The first time it happened was because of her sister and his best friend
"Daphne and Tracy said that I cant sleep in our room tonight" was the first thing he heard the little girl say once she stopped shaking his shoulder, jarring him awake in the middle of the night
"What in Merlin's curses…?" He snapped grumpily looking around his empty room, curiously devoid of his other roommates "Where are Nott and Zabini?"
"With Daphne and Tracy" the little girl replied shuffling her feet "Daph said I shouldn't tell anybody about it and Theodore was very nice, he gave me this" she showed him a golden pendant that hung from her neck making in the only splash of color against her ivory pajamas "Blaise said that I could take either of their beds, me and Sandor that is" she motioned to the patched teddy bear in her arms, to let the Malfoy heir know exactly who Sandor was
Draco grunted again recognizing the disilusionment runes carved in the pendant, trademark of the Nott family, Theo usually had a stash of those in case he ever needed to bypass the wards surounding the dorm rooms in Hogwarts, now Draco knew why "And what does that have to do with me? I'm sure neither of those idiots would ever saddle me with babysitting, not if they valued their lives anyway" he groaned "I could report you for this, hell I am going to have their heads for this!"
"Please dont" the little girl begged with a hint of tears in her eyes "Its just that, I had a nightmare and Daph was not there, nobody is here, and if I go to find someone else, they will ask why my sister isn't with me and then Daph will get mad" she rambled on, looking to her feet in embarrassment
Draco sighed allowing himself to look at the little girl for the first time, she was a first year obviously, no older than eleven, blue eyed and chestnut haired, with dimples and a princess style braid adorning her head, the Greengrass crest embroidered in the borders of her white pajamas.
all in all, the girl looked like a child's doll, some might have called her "cute" or "adorable" with that innocent look she had about her, but Draco just thought she looked too much like lord Greengrass for his taste. A tiny female version of the man that headed the Ministry's diplomat department.
"So you woke up the only person who wont sell you out" Draco groaned again anticipating her next words
"Can I sleep here with you? I promise I dont take up much space, I'm just scared" Daphne's little sister asked in the most respectful tone she could "Please Mr Draco"
At the time she'd been no more than a scared child suffering from nightmares on her first term away from home, clutching a teddy bear, feeling the sting of betrayal that came with Daphne's actions, a Greengrass didn't cry, her mother said, a Greengrass held her head high, they had pride, but Astoria didn't feel much like having pride that night.
And Draco almost as if anticipating a long night of her badgering if he told her "No" silently vowed to get Nott and Zabini for this "Fine baby Greengrass, you can sleep here" he said to his great annoyance, making space for her in his bed (which was naturally bigger than Hogwarts normal beds (because Malfoys only slept in the best) "But one word, one kick, even a sneeze and so help me Merlin I'll hex you into oblivion"
"I wont, I promise" she said yawning and climbing up into his bed, leaving a small space between them so she wouldn't touch him or kick him, Draco felt a bit awkward for a moment, she was practically dwarfed in the covers she'd brought with her "And my name is Astoria, NOT baby Greengrass" this time her tone was haughty, a lot less scared, much more Slytherin
"You look babyish enough to me, now shut up, before I start calling you baby GreenTrash or something equally terrible"
The little girl had the audacity to giggle "I still want to thank you for letting me sleep here"
"Go to sleep Astoria" Draco ordered turning his back away from her, he heard her giggle again before defectively settling in her spot and going to sleep
He woke up again at the wee hours of the morning to find a disheveled Theodore Nott gently prying the little girl from Draco's side (where the tiny monster had snuggled herself) and sending her on her way back to Daphne's dorm room
"Thanks man, I owe you one" was all Nott said when faced with Draco's deadly glare the next few days
It was the first time mini Greengrass slept in his bed, but certainly not the last.
You see Astoria was in the most delicate situation of her life, she was sharing a dorm room with two hormonal third years and by virtue of being sister to one of them, she couldn't in good faith request a dorm change.
Now Astoria idolized Daphne, she loved her sister with her whole being, Daphne was beautiful and brazen and took no crap from anybody, she was the best big sister a girl could wish for, but even at age eleven Astoria wasn't blind to Daphne's faults.
Chief of them the fact that Daph was a total slut.
In a very responsible, consenting, nymphomaniac way of course,Astoria understood that Daphne liked boys and boys liked Daphne, but Morgana was it a problem when she was trying to sleep, sure Sirius Black was out there and probably roaming around to kill them all when he had a chance, but Daphne's coping mechanism was really starting to traumatize Astoria, who was still very much a child.
So she kept Theodore Nott's amulet and started sneaking off to the common room as soon as the "Ohh Daphne suck me harder" started to echo in their room (lucky Tracy who knew how to make soundproof bubble charms when this happened, arghh Astoria still had to wait until third year to learn them)
This was what led the kid back to Draco the next weekend.
"Can I sleep here with you please?" She whispered again trying to be extra quiet, because this time Draco hadn't been sleeping, He'd been quietly nursing a injury and glaring at her as soon as she entered the room
"What is it with you first years and the need to bother upperclassmen, get out of here baby Greengrass" Draco huffed in annoyance "no, you can't sleep here, last time was only because I felt pity"
Astoria rolled her eyes and ignored him "I heard that Hypogriff of Hagrid's attacked you" she added with a barely concealed smirk "Daphne said you screamed like a girl" her smile was mirthful, holding all the glee of a child who has just seen a clown do a funny trick "how is your arm Draco boo boo"
"Get out! Do it before I make you" Draco growled again, but she shook her head in defiance
"Why? You are not using your bed anyway, might as well let me sleep in it" and with that she took her teddy bear in her arms and plopped down in Draco's mattress
"I said to leave baby Greengrass, do it or I'll call professor Snape right now"
"if you do, I'll tattle on professor Mc Gonny about how that injury of yours is only skin deep" the little girl replied sticking her tongue out, no longer the whimpering child he'd met the week before, but the spoiled heiress he knew she was "and my daddy will vouch for it in the Wizgamenot, so they wont be able to sack Hagrid out of Hogwarts"
"Fine! You win, but be quiet and get out of here as soon as the sun is up" Draco snapped without concealing his annoyance, the tiny girl nodded and like before, went to sleep effortlessly
That was the night he learned she was a cuddler, because as soon as he scooted her over to get himself to bed, she sleepily let go of her teddy bear and latched onto him instead, it wasn't uncomfortable, but to Draco, who'd lacked for physical contact during most of his life (with the brief exception of his mother, who even then wasn't fond of disgusting displays of it), it was still very weird.
It was the start of a routine…a very strange routine
During the day, Draco barely noticed baby Greengrass, he only knew that she kept herself to the shadows of either Daphne or the other first years, cleverly avoiding notice as tough she still had a dishilusionment charm on her, hiding in plain sight, still very much dressed like a dolly, with her brown hair twisted into one of those "rosebud" braids she seemed to favor so much and her Hogwarts uniform as pristine as it could be, it was still very easy to overlook her small frame in favor of Daphne's more striking one.
But during those odd nights, when the tiny thing scurried into his bed and cuddled up to him as tough she didn't hear the rumors going around Hogwarts, as tough she judged him the safest person in the whole castle and trusted him in a way only children her age did, well during those nights he tried not to notice her as much as he did.
Little Astoria wasn't a talker, she just did what she wished when she wished it, preferring the comfort of Daphne's shadow over her own spotlight, unlike other girls, she enjoyed the anonymity of being overlooked, having discovered very early in life, that if people didn't look at you, they didn't talk about you, and if people didn't talk about you, you were free to do whatever you wanted.
Noways the only exception to that rule became her "ocassional bedmate" Draco Malfoy, who like it or not, she'd more or less blackmailed into letting her sleep in his (extra comfy, mega delicious, loaded-with-ilegal-pillow-charms) bed. She talked to him sometimes, about her day and even dared to tease him about his, because what had started as a one time thing only, became a every-once-in-a-while thing as Daphne's sexcapades grew in number.
Draco sighed, feeling the little girl stir in his arms as he, per was his new custom, shook her awake so she could return to her own room, she was so small compared to his tall frame. Once again the children doll comparison came to mind because the first time he put his arms around her (in his sleep of course), he'd felt as tough he was hugging her teddy bear and not her, mind you Draco Malfoy had never been one to sleep with stuffed animals, not even in his childhood when uncle Severus gifted him a very soft silver dragon for his night terrors, but now apparently he'd developed the habit.
Only that the little girl wasn't actually a stuffed animal and he had no business thinking her as such, but well, as the end of the year grew to a close and Astoria's visits to his room grew more frequent (Because, gosh her sister really had to be the biggest nympho in his whole year), Draco eventually stopped fighting the compulsion to hug her and as soon as the tiny thing was settled in her blankets, he let his long arms hold her to him as tough she were his very own stuffed toy.
Astoria never seemed to mind, she too liked to be held during the night and as long as they never talked about it, she was fine with him calling her "little doll".
Of course she still managed to tease him to sleep that time Hermione Granger punched him, but she tried very hard not to be mean about it.
And at the end of the year their special sleeping bubble became such a fixture that when vacation time came, both Draco and Astoria began having trouble sleeping alone.