Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling does.
Pairings: Draco Malfoy/Luna Lovegood, Tom Riddle/Luna Lovegood
The Hunter's Moon
A stone's throw away from the edge…
That was his first impression and it never altered. The meaning altered but the words never did.
He had seen so many old faces in the dungeons it became a trite practice but one he upheld. Habits were hard to break. He never reveled at their eyes, hateful yet dulled with defeat, like an animal's that had been backed into a corner. There wasn't anything remarkable about them at all. Not now. So it was out of boredom and weariness that he paced the dungeons, feeling them watch him.
Draco would imagine that they were about to break free. That the chains would loosen without cause, without reason, and they would swarm upon him. He would fight them of course, but know at the same time, they were too many of them. This image, one born of pure absurdity and weariness, is what brought a smile to his face, and he would wander past them, just out of reach.
Try. At least try.
They never would, and he would storm up the stairs in defeat. The Mudblood never even looked at him as she forced her eyes away. She knew, and he hated her the most.
Yet he would wake up going down to the dungeon every time opportunity unlocked the door for him. It was a ritual where he got lost in his thoughts. They did too, hanging hand in hand in a monotone dirge. Not much time to talk, after all. There was nothing to talk about, and his words were wasted, crumbling the minute they left his lips.
They disappeared, one by one. Then Granger was taken away too, and he was left with an empty dungeon for a month. That didn't stop him from pacing, sometimes for hours, down there, expecting them to still be watching. Perhaps they were waiting…still planning their escape. Well, well, isn't that how it goes?
Always a step ahead of him, it seemed.
Now they fell over the edge before he did. His father had told him that they would, blind as they were…Draco had had the sense to stop and the pleasure of watching.
Why couldn't he stop now, pacing until his legs hurt? Hoping that within each shadow one of them waited for him to get just a bit closer…
His ritual was stained by bruised nights and empty mornings to go with his empty dungeon. It lasted for a month.
The day that she arrived in his possession, he had paced for what seemed like hours, trying to carve away time by its throat. All the while, he took no notice of what he had always been watching for, always reliving in his mind.
Someone was in the shadows, and he stopped of wide eyes that almost seemed to come from the darkness within him. For a moment, Draco had wondered if he had truly gone mad. Tinged eyes, satin white around the corners and mingled with a look he could not quite identify if he tried…but he wouldn't dare try. Coins locked in vault to age quietly…those eyes he couldn't match.
Were they the coins or the cavernous vault itself? Damned if he knew.
"Hello," came a strained voice, one which had lost its use. This person was not in chains or in shackles that drained her magic. Her voice was much too close to him for that…"Oh, you're Draco Malfoy."
Draco thought that his imagination had projected his worst fears out there, right here in the room with him. He stood, dumbfounded.
"If you are not, you really should say something. I want to know if I was sent to the correct place, you know. There are so many dungeons nowadays."
"Of course, I'm him," Draco snapped back. "I mean-you're obviously not blind."
He sincerely hoped he wasn't talking to a non-existent presence. If so, he would ignore it completely, yes, but he would have preferred his exhausted mind not to project imaginary people. If one piece of his mind was lost, the rest was sure to follow. But he didn't quite mind…
"How could you say that? I might be. Obviously, that's very rude."
Considering the way those eyes never wavered, Draco suddenly recognized that voice. And those eyes. He was pummeled with a brief fit of shock. It couldn't be…
"Of course, I could hazard a guess at your name since you are wandering free in your own dungeon and this is where I was sent. And even then, sight is nothing in the night."
He gaped at nothing.
"You might want to say 'Lumos'…"
"I'd rather not. You're better looking in the dark," he said but soon a dim light filled the room.
Actually, Lovegood looked strangely healthy for the state he would have believed her to be in. She hadn't been occupancies by the Dark Lord's guards or even Death Eaters. She looked wild. Not in the way of any actuality, of any reality even…she was like the calm before a storm, or a rain of blood in a war. At any moment, she could react, suddenly and what would he do then?
It was a silly fear and he scolded himself, gritting his teeth. The illogical nature of the whole fiasco that was blooming before his very eyes was hindering his thought process.
Why was she here? How was she not a prisoner? How was the loony here at all?
Her infamous long hair had grown even longer and tangled, curling around her face. Her eyes peered out from under her bangs. She seemed to be contemplating him thoughtfully, biting her lips and rocking back and forth on her toes.
Draco felt the sense of not being even connected to the moment and it almost hurt. In fact, it did hurt.
"How?" he stuttered. "How are you alive?"
"Oh, that's an easy question," she said. "You see that I am breathing. Well, I think that has something to do with it…my being alive."
Draco closed his eyes.
"NO," he groaned. "How did you survive the war?"
Luna looked at him like he was suddenly fascinating.
"I didn't give up, you know. I wanted to stay alive for the survivors, so I survived," she explained. Draco was growing increasingly frustrated.
"So the Dark Lord decided to spare you?" he sneered, barely hanging on to the situation that he felt was rapidly slipping out of his grasp, like water from his cupped hands.
"One of him decided to spare me," she clarified, leaving him with absolutely nothing. "I wanted to help my friends. So I stayed alive with them."
The girl adopted no sorrow or that dull look that her friends had acquired, that look he would dream about forever. She adopted nothing but a small smile as if she was retelling a tale of epics and heroes, not disasters and monsters.
Strange girl, he knew. Strange. It was like a reshaping of his very reality, and he couldn't say it didn't hurt. But now, he was almost glad. Something had happened in this place finally and something had broken his ritual. He wanted to hate her for it, even if it was torn from him…he was glad to be free of it.
"He sent me to you," she said, all light and no shadows. Of course, her light was shadow.
"Why?" Draco asked, without hesitation. He never asked questions when he could help it. This night was riddled with confusion, and he felt like the phases of the moon had washed away his sense.
"Does He need a why?" she asked. "You should know Him…and the Others Halves. He never has a why. He told me. He considers that a restriction, a limitation set upon the weak."
Draco was surprise at any conversation between the two and wonder…
"You speak to Him…" he said slowly, drawing it out. "You speak to Him."
"One usually speaks when talking. Except when one doesn't. He doesn't always speak to talk. You feel it, you know. That pesky pulling, sometimes..."
Draco had felt that…the fibers pulling at some part of him he had cast aside along time ago. Like something inside empty and achingly full, like something…in his veins that had concaved and broken. Something stringing a web at the back of his mind, savoring the taste…
He didn't answer.
"…every now and then," she finishes with a whisper and waits, her head bowed. One finger tugged at a dirty blonde strand of hair. "It feels blue to me. I think that feeling would be blue, if feelings had colors, but like a bad blue. A black blue, I think, a spider's blue."
"I'm here," she finished, and he pauses at the suddenness of transition. Was this that speech she had mentioned? With Him? Yet she was looking at him, directly and with an observer's passion.
"Now that I'm here, I should have a place to go. Everything in its place, you know."
He knew and with the feeling of a dream still clinging to him, he placed her in his mother's old room. He wouldn't dare place her lower until he was sure of her place, as she had said…her place with Him.
He shut the door and did not lock it with a spell, in case of that feeling again. He wondered what the morning would bring.