The wedding had been, according to one Daphne Greengrass, "absolutely delightful". Astoria, who when it came to such things tended to defer to her sister's judgement, had no reason to disagree. The ceremony was as well-planned and well-regulated as every other part of his life, and, like the rest of her life, was both beautiful and uniquely terrifying.
Astoria sighs as she stares at the litter that the House-Elves haven't yet cleared away, the moonlit scene so at odds with the one that had taken place mere hours earlier, when her last name had still been Greengrass and she had still been free.
Not that Astoria hadn't wanted to marry Draco. She is fairly sure he is as close as she's ever gotten (and will, perhaps, ever get) to true love, and hearing him say "I do" was perhaps one of the happiest moments of her life. But… well, it all looks different under the light of the moon, and the ring she'd slipped so eagerly on her finger now resembles a shackle more than anything else.
Because say what you will about Slytherins, but they take family seriously. A family is made up of three or maybe four people that you had above all else. That you would die for and kill for. Whose safety and happiness is the number one priority in, and for whom you would give up the world. A family, to a Pureblood Slytherin, responsibility and trust, and of that Astoria Malfoy is terrified above all else.
She's scared, she thinks as she settles on the cool grass, that she won't be enough. That no words or vows or pledges could ever make her anything other than the girl in the back of the class, quailing with fear as her classmates are Crucioed in front of her eyes but refusing to do anything about it. As a particular classmate—no longer anything more than that—is Crucioed for speaking the truth.
We wanted you to face the worst so that you'd never be afraid again, Astoria's mother had told her when Astoria had begged her during Christmas vacation to let her stay at home, and Astoria had nodded her acceptance and gone to her room and smashed a vase and then cried.
And now she is a woman, and she is bound in a way that she hasn't been since she left home, yet she's not crying any longer. She has the chance, she knows, to teach her children to ignore the poison that was forced down her throat since she was born. She may have married a dragon, but even the entrance to a dragon's lair is an open door.