Disclaimer: I am not the creator of Harry Potter or any affiliated trademarks. I'm not trying to profit from JKRowling's intellectual property, so please don't sue me!
Author's Note: Hiya, I hope you enjoy the first in my one-shot series; if you're confused, check my profile for more info. Next chapter will be Andromeda Black-Tonks. Also, just in case you're confused, it goes from Astoria's (1st person) narration to impersonal (3rd person) narration.
I can't remember a time when I didn't idolize my sister Daphne. She was the girl everyone loved. In spite of her flaws and failures, Daphne commanded the limelight. It never troubled me, and I never tried to compete with my cunning, alluring older sister. Not because I knew that I wouldn't get what I wanted, but because her praise and faith in me meant everything; I couldn't bear the thought of losing my sister's love.
As much as I tried, as hard as I fought my feelings, eventually it happened; in making the decision of my happiness over hers, I lost her love, her trust. She was no longer the one I looked up to, and I was no longer the little sister she could count on. My one and only selfish decision altered our relationship forever.
Wrinkling her nose in distaste, Astoria scowled temperamentally out the misty common room window to the wretched weather outside. Even though she was a mild-mannered girl, Astoria got irritable after being cooped up inside for long periods at a time. Finding it impossible to concentrate on her Potions essay, she commenced her second favourite activity; people watching. She didn't know why, but Astoria found observing body-language and conversations infinitely preferable to participating in them.
Near the fire, her sister sat with a group of friends, including Pansy Parkinson and Millicent Bullstrode. Astoria was well aware that Daphne hated Pansy's guts, but this didn't stop her sister from putting up a clever façade. She heard her sister's fake laughter ringing across the common room. There was movement in her peripheral vision, and Astoria's eyes flickered to the door of the common room. Through it stepped Draco Malfoy, his distinguishing platinum hair perfectly groomed as always. His grey eyes connected with hers for a second, before she hastily looked away.
Astoria felt quite capable of writing an unauthorized autobiography about Draco Malfoy, even without her own personal knowledge. Every summer holidays without fail, Daphne would complain about pug-faced Pansy Parkinson, pondering how on earth someone like Draco Malfoy could care for such a cow. This year, Astoria had just shrugged her shoulders and continued reading Witch Weekly magazine, rather than speculating about love potions and spells as she usually did. Daphne had been obsessed with him for some time; if she knew the reason Draco flirted with Pansy so much was to cover up the fact that he was dating Astoria, her sister would never forgive her.
Looking over to her sister's group, she saw that Daphne was approaching her with that exaggerated swing of her hips, no doubt hoping she would catch Draco's attention on the way. "Astoria, why on earth are you sitting around doing homework? It's Saturday, and the Christmas holidays are so close! Why don't you come and help us plan what we're going to do?"
"Hello, Daphne," drawled a familiar voice from behind her sister.
"Hi, Draco," purred Daphne, revealing pearly white teeth as she smiled at him, though Draco gave little notice.
"Astoria," he inclined his head in greeting, and she nodded in return without looking up from her book. Looking back at Daphne, he continued to address the both of them. "My parents are having a bit of a get-together these holidays, with the Notts, the Mulcibers, the usual crowd. They've asked me to pass this invitation on to your parents. I hope you'll be able to attend."
Daphne nodded nonchalantly; Astoria knew that her sister was fighting to contain a squeal of glee. "I'm sure they'll be delighted; I'll definitely be there."
"You too, Astoria?" he asked casually, as though this were a throwaway question with no real importance.
Astoria nodded, knowing that Daphne would think her mad to refuse. "I look forward to it."
Draco smiled. "Excellent. My parents will be pleased. I'll see you both there."
With that, he walked over to Theodore Nott, leaving Astoria with her sister grinning madly at her. "This is going to be so great!" Daphne squealed, though as quietly as possible.
"Yes," said Astoria, plastering a fake smile on her face. Daphne would be too wrapped up in her own thoughts to see through it, and she was ignorant of that type of thing at the best of times. "I can't wait."
Deceiving my sister involved no small amount of guilt. At school it was near impossible, but in the holidays it was even worse. It pained me to listen to all the declarations of how wonderful Draco was, knowing that he had no real interest in her. I convinced myself that it was alright by telling myself that Daphne always got her way. She would forgive me. This one little time wouldn't kill her, would it? Of course not. I was lying to myself in the extreme.
I knew how much she 'cared' for him; he was good-looking, no doubt, and she would be the perfect trophy wife. Daphne could only love someone in that covetous, shallow way of hers. I also knew how strongly I felt for him, how much I really cared. She would never have been right for him. And for once, someone wanted me and only me. Unlike everyone else, he looked past Daphne, her honeyed tones and beauty, and saw me.
It was at the beginning of the holidays leading up to Astoria's seventh year when a knock on the door changed everything. "I'll get it," yelled Astoria, despite the fact that her parents were at work and her sister was in the shower.
"Draco, what are you doing here?" she hissed, throwing a glance up the stairs. "Daphne will kill me if she finds out-"
"I know, I know, the family owl broke a wing and I didn't have any other way of contacting you. What are you doing this Saturday?" he questioned in a whisper.
"My parents want you to come to dinner at six o' clock."
"Again? Okay, I'll be there, but you have to go right now." She urged him.
"Alright." He replied with a nod, tilting her head up to kiss her swiftly before she closed the door. A soft sigh escaped her pale pink lips before she turned around to lean against the door. As she did so, she froze; standing at the top of the entrance hall staircase, her mouth open, was Daphne.
"I knew it! I don't believe you," she spat venomously, her voice rising with every word. "How long has this been going on? You lied to me about liking him! You knew how much I liked him and you still went after him!"
Daphne's accusatory tone filled her with fury. "Our whole lives," Astoria replied angrily, "Our whole lives, you've always gotten everything! I always let you have it, no matter how much I wanted it! Were you ever grateful to me, did you even care about how I might have felt? No! You've never thought or cared about anyone but yourself! I'm sick of it, Daphne. For once, just this once, it's my turn!" Astoria stormed up to her room angrily, leaving her sister quaking with angry tears in her wake.
For a long time, Daphne refused to talk to her younger sister. At their wedding she was a bridesmaid, but Daphne stayed completely silent throughout the entire affair, ignoring the comments about how her sister positively glowed in such a beautiful dress, paying no attention to the happy couple. Perhaps if she had, she would have seen her sister staring anxiously down the table at her.
At her own wedding reception, Astoria was paying more attention to her sister than her new husband. Even when she's not talking she finds a way to make it about her, thought Astoria grudgingly, though she knew that it was only getting to her because she let it.
As the night went on, guests filtered onto the dance floor, and Draco was dancing with her mother. After looking at the wide variety of dress robes and people twirling endlessly, Astoria felt somewhat dizzy. Looking down the table she saw her sister Daphne, eyes glazed over, staring off into space; what was she thinking, Astoria wondered. There was only one way to find out.
She sat down next to her sister gingerly. "Hi," Astoria said softly.
She bit her lip when there was no response, sighing. "I'm sorry Daphne, but you don't know how hard this has been for me… our whole lives, everyone was only interested in you. Do you know how good it felt, when someone finally paid attention to me, noticed me for once? You always got what you want, without fail. I tried never to compete with you, because I wanted you to be happy. But I want to be happy too, Daph. Please, talk to me, Daphne."
"Astoria… You've always been so self-sacrificing; I just couldn't believe that you'd choose yourself over me… I suppose I'd always counted on the fact that you wouldn't, because if the choice fell to someone else, it would always be you. I surpass you in looks, but you're smarter, kinder than me by far… I just wish he wasn't the one that had seen it… I love you, little sis, and we both know you deserve this, but I can't be happy for you right now." With this, Daphne stood up and walked away.
Astoria looked down at the table and nodded, suppressing the tears and forcing a smile as Daphne went to dance with Theo Nott.
Over time we formed a sort of friendship, but it was distant. We never became as close as we first were; we were never truly sisters again. I still see her gaze at my son bitterly, thinking it could have been her. When I made that choice, I had no idea what kind of impact it would make, how devastating it would truly be to her. I never thought that the consequence of my happiness would be losing my sister.
Do I regret my decision; would I change it, given the chance?
No. She would have done the exact same thing in my situation. We were such different people; though it never ceased to upset me, looking back, we were bound to grow apart eventually.
Because with me and Daphne, blood was never thicker than water.