dirty money

by renegadekarma

Seren snorted. “Those bastards took my money without paying it back like they agreed to. They deserve having their hearts ripped out.”

Tatiana paused, wrinkling her nose. “Literally?”

High heels clicked on the ground as a young, regal woman strode into the chamber. Her blonde hair was sleek, pinned back with a twist, and diamonds glittered at her throat and on her ringed fingers. Her hazel eyes were cold, calculating, as she took a seat in the chair at the head of the table – although throne might have been a more apt description of it – and surveyed those in front of her.

“Well?” Seren Jones inquired after a moment.

A bald man a few seats down from her wiped his sweaty head with a handkerchief and nervously consulted the list in front of him. “Chastity Hamilton-Reed’s paid off her debts this morning, with full interest, so she’s fine. We just have Will Shimizuno on the list.”

Seren paused and narrowed her eyes. “He’s a week late on his payments already, isn’t he?” she inquired.

The sweaty man nodded and looked nervous as the blonde drummed her fingers on the table thoughtfully. “You,” she said suddenly, pointing at the newest recruit to her gang; a curly-haired bloke who went by the name Frankie. “Take two others and bring Shimizuno to me.”

He nodded and quickly stepped from the table with the two people closest to him, and Seren stepped up and out of the conference room and back into the living room beside it.

Tatiana was sprawled on a couch, counting money quickly by shifting it from one palm into the other. “So, what’s the latest news?” she inquired, stretching out lazily.

“You’d know if you actually bothered showing up to those meetings.” Seren nudged aside Tatiana’s legs and took a seat, surveying the collection of money on the floor. The currency was varied, different colors and lengths with different images on them; dollars, pounds, galleons – hell, someone had even paid in diamonds. He’d been a day late, but Seren had been impressed, so she’d let him go with minimal damage.

“Who’s today’s poor sap, then?” Tatiana continued, wrapping a rubber band around a wad of cash, tossing it into a pile to the right, and then picking up another to count it.

“Shimizuno.” Seren glanced over at her friend.

The brunette paused, the dollar bills shifting from one palm to another stopping briefly in her hand. “Will?”

The blonde nodded.

Perhaps she’d been expecting a larger reaction, but Tatiana merely shrugged and resumed counting the money in her hands again. “He was an arse, anyway. He deserves what he’ll get. Which is… what, exactly?” she scanned her friend over the top of the dollar bills.

Seren merely raised an eyebrow.

“Anyway, let’s talk. You know that newbie? Curly hair, always smiling and all?” Tatiana sat up, finished counting, and wrapped a rubber band around the wad of money. After tossing it off to the side, she leaned in to her friend. “I think he’s into you.”

“Who, Baudelaire?” Seren lifted an eyebrow, lips quirking in amusement.

“He made you a flower crown yesterday,” Tatiana snickered. “But then you were in a bad mood after your appointment with Emrys Pierce and you were sort of covered in blood, so I think he got intimidated and decided not to give it to you.”

The blonde paused. “Blood does seem to have that effect on people.”

Tatiana laughed and shook her head. “No, anyone in this business can get used to blood. It’s you covered in blood that people are scared of. Kind of makes you look like an avenging angel, you know.”

Seren snorted. “Those bastards took my money without paying it back like they agreed to. They deserve having their hearts ripped out.”

Tatiana paused, wrinkling her nose. “Literally?”

The blonde only shrugged noncommittally and ignored her friend’s look of disgust.

“Well, there’s a good reason I only work back here with counting and sorting the money,” Tatiana mused aloud. “Although, hey, do any of the people who borrow from you even know how you made this money?”

“I hardly think it matters,” Seren replied with a nonchalant shrug.

“Ah, yes, building up a drug empire in America and selling it all off is clearly a matter of little consequence,” Tatiana returned dryly.

A scuffle near the door caught their attention, and they both turned as a head full of curls appeared in the doorway. “Er, Madame Jones? We’ve brought him in,” Frankie informed the leader hesitantly.

Seren lifted up from the sofa and stepped toward the door, heels clicking on the ground. After a moment, Tatiana abandoned the bag of sickles in her hand and followed her friend carefully, peeking behind the door. The blonde had a sort of fondness for the brunette; while Tatty was, admittedly, hired by the other witch to sort out finances in her little business, she was also her closest friend, and Seren never made her do the dirty work or even watch it.

There was a single chair at the center of the hall, the conference table having been shifted from its place in the center to accommodate for the new arrangements. There was a lone figure in the center, his face masked by the bag they’d thrown over it. He was learning forward in the chair with his hands tied around the back as to prevent him from escaping.

Seren nodded at Frankie and he reached forward and whipped the bag off to reveal the raven-haired boy that had been concealed under it for a few seconds. Dark eyes traveled up and then rested on Seren, who’d strode in front of him.

“I’ll have it for you next week,” he began weakly, but Seren cut him off.

“That’s what you told me last week, and I don’t like to be kept waiting,” she murmured, her tone even as she leaned forward. The blonde studied him for a moment, her hazel eyes dark and collected. “Are you aware of how much a million galleons is, Shimizuno?” she said after a moment.

“Yes, that’s the point! I can’t get it right away,” Will replied, exasperated.

“You got your mansion right away with my money,” Seren pointed out coolly.

“Well…” he faltered, trying to find an explanation, but by the time he’d looked back at the blonde, her back was to him as she lifted her chin at the bald man. He was significantly less sweaty this time, used to this, and he reached forward and handed her a dagger.

Will’s eyes widened. “No, don’t! Really, just give me another week, and I’ll have it. I promise. With all the interest too!”

Seren tutted lightly under her breath as she circled him, the lioness tightening her circle around her prey. “What’s that that we were taught back in Hogwarts, Will? We must not tell lies, remember?”

“Don’t-“ but it was too late, and the blonde plunged the knife up into his stomach, twisting it for good measure. She didn’t bother to pull it out until a few seconds later, where she dropped it on the ground. Frankie, looking slightly pale, ran to pick it up.

The dark-haired man spat blood onto her shoes and Seren looked supremely unimpressed. “These are Jimmy Choos you insolent arse,” she hissed at him, pulling off her shoes and slapping him across the face with the one that dripped scarlet. Dropping them on the floor now, she walked back into the living room and Tatiana followed, her face ashen.

“That was tedious,” Seren murmured as she moved to the basin, twisting on the faucet and letting the water run from the tap.

“Did you have to kill him?” Tatiana inquired, her voice thin.

“Same arse who broke your heart back in Hogwarts, Tatty; one would think that you’d want me to kill him.” Seren turned and wiped her hands on a towel, raising an eyebrow as if challenging her friend to complain more.

Tatiana merely glanced away. “You’re right,” she decided after a moment.

“Well, now that we’ve got this blood off, shall we go shopping?” The blonde suggested as she snatched up a pouch full of galleons on the sofa.

“I wasn’t done counting that,” Tatiana complained but she acquiesced anyway as Seren slipped on some shoes that weren’t stained in blood.

“What an ignorant jerk, can you believe he got blood all over my shoes?” Seren said in disgust as they left the penthouse flat, moving to the elevator.

Tatiana eyed the bag of galleons. “Well, you’ve got more than enough to buy another.”

“So what do you think? Loubotin or Miu Miu this time?” Seren asked, studying her reflection in the reflection on the back of the elevator doors as they closed between the two young witches.

“Why not both?” Tatiana suggested with a shrug and a rare smirk.

“I like the way you think.” Seren shot her friend a grin and looped her arm through the other’s as the elevator doors rolled open with a ding.

“What an awfully difficult life you have, Seren.” Tatiana rolled her eyes before asking, “Do you think all loan sharks have it this terrible?”

“Nah, clearly I live in absolute poverty.” The blonde glanced behind at the upscale apartment they’d left. “And I don’t like the term loan shark much.”

“What would you prefer?”

Seren frowned and then brightened, her hazel eyes lighting up. “High-risk money lender?”

“Sure,” Tatiana snorted as they continued down the street.