Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter

Warnings: Husband massacre, but nothing violent

Blaise was about four years old when his father, his mother's second husband, died. Looking back on it, it had been amazing that his father had lasted so long. He liked to think that his mother had tried to keep the man alive for his sake. He liked to think that she loved him so much she was willing to stand by monotony so he wouldn't have to feel hurt. He liked to think that an awful lot, but he could never tell with his mother.

He had died at breakfast, the most unassuming meal of the day. Blaise had been playing with his food. Even then he hadn't enjoyed breakfast. His mother was sitting near him, trying to sneak bites into his mouth. His father was eating eggs right across from Blaise. All of a sudden his father slumped forward into the eggs, and died right then. There was no trace of poison.

Blaise was good at watching things. He looked at his mother first and watched as her mouth twitched into a smile, before it vanished. He knew, without a doubt, that his mother was happy about it. As the officials came in and out of the house he closed his heart to the matter.

He knew that his mother loved him. She doted upon him. She showered him with lavish gifts and told him stories at night. Stories that she made up herself, and they were marvelous. Blaise tried to make himself as interesting as possible. He said the right things, he played the right games. He created adorable idiosyncrasies for himself, which he was certain she would like. He hadn't been aware that he was doing it at the time, of course, but Blaise learned to manipulate his mother into loving him.

He couldn't become monotonous.

The next man came when he was five. Hs mother was still 'grieving' and a well-wisher from work finally came to try and get her back on her feet. How superficial. His name was Mr. Stevens and he looked at his mother with stupid soft eyes and a stupid sloppy expression. When she said that Mr. Stevens was rich she smiled like a lioness. Blaise was happy that he was not Mr. Stevens.

He began to compile a list inside his head about the things he observed about his mother. She liked money. She liked to live well and she liked romance. She loved adventure. didn't love Mr. Stevens, but she loved Blaise. Of that he was almost certain.

"Do you love Mr. Stevens, mother?" He asked, pouting his lips so that she would think that he was jealous.

"Mother will always love Blaise the most."

Blaise was the only one who would last; at five he knew that with all of his heart. He pretended to be happy when Mr. Stevens entered the household and his mother became Mrs. Stevens.

"Should Blaise take my name as well, love?" Mr. Stevens asked.

"Oh no dear." She simpered. "I don't want him to become confused. Maybe when he's old enough to understand what it really means."

Blaise was happy that he didn't have to constantly shuffle surnames.

Mr. Steven's died a few weeks later of a magical backfire. Blaise wasn't allowed to see what had happened. His mother clutched him to her chest and let out horribly fake sobs that somehow fooled the Aurors investigating. They clucked at her sympathetically and she gave them watery smiles. She smiled like she was pretending to be brave. They believed his mother, because they weren't smart enough to watch.

Mr. Stevens hadn't been smart enough to watch either; maybe if he had been he would have figured out that she didn't really love him. Blaise was smart, and knew exactly what his mother felt about him. Blaise was also smart enough to make sure that she always loved him. Mr. Stevens was a stupid man.

She whispered into his hair, "I told you Blaise, I will always love you best."

Blaise kept his fear deep inside his chest. His mother could never stop loving him best, or maybe it would be him that died the next time.

Her fourth husband was Mr. Rota and Blaise was almost seven. Mr. Rota seemed longer lasting that Mr. Stevens, at least, he didn't simper like an idiot around her. Blaise wouldn't allow himself to be fooled. He treated Mr. Rota with the maximum amount of disdain.

"I think your boy hates me." Mr. Rota said to her one day while Blaise was in the room, like he was telling a joke. Blaise smiled up at him falsely while he flipped quietly through a book.

"Why would you think that?" She said sweetly, clutching his arm to her chest. "Blaise is just a bit shy dear, you know that."

"Hmm." He left it at that though.

She looked at Blaise and smiled, he smiled back with the same amount of hidden derision. He knew that Mr. Rota would be gone soon, and he couldn't bring himself to care. Money was dangerous; it had opened up the man to this sort of marriage. Blaise resolved to never be rich. His mother married the man doomed by money and Mr. Rota died tragically on their wedding night.

His mother stopped using tears to fool the Aurors, by then everyone knew that something was wrong, they just couldn't prove it. Blaise sat in the living room in the center of all of the proceedings, observing the frustrated officials trying to provide evidence for what they all knew.

"Did you see your mother acting strangely at any point?" A frustrated Auror asked Blaise.

Blaise smiled innocently. "No sir. Not strange at all."

The best part was, he hadn't been lying. His mother had acted like she always did before she killed her husband. Not strange at all to Blaise.

"Are they always so stupid?" He asked her after everyone had left. She played with his hair distractedly.

"Hmm." She murmured. "They tend to miss what's right in front of them."

"They won't always."

"No. No they won't."

He bit back the question of why she still did it if she knew they were going to get caught for the fear that she wouldn't keep him if she thought he wasn't on her side.

Blaise was closer to nine than he was to eight and made the stupidest mistake of his young life. He let himself grow fond of his mother's latest interest. His name was Alfred Wilson and he was brilliant. His efforts to befriend Blaise didn't come off as superficial as the others had. He generally seemed to like spending time with him.

They had gotten off to a rocky start. When his mother had introduced them Blaise had been prepared to treat him like all the rest, with the same careful disdain designed to show that he supported her but wasn't about to get too close. Being close to someone meant that you would inevitably get hurt, and Blaise couldn't afford that.

Somehow though, Blaise's cautious distance had slipped and he found himself genuinely enjoying time spent with Alfred. Maybe it was the introduction of a first name. It made the potential victim that much more of an actual human being, and that much more dangerous.

Still, Blaise had self-preservation ingrained deeply into him, no matter how much he liked Alfred. The closest he could come to helping him was hesitantly telling his mother, with a feigned nonchalance, "He's better than the others, anyway."

Alfred survived after marriage to her longer than any of the previous had. Blaise was ten when his mother finally ended their marriage. Blaise liked to think that she held off for so long because of his casual approval, but knew that more likely she did it to try and throw off the Aurors. Alfred was poisoned on their family holiday. Arsenic.

Blaise had studied poisons long enough to learn the symptoms.

"It almost isn't worth it dear." She told him, still battling the numerous forms. "But at the very least we will never want for anything." She smiled crookedly at him; he returned it even though he felt like crying.

Going to Hogwarts was the best thing that had ever happened to him. Not only was he finally far enough away from her that he could stop pretending, but he didn't have to meet her various economic endeavors.

"What do your fathers do?" Draco asked pompously after Crabbe and Goyle had fallen asleep. He had just spent the previous twenty minutes or so regaling them with tales about his own father. Blaise couldn't care less, and from the bored look on Nott's face, he was of the same opinion.

"My father's a drunk." Theodore said easily, pushing his trunk under his bed. "Been that way ever since the Dark Lord disappeared."

Draco digested that, and then turned to Blaise. "And yours?"

"Dead." Blaise answered shortly.

The first night had been the best, because it was before anyone got the responses back from their families about their respective housemate's families. It was lovely that someone was able to know about his father's death without knowing the circumstances behind it.

"So is my mum." Theodore said, filling the silence preceding Blaise's answer.

Draco flushed and looked down, unsure of what to do in the situation. When he was eleven years old, he was kind of sweet in a snotty way. Blaise decided to make it easier on him. "So how senile is the headmaster? Nitwit, Odment, Blubber, and Tweak? It seems a little scattered, if you ask me."

The others readily agreed, and thus the first year Slytherin's bonded, in a fashion.

Another lover came and went while he was away. Blaise didn't even know his name as his mother had never bothered to tell him. It wasn't a slight on her part; she preferred to fill her letters with information about places she'd traveled and finances. Blaise became well-versed in monetary handlings and other parts of the world, all without leaving Hogwarts. By the time he came home whatshisface was cold under a gravestone.

He and his mother went sightseeing to celebrate.

While they were halfway through Romania she met a wizard who was also there on holiday, visiting his very rich family. Even then his mother might not have noticed him had he not been wearing extremely expensive clothing. They dated while Blaise wandered around the country. He was twelve years old and almost completely independent in order to not bother his mother.

"Blaise, what do you think abut Alin joining our family." She asked him one day as he reclined on the couch, completely exhausted from his day of sightseeing.

He thought it was a terrible idea. "He seems nice enough. Sort of dull."

She smiled at him with a flash of perfect teeth. "He is rather dull, isn't he?"

He shrugged. "If you like him, you should marry him." They both knew that he was talking about her liking his finances.

"I certainly do."

His second year at Hogwarts he road the carriage pulled by skeletal horses into the school. He had stared slack-jawed at what his friend's (allies, really) perceived to be empty air. The next day when he had free time he went to the library and spent an hour scrutinizing books for mention of the creatures. He finally found them listed as thestrals, beasts that you could only see if you have seen death. He laughed to keep from crying.

Alin lasted until Blaise's halfway through Blaise's forth year at Hogwarts, which he found extremely impressive. He might have lasted even longer had his mother not set her sights on another rich man while they were on yet another mother-son bonding holiday. Alin's death caused more trouble than the others had.

His rich family got involved. They paid money to the ministry and created a huge fuss, not enough to get his mother arrested, but by the end of their outrage his mother's "poor luck" with husbands became a publicized matter. Blaise hated it.

It had always been common knowledge among his classmates that his mother had some difficulty with husbands. Slytherins were always very well informed after all, and Blaise couldn't fault them for that. Still, before they had only made casual illusions to it, content enough with current news to ignore it. Now they looked at him with new eyes, because his mother had done what was unacceptable among purebloods. She had drawn attention, and negative attention at that, to herself. Not for the first time, which he was only just starting to realize, Blaise really hated his mother.

Blaise thanked every deity he could think of daily for the fact that his mother's indiscretions were publicized during the Triwizard tournament. By the time the tournament ended, he had accumulated enough blackmail to still even the harshest classmate's tongue.

His fifth year he was reintroduced to thestrals by the Care of Magical Creatures teacher. He studiously pretended that he couldn't see them, going so far as to gasp in shock when the zebra meat was torn off by an "invisible" source. He didn't need any more attention over his mother. He wasn't stupid enough to think that everyone wouldn't be able to guess who he's seen die. He couldn't veil his interest in the fact that Theodore could see them too, however. And of course, Harry Potter, but what did he matter?

Theodore cornered him after class, speaking more bluntly than Slytherins usually did. But then again, Theodore didn't care much for playing by society's rules. "Why did you pretend you couldn't see them?"

Blaise shrugged with one shoulder, and decided to return bluntness with bluntness. "Didn't want the attention."

Theodore scowled. "That's not why I said I could."

Blaise winced. "Not what I meant."

"Whatever." Theodore stalked away, and paused with his back to Blaise. "Saying you can't see them doesn't change what happened."

"I know." Blaise murmured.

That summer Blaise went home and continued doing his best to be interesting and sympathetic. His mother's new love was not coming along as swimmingly as she was used to. He pulled the puppet strings and controlled his mother's love for him, which never waned. He couldn't help but wonder, though, if he was really the puppet master in the relationship.

The thought scared him, and he started to stop feeling real, so he sent a letter to Theodore. He had never really been friends with the boy, but Theodore made more sense than anyone else that that point, and he desperatly needed validation that he still existed.


I can see the thestrals.


About a week later he got a response:


Well, it's a start.


A start seemed like an awfully wonderful thing.