Summary: Hearts will never speak as loud as the secrets that reside in them. LunaDraco. One-shot.
Note: Takes place post-Second Wizarding War for the most part. Only difference: in the final battle, Luna, not the Trio, saves Draco from the Death Eater. But everything, including the epilogue, remains the same.
"All of you young people who served in the war: you are a lost generation." -Gertrude Stein
He doesn't remember much.
He distantly remembers a confrontation with the golden trio - the mudblood, the blood-traitor and the chosen one.
He remembers Crabbe paying no heed to his words, to his surprisingly desperate pleas to let them go ("Stop! The Dark Lord wants him alive—don't kill him! Don't kill him!") and watching in horror as the daft boy refused to listen and began spitting out spells too powerful for him to handle. And as the magic spun out of his housemate's control, he remembers watching the dire consequences of backfiring magic unraveling before them – all of them.
He remembers fizzling sparks of flames and fire all around, foggy, ominous ash-colored clouds of smoke, and the sickly smell of burning, of scorching skin and an uncharacteristic shout of despair coming out of his mouth as one of the three grabbed him by the back of his cloak and made him jump behind them on broomsticks to flee from death once again. They are forced to leave a certain pudgy boy to meet an untimely death (then again nothing is untimely in a time of war, even the age of death) and in the burning wind, he remembers hearing an agonizing shriek and wondering if this is what war truly brings to people – not wizards, not muggles – people.
Somehow he finds himself in the Hogwarts grounds, running frantically for his life. It is never-ending – the distance – but maybe that's because he doesn't exactly know where his destination is, what his purpose is, whose side is he on anyway, where's his mum, is his father dead-there is only canvas of confusion around him. There is no safe side; he sees no cowardly way out, no mercy, no forgiveness. There are no white flags to wave – there is nothing but hellish cries of wrath, spots of bravery, and human loss stacking up like cards all around him.
He does not belong anywhere he realizes. He does not find pleasure in taking away life nor does he find any courage within himself to give away his own for the sake of either of the warring sides. He must fend for himself because he is of no value to anyone anymore. This is no place for cowards.
Somewhere in the mess, across the fields covered in blue, green, red, yellow (colors of enchantments, hexes, and unforgivable curses), in the piles of corpses strewn across the school grounds, he's met with a fellow Death Eater. For a second he is frozen, completely aware of how this could very well be the end – his end – and all he can think is he never even got to say goodbye to his mum.
He weeps, begs, lies and deceives as best as he can (it should be natural by now), fully aware his efforts are futile; he isn't gaining sympathy or forging an alliance and the wand wavers above him, almost like his life. And then there is a sudden flash of light, followed just as quickly by another and he's hit by a spell. For a second he thinks he's dying – certain he heard the killing curse being spoken from somewhere. The process of actually dying goes much slower than he imagined it would, as he flies back against the hard dirt floor in a sickening slow motion effect, a ripple of stinging pain springing out from somewhere in his body.
He lies on the ground struggling to take painful gasping breaths and teetering in and out of consciousness in a fight-or-flight (he's not sure which one really) mode; innate survival instincts kick in from Merlin knows where, and his mind must be playing tricks on him because he thinks he sees a luminous face and silver eyes shining, looming over him. It mesmerizes his emptying mind as straggly dirty blonde hair tickles the cuts on his right cheekbone. And then comes the feel of cold fingers on his head – a scathing pain erupting in the place they touch over and over again – like cool metal and rusty, dried up blood on gaunt, sallow milk-colored skin.
"You won't die. Just stay still. It will be over soon enough-"
The voice speaks from the distant horizon or maybe it's from the velvet night sky from above; a foreign, unearthly texture to it (or maybe he's just going insane with death, fantasizing the company of another).
He remembers being so absolutely terrified, that if the physical pain wasn't enough, than the terror in itself could probably tear him apart into two.
He remembers finally succumbing to the darkness (and like always he doesn't have a choice in the matter). The last thing he is conscious of is the contact of fingers on what he guesses to be a head wound, and then everything numbing away into a senseless black hole of space.
And then he is gone, just like that (almost like magic).
He slips in and out of consciousness for what seems like days, and somewhere in the middle he realizes he is living, existing barely, but still. He wants to groan, but his body refuses to make any movement, refuses to obey his mind. He thinks he'd rather die than have to live in this torturous limbo much longer.
He hears voices around him whispering but he can never catch the words or fully grasp their significance. Everything comes out in mangled hushes and veiled conversations. Certain words are repeated more than others and they trail along in his mind even in his sleeping state.
"Lucius…Narcissa Malfoy…trial…fatal…wound to the head…"
Every so often, he feels something moving across his forehead and he'll have the strength to just barely flitter his eyes open for a second, everything a fuzzy unclear image around him. Then, becoming exhausted just as quickly, something inside of him urging him to shut his eyes and go to sleep.
One night he wakes up and everything is too big, the silhouettes dance around the outlines of the room and he realizes he's in St. Mungo's Hospital. But he doesn't have much time to let the situation sink in or even worry what's wrong with him because he's gasping for air frantically, lungs begging for oxygen. It's almost like lying on the battle grounds again, blooding seeping out from somewhere on his body, but having absolutely no power to stop it, the world welling up around him and leaving him to sink to the bottom all alone.
Then suddenly, a hand brushes across his forehead, and there's a lull in the pain that shoots through his temple, as the fingers nimbly trace his moist, clammy skin.
The same voice from that night seems to whispers and there's still something so dreamlike and comfortingly unfamiliar about the way the voice pronounces the words that he loses himself in it all over again.
For a second there is still complete silence, a sense of permanence in the darkness, in the night, and then, in one intake of breath, there is swift upheaval and commotion. People dressed in white bustled around him checking his head, saying something he cannot tune out exactly but cannot comprehend quickly enough either.
Suddenly all he can sense around him is the blinking of too many lights, their glow obnoxiously brilliant, and he thinks the room is spinning around him too fast to be normal. As black splotches splatter across certain parts of his vision, he realizes this isn't dying, this is fainting.
"Can you tell me your name, young man? Do you remember…" One of the strangers asks (he guesses it's some sort of healer).
"Dr–Draco Malfoy." He retches, croaking almost, and then he's gone once again, the writhing pain almost tearing his head apart and he'd like to die now.
He wakes up blearily, firefly golden light dust trickling across the bed from the window, and as he tries to sit up, he's hit with a gust of dizziness, a rush of blood to the head that makes him quickly collapse back against the pillow before he has an urgent need to throw up onto the floor.
He takes a few miniscule breaths, before trying to focus his attention on something other than the light-headedness he's feeling. His eyes carefully wander across the empty room and just as they land on the door, a girl with wispy dirty blonde hair and odd silver eyes comes through it.
She stops in place at the sight of him, before giving him an aloof smile.
"You're awake." She states the obvious with a vague tone and he glowers at her for a second, before letting his eyes look around for someone – anyone else.
"Where's my mum and dad?" He finally rasps out, giving up eventually on hoping that they will suddenly pop out of thin air any second now. "Are they…" He doesn't finish, looking at the white sheets covering his sprawled limbs intently instead.
She stands there in contemplative silence and he clears his throat in impatience. He already feels like a sack of brittle old bones, he doesn't need anything but a quick answer to his question. He just needs to know that they haven't been—
"They're on trial." She finally informs him, the uneasy quality of crystallized tranquility still present in her tone, "Or well… they're waiting for their trial I suppose." She looks away thoughtfully, before nodding her head at something and continuing, "The Ministry of Magic will be dealing with the ones they believe to be most dangerous first and since your mother saved Harry's life-"
"She what?" He cuts in with a deadpanned tone.
She gazes at him, "Indirectly, you can say she did." She responds softly.
They rift into silence again and the girl looks up at the ceiling as if it's the most fascinating thing she's ever come across.
"So he's dead." He finally asks impassively, still refusing to look up at her. He should probably be a little clearer.
He looks up at her to do just that when his eyes meet hers and he realizes that's not quite necessary.
"He's dead." She affirms simply.
He thinks he should probably ask her to elaborate, but for some reason he's not sure he wants to know the details, at least not right now. For now, he's happy to pretend it doesn't matter – even if a part of him can't help soaking in the rush of relief that washes across his body, his mind.
The healer scans the side of his temple where he's just rewrapped the bandaged cloth, scrutinizing it from afar after taking a step back from the counter where he pours out the potion for him to drink. "It seems to be healing well enough," the elderly man remarks before pausing. "I told the Ministry I would much prefer that we get you completely healed before you go in for your trial – that injury of yours being life-threatening and all. They have agreed that as soon as I find you to be fit, you're to be sent straight-away to stay with your parents and wait with them under Ministry supervision."
The seventeen year old nods his head blankly before looking away apathetically. "I understand," he responds. The man hesitates for a second as if torn between being sympathetic and being professional (after all the boy in front of him served for the other side from what he's gathered – the mark on his wrist a clear proof of that) before returning the brief nod as well and standing up and briskly proceeding to the door.
"I have a question," he calls out without thinking.
The man stops almost at once, turning around. "Yes?"
"I – I don't – or well, I get these awful headaches when I'm trying to remember certain…things. More recent than old," he stops, unsure of how to continue, "Is that…normal?"
The man's eyes soften. "Yes quite normal actually, especially with the blow you received to the head. Some very powerful magic involved I must say. The headaches will go away soon enough though," he falters for a second, eyes looking at him vigilantly, "or so we hope. You'll need those memories…for the trial I assume."
The sick feeling from the past comes back and all he can manage to do is nod his head stiffly again, his trademark and the only safe bodily movement at this point.
"I haven't been here in a while now, have I?" The silver-eyed girl comments, sitting down on the vacant armchair in front of his bed. It's been three days to be precise.
The boy stares at her dispassionately, trying to indicate his lack of concern at the matter. Frankly, he doesn't know why she's been hereonce to begin with. He's never talked to her really, save for the times he joined in teasing her for her loony antics about imaginary creatures back in their younger years at Hogwarts; that hardly count though. But those days have long passed and he never paid much attention to her even then.
She doesn't seem to notice or care about his lack of response. "Did anyone else come to visit you?" She asks and he looks up quickly, wondering if she is serious. From her expression, he realizes she is. She really is barking mad he decides.
"Why would anyone want to visit a death eater, especially after the Dark Lord's fall?" He replies dryly, boring cold grey eyes through her silver ones.
She shrugs. "I visit."
He blows out some air from the side of his mouth moodily. "You're a lunatic, it doesn't count," he mumbles inaudibly.
She's not paying attention though so she doesn't see the slight movement of his mouth as he says the words under his breath.
"Why are you here anyways?" He thinks out loud, fixing his eyes back on her, "Shouldn't you be celebrating with the rest of the clan. You are one ofthem after all." The end comes out a little more bitter than he'd like and he's not even sure why it reverberates out of his mouth that way to begin with.
She's about to say something, but stops herself, and it's almost like she's restraining a part of what she would like to say. That's a first, he thinks to himself.
"You've been out for a while so it's understandable I suppose… You see, the celebrations have died down; it's been like that for quite some time now." She bends down to pull up one of her colorful striped stockings before pondering out loud, "Besides, how much can you celebrate with the weight of the dead on your back?"
He stares at the stockings long after she's done fiddling around with them, and suddenly he remembers being fifteen years old and spying on her skipping down a hallway on one of the school floors trying to see where those stupid secret DA meetings were held. She was wearing those same striped stockings. Those were the times where all that mattered was being the best snitch he could be.
He scoffs at the memory and she looks up quizzically but says just as resolutely as always. "Something wrong?"
"Yes." He replies crisply, "Those stockings you're wearing are ridiculous. How old are you again?" he finishes scathingly.
She blinks stoically. "You like to jump from one topic to another quickly, don't you?"
"Excuse me?" He drawls out in slight irritation. Having a conversation with a mad girl like her is impossible he's starting to conclude.
"I'm sixteen, but I would have imagined you would have figured that out by now. I've been a year below you at school for a while now, haven't I?" She says slowly with genuine disbelief, completely unaware of the dripping sarcasm in his previous question.
He stares at her with expressionless eyes and a slight disapproving scowl etched across his mouth. "Lovegood, there is so much wrong with you, it's almost a pity."
She starts to hum some composition he feels he might have a chance at recognizing if she weren't so off key. "Is there?" she asks lightly, not the least bit insulted, and he wonders if she's simply in denial or truly oblivious.
"It's funny. You'd be surprised how many people have told me the same thing before—"
"Believe me, I'm not the least bit surprised—"
"—though much more nicely, mind you," she remarks as an afterthought
"Oh don't mind me. Merlin knows I wouldn't want to be rude in my current position," he snaps sardonically, gazing towards the door behind her restlessly and praying for a healer or nurse to come any second now to tell the weird girl in front of him that visiting hours are over. He's starting to get a terrible pain around the side of his temple. He wants it to go away almost as much as he wants her to leave.
No such luck of course for either of his wishes to come true, he guesses.
"You never answered my question completely." He finally brings up instead and suddenly he feels so very tired.
He gets drowsy so easily these days he's come to realize. The most trivial things will get him worked up, and since there's nothing really exciting or amusing he can encounter in the empty room to keep his attention for too long, his eyelids will suddenly feel heavy and yearn to be kept shut. He thinks it's the potion they make him drink three times a day. Or maybe it's his body itching to catch up on all the sleep he lost in the last two years of the war.
"Which one?" She asks. He's pretty sure she's pretending to be clueless so he tries to glare at her.
"Why do you come here? I don't even know you." He grits his teeth in half-agitation and half-sleepiness.
She stares at him strangely, stranger than usual, before standing up and walking towards him; he has the urge to inch away from her, but his body refuses to move.
"Oh I think that's a conversation for another day," she says, in an even-tone. "You should go to sleep now," she whispers and then there's another voice and he thinks he can hear the sound of sheets being tucked in around him, but it's probably his mind playing tricks on him. It's been doing that to him a lot lately.
His eyes are already closing and he's drifting away.
The next time she visits, she brings an umbrella. Her straggly blonde hair is wet at the ends and there are some droplets of water on her cheeks.
"It's raining rather hard out there," she mentions off-handedly, taking the back of her coat's sleeve to wipe some of the water away.
He takes in her appearance coldly, narrowing his eyes in distaste, before folding the Daily Prophet (he's been following his parents' upcoming trial religiously) and promptly turning away to look at the white wall in front of him. He hears a rustle and then the squeak of wet boots against the tiled and polished floor. "You know you could use a charm to dry yourself off," he says, too stubborn to turn back around and fully acknowledge her presence. "You are a witch after all."
"I know," she replies conversationally, "but some things don't always need to involve magic, do they? Unless of course blibbering humdingers are involved: then certainly, magic is most understandably required."
For a second there is complete and utter silence.
"Lovegood, you make no sense – ever, I hope you know that."
He turns around to see her reaction and she seems a little taken-aback, a small muddled smile tugging at the corner of her mouth nevertheless. "So I've been told time and time again." She says conversationally, before shrugging off the statement, and rummaging through her tote bag for something.
"I brought you something. I was talking to my dad the other day, he doesn't like you very much or the idea of me coming to visit you-"
He snorts. Even the loon's father, who he's heard is even loonier than her, doesn't like his daughter coming to visit him.
"I suppose it makes sense though, after the whole imprisonment dilemma in your manor those months ago-"
He sobers up immediately at the memory of a certain half-starved girl and old man sitting in the pitch cold blackness of his home's cellar. He can still hear the sound of the torturing curse being used unrelentingly, over and over again late into the night, with the howl of the nocturnal wind.
"—dad was distraught, so desperate, he was even willing to give up Harry just to have me back – I'm all he has you see. I was terribly disappointed in him for even trying to do something as foolish as that. Even thinking my life is more important than Harry Potter's; it's complete madness-"
She's rambling and he can't help sighing loudly; she's giving him a headache again, but she doesn't notice, continuing on with the long tale happily.
"Lovegood!" He interjects decisively and she stops immediately.
"Get to the point, will you? I get worn out easily, if you haven't noticed already."
He rubs the side of his temple for a second, feebly trying to lessen the throbbing pain of fatigue if only for a little while.
She nods her head. "Oh yes, well anyway, after a bit of badgering, he finally gave in, and I asked him what he thought a seventeen year old boy would like to do if he were stuck in a bed all day with absolutely nothing of interest around him. He said maybe you'd like to read or something of that sort."
"Did he now?" Draco replies, eyes languid and lifeless, despite her sudden burst of chattiness.
She nods her head energetically. "Yes. But then I wondered what I should get you to read and I thought maybe you'd like to read some of the old issues of The Quibbler – the issues before Dad got a bit more involved on how Harry needed to overcome Voldemort." He flinches as she pronounces the name like it could be any passerby's titled namesake. "I'm sure it's a bit of touchy subject – a little too serious after everything we've all been through. You need something that qualifies as a bit more light reading–"
"Please tell me you didn't actually bring me old editions of your craz— I mean your father's magazine." He responds in prying deliberation, clearly not amused at the possibility of it.
"No, I decided against it eventually. I decided to give you my Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book instead. I've always found it relaxing. Time seems to fly by faster when you're reading it. It's just so fascinating. Although I must admit, it does miss out on far more of the exotic and reclusive creatures like that Heliopath-"
"Stop." He interrupts in a harsh voice, staring at the book she just dropped onto his lap in incredulity. "I've had just about enough of all this." He says, struggling to keep from lashing out in anger at the girl in front of him.
She observes his facial expression, the deep frown on his face and the deadness in his eyes. "You're upset." she notes absently.
"Yes Lovegood. I am upset. I've been upset for a while now. For some reason though, you don't seem to notice that you're only bloody making it worse with your visits." He takes a deep breath, pacing himself, before continuing unfeelingly, "Soon I'll be out of here, probably spending the rest of my life in Azkaban and the last thing I need is—" He stops himself short.
She stares at him, silver eyes ambiguous and waiting. He wonders if she really doesn't get it, even now. "You're wasting your time. I don't know what ever possessed you of coming here to see me of all people." he repeats again uncaringly, except in one or two sentences this time. It actually feels sort of nice, not having to filter anything out when he actually speaks.
Just when he thinks, hopes, she's about to turn away on the heels of her boots and run away she takes a step or two closer to him; she's always catching him off-guard with her thinking process, her actions.
"You know, I saved your life and I still don't know what was going through my head when I did." She says as if she's talking about the weather - no indication of frustration or tremor of regret in her voice, though it seems less dreamy than before. Her probing silver eyes lose some of their shine as well, and for a second, she seems faintly perturbed. Suddenly he understands.
"Does it bother you," he questions in mild interest, "that you saved me? Is that it? Is that what you're trying to figure out by coming here?"
"It doesn't bother me, no, but…" she returns, her voice seemingly oceans away.
He keeps his eyes on her, watching her attempt in vain to remain in her typical out of the blue illusion and dreaminess.
"Scarhead probably thinks it was a noble cause, what you did for me," he finally answers remotely, with only a twinge of sourness in his tone. "But if you're expecting for the day I'm suddenly flooded with gratitude for you, it will never happen – I assure you."
She quirks her head to the side a bit, a slightly poignant smile appearing on her face, as she shakes her head in defeat. "I don't expect anything like that from you, Draco. I never have."
The wind blows hard against the window sill, whistling to them, the pitter-patter of the rainstorm getting heavier. "Look at that, it started to rain again," she continues softly, in a sing-song tone.
"Hasn't it been raining the entire time?" He replies distractedly, averting his eyes from her eventually.
She shakes her head. "Oh no. It stopped for a while during our talk." She twirls the umbrella in her hands for a second, "I should probably get going. I'm sure Daddy is waiting for me to make him his evening tea. I've been out longer than expected."
She turns around calmly, "Till next time, Draco."
And then he's all alone again.
It's raining again. It's been raining for a week now but he finds the dreary, gray skies a little comforting as the days pass by. They work well with his brooding mood, he supposes, as he studies some raindrops seeping in and trickling down the frame of the window panel.
"Did you lose anyone in the war, Draco?" Her voice breaks him from his thoughts. She's here again, obviously.
He lost an aunt, a first cousin, a second or third distance cousin removed, the list goes on. Some pure evil and some merely just blood-traitors, it makes no difference; he never cared for any of them. Oh and then there was a professor.
"Crabbe." He speaks simply, listlessly.
"Just Crabbe?" Her eyes catch his, a dreamy probing manner to them.
He keeps his jaw locked in place, unafraid of her discerning eyes. He has too much pride to look away. "Yes. Just Crabbe."
"Oh. I see."
He nods his head curtly, looking out the window, grey eyes void of emotion and the same color of the cloudy skies just above like always. The rain starts pelting down a bit harder than before.
"You're not very happy, are you?" She slides her book on magical creatures down, just beneath her nose, sneaking a secret glance on him.
"Why would anyone in their right mind be happy at a time like this, especially in my condition?"
She's thinking. There is a range of possibilities, of insane reasoning that could come out of her mouth and she is eerily unreadable. She shrugs. "Because we're still here, aren't we?"
He glowers at the dark mark on the flesh of his wrist. "What difference does that make?"
There is no symphony coming out of the mouth of the girl sitting in the armchair this time.
"Lovegood, would you, by any chance, know where my wand is?" He asks out of nowhere as she enters his room.
Occasionally, he decides not to be difficult during her visits. Besides, the lack of a wand has been disturbing him for a while now he realizes as he glances around the empty room in unhurried distress.
She halts in place, the violet cardigan she's wearing hanging loosely on her delicate, lissome shoulders; she's lost weight (and she already was so thin after the treatment she received at the manor). Her eyes lock on to his. "Harry used it to defeat Voldemort."
Indignation fires up in his sharp grey eyes. "What? Why would Potter use my wand of all wands?"
"Because yours defeated the Elder's Wand, when you used it against Dumbledore, right?"
He becomes silent instantly, grey eyes losing some of their color as he relives the memory. He doesn't bother to answer.
"Anyway, the Ministry confiscated it sometime after the battle, I think, for safety purposes. I'm not sure where they kept it. I should ask Harry about that," she finishes off surreally.
She keeps to herself for a few seconds; he's noticed that she tends to disappear spontaneously, lost in her own mind.
"Right," He replies, giving up on finding out any more about his missing wand.
The thing is he's not really sure about her. She just different—uncomfortably, gnawing under your skin, different.
"Do you know how to perform the Patronus Charm, Draco?"
He exhales a loud breath, still irked that she insists on calling him by his first name. "My aunt Bella taught me the summer before my seventh year."
She remains quiet for a second, probably pondering the link between 'aunt' and 'Bella.' To the world, the maniac worshipper of the Dark Lord could only be pictured with one murderous identity after all (and rightly so, he'll admit). Bellatrix Lestrange.
"I see." She finally replies and he thinks they'll be resuming the previous moment of silence and he doesn't mind the thought of that at all (he's actually giving himself a pat on the back for bringing up his dead aunt) when she starts again and he can't help feeling a little let-down that she never seems to be intimidated by anything.
"What's your Patronus?"
He holds back for a second before mumbling something and glowering at the bed sheets.
"Sorry, I didn't quite hear you," she returns good-naturedly, sitting a little more upright than before in her seat, genuinely interested in knowing.
"A ferret." He grits his teeth before gazing up at her, daring her to laugh.
"Oh…" She blinks unnaturally at him. "Oh!"
They recede back into silence before he finally decides the moment of potentially being ridiculed has passed, releasing a breath he didn't know he was keeping in. His shoulders relax accordingly.
Then he hears it, faintly, but yes, no doubt about it.
"What was that?" He asks sharply, eagle eyes zoning in predatorily on her lips and the awkward shape they're taking, eyes narrowing reproachfully.
"Nothing." She squeaks out just barely, before desperately trying to swallow down another giggle and keep a straight face at the same time. She's failing miserably at it, even a fool could notice that, and now her body's even shaking from the tremor of laughter that's begging to spill out from her mouth.
"Are you laughing at me?" He growls threateningly, and she furiously tries to shake her head, while tears spring up in her alien eyes.
"You are laughing at me!" He accuses her in a hiss, quickly pinpointing her behavior (which is odder than usual).
"N-no—" she chokes out, gasping for breath.
"Stop laughing at me!" He orders her, livid in rage that she has the audacity to laugh at him. Oh if only he had a wand…
"I'm so–sorry," she sputters out, actually looking as apologetic as possible while still holding her sides for dear life. She leans down in her seat, and tries to muffle her spurts of extended laughter.
When she's finally calmed down, she looks up and finds him sitting there, arms folded and eyes filled with calculated resentment.
"What's yours then," he sneers. "It better be pretty damn impressive, if you can find mine so bloody hilarious."
"Are you serious, Lovegood?" He raises an eyebrow, before scorning insultingly, "A hare – what an absurd little creature. Why would anyonewant their Patronus to be in the form of something as run of the mill as a hare? At least the ferret can be seen as shrewd, tricky—"
She frowns at him, dreaminess faltering. "I happen to like the hare very much, thank you."
"Course you do, Lovegood." He taps his fingers against his arm lazily, "Why am I not surprised?"
"Don't make fun of my hare." She replies tartly.
"Don't laugh at my ferret." He counters smoothly, giving her an unruffled gaze.
They give each other the silent treatment for a few minutes before she marches out of his room, without even so much as a good bye, which is perfectly fine with him.
Good riddance, he thinks tersely.
"When I'm finished with my seventh year at Hogwarts, I plan to become a wizarding naturalist." She reports to him seriously, as if he actually would care to know what she'll do with her future.
She came back despite his taunts about her Patronus hare. Merlin help them all.
"Has it ever occurred to you, what with the fact that I never actually ask you to tell me your plans post-Hogwarts, that I could give a rat's arse where you end up eventually?"
She stares at him blankly, awkwardly, fiddling with her fingers in her lap. He's noticed she does this when she can't think of anything else to do. "What are your plans once you get out of here?" She finally asks.
He strums his chin in mock-consideration before drawling, "Probably try to convince that ridiculous Ministry of ours to sentence me to fifteen years in Azkaban instead of a lifetime. But I don't know if they'll fall for the whole 'helpless boy forced to convert to the dark side' charade a second time around." He pauses. "My family has a tendency to utilize that role a little too much."
She takes her cup of tea from the little square table in front of her, twirling the spoon in it more times than necessary, before sipping the Earl Gray Tea systematically. "I'm sure everything will work out as it's supposed to in the end," she says conversationally, not a pensive breath out of place.
He gives her a withering look back in response.
Her eccentricities drive him up a wall most of the time, and other times, they're a refreshing breath of life he would otherwise never dream of embracing. Sometimes when he observes her from across the room, he thinks her veins seem to be made out of rainbow meteor showers invoked through magic.
And sometimes when she speaks, he hardly pays attention to the string of words coming out of her sing-song mouth. He's more enraptured with the hushed breathes that come in between each few words. She seems to possess an incessant aura and then there's her disorienting posture - the slenderness of her limbs, the dip of her shoulders, the steep curve of her cheekbones, not nearly as sleek as his, and he likes the fluttering and awkward grace in her meandering step.
She is a wanderer, and she will go wherever the universe decides to take her, not because she believes in destiny or soul-searching – she just believes. She is sixteen years old and he thinks he could possibly be growing too fond of how the light catches the side-profile of her face as she sits in front of him patiently, even though he refuses to be drawn into her attempts at conversation.
She might be rubbing off on him. Stupid solitary confinement.
"I wonder who thought up love," she muses thoughtfully one day.
She's crouched up against the armchair, looking like a sparrow in a vinyl nest, and he always makes sure to keep a safe distance between them.
"What do mean?" he asks guardedly, wary of where this could go.
"I mean out of all the magic conjured over time, powerful and tempting, the one thing that can always conquer even the darkest and most complex enchantment or spell or curse, is love, simply love. It's quite magnificent isn't it, love?" She marvels, tugging her knees closer to her chest.
"Maybe it's not as simple as you think," he challenges glassily, a coat of frost and leftover acid in his tone.
"Maybe," she floats away for a second, eyes glazing over a drowning pool of silver, "Have you ever loved anyone?"
"No," he breezily replies, biting into a green apple, and turning a page of the Daily Prophet with razor-sharp haste, so it makes a snappish noise as he does it.
She remains silent for a second or two. "Don't lie," she chides defiantly but tranquilly and he looks up surprised.
"I'm not," he insists icily, with growing aggravation at this false impression she seems to be holding on to. He is also aware she has a nagging ability to catch onto things quicker than others, even about people she hardly knows.
"You love your mother and father and they love you, isn't that so?" she pushes.
His eyes remain cold and unaffected. "Is that what love is?" he queries with rhetorical disinterest.
She gazes at him with perceptive glassy eyes. "You're mother loves you. She would risk her life to keep you alive. She would disobey and betray one of the most powerful dark wizards the world has seen, if it means keeping you safe. She already has—"
"I get it." He cuts in, tone blatantly unpleasant and edgy.
"Do you?" She returns a little less languorously, her eyes suddenly holding an unspeakable trouble that weighs her down and he realizes she looks a bit aged, a little older than sixteen, the dreaminess fading a bit. She's not the same Loony Lovegood he saw the day before, or the day before that. She's falling apart little by little, right under his nose. It's almost tragic, watching her lose herself like the rest of the undead souls around them. "I don't think everyone is meant to, you know. Some people just aren't brave enough to understand, to stand up for the right thing, as hard as that maybe, all because of love." She's doing that thing again, looking right through him, like he isn't even there, and then, "Sometimes I wonder if you're one of those people."
He doesn't know what to say. He could probably make a sarcastic comment but for some reason he decides to say nothing at all for once.
She comes in one day, eyes glazed and something is off, he can feel it. He doesn't push it though.
"There are no such things as Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, are there?" she questions lightly, in the middle of their time together, and he looks over to find a mirror set of haunted eyes glancing back at him.
They are little less disillusioned (or maybe non-believing is a disillusion itself, a disheartening aftereffect of stony grievances and post-war recollections that reside in the back of the mouth long after you've tried to swallow the bitter taste down) a side-effect of a generation beaten down upon.
Brief, hesitant silence hangs heavy and stiff in the air around them. He can play along if he chooses to or he can down the path she's starting to head down if only to watch her grow up in front of his own eyes.
"No, there aren't." He confirms quietly, no bite or malice in his tone, just a hard wall of truth, of practiced resilience and skepticism
She nods her head, not really here with him, at least emotionally. They sit in their respective dark places, the ethereal light finally collapsing.
The luster of silver in her eyes peels away ever so slightly.
The silver in her eyes reminds him of splattered, metallic story-telling dust from far-fetched wizarding fables told to most young wizards or witches in their childhood, stories tarnished from time and wear somewhere in the back of most people's heads.
It's honorable, he thinks, the ceaseless stretch of possibility she tries to take with the impossible. Somewhere along the way, it will end, these violent leaps of faith; soon enough it will sink to the bottom like a pebble in a sea. It's already starting to break away.
He wakes up with a start one evening to find her sitting in the armchair, reading some book.
"You're late." He mumbles, frowning and feeling crabbier than usual after he sleeps for some reason.
She looks up, big alien eyes plastered with something like concern, but then receding back into peculiarity again.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I had to go out for lunch with Harry and the Weasleys this afternoon," she replies politely.
And he doesn't know why he hates the fact that she's more theirs than his – that she always will be –but he does. He doesn't tell her this though. He doesn't ask her how the lunch went either.
"How are you?" She finally asks, and that's when he notices the way her eyes dart so purposely across his features.
"Fine," he replies, narrowing his eyes in suspicious, as she continues staring at him, "What's wrong?" He snaps in irritation.
She shakes her head a little, caught off-guard by the bark in his tone, before looking down at her hands neatly folded in her lap. "Do you remember your dreams when you wake up?" She questions absent-mindedly.
"I don't dream." He responds succinctly, caged and morose eyes looking away at his pale hands that feel drier than usual.
Her gaze softens and becomes pensive. "Everyone dreams. Some just choose to forget them."
"I don't dream, Lovegood," He repeats darkly.
Her mouth twitches, the silver in her eyes straying away, and he thinks she's starting to believe him. "You know, our dreams tell us a lot about who we are," she comments imperturbably, completely disregarding his last sentence.
He inwardly groans, voice rising higher. "Not this again-"
"You dream. I hear you." She cuts in firmly, breathless air hovering around her lips – her pink chapped lips – and he sucks in his own breath at the sight of her without meaning to.
"What are you talking about?" He hisses and it almost comes out like a low growl. Everything is spiraling out of control right before him and she doesn't know him, she never will.
"A few minutes ago, while you were sleeping, I heard you – you were talking in your sleep; you were mumbling incoherently about your mother, your father, Voldemort, and you shivered and trembled so fiercely…I held your hand-"
"You held my hand! Where do you come off even thinking you could do something like that–" He explodes in outrage and anger.
Her eyes are shining and passionate and she's having none of his outbursts or tantrums today. "And you kept saying 'don't kill her' over and over again – I assume it was your mother you were talking about. You seemed so frightened and it reminded me of that night, though I doubt you remember, the sight of you on your knees, begging-"
"Be quiet, Luna." He commands automatically at the memory, voice treading on the lines of frostbitten warning. He's too cowardly to be reminded of weakness and vulnerability.
She stops immediately, the dreaminess in her wide, eager eyes becoming more prominent.
He feels something inside of him choking, his heart beating wildly and he swallows hard, something at the pit of his stomach swelling up to the surface.
She moves towards him, hovering over him, just like she did all those nights ago on the battlefield "It's okay. You're human just like me, Draco. You're just as real and sane as I am. Everything is not lost-"
"Lovegood." He calls out in a almost strangled voice, because he's not doing this, not now, not with her.
"Oh don't do that. Call me Luna again, like you just did a second ago," she speaks pleasantly to him.
She touches his temple gently with the back of her hand and his eyes travel from her excited rosy mouth up her porcelain skin, some faint scars from the war more visible in this angle of the light, in this close proximity, finally coming to a pause at her silvery oceanic eyes.
She could be a silver lining for him as the world spins madly on, coming down from someplace in the vast twilight-clouded skies and maybe he could learn to care. Maybe he could breathe out her name and let her be happy – or maybe he couldn't.
"You should go Lovegood. It's getting late," he whispers hoarsely, something broken, and he doesn't think he'll ever be able to find out what it is exactly.
Her hold slackens and she takes her fingers away from his forehead in a second, body lurching away, like she's just been burned by him, and he sees something amiss in the labyrinth of twined silver in her eyes, catching the light from the lamp.
He never meant to be any trouble, all he ever wanted to be was special, applauded, admired, and gloriously envied for all the wrong things. He was a boy, a boy who made all the wrong choices. A master of taunting and insulting for pleasure, but biting witty words can only go so far, barely skin-deep. Then the distasteful words are forgotten, plastered over by care, love, valor from other people, braver people. This isn't his fault, it's just who he is, or rather isn't.
She stares at him like it's the first time she's ever seen him – really see him. The lump in his throat refuses to go away, as he takes struggles with his breathing slightly but keeps his grey eyes basked in indifference, masking the turmoil he feels as best he can.
"I'll go then," she finally answers back, a hollow echo of shattered seashells strewn across the marine floor noticeable in the tone she takes. Then she nods her head like a docile child not exactly sure what's happening anymore.
He thinks farewells are sort of akin to heartbreak – or at least the closest he'll ever come to a broken heart.
The room always smells of rainwater (never teardrops) and violet-blue forget-me-nots after she leaves, gliding across the room delicately, as if afraid to be overtaken by something a little more sinister and a little less natural.
She's starting to stay inside of his head, lurking in the corners, overwhelming the throb in his temple, the pulse right beneath his chin, on the side of his neck, even after she is gone. Even when he falls asleep and goes off somewhere miles away from this little hospital room.
He does not know what love or devotion is. He knows what undying loyalty to family is, he knows that like the back of his hand. And maybe he's starting to know other things too, bit by bit, piece by piece.
He tries to count the different ways they could have fallen sometimes. He always loses track somewhere in the middle.
All he can smell around him of late is splintered cinder – ashes and ashes, they seem to be falling from the ceiling, ensnared then by the depressing fragrance of wilting forget-me-nots in rainwater.
She never brought up her time in his family's cellar, during all her visits, not once, not even a small snide reference. That's the difference between a person like him and a person like her he guesses.
He's not dense enough to assume she still doesn't have nightmares of the experience. He still, obviously.
Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night, panic-stricken, the sound of an old man's anguished and tortured screams drumming into his ears from a distance. Even from two floors up in the safety of a room he could hear the screams, and he trembled in fear and wondered when it would end, when all of it would end. She watched – heard it firsthand, only a foot away most likely from the terrifying screeches mixed in with the merciless snickers and cackles. He could picture her, the sounds becoming a sick lullaby that paralyzed her, leaving her unconsciousness for days.
Sometimes, he'd find her lying there, gently rubbing the old man's shaking arms soothingly, and other times she'd just lie in the corner, completely immobile and unreal, like a rag doll. He never stayed for long, usually only coming down when ordered to do some mindless task in the cellar. She refused to ever look at him when he would come down, pretending he was just another one of them.
He knows very well, he's not the only one scarred.
It's okay, he thinks. They don't need to talk about it if she'd rather not. He assumes it's a little discomfiting, given where they are now.
Besides, he wasn't exactly the most hospitable host to her either.
Unwavering, undefeatable courage and empathy are a bit disturbing he thinks. Maybe that's why he could never get along with her lot, even if he actually cared to try.
She doesn't come for two weeks.
One day, a nurse tells him he's probably strong enough to walk around now, that some moving around might be good for the body, circulate the blood around a bit more, and it's moments like this he thinks he really is just as human as any muggle patient in some pitiful muggle hospital.
He falters few more times than he would like the first time he puts his bare, pale feet on the floor and tries make some sort of movement forward with them. He sulks as he's forced to stick close to the wall for support here and there a couple of times, as his shoulders slouch a bit and he tips a little back forth. He feels like a child but he's seventeen years old and the thought nags him to death, as he mutters to himself about the unfairness of this staged spectacle.
He's walking, stumbling, down the corridor to his room, when he hears the banter of voices from the opposite direction of the corridor getting closer to his room.
"Luna – Luna. You're my friend. My best friend. We fought side by side at Hogwarts, and I care about you; that's why I'm concerned. You've always been a bit out there, but this isn't about that, this is beyond that. I don't know what happened in Malfoy Manor, maybe he treated you better than the others there, but — but at the end of the day he remains a right selfish git and that will never change, with or without these visits. You need to move on, you mean so much to all of us and if something is bothering you, you know you can come over whenever-"
A familiar calm voice rings out. "I'm fine, Ginny. There's nothing wrong. I'm only visiting–there's nothing wrong with that is there? It's completely harmless-"
"But why? Why do you need to go visit him? Soon he'll be out of here and on trial— a trial! Please try to understand. He was a death-eater, a Malfoy, for Merlin's sake! He can never be completely harmless, Luna." The voice gets shriller, more anxious.
"His mother saved Harr-"
"This is not about Harry! This is about you and this strange attachment you're latching onto from out of thin air! He's a dreadful person, he always will be-"
"I don't need you to protect me, Ginny. I'm perfectly capable of-"
"I don't care what your capable of," the bossy red-head's voice interrupts fierily, "you're our friend and this madness will end before things get any worse." She ends in a huff and the two stare at each other.
"Are you quite done now," the quieter voice finally asks meekly.
"No," the other responds testily, "I'm going in there and having a little chat with him."
"Oh well what a lovely surprise," he interjects, deciding now would be the best time to approach them, and doing so slowly, as a way to hide the slight discombobulated manner of his sauntered steps. He gives a nod of recognition to the fair-haired girl before turning his icy gaze towards the weasel girl. "Lovegood, you brought a friend today,brilliant."
"Malfoy." The red-head snips back, giving him a nasty look of disdain.
He returns the favor for a second, before sighing out in boredom. "What brings you here today, Weaselette, anyway?"
She scoffs, "After everything, you still have the nerve to act as if you belong to some superior race."
His temper flares up; just looking at her irks him. "Just because the war's over doesn't mean I'll abandon the belief that you're a filthy little blood-traitor and merrily be on my way to make peace with the whole lot of you." He counters desolately, a look of scorn and disgust appearing on his face at the very idea.
She taps her foot impatiently, giving him another dirty look, "Luna, what could have possibly gone through your mind when you decided to save this sorry excuse of an arse in the final battle, I'll never know. Now I know why Ron got so aggravated just being near him,"
He sneers at her. "The feeling's mutual, if it's any conciliation."
"Stop." Luna finally says with an unearthly severity in her voice, "Both of you, just stop."
The three are suddenly standing in the corridor with mounting climatic tension hanging in the air.
"I want to talk to Malfoy," the red-head says stonily, not once letting her glare fall from his face, "alone."
He arches an eyebrow, seeing the challenge in her eyes, "Fine," he consents tersely. "But I want you to give your wand to Lovegood."
The red-head rolls her eyes, "Oh please, I'm not about to hex you in a hospital…unless of course you really do something that forces me to. In that case, you deserve it – actually you deserve it for a lot of things but…"
"Give the wand to your friend or forget it. I'll just tell the nurse I'm getting one of my terrible headaches again and they'll order both of you to leave."
She blows out air from her mouth, eyes boring into his irritably, "Have it your way then." She takes out her want from her pocket and places it in the dirty blonde hair's palms meticulously.
"Ginny…" the girl says, trying to make her friend rethink the conversation, but the Weasley girl gives her a look to silence her.
"No Luna. I just…" she doesn't finish, looking absentmindedly into the room.
"Shall we?" he asks wryly, face still sallow, demeanor unfazed.
She nods her head before going in and he follows suit, trudging his feet against the floor and giving the girl they leave behind one last glance, before shutting the door behind him.
"What are you playing at?" She immediately starts grilling him, "Is this some twisted way for you to gain sympathy and get some of the years you probably deserve in Azkaban knocked off - by showing you're a changed man and making Luna vouch for it? Because I swear, if it is, I'll make sure you never see the light of day once you get out of here—"
"Are you threatening me, Weasley?" he asks lazily, poking out his lower lip a bit mockingly, "After everything my mother did for that heroic boyfriend of yours-"
"Please. We both know she didn't actually care about Harry defeating Voldemort," she spats. "If you were safe and sound, she would have told the truth to him in a heartbeat, no questions asked. Fortunately, you weren'tand that left her no choice but to help us, for the sake of her son."
"Lovegood happens to think it's love, what my mother did for me – and regardless of how it helped Potter in the end, I suppose," he returns, still unmoved, crossing his arms across his chest.
"Luna happens to think a lot of things. She has too much of a good heart to see the evil in people." She squabbles back tacitly, "That's what worries me."
"You don't give her enough credit," He replies coolly.
She gives him a wiry look of doubt. "She's one of my best friends. You hardly know her, save for a few recent visits, which, by the way, I'm certain you're behind this somehow, so don't deny it, Malfoy." She finishes off sternly, bringing the conversation right back to him like he's some guilty culprit.
"You don't understand her, not really." He seethes, for some reason feeling defensive about what she thinks his intentions are.
"And you do?" She asks, raising an eyebrow.
He swallows, glowering at her, "No. I never said that either, don't put words in my mouth, Weasley."
Her expression suddenly changes, still a bit wary, but a little less than before, and a little more of something else he can't quite place.
The silence is getting unnerving so he tries to cover it up. "By the way, I don't have anything to do with these visits your friend takes upon herself to make. I don't really care much for them to be honest. I've even tried to get her to leave and not come back, but she refuses to listen to me."
She frowns at him, but doesn't say anything.
He shrugs, the walk from just a few minutes ago suddenly making him feel slightly winded. "You can choose to believe me or not, it doesn't make a difference. I'm not doing anything to make her come. If you want, you can keep her locked in your room to make sure she stops, if that will let you sleep better at night. It doesn't make a difference to me."
He closes his eyes, inhaling and exhaling softly.
"Do you really not care?" She questions.
He falters for a second. She notices.
"Yes, I really don't." He finally replies, aware that even though she's nodding her head, it doesn't seem like she actually believes him.
"Alright," she replies slowly, criticality marked in the faint creases on her forehead. All that frowning would do that to a person he thinks dryly to himself.
She turns quickly on her heels crisply, "You look awful by the way. Get some sleep, looks like you need it." She announces, before reaching the door in three quick strides and then pausing for a second.
"Oh and if anything happens to Luna, some time spent in Azkaban will be the least of your troubles, Malfoy." She says throwing one brisk glance to him over her shoulder and then turning the door knob and leaving before he can open his mouth and make a snarky retort.
"What did she say to you?" she asks curiously, after Ginny's left and they're all alone in his room.
"Nothing I haven't heard before," he replies callously, sitting down on the edge of the bed cautiously.
She looks away at the vase of dying flowers near his bed with mild interest. "And what did you say to her?"
"Nothing she hasn't heard before."
If he was a day younger, he'd probably spat out something a little more malicious in her direction, tell her to get lost right about now. But he's a day older, a day more aged and – sick and tired of futile attempts at confrontation. And perhaps they're all going a little loony, perhaps they're all going to stop caring and just existing instead.
She doesn't push anything more after that. She knows better than that.
Days pass by. She comes and goes like always.
He grows fouler and fouler in mood with every day, and his head hurts, but he can't stop thinking, can't stop questioning himself.
She notices, looks at him evenly one afternoon. He returns a look of stagnancy, lets her take a good look at the pillar white of his cheekbones and the the snow-blonde glisten of his hair – ancestry traits. His eyes remind her of frozen steel-grey pearls, blanched of glossy dark memoirs he rather not share and precarious insecurities and qualms.
"Do you think some people are actually born to get lost in the dark or maybe just born unlucky?"
"What kind of ridiculous question is that?" He retorts in annoyance.
But his fists are tightened, knuckles drained and lacking of color more than usual, permeating the penchant air with even more silent turbulence and tension.
After a second though, he can't contain his question. "And what has darkness or luck got anything to do with this anyway?"
She doesn't answer him though. Something tells him, she might not need to anyway.
"Something's wrong, isn't there?" she asks wispily instead, a splash of satin and tinkle of ether threaded and mingled between them.
He recoils at how she so fluidly overrides everything, with a simple bat of her long white-blonde lashes. He wonders if she does this intentionally, a manipulation of emotion.
'Stop this. What the hell is this even?' he wants to demand. Instead he just glares at her mundanely, a pale glow of vulnerability and mystery ebbing and paving its way between the two of them.
He retreats within himself like always, flecks of vindication reappearing in his tone, as he sneers. "What are you, Lovegood – a seer? What a joke."
She sighs disappointedly, "Sometimes I think you're so—"
"What?" His voice comes out demanding.
There's a meditative buzz in her tone. "—exceptionally puzzling."
He scoffs. "What does that make you then?"
"Oh I'm not that hard to figure out, not really." she replies, that absurd ghost of a half-smile appearing on her face.
He's pulling away. They both can feel it.
Days keep going and he keeps more to himself, just like he did during her visits in the beginning, except with less haughty huffs and glowering mutters of breath. And sometimes, when she doesn't think he notices, he catches her looking at him, something like dissatisfaction lingering in her eyes.
Some people just can't fathom certain things, can't sacrifice certain ways. It's how they are raised, who they are. He is no different. She should know that by now, after all this time.
There's a rap on the door, before it opens. "Mr. Malfoy, you have some visitors." The nurse says, looking oddly at him.
Visitors? It's strange; he doesn't have anyone come to visit him but Lovegood.
Potter and Weasley probably found out about the kiss and came to hex him senseless. It's perfectly logical.
"Who is it?" He asks resignedly.
"The Greengrasses." A voice from behind the nurse calls and he exalts a breath of relief and nods at the nurse to let them in.
The mother and her two daughters stand rigidly near his bed with a box of chocolate frogs in their hands because that's just what he needs at the moment – chocolate.
"How are you, Draco?" The mother asks, staring at him with trademark aristocratic upturned eyes. They are friends through pure-blood networked family lines, nothing personal, simply show. She doesn't bring up his parents or the present trial once.
"Getting along, I suppose." A beat passes by. "Thank you for asking."
He doesn't care to ask them how they are.
Daphne, the older one out of the two daughters, looks at his temple nervously, "Pansy's awfully worried about you." She says, bringing up his ex-girlfriend like it actually matters.
He nods abruptly before looking away with not even so much as a word back. His eyes land on the younger girl distractedly and she gazes at him strangely, like she's sure of something, and he can't help giving her a brief, quizzical look. She only smiles in return, like she knows something he doesn't.
He lets it go. What could she possibly know? She's only fifteen. (Sixteen year olds though, certain sixteen year olds at least, know more about the world than you would think.)
His mind wanders. Someone coughs. "Thank you for the chocolates again. That was very considerate of you." He hears himself say.
The healer comes in one day, looking tense and engrossed with the ink on his parchment charts.
"Is everything alright?" he asks the healer, eyeing him with scrutiny.
The healer jumps a little, distractedly peering at him with horribly masked eyes. "Do you remember last week, when I told you any day now, you would be all better, Mr. Malfoy?"
He gives him a bleak smile, kind blue eyes needling with pity, "The day has arrived, my dear boy."
He looks away at today's issue of the Daily Prophet, now lying untouched and open on the page with a snapshot of his parents' gauntly faces staring up at him during the middle of a Ministry hearing.
"When will they be arriving to take me then?" he asks numbly.
The healer looks at him hesitantly. "The day after tomorrow, early in the morning, as written in the letter I've just received back."
He nods his head with difficulty.
"I'm leaving tomorrow." He tells her, looking up stiffly to see no surprise on her face.
"So I've been told," she says flippantly. "I'm leaving for Hogwarts in a week or so too. I wonder if Hogwarts will be looking any different from before…"
She sits on the edge of his bed as he sits in the armchair, their sitting arrangements reversed for once. She's swinging her golden-legging clad legs back and forth but he tries not to pay attention to them.
"You're worried about the trial, aren't you? You can tell me. We're friends now."
Friends. He's never had many real friends. He looks at her. Maybe there's more they share in common than he thought of before.
Friends. The word rings in his head, through his veins, and he feels another headache coming along.
He turns a little, staring right through her almost, like he's only just met her. "We're not friends, Lovegood."
The dreamy quality in her eyes has long flown away though she insists on pretending it hasn't. "Oh."
There is a heavy draft spreading around them but she doesn't say anything after that.
The time comes for her to leave. Just before she reaches the door though, she stops as if in mid-thought, then turns around, takes a few steps closer to him and with a gentle and inquiring tone asks, "I'll never see you again, like this I mean, will I?"
"No, I don't think so." He answers, a slight pang shooting through the left side of his chest, but he ignores it, masks it.
She tilts her head to the side acceptingly. "Well then, good-bye Draco Malfoy. I hope everything works out for you. I'm sure it will." The hope is light in weight, slightly endearing, just like her. She bends down quick, presses her lips lightly to the exact spot where he was hit with a spell all those months ago, where a battle scar remains. "Be brave." She says against it, just barely, and his heart catches in his throat.
She steps back and straightens her back to its proper standing, then turns around and walks towards the door, never look back.
She turns the knob, still refusing to look back at him, and it's almost like those small moments when he'd come down to the cellar and she'd look through him like he didn't even exist in front of her silvery eyes, like he wasn't worth even a second of attention, except now she doesn't even look, doesn't need to.
The door clicks behind her.
"Good-bye Luna." But it's not really him saying it. It's someone else, inside his head, or maybe somewhere closer to his heart.
They come just as they promised, but they're not nearly as intimidating as Death-Eaters or Dementors he concludes.
He's all over the papers and the first time he meets his parents, in what seems like years, his mother rushes towards him, the wall of apathy cracking at the sight of him in one whole piece, tall and willowy as always, his features pointed, an imprint of her husband's and hers.
"Oh Draco," she murmurs into his neck, weeping. "As long you're here safe, I don't care about anything else. I don't. They treated you well, didn't they, in that hospital?" She puts her palms against his hollow cheeks, staring worriedly at the scar on the side of his temple. Behind her, his father gazes at the same spot, but doesn't say one word.
"You love your mother and father and they love you, isn't that so?"
Is this what love is?
They are all over the news, constantly, and the weeks, months drag on.
During the trial, Potter comes to testify and they stare at one another long and hard for a few seconds, before Potter looks away at the prosecutor, who's directing another question at him.
The Weasels are brought in as well. The ginger-haired older brother of the best friend is escorted out as soon as he's put on the stand, for causing a scene when he starts calling him a "two-faced bastard" and mentions something about laying off of the silver-eyed blonde or else. He remains dispassionate the entire time.
Finally, the Lovegoods appears and he sits a bit straighter in his seat. She doesn't look in his direction, save for once, at the very end.
"Miss Lovegood, why did you save Mister Draco Malfoy from the death-eater?"
She looks at him and her eyes wade of reverie. She starts off slowly. "I suppose I thought he could change you see. He was the only one who didn't hurt me when I was captured and kept in Malfoy Manor." Her voice is soft and airy as always.
There might be a couple of reasons more, but if there is, she keeps them to herself as if to keep them as her secrets. But secrets always could speak louder than hearts ever could and as he keeps looking at her, he thinks he sees less and less of who she is to the world around them, and more of who she became to him, sitting across from him in a small little hospital room months ago.
"And do you still think he could change, Miss Lovegood?"
She looks a little bit lost. He glances around at the others: Potter, mudblood Granger, Longbottom, the Weasel kids. They all do.
"I-I'm not exactly sure of anything anymore."
He used to think she babbled lunacy – but maybe, just maybe, out of her lunacy came some logic.
"Mister and Missus Lucius Malfoy and their son Mister Draco Malfoy are exempt from imprisonment in the prison of Azkaban on the basis of verifications that the Malfoy family indeed did make a last minute switch in allegiance, assisting Mister Harry Potter in the demise of the dark wizard, Tom Marvalo Riddle..."
There are other minor punishments and penalties given to them, other charges that must be accounted for soon enough as well, but it's fine, bearable.
The world does not spin nearly as madly as he once thought. Maybe he's been given too many chances, things that he will never deserve or live up to, how could he possibly, after everything's that happened.
And some people are just not born with a heart capable of love or a soul capable of strength. Some people are just never meant to understand, as a certain girl once told him.
When he gets back to the manor, the first thing he does is go down to the cellar she was once imprisoned in and sits there brooding, hunched over, and watching the walls collecting black dust, as he twirls his wand around between his fingers loosely. He can almost see shadows of swaying, slender figures lying in the corners of the small space, dirt streaked fingernails and thick dirty-blonde tendrils, a soiled yet untainted phantom weeping tearlessly.
He closes his eyes, picturing skin like pocketed-ivory, bringing out the inane silver in a pair of unblinking eyes, and indistinct pink lips smiling at him, rainwater reminiscent of forget-me-not petals. He thinks of something immemorially happy.
A fluorescent glow of a silver hare springs out from his wand, bounding around just a feather above the floor, before leaping gracefully from one of the cold hard walls to another, whizzing freely here and there, the only light in the darkness around him.
He doesn't know when he'll ever need it truth be told, but still, it's nice to have around.
He watches it flickering in front of his solemn grey eyes, an absurd little thing but endearingly extraordinary in its own way, and then it disappears – a sliver of a second, a blink of an eye, and it is gone, just like that(almost like magic).
The world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters. We've all got both light and dark inside us.
What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are.
A/N: Influenced by A Soldier's Home by Ernest Hemingway.