“What are you doing here so early?” Astoria heard hushed whispers coming from her door. She was awake, but she dared not open her eyes. She focused on keeping her breathing steady while she listened in on the conversation.
“Your mother and I wanted to come early to surprise you and Scorpius. Little did we know we would be the ones getting the surprise.” Astoria had a feeling they were looking at her; she could feel their gazes burning into her head.
“Is she all right? Why are you two in here?” She knew it was Draco and Lucius talking, and she could still feel Narcissa lying next to her.
“She’s fine. But, sweet Merlin, why didn’t you tell us she was here? And how did you find her? She was so overwhelmed when she saw us. She looks like she’s been through hell. I’ve never seen someone so relieved to see Cissy and me in my whole life! She would not let Narcissa leave her side, even for a moment. What has been going on, Draco?” She heard Draco let out a long sigh and heard two thumps as they probably sat on the couch.
“I didn’t find her; she found me, sort of. I put an add out for a tutor for Scorpius. A woman responded, and recommended Astoria. I was so relieved. I gave her the job without question. She’s only been here for about a month, and I have no clue what she’s been through. She will hardly talk to me.” He was relieved?! What is going on? Astoria thought to herself.
Things just kept getting stranger and stranger. She found out that Narcissa and Lucius were looking for her and worrying about her, and that Draco was relieved to find her. She was confused to say the least. She had been alone and in the dark for five years, and now all of this?
“Of course she won’t talk to you,” Narcissa interjected quietly. “You treated her like dirt for five years. What is she supposed to think? I know how you were at school, the whole lot of you. Evangeline told me how much she longed to befriend you, Daphne, Gregory, and that whole group, and you just pushed her aside. Draco, you were young and pompous, and you didn’t care about anyone but yourself. Oh, don’t you give me that look! You know it’s true.” Astoria heard her door slam shut and she jerked up involuntarily.
She looked over and her eyes met Narcissa’s. “I’m so sorry we woke you, darling. You can go back to sleep if you would like.” Astoria shook her head.
“That was Draco, I presume?” Narcissa nodded.
“That boy needs to learn how to control his temper.” Astoria leaned back against her pillows and let out a long sigh. She was so confused about everything. Why did Draco all of a sudden care about her well being? She wondered if it was really all of a sudden, or if Draco had cared for her before. She pushed her hope aside because she knew it would just get crushed anyway.
“I’m going to go see if Scorpius is awake. No doubt that door slamming frightened him.” Lucius swept from the room, leaving Narcissa and Astoria alone.
Astoria turned on her side and looked Narcissa in the eye. She had so many things that she wanted to ask her, but she couldn’t form her thoughts into actual words. Narcissa noticed the fight going on in Astoria’s mind almost immediately, but she gave her some time to figure things out. After a few minutes of silence, Astoria finally opened her mouth and let one of her concerns out into the open.
“Does anyone know about what happened to me?” She finally asked. Narcissa smiled sadly.
“If anyone knew anything, do you think you would have spent so much time with your aunt or at Durmstrang? Do you think we would have left you there for all that time?”
Astoria shook her head and buried it in a pillow. “How did my life turn into this mess?”
“The Dark Lord. I’ve taken to blaming everything on him for the past few decades. I think everyone has. If he hadn’t started the pureblood madness by manipulating all of our old prejudices -and if we wouldn't have been foolish enough to go along with him- the war wouldn’t have happened. Your parents would not have been arrested. All of us caught on the wrong side of things wouldn’t have been relegated to beneath the rest of society, and Lucius and I might have been able to find out where you were.”
“What do you mean?”
“After your parents were taken and you disappeared, we tried to go to the Ministry and find out what happened to you, but nothing worked. We just don’t hold the same power that we used to; no one we know does. They wouldn’t give us any information about your whereabouts because we weren't related to you and they pretty much controlled what happened to you because you were a minor. The only other time I think I ever regretted what Lucius and I have done in our lives was when Draco was in trouble in his sixth year,” Narcissa sad sadly. Astoria lifted her head and hugged the older woman tightly.
“Thank you, for being here. I know you tried to do all that you could and I appreciate it more than you will ever know.” They lay in silence for a while before the door burst open and something, well someone, jumped up onto the bed. Scorpius snuggled between Astoria and Narcissa and looked up at Astoria with his big, blue eyes.
“The door woke me up and then grandpa came in and I asked him if you were awake and he said yes and then he said daddy was home. Then I asked if I could see you and he said okay so here I am!” He exclaimed excitedly wrapping his arms around Astoria’s torso. She laughed lightly and kissed him on the forehead.
“You should be asleep, mister. You still have school tomorrow,” Astoria said tapping him lightly on the nose.
“Can I stay here? It’s everyone I love all in one place!” Astoria felt her heart swell when he said he loved her; she knew she couldn’t deny this little boy anything.
“All right, but only for tonight. Your teacher needs her sleep, too,” she said and then looked over at Narcissa. She just smiled and nodded her head. Scorpius curled his tiny, warm body against Astoria, making her smile. She laid her head back on the pillow and was asleep in minutes.
Unable to sleep, Narcissa silently left the bed and went to sit next to Lucius on the couch. They both knew Draco would be making and appearance again soon, and they all needed to talk, especially before the upcoming birthday party for Scorpius.
No one in the Malfoy’s circle of ‘friends’ had seen or heard anything from Astoria since she disappeared into thin air. One day she was there and the next she wasn’t. When Astoria went missing they all presumed that Daphne would know something, but when she was asked about her sister, she admitted that she knew nothing. It almost seemed as if she wanted her sister to disappear. Pretty soon, Astoria Greengrass became another tragic casualty of the war to everyone she once knew.
It was three in the morning when Draco decided to go back to Astoria’s room to talk to his parents. He glanced over at the bed and saw his son wrapped up in Astoria’s arms. He smiled slightly before taking a seat beside his parents. They were all silent for a few moments, gathering their thoughts.
“Draco, do you think this party is still a good idea?” Narcissa asked sadly.
Draco ran his hands through his hair and sighed loudly. “I sent out the invitations for the party months ago, before I even really knew that she was going to be here. I had completely forgotten about it until Pansy mentioned it to me the other day when I ran into her.” He put his head in his hands and breathed deeply for a few moments.
“I think for the most part everyone will be glad to see her. I’m just a little worried about the few who won’t be happy to see her. She’s been through so much already; I don’t want her to have to deal with any superfluous nonsense,” Lucius said. Draco and his mother nodded in agreement; they both knew that Daphne was most likely going to be at the party.
Daphne had never had much concern for her younger sister, even when they were children. She was always more concerned about herself than about anyone else. After Astoria was shipped off to her aunt's house, Daphne never tried to find her even though she was the one person that could have gone to the ministry and discovered her sister's whereabouts.
Draco, Narcissa, and Lucius also suspected that Daphne had inherited everything that her parents owned after they died, although they didn’t know for sure. They were all pretty positive that Daphne acted as if her sister did not exist because she wanted to keep all of it to herself. The Malfoys all knew that there would be some altercation between the two sisters when they finally met again.
"I guess we'll all just have to run interference as best as we can. I think that there will be enough guests there that she can avoid her sister all together. Draco, we trust that you will do your best to keep things from getting too out of hand- it is your home after all. She's still hurting and will need us now more that ever. Don't throw the poor girl to the wolves," Narcissa pleaded.
Draco glanced over at Astoria and Scorpius asleep on the bed, an indecipherable look taking residence on his face.
"Don't worry about it mum, I'll take care of her, I promise," He said softly, his voice fading to a whisper. "Why don't you two go back to your bedroom and sleep? I'll stay here on the couch tonight and watch over them." Draco’s parents nodded and exited the room as silently as they could.
Draco stayed on the couch for the entire night, watching the dark-haired beauty with whom his little boy was currently enamored. If Draco had some kind of sense, he would notice that he was enamored with her as well. He stubbornly pushed away the feelings of affection for Astoria that he knew were growing, trying in vain to keep her from invading his heart.
She stirred in the bed a few hours later, and he saw her eyes flutter open. Something jumped in his chest, something unfamiliar, and he quickly pushed his emotions back into their steel cage. He noticed that she looked around in confusion for a moment before her eyes landed on Draco. He noticed her gaze soften after meeting his own, and he could see her melt as she glanced down at Scorpius’s sleeping form. She motioned at him to come closer. He got up from the couch and sat softly on the edge of the bed.
“Your parents are really here, right? My imagination didn’t just decide to trick me in my sleep?” She asked him hopefully. He nodded.
“I sent them back to their room earlier this morning to get some more sleep,” he informed her in a whisper. A contemplative look took over her face before her eyes locked on his.
“Did you really help your parents try to find me?” she asked so quietly that Draco could barely hear her. He kept his grey eyes firmly on her bright blue ones and nodded.
“We looked for a while. Months and months, actually, but the ministry refused to help us in any way. Nowadays, we’re pretty much the lowest of the low in society, regardless of how much money we have. We never really gave up; mum adores you, you know. I feel so stupid for not looking at any other wizarding schools,” he said shaking his head as his voice began to waver and breaking their eye contact momentarily.
He looked up when he felt her sit up slowly and place a hand on his cheek. Her eyes were glassy when she finally spoke. “Thank you. I didn’t… I didn’t think anyone, especially you, would even think to come after me,” she said with sadness in her voice.
He gently tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. “Of course I came after you. I know I was a prick in school, but that doesn’t mean I never cared about you.” He held her face tenderly in his hands, but she jerked away when she heard a little childish groan from beside them.
Scorpius stretched out lazily across the bed and a little smile made its way onto his face when he saw Draco and Astoria “Morning Daddy and Miss Astoria! I have more school today!” He said before jumping up on the bed and hugging them both.
The couple that was not quite a couple shared a look full of longing before turning their attention to the little six-year-old boy who held more power over them then they held over one another.
A/N: I apologize profusely for the fact that it took me half a year to post the next chapter of this story. I never intended for it to go so long without an update. First, I had crew season and school, then I had writers block over the summer, and now I'm about to get immersed in school again.
I thank everyone who comes back to read this after six months... This is one of my favorite stories, and I truly think it is some of my best writing. I will do my bext not to make it another six month wait, but I can't promise anything- this is my senior year of high school.
Please leave me a review. I really appreciate feedback and knowing that someone is still reading this story, even though I wouldn't blame you if you gave up on me. (LOL). But I won't ever abandon my stories, so please review :]