Disclaimer: I attempted to stay as true as possible to canonical information from the books (excluding Cursed Child) and Pottermore. All credit goes to J.K. Rowling for the wonderful world and story she created.
My name is Astoria Ma… Greengrass. Let's not have spoilers, my name is Astoria Greengrass. But you can call me Tori, everybody does.
Well, except for my parents when they were about to tell me off. Sometimes, as parents are wont to do when they're particularly displeased, you know, they would even go as far as to call me by my full name.
For instance: "Sneaking out of the gate on your own! Wandering off into that Muggle village! We are absolutely disgusted! You could have got lost! You could have been exposed! You could have been harmed! What were you thinking, Astoria Prudence Greengrass?!"
Quite the mouthful, isn't it?
Yeah, my parents must not have had future progeny in mind when they spent all the nicest names within the pool of their respective families' traditions on my older sister. Her name's Daphne Grace.
Okay, and now you must be thinking that I'm this whiny little brat who's got nothing more important to worry about than whether or not she likes the sound of her stupid name.
Well, I can't say you're completely wrong. See, not to brag or anything, but I had something of an idyllic childhood.
I grew up in a beautiful, sprawling country house, surrounded by rolling green hills and lush fields. Villages and settlements in the area were few and far-between, so Daphne and I had lots of space to play and monkey around.
My Dad was a very smart, very important wizard. No, really, he was! He had hundreds of sick witches and wizards all over the country depending on him to get better. Dad ran our family's old laboratory, you see, once a big manufacturer of herbal-based healing potions and draughts. So, of course, he had to work quite a lot, and have loads of important meetings, and go on all these big, important business trips.
As for my Mum, she was not only the prettiest, but also the friendliest and most philanthropic lady you can imagine. Indeed, she had loads and loads of friends. And not a single week ever used to go by without them flocking to our home for one of her brunches, or luncheons, or tea parties, or dinner parties, or garden parties, or soirées, or wine tastings – most of which were, of course, in the name of some charitable cause or another; you could tell by the fancy, matching badges everyone would be wearing.
To me, the Wizarding War was merely yet another topic to cram for our governess's history quizzes. Which, frankly, were only slightly less excruciating than her numerology tests, or her French dictations. At least for our pop-up recitations of spells she gave us a Liquorice Wand to practice the movements with, and if we did everything up to her (very high) standards, we even got to eat it in the end.
I had a vague notion that Muggles were a bunch of strange folk that lived down at the village (where I really was not supposed to wander off to), that their kids ate these odd little colourful sweets named Smarties, and kicked around on the floor this ratty old thing they called a football, but had never even heard of Every Flavour Beans or Quidditch. Honestly, and they would laugh at me for talking about flying on brooms!
And as for He Who Must Not Be Named, well, he was just a big bad wizard the adults rarely spoke of, and only ever in hushed tones.
Well, except for my Great-Aunt Hesper. She got a kick out of piping up that You Know Who especially liked to hunt down naughty children ("Well, he's gone after the Potter boy, has he not?") and would be back any minute now, whenever one of us kids started pushing the vegetables around in our plate during family dinners.
That was usually when Dad would call the nurse to take Great-Aunt Hesper back to her rest home, while Mum vehemently assured us that there was no big bad wizard, that nobody was hunting down children, and that yes, of course we could have an extra helping of treacle tart and a double hot cocoa with our bedtime story. So it's not like we were ever actually scared. Lucky us, right?
Yes, I was very fortunate indeed. I had a big, happy family and everything a little girl could possibly hope for.
The only thing I didn't have, as I'm sure you've guessed by now, was a realistic notion of the world outside of my safe, pampered little bubble.
Of course, eventually, there came a time when that bubble, as bubbles tend to do, had to burst. And that's when our story begins: let me take you back to the Big Bubble Bursting of May 1998.
A/N: Hello, everybody, I've finally come back to this story! I am so sorry for my long absence. When my computer had a tragic encounter with a mug of hot tea, all the work I had saved for this story was lost. When I got my computer back, I tried to go ahead and rewrite at least the next chapter, but I hit a huge writer's block and then I just kept putting if off...
Still, the story itself remained there at the back of my mind, and I really want to share it, so I'm having another go at it. And I thought I'd take this chance to tweak it a bit.
I do hope those of you who already enjoyed the old version will find these little tweaks for the best (maybe let me know in a review?) To the new readers, I do hope you will enjoy this story as well (you can also let me know in a review...)
Happy reading, every one! :D