An older sister had to be one of the worst nuisances in existence, Astoria was sure. They were bossy, they were nosey and they were always terribly smug about the first two.
With an older sister, you could kiss goodbye peace. It seemed to Astoria they always knew just where you were despite your best efforts to not be found. She was sure, if she so chose, she could apparate to the moon and her big sister would still know exactly where she was when she decided that something needed being done - dishes or her nails, it didn't matter. If a big sister wanted you to do something, they would sniff you out to the ends of the earth and beyond just because it was more satisfying to have it done by you over having it done in a timely manner.
Another horribly awful thing about them was how they just seemed to know everything about you and the world you two co-existed in. Maybe it's because they've known you a lot longer than you've known them, but they always knew when you'd done something bad or were crushing on the scowling Ravenclaw a year ahead of you. If that wasn't bad enough, it seemed to Astoria their superior knowledge stretched much farther than the life of their younger sister. They knew why the sky was blue, how come mother had that second glass of wine at dinner and why your best friend, Nathaniel Runcorn, was upset at you for saying his sister was a bit of a flirt.
Astoria probably could have handled these two facts with some semblance of grace if it weren't for the fact that big sisters were smug about these traits. They loved lording the detail that they knew more over you possibly even more than they liked ordering you to do their Charms schoolwork, if you didn't want to get reported to the Head of Slytherin for being the one to pull that little prank on Professor Sinistra that caused her feet to quack when she walked.
All in all, Astoria was ninety eight percent sure big sisters had to be the bane of existence for all little sisters (and brothers - thank you for sharing that Nathaniel!).
Despite it all, though...There was something that made them worth having too.
Maybe it was because you couldn't imagine not having them and their being an empty space where they belonged was a lot scarier than having them. Or maybe it had to with the fact they could be really nice - like when you had your third nightmare about a troll eating you in a week and just wanted to sleep someplace safe. Those nights, they never told you 'no' when you went to them and sniffed:
"Can I sleep with you?"
Their eyes may be tired and their hair matted against their head, but it didn't matter to them ever when they opened up their blankets and gave you silent entry.
They were always warm then.
It could also be, Astoria thought, they were alright because they let you hold their hand when it was time for shots. They never needed to hold your hand when they took theirs, but they just instinctively would stretch out their digits to you when it was time for yours - like they understood that you were a lot more scared than they ever could be and wanted to give you some comfort because of it. It was really nice getting to squish someone else's hand as the Healer pricked you several times over with different needles.
Possibly, more than anything else, it was good having a big sister because they'd done it all. When it's your turn to get sorted at Hogwarts, they're there to give you your last reassurance that everything was going to be fine when you were up there in front of everyone waiting to be sorted. You got to gaze around the giant Great Hall before your eyes were hidden by The Sorting Hat and could easily pick them out among the nameless masses. And they always knew you were watching them.
They were used to it, Astoria supposed. Big sisters were always being watched - not like little ones.
And when you'd stare upon them from the sorting stool as the hat's falling over your eyes, they'd smile. You could forget for a second that your life was being decided for you and that's all you needed because the hatdelved into your mind the moment you were thinking about your sister and would then say in its gravelly voice,
"...Yes, it's Slytherin for you..."
Then the hat's off and people are cheering, but you're looking at your sister again who's so very proud and you can't be anymore happy as you walk over and take the spot right next to her.
And that was why Astoria cared now. Her big sister was missing and the only one who might know a thing about what happened was holed up in the seventh year girl's dorm.
Coming into the seventh year dorm, she saw it was in disarray; clothes everywhere, books scattered in odd piles and parchment lying on all open, hard surfaces. A typical girl dorm, it would seem. That being the key word. It seemed that way until you looked closer and realized things are everywhere because the room was searched just the day before by the muggle studies professor - Alecto Carrow - for any indication they were anything less than pure or supportive of Voldemort's cause.
Lips curling, Astoria walked through the mess and to the bed on the far right of the room. On the rich green covers layered with another blanket - a quilt of what appeared to be patterned with moving stars - Astoria found Tracey Davis sprawled out. She laid face up with mouth open and eyes staring vacantly up at the ceiling.
Clearing her throat, the younger remarked, "I hear you were the last one to see Daphne a day and a half ago."
There was a long pause. Actually, it was a hardly more than a heartbeat, but you couldn't tell that to someone like Astoria who was probably just a whispered rumor away from having a breakdown.
"Yeah, I was," Tracey finally answered.
She didn't look away from the ceiling, which was actually very rude, Astoria thought. Her roommate - her sister had been missing for a day and a half in Hogwarts's halls and that wasn't - it just didn't happen.
People didn't go missing like that here. Not unless they were-
Astoria couldn't be thinking like that. Her sister was a Greengrass with all the papers and then some to prove it. There was no doubt in her status and there shouldn't be any in what she believed. She was a Slytherin for merlin's sake! If you could trust anybody to hold the correct views on things in a time like this, it was a Slytherin!
Flopping down on the bed beside the older - if much shorter - girl, Astoria threw decorum to the wind and grabbed her face. "When did you see Daphne last?" She demanded.
Easter green eyes met Astoria's. "I don't know, a day and some ago," she replied. Sitting up then, she turned her head and said, "You can go now."
"No, I won't! Where were you guys? Who was with you? What did she say? What were you doing?" She rattled off one after another, hardly getting a breath in as she got in Tracey's face.
Narrowing her eyes into little more than slits, the smaller girl bared her teeth like a tiger and shoved her back. "Get out of here, Astoria! I don't know anything!"
Grabbing a rope of black hair, she gave it a vicious tug. "I don't believe you," she hissed.
"Ow! Ow!" Tracey yipped standing up. She then pushed Astoria away - causing the other girl to stumble back with clump of her hair still clutched between her fingers.
Looking between the dark strands and the older girl's alarm-red features, Astoria knew she was in for real trouble.
With a look of pure animalistic aggression overcoming her wide-set features, Tracey pounced and they were tumbling back into someone else's bed (Millicent's, maybe?).
They shrieked and squealed and hit and pulled and scratched for several minutes. Then, despite her larger size, Tracey Davis had her pinned. If you'd been in her position, you'd know why she did what she did next. There was no way to word how utterly trapped and desperate Astoria had gotten in the minute she'd been stuck. She was already so very terrified and the hold she was in only doubled that to the point she thought she might piss her panties if she didn't do something! So, with a lunge, she sank her teeth into her the older girl's cheek.
The other's pupils dilated. Wrenching her face away, Tracey seemed to be working on instinct as she loosened her hold just enough to get Astoria's teeth out of her face before she was crashing her lips into the younger girl's.
Before Astoria can do so much as process what's just happened, a tongue's down her throat and she's swept up for all of a minute in the confusion and passion before she realized - this is Tracey Davis!
Getting herself out of the other's hold, Astoria pushed the other away and yelled, "What in the bloody nine hells do you think you're doing!? I'm not some slut, you know!"
Suddenly looking every bit of her five foot two, Tracey's on the edge of her roommate's bed, just sitting there with her hands in her lap.
"Tracey...?" Astoria murmured, only hesitating for a second before she put her hand on the bony shoulder of Daphne's friend.
Voice hardly more than a hiss, Tracey admitted, "That's what happened to your sister."
"What?" She said dumbly in reply.
Not meeting her gaze, Astoria was made to realize Tracey was in disarray. The skin beneath her eyes a dark purple, her face sallow, lips colored with blood and her hair was in knots - shirt buttons half undone. "Me and your sister, we like to fuck around. You really look a lot like her, I got to say, for a minute there...I thought you were her."
Very confused, Astoria just tried to make sense of things. "Wait, you two - you...?"
"Yeah, we fuck."
Covering her mouth, Astoria whispered, "My sister-"
Shoulders slumped low, Tracey turned and met the girl's gaze. Easter green eyes days away, she began to explain, "It was that Carrow-bitch. We like to come up here before dinner, you know? All the other girls are always downstairs doing their homework or teasing the guys. Anyway, we were up here and Daphne had me in nothing but my bra - not that she was much better, wearing only her skirt like that - and then, she came in.
"Carrow started screaming bloody murder at us, so I got my wand and cast a muffliato before everyone downstairs got to know what the hell she was shrieking about. She started saying stuff about how Daphne had sullied me because she'd had her fingers up in my vagina, because, really, what self-respecting, upstanding, perfect pureblood man is going to want a girl who's already been messed around with? I'm pretty sure I told her that any guy who got to hear about my lesbian escapades would be way too turned on to give a shit.
"You can imagine how that went. Anyway, she said something about me being a disgusting little harlot and that maybe she should get her brother to teach me a thing or two about what men like and well, you know your sister. She told Carrow that it was her fault. Daphne said that she'd convinced me to let her screw me. I tried to deny that, but your sister was still on top of me at that point so...well, let's just say what she pinched hurt.A lot.
"After that, Carrow ripped Daphne off and told us both to get dressed before she stomped off with your sister in tow. I don't know what happened after that, but obviously, whatever they've done is pretty bad. I mean, why's she been gone so long? I'm sorry I don't know more, Astoria..."
Absorbing everything in the minutes that follow, Astoria reached out a put a hand on Tracey's knee. "Thanks for telling me all of this," she said. "It'll help me a lot when I'm searching for her..."
"Right," the older girl scoffed. "I doubt it, but, I'll give you my help some more whenever you might need it, okay? I want Daphne back here and safe with us again too, alright?"
Meeting her sister's friend's eyes, Astoria gave one resolute nod. "I will," she replied.
Standing up then, she straightened out her shirt and made sure her skirt was positioned correctly and then touched her hair. It felt like a mess. Raking her fingers through it, she only started for the door when she felt satisfied that it was laying mostly flat against her head. "I'll see you later, Tracey," she called as she stepped into the empty corridor.
"Soon," the other followed as the creaking of a mattress filled Astoria's ears.
Going for her own room, the girl ran her tongue over her teeth and tasted something like copper. Ah well, that's what biting a girl's face would do to you.
Astoria had bigger priorities, anyway.