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Helping Hands by ohmymerlin
Chapter 4 : Chapter 4
 
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There was a knock at the door and Draco jumped in fright. No one ever came by the house anymore. He didn’t know whether or not to answer the door. The gates that used to stop people from entering had been removed to try and show his father that there was no need for all the caution anymore.

It didn’t work but he suddenly wished he kept those gates up. After putting down the knife he was using to cut himself an apple, he washed his hands and walked towards the door, holding his wand tightly in his pocket.

Opening the door tentatively, he saw Astoria waiting with a big smile and a picnic basket. “Hello, Draco!” she said warmly.

Draco was taken aback. He loosened his hold on his wand and opened the door wider to let her in. “Hello, Astoria,” he said. “Come in.”

She smiled and slipped past him. “I was hoping you’d come on a picnic with me today. I have the day off and I thought it’d be nice to spend it relaxing and such.”

Draco looked down at her. “Yeah, that sounds… nice. Let me just grab some things. I’ll be back soon,” he promised. She nodded and he hurried out to find his mother. “Mother, I am going to be out today again. There’s some leftover food from last night, make sure you eat that for lunch. Okay?”

Narcissa turned towards him with a gentle smile and placed her hand on his cheek. “Yes, Draco. Thank you, dear.”

Draco smiled and kissed the top of her head. Narcissa had slowly started to become a less vicious version of herself and Draco was becoming more and more confident that she would get much better soon. His father was a very different case but he let him know that he was not going to be home again and Lucius only gave him a response that he should be careful and that he should return by sunset. Draco knew it was a lost cause so he grabbed his things and rushed out to find Astoria again.

“Shall we leave?” he asked, opening the door for her.

“Yes, of course,” she said, nodding. “Do you want to go to Victoria Park?”

Draco shrugged. “I’ve never been there. So you can pick the destination.”

She grinned. “Alright then, hold my arm.” Draco obliged and on the count of three, Astoria spun them on the spot to arrive at the lovely park.

Astoria didn’t let go of Draco’s arm. “Luckily no one seems to be here,” she observed, “we would have broken the Statute.”

Draco laughed. “Yeah, we would have. I wonder why no one’s here, it’s a lovely day.”

“It is,” she agreed. “Now let’s not just stand here and chat like two old ladies, let’s have a picnic!” Draco grinned and helped her set up the picnic. They sat down and Astoria pulled out the food she had with a bottle of champagne.

“I think we’ve worked hard for this,” she said, “we deserve a break.”

“That we do,” Draco said, grinning. “I haven’t had a proper day off in about three weeks. That’s why I haven’t been able to make it to the group. Sorry.”

She waved her hand and pulled out two glasses. “Oh, don’t worry, Draco. I got your owl and we have new people to help us. My sister and her new boyfriend. You remember Daphne and Blaise?”

Draco nodded. The news that Daphne was dating his old friend didn’t hurt him as much as he thought it would. “Oh, that’s good,” he said honestly. “Here, let me.” He gestured to the champagne bottle which Astoria was struggling to open. She passed it to him and after some jiggling and a sneaky spell, the cork popped off with a loud noise.

“I always love that noise,” Astoria said, plucking the bottle out of his hands to pour them two glasses. “Don’t you?”

Draco shrugged. “I’m indifferent to it. So what have you been doing lately?” he asked, taking a sip of the champagne. It had a woody taste to it but it was rather nice.

She lowered her glass. “Oh, not much. I’ve been working a lot, but I’m not complaining. It’s got to be done for the kids.”

Draco also lowered his glass. “Astoria, I told you that if you ever need financial assistance I’ll be more than happy to help.”

She nodded. “I will ask when I’m desperate, I just feel bad if I take and take.”

Draco let out a small laugh. “Astoria, all you ever do is give. If you keep giving, you’ll have nothing left to give. It’s okay to take things from time to time. You’re the kindest person I know.”

She smiled, looking down as her cheeks reddened. Draco, deciding to be bold – whether or not that was the champagnes doing, he had no idea – said, “And the most beautiful person I know.”

Her cheeks had become bright red now and she mumbled, “You don’t mean that.”

Draco cupped her face in his hands. “I do mean that,” he said gently.

She avoided his eye. “Really?” she asked timidly. Draco nodded and she said, “Me? Not Daphne?”

He jerked back. “What?” he asked.

She hesitated. “Most boys like my sister more than me. It’s always been that way and probably always will be. I’m just double-checking,” she said timidly. Draco saw the layer of insecurity in Astoria that he could relate to all too well.

Draco faltered. “Look, Astoria. I used to fancy Daphne, but then I met you and you’re the Greengrass I’d much rather be with. I’m being completely honest. Daphne is something, I have to admit. But you’re something else. And I’d rather be with you than with Daphne. I no longer have any feelings for her anymore because I fancy you. A lot,” he added on the end.

Astoria looked crestfallen at the thought of Draco fancying Daphne but at the end of his speech, she looked hopeful again. Draco leant forward and kissed her and she happily kissed him back.

When they broke apart, Astoria kept a hand around Draco’s neck. They stayed quiet for a long time and Draco broke the silence by asking, “Astoria, would you like to be my girlfriend?”

She nodded with a small grin. “I would like that very much, Draco.” They kissed again and then started to chat again, eating some of the delicious food Astoria had made.

Eventually, Draco explained the situation of his parents and Astoria listened attentively. She offered him advice on how to help them and even assisted her own services. She knew that a child and a fully grown man and woman were very different but some of the healing processes would be the same with only little alterations.

Draco thanked her and the pair spent the rest of the day together, talking about their roles in the Wizarding War to apple seeds. At the end of the day, they were both very burnt but they both had had one of the greatest days of their lives.


Only the epilogue left! Thanks to everyone who's read this story and to Harry and Ginny leaving me absolutely lovely reviews on each chapter! ♥


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