Your girlfriend cheat on you or something?" She was definitely going to judge if it was for himself.

@Crispin Applewhite
 
"I," shoot - he wasn't very good at this. Clearly he needed to learn a little more about these sort of things. This girl definitely knew what was going on, maybe she knew the current owner, which would probably only make him look like an idiot. He didn't really want to look like an idiot to this girl, she was... cute, not that he was going to say that to her face, especially not right now anyway. He had thought she was just here, like him, but maybe she knew something he didn't and maybe she was here to find something specific. She could certainly have been a lot older than he thought that she looked. If there was one thing he had learned about magic, it was the sometimes people didn't like how they really were and that could spell trouble. Still, if she'd wanted to hurt him, surely she would have done so by now, right? He really wasn't very good at this at all. "You got me, I was a kid, he's my brother's father," Crispin admitted, running his hands through his hair. Maybe that would give her pause, or anyone who might potentially know something to give them pause as well. Since he wasn't lying about that. Ezra is his brother's dad, just not his dad.

He can't always tell how he feels about that. Sometimes it feels unfair that Lucien should get to know about his dad but all Crispin seems to ever get in answer is that his father was a muggle and that his mother didn't really want to talk about it... but how is that his fault? Maybe that was why he seemed to want to be so defiant today. His family all had other people, they knew other people in their family and all he had was a string of broken promises and some DNA. He didn't even have a name - she'd never even bothered to tell him a name, and no matter what he did to try and coax it out of her, she seemed tight as a vault on the subject. She simply refused to budge about it. Honestly, it hurt. "I don't have a girlfriend and I'm not actually here for the necklace. I was... curious. Everyone tells me not to come here and so I did. But so far nothing's happened - and you don't seem too bad anyway, so... if everyone is like you I don't really see the problem," he said with a shrug.

Although he was pretty sure whatever he'd made up about the stuff in Borgin and Burkes was probably true actually.

@Jericah Edogawa
 
Jericah's eyes narrowed when the boy finally admitted that the jig was up. She had to snort when he finally admitted that he was a kid when he knew a previous show owner. "You should have just said your dad used to own the shop," she said without missing a beat. She rolled her eyes. Boys were such simpletons really. They wanted to try using big words to look impressive when simple words would do and they use simple words when they need to use big words. And brother's father? Really? Was this another Uncle Miah-Uncle Liam situation? Multi-dad, multi-kids? There should be a club for that, Cousin Jai would probably find it both amusing and annoying. "Or your uncle if you don't like him enough. My cousin's just call their brother's dad 'Uncle'. Though I supposed that's also cause their bio dad married their dad dad's sister. Can never tell," she shrugged. If he was going for the complicated family angle, he was gonna have a time puzzling out hers. At least she didn't have daddy issues. Or was it sort-of-daddy issues?

While Rica had been asking him about the hypothetical girlfriend, she wasn't really surprised either that he didn't have one. He was awkward. Not Eli awkward. Or Co awkward. He just really looked like he didn't know how to deal with her. Or maybe girls. She wasn't sure. She wasn't going to judge. Much. It was sort of funny really. Maybe endearing but he was still high on the creep meter.
"Shouldn't use me as a benchmark, I'm not from around here," she said with a snort. She wasn't even from this country. "I was just looking around in Obsidian and I guess you could say I was curious after being told not to go here," she could admit that much though she was hardly going to tell him that it was her mother that had told her not to go.

@Crispin Applewhite
 
"He's not my dad, and he's not my Uncle, I haven't got either of those things," how to explain Ezra to anyone? He wasn't with his mother, he was with another woman entirely and the only tie the pair of them had at all was Lucien. If Ezra was his Uncle than that would have made all of Ezra's kids also his brothers, or cousin's... or however family stuff worked. He didn't know because he didn't really have much of one to speak of. Just his mum, and Lucien. There wasn't anyone else. She clearly had a complicated family situation herself if what she had said was anything to go by. He wasn't sure he fully understood what she'd said, as she sort of said it flippantly, but perhaps it was her accent, which should have been obvious. Who was he to say who did and didn't frequent the area though? Her accent had nothing to do with whether or not she'd ever been here before. After all, he spent most of his days now in Durmstrang, but he didn't sound like he was European... as far as he was aware. He just sounded... like him, he supposed. Like his mum and like Lucien, born and raised in New Zealand, good ole Aotearoa as far as he was aware. That's all he really remembered anyway.

"It's... honestly I wasn't sure what I was expecting to find when I came here to be honest," he admitted to the girl, looking around a little and frowning. Borgin and Burkes wasn't exactly on the edge of the alley, but it was close enough to the outskirts that he honestly thought there would have been a little more foot traffic. Perhaps they could look around together, see what other things they might be able to find? "Well, if we're both not meant to be here, maybe we should stick together a bit? Find out if there's any more jewellery places where you can get some nice earrings?" he didn't know if that was really what she was looking for. She could be a really fantastic liar and he would probably never know. He'd never really had a very good bullshit meter, he had grown up taking most of what people said to him at face value. Even Ezra, really. This was sort of a special case. "I think I saw like a weird little bookstore back this way?" he suggested, pointing back the way he'd come.

@Jericah Edogawa
 
"Well, just share the man with your brother if you want a dad," Jericah said with a shrug. Boy, was he angsty. He was kind of like Jai really, back before he knew his wife. He was unsure sometimes where he stood with Uncle Liam and he didn't like Uncle Miah. At least they got it all cleared up now? She was a bit younger then but she did remember that he was a confusing person back then for younger her. Now Jericah had a word for it. Angsty. She supposes this would be one of the times she should be grateful that her parents were sickeningly in love. She couldn't imagine Corey or Kakeru this depressing. Then again, maybe it's cause this dude was a Westerner. They're really hung up on calling only biological uncles as uncles. At least in Japan you could just call older men uncles and it wouldn't really be that big of a thing.

Rica had to wonder though how awkward this guy really was.
"You do know that you sound like your asking me on an impromptu date in Bleak Street, right pretty boy?" she asked, an eyebrow raised, though she did uncross her arms and started walking towards the direction he was pointing. A bookstore didn't sound so bad. Maybe her parents would lay off on her grades if she said she had been exploring books. Besides, Rica didn't think it was too bad of an idea. It didn't seem like he came from deeper in the street, and she did double check that her wand was with her. Push comes to shove, she'll just apparate. And punch the dude. And kick him in the b**ls. Not necessarily in that order. Besides a walk with someone would probably make her stand out less. Or at least she hoped.

@Crispin Applewhite
 
Victoria turned right back around and left, she knew her mother would kill her and probably her father too for setting foot in Bleak Street at this age!
 
Crispin was a little... was the word affronted correct in this context? He couldn't be sure, but it was becoming increasingly obvious by what she was saying that she really wasn't from around here. Whether this place specifically, or whatever else. He was beginning to question if she was from this planet at all honestly. Girls - they were really weird, he couldn't really explain it any other way. Were all girls like this one? He couldn't remember Fayre and Delilah being like this, but then... they weren't human so... he supposed that tracked. Was this only how the way human girls acted? Or... maybe she wasn't human was well? It's not like he would have a clue just by looking on someone. She could have been a hag and he didn't think he would be any the wiser. The again, he could also have been a hag and she wouldn't know. Wait, could hags be boys? He was going to have to check up on that one in his next creatures class. He was sure he'd read something somewhere about them only presenting as feminine since people tended to automatically trust girls more than they trusted boys. Which might actually have had some merit, now that he thought about it.

He didn't think he was very trustworthy right now either, but... how did you talk to someone you just met anyway? "Um, I didn't really mean it like that and if you want you don't have to come with me if you don't want to though," he told her quickly, because he didn't want her to go further into the street. Maybe neither of them had experience of this place - if she was telling the truth, or maybe she was lying and she knew exactly where she was going and what she was doing, but... he didn't really want the way he found out to be when she showed up on the news. Not that he would know... since he didn't know her name. "I'm Crispin, by the way. You don't have to tell me your name, but, yeah, that's mine. Sounds fake, probably, but it's not. My mum is just a weirdo. She gave my brother a perfectly reasonable name, my sounds like the kind of name you give to a snackable dish," he said, frowning. It wasn't the way he might normally have introduced himself but these were strange times. As she headed in the direction he'd indicated, he went with her, though careful to stay slightly ahead of her so she couldn't accuse him of following her - which would be dumb since this was the way he'd suggested.

If anything she was following him.

@Jericah Edogawa
 
Jericah was trying very hard not to laugh at boy's outrage? He was very quiet about it but it definitely shows on his face. It's definitely a Western thing she decided. She and her siblings never had an issue with referring to Uncle Miah as an uncle and they were hardly related. Or Aunt Arianna as an aunt and hilariously, Uncle Sergei. All three of them had been weirded out at first of course, but it was her dad that had started it and her mum didn't really oppose it. By then, correcting the children was quite the lost cause. She supposed Corey was right that Westerners were certainly odd about family. At least she only had an odd family but wasn't odd about it. They're just annoying.

"Don't worry about it, I would have kicked your *ss if I'd thought you were forcing me to come along," she said sweetly. He really shouldn't worry his pretty little head over it and if he worried a little more, he'd be like Corey. He was even panicking about his name which was really kind of funny. Sure, she thought that it was a fake name but hey, they were in a very sketchy alley and didn't really know one another. Fake names would have been par for the course, but she'll give him the benefit of the doubt. "Snackable dish is not bad," she said chuckling. "I'm Shiori." Sure it wasn't her first name, but at least she wasn't giving a fake name. "My name means bookmark if that makes you feel any better," she looked at him amused as she followed him towards the alleged bookstore. She sincerely hoped it was a bookstore and not some murder house, it would be very hard to explain to her parents if she ended up in the latter.


@Crispin Applewhite
 
This girl was really something else. That's really all he could think to say on the latter. That and the fact he was still convinced people were watching him. It felt weird to think that, since they really had no way of knowing who he was, but maybe it was the girl they were watching? He didn't really know her, not even really, he'd just met her like five minutes ago and now they were heading to a bookstore, did that not seem strange to anyone? (uhoh, he's becoming self-aware!!) Still, if it meant he was getting off of these dusty, creepy streets (he would never agree that maybe Ezra was right about this place) then he was all for it. The faster they could get away from here the better to be honest. It didn't look like Borgin and Burkes was holding either of their interests anymore, and so it was probably best they find this bookstore he'd just walked past before. Surely there could be nothing dangerous in a bookstore. (poor kid)

"I bet you could, I don't doubt for a second you could have easily kicked my @ss," he said, nodding to her. He wasn't silly enough to think they she wouldn't be threatening him if she didn't really believe she could do it. She certainly wouldn't have been the first girl to try and do so and she looked a little more wiry than Fayre, so she could probably do it easier than her anyway. Not that he'd admit Fayre had beat him, he was still convinced she'd cheated in the duel. If only he could prove she'd used those weird veela powers on him. He'd never considered her attract before or after the duel. So clearly she'd cheated... somehow. "Nice to meet you Shiori and... does it really? That's an awfully big coincidence, don't you think?" Somehow he felt like maybe she was lying, but he couldn't say if she really was or not. He still wasn't sure if she had been truthful with him at all or not during this entire exchange. Honestly he was probably going to have to learn how to tell a lie from the truth, and possibly learn how to lie better.

@Jericah Edogawa
 
Jericah was certainly pleased that Crispin thought she could take him on. He didn't sound sarcastic so point for him. She had some skill in duelling though not enough to be notable, she was at least sure that she could land a punch. Dad always did say that most wizards don't bother with physical self-defense cause they got wands. He made sure that she could at least dish out a good punch. And archery was very good for making sure those muscles she needed stayed fit. And that she had good aim. "Better not," she said with a wink. Oh Merlin was she flirting with the dude?

She was! It was fine. Probably. He hadn't killed her yet and there was no harm in flirting AS LONG AS she was still mindful of her wand and where the dude was taking her.

Rica nodded at his question if her name really did mean bookmark. It really did. She and her siblings had looked up their Japanese names at some point and well, it was quite funny really. At least her name didn't mean to hang up. And poor Sayuri's name meant lily, so she was Lily Lily Edogawa. She thinks Yuki and Lewis had the lucky draw for the names - they were snow child and kind one. Though the triplets had it good as well. She didn't hate her name though, she just thought it was a little bit ridiculous, though she supposed her parents were kinda ridiculous. Momentarily forgetting that she hadn't verbally responded to the boy she was with, she hummed in agreement. "I can show you if the bookstore happens to have a Japanese dictionary." She honestly doubted they would considering where they were supposedly in. "You could also check when you get home if you can look it up. It's S-H-I-O-R-I. Assuming you remember of course."


@Crispin Applewhite
 
Was she flirting with him? Merlin, she was. He didn't think he knew what to do with this information at all. Where was Ezra when he needed him because he was sure he'd have some advice... once he finished drop kicking him for doing the exact opposite of what he'd been told. But Crispin would have liked to posit that it wasn't his fault. It was in his genetics... probably - if he'd known what he genetics were of course. So since he didn't, surely they couldn't fault him for following the call of... something. She was probably right though, he wasn't quite she he wanted to know which of them would have come out on top if they had duelled, or did duel, since it was still very early on in their walk to the bookstore and he wasn't about to turn around and let he keep his back incase she decided now was the time to strike. Did people do that? Just wait for people's backs to turn and then just curse them? It probably was something they would do - it was probably something Ezra would do. Had he ever done that? Would Ezra do that?

Sometimes he couldn't actually tell which side of anything the man was on, and yet... he still so desperately wanted his approval. Someone's approval.

Anyone's approval.

"Well, I hope it does have a dictionary, because I would love to see what else things translate into." Was that a line? He didn't even have the kind of game he needed to feed this girl a line, that was obvious.

"That's the book store I was talking about," he said, pointing ahead of them. From this angle it did indeed look rather... ominous. Though he wasn't about to say that out loud. There was what looked like a giant basilisk statue out front though so... that was probably a sign they shouldn't go in - which of course meant that Crispin really wanted to go in there. He was beyond curious about what kind of books they would have in Bleak Street that made Ezra seem to think this wasn't at all the kind of place a sixteen year old boy should be. Crispin was sure it was fine. "Is there anything else you want to see in there? I think it would be cool if they have a book on those cursed things we saw in the window."
 
Jericah couldn't help but laugh because she thought that maybe the guy was flirting too? Fine, it was endearing. And new. She didn't interact much with the other people at Mahoutokuro and they didn't interact much with her. She was blunt, forward, sarcastic, and had quite a bit of sass slash bite. She had a friend or two but otherwise, people found her to be quite troublesome. They preferred Kakeru, which was kind of more annoying she supposes. Her brother was an idiot after all. "I could tell you for some words you want to know?" she offered. "You'll have to take my word for it though," she challenged with a grin. After all, they were barely, barely trusting each other right now. He really was entertaining though. The bookstore though? She wasn't sure how exactly she would describe it.

"Well, I doubt they would have a Japanese dictionary in there," she said with a nervous chuckle. The basilisk statue was quite foreboding and the whole general aura of the place was screaming beware. But then again, haunted houses give off the same vibe and Japanese haunted houses were the thing of nightmares, even for those that knew of the magical world. Besides, they'd probably have good books? Maybe she could check if they had any on Potions and Creatures, she was mildly good at those. "Well, considering they have that statue," she gestured at the basilisk seemingly leering at them from outside, "I'd say they would have an interesting inventory on magical creatures too," she agreed as she walked towards the door of the bookstore, though just slightly apprehensive to go in. What if there was a jump scare?
 
It had been a long time since Ezra kept an eye on the shady goings on of Bleak street, when he sold Borgin and Burkes for a more ‘respectable’ establishment he had pretty much cut ties with most of his black market and darker contacts, but not quite all of them. With his children one day due to be running around Obsidian harbour Ezra thought it prudent to keep a couple of his more regular contacts in his back pocket, in case his children ever decided to give into their inevitable curiosity and wander down the dark little street.

Today seemed to be that day.

Crispin might not have been his blood, but he was as close to a son as you could be without being related by blood or by law. Crispin had come as a package deal with his on Lucian and over the years they had developed a somewhat parental relationship, even if neither of them would be willing to admit it. It was why he had felt comfortable extending his warning of Bleak street to Crispin, but of course he ignored it. It appeared Crispin had inherited his mothers curiosity for the darker corners of their world, it was how she had fallen into his clutches back in the day after all.

Ezra had been outside setting up a new display to advertise the latest edition of ‘Quidditch through the ages’, because it needed a new edition, the game hadn’t changed in half a century, when an unsavoury figure passed him on the street and whispered to him that Crispin had been spotted outside Borgin and Burkes. He dropped what he was doing and headed for his old shop but he had already moved on.

By the time he spotted Crispin, he and some girl were making their way into a book shop, he knew that shop well, if the customers left them alone they’d be lucky to escape the books themselves with their lives. Ezra was quick as he crossed the cobbled streets and managed to get up behind Crispin and grabbed him by the collar of his jacket and slammed him into the doorway of the shop. “What. In Merlin’s name. Do you think you’re doing here?” He hissed, keeping his voice low as not to attract too much attention. “And you, you stay right there,” He barked at the girl, he had no right to tell her what to do but the last thing he needed was a teenage girl running off.
 
"I think you're right," Crispin said, stepping up behind Shiori as she slowly started to open the door. He was about to actually head inside the shop properly when he suddenly felt himself slammed harshly into the doorway, pressed inescapably against the side of the bookstore. Immediately panic screamed through his body and he was about to try and fight his attacker off before the voice, a familiar one, hit him. Ezra. How the hell had he found him here? He had thought the man didn't come here anymore. Apparently he had been very wrong about that because how else could Ezra have possibly caught him on the one day he was in the one place Ezra had told him not to be? This couldn't have been a coincidence, mostly because he didn't believe in them, but really? And in front of Shiori? The girl was completely out of his league anyway, but this only ensured it. Having a member of his family show up to shove him against a wall like this.

Also, ouch, he hadn't expected that Ezra would actually be so rough with him, ever. The shock of the encounter was quickly rubbing off though and with that he started fighting again. "What the f*ck, Ezra! Let me go!" He complained, trying to avoid his face being shoved further into the wall as he was held like a vice against it. He didn't even know how Ezra had gotten here so fast. The man had to be following him, or something. "Let me go! You're hurting me." Had he gone psycho? Was that it? It was just Bleak Street for Merlin's sake, he was going into a bookshop not a secret meeting of
murderers.
 
Jericah practically jumped when some unknown man was upon them. Her first thought was Dad because Dad would be freaking out if she was with some dude in Bleak Street of all places when Mum had told her earlier not to go anywhere near and she would definitely be in trouble. This was why she froze at the unknown man's command. The next thought was it couldn't be possibly Dad because she didn't think Dad would be pushing anyone into walls that roughly. Which was snapped her out of her surprise and realized that she didn't have to listen to whoever he was. The third was that she should probably go run away, which was frankly the smartest idea she would have had since getting into the alley. Her fourth thought, not so smart.

Now Jericah knew she could take on Crispin. She gives herself a 95% chance. This unknown man? She'll give herself 5%. Maybe less. Definitely less. She didn't think anyone she knew could be that rough with her though. Mom would kill her but she knew she wouldn't kill kill her. This man she did not know. She pulled her wand. Well, she always knew that she had some of her parents stupidity in her.
"Please let him go?" Wand and politeness probably didn't go together but hey, miracles could happen? Definitely not. Maybe she'd throw a Cheering Charm. Besides, at least she stayed right here. Probably not what the man meant. Or wanted. The man needs to chill the f**k out. She wasn't even bluffing with her wand, granted the man didn't need to know that her plan consisted of just throwing a Cheering Charm. Or a kick to the b**ls. Dad always did say that it usually works like a charm. This was probably not what he meant.
 
Ezra was glad to see the girl had decided to stay put rather than run off, though he could do without the wand that was no essentially pointed at his back. “Put that away before you poke someone's eye out,” He hissed, quickly turning his attention back to Crispin. Ezra couldn’t remember a time had been so angry, he knew having kids would bring out something in him he hadn’t seen before but this, this was different. This was a level of anger he’d never felt before, it was laced with…fear and relief, relief that he had got to Crispin before anything had actually happened to him. His only concern now was that Crispin would come out of this thinking he’d overreacted and steadfast in his believe that Bleak street wasn’t that bad.

“That fear you felt when I grabbed you, that panic you felt before you knew it was me,” He said leaning close to Crispin so he was whispering in his ear. “That is why you have no f***king business being down here,” He released Crispin and shoved him away from the door to the bookshop, trying to be a little gentler than he had been when he initially grabbed him so he shouldn’t have too much trouble finding his feet.
 
Crispin could feel it, the fear at his initial unexpected force. It still gripped him by the throat and even though he could ask Ezra to let him go, to call him out, it still sat there, like a lump that wouldn't leave, and his heart beat so fast against his chest as Ezra whispered to him that he almost thought he could see it just by standing at his back. He'd never been physically assaulted like this. Never in his life. He'd had the odd physical altercation with boys in school, who didn't? But most of them had ended pretty quickly and they certainly hadn't been with someone he considered to be a member of his family no matter how loathe he currently was to admit such a thing. He didn't know what to say, what to do. His mind felt blank. And for a tiny, tiny, sickening second, there was the briefest, barest of thoughts that maybe Ezra would actually hurt him. Not just throw him against the bookstore, but actually turn on Shiori and use his wand and then on Crispin.

He pushed that thought back, he knew it wouldn't happen, he knew it wouldn't, but something about being found in Bleak street, by Ezra lead to these thoughts that wouldn't leave him alone. Almost like the buzzing of memories long forgotten that told him, reminded him that Ezra had been here before, that Ezra had warned him off because he knew this place. And he knew this place because he'd been here, not just been here but he'd worked here, probably lived here at some time or another. And now Ezra was putting that part of himself on full display and Crispin knew somewhere deep down that it was not entirely for him, but for other people who might be watching.

Yet that did not stop the shame, the fear of the situation from colouring his cheeks an bright red, not with embarrassment, but with anger. A feeling he'd associated with Ezra more than once but been able to deal with on most occasions by calling Ezra names, and hiding it in a joke. This time? This time that wasn't going to cut it. "You know what? F*ck you, Ezra, you don't get to tell me what to do, you're not-" he cut himself off. Ezra wasn't what? His father? He was aware of that, Ezra was aware of that, the whole f*cking wizarding world, was aware of that. "And don't talk to Shiori like that, she'd didn't do anything wrong." he said, attempting to stand his ground a little bit with Ezra now hands off. It was a good show, if it weren't for the tiny prickling of tears Ezra would no doubt immediately clock on his face.

Crispin was just a kid who's dad couldn't be bothered to have anything to do with him. That was why his mother never said anything about it. She just couldn't bring herself to break his heart. Too late, mum, he thought, it broke a long time ago.
 
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Jericah had always known that she was her parents' daughter. Stubborn to a fault. Even if the stubbornness could be quite misplaced. And so she didn't put her wand down. "I will when you let him go," she insisted. She wasn't even trying to be sassy right now. Just literally, insisting that Unknown Man let flirtmate go. Besides, she wasn't as bad as Corey was at Charms, or with his wand in general, so she really was more offended that he'd thought she was liable to poke someone's eye out. The man wasn't even facing her! Does he know how exceedingly stupid someone could be to poke out the eye of a person not facing them? She's an idiot right now. But not that much of an idiot. Later on, she would probably reflect that her fight or flight survival mode was more firmly in the former. She blames her parents. She should probably be a little less calm. But hey, calm under pressure right?

As she said though, she did put down her wand once the man had let Crispin go. A little rough, but whatever. A deal's a deal, however one-sided it may have been. She continued to hold on to her wand and keep it out as a just in case though, as unhelpful as it could possibly be against Unknown Man. It didn't take long after that though for her to realize who Unknown Man was. He was the not-dad. Or the possibly-want-dad. And well, Crispin was in full-on angsty teen mode. She had to snort though when Crispin had come into her defense. Unwarranted since he was the one thrown against the wall. Unwarranted but sweet. This was probably the time for her to go though because this was bordering Westerner Daddy Issues and she didn't think that either male would want her around for that. And so, she was trying to just kind of slink away. Maybe she could leave their phone number with her flirtmate? Maybe a small charm, when they were both distracted. Crispin would have to figure out the jumble of numbers on his own if she managed.
 
The words didn’t fully come out of Crispin’s mouth but they had still formed in his mind, and they still did the intended damage to Ezra. He wasn’t his father, so what was he doing in the middle of Bleak street trying to keep him out of harms way? He clearly didn’t want him looking out for him, maybe Ezra had overstepped but he couldn’t forgive himself if something happened to Crispin in a situation he had been prepared for with his other kids. Crispin deserved the same protection he provided to Lucian, blood or no blood.

“I’m not what?” He asked as he walked down the small steps in the entrance to the book shop and into the street towards Crispin. ‘Shiori’ (definitely not her real name) still firmly in the corner of his eye, he was still working on the assumption that she was a perfectly normal seventeen year old girl and if that was the case he intended to get her out of there too. To think, it had been his brother who had served as an Auror, now he was the one trying to look out for innocent people. Who even was he?

“Not your dad? Even himself saying the words stung, the intent had been his even if he’d stopped himself from saying them. ”I don’t care, you’re as much my son as Lucian is so I’m getting you out of here,“ Ezra looked to edge of his peripheral vision and spoke to Shiori over his shoulder. ”You’re coming too ‘Shiori’ which I’m assuming is a fake name?“ It was smart if that was the case, smarter than Crispin, but he was unfortunate not to be in line to inherit Ezra’s brains. ”I doubt your parents would be thrilled to learn where you’ve spent your afternoon,“
 
It hit him like a punch to the gut and managed to double him over just the same. He hadn't said the words, but the intent had been there anyway. Ezra had not only picked up on it, but he'd run with it, and for a moment Crispin stood there, terrified, knowing that in a second Ezra was going to realise what he was doing, realise there was no point to this because it was true, Crispin wasn't his son, he wasn't anyone's son. He was barely even Amy's son, sometimes. She fussed on Lucien, she didn't fuss with Crispin. She loved him, but clearly not enough to tell him about his father. Crispin stared at Ezra, waiting, breath hitched for him to turn around and leave Crispin here, leave Shiori here and go back to what he was doing. It would be what he'd deserved, all those years of it sitting untouched on a shelf neither of them wanted to jostle.

Then, something happened. Unexpectedly, Ezra didn't throw it back in his face. He didn't turn cold like he might have expected, he didn't remind Crispin that he'd never wanted to have to deal with him in the first place, but instead, put him in the same place as Lucien, and somehow, with half as many words as he'd ever said, something inside of Crispin snapped open, and there was a sudden flood of anger, fear, shock, and an incredible need to collapse under his own weight.

But he didn't do that, he couldn't do that. Not here. There was time enough later for him to question Ezra, to ask him why, to find out if he wasn't just saying this to get he and Shiori? (not her real name apparently) out of here. He might not understand, but somehow Ezra had done something he'd never really realised he'd needed him to do. He'd accepted him, in words he might have easily used to hurt him, he'd told Crispin everything he needed to understand in the moment.

For now, that was enough.
 

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