I normally don't write for this pairing, but I thought I'd give it a shot. Hope you like it!
"What is your name Miss?"
"Luna. Luna Lovegood." Her voice was airy and, despite the looming building that brought back less than pleasant memories, cheerful.
There was a sound of rustling parchment. "Right this way Miss Lovegood. Welcome to Malfoy Manor."
Growing up, he'd never been good at being tactful, but the past few years have made him a master. There was an irony in it, how the earliest parts of his life were a flurry of blue-blood served on silver platters and the latest parts were a fight of tooth and nail. A struggle not only in courts of law and the public eye, -although there was quite a bit of that- but also in lavish dinner parties and the beds of easily beguiled and influential young witches.
He was breed with charm and deceit as his bedfellows, and there were no weapons more potent. His family name and those he loved had protected him for sixteen years; now it was time to repay the favour.
His father was dying in prison, and his mother was dying without him. Tonight, like most nights, Draco Malfoy had a plan.
He approached her first, but said nothing. He took in her floaty silver dress and wild accessories. Outrageous, as always, to the point where one could not say it was inappropriate for the occasion, as it wasn't necessarily appropriate for any occasion.
Still, she was no longer Loony Lovegood and he, no longer King of Slytherin. He smiled graciously. He would wait for her to initiate.
"Welcome Luna. Thank you so much for coming. It means a lot to us." Her first name felt foreign on his lips, but it served his purpose best.
She did not smile, but her expression was amiable and pleasant. She tilted her head to the side, staring at him as if he were a particularly interesting piece of art. "I was told there were magnificent creatures on the Malfoy Estate. Some of them never seen before. I was quite hoping I'd see a Crumple-Horned Snorkack. I didn't get a chance to look last time I was here because, well, you know."
He nearly spat his expensive Italian wine back into his cup. He let out a bitter, barking laugh, one reminiscent of his school days, and not the gentle, charming one he had habituated himself to.
Any other person would have been polite and exchanged pleasantries. Then again, this was Luna Lovegood, not any other person. Her particular brand of honesty was one that used to frustrate him infinitely as a child. Now more than ever, after years of being relegated to a high-society diplomat, he was not quite sure what to make of it.
"My family has certainly collected some strange things over the generations. I've personally never seen one here, but you're more than welcome to look. Would you like a drink?"
With a smile, Draco handed her a glass of Rosé. If he played his cards right, Luna Lovegood would become one of the strongest assets in his arsenal.
Her intelligence surprised him, even when he steered the conversation toward trivial things like work and daily life, despite the occasional flippant reference to something she'd read in the Quibbler, to which Draco nodded politely.
She told him no lies because she was Luna Lovegood, and she was nothing if not brutally honest. He spoke the truth because he was Draco Malfoy, and he need not resort to lies to craft a false impression.
He smirked and she remained indifferent. He flattered and she disagreed. He flirted and she blinked those damned blue eyes in pleasant nonchalance. It was like she was running circles around him while standing still, until he couldn't tell who was playing who. She was either very, very intelligent, or very, very oblivious.
Because she'd come without a date, and because he would play the part of the perfect gentlemen for all of wizarding high society to see, he asked her for a dance.
"I don't think we know the same sort of dances," she responded, her voice light and her expression matter-of-fact. " And I haven't decided whether or not I trust you yet."
"Come on Love. They're playing Ravel. My favourite." His every move was calculated, just another chess piece in place. From his casually flirty tone to the way he ran his hand through his carefully mussed hair and smiled.
"Wasn't Ravel a muggle?"
Luna looked entirely unimpressed. No slight flush of the cheeks, no leaning towards him, not even a sign that she wished him gone. She was all mild interest and distinctive dottiness in her silver dress and radish earrings. Draco almost frowned. Almost.
He enjoyed a challenge.
His mask was perfect, woven seamlessly from fabricated lied, and it fit like second skin. No one could tell where it ended and he began. If it even was a mask, no one could say for sure. If there was anything Draco was certain of anymore, it was that no one could resist its charms.
"I guess I've…expanded my tastes since we've last met." His smile now, was everything boyish and agreeable; meticulously designed to disarm and endear.
She seemed to not have noticed. She took his hand anyways.
There was a remarkable change in the boy in front of her. He was impeccably dressed and devilishly handsome, but that was nothing new. His conversation was intelligent and riddled with dry wit, but it had been so since his Hogwarts days. His voice however, was saccharine sweet, his manner charming and inoffensive. Luna decided she rather disliked the change.
"Is this a waltz? I've never waltzed before."
He was dressed in white, which would have looked gaudy on anyone else, but gave his pale features colour. He was too pleasant tonight, and he was lying. Not necessarily with his words, but somehow, she knew he was. Draco Malfoy had always been a liar.
"It's not hard, just follow my lead."
Luna used to think that cruelty and honesty went hand in hand, but life had taught her this was not always the case. Still, she was much more inclined to trust someone who lied with painful words and a sharp tongue, than someone who lied with gently, and with soothing smiles.
Luna decided she didn't like the way he smiled. At Hogwarts, his smile had been raw and proud, vicious even, but it made the rest of him seem kinder in comparison. Now, it was laced with charm and patience and everything amiable, and it did not suit him. It made his eyes look cruel in the moonlight.
"Oh, Sorry. Did I step on your foot?"
A cruel smile was always preferred to cruel eyes, because a smile could be faked, but as her father always said, cruel eyes were the sign of a tormented soul.
"No worries Luna."
Still, she danced with him, because if she had the courage to believe in Nargles, she had the courage to believe whatever good was left in Draco Malfoy.
The waltz sounded in the steady beats of one, two three. He spun her round and round, until she was confused and he was tired, so tired of pretences and false smiles. The dances were ones that she could barely follow and ones that he knew like the back of his hand.
He danced with her three times.
Once, because there were many howling for Malfoy blood, and having one of the saviours of the Wizarding World on his arm could do more good than harm.
Twice, because it would pain his mother greatly to see him without a date, now that all the ladies who had once admired his riches and his title have fled. Merlin knew she could suffer no more distress.
Three times, because silver suited her well.
"They're good at hiding you know, but rather slow."
"Right," Draco's scepticism froze on his lips along with his breath. It was mid-November, and against his better judgement, he was outside, away from his own party, possibly lost in his own gardens, following a girl who was dead-set on finding something that didn't exist.
Draco was starting to doubt his own sanity. He certainly doubted hers.
"They can't hide their horns though, and they're usually purple. Is there an area with a lot of purple flowers or something?" Luna's brow was furrowed in deep concentration, head swerving this way and that. The serious look was slightly comical on her face.
"Is this what magizoologists do for a living?" Draco cast a warming charm on himself with a frown. It was much too cold to be outside at night, and there was a generous amount of muck on the bottoms of his expensive leather shoes.
He must have looked, he realized, quite irritated. He hadn't had the luxury of looking irritated in years. An irritated face did not have the capacity to be charming, nor powerful; indifferent could be mysterious, angry could be commanding or attractive, but not irritated. He wasn't sure when he'd dropped his act with her, but his face felt raw and vulnerable. He didn't necessarily dislike the feeling.
"Not usually, but it's what I-" Luna's gasped. She grabbed his wrist and tore off into the forest.
"Hurry! I think I saw it!"
The girl, normally dreamy and nonchalant, was deadly fast when she had a mission, it seemed. Draco struggled to keep up as she maneuvered around rocks and roots and enchanted -possibly with dark magic- trees. She tore off after a blurry purple figure with a long, thin…Draco didn't want to believe it was real. Either way, this thing certainly wasn't slow.
"Draco, the other side! We can corner it!" Moonlight made Luna's blond hair glow silver, and her eyes gleamed maniacally. She looked like a fairy. A slightly insane fairy.
He circled around to the left, while Luna went right, before it suddenly vanished into the undergrowth. Luna dove after it, and Draco did as well, surprising himself. His blood roared in his ears, and he was overcome by a sudden need to capture this creature, even if it was just to prove that it could possibly exist.
And then, he was falling.
Something unpleasant was in his mouth.
"M-m-master? Are you okay master? W-why is Master is chasing Miffy?"
Draco spat out a block of mud with a grimace. Beside him, Luna bolted upright and looked around frantically, before stopping to stare at the house elf. Who was wearing a purple tea cloth. Carrying a tall, thin garden statue made of elephant tusk.
He resisted the urge to throw something. He had evidently rolled down a hill, chasing after his own house elf. "Miffy, why were you running around with that garden statue?"
"Milady is asking Miffy to rearrange the garden Sir, and Miffy did not know it is you Sir. Miffy thought you is monster, sir."
"Oh…well, sorry Miffy. Carry on then. Mother did say something about that." He coughed into his hand, feeling a blush creep up his pale neck.
Luna didn't seem at all embarrassed. She dusted off her dress as best she could, considering the horrible state it was in, looking rather disappointed.
"I really thought I had this time," She murmured.
"If Master does not mind Miffy saying Sir, it is almost twelve o'clock. Shouldn't Master be addressing the guests?"
Draco laughed. He thought of all the important guests he must have offended by missing his own cake cutting, and now, not even showing up to close the ball, and he found that he didn't care.
What in Merlin's name was he doing? Hadn't he had such a grand plan for tonight? Something that involved wrapping Minister Gradier around his finger and getting Luna to vouch for him at his upcoming trial? Fitzwilliam Gradier was surely not happy with him now. His white suit was an abstract landscape painting, his shoes were quite beyond repair and there were streaks of mud through his hair. He sort of liked it.
He wasn't a fan of being anything except impeccably dressed, of course, but he used to dress for himself, not others. There was a freedom in once again not caring what others thought of him.
"Is this what it's always like for you?" Draco's lips twitched into a lopsided smirk.
Much better, Luna thought. "Like what?"
" Doing whatever you feel like. Disregarding rules and expectations. Being honest. This."
She shrugged. "I can't pretend to be someone I'm not, even if it's what others want be to do. It feels like lying."
Miffy had disappeared, but Draco made no move to go back to the castle. He sprawled out in the grass, streaked with mud and grass stains and bathed in moonlight. He looked like a part of the garden, a crumbling marble statue being overtaken by undergrowth.
"I wish I could live like that."
"Why can't you?"
His smile was vicious, sharp as a knife, but his eyes were soft.
"I'm a Malfoy."
The weight of that name seemed to crush down on him at that moment, as suffocating and consuming as the air before a storm. He sank into himself, and despite the cruel smile still plastered to his lips, Luna thought she saw a glimpse of a boy, one who was confused and guilty and terrified.
He looked tired, the way her father used to look tired after her mother's death, when sleep meant nightmares and waking meant reality, and he couldn't decide which was worse. In those sleepless nights, her father would hug her tight and tell her stories of mystical creatures, murmuring "Luna, my Luna, at least I still have you."
Pray tell, who did Draco have? Looking at him now, eyes staring vacantly into the starry night sky, he looked like a drowning man, too exhausted to fight the enemy that surrounded him on all sides.
"Are you alright Draco?" She murmured, even though she already knew the answer. If acting was lying, then he was making a liar out of her.
"I'm not an honest person, Luna. Do you hate me for it?" His mouth twisted wryly, turned down at the corners.
"No." She breathed.
He couldn't understand how he'd been perfectly fine only hours ago. Stressed, scared and tired, of course, but fine. Now he felt like the earth was ready to swallow him up, and he wished she'd never reminded him of what it was like to have freedom, because being tired was a whole lot better than being in pain.
She looked down at him with those incisive blue eyes, her face not quite pitying, but soft nonetheless, and he was angry. Angry and ashamed and helpless. And the words were a river he couldn't hold back.
"I hate my father, I hate him for being a coward, for abandoning us. I hate what my mother's become and I hate that she cries herself to sleep and that I can't do anything for her."
His breath was coming in ragged bursts, and he tore at his face with his fingers. He remembered the nights when even he couldn't tell where the mask ended. He'd fabricated it too well, made it too secure. He remembered the nights when he tried so hard to rip it from his face where it had fused so tightly, even if it meant leaving himself bleeding and vulnerable.
Every night it became harder; every night he was immersed in sheer panic, thinking he'd finally lost himself. He never wanted to feel that way again.
"Do you know what that's like? Not sure who you are, not sure who to trust, not even trusting yourself sometimes? No, I suppose you wouldn't." He removed his hands, and they laid limp by his side. "What do they say again? Good liars convince even themselves."
He sat up, jaw clenching. "The worst part is knowing. Knowing we deserve whatever we got coming, and worse. My father deserves to die, I deserve to be in Azkaban, my mother…"
He deflated, all his anger gone, and he wasn't sure if he felt better or not.
"I just wish, I wish I could do as I wanted to." He croaked.
"What do you want to do, Draco?" She reached out a hand and gently brushed his cheek with her fingertips, as if he were something fragile. Perhaps he was.
Her silver dress was splattered with mud and not a single silvery hair was in place. She looked real, more authentic than anyone he had seen in a long time, and it made him hope that he could be real too.
Part of him wished he'd stayed away from her, and part of him…
"What do I want?" He hadn't thought about it. "I…I want to kiss you. Will you let me?"
He wasn't sure what he was saying. He wasn't sure what he was doing. He leaned in, and she didn't pull away.
And there you have it, my first attempt and Druna! Thank you so much for reading, and please review! I love to hear the good, bad and dreadful about my writing, cause that's how we improve, right?
Until next time,
Steel n Honey