Astoria Greengrass sips on expensive champagne and watches her fiancé fall in love with another woman.
To his credit, their betrothal is one of social convenience and expectation. Their father's charted the course of their lives when they were still in nappies and not even the threat of a second Wizarding world war could deter that. Truly, she'd come to rely on the stability their inevitable union represented. Sure, his family played host to a bigoted megalomaniac and sure, he was firmly on the wrong side of the war, but Astoria didn't care. She'd been instructed, since she was old enough to wield a wand, that Draco Malfoy was her destiny. Something as trivial as Voldemort couldn't ruin that.
But Hermione Granger could.
Certified war-heroine and all around paragon of goodness: Hermione Granger. If Astoria was less of a lady, she'd call her a mudblood, spit in her drink, and move on. Only, she was a lady before she was born and such beastly behavior was beneath her. So instead, she sips her drink and watches her future wither away before her very eyes.
Draco doesn't laugh. She's never made him smile. Up until she'd watched him grin like an idiot at some other woman, Astoria assumed he was incapable of it. Now he's throwing his head back, his pale throat on display as sincere laughter bursts from his perfect mouth. Astoria loves him so so much and he doesn't even care enough to be discreet.
The first evening she spent watching him dance around Hermione Granger like she was the impossible center of his universe was an ugly one, but an event Astoria foolishly believes is a fluke. And then there is another, and another, and soon he's devised every excuse conceivable to drag them to these garish events and Astoria let's him do it. She let's him lie, poorly and without effort, to her face because she has been raised to take him as he is, faults and all.
Except those faults and inevitable expectations never considered the introduction of Hermione Granger to their lives. The Golden Girl rests her perfect hand on his perfect shoulder and Draco melts beneath the attention. Astoria thought she knew the taste of love but now, watching him keen for another woman, she realizes how wrong she's always, always been.
What's even worse, somehow, is the look in Hermione Granger's face. Its the same one Astoria sees mirrored in her own expression every time she thinks of Draco and the soft feel of her hand in his. This other woman loves him with such ferocity, Astoria isn't smug enough to pretend she isn't as worthy.
Draco returns to her side when the appropriate music dictates that he should, but as he guides her across the dance floor, his focus is wholly on someone else. It'd hurt less if he was more honest.
Daphne apologizes to her, as if it's her sister's fault Draco Malfoy doesn't value the promise of their betrothal like she does. As if it's anyone's fault other than her own for being so stupid as to assume he'd been raised for her the way she was for him.
The sting is too severe, in the end, and she cuts him loose at their next outing.
"Draco," she starts, "I'd like to end our betrothal."
He falters, the spoon of soup halfway to his mouth. "What?"
"I'd like to put a stop to our courtship. Permanently," she adds as if it was necessary.
Again, to his credit, he goes through the motions. "Astoria, I don't understand."
She's tired. Her heart has been beating for him for as long as she'd known it's tune and now, it's broken. "Yes, you do."
"Hermione Granger," is all she says. He recoils and his surprise that she'd even noticed his blatant display of affection for another person is more of an insult than anything else. "I'm not an idiot, Draco. I've seen what she does to you."
"Stop lying to me!" Astoria Greengrass would never be so base as to have an outburst in public, and yet. And yet. "Please, stop lying to me."
He looks away from her, clenching his jaw. "It's not what you think. Nothing's happened."
"Do you love her?" The courage to ask it overcomes her and she is washed out to sea with the current of her words.
Draco Malfoy doesn't answer and that's all the response she requires. Astoria leans forward, across the table and the remnants of their broken betrothal, and kisses him softly on the cheek for the very last time. "She has no idea how lucky she is."
"Astoria," he starts but she places a finger to his lips.
"Don't. Let me just have you, in this moment, and pretend for a second that your heart was ever mine." She watches regret and guilt bloom in his beautiful, gray eyes and it stings because this is the most he's ever felt for her. "For all that's it worth, I loved you."
When she sees his picture with Hermione Granger in the Daily Prophet less than a month later, it hurts less than she expected. Draco Malfoy looks happy, in all the ways he never did with her, and Astoria doesn't have the spite to even be angry.
When Hermione Granger seeks her out to make amends for a slight she wasn't even a deliberate player in, Astoria won't even entertain the idea. She's a lady, first and foremost and always, and she relents with all the grace befitting her station. The other woman retreats and she appreciates it because Astoria's heart is just fragile enough that it will break again.
When Draco Malfoy sends her a wedding invite less than a year later, she doesn't cry. Instead, she puts on her bravest smile and declines with humility. The subsequent photos of her once-fiancé as he escorts his new wife out of their wedding ceremony are a perfect example of what it true love actually looks like.
Astoria watches him until it feels like she doesn't have to and, as her tender heart mends and moves on, there is a quiet acceptance when she sees their first born spread across the cover of the Daily Prophet. In a different world, it would be her son, Scorpius, stealing the spotlight. Instead, Astoria lives in her now and accepts the things she cannot change.
She is happy--for him--because that's all she knows how to be. It's not enough but, in the end, she never was for him.
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If HP book!characters met their movie version
Ron: Are we sure we destroyed the locket? Because this looks pretty much like my worst nightmare
Hermione: Oh come on! She is not even human! And her hair looks so good??? How??? It's not fair! I bet I have better grades...
Ginny: *intensely bullying movie!Ginny*
Harry: I am not even mad that he has no personality but why he is so short??? I had to endure four years of Ron calling me a dwarf, I am quite proud of my growth spurt! Wait... why he's got blue eyes and dark brown hair?????
Luna: Ok that I live a bit in my own world but I don't do drugs...
Draco: Well... He is actually a way less horrible version of me... I-I mean... perfect representation. Great job!
Snape: *still busy handing Kloves money to erase 90% of the disgusting stuff he did*
Dean: I look fine as hell! But they could have at least put the actual snogging session scene with Ginny... right? Right?
Dumbledore: Why do I look so different from the third movie on?
James: Let me get this straight... My Hogwarts version is just a random dude with glasses and my post Hogwarts version is a grandpa????????
Lily: Not gonna lie... I'm confused.
Sirius: Why do I look soooo old!!!!!!??????
Charlie: Wait... where's movie!me?
Harry: Where are Ginny's warm brown eyes????? And her freckles?????? Why is she so tall! I need to see my wife, this was traumatizing....
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settle our bones - chapter 1
Pairings: Sirius Black & Harry Potter, Remus Lupin & Harry Potter, Sirius Black/Remus Lupin, Hermione Granger & Harry Potter & Ron Weasley
Additional Tags: Post-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Post-War, Fix-It, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD, Depression, Hurt/Comfort, Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, Past Child Abuse, Nightmares, Miscommunication, Getting Together, Mutual Pining, Bisexual Harry Potter, Coming Out, Families of Choice, Parenting, Family Drama, Sirius Black Lives, Remus Lupin Lives, Friendship, Grief/Mourning, Fluff and Angst, Bring Back Black | Sirius Black Returns From Beyond the Veil, everyone is a complete and utter mess but they’re all trying
Word Count: 16,233
Summary: For his eighteenth birthday, Harry gets a party, a cake, and his godfather back from the dead.
(Or: Sirius, Remus, and Harry try to create a family. It isn't easy.)
Read on AO3
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