Disclaimer: I own nobody, except perhaps that muddy-eyed idiot boy, but then, he could be a canon character. You never know ;)
For the Splish Splash challenge on HPFC with the prompt 'night-blooming jasmine'.
It doesn't make sense.
But he's tired of things that make sense.
Silk, satin, and velvet ball gowns mesh together in a multitude of rainbow hues, swirling around the dance floor next to robes in darkly elegant colors. The dancers, all classically trained and seemingly enjoying themselves, twirl perfectly in time to the slow song drifting through the room. All around the ballroom, refreshment tables line the walls, hosting delicious, exotic foods perfectly arranged on glass plates.
And perfect's all he can afford.
Draco pours himself a glass of blood-red wine imported from some exotic-sounding country in Eastern Europe, as he'd heard Daphne eagerly boasting about to Pansy, and tips it down his throat.
Then, he coughs and splutters, because nobody had told him that this was Veela wine and Veela wine burns.
It's also far too bitter for his tastes. If only those bloody birds enjoyed sugar.
"You shouldn't drink that without a glass of water nearby," pipes up a voice nearby, sounding irritatingly similar to Daphne, and he whirls to tell his old classmate to leave him alone.
Except it's not Daphne standing there. Instead, he finds himself facing a young witch, a few years younger than him, and the only thing similar between her and Daphne are her cornsilk ringlets, elegantly curled and styled for the party. Otherwise, he couldn't be looking at anyone less like his Housemate.
"Thanks for the warning," he mutters darkly on principle, then remembers his manners. "Sorry. Draco Malfoy. Who are you?"
She hands him a glass of water. "I know who you are, Draco. Don't you remember me?"
He studies her, gratefully accepting the glass and swallowing it. "Um, should I? You remind vaguely of Daphne Greengrass, the daughter of the hosts."
Something flashes in her eyes—apple-green, where has he seen those before?—and he has the strangest feeling that's he said the wrong thing.
"I was hoping the heir of the House of Malfoy would have a better memory than that, Draco," she replies, absently adjusting the golden butterfly clip that holds her curls away from her (rather pretty, he has to admit) face. "My name is Astoria. You danced with me in this very house when you were twelve."
"I did?" he asks obliviously, and then everything clicks. Daphne's hair, Nathan Greengrass's eyes, the name… "You're Astoria Greengrass!"
"Well done," Astoria says lightly, infusing her words with only the smallest hint of sarcasm, but it's enough to make him flush. "Maybe you aren't completely hopeless. I'll make a charmer of you yet."
"I'm already a charmer!" Draco protests, distracted from the revelation by the blow to his pride. "I can have any girl I want—erm, provided she's a Slytherin and not one of those stubborn Gryffindor types."
Astoria's smile turns almost playful. "You're looking at a Ravenclaw," she informs him.
"Oh." Draco blinks at her, stumped for a moment. He's never really had to talk to Ravenclaws beyond pairing with them in class. "Well, I…do you want to dance?" he asks, offering her his most charming smile.
"Is that your attempt at charming me?" She sounds both amused and unimpressed.
Draco scowls. "It is not an attempt. You're falling for it, I know you are," he says, trying to restore his air of arrogance and self-confidence that had taken a definite blow after the war ended and his father was thrown back into Azkaban. It's significantly harder to do when faced with a girl who's smothering giggles.
"Not when you make a face like that," she teases.
He schools his expression into a smile.
Astoria loses her battle with her laughter. "Now I know why Daphne picked Blaise."
"You're an annoying little brat," he remarks, affecting an air of nonchalance instead of arrogance.
"Be polite," she chides, her voice cheerful, then tenses at the sight of something over his shoulder. "Oh, great."
He cranes his neck and finds a boy he vaguely remembers as being a Slytherin a year younger than him sauntering through the crowd with his muddy brown eyes fixed on Astoria and a smirk on his face.
"Hide me?" she pleads.
Draco hesitates, decides he'd rather spend the party talking to someone with a sense of humor instead of watching some idiot flirt with a girl as pretty as her, takes her hand, and drags her away.
Astoria follows rather willingly for someone who'd been subtly mocking him for the majority of their conversation, and he makes a mental note to tease her about that later. They get all the way to the door that leads into the gardens before losing that idiot boy, and he pauses at the curtained threshold to make sure.
"He's there, bothering my sister," Astoria says, pointing. Indeed, Daphne has a distinctly annoyed look on her face as she shoos the lost-looking idiot boy away from her. Okay, maybe he should stop calling him 'idiot boy', but he doesn't really feel like doing that.
"Right, then," Draco nods and tugs her outside into the fresh, midsummer air.
"Thank you," she says once they're out of the party, sounding sincerely grateful. "For helping me, I mean."
"You're welcome," he replies, unsure of whether or not he should make a sarcastic remark here or act nice. "Do you want to stay out here?"
"I'm going to," she nods. "The night-blooming plants need some watering anyway, I think. Will you stay?"
Draco glances over at her, a little surprised at the request. Her bright green eyes, the exact same shade and shape as her father's, only much less intimidating, look irresistibly imploring, as if she actually wants him to stay. And he has the feeling that whatever he says next, yes or no, will be utterly irrevocable.
Does he want to stay and flirt with a pretty girl or leave her alone out here for other idiots to flirt with?
"I'll stay," he says decisively, and her smile lights up her face.
"Great," Astoria beams. "Let's start with the jasmines over there. They only bloom in the night, so I need to water them first."
She draws her wand and lights the way through the garden, the two of them walking over the marbled pathways in silence until he decides to break it.
"Didn't you use to have a crush on me?" he asks out of curiosity, distantly remembering a little girl who always blushed around him.
She hesitates, and he swears he sees a blush on her cheeks. "Maybe."
"That's a yes," he states confidently, grinning at the thought. "Girls always say 'maybe' when they mean 'yes'."
"Oh, we do, do we?" Astoria laughs, then changes the subject in a way reminiscent of her social butterfly mother. "We're here," she says, stopping at their destination.
"They're pretty," Draco remarks in wonder, kneeling down by the vine of white flowers that twists around a small fountain. "Did you grow these?"
Astoria laughs, sitting on the edge of the fountain so she can water them with her wand. "It's my garden, Draco. I grew all of the flowers here."
"You did?" he asks, astonished. "I didn't know that."
"You wouldn't," she remarks, a spray of water shooting out from her wand and pouring over the jasmine vine. "You don't know much about me, do you?"
Draco feels his cheeks warm. "I—um, a little."
"Oh, yeah?" Astoria raises an eyebrow at him. "Like what?"
He has to take a moment to wrack his brain, and his blush grows with every moment of silence. Damn it, he's supposed to be good at this whole charming business!
"You like to draw," he says at last, triumphant, after his mind flashes him an image of a little girl in a Ravenclaw tie sitting underneath an apple tree's shade with a sketchbook on her lap.
Finally, finally, she looks impressed. "How do you remember that?"
"I remember you," he says, flashing her another one of his charming smiles.
To his amazement, her faces turns a little pink, though it's hard to see in the nighttime. "Apparently."
"You're blushing," he points out, a genuinely amused smile appearing on his face now that he's finally caught her with a blush.
"Am not!" she protests, instantly on the defensive, but the pink tint only grows brighter.
"Are too," he teases, surprising himself by actually enjoying the banter when he'd never bothered to flirt like this with Pansy. Then again, Pansy hadn't really required flirting and charming smiles. She'd been his since forever until they'd broken up, and Astoria was most definitely not his, not yet.
"Am no—" she begins, then seems to think better of it. "Never mind. We could do that all night."
"You're just afraid of losing," he accuses.
"Shut up," she mutters, looking down. "Oh, hey, it's already glowing. That took less time than it usually does."
Draco wants to tease her some more, but he quickly gets distracted by the glowing jasmine vine. "Why on Earth is it glowing?"
Astoria sends him a look. "It's magical, Malfoy. Haven't you ever gardened before? Most plants that produce magical fruits and flowers glow when they're fully watered, so we know not to give them too much."
"I didn't know that," he admits sheepishly. "Never paid much attention in Herbology."
He pauses to admire the crystalline glow of the jasmines as they slowly fade back to their normal white. "Can you teach me?"
"How to garden?" she asks, bewildered. "You plant a seed in the right climate, let it grow, water it as often as you're supposed to. Not much to it."
"Oh." To be honest, he'd been hoping for something that would allow skin contact, just to prove to her that he was a charmer and he could make her blush again. "Well, then, can I water them?"
"I don't know, can you?" Astoria smiles, looking amused. "Are you physically capable of holding a wand and casting Aguamenti, Draco?"
He flushes. "May I water them, Miss Technicality?"
She giggles. "Go ahead. Try it on the next vine over."
Draco moves a little further down the fountain and aims his wand at the vine. "Aguamenti," he says, and water bursts out of his wand, cascading over the pretty flowers.
"See?" Astoria says, hopping back onto the fountain edge. "Nothing to it."
An idea forms in his head as he looks at her powder-blue ball gown. "Right," he says casually, waiting for this vine to start glowing. As soon as it does, he snaps his wand away and aims it at her, showering her with the cool spray of water.
"Draco!" Astoria shrieks, diving out of the way so her dress doesn't get ruined (or transparent, which is what he was going for). "You're a right bloody prat, you know that?" she cries, knocking his wand out of his hands to break the flow of water.
"I know that," he says cheerfully, borrowing confidence from the bright summer night and the glowing jasmine vines and wrapping an arm around her waist. Because, you know, Draco Malfoy is a charmer, and he can prove it to any girl, especially pretty little doubtful Astoria Greengrass.
"Get off me," Astoria huffs, pushing on his chest with her not-insignificant strength. "If I say you're a charmer, will you leave me alone?"
"No," he drawls. "Because that would mean I haven't charmed you."
"Why do you need to do that?" she demands, finally winning in her attempt to shove him away. He stumbles backwards, losing his grip, and she sets her hands on her hips, blazing in her annoyance. "I'm not my sister, Draco. I'm not going to fall for pretty words and pretty smiles. You don't even know me."
"Well, what if I did?" he tries, part of him wondering just why he wanted to charm her instead of just giving up in disgust. "What if I got to know you? Would you let me charm you then?"
Astoria tilts her head, cornsilk curls spilling over her shoulders as she considers the notion, and then she says, "Maybe."
Draco's heartbeat triples, and he grins at her. "I'll take that."
So, yeah, they don't make any sense at all.
But you don't have to make sense to be in love.
Author's Notes: Look at that! My first story not about the Next Generation since…well, it's been a while =P I hope I haven't lost my touch with the Trio Era. Draco/Astoria are absolutely my favorite non-Next-Gen pairing, so I really hope you all enjoyed this.
This story is also for Bethhhhhhh, because she gave me the awesome prompts 'bitter', 'glowing', 'irrevocable', and 'shards of glass'. Sorry I didn't work that last one in, but I hope you liked it! =D
Please review with more than 'so cute' or 'loved it' and, more than that, please don't favorite without reviewing. Thank you!