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A Force Of Wills by Gabriella Hunter

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Format: Novel
Chapters: 24
Word Count: 179,807
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: 08/25/2014
Last Updated: 08/25/2014

Summary:



Gorgeous Banner by Vendetta @TDA
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 14: Prey
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A/N: Hello everyone! Miss me? No? Well. I see how it is then! Anyway, I'm sure some of you have been wondering why I took so long but I had other stories to update and it took really long. My apologies and please enjoy this chapter!

Blood was pounding furiously in her ears and the sharp bite of the wind stung her exposed skin, bringing with it a numbing chill. For just a few minutes as she delved farther and farther away from the traitorous Tom, hearing the bricks sliding back in place and leaving her on her own, she was shivering with fear. Astoria already felt soaked through to the marrow.

The buildings and spaces that made up Diagon Alley rushed by her quickly, structures and shapes losing all significance as her feet tossed her forward. She was so desperate to make it in time, knowing that she could be running only to find Blaise's body in some alley. If they would even bother to leave it, the darker part of her mind protested and Astoria closed her eyes, willing that thought to vanish.

Blaise couldn't...wouldn't be dead. She would stop this, she would fight the hounds of hell if she had to and that, she thought blearily, would be far easier than dealing with her family. It would be a reprieve.

Astoria swallowed, knowing that she had no time to think twice and as her feet took her farther past various shops and stores that she had seen time and time again, she couldn't help but sense the dread. Diagon Alley was no longer the bustling, crowded affair that it had been on those days when she had gone about with her mother and sister, and resembled more of a skeletal outline.

Trash littered the ground, which was threatening to overflow from the filth of it all and the few people that were walking about appeared haunted and gaunt around the edges, as if they were fading away. Astoria tried not to meet their eyes but it hardly mattered when they were far too sunken in their own troubles, which she could only pretend not to imagine.

The War was taking its toll on anything and everything it could and it made her sick. It made her feel even worse as she thought of how she'd considered the Dark Lord winning. Bile rose in her throat and she felt a blast of shame and more hope for Harry Potter, for anyone that was fighting to end this. But the world was hardly her problem right now. She had her own small little war to fight.

Gritting her teeth and holding tightly to her wand, Astoria felt her breath issuing out faster in a nervous little pant as she tried to reach Madame Malkins. That was where Bliase had gone and been ambushed.

Or at least, that was where she thought.

The robe shop had never been her favorite places to be when all she could think of was how inadequate she must appear with her mother and sister parading around the rows of fabric. Astoria had suffered through fittings, pulls and the sharp criticisms from her mother over her lack of this or that and as she found herself nearing the building, homesickness gripped her.

It was strange that she should feel it it at all, considering that she had done so much in order to get away from her family. But the gentle, fond looks of her siblings and the reluctantly amused expressions on her mother's face...those were the things that she missed. Madame Malkin's was surprisingly packed as Astoria pushed herself towards the door, though she should have been looking at the back of the building.

Scorpious wouldn't be so careless as to actually murder a boy behind a building filled with people would he? Astoria didn't know any of his techniques and had only heard certain whispers from him over the years and that side of her brother was too terrifying to dwell on.

But Blaise's life depended on her and she decided that she could at least ask someone if they had seen her brother or Blaise inside. Perhaps they would know if they had left? Astoria gnawed on her lower lip, unsure how her siblings did their jobs for the business so casually.

There were always too many risks, too many uncertainties.

Knowing that she didn't have much time and drawing in a breath, Astoria pushed open the doors, nearly being bowled over by the dozens of Hogwarts students and parents on their way out. Shoving them rudely out of her way, Astoria made her way further inside, hearing the blaring, annoying chatter of many girls and their mothers prattling away.

Madame Malkin's was a large shop with nearly two levels of private dressing rooms for the sickeningly wealthy and rows upon rows of silk, satin, wool fabrics and mannequins modeling the latest styles. There would have been no chance to ever buy anything quite as expensive as some of the gowns on display and she shrugged that off, feeling that it was even more unimportant than she'd ever thought before.

Delving further in the shop was like forcing herself into a moving, massive ocean of bodies and she struggled fiercely. trying to see if old Madame Malkin were around to answer some of her questions. But there was no sign of the woman and Astoria clenched her fists tightly, knowing that this had been a foolish idea.

Where would Scorpious take Blaise if he wanted to get the truth out of him? If he wanted to torture him? Astoria's blood went cold. She knew exactly where. Oh, she dreaded it. She dreaded the thought but it was the only place...it was the only place that everyone in her family seemed to thrive, where her father ruled with a cruel, iron fist.

Scorpious would be there.

He would be there in Knockturn Alley and time was running short. Astoria bit back a moan of misery, seeing every flash of Blaise's smile flashing through her mind and knowing that if she went through another minute without him she would go mad.

Cursing her own stupidity and damning the family business to hell, Astoria turned swiftly on her heels. She was so intent on exiting the shop that she barely paid attention to her surroundings, which was one thing that her father had always told her to do when out in public, as they couldn't risk others noticing what they shouldn't. But Astoria had forgotten and her need to find Blaise was all consuming...but just now she knew that she had made some sort of mistake.

Confused by it and hating the press of bodies in the shop, Astoria ran her hand down the back of her neck. Something was wrong and she felt suddenly trapped, like an animal on the verge of a very nasty death and as she passed by a group of giggling Hogwarts girls that were being fitted for Ravenclaw robes and ignored the sight of a Death Eater or two, she felt it.

That ever...unnerving sensation that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up in alarm. It was a warning that she knew too well. Years upon years of feeling and dreading it had given her a taste of what real terror was, “Please God,” Astoria whispered, knowing that her prayer would do little to ease her worries because this was not good.

This was not happening.

Not here.

Not now.

Astoria, feeling a trembling beginning in the pit of her soul, angled her head slowly, so slowly but she needn't have bothered. The terror working its way up and merging with her disgust and hatred...there was only one person that could bring this sort of array of emotions onto her.

Fearing that her heart would burst from the way it pounded so strongly, she felt her eyes widening with terror and confusion. She was unable to understand why she was forced to confront such a frightening sight.

Draco Malfoy was staring at her across the shop as various bodies moved past him, whispering and going on with their lives as if hers wasn't about to be threatened in the worst possible way. Astoria had forgotten that just the sight of him made her blood turn to ice, how his eyes, so grey and filled with shock and hatred could shift to a deep and burning blue.

Still blonde, still ironically handsome and possessing a body that he didn't deserve, Draco Malfoy looked the same. But even Astoria could sense that something was a tad broken. Something that felt deliriously like pride.

She knew that what she had done at the Manor had tested and belittled him and even still, a bit of satisfaction worked into her chest. The little monster couldn't have everything he wanted and she and Blaise had made him pay.

Blaise.

Astoria started to turn away, knowing that that boy was her main concern and she tried to fight down the scream that was working up. Every hair on her body was needle thin and although she didn't see him move, she sensed the exact moment when he started towards her.

Knowing that it would be more than foolish to stay, Astoria fled for the door, unable to block the image of his murderous grey eyes from her mind. She knew that if he managed to catch her now, he would wring her neck or worse, drag her into a corner and devour every available inch of her skin.

That was far worse. Astoria felt her lips starting to tingle from unwanted kisses at the Manor and she felt herself shuddering with revulsion. She would never understand what she had done to capture his interests and she longed for a life that didn't include the unwavering echo of his steps behind her own.

But that wasn't her life and she worried that she would never be able to get rid of him, not unless she actually turned her wand on him and the thought of becoming like her family sickened her. And yet, there was Blaise to consider. There was no telling what she would come face to face with and if she had to fight her brother to save him, she would. Draco Malfoy was nothing but, why, why, why, did he scare her so badly?

Something in her warned that it would be a silly idea but Astoria found herself glancing worriedly over her shoulder. Never in her life had she run away from him without him following but the sight of Malfoy emerging from Madame Malkin's glancing through the crowd and practically sniffing for her was startling. He wouldn't give up unless he had her.

Quickly turning away from that horrible sight, Astoria merged quickly into the thinning crowd, pushing her way through. There were sharp protests but she ignored them, hoping that she could outrun the beast for now and worry about escaping him with an intact Blaise at her side. If Malfoy spotted her, it was all over and she didn't have the time to deal with him right now, or wonder why he had suddenly appeared right when she couldn't have been more desperate.

Draco Malfoy, Draco Malfoy! Just the thought of him made her blood turn to ice and she had to force herself not to look back, knowing somehow that he would sense her as surely as she sensed him. That seemed to happen, she thought wryly as she ran through the streets towards Knockturn Alley, prey always seemed to sense its most dangerous predator.

But there were worse predators where she was going now and Astoria pushed the monster from her mind, mentally checking off street names until she was able to see the haphazard sign for Knockturn Alley. It was splattered with old paint and what looked a lot like old blood and Astoria didn't think that it mattered what kind, not when it hardly seemed to matter anymore.

Despite what her family did for a living, Astoria had never been to Knockturn Alley before. It was a place that her mother had steered her away from, saying that when the time came, she would have all the information she needed on how to run such a place, depending on what her father wanted out of her.

Emily and Scorpious knew their way around very well of course and their father had control over nearly every business and person. It had taken years to uphold that sort of power and she knew that her family had sunk its roots deeply into Knockturn Alley, probably stabbing it in the heart.

Lack of money and the hatred for purebloods had caused her family to do the things that they had done but it all seemed like a horrible nightmare, a horrible truth that couldn't be undone. Once, her father had sat her on his lap when she had first arrived at their home, telling her how special she was, how their family was now complete with another child to carry on the tradition.

Astoria closed her eyes briefly at the memory, banishing it from her mind before returning to the present. Knockturn Alley awaited and she sucked in a breath, knowing that she only had her family's reputation to hold up if she'd ever had to hide there.

More than one witch and wizard owed her father something or had the displeasure of working for him. As disturbing as it was, Astoria knew that if she threatened them in the sort of mood she was in now, they would surely lead her to Scorpious.

Cracked, stone steps led to the underworld below and Astoria took her time, not bothering to pull up her cloak. Though she didn't want to acknowledge it, she had been told more than once that her face was already known by every wretch here if she ever needed information or a place to hide.

It was a wise thing to memorize the Greengrass family members if you wanted to deal with them and Astoria found herself trying not to shudder at that truth. Such a horrible, twisted little family she had. Foul scents and eerie sounds greeted her, along with a bleakness that made her soul squirm uncomfortably. It might have had something to do with her fear.

This was not the sort of place that she had ever thought she would be forced to slip into and it made her ill to know that Scorpious had brought Blaise here. Where they could be, she could only guess but she would find him, somehow.

Gripping her wand tightly in her hand, she took the steps carefully until she was forced to walk forward and around a corner, the narrow alleyways making it hard to breathe. Various witches and wizards were hunched over trash cans or huddled together, bartering and arguing for things that made Astoria recoil. It shouldn't sicken her so much from what she had read in her collection of banned books because she knew many evil potions required fresh blood.

Thinking that Blaise's blood might be spilling or spilled already, Astoria forced herself forward. There were a few people around the next corner, shop doors busy opening and closing and she saw that few of the customers were willing to look her too long in the eye.

Astoria frowned, wondering how long it would take to find someone that might be skittish enough to answer a few questions for her. Distantly, she heard a footstep behind her and turned, eyes narrowing.

A tall, misshaped shadow spread slowly along a brick wall behind her, ghoulish and taunting. The streets were littered with filth, the day appearing incredibly dark down here but when the owner of the shadow didn't appear, Astoria realized that she was either looking at a wraith or the person was too afraid to go any further.

If the second were true, she couldn't blame them. Turning away and willing herself to be strong for Blaise's sake, Astoria continued walking, gnawing on her lower lip. How did her brother and sister do this?

How did they have to act to get answers here? Being nice and gentle would get her nowhere, of that she was certain and she inhaled, finding a deep, nasty place inside of her. It was time that she acted like a Greengrass if she wanted to see Blaise alive and whole again.

Voices up ahead caught her attention and after allowing the feeling of gratified power to engulf her, she headed towards them. After a moment, she found herself wandering towards a group of wizards standing outside of a rundown apothecary, most of them appearing wistful for times gone by. Astoria hadn't seen any Death Eaters roaming about but she knew that there had to be a few and she prayed that they stayed hidden.

If there was another thing she didn't need right now, it was them. The group of wizards that she had set her sights on however were leaning against a cracked bit of the apothecary wall, most of them so grimy that she wasn't sure where their skin began.

Her stomach was already boiling with unease and the men quickly sized her up, whispering amongst themselves that a stranger had found their way here and she felt a bolt of unease before she found her voice. “Have any of you seen Scorpious Greengrass around here?” she demanded, disturbed by how forceful and icy her voice was.

“What'd you say?” one of the men asked, sounding purely alarmed. His eyes were bloodshot as they grew wide, “don' be sayin' that name round here so lightly.” He warned gravely, giving her a contemptuous look.

Astoria gritted her teeth, trying to fight back the sound of her mind screaming impatiently. Blaise needed her, she didn't have time for this! But if she didn't ask, she might not ever find him. “Have any of you lowlifes seen Scorpious Greengrass?”

“Who's askin'?” one of the men demanded. He looked simply mad and Astoria made certain that he could see her wand, which was already sparking violently, just itching for a chance to fight, “who're you to be askin' after them?”

Astoria glanced around her, seeing that just the name of her brother had caused several people to get inside. Shop windows and doors slammed and she could distantly hear locks and bolts sliding into place,“I'm his younger sister, Astoria Greengrass and I'm sure that you know who our father is.”

Obvious doubt washed over the men but she knew that many of the wretches here knew her face better than her own. Her father made sure that they did, if he ever needed to have them found or, in her case, hired to be brought back home, “I don't believe you!” a man snarled dangerously between his two companions.

Astoria swallowed hard, sensing that he was trying to scare her off. From the corner of her eye, she saw many of them had drawn either their wands or deadly blades still stained brown with blood, “I am who I say that I am.” Though she would rather deny it, now was not the time to allow her shame for her family's business to overwhelm her.

“How can we be so sure of that?” a man to her far left asked while running his eyes over her nastily. He was playing with a curved blade that looked sharp enough to carve her to bits, “don't remember there being more than two Greengrass brats.”

Astoria knew that he was lying. Her father wasn't the sort of person to go about things without thoroughness, “Don't think that I'm stupid. My father isn't the sort of person to leave his children unprotected.” With the sort of life that they had, it would be more than dangerous, “my sister has been kidnapped so often and my brother, I know you all must get tired of seeing him around.”

A few of the men looked at one another as if they were reliving some horrible moment with her. “Then where does he live? If you're his daughter and not some faker, you should know that, right?”

The location of their home was only known to those seeking their help, for desperate witches and wizards looking for revenge. They came to them through some of the wretches here and at home, Astoria had seen many pass through the doors with assignments, with bribes for her father...wanting this person killed, that person to go missing.

Because of the way their lives were, the location to her home was always guarded rather tightly but she didn't doubt that some of the men here passed the address along to their clients. If they told an Auror or betrayed them in some other way, they would already be dead and Astoria could only imagine what her father had threatened them with, or who he had killed to make a point.

“Well?” a man sneered, obviously taking in her silence as surrender.

Astoria felt a smile forming. She was no client and she wasn't a thug of her brother or father, and so she gave the address, knowing that even as she said it that those who heard wouldn't repeat it. No one wanted to feel their death coming and with the way her family was, they would purposefully feel the blade going in, “I'm not lying and I don't think that I have to prove it to you.” She spat furiously after she was done.

Shock rippled through the group of men and some of them were retreating, looking over their shoulders. “I didn't hear anything!” she heard one of them say desperately as her gaze flicked over to his, “don't tell your brother I heard!”

Astoria nodded briefly, though her eyes told a different story. The unspoken threat made them stiffen and she found herself saying nastily. “If you hurt me, you'll regret it.”

“Because you'll do what?” someone else dared to ask. Though several of the men shot him venomous looks, he didn't appear as swayed by fear, “I don't see your daddy around.”

Astoria swallowed hard but she forced her eyes to become steely, her lips to turn up in a merciless smile. It made every inch of her ill but she forced herself to say words that made her heart nearly break, “Would you really like to hurt me and wait until my father finds out? Because he will.”

There was some murmuring from the other men and she felt a chill going up her back, hoping that she would get her way. Blaise had so little time, “How would he?” the same bold man asked, though his voice was less sure.

Astoria gave a haughty look around, eyes trained into narrow slits.“He owns everyone and everything here and word travels fast.” She nearly choked as she gave a nasty laugh. “Unless being kidnapped, tortured and dumped in a pit is what you want, go right ahead and hurt me,” she found herself saying chillingly.

There was a strange silence that followed, as if their souls had fled painfully from their bodies. Wands were shoved hastily back into robes and she watched as several of the men walked swiftly away, vanishing into the gloom without looking back.

Astoria felt like the horrible spawn of a demon and it wouldn't be too far from the truth, she thought bitterly. “Don't do that, I believe you!” the same bold wizard declared, looking suddenly cowardly as he was left alone. “I thought you was supposed to be missin'? Your brother's been askin' around about you, said you was gone.”

“Well, now I'm found.” Astoria replied tightly, trying to adapt the tone of someone superior, someone that could easily crush and break. Her heart protested but there was no other way to get what she wanted, “I was told to come down here to meet my brother, I'm getting into the family business so where is he?”

The man eyed her, rubbing his hands together nervously. Astoria narrowed her eyes, wondering if he doubted her, if he doubted that she were a Greengrass and she hoped and prayed that she wouldn't have to physically hurt him, “I saw him in passing. A few of my friends told me they helped him drag this kid into a building,”

Astoria's blood ran cold. “Someone my age? A young black boy?” she asked him through snarling teeth and the man nodded savagely, “where are they? What building did they take him to and how do I know you're telling the truth?”

“I could take you there! My friend told me where the building was in case I wanted to make some easy money. He said that your brother was thinkin' about having him tortured for a few Galleons,” at Astoria's infuriated expression, he hurried on, coming towards her. “Just...just follow me.”

Astoria, hating what she was about to do, found herself raising her wand and crying out. “Relashio!” and as the spell shot forward, the man nearly had his face slashed to ribbons but he blessedly moved out of its range, crying out in alarm.“If you're lying to me, I'll skin you alive. Do you understand me you piece of shit?” she hissed, watching as he eyed her with gruesome wonder.

Her spell had collided with a sign above the apothecary and she watched as the wood splintered and fell. There was a slight crash, followed by the sound of either rats or mice scattering for cover, “I-I understand. I'm not stupid enough to fight a fucking Greengrass!” the man snapped, looking mad with sudden fear.

Astoria sensed that he wasn't merely afraid of her, she doubted if he truly was when she hadn't drawn blood. But if he led her to Scorpious in a weakened, shattered condition, he would be broken in two and that was a fate that no one deserved. “Then take me to my brother. Now.”

Though he eyed her warily, her victim nodded savagely, motioning her down the street at a hurried pace. Astoria followed, but she felt a prickling at the back of her neck, hinting at danger too close to o the surface.

…...

The hairs on the back of his neck were still standing up and it was taking Draco Malfoy a harder time to breathe than normal. So close...for a moment he had been so close to her that he could have reached out and ran his fingers against the back of her cheek.

Or better still, wring her lovely little neck. Days had passed since he had last seen her and yet, Astoria Greengrass had still looked the same in Madame Malkin's, the two of them eying one another like predator and prey.

Those violet eyes had still been the same, the hue of her lips still rosy and pink, begging for a kiss and her hair...Draco had found himself dreaming of it. Dreaming of running his fingers through it, tugging and pulling or forcing her mouth beneath his, where it belonged.

It was a curse, wanting her and yet Draco wasn't quite sure what he would do with himself if he didn't think of her at least once or twice a day, like he had for years. After what she had done to him at the Manor, refusing his offer and fawning all over that disgusting blood traitor Zabini, Draco should have pushed her determinedly from his mind.

But thoughts of her had plagued and tormented him ever since that night. Ever since she had humiliated him so cruelly in front of his own parents with the blood traitor Zabini, Draco had fantasized, dreamed and lusted after her as strongly as he'd hated.

What could they have possibly been thinking that night? He still couldn't understand the girl's sudden interest in Zabini of all people when Draco had more than he could ever dream of providing her. And yet she'd told him no. He still couldn't fathom the way her little mind worked...he had offered her anything, given her the sort of kisses that he didn't just give to anyone. But he repulsed her. A stupid little breed was disgusted with him, a pureblood.

It was madness. Delightful madness... “I'm my father's daughter Malfoy and I was told never to get on my hands and knees for anyone beneath me.” That was what she had said to him that night.

Just recalling it made his blood simmer with both hunger and rage at her nerve to be so bold. So untouchable when he had been accustomed to getting whatever he wanted but that night had changed everything. Astoria Greengrass had changed everything that night but more horrors had followed after the Manor had been quiet and Aunt Bella alerted him to a Death Eater meeting.

Other things had happened that night that he had tried to forget. Like Charity Burbage's screams and the slip and slide of Nagini moving closer and closer to her on his dining table...that sick sound of swallowing and gnawing. Draco closed his eyes, shaking the images off for the moment and trying to gather his breathing, his back against an old wall that would lead him into the underbelly of Knockturn Alley.

Though Half and Half had fled like a rabbit and tried to merge into the crowd, gaining a bit of a head start, Draco had followed her easily, forgetting about his shopping and needing the thrill. There was no way that she would get away from him this time, not after so long of plotting and lusting after her against his will.

The girl should be damned to hell for it. After taking a deep breath, he peered around the wall, searching for Half and Half and seeing her just down the street, obviously threatening a man. There was something wild about her, he had to admit and he tried to wonder on where her family was, where that brother or sister were lurking.

But he hadn't seen them and he found it more than a little peculiar that Greengrass would be walking around in Diagon Alley on her own. He was more than certain that the family stayed together.

Like a pack of demons. Draco was immensely curious, so curious in fact that he would have to make it home later than usual. His mother had just started to allow him out of the house in the first place.

It had taken a lot of bribing and begging, reminding her that he was seventeen now and needed his own space, his own time to worry about his life. Thankfully, before the tears had escaped from her worried blue eyes, his father had intervened, briefly coming out of his own terror and misery.

Draco knew that having his wand in the clutches of the Dark Lord was not something that he had ever wanted to happen but if he had defied him, they would have been killed. Or worse, treated like dogs like that pathetic Wormtail.

The Manor already felt like a prison, Draco didn't intend on becoming a inmate in his own home. It was already strange knowing that Ollivander was being held down there in the darkness of what he had always considered a safe haven, but was now merely another cage. The brief freedom in Diagon Alley had felt like heaven.

No friends had written to him or worried, not even Pansy had bothered and he couldn't really blame them. Although his father had been humiliated with having his wand stolen and having their status on shaky ground, he'd made sure to relate embarrassing news about Draco's game to his friend's parents.

Pansy, Crabbe, Goyle and the others were foaming at the mouths and he knew that Hogarts would not be pleasant. “Relashio!” the spell snapped him out of his thoughts and he felt his eyes widening in surprise as Half and Half nearly slashed a man's face off, a sign behind them clattering to the ground.

What in the bloody hell...? The man she was threatening looked frightened, furious and annoyed at her nerve and they spoke, in hurried tones that he wasn't able to hear and he cursed. He had followed her at a distance, nearly being caught in his haste to have her at some point when she almost made out his shadow. Slipping back on the stairs at the last minute had spared him from being noticed and it wouldn't do to have her noticing him now. Not when things were getting...interesting.

What was she doing and why the hurry? Draco ran his tongue over his lower lip thoughtfully, knowing that Knockturn Alley wasn't the sort of place for a romantic rendezvous. Zabini wouldn't be taking her here if he were intending on having a little taste so why was she here?

And where were her bloody parents? Draco thought for a moment, knowing that he had been trapped for so long in the Manor and isolated from any social news other than the state of the War to know much.

Had the Greengrass family fallen on such hard times that they had to make back alley deals here? Draco could only imagine the shame and he felt a burst of triumph. That family was far too arrogant and though he didn't want to admit it, they sort of gave him an eerie feeling.

They weren't the sort of people that openly discussed their issues...they seemed like the type to find out what they were and tear them apart. And yet, Draco didn't have much time to think on why Half and Half was alone just now. But it hardly mattered.

Not now. Not after so damn long. It was dangerous of him, he knew and he would have sent a servant to her home to find out information but most of his staff had fled for their lives. He could hardly blame them with Death Eaters in the house and the threat of the Dark Lord returning at any moment. It no longer felt like an honor, having him near his family at all and the Dark Mark on his arm stung. Like regret.

Draco was reminded bitterly of last year, when he had attempted weakly to kill that old fool Dumbledore. Having that mark on his arm felt the same. Like a mistake that he couldn't take back. But Half and Half wasn't a mistake.

He'd be damned if he let her go this time with victory and he watched curiously as she and her victim, because that was how he appeared, walked away. Draco waiting a short moment before he followed after them, blood pounding and pounding, noticing that the streets were oddly deserted.

At some point while he'd watched her, Half and Half had mentioned her brother's name but he didn't doubt for one moment that it was used for the intention of bringing comfort. No, there was nothing comforting about Astoria Greengrass, this strange little mystery that had no record of ever really existing. Draco had paid his father's study a few more looks and went through all of his personal journals so many times, looking for some note on the girl but there was nothing.

She was just...there.

Astoria Greengrass wasn't who she pretended to be and while it was fascinating, it wouldn't keep her safe from him. Draco needed to know everything, he felt that if he didn't, it would bring about his own demise and he would make certain that he put the girl in a position to lose.

If anyone was going to be begging or pleading, it was going to be her. That was a promise he intended to keep and as he kept up a slow distance behind her, tracing every line of her figure and burning it into his mind, he felt alive again.

I hope everyone can forgive the length of this! It was so nice getting to write for my dearly beloved Draco again. Any of you miss him? ;) Anyway, I'm going to update for my George Weasley story, "Memories" next so be patient until I come back! Much love from Gabbie of course.



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 
 


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