A.N. I don't know much about this couple, other than J.K. Rowling said this was supposed to be the correct pairing? Still, these two intrigue me and this is the product of that :)
If anyone finds stupid little mistakes, I apologize. I tried to edit, but I don't think I did a very good job.
Disclaimer: Any characters, situations, events, etc. below that you recognize belong to J.K. Rowling. If only I were cool enough to have come up with them first...
"Stupid little Mudblood!" Draco cursed as he held his nose with his right hand, his wand clenched in the other, and marched down the corridor. "One day, she's going to get what she deserves!"
Crabbe and Goyle dumbly nodded in agreement at his side. Draco hissed quietly in both pain and annoyance.
"Just go back to the common room. The both of you. I'll meet you there," Draco spat out between his locked teeth.
The two henchmen glanced at each other in confusion (really, it was their natural state of being), and then nodded once more. They turned away to head for the common room in the dungeon while Draco continued on his way to the Hospital Wing.
'The two idiots already witnessed Granger punching me in the face,' Draco thought bitterly. 'I don't need them watching me have to ask Pomfrey for assistance.'
Thankfully, because of the late afternoon hour, most students were relaxing in their common rooms or on their way to dinner. Draco met no one on his solitary walk to the Hospital Wing.
He hissed again as his nose gave a particular painful throb. He could feel the slow trickle of blood run down the hand that grasped at his face. That dirty little Mudblood...
"Oh dear, what happened?" Madam Pomfrey exclaimed when she spotted the Slytherin third year. Draco nashed his teeth. This annoying woman would not know the truth.
"I was playing Quidditch," the blonde lied smoothly. The nurse accepted the lie and tsked, complaining about the dangers that the students at this school faced. She quickly healed his nose, but decided that he would need something to alleviate the headache that accompanied the break, and bustled to her office to get just the right potion.
"That was not a Quidditch accident," a voice chimed as soon as Madam Pomfrey was out of sight. Draco whipped around, startled. His normal cold demeanor slipped from its usual place into a look of surprise.
A young girl, probably a first or second year, was lying in a bed near one of the windows that afforded a view of the spacious grounds. Her pale skin contrasted sharply with the ebony tresses that were knotted at the nape of her neck. Her small smile was echoed in her shining Slytherin green eyes, eyes that did not match the blue on her school robes.
"Looks like someone took a swing at you," the girl continued, "and didn't miss."
Draco recovered from his surprise (honestly, it was like she had appeared out of nowhere) and sneered at her. "Goes to show how much you know."
The smile disappeared. Instead of the hurt expression he was hoping for, all Draco got was a calculating stare.
"Here we are," Madam Pomfrey said as she returned to her two patients. Draco rolled his eyes when she wasn't looking as he swallowed the rather foul concoction she handed to him. The girl, however, saw it, and once again a small smile graced her pale face.
As Draco turned to leave (not a word of thanks to the nurse), he heard Madam Pomfrey say "Alright, Ms. Greengrass, it seems as though your flu has passed. You are free to go..."
Draco muttered under his breath, utterly frustrated with Pansy. They shared the same common room, what sense did it make for him to go wait for her at the foot of the stairs that led out of the dungeon? Pansy had said it made it seem more romantic for the two of them to have a meeting spot; Draco thought it was stupid.
This whole dance would be stupid. He'd have to watch the school fawn the oh-so mighty Potter and the idiot Diggory. How on earth did they manage to be Hogwarts champions?
Draco was in no mood for company, and so did not wait for Crabbe and Goyle to finish preparing for the ball. In his angry state, the knowledge that the two of them could not manage to acquire a date while he did gave him some sense of happiness.
Draco walked out of his dormitory and threw the common room, immersed in his thoughts and not paying attention to his surroundings. Therefore, when he exited the Slytherin common room into the dungeon corridor and nearly ran into a figure, he was completely startled. It took a large amount of composure to keep from shrieking out loud at the unexpected presence.
"Oh! I'm sorry! I wasn't sure exactly where the common room was!" the presence exclaimed. Draco calmed down enough to see that it was a Ravenclaw girl, younger than him. In fact...could it be...?
"My sister wanted to borrow my hair clip, and she told me to bring it to her," the girl continued.
Yes, it was. It was that same girl that had startled (scared) Draco in the hospital wing last year! The one who had somehow figured out that he got hit in the face. Draco's bitter mood soured even further as the memory of that resurfaced in his conscience.
"And who, exactly, is your sister?" he asked, his tone highly unfriendly.
The girl stared at him without a trace of fear or any sign that she was upset, which was more than most younger children could do when Draco acted this cold to them. "Daphne," she answered. "Daphne Greengrass. I'm her younger sister, Astoria."
Draco knew who Daphne was; she was in his grade. The bony blonde was a rather loud and annoying 'friend' of Pansy; at least, she thought she was. Pansy took every opportunity to talk badly about her and most other girls in the school behind their backs. However, Draco had not known she had a sister (especially one in Ravenclaw), and that surprised him a little more.
"Well, I can't help you," he sneered at Astoria (a name he thought he was sure to quickly forget). "Not as if I would want to."
Astoria did not seem to be affected at all. "I think I can manage without your help."
Draco's mouth almost unhinged at her response that bordered on rudeness and the lack of tears he was sure his snide comment would bring, but Astoria's attention was diverted from the pale blonde when her sister appeared through the Slytherin common room entrance.
"Finally! Astoria, I needed this ten minutes ago! The ball is starting!" Daphne shrieked at her sister while snatching the twinkling hair clip from Astoria's hands. "Can't you do anything right?"
Astoria stiffened and her eyes went cold before abruptly turning around and marching away from her sister and Draco. Daphne huffed once before flouncing back into the common room. Draco stood in place as strange, alien thoughts and feelings coursed through him.
"Draco! I told you to wait at the stairs!" Pansy exclaimed a minute or two later as she exited the common room, looking rather ridiculous in a dress she probably considered "high fashion."
Draco did not bother with a reply, and instead allowed himself to be dragged in the direction of the Great Hall, still thinking about that little Ravenclaw...
The thought of just simply collapsing into his bed and sleeping forever seemed so tantalizing that Draco wanted to cry. He wanted to curl into a ball, wanted to be comforted by his mother, wanted to run away from all of this...
But no. He could not. The Dark Lord had given him a task, and he could not fail in the completion of this task. Otherwise his life and the lives of his family could be snuffed out without a second thought.
The prospect of that happening is what forced Draco to keep returning to the room that came and went, the room that held the key to accomplishing his task. It was what kept Draco from simply collapsing into tears and giving up.
After several agonizing hours spent in the room one day with no results, Draco felt an overwhelming need to just be somewhere alone and do nothing. The dormitory was not a possibility, for Crabbe and Goyle would be there and would want to know more about Draco's secret task. Instead, Draco found himself deep within the school's library, seated at a lonely table far from the small groups of students that were using the late Saturday afternoon to study. Draco watched the sky outside the window fade from gray to a stormy black, and listened as the rain drops pattered on the window pane.
The enticing smell of chocolate pervading his senses was the only warning he was given before he jumped slightly in surprise as an object was set down in front of him on the table and a body suddenly occupied the seat across from him.
Draco glanced upwards to find green eyes boring into his. His heart rate slowed back to a normal pace as Astoria's lips lifted into a slightly teasing smile.
"Sorry for startling you."
Draco sneered. "You did no such thing."
Astoria rolled her eyes. "Is that the only expression you are capable of making? A sneer? Honestly, you are rather cute. Try not to ruin it with all of that nastiness."
Draco was once again at a loss for words (as, he suddenly remembered, he was two years ago before the Yule Ball). Astoria, however, continued as if nothing was amiss.
"Drink this," she ordered, gesturing at the mug she had placed on the wooden table. Tendrils of steam curled out of the top. "It will make you feel better, at least for a bit." When Draco said and did nothing, Astoria sighed. "I've noticed that you seem really tired lately," she said quietly, still staring into his face. "This should make you feel less exhausted, if only for awhile." With that, the raven haired girl stood from the chair and glided away, not once looking back at the astonished young man she had left behind. She never saw him tentatively reach out for the mug and take a small sip of the hot chocolate, or witness the look of surprise on his face as his body relaxed at the taste.
Draco pulled his hood tighter around his face and hunched his shoulders in the hopes that no one would recognize him. Three years had passed since the defeat of the Dark Lord, and yet people still hated the Malfoy family and all that they had done. As, Draco thought, they should.
Still, Narcissa was in need of several items that had to be picked up in Diagon Alley, and since she was not feeling well, had asked Draco to fetch them. Draco had a feeling that his mother had also simply wanted to get him out of the house; after all, he had spent the past month moping about the manor, completely at a loss as to what to do with his life.
Although books were not something that his mother required, Draco could not resist the urge to step into Flourish and Blotts. The bookstore was quiet and nearly empty, which gave him some small sense of security. He remembered entering this store every year before the term began, back when life wasn't so complicated...
"Can I help you?"
Lost as he was in his memories, the voice startled Draco and he abruptly turned around. With the sudden action, his hood fell off, even as he instinctually reached up to pull it back on.
Draco nearly snapped his neck as he looked up to see who had recognized him. When he saw that it was Astoria, dressed in the Flourish and Blotts uniform, he almost laughed, in spite of the situation. She managed to surprise me yet again...
"Astoria, is it?" Draco muttered as he adjusted his cloak and allowed the cold demeanor to once again settle onto his features. He knew who she was; he had spent several months after his encounter with her in his sixth year reliving the moment she had said that he was "rather cute," but of course, she could not know that.
For some reason, Astoria smiled, that small smile that seemed so heartbreakingly gentle and kind. It had been so long since someone besides his mother that had smiled at him like that that Draco nearly broke down. He felt as though that smile had swept away all of that horribly heavy weight that had been pressing down on him, if only for that instant. 'Just like her hot chocolate'... he thought.
"Yes," Astoria replied to his fake question. She brushed some of her (gorgeous) hair out of her (lovely) eyes and stared unashamedly into his face. "How are you?"
Draco suddenly felt an overwhelming need to get rid her, to say something mean and leave the shop like the coward he know realized he was. He wanted to do what he had always done.
But something stopped him. And that surprised him the most.
"I'm...better..." he finally murmured, amazed with himself for managing to answer honestly. "I'm better than I was."
Astoria's eyes softened as her head tilted slightly as she studied the man in front of her. "Do you want to get something to eat?" she asked suddenly. "My shift ends in five minutes."
Draco internally scolded himself. 'You need to expect the unexpected with her!' he thought as, once more, she startled him with her question. However, nothing could surprise Draco, or even Astoria more, as he answered.
"I'd love to."
Draco watched as his wife bustled about their large bedroom. As he stretched comfortably on the silk sheets, Astoria folded clothes with exasperation, apparently forgetting that she was a witch and could accomplish such actions with a flick of her wand. He wanted to know what was troubling Astoria; she rarely acted so unsettled. However, trying to pry the information out of her wouldn't work (Draco knew from experience) so he resigned himself to waiting to discover what was the matter until she told him.
Eventually, Astoria ran out of things to do to keep her busy. Wringing her hands, she reluctantly got into bed next to Draco, and curled close to his side. Draco sighed with contentment as he wrapped an arm around her closer to him.
"Draco?" she whispered.
"Hmm?" Draco replied, his eyelids heavy with drowsiness. He felt himself slipping into sleep, lulled by Astoria's breaths by his side and the warmth of her body.
"I need to tell you something."
He was aware of her taking a deep breath, but the action was almost lost to Draco as sleep pulled him faster and farther from the world of the awake.
Draco fell out of the bed, completely awake, with a shout of surprise.
A.N. Review if it tickles your fancy. If not, reflect on how amazing this story was, and how you ought to read some other ones by the same author. :D I kid. But I do hope you liked it. I enjoyed writing it. If you don't feel like writing a review (which is understandable), I'll pose a question here instead, so you can answer that if you're phalanges are just itching to press on the keyboard: What is your absolute favorite TV show? Could be old reruns (Scrubs and Malcolm in the Middle all the way) or a new one (Modern Family is hilarious!).
Speaking of shows, Glee is back on (at least in the U.S.) and I encourage all to watch it. Not only does my supermegafoxyawesomehot future husband have a role (Darren Criss) but it's such a good show and the songs are eargasmic. :)
And... I think that's it! Happy April 23rd everybody!