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Disclaimer: Harry Potter fanfic. Everything belongs to JKR.
Summary: Asteria’s collection of memories before the wedding.
Author's Note: This is my first serious attempt to write a fanfic. Please read and review.

Thể loại: English Rating: K Hoàn thành: Không
Phân đoạn: 1 Độ dài: 2924 từ Đọc: 2130 lần Phản hồi: 0 Yêu thích: 0
Đăng: 07 Feb 2010 Cập nhật: 09 Sep 2010

Memories bởi Ozbridge
Eyes opening, Asteria feels the dull pain all over her body. It is still raining. The storm from last night has not completely stopped.

She turns her head, looking at the body lying beside her. He is still sleeping.

Suddenly she thinks of their wedding. In a fortnight’s time it will be held, and she will be a wife of a man whom she is not sure whether she loves.

Slowly sitting up, she looks down at him.

_ _ _ _ _ Flashback _ _ _ _ _

September 1st 1993

She followed Daphne to the compartment of third year Slytherins. There she saw Pansy Parkinson, the girl who had come to the Greengrasses in the summer. There were also four boys; two were huge; one was black and tall; and one was white-blond haired.

“You already met Pansy,” (Pansy nodded curtly at Asteria). “These are Crabbe and Goyle,” Daphne introduced the two thick, stupid-looking boys. “And these are Blaise Zabini and Draco Malfoy.”

“Malfoy”. Asteria thought she had heard that family name before. Maybe it was of her father’s acquaintance.

Both Crabbe and Goyle seemed dumb.

“Nice to meet you,” said Zabini in a drawling voice.

“Hello,” Malfoy greeted her unwillingly.

“Hi,” she greeted back, uninterested. “Daphne,” she turned to her sister, “can I leave now?”

“Alright. Go,” said Daphne, and her younger sister immediately pulled the trunk out of the compartment.

_ _ _ _ _ End flashback _ _ _ _ _

She recalls the first time she met him. It wasn’t rememberable, though. She never developed slightest interest in Daphne’s gang. And for the next five years, there were no more words exchanged between them. Most of the time she saw him, they always avoided looking at each other, pretending not to know the other person at all. And when she came across him and Daphne, the friendliest things were eye contact and nods.

But their superficial relationship seemed to end after her fifth year.

_ _ _ _ _Flashback _ _ _ _ _

A summer evening in 1998.

“Why we must go, Coeus? I don’t see any reason for that,” said her mother as she buttoned her cloak.

“Don’t repeat that question, Vesta,” said her father. “I have told you a dozen times. Lucius has helped me a lot so how can you expect me to refuse his invitation?”

“In that case, you may go. There’s no point I and Aster coming. Daphne is so fortunate that she is on holiday,” said Vesta Greengrass sharply.

“He invited the whole family. Lucius said he hadn’t met Aster yet, even when I and you had come to Malfoy Manor several times. ”How can I come with Aster without you?”

“Ridiculous,” murmured Vesta coldly.

Their second daughter was ready to go. She rested her back to the wall, waiting for her parents. Actually she was forced to go. In fact, she never liked meetings like this.

When her parents had finished the preparation, the three of them went to the fireplace.

“I will come first,” said Coeus Greengrass as he stepped in.

He took a handful of Floo powder, and then said loudly.

“Malfoy Manor.”

An emerald flame rose, and he vanished.

“You are next, Aster,” her mother said.

After Asteria dropped the powder, the drawing room at her house disappeared, and the next scene she saw was a sumptuously decorated room.

“Good evening, Lucius,” said her father.

“Coeus.”

There were three persons coming to greet her family. They were a tall, slim, very pale woman and two men. One was in early middle age, the other, was not yet to be twenty. Despite the distance of age, they looked very alike, with the white-blond hair, the grey eyes and the pointed face. Obviously she recognized the young man at once. He was one of Daphne’s friends.

“Vesta, I have hoped to see you for so long.”

Her mother’s face composed into a smile. And Asteria knew nothing than imitating her.

“Ah, you must be Asteria. Draco has told me much about you.”

She nodded gently, wondering if this old man felt uneasy to tell such a lame lie.

“Well, I hope to have you for dinner now,” said Lucius Malfoy. “Unfortunately Daphne can’t come.”

They then turned to the long ornate table. The more she walked, the more her eyes were dazzled by the light of the chandelier. A magnificent green carpet covered most of the stone floor, against the dark wall. As they were seated, the dishes appeared out of thin air, as well as a bottle of blood-red mead pouring itself into six glasses. Her father raised his.

“The first is for you, Lucius. For a safe landing.”

“It was all thanks to you, Coeus. Without you at this time I must be in Azkaban,” said Lucius, half smiling.

“Don’t say that. We hardly did anything,” her mother said. “My brother said because of Narcissa’s corruption with Harry Potter it wasn’t difficult to clear your charge.”

“Vesta, I know how hard it was for your brother and Coeus to do it. Personally I can’t think of anything to thank you. But,” Lucius paused for a long moment, then continued. “I hope this can show my gratitude to you, though I’m sure it can’t be compared to your great help.”

He held out a printed form, and Coeus took it, seemed not so surprised as he realized that was a cheque of Gringotts. But his attitude changed when he saw the numbers on it.

“I have sent the gold to your vault at Gringotts,” said Coeus, waiting for a reply.

“I can’t take it. What I did isn’t worth that much,” said Coeus in a voice as though from a great distance away.

Lucius glared at his wife. Her blue eyes had been staring at the Greengrasses daughter, which made Asteria feel a bit uneasy. Now she turned to Coeus.

“You help my husband, you help my son. Please accept it, or I can’t be in ease for the rest of my life.”

After a few seconds, Coeus said quietly.

“Lucius, we owe you, again.”

Lucius Malfoy didn’t say anything at these words. He merely took out another cheque and handed it to Coeus’s wife.

“Vesta, please give this to your brother Pallas. I’m so sorry not to come and thank him by myself.”

Vesta’s slim fingers reached the form.

“I will give him and thank him for you. But make sure I don’t have to do it again. My brother isn’t going to accept anything from you for the second time.”

“Yes, I also hope that I won’t disturb him again,” said Lucius. “Just because if there is something related to Azkaban, I know only he could help…”

_ _ _ _ _ End flashback _ _ _ _ _

And again, that evening wasn’t rememberable at all. It was just like any other dinners with her father’s acquaintance, where she nodded and smiled like a puppet. But what was more unforgettable happened after that.

_ _ _ _ _ Flashback _ _ _ _ _

It was already midnight. She was in her room, reading the sixth year textbooks. She had gained twelve OWLs the previous year, but with two ‘E’s and three ‘A’s, which made her mother not very pleased.

Suddenly there was a loud crack filled the silent room.

“Master wants Miss Aster come to the library right away,” said the house elf, blowing his nose loudly.

“All right. I’m coming,” she said, feeling surprise. Her father rarely called her to his library.

She stepped into the dark room, which was only lightened by two small candles. Surely her father wasn’t here to read anything, but to wait for her.

“Father, you called me?” she raised her voice.

“Yes. Have a seat.” As saying this, he gave her what look like a roll of parchment.

Asteria bought it near the candle. That was a cheque.

“Is this the one Mr. Malfoy gave you?” asked she.

“It is indeed,” said her father, observing her attitude.

Slowly, she held her head up, looking straight into his eyes. He looked back at her, smiling.

“Well, Aster, don’t look at me like that. How can I live with your mother for all the years without mastering Occlumency?”

“Maybe you’re questioning why I gave you this. Well, let’s consider it a birthday gift for you.”

She again looked at the cheque. It had a four-figure number on it, which was a fortune for her. But she couldn’t figure out why her father had been so shocked when he received it few hours before.

“Are you sure –?”

“—that it was the one Lucius gave me during the meal? No. Actually he gave it to me after that.”

“Every year I received from him two cheques, as birthday presents for you and Daphne, that’s what he says. Of course I never use all the gold to buy presents for you two. But this year, I think you have the right to use it on your own account.”

“You mean Mr. Malfoy gives you thousands Galleons every year?”

“Yes, to buy presents for you. You know the Malfoys, their vault seems to be endless, maybe the biggest in this country.”

“Well, then in that case, I’ll keep the gold.”

“It’s wise to do so,” he curved his lips to make a smile. “You should go to bed now. Don’t stick your nose to the books all day just because of your mother’s harsh words.”

“I will go and sleep now. Goodnight, Father.”

“Goodnight, dear.”

_ _ _ _ _ End flashback _ _ _ _ _

It was the first time she had had that much gold. It was funny that she didn’t touched it at all, but kept it safe in her vault at Gringotts, enjoying the happiness of being rich.

Sometimes when Asteria recollects that evening, she wonders how many thousands, or maybe millions Galleons the Malfoys has in their vault. Surely they have much, much more than her family…

And now she still can’t believe that she will soon be Young Mistress of the Malfoys.

The relationship between the two families was a little closer when her father and uncle helped Draco Malfoy to get a place at the Ministry. Sometimes he came to the Greengrass without his parents, and when it was in her holiday, they had a short talk without her father around.

After graduating from Hogwarts she could easily get a place at Wizengamot. Working with her uncle as her boss was an advantage, but not easy. It was quite stressful, even for her. Sometimes she came across Draco at the Ministry, and they had a talk during lunch time. Except her cousin, he was, after all, her only acquaintance who was at her age.

As time past, the more “presents” his family gave hers, the higher position he got at the Ministry. There seemed to be a bond between the two families. They both owed each other.

Asteria felt uneasy for it. It was like a duty she needed to fulfill.

And at last she decided to form a couple with Draco Malfoy.

It wasn’t a big surprise, though. Watching what the two families did for each other, people expected they would get a closer relationship than mere friends. And they were right. Their children appeared to be a perfect couple. But people barely knew the truth about it. She did it because it was like something her family mutually ordered her to do, rather than she wanted to do it. And she guessed he had the same reason as well.

The relationship with Draco wasn’t unexpected to her. She always knew that sooner or later she would have to end up with someone like him, someone from a family that was equal to hers, able to support hers. She also learned not to believe in the so-called love, which couldn’t guarantee a beneficial marriage.

Despite all the matters, getting together with Draco wasn’t too bad. He was a pleasant person to talk to. With him she didn’t have to wear fake smiles like with other people. She could freely talk to him that she chose him because of his family’s wealth, and at that time he just simply nodded. That made she think he had similar reason for choosing her. After all, a man could get advantage at the Ministry if he was Coeus Greengrass’s son in-law.

It must take time for people to accept that a former Death Eater was working at the Ministry. However, by the time she got the job, they had already treated him normally, though some still tried to avoid him. For her, she was a little uncomfortable with him at first, but then she gradually knew that he also didn’t feel easy when thinking about it.

_ _ _ _ _ Flashback _ _ _ _ _

It was past midnight. She walked out of her office, feeling relieved to having finished the report on a Muggle attacking case. As she nearly stepped into the fireplace to go home, Asteria noticed a figure who was sitting on the staircase, staring upwards at the sky. She looked up. The moon was unusually bright.

“Haven’t come home yet, have you?”

”No,” he replied.

“Don’t say that you are waiting for me.”

“I am not.”

And there was silent.

“Does your father like the cup I gave him?”

“He likes it very much. Thank you.”

“You don’t need to say that.”

And silent again.

“Next time you can do your work at home. Don’t stay here too late.”

“And may I ask what you’re doing here at a time like this?”

“I don’t want to sleep tonight.”

“Speaking like that I may assume that you had nightmares last night.”

He nodded slightly.

“Was that about – him?”

He nodded again.

“He said when I face Dumbledore, just touch the Dark Mark, and people will come to me. Then I woke up”, said he, absent-mindedly touching his left arm.

“Show me the Mark,” she said suddenly.

“What?”

“Show me the Mark.”

“No. You won’t want to see it.”

“I do. Come on.”

He reluctantly gave out his arm, and she ripped up his sleeve. The Mark was there, like a scar.

“If you get rid of it, will you stop having nightmares?”

“I don’t know.”

“Have you ever tried?”

“I tried to burn it. But that didn’t work.”

Giving a sigh, she released his arm. “Maybe it’ll just stay there like that.”

“I used to think it was something impressive and could be used to threaten people. And now, look at what it brings me.”

“It was you who did it to yourself.”

“I thought I could get power, could help Father out of Azkaban and bring my family to glory. I easily believed it,” said he, giving a humourless laugh.

“And when the Dark Lord ordered me to kill Dumbledore, I had no choice. I had to kill people. At that time I realized there was nothing impressive and powerful at all. Only fear of death.”

He didn’t look at her anymore, but staring straight to the space in front of him without blinking. Both his voice and his body had shaken, but she knew it wasn’t from the cold.

Asteria leaned forwards, pressing her lips to his. Her hand held his head as a drop of water touched her face.

_ _ _ _ _ End flashback _ _ _ _ _

He hasn’t stopped having nightmares. Sometimes when she wakes up at midnight, she can see him sweating, muttering in panic.

But now he is sleeping peacefully. He breathes deeply, his arm stretches over her pillow, and his whole body relaxes. That scene makes her hesitate to leave.

But she suddenly remembers that it is Monday. There is a trial in the afternoon, and she will be shouted at unless she hands her uncle the files before ten o’ clock.

She gets out of the bed and has her cloak on. At the moment she touches the doorknob, there is a call from behind.

“Are you leaving?”

She turns her head back.

“I need to. You should get back to sleep, though. You stayed up late last night.”

“No, says he, sitting up. “I’m going, too. There’s a meeting that I need to come.”

She comes near and sits down beside him.

“Well, in that case you should get ready. I will see you in Friday,” she suddenly changes the subject. “Your mother wants one more talk about the wedding, remember?”

“Yeah. But you may not see me then. Tomorrow I am going to Ireland and not coming back in two weeks.”

She is a little surprise.

“Then see you at the wedding. Remember not to miss it.”

“I won’t. Don’t worry,” says he. “You’re a little late for work now. Go.”

“You too,” says she quietly, standing up and walking to the door. “Don’t be late like last time.”

Her hand turns the doorknob once more, and this time, she steps out of the room.

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