Chance Meeting

chapter 2

"I'll only be gone for a few hours mother" Astoria pleaded. "I just realized this morning that I need a book on mythological creatures to finish my article for work".

Since the strange encounter with Draco at the book store, Astoria had felt the urge to find him and apologize. She wished to go alone to avoid her mother discovering her true intentions, but Mrs. Greengrass was being difficult, as per usual. Being a traditional which, her mother scoffed at the idea of a young woman wandering about a busy street alone for hours on end. Luckily, Astoria's persuasion finally won out, and the next day she was allowed to return to Diagon Alley absent an unwanted chaperone. She used floo powder to get there as she always did, and hurried down the bustling street towards her destination. Before she knew it, she was panting at the top of the stairs where she had been awkwardly standing only two days ago. Except this time, there was no Draco.

"You idiot" she cursed at herself.

She hadn't even thought this plan through. Why would he still be there? It's not as if he lived in the upstairs of Flourish and Blotts. Continuing to curse herself for being so rash and silly, she turned to leave. She had almost reached the stairs when she noticed someone walking up them towards her. Astoria looked up to see…. Draco Malfoy. Of all the luck. She must have made some sort of noise because Draco's head snapped upward and his eyes met hers.

"Oh. You again." He sounded exasperated.

Thankfully, Astoria's ability to speak did not desert her this time. "I just wanted to apologize for the other day."

"Why?" he asked plainly.

"I thought I might have upset you. I didn't mean to seem so strange, I just wasn't expecting to see you …...here".

"People do come here. It is a store." That same annoyed tone had reached his voice again.

"Again, I'm sorry. And to answer your question, no; I didn't think you were going to curse me." Astoria decided not to pay attention his annoyance; she had a tendency to want to fight back, but in this case she needed to bury it. Deciding that there was nothing else she could say, she walked to the top of the stairs. She had gotten down the first few, but then he spoke.

"wait". He sounded as if it was causing him pain asking her no to go. "I accept your apology. And you don't need to run off, if you wanted to get something..."

"No, I just wanted to apologize"

Then they both stood there. Astoria had completely forgotten she was about to leave. feeling she ought to break the ice, she asked "Were you looking for anything in particular? I know this area of the store fairly well"

It was not a lie. Whenever she came here with her family she escaped up here as soon as they were in the door.

"No. I just spend time here because... never mind. I just do" He replied.

"Why do you spend time here?" she asked, curious. When he made no move to answer she explained "I come here a lot too, mainly to get away from my horrifically embarrassing family. And because it's quiet here. People don't usually disturb you."

After what seemed like forever, he spoke. "I also wish to escape my family from time to time. I'm sure you already know why"

"I do. But I also know that if you hide behind dusty book stacks forever no one will have the chance to forgive you and your family for... you know" Astoria was usually good at giving sensible advice, she just hoped she hadn't gone too far.

"I'm not hiding" He sanpped.

"Really?" She replied, suddenly feeling the need to beat sense into him. "Then why does it seem like you are always here? And why has almost nobody seen you in public since the end of the war?"

At this he gave her a blank look. Almost like he was shocked someone dare speak to him this way. Astoria knew the Malfoy family was rumored to be very high and mighty, but then so were the Greengrass'. She had, in fact, seen her sister give this same look to many people in the past.

"Oh, it doesnt matter" she said, regaining her cool head. "I will leave you alone now"

"No, you don't have to go"

Astoria didn't reply, but merely gave him an "explain" look. He seemed to understand.

"People don't take kindly to those who served Voldemort. Anyone with any association to him are shunned and looked down upon in the wizarding world. That is why I stay hidden."

Malfoy had finally lost his annoyed demeanor. It was then that she realized that his shirt sleeve was rolled up, clearly showing the ghost of a dark mark on his forearm. Despite temptation, Astoria turned her gaze from it.

"You know, I get that sometimes too. Not exactly the same I realize, but people look at me strange." This was true. Since her and Daphne's disappearance right before the war, they had been eyed with suspicion.

"Why would people look down on you?" He asked.

Astoria explained to him the situation, how her parents had gotten them out, and how people thought for a time that the Greengrass' were working for Voldemort even though they were not. Talking about the similarities in their situations seemed to make Draco less menacing. He appeared to be actualy enjoying her company. Suddenly she realized what time it was.

"Oh my! It's later than I thought. I have to get home before my mother starts blowing up things. Or sends the entire Ministry of Magic to look for me." As she got up from where she had sat down on an old leather chair beside a particularly old looking stack of books, he grabbed her hand.

"Will you come back?" he asked. "Passing time is so much easier with someone to talk to"

Astoria smiled. "I'll see." I hope so, she thought. "Goodbye for now then"

"Goodbye" He smiled back at her. But it was a real smile, not the sarcastic smirk he was famous for.

As Astoria ran back down Diagon Alley, she couldn't help thinking that today had been one of the best days she had had in a long time. As it turned out she and Draco Malfoy had a lot more in common than either of them knew.



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