Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Probably for the best.
A/N: I had to re-post this once or twice, due to some unknown error in the posting process. Sorry for the inconvenience.
This is something I came up with using the Manatee technique. That is essentially, after randomly drawing a pair, drawing a random assortment of verbs and nouns to build the plot to this. I in no way blame the nouns and verbs for this story. Any fault for this is my own. Cheers.
I expect many flames for this. I welcome any and all C & C... just be gentle, alright?
Lets get to it, then. Shall we?
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Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
To anyone asked, the school is an amazing place.
Built in the highlands of northern Scotland, away from the prying eyes of 'muggles', or 'non-magical folk' to the layman, the gigantic castle was a sight to behold. Solid, matte-grey stone. Striking towers reaching up to the sky. A vast lake right in walking distance. And the dark, dense forest just a stone's-throw away. Yes, the world-renown school was most assuredly a haven for those fortunate enough to walk its halls.
Indeed for the students of Hogwarts, living there was a lucky thing that only a chosen few have the opportunity to do.
For Harry James Potter, however, it was a place of respite. Away from his family- if one were to use the term loosely- and accompanied by his friends and classmates, Harry looked forward to returning to Hogwarts at the end of every summer. This was because it not only meant that he would escape from his aunt and uncle, both of which would most assuredly do better without his presence in their lives, but also return to the company of his friends.
Those friends, as it happened, were joining Harry in breaking his fast before classes started on the first day of the term.
The school year had started much as any others had for Harry. However this year, his sixth at Hogwarts, was going to be difficult. He could tell that much already. Not because of anything off or different with the school itself, of course. That much was as normal as possible. Aside from the unpleasantness of Snape getting his much-coveted position as Defense Against the Dark Arts, and the new Potions Master, Horace Slughorn, the term itself looked to be relatively forgettable as it was frustratingly short.
On this day, however, his group of friends was quickly joined by a new face.
Hermione and Ron, Harry's two closest friends were in a heated discussion about their new schedules when somebody walked up to their table and, quite without asking, sat down opposite Harry. Ron and Hermione stopped talking abruptly, causing Harry to look up from his bangers and eggs to see who it was that sat down.
The first thing that Harry saw was the robes trimmed with green and silver. That put him on guard immediately.
Slytherin, Harry thought warily. That couldn't be any good.
His first reaction was that Draco Malfoy, his arch-rival, was getting an early start on his yearly heckling and bullying. But as he caught sight of the face above the robes, he couldn't help but blink in surprise. The owner of the robes, a girl, grinned straight back at Harry, her wide smile practically splitting her face. The happy expression on the girl's face was distinctly different from any other's he had seen on another Slytherin, and even more unsettling was her eyes. One of them was a deep, cobalt blue, while the other was a bright green.
The first reaction Harry had, he had to admit, was that was the first time he had ever seen two differently colored eyes on a person.
Ron sucked in a breath beside him, telling Harry that Ron was put off just as much as Harry himself. It was, after all, pretty common knowledge that every Slytherin rather despised Harry and his friends.
"Good morning!" The girl said before Harry could form any words.
Harry blinked. It was a greeting, and a rather normal one at that. The only thing he could think to reply with was a polite "Uh… g-good morning."
The girl's smile, if at all possible, widened further. "You are Harry Potter, right?"
Harry nodded warily.
The girl giggled. "Great! It's awesome to meet you!"
Ron leaned forward from Harry's side, scowling at the Slytherin girl. "What are you playing at, Slytherin?" He drew out the word Slytherin, as if the name itself was a curse. "What do you mean, 'It's awesome to meet you'?"
The girl blinked and looked at Ron. "Huh? I dunno. It's just… awesome to meet him?" She considered for a moment, and then shrugged. "Nothin' else to it, I guess. After all, we've never met before."
Harry looked from the girl, to Ron, and then to Hermione. His bushy-haired friend had a surprised, if somewhat a perplexed look on her face, as if she didn't know what to make of this girl. After a moment, Harry turned back to her.
"Um, it's nice to meet you too… I guess. But I don't even know who you are."
The girl giggled again. "Of course, silly. That's the whole point of introductions." Harry brow furrowed at being called 'silly'. It wasn't a name he had ever been called before and he wasn't sure what to make of it.
"You don't know me because you've never seen me before." The girl reached out her hand and grinned. "I'm Astoria. Astoria Greengrass."
Harry looked, even more confused than before, at the girl's hand. It was empty, and her other hand was resting on the table, wand-free. He peered at Ron and Hermione to see how they were taking this strange turn of events. Ron was looking at the girl's hand like it had lice crawling over it, and Hermione was blinking rapidly in confusion.
After a few awkward seconds, Harry reached out his hand to Astoria and clasped her hand in his own. He was half-expecting her to grab his hand and yank it, or pull out a wand from her robes and hex him. But she simply shook his hand, grinning like the happiest girl in the world. It was a refreshing change of pace from the usual grim dourness of the Slytherin house, and Harry found himself smiling in response.
"Nice to meet you, too, Astoria." He said, releasing her hand. She giggled again and tugged at a lock of wavy black hair with thin fingers.
Before either could add anything to the conversation, Ron cut in abruptly. "Alright then, the introductions are finished. Would you kindly sod off?"
"Ron!" Hermione hissed from Harry's other side. "Don't be a prat! She was being polite!"
"Does it matter? She's a snake!" Ron shot back, scowling at Astoria. "She is just being polite to get Harry to let his guard down!"
Harry returned his attention to Astoria, who was watching the exchange with interest. She didn't seem to take offense at Ron's tone, but she didn't seem especially thrilled, either. "Sorry," Harry said. "It's just that we're not used to… uh… this."
Astoria tilted her head to the side. "This?" She echoed. "You mean talking to schoolmates?"
Harry shook his head. "No, I mean talking with Slytherins." He paused. "Actually, I think you are the first Slytherin to ever come up to us and talk politely. It's… just a little odd if you must know."
The girl grinned, rolling her multi-colored eyes. "Well, I have been called odd."
"Oh, don't pay attention to Ronald," Hermione said, shooting a scathing glare across Harry to their red-headed friend. "He's just cranky when he hasn't finished eating." She smiled and reached out to Astoria. "I'm Hermione."
"Hermione Granger," Astoria grinner again, shaking Hermione's hand. "I've heard about you. You're, like, super-smart, right?"
Hermione's cheeks pinked a bit at the comment, and Harry chuckled.
After a moment, Hermione regained her composure and regarded Astoria. "Greengrass… do you have a sister?"
Astoria blinked a few times in surprise and smiled. "Yep." She replied. "You must be talking about Daphne. She's in your year, but a Slytherin."
"Daphne?" Harry said, recalling the name from classes their house shared with Slytherins. The names that stood out the most were, of course, Draco Malfoy and his cronies. But some of the others that came to mind were names like Blaise Zabini, Tracy Davis and Daphne…Daphne Greengrass.
Thinking of the girl caused Harry to crane his head over to look towards the Slytherin table. The majority of the house was present, and it didn't take long for Harry to find the girl in question.
Daphne Greengrass sat facing Harry, across the hall, and was eating her own breakfast with her friend Tracy. The two were talking, presumably about classes or something, and were noticeably keeping to themselves. Now that he was paying attention, and had a face to the name, Harry could see the resemblance between Daphne and Astoria. The two had the same hair—black and wavy, although Astoria's was a little longer and tied back into a loose ponytail. They both had similar facial features, lean and smooth cheek bones. The only thing that Harry could really pick out that was different, was that Astoria had both a blue eye and a green eye, while both Daphne's eyes were blue.
"Yep, that's her." Astoria said, drawing Harry's attention back to her. She was smirking at him, as if she had caught him doing something naughty. "She's pretty, right?"
Harry blanched, trying unsuccessfully to hide the blush that he could feel creeping into his cheeks. But it only caused Astoria's grin to widen.
"She's… alright." He managed, suddenly finding his eggs very interesting.
Hermione sniggered from Harry's side, earning her a half-hearted glare.
"Just 'alright'?" Astoria sounded affronted. "That's my sister you're talking about, mister. I'll have you know she is awesome. A beauty for the ages. She's got it all; grace, poise, intelligence, talent, sex appeal—the works."
"You sound like you're trying to sell a broom." Ron sneered.
For the first time since Astoria sat down, she frowned, narrowing her eyes at Ron. It was clear she wasn't pleased by Ron's comment. Her expression marred her attractive features considerably, Harry noticed.
"Well, now I see that at least some of what the others said about you was true." Astoria said coolly.
"Just what is that supposed to mean?!" Ron demanded, half getting up out of his chair. He made a move as though to reach for his wand.
Astoria's face seemed to relax at once, and she looked apologetically down at the table. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap."
If anything, Ron certainly wasn't expecting an apology. He froze in mid-step and blinked. "Uh…er…" He said, trying unsuccessfully to come up with a retort. When he couldn't, he looked to Harry and Hermione pleadingly.
"It's alright, Astoria." Hermione said, her voice soft. She then shot a withering glare at Ron. "Ronald sometimes doesn't know when to shut his trap!"
The young man had the sense to look embarrassed.
Astoria sighed, and shook her head. Her grin returned, and she leaned in closer to Harry. "So, about my sister..."
Harry blinked. "What about her?" He asked, wondering where exactly this was heading.
"I think you two should totally go out." Astoria said, her eyes boring into Harry's. "You two are perfect for each other."
Harry's mouth popped open, as did Hermione's from beside him. Ron made a choking sound, as though he couldn't quite decide whether to scoff or cough.
"W-what are you talking about?" Hermione managed first. It was the exact question Harry wanted to ask, just asked faster and in a girly voice. He nodded vigorously in agreement to the question.
Astoria blinked innocently. "I'm trying to set Harry up with my sister, of course." She explained as if the answer was obvious. "I mean, they are made for each other."
Hermione tried to reply, but all she managed was a heavy exhale. Ron didn't fare much better, he still was only managing odd sounds. Harry stared, shocked, at the Slytherin across from him. He had no idea how to take this. She wanted to set him up with her sister? Just how had this gotten started?
The black-haired girl seemed to pick up on the confusion and giggled. "Speechless?" She grinned. "I can imagine. I mean if someone were to come up to me and go, 'Hey! Astoria! We want to set you up with my brother!' I'd be all –'Whaaaaat?' and think they were just taking the mickey out of me." She shrugged, shaking her head. "But that's just me."
"Are you?" Harry finally asked, forcing himself to speak. "Having a laugh at me, I mean."
Astoria's smile faded, and she looked at Harry. Her eyes, both green and blue stared into Harry's own green eyes. It was a little unnerving, if Harry had to be honest, but that was probably because he had never the experience of looking into differently-colored eyes before.
After a few moments, Astoria finally spoke. "I'm really not, Harry." She said softly. "I honestly think you two would be perfect for each other."
"Why?" He asked, trying hard to match the girl's sincere tone, but his curiosity and surprise winning the battle.
Astoria thought for a moment, and then shrugged. "Just my intuition," She said.
Ron scoffed, and crossed his arms over his chest. "Whatever." He mumbled.
The group was quiet for a moment, and then Astoria made to get up. She stood and backed away from her seat, brushing off her robes. "Anyway," She said conversationally. "Take what I said to mind. I honestly think you two would get on together." She grinned at Harry. "In other words, you have my permission to court my sister! Be sure to take me up on it sooner rather than later or all those nasty snakes will gobble her right up!" She whirled around, her dark hair whipping around behind her, and walked away from the table towards the entrance to the Great Hall.
After the girl was gone from view, Ron shook his head and made for his goblet of pumpkin juice. "Barking mad, I'm telling you mate. Women. The whole lot of them."
"Excuse me?" Hermione growled from Harry's other side.
"The lot of them, excluding you of course, 'Mione." Ron corrected quickly, his cheeks coloring noticeably.
"Only her, Ronald?" Came an angry voice from behind them. Harry shifted in his seat to find Ginny standing there, her hands on her hips and her wand bobbing between her fingers. She was glaring heatedly at her brother.
"And you, naturally, Gin!" Ron added, his complexion going from pink to white shockingly fast. Harry chuckled at his friend's predicament; it was nice to see that he wasn't the only one to have all the bad luck.
Ginny kept her glare on her brother, and sat down on Hermione's other side. "What was that all about?" She asked, nodding her head towards the large doors of the Great Hall. It was clear what she was talking about.
"Astoria Greengrass." Harry explained. "Daphne Greengrass's younger sister, I guess, came up out of the blue and introduced herself. She was all polite about it and everything."
"Astoria Greengrass?" Ginny echoed, her tone perplexed. "Who is that?"
"You don't know?" Hermione queried. "We figured she was in your year."
Ginny shrugged. "I never heard of her before. Maybe fourth year. I've heard of Daphne, though. Just didn't know she had a sister."
Harry nodded in agreement. "I didn't know either. Granted, I don't really pay attention to Slytherins in general." Ron grunted in agreement to that. "But from what I could tell, they really look like sisters. Same face, same hair… just the eyes are a bit—"
"Blimy, mate, no kidding. You get a load of those things?" Ron cut him off. "I've never seen eyes like that before. I mean, I've read about them but…" He shuddered. "Freaky."
Harry frowned deeply. He didn't like that word. He had grown up all his life being called 'freaky' and the fact that his friend used it to describe something the girl likely had no power over didn't sit well with him. But before he could tell Ron off, Ginny continued.
"Well, what did she want?"
"She wanted to set Harry up with her Sister, Daphne." Ron replied.
"What?!" Ginny squawked.
"Yea, I know, right? Barking mad, I'm telling you."
0 – 0 – 0
Harry stopped in mid-step, narrowly avoiding a group of Hufflepuffs as they walked past him. He blinked a few times, looking around to see who had called him out in the hallway. The voice sounded a little familiar, but he couldn't quite put a face to it.
Suddenly, he saw Astoria Greengrass, her green-and-silver trimmed robes whipping around her feet, striding up to him from a connecting corridor. Her grin he remembered seeing on her face when she introduced herself to Harry and his friends was gone, and in its place was an irritated frown.
Astoria walked straight up to Harry and, much to his surprise and slight discomfort, stopped well within arm's reach, staring up at him with her green-and-blue eyes. Harry blinked a few times and looked down at the girl, just now realizing that she wasn't all that much shorter than he himself was.
She glared silently at Harry for a long moment, and then put one foot towards him, placing her hands on her hips angrily. "Well, Potter? What do you have to say for yourself?" She demanded.
Harry stepped back instinctively. Astoria was by far closer that what he would consider 'comfortable', and it made him wary. "Er... what?"
The girl's eyes narrowed. "What?" She repeated. "I'm asking you what you have to say for yourself."
"My sister!" Astoria hissed, leaning well into Harry's personal space. "It's been over a week, and you haven't even talked to her yet!"
Harry stepped back again. "Uh... er... s-start of classes." He stammered, reaching for anything that could help him in his defense. "C-captain. Quidditch. The..."
Astoria shook her head from side to side, her black hair whipping to and fro. She jabbed her finger into his chest twice. "No excuses, mister! You've had a week to talk to her and so far, nothing!" She glared heatedly up at him. "It's the man's job to approach the lady, so that means it's up to you! Now hop to it!"
Harry was gobsmacked. He had wondered ever since Astoria had first approached him, Ron and Hermione on the first day of school what her intentions were; why she was talking to Harry... what she wanted... if she was even serious about him and her sister, Daphne. And so far he had come up with nothing— No reason at all why she should be even talking to him. It left him feeling like he was hit with a confundus charm.
"Uh... but... I..." Harry tried think of something- anything- to say in his defense, but nothing substantial came to mind.
Astoria groaned tiredly and reached out to snatch Harry's wrist. "Fine! Let's go!" With that, she set off down the hallway, dragging Harry behind her.
"H-hey! Where are we going?"
"To find Daphne."
"Of course, now! Jesus, you're slow!"
Whatever Harry was going to say next was cut off as Astoria pulled his arm along behind her roughly around a corner. He was dragged down hallways, through corridors and past students. He tried his best to ignore the stares and laughs he was getting by being dragged around by the younger Slytherin. After a few minutes, he finally got fed up with being dragged along and kicked up his feet to match Astoria's pace. She didn't let up on his wrist, but she looked back and grinned at him. The rest of the trip was slightly easier on his arm.
Eventually the pair arrived in a corridor on the fourth floor, and Astoria pulled Harry to the side of the hallway and peered around a corner. Harry watched her for a moment, and was about to ask what she was looking at when she turned back.
"Alright, she's just over there with Tracy." She said, grinning widely. "Just wait here and I'll go get her for you."
Harry's eyes widened. Did she really want him to talk to Daphne now?!
As if sensing his hesitation, Astoria's eyes narrowed. "You are not to move from this spot. Understand?" Harry nodded quickly. "Because if you do, so help me I'll hex you so hard you'll be spitting slugs until your wedding night!"
"I-I won't move. Promise." Harry said, meaning it. He had a feeling the younger Slytherin wasn't joking.
"Good. I'll be right back."
Astoria glared one final time at him, as if daring him to move, and then disappeared around the corner.
When he was alone, Harry let out a deep breath. Just what was going on, here? Ever since the first time Astoria appeared out of nowhere, Harry had been thrown for a loop. She was so... lively … and determined.
These weren't at all bad qualities by themselves, but with her strange opinion that he and her sister, Daphne, should get together, especially when Harry was certain they had never spoken more than three words to each other in five years of school, it was just outright odd.
Why was she so determined that the two of them get together? Why did she think they were, as she said, perfect for each other? What proof was there that made her feel that way?
Harry thought about that for a moment. He was certain he had barely ever spoken with Daphne at least once, and the only time he was sure was probably that one time he had been paired up with her in Potions class. But he couldn't recall anything in particular about what kind of person she was. She was just… he had no idea.
And as for Astoria...
He was certain he had never even heard of the younger Greengrass before this school year. And, after asking around, he was sure none of his friends had either. She was apparently a fifth year, same as Ginny, and shared the Griffindor/Slytherin classes with her. But from what he had gathered, Astoria had been conspicuously absent from Hogwarts until this year. Ginny knew next to nothing about her, and that was enough reason for all of Harry's friends to not trust the younger Slytherin.
But even so, something about Astoria Greengrass made Harry curious. She wasn't like any of the other Slytherins he knew; she didn't hate him as far as he could tell, and was distinctively energetic as well as friendly. That alone was like a breath of fresh air in the stifling bigotry that was the house of snakes.
His musing was interrupted when Astoria returned, with an unhappy Daphne in tow. Daphne's dark blue eyes fell on Harry and her scowl deepened. Apparently, she was already miffed at being pulled away from her friend. Harry wasn't sure how this boded for him.
"Alright! So, here we are." Astoria grinned, ignoring her sister's sour mood. "Harry, meet Daphne. Daphne, meet Harry. Now that the introductions are done, I'll be on my way and leave you two to it."
"W-what?" Harry gasped, trying hard to avoid Daphne's glare. "Where are you going?"
Astoria tilted her head curiously. "Hmm? Elsewhere? I don't care. Just, away." She shrugged. "You two take your time and just chat, or do whatever it is that young people are known to do. There's an empty class or two down that way. And there's a supply closet around the corner. I won't ask, just don't tell."
And with a wink, she spun around and dashed down the corridor, disappearing from view.
Harry stared after her for a long time, blank confusion overriding any form of coherent thought in his mind. She had essentially just pulled him and Daphne together, dropped a few hints and embarrassing ideas, and then properly ran off. It was...
Actually, pretty funny.
He let out a tired breath and looked back at Daphne. The girl was still scowling at Harry. "Uh... h-hey."
"Hey." She replied evenly.
Harry shifted his feet nervously. What on Earth was he expected to say in this kind of situation?
"So... that's your sister, huh?"
Daphne crossed her arms over her chest. "Unfortunately."
Harry chuckled. "What? don't you like her?"
She shrugged. "She's my sister." She said simply.
Not quite sure how to take that, Harry nodded. The two fell into silence for a while, trying to ignore a pair of students that walked past them, whispering quietly to each other. It was easy to guess what they were talking about.
After a long, quiet moment, Harry tried to break the awkward silence. "S-so... do you know what Astoria is trying to do?" Daphne stared at Harry, causing his to swallow uncomfortably and continue. "I mean... she is on about... what I mean to say is... er..." He floundered, not sure how to talk about it.
Finally Daphne sighed. "It's just another one of her inane ideas, Potter." She stepped back and hefted her bag over her shoulder. "She gets a new idea into her head every so often, and it drives her crazy unless she does something about it. It happens all the time. Just forget about it."
Harry blinked. "Oh." He said, not quite sure if he was relieved or disappointed. Probably embarrassed would be the closest to his reaction. "Er… right."
Nodding, Daphne set her jaw. "Now you see why she annoys me. Welcome to my world." She took a deep breath, held it, and released it. "So, don't worry about it. In a week or two she'll be over it and will be going after her new crazy idea. Do yourself a favor, and just forget about it."
She turned around and began to walk away. After a few feet, she stopped and turned her head back towards harry.
"Thank you for humoring her, however. She just transferred here and is lacking in friends."
"Oh… yea. Sure. No problem." Harry replied, surprised. Daphne nodded and walked away, disappearing around the corner she came from before.
Harry stood there for a few more minutes, wondering what had just happened. Ron would say this had been a Slytherin trick, but he had the distinct feeling that this wasn't a Slytherin thing. This seemed to be just about Astoria and Daphne. None of the other students he knew or didn't know were talked about, or were even mentioned.
And then Daphne just brushed off the whole thing, like her sister was just fantasizing about her sister and Harry being together. Granted, he could really see that. It wouldn't have been the first time a girl had tried to set him up with a friend or something. But this time just… seemed different.
Somehow, he knew this wouldn't go away as easily as Daphne thought.
0 – 0 – 0
It was a relatively easy task for Ginny to find Astoria for a 'talk', especially since the two shared more than one class together. Throughout the entire week, there was no less than five times the Gryffindors and the Slytherins were forced to suffer each other's company. So, it didn't really take long for the red-headed girl to find an opportunity to wait outside the classroom for Astoria to leave, and block the corridor with her hands on her hips, her 'Weasley-glare' set to go.
"Greengrass." She glared at the Slytherin girl.
"Weasley." Astoria replied, matching the other's frosty tone.
The other students, either knowing what was going to happen and didn't want to get caught in the middle of it, or were wary of getting on Ginny's bad side by watching, and immediately left in the direction of the Great Hall for lunch.
"I want to know what you are playing at." Ginny finally said when the last student, a Slytherin boy, disappeared down the hall.
"What I am playing at?" Astoria repeated. "Whatever do you mean by that?"
Ginny's eyes narrowed. "You know exactly what I'm talking about! What are you planning to do with Harry?"
Astoria laughed airily, reaching up to wrap a lock of hair around her finger. "What, he didn't tell you? I intend to match up Harry with my sister, Daphne."
"You can drop the joke, Greengrass. It's not funny."
Astoria's eyebrow above her green eye arched elegantly. "I'm sorry. Did I give you the impression that I was joking? If I did, it was my mistake. I am very serious about it."
Ginny squared her shoulders and stood defiantly in front of the other girl. "Harry and your sister are nothing alike. They couldn't be less well suited for each other."
Astoria laughed again. "That is where you are wrong, Weasley. They are a great match. They are practically made for each other."
"How can you possibly know that?" Ginny shot back. "You are new here. You were in Salem until this year, weren't you? You don't even know Harry."
Astoria's smile disappeared. "I know far more about him that you do, Weasley." She hissed.
Ginny scoffed. "Prove it. When is Harry's birthday?"
"July thirty-first." Astoria answered, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Where was he born?"
"Godric's Hollow, West Country."
Ginny blinked in surprise. She didn't even know where exactly Harry was born. "W-what's his patronus?" She asked.
The skin around Ginny's eyes tightened abruptly. She was almost sure no one outside the DA, save a few others, that knew what Harry's patronus was. Something was definitely wrong here.
Ginny bit her lip, trying to think of something only her and her family would know. Something that would prove Astoria didn't truly know everything about Harry.
Suddenly, in a flash of insight, she had it.
"If you know so much about Harry, you must know about his godfather. Who is he?" Smiling smugly, Ginny raised her chin at the other girl. It didn't matter if Sirius had died at the end of last year. There was no way this girl could know about his and Harry's relationship.
Astoria rolled her multi-colored eyes in mock-amusement. "You must be talking about Sirius, right? Sirius Black."
Ginny stepped back in shock. There was no way she should have known that. Unless…
"Who are you?!" She hissed, whipping her wand out of her pocket and pointing it at the black-haired Slytherin. "How in Merlin's good name do you know about Sirius?"
Astoria's eyes flicked down the length of Ginny's wand, and traveled back to her face, an unconcerned look gracing her features. "I told you, Miss Weasley. I know about Harry Potter. I know… probably more than most people in this world. I grew up hearing stories about him. I grew up hearing about what he did, ever since I was a baby."
Ginny scoffed, trying hard to keep her wand steady. It was a difficult task. "Those stories are all fake, Greengrass. And I grew up on the 'Tales of Harry Potter', too." She glared icily at the other girl. "And some of those things you couldn't possibly know; like his godfather, dead or not. Not unless… you are a death eater."
Before she could even blink, Ginny found herself looking down the length of the other's wand. Astoria's unconcerned expression melted away before her eyes to form a venomous, scathing stare. Her eyes, both green and blue, were fixed on Ginny's own brown eyes. It was all Ginny could do to keep her wand focused on the other.
"Careful, Ginevra." Astoria whispered softly. "I was trained by the best duelist of the age all my life. Your cute little 'Bat-Bogey Hex' can only go so far, after all."
Ginny swallowed, suddenly remembering her adventure in the Department of Mystery at the end of last year flashed in her memory. Fighting hard, not only for her own life, but also for her friends and family. Dueling with death eaters, dodging hexes, jinxes and curses, and barely making it out alive.
Filled with the courage from those memories, Ginny relaxed her shoulders and shifted her feet into her preferred dueling stance.
"I'm always careful." She said, her voice more determined than she herself felt.
Astoria, her stare never wavering, slid into a stance of her own. A stance that, Ginny noticed fleetingly, seemed vaguely familiar to her.
Not wanting to give the other girl a chance, Ginny swished her wand.
Astoria's disarming jinx was quick, and decisive. Ginny's wand was ripped from her fingers and sailed through the air. It flipped end over end, and to her horror, was snatched deftly out of the air by Astoria.
Ginny stared blankly at the black-haired Slytherin that disarmed her, a feeling of dread welling up in her chest. She had started a fight… her! She had started a fight with a Slytherin. There was no possible was this would end well for her.
In a surprising move, though, Astoria tossed Ginny's wand back towards her. The red-head caught it, blinking rapidly.
Astoria, shrugged. "I don't want to fight," She explained. "I just disarmed you because you started it. Keep that in mind the next time you feel like picking a fight."
Slipping her own want into her sleeve, Astoria walked up to, and past a shocked Ginny. When she was about to fully pass her, Astoria stopped and reached up, clasping the other on the shoulder.
"I am serious about Harry and Daphne, Weasley. I would appreciate it if you did not interfere with them or me. If you do, it won't end well."
With that, she patted Ginny's shoulder and walked down the hall, out of sight.
After a few moments, Ginny exhaled and swayed a little on her feet. She had just started a fight, and was handily defeated. That didn't happen every day. At least no professors had witnessed what had happened.
Taking a deep breath, Ginny turned around to make her way to the Great Hall when she stopped.
Astoria had called her Ginevra.
She hated that name!
0 – 0 – 0
The heavy wooden door to the Slytherin common room opened with an ominous creek, and Daphne Greengrass entered, her eyes hard and her expression even harder. She looked around the suddenly quiet room and, after a few moments, found her target.
Astoria was sitting in a plushy, dark green chair, her potions textbook propped up against her legs as she read. Her skirt was tucked tastefully up so no one got a free show, but it was obvious some of the remaining boys in the room hadn't lost hope yet.
Daphne approached her sister, her shoes slapping noisily against the stone floor in the silent common room, and she stopped in front of the occupied chair, glaring down at the younger girl. Astoria read the next couple of lines in her text and then, quite unconcerned, looked up at Daphne.
"What's up, sis?" She asked.
"Get upstairs. Now." Daphne ground out between clenched teeth. When Astoria didn't move, Daphne grabbed for her forearm and, all but snarling, hissed, "Now, missy!"
Ignoring the wide-eyes stared of their fellow Slytherins, Daphne dragged Astoria up the stairs to the girl's dorms and pushed her into the sixth year's room. She slammed the door and, looking around the make sure her roommates were elsewhere, turned on Astoria. The younger girl suddenly looked very afraid.
"Just what do you think you are doing?!" She screeched, clenching her hands tightly at her sides. "Locking me in a room with Harry-Griffindor Golden Boy-Potter?! Just what is going through your damn skull?!"
Astoria collapsed down on a bed, her eyes wide and her mouth working, but no sounds came out. She just sat there, staring up at Daphne, looking like a deer caught with a particularly bright lumos charm.
Daphne groaned and flung her hands out at the air. "I mean, I should be used to your little ideas! You do this kind of thing all the time! It's just… this time… why him?"
Astoria clasped her hands together in her lap, looking conspicuously away from Daphne as if avoiding the older girl's glare would lessen her verbal blows. "I just…" She whispered, her voice soft and meek. "I thought you two would work well together, Daphne."
Daphne scoffed, disgusted. "Yes. You've said that before, Astoria. But the fact of the matter is we won't. We don't have anything in common. Including from the fact that we are in separate houses, he and I are complete opposites. We do not work well together. You would know this if you had been at Hogwarts the past four years instead of Salem."
Astoria flinched. "I… know," She said. "It's just… I am so sure of it. You two are perfect for each other."
"So you keep saying! How could you possibly know that?" Daphne demanded, her anger still bubbling under the surface.
"I grew up learning about him, Daphne." Astoria tried explaining. "Ever since I was little I knew about him… I just know that you two belong together. I just know it!"
Daphne groaned tiredly. The girl just didn't get it! "Astoria, those are all stories! They are fiction – not real! You haven't been here. Therefore, you don't know the real Harry Potter."
Astoria looked up and locked eyes with Daphne. "And you do?"
Daphne's lip twitched. "That is enough, Astoria. Just drop it. Enough with your inane plan to get me and Harry Potter together. It will not work." She sent a final glare at the younger girl and turned around to walk out of the room. When she reached the door she said, "I don't want to hear about this again."
She reached out to open the door, when a sound stayed her hand. I was a soft sound, like a sniff. Blinking, Daphne turned around to see Astoria rubbing at her face with the back of her hand.
"Are… are you crying?" Daphne asked incredulously. She suddenly felt a little bad for yelling at her sister.
Only a little.
When Astoria didn't respond, Daphne let her hand fall and walked back to her, sitting down on the bed beside the younger girl. Slowly, she reached out and wrapped her arm around her sister's shoulder. The girl stiffened slightly, but then leaned into the embrace.
For a few quiet minutes, Daphne let Astoria cry softly into her shoulder. She couldn't… ever remember a time doing this, and Daphne couldn't really understand why she was allowing it this time. Especially considering the circumstances. This was not something she did. She didn't comfort her younger sister.
But, even as she told herself that, she still held Astoria, gently rubbing the girl's back with her hand.
"I'm sorry I yelled at you." Daphne finally said when the younger girl's sobs ceased.
Astoria shook her head, pulling back from her older sister and rubbing at her eyes. "No, I'm sorry. It's just…" She giggled. "It's been a while since I was scolded. I… kind of missed it, actually."
Daphne chuckled. "What are you talking about? You got into trouble only a month ago, remember? Mother yelled at you for accidentally setting the cat on fire."
Astoria's face went blank, as if she had no idea what Daphne was talking about. Then a few moments later, her face relaxed into understanding.
"Oh… yea. I almost forgot about that." She smiled softly. "Thanks…"
Daphne shrugged. "Just let me know when you want to be reminded of things you did wrong. I'll be happy to tell you."
Astoria giggled again, then because serious. "Daphne, I am serious about… well… Harry." At Daphne's frown, she continued. "I know you think you don't know much about him… but I can just feel it. You two…" She took a deep breath, and exhaled. "I just know it."
Daphne didn't reply. She just sighed and reached her arm out again, wrapping up her surprised sister in a soft hug.
Offered the comfort of her sister's embrace, the girl began crying anew.
0 – 0 – 0
It was a well-known fact that Hermione Granger spent a good amount of time in the library. The library's mistress, Madam Pince, at one time had joked about letting the young Gryffindor girl stay overnight in the library offices just so she wouldn't have to waste the time going to and from her common room.
Hermione had been ecstatic until she realized the older woman was only joking.
This time, however, Hermione entered the library with an intention other than reading. She had heard from word of mouth since the school year started, over two months ago, that the younger of the two Greengrass sisters frequented the library during her off hours. She had even seen her there during one of many excursions to prepare for homework.
Astoria Greengrass, ever since her bizarre transfer from Salem at the start of the year, had been a common topic not only within the Slytherin House, but due to her... proclivities, was also a frequent subject of discussion among the other houses. The fact that she was dead-set on setting up her older sister with the Boy-Who-Lived was something almost everyone in the school found humorous, if not a more than a little strange.
Hermione still had yet to figure out the exact details of her transfer. The staff was all strangely very tight-lipped about it. She had a feeling most of the teachers weren't even privy to the particulars of this little situation.
Regardless of the particulars, however, Astoria Greengrass was a fifth year student of the Slytherin house. Not only that, but she seemed to fancy it her mission in life to pair up Hermione's best friend with the girl's older sister. And it was for that reason that Hermione finally decided to approach the girl.
She found the ebony-haired Slytherin sitting at a desk in the back of the library, surrounded by papers and writing furiously with, slightly shocking Hermione into perplexity, a ball-point pen in lieu of a quill.
Shaking her head a little, she drew a breath and approached the younger girl. "Astoria?" She asked when she was close enough. The girl finished her thought on parchment and looked up, blinking her blue-and-green eyes in a somewhat familiar expression she couldn't quite put a finger on.
Heterochromia, Hermione thought to herself as she stopped a few feet away from the girl. It was a rare genetic trait for a person to have two eyes a different color each, even among witches and wizards. In muggle terms, it was the genes that determined what colored eyes a child would have. It was generally the same thing with witches and wizards, but more often than not it all boiled down to the magic.
A parent with stronger magic is more likely to pass down eye color, as well as other features to their child. In the case of differently-colored eyes, or heterochromia as Hermione reminded herself, it was because both the mother and father had magic of equal strength. Either that... or both parents had equally weak magic. But from what she had heard about the girl's confrontation with Ginny the previous month, Hermione doubted her parents had equally weak magic.
"Good afternoon, Hermione." Astoria said, smiling brightly. "What brings you down here?"
"I visit the library often." Hermione replied, shrugging. "I thought you would have figured that out by now. You are here almost as often as I am, after all."
Astoria snorted. "True." She said, shaking her head. "But this is the first time you came up to me. Did you want to talk about something?"
Hermione nodded. "I did, actually. It's about Harry. Can I sit down?"
Astoria waved her hand, gesturing to a nearby chair. Hermione pulled the seat up to Astoria's table and sat, placing her bag by her feet. Now seated comfortably, she looked over the stack of parchment littering the table. "What are you studying for?" She asked, curious.
Astoria laughed quietly. They were in the library after all, and it wouldn't do to have the mistress kick them out. "Oh, I'm not studying per-se. I'm trying to come up with new ideas to stick Daphne together with Harry. The first few ideas I had last month didn't really work as well as I had hoped. So I'm doing some brainstorming. You know; pros and cons... what has and hasn't worked... stuff like that."
Hermione raised an eyebrow at the younger girl's words. Her explanation was surprisingly well-thought out. "You've put some thought into this." She allowed carefully.
Astoria shrugged. "When you really want something, you've got to put effort into it. You get what you give, right?"
Hermione nodded at the old term, vaguely recognizing it as a decidedly 'muggle idiom', but overlooking it just as well. "That's a good attitude to have, Astoria."
The girl grinned. "It's what my parents taught me." She said proudly. She picked up her pen, twirled in around her fingers for a few moments, and then put it down on the table again. "So, are you going to warn me to leave Harry and Daphne alone, too?"
Hermione shrugged. "That depends."
"On… how our conversation goes, I guess."
"Fair enough." Astoria said, turning fully to face Hermione. "What do you want to know?"
"First of all," began Hermione. "Why Harry? I can understand wanting to set up your sister. I don't have a sister myself, but I think I can relate in a way. Harry is like a brother to me." Astoria nodded in understanding. "So I think I can understand your intentions with Daphne. What I don't understand is why Harry? Why him, and not anyone else?"
The other smiled. "I thought you would ask me that first." She sighed and leaned back in her chair. "I keep telling people; Ginny Weasley… Ron… that prat Malfoy… even Daphne and Harry themselves that they are perfect for each other. And I stand by what I said—they really are good for each other. I can see them… well… being really happy together."
"That's what I do not understand," said Hermione, frowning slightly. "You only transferred here at the beginning of the school year. If you had been here since your first year, then I could understand you knowing Harry; you would have at least had the opportunities to get to know him earlier. But as it is… I don't understand how you can possibly think to know who he is."
Astoria looked directly at Hermione. "I know about him."
Hermione shook her head. "Those are fictionalized—"
"No." Astoria stressed, leaning forward and taking Hermione's hands in her own. "I know Harry Potter. Not the stories. Not the Boy-Who-Lived. I know Harry James Potter."
Hermione blinked. Hard. The feeling of this girl, more than a year her junior, grasping at her hands and staring into her eyes was almost overwhelming. Her stare was piercing, determined and completely serious. Hermione knew, right then, that she knew Harry Potter. Not the fictional Character who travelled all around the world, wooing prepubescent veela as a child. Not the conqueror of giants and vampires all over Europe.
She knew the boy—no, the young man—who went home every summer to a family that didn't love him. She knew the young man who faced the Dark Lord more than once and lived. She knew the young man who was the Tri-Wizard Champion. She knew the godson of Sirius Black, and the son of Lily and James Potter.
She knew Harry Potter.
"How?" Hermione breathed. She barely heard her own voice. "How can you possibly…?"
Astoria released Hermione's hand and leaned back in her chair, looking away from her. Her face softened considerably, and was filled with a strange mix of pensive and… was that regret?
"I can't tell you." She finally said.
"Then I am not sure I can trust you enough to allow you to influence Harry like this." Hermione said, forcing herself to sound determined.
Astoria blinked a few times, and then looked back to Hermione. The younger girl's eyes were soft and apologetic. "I can't tell you how I know. But, what I can tell you is that Harry James Potter is the bravest, kindest, most caring and giving person I have ever met. He is absolutely selfless. He would give you the clothes off of his back if you asked. He would do anything to help you if you needed help. He never asked for anything except to be accepted; to be cared for and loved as a person instead of the Boy-Who-Lived.
"He lived for so long without friendship, or acknowledgement of any kind. And when he finally found his place in the wizarding world, he found himself with more friendship and acknowledgement than he could stand. But it was either false, or not the kind of attention he truly wanted. He wanted to just be…"
She paused, pursing her lips for the right word.
"Normal." She finally said. "He puts up with so much just to be treated like a normal person. Not the man who defeated Voldemort. Not the Tri-Wizard Champion. Not the 'Chosen one' or any of that prophetic rubbish. He just wants to be… Harry. And that's why he needs someone who can treat him as such."
She looked back up at Hermione, her determination returning strong. "And I know Daphne just as much, if not more. I know the two of them are perfect for each other."
Hermione was speechless. Never, in all her days, did she ever imagine she would hear someone other than herself, Ron, Ginny or Sirius say something like that. She just didn't think there was anybody else in the world that knew Harry that much. He was, by nature, a very private person. He liked his privacy, and just didn't easily let people in. But here was this girl that, barely over two months before, appeared practically out of nowhere, knowing as much about Harry that she did.
And that took her the better part of five years to do it. Hermione wasn't truly sure how this made her feel.
"Astoria…" She finally managed. "Do you… like Harry?"
"Of course I like him."
"No." Hermione leaned forward. "I mean do you… fancy him?"
Astoria blinked a few times, as if rolling the meaning of the words around in her head. The library seemed to go completely silent around them for a long moment as the girl stared back at Hermione. Then, as if she had suddenly and completely understood what Hermione said, Astoria's eyes widened and her face turned ghostly pale.
"What? M-me?" She whispered, her tone a mix of shocked and incredulous. "Jesus! No! Absolutely not!"
"Why?" Hermione asked.
Astoria's shock turned to defiance. "That's impossible," she said, turning her head to look away from the other. "Completely out of the question. There is no way I like him… that way."
"Why not?" Hermione pressed, concerned for the girl's sudden vehemence. "I mean… because it sounds like-"
"I do not fancy Harry Potter!" Astoria jerked her head back towards Hermione, her eyes narrowed and gaze unwavering. "I don't! That's just…"
"Astoria…" Hermione said softly, reaching out to grasp the other's hand like she had done a few minutes before. "What you just told me about Harry; how much you know about him and how you understand him… even if you don't tell me how you know, you still know. And the fact that you know all of this, and are that empathetic towards him… well, I can't help but think that way."
Astoria glanced away at that, looking down at the stack of parchment littering the table. "I don't feel that way about him. Daphne and Harry are meant to be together, not—not Harry and I. It isn't…"
Whatever Astoria was going to say was interrupted by Hermione getting up. The younger girl watched as Hermione gathered up her bag and hefted it over her shoulder. She silently returned her chair to where she found it, and then walked back to Astoria.
"I understand, Astoria." She said, looking down at the Slytherin girl. "At least, I think I do. I won't pretend to be happy with how you know so much about Harry, but—"
"I won't betray your trust." Astoria said, her eyes set and determined. "I would rather die than hurt Harry."
Hermione stared down at Astoria, searching the girl's eyes for any sign of anything less than complete sincerity. Not surprisingly, there wasn't any.
"I believe you, Astoria Greengrass." She finally said. "Then I guess I'll leave you to your planning." She turned to leave, but then stopped. "But I want you to consider what I said about your feelings towards Harry. If you are at all sincere about what you said…" She trailed off, shaking her head. "Never mind. Thank you for your time. Have a good night."
She nodded a farewell, and then disappeared around a towering bookcase. After a long minute of watching and waiting, Astoria was finally sure she would be left alone and turned back to her table. She grabbed her pen and clutched it tightly between her fingers.
"She's wrong." She whispered to herself. "I don't feel that way. I can't feel that way. It's impossible. It can't work. There is no way we can end up together; that would be just…"
Astoria clenched her jaw and shook her head, ridding her mind of the horrific thought that slid through her mind like a blade.
Swallowing hard, she picked up the last parchment she had worked on and tried to pick up from where she left off.
0 – 0 – 0
"So, what you are basically saying is after almost three months, you haven't made any progress at all with Daphne?"
Harry shrugged half-heartedly from his seat on the couch, having the sense to look at least a little apologetic in the face of Astoria's inquiry. Astoria, for her part, was not feeling particular generous, and the meek appearance the Gryffindor boy was radiating wasn't helping his case all that much. She stood a few feet away, her hands on her hips, glaring down at him heatedly, her wand conspicuously balanced between her fingers.
After repeated attempts to get Harry together with Daphne since the first week of school, Astoria was starting to notice a trend. Other students, no matter the house or affiliation, were now making a habit of eavesdropping in on Astoria and her plans. Whenever she tried to approach Harry or Daphne at mealtimes or between classes, there were always at least a handful of students overhearing her conversation in some form. Even in the Slytherin common room when she tried to talk to Daphne, there were eyes and ears everywhere.
Even the library, where Astoria had happily spent hours trying to come up with new plans and ideas, was breeched by curious and unwanted students.
When she brought this grievance up with Harry, and she had to admit to herself this was a premeditated plan to get him to knowingly show her where it was, he re-introduced her—though she would never say so— to the Room of Requirement.
And that's where she preferred to meet him and debrief him after every, at least thus far, attempt to 'woo' her sister. This time, the room was in the form of a lovely sitting room that reminded her vaguely of her childhood home growing up with her parents. She wondered if Harry felt as comfortable in the room as she did. With her glaring at him, probably not.
At least there was no one around to witness her scold Harry like a child.
"Well, I mean, what did you expect?" Harry tried, gesturing with his hand in the empty air. "After all, we don't have much in common. There isn't much we can talk about that I would consider 'mutual ground'."
Astoria groaned. "You can talk about common classes, for Christ's sake! Talk about transfiguration! Defense, since you are the defense genius of Hogwarts—" She ignored his cheeks coloring a light shade of pink as her comment. "Even talk about your mutual dislike of Professor Snape! Trust me, she doesn't like him any more than you do."
"I doubt that." Harry muttered under his breath.
Astoria ignored him. "Hell, you don't even need to talk to shag! Just grab her and tear her clothes off! It's easy!"
Harry's blush deepened, travelling from his cheeks down to his neck. "And that's another thing!" He said, suddenly gaining confidence. "Why do you always lock us up together in empty classrooms? Or push us in supply closets! It's almost like you want me and you sister to…to—"
"Snog? Shag? Fuck? Sure, take your pick."
Harry blanched, his expression as incredulous as it was shocked. Astoria had to admit she was slightly surprised by his reaction to the topic of sex. She thought he would have been more open, quite honestly.
Her own childhood was a very open environment as far as sex was concerned. Her parents were fairly liberal in their approach to the act. They loved each other greatly, after all. And while they never ventured outside the realm of 'tactless' as far as their child was concerned, Astoria was definitely familiar enough with the idea of sex.
Not that she ever had it, of course. Most definitely not. Her parents had firmly drilled into her head that she had to wait until she was 'in love' to finally give herself to a man… or woman, depending on her preferences, and she was perfectly willing to wait.
Her curiosity was still immense, however. Naturally.
"I don't think Daphne and I are that… well… taken with each other, Astoria." Harry finally said, his voice just above a mumble.
Astoria raised an eyebrow at that. "You don't like her?"
Harry grimaced. "It's not that. It's just… we can't… we aren't…" He heaved a sigh, shrugging. "She's nice and everything… We just aren't really that into each other."
"You're not just trying hard enough." Astoria accused harshly. She really didn't like what she was hearing.
"Astoria, you've tried to push the two of us together at least once a week for the past three months. At first it was kind of awkward, and we didn't know how to react. Daphne said it was another one of your 'phases' and that you would give up eventually. But when weeks passed and you still went at it, we figured we should just try and go with it. We tried to communicate and connect. We really did."
He sighed and leaned forward, resting his arms on his knees. "I don't really even care that she's a Slytherin, much. She's a good person, and I get that. I think she even overlooks the fact that I'm a Gryffindor— I would have never expected that. But honestly, I don't think it's going anywhere. She and I just…" He trailed off, shrugging. "Don't really feel it, you know?"
Astoria opened her mouth to argue, but Harry held up his hand, silencing her.
"Listen, I appreciate what you are trying to do. I really do." At her suddenly confused look, he smiled softly. "Hermione told me about your talk last month. In the library?"
Astoria couldn't help it. She stepped back involuntarily, the blood draining from her face. She really hadn't wanted Harry to hear anything that she and Hermione had shared. But really, she should have expected it. Hermione and Harry were always really close; almost like real brother and sister.
That didn't make the embarrassment and shame any easier to swallow, though.
Harry shook his head. "Don't worry, she didn't tell me a lot," he said, suddenly chuckling. "She just told me that you want me to have real friends. People that appreciate me for who I am—not what I am. I really appreciate that, Astoria. You have no idea how that makes me feel."
Astoria felt a blush creek into her cheeks, and she looked down, suddenly finding her feet very interesting. "It's… er… it's nothing, really." She managed.
"I know you think that Daphne and I would work really well together… but…"
"Can't you try?" Astoria asked, clutching her robes tightly with her free had. Her other still held her wand, but she knew she wouldn't ever use it against him. Not him.
Harry didn't reply for a long time. Astoria kept her gaze steadily on the floor, determined not to look at him. But, even as hard as she tried, she knew it was only a matter of time before she turned her eyes up to look.
His green eyes watched her intently, as if trying to poke into her mind, feel around to gauge her intentions. She knew he couldn't do legilimency, and with her occlumency training from a young age it wouldn't matter anyway… but still, she knew he wouldn't ever willingly read her thoughts. He had never been like that, not ever.
She stared back at him, her heart pounding in her chest as he watched her silently. Her fingers tingled and her head felt heavy. Her arms itched and her back shivered. Every nerve in her body screamed at her to look away, look away from his piercing, green gaze. It was dangerous, she knew. Dangerous because of what his eyes were saying. Dangerous because of what her eyes were saying. Dangerous because of what their silence really said.
Forcing herself to look away, Astoria turned around. "Just try. Please?" She finally repeated. "Daphne and you…"
She heard Harry sigh and stand up from the couch. "I know. We are perfect for each other." He said. Astoria cringed at his tone. It wasn't mocking in any way. But coming from his mouth, in his voice, it sounded like a horrible and disgusting lie.
"Right," Astoria said, her voice barely above a whisper.
Harry moved past her, and made his way towards the door. Before he got there, though, he stopped to turn back. "Would you… er… I mean… like to go to the Great Hall for lunch together?"
Astoria's eyes widened in shock at the boy's sudden invitation. It was as surprising as it was confusing. It was just an invitation to walk down the hall together to the Great Hall, she knew that. When they got there, they would separate to their respective tables to tuck in for lunch, she knew that. There was nothing odd about it, and was perfectly normal for friends.
"Alright." She said, swallowing heavily and taking a deep breath. Harry nodded at her acceptance and gestured towards the door. As she walked towards him, she forced herself to raise her chin and smile brightly. It came out alright, but it was a close thing. It was getting harder and harder to smile recently, she realized.
"The gentleman should always hold the door open for the lady, Mister Potter." She sniffed mock-disdainfully, channeling a tone her mother had always used with her father.
He chuckled and made a dash the rest of the way to the door, opening it to the seventh floor corridor.
"Of course, My Lady. After you."
It was frightening how similar he sounded at that moment to her father.
0 – 0 – 0
"So, let me get this straight. You and Harry were having a nice time, just doing homework together, and then Big-Willy-Malfoy just comes up and starts insulting him?"
Daphne nodded, not taking her eyes off of her textbook.
"Yep." She said, ignoring Astoria's quip against the Malfoy Scion. She licked her thumb and turned the page. "It was kind of funny, actually."
"And then what happened?"
"Potter gave into Malfoy's taunting, and soon it degenerated the two of them insulting each other's mothers. The words 'mudblood' and 'shite-sniffer' were included, the latter I thought was decidedly fitting for the Lady Malfoy, and then wands were drawn."
Astoria groaned and fell back on Tracy's bed. The two Greengrass sisters had retreated to Daphne's dorm room under the pretense of helping Astoria with her potions homework, and while everyone knew their real intention in discussing Harry Potter, no one bothered following them.
Recently, Astoria had picked up the habit of hexing those who had the audacity to eavesdrop on her plans. And no one particularly enjoyed having worms wriggling around, trying to escape through their noses. Astoria Greengrass's 'Nostril-Worm Hex' was quickly becoming as infamous as Ginny Weasley's Bat Bogey. No one really knew how she learned the spell either; it wasn't in any textbook or reference guide, making students and even professors to think that the hex was of an original design.
"Well, that's just wonderful." The younger girl said sarcastically. "And you didn't do anything at all to mediate it?"
Daphne shrugged. "Why should I? It was rather humorous."
"Real mature, Daphne."
This time, the older girl did look up. "Mature? Your one to talk. You are younger than me."
Astoria crossed her arms over her shoulders and huffed angrily. "Don't deflect this to me! You could have scored some real points with Harry by hexing Malfoy to end the fight."
"Couldn't I have just hexed Potter to the same end result?" Daphne sniggered. When she saw Astoria's unamused expression, she sobered. "Oh, lighten up, Astoria. I was joking. Potter had it handled. He's no slouch with a wand, after all. Malfoy is all talk."
"I'm not worried about Harry losing a fight." Astoria muttered. "It's just… you should have defended him, is all."
"I mean, you and Harry—"
"I really think that you—"
Astoria stopped, blinking rapidly as her sister's suddenly sharp tone. Daphne sighed and shut her book, sliding it off of her lap and turning to face her.
"Look, Astoria," She said softly. "I know you have been trying hard to get Potter and I together. Merlin knows I am shocked you have been trying for so long, too. At first I was sure you would lose interest after a couple weeks, but when you didn't…" She laughed; a soft, single exhale. "It just isn't going to work, Astoria. He and I are friendly enough with each other. I think we can be friends, maybe even good friends later. But there just isn't anything… there, you know?"
Astoria's hands clenched at her robes. Her feet were tucked under her legs on the bed, and they were starting to get numb, but she didn't care. "But Harry is really nice!"
Daphne nodded. "And I know that now. When the year started, I would have never thought I would be able to speak with Harry Potter, let alone get on with him."
"And that only took time!" Astoria tried to explain. "You and Harry just need more time to—"
Shaking her head, Daphne sighed. "Astoria… time isn't the issue here. I like him enough, but there just isn't any… attraction there. If there isn't now, then there won't be in the future."
Astoria stared at Daphne for a long time, a feeling of dread welling up in her stomach. This wasn't how it was supposed to be! Daphne was supposed to like Harry, and Harry was supposed to like Daphne! She just knew it was meant to happen!
She had tried everything she could think of to get them together since the year started. She had tried introducing them. She had tried hinting that the two liked each other. She had tried subtle clues, blatant explanations and directions, locking them into rooms together for hours, trying to slip them love potions personalized to each other's magic… she had even tried leaving them alone for days to see if her inaction would help at all.
Nothing had worked to push the two past being anything more than friendly with each other. It was both insanely frustrating and equally terrifying to Astoria.
"Daphne… Harry needs someone who will appreciate him for who he is. Not the Boy-Who-Lived. Not the defeater of Voldemort—" Daphne twitched at the name, which Astoria ignored. "Not the Chosen One… Just Harry Potter. Not many people are capable of that."
"And what makes you think I am?" Daphne retorted.
Astoria shook her head. "I… I just feel it. I just know that Harry is a great guy that needs someone worthy of him."
Daphne stared at her sister for a long time, until she finally spoke.
"You mean, someone like you?"
Astoria's face turned the color of bone. "Me?" She breathed. "N-no. Absolutely not, Daphne. That's impossible."
"Why is it impossible?" Daphne pressed, leaning forward to stare into her sister's blue-and-green eyes. She never quite understood why Astoria had different-colored eyes, whereas she had blue eyes. Both of their parents, after all, had blue eyes. It was a question that had never really been addressed. "You have done nothing since transferring here except try to hook me up with Potter. All you say is how great of a guy he is, and how any woman—namely me—would be lucky to have him, and how great it would be to have a girl that appreciates him in return. I'd say it's pretty obvious what's really going on."
"What are you talking about?" Astoria asked, her voice shaky. She knew what Daphne was going to say even before she said it.
"You fancy Harry Potter."
Astoria shook her head jerkily from side to side. "I already told you. Absolutely not. I do not fancy him. That's—"
"Yes, yes. I know." Daphne snapped. "Impossible, right?"
Cowed, Astoria hung her head. "He-he's a nice guy… but honestly… there's way in Hell we could end up together."
Daphne tilted her head to the side. "Why not?" When Astoria didn't answer, she sighed, standing up to fully face her. "You know what? Why don't you do what you've been telling me to do for months? Why don't you take your own blasted advice? Why don't you ask out Harry Bloody Potter?"
Astoria opened her mouth to argue, but snapped it shut just as quickly. She stared at Daphne's hard expression, fear and frustration roiling around in her stomach. She was dazed, the room spun, she felt dizzy and queasy.
Harry and I can't work, She heard the words whip around in her mind frantically. There is no possible way that…
Suddenly, in a flash of inspiration, she had an idea.
She had tried every possible way to get Harry and Daphne together. And every method failed spectacularly. However, there was one method she hadn't tried yet.
She hadn't tried to get Daphne jealous.
If Harry went out with someone else, Astoria figured, then Daphne would be jealous of another girl's attention to Harry and be more inclined to act upon it. That has worked in the past with many relationships, and Astoria had no reason to think it wouldn't work just as well this time. However, the fear of Harry actually falling for another girl was the main reason that Astoria deigned not to do it so far. If Harry ended up with another girl, and not Daphne, and it was Astoria's fault…
She really didn't want to consider what would happen if that indeed were to happen.
But, if Daphne saw Harry and Astoria together, instead of another girl that she couldn't trust implicitly, then maybe the jealousy that Daphne would feel towards her younger sister would be enough to force her to step up.
And, Astoria was a little ashamed to admit to herself, the thought of spending more time with Harry wasn't at all unattractive.
Making her decision, the younger Greengrass stood up from the bed and raised her chin defiantly. "Alright then, Daphne, I will. I will go ask Harry out."
The shell-shocked look on Daphne's face was almost worth the churning in her stomach.
Finding Harry was easy. After more than three and a half months of memorizing the older boy's routine and habits, Astoria could more often than not find out wherever he was simply by knowing the day of the week and the time of day. Right then, as it happened, he was about to take lunch in the Great Hall.
As Astoria entered the expansive room, she found the black-haired Gryffindor as he sat himself down beside his friends Ron and Hermione. Nodding to herself and setting her face with determination, she strode straight up to Harry. Hermione was the first to notice her, and smiled as if she knew exactly what was going to happen.
"Harry Potter." Astoria called as she reached the table. The young man looked up and blinked rapidly.
"Huh? Astoria?" He said, holding his fork loosely between his fingers. Ron glared at the Slytherin, but said nothing.
"The next Hogsmeade weekend, you are taking me out." Astoria declared, loudly enough for the nearest to hear.
Harry's eyes widened. "What?!" He sputtered, dropping his fork. The Great Hall was quickly going silent with this new development in the plan to hook up Daphne Greengrass and Harry Potter. "I.. uh… er…"
Astoria scowled and shook her head, jabbing her finger out towards Harry. "When an attractive witch asks you out, the proper answer is not to mumble! The proper response is to say 'Yes, Ma'am!'"
Completely overlooking the fact that Astoria did not, in fact, ask Harry and more-or-less demanded that he take her out, Harry sat up strait in his seat. "Y-yes Ma'am!" He said, eyes wide.
"That's more like it!" Astoria nodded in satisfaction. "There is two weeks until the next Hogsmeade weekend, so that means you have two weeks to decide where to take me. I suggest you use your time well." She nodded again, smugly. "I'll see you later."
With that, she whirled around and exited the Great Hall, ignoring the whispers that followed in her wake.
After the black-haired Slytherin left the room, Harry shook his head and muttered, "Just what the bloody hell what that about?"
"Harry, language." Hermione chastised, but was grinning at the same time.
"Barking mad. I keep telling you, mate." Ron said. He shook his head and helped himself to his sandwich.
0 – 0 – 0
The difference in the Astoria before the date to Hogsmeade and the Astoria after the date to Hogsmeade was very noticeable. Whereas before the date began to the first hour or so into it, she had been quite excitable, energetic, talkative and… dare she say it, a tad demanding of attention.
But as the date wore on, and Astoria realized how much fun she was having with Harry escorting her from store to store, looking at everything the shops had to offer and having a nice lunch at the Three Broomsticks, her lively mood slowly turned pensive, reserved, more than a little embarrassed, and what was worse… slightly depressed.
She had a wonderful time.
And she felt horrible because of it.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. Harry and Daphne were supposed to go out and have fun together. They were supposed to be the ones made for each other. They were supposed to be comfortable around each other. They were the ones that were supposed to feel this way!
The looks Harry was giving her all afternoon, up until the end of their date, just made Astoria feel worse. The looks he gave her, concerned and worried if he was perhaps a poor date, made all sorts of unexpected — and unintended— feelings permeate her body, coiling around her insides like a length of twine.
She couldn't be feeling this way about him. She just couldn't. It wasn't right.
As they walked back to the castle from the carriages, Astoria snuck another look at Harry from the corner of her eyes. He peered at her too, and smiled in response. She looked away, unsuccessfully fighting the blush that colored her cheeks.
Damn it! God Damn it! Daphne should be the one falling for him! Not me!
She had to do something to make the two of them get together. She just had to… before this got any worse.
"I had a lot of fun today, Astoria." She heard Harry say beside her. She blinked, suddenly realizing the two of them were in the Entrance Hall. There were a few other students around them, all returning to their respective common rooms or wherever else they were heading. Astoria didn't care one bit. All she knew was that Harry was still next to her, watching her with those eyes.
"Thanks. Me too." She replied mechanically. She had to get away from him. She had to get away and go somewhere to be alone. She needed to cry. She needed-
"Do you… er… want to go somewhere to… talk?" Harry asked, reaching up and rubbing his head. "I kind of… want to talk to you… about Daphne."
She tried to force herself to shake her head, to refuse his invitation. She knew where it might lead if she did go with him. She couldn't let that happen. But even as she forced all her willpower to the forefront of her mind, she heard herself say "Yea… I'd like that."
The trip up to the seventh floor corridor was uneventful, and they only passed a few other students. Even the students seemed to pick up on the mood, and refrained from whispering as Harry passed with Astoria in tow. They reached the portrait of Barnabas the Barmy, and stopped, looking around for eavesdroppers. When the found none, Harry began pacing the corridor. After three trips, the door to the Come and Go Room appeared. Harry opened the door for Astoria and she entered, followed closely by her date.
The room was as it normally was when the two of them came to talk. A nice sitting room, decorated tastefully with chairs and a few couches, complete with a couple coffee tables and even a small kitchenette in the corner of the room. Inwardly Astoria breathed a sigh of relieve. She had half-expected the room to be a bedroom instead of their usual sitting room.
You don't need a bed to shag, dear, her mother's voice rang in Astoria's ear as she sat herself down on her preferred couch.
Gee, thanks mum. You're a huge help.
She watched as Harry sat down on a couch opposite her, across a short, wooden table. He smiled at her, and gestured to the kitchenette. "Would you like some tea?"
Astoria shook her head. She didn't want tea. Harry nodded, looking down at his hands.
"Harry… do you like Daphne?" Astoria heard herself blurt out.
Harry looked back up at her, and seemed to consider her question. After a few moments, he nodded. "Yea, I like her."
Astoria blinked. "I mean… do you… fancy her?"
Again, Harry thought about his answer. "She's a good girl." He finally said. "She's smart… beautiful… and surprisingly nice once you get past the initial frostiness. Any guy would be lucky to have her."
"See? You know how great she is! And she knows how great you are… you two belong together."
"Do we?" Harry asked, his eyes soft. "Do we really?"
"Yes!" It was all Astoria could do to sound determined.
"But… what if I like someone else?" Harry finally said, softly.
Green eyes stared back at Blue-and-green eyes, unblinking and unwavering. Astoria wanted to look away. She wanted to turn her head, stand up and run from the room. She wanted to turn and not look back. She wanted to escape and forget everything that happened. It would be for the best.
But she couldn't. Those eyes just held her attention like nothing ever had before. She stared right back at them like she couldn't ever break away. Like she was made to be held captive by them. Like she couldn't imagine herself without them. She hated it. She felt disgusted with herself.
"You can't…" Astoria whispered, ashamed with the blush that quickly crept into her cheeks. "You-you can't. I-it's… it's not right."
"Why not?" Harry asked, leaning forward. He was blushing madly himself. "I-I mean…"
He was interrupted when Astoria shot to her feet. The powerful, confusing hurricane of emotions made it impossible to stay seated anymore. She couldn't stay here. She had to leave. Everything that had seemed to clear those months ago was fuzzy, indistinct and unimportant. She needed to run and think. She needed to get away from him.
She shot past Harry and ran to the door. She placed a hand on it and her heard froze in her chest when he heard him call out,
She stopped, her hand clenching the doorknob tightly, and her eyes wide. Surely she hadn't heard wrong?
"What… did you call me?" She asked, her voice just above a whisper.
She heard Harry stand, and take a few steps towards her. "Tori?" He repeated, questioningly. "That's… your name… right?
She slowly turned her head and looked back. "Only my dad ever called me that." She said simply.
His face turned apologetic. "Oh. I-I'm sorry…" he said, meaning it. "I didn't mean to... It just, sort of slipped out."
Astoria's hand slipped away from the door, and she turned fully back towards Harry. He looked at her for a long moment, as if deciding what to say, and then his eyes widened in shock.
"Astoria… you're crying." He said, reaching out to her face.
Blinking away a sudden stinging sensation, Astoria reached up and wiped at her face. She held out her hand to see that, indeed, her fingers were wet with tears. She nodded, and dropped her hand back to her side. "Only my dad ever called me 'Tori'." She repeated, her voice cracking.
Harry swallowed nervously, his arms held at his sides. He obviously didn't know how to react in this situation, and it was clear he was uncomfortable. But, to Astoria's surprise, he took out his wand and conjured a simple tissue.
Sucking in a soft breath, he took a final few paces towards Astoria and reached out with the tissue, gently dabbing her moist cheeks. The action only cause Astoria to cry harder, her silent sobs shaking her body as she clenched her robes between her thin fingers.
"Astoria, I—" Harry started to say, but faltered, unsure. "I'm sorry if I upset you."
Astoria shook her head mutely, she didn't trust herself to speak. It was all too much for her. Daphne… Harry… her feelings that she shouldn't have… everything. She simply couldn't deal with it anymore.
"I like your eyes." Harry suddenly said. Astoria blinked and focused on him, her mouth opening slightly in surprised. The boy smiled softly and shrugged. "I mean, you probably get that a lot but… I think they are pretty."
"A lot of people think they are odd." Astoria mumbled, her blush returning with a vengeance. "Or freaky."
"I don't like that word." Harry said, his brow furrowing. "Please don't say that. I like your eyes."
Astoria sniffed, and nodded. "That's another thing you two have in common."
Harry, oddly enough, smirked. "Who, your father?"
She didn't reply.
"Well, sounds an alright bloke." He said lightly. Astoria giggled, despite herself and nodded.
"You two are pretty alike." She said. After a moment, she felt Harry's hand underneath her chin and lift up her face. She blinked through bleary eyes and saw him watching her carefully.
"Not too much alike, I hope?"
Astoria stared at him for a long time. He stared right back, and finally dropped his hand, resting it on her waist. His hand felt heavy, and she felt it clearly through her robes. It was impossible to ignore, and she was ashamed to admit that she wanted more.
Slowly, she shuffled her feet forward, and found herself resting her forehead against Harry's chest.
"Hold me." She whispered. Harry did so, keeping his hand on her waist and reaching out with the other hand to the small of her back.
His touch, even though her winter robes, burned with clarity. She trembled in response to his touch, and she hated herself for it. She knew it was wrong. She knew she couldn't… shouldn't do this. She knew the smart thing would be to push him away and run. But she couldn't do it.
I'm a horrible, despicable person.
Reaching up with her hands, Astoria clasped the front of Harry's robes and looked up at him. He stared down at her, his bright green eyes steady on her. She knew what he wanted, and she could feel what she wanted. If she did this, there would be no going back.
"I'm not Daphne." She whispered, her eyes pleading silently to have him understand they shouldn't do this. "I'm not Daphne."
Harry licked his lips and, after a moment, nodded. "I know that, Tori."
Feeling the damn of her emotions, that had been steadily cracking for weeks, fully shatter with the last of her apprehension and hesitation, Astoria choked a sob and pulled Harry to her, crushing his lips to hers in a fierce kiss.
She didn't know precisely what Harry's reaction would be to her sudden aggressiveness, but when he pushed into the kiss and held her tightly in his arms, Astoria felt her knees go weak and her head go fuzzy. She whimpered when his lips left hers suddenly, but moaned into his mouth when he returned.
Every touch, every taste, every smell reminded Astoria, through her quickly muddling mind, that this was wrong. That she shouldn't be doing this.
But fuck it if she didn't care anymore!
Desperately, she pulled back and glared up at Harry, her hands working at the clasps at his robes. "I am not Daphne." She said one final time. This was his last chance to end it. If he didn't… she wasn't going to stop.
He swallowed. "I know. I don't want Daphne. I want you, Astoria."
He didn't want Daphne. The declaration should have made her cry again. But it just made her flush with heat, her body wanting with desire. She pulled and tugged at his robes while he did the same to hers, both trying to maneuver their way back to the couches while staying on their feet. Harry yelped in shock when a couch finally appeared behind him, and Astoria fell with after him, landing sprawled over his now-bare chest.
Not wasting any time, she pushed herself up on her hands and finished the job of ridding Harry of the last vestiges of his clothing. A few desperate moments later, she herself was naked and she returned to his lips, her hips writhing frantically against him until she felt an indescribable friction push against her. A little more wiggling and she gasped in pain as she finished the coupling.
She pushed herself back up to look down at Harry underneath her. He stared up at her with longing and desire in her eyes, and she was sure he saw the same in her.
"Tori…" Harry whispered, reaching up to ran a finger down her cheek. He pulled back, and Astoria saw his hand was wet again; wet with her tears.
Astoria reached down, laced her fingers in his, and gave it all she had.
0 – 0 – 0
It was dark when Astoria woke. In her disorientation, she had no idea where she was, only that there was little light. A soft blue glow filtered throughout the room, likely from a window somewhere, and it took a few moments for her eyes to adjust.
When she took in the familiar look of the Room of Requirement, everything came rushing back in a shocking recollection.
Blinking away her sleepiness, Astoria shifted from her position on the couch and looked to find the sleeping visage of Harry James Potter, resting comfortably behind her, equally as naked as she herself was, his arm wrapped protectively around her waist. A blanket was covering both of them for warmth as much as modesty. Staring blankly at the face only centimeters away from her own, Astoria was forced to look at the cold, hard truth of what had happened.
And it caused her stomach to churn painfully.
As quickly as she could without waking him, Astoria extracted herself from Harry's embrace and, scooping up her discarded robes from the floor, quickly located another door in the room. Not the exit, she knew, but a much smaller, attached bathroom.
She entered the room silently, and after pulling her wand from her robes, swished the length of wood for illumination. The bathroom, now lit from the candles and small chandelier floating above, was more spacious than she expected. But she didn't have the mood to appreciate it.
Looking in the mirror and seeing herself, fully nude and pale with the knowledge of her actions, caused a wave of nausea to wash over her. Barely having the mind to drop a silencing charm on the door before she dropped her wand and robes to the floor, she dashed to the sink and vomited violently in the basin.
She heaved painfully, emptying her stomach of everything left in it; her lunch from Hogsmeade, anything she drank since then and what looked like a significant amount of bile. When she was empty, she spat the bitter taste away from her lips and tongue, but was unable to get rid of it completely, and looked back at her reflection in the mirror.
"Oh my god…" She whispered, horrified with what she did. "I can't believe this happened." She covered her face with her hands, unable to look at herself, and shook her head morosely.
She stood there, in front of the mirror, for a long time. Not quite sure to cry or be sick again, she settled for slamming her fist on the sink. She grunted in pain as she hit the stone basin, not caring if she hurt her hand. Hell, she probably deserved any pain she got anyway.
She screamed in frustration and anger, only to whimper in pain as she slapped her hand against the hard, cold stone of the sink. Her skin stung painfully, but it helped her concentrate on the reality of the situation. There was no two ways about it.
She had slept with Harry Potter.
Fighting the urge to be sick again, Astoria fell to her knees and dug through her robes. After a moment, she withdrew what she was looking for; a smallish gold locked on a length of chain. Grabbing her wand as well, she climbed to her feet and returned to the sink. With a wave of her wand and a muttered vanishing spell, the sink was cleaned.
Astoria swallowed painfully. Ever since returning to Hogwarts this year, she had refrained from opening the locked. She had kept it either deep in her robes, or locked securely in her trunk by her bed. She didn't know what possessed her, or what kind of insanity overtook her, to take the locket out during her date with Harry, but now that she was here, standing shakily in the bathroom with Harry sleeping in the next room, she was glad she brought it.
With a trembling hand, she opened the locket and looked inside.
Staring up at her, in a small wizard's photograph was a family. A father, mother and daughter no older than ten or eleven. Each had black hair, the ladies' long and wavy while the father's was short and messy. Each stood up straight, as was expected of a nice, well-off magical family. Even though the father wasn't raised in a traditional family, the wife was and did what she could ever since their betrothal in their seventh year at Hogwarts. Many people disagreed with their matching, but they persevered and were happily married after graduating.
They had their first daughter three years later. A daughter named Astoria Lily Potter.
Astoria blinked back tears and read the inscription on the inside cover of the locket.
Home is where your family is.
Harry, Daphne and Astoria (Age 10).
Looking down at her own ten-year-old self in the small picture, Astoria could almost make out the sneer that the girl shot back up at her, her blue-and-green eyes narrowed to slits.
You shagged our dad, She hissed. You fucked our daddy, you disgusting slag.
With a shriek, Astoria tossed the locket away and covered her face, weeping heavily into her arms.
Just how… how had it come to this?
When she first found her parents, both Harry and Daphne, dead in their home at Godric's Hollow, she had no idea her life would turn out this way barely a year later.
Her mother was a gifted spell-crafter; very famous and very successful with her enchantments and charms. Between her and her father's multi-faceted success with not only quidditch, but also professional dueling and his work in the new Ministry of Magic, the entire family was quite well off.
But even with their financial success, her mother still liked to push her limits from time to time. While Astoria was out visiting her friends during the summer after her fourth year at Hogwarts, there was an accident at home. She returned to Godric's Hollow to find both her mother and her father, dead in a smoldering fireball that used to be her childhood home.
Overcome with grief, Astoria wanted to follow her mother and father into what lied beyond. That was, until she found what her mother bad been working on.
Time magic was one of those magics that bordered on dark and unforgivable. While not quite as well documented and feared as the killing curse, imperius or the cruciatus curse, time magic was just as taboo because of the potential damage that could be caused.
After inheriting her mother's notes and books, she realized the extent of what her mother was planning.
Returning to the past, righting mistakes made, saving loved ones lost. Defeating the Dark Lord before he had the chance to gain as much power as he did.
And what horrified Astoria most was that her father had been going along with it.
But after the shock of what her parents had tried to do wore off, an idea formed in her head. Return to the past… saving loved ones.
She could go back and save her parents. She could see them again, and be a family once more. To attain that goal, she would do anything. Delve into magics no matter how dark.
She would see her family again.
It took months to finish her mothers work. She had never been as talented as her mother was at spellcrafting; she could create her own spells, sure, and they were quite useful –her classmates were rightly wary of her Nostril-Worm hex— but they lacked the overall elegance of her mother's work. She had to drop out of Hogwarts and move her work to Grimmauld Place to finish. She never liked the old Black family residence, but it suited her purposes just fine.
Just before what would be the end of her fifth year at Hogwarts, Astoria completed the time-reversal spell. The only problem was, she didn't know exactly how long she wanted to go back. She could simply return to the start of the previous summer, and save her parents from death. But then she remembered what her parents had originally intended to do by returning to the past, and her decision was made.
To return a full twenty years to the past required a strong magical catalyst, and Astoria almost didn't have the heart to destroy her father's wand to get at the phoenix feather core inside. But the feather worked perfectly, and with a few whispered incantations and a last look around where she spent almost a year working tirelessly, she completed the spell.
It was shock to Astoria Potter, waking up at her Grandparent's family home. Even more of a shock was seeing her mother, barely a year older than she was then, waking up right beside her in blank shock.
She felt absolutely horrible about obliviating her mother and reconstructing false memories of a younger sister named Astoria. Even more painful was that she used her mother's own spell to do it. Toying with her grandparents own memories hurt slightly less so, and she was determined to stop there. If she could get by with as little skewing of the past as possible, then it would be all the better.
Not a week after arriving in the past, she received a visitor from not only Minerva McGonagall, but also Headmaster Dumbledore from Hogwarts. If Astoria, as well as the Greengrasses were shocked at the sudden visit, she was even more shocked to meet the fabled wizard. He had died when her parents were students, after all!
Their surprise visit was prompted by a most curious occurrence; Astoria Lily Potter's name appeared in the Hogwarts Book. After some initial shock and a few liberal uses of the obliviate charm, the Greengrass family –save Astoria— was left no worse for the wear. Headmaster, er… Professor… McGonagall and Headmaster Dumbledore were given the gist of Astoria's past, or future as the case may be, and she was given leave to join in the following term at Hogwarts, essentially picking up where she left off.
At least, after trading some critical information about a certain Dark Lord, that is.
Astoria started the school year with one goal in mind. Assure that her parents get together. If they were firmly planted in a relationship, then Astoria could rest easy with the knowledge that her future was secure. She didn't know all the rules of time travel, but she safely assumed that her existence would be questionable if Harry and Daphne never had the opportunity to have a baby.
The idea made her heart hurt constantly.
The plan should have worked perfectly. She knew her parents, from what they told her, had first gotten together in their sixth year. So, with that knowledge, she thought it was be a simple matter of pushing the two of them together until something happened.
Unfortunately, she had no idea her interference would have the opposite outcome she intended. Worse yet, she had no way of knowing she would fall in love with Harry Potter.
Her own future father.
Biting back another sob, Astoria pushed herself to her feet and glared at herself in the mirror. She looked tired, haggard, and her skin looked a sickly yellow. Worse yet, her eyes were absolutely perfect.
Her eyes, each color inherited from both the magic of her mother and her father, stared back at her with hatred and disgust. She had known the dangers of getting to close to her parents, and completely ignoring said dangers, Astoria had knowingly and willingly thrown herself right into the middle of a complete and major fuck-up.
"I am so fucked." She whispered tiredly to her reflection. "Aren't I?"
Her reflection seemed to consider that, and then shrugged. "It depends on how you look at it. You could be very well screwed if you allow yourself to be. On the other hand…" She trailed off.
Astoria snorted bitterly. "I had sex with my own father. I was seduced by my own weakness and my body, and I paid the price for it."
Her reflection nodded solemnly. "That much is true. However, is it really so bad?"
Barking out a harsh laugh, Astoria snarled, "I fucked my own dad! How is that not bad?!" When the reflection didn't respond, she slapped her hands on the countertop. "We cannot possibly have this kind of relationship! I'm his daughter! I can't love him like this!"
The reflection looked sharply back at Astoria. "Why not?"
The question rocked Astoria to her core. It was so clear, so perfect in its sincerity, that she almost believed it herself. But there was no way…
"Why can't you love him? Why can't you treat him how he deserves to be treated?"
"Because… Mom… Daphne…" Astoria said weakly.
"No," Her reflection shook her head. "This Daphne is not your mother. And this Harry is not your father. They died last year in their home, nineteen years from now. They are not the same people."
And that was indeed the heart of the matter. Was Harry the same person as her own father? Was Daphne the same Daphne that gave birth to her, a mere five years in the future? They shares similarities with their counterparts in Astoria's memories… but the cold, had truth was—
"They aren't my parents." She finally said, her voice laden with grief. "My parents died last year, trying to make the world a better place."
Her reflection looked back at her, the same look of grief on her face she was feeling. And then she knew she had the correct answer.
Was Harry the same as her father? No. This Harry was not the same man she had loved and grown up adoring. This Harry… this Harry she loved more than life itself. This Harry, she would forsake her future for.
Slowly, Astoria wandered over to the corner of the room and retrieved her locket; her last keepsake from her mother and father. She would hate to forget about them… but the locket served as an unavoidable link to the past. Or the future. She couldn't let it fall into the wrong hands.
She looked down at the picture of her mother and father, both standing around her ten-year-old, sneering counterpart.
You fucking slag, her face seemed to hiss. There is a special place in Hell for people like you.
Blinking through her tears, Astoria licked her lips and held the locket close to her chest.
"Daddy…" She whispered. "I can't be your little girl anymore. I'm sorry. I'll always love you." She kissed the locket and held it close again. "Mummy…" She broke into a fresh wave of tears. "Please forgive me. I will always remember what you taught me."
She had no words for herself.
Taking a deep breath, she cast a small bout of spellfire in the sink, and dropped the locketinto the flames. She watched as the gold melted, and slowly bubbled away down the drain.
Minutes later, a composed and quiet Astoria left the bathroom to find Harry still sound asleep on the couch. Placing her robes and wand on the table beside it, she lifted the blanked and slipped back into Harry's embrace.
As she got comfortable, Harry mumbled, "Tori?"
Astoria turned her head and placed a chaste kiss on Harry's lips. "I'm here, Harry."
Nodding sleepily, Harry quickly drifted off back to sleep. Astoria watched him for a few long moments, and then snuggled into his chest deeply.
"I'll never leave you again."
0 – 0 – 0
Harry James Potter and Astoria Jane Greengrass were married two years after Astoria graduated from Hogwarts, following a three-year long engagement period after Harry himself graduated.
Astoria, having achieved extremely high marks on her NEWTS – second to only Hermione Granger— went to work as a professional spellcrafter. She never told anyone why she adamantly pursued that particular line of work, but no one could argue with results. The only other witch even coming close to her creativity and skill with spellcrafting was her sister, Daphne.
Harry went to work as a professional dueler, as well as a contracted Auror during his off-season. He still flew quidditch for fun, but never professionally.
Five years after Astoria graduated from Hogwarts, she gave birth to her first daughter, Lily Astoria Potter. Astoria argued for a long time about not wanting her name to carry over to her daughter, but tradition dictated that the daughter take her mother's given name as her middle name.
Harry and Astoria Potter were very happy together, and Harry could never think of a time he was ever unhappy with his choice of partner.
There was only ever one time he was ever concerned for his wife, however. Two years after their daughter, Lily was born, Harry walked into the living room of their home to find Astoria holding Lily up, staring straight into their daughter's blue-and-green eyes, as if she couldn't recognize the baby girl she was holding in her arms.
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A/N: Again, I welcome any and all criticism as well as opinions. Any grammar and spelling mistakes are mine and not the fault of Microsoft Word of 's spellchecker.
Thanks for reading.
PS: Oh yes. If you do feel the need to comment on this, please no spoilers. :-)