Chapter 2 : Chapter 2
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“Draco! I’m so sorry, I overslept! I’ll be ready in five or so minutes!” she said, brushing her hair with an apple.
“Astoria, it’s okay. You’re brushing your hair with an apple,” he pointed out. She stopped brushing and looked at the apple, bursting into loud laughter. Draco grinned with her.
“You’re right, come in, come in. I won’t be too long and then we’ll get going.” Draco nodded and sat himself down on a chair. She dashed back to her room and Draco eyed the place. Everything was pale white with a few light brown patterns. The furniture was all maple wood and gave everything a vintage feel. It was soft and nice, very different to the cool, sharp design of the Manor.
“I’m ready!” she announced. Draco stood up and looked her up and down. She was wearing a pale pink dress with white slip-on shoes, giving her a look of innocence.
“You look very nice,” Draco murmured and her cheeks darkened.
“Thanks Draco, you look dashing as well—” Draco smiled at her and she gave him a grin in return. “—and I’ll Apparate us there on three, okay?”
He nodded and she gripped his arm tightly. “One…” He closed his eyes.
“Two…” Instead of seeing the ever familiar Daphne behind his lids, he saw a different image.
“Three…” Before he could focus, they spun on the spot and appeared in an old warehouse.
He opened his eyes and let them adjust to his new surroundings. “Today’s an arts and craft session, it’s the more fun one in my opinion,” she called out, walking towards a large pile of sheets.
“I’ll take your word for it,” he said, following her. “What’s this pile of sheets?”
She smiled up at him and waved her wand over them. “The crafts! What did you think they were?” she teased.
He nodded, feeling a bit lost, and with her wand she started directing tables to different areas of the warehouse. “D’you mind helping?” she asked. “I’m running late and they’re going to be here soon, I normally wouldn’t ask—”
Draco cut her off smoothly, “No that’s okay.” He pulled out his wand. “Where did you want them to go?” She showed him the outline and after reading it for a few seconds, he sent the tables to the places they were meant to go. They then put all the different crafts out and after five minutes, everything had been set up.
“Thanks, Draco,” she said, “I don’t know where the others are. It might just be us today.”
He felt his heart jump at the thought of being alone with her all day but he firmly ignored it. “Oh, okay then. How many are there usually?”
“There are only two others, but we try and have at least two people at all times. I’m here every day, so the other two generally just switch with each other. I guess they must have thought the other was doing it.” She shrugged. “Will this be too much of a burden on you?”
He shook his head. “No, of course not. I must say though, you’re doing a really wonderful thing,” he said earnestly.
She smiled. “It is a wonderful thing. When the kids go home with the biggest smiles on their faces, you feel so accomplished,” she said, her eyes distant.
He gave a small smile and asked, “How are you paying this by the way? Do you just duplicate everything?”
She shook her head. “No, we tried that once and it didn’t work very well. We’ve door-knocked before but stopped after someone threatened to hex us—” Draco’s eyebrows shot up. “—yeah, I didn’t think they’d do that but… anyway, well we all work at other jobs and use our own money.”
He whistled lowly. “That must be expensive, how often do you do this charity thing?”
“Oh every day. I work night-shifts at a Muggle all-night gym. This starts at midday and I usually get home at three in the morning, so I get a decent amount of sleep,” she said brightly, fixing up a bowl filled with beads.
Draco faltered. “You know… if you ever need help with the financial side of things, I could always help you,” he offered nervously.
Astoria smiled. “Really? That isn’t too much to ask?”
He shook his head. “No, of course not. I’m currently working at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and uh… still living with my parents so I’ve got a few galleons to spare.”
Her eyes twinkled and she said earnestly, “Thank you so much. You have no idea how much this means to me, or the kids.”
Draco gave her a small smile. “That’s okay, now when does everyone get here?”
She beamed and checked a thin watch on her wrist. “Well, it starts at about midday and most people go home at four-ish.” He nodded but before he could say anything, a few children walked in.
“ASTORIA!” one of them shouted, running towards her.
She bent down and gave the little boy a hug. “Oscar!” she said happily. “How have you been?”
She set him on her hip and he started babbling about all different things. Draco wasn’t typically a ‘kids person’ per se, but seeing Astoria with this little boy made Draco think that kids weren’t all that bad.
“Oscar, I’d like you to meet my new friend, Draco,” Astoria said, pulling Draco away from his thoughts.
He smiled and said, “It’s nice to meet you, Oscar.”
Oscar said shyly, “It’s nice to meet you, Mr Draco.”
Astoria laughed and corrected him, “No, no. Draco is his first name. It’s a bit strange but most of our names are.”
Oscar giggled and said, “Draco sounds like dragon!”
Draco smiled and said, “Did you know that Draco actually means dragon in Latin?”
The kid’s eyes went wide and gasped, “Wow!”
“Aren’t you clever, Oscar?” Astoria said proudly, and he beamed, clapping his hands together. “Draco, did you want to introduce yourself to the other kids, I’m sure they’ll like you.” She gave him a smile and he nodded, nervously introducing himself to some of the older ones.
At the end of the day and once he had said goodbye to all these children, Draco discovered that this was oddly rewarding and could understand why Astoria was doing it.
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