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Eyes of a Survivor by Jchrissy
Format: Song fic
Chapter 1: Blown Away
This Song Fic involves a few very dark issues.
Please take notice of that, 'Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme' warning.
Lyrics - Blown Away by Carrie Underwood
Dry lightning cracks across the skies
Those storm clouds gather in her eyes
Her delicate face tilted up into the wind like a desperate soul calling on Heaven. “I need to get home. You know how he is with this kind of weather,” the dark haired girl finally whispered.
She wasn’t even sure why she was whispering, it was only the two of them in the center of the deserted meadow. Her meadow. Where grass and flowers swirled their whites and greens together and created the kind of tranquility that she begged to be part of.
Her knees were dirty from being pressed into the dusty earth, but she didn’t care. She would have stayed in that meadow all day and all night if she could, letting the mud gather around and under her. It would have caked the fabric of her blue robes, but still — she wouldn’t have cared.
She lifted her face again to glance at the clouds that continued to roll in, the next darker than the last. Her ocean eyes were swimming with hope as she silently prayed for the clear sky to return. Because if it did return, she wouldn’t have to go. She could stay there, she could stay safe.
Astoria was an angel, or at least that’s what she pretended to be. But never had she looked so much like one as she did that very second. A ten-year-old angel, full of hope despite the darkness of her reality.
“Just stay, Astoria. You’re safe here,” coaxed the blonde haired boy that was tucked into the tall grass beside her. Draco was a kind child — a caring boy who couldn’t handle seeing the angry purple marks covering his best friend’s skin. His best friend.
The furious wind whistled louder until its rage was right on top of them, twisting their hair and throwing sheets of rain onto their bodies.
“I can’t stay, silly. He gets scared by himself. He needs me.” Astoria’s brave eyes, the eyes of a survivor, were already void of the soft light that had been glowing in them only minutes before.
Because minutes before, the sun had been shining, and she was free. Minutes before she hadn’t remembered the gut wrenching sound of glass shattering against a wall: whichever wall was closet to her body, usually.
But her Daddy got scared by himself during the storms. That's the reason that he’s so angry whenever they strike, Astoria thought, because he’s afraid of them.
Her daddy was a mean old mister
Mama was an angel in the ground
The weather man called for a twister
She prayed blow it down
Astoria heard the stores about her father and what a kind man he was way back when. Back when her mother was alive, back when Daphne was a baby and Astoria wasn’t yet a creation on this earth. She heard the tales of a man with a laugh that could wake the dead, a man who cradled his wife’s heart like it was the most precious gift in the world.
Until one night, that man broke. One terrifying night when the blackest clouds cloaked the sky and lightning spit and screamed against the earth.
That night, while the storm’s wrath bellowed and boomed, Astoria’s mother struggled to push her new baby into the world. She fought as hard as any woman could, and she safely delivered her new gift, her Astoria. She struggled until she heard those first cries, and then it was over. The fight in her slipped away as her heartbeat slowed, and she knew she could hold on no longer.
Death’s seduction stole her away.
That night, Astoria’s father shattered. All the good inside him disintegrated and died alongside his wife.
There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma
To wash the sins out of that house
There’s not enough wind in Oklahoma
To rip the nails out of the past
Astoria knew she was the problem. She tried to make up for it, to apologize as much as any little girl could. She knew it was her fault because her daddy said that if it wasn’t for her, he’d still have his wife.
She wanted to feel bad, because she never meant to hurt anyone. But sometimes, deep inside her heart, she thought she heard soft whispers, telling her that she didn’t deserve this. And just when she was terrified that those whispers wouldn’t be enough, and she’d simply slip from this earth — she escaped.
She escaped to Hogwarts, her haven. In the warmth of that castle, she could be anything she wanted. She didn’t have to let a soul know about the Hell that lived in her house, Astoria and Daphne had an unspoken agreement: at Hogwarts, none of it was real.
Even when Draco tried to speak to Daphne, she denied it.
But Astoria was never quite as convincing with Draco. She tried, though. She tried because she wanted to drown the bad and force the good to surface.
Every summer when it was time to go home, she’d tell herself it would be different. She’d do what Daphne did and only come home when she was sure her father would be asleep, or maybe she didn’t need to. Maybe her father’s suffering was finally diminishing, and it would all be better.
Every tear-soaked whiskey memory blown away,
Years crept by, and still nobody knew. Her sister went away the second she could, and Astoria continued to mask everything under a porcelain facade. At Hogwarts she was a figment of her own imagination, never speaking about her life outside of school.
But he knew.
He had always known, from the time she was a little girl and couldn’t hide the tears from her best friend, Draco Malfoy always knew.
Then they got older, his life got more complicated and hers remained as terrifying as ever. But he would still come over everyday of the summer, just because I wanted to see you, he’d say. In truth, Astoria knew it was because he’d noticed the piling up Firewhiskey bottles, emptied and discarded.
Her father had a party. Her father had a rough day at work (work? He had been living off of blood money for yeas, he knew nothing of work) and needed to take the edge off. They were cleaning out the cellar and found those bottles.
Lie after lie she told Draco to excuse the ever looming truth; Astoria hadn’t seen her father sober in years.
No, he’s being fine this summer.
No, really - he’s calming down and has barely raised his voice at me.
That one? Oh, those pesky stairs.. and that? No, you know how clumsy I am, always falling from bed.
It looks more like I fell from a roof? It’s seems much worse than it is, I swear.
Lie after lie, and never did Draco believe any of them.
He knew everything as if he was reading it straight from Astoria’s mind, it was as clear to him as the realization that it was no longer a storm that brought on Mr. Greengrass’s anger, but simply the sight of Astoria could trigger him.
They’d go to their meadow, sometimes she’d even leave through the window if she was too frightened to walk to the front door. They’d go to their deserted meadow where whites and greens blended together, where she could be free.
But in those white flowers, in their pure absence of color, Draco saw red. When she asked why he was staring at them, softly running his fingers over their petals, he said it was because they weren’t really white. They were red.
That was the first time Astoria saw Draco cry.
“Is it because you’re so happy that you don’t have to be scared anymore? Because the Dark Lord is gone, the war is finished and you lived through it?” Astoria asked him, nudging his strong jaw with her nose as she spoke.
Draco ignored her question, instead he reached for her face and held it tightly in his hands. His grey eyes searched hers. “He’ll kill you eventually, your father, you know that, right?”
His words drilled into Astoria. He was wrong, though. No matter what her father did, he still loved her. Every father loved their daughter, hers just couldn’t show it as well.
“I couldn’t fix what was happening to me during the war, Astoria! I was trying to protect my family! But you can change what’s happening to you.” He was nearly shaking when he turned away from her and pulled the flowers from the moist evening dirt.
“If you’re too scared to do anything about it, I will. I won’t let him keep doing this to you. I’m giving you a chance to handle it your way, one chance. If you can’t, I will. Whatever I have to do, it’ll get taken care of.” A new determination surged through Draco’s voice.
Astoria nodded, it was the only thing she could do. Draco always wanted to protect her. He was never able to help himself, but that didn’t stop him from wanting to salvage her.
She knew he meant what he said, that he wanted want to help her. But nothing could shelter her from the father who, despite all of his cruelties, part of her still loved.
She heard those sirens screaming out
Her daddy laid there passed out on the couch
They found evidence of her father's involvement with Voldemort. Somehow an Auror trainee had dug up enough proof to make it matter.
Draco looked like a statue, a stone carved into the form of a man as he watched his colleagues question Astoria, trying to extract more information about Mr. Greengrass. He stood there, his face hard as he flanked the others.
Astoria had known he’d find a way when he told her that he wanted to become an Auror, Draco always found a way. What she didn’t know was that it’d be so quick, that he had volunteered for the most dangerous missions that had more of a chance to get him killed than not, all so the department would trust him enough to make him one of them.
And as Astoria answered the inquires, she heard the promise Draco made a summer ago to protect her, no matter what. Never did she dream he’d take it this far.
After the investigation the Aurors told her that they believed the charges would hold, the proof was substantial.
“It’ll be over soon,” Draco whispered to her as she struggled to hold the shaking parts of her soul in place.
He’s still my father, you can’t do this! She wanted to tell him, to make him drop the investigation, but she couldn’t.
Every tear-soaked whiskey memory blown away,
It was storming again, a terrifying summer storm that broke the earth. And for the hundredth-thousandth-millionth time, it was her fault. It was her fault he ended up alone and bitter, that’s what Father told Astoria. Her fault, all her fault.
And after he wore himself out, he drained a bottle and collapsed on the sofa.
Then they came. She saw them through the large front room window, casting the spells around her house, making it impossible for him to apparate.
She tried to wake her father up. She was eighteen now, she wasn’t a child and didn’t need to be scared. She would wake him, they would hide. They would leave, then she could find a way to get him help, to make him better.
She tried to force back the sickness that rocked through her stomach as she gently shook the monster lying on the couch. She had to wake him so he could flee.
If he fled he’d be free - free like she was, all the times he had caged her? Free like she was, when she prayed for someone to take her away from him? He was her father, though. Her father. She had to help him.
She locked herself in the cellar
Listened to the screaming of the wind
Some people called it taking shelter
She called it sweet revenge
“Nothing, father,” she whispered when he screamed at her, asking why she was waking him, still in his drunken, sleeping stupor.
So instead, she left him there. She left him on that couch and she ran away. The sound of the lock echoed in her heart as she secured the cellar door in place before huddling into the corner to wait out the storm.
They were fast, they blew down the door with the force of a tornado and rushed in, wands ready to attack. An Auror in training, a blonde man with scarred grey eyes, he wasn’t satisfied with just arresting Mr. Greengrass. He wanted more.
He shouted and yelled at the man who was her father. His shouts leaked into Astoria’s hideout and filled the stone room.
Draco raged and cursed, his fury broke every window lining those torturous walls.
How could you? Draco screamed it at him, so strongly that Astoria could nearly feel his throat growing raw.
And Astoria knew his question had nothing to do with her father’s allegiance to the Dark Lord.
How could you?
It was a question that went back years, eighteen years, nearly.
There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma
To wash the sins out of that house
“I have to burn it down, Draco,” Astoria whispered as she and Draco stood in front of her childhood home. “I have to watch it burn.”
“Okay.” Draco understood, she knew he would.
In the dead of the night, when the moon was absent the sun was asleep — she spoke the curse over and over until the fire ripped through every memory of that house. She started in a whisper, carefully spreading it through the wood and carpet. Then it was a scream, she screamed the incantation with all the wrath of her soul, with all the pain in her heart, and she watched it burn.
Draco held her hand as they stood, witnesses to the orange and red ravishing over everything, eating away all the nightmares of her world.
Then when the storm came, they laughed.
The wind and rain battered the house — which was no longer a house but a pile of ash. It blew the dust in circles and drenched the flames, and Astoria danced in it.
Her ebony hair and ivory skin were soaking wet, but she didn’t go inside.
She didn’t have to return to the traumatizing home ever again, so she danced.
And for the first time, while she laughed and twirled and spun through the piles of destruction, Draco noticed just the beauty of her skin.
The silky cream complexion, without the ugly black and purple marks that, for eighteen years, had smothered it.
Every tear-soaked whiskey memory blown away
A huge thank you to the amazing Amanda (academica) for beta reading this, as well as helping me accurately portray Astoria’s psychological state. Also, for being such an incredible writer and always inspiring me to push myself and get past my own limitations.