Who: Nikky the house-elf, Blaise Zabini
Where: Former Zabini manse in the West Country
Summary: Zabini house-elf and young master are reunited
Watch for: Amityville elf
Nikky lurked within the walls, listening to the voices moving about. That foolish goblin realtor had brought another potential customer by. Foolish, but stubborn -- it would make the ninth no, the tenth one she'd driven off since they'd tried to convince her that the Master wasn't the Master, and this wasn't her place anymore.
Well, she'd showed them. Nikky was loyal! Nikky didn't believe their lies. And Nikky had made sure no squatters took up residence while the Master and the Young Master were away. She wished they'd come, though, the goblin kept dropping the price (for the house that wasn't even his!) and she was having to break things. And then there was the whole floor she'd flooded by hexing a couple of pipes. But she'd fix them even better than new! She would, just as soon as the Master came home.
They were coming back to the foyer. Nikky sighed and transported herself up above the medallion the chandelier hung from. She hated to do this, she really didn't want to hurt anyone, and the Master so loved the chandelier, but the wizard the goblin had brought this time was even more stubborn than the goblin himself.
She'd just begun the loosening hex when a familiar voice joined the ones below.
"I am Zabini."
The plump, florid-faced wizard and his goblin companion took a step back as one, and Blaise smiled within the shadows of his cowl. He was an intimidating faceless figure, clad all in black even to his fingertips, and he silently blessed the random impulse that had caused him to pull the hood up. Apparating in a pace behind them hadn't hurt, either.
"You have something that belongs to me."
Nikky had worked for the Zabinis all her life, more than long enough to know that you didn't appear suddenly anywhere within blade's reach of either of them. So it was she transported herself to the chandelier, swinging there, causing the crystals to chime softly.
That was enough for the fat wizard, who jumped back again, then beat a hasty retreat. With a glare, the goblin followed.
As soon as they were out of view, Blaise dismissed them, turning his attention back to Nikky and causing her batlike ears to perk up. He looked down into her huge, trusting eyes and sighed.
"Father -- Master is in Azkaban."
Nikky gasped, covering her mouth with her hands. Then her ears flapped up and down. "Master gone. Young Master Master now!" Relief and joy flooded her voice. She wasn't that saddest of figures anymore, a house-elf with no wizard to serve.
Blaise blinked. "Yes. Yes, I suppose I am." He took in and let out a breath. He was still getting used to that. For all the times he'd wished Father gone, the reality of it was still jarring.
Hunching his shoulders, he looked around at the foyer. The few, carefully-selected artworks that had graced it were gone, but the emptiness to him was more than that. The whole place felt ... hollow. Still and cold, where so much of his life had been.
Stepping beneath the chandelier, he held up a hand, and Nikky dropped down to him instantly. Catching her as she fell, Blaise Apparated away.