If anyone has any pieces of constructive criticism about this one shot, then please feel free to let me know. It would be greatly appreciated :))
But anyway, this is a piece I wrote wayyy back in July when I became sick of the lack of Astoria fanfictions, so I decided to just start one myself. I will probably keep writing small one shots like this (I say that this is short but it's actually pretty long) until I get a stroke of inspiration to start a proper story.
That's all I gotta say, and I hope you enjoy x
Astoria sighed contentedly, as her bony fingers swam through the silken chocolate brown waves of her niece's hair. They were sat in a field, - God knows where - the three of them, relaxing, playing and laughing, blissfully ignorant to what was going on in the dark manor back in Nottingham; the place that they call home. But that didn't matter. What mattered most, at that moment in time, to Astoria, was that her nieces were happy, which consequently boosted her emotions.
Her eldest niece, Anastasia Astoria Nott, sat up from her aunt's chest and gazed up at her through exhausted blue eyes "Can we stay here forever and ever auntie Tori?"
Astoria chuckled lightly at the sacred childhood innocence, smiling fondly at the child, which then became wider and brighter when she noticed her other niece, Emmeline Pandora Nott, also staring at her perplexedly yet intently, awaiting a response.
"You are both very much aware that your mum and father would be devastated if we stay here without them," She carefully manoeuvred her body towards where her youngest niece was slouched, her pudgy fingers tugging at the pure white daises littered around her feet, ripping them from their earthly home. Astoria watched her niece curiously, feeling a punch of guilt at the disheartened look that plastered the young girl's face. She rested a gentle hand on Emmeline's shoulder, causing her to come to an abrupt halt.
"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." Astoria calmly advised, delicately receiving the flowers from the child's hands, and slowly began weaving them through Emmeline's long golden locks - which seemed to glisten beautifully in the blistering summer sun.
Their surroundings were magnificently perfect: a baby blue cloudless sky, a blazing and striking sun, with a feather-soft breeze which complimented the atmosphere nicely, as it surfed across the tips of the long blades of green grass, and not forgetting, the various amounts of daisies which were populating the field. In the distance, when there was a particularly strong gust of wind, the lush trees would expel flocks of vibrant coloured birds, sending them soaring into the heavens. It was truly tranquil.
"Can you please do my hair like that?" Anastasia asked politely, just after Astoria had finished plaiting Emmeline's hair.
Beaming at her manners, their aunt replied with: "Why of course!" Then, she turned to face her youngest niece.
"Now, I need you to go on a special mission, and hunt for more of your exceptional daisies! Do you think you could do that for me?"
Nodding her head vigorously, blatantly elated by the task, Emmeline sprang up from her position on the grass and pranced around the area, searching for more flowers.
Anastasia, on the other hand, raised a dark eye brow at her aunts request, as she noticed a pile of daises, clearly hidden underneath her dress purposely "Why did you do that?"
"Because I thought that we ought to talk...you know, about what happened earlier," Astoria responded in her usual soft tone "You are both very mature for your age, which is something that your parents don't seem to take into consideration when speaking of personal matters in-front of you and your sister."
"They think I'm stupid," She mutter back bluntly "The same with Emmy. She keeps questioning me in private about what they're talking about. Just the other day, she even asked me if they were getting a divorce!" Anastasia's voice started to increase in pitch throughout her monologue, but fortunately, she cracked at the last word, and she wisely continued on in a more hushed tone "How am I supposed to comfort my sister, when I don't even know what's going on, or what's going to happen. I think we're both just- we're both really scared aunt Tori. And I don't know what to do..."
Astoria finished braiding her hair, and gracefully moved so she was sat cross-legged, and face to face with her niece, with her small hands resting in her longer ones "Do not worry yourself sick over their arguments. At the end of the day, your parents love each other - and they love you both, for that matter."
Anastasia raised her worried eyes from their joined hands towards her aunts gaze "But then...if they love each other, why do they always fight?"
Emmeline could be heard screeching happily in the background, as butterflies fluttered around her head.
Astoria sighed, though this time, it was out of pure anxiousness, before she spoke "I need you to keep this between me and you, okay? Because I'm not sure Emmeline is ready to know and understand what is happening."
Anastasia felt a sudden wave of nausea, which was also combined with excitement for the new information she was about to receive.
"I'm very sick Annie," Astoria stated, with a smile too innocent and comforting to be paired with the words she had just uttered "And...over time, I will probably one get worse."
To say that her niece was dumbfounded was to put it lightly. She couldn't seem to wrap her mind around this revelation. Her aunt Astoria, who was always there for her and her sister, and seemed to be the glue that kept her mother from crumbling like pastries, was sick.
For one stupid moment, Anastasia considered the woman to be lying, that she could not possibly be ill as she looked and acted fine consistently.
But then the sun literally and figuratively shone upon Astoria, morphing a halo above her head so she resembled an angel, and the young child then noticed, with concern, that her aunt was in fact, incredibly pale, thin and petite.
Squirming slightly under the sharp gaze of her niece, the woman decided to retract the girl's attention from her appearance to another matter "I am the reason your parents argue. Your mother wants me as close as humanly possible to monitor my condition. But unfortunately, your father isn't as compassionate, and sees me as a 'bad influence' upon you and your sister."
Astoria continued "I suppose it's true, just by looking at the distress all of this is causing you and your sister. I may just save them from making a decision and choose to leave instead. I feel as though it would be for the best."
Anastasia spluttered for an answer, to argue against her father who wasn't even present, along with her auntie who was right in-front of her "Oh you simply must stay! Look at how happy you've made me, how happy you've made Emmeline!"
They both directed their gazes towards the laughing girl, who had clearly forgotten about her daisy task and was currently rolling through the grass crazily.
"I've refused treatment," Astoria whispered into the whipping winds, which were growing stronger, causing the trio's matching white dresses to billow frantically.
"I beg your pardon?" Anastasia countered her tone "How cou-"
"Because of moments like these,"
The eldest child then noticed her auntie had her eyes close peacefully, as though she was completely content "You're not stupid Annie. Don't be stupid like your mother, and truly believe that there's a cure, because the reality is, that there isn't, and if you know me at all, then you'd know I would rather be spending my few days with you and your sister than in that forsaken hospital,"
Anastasia's eyes began to dangerously brim with tears, and Astoria didn't open her eyes until the young girl started openly sobbing.
Guiltily, the woman wrapped her slender arms around her niece, and held on, as though she was the only cure she needed.
And during that blissful summers afternoon, Anastasia learned of her beloved aunt's condition, and couldn't help but feel a deep surge of anger, bubbling up inside her like a volcano awaiting to erupt, at how selfish Astoria was.
Thank you for reading :)) x