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Party in the Park
From the moment they met, Draco and Evelyn were inseparable. Even though Evelyn was only ten years old, the pair hit it off immediately. Draco had finally found someone in the Muggle world that he could relate to. Someone as lonely and isolated as he was. They were very different for many different reasons. Evelyn was five years younger than he was, and from what he could tell was a pureblood Muggle. She had never shown any evidence of having magic, so Draco assumed she wasn't even a Muggleborn witch. They came from different worlds, he from a rich magical aristocratic family, and she from a moderately well off but friendly Muggle family. Although Draco didn't know it, Evelyn's family was a lot like the Weasleys, welcoming to anyone who was friends with their children. Even though they were unlikely friends, the two found a lot to talk about, Evelyn telling him all about her life in Ireland, and Draco explaining the intricacies of life as the son of a rich and powerful man. He confided his fears about becoming like his father, and told her some of the things Lucius Malfoy was involved in. All the time, though, he had to try and conceal the magical aspects of his tale. This was something the Malfoy heir found rather difficult. Having grown up as a pureblood wizard, he still had trouble determining what was purely magical and what was Muggle. While he had a good idea from Heather's house and the things that she had told him, he often got confused. Evelyn had been most intrigued when he had told her of his mother's colour changing nail polish.
The days passed quickly for the odd pair. Evelyn finally had a friend at her new school, even though he wasn't one of her classmates. She found, though, that even though the other children still didn't try to make friends with her, they no longer picked on her. News of Draco's confrontation with the bullies had spread through the small school like wildfire, and no one would dare to try anything for fear of angering the blond. Draco was also finding his time with the young girl helpful. He now had a friend in the Muggle world outside of Heather who he could talk to about normal childish things. She was also teaching him a lot about the Muggle world just by telling him her stories, even though she didn't realise she was doing it.
The pair got into a routine very quickly. In the morning Draco would get up early and meet Evelyn down the street before walking her to school. While she was at her morning classes Draco would sit in the library and read as many Muggle books as he could get his hands on. By the middle of his fourth week in the Muggle world he had worked his was through the library's entire physics section and had made a considerable dent in their maths textbook collection. When it was the school's morning break, Evelyn would come and join him, telling him all about what she had been studying that morning. As soon as she went back to her lessons, Draco would change books, and read some Muggle works of fiction. He especially enjoyed fantasy, finding it fascinating how the Muggles interpreted the magical world. As soon as it was time for lunch, he would pull out his boxes of baked treats ready for the children flooding into the library. As soon as the rush died down, he would relocate to a quiet corner of the library and talk to Evelyn until her last classes started. This would be the time when he would pull out his magical texts, and although he was reluctant to admit it, he was glad Potter had brought his trunk with him on his visit. He didn't want to even contemplate how the Gryffindor had gotten his hands on it. It gave him the opportunity to keep up with the theory side of his Hogwarts classes, though. He was in his fifth year, and had his OWLs to consider. He would go through his set texts and learn anything he could, concentrating especially hard on potions. It was the one subject apart from History of Magic that he could easily sit and memorise things without having to perform any actual magic. Heather even let him try out a few potions at home, and those that required accompanying spells to be cast she would help him with. At the end of the day, Draco would pack away his books in his bag and meet Evelyn at the school gates to walk her home. The pair would meander slowly through the small rural village to the Irish girl's house, where Mrs. McCarthy would warmly welcome the pair, asking Draco to come inside for a while. For the next two hours, Draco would help his young friend as best he could with her homework and Evelyn, in return, would teach Draco all she knew about computers. Sometimes, Draco would stay at Evelyn's house for dinner, and others he would go home to Heather, who would question him about his day and help him with his evening's baking exploits.
The routine remained unbroken for a week and a half, in which Draco and Evelyn grew closer and closer. Draco, who being an only child had always been spoiled with possessions but had lacked the comforting presence of a sibling, had adopted Evelyn as his surrogate sister. He took his role very seriously, protecting her from those who would taunt her at school, and teasing her relentlessly in the playful manner of a usual sibling rivalry. Heather was very pleased with the situation, knowing that despite the negative aspects of Draco's loss of magic, the experience was doing him a great deal of good. It benefited everyone, Heather having more time to herself, Evelyn having a friend, and Draco gaining some much-needed experiences.
On the Friday of Draco's fourth week in the Muggle world he walked his young friend home as usual. Today was different, though. Mrs. McCarthy asked him in, as she did every day, and dragged him over to the table for a snack. Draco was a little confused by this, as he normally headed right upstairs with Evelyn to start on her homework. He could see by the serious look in Mrs. McCarthy's eyes, though, that she wanted to talk to him about something. Flopping into a seat, he sat in silence, waiting for her to finish fussing in the kitchen. Eventually she walked over with three mugs of hot chocolate and a plate of Draco's biscuits she had been given the day before. Once they were all comfortable, Evelyn's mother opened the conversation.
" Draco, dear, I felt it was time that we sat down and had a little chat."
" What about, Mrs. McCarthy?"
" Well, for one thing I wanted to thank you for your kindness towards our Evie. She's been awfully lonely since we left Donegal, and I'm grateful she's finally found someone to keep her company."
" You're welcome. I'm grateful for her friendship as well. I've never had a real friend before, at least not one that my father hasn't bought for me."
" That's good Draco. There were just a few concerns my husband and I have been having. For one thing, we wanted to know why you aren't at school. I understand it may not be any of our business, but it just seems as if you've sprung out of nowhere, and we want to know that our daughter is safe."
Draco pondered the question for a moment. He knew Evie's parents would eventually have a few questions for him, as his friendship with their daughter was a bit unusual. He had mentioned a few things over the dinner table on his previous visits, such as the fact that he was staying with a friend, and that his father was a strict aristocrat. He hadn't given away anything specific, though. He didn't want the Muggles to find out more than they should. For Muggles to have knowledge of the wizarding world when Voldemort was regaining power was a dangerous thing indeed. It would most likely make them targets. Much like he had with Evelyn when he had first met her, Draco had to select what he told Mrs. McCarthy.
" You don't have to worry about Evie. I would protect her with my life. Over the week and a half that I've known her, she's become like a little sister to me. I know there's a difference in our ages, but she's so mature for a ten-year-old. We just get on well. As for my school, it's a little hard to explain."
" I went to school in Scotland. It was a boarding school called Hogwarts. I was…suspended…for eight weeks. I had a fight with someone from a rival House. We've been rivals since the first day we started, and everything sort of came to a head. He came out on top, and I got suspended. I'm here with my rival's aunt for eight weeks to see if I can learn anything from the experience. I used to hold all of my father's beliefs, as that was how I'd been brought up. My father's an evil man, and since I've been here, I've had my eyes opened. I no longer want to be like him. I promise you, Mrs. McCarthy, I would never hurt your daughter. I swear."
Mrs. McCarthy sat in silence for a few minutes, looking at Draco intently. Eventually, she turned to her daughter and spoke.
" Evie, darling, would you go in the kitchen for a few minutes? I'd like to talk to young Draco in private."
" Sure, Mam."
Evelyn stood and gathered up the mugs of cold hot chocolate and went into the kitchen to make some more. As soon as the door shut behind her, Mrs. McCarthy leaned in closer to the blond boy and lowered her voice.
" So, you're a wizard, are you?"
Draco sat back in shock. That was the last thing he had expected her to say.
" H-how do you know?"
" You said you went to Hogwarts."
" B-but I thought you were Muggles…"
" We are. I have an aunt who is a witch. A Ravenclaw, I believe. Is Albus Dumbledore still headmaster?"
Draco shook his head lightly to clear it. This was something he had never expected. Evelyn had never mentioned having a witch in her family. But, then again, he had never mentioned magic either.
" Uh, yes he is. How much do you know about the wizarding world?"
" Oh, quite a bit. When I was little, my aunt used to tell me stories about Hogwarts and magic. At first I thought it was just stories, but then she showed me some spells. I couldn't get enough. Now, tell me before Evie gets back, what really happened?"
" You never told Evelyn about magic?"
" No, there was never any reason to. My aunt told me a few years back that there was a terrible war on, between Light and Dark wizards. She broke contact with us after that. She wanted to protect us. Said it would be dangerous for Muggles to know about it."
" That's what I though, which is why I wasn't going to mention it," Draco added.
" A wise move, I'm sure. Now tell me what happened."
" I got into a wizard's duel. I'm a Slytherin, and my rival, Harry Potter, is a Gryffindor. Unfortunately, he's a lot more powerful than I am - was. He used this really weird spell on me that sucked out all of my magic. I'm effectively a Muggle until it wears off. That should be about a month away. Obviously, without magic I couldn't stay at Hogwarts. The spell took it all away, and Muggles can't live at Hogwarts. They can't even see it."
" Isn't the caretaker a Muggle?" Mrs. McCarthy asked absently.
" No, he's a squib. A non-magic person born of magical parents. Even squibs have some magic in them, just not enough to actually use. It's still in their blood. I don't have any anymore, just like a Muggle."
" And what about your father? Why are you staying here and not at home?"
" Because he hates Muggles and Muggleborns. He's one of the Dark wizards your aunt told you about. As I said, I was brought up with his beliefs, but since coming here, I have learned differently."
He woman pondered what he had said, before finally nodding her head in acceptance.
" Very well. But not a word of this to Evie."
" My lips are sealed."
At that moment, Evelyn came back into the room and retook her seat at the table. Mrs. McCarthy sent Draco a wink and turned back to her daughter.
" Thank you for that, Evie."
" Have you sorted out your differences, Mam?" the young girl asked.
" Yes, love, it's all sorted. I was just about to ask Draco if he wanted to come with us to the Party in the Park tomorrow."
" What party?" the young wizard asked.
" The Party in the Park. It's a music festival we have here. We've never been but I hear it's the biggest event of the year in these parts. Every year, there's huge concert in Hyde Park in London, sometime in the summer. It's called the Party in the Park. From what the locals tell me, they have their own version in this area every October, with local bands and singers participating. Sometimes they even get local celebrities to join in. It's usually the highlight of the year, and nearly everyone will be there. Did Heather not tell you about it?"
" No, she never mentioned it. Probably thought I wouldn't enjoy it."
" Well, of course you will! It'll be fun, won't it Evie?"
The little girl nodded her head enthusiastically. Draco could see that she was really looking forward to the event, even though she didn't really get along with most of the local people. It could be fun, he decided, and it would give him something to do aside from baking and reading.
" Alright, count me in."
" It's settled, then," Mrs. McCarthy said, " We'll pick you up at eight tomorrow morning. We have to drive three villages over for the festival."
" Thank you."
" You're welcome, dear. I somehow think you need the experience," Mrs. McCarthy said with a knowing look.
The next morning Draco was up bright and early. Despite being skeptical about Muggle music, he was willing to try it out. After all, he had been surprised by fridges and light bulbs, why not music as well? When eight o'clock rolled around, he was sitting in Heather's living room, ready to go. As soon as he heard the knock on the door, he leapt to his feet and rushed outside, giving Evie a quick hug and greeting her parents cordially. After they had all bundled into the car, they pulled out of the street and headed to the Party in the Park.
Twenty minutes later, the family pulled into a packed field full of assorted cars and parked up. Draco was the first out of the door, looking at the rows and rows of vehicles, mesmerised by the different shapes, sizes and colours. While he had seen a lot of different cars in Canterbury, he had never seen this many different kinds all together at once.
When the rest of the family joined him, the small group made their way to where a large stage was set up at the far end of the field. Hundreds of people were gathered around, waiting for the festivities to start. Draco was overwhelmed, as he had never seen this many Muggles gathered together at once before. He realised that this was only the population of a few Muggle villages in a small corner of the country. It had never occurred to him the sheer number of Muggles that lived there. He had always been taught that Muggles were inferior, and that wizards were far more powerful. Looking around, though, he realised that in comparison to the Muggles, the wizarding population was tiny. Even if all of the wizards and witches banded together, they would still be outnumbered thousands to one. With magic at their disposal, they were lethal on a small scale, but on a large scale, the Muggles could easily overwhelm them. If Voldemort and his Death Eaters tried to attack a united Muggle front, they wouldn't stand a chance. They can, after all, only cast spells at a certain speed, and sooner rather than later they would be overwhelmed. Draco had also seen on television a formidable Muggle weapon that even magical folk wouldn't stand a chance against. The gun. It could be fired quicker than a curse, and was just as lethal as the Avada Kedavra.
Draco was brought violently from his thoughts by the sudden blaring of extremely loud music. Looking around wildly and covering his ears, he realised that the noise was coming from a curiously clad group of teenagers on the stage. Having never been to a concert before, he wasn't quite sure what to expect, but this certainly wasn't it. Wizarding music was a lot more….tame. Even the Weird Sisters never sang anything as outrageous as what he was hearing from the Muggles. However, as the concert progressed, he began to like the music more and more. It had a beat he could dance to, and some of it was certainly dark enough for his tastes. Overall, Draco came to the conclusion that he liked Muggle music better than wizarding music.
When the concert finally drew to a close several hours later, Draco was disappointed. In the car on the way home he came up with an idea, though. He would ask Heather where he could hear music like that again. It was addictive, and he knew he'd found himself a new hobby. Turning to Evelyn's parents, he cleared his throat to get their attention.
" Thank you for bringing me. I think I can safely say this has been the best day of my life!"