She Came Out Through the Bathroom Window

October 23, 2000

As Draco Malfoy leaned against the elaborate cobblestone fireplace, turning his head away from the idle chatter filling the farce of a party, he began to ponder whether or not he had taken some serious missteps in his life. From as far back as he could remember he had been groomed for greatness. The only son of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, he had been set to receive not only his paternal inheritance, but the spoils from the Black family as well, as his mother's family had all either died before procreating, been thrown into prison for life, or had been cast aside as Pureblood traitors. The Malfoy wealth and prominence alone had once been one of the most revered in all of Wizarding England, and as a young child Draco's prospects were great. He simply had to ease through Hogwarts with his genetically insured Malfoy savvy, remain on top of the social ladder, and develop his managerial skills before his combined parents' wealth would leave him the most powerful Wizard in the Isles.

But then Harry happened. Perfect Potter and his insufferable entourage had altered Draco's life into ways unimaginable.

"Ow!" Draco gasped, as he was shocked out of his contemplation by a sharp jab in the ribs. He looked down to see the filthy, twisted smile of little Tobias Flint, holding a pointed toy wand up towards Draco's torso.

"Get out of here, Toby!" Draco demanded, raising his arm in a threatening backhand motion.

"I don't have to listen to you," the five year old stated defiantly. "Father says that you're as lousy in real life as you are at Seeking."

"Well, did Father also tell you he used to fuck Hippogriffs before he found his way over to your mother?" Draco inquired shrewdly, siphoning only a nuance of pleasure away from the traumatized look young Flint held upon his face.

The boy ran off into the crowd of the party, no doubt to that hideous horse faced mother of his to retell of his explicit imagery. Draco wished he didn't have to care. Marcus had always been an idiot, and Draco was able to manipulate the brute six years his senior when he was only eleven. But things were different now. Flint had married well financially, and was now the head of one of the top broom manufacturing companies in the world. And Draco was… well, nothing.

Secretly and realistically, Draco knew it could all be much, much worse than it was. Between his mother's sacrificial heroics during the Battle of Hogwarts and that impertinent scar-head witnessing what Draco believed to be one of the weaker moments of his life, the Malfoys (much to their distain) had been given a light sentence on Potter's bequest. His father had been sent back to a Dementor free Azkaban for a year, coupled with another year of house arrest which had just recently expired. Draco was sentenced to his own year of house arrest, with a slew of community service hours he had to complete within the next ten months.

And, to top it all off, they were fined. Heavily. The once seemingly infinite amount of Malfoy money had been reduced to a very tangible amount. They still had money, as a fraction of near infinity is still a bloody lot, but none the less it was an immense hit.

The only saving grace Draco could see out of the whole mess was that the Ministry had left his mother out of it. She already had to suffer the indignities of a disgraced husband and son, he was at least grateful it was left at that.

But the Malfoy name seemed to be irreparably tarnished. Sure they had managed to come out of the war with their family intact and a fair amount of money still safely stowed in Gringotts, statistics that many of their colleagues could not boast. But they were seen as traitors from both sides, untrustworthy scum that had managed to wheedle their way between the cracks, supported by that wretched lover of Mudbloods Potter.

All of which could be excused with the right amount of money. An amount the safe at Gringotts was terribly distant from. It was in a Slytherin's nature to be self-preserving above all other things, and the Malfoys had done nothing that the other families chattering lazily around the room wouldn't have done. The Malfoys just weren't as lucky.

Some families, like Flint and his horrific wife, had managed to stay out of the war. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had no interest in recruiting worthless people like them, and Flint was too afraid to step out. He therefore found himself in the lucky position to benefit from the fall of families like the Malfoys, who had put nearly all their eggs in the Dark Lord's basket, and he shot to the top of the social strata.

Then there were families like his old crony Goyle. Goyle had lost almost everything, including his father and best friend, through the war. His family had been very involved in You-Know-Who's reign, and without a sponsor like Potter at his side, he and the left of his holdings were mercilessly harangued. All that remained of Goyle was his large, nearly empty manor and his title as a Pureblood.

Yet, even he was held higher in Slytherin Society than Malfoy. He had lost everything, sure, but he hadn't gone so low as to accept help from Potter. Goyle had fought to the end, while the Malfoys were blamed for allotting the Dark Lord's destruction. Goyle could make or marry into money to regain status, while Draco would need a miracle to ever even approach his once held lofty position.

Despite all of this however, Draco and his family were still expected to attend Pureblood events like this one. It was a remnant of the old age, back when Pureblood families boasted their superiority freely, and could snub even the richest of wizards with a drop of Muggle blood in their veins. Now days these events were strictly prohibited by the Ministry, and all such gatherings were carefully watched. But there were, of course, ways around such things. Families would find a cause to celebrate any menial thing, and then only invite the ancient Pureblood families. There was no way an upstanding Ministry would deny a man a chance to celebrate a wedding, birthday, anniversary, or, in this particular case, a baby shower.

Estrid Flint clomped around her enormous living room, her rounded belly taking a firm shape on her otherwise flabby body. How either of the Flints could stand to shag the other was beyond Draco, but with a second child clearly on the way he supposed they were able to shut their eyes and bare it.

"Draco!" his father's icy voice called from across the room. "Come wish Mrs. Flint congratulations." Draco rolled his eyes before pushing himself off the wall and heading towards where his parents stood. Five years ago Lucius Malfoy wouldn't have given a damn about sucking up to such a person, but the Malfoy's social position was only secure by their blood purity, ancient reputation, and the small amount of wealth they possessed. An amount Lucius falsified by continuing to buy his family the best robes for such outings as these.

This particular issue was what appeared to be the final nail in Draco's proverbial coffin. While his father was in Azkaban, Draco had been left in charge of the family finances. He had successfully paid off the massive fine, on time, by selling off undevelopable tracks of land that were in prime real estate locations for a high price, and was very frugal about dipping into any actual cash. When such land ran out, he decided to forgo the cash and keep the most productive aspects of their estate, such as the arable farm land and their real estate businesses that continued to bring in money. A year after the war the Malfoy holdings were extremely limited, but those that remained were productive and dependable, and the family was receiving a comparatively smaller yet continuously steady income.

When his father had returned from prison to start his house arrest he was furious. He had reprimanded Draco for selling off land and assets that had been Malfoy heirlooms for centuries. Draco bit his tongue as Lucius accused him of ruining the family business. Lucius took control back of the finances, and put money in high-yield, high-risk investments like he used to, spending in less than a month the savings Draco had accumulated over the year. Draco had to watch silently as his inheritance was plundered on luxurious frivolities so the Malfoys could claim to still live in splendor, all the while their home life continued to be dreadful wreck.

His mother didn't seem to care so much about the money, not that she'd be able to do much about it if she did, and was more concerned about her family. She had nearly lost both her son and husband more times then she cared to count, and would be happy just to have the two of them home so she could take care of them; a situation which neither Malfoy male sought out. The moment Lucius returned, Draco pulled away. With his new found freedom and the knowledge that as long as his father was alive his family had no chance of regaining its glory, Draco spent his time crawling into cheap pubs and even cheaper women, only coming home sporadically on his mother's request for a few weeks before leaving once again.

Now that his father was done with his house arrest, Lucius had picked up the nasty habit of trailing his son around to ensure he remained home. Lucius was anxious to present a strong family front and Draco stumbling around England with his dick out was not what the father had in mind.

So, at twenty years old, Draco was as forced a member to these ridiculous parties as was Toby. Only Draco couldn't pass the time entertaining himself by inflicting injury on the guests, as much as he'd like to.

"We're so happy for you, Estrid," his mother crooned, a smile that never reached her eyes filling her face. "Another baby boy! Marcus must be so proud."

"Oh, he is," Estrid responded in a nasally voice. "A second son is always a good back up just in case something goes wrong with Toby. You never do know how the young ones will turn out, despite a mother's best intentions."

Narcissa's eyes flashed at the off handed comment, a feeling of hot indignation radiating out of her poised stance. Draco calmly touched the back of her arm, trying to signal it was okay and to remind her to remain calm. Lucius simply chuckled.

"One day we'll get them back," Lucius muttered to his family, though Draco knew it was actually self-reassurance that caused the verbal smirk. "One day they'll all see."

Draco remained quiet, sighing while giving his mother a reassuring squeeze before returning his hands to his pockets. He shut out the small minded conversations that his father dragged him around to, giving only a quick and curt greeting to whichever socially superior couple Lucius was sucking up to before scanning the room for a more interesting distraction to pass the night.

There were a handful of girls his age standing coyly around their family groups. Some of them were pretty enough to catch his interest, and he toyed with the idea of picking one out to take back to the townhouse outside Diagon Alley. Despite his murky school past and his social fall from grace, Draco was still quiet apt at hunting down and conquering the girls he desired, both of Pure and Mixed blood. But the girls at this party were all either married or close to it, with their significant others keeping a sharp eye on their women. Normally such an obstacle just played into the fun, but at the moment he didn't have the energy to be sly.

As Draco moved with his family across the room their attention was stolen as the door to the parlor swung open, giving way to a lately arriving family. Upon recognition, Lucius' smirk grew.

"Just who does Helios think he is, trying to pass off that at a Pureblood affair?" Lucius sneered.

"Lucius," Narcissa hushed warningly. "He'll hear you."

Draco severely doubted it. Helios Greengrass was nearing his seventies, and all the hair that once must have lain on his head seemed to have migrated into his ears and nose throughout the years. In his rare glimpses of the Trading and Transportation mogul, Draco also noticed that Helios didn't really seem to care about anything, including his unfortunately all female family. Greengrass Trading was so well run and so ancient in its practices that Helios was able to spend his days drinking brandy and ignoring his insufferable wife that clung to his obese arm.

It wasn't unheard of for there to be a considerable age gap between a man and woman in a Pureblood marriage, indeed Draco's grandfather had been a good decade older than his grandmother, but the Greengrass pairing was an outright spectacle. It seemed as if Helios only realized well into his life that he had yet to produce a legitimate heir, and arranged to marry his business partner's seventeen year old daughter, Phoebe Parkinson, at the age of 46.

Draco assumed Mrs. Greengrass had at one point been somewhat beautiful. She had fair skin and features, sensual and supple curves despite barring two children, soft curly auburn hair and vibrant green eyes as wide as a doe. But over two decades of marriage to a man thirty years her senior had aged her well past her actual 38.

That, and a life spent keeping the most scandalous of Pureblood secrets.

Even now she looked painfully anxious, despite that they were probably the most powerful family in the room, and frantically fussed with the sleeves of her daughters' dresses.

A smirk filled his face when he recognized his old classmate Daphne. She was just as unfortunate looking as always. She had inherited her father's stout and round frame. Her face was large, ruddy, and coupled with an absurdly small aristocratic nose. Her large green eyes were dull, and gave her the appearance of being lost and confused, which, if he remembered correctly, she often was. Her hair was more orange than auburn, and fell down in sharp layers, reminding Draco more of shaved carrot peelings than curls. She was stuffed into a pink lace gown with girlish ruffles. Over all, she looked like an over dressed sausage. It was quite a shame. Had she even been remotely attractive, or at least somewhat interesting, she could have had her pick of husbands. Maybe in these hard times she'd still be able to find a suitable partner, but they'd have to be desperate.

Unfortunately for the Greengrasses, Daphne was the least of their worries when it came to daughters.

Astoria stood next to her sister, pale lips pressed thin as she tried to escape the over barring grasp of her mother. It had been two years since Draco had last seen her, and another two years since he had really paid any attention, as he had been a bit preoccupied his sixth and seventh year to ogle at school girls two years below him. However, there was no mistaking her.

She was tall and thin, with sharp angled curves piercing out of her dress. Her jaw was strong and square, a feature that prevented her from being classically pretty. Her skin was sallow colored, and he recalled in school it had often been covered with acne, leading her to have her oily black hair cover her pockmarked face. Now cleared, her hair fell down in feathered layers to her bony shoulders.

Despite these oddities, there was something quite enticing about the girl, like a mystery one itched to figure out. She too had green eyes like her mother and sister, but there was nothing soft about them. They were viciously intense, sparked with curt intelligence, and were reminiscent of a wild cat forced into captivity. Her long, thick black eyebrows were furrowed into a constant look of impatience, leaving no matter who approached her with the impression that you weren't worth talking to. Her haughty attitude and perfected sneer characterized her into the epitome of a rich, Slytherin Pureblood woman, except for one thing.

She wasn't.

It didn't take a genius to line the family up together and see something was off about her. While Daphne was an unfortunate blend of the Greengrasses' worst physical characteristics, Astoria carried features completely absent from the rest of her family. She had her mother's slender nose and eyes, but the similarities ended there.

There were of course plenty of unclaimed, illegitimate children of Pureblood paternity. Marriages attained for social status left an unwritten rule of acceptable male philandering which occasionally manifested bastard kids. These mother's were often paid off with a hefty sum, and ancient laws protected that only legitimate heirs had intestate claims over inheritance. What almost never happened was a lust child born from a Pureblood mother. Not that women didn't have their own affairs, but they had their ways of taking care of certain leading clues of infidelity.

It was painfully clear to anyone who carried to look at such things (i.e. most of the bored Pureblood community) that Astoria was not Helios' offspring, in either physical appearance or manner. Yet, for some reason, she was still passed off as such by both mother and "father". It would have been perfectly acceptable for Helios to have thrown both Phoebe and her child on to the street without a second thought; in fact it was expected. Yet Helios continued life as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened, giving Astoria the same amount of attention and affection as he did Phoebe and Daphne, which was to say, hardly any. Many believed the slow moving man was too preoccupied in his self inflected haze to even notice, and that his inexplicable reasoning for keeping both wife and false daughter was simply because he was too dull witted to figure out she was not his. It explained the constant uptightness of his wife, and why she always seemed to flinch when her youngest daughter made any kind of movement, as though any minute now the secret might be exposed.

It was a tremendous scandal, yet one that always remained publicly quiet. Helios Greengrass was who everyone used in selling their goods and moving their property. He was an integral part of their community. He also knew the dark secrets and buried skeletons of everyone in the social circle. When the rumors spread that Helios was rearing a child not his own, the wild fire was kept alive only through whispers. The Slytherins had just spent countless hours and Galleons "proving" to the Ministry of their innocence in the first Dark Lord trials, and they all feared outing the man's secret least he bring proof out against their Dark activities. So they all played along, accepting the girl as one of their own, all the while passively denouncing her status. For although only a select few knew of her true paternity, it was certain to all her biological father wasn't any of the Purebloods.

"It's unbelievable the farce has been allowed to continue this long," Lucius hissed to his family icily. "It makes a mockery of everything we stand for."

"I don't see you jumping to out the thing," Draco muttered under his breath, tired of his father's hypocrisy. Through connection and social status, the Malfoys were even more privy to the insights of the scandal. Narcissa Malfoy had been a close, childhood friend of Acacia Avery, who in turn married Richard Parkinson, Phoebe's older brother. Acacia had rushed to the Malfoy Manor after witnessing her sister-in-law's mental breakdown in which she revealed the effects of her extramarital affair. It was believed that outside the family, the Malfoys were the only ones who knew the whole story. Yet Lucius remained silent on the matter, both then and now, having far more to lose in the revilement than Helios did.

"Ah, Estrid!" Mrs. Greengrass announced, flouncing over to the burgeoning hostess. "You look absolutely radiant!"

"Why thank you, Phoebe," Mrs. Flint replied, welcoming any positive appearance compliment, despite how forced it sounded. Mr. Greengrass gave the woman a grunt before disappearing off to the bar.

"Girls," Mrs. Greengrass said shrilly, rounding to her 20 and 18 year old daughters as if they were toddlers. "Give Mrs. Flint your regards."

"It's very exciting!" Daphne announced, looking at the full stomach in wonder. "I just love babies!"

Astoria gave out an indignant snort, wrapping her long arms across her relatively flat chest.

"Do you have something to say, Astoria?" Estrid asked haughtily. The young woman narrowed her eyes, ignoring her mother's futile grasps at stopping her.

"I find the whole situation utterly insane," Astoria stated in a cold and raspy voice. "I suppose I can understand the desire to pass your genes on to the next generation, but why degrade yourself by having another? You're just prolonging your years of bondage to a snot nosed brat who'll end up taking any shred of identity you have away from you. I mean, did you just forget to take The Potion?"

"Astoria!" Mrs. Greengrass moaned helplessly.

"I'll have you know, Miss Greengrass, that Marcus and I very much wanted another child. Perhaps you'll understand whenever you settle down and have a family of your own!" Estrid fumed.

"I'd rather go wandless against a Dementor than subjugate myself to being the vessel of some idiot's sperm and pump out his runts, ruining both my figure and my life. Now where's the bar? Some of us are actually still allowed to drink." Astoria didn't bother waiting for the hostess to respond, and pushed rudely past the party towards the dark corner bar.

The women went into an instant uproar, Mrs. Greengrass eagerly trying to apologize for her daughter's rudeness while the rest acted as though they were viciously scandalized. Draco however couldn't help but laugh. It was refreshing to see someone speak so bluntly, and it gave the chickens something else to squawk about.

"What a wretched brat," Lucius spat coldly, speaking only to his son as his wife had been encompassed by the chattering mob. "Like she has anything to worry about. No self-respecting Pureblood would ever reproduce with the likes of her."

Draco remained silent and simply rolled his eyes back over to the secluded area of the fireplace. He was tired of hearing his father talk about Blood Status and heirs. It was the only thing he ever brought up in conversation. Yes Draco wanted his family to regain its status, probably more than his father did as he abhorred the thought of reaching his prime in poverty. But just proclaiming themselves to be Pureblooded wouldn't make that happen. His father needed to do something, and fast, lest they end up having to move next to the Weasleys.

He felt a cold, sharp trickle pour through his veins when he once again intuitively felt what his father's plan might be. Shuddering at the prospect, he headed over to the open bar as an excuse to leave his parents' side.

He grabbed his double firewhiskey on the rocks and returned back to the fireplace. He assumed it was with a Pureblood heir his father planned on hoisting the Malfoys out of oblivion. For the last few months Lucius had been pulling Draco away from pubs and pushing him towards Parkinson Park, encouraging a union between the two families. The idea of actually marrying Pansy, tying his life to her, made him nauseous.

Draco had to hold in a scathing breath as he watched his father make his was over to his secluded sanctity. Only with the customary knowledge that the group would soon split off into smaller pairings in a few minutes was he able to keep from snapping towards the unwelcomed visit.

"You are to stay out here," Lucius commanded as he joined his son's side under the pretext of warming his hands. "I am adequate representation for the family. We don't need to look pretentious."

"Right, pretentious," Draco snorted snidely, shifting his gaze to the open balcony terrace and away from his father.

"Don't you dare give any of that cheek to me Draco Abraxas. You can join the rest of the men when you have something to show for yourself," his father curtly scolded.

"And how do you expect me to have anything to show for my life when you spend all our money and keep me from doing anything?" Draco demanded, rounding on his father and staring him straight in his matching grey eyes.

"Enough!" Lucius hissed, grabbing his walking stick firmly and waving it in front of Draco's face. "Do as I say and stay put!"

Any retort Draco may have liked to make was drowned out by a ringing of a bell, signaling the departure of the mixed parties. The women and their children began to flood out into a side parlor on the left, while the men retired to Marcus' library as was the tradition. Draco was left alone to stare into the green and black flames, and watched them flick and roar violently as the doors were shut.

"I didn't want to do to the ruddy meeting anyways," he cursed.

This was partly true. He knew the real reason his father didn't want him to go with him. Draco probably knew more about the financial problems of the family than Lucius did. He certainly had a much grimmer outlook than his father. Lucius worried his son would either correct an error the patriarch had made when regaling the family's "prosperity", or simply hark on their financial woes.

Draco snorted into the fireplace, leaving the empty parlor to sulk more thoroughly out on the balcony.

He of course wouldn't be so thick as to ruin whatever false build up Lucius had managed to lay over the past few months he had been free. His family, his reputation, his traditions were all he had. Merlin knows he was a supreme liar and manipulator, and could probably charm the men in that room more subtly than his blatant father. But he wouldn't get the chance to prove that. As long as he lived under Lucius' roof, he had to play by his rules.

Sighing, he tried to focus on vast scenery before him. An orange harvest moon dominated the black sky, casting an eerie illumination over the ancient skeletal trees that dotted the landscape. A chilly breeze whistled through his blonde locks causing a shiver to run down his spine. He was left feeling desperately alone.

That is until a loud crack and a stream of curses shook him out of his daze. Startled, he turned over the railing to see where the ruckus was stemming from.

"Bloody, useless window!" a dark, raspy voice clamored from his left. To Draco's surprise he saw Astoria, half hanging out the bathroom window, seated backwards on the ledge as she tried to hoist up the rickety pane. After a few more attempts she managed to get the sill to lodge properly, and she pulled herself out gracefully, settling her brown pumps on the ledge. Draco stood hidden in the shadows, slightly shocked and rather amused as he watched her shimmy fearlessly across the thin carvings of the manor's outer walls, scaling an impressive length a good four stories up in the air. It was due to this unique distraction that Draco didn't immediately realize her destination was the very balcony he stood upon.

He took a step back as she stumbled forward, taking a misstep due to the impracticality of her footwear for such an athletic venture. She quickly gained her feet however, and took a moment to dust off her dress before pushing her inky hair off her face.

"Oh," she said bluntly upon espying him for the first time. "What are you doing here?"

Draco cocked an eyebrow at her demanding tone.

"I could ask you the same thing," he responded coolly. She smirked at him.

"I'm escaping, obviously. I was thinking to myself if I had to hear one more sappy baby story I would throw myself out the loo window, when it hit me that that actually wasn't such a bad idea," she explained hurriedly, pushing past Draco and focusing intently on a high hanging potted plant well above their heads.

"Finding Pureblood company a bit dull, are we, Greengrass?" Draco inquired haughtily. An angry and understanding flash flittered across her fierce eyes, and Draco had to keep himself from taking a step back upon feeling their intensity.

"At least I was invited into someone's company," she sneered in reply, before rounding her attention back to the planter. A humorless smirk spread across his face as he watched her ignoring him. She wore a rather outdated, conservative dress. It was a noncommittal light blue, with lace sheen covering the shoulder straps and flowing down to short sleeves, while the skirt layered into ruffles ending just above her knobby knees. A silk ribbon tied itself just below her chest, accentuating her lack of womanly curves. Draco sneered. He hated small breasts. It made a waste of already useless girls.

Astoria backed out from under the planter slowly, still staring at it contemplatively. Curiosity getting the better of him, he found himself looking right along with her. As far as he could tell, it was only a pot of rather neglected begonias.

"What are you looking at?" Draco demanded, annoyed at her antics.

"Why did they have to go and raise it higher?" she asked of no one, grabbing a patio chair so as to reach the plant. Even with outstretched hands she still came up short.

"What the bloody hell are you doing?" he asked again. Astoria exhaled irately, crossing her arms and tapping her foot in agitation.

"I am in desperate need of a cigarette," she announced firmly. "But the prat owners of this shabby house have foiled my attempts at gaining such."

Draco furrowed his brow, beginning to think that she was as mad as she was abrasive.

"Why would a hanging plant keep you from a cig?" Draco asked.

"It's not the plant, it's my mother," she said angrily, stomping her foot once again.

"The plant is your mother?" Draco repeated, stepping back a few feet from the barmy woman in front of him.

"No, you idiot!" she snapped, glaring at him with ire before returning her gaze upwards. "My mother is keeping me from cigarettes. She won't allow me with a purse and pats me down before we go to these retched functions so I can't smoke. It's reduced me into having to hide cigs in every house we go to so I can retain some form of sanity."

"You're putting me on," Draco stated, earning him another dirty look.

"Do I seem like the kind of girl who is fond of jokes?" she asked. Draco figured she had a point.

"So your cigarettes are in the planter, and it's out of your reach. Why don't you just Summon them down?"

"Because my lovely mother confiscates our wands before we come to such wonderful meetings," she explained sarcastically. This took Draco by surprise. It was an ancient custom to leave unmarried girls of a certain age wandless at such gatherings. It was believed to be more ladylike. It also made it much easier for men to get a hold of them without struggle. But it was a very outdated practice, one his grandmother's generation fought, and it was fairly unheard of to see it today.

"Mummy trying to make her girls traditional and easy prey, huh?" Draco stated coyly. Astoria shot him another look, before setting her attention on him fully.

"Get them for me," she ordered, pointing her finger at the wand tucked in his jacket pocket.

"Because you've been so pleasant, eh?" Draco asked, enjoying watching the coarse woman struggle in front of him. She bit her lip as though to keep in a scream, but quickly swallowed her outburst.

"Do it," she continued easily, "or else I'll tell my cousin you were out here sulking by yourself. I'm sure Pansy would love to take it upon herself to put an active end to your lonesome solitude."

Draco raised another eyebrow. Who was this girl who talked to him, a Malfoy, with such disrespect? Yet, he couldn't also help but be impressed with her threat. It seemed as though she knew as much about his hated secrets as he did hers.

"Accio cigarettes," he charmed lazily, holding out his arm so the half empty back zoomed into his hands. She snatched them away quickly, spilling one of the long rolls out into her palm. She popped it into to her mouth, happily taking in the mere smell of tobacco. Her green eyes shot back open, staring at Draco expectantly. Draco already had a smirk waiting for her, knowing what she would need next. He held out his own hand expectantly.

Astoria sighed and rolled her eyes, giving in to the hopelessness of any alternative, and passed him one of her left over fags. Draco placed it between his lips gingerly before lighting it with his wand. Astoria stood impatiently as he took a long drag, blowing his smoke over in her direction. She held her own cigarette out to be lit. Enjoying this place of power, though still keeping in mind just who he was dealing with, he put his wand back into his pocket. Rage flashed across her face, and Draco imagined the only thing stopping her from attacking was deciding how exactly she wanted to hit him. Taking this time into his hands, he held the cigarette out in front of his face slightly, and bent over towards her.

Scowling, Astoria put her still unlit cig between her pale lips, and bent forward to drag a light off his cherry. She was forced to push her face just inches away from his own. He was able to see a look of over haughty non impression, which masked what he believed to be her real antithesis feelings. She pulled in a lung full of air and blew it out proficiently into the night. The tips of her lips curved up in to a sly smile.

"Now what do we say?" Draco asked, closing the distance between them and trying his best to tower over her tall frame. Her smirk grew at his failed attempt of intimidation, and she stood coolly and silently in front of him.

"Come now, Mutt. That mother of yours must have instilled some form of mannerisms into you. What do you say when a Pureblood gentlemen does you a favor?" he whispered hoarsely, stroking her soft cheek with the back of his hand. He expected her to pull away in terror or disgust, but instead she leaned in close to his chest and gently nuzzled her lips against his ear.

"You can take my thank you when you pry it from my cold, dead hands," she said softly, causing a sensual shiver to run down Draco's spine. His hands quickly found their way to her waist and pulled her in close to his body, locking her into a submissive stance with his unapologetic grip.

"That can be easily arranged," he murmured with a smirk, inching one of his gripping hands up her side, while the other slid around the back side of her waist to ensure his hold on her. Astoria's arms remained free, and hung loosely at her side instead of struggling. As his roaming hand made its way closer to her breast she took another lazy drag from her cigarette. She blew the smoke directly in his face, forcing him back a bit. When the smoke halted compromising his vision, he saw her intense, wild green eyes staring back at him fearlessly.

"I doubt it," she replied coolly to his whispered threat, and remained motionless in his hold. A stab of shame and anger flashed through his body and he let go of her repulsed. She smirked at his reaction, and leapt up gracefully on to the edge of the balcony, finishing her cigarette by flicking it out into the darkness. Draco was struck with the thought of how easy it would be to simply push her off the edge, especially as she was wandless and he probably had a good twenty pounds on her, despite being as lithe as he was. But as indignant as he felt about the occurrence, he couldn't help but stare at her long pallid legs that crossed sensually out of the folds of her dress.

"Come now," she stated matter-of-factly, "let us be grownups. Neither of us are in school anymore." She wiggled a new cigarette out in front of him expectantly.

"Some of us just barely," he responded through a cocked eyebrow, but he held his short ashing cigarette for her to siphon. She took in a deep drag, and then pulled another out of her pack to light a second for him as he finished off his first.

"So what are you doing out here?" she inquired after he took his initial blow. "I figured you would be in the study, talking mindless repetitive shop with the rest of the blow holes."

Draco's face fell into an ugly grimace, and he leaned out against the balcony next to her, staring out into the sky.

"It wasn't worth my time to be around such utter nonsense," he stated firmly. Astoria let out a low hum in response to his brood, but pushed the subject no further.

"So you really have cigarettes hidden in all of Society's houses?" he inquired, turning his back to lean against the wall.

"Yes," she replied coolly. "The only hard part was finding a place where the House-Elves won't get to them." Draco responded in a half humored snort, and began pacing the balcony in fidgeting impatience.

"That's mental," he said in between paces. The girl merely shrugged.

"One must only do what one can," she proclaimed. Draco paused to look at her quizzically, but instead of resting his gaze on his face, he realized his angle gave him a rather marvelous view up her bunched up skirt, ending in the smallest flash of black lace fabric right between her legs.

"Indeed," he replied, keeping his eye line at the sight. Astoria simply continued to suck down her cig, rolling her eyes at his obviousness, but keeping her preferred pose.

"Astoria!" a high voice called from inside the manner. "Astoria, where are you?"

"Bugger," she cursed quickly, finishing off her drag before ashing it out hurriedly. "I can never get a bloody break from that woman."

She hopped off the stone wall, and began to make her way into the parlor. Her hand paused on the patio door however, and she turned back around to face Draco. She smirked as she eyed him leaning casually against the spot where she once sat, and bit her lip in humor.

"Thanks for the light and the stimulating conversation," she said, folding her arms across her chest.

"Thanks for the cig and the stimulation," he responded in kind. She let out a muted laugh before heading into the parlor with a swish of her dress.

"Oh, Draco," she called suddenly, as she walked backwards out of the room. "If your father continues to give you too much shite, there should still be a pack of menthols behind that ugly coat of arms in your living room."

Draco raised both eyebrows in surprise as he realized his own home had been invaded by her, and watched as she moved swiftly out of the parlor and disappeared into the corridor.

He grinned as he was left alone on the balcony, glad that the evening wasn't a total loss. He finished off the rest of his cigarette, replaying in amusement what had just happened. Greengrass may be a bastard mutt with a condescending gait and a flat chest, but he had to hand it to her, she sure had a commanding and impressive presence. Her ass wasn't too bad to look at either.

(A/N: I must be crazy to be starting another long story when I'm still not done with my Percy story and during finals. However, this plot line actually came to me in a dream about 6 months ago and I haven't been able to get it out of my head. Normally I am a stickler for cannon, but I built up Astoria in this particular way and just can't change her. I do promise though that everything will follow the proper cannon storyline and this is not an AU fic. Hope you enjoyed it, and I plan on posting another chapter in a week or two.)