Story created by xCharlie-Groupiex (Sacha D.).
Disclaimer: I don't own or take credit for any of J.K. Rowling's creations, including the characters of the Harry Potter series, Hogwarts, and the wizard world at large.
The Room of Requirement:
Luna was in the seventh floor corridor, searching for her ever-missing shoes. They'd vanished sometime between third and fourth period, during Charms class. She never should have removed them, aware of their tendency to disappear, but her feet had begun to exhibit the strangest, tingly symptoms of pins and needles that morning. The sensation was so unbearable that she'd had no choice but to remove her shoes and walk around the castle in her socks in order to ease the discomfort. She had left the shoes beneath her bed, but later when she had returned for them, they weren't there.
The practical jokes had started halfway through her first year at Hogwarts and had never ceased. Luna was in her third year now, and she was still bewildered by the fact that others took pleasure in making her life more difficult. She liked to see the best in others and didn't have the heart to retaliate against those who enjoyed stealing from her. Two wrongs didn't make a right, as her mother had always said. Hiding people's shoes in revenge for her own missing pair would make no sense; it would only lead to an epidemic of barefoot wizards and witches at Hogwarts. Anyway, she always found her possessions. In strange places, no doubt, but she always did get them back.
Once, in her second year, she had been searching for days for the only pair of shoes she owned at the time. It had become discouraging; her feet were blistered and she had begun to lose hope of ever finding her shoes. Luna had sat by the lake, soaking her feet in the cool water and feeling very frustrated.
Her reflection in the water changed, rippled, which she attributed to the tears that compromised her vision. But, a creature rose from the water, then, breaking through her reflection; a slippery, ghastly looking thing. It screeched at Luna, causing her to leap up with a jolt of surprise. The mermaid held a pair of soaked converse shoes by the laces, draped with algae, and gave them to the enchanted girl. Then, it disappeared beneath the surface of the water, deep into the murky green depths of the lake. Luna's reflection wavered, then settled.
It was a pivotal moment. Luna began to frequent the lake more often. She felt a renewed sense of optimism, of faith in the goodness of beings. She always found what she was looking for. It was the one constant in her life; the only other being that people would always try to take things from her.
Luna strolled through the corridor, peering into every nook and cranny, behind suits of armour and beneath tapestries. She asked the moving portraits, whom she was on good terms with, if they had seen a pair of pink converse shoes. She walked up and down the corridor, deep in thought, more than once. Her fellow students were becoming more and more creative when it came to finding places to hide her belongings from her. Fortunately, Luna herself had a creative mind.
On her third trip around the level, a door appeared which she had not previously noticed. She almost passed it by. It wasn't locked. Curious, she turned the handle and let herself in. She wasn't sure what she had been expecting, but it was far from that with which she was met in the next instant.
Inside of the room it was moist and hot. Luna's blouse at once began to stick to her skin and the baby hairs near her forehead began to curl. Wonderingly, she checked out the place she had stepped into, though it was hard to see through the shroud of mist which enveloped her. Mist? That seemed odd, although oddness in general was something Luna was used to.
She moved further into the damp heat, feeling as though she was walking through a warm cloud. A droplet of sweat trickled into her eyes, blinding her momentarily. What was this place?
Luna smiled ecstatically as comprehension dawned on her. Not mist. Steam! This place, this room she had never witnessed, was a sauna. With her sight very much impaired, she continued her exploration of the room, slowly. The tie of her uniform felt constricting and she hastened to loosen it. The floor would have been quite slippery to tread upon with her converse, so in a way she was lucky to be without them. Her socks were soaked, though, which wasn't a very comfortable sensation. She stopped to pull them off, leaving them behind as she continued her sightless traverse of the room, gliding over the wet tile in her bare feet.
It didn't strike Luna to feel at all apprehensive. Neither did she wonder if another person might also be occupying the strange space. However, when she banged her knee painfully against a hard surface, she gave a small, startled cry, and soon realized she was not alone.
"Who's there?" An unknown voice called out, unnervingly.
Luna drew her wand, although she doubted she would have need of it.
"Diminuendo," the person muttered, and the vapour clouds around her began to shrink, to swirl around the room until they disappeared. Luna's newly improved vision absorbed the sight of Draco Malfoy, seated on a wooden bench. He was naked and glistening from the waist up, with a black cloak draped over his thighs for the sake of modesty. Luna stared at him in shock; he held his wand in a show of casual readiness, grey eyes fixed on hers, though his gaze was blurry and unfocused.
"Loony," he acknowledged, throatily, in a tone with so many nuances that she was unable to decipher his intentions.
She was still standing in the same spot, arms at her sides with the wand lowered, her knee burning. Her expression was unreadable. She felt vaguely threatened by him, as he seemed to be by her. They were both getting over the after shock of such an unexpectedly intimate encounter.
A beat passed and neither of them said a word. He hadn't jinxed her yet, which was good; but he hadn't blinked in a while, either, which was off putting. His lip curled, but his expression remained open to interpretation. Finally, he blinked, and Luna gave a nervous giggle over the singularity of the situation.
"What is this place?" She asked him innocently. Now that the air had cleared, she observed that the walls and the floor were made of white tile and that there were beads of condensation dripping from the ceiling. The wooden bench which had maimed her was attached to the wall, part of a structure; his back rested against the base of another bench which was positioned above his own.
Draco scoffed. "Room of Requirement."
"Oh," Luna looked around. She'd never heard of the room before, never noticed it, but she knew that Hogwarts was a mysterious place. There were undoubtedly many other locations on the school premises of whose existence she was unaware, besides a sauna hidden on the seventh floor. Hogwarts was rather impressive.
Luna returned her attention to him, feeling curious. Beside Draco there was a glass bottle. It was half full of a transparent liquid the colour of water. Luna had her doubts about the contents of the bottle. Draco appeared a bit too relaxed and dreamy for the uptight individual she knew him to be.
His movements were slow and his usual scowl was replaced with a look of deep introspection. He wasn't behaving the whip smart antagonist for which he was known around the school. His platinum hair, stringy as a result of the clammy atmosphere, was slicked back unevenly, one strand falling into hazy eyes.
Upon closer inspection, the eyes were unexpectedly interesting: dilated pupils like bottomless pits, light grey irises a delicate ring around the black holes. His stare held something back, an impetuosity. Luna thought she could tell that he was broody at present, maybe angry, definitely caught up about something.
As the steam began to build once again, Luna placed herself on the bench, extending her leg before her. "Oh dear," she lamented, examining the minor injury. A bit of blood was welling up from the cut, staining her fair skin. She exchanged a wistful glance with Draco, who seemed transfixed by the wound. What a curious fellow. If she didn't know better, Luna would have supposed he was occupied by Nargles. But, he smelled of clean sweat and alcohol, which revealed the true nature of his uncharacteristic condition.
"Can I have some alcohol, please, Draco, to clean the wound?"
To her surprise, a capricious chuckle escaped him. "You do know you're a witch?" Still, he passed her the bottle.
Luna laughed shyly, caught off guard. "Oh, yes, but I'd quite forgotten. I've been reading this book set in the muggle world, you see. I've gotten rather into the story."
As Luna healed herself, Draco closed his eyes. She studied him out of the corner of her eye, taking in his person. So this was Draco Malfoy, behind the scenes. His near nakedness didn't disgust her. Nor did it make her uncomfortable. He was comfortable with himself, seemingly impervious to her presence.
Herself, she was felt peculiarly at ease, given the situation. Suddenly, he sighed, visibly relaxing into the torrid heat. Luna observed him, the light sheen on his skin, as she adapted to their proximity. She wondered when he would turn on her.
Luna rolled the bottle over in her hands. She screwed the cap off and brought the bottle to her nose, identifying the rum only due to her knowledge of Xenophilius Lovegood's well stocked liquor cabinet. Boldly, she took a sip, shuddering in distaste almost immediately. However, once it was down, the rum felt rather pleasant to her tummy.
"Hey," Draco sounded groggy. He took the bottle back from her with authority."How old are you, anyway?" He tilted his head back and swallowed a good deal of the stuff, cringing at its strength. Some of the liquid escaped his mouth and ran down his chin, dripping onto his neck.
"I'm a third year," Luna told him, amused. The steam had filled the room, so the only thing she saw anymore was Draco. She was wretchedly hot, and feeling the tiniest bit light headed. "May I ask you a question?"
He turned to her, wearily, looking dubious. "What?"
She smiled at him."Why are you letting me stay?"
Draco shot back at her immediately. "Why are you choosing to?"
"I've never been in such a place as this before. I was looking for my shoes, when I came here." She wiggled her toes, reaching for the bottle and taking a small sip of the tepid alcohol. "You know, this stuff is really much better with a sliced lime and some mint. Some ice would also do nicely."
"I don't care," he grumbled, grabbing the bottle from her. "Who asked you, anyway? And how do you know that?"
Luna wasn't bothered by his patronizing. She shrugged, the smallest of smiles on her lips. She'd had her taste; her curiosity was sated and she decided it wasn't worth drinking such a bitter substance to get a bit of a buzz. She certainly didn't want to end up looking the way Draco did at present. There was also the fact that, despite his current display of tolerance, Draco wasn't the kind of person around whom a wise girl would render herself incapacitated.
"What's wrong?" She asked him when the silence became unnatural.
Draco sighed and adjusted the cloak around his lower body. It really was very hot. His pale cheeks had begun to flush with the heat and the drink, and Luna herself had a notion that she looked fairly crazy at present. Her hair felt huge with the humidity.
"You don't look well, Draco," she told him. "Let's get out of here, shall we?"
She didn't think he would allow her to include him in her plans, but to her surprise he frowned and nodded his consent. They got up, him clutching the robe around himself and appearing to take each step with careful consideration. Luna took the lead, moving through the white puffs of steam toward what she thought to be the room's exit.
"Watch out, it's slippery," she warned him. She felt him grasp her wrist in his firm grip and, before she could respond, his warm mouth had engulfed hers. Draco kissed her, his lips parting hers with gentle insistence, merging their tongues with a palpable longing. It was over suddenly, leaving Luna breathless and confused.
He kissed her again, just a momentary meeting of the lips, but so riveting. Her silvery orbs were wide as they connected with his dilated ones, questioningly. He grimaced, seeming to remember who he was, and shifted away from her.
For lack of a better reaction, Luna descended into the steam, crawling over the tile until she had retrieved her sodden socks."I've got my socks!" She announced enthusiastically, popping up. He watched her skeptically, then followed her stiffly to the door.
"Wait." He looked down at himself, then back at her. "My judgment is pretty compromised right now, but I know that I can't go out like this."
Luna grinned with humorous delight over the situation. "Well, that's your problem, isn't it?" She asked, opening the door and slipping through it.
Luna scampered giddily through the empty corridor, past the appraising stares of the portraits, to the Ravenclaw common room. It was still early, but the torches had been lit to illuminate the way. She was regarded with speculation by the other Ravenclaws as she ascended to her dormitory, but no one asked her what she'd been up to or why she was soaked. Luna's eccentricity was nothing new to her fellow house mates.
Draco's eccentricity, though, that was something new.
Voilà the first chapter! I sincerely hope you enjoyed and I would really appreciate your thoughts! Thanks :)