DISCLAIMER: Not my characters or setting or props – they all belong to JK Rowling. This is just a little imagined interlude set in early November during the year of "Order of the Phoenix."
A/N: I just wanted to try writing Draco, never having tackled him before. (Now there's an idea: tackling Draco! Rawr!) Thanks to Felena1971 for the pairing suggestion, Alicia for helping me flesh out the general plot idea, Grande.Vanilla.Skim.Latte for reading an early draft, and Felena1971 and x-Ice-Queen-x for beta-reading. Special thanks also to Brian and Bradley of Draco and the Malfoys, whose songs "Shooting Fish in a Barrel" and "Slytherin Pride" inspired some of the dynamic between the two characters in this scene.
What Happens in Umbridge's Office, Stays in Umbride's Office
"Now just sit tight, dears, until I return," said Dolores Umbridge in her sugary, girlish voice. "This should only take a moment." She followed Filch out into the corridor, and Draco Malfoy and Luna Lovegood heard her ask him, as their footsteps hurried away down the hall, "They put dungbombs in the what?!"
It would likely be more than a moment before she returned to do… whatever it was she wanted to do with them.
Malfoys, thought Draco irritably, do not wait for anyone. Their time is too valuable to be spent waiting around for others. He had half a mind to get up and leave, but he knew better. Right now, the High Inquisitor seemed to favor him above most of the other students. That favored status could be turned to his advantage in a number of ways, so it seemed best to stay in her good graces as long as possible. He blew out a long breath, and settled into the fusty pink brocade wingback chair, arranging his robes just so. If one was forced to pass the time so fruitlessly, one should at least look good doing it.
Luna sat about five feet away in a chair matching his own, her large silver eyes calmly surveying him, her gaze steady and unblinking, her expression benign. The silence stretched out between them like a well-chewed piece of Drooble's Best Blowing Gum.
He tried at first to ignore her, but there was only so long he could stand looking at the foul kittens featured in the decorative plates adorning the walls of the Hogwarts High Inquisitor. He inspected his fingernails, but they were pristine, as always, and he quickly lost interest. Finally he had to admit to himself that Loony Lovegood was the most interesting thing in the room, and he turned to meet her gaze. Yes, he thought, picking on Luna was bound to be the most satisfying use of his time.
He took in her appearance, and reviewed what he knew about the girl, looking for precisely the right insult – or even better, a backhanded compliment – to make the girl feel like dirt. Really, there was so much material with which he could work. Her hair looked like she never combed it. She had an odd habit of keeping her wand tucked behind her ear when not in use. Her necklace was made of butterbeer corks. Vegetables, for Merlin's sake, hung from her ears. She was in Ravenclaw, and should therefore be as smart as that know-it-all bitch Granger, but Luna Lovegood was always spouting off about stupid things – animals that didn't exist, crazy conspiracy theories, and more. She got all of that from her utterly mad father, editor of The Quibbler, newspaper for gullible morons. And then… there was her hat. The hat Luna had worn to the Quidditch match the day before – a giant lion's head, which actually roared quite loudly and realistically – sat on the floor at her feet. Gods, she hadn't taken to wearing that monstrosity every day, had she?
Draco considered his options, and found that the dizzying array of potential put-downs actually made him feel lightheaded. His handsome, aristocratic brow furrowed as he sorted through his list again, trying to choose. Again and again, he almost spoke, but then another insult would come to him, even better than the last. "Oh, forget it," he muttered to himself. "There's no sport in it – it's just too easy."
Luna tipped her head to one side, a quizzical expression on her face. "Pardon?"
He was unused to telling the unvarnished truth, but in this case, it just might achieve the desired effect. "I was planning to make fun of you," he told her, "but I realized it's just too easy. Picking on Loony Lovegood: where's the challenge in that?"
She raised her pale eyebrows. "How nice," she said. She didn't sound as though she were being facetious, either.
"What's nice about it, Lovegood? I just said you were such a freak case that it's not even fun to pick on you." He scowled, and then looked away, out the window, just to be looking anywhere but into her pale, protuberant eyes. "How hideous. It's even less fun when I have to explain the insults."
"What's nice," she explained, in a soft and patient tone, "is that if it's not fun for you to tease me, then perhaps we can spend the time being pleasant to each other instead."
"Huh," he scoffed. "You and precious Potter and the rest of your worthless friends couldn't be pleasant to me if you tried. Did you not notice that Potter and one of his Weasels attacked me yesterday after the match?" He gently fingered the small cut on his lip where one of them had landed a punch right into the middle of his face, and grimaced as he remembered the disgusting sensation of blood dripping from his nose into his mouth.
"I can't speak for Harry or anyone else," she said, "but I can be perfectly pleasant. What good would it do me to be unpleasant to you? It would likely only provoke you further, whereas kind words might improve things. Kindness, Draco, is what makes the world go 'round."
"No, Lovegood. Money is what makes the world go 'round. Kindness is reserved for those who need to kiss the arses of those who are making the world go 'round with their money."
"All right, then," she said, with a smile that only served to confirm Draco's original assessment of her sanity. "I'll go first. You flew well in the match yesterday – I really thought you might catch the Snitch before Harry got to it." She sat back in her chair, and watched him again, that crazy half-smile lighting her face. "And," she added as an afterthought, "you have very shapely ears." She leaned forward and inspected them more closely. "When your hair is short like this, it shows off your ears better. I do hope it doesn't put you at greater risk of Wrackspurt infection, though."
Draco's hands flew unconsciously to his ears, and he looked at her suspiciously. What was she doing, paying that kind of attention to his ears? He couldn't deny that they were very attractive, as ears go, but… it was still the strangest compliment he had ever received. And now what? Did she expect that he would respond by complimenting her on her thumbs, or something?
He briefly considered asking her what the hell a Wrackspurt was, but thought better of it. Instead, he changed the subject. "So what are you doing here, Lovegood? Why did Her Toadliness want to see you?"
Luna reached down and patted her lion hat on its soft-looking mane. "I'm not sure," she said. "But I was told to come to her office today and to bring my hat."
Draco glanced at the hat. Umbridge would certainly confiscate and destroy it, as it did not fit into the carefully ordered school she was trying to create. The hat was wild, big, loud, and, frankly, a little frightening – not that Draco would admit that to anyone, ever, even under torture. Umbridge liked things to be well-mannered, quiet, and easily controlled. The hat, without a doubt, was doomed.
Good thing, too. It probably had fleas.
"Maybe she wants to give you house points for creative headgear," he said, though he wasn't sure she would understand that he was mocking her.
"Possibly," she said soberly, "but I doubt it. I don't think our High Inquisitor likes my hat very much." She patted it again fondly. "And why are you here?"
"I imagine she wants to get a full account of Potty and Weasel's attack on me, so that she can put all the appropriate details into their student files."
She eyed him critically, assessing the damage. "Does your split lip hurt?"
He reached up again to feel the damage to his lip. "I'll probably be scarred for life because of those violent maniacs."
"No, I'm sure that you won't be," she said. "Here, let me help you." And before he could stop her, she pulled her wand from behind her ear and said "Episkey."
His lip felt slightly warm for a moment. When he next slid his well-manicured finger across it, he could tell it was completely healed. Damn it all. The only reason he had not repaired the lip himself was so that he could offer it as evidence of Potter's and Weasley's brutality. He certainly looked less like a victim now. He could only hope that Umbridge had gotten a good look at him before Filch called her away. Where was that loathsome woman, anyway? How much longer would he be expected to sit patiently, like some lowly house-elf awaiting its next orders?
Luna's eyes grew wider still as she stared at him.
"Oh, my apologies," he said, in a tone that didn't sound sorry at all. "You have my undying gratitude for performing a spell I could easily have done myself."
She smiled broadly at him, displaying small, even, white teeth. "No, it's not that," she said with a small laugh. "I was just noticing that we look a bit alike. I'd never had a chance to look this closely before, so I'd never made the connection."
Draco's eyes widened in alarm. How could anyone think that he resembled the unkempt Luna Lovegood? He, with his classic features and elegant carriage?
"Yes," she exclaimed. "That's it! Now you look even more like me!"
"We both have light-colored hair, though yours is slightly lighter. And our skin is almost the same ivory color. And we both have gray eyes… except that yours are usually narrowed. When you opened them wide just now, they looked much more like mine."
"My eyes are NOT gray," he protested. "They are silver." Her eyes really were about the same color as his, he had to admit. "What the hell is wrong with your face, Lovegood?" Her smile had twisted into an asymmetrical… leer, or something. "You look even weirder than usual, if that's possible."
She burst out laughing – a loud guffaw that took him by surprise. "That's because I'm experimenting," she answered, wiping tears of mirth from her eyes. "You opened your eyes wider and looked more like me, so I thought it was my turn. I was trying to make my mouth look like your mouth. You usually have one part of your upper lip lifted, like this." She made the face again.
"You're absolutely mental," he sneered.
"Yes," she cried. "Perfect! Am I doing it right?" She tried again. "You're absolutely mental," she mimicked, in a low voice.
He snarled, leapt out of his chair, and stalked angrily around the room. "I can't stand being in here any longer," he ground out through gritted teeth. "Where the fuck is she? My father will hear about this outrageous treatment!"
"I don't think it would be news to my father," said Luna, conspiratorially. "He believes Professor Umbridge is working with Cornelius Fudge's army of Heliopaths. He wouldn't put anything past her."
Draco rolled his eyes. He had no idea what a Heliopath was either, and wasn't about to ask. What had he done, he wondered, to get stuck in this office with the most exasperating girl in the entire school?
"You called our High Inquisitor an unkind name earlier," Luna said. "I thought you liked Professor Umbridge, but I'm starting to think you don't like her any more than Harry does."
"I don't like anyone, you daft bint," he spat.
"Oh," she sighed, her face falling. "That's quite sad. You must like someone… Think harder, Draco!"
He stopped his pacing, and looked at her incredulously. She was, without question, the strangest person he had ever met. It didn't seem to matter how rude or insulting he was to her – she insisted on being friendly, helpful, and supportive. The Sorting Hat must have fucked up on Lovegood. She was pure Hufflepuff, perfectly happy to let herself get walked all over.
A sudden creaking sound behind him made him jump. The door! Her Toadliness had finally deigned to return to her office, had she? He wheeled around, ready to threaten her with his father's displeasure.
But no – Dolores Umbridge did not walk through her door. Instead, a slender hand reached in, and deposited something small on the floor. The hand withdrew, the door slammed shut again, and a small furry creature darted across the room straight at Draco.
"Aiyee!" he shrieked, leaping onto his chair.
But the dark shape raced up the chair leg and then – horror to end all horrors – up Draco's leg, scrabbling onto his robes, and continuing straight up his chest.
"Not the face!" he screamed, protecting his face with one arm while desperately beating his robes with the other, as he attempted to throw the animal off of him. Unfortunately, with his eyes covered, he lost his balance, and he and the chair toppled over and landed with a loud crash on the floor.
"Draco!" cried Luna, rushing to his side. "Are you all right?"
"I'm being attacked," he shouted, his face still covered, and his free arm still flailing. "I'm not all right at all!"
"It's gone, Draco. It was a niffler, I think. It took your Prefect badge."
"Shit," he muttered, getting to his feet and brushing himself off. He looked at the hole torn in his robes where the badge had been attached. "Who let that blasted thing in here, anyway?"
His eyes met Luna's when a loud clatter sounded from behind Professor Umbridge's desk. They looked around the office, taking notice of the sheer volume of shiny decorations and knick-knacks adorning the walls, desk, shelves, and fussy little cloth-covered tables.
Her jaw dropped open.
"It'll tear this place apart," he whispered.
They peered around the corner of the desk to find a small sable-coated niffler stuffing Draco's Prefect badge and two silver teaspoons into a crack in the floorboards.
"Oh no, you don't, you little bastard," shouted Draco. He drew his wand, and took aim.
"Don't, Draco!" Luna jumped between the Slytherin and the helpless animal. "It's just doing what nifflers do – it doesn't mean any harm!"
"It's got my badge," he said, leaning around her and taking aim once more. The niffler surprised him, however, by going on the offensive, and leaping directly onto his wand.
"Your ring!" cried Luna. The niffler had spotted the sparkling platinum and diamond ring on the fourth finger of Draco's extended hand, and was attempting to pull it off. "Give it the ring, Draco, before it tries to bite it off!"
"I won't," Draco shouted. "It's a family heirloom!" He shook his arm violently, successfully dislodging the determined beast.
She gasped in horror as the niffler was flung through the air. It smacked hard into the wall, and fell to the floor. A moment later, she sighed with relief as it scrabbled to its feet, and hurtled across the room toward a gilt-framed picture of Cornelius Fudge. The picture was simply too big for the niffler to carry, however. It struggled with its treasure for half a second before abandoning it in favor of Umbridge's silver sugar tongs.
Draco waited until the creature tried to shove the tongs into the same crack in the floorboards. The animal's attention was diverted, and it was in one spot for several seconds – long enough for him to advance, wand drawn.
Luna drew her own wand again, and stepped behind him. "Expelliarmus," she said, and Draco's wand flew in a neat arc over his head. She caught it, and placed it on a doily-covered tea table. "Accio Draco's robes," she continued.
"What the fuck?" He grabbed at his robes, but wasn't fast enough. They swept away from him, straight into her hands.
With a reassuring smile, she tiptoed past him, and tossed the robes over the niffler. Then she scooped the whole bundle up in her arms, and began to stroke the niffler through the dark fabric, humming a lullaby.
"What the hell are you doing with my best robes, Lovegood?"
"They're not your best ones anymore," she said placidly. "They had a big hole where the niffler pulled your Prefect badge loose. And I needed something to settle this little guy down. Now that he can't see all the shiny things, I'm able to calm him. Here – I think he's gone to sleep. You're safe now." She upended her lion hat, and tucked the robes containing the slumbering niffler into the cavity. "They really are very sweet animals, Draco. I couldn't let you hurt the poor little fellow."
"You couldn't let me hurt that… that…," Draco stuttered in his outrage. "It attacked me! It stole from me!"
"He couldn't help it, Draco," she said, rocking the lion hat and cooing. "Nifflers just lose control around shiny objects. You can't blame them for being helplessly drawn to something. When they see something glitter, they just can't think of anything else."
"Thanks ever so much for that disconcerting explanation, Lovegood. You make it sound like the beast was planning to hump my Prefect badge once it got it alone."
"Yes, exactly," she said happily, which only served to alarm Draco further. "No, I don't mean the niffler wanted to have sexual relations with your badge," she assured him, "but I do think the strength of its attraction to shiny things is rather like the kind of obsession some people exhibit when they are sexually attracted to someone. Like… like how some of the girls at Hogwarts act around you, Draco. Some of the boys, too. When you walk into the Great Hall, dozens of pairs of eyes latch onto you. Do you fault them for the attraction they feel?"
"No," he said, "but that's different." Of course people couldn't help but watch him. He was, after all, extremely good-looking even by Malfoy standards.
"I don't think it is," she said. "I see the looks you get. I think several people at Hogwarts would like to grab you and keep you all for themselves. I don't suppose they would stuff you into a crack in the floor, but I bet they would lock you in their dormitories if they could."
With the niffler snoozing in the lion hat, and Luna discussing his irresistible sexual appeal, Draco quickly recovered his bravado.
"You know, Lovegood," he said, his tone suddenly flirtatious, "you must have wanted to get my robes off of me quite badly, to have arranged for your friends to set a niffler loose in here." He prowled closer, coming to a stop only a handbreadth away.
"I would never put another creature at risk merely to divest you of your clothing," she said calmly. "I am not one of the people who watch you so closely in the Great Hall. But several of my classmates find you quite attractive and I have studied their reactions to you."
Right, he thought. "Remind me, Lovegood, exactly what was it you said about my ears?"
"Just because I observed that you have shapely ears, does not mean I want to lock you into my dormitory. I was merely trying to make a point using an example that would be meaningful to you."
"Of course," he said. "And just because I noticed you have great tits doesn't mean I want to shag you rotten."
Luna looked down at her chest, as did Draco. Then she smiled at him. "That's a relief," she said. "We're a bit young for that anyway, aren't we?"
"Maybe you are," he said, attempting to sound as mature as possible, and not backing away one inch.
"Yes," she said. "I do believe I am too young for a sexual relationship. And anyway, to be honest, I'm not attracted to you in that way. Not that you aren't very handsome, of course – but my ideal partner will be someone who shares my love of animals." She gestured toward the upturned hat with its cargo of napping niffler. "Clearly, that isn't you. I'm sorry."
Draco's mind reeled as he stepped away from her. Did he just get turned down by Luna Lovegood? Wait. Did that mean he was making a pass at Luna Lovegood?
If any of this were to get out, his reputation would be ruined. Perhaps he could blame it on the adrenaline rush from the niffler attack… Though it would not do for anyone to know he had leapt onto a chair and had to be saved by a girl, either. Luckily, none of it sounded remotely plausible, and Lovegood was not much of a reliable source for factual information. Perhaps his reputation was safe after all.
"Er, about that," he said, looking for insurance, "I suggest we keep this little incident to ourselves." He retrieved his badge from the niffler's stash, and stuffed it into the pocket of his trousers. He left the spoons and tongs.
"The incident where I rescued you from a niffler, or the incident where you talked about my breasts and mentioned shagging me?"
"The whole thing, Lovegood," he said. "If you were to tell anyone what happened here, no one would believe you anyway. You would just come off slightly crazier than usual."
"In that case…." Luna came closer. Too close. She reached up, wound the small fingers of one hand around his tie, and pulled him down into a kiss, her other hand threading through the hair at the back of his head.
What the fuck? He called her crazy, and this was her response? He didn't understand it, but he didn't fight it. The kiss was soft, probing, and thorough.
When she released him, he shook his head in disbelief. "What the hell was that about, Lovegood? Hadn't you just finished telling me you were not attracted to me?"
"Yes, of course," she said, smiling.
"And that you're too young for shagging, anyway?"
"Goodness, Draco," she said, "that was a kiss, not a shag! I just wanted to give it a try, to see how it felt. And since we won't be telling anyone about our time spent together here, it seemed like a good opportunity."
"And it was nice," she concluded. "It was good to get a bit of practice. I'd like to be good at it, for when I try it with someone I do find attractive. What did you think, Draco? Did I do everything right?"
The clock on the wall struck two, sparing Draco the effort of finding a suitable sarcastic response.
"I don't want to miss Transfiguration," she said. "Perhaps I should just leave the hat. I am done with it, anyway." She retrieved the black bundle from the interior of the lion hat, and opened the door.
"Where are you going with my robes?"
"I'll bring this little fellow down to Hagrid's," she said. "If you want them back when I'm done, I can give them to you at dinner."
Draco imagined what people would say if Luna approached him in the Great Hall to return an item of his clothing.
"No, that's all right," he told her. "You can keep them. Consider them a souvenir."
She laughed. "Are you staying?"
Draco considered his options. If he left, would he lose his favor with the High Inquisitor? Would he get detention, resulting in parental disapproval? Or would his parents be more disapproving if he were to stay, as if he were Umbridge's well-trained lapdog? The only thing clear to Draco was that if he stayed, now that both Luna and the niffler were leaving, he just might die of boredom, and that would never do. Malfoys should die in dramatic, newsworthy ways – not alone in a stuffy pink office, abandoned even by the Lunatic of Ravenclaw.
"No," he said. "I'm not staying. Let's make a break for it."
"Aren't you worried you'll get detention if she comes back and you're gone?"
"Nah," he drawled. "If she gets me for leaving, she'll get you, too. And frankly, you could use a bit more practice."
"Draco," she laughed, "that may be the nicest thing you have ever said to me."
"I'll deny it," he told her, as they scanned the corridor, found it empty, and stepped across the threshold together.
"Naturally," she replied. "What happens in Umbridge's office, stays in Umbridge's office."
This one was difficult for me because I really wanted to give them a snog, but it was hard to manage without making either or both of them go completely out of character. So - it turns out that writing Draco is pretty fun! I may do more of it in the future!
Drop me a note and let me know what you thought of this one. Lovely reviews will be celebrated, constructive criticism will be taken into account in future projects, and flames will be mocked.