“I thought it might be best if you didn’t stay with the other trainees and the people on-call on site in the barracks…nothing to do with you personally, I’m sure Draco, it’s just…”
“My father,” Draco grimaced slightly. “My family reputation, I understand, is less than gleaming, trust me, I understand.”
Charlie pursed his lips and nodded. “I thought you might stay with me, in my apartment for the time being. You’re more than welcome to stay for as long as you like, but if you find it…less than to your liking, I can help you find a place of your own.”
Draco smiled brightly at Charlie’s kindness; so few people had shown him that kind of courtesy since the end of the war, choosing to see his family’s name instead of his individual personality. “I’m sure your accommodations will be more than habitable, Mr. Weasley.”
Charlie chuckled and let go of Draco’s hand, the loss of the warmth tingling unpleasantly up Draco’s arm.
“Please, call me Charlie.”
Draco smiled tightly and tensed, and Charlie regarded him with keen eyes for a second before chuckling again and clapping him arm around Draco’s shoulder in a friendly gesture.
“Come on, let’s get you to my place and get some food in you. I hate to sound like my mother, but you look a little peaky.”
Draco pulled up the only mental image of he had of Charlie’s mother, which was Mrs. Weasley fussing over a smudge on Ron’s cheek in Flourish and Blotts and laughed ruefully, before twining his arm around Charlie’s waist and following his lead to the floo grate.
Draco stepped out of a floo grate for the second time that day, dusting his clothes off as best as he could, while scanning the room for Charlie, who appeared to have noticed what he was wearing for the first time.
Draco noticed Charlie gaping at him wide eyed and clearly in shock through a parting in the crowd and sauntered over.
“What? Dirt on my face?”
Charlie closed his mouth and blinked once, before dissolving into a fit of giggles.
“What in the blue blazes are you wearing?”
Draco looked down appraisingly and surveyed his baggy corduroy pants, beige button up shirt, and tweed jacket with patches on the sleeves. He looked up at Charlie, a look of pure confusion on his face.
“They said to dress myself in muggle attire. As I can recall, both your father and professor Lupin wore this as muggle dress, did they not?”
Charlie tried to quell the laughter, feeling badly at Draco’s lack of knowledge in muggle matters. His father had probably only pointed out the worst muggles to him, and he had most likely thought that the way he was dressed was quite fashionable for muggles, by example.
“Yes, but it’s more suitable for an older man…possibly someone’s poor bachelor uncle.”
Charlie choked back another fit of laughter.
“One who owns several cats.”
Charlie almost exploded with laughter anew when Draco nodded swiftly and took out a notepad to, bless his heart, make a note of what he was saying. Breathing deeply and regaining complete control, Charlie placed his hand on Draco’s shoulder in the most brotherly way possible.
“Perhaps tomorrow we should go shopping for you? We can’t have you wandering around looking like that. How are you going to attract the ladies, eh?”
Draco cringed inwardly, “I don’t think attracting ladies is quite up my alley, but I would like to go shopping if you’d take me. It seems I don’t know much about Muggle fashions.”
Charlie smiled warmly at him, “indeed, we’ll go first thing tomorrow after breakfast.”
Draco nodded enthusiastically as they started off towards Charlie’s flat.
“I want some of those Muggle blue pants.” Draco blurted out.
Charlie raised an eyebrow. “Blue pants?”
Draco sighed as if talking to a child. “Yes, you know, the ones that are supposed to make your bum look nice. They’re pants. And they’re blue.”
Charlie dissolved into laughter at Draco’s attempt at explantion.
“Well tomorrow we’ll figure out what exactly those are, and we’ll be sure to get a pair, ok?”
Satisfied, Draco nodded, and the rest of their walk was in amicable silence.
Charlie’s flat was modestly sized and very obviously home to a bachelor. A few plain pieces of furniture were strewn about the apartment, but there were no accessories, and no clear design to the room, although, Draco noted, it was quite neat.
Charlie gave Draco a tour of the apartment, taking him through the basics before showing him to his room.
“You’re right next to me, should you need me. I’m going to give you time to unpack and get settled in while I start dinner. I thought we might eat out on the balcony tonight, and I imagine we won’t get too far past that. You’re probably quite tired from all that Floo travel.”
As if on cue, Draco yawned, and began to unshrink and unpack his things, almost finishing before the delicious scent of dinner wafted in through his doorway.
Walking out into the kitchen, Draco peered over Charlie’s shoulder to see what he was making, only to be tapped on the nose with a saucy wooden spoon.
Charlie smiled at the affronted look on Draco’s face as he wiped the sauce off, tasting it.
“If you could get some plates down, they’re in the far left cupboard.”
Draco gladly brought down the plates, his stomach growling, as they took their dinner out to the balcony and sat in adjacent chairs, eating in silence.
Sitting out there, overlooking the city, Draco thought of how lucky he was to be there, and turned to Charlie.
“I don’t believe I’ve thanked you yet for taking a chance on me.”
Charlie smiled warmly over at him. “Everyone deserves a second chance, Draco.”
Draco nodded, and they continued to sit in the comfortable silence until the sun was almost down, and the next time Charlie looked over, Draco was fast asleep, curled up in his chair.
Charlie gently brushed the hair from his forehead and hoisted his lithe body up against his own, and carried him to bed.
“Sleep well, Draco. Today was by far the easiest day.”