(week 6 prompt story for SimplyPotterHead's Ollivander's Challenge:
The backstory of Astoria Greengrass
A/N: I've wanted to write this one-shot for months, and I hope it's adequate considering I wrote this in about 2 hours this afternoon. I'm sure it can use some editing later on. This story also ties into some of the other stories I've written - and will also tie into something else that I have on the drawing board regarding a platinum Ferret. - DG
A/N2: I am so not JK Rowling in ways that would take years to describe. The only thing we share is one name...
Mortar dust rained down on the occupants in the beds. Students were crying. Smoke wafted into the Hospital wing from the hallway. The cacophony was atrocious and yet people were being helped. Only under the tight discipline of Poppy Pomfrey was it a triage unit and not chaos and mayhem.
Professor Sprout hustled between beds, administering potions to the injured. The casualties that were ambulatory helped. Students who weren't on the front lines of the fight were helping care for the injured. Hufflepuff worked with Ravenclaw and the too-injured Gryffindor to care for the injured. Those who could wield a wand were under the Mediwitch's careful eye on treating the least injured. Only those who were serious earned a bed in her ward.
"Madame Pomfrey, I need a bed for this one," bellowed Arthur Weasley from the doorway. "She has a broken leg that I know of and possible curse damage."
"I wasn't hit with a curse."
"Skip the curse damage. She has a broken leg, non-magical injury."
The mediwitch looked up and saw immediately how to help. "Put her in the bed at the end. I'll bring potions in a minute."
Arthur lumbered with the injured student to the farthest bed in the room, away from the rest of the casualties in the ward. Madame Pomfrey hustled over with two vials in her hands and one sugar skull bottle. "Get her in there, bundle her up, and give her these. You do that and you can get back out there." The mediwitch laid the bottles on the side table and hustled back to the other casualties in the room.
Arthur nodded while gently lowering the student into the bed below the student. The young witch cried when his grip slipped slightly and she landed wrong on the bed. "Dear me; I'm sorry."
She continued to cry, the last ten minutes finally becoming overwhelming. The bed shook for a second while he peeled back the blankets and sheets on the bed. Long arms - smelling of smoke and fighting wrapped around her, giving comfort and some measure of solace that she hadn't felt all year. The memories of the last twenty minutes would haunt her for years to come.
"Shhhh. It's OK now. You're safe here. No one's going to hurt you here."
She continued to sob into the robes he was wearing. "She tried to kill me."
"I know sweetie. But you're safe here. No one's going to hurt you in here."
Arthur looked up and saw Professor Sprout at the next bed. She nodded in agreement with his declaration, determination showing on her face. "Professor Sprout is here and she's going to look after you as well."
The witch looked up from his robes and saw weary cerulean blue eyes. "Why did she try to kill me? I'm a pureblood witch. We're a well-respected family. Why?"
Arthur sighed. "You were probably nothing more than an opportunity to inflict harm. She probably didn't know anything about you except that you were in the way. The one that she wanted was the one who protected you."
She tried to stifle her sobs and failed. Tear tracks marred her delicate features. "Who was that who saved me?"
Arthur swallowed before he could answer. "That was an Auror and one of my friends. Her name was Nymphadora Tonks -Lupin."
"Was that Professor Lupin's wife? I had him my first year at school here. He was very kind." The witch stared off past the walls of the castle in memory. "She was helping me when Bellatrix walked up and started firing at us. But why me? We've done nothing to earn anyone's ire."
"You were a convenient target. Dora would protect anyone who needed it. She didn't care that you are a Slytherin." He looked down at her house colors that were covered in masonry dust. "She didn't care that you were a Pureblood. She cared because you were hurt and needed help." Arthur took a deep breath before continuing. "There has been bad blood between those two since before Dora was born. Bellatrix probably was trying to hurt you to get at Dora and throw her off. Saving you was worth it at least."
"But you did that when you distracted her from her last curse."
"I couldn't let her hurt you." Arthur reached over for the first vial on the bedside table. "I had someone save me once when it seemed no help was going to come. I'm glad I could help someone else."
He handed the vial to the young witch before him. Her hands shook taking the vial from his char covered hands. "What are these?"
Arthur looked at the vial in her hands. "That one looks like a pain potion. Molly keeps them in the cabinet at home. Our boys were always getting hurt around the house."
The witch took the vial and tipped back the dirt flavored potion. "Gah. It is nasty stuff. I wish they could make it taste better. Daddy doesn't have time to make potions."
Arthur laughed while he took the empty bottle from her and handed the second one. "This looks like a mild nerve regeneration potion. I could be wrong through."
The witch took the vial from his hands and inspected it. "It is. He's showed this one to me on occasion when I got hurt at home. It helped that he brought it home from work at St. Mungo's." She took the stopper out of the vial and tipped it back in one motion. "If anyone would make potions palatable they would be a very wealthy potioneer."
She handed the empty vial back to Mr. Weasley. He had the sugar skull bottle in his hands. "This one is Skele-Gro."
She cringed. "I hate this stuff. I had to take it once when I fell down the stairs at home. I cringe thinking about my broken ankle I had when I was 10."
She took the bottle and a cup and poured a measure out.
"Who are you? How do you know your way around potions so well?"
She swallowed the vile potion, choking down the medicine. "Astoria Greengrass."
"Is your father Dr. Duncan Greengrass, the healer?"
"No wonder. Your father treated me a couple of years ago. He saved my life. I can't thank him enough for it. Does he know you're here?"
"He knows I'm at school. I don't know if he knows I'm here hurt. He's been worked to the bone since the Muggle registration boards went up last year. Half the staff fled in fear when that started. He's one of the few pureblood healers still there – and still working."
"What about your mother?"
"Mum's at home hopefully. I've not heard from her in over a week. Daddy sent an owl yesterday from work and said he was stuck there dealing with the victims from the Gringott's disaster. Mum's stayed home most of this year since it's been so dangerous to be out in public."
Arthur took the cup from her still quivering hands and put it on the side table. He looked back at her mussed hair and pond water green eyes. "You stay here and rest, understood? I need to get back out there and help out. Can you do that?"
Astoria grabbed his robes tightly in her delicate hands. "You're leaving?"
"I need to. I have to go get Dora and take her to safety."
"But she's –"
"I know – but I need to go get her and take her somewhere safe. Her mother would never forgive me if anything else happened to her."
"And who are you? I should like to tell Daddy when I see him next who saved me."
"Arthur Weasley. But Dora saved you. I only rescued you."
Arthur stood up from his wobbly knees and turned to leave.
He stopped and turned back to look at the dark haired witch in the hospital bed. "Yes?"
He smiled. "You rest now. You're safe."
She nodded and settled down into the pillows of the bed. The blasts on the castle would haunt her for years, reminding her of the only time she encountered Bellatrix Lestrange – and the sacrifice Auror Tonks made for her life.
On my magic, I will repay your gift of life.
She quickly fell asleep, the result of the pain potion taking effect.