I stared into the mirror, tugging desperately at my blouse and flicking my wand so that the lights in the room dimmed and brightened repeatedly. I spun around, analysing my appearance from every angle possible and wondering if I actually looked okay or I’d just gotten used to the less-than-perfectness over time.
“What on earth are you doing?”
The answer to this question was that I was pulling my blouse tight against my chest and scrutinising it closely in the mirror. The answer I gave my bemused husband was: “Nothing!”
From the look on his face, it was clear he did not believe me. To be honest, I’d have been an idiot to believe he would, and if he had believed me, then he would have been the idiot. Put simply, I was full of shit, and he knew it.
“Tell me,” he commanded imperiously, leaning against the doorway. I stared back at him, deliberately lingering on his bare chest and grey pyjama trousers, and he sighed in mild exasperation. “I will get ready to go to hell – “ he corrected himself hastily at the look on my face “ – I meant, to your parents’, when you tell me what on earth you’re doing.”
“Fine,” I huffed, and turned to face him properly, pulling my shirt tightly against my chest again. “Can you see my bra through this blouse?” I demanded to know, and he stared at my chest for longer than necessary.
“...no,” he said at last, and I sighed in relief, already turning back to the mirror to analyse the rest of my outfit. “Which is a pity, because you have great taste in lingerie.” In the reflection, I could see him wearing his familiar smirk, and unable to think of a better comeback, I stuck my tongue out at the mirror. “Careful, Astoria, we don’t know where that tongue’s been,” he teased lightly, crossing the room to slip his arms around my waist. I liked the way our reflection in the mirror looked – his chin resting on my head, his fingers already fiddling with the bottom buttons of my blouse – and thought that it was no surprise that Scorpius had turned out so good-looking when he had such beautiful parents.
“You know exactly where my tongue has been,” I said out loud, the words layered with more innuendo than I had intended – he pulled me round to face him and undid several more buttons of my blouse, his lips brushing against mine.
“Well, now I can see your bra,” he murmured hoarsely, and I couldn’t hide a smile as I slid my arms around his waist and brought his mouth crashing down onto mine.
“Mum, is this shirt – oh Merlin, my eyes!”
I broke away from Draco like a guilty teenager, skittering back several paces until I collided with the mirror. Various profanities raced through my mind as I fumbled hopelessly with my mostly-open blouse. Draco was wearing an expression like a rabbit caught in the headlights as we both turned to see our son standing in the doorway, his hands pressed so hard into his skull that I suspected they were in danger of getting wedged there.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” he half-yelled, then moaned again, “my eyes, my poor, innocent eyes...”
“Language!” I scolded him automatically. Draco picked his wand up off the bedside table and pointed it at me; the buttons on my shirt did themselves up.
“You’re scolding me for being inappropriate?” Scorpius snorted, his eyes still covered. “I mean – God! Get a bloody room!”
“This is our bedroom,” Draco pointed out, not unreasonably. “And you were conceived somehow, you know, however regretful than conception may be,” he continued, considerably less reasonably. I narrowed my eyes at him, but he was still wearing a disgruntled expression that no doubt meant he was silently lamenting the return of my common sense and the departure of his plans for the morning.
Scorpius could not handle this information – he turned and fled down the corridor, only random words and phrases such as “gross” and “you’re bloody old” reaching us. Draco turned back to me half-expectantly, but I was back in my right mind this time and instead opened his wardrobe and chucked a clean shirt and pair of trousers to him.
“Put some bloody clothes on,” I muttered. I heard him take a few steps towards me anyway, no doubt to push his luck again, and snapped my head up. He stumbled back a few paces as I snarled, “Do you have a death wish?”
Distinctly I heard him mumble, “Yeah, I wish for yours,” as he turned around and headed into the en suite bathroom. I turned back to the mirror again. Just before the sound of the bathroom door shutting reached me, I heard him yell, “I lied. Your bra is the defining part of that outfit.”
There were many days when I wondered what the hell I was thinking when I agreed to marry that prick. Then I remember that he had a manor and good genes, and all becomes clear to me.
“Scorpius, can’t you do something about your hair?”
“Mum, shut up, there’s nothing wrong with my hair – ”
“Don’t talk to your mother like that, you little piece of – “
“What is your problem with my hair? You’re my Mum, you’re meant to love me regardless of how I look – “
“Well, there are limits to how much a parent can love their child – “
“Anyway, Scorpius, ignore your father,” I said in a business-like tone, ignoring Draco’s annoyed mutter of “he already does”. “He’s just in a bad mood because we got an owl inviting us to the next Weasley-Potter gathering.”
“Awesome, when is it?” I frowned at Scorpius’ slightly too-eager tone of voice and tried to banish any thoughts of his stupid Weasley girlfriend from my head. Normally when images of this sodding girlfriend ended up in my thoughts, they became very unpleasant indeed. Voldemort would have learnt a lot about torture if he’d ever learnt of these thoughts.
“...tomorrow morning,” I said dubiously, and decided to ignore the whoop of delight Scorpius gave at that. It occurred to me at this point that I seemed to spend half my life ignoring the words and actions of the men around me, and decided to keep it that way. Merlin only knew what would happen if I actually started paying attention to them.
“Kill me now,” Draco despaired.
“With pleasure,” I said grimly, already envisioning the sullen, sulky monster I would be dragging to the gathering tomorrow and feeling the first tendrils of mortification wrapping themselves around me. I snapped myself out of it and said in a brighter tone of voice, “Anyway, let’s go. Mother and Father will be irritated if we’re late.” I neglected to mention that normally just the sight of anything not plated with gold and diamonds was enough to irritate my darling parents, and scrutinised my little family one last time.
Draco wore a bored expression that clashed with his pristine white shirt and smart black trousers. He’d deliberately left the top button of the shirt open to annoy me and his tie was slightly too short to be considered proper. He’d also gone and picked out the most battered pair of smart shoes he could find and then wasted twenty minutes of his time throwing them out of the top floor of the manor to try and injure them a bit more. Purposely, he’d plastered his hair with gel until it was dripping onto the floor and his hair was no longer even remotely blond.
Scorpius, after nearly half an hour’s nagging from me, consented to wear the disgusting green-and-purple-checked shirt my mother had given him for his birthday last year with the pair of cream trousers she’d given him for Christmas.
In short, I was the only one who looked vaguely presentable/sane. It would have to do; after all, it couldn’t be any worse than that time when Draco cast that semi-permanent moustache hex on me that lasted for the entire weekend we spent with my family.
“Right,” I began, although everything was pretty damn wrong, “have we got everything? Wands, bottle of wine...?”
“Yeah,” Draco muttered obstinately, looking like he wished we didn’t.
“You look like you’re about three years old when you pull that face,” I informed him, referring to his sulky pout that looked oh-so-charming on his middle-aged visage. Scorpius mumbled something about it being an “accurate representation, then”. I shot him a ‘shut-up-or-die’ look that had its intended effect. “Anyway, I got Theo – “ I saw Draco scowl at the revelation I had spoken to a male other than himself or Scorpius (and he was barely happy about that last one, either) “ – to lend me the flying carpet he got a few months ago.”
“...or, we could take the Floo network like an ordinary person,” Scorpius suggested, already taking several steps towards the fireplace. I flicked my wand and glued his feet to the floor and then continued:
“We would take the Floo, if I wasn’t sure that you’d try to make a break for it and then pretend you “got the wrong grate”,” I said, giving them both a very hard stare that made them shift guiltily. It happened last time my parents invited us around for brunch. We ended up having dinner there instead. “It’s in the East Gardens, not far from the stable.” When no one moved, I muttered the counter-curse for Scorpius, then grabbed both their hands and dragged them away from the fireplace.
It was exactly where I’d said it would be, a green and silver (Theo is very house-proud) large rectangle of carpet spread out on the slightly yellowed grass. I made a mental note to get the house-elves to sort out the lawns and then sat down at the front (I think) of the carpet. Unwillingly, they sat down behind me.
It occurred to me that to any muggle – and indeed, some wizards – we would look completely mad, but this didn’t bother me. In my mind, ‘mad’ was actually a step up from ‘insane’.
“Up,” I commanded it, a little doubtfully. When I was at Beauxbatons, I played Quidditch (Captain in my sixth-year onwards, lead chaser), but this was very different. The carpet seemed to ripple underneath us, and it took me a moment to realise that the ground was suddenly further away than it had been a minute ago. “Okay,” I said, surprised it was actually working. “Straight on.”
“Won’t the muggles see us?” Scorpius asked, and it wasn’t difficult to deduce from his tone that he was praying no one saw us. Particularly not his girlfriend.
“No,” I snapped with perhaps a mite too much venom. “Only people who see us will have magical blood. Merlin, Scorpius, do you really think I’m stupid enough to use something that’s not muggle-proofed?”
He seemed to decide not to answer that, and I scowled at hm.
“Merlin!” Draco was saying excitedly (for him, anyway – this means he was wearing an actual smile). “This is brilliant, Astoria – oh Circe, pay attention to the bloody sky!” he suddenly yelled and I realised with a jolt that we were coasting straight towards the steeple of the local church, and with a few hurried instructions, rectified our course. “Let me drive,” he ordered, shuffling forward and nudging me impatiently.
“No, I’m fine,” I said pointedly, nudging him right back. “Do you even know the way to my parents’ house?”
“Well, no,” he admitted, then his lips twisted into a smirk again. “But that’s even more reason to let me drive.”
“Ah, you make a very good point.” I bit off each word with a sharp sarcasm, then mumbled “faster” to the carpet. We were passing over a muggle neighbourhood at the present moment, and it was amazing to see the houses splayed out across the ground in a mish-mash of colours and sizes beneath us. We were going even faster than the ant-sized cars racing along on their little grey tracks. I allowed myself to feel superior for a few moments, then urged the carpet on.
It took another fifteen minutes before we entered the wizarding neighbourhood. Scorpius and Draco had resumed their argument about the Chudley Cannons line-up, and although I was pretty interested in what could have caused a rising star like James Potter to abandon his cushy Beater position at the Tornadoes for the Chudley Cannons, I decided this was some good father/son bonding time, and kept quiet so that they could really connect.
“You’re such an idiot, Dad – I already explained it to you – “
“Oh, and what do you know about professional Quidditch?”
“Quite a lot, seeing as I’m friends with James’ younger siblings!”
Draco shook his head sadly at our son. “You’re a sorry excuse for a Malfoy, Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy.”
I could tell without looking around that Scorpius was giving his father a two-fingered salute. I was also pretty sure he was looking at me for help. I obliged. “Draco Abraxus Malfoy, that was uncalled for,” I scolded him lightly, grinning as Scorpius laughed behind me. “Apologise to Scorpius.”
Draco switched from glaring at my back to laughter.
He sobered up immediately. “You can’t be.” I turned my head to see him giving me a look that suggested he’d never seen me before in this light. I rolled my eyes at him. “I won’t.”
“Yeah, Dad,” Scorpius chipped in, looking extremely amused at the prospect of humiliating his father. “Apologise to Scorpius.”
Draco gave me a dark look, then in a motion that demonstrated his immense fear of me, turned to Scorpius and mumbled something unintelligible. I quickly adjusted the course of the carpet to begin the descent, then turned back in time to see Scorpius say, “Either my hearing is faulty or you’re unable to speak proper English. Fancy correcting yourself there?”
“Leave it, Scorpius,” I warned him, then smiled sweetly at Draco, who was looking at me in mild disbelief. Scorpius looked entirely distraught as I continued, “I don’t fancy giving your father murderous intent right before we arrive at my parents’. Merlin knows, he’d try even harder to mess it up.” I looked pointedly at Draco’s dull, gel-filled hair, and my prat of a husband smirked. I returned my attention to settling into the descent into my parents’ gardens, saying casually, “Take that look off your face before it occurs to me how good your intestines would look as an art exhibit.” I didn’t have to look to know his smirk had dissolved into nothingness.
“Well...that was certainly unorthodox,” Mother Greengrass said as we entered manor of my childhood. Her face was a mixture of derisive amusement and mortified disdain, and I knew that the neighbours could expect a memory charm coming their way soon enough.
Personally, I thought that the carpet was a lot classier than the Floo system, although it was apparent that I was the only one who thought this way. I shrugged it off with a “it’s the latest fashion, Mama” which seemed to persuade my Mother to leave the matter until later to investigate.
“Is Daphne here yet?” I asked as we all took seats in the parlour. Scorpius and Draco both made a beeline for the most secluded chair, furthest away from my parents. Draco put on a burst of speed and slid into the chair only seconds before Scorpius arrived, his smirk sliding into place easily as our son scowled and headed for the next most removed chair in the room.
“No, dear, she and Blaise should be arriving any moment soon,” Mother said, then exclaimed, “Why, Scorpius! You look positively charming in that shirt, just like I knew you would! Darius, didn’t I say that green and purple really suit him?”
My father grunted in assent, mumbling something that sounded a lot like “not right now, Agnes”. I decided not to mention that my mother’s name was Katrina and said quickly before Scorpius could speak, “Yes, it really is his colour. We must go shopping soon, Mother.”
“Yes, yes, dear,” she said, flapping me off as if I were an annoying nargle (Ginny introduced me to Luna Lovegood a few years back). “Draco, how lovely to see you again.”
“I wish I could say the same for you,” he said, clearly irritated that getting the secluded armchair did not exclude him from conversation. At my furious scowl, he rolled his eyes and continued, “Thankfully, I can. How are you, Katrina?”
“Dear, I told you to call me mother,” she gushed, and I winced slightly. For years, she’d tried to convince him of this, and for years, he’d politely refused. It had gotten to the point where the following conversation could be recited from memory.
“I wouldn’t want Astoria to feel like I’m eclipsing her place in the family,” he said calmly, that blank mask he always put on to hide his murderous intent firmly in place.
“Oh, dear, don’t be ridiculous, Astoria is happy for you to be so deep in the bosom of the family,” my mother smiled, her own bosom wobbling precariously as she stood up and brushed herself down, no doubt to go and enfold him in her loving arms.
As usual, his face paled at the sight of her looming embrace and he said quickly, “Have you heard about Scorpius’ new girlfriend?”
Mother paused in her attack of motherly love and turned towards her youngest grandson, head cocked in curiousity. “Did you hear that, Darius?” she cooed, seemingly oblivious to the death stares Scorpius was sending Draco. “Our only grandson has a girlfriend!”
Side note about my mother: she cares a lot about name, reputation and wealth. So while Daphne married into the highly respectable Zabini family, well – lucky me – I somehow married the only Malfoy heir and bore him the perfect offspring – one of them, and a male. The estate was entirely entailed to Scorpius, so of course, mother loved him to pieces.
Although, clearly, this did not come across in her gifts to him.
“It’s nothing special,” Scorpius muttered uncomfortably as she tottered across the room and squashed his face into her aforementioned bosom. When she released him, he immediately attempted to head over towards his grinning father, fists clenched and thinly veiled anger in his face. “Dad, it was supposed to be a secret,” he spat through gritted teeth.
Deciding it was time for an intervention, I said in a forced calm voice, “It’s only a childhood fling, mother. Scorpius is most definitely not serious about this girl, right?” When he averted his gaze from mine, my heart thudded ominously. “Right?”
“Uh...yeah,” he said, clearing his throat awkwardly.
Note to self: for a Malfoy, that boy is a terrible liar. Get Draco to fix that.
On second thoughts, hire a personal tutor. The only thing Draco can lie successfully about - well, he’s been successful about it, so I wouldn’t know. But I very much doubt he’s managed to keep anything hidden from me. I knew about the surprise 30th birthday party he was throwing for me the day after my 29th.
I turned to Draco, completely stricken down with grief. If he loves her...I could see the same disgust and shock reflected in my husband’s gaze, and realised with a jolt that we were actually in agreement on something. What shocked me more was that he moved from the coveted armchair to slot onto the sofa next to me and put his arm around me, glaring at our son. “We’ll deal with you later, Scorpius,” he warned in a low voice, patting my shoulder awkwardly.
Ah, so that’s what that was about. A show of parental teamwork to demonstrate our authority.
Circe, I married a tactical mastermind.
Mother, entirely clueless to the family drama going on around her, jumped at the sound of raised voices from several rooms away and said brightly, “Daphne’s arrived!”
“Oh, joy,” Draco mumbled, and I elbowed him sharply. Damn parental teamwork, that was my sister. Admittedly, she was a bit of a stuck-up, snobby, superior, full-of-herself, smug little cow, but reason be damned, decorum was to be maintained.
“We’re through here, darling!” my mother trilled, and when there was no audible response, frowned and left the room, leaving my father, husband and son with me in silence.
I alternated between feeling uncomfortable and shooting Scorpius teary-eyed, betrayed looks until I realised that I might ruin my make-up and settled for simply looking distraught.
Draco was clearly not feeling awkward – perhaps those years of learning how to be a perfect Malfoy actually paid off – and was sat back casually, one arm still around me, the other toying with a piece of his gel-filled hair. Scorpius was deliberately avoiding looking at us, and appeared to be very interested in the Persian carpet under his feet.
Finally, my father cleared his throat, apparently having realised that he was supposed to be entertaining us. “So, Draco, how’s the business?”
“Fine,” Draco said coolly, and I knew he would leave it at that (rude bloody bastard) if I didn’t intervene – which was why I dug the heel of my shoe into his toes. He gave a mixture of a yelp and a squawk that almost dragged a laugh out of me, then turned to glower at me furiously, clearly pissed at his image being ruined.
My father seemed oblivious. He, like Scorpius, seemed engrossed in the carpet.
After a quick, silent battle of wits, Draco scowled again and continued, “We’re planning on opening another office in Newcastle, actually. Turns out the north is a hotspot for insurance against magical misdemeanours.”
“Ah,” my father replied. I waited for him to say something more, but he simply frowned at his feet and stayed silent.
After a moment of prolonged silence, I nudged Draco – he winced like the pansy he really was – and hissed, “Say something.”
“Why should I?” he returned sharply, in a hushed voice. “He’s your father.”
"And it’s your life,” I responded just as quickly. “It’s also your choice on whether you want to keep it.”
I could see him flicking through possible comebacks behind his eyes, but he simply narrowed them at me and finally said lazily, “How’s the gardening going, Darius?”
This lit my father up like a lumos charm. “Oh, brilliant,” he said with enthusiasm, straightening up and sorting his little beard into a vaguely neat arrangement. Shot through with silver, his black hair bobbed up and down as he said fondly, “I only got the new mimblus mimbletonia settled in last weekend, funny little things, they are. Had stinksap everywhere – your mother was very upset about that, Astoria, but she just doesn’t understand gardening, you know – ”
“Darius, silly, don’t bore them with that,” my mother trilled as she entered the room, stalking proudly across the no doubt inexorably expensive carpet to sit down beside him. She fluffed her shiny hair (dyed blonde, of course – no grey for my mother) and fussed with her skirt pointlessly as the voices outside in the corridor grew louder.
Blaise was the first one in, and his face brightened up when he saw that the secluded armchair was vacant – he made a beeline for it. Draco made an almost inaudible hmmph noise of annoyance at that, and I mumbled something quietly about how it was his choice to move chairs that earned another hmmph.
Behind Blaise came the rest of them – the oldest, eighteen-year-old Priscillia (I know, my sister is cruel) walking like a professional in the ridiculously high heels she was wearing, and judging by the pout on her scarlet lips, already sick of being there. The second youngest, Wilhelmina, fifteen-years-old – I had a mental panic as I tried to remember if I’d forgotten a birthday or not – swanned in after her, clad in denim and a low-cut t-shirt. Then the child prodigy (due to him being male more than anything else) himself strolled through the door – ten-year-old Drinian, decked in a designer shirt and his black hair slicked back neatly.
Finally, Daphne – my darling sister – herself walked into the living room. The pretentious bitch looked the same as ever – nose pointed in the air, expression permanently disapproving. It surprised me that she was able to look like even more of a cow each time I saw her, but I supposed magic did exist, after all.
I may have been a tiny bit biased in this assessment of her. It wasn’t my fault, exactly. There just happened to be an instance before she met Blaise where she tried it on with Draco whilst I was searching for my favourite lip gloss (she’d tossed it to our father’s Venomous Tentacula) which I’d never really forgotten.
“Daphne,” my husband greeted her politely, before he even looked at Blaise. I scowled at him. He knew my insecurities about my sister and him, and did everything he could to drive me up the wall with it. Bastard. “You look lovely today, as always.”
She sat down in a nearby armchair and gave him a cold, ice-queen version of a smile. “Only the best for you, Draco,” she grinned wolfishly at him, making me feel hot and cold all over from rage.
“You’re angry,” he murmured in my ear, his breath tickling the loose hairs framing my face. I ignored him. “You’ve got that look on your face that would make the Dark Lord piss himself if he was here.”
“Then just be grateful I’m not looking you in the eye,” I muttered, annoyed beyond belief at my stupid know-it-all flirt of a husband. “You wouldn’t want to piss yourself in front of Daphne.”
He laughed softly. “Jealous, Greengrass?” The surname hissed on a little longer than it should have done, making him sound like a demented snake (so not far from the truth, then).
“I love your shirt, Daphne,” I said loudly, hoping that the strength of my voice might wipe the smug, self-righteous smirk off Draco’s face. “Where did you get it?”
“It’s a part of the Brown Boutique’s new line-up for the summer.” Daphne replied so quickly it was like she’d been expecting the question – which no doubt she had, seeing as the shirt in question was so see-through that she might as well have worn a piece of clingfilm instead. Of course, my sister had to pair it with an annoyingly tasteful plain vest underneath so that she didn’t look like a slut, but still – she’d always be a slut to me.
What a bitchy yet strangely affectionate sentiment.
“Oh, it’s wonderful,” I say cheerily, wondering if anyone would care if I was to stab something sharp into Draco’s duodenum and wiggle it around a bit. His hand was playing with the back of my blouse, wrapping it in tiny knots around his fingers and occasionally brushing against my back with feather-light touches. Annoyingly sensual and completely inappropriate. “You’ll have to – uh – ” his freezing cold hand suddenly pressed against my back and made me jump “ – introduce me to Lavender sometime.”
“Are you alright, Astoria?” my mother asked, frowning slightly at me. “You look a little...flushed.”
Draco stifled a laugh at that, and continued tracing circles against the base of my spine with his freezing fingers. Bastard. Bastard, bastard, fiendish bastard.
“Actually, mother, I’m not feeling too great,” I said, putting on a slightly morose expression and slumping my shoulders. That took a lot of effort, considering how tense my muscles were.
His knuckles suddenly dug into my spine again, and they were so cold I had to stifle a squeak of shock. “I think it’s probably a cold or something small like that,” I invented quickly, then stood up sharply, breaking all contact with Draco. “I don’t want you to catch anything, honey,” I told him sweetly, sending him death threats with my eyes, and with that loving sentiment, removed myself to the other side of the room.
A stupid move on my part.
“Well, it’s lovely to see you, Draco,” Daphne smiled at him in that simpering, bitchy way she always did, flashing her bitchy perfect teeth at him in that bitchy flirty way she had. “I love what you’ve done with your hair.” I stared at her back incredulously, wondering just how she could find his sopping-gel-streaked hair attractive. I always knew she was mental, and here was the nail in the coffin – metaphorically speaking, although if she continued flirting with him, perhaps it would take on a literal meaning too. I wasn’t fussy.
Blaise was sat on the sofa beside me, having been ripped from the secluded armchair by a pissy Priscillia, looking mildly amused as Draco flashed me a small, triumphant smirk and replied, “I’m glad you appreciate it. Astoria said it was overkill, but it’s nice to see at least one Greengrass with class, isn’t it?”
My mother looked affronted, whilst I simply simmered in anger. My father was too absorbed in tracing patterns on his knee to pay attention.
She giggled –
...and that was when I decided that screw it, I was not going to sit and watch my husband flirt with my (married) sister. God damn it, if he was going to try and ruin this trip to my parents, then I would do the same.
“Blaise,” I began, eying the dark-haired man who my husband claimed to be ‘the second most brilliant man in the world’ – after himself, of course – with a critical eye, “would you – ”
He creased up with laughter, as if I’d just told him the funniest joke in the world, and placed a hand on my shoulder. “Astoria, you’re just too funny!” he gasped between chuckles. Knowing that the others were looking in our direction, I too started laughing as if the joke I’d told was so funny that it even cracked me up.
He stopped laughing after a moment and then rested his head against my shoulder. His mutter of “it’s pissing me off, too” was inaudible to nearly anyone but me, but it sent me off into paroxysms of laughter – this time for real. After a brief pause, he also started laughing again.
I felt a bit like a hyena, what with my moronic laughter, but judging by the irritated look on Draco’s face he was very possessive of wild desert scavengers, and did not like them cavorting with other hyenas.
“You don’t look very unwell, Astoria,” he called across the room, interrupting our giggle-fest and sending me a scowl once all attention in the room had been turned back to me (excluding Scorpius and the Zabini kids).
“Blaise made me feel better,” I said innocently, then stood up and gave my sister’s husband a deliberately slow smile, which he answered with a playful wink. Draco and Daphne both frowned at us as I took the seat beside Draco again, placing myself as far away as the seat would allow.
“Children, please,” mother said placatingly, smiling at us as if we were all seven-years-old again, “no silly mind games. You know that we never indulge in such activities before dinnertime.”
Draco ignored her and shuffled up the sofa so that we were so close that our legs were touching, and whispered triumphantly, “I’m not an idiot – ”
He shot me a dirty look (of the non-sexual kind) and continued, “I know what you and Blaise were doing.”
I shrugged my shoulders and grinned at Blaise, who suddenly had a slightly miffed Daphne sat almost in his lap. “Don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“We’re married, Astoria,” he reminded me with a roll of his eyes.
“Unfortunately,” I quipped with a quick grin.
“That means the mind games should be behind us.” He ignored my interjection and added, “That also means your maturity level should have aged with your face.”
I scowled at him, my good mood disappearing. “At least my hair’s still blonde naturally.”
“As is mine.”
“Only because you can’t see the grey hairs against the rest of it yet.”
“Regardless,” he stressed the word, looking extremely irritated – his first few greys hairs were a touchy subject – as he clearly tried not to throttle me, “I’m not oblivious. You and Blaise were clearly just trying to annoy Daphne and myself.”
“Of course not,” I blew him off with a dismissive tone of voice. Then I let my version of his smirk play across my face as I lowered my voice further and whispered, “Why, are you jealous, Malfoy?”
Disgruntled, he ignored me and turned his attention to the conversation, tossing in his opinion on dragon-smuggling without even glancing at me. It was a pity; I’d been practising the triumphant look I was currently wearing.
“So, Draco,” my mother said excitedly, “how’s your mother? Has she actually warmed up to Astoria yet?”
He threw me a smirk, and said in a voice that suggested he was deeply sorry, “Sadly, she hasn’t. She still believes Astoria to be a money-grabbing, pathetic attention-whore.” He adopted a sorrowful look that jarred with his words. “I’ve tried to persuade her otherwise, but she is simply adamant.” In a lower tone of voice, he mumbled so that only I could hear, “but I don’t try particularly hard. My mother is simply intuitive about these things.”
I used to wonder what my Prince Charming would be like – you know, would he have blonde hair, grey eyes, ferret-like features and too-pale skin, things like that – but now, I know exactly what he’s like.
And it’s nothing like Draco bloody (oh, I wish) Malfoy.
there you go. i'm sorry it's not as good as the first (in my opinion, anyway), but hey, it's a biggun and it was updated (sorta ^^) on time! so scooore for me! :P
thank you so much for the feedback on the last chapter, and to all you silent readers out there - I love you. marry me (don't, that would be weird. seriously ^^). <3
but seriously, cheers. and review? i'll give you Draco (terms and conditions apply).