Hey readers! Thanks for bearing with me during the wait for this chapter. It can be really hard to feel confident in your own writing or even have the energy to write when you feel depressed. Add school and work and I have been busy. I still love Draco and Luna though :) Hope you enjoy this chapter and I will start working on the next one ASAP.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, but I do own a fangirl heart which loves J.K. Rowling's creations.
The Room of Requirement:
Luna's feet were numb. It was, after all, very late in the season to be sitting by the lakeside, dipping one's feet. She had not thought this through. Still, she hadn't any regrets.
Bundled up in a jumper, it was only her less vulnerable lower half which interacted with the element. Cut at the ankles by lapping water as dark as the pits of the castle dungeons, her extremities were swallowed by the Great Lake's frigid caress, out of view and now without sensation. For the moment, she was footless, and perhaps this was for the best.
Her shoes, the psychedelic ones, were lost. Demoralising as the fact was, she was nearly ready to give up on the whole concept of footwear. Luna was clearly not meant to travel through life wearing shoes. She would have to learn to live without them—and since walking barefoot throughout all seasons was not a legitimate possibility, she might as well lose her feet while she was at it.
Caught up in her thoughts, Luna didn't notice Draco's presence until he was standing a few metres from where she sat.
He was looking out across the lake, visible to her by profile. Handsome, she thought subconsciously. The afternoon sun played somewhat across his pale features, glinting off of the light blond hair parted down the middle of his forehead. Suddenly, in the midst of her scrutiny, he turned his head and caught her eyes. His expression remained stoic, slightly haughty, as he regarded her.
Her brow rose, softly responsive to the formality. "Draco," she acquiesced graciously. Abstractedly, she considered how theatrical the encounter was. Had she been standing, she might have curtsied.
Banter demanded that he comment on her current occupation. He didn't bother, but sighed from his location. She noted that the exhale came from his core and ended abruptly, like he stifled it before it could become a sigh.
"How are you?" Luna asked him, with some concern. Empathy was in her nature.
Draco smirked, but couldn't hide the divulging bags under his eyes. "Why do you ask, Loony?"
She accepted the slight with easy forbearance. "You are troubled, somehow. Not your usual self."
Draco frowned then, all pretention gone. "As if you know me to pass comment on my character," he levelled at her, a telltale edge to his voice.
Luna took the reproach silently, watching him from her spot. She did not like the way this interaction was going. A few beats passed and she thought it better not to speak. With resignation, she looked away from him and into the mist which began to drift over the Great Lake.
"Why were you crying the other day?"
Luna giggled with shock at the question. She grinned at him. He seemed mildly embarrassed as he finally sank to sit in the grass, though only after looking succinctly over his shoulder for any bystanders.
"Why do you ask?" She mused, cheeks slightly flushed. What was the purpose of these games?
Their eyes met and she detected rawness within his serious gaze, before he harnessed his demeanor. Draco shrugged, a rogue eyebrow lifting surreptitiously. His interest was laid bare and it was too late to pretend otherwise. Cleverly, he went with it.
"I might ask you why you were drinking that night," Luna mentioned, but her tone contained only thoughtfulness. "Why you're speaking to me now might be a bonus question."
Draco shifted in the grass, clenching his wand and gritting his teeth at the lake. "You're a Ravenclaw," he stated. "Supposed to be clever, aren't you?"
Luna didn't take the bait and indeed had no reason to. Her sense of self was well enough defined to reject arbitrary challenges to her ego. She smiled mystically, then started when she realized her feet had gone completely dead.
"Draco," she intoned meaningfully. "I," her wry smile stole the words. "My feet have gone numb. Might I request a hand?"
Draco looked at her and dead-panned, "That's out of the question."
"Draco," she repeated. With fascination she watched as his composure broke to reveal an actual smile, teeth and all. The expression, however short-lived, was adorably becoming.
"Yeah, alright," he replied gruffly, getting to his feet.
He reached forward and offered her his whitish hand, which she grasped with both of hers. Then he began lugging her without warning. Luna was pulled sideways, off balance and into a haphazard heap in the grass. Draco dragged her a few feet, out of the clutches of the lake. She held on for dear life as he heaved her dependant form, further than was necessary.
Luna craned her neck to look up at him, who was clearly strained by the exertion. "Thanks-," she began once he had taken a pause, only to be cut off by a reprisal of tugging motion. "Great, thanks," she tried again, to his obliviousness. He was simply pulling her like a life-sized rag doll now.
Draco released her gently upon the hill crest they had reached, satisfied. "There," he panted breathlessly.
Luna lay on her back, arms spread above her head, cushioned by the halo of long blonde hair which wrapped around her. Strands of grass were woven through it and her clothing was wrinkled. She stared up at Draco through round, candidly delighted silvery orbs. Luna had never felt so unexpectedly comfortable.
Draco glanced down at the result of his handiwork, taking in the absentminded gracefulness of her pose with a small pang of wonder. She looked remarkable, a forest nymph basking in the vivid greenery of a befittingly natural and lush environment. The cool air tinged her ivory cheeks with pink.
"Thank you," she spoke at last. Her voice was dreamlike, her expression blissful. Luna's lashes fluttered open and closed, unfocused, unintended bedroom eyes. She was in a state of deep relaxation onset by the effort of being dragged cumbersomely up a hill.
"You're heavier than you look," Draco plopped down next to her. He had a strong urge to lean over and kiss the peaceful face in all its gentleness, but remained stubbornly put.
Luna rewarded him with a chuckle. It built into a hearty laugh which shook her limbs. Draco listened to the sounds of her humour with interest, watching her inquisitively. She laughed from her belly, incessantly, for a few minutes. Witnessing the utter shamelessness of her glee, Draco felt its contagion and gave a few barks of laughter too.
When she had calmed down, she let out a crooning sigh of contentment and wiped a tear from the corner of her eye. "Whew! That was fun."
"Glad you enjoyed yourself," Draco shot back ironically. "What on earth were you doing, Loony?" He asked upon sight of her frosty-looking feet.
Luna found the question lacking in perceptiveness. "I thought it was rather obvious," she teased him gently.
"Why? They're nearly blue!"
The disapproval in his tone caught her notice. Luna wiggled her toes stiffly, cringing at the awful sensation. "It's just something I needed to do."
They were silent for a moment, Luna sitting up. Two blond heads stared ahead, into the distance. The silence felt awkward in waves. At some moments, it was nearly companionable. Eventually, Draco got up to take his leave.
"You're off?" Luna inquired. She would regret his absence. She was growing more accustomed to his distinct presence and the curiousness of his unpredictable moods and manner.
"Lots of coursework," he replied, though he owed her no explanation. "I have a lot to do before the Yule Ball."
"Oh, how fantastic. Are you taking anyone, then?"
"Of course, Lovegood. Pansy Parkinson will be my date."
"Oh. How wonderful."
Luna smiled up at him. "I do hope you'll tell me all about the Ball."
Draco looked surprised. "Why would I do that? I only came to speak with you in the first place to give you these."
The Slytherin boy was still standing, but his shoulders curved forward sullenly and he refused to meet her gaze head-on. He thrust his hands into his pockets, came out slowly with an object clenched in either fist. Draco opened his palms to present a pair of miniature, multicoloured tokens. The shoes were rendered tiny, but there was no mistaking what they were.
"Oh, really!" Luna gushed, accepting the shoes from him in her cupped hands.
Her eyes and smile were enormous. Draco's own eyes seemed to luster briefly, but it might have been a trick of the slowly plunging sun.
"You need not have troubled yourself so much," she beamed, cradling her possessions as if she had been given a brand-new gift. "But you did, so thank you." She passed no comment on the size of the sneakers. They could be enlarged.
"Don't thank me," Draco admonished her. "It's not like I had much of a choice."
Luna was veritably confused. "How so?"
"Do you realize how stupid I'd have looked, walking around with those in hand?" He asked pointedly with a small gesture to the zany items in question. "It's not like I could be seen bringing them to Ravenclaw Tower or anywhere but away from you, for that matter."
"True," Luna acknowledged, for she knew exactly what he was referring to. Draco Malfoy couldn't, or more accurately wouldn't, be seen doing anything kind for someone like her. "It was considerate of you to risk social injury for me. How can I repay you?"
The tone was genuine, but her facial expression betrayed a sense of mischief. Draco's mouth quirked and he rubbed his chin thoughtfully. He had no idea whether to take her seriously or not. "Never mind. Let's just call it even."
"I wasn't aware that we were ever uneven," she observed.
Draco reacted in a fit of self-consciousness. His pallid cheeks streaked pink and he crossed his arms, staring far into the distance of the lake. "You know what I'm talking about."
"Oh! Right. But you already apologized for that, Draco."
He shrugged, but his body language lacked nonchalance. "I know I did. Still, it was a very inappropriate action."
Luna smiled and with her wand extended, murmured an enlargement incantation over the doll-like shoes. "Alright. I thought I would never see these bad-boys again. How did you come across them?"
Draco laughed in his cynical manner and chanced a look at her. "Exactly where you left them." He winked and turned away, striding back to the castle at a more confident pace than he had been using lately.
Thanks for reading! Please review and let me know if I did the characters justice given the context!