Chapter One – The Crumply Snail

Luna Lovegood sat in the quidditch stands, watching a figure in emerald green robes muck around on his broom.

"Da da! Look, Pansy, I caught the snitch! Draco Rules!" he cried out in triumph, spotting the girl in the stands and assuming it was somebody else. Luna stayed silent.

"Pansy, I know its Potty's day for the pitch and I told you to be quiet but I didn't mean THAT quiet!"

Silence still. The boy flew down to the ground, swung his broom on his shoulder and walked towards Luna.

"Loony!" he said in amazement. "What are you doing here?"

"Watching. Good catch." she replied calmly, ignoring his insult.

Draco Malfoy stared at her for a moment and leant his broom against a tree. Luna picked up the copy of 'The Quibbler' lying next to her and slid it into her bag, making room for Draco to sit next to her. He stared at the seat for a few seconds, as if considering something then sat down.

"So…hey…why are you watching me? What happened to following Potty around?"

Luna looked him in the eye. "Draco I can watch who I like."

The boy stuck out his bottom-lip and pulled a sour face.

"Well you distract me Loony, so shove off. Go crawling to Potty and Weasley, sure they would love to put on a show for you."

Luna raised her eyebrow.

"I wonder why I distract you, I was being very quiet. In fact you thought I was Pansy Parkinson, and she definitely doesn't distract you..."

Malfoy scowled.

"You shouldn't scowl your face will stay like that forever."

"I'm not four years old Loony." he scoffed.

Silence once more until Luna said,

"What's wrong with Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys? Why do you hate them?"

His expression changed, looking slightly hurt.

"What do you mean?" he asked in a strange tone.

"Pretending won't do you much good."

"You do it all the time!" Malfoy said and put on a high-pitched voice. "Oooh Harry it's a crumply snail! Daddy's going to Africa to find an orange monkey!"

Luna eyed him, showing dislike in her face.

"I don't pretend. I have faith, I believe. Anyway its Crumple Horned Snorkacks not snail and Daddy didn't go to Africa." She paused. "I don't talk in that squeaky voice either."

Malfoy rolled his eyes.

Luna stared at him, waiting for him to speak. He stared back, sighed and began to talk.

"Loony you're not going to understand. Granger is a mud-blood. My family do not associate with people like that. The Weasleys have no money and are an embarrassment to the wizarding world."

"And Harry?"

"Potter. Famous Harry Potter. You weren't at school in our first year. First he wouldn't accept my friendship and went off with Weasel instead. Then he just had to be Dumbledore's favourite, best at everything, higher grades than me, wins the house-cup, quidditch…"Malfoy shrugged. "Remind me why I'm talking to you?"

"I'm sorry, I never knew. I suppose it's hard to come second like that, but Harry can't help it…"she broke off as Malfoy let out a loud snort.

"Put yourself in my shoes then. 'Loony Lovegood' teased by the whole school. No friends, ignored by embarrassed professors. Thanks to cruel housemates, hardly any possessions left. Sleeps in the common room so she doesn't have to listen to the torments or wake up cursed. Nobody believes anything she says and won't even try. Her fathers job is bad-named and to top it all off the person she likes doesn't even know she exists." Luna said bitterly. "Its not easy you know."

Malfoy blushed, his pale face turned light pink.

"I suppose you don't get it easy either, but you do ask for it with your crumply snails and stuff!"

Luna raised her eyebrows and gave him a pitying look.

"So who's this person you like? I mean I think everyone knows you exist, you're kind of hard to miss." He said smirking as he observed her latest earrings, bright pink shells, dangling from her petite earlobes.

Luna smiled slightly. "He likes playing quidditch…"

"Potty!" Malfoy shrieked with delight.

"No, it's not Harry. He's quite tall and normally wears green…"

"Oooh...Crabbe...or Goyle! don't like Malcolm Baddock do you?"

"No!" Luna said quickly, in disgust. "You are silly…its you Draco!"

"What! You…you like…me? Loony Lovegood likes ME?"

She nodded, smiling. Draco stared at her speechless.

"We may have our differences, but I think I know how you feel. We're in similar situations Draco."

Malfoy blinked. "Err I don't like you. I mean imagine would happen if we went out." He shuddered. "Think of my reputation!"

"There are some things more important than your reputation. Remember that." Luna said standing up. "Well goodbye Draco."

She walked away from him towards the castle, leaving Malfoy staring dumb-founded after her.