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A Force Of Wills by Gabriella Hunter
Chapter 15 : Trapped
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 1

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A/N: Sorry that it took so long but here's the next chapter! I hope you guys enjoy it, I worked really hard on it. Much love.

Astoria felt something she couldn't quite describe prickle and tingle its way down her back and she shivered. Walking into the depths of Knockturn Alley with an unwilling man at her side was unpleasant enough but now, she had the uncanny sensation that they were not alone. Buildings and homes had started to fade away the more they walked, less people willing to cross their path, almost as if they sensed that dangerous things were not too far ahead.

Astoria knew that the most dangerous thing in this entire place would be her brother and she could hardly blame the people for staying locked inside of their homes and fearing the Greengrass name. Even now, with her victim walking beside her against his will, Astoria was marveled by the power her family had here and it made her incredibly ill to her stomach.

This was the life her father wanted for her and she couldn't imagine living in darkness and never having a real life of her own. But that hardly seemed to matter as she thought of Blaise, trapped with her brother and who knew how many other men being tortured or worse.

They would have to hurry if she intended on saving him and the pump of her nervous heart made the world spin and she fought the sensation off. Focus, she tried to tell herself. There was no telling how many men her brother had on his side and if it resorted to her actually having to fight, she would have to rely on her skill to save Blaise.

Though it had made her ill to even consider it, she would have to resort to the spells and tactics that her family was known for, understanding that there was no other way. The books that she had read, banned from the Wizarding world for their debase cruelty were things that Astoria had been forced to read as soon as she had been able to understand her family's business.

It was not the sort of thing that a thirteen year old girl would have wanted to associate her mind with but Astoria now knew that it would have its benefits. Scorpious would prove to be a deadly opponent if they ever raised their wands in battle and she had to draw in a shaky breath at the mental image of fighting her own sibling.

Astoria knew that he was intensely stubborn and would probably be so fixated on his rage that he wouldn't see to reason, understand that she was safe and unharmed. But Scorpious's reaction meant hardly nothing at all when she thought of how their father would react to the sight of her after these past few days and knew that it would not be pleasant.

Astoria felt panic blooming into her the pit of her heart but she forced it away, realizing that it wouldn't matter when she might not live long enough after this day to dwell on it. “How much further are we?” she asked her unwilling companion, who had led her further and further into the underbelly of Knockturn Alley.

Buildings were falling apart here and the street they were walking over had more cracks than she had ever seen. Various alleyways were stinking with trash and animal waste. “Just a bit more. Don't get yer panties in a bunch,” the wretch said to her, walking a good space away from her and looking simply furious and revolted by the sight of her as she was of him.

Astoria narrowed her eyes on him slightly and watched as he glanced apprehensively at the wand in her hand. It pulsed menacingly in her grip and she felt that strange prickling at the back of her neck that whispered that the streets weren't nearly as silent as they appeared, “Just take me to my brother. Now,” she said impatiently, daring herself not to look back.

Knockturn Alley held its share of degenerates and there was no real guessing on who was following them, or if anyone really was. This entire place had an eerie feeling about it, as if millions of eyes were watching her every move and Astoria was bleakly reminded of rats and mice.

“Might want to get rid of that attitude,” the man muttered nastily underneath his breath, his footsteps sure as he led her to their destination. “Fucking Greengrass...” he sneered to himself as Astoria flicked her gaze around for any strange movements.

Astoria knew quite well that this could obviously be a ruse and she could be led into an alley, killed and have whatever valuables she possessed stolen. Though it was weak, she hoped that her family's namesake would protect her, although it would do very little good against her own brother.

Scorpious couldn't be counted on to be in his right mind and her wand pulsed and throbbed in her hand again, almost as if it knew that this confrontation would end in blood. Some animal or another squeaked in pain and Astoria closed her eyes tightly at the sound, not willing to look and see what it was.

The air was crisp, Autumn shifting just a bit as September threatened to give way, the first of the month bringing a cold bite that made Astoria briefly shiver. Her nerves were strung, her heart pounding erratically and she just couldn't breathe with the thought of Blaise in pain because of what she had gotten him into. If they survived this, she would have to let him go.

Agony fluttered in her own heart but if she wanted him to be kept safe and away from her family...if they managed to make it out of his mess alive, then that was her only way to truly keep him safe. Astoria felt the threat of tears in the corners of her eyes, hot and ugly and she forced them away, trying to keep focused on the battle that was to come. Just as that thought fluttered, she and her unwilling companion stopped.

Because her thoughts had been jumbling and stretching, she had failed to notice that they had wandered down a narrow lane, a building at the far end dominating the horizon. The sky had darkened, a gentle wind announcing that there might be rain but Astoria found herself pulling her cloak around herself tighter, taking in the ramshackle building with dread.

From the shape and look of it, it was very old, the paint having stripped off years ago while the door appeared as if it had been replaced millions of times over the past few years. Windows were boarded and there were piles of trash on the front and sides of the building, decades worth of filth creating a rancid odor.

As she continued to take everything in, a horrible scream suddenly bellowed from the inside, sounding anguished and so inhuman that Astoria's entire body went numb. No men were waiting on the outside keeping lookout and Astoria wondered if all of them were inside, beating Blaise to a pulp, the screaming indicating that she had perhaps arrived in time.

It was dreadful and revolting and she wasn't going to waste another moment—Blaise had to be alive, he just had to be and she wasn't going to lose him, not to this and started forward hurriedly.

“And this is where I turn my back girl,” her reluctant companion snarled to her back, startling her. “I've brought you this far, but I'm not goin' any further,”

Astoria had nearly forgotten about him and paused, her limbs jerking violently from the action. There would be no help here in this place and she narrowed her eyes on him hatefully when she turned around, “This had better be where your friends took him! If its not—” she growled viciously, aiming her wand at his chest.

Though she thought that he would take out his own wand and retaliate, he merely backed away from her like a skittish animal, her eyes briefly noting the fear radiating over his body. “I don't lie to Greengrass's bitch, put your fucking wand down” she heard him snarl in a guttural voice, “That's the place right there.... your brother takes a lot of his enemies here from what I was told and no one ever comes back out.”

Astoria's face must have shown her terror because he gave her a nasty looking smile ripe with pleasure. The noises were so loud that she knew that even the heavens were flinching from them, the walls of the building so thin from time that every thump and crack could threaten the foundation. “Get out of here!” she screamed in a hiss, her wand poised to strike, her revulsion at her own actions tampered completely.

Her reluctant escort glanced between her, the building behind her thumping and vibrating with screams and then her wand. There was fear in his eyes and the heavy stink of it irritated her nose before he let out a few disgusting curses and fled.

Astoria watched until he rounded the heap of trash and rubble and vanished down the street that they had come. After hearing the pound of his shoes going farther and farther away, she clenched her teeth at her own barbaric actions, wondering if she were just like her family after all.

The thought was barely finished when she heard another scream behind her, a scream that made her soul weep. She turned swiftly around, legs forcing her forward without hesitation, every thought focusing on what she had to do and on one person that she wouldn't allow to be taken from her. Blaise.

He had to be alive, she wouldn't let this happen, she wouldn't let this happen to him! The door to the building was in view, the screams on the inside louder and more agonized. Unfamiliar male voices joking and talking over the horror of it announced that her brother wasn't alone, and that she would have to fight for all that she was worth.

Astoria raised her wand, pointed it at the door and shouted fiercely. “Bombarda!” only blearily noting the way the wood exploded inward. Dust and splinters flew in every direction as she dashed inside, her wand at the ready as the men inside coughed and hacked, shielding themselves from the debris that was flying around them.

There were about three or four men huddling in separate parts in the spacious room, the interior only lit with a few failing lanterns. The yellow-orange light cast an eerie splash on the water stained walls, the cracked wooden floors and what was left of the door.

“Who the hell is that?!” one of the men with short grey hair asked, coughing heavily while dust billowed like a cloud in the air. “Who is that?!”

Astoria knew that she appeared like some sort of demon to them with her cloak smudged with dirt and her eyes flashing vicious fire. From the lantern light, she was able to take in her opponents a little more clearly, sickened to notice that they were tough men, men that appeared made for skulking in Knockturn Alley's worse areas.

“Who are you? What the hell do you think you're doing?!” one of the men asked, his bearded face covered with dust and his bare arms nicked with cuts from the sharp bits of wood. “Tell us who you are if you know what's good for you!” he commanded, though she barely paid him a glance, her eyes taking in the surroundings.

Blaise had to be in here somewhere but there were so many piles of furniture stacked about, knapsacks and crates stacked high that made it hard to discern if any shadowed shape were human—something hot barely grazed her cheek and she jumped in surprise.

Blessedly, that small action spared her and the curse missed and rammed into the wall behind her, leaving a crater the size of a very small planet. “Get rid of them!” a man to her left shouted, obviously having shot the spell at her, his impatience with her making his face redden with rage.

Astoria reacted, instinctively striking the ones closest to her that were still recovering from her abrupt appearance. It wasn't the smoothest of tactics and she was more than certain that she was making a grave mistake in her panic but she chose not listen to the warning bells sounding in her mind.

They didn't stop her from firing spell after spell, dodging curses and firing at her opponents with vicious determination, everything she had ever been taught being used for the sole purpose of keeping her alive. Astoria had never fought anyone so viciously before and she knew that her life depended on her survival and she blocked out anything and everything, fighting for Blaise and herself.

“Its a kid! Its just a fucking girl!” one of her opponents shouted furiously when she stumbled into a shaft of lantern light, her chest panting from the volley of their spells.

Astoria felt her eyes narrowing into slits, her teeth gnashing together almost painfully as they paused. For one moment, they seemed to wait for words from some higher force but when none came, they continued on, firing spell after spell that she could barely block.

With the knowledge that she could die here and never see Blaise again, she fought harder, trying to push herself. The men reacted with faint surprise them and she found herself basking in their momentary lapse.

“Get out of my way!” Astoria cried madly, viciously countering a curse and firing back at the nearest man, who had the misfortune to be the closest. He let out a grunt of pain, flying back a few short inches before collapsing and falling onto his side, where he lay still.

Stun her! Stun her!” someone was screaming madly and Astoria was barely able to dodge a blast of red light that came from behind, her cloak singing as she managed to avoid it. The voice had came from somewhere in the back of the room, the gloom shielding them from her view but she felt a chill descend her skin as he shouted, “don't kill her, Stun her!”

Before Astoria could become further distracted by the voice and the panic at not spotting Blaise's body, more blasts from a wand came her way and she blocked them just in time. The force of her Shield Charm exploded in a massive bubble around her,“Bitch!” one of her opponents, a balding man shouted, panting with rage as the red lights collided with the ceiling, causing bits of debris to fall.

Astoria managed to hold her ground, her Shield Charm protecting her from most of the damage, though leaving her winded. One man was to her right, panting and bleeding copiously from a cut on his bald head and she took a risk by looking over her shoulder at the other man behind her. “Who the fuck are you?!” he demanded, spittle flying from his lips.

Astoria turned back to the man at her right and demanded commandingly. “Tell me where he is! Where is Blaise?!” she screamed, other sounds melting away, the other mysterious voice in the gloom letting out the eeriest of laughs. “Tell me!”

There was a thick and ugly silence in the room then and Astoria found herself shouting even louder, her voice not her own. “Where is he?!” her two opponents flicked their gazes at one another, perhaps thinking of a way to overthrow her. During the vicious fight, she had managed to knock out another of her brother's thugs, mentally taking bitter satisfaction in the sight of his limp form on the ground.

“You don't know what you've gotten yourself into girl!” the bald man said to her, looking deranged as he studied her. Astoria knew that she appeared a fright and with panic lacing her every move, it wouldn't take long for him to find an opening, “we're being paid to do a job and if you have a problem with it, take yourself elsewhere before you get hurt!”

The words sent sheets of ice down her skin. A job. Blaise was only a job to them and the fact that her brother so cruelly allowed them to break a boy for Galleons only caused her to hate her family all the more. “...Where is he?!” Astoria screamed madly for what felt like the hundredth time, her voice going hoarse.

Silence from her opponents and she felt the temperature in the room shifting into something below freezing. Though their mysterious cohort had told them to only Stun her, they would be more than pleased than to kill her by “accident” and she gritted her teeth, flicking her gaze away.

A slight movement in the room, near the old clumps of tattered furniture alerted her to a dark figure crawling their way towards her, grunting and groaning in extreme pain. The thick smell of blood suddenly became more prominent and Astoria's stomach heaved with bile, noting that some of it couldn't possibly be from the cuts and scrapes that she had been inflicted.

“Now!” her opponent shouted, leaping onto her moment of distraction as she was attacked from behind, “Stupefy!”

Astoria, blind with fury, turned just in time, her Shield Charm barely able to block the spell that bounced off. There was a groan of pain from behind her and she knew that the figure that had been crawling its way toward her was slowly, slowly making its way closer and that they might not have long. “What's taking so long?!” it was another voice, their leader from earlier, sounding furious and Astoria sensed more movement from her peripheral vision.

Astoria almost lost her footing at the sound of his voice again and in her haste to block her opponents attacks. She was running out of space and barely managed to dodge as the man to her right attacked with a volley of spells. Some of them were so nasty and vile that they could have left her dead or severely wounded.

Most of them collided with the thin walls, letting in the chilly air from outside and shaking the foundation. If she could somehow out duel these men and grab Blaise, they might be able to limp outside— a pained cry from the figure behind her caught her attention and something in her heart twisted.

“...As...toria!” It was Blaise's voice, barely recognizable as he slurred over her name, gasping for breath from behind her. Astoria's heart nearly collapsed and she somehow managed to hold her opponents back long enough to look over her shoulder, knowing that it was a mistake and being unable to stop herself.

Blaise had crawled nearer to her, though it was obvious that he had only given himself great pain. His robes were torn and from the eerie lantern light she was able to see that he was bleeding and she couldn't for the life of her spot his wand. “...stop...” he mumbled weakly, trying to lift his head to look at her.

Blaise!” Astoria cried in rapt relief, even though her heart constricted at the sight of his agony. The distraction was a mistake and she cried out in pain as a spell suddenly collided like an arrow with her shoulder, coming out of nowhere and causing her to lose her balance and fall jerkily to the ground.

Already, she could feel blood seeping through her cloak and she let out a startled cry, her opponents shifting away from her. They were looking over their shoulders where the spell had come from and the expressions on their faces was one of pure horror and submission and dread flooded through her.

Blaise moaned her name and Astoria, gasping with pain, angled herself towards him, trying to stand just as the room suddenly lost all of its air. “Stay down!” someone commanded from deep in the gloom, his voice sounding as if it came from the devil himself.

Astoria gasped in pain, noticing blearily that a man was coming towards her and that it would be the one that had been so mysterious and unrecognizable to her when she had first started fighting. She hadn't wanted it to be true.

It just couldn't be.

Her eyes widened in horror, unable to believe what she was seeing as Scorpious stepped further out of the shadows and into the flash of lantern light, his wand aiming for her throat. The pain in her shoulder seemed contrived compared to the pain suddenly blazing through her heart and she felt little tremors working their way over her entire body, shaking her to the core.

“Scorpious?” Astoria mumbled, her lips parched. Blaise mumbled her name as if from a distance, the scrape and slide of him trying to reach her sounding like some lame beast near its end. “...Scorpious...?”

There was no reaction from her brother as he kept his wand level with her throat, the expanse of his face blank and emotionless. Her brother didn't look like her brother any longer, he looked a monster, “Don't you dare move.”

Astoria heard the warning in his voice but Blaise was struggling to reach her and despite the pain overwhelming her, she shifted towards him. Danger and death were smothering the air and she couldn't for the life of her give up...she couldn't die here at her brother's own hand. “...Scorpious—”

“I told you not to move and I meant it.” Scorpious snarled in a voice that could have made devils shiver. Astoria screamed in alarm as he fired a warning shot so close to her temple that she felt her hair burning as it passed her, “stay down!”

Astoria raised one trembling hand to her temple, shock setting in as she stared up at him, this person that she didn't know. He looked like a monster with his blazing blue eyes and the blood splattered onto his pale cheeks, the yellow lantern light bathing him in an unholy glow. “Stay down, Stori!” her brother commanded .

Blaise groaned weakly, capturing her attention and snapping her from her terror and when Astoria threatened to move again, Scorpious frightened her by jerking his head at his two men. They had watched the interaction with blank expressions, their companions still lying on the ground unconscious, debris littering every surface of the ground and coating them in dust.

“What do you want us to do with her?” one of them asked, glaring at Astoria as if he could skin her slowly and with relish. She narrowed her eyes on him weakly, knowing that she was in no position to defend herself properly, “we can kill her and finish off the black kid without any trouble.”

Scorpious seemed to stiffen before he glanced down at Blaise's prone figure, a nasty sneer working into his face. It caused the bloodstains on his cheeks to spread ghoulishly and Astoria shuddered, knowing whose it was, “...This girl is my sister. You know what would happen to you if you kill her?” he asked them blandly and they shared a moment of shock. “We went through all of that trouble to find her and she found us...intent on saving her little pureblood.”

“Someone must have squealed then,” the other man said venomously but when Scorpious merely tilted his lips upwards in a grin, he frowned. “We were the only ones willing to come in for some Galleons. She must have talked to the others that didn't want to come,” he said, glancing at Astoria with revulsion.

Scorpious was silent for a very long time and Astoria swallowed hard, every breath she took a stinging pain. “It doesn't matter any longer.” He flicked his gaze to the men harshly, his eyes narrowing into blue ice, “Take your knocked out friends out of here and don't let me catch you here again, you'll get your payment in the next few days,”

The words caused bile to rise in Astoria's throat. “You, er, don't want us to finish the job for you?” the bald man with the bleeding head asked now, looking at Blaise with wistful longing. “Bastard was the easiest sucker to pound, he didn't even have a wand.”

Astoria felt herself twitch, trying not to show any facial expressions at the words when she knew that she had told Blaise to take it. Either they hadn't searched his robes properly or he had tossed it somewhere, but Blaise had had a weapon when he had stepped out of the Leaky Cauldron.

“No, don't trouble yourselves. I'll handle this,” Scorpious said in a voice that made Astoria recoil violently, the action bringing with it a pain to her bleeding shoulder.

His men seemed well-trained and from the knowing looks they shot one another, they knew better than to question her brother. With grunts and insults directed at Astoria's crumpled form, they walked over to their fallen companions, taking one each and dragging them from the building to only God knew where.

Astoria was then left alone with her brother. But this thing wasn't her brother. This wasn't Scorpious. It couldn't be the brother that she had grown up with, laughed and cried with and given her hope that things would be all right in the end. “Scorpy...” Astoria heard herself say, even though pain was shooting through her and making it so very hard to keep her mind straight.

Scorpious flinched but they didn't seem unable to break eye contact. His blue eyes were boring a penetrating hole into her face, seeing through to a girl that he had thought he'd known and Astoria was more terrified than she had ever been.

The struggling, grunting sounds of his men leaving the building and making their own pathetic escape faded soon. When their steps faded and there was nothing but ugly, terrible silence that caused Astoria to think bleakly of death and her own grave.

“...storia,” the mumbled, faintly slurred word came from the figure of Blaise, still some feet away and she angled her head towards him immediately. Astori's mind went numb as he tried to stand, only to fall with a grunt to his knees.

The lantern light pooled over his body but he obstructed some of his face from view but Astoria knew that his entire face was covered in bruises. As he tried to move again, she was unable not to note that one of his arms appeared oddly limp and numb, the fingers curled stiffly.

Don't move!” Scorpious barked at him viciously and Astoria flinched, desperate to get to Blaise as her brother's eyes widened with broadening madness. He aimed his wand at his victim, arm straight and his eyes unwavering, “Stay the fuck down!”

“Scorpious!” Astoria cried loudly, her eyes bugging in terror as her brother stalked over to his prey. She watched, frozen with fear as he gripped the back of Blaise's neck painfully and angled it back, ignoring his furious grunt of pain and what sounded like a slew of vicious curses. “Let him go! Stop it!”

Her brother made a strange sound between his teeth that sounded oddly like a growl mixed in with hysterical laughter. When he glanced at her, cradling her bleeding shoulder and still trying to lift her wand, he only shook his blonde head, the strands falling sweaty and dead onto his forehead.

Blaise grunted, trying to fight him off with one hand and not having much luck as her brother handled him easily. Scorpious was far stronger than him in this moment and looked as if he hadn't been injured in the slightest, the blood on his cheeks making him out to be some sort of carnivorous beast.

“Stop it! Let him go, Scorpious!” Astoria commanded harshly, every inch of her wanting to retaliate but knowing that with her wounded shoulder that it wouldn't account to much.

Scorpious gave one of his weird half laughs again, looking truly mad and she knew that this was the thing that his assignments saw. Probably the last thing they saw before their eyes fogged over... “Is that really the reaction you should be giving your brother after all this time?” he asked in a toneless voice.

This thing wasn't her brother. This wasn't her brother. Astoria clung to that thought, knowing that it was true, that her brother had to be locked inside of there somewhere, that he hadn't faded completely. “Let him go!”

Scorpious let out a disgusted sound and forcefully dragged Blaise across the floor to her, where he struggled and fought. As he did so, the lantern light was able to bring his injuries into stronger focus and Astoria gasped, a choked cry issuing from her lips as her brother shoved Blaise a few inches from her.

“I won't let him go, Stori until you explain something to me,” her brother hissed as he made Blaise lift his head so that they could stare into each other's eyes. There was a pleading look in her friend's gaze, as if he hoped that something or someone would save them...or that she would, at least be safe.

Astoria wanted to reach out for him but her body felt so limp and she felt so weak that it made her dizzy. “You don't have to do this,” she whispered brokenly, unable to look away from Blaise's eyes, knowing that it might be the last time.

Agony rippled over his features and Blaise tried to angle away but her brother's grip on him was too strong. She watched as he was forced onto his knees as one arm hung limply against his side, clearly broken and useless, “...don't..let her see...” he begged to Scorpious, who only glared hatefully into his bruised and bloodied face.

Astoria's heart bloomed with hatred at what her brother had done to him. For as long as she lived she would be unable not to forget the swollen state of his face... the dried blood from his nose and the horrible bruises that were starting on his dark skin.

“Answer a question for me Stori! Right now!” Scorpious shouted at her, startling her out of her horror for Blaise.

Their eyes locked again, blue and violet clashing and she was drowning and freezing in the cold hate in her brother's. “...Scorpy, please. Please let him go!” Astoria found herself crying, her numb fingers unable to even raise her wand enough to attack him, some part of her not even wanting her to.

Scorpious scowled, blocking out the sound of her voice and that childish nickname that had always made him melt with defeat. “No, that isn't going to work on me, this time!” he said, shaking his head and blocking out memories. “Answer my fucking question!” her brother cried madly, his face turning red and when Astoria nodded, he asked tightly. “Is this worth it?! Is this worth it!”

The words were asked harshly, Blaise's head nearly being slammed into the floor with each one. Cries of pain filled the room, hanging thickly in the air like a revolting cologne that she would never be rid of, “Stop it! Stop it!” Astoria cried hoarsely as Blaise let out a moan of pain as her brother forced his head back, baring his throat. “Worth what, Scorpious?! You don't have to do this!”

“Worth us losing everything because of you! Is this filthy pureblood, this piece of shit pureblood worth ruining all of our lives?!” Scorpious screamed at her, his deep voice making her soul shudder, “you ran away from home, you derailed everything that Dad had planned for us! For me!”

Astoria had no idea what he was talking about and she tried to talk some sense into her brother, though she doubted if he would listen. The pain in her shoulder caused her to wince and she felt blood draining from her face, “I don't know what you're talking about! I couldn't stand it a moment longer! I couldn't stay in that house—knowing that I could never have my own life!”

Scorpious bowed his head, panting heavily as he rustled in his robes. He had placed his wand back into his robes, not out of trust that Astoria would hurt him but so that he could have free reign to change weapons.

She let out a muffled noise as he withdrew a long, curved blade, the metal gleaming in the lantern light. When her brother spoke, it was in a haunted voice that she hoped to never hear again, “It wasn't just your life! It wasn't just about you! I thought you were dead!”

“I'm not...I would have sent word to you but I couldn't take the risk! I didn't know who to trust—I couldn't go back to that house!” Astoria cried desperately, knowing that her reasoning would do nothing to stop her brother's judgment.

Scorpious gritted his teeth painfully, so painfully that Astoria swore that she could hear his teeth cracking. Popping and snapping, “How do you think we felt? Mum and Emily have been crying every day for the past week, thinking that someone had kidnapped you!”

Astoria bowed her head, knowing that it was the truth. The pain that she had caused her family could never be understood...and all because she had decided to be a little selfish and take her own risks. “...I know...I know...but I didn't leave on my own...Aradelle...”

“I figured as much. Dad wanted to kill her you know for what she did but Emily managed to convince him not to, though he may as well have,” Scorpious said with a brief bit of pity for their family house-elf.

Astoria felt her heart lurch, knowing that she had perhaps ruined various lives now, the clarity of it blinding. “....I didn't mean to make you all so upset about me, I didn't—”

Scorpious ignored her, sounding as if he were either going to burst into tears or laugh all at once. Blaise grunted as the blade was shoved harder against his skin, the curve of it striking, “I thought that this pureblood shit had kidnapped you, I thought that he had convinced you at the Malfoy's party to come see him at his home.” Astoria shook her head stiffly, “I thought that things went wrong...that he was holding you there against your will.”

“None of that is true, Scorpious! He didn't trick me or kidnap me! I ran away on my own, Blaise had nothing to do with it!” Astoria tried to explain but her brother shoved the edge of his blade harder against Blaise's bare throat. “Stop this! He didn't know—he doesn't know anything! Scorpious, please!”

Blaise grunted in pain as Scorpious made a thin line with the blade against his skin, drawing blood. The sight nearly caused Astoria to lose focus, “When I remembered that this filth had had his eyes on you at the Malfoy's, I made sure to let anyone I knew to keep their eye out for you,” Scorpious was panting, sounding delirious.

“Tom, I know that—please just stop!” Astoria begged, knowing that tears were pooling in her eyes. Her brother looked revolted by her reaction, “Tom told me what you threatened to do, he sent you word that I was at The Leaky Cauldron, he tricked Blaise into coming out here—I know, Scorpious, please,” she cried, noticing that her brother's hand was only tightening on his weapon.

Scorpious's blue eyes flashed and he looked so eerily like their father that Astoria thought that she was seeing double. It was like staring into the future...her brother might be lost forever, “So you'll admit to knowing that, huh? I wasn't sure if you would come after him or not but here you are, here you are....panicked and fretting over this pureblood shit that's caused you to ruin all of our lives.”

“I don't know what you're talking about—”

“You'll find out soon enough,” Scorpious sneered nastily and Astoria felt a burst of pain from her shoulder. She gasped and placed her hand over it, the sticky feeling of blood thickening through her cloak and coating her fingers, “...sorry about that. But you wouldn't go down any other way.”

Astoria couldn't even process the words. She'd known it but to hear him say hear him say that he had hurt her only caused her to feel a numbness that she would have never understood before today. “....Just stop this, please. Scorpy, I'll do whatever you want, just don't hurt him anymore.”

Scorpious raised his upper lip in revulsion at the words and pressed his blade harder into Blaise's throat. More blood trickled down his skin, “I should kill him. He's done something to you, he's turned you into some fucking purity lover like Emily and I can't stand it...” he said, his voice hollow. “I just can't stand it...”

“He hasn't done anything to me! He hasn't!” Astoria cried in denial, even as something in her reacted to the lie. Just these brief few days with Blaise had changed her into someone she could barely understand any longer but that would do nothing to save her friend and keep her brother's madness at bay. “I...I'll come back home. I'll face Dad and the others if you just let him go.”

Scorpious's eyes flared with dark interest at the words, watching as she gasped for breath. The pain in her shoulder was only intensifying and she couldn't tell how much longer she would be able to stay conscious, “I'm afraid I can't do that, Stori. He probably knows something and I won't take the risk and I'll leave it up to Dad on whether or not to kill him. He's sure to want to have a little chat with you both.”

That was worse than dying. Astoria knew that it wasn't good, she knew that it wouldn't bode well but she nodded, sensing that there was no other way out. “...All right, please...just don't hurt him anymore.” She whispered brokenly.

Scorpious eyed her darkly before removing his knife from Blaise's throat, shoving him forward and watching as Astoria tried to reach for him. The sight disgusted him but her brother said nothing as he stood, “Someone might be coming, your little outburst has made a few brave souls suspicious.”

Astoria despised the cool words but she barely managed to nod as she managed to move towards Blaise, who weakly rested his head onto her lap. “...Storia,” her name, spoken so softly only tore at her soul and she heard him make a sound, a sound that sounded distinctly like a sob.

Scorpious was watching her and she refused to return his gaze. A scuffling noise from outside caused her ears to prick but it sounded so hollow as Blaise buried his face in her lap, those suspicious sounds still coming from his throat. “Was anyone following you, Stori?” he demanded.

Astoria thought briefly of Malfoy but someone would have seen him...someone would have seen him leering at the fight. “...No,” she lied, not even knowing how much that would come back to haunt her.

Scorpious grunted a reply before stalking from the building, his boots crunching over torn wood and debris. While he was gone, Astoria pulled her hand away from her bleeding shoulder and lowered it to Blaise's, where he was gripping the fabric of her cloak in a tight fist. “I'm so sorry about everything, Blaise. I'm so sorry,” she whispered.

Blaise's hand opened weakly and he gripped her fingers, the strange sounds from his throat finally quieting. His other arm was broken, the painful twist of it making Astoria's heart twist awfully, “...stop,” he whispered but Astoria didn't know what he could mean by that.

The sound of her brother's footsteps announced his return and he sounded wary and aggravated. “Someone was here a few minutes ago and I couldn't catch them in time, they went down an alley and Disapparated.”

Astoria ignored him and concentrated on Blaise's hand clenching her bloody, trembling fingers. So many tears were pouring and she couldn't seem to focus on them, she couldn't seem to think straight...she would never again be able to be free. Not like she had been for these short few days and never again would she be able to talk or laugh or argue with him.

After her father was finished, Blaise would be taken away from her forever and it was for the best...but why did it hurt so badly? Her tears were sliding from her cheeks and landing onto Blaise's head, staining him with all of her regret and pain and lies. “Please don't hate me for this, I'm sorry, Blaise. I really am,” Astoria murmured, sobbing heavily as his fingers refused to slacken from her own.

Tension rippled and Blaise made a sound in reply but Scorpious stalked over to them, bent and placed his bloody hands on them. Astoria tried not to focus on the pain to come as he took them away.

Hope you all enjoyed it and I'll hopefully see you soon! Now, I think I'm going back to Abandon? Albus? Merlin, I don't even know. Haha.

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