- Gift Giving Gala: For Raven (Raven of the Shadows) / Prompts: Luna/Draco, Post-War, no Rolf
- Jewel Day Challenge: Agate Necklace - Write a Light/Dark!AU
- 2017 Drabbles: Cobweb
Word Count: 4,927
Draco took a drag on the cigarette he was pinching between his fingers as he stared into the jagged mouth of a cave. It had taken him weeks to find the location of the dark wizard that had been terrorizing Britain since 2007, but he had finally honed in on a possible base location.
More importantly than anything, Harry Potter was finally going to get off his back. Having the chosen one as his boss in the Auror office had its perks, but mostly his presence just irritated Draco. He had wanted to steer as far away from this mission as possible — the new terror just reminded him far too much of the Dark Lord — but Harry had insisted he lead the mission.
'After all, you have expert experience in being on the wrong side of the war.'
Draco snarled to himself as he remembered Harry's words all those years ago. He had been joking — Draco could tell by the way his eyes glittered and his lips curled upwards. But Draco didn't have as light a sense of humour as Harry did.
Of course, his pride meant that he had to take the mission. There was no way he could turn this one down, especially not when he had previously been on the wrong side of the war.
A cold wind whistled through the entrance to the cave, and Draco wished he had thought to bring backup. He hadn't really expected to land a lead while he was travelling alone. Any thoughts of turning around and returning with more wizards were quelled when he stepped into the opening of the cave: he could sense the heavy wards that surrounded it. Clearly, Draco had stumbled through the wards on a whim. It might prove impossible to find the cave again.
He braced himself with his wand and started the tentative venture into the cave. The daylight closed behind him almost immediately, blanketing him in darkness. Cursing under his breath, he silently cast a muffling spell on his feet, and waded through the puddles that littered the rocky ground. Before long, the water below him grew thicker, and the stones and twigs that he stepped on broke and snapped easily beneath his feet.
Swallowing uneasily, he realised that he was wading through the blood and bones of many small animals.
Finally, he came to a large clearing within the cave. There was a slash in the roof of the cave, and a shard of light shone through, illuminating the clearing. A single, enormous chair sat in the centre of the clearing, crafted from a pale, creamy stone. When Draco squinted his eyes, he realised that the throne was actually made from hundreds of skulls and bones.
A woman sat naked atop the throne. She was crouched in an almost feral position, with her knees up by her face. She was obscenely thin; her ribs jutted through her almost translucent skin and her elbows were sharp. The shadow cast by the high back of the throne she sat on shrouded her face, but her tresses of silvery hair fell over her shoulders and breasts, seeming to glitter in the light.
Draco brushed a cobweb out of his face and held his wand aloft, hoping that the dark wizard wasn't around his prisoner. He hoped to make a quick rescue and return to the Ministry as soon as she was safe—
"—come out, Draco."
The voice was soft and strangely familiar. It seemed to bounce off every corner of the cave. He stared ahead at the woman on the throne, who remained unmoving. The only reason Draco didn't mistake her for a statue was for the rise and fall of her chest.
Gathering his courage, Draco stepped forwards into the clearing and advanced upon the stranger. "Don't worry," he murmured in what he hoped was a soothing tone. "You're safe now. I'm going to take you back to London and—"
The woman held up her hand dismissively, and Draco suddenly felt as though he was choking on his tongue. He spluttered and coughed, dropping his wand and falling to his knees, clutching his throat. When she dropped her hand, air flooded back into his lungs — but his wand was gone. "You?" he gasped in an incredulous tone, staring up at the woman whose face he still couldn't see. "But you're — you're just a girl!"
"Girl," repeated the woman softly. She stood up from her throne and stepped into the light, advancing upon Draco. He shuffled backwards on his behind, feeling around desperately for his wand. "Don't you recognise me, Draco?"
He saw wide, silver eyes, and was reminded suddenly of a girl from a long time ago. A girl with dirty-blonde hair, radishes in her ears and a string of Butterbeer corks around her neck. A girl who wore high-tops with vibrant laces instead of regulation school shoes. A girl who ate pudding for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
He could hardly believe that this was the same girl. The silver eyes were no longer vacant and mystical, but manic and full of hatred. Her hair was almost white, and she wore no quirky jewellery. In fact, she wore nothing at all, and seemed less than bothered that she had been disturbed whilst nude.
"Lovegood," Draco panted, gazing up at her. "Luna. Luna Lovegood."
The shadow of a smile crossed her hollow face. "I haven't been called that in a long time." She lifted her hand again, pointing a long finger at Draco. Her sharp nails were an inch long and embedded with dirt and gunk. "Draco Malfoy," she murmured, her lips barely moving. "Time to die."
"Wait," Draco gasped. "Why? Just tell me why?"
Luna snatched back her finger. "Revenge," she whispered, and a single tear made a steady track down her dirty cheek. "For what happened to my father."
As Luna looked up at the crack in the roof of the cave, Draco dug his hand into the back pocket of his jeans. He kept a weapon back there that he never wanted to use, but Harry had insisted he learned how to use one in case his wand was compromised. 'Like now,' he thought urgently, and yanked the small glock out of his pocket. While Luna's vision was averted, he pointed the gun at her right shoulder and fired.
Draco wanted to go straight to the Ministry with the girl, he really did. But as he hauled the grubby, naked form onto his shoulder, he was reminded of how he had willingly allowed her to be locked in his basement and tortured by his superiors, so many years ago. Unfortunately, he owed her one.
Grumbling to himself, he gently laid Luna Lovegood down on the cold stone floor of that same basement, and set to magically healing the bullet wound on her shoulder. He carefully eased a heavy dose of Calming Drought into her slack mouth, and clothed her in one of his mother's old dresses that he found in a closet upstairs. Feeling much more comfortable now that Luna was dressed, healed and asleep, Draco performed every protective ward on the basement that he knew, and fastened a set of heavy silver shackles to her wrists.
He hadn't really wanted to use them. They were a dark artefact that Bellatrix Lestrange had brought into the manor when they kidnapped the goblin. But Luna was clearly riddled with dark magic now, and Draco had seen just how easily she could perform wandless magic. If he didn't take the necessary precautions, he might wind up dead.
When Luna was safely locked in the basement, Draco sat down at the dining table and wrote a quick letter to Harry.
Cave was full of evidence but empty. No witch or wizard found on the premises.
I was spliced upon return. It is necessary for me to take time off this mission to recover from my injuries.
An owl returned with Draco's response within the hour.
Thank you for your efforts. A squad will be sent to the cave to recover any evidence. You are granted five days of sickness leave.
Draco stared at the door to the basement once he had read the letter. Five days. He had five days to find out what on earth had happened to Luna.
Draco had the house elves prepare Luna a simple bowl of porridge oats and a jug of coffee, and leave the tray by the door. He knew Luna had an affinity for magical creatures, and he didn't trust that she wouldn't manage to somehow twist their little minds against him. He collected the tray and advanced down into the basement, closing and locking the door sharply behind him.
"Stand at the back of the room where I can see you," he ordered into the dark room. He remained on the stairwell for a few moments, where he knew the wards still protected him.
Luna rushed in front of the staircase suddenly, looking just as wild as she did yesterday. However, there was something a little more comical to her appearance now. The grey dress she wore was too big, making her look even more childlike than normal.
"Do you want to eat?" Draco asked. "Stand back!"
Slowly, Luna backed up against the wall, her silvery eyes glowing through the shadows.
Draco slid the tray into the basement first, and removed his wand from his pocket. Holding it in front of him dangerously, he entered the basement.
Almost immediately, Luna let out a guttural, animalistic shriek. She ran towards Draco, with her eyes wide and insane, and her lips pulled back in a snarl.
Draco remained where he stood. As soon as Luna was less than an inch away from his face, the shackles around her wrists yanked her to the ground. She screamed out in pain, and blood trickled down her wrists. Draco knelt beside her and tapped one of the cold metal binds. "Every time you try to attack the owner of these shackles, a three inch spike will perforate your wrists. You have six spikes in each shackle. The final spike will sever your Ulnar artery, and you will slowly bleed out."
A strange sound, similar to a laugh, escaped Luna's lips. "Draco Malfoy," she murmured. "Using dark objects once again."
Draco pulled Luna into a sitting position. "Only for truly dark creatures," he replied quietly, and nudged the tray towards Luna with his foot. "Now, eat. We have a lot of work to do."
Luna ignored the spoon that was placed beside the bowl, choosing instead to plunge her face into the bowl of hot oatmeal. She slurped up the porridge greedily, and stared at the jug of coffee when she was finished. Draco wiped her face with a towel, before pouring a cup of coffee and holding the scalding liquid to her lips. She drank gratefully, never averting her eyes from his.
"Why have you not turned me over to the authorities?" she demanded to know, once she had had her fill of coffee.
Draco sat on a stool in the corner of the basement. "There was a time when you were locked in this basement when you were innocent," Draco murmured. "Also, it would break Harry's heart if he knew that you were the one causing havoc across Britain. Not to mention Ginny, Neville, Hermione…all of your friends."
"I have no friends," she spat. "No friends came to my aid when I needed them."
Draco put his elbows on his knees and leaned forwards. "Tell me what happened. To you; to your father."
It was 2005 when Xenophilius Lovegood was arrested on suspicion of crimes in relation to Voldemort's reign of terror.
Long after all of the known dark wizards had been incarcerated and made to pay for their crimes, the Ministry were doing the best they could to wipe away any smudge of Voldemort's reign away from the history of Wizarding Britain. That included gathering evidence from everyone and anyone who had had any interaction with him or any of his followers.
Harry Potter had made the mistake of talking about how Xenophilius had been willing to hand him and his friends over to Voldemort in return for the safety of his daughter. Harry hadn't been deliberately trying to get Mr. Lovegood in trouble — he had no idea what would happen.
When Xenophilius was dragged in front of the Wizengamot, he was too embarrassed to admit his mistake to Luna. He tried to swerve the court ruling when the majority of the Wizengamot was in favour of incarceration, but there was only so much even the Chosen One could do.
Xenophilius was thrown in Azkaban with the intention of serving a twenty year sentence. He was an old man, and even the drastic changes to the prison weren't drastic enough to make it habitable for an elderly wizard. He died in prison within the first month.
"He was innocent," Luna whispered through uncharacteristic sobs. "A coward perhaps, but innocent. Who can really say they didn't accept the terms of Death Eaters when their children or loved ones were put at risk?"
"I'm sorry for what happened to your father, Luna," Draco said gently. "But it's not Harry's fault."
"He should have kept his mouth shut," snapped Luna. "Everyone listens to the Chosen One. The Ministry had a lot of making up to do to Harry Potter. Of course they would want to vanquish anyone who had ever posed a threat to him."
Draco said nothing for quite a few moments. While it was easy to see her reasoning for her drastic shift in character, Draco couldn't help but wonder if this had been a slight overreaction. He watched her for the next several hours, every move she made, every little thing she did.
It was clear that she had suffered some kind of grief-stricken mental break. She had strange little routines. She would walk around the basement three times within each hour, counting twenty steps each time. She pulled five separate hairs from her head and observed the follicle. She raked her nails down her forearms until she drew blood, and then dabbed her fingers into the blood to paint words on the wall. Broken. Betrayal. Hatred. Revenge.
On the second day of her incarceration, Draco decided it was time to get Luna clean. She was filthy, her hair was lank and greasy and her teeth were grimy. He summoned a huge metal tub to the basement and filled it with warm water. After ransacking his mother's closets once again, he found a clean dress that ought to fit her a little better, and took clean towels, a sponge and soap.
He awkwardly placed the items in the basement, and told Luna to wash and he would return within an hour. But there was something different about Luna's personality today.
She didn't eat the porridge that she was given for breakfast. She didn't attempt to attack Draco and risk being stabbed again by her shackles. She didn't perform any aspect of her routine. She just laid in the corner of the basement in a curled-up position, facing the wall.
When Draco nudged her onto her back with his foot, he noticed that her eyes were empty and her expression was hollow. It was although she was seeing a different scene through her eyes than what was really happening. She lay there like a ragdoll, refusing to respond or move.
He was reminded of a similar scene he used to walk in on after his father had gone to Azkaban. Narcissa had become severely depressed in the aftermath of her husband's incarceration. She stopped leaving the house, she stopped washing, she stopped speaking. As the offspring of a proud Pureblood family, Draco had never even heard of this kind of depression.
It came as a horrible surprise to him when Draco discovered Narcissa's corpse hanging from the shower curtain.
He stared at the back of the pale blonde head, and was reminded far too much of his mother.
"I'll help you get washed," he muttered. She had already been far too comfortable with her nudity just the day before yesterday — he highly doubted that she would care today. Even though the idea of washing her bare body made Draco feel slightly invasive, he reasoned that he had seen pretty much everything that was on offer already.
He knelt beside her limp form and stared at the shackles on her wrists for a moment. After some deliberation, he finally made to unlock them. "If you try anything, I won't hesitate to kill you," he warned. As much as he felt that he had to help Luna, he still valued his own life.
Luna didn't even reply. She winced as the spikes were drawn from the holes they had made in her wrists — the dark magic that coursed through the metal prevented the wounds from healing while they were locked on the prisoner. As he looked down at the vulnerable human, with her bleeding wrists and hollow expression, it was hard to remember that she had attacked him with the same ferocity as a wild animal just the yesterday, and had every intention of murdering him in cold blood the day before. It was hard to imagine that she had tapped into dark magic and used it to cause harm to the ageing members of the Wizengamot who she blamed for her father's death. It was hard to believe that she had killed.
She seemed so innocent, curled there on the floor like a wounded child. Quietly, Draco ran his wand along the wounds, watching as the skin and fatty tissue fused back together. He peeled the dirty dress away from her person and scooped her up from the floor, dropping her into the bath where the soap suds protected her modesty. She looked dirty in the clean water, so he set to cleaning her. He dunked the sponge in the bath and rinsed her down, pushed her head under to get her hair wet, and rubbed soap into every inch of her. By the time he was finished, the water was grey and Luna looked like a shiny new penny.
With clean hair and skin, she was beginning to look a little more like her old self. He pulled her out of the bath and wrapped her in a clean towel, and then made to lay her back on the floor.
But the floor was so grimy, and Luna looked human once again. He couldn't really leave her to rot in her own filth down here, could he? He glanced at her face, and realised that her eyes were closed. She had fallen asleep in his arms, and she looked more peaceful than ever.
Draco knew he was going to regret his next decision, but he went through with it anyway.
"Shall Diddy leave breakfast by the basement again today, mister Malfoy?" Diddy the House Elf asked Draco on the third day.
"No," Draco replied, not looking away from his newspaper. "Luna is in Mother's bedroom now." Has Britain's Latest Terror Been Vanquished? The headline screamed.
Diddy bowed deeply and made her way upstairs with the tray she was holding. Draco folded up his newspaper and placed it on the table, before following the House Elf up the the stairs.
The tray was left on the floor outside his mother's bedroom. Draco tapped the door handle with his wand to unlock it, and then picked up the tray. He entered the room quietly, hoping that Luna was still asleep.
When he opened the door, there was sunlight filling the room. He placed the tray on the ground and peered over to the bed. There was no lump in the covers; instead the grey satin sheets had been made and smoothed out impeccably.
The patio doors that led onto Narcissa's personal balcony were open, and the chiffon curtains were flowing in the breeze. Draco walked out onto the balcony slowly.
Luna was standing in the light of the sun, with her hands flat on the stone wall. She was learning out to face the sun, with her head tipped back and her eyes closed. Her feathery hair fluttered around her shoulders.
Draco stood beside her and looked out onto the grounds of the Manor. He had long since gotten rid of the unnecessary additions that his father had insisted upon; the frolicking white peacocks and the marble, proud statues. Instead, he filled the garden with flowers, even more so after Narcissa died. His mother had adored flowers, especially tulips.
In homage to her, he had filled every inch of the gardens with tulips of every shape and shade.
"It's so beautiful," Luna murmured, not breaking her gaze from the garden. Draco turned his attention to her, and drank in her appearance for a moment. Her grey eyes were so mesmerized by the flowers and the neat privet hedges, and he could almost see a fragment of the person she used to be in those eyes. They weren't narrowed with disdain and hatred; they were wide and full of amazement.
His eyes dropped to the clothes she was wearing. Clearly she had taken advantage of Narcissa's closet, as she was wearing clean clothes. The bodice of the short dress she had donned used to be tight fitting on Narcissa, but on Luna it was baggy on her thin frame. The black skirt was meant to sweep above the knee suggestively, but it hung down by the middle of Luna's shins. She looked strange — like a child playing dress-up in her mother's clothes.
"I know what you're thinking," Luna turned to face Draco, her eyes glittering.
Draco offered Luna a small smile, but didn't reply to her comment. "Let's go inside, Luna. We have work to do."
Luna sat at the dining table while Draco laid out dozens of photographs. There were men, women and children, some that Luna recognised, some that she didn't. "Do you know who any of these people are?" Draco asked her gently.
Luna picked up a photograph of an aged wizard in magenta robes, who was grimacing up at Luna. "This is the man who sentenced my father to Azkaban," Luna murmured. "He's the one who put my father on his deathbed."
"What else about him?"
Draco noticed the way she pulled her top lip between her teeth as she laid the photograph back on the table. "I poisoned him."
"Do you have any remorse?"
A flicker of that dark animalistic creature passed across Luna's face. "He killed my daddy."
Draco leaned across the table and picked up several other photographs, spreading them out in front of Luna. Photographs of an elderly woman; a young man with his wife; a group of three small children. "As a result of your use of Baneberry," Draco said quietly. "The rest of his family perished."
Luna's eyes widened. "Excuse me?"
"You were too hasty when plotting your revenge against the Wizengamot. You didn't stop to think about the consequences."
"That's not true."
"The elderly woman was his wife," Draco continued, pointing to the image of the old lady. "You didn't clean away the soup you poisoned and she finished his leftovers. She was dead when their son came to the house the next day," Draco pointed at the man with his wife. "This was the first murder you committed, and no one was expected a nationwide terror. He was blamed for the deaths of his parents."
"Stop it," Luna begged.
"He was sent to Azkaban for life. The only problem was that he was a Squib. He had no magical ability. He died in Azkaban within the first month — does that sound familiar?"
"I'm begging you."
"His wife committed suicide after his death."
"And his children are now orphans."
"Alright!" Luna suddenly screamed. She lunged across the table, sweeping the photographs aside. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I never wanted to hurt innocent people…I never…" her body heaved with sobs, and she collapsed over the table, crying loudly into her arms.
Draco dragged Luna away from the table and pulled her into his chest. Her tears soaked through his shirt almost instantly. She wasn't sobbing delicately, the way he used to see his mother cry — her face was swollen and red, her nose was running, and she was choking on her sobs. "I'm sorry," her voice was muffled into his chest. "I'm sorry."
"I'm not the one you need to apologise to."
On the fourth day, Luna had made up her mind.
"I have to go to the Ministry," she murmured through the darkness of Narcissa's bedroom. Draco had spent the night sitting in the chair opposite the bed, even though Luna hadn't slept a wink. "I have to turn myself over to Harry."
"Think about what you're saying," Draco replied. "They'll send you to Azkaban. If you stay here…you can live out your life in peace. No one needs ever know that it was you who committed all those acts."
"But how could I live in peace if I can't live with myself?"
They spent the rest of the day in silence.
When Draco opened his eyes on the fifth day, he hoped that Luna had changed her mind.
He didn't quite know why. These five days seemed to have lasted an eternity. He felt as though he had spent a lifetime with Luna; nurturing her back to health and normalcy. The woman before him now was nothing like the creature he had found back in the cave.
She had accepted her remorse. She was sorry for what she had done.
He had fallen asleep in the bed beside Luna. She was under the quilt in a nightgown, and he was laying on top of the blankets, still fully dressed in yesterday's clothes. He turned onto his side to stare at the sleeping woman. She looked so peaceful.
Slowly, he leaned over and pressed a chaste kiss to her lips.
And suddenly, she was kissing him back, her lips full of warmth and life. He tangled his fingers in her hair and she wound her arms around his torso, sliding her fingers underneath his shirt. He ached for her with a passion he didn't know he possessed. She rolled on top of him and sat up, pulling her nightgown over her head.
When Draco held Luna in his embrace twenty minutes later, both of them naked and still gasping for breath, he felt a lump in his throat. "I don't want you to go," he confessed. "I don't think you're a monster. You don't deserve to go to Azkaban."
"I have to pay for my crimes, Draco."
"Witness for the charged: Harry Potter," Kingsley Shacklebolt's voice boomed through the Wizengamot. Draco stood in his pew, staring out longingly at Luna. She looked tinier and frailer than ever in the enormous, shackled chair and the striped nightshirt that fell to her ankles.
"Xenophilius Lovegood was sentenced to Azkaban for a crime that many witches and wizards were also guilty of," Harry said to the Wizengamot. He stood in front of his old friend protectively, and Draco felt a surge of respect for his old enemy. Despite what Luna had done, Harry had still forgiven her. "When he died, no one was there to help Luna when she suffered a mental break."
There was a murmur through the court.
Harry continued a spiel of reasons as to why Luna shouldn't be incarcerated. He brought up the names of wizards and witches from the past who had been given easy punishments for their crimes. He shouted himself hoarse, doing his best to convince the court that Luna was remorseful.
His voice droned out to Draco after a while. He could do nothing but stare ahead at Luna, whose grey eyes watched Harry all the while. He could tell that she was full of surprise that he was so defensive of her, and awed by his loyalty, despite the awful things she had done.
"I think we've heard enough," Kingsley said at last. "It's time for the court to make a decision. Those in favour of incarceration in Azkaban prison for life, raise your hand."
There was a steady flurry of movement across the court. Draco didn't dare look to see how many people rose their hands.
"Those in favour of house arrest for life and having her wand snapped, raise your hand." Another flurry of movement.
Kinglsey rapped his gavel loudly. "It has been decided. Luna Lovegood will remain under house arrest for the remainder of her life, with the exception of the immediate thirty metres around the house. House of arrest is the Malfoy Manor, and Luna will be subject to random inspections frequently. Any attempts to break the rules set by this house arrest," Kingsley paused to take a breath. "Will result in immediate incarceration with no chance of a Hearing."
Draco exhaled a breath he hadn't realised he'd been holding. She was free. She was free to live with him. He met her eyes across the court, and realised that those silvery orbs looked even more familiar than ever.
Despite all the horrible things that she had done, she was going to be just fine.