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Working in a second-hand bookshop had given him an odd sort of habit of blurring the days together in his mind, simply because each seemed to fit the exact pattern of the one before. There were no real important events that marked the passage of time apart from the occasional spell of unusual weather, which, from his vantage point near the wide bay window at the front of the shop, he had a tendency to watch. Weather was infinitely more interesting than the usual stuffy clientele that visited, which was why his first sighting of her was the back of her head disappearing out of the shop door.
He didn’t know whether it was how tired he was, or simply the way he was turning over thoughts about Pansy in his mind, afraid to ask where they really stood for fear he would offend her. She was the type of girl who did not take offence lightly, and he supposed he wasn’t exactly the type of boy to be upfront. Not that he supposed he was a type of anything at all.
Draco's head still felt dangerous. The fresh air was good; it was crisp, sharp as a knife, cutting through his choked thoughts with ease. He didn’t actually notice Astoria until she almost ran into him. He was too busy being blinded by the sun, and she, turning right from a path at a right-angle to his, had been hidden by an overgrown tree. At the sight of him she cursed and jumped backwards, hand over her Tweed-coated heart.
The door slammed shut, leaving him to stumble blindly in the dark. But then someone shushed him, a hand fell on his shoulder and a light flared from the tip of Astoria’s wand.
It seemed that Draco was not entirely forgiven. Even after buying Daphne her third drink that evening, she still treated him with cold indifference, staring at him over the top of her drink whenever he touched on a topic too close to the subjects of Pansy and Astoria. At nine she said she could only stay for half an hour more, pleading an early start at work the next morning and a headache. Blaise left to get her a glass of water at quarter past, at which point Daphne leaned forward and said, enigmatically, ‘she likes sunflowers.’
He bent closer to the page. They were prison photographs, each numbered and captioned. Photograph seven showed a girl with a heart-shaped face, framed by black hair that was matted and hung lank over her pale face. Her eyes were smudged with shadows and a graze on her cheek looked angry even in monochrome, but her mouth was twisted in a dark smile, barely discernible. You would have had to know the girl to judge her emotions; her soft features usually looked bright. She blinked at the camera, smile never leaving her face.
She passed him in the street once. They both turned back at the same time for a second glance. Her brow furrowed, but then she turned away again, muttering an apology below her breath. Cathy demanded to know who she was; he said nobody.
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