Chapter 1 : Stori
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I miss the people who made me Stori.
There's Draco Malfoy, and then there's Pansy Parkinson and my sister Daphne Greengrass, and then there's always Crabbe and Goyle behind Draco and Blaise fololowing amusedly, somethings with Theo Nott or his brother in the background., I'll run over to Luke Nott in my year anbd ask him, what are they doing this time and he'lkl shrug and I'll run over from behind where I've been hiding and yell "Sissy!" and for some reason that makes Dracoi smirk because her Aunt calls his mum sissy, biut then again her name is Narcissa. But, anyways, Crabbe and Goyle will clench their fists when I run at the group even though it's just me and Blaise will smirk and Draco, doing everything I waited for, will exlcaim "Stori!" and Pansy will cling to him. Will, she'll always cling to him because she's Pansy, the girl who gave Daphne and I smirking wars.
Never again, though. Never again will they strut around Hogwarts, me joining them occasionally, the little girl in the crew of older, cooler, students. Never again will my sister groan when I come up and Theo and Luke will watch me from the sidelines. Never will we play Quidditch or laugh at Potter-the-rotter or chuck Dumgbombs at first years. Never again.
That's what war does, you know, it takes away those moments where you can laugh and smirk and be nothing but a group of kids. War took away those moments where I'd be just me, Stori, not Asteria Greengrass, that random Slytherin girl. Draco, Pansy, Crabbe, Goyle, Daphne, Blaise, and Stori. My favorite days, years, weeks, weeks stretching into months and the Hogwarts years going so fast with them.
It's all gone. We can never bring it back, never take back the time.
Looking back, we wasted too much of it, grumbling in the common room about homeowkr, doing homework, or gossiping. I wish we had more days and hours, forever and ever, where we could strut and just be simple kids and insult Gryffindors in our path. Five years for me, that's all I had, but I wish the clock would have slowed down. We can never go back to innocence, not even me, the one who was just on the fringe of it, the young one.
Even if we wanted too, it would be impossible these days. Crabbe is dead, killed in the Room of Requirement during the Battle. I heard it from Draco and Daphne who took me and his voice shook. We joked about them being Draco's little minions and I hardly heard them talk, but they were a part of us. Draco's shadows, protectors, but to me, they always didn't mind being my shadows too when I needed a bit more protection that I could give myself, or Blaise and Luke and Theo and Daphne could give me.
Crabbe's dead. Check. Draco's in trials. That's the checkmate, the end of the game. He's been arrested and released, arrested and released and given so many crimes that have seperate trials, alone and with his family, that I hardly see him. And when I do, he's all sullen and depressed and worried and all I can do is hug him and hope he doesn't yell at me and tell him everythingwill be okay, someday.
He runs from Pansy, she told me in tears one night when she showed up and Daphne and I were in nightgowns. He won't talk her or reply to her letters and he avoids her and won't look at her at the trials. Our group without Pansy and Draco togfether? Never possible. Ever since their third year, I was in my first, Pansy has been hanging onto Draco's arm. Even before that, I reckon, but I didn't know her before that.
Before Hogwarts, I was happy too, I will still Stori. The Malfoys and the Notts and the Zabinis used to come to my house for dinner all of the time. My sister and I used to say, yuck, too Many boys, when we were eight and ten, bu we really didn't mind that it was us, Draco, Theo, Luke, and Blaise. We loved the way we could run aroun with them at the setting sun and thy didnt worry about whther or not they got their robes muddy and we would play quidditch sometimes, but sometimes we'd jut play hide and seek and other kids games like that, laughing and running under the fadingly dark sky.
Stori, Draco Malfoyt made me Stori one of those times the Malfoys and the Zabinis and the Notts came over for dinner. He was it, I hid in the woods. He cornered me accidentally and I flickered a beetle at his eye and he chased me, but instead of yelling and threatening to curse me like I expected, he told me I had good aim and asked if he could call me Stori. Astoria, was, apparently, a weird name.
Those days were the best of all, leaves in my hair as we chased each other around the woods behind my house. But the days at Hogwarts rivaled them for the best, after we met Pansy and Crabbe and Goyle. Well, after they met Pansy and Crabbe and Goyle. They left Luke and I behind and we were so mad and we became best friends and my dad started telling Mrs. Astoria Nott jokes at dinner. Luke, Daphne, and Draco Malfoy : my best friends, forever, though I doubt even one of them consider me their best friend. It's okay, though.
Luke and Theo spend their days in trials where their father is the defendent. Somnetimes Daphne and I show up at the Ministry and run around back and forth to go to Draco and his famiy's trials, Goyle's dad's trials, and the Nott's dad's trials. It's downright depressing, I reckon we'd all agree. Pansy shows up too and shoots daggers at Draco when she thinks Daphne and I aren't looking.
I'm worried about Draco, most of all, kind of. He was stuck with the Dark Lord while the rest of us sat at the castle in the spring, trying to fill his void and looking out windows, hoping he'd coime up the front path one day, holding his trunk. He's too quiet, too sullen. I wonder what the Dark Lord made him do, but I've never asked, and I won't ever. But he's not the same kid who named me Stori and ran around Hogwarts with a bucket of something slimy as we laughed and followed him.
But then again, he's a man now, all mature and in the real world, where the Ministry gives unfair trials to their opponents. The real world, where stories don't have their happy endings and poeple don't laugh and ran around woods or castles or cheer at Quidditch games. He's a man and I'm a little girl, but I'm still Stori. Even if I never speak to Draco Malfoy again, I'll be Stori.
The worst thing is, all of us can't get today because Crabbe is dead and mostly everyone else is under Ministry watch. When I see some "war hero" smiling on the cover of a magazine, or speaking about all of the fallen "war heros", I want to scream. What about us? Did they ever stop to think about us? We're just like them. We walked the same halls as them, took the same classes, but our paths were different. Their paths lead them to statues and celebratory war-end parties, but our paths lead us once again to the Ministry halls and trials and pain of being torn apart.
I wonder if any of them ever feel it, Daphne or Blaise or Draco or Goyle or Luke, or even Theodore, even though he wasn't a group member, he was just the extra partner in potions who laughed at them sometimes but was a loner anyways. I want it to be all of us because it's all I've ever known, since I was seven or so. Draco, Pansy, Daphne, Crabbe, Goyle, Blaise, Story tagging along sometimes, belonging other times, Luke wandering, and Theodore in the corner. It should always be like thst. War shouldn't have ruined it, the best thing that's ever happened to me.
Last week was my birthday and I blew out the candles even though nobody wanted to celebrate, including me. But I made a wish, not for a new cloak or an owl or anything like that. I closed my eyes and thought, inside of my mind, that what I wanted the most was for everyone to be okay. I wanted Draco and his family to stay out of Azkaban, Theo and Luke and Goyle to be okay whether or not their families were sent to Azkaban, Pansy to be okay even if Draco nevertalked to her again, and Blaise to be okay even if Draco, his best friend, was sent to Azkaban. And for Daphne to live ahppily ever after, no matter what. It's all I need, all I want. All of my friends, living happily ever after, forever and forever.
Do they ever think along thoise same lines? Or have they forgotten about me as though I wasn't ever even there? My family doesn't ask Daphne or I how our friends are anymore, and my father doesn't make Mrs. Astoria Nott jokes anymore and I miss them even though I hated them so strongly when I was a kid. It hurts that the end of the war, dawn for the rest of the world, might be our sunrise, the demise of all of the friendships I've ever loved so dearly.
Aren't friendships supposed to last forever, through thick and thin? Is it really supposed to matter if the side we were on loses a war and one person dies and everyone's dads and sent to Azkaban? Doesn't it just matter that we're together, for each other, forever? Even if he's sent to Azkaban, Draco Malfoy will still be my friend. Even if Luke's dad is sent to Azkaban and he and his brother are portrayed as evil in the Prophet, he'll still be my friend. Even if Pansy changes so much because she can't hang onto Draco's arm, she'll still be my friend. Unconditionally. That is how I love my friends, through thick and thin.