Disclaimer: I own Harry Potter. I AM J.K. Rowling…hehe, jk. Just trying the reverse psychology thing. Really, though, I don't own shit. Just another one of those HP losers that don't have a life.
A/N: Something that suddenly hit me out of the blue one day…thought I might as well write it out. R/R, please-
Summary: It's been several years since the downfall of You-Know-Who. Draco Malfoy contemplates suicide over coffee, when his chance encounter with Luna Lovegood leads to a strange conversation that changes everything. (DM/LL, oneshot)
Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night-
And I love the rain.
A heavy spring rain poured down onto the pavement, clattering noisily like children running down staircases and steps when school is let out. Draco Malfoy stood shivering outside a small, reclusive hole-in-the-wall, under the semi-dry range of his flimsy umbrella. He stared through the windows that emanated a warm light. He could see shadows of people in small groups of two's and three's, laughing and talking in the early morning. Six in the morning, as a matter of fact.
Nemo's Corner. The place where beatniks, wizards, and poetry freaks could get together and have a rush of caffeine enter their bloodstream via a decent cup of coffee. And of course, where feelings and all that sentimental crap were shared, topped off with some "level-three thinking" and the wonders of life. Your basic coffee shop.
Really, it was the last place Draco wanted to be. But he was feeling cold and lonely, he had nothing to lose, and he needed to get away from the rain, from life, from pretty much everything. He tore his gaze away from shadows inside and instead glanced not through the window, but at it, where he saw his reflection. He was pale as ever. His gray eyes gleamed in the half-dark, flaxen hair hidden underneath his fastened black cloak. He looked much like the boy at Hogwarts he had been, but older, scarred, and with a better understanding of the world. Draco Malfoy had certainly hardened up throughout the years. He inwardly reprimanded himself for being such a coward back then, when he couldn't have killed even a fly to save his life. Now, it was different. His hands had spilled blood. There was a price to pay for all of this, he knew; he wondered when his suffering would end. Fate wasn't doing a damn thing; he would have to take the matter into his own hands.
With a sigh, Draco pulled open the door-a bell tinkled softly somewhere to announce his presence-and stepped over the threshold, into the café.
The sound of hushed silence filled his ears. Draco took a moment to find his bearings. The place was crowded and gave off a cluttered feel. Soft music played in the background and the only light came from the candles hovering gently above everyone's heads. The atmosphere was cozy and relaxed-that is, until a drenched, unwelcome stranger (that would be him) stumbled into their little world of tranquility and totally smashed it into pieces.
Draco ignored everyone's disapproving stares and wide-eyed looks, and looked around. Three quarters of the room was filled with small tables that sat one to four people. The remainder was filled with cushy armchairs and shelves of books to peruse through at leisure. Draco decided to sit down at one of the one-seater tables in the far corner and sauntered over there, a lone figure among all the people clustered together. He sat himself down and glared at those who still continued to gawk at him (which was pretty much everyone), until they lost their nerve and returned to conversing among themselves quietly. Soon, the tense silence broke out into the usual sounds of laughter and chatter, and Draco was left alone.
Draco scowled. He knew what they were all thinking. He pulled up his left sleeve and gingerly touched the tattoo on his arm. He could never remove it, although he had tried unsuccessfully a number of times. He stared at the skull-and-snake-entwined etched into his skin. Perhaps it had been a mistake. Perhaps he should voice his lifelong regrets now, before he died with a guilty conscience and a nagging doubt. Perhaps if he did, this huge burden weighing down on his shoulders would lessen-just a little. But what did it matter now, he chided himself, as he couldn't go back and change what he had done. Erase the past and let bygones be bygones. Nobody was that forgiving.
Yes, Draco had been a Death Eater. A (somewhat) faithful servant to the Dark Lord. He had taken pleasure in killing thousands (okay, so the number was just a tad exaggerated) for the benefit of all things Dark and Evil. But now…now he was simply left with a lot of free time to brood over what was left of his reputation.
The Dark Lord was gone. Potter had done it-vanquished the one thing Draco had willingly revolved his life around, the one thing he was to view sacred and worship, the one thing he had dedicated himself to. In a way, Draco could scarcely believe it. But somewhere in the back of his mind-and right now he felt it, fleetingly-he grudgingly admired Potter for doing it. Killing Voldemort and all.
This feeling of respect was quickly diminished after also thinking of the consequences that followed. Draco did a three-year stint in Azkaban, where the dementors were newly reinstated as guards, until they let him out for good behavior. Then he was closely watched and was forced to "volunteer" to do various services for the good of the wizarding community. After that, he was let off the hook. Now he wasted away in his manor, spending his money in thoughtless ways countless times, as his parents had left quite a lot of it behind for him. It almost made up for what he was enduring at the moment. Almost.
Ever since he had been "unmasked" by the Ministry and the Order of the Phoenix, he had been given a wide berth. Some of the more daring ones had egged his house, spray-painted the most vulgar things on his property, and sent lots and lots of hate mail with cursed inanimate objects and other fun things inside. The works. They had even set fire to his house once. Everywhere he went, whispers, catcalls, jeering, and hissing trailed not too far behind him.
And what was worse was that he had not only lost the respect of the majority of the wizarding world, but of his fellow Death Eaters and purebloods as well. It happened several weeks after the Dark Lord's downfall, when Zabini had invited him over for tea. Draco now snickered at the thought. Fancy that, Death Eaters having tea…
"Me and the other Death Eaters have been plotting," Zabini said casually.
"Oh really?" Draco said, adding more milk and sugar to his tea.
"Yes, really," said Zabini. He sipped his tea daintily. "We've decided to carry on without the Dark Lord. Instead of a dictatorship, there will be more of a…democracy. Our mission: to flush out all blood traitors and Muggles, and take over the world."
Draco snorted. "How cliché."
Zabini ignored him. "So, are you in or not?" he demanded.
"Nice house, by the way," commented Draco. "I've always favored something a little less modern, but if it's to your taste, then hey. Whatever."
"Don't change the subject," said Zabini harshly.
"Whatever are you talking about, Blaise?" asked Draco innocently. "And don't take that tone with me, young man. If your mother were to see you now-"
Zabini slammed his fists into the table. The jar of sugar cubes tipped over and rolled under the davenport. Draco's teacup wobbled dangerously on its saucer and teetered over the edge, where it then fell and crashed to the floor. Shards flew everywhere and a puddle formed. "I am dead serious, Malfoy," he snarled.
"And so am I." Draco tutted at the mess. "Is this how you treat your china?"
Zabini glared. "So it's true," he hissed. "Draco Malfoy the Great has gone soft. Have you forgotten your vow to decontaminate the world of Mudbloods, or was that just a hoax to please your dear mum? Was your service to the Dark Lord simply a one-way ticket to staying alive? Are you just a Muggle-loving fool and coward?"
Malfoy stood up. "Say what you want, Zabini," he said coolly. "But I'm done with this. It's over now, and I want nothing to do with it anymore." He stalked towards the front door, and then paused for a moment. "Thanks for the tea," Draco spat before slamming the door shut behind him.
The following night, Pansy Parkinson, who had been living with him for several years (he had used her for the sex, and she for his money), had packed her bags and left him for good. Not that Draco cared, particularly, if it wasn't for the fact that she had also left with a good chunk of his fortune and a few of his credit cards.
Draco smiled grimly. So it's come to this, he thought. He wondered who would be behind the next murder attempt-angry family members of the Muggleborns he had killed, or the angry Death Eaters he had betrayed?
He laughed sourly. He already knew the answer. It was neither. Because he was going to try and kill himself first.
Draco produced a small flask from a hidden pocket inside his cloak. He had already thought this all out. Jumping off a cliff? Too melodramatic. A dagger through the heart? A little too messy for his liking. The Killing Curse? He had had enough of it. So of course, the answer was poison.
Draco fingered the flask lovingly. The flask contained three mouthfuls' of Liquid Bella Muerte, a slang term for a fatal poison that killed you, slowly and painfully. It was concocted from a half pint of unicorn and dragon blood, basilisk venom, powdered root of bittersweet and asphodel, phoenix heartstring, and arsenic. There was no turning back once you drank it; once it slipped down your throat, you were a goner. There was no antidote, no cure for this deadliest of poisons. Draco figured he would slip some into his coffee. After all, it was always a dream of his to die in a coffee shop. Draco smiled in spite of himself. He had a death wish, and he was laughing about it. Well, at least he would die happy.
Draco put down the flask, picked up the menu, and browsed through it briefly. What should his last meal be?
"May I take your order, sir?" said a voice beside him.
Draco didn't bother looking up. Just another gawking waitress. "Yes, you may," he said icily. "I want a cup of coffee and…er…a blueberry muffin will do."
"Okay then," said the voice. "But I would recommend the Crumpleberry Snorkack Pie. It was my mother's recipe, you see, and Adrienne, the owner of this place, was nice enough to add it to the menu. She has rather taken to it, I suppose, I gave her a sample the other day. She really is an awfully nice woman, you know. So should I write it down for you?"
Draco put down the menu to glance at the gibbering waitress who was spewing nonsense at him. He was just about to tell her to take her pie and shove it up her arse, that he had had a rough day and wanted some peace and quiet, when all of a sudden his jaw dropped and his mouth opened and closed wordlessly. The gibbering waitress was Luna Lovegood.
There was no denying it. She hadn't changed much-she still had that long, straggly, dirty blonde hair, which was now pulled into a ponytail. Posed with pencil and notepad and donning a gingham apron, her large pale eyes-something Draco had remembered about her-gazed at him with tranquil perception. Her wand was tucked behind one ear, and she was wearing her radish earrings.
Draco suddenly noticed something he had never noticed about Luna when they were in Hogwarts-how unbelievably hot she was. Her scrawny, shapeless figure had grown out quite nicely, and her delicate features made Draco's heart ache with lust. He ogled at her shamelessly until Luna broke the awkward silence. "Draco, is that you?" she said dreamily, greeting him like a familiar old friend. "How nice to see you."
Draco was somewhat surprised. He had expected her to run away in fright, screaming her head off. Or at least narrow her eyes and glare at him, perhaps even attempt to jinx him to a jelly. Hadn't she heard of the stories, the rumors?
"Well," continued Luna, surveying her customer with an impassive air, "I suppose I shouldn't keep you waiting, Adrienne says I dawdle enough as it is. So, a coffee and blueberry muffin, nix on the pie?" she jot it down on her notepad. "We'll have your order in fifteen minutes. Good thing I'm not in the kitchen, or it would take an hour or so. I'm simply terrible at cooking. That's why I'm often stuck with waitressing. But it's not too bad of a job, really, and it pays quite well, although..."
Draco broke out of his reverie. "Luna…what are you doing here?" he asked, forgetting his cold and aloof disposition.
"I work here!" said Luna brightly, pocketing both pad and pencil.
"I mean…never mind," Draco said roughly, wondering why he had bothered asking in the first place. It wasn't in his nature to be conversing with a bizarre (although somewhat attractive) freak that had a Crumple-Horned Snorkack complex.
As Luna put away her apparatus and turned to leave, his gaze fell upon her midriff. He raised an eyebrow. Was Luna…pregnant? "What's with the oversized tum?" he asked, eying her stomach with distaste. Suddenly he smirked. "The famous Potter shagged you senseless and this little accident occurred, eh?"
"A rather blatant and candid way of putting it, but yes," said Luna placidly, yanking her hairclip out and letting her long hair stream down her back. "Now, I need to give Keith your order immediately if you want it in fifteen minutes, so I'll just-"
"So where is little daddy dearest?" sneered Draco, looking around as if expecting Harry to pop out of nowhere.
"Oh, I wouldn't know," said Luna blithely. "Do you want your muffin or not, because if you do, I-"
"What d'ya mean, you don't know?" persisted Draco.
"That's just it. I don't know," said Luna. "I haven't the faintest idea."
"Whatja do, go and misplace him?" said Draco dryly.
"Well, no," replied Luna with a giggle. She leaned in conspiratorially, close enough so that Draco could feel her warm breath against his cheek. A peculiar, but not unpleasant aroma reached his nostrils. Luna's scent. Draco inhaled it deeply. Luna smelled like…like…he couldn't exactly pinpoint it, but it was very unique. Draco vaguely wondered whether to ask Luna what kind of perfume she had on at the moment, and where she had gotten it. Perhaps he would buy some.
"Harry..." she whispered. Draco gave a start. He had forgotten she was there. The whisper caressed his ear and sent a shiver down his spine. "...isn't here," sighed Luna, pulling back, much to Draco's disappointment. Her eyes were no longer brimming with carefree happiness. Instead, they were filled with a desolate sobriety he had not come to expect from a girl such as Luna.
"And why is that?" Draco asked, genuine curiosity creeping into his voice.
Luna shook her head. Wisps of straggly hair flew and settled in front of her eyes. Draco had a sudden urge to brush them away from her brow. He resisted. "It's...I can't..." Luna trailed off. She closed her eyes and took several deep breaths. "It's a long story," lamented Luna wearily, rubbing her aching back.
Draco noted how defeated she looked and was taken aback. He was about to voice a question of concern when he suddenly remembered that it wasn't in his nature to be conversing with a bizarre (although somewhat attractive) freak that had a Crumple-Horned Snorkack complex. His cold and aloof disposition returned once more. "Well, you must have done something incredibly stupid to have made Potter run off like that," commented Draco carelessly.
Luna suddenly laughed, something that threw Draco off completely. "It was the other way around, actually."
"Oh really?" asked Draco, intrigued once more.
Luna smiled. A hint of an internal struggle passed over her countenance momentarily. It looked like she was debating whether to tell Draco or not. Her stiffened shoulders gradually became relaxed, as if she had come to a decision. "I hope you're right, Anul," Luna murmured, patting herself on the back. Draco stared at her. The girl was raving mad.
Luna signaled to a passing waitress. "I'll be taking my break now, Beryl," she said.
"Okie dokie," said the tall and gangly girl cheerfully. "Remember. Thirty minutes. No more."
"Can you get me two coffees?" inquired Luna.
"Sure can do," said Beryl. She winked at Draco, whose face was void of all emotions, and strolled away.
Luna gestured to Draco's table. "Mind if I sit down, then? If you care to listen to my life story, that is." She spoke as if she wouldn't have cared either way.
"If you do, don't linger here for too long," said Draco loftily. "I don't want the stench of loser on my new robes."
"I see you're still a spiteful git," said Luna serenely. "But I'll take that as a yes." She removed her apron, pulled up a chair, plunked herself down, and stared across the table at Draco with mild interest. Draco suddenly felt slightly uncomfortable under her relentless stare. He shook off the feeling and asked brusquely, "So how'd you end up pregnant?"
"Oh, yes. That," said Luna vaguely. She focused her attention on some nonexistent point past Draco's head, and gazed dreamily there instead. Draco waited. Finally, she spoke. "Harry and I were dating."
"Yeah, I kinda figured that out for myself," snorted Draco.
Luna smiled at his sarcasm. "It's strange, really. I loved him. I really did. I felt it, right here-" she put a hand to her breast, indicating her heart. "-but it all fell apart. I suppose instincts can be wrong at times. Your heart can be wrong at times." She leaned forward again and let out another giggle. "You know, when I first met Harry, I was drawn to him. To his aura."
Draco rolled his eyes. "And I suppose it was his bloody aura that made you fall in love with him?"
"Well, yes." Luna paused as Beryl quickly set two cups of steaming coffee down on the table and left. She shoved one of the cups towards Draco. "It's on the house."
"Er, thanks," Draco said gruffly. He started adding generous amounts of cream and sugar to his coffee, wondering how on earth was he going to lace it with poison without Luna noticing.
"You know," remarked Luna, stirring her coffee with her pencil absentmindedly, her prominent eyes on Draco, "an aura is the external part of your soul. It's an extension of you. Anyone with intuition can recognize it. It's like sound waves emanating from your soul. In a way." She paused again. "And Harry's aura was alluringly wholesome."
Draco sniggered. Luna tilted her head questioningly. Draco turned his snigger into a cough and hastily gulped down some of his coffee. It burned his throat.
"In…intuition?" he spluttered, his hands vainly attempting to relieve the pain in his gullet by massaging his neck (which was pretty nonsensical if you think about it).
"Yes, intuition," returned Luna cheerfully. "Everyone has it, I think. But some people…well, they need to come to terms with it, that's all."
"Uh huh," said Draco, not really listening, trying to figure out different strategies in which to put the poison in his coffee. He could simply take a swig straight from the flask, but he didn't really want to feel the full effects, since they would be a little too painful for his liking. Diluting it would weaken the effects, but it would still be lethal nevertheless. And besides, he really didn't want to die when Loony Lovegood was present.
"You know," Luna said carefully, "some people's auras can change. For the better, or for the worse. I noticed your aura in my third year."
"Really?" Draco looked bored. "Pray tell."
"It was black," said Luna, without any hesitation. "I nearly gagged when I first sensed it."
Draco was offended. "Hey, it couldn't have been that bad."
"Oh yes it was," said Luna indifferently. "It was pure evil. Tendrils of malice were reaching out to me, trying to pull me in. You were a walking black hole, Draco."
"But then," Luna said, leaning in again, "I smelled you."
"You smelled me?" asked Draco scathingly, forgetting that he had sniffed Luna a few moments ago himself.
"Yes. You can't simply judge someone just by the feel of their aura. After all, it's only a part of their soul. You can read their eyes, too. Have you heard of that phrase-'eyes are windows to the soul'? Something like that. I read your eyes. Cold, ruthless. So I told myself, Luna, he can't possibly be that evil. So I resorted to the last tactic-your scent."
"So what did I smell like?" asked Draco, perplexed.
"Evil," replied Luna promptly. "But," she added, leaning even closer to Draco, "I smelled hope. The tiniest ray of hope. So, you weren't entirely evil back then."
"Well, that's nice to know," Draco replied sardonically.
"But your aura," said Luna thoughtfully, "it's different now. Your eyes are the same. But windows do have shutters, I suppose. But your aura...reflects the strangest things. Dashed hopes and dampened spirits. Rain. Honeysuckle and sweet pea. You know what, Draco?" Luna's grin suddenly widened. "You smell just like me. Except maybe the dashed hopes and dampened spirits part. I don't have any of those things." She gazed at him solemnly. "Draco, why is it that you smell like that?"
"Well, I did take a shower this morning," said Draco indifferently, ignoring the goosebumps that had erupted on his arms. Did Luna know about his suicide attempt?
Luna laughed a strangely comforting and infectious laugh. Draco suppressed an impulse to chuckle himself. What was wrong with him today? All these impertinent notions running about in his head. It must be the fact that he was going to kill himself soon, he reasoned.
"No, I think it's something else," Luna was saying. Draco was pulled away from his train of thought. "Draco," Luna said softly, "how are you feeling today?"
Draco stared at her. "Fine," he answered crisply, after a moment's pause.
Luna shrugged. "You can lie if you like." She raised her mug to her lips, about to take a sip. Draco snatched it out of her hands. "Don't be daft," he snapped. "Caffeine is bad for you if you're pregnant."
Luna looked at him, mildly surprised. "Oh."
"Oh," mimicked Draco. "You shouldn't be so careless. Do you want your baby to-" he stopped after he realized what he was doing. "You know what? Go ahead and drink it, it's your funeral, anyway," he muttered, pushing the mug of steaming coffee back towards her. Luna didn't take it. Instead, she regarded him with a contemplating look. "Thanks," she said quietly.
Draco didn't ask what for. He was too embarrassed.
The short awkward silence that followed was quickly ruptured when Luna put her right elbow on the table, her chin resting on the palm of her hand. She gazed at Draco until he looked away, vexed at how ill at ease she made him with just one look. "I saw you."
"What?" asked Draco, undeterred.
"I saw you," Luna breathed. Her eyes were sparkling with resonating hope. It irked Draco how much emotion Luna conveyed through her eyes. "Two years, five days, six hours ago. I was with Harry and the other members in the Order of the Phoenix. We were dueling with a dozen Death Eaters at our abandoned headquarters. They assumed we were still using it, and attacked. We found out and went over there anyway, hoping to ambush them." She paused to catch her breath. Draco observed how she referred the Death Eaters to him as "they" and not "you and the others." "I couldn't really tell who was winning. I disarmed and rendered one of the Death Eaters unconscious-it turned out to be Crabbe, I suppose he's still doing time in Azkaban nowadays, but that's beside the point-so as I was about to help Harry out with his Death Eater, I noticed a Death Eater putting his wand to one of my associates' throats. I was running over to help that associate, but then that Death Eater thrust her at another Death Eater and said 'Kill her for me, the Dark Lord is requesting my presence.' Then that Death Eater Disapparated, and I watched the other drag my associate into one of the rooms, and I followed. This Death Eater laid my associate on the bed and left her there instead of killing her-" Draco's eyes widened slightly, but said nothing. "-and on his way out I hit him over the head with my shoe, as my wand was malfunctioning at the moment and I didn't want to risk it, and he was out cold when my Crumple-Horned Snorkack hunting boot collided with his head (which isn't all that surprising, since my boots weigh about ten pounds each). I unmasked this soft-hearted Death Eater and it turned out to be the most peculiar person. I believe you know him."
Draco considered her for the longest time. "You're the one who knocked me out?" he said finally. "Why didn't you turn me in to the Ministry after that?"
"You didn't kill Ginny, so I didn't turn you in," said Luna pragmatically. "Quid pro quo applies here, doesn't it? You were a little too adorable to rot in prison, anyway."
Draco's lips twitched. Luna took that as a smile. "You're not as evil as they say you are," she whispered just loud enough for Draco to hear. He didn't know how to respond to that. So he didn't.
Luna accidentally knocked over the empty napkin dispenser. It skidded across the floor and under a nearby table.
"Oops," she said cheerfully. With some difficulty, she went over there to retrieve it. Draco took this opportune moment to pour the entire contents of his flask into his coffee mug. When Luna returned, he said, but not with much remorse, "You could have used your wand, you know."
"I know," repeated Luna, setting the dispenser in its rightful place, "but I'd rather not. I don't want to use magic for every little thing. People take it for granted that way." Luna quickly straightened up and sighed. "Wouldn't it be nice if things were just like this forever? To sit and have a heart-to-heart conversation with an old friend until abstract concepts as mundane as time don't matter anymore. But life's never just a perfectly laid out road that leads straight to destiny. It twists and turns and splits into more paths which split into even more paths leading to mistakes and other things that aren't what they seem. Life is really a thing-in-itself, you know. And I hope you're not going down the wrong road, Draco," she said suddenly. "Because a person can live a life, but how they view it is another matter entirely. It affects the choices they make, and it leads them to mistakes, which are all really just a terrible waste of time. You end up regretting them in the end. In the bigger picture, everyone's destination is really their destiny, isn't it?"
Draco was silent. He was thinking.
Luna smiled at him, content. "Before I die, I would want to dance in the rain and feel the sun kiss my face, just once more. Oh, and I would also like to see a Crumple-Horned Snorkack in person and tell Daddy how much I love him just right before I go."
"And I suppose you want to eat a thousand Crumpleberry Snorkack Pies before you go as well?" said Draco wryly.
"Oh, no," said Luna happily. "Because I'll see my mother after I'm gone, and we can bake a thousand Crumpleberry Snorkack Pies together. She's always been lurking behind that veil, you know," she added. "I think she's waiting for me. Someday I'll join her, and we can whisper and giggle behind it together and wait for Daddy. But that's a long time from now, I think. But what does it matter, as long as I've done everything I wanted, and wanted everything I've done? My heart is warm with the friends I make, and better friends I'll not be knowing," she said in a singsong voice. "Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going."
"You really are loony," said Draco, shaking his head and grinning-something he hadn't done in years.
Luna gave him a mysterious smile. "Sometimes a person needs to take leave of their senses."
"In your case, all the time," teased Draco. He paused, surprised at himself. He had made a joke, and it didn't even have an ounce of sarcasm hidden somewhere within it.
Luna beamed at him. "I'll take that as a compliment. You know," she said, suddenly looking very grave, "the only thing people really want at the end of their life is a reflection of a positive experience. That's what I want, overall. It helps if you don't make mistakes. But most of time, it's all accidental, so who can tell?" she waved her arm vaguely in the direction behind her to indicate how formless and blurred it all was.
"What if," said Draco cautiously, "someone chooses to end their life because of their recollection of all the negative experiences in their life?"
Luna frowned. "It's the same thing, really," she said. "They're ending their life because they hadn't had a reflection of a positive experience. So everyone wants it in the end, I suppose. But killing yourself over it is a mistake. And the problem with mistakes is people always regret them. And then you'll be back to square one, wouldn't you? So that would be an accidentally-on-purpose mistake," giggled Luna. "But I do really hope," said Luna, becoming serious again, "You're not going down the wrong road. I expect I have, already," she added, looking troubled.
"Why?" Draco couldn't help but ask.
"I'm presuming you've forgotten what we were talking about at the very beginning of this conversation?" asked Luna, smiling wanly.
"Oh, yeah," said Draco, remembering. "That."
"We were planning to get married," Luna said sadly. "But then Daddy wanted to move to Sweden, to further his research on Crumple-Horned Snorkacks. I didn't have to go, but I felt obliged to. Harry couldn't go, of course-Voldemort maintained headquarters in England, so it would be impractical to do so-but we decided to stay together anyway, and Harry and I both promised each other that we would correspond and visit one another."
"So basically you two did the long distance thing," supplied Draco.
"Yes. Everything was fine for about one or two months. Harry sent me owls me once a week to tell me that he loved me and Flooed all the way over to Sweden to give me an update on the war with Voldemort. I couldn't take it anymore after that. I knew I made a mistake in moving to Sweden. I was planning to go back to England in a few days, but I didn't want to tell Harry yet. Because I had also found out-"
"That you were pregnant," Draco completed the sentence for her.
Luna nodded. "Something I wanted to tell him in person. So I came back to England and went over to Harry's apartment to tell him the news. I had the key still, so I went right in."
Draco waited for something extremely dramatic to come out of Luna's mouth. She didn't say anything. She was staring off into space again, her hands clasped.
"So what, you found him examining the curtains, or what?" he pressed, utterly nonplussed.
Luna shook her head, her smile strained. "Oh no, nothing of the sort," she said lightly. Draco noticed a slight tremor in her voice. "I happened to wander into his bedroom and found him and Ginny lying on top of each other, naked, is all."
"Oh…" Draco trailed off.
Luna's chin quivered and her eyes grew misty, but she was still smiling and shaking her head. "And do you know what was the last thing I said to him?" she asked brightly, her pearly eyes glistening with grief.
Draco looked away. He didn't know, and he didn't want to know.
"The last thing I-the last thing I said-the last thing I said to h-him," hiccupped Luna, her gleaming eyes lost in heartbroken reminiscences, "I told h-him, 'I just thought-I just thought I'd drop by and sa-and say hello. Have you misplaced your clothes again, darling? I'll be on my way; I wanted to show you a rather funny article in The Quibbler, but perhaps next time.' Then I hurried the hell on out of there." She burst out laughing. "Wasn't it funny, Draco? Go ahead and laugh, I know you can hardly contain yourself."
Draco didn't know what to say, or do. He couldn't very well laugh-it was, in fact, the least funniest thing he had ever heard in his life-but he wasn't very good at handling these kinds of situations. He glanced around uneasily. Nobody else had noticed Luna's strange outburst. They were isolated from the rest of the world, in a dark corner of a coffee shop. Meanwhile, Luna hiccupped again and started rocking back and forth, laughing to herself all the while. "He just stared at me," she was saying between giggles. "Like, what is she doing here? I suppose I had never fit in anywhere, let alone in Harry's world. The Boy Who Lived, that is. The Chosen One. The Potter boy, or just plain Potty," chuckled Luna acridly. "Remember you calling him that. I suppose he's chucked me out of his bloody life now, not that it's so surprising. I'm Loony Lovegood, after all. Loony, loony, loony, loony-it's starting to grow on me, actually-loony, loony, loony-"
"Luna, just stop it," said Draco harshly, grabbing her shoulders. Luna suddenly went limp. She stopped rocking and stayed in place, trembling as her chest heaved with the rhythm of her tacit sobs. Draco stared at her. He had always perceived Luna as otherworldly, unreachable-someone not entirely anchored to our plane of existence, but given a free rein and used it with great pleasure, oblivious to the world around her. Someone who laughed at everything and wasn't afraid to be herself. Someone who came into people's lives in a flourish of quaint color and whimsicality. But as Draco stared down at Luna, this was not what he saw. He saw, instead, a fragile little girl. A broken doll.
Luna closed her eyes and leaned in towards him, close enough so that he could count her long eyelashes and see the fullness of her lips and smell that peculiar-but-not-unpleasant scent of hers. "It's strange," Luna said softly. "I've always told myself I wouldn't cry over something as commonplace as a boy. Cry over a sunset, a wish fulfilled, a kindred spirit-but not a boy, Luna, I would often tell myself. But it hurts a lot more than I expected it to." Luna stopped, her eyes still closed, and let out a despondent sigh.
Draco was gazing at Luna with an odd expression on his face. For the first time ever in his life, Draco Malfoy was coming to terms with his intuition.
He was drawn to Luna's aura. It reflected…the strangest things. Rain, honeysuckle and sweet pea, and…
"Dashed hopes and dampened spirits. Rain. Honeysuckle and sweet pea. You know what, Draco?" Luna's grin suddenly widened. "You smell just like me. Except maybe the dashed hopes and dampened spirits part. I don't have any of those things."
"You know what the worst part of it is?" said Luna quietly, eyes remaining closed. The sunlight streaming from the windows of the coffee shop illuminated the long, disheveled hair that trailed along her shoulders and down her back, giving her an ethereal look. Draco's heart ached, this time with longing. "The worst part," whispered Luna, "is that if I had to do it all over again, I would. I would let love strike me blind and rip out my heart, if only to feel it for a second time." Her chin quivered again. "Even when it hurts so badly, when love never wanted me, I still want it. And that's the worst part." A tear rolled down Luna's cheek.
Draco couldn't help himself. He leaned forward and kissed her.
It was a soft, tentative kiss. The kiss tossed out all dashed hopes, dampened spirits, broken dreams, tainted souls, and broken hearts, and made them anew. It unraveled stories forgotten, ones that had hovered in an indefinite world a distant dream away that now came rushing back in a whirlwind of insight and attainment. The kiss sprung forth the tiniest ray of hope, a glimmer of faith, and the promise of tomorrow. It gave Draco something to live for; Luna, to die for. A number of teething troubles and intricate complications took wing that day, all because of one kiss.
It was Luna who pulled away first. "I…I can't…" Luna's voice faded away. She stared at her hands, avoiding Draco's steady gaze. Tension was building up between them. It had just about reached its breaking point when all of a sudden a voice yelled, "Luna! It's been over half hour and you're still on your break! Get in here immediately, you're on kitchen duty!"
Luna grimaced. "Adrienne," she said wryly. She stood up abruptly and stumbled. Draco grabbed her wrist to keep her from falling; Luna mumbled a thanks and quickly let go. "I suppose you wouldn't want your order anymore?" she asked lightly. Draco said nothing; he merely watched her as she put on her apron. Luna took that as a no. "Well, goodbye then," Luna said uncertainly. She started to leave when Draco suddenly seized her wrist again. "Luna, you can't do this to me," he said, urgency in his voice. "You can't pretend this didn't happen-"
"I'm not pretending it didn't happen," said Luna. "It's just…I can't. We can't." She turned to leave. Draco seized both her wrists this time. Luna cocked her head and looked at him with mild interest. "So you're going to just leave me?" he asked angrily. "You can't end things like this. Does this even matter to you? And don't look at me like that! So you're just going to leave me and never look back?" he said, starting to sound desperate.
Luna took her small, delicate hands into his. "Draco," she said gently, "I don't think I could take this right now. We lived completely different lives. As a result, we run in different circles. Maybe someday, in another lifetime. But not now." She let go of his hands. As she turned to leave again, Draco let her go without grievance. He emptied his coffee and dropped his flask into the nearest waste bin and continued to watch Luna's retreating figure, a numbness eating at his insides.
People often say that April showers bring May flowers.
So where the hell, thought Draco Malfoy bitterly, as Luna drifted away from both the table and his life, were the fucking flowers?