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A Force Of Wills by Gabriella Hunter

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Format: Novel
Chapters: 25
Word Count: 191,487
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong violence, Scenes of a sexual nature, Substance abuse, Sensitive topic/issue/theme, Spoilers

Genres: Horror/Dark, Mystery, Romance
Characters: Lucius, Narcissa, Voldemort, Blaise (M), Draco, Goyle Jr., Pansy, Crabbe Jr., OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Draco/Pansy, Harry/Ginny, Lucius/Narcissa, OC/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 01/19/2012
Last Chapter: 11/01/2014
Last Updated: 11/01/2014

Summary:



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Astoria Greengrass comes from a family of very secretive and very dangerous people and those secrets torment and bind her to a life she has never wanted. When the fate of her family is threatened, she must suddenly put aside her own hatred by trusting a pureblood while becoming prey for another.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Chapter 6: Greengrass
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A/N: Now, its been a minute but I had to finish up with "This is Angelina" and update for "Albus Potter and the Dark Lord's Prince" and if you all don't read those, you really should! Anyway, here it is. The sixth chapter and I hope you all enjoy this and leave me a review. Much love.

Draco Malfoy stared coldly up at his ceiling, his body teeming with rage and humiliation from the nights varying events. Disgusting images swam like a torrent through his mind as he tried to block out what he might have been doing to Greengrass if she had only cooperated with him, her lips against his and their bodies melding together.

But the more he thought of it; the more furious he became until he wanted to change his disgusting fantasies into murderous ones that included dragging the girl’s lifeless corpse through the fields of the Malfoy estate.

How he longed to wrap his fingers around her delicious throat and wring the life from her until those gorgeous violet eyes tinted and fogged over. But even as he thought it, he knew that he couldn’t physically harm her.

Draco was irritated by the nagging feeling in his chest at the thought of actually having her killed…something about not seeing that girl again made him feel empty somehow.

As if the lights had been doused. It was rather irritating and completely rude of his mind but he couldn’t shake off his obsession and his need to teach her a lesson that she would never forget, a lesson that he hoped would make her his.

And his alone.

The thought of Blaise Zabini running his dark hands over what he had claimed as his, drove Draco mad with hatred and he couldn’t fathom their connection. What had transpired between them in that pantry that would bring such a glow to that girl’s entire face?

What had that bastard done to her that Draco apparently couldn’t provide? It was ridiculous to assume that Zabini had anything that could tempt Greengrass that he himself couldn’t buy, or steal or bribe for.

If she had only agreed to be what he had wanted, Draco would have had no issue at all with spoiling her until the only things in the world that mattered were his gifts and the pleasures he could have given her. But that stubborn fool had promptly told him no…three times tonight!

He still couldn’t understand it and while he had effectively ruined her family’s chances somewhat at slithering into pureblood society, there was still much to do. Irritated and hating how his parents had confined him to his room until his father decided how to properly hurt him, Draco slid out of his massive bed and flung his silver sheets back.

There was no way in hell that he was going to wait around for his father to slime his way into his bedroom and properly punish him. He was certain that he wouldn’t be able to walk for days.

The sorts of punishments that his father usually had in mind included long treks around the Malfoy estate, through rugged woods and icy creeks until his body was hanging by a thread. And when that wasn’t enough, his father would take him back to the Manor and into the basement where the weights, fencing and other horrid supplies awaited. 

Draco would be reintroduced into what made a man a man and he wasn't at all looking forward do it, or his father's scorn. Thinking of that made his skin prickle with a bit of fresh shame and he cursed fluently before padding along the large expanse of his room.

Elegant, antique furniture littered every surface and the Persian carpet under his bare feet was as large as anyone else’s. Perhaps larger and he barely paid a glance to his monstrous marble fireplace.

If he wanted, he could perhaps go to Pansy’s and work off some of his tension but he doubted if his parents had been foolish enough to leave a handy bowl of Floo powder within his grasp.

And no doubt Pansy wouldn’t want to see him anyway.

After Greengrass had fled from him, as vicious and beautiful as some sort of nightmare, Draco had waited for the ache in his loins to ease before going after her, nothing but rage on his mind.

Thinking that she might have hidden upstairs and into an empty bedroom, he’d stomped upstairs, looking underneath every available surface, every corner and kicking open many a room and not finding her.

He had however, found Pansy waiting for him here, in his own bedroom and he’d been so horrified to find her without any clothes that he’d paled drastically. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Draco had asked, averting his eyes. Though he had seen her nude on many an occasion before, he had long lost his interest for her.

It was something that she just hadn’t been able to understand. And because he knew that her eyes were only on his Galleons, his cynicism only increased.

Women were all such fools and Pansy had instantly known from the look on his face that the sight of her standing in the center of the room in nothing but her skin hadn’t been entirely wise. “…I thought that maybe you’d cheat. I don’t really want to be bothered with Theodore.”

Draco had looked down at his feet for a moment before considering her and raking his eyes over her figure. While it was known far and wide that Pansy was no beauty, her body really was something to be salivated after but he had seen nothing but Greengrass in her place… “I’m afraid that I’ll have to decline on that offer, Pansy.”

“Why?” Pansy had asked embarrassingly, though her anger had shone. With the pools of light coming from his window, her body had glowed beautifully but Draco had seen nothing but Greengrass with her pale skin and the delicate fall of her dark hair….

Draco had wanted her desperately and no other woman would ever be enough until he could have that damn breed. “I’m not interested in furthering another relationship with you. I thought I’d made that apparent before.” He’d said crisply.

Pansy had looked truly stunned by that and had wandered awkwardly in the dark until she had picked up the heap that had been her dress and shoes. The rejection had stunned her because while she was no beauty of course, she was wealthy…a perfect pureblood, “You’re going after Half and Half, aren’t you?” she’d hissed from between her teeth.

Draco had flinched a bit at her words but had watched her dress to distract himself, finding it a damn shame that her face didn’t match. Greengrass was curvy and her face was pretty…her lips softer than silk and her taste sweeter than any treat, “She’s my prey and we have things to…discuss.” He’d said menacingly under his breath.

Pansy had finally managed to put on her dress and yet she’d run her fingers through her hair and she’d been crying by then. Draco abhorred tears, especially from women and he’d recoiled in terror, “Things to discuss? What could you possibly have to discuss with a breed?” she’d sneered.

There had been a short pause at the question and Draco hadn’t dared tell her that he intended on finding that girl. And then ripping the green dress from her trembling body, and placing every last inch of himself on her until she said his name. “That’s really none of your concern. And I’d advise you to keep your mouth shut if you know what’s good for you.”

The threat had come out before he could stop them and Pansy had stared at him in complete and utter shock.

She’d sobbed before rushing up and shaking out of the room. Her sobs had made him want to vomit because there was nothing quite as revolting as tears from a woman and he had stood there in his room before rushing back out, shutting his door and continuing his search.

It had proved pointless and by the time the others had returned, all of them very well-pleased, Draco had been boiling with fury and had decided that as they all had been told to leave and gather their coats by a servant—to get a drink.

His mother would have frowned but Draco had planned on bullying a servant into getting him a shot of fire whiskey to calm his body down and he’d been on his way down the hall, dark intentions swarming in his mind when he’d seen them.

Zabini and Greengrass— his prey—walking side by side and looking…friendly.

Draco had felt a burst of fury and jealousy at the sight before hiding and waiting for her to come to him and he’d intended on shaking her until her head banged severely against the wall.

But instead…he’d practically begged. He, Draco Malfoy had practically begged that damn breed to accept his offer, he had wanted her for so long that the sheer thought of having her had briefly made him mad with need. There was no real reason for it when she spat and hissed at him constantly and left him with nothing but his entrails hanging out after theri fights but...it made his skin heat at the thought of owning and possessing her.

He had thought that he would be able to sway her properly, impress her a little and get her to finally, finally bend to what he wanted and not at all what she desired.  But Greengrass had given him nothing but defiance.

And while it had aroused him to no end she’d told him no; as if she could really afford to be picky. Draco was fascinated, humiliated and enraged and he intended on ruining Astoria Greengrass for what she had done to him. And that cruel thought brought a sinister smile to his lips.

Irritably, he walked to a chair and snatched a robe from the back and slid into it before going to his door and yanking it open. Warily, he stuck his head out to make sure that his father wasn’t prowling darkly down the hall but when he saw no sign of him, Draco made his way out and softly closed his door before making his way downstairs.

The Dark Lord had arrived not too long after the party had ended and he’d been dragging some woman with him. His Aunt Bella had been roaring with laughter and while Draco’s mother had stopped him from following, he hadn’t wanted to.

There had been something cold and foul about the sight of a helpless woman being drug and ruining the polish on their marble floor but he now shook that disturbing though out of his mind. As he padded softly down the stairs, his intent to sneak into his father’s room became a very dangerous idea.

If his father caught him and saw him prowling his drawers for information on Greengrass and that pauper family, he would most likely beat him until he wouldn’t be able to see straight. But Draco had a feeling that his parents were hiding.

Somehow, the Dark Lord arriving and bringing that woman along with him had frightened them immensely and while it disturbed Draco to no end, he was surprised by it. They had been overjoyed to have the Dark Lord in their ancestral home but Draco had to admit that there was a sense of evil hanging over his home…more so than usual and he wasn’t certain if he should be wary or afraid.

Thoughtful of that and looking around carefully to make sure that he wasn’t being followed or seen by any servant or roaming Death Eater, Draco made his way across the foyer before heading down an adjacent hallway.

His father’s study had always terrified him as a child when he would be summoned there for behaving improperly or behaving foully but Draco now found himself beyond that sort of fear. He had many other horrible things to worry about that dulled the little spankings and firm scolding that he had been given as a boy and as he walked down the darkness to the tall, mahogany door, Draco inhaled.

After exhaling slowly, he placed his hand on the knob and twisted experimentally and was surprised when it opened for him but thought vaguely that because of the Dark Lord’s presence, there would be no secrets.

Briefly glad of that, Draco stepped inside and slowly clicked the door shut before turning and looking around. His father’s study hadn’t changed much in the past few years and he was eerily reminded of some sort of dark, turbulent hole from the pit of Hell and it caused him to chill over with unease.

While Draco had allowed some color into his own lounge, his father’s study was dark and foreboding with ancient furniture and display cases filled with various Dark Arts tools, many of them having killed Muggles.

A smile came into his mouth at the thought before he pressed towards the massive monstrosity that was his father’s dark desk, the surface bare except for a few photos of Draco and his mother.

Draco’s mother was insistent that his father always have them near him for luck and the only reason his father had relented in allowing him to have his personal study tainted with their images was because his mother had threatened never to speak to him again.

And because Draco had sensed that she’d also threatened never to pleasure him as well, he had tuned the rest of that conversation out, much too unnerved as to why his father had looked so distraught.

Shuddering at the unholy images that ran through his mind, Draco walked carefully over to the desk before looking around at the bookshelf behind it.

He was curious to touch but he didn’t need the distraction but something called to him from that space and tentatively, he walked over and ran his palm over the edges of leather tomes, flimsy scroll-like spines.

His fingers pressed heavily on a loose space until something gave way.

Draco jumped a bit but it was nothing but a cubby hole that was disturbingly similar to the one he had had in his own lounge and a delightful breath of air rushed out of him as he pulled out the obstructive books.

After removing them and sticking his hand inside of a wide, dark hole; his fingertips brushed against something, a book of course and he eagerly removed it before flipping it open.

Thick, old parchments met his gaze  and he read his father’s handwriting, now seeing proof of every nasty, back alley transaction his father had been a part of over the last twenty or so years.

There were names, acts and debts piled high…notes here and there that made Draco briefly wonder what sort of monster his father was before he impatiently hunted for Greengrass’s name.

It took a very long time as he flipped through the book, as it turned out to be some homemade material but he eventually stopped short as he saw the name, GREENGRASS in bold script. Draco instantly found himself reading as much as he could and stopped on the father’s history:

Name: Maximus Greengrass

Age: forty-five

Blood-status: Pureblood; father and mother are deceased from unusual causes, names unknown.

Draco paused a bit as he read this and wondered what the hell that meant and had an unnerving image of Maximus Greengrass murdering his parents and burying them in his back garden. Shuddering and unsettled as the image made him wonder too deeply, he continued on reading:

Siblings: Tiberius Greengrass (Believed to be a permanent resident of St. Mungo’s from unknown curse damage), Caligula Greengrass (Deceased from unusual circumstances), Hera Greengrass (Believed to be dead, as she has been missing for nearly ten years)

Ministry occupation: Head of the Department of Potioneers and Distribution

Draco paused again and could only imagine what sort of horrid potions that man was coming up with and he idly thought of exploding heads…withering droughts that left a man empty and void of life and for some reason he had a feeling that Maximus Greengrass felt very much at home.

A chill came over him because he didn’t trust that man near his father and his children…his children….his eyes glanced down to the parchment again:

Marital Status: Married to Adele Greengrass, formerly known as Adele Selwyn (Pureblood with no siblings. Both parents deceased from natural causes)

Children: Leo Greengrass, Scorpious Greengrass, Emily Greengrass:

Draco looked up in confusion before flipping the page to see a hastily scrawled note from his father and he could feel his father’s disgust even on the faded ink as he read:

Though not uncommon, Maximus Greengrass has one other daughter; Astoria or Asteria Greengrass, the only half-blood in the home:

Somehow, Draco knew that that wasn’t really the case but he had never heard of this Leo Greengrass before and when he flicked back to the page, he saw that the name was scratched out.

There wasn’t a note so his father hadn’t gotten any word on what had happened to him but it was obvious that Leo Greengrass was no longer a part of the home and he wondered if the boy had been eaten alive.

The thought was foolish because these notes seemed old and for all Draco knew, he might have run away or changed his name so as not to be associated with such fools and their breed of a daughter.

Plenty of families in the past had done something similar but something was nagging on him because he could find no trace of his Half and Half anywhere…she was just there.

Sometimes it wasn’t hard to find out whom the bastard belonged to but there was nothing on the breed— no nasty little side note from his father and though Draco had known her since Hogwarts, he had never once heard anything about where she’d come from.

Astoria Greengrass was just there, like some sort of disease and Draco had to have answers, he had to know everything. But he swallowed hard before closing the book and setting it back into its hole and covering it back.

For some reason, his fingers shook and he made sure that everything was in place before he backed slowly from his father’s study and walked quickly down the dark expanse of the hallway.

Sweat was breaking out along his forehead and he couldn’t detect where this fear was coming from…where this fright was centered and he was so entangled in it that he barely detected a figure coming down to him.

Draco stared in unease as his Aunt Bella angled down, looking as crazed as ever with a fierce stretch of lines that made up her mouth. “There you are,” she said to him crisply. “I checked your room and you were no longer in bed.”

“Am I needed for something?” Draco asked while acutely aware of how underdressed he was and how she seemed to sneer at him. She didn’t care much for him and he knew that while his mother loved him, her coldhearted sister did not, “I was merely headed to the kitchen.”

Aunt Bella had a sunken look to a once beautiful face and her thick black hair hung lank and dead around her skull. Heavy lids shielded the dark horror that were her empty eyes but he still felt a prickle of disgust, “The Dark Lord wanted me to inform you of our next meeting, as you are a Death Eater now.”

There was an obvious tone of shame in her voice and Draco wondered why she would have sought him out at such a time but there had been many meetings at all hours of the night. “When is it?” he found himself whispering.

“In approximately one hour.” Aunt Bella said and just then, Draco heard the most horrible scream and he looked away from her and saw Wormtail, that little slime, dragging the woman from earlier. She was kicking and screaming and though he could hear more voices, something in him told his body to flee for all he was worth, “you may want to dress.”

Draco felt himself trembling from the tips of his fingers down to the soles of his feet but he nodded curtly before finding a question tumbling from his lips. “Are you…aware of the Greengrass family?”

Aunt Bella had been turning from him to go into the dining room, the servants having cleaned up the mess from the disaster that dinner had been. “Greengrass? You mean those pauper fools…yes, I’ve heard of them. Why?” she asked him coldly, finding the question lacking.

“What are they?” Draco asked her abruptly. Aunt Bella quirked her brow at him a bit and he stammered stupidly, his nerve somehow bouncing along in his skull, “there was a slight altercation here and I find myself wondering if they can be trusted.”

“If you find yourself wanting to know, find out, Draco. Everything is in your disposal now, for I won’t even bother to send any of our soldiers out on some childish hunch you may have.” Aunt Bella said dismissively and Draco felt a burst of dislike. “What else are servants for if you can’t use them?” she asked nastily before floating away, dark robes dancing around her thin, emaciated frame.

By now, the screaming woman that Wormtail had been dragging was in the dining room and there was a blast of light. Someone had done something to her and her screaming ceased but Draco found himself running blindly back upstairs to his room and once he opened the door to his bedroom, he braced his back against it, panting.

The tumbling thoughts of the Greengrass family and now this…it all seemed like some sort of horrid nightmare.

But he had to prove himself and he swallowed hard before pushing off of his door and then spending a few moments dressing. When he was finished, he decided that he would take his aunt’s advice and have a servant pay a little extra attention to Greengrass and her family…he had to know.

He just had to know everything.

…….

“You must know, Astoria that the business is very important to me.” Astoria heard her father say in a calm, if not cold voice and she looked up at him blankly. They were sitting together in their small sitting room on the same night, her head aching and her need for sleep after the horrid events making her so weary that she could barely hold her head up, “very important.”

Astoria inhaled and wondered why she felt so much dread overtaking her body because this was not the first time that her father had talked to her.

The radical views that she had about Muggles, the War and so many other things had caused ripples here and there but he hardly paid attention to what she wanted that they were very far and in between, “Yes, Dad,” she whispered.

Maximus Greengrass was a pleasant man to the outside world and while he could be very kind and she truly loved him as only a child could, Astoria had to admit that she sometimes despised him.

It was in moments like this, with him across from her on the sofa— her little body seated in a chair with an erect back— that she hated the way he spoke to her. “Your supposed actions tonight, which I find completely ridiculous, posed a great risk for us.”

“I was alone in a pantry with Zabini but it wasn’t what you might have thought. We really were hiding from Malfoy,” Astoria explained hastily as her father’s blue eyes narrowed with anger. “Dad, I know more than anyone how important the business is.”

Oh, did she know.

The zoos and parties that they were forced to attend in the hopes that she and her siblings would land a pureblood marriage had been beaten into her from the moment she could even walk, their finances and their father’s sick need for prey were very essential to their survival.

“I believe you, Astoria. But you caused quite the disruption,” her father said sternly and his voice seemed to wash over her like some sort of toxic spray. Astoria felt the hairs on the back of her neck rising a bit, “Emily told me how you caused a disturbance between young Malfoy and that other boy.”

Astoria found herself oddly defensive and said shortly. “You mean Zabini.”

That had her father’s eyes narrowing in a warning and she silenced herself and wished that he hadn’t sent Scorpious out on an assignment.

But apparently there was a pureblood man going around various villages kidnapping young girls and the client, one of the girls’ fathers had been quite desperate when he’d come by shortly after they’d come home.

Because of their back alley associates in Knockturn Alley, quite a few people knew that the Greengrass family did.

But because it was such a sickening job and many people longed to forget about their evil deeds, it remained a secret. And the few that had told had been killed, but on most occasions, Scorpious took pity on them and Obliviated their memories behind their father’s back.

Killing people for money…lying, thieving, seducing, extortion, blackmail…Astoria knew what her family did for a living very well.

And because she read so many Muggle novels from Diana, she was able to learn that Muggles would call them gangsters. Astoria was ashamed to know that her family had been filled with dark secrets for quite some time.

There’d been a moment where Emily had informed her that their great-grandmother might have been some sort of courtesan, poisoning her way to riches beyond understanding.

And while Astoria had been horrified, her sister had sounded admiring.

There were other things in her family aside from the fact that her brother was a hired killer and that her father seemed to hold the underbelly of the Wizarding world in the palm of his hand, but Astoria would rather not dwell on those things.

“Zabini…I know the name. But I would rather not have you taint yourself with a traitor, Astoria, we must keep up appearances, and I don’t want to find out that you’ve lied to me. Ever.” Her father warned severely.

Astoria wanted to glare at him and tell him to go to Hell. But she could do no such thing and she knew that the little scrap of parchment with Zabini’s address would remain a secret.

He had made her happy for one reason or another and she wouldn’t let her father destroy that, no matter if it were more of a risk on her part for…consorting with a pureblood. “Yes, Dad,” she said meekly.

“Don’t be so put out with me, pet. You know how much I love you but I have to keep you, out of everyone else, safe and I would much rather put Mr. Blaise Zabini behind me and ask you to set your sights on someone more suitable.” Her father said firmly and Astoria gave him a look, her heart hammering with terror, “…why not young Malfoy?”

Astoria would kill Emily, figuratively speaking and she felt her cheeks exploding in a blush and her father’s lips twitched. He found her highly amusing, “I’ll do no such thing! I despise him!” she cried unthinkingly.

Her father frowned at her and she pushed herself back into her chair and swallowed hard and wondered if he would poison her.

But that was foolish because if he killed Astoria, her mother would kill him and that would only leave a mess, “I’m very aware of that but I was unable to ignore his rather unsettling interest in you. Perhaps… if the fates are kind, you will invite him to dinner.”

It was a command and Astoria found herself laughing incredulously. “But he would never court me! I’m a half-blood!” she cried, this being a relief. “His parents would never allow it.”

“Perhaps we can work around that…” her father murmured darkly and his true intentions for her became clear and she could have fainted from disgust and hatred. “Whatever you’ve done to attract young Malfoy, I implore you to give in, Astoria. The more distracted that fool is the better for me to destroy his father and place him in the hands of the Order of the Phoenix.”

Astoria couldn’t believe that he had said those words and hot tears started to burn into her eyes and she found herself standing. “I’ll do no such thing.” Her father looked at her wearily, as if he found her stubbornness aggravating, “what about what I want?”

“I’m quite sure that young Malfoy will provide,” her father started. Astoria felt one tear sliding down her cheek and she shook her head in denial, wondering how someone who was supposed to be her parent could disregard her so callously. “I need you to stop being so selfish and childish…you are a Greengrass. The business will not suffer. I will not allow it.”

Astoria stood where she was, her chest heaving and tears streaming freely down her cheeks before she jerked her head at him. “Am I dismissed?”

Her father seemed to sense that she could no longer be breached for tonight and he nodded his head at her and she ran as fast as she could from the room and back into the front of the house.

Pausing briefly, she shot him a heated glare before running up the stairs and down the hall towards her bedroom, ignoring Emily as she came out of her own bedroom, “Stori—?” she asked in confusion.

“I don’t want to be like you!” Astoria shouted brokenly from over her shoulder and her sister’s green eyes grew wide and hurt before she managed to reach her room. After yanking the door open, she sobbed uncontrollably before saying sharply; “Aradelle!” and she slammed the door shut with a crack.

The family’s house-elf appeared instantly and she stared up at Astoria worriedly, her big blue eyes glassy. She wore a finely pressed flowered curtain as a dress, “Yes, Mistress Stori?”

“Please get this horrid dress off me and pack my Hogwarts trunk and make sure that you pack most of my clothes.” Astoria commanded and her house-elf looked stunned. “Do not tell anyone what I’m asking you to do, that’s an order,” Aradelle was a very good companion and she nodded her head before helping Astoria out of her constricting green dress.

After she flung it away and stood in her underwear for a moment, her fingers still clutching Zabini’s address, his handkerchief falling to the floor, she was asked. “And where is Mistress Stori going?”

Astoria didn’t know where she was going exactly but she wasn’t going to stay one more minute in her family’s home.

How could he do this to her?

She was supposed to be his daughter!

The life of a Greengrass was a tainted mess and she never should have thought that she would matter so much to the man when this night would have come one way or another. But to carelessly offer her to Malfoy…Draco Malfoy…made her squirm with disgust and hatred.

She couldn’t bear it after what she had had to deal with at the Manor tonight, after getting such a sweet revenge on Malfoy only to be devoured anyway on a silver platter, legs splayed for whatever he wanted.

Bitterness curled into her body as she stomped over to her dresser and yanking open a few drawers to find something suitable to wear.

Muggle clothes wouldn’t do (Gifts from Diana, Scorpious’s girlfriend) so she found a long, comfortable ankle-length pink dress before finding decent traveling robes and yanking them on.

Aradelle was busying herself with magically adding clothes, books, toiletries and dozens of other things into her Hogwarts trunk and Astoria made herself busy by looking underneath some blouses for her allowance money.

The Greengrass family didn’t have much but Astoria had been saving her Galleons for an emergency and she now held the large sack in her hand thoughtfully before placing it into her robe pocket.

Hurriedly, she crossed to her bathroom and spent a few minutes scrubbing the makeup from her face, pulling the pins from her hair and forcing the brown locks into a loose braid.

When she came back out, Aradelle had her things all ready for her and there was an apprehensive look to her face. “Is Mistress Stori wanting me to come with her?” she asked anxiously.

Astoria thought of the risk it would be for Aradelle to come with her but she knew that it was a risk no matter where she was going.

Her parents would use nothing in their disposal to find her but she would not come back home…she just couldn’t stand it and no matter if she was a Greengrass…there was just no way in Hell that she was mating with Malfoy.

Disgust welled inside of her but she nodded at her house-elf, “Yes but you mustn’t tell where I’m going, Aradelle. No matter what, I’m to remain a secret.”

“Yes, Mistress,” Aradelle said with a bobbing curtsy. Astoria looked down at the sea of green on her carpet where her dress lay before fishing out Zabini’s handkerchief. She raised it to her nose and inhaled…it still smelt like crisp trees and sandalwood and for a moment she was in pure heaven before she got a hold of herself, “Take me directly to this address, Aradelle.”

When Aradelle received the address, her eyes bugged out of her skull but nodded and after Astoria gathered her things and took her hand, they Disapparated.

There was a dizzying effect but after it faded, she was able to detect fresh leaves and the tinkling sound of a fountain before she opened her eyes to stare determinedly ahead.

Looming imposingly in the distance was the one place that her family would never think that she would go and Astoria inhaled for strength before making her way towards the only sanctuary she had left.

The sprawling luxury of the Zabini Estate was all that she had to hope for now.
 


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