A/N: Another story! Woo!
I wrote this for both Camp Potter and the practice round for the Houses Competiton, using prompts from both.
Warning: self-harm in the form of use of a blood quill.
Luna couldn't help but notice that Draco was hiding his arm and face from view. They were next to each other, listening to a droning lecture in History of Magic.
"Draco, what is that on your arm?" She leaned over to see.
Draco looked up, a slightly distraught expression on his face. He put his quill on the table quickly, pulled down his sleeve, and covered the piece of parchment with his arm. "Nothing. What's it to you?"
"Just curious, that's all." She slid her focus back to the teacher.
When Draco saw she was no longer looking, he quietly picked up the quill and began to draw again.
The class was over an age later, and Luna collected her things. She stood up and was about to leave when she noticed that Draco was still sitting.
Seeing their professor had left the room and was now elsewhere, she walked back up to him. She saw that he was...crying?
"Draco," she said.
He looked up at her. His arm was exposed again, his sleeve rolled to his elbow. It looked covered in blood. But no, it was covered in drawings. So many drawings. Some looked like old, faded scars, others fresh and bright red. "What, Lovegood?" he asked, irritated.
She sat back in her seat. "Something wrong? Why are you doing this to yourself?" She tried to make eye contact with him.
Draco looked down. "I...I have nothing left."
"What do you mean?"
"My life has no meaning. I go through every day in this wretched hole of a school thinking I'm actually going to make something of myself. But no, it can't be that way. I have to be the best at everything, but it's impossible." He looked at his arm, then the quill gripped in his opposite hand. "My...my father gave me this quill. At the beginning of the year."
"Why? Doesn't he care about you?"
Draco nodded. "He said, 'Draco, if you do something and it turns out anything short of perfect, write on a piece of parchment with this quill.' I asked him what to write. He said, 'Anything to remind you how much of a disappointment you are.'
"So you do it?"
Draco wiped a tear from his eye. "It hurts so damn much, all this cutting into my arm." He didn't answer her question.
Luna looked over his arm again. "May I see them?"
Draco sniffed and held his arm out.
Luna examined the drawings that penetrated Draco's once-pale skin. They ranged from small little dots spiraling out to enormous, fire-breathing dragons. The level of detail would have been impressive if they weren't being used as a self-punishment. "Why don't you just... not do it? Your father isn't here to see you make mistakes. And failing is just a natural part of life, everyone does it. It's no reason to hurt yourself."
"My father doesn't think so." Draco put his head on the table, crooked in his non-scarred arm.
Luna put a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Does anyone else know?"
"I don't think so," Draco replied, his head still down. "I've kept it to myself. Not that I had anyone to tell."
"The professors? Or your friends? You seem like a popular Slytherin boy." Luna tilted her head curiously.
"Crabb and Goyle? They hardly have a brain between them. I don't know why I bother keeping them around."
"I'm sure you could tell a teacher, then."
"No, my father would hear of it."
"That's silly. He's not here."
"Look, I've tried, believe me. I've tried to make it stop." Draco's tears were coming in full force now. "He did something to the quill, or to me. I can't not punish myself for being imperfect."
Luna looked not at Draco now, but the quill. "May I see it?" she asked gently.
Draco shrugged. "It's caused me more than enough misery. Go ahead," he choked out, placing the quill on the table.
Luna reached over and picked it up carefully. She examined it. "I don't believe it's been jinxed at all. It must be something within you."
"How could you say that? It's obvious he tricked me somehow, right?" He said it like he didn't believe anything she said.
Luna shook her head. "It's not that at all." She looked him straight in the eyes. "You are very loyal to your father. You want his approval, and his opinion matters the most to you. He says he wants nothing but perfection, you try and give it to him. You've convinced yourself that this is a just punishment for being a normal wizard, one who makes mistakes." she explained, taking his hand in the process.
Draco looked down at their interlocked hands, then up at Luna. "I..don't know what to say, because that made sense. And it's complete nonsense at the same time. I don't know what to think anymore…"
Luna put her other hand on his shoulder and smiled at him. "You could think of yourself as a great wizard who doesn't believe in perfection, but doing everything the best way possible."
Draco listened to what she said, and let it sink in.
Luna looked at his arm again, at a particular drawing of a lion with a snake clutched in its maw. It was starting to fade. "What's this one from?"
Draco looked at it. "Oh, I did that one after Gryffindor beat Slytherin in Quidditch the first game of the year. Took me two hours to draw and a few days to recover." He sighed.
"Draco, have you ever tried drawing with a real quill?"
Draco thought about it for a moment. "No. I didn't draw until this year."
Luna smiled. "Maybe you should do it more often, with real ink. And not on yourself."
Draco frowned. He dropped his gaze to his arm. "I don't know. Drawing isn't something I associate with pleasure…"
"Just try it. You might like it."
Draco looked at her and cracked a smile. "Maybe I will."
Please review. Thanks for reading. :)