Title: An Overture to a First Kiss
Fandom(s): Harry Potter
Genre/Rating: Romance, Friendship/PG
Word Count: 6487
Summary: A first kiss; it only takes a decade.
Warnings/Spoilers: Minor coarse language/Up to & including Deathly Hallows.
Notes: Pretty much canon compliant, I think. Well, I mean, except for all that post-book information. Inspired by the "First Kiss" challenge on the HP Challenges Forum.
I haven't written Luna before (or Draco in a fair while) so here goes nothing.
It's almost one of those classic romantic comedy type meetings from the Muggle movies Draco's never seen; the ones where they're both rude and there's this strange little something of a connection, but they don't fall in love until much later.
Or it could have been, if it weren't for Luna.
"Watch where you're going, idiot," Draco sneers when she bumps into him one Saturday midway through September of second year.
"Oh, excuse me," she says. Her smile is soft and dreamy, and her eyes don't seem to focus at any specific point in front of her. "Have you seen my shoes? I think a Nargle took them...they're terrible thieves, you know."
Draco takes in her messy, blonde hair and her strange jewellery and her thin, pale toes wiggling contentedly, and feels as if the world has suddenly tilted off its axis. He manages, blankly: "A what?"
"...You're bonkers," Draco finally informs her.
She tilts her head to the side a little, serene. "I suppose I might be," she agrees, as if he'd just offered a casual opinion. "A lot of people think so." And then she skips away down the corridor, bare feet slapping against the stone floors.
"Who the hell was that?"
"First year Ravenclaw," Pansy says. "Luna Lovegood, I think."
"Yeah, Loony Lovegood more like," Draco scoffs, smugly absorbing his friends' snickers, and puts the unsettled feeling she gave him down to her strangeness rather than the gentleness of her smile.
There's a window on the third floor along the way from McGonagall's classroom to the Great Hall that overlooks the path down to the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Draco has to pass it every Tuesday when he's heading down to lunch.
He doesn't usually notice, usually jostles through the crowds of students going the same way, but today he left the room late and the corridors are practically empty. He strolls by, glances out and...backs up. Because there's Luna Lovegood, skipping down the path with her school robes twisting around her legs.
And Draco finds it difficult to ignore Luna Lovegood, who is somehow both more and less real than anyone Draco has ever met. He thinks that maybe it's because practically every student in the school knows who he is, knows he's Draco Malfoy, knows who his father is—knows enough to react to him.
But Luna...Luna acts like she doesn't even know his name. He's forged a place for himself at this school, and she hasn't even noticed. And this has made her sort of mysterious and a lot fascinating.
She reaches a point just past the edge of the trees and abruptly stops, dropping into what looks like an elaborate curtsey. Sunlight through the thin layers of leaves is making her shimmer in a way that's almost otherworldly. Her arms come up until they create a line almost perpendicular to her body, fingertips stretching to the sides like there's something just out of grasp.
Then she's spinning: robes swirling; hair falling out of its loose bun; mouth curling upwards into a smile that shows every tooth she has.
And Draco feels, suddenly, like he's watching something he shouldn't. Like this is some private, special secret and he's intruded upon it. Something uncomfortably like guilt crawls up his spine, so he tears his eyes away from where Luna has dropped to lie on her stomach in the grass and hurries away down the corridor.
"Hello, Draco," someone says—she's behind him, speaking from the doorway probably, but there's no mistaking that voice. It's the first time Luna has ever acknowledged him properly, the first time she's ever shown a sign of knowing who he is. "What are you doing here?"
Draco stares fixedly down at his parchment and very pointedly doesn't look at her. He wants to—always does when Luna's around—and that's an urge that doesn't make any sense, an urge that should be suppressed with everything he has. His grip shifts around his quill and he shrugs stiffly. "Detention. What's it look like?"
Luna's shoes tap across the floor until she's standing just behind him, and when she leans forward her straggly hair touches the back of his neck. "Ooh, Cheering Charms," she says happily, reading his essay (due earlier today) over his shoulder. "They sound lovely, don't they?"
"Whatever," Draco says, his lip curling. "What're you doing here?"
"I'm looking for Professor Flitwick...I thought he might be here."
"Well, he's not."
"No, he's not," Luna agrees.
And—she's not leaving. She's just standing there, with her hair tickling his neck and her chin hovering just above his shoulder. Draco can feel warmth emanating from her torso and from the breath reaching the side of his face and, bizarrely, it isn't irritating or sickening or anything it should be and that's just weird.
"Think he went to his office," Draco mutters.
"Oh...thank you, Draco," Luna says, withdrawing, and he can almost hear the dreamy smile.
Luna trots out of the room, loud against the stones, and it's funny, really, that Draco only realises then that she doesn't call him 'Malfoy' like practically everyone else in the castle does. It just—didn't even register, just felt natural for her to say 'Draco' the same way it felt right for her to come so easily into his space. And that's, that's weird. Like Luna's crazy is infectious after prolonged exposure or something.
He doesn't...altogether mind, really—but he crushes that thought, lets out a quick breath of frustration, and realises he doesn't remember any of what he'd written.
Draco slinks into the back corner of the library after classes to write his Potions essay. He's been avoiding the Slytherin common room and anywhere else he can usually be found ever since Goyle said he overheard Pansy boasting that Draco's going to ask her to the Yule Ball. He doesn't mind Pansy, not really, but she's shrill, a little too high maintenance, a lot too clingy, and she'll be expecting chocolates and flowers and trips to Hogsmeade afterwards.
So he's decided that the best course of action is to avoid her until he can be bothered with dating her. It's probably not easier than the alternatives, but it's definitely going to be less of a pain in the short term.
He's almost finished when he sees someone walking towards him at the edge of his vision. But it isn't Pansy standing there ready to tell him off when he looks up; it's Luna Lovegood.
"You look lonely," Luna says.
Draco sneers. "Well, I'm not. Shove off, Lovegood."
Luna sits down across from him, tucking her hair behind her ears. "I usually sit at this table," she says. "There's a Squonk behind that bookshelf over there. I'm trying to cheer him up."
And Draco's sort of tired from skulking around all day, so it's bloody well fair enough that he's off his game so much that he doesn't even try to make her cry. He gives up, dropping his quill to the table, and then asks, "What the hell is a Squonk?"
Luna smiles that faraway smile that makes Draco's chest rumble uncomfortably. "A little creature covered with warts... I'd love to see one, but they think they're very ugly and don't want anyone to look at them."
And—Draco has no answer for that. He's not used to being left speechless and awkward the way Luna always seems to make him feel. Finally, he asks, "Why do you believe in all this crap that doesn't exist?"
"Don't you find it limiting to only believe in what you can see, Draco?"
Draco doesn't usually respond that well to not knowing where he stands, but Luna is so genuine he doesn't even feel particularly bothered. He finds himself examining the curve of her round face, and her straggly, waist-length hair, and the soft shape of her mouth. Finds himself thinking that she would scrub up well, would probably look much prettier on his arm than Pansy ever could.
Then catches himself doing it. Because, sure, she's Pure-blooded but she's so outside the box she wouldn't even be able to see the box if she cared enough to look back. And Malfoys don't escort crazy, free-spirited girls like Luna to the Yule Ball, Malfoys certainly don't think crazy, free-spirited girls like Luna are pretty or interesting or worth their time; in fact, Malfoys shouldn't even notice crazy, free-spirited girls like Luna exist.
And Draco's never wanted anything more than to be a good Malfoy, so he starts shoving his things into his bag and takes off, ignoring Luna's calm, "Goodbye, Draco," as he escapes.
When he gets back to the Slytherin common room, he dumps his bag on the floor and makes a beeline for Pansy, who's gossiping with a bunch of girls from the year above them by the fire, and asks her to the Yule Ball in front of everyone.
He smirks around the room as she drags him into a bone-crushing hug and pretends he's actually as pleased as he looks.
The last weekend trip to Hogsmeade for the school year is in spring. This year it's too warm to need scarves but cool enough for long sleeves and trousers. Draco was meant to be going with Pansy, but she'd decided last minute she was sick of him and had gone off with Millicent.
Instead, Draco spends a few knuts in Honeydukes before heading into the Three Broomsticks for lunch with Crabbe and Goyle, realising that Hogsmeade gets old quicker with every trip. He ends up trudging back to the castle alone early in the afternoon while his friends eagerly disappear into Zonko's Joke Shop.
He's watching his feet tiredly as he walks, hands deep in his trouser pockets, when he hears the noises of people coming towards him from the opposite direction. He glances up, but the cool glare he was preparing to fix on whoever it was slips off when he sees Luna and Weasley's younger sister strolling closer, talking. Luna is wearing a garish sweater, covered with black stars and charmed to slip through a range of pastel colours from silver to blue, through green, yellow and gold, and back to silver; the Weasley's expression seems to be stuck somewhere between friendliness and bemusement.
Luna's presence at the moment is enough to make Draco feel immediately self-conscious, after his most recent experience with her had proved to be uncomfortably enlightening, and he catches himself examining the area around him for a place to hide before he's spotted. The very idea of hiding from a girl—especially a strange girl not even his age—is ridiculous in and of itself, so Draco straightens up, correcting his posture to walk by them with as much dignity as possible.
But the moment Luna sees him, she calls out brightly, "Hello, Draco!" and Draco, who had expected them to walk by each other without comment, is briefly stunned.
Stunned enough to mutter, "Hi, Lovegood," before he can stop himself. He manages to get it together quickly to add a deeply sarcastic, "Nice sweater."
But the damage has already been done: Luna just smiles. "Thank you."
"Whatever," Draco snaps and stalks away.
"You talk to Malfoy?" he hears the Weasley say disgustedly once they're a few metres away. She probably doesn't even realise how far her boorish voice carries.
Luna's response is as dreamy and pleasant as ever; "Sometimes... He's not very friendly, is he?"
"You can say that again!"
They go out of his hearing range then, and Draco is left with an oddly heavy feeling at the thought of Luna Lovegood disliking him.
At the beginning of fifth year, Draco learns intimately that it's much easier to pretend you don't want something when no one else wants it either.
He was doing so well too; he'd told himself and told himself, and almost had himself convinced he had absolutely no interest in Luna Lovegood—and then Potter goes and notices her, and suddenly none of that matters anymore because it still feels like Potter just waltzed right in and stole her from right under his nose.
Draco spends the rest of the year forced to watch Potter cosy up to Luna, watch Potter's expressions in her presence go from bemusement to something warm and soft and friendly, watch him draw her into his group of besotted followers. Watch him get her to join in on his dangerous end-of-year missions and make her part of the reason Draco loses his father.
And, sure, he ignores her and stalks away whenever she gets close and smirks when she turns large, hurt eyes on him, but somehow he's come to know Luna well enough that Luna having friends is a big deal—not just to everyone else in the castle, to her. People talk about big deals, and the last thing Draco wants to hear from Luna's mouth is some sickening anecdote about what a lovely guy Harry Potter is.
Part of Draco is furious, wants to shout that he knew her first, but another—another part hates her, just a little. Potter and Luna's sudden familiarity is just another example of Draco's shortcomings.
Because Potter's not afraid to be seen with Luna, doesn't have a reputation that making the wrong friends could destroy.
And because she had gained Golden Boy Potter's friendship where Draco had failed.
Luna pointed her wand at him in Umbridge's office. Draco remembers that, and he remembers her eyes going clear and bright with apology, and he remembers that the spell that hit him didn't come from her direction.
He remembers realising later, while she was off traipsing with Potter and his stupid friends, that she would have used something innocuous, maybe a Stunning Spell or a Body Bind, where any of the others would have chosen the worst hex in their repertoire—something like the Bat Bogey Hex girl-Weasley used. And maybe she raised her wand hoping to protect him from injury or humiliation, but knowing why doesn't change anything: it still feels as much of a betrayal as knowing she helped Potter put his father in Azkaban.
Luna Lovegood is probably the last person Draco wants to see watching him as he drags himself down from the luggage rack on the trip home, but there she is, twirling her fingers through the ends of her hair and frowning.
"You've been avoiding me," she says, hurt colouring her voice.
Draco looks up at the oozing and mostly prone forms of Crabbe and Goyle, who'd taken the brunt of Potter and Co.'s attack. He's not sure how much they can hear and he definitely doesn't want them being witness to him talking to Luna any more than necessary, so Draco stalks out of the compartment they were stuffed in and into the one beside it.
There are a few first year Hufflepuffs inside, so Draco twists his face into something that might resemble the trademark sneer around the lumps and pus, and says, "Get out of here before I curse the lot of you."
Luna gives them a vague smile as they file out looking frightened and shuts the door behind them.
And then they're alone and Luna's looking at him like she always has, with her Butterbeer cork necklace and her radish earrings and her wand tucked behind her ear, with her distant gaze and her hair in a long plait hanging over her shoulder—and she's just Luna. Draco's Luna.
"Let me," she says, drawing her wand, and Draco's too tired to argue, too damn exhausted to let his pride get in the way. He slumps onto one of the seats, and Luna settles beside him. She taps the side of his face and murmurs, "Finite Incantatem."
Draco feels the spell bring down the swelling and it's nice to be able to open his mouth without the foul-tasting pus dripping inside. He's grateful for it, but there's a part of him that's too upset and angry to thank her. He turns away; pressing his face against the window and watching fields go by.
"I am sorry about your father, Draco," Luna says after a moment. She leans forward a little, watching his profile.
"What, you aren't going to lecture me about what a bad man he was?" Draco sneers.
He sees her mouth twist into a small frown in the reflection. "No," she replies. One of her hands settles lightly on Draco's knee and he shuts his eyes tightly. "It wouldn't change how you feel."
Draco thinks that maybe, in this moment, he'd like to turn around and kiss her. Push her back against the seat or let her slip onto his lap. Run his fingers through her long hair and his tongue over her lips. Maybe even leave a trail of hickeys on the pale skin of her neck, marking her as his, his, his and nobody else's. But that's a bad idea on just about every level, and he's more scared of Luna rejecting him than he's been of anything in his life.
He's let Luna in far more than he should, let her find a place in his thoughts and affections, let her dig her nails in deep enough he's not sure he'll ever be able to shake her off. So, instead, he scrubs his fists over his face and says, "Leave me alone, Lovegood."
He's sitting against the wall near the sinks in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom when Luna appears in the doorway. It's about a month before Potter will find him there and, honestly, he really should have found somewhere better to hide.
"Hello, Draco," she says. "Are you alright?"
Draco wipes his eyes furtively—it's bloody well embarrassing enough to be crying like a girl without having an audience too—but she's already come close enough to see the ugly blotches covering his face and how red his eyes are. "I'm fine."
Luna's gaze is just as distant and dreamy as ever, but she's always been more perceptive than anyone's given her credit for. "Oh, I thought I heard someone crying...but it might have been a Blibbering Humdinger. Their call sounds almost the same, you know."
Draco stands up, managing to dredge a half-hearted eye roll from somewhere, and Luna steps forward suddenly. She pulls one of his hands into both of hers, her round face tilted almost straight up to catch his eyes and her blonde hair swinging gently around her waist.
When she speaks, it's not a demand or an accusation. It's quietgentlehopeful. A request: "Do the right thing, Draco."
But he doesn't.
Draco hears the exact result of the ambush on the Hogwarts Express three days after he arrives home for the Christmas holidays. It takes much longer than it usually would, since Aunt Bellatrix boasts gleefully and often over every successful raid. As it is, however, Bellatrix has been away, busy with things Draco doesn't like to think about, and his mother mentions it in passing at breakfast one morning.
"Was anyone taken?" asks Draco.
"A sixth year Ravenclaw," she says.
Something in Draco's chest clenches tightly. "Why?"
Narcissa raises her brows in elegant curiosity. "The Dark Lord wished for her to be used as leverage against her father." Her tone is careless, but Draco recognises an edge of strain running through it. "She's being kept in the cellar."
Luna...Luna's father had been publishing The Quibbler weekly since the other Wizarding magazines stopped printing news about the war, about disappearances and raids. News that the Dark Lord wouldn't want getting out. The beginnings of fear steal his breath for a moment.
"Who was it, Mother?"
And with this question he knows he's pushed just too far. Narcissa's mouth twists and her eyes narrow in suspicion. "Why are you so invested in knowing?" she asks and, when he says nothing, she stands sharply. "Draco, tell me."
Draco closes his eyes, grimacing. Then he looks her in the eyes and lies through his teeth: "I just...want to know."
Narcissa stares him down. "Luna Lovegood," she says eventually. "Do you know her?"
"No—not really," Draco replies, but Narcissa clearly doesn't believe him.
He can't stop thinking about her later—captured by Death Eaters and trapped in the manor's cellar over Christmas. Draco's usually all for self-preservation, but he's driving himself to exhaustion with not knowing.
When he does finally manage to sneak down, it's almost Christmas Eve. He promises himself he won't speak to her, won't even let her see him; he'll just go down, get a look at her and then leave.
It doesn't go that way at all.
Almost the moment Draco slips inside, Luna's voice reaches him through the thick darkness. "Draco?" she asks, almost doubtfully.
Draco looks around blindly. He hadn't counted on this, hadn't even bothered to think that it would take time for his eyes to adjust to the lack of light. Time that Luna has spent in here over a hundred fold.
When the room finally begins to clear, Draco manages to spot her. She's on the floor, leaning forward from one of the thick stone walls she must have been resting against before he entered. Her fingers are twisting through her Butterbeer cork necklace and she's watching him, waiting for a response.
"Lovegood," he says at last, and she stands.
Draco's not sure what he might have expected, maybe to be insulted or cried at or bluntly ignored, but Luna walks—with a marked limp that makes Draco wince—over to him.
"Draco," she says. Her voice is raw and hushed, and—and angry. He's never had her actually mad at him before, and it makes him feel strange. "Why did you do it?"
"You know what I'm talking about, Draco," she insists, mouth curling down at the corners. "I need to know why you did what you did."
He remembers suddenly that they haven't spoken since Luna held his hand and asked him to do what was right. He blinks a number of times in quick succession, and tries to shove that memory away. Maybe in the past Draco might have been able to scoff and not answer, but Luna's standing in front of him, just as close as the last time, and her gaze is intense around the cuts and bruises on her cheeks.
"He was going to kill my parents," Draco says, almost a whisper. Waits for Luna to tell him that makes it okay, waits for her to forgive him. Waits for her to ease the self-hatred that's weighed him down since Dumbledore fell from the tower.
Luna's face softens, just a little. "I hate what you did," she says, but she looks...relieved. She brushes her fingers down his cheek, catches a stray tear by the corner of his mouth. "But you did it for the right reason."
He's standing on a footpath, on a road with trimmed verges on either side. In front of him a Wizarding park forms as if out of thin air, one like his mother used to take him to when he was much younger.
It's based on the simple Muggle designs, except the slide is enchanted to last five times its height and instead of swings there are broomsticks with magic that holds them aloft and controls their movement. He remembers that his mother would bring a book when they Apparated to the park and she would sit on a conjured blanket to read while he used one of the broomsticks to practice flying.
Draco looks down at himself, surprised to find himself in Muggle clothes—black trousers made of a thick, heavy fabric he thinks is called demin, a simple black tee-shirt, and his school shoes. He's hasn't been allowed to wear clothes like this since fourth year, since...since the Dark Lord rose.
When he looks back up, Luna has appeared. Ten or so metres ahead of him, she sits side-saddle on a still broomstick. She's wearing a simple white dress, with her hair spilling over her shoulders and down her back, and she's swinging her legs so that her bare feet can kick up the soft sand beneath her. "Draco! I've been waiting for you," she says. "Come and sit with me."
Draco's forehead creases. "I'm dreaming."
"Draco," she says; "you're exhausted, you're stressed and scared... Your mind has created something to relax before you kill yourself."
"So it conjured you?" Draco says sceptically.
Luna's mouth forms a stern line. "Think about it. This park, your clothes, me."
He loved the park, Draco knows that much; it was one of the few places his mother would relax enough to be genuinely warm. The clothes—they were comfortable and worn and far from Draco's life, from the role he's been cast in Wizarding society.
The Luna in front of him smiles. It isn't her usual dreamy smile; it's bright like the sun and her eyes are crystal clear. "You like being around me."
Draco opens his mouth to protest, and then shuts it. It's not as if she's actually Luna; she's a figment of his imagination, and telling her she's wrong is too close to arguing with himself.
Luna points, suddenly, to a little swarm of glowing bugs fluttering in the air between them that Draco is sure weren't there a moment ago. "Ooh, look!"
"What are they?" Draco asks.
"They're Red-Horned Fireflies," Luna says. She looks at him thoughtfully, and then laughs. "You don't have a very good imagination, do you?"
Draco scowls. "Shut up, Lovegood," he mutters, but he crosses thick grass to sit beside her on the broomstick.
Luna kicks her feet again, and then nudges him with her knee. "Tell me about Red-Horned Fireflies... What do they look like?"
"I don't know," Draco says, pushing his suddenly bare feet into the cool sand. "You made them up."
"It's your dream though," Luna says brightly. "I'm not really me, you know. I'm just your perception of me."
Draco looks her over, expecting to see some notable difference between this Luna and the real one, but he can't find any. "You're exactly the same—I mean, I think."
Luna tilts her head. "Am I? I might be, I suppose; I don't really know... You do pay a lot of attention to me."
Draco shrugs, awkward, and stares at the ground in front of him. After what feels like almost a minute of silence, he glances back at her again. She's watching him and when their eyes meet, she smiles again. "What do you think they look like?" asks Draco.
"Hmm, I think," she begins. She pauses for a moment, thinking, and continues, "I think they look like tiny whales...but they have beetle wings and a little red horn on their faces."
Draco examines her profile as she talks; the movements of her mouth and the way she pokes her tongue into her cheek while she thinks. He reaches up and tucks a stray piece of hair behind her ear. "They sound ridiculous."
"They do, don't they? They seem very pretty though, when you can't see them properly." Luna frowns. "A lot of things are like that, aren't they, Draco?"
And—Draco bites his lip. "Yeah, they are."
"Can I tell you a secret?" she asks.
"Sure," Draco says.
He stiffens slightly as she leans toward him. When her lips move it's so close to his ear he can almost feel it.
"Wake up," she whispers, and then he's blinking groggily, back in his bed at Hogwarts.
Draco repeats seventh year with a private tutor at Malfoy Manor the year after Potter kills the Dark Lord. It isn't so much that he's scared of how the other students would take his returning to Hogwarts as it is he knows when he isn't wanted.
That's what he tells himself at least. In actuality, it's definitely because he's scared. He's scared shitless. Three out of four Houses think he's an evil son of a bitch; that he wanted to kill Dumbledore, that he wanted to do any of what he had. And after N.E.W.T.S. end it will only get worse.
He'd hoped that, somehow, he could avoid the school altogether, but the new Headmistress, an elderly witch with a face more pinched than Professor McGonagall's will ever be, stood firm on that front and he takes a Portkey into Hogsmeade the day before the end-of-year exams begin.
By his third day back at Hogwarts, Draco is absolutely, completely certain that staying away until now was the best decision he could have made. His things go missing regularly, and the other students openly yell insults and hex him while professors aren't looking. It's not a situation particularly conducive to studying, with the added stress and the way books disappear the same day he needs them, so it's lucky that Draco spent the whole year working so hard.
He's sitting by the lake on his last day before heading home, exhausted from the exams (that he knows he didn't do as well on as he could have) and from spending most of his free time scouring the castle for a book or his shoes or just about anything else he owns, when someone settles down beside him.
When he looks over, he sees Luna toeing off her shoes so she can dip her toes in the cool water. She smiles at him and holds up a wand that is unmistakably his. He's just given up after looking for it all day, sure that he'd have to buy a new one.
"I found it in the Ravenclaw common room."
"How did you know it was mine?"
Luna shrugs. "It had your aura," she says, offering it to him.
"Uh, thanks," Draco says. He takes it, twisting it around in his fingers and checking for damage. He's actually surprised whoever took it didn't snap it in two.
They lapse into silence, staring out at the lake and the forest beyond it. Draco, because he feels awkward and doesn't know what to say. It wouldn't have been this hard just a few years ago, but there's something about betraying someone's trust and then having them locked in your cellar for a couple of months that makes conversation difficult for him. Luna just looks relaxed.
"I know what it's like, you know," Luna says eventually, half-turning towards him. "People used to steal my things all the time. Before I made friends with Harry."
Draco scowls. "It's not a big deal."
"It's not like I can do anything about it," he insists. It's strange, really, how Luna is now one of the people whose opinions matter most to him. How she's become such an important figure in his life when they've barely spent more than a few hours or so together over the past seven years. "There's no going back, Lovegood; I've done things that can't be forgiven."
Luna reaches for his hand, threading their fingers together. "You're right," she says, shifting so that she's fully facing him. "There's nothing you can do...but the people who matter will forgive you anyway."
Draco frowns as he watches her gather up her shoes and socks, and then stand. She makes it a few metres before he manages to say, uncomfortably: "You matter."
And Luna turns back. "I've already forgiven you," she says, smiling sunnily. "Good luck for your N.E.W.T.S., Draco."
(lucky thirteen, or: a first kiss)
It's enormously clear from the moment they arrive that Draco is not welcome, whatever Astoria had promised to the contrary.
Which isn't to say that he ever believed her; Astoria was a Ravenclaw at Hogwarts so most of her schoolmates were Ravenclaws and the wedding they were at was that of one of her best friends to a Muggle-born. So he'd deduced from the moment she invited him that the other guests weren't exactly going to be pleased to see him.
And, just as he anticipated, Astoria had taken off the second they arrived at the reception to congratulate the happy couple and then flit between groups with a dedication that's just impressive. She'd make a wonderful trophy wife, with her delicate features and stylish dress, but her family seemed to give up on that prospect the moment she wasn't sorted into Slytherin.
Draco finds a seat by a potted plant where he can watch Astoria's progress around the room without being noticed that often, even though it means the waiters aren't noticing him either when a few glasses of the fizzy Muggle alcohol being passed around would really take the edge off. He manages to stay there, mostly unseen, for maybe twenty minutes before a glass materialises on the table in front of him.
His eyes follow the hand holding it up to a shoulder, and the shoulder to a very familiar face.
"Hello, Draco," Luna Lovegood says pleasantly, pulling out the chair beside him to sit.
Draco hasn't seen Luna since his last day at Hogwarts, about four years ago now, and she was the last person he might have expected he might bump into here. He greets her with a slight nod of thanks and a quiet, "Lovegood;" ingrained etiquette winning out over surprise at her appearance.
Luna's dress is bright yellow and most of her hair falls down to her waist in loose ringlets, with a number of small sunflowers holding it back from her face. All in all, she looks oddly pretty in an outfit most people couldn't hope to pull off. She tilts her head at him, curls spilling over her shoulder. "My name is Luna, you know," she says.
"I know," says Draco, blinking.
"It's just, you always call me 'Lovegood'...but you're allowed to call me Luna."
Luna smiles then, her grey eyes crinkling at the corners. She takes a sip from her own glass. "I've never been to a Muggle-style wedding before," she tells him thoughtfully. "They're very similar though."
Luna frowns. "You're not enjoying yourself."
"It's—the people. No one wants me here," Draco says, awkward. "I shouldn't have come."
"You came with Astoria," says Luna, and Draco glances at her in confusion at the apparent non-sequitur. But Luna's not looking at him; she's looking across the room to where Astoria is giggling with one of the bridesmaids, a placid expression frozen on her face. "She looks lovely, doesn't she?"
"I'll...tell her you thought so."
Draco watches as Luna gulps down the rest of her drink in one go. It's strange to think he's known her for so many years and seen so little of her range of emotions. She places the empty glass back on the table and smiles, sharp and bright. "This shampain is delicious! I think I'll get another glass."
Draco's own glass is still sitting untouched in front of him. "Have mine," he offers, sliding it in front of her. "Who did you come with?"
After a moment, Luna says, "I knew Orla at school." When Draco just looks at her blankly, she lets out a little laugh that almost sounds genuine. "The bride... I brought someone from work." She furrows her brow a little and adds, "Harry and Ginny were invited as well. They couldn't make it."
"You're not with him," Draco points out.
"You're not with Astoria," Luna counters evenly.
"Astoria wanted an arm to glide in on," Draco explains. "She only chose me because we're good together, aesthetically speaking. She'd barely notice if I left."
Luna tucks her hair behind her ears, and Draco follows her gaze to a tall, tanned man who turned away the moment he saw them looking. "He's very closed-minded," she says disapprovingly.
"So you came to sit with me instead?" asks Draco sceptically.
"You don't patronise me," Luna says.
"I probably used to."
"No, you didn't," Luna insists. "I confused you." She smiles, and it's back to being soft and real. "But you were only rude because you thought you were meant to be."
Draco opens his mouth, maybe to protest, but he finds himself speechless in the way he often used to be in Luna's presence.
"You didn't think I'd noticed."
"No," Draco says.
"It's such a beautiful night," Luna says suddenly. "Let's go outside."
Draco takes Luna's glass of shampain and steals another from a waiter as he trails her across the room and out into an empty courtyard, full of Muggle plants and lit up with tea light candles. The music playing inside is faint through the glass doors, but Luna moves effortlessly into the middle of the paved ground and begins to sway.
"I don't really like dancing," she says. "Except at weddings. I always dance at weddings."
Draco comes toward her, passing her a glass, and takes a sip from his. The shampain is as good as Luna said; sweet and fruity, bubbles travelling with the liquid all the way down to his stomach. He watches as Luna drinks; how the light reflects against the planes of her face, how her head tilts back revealing a long, pale throat.
She passes him back her glass, now empty, and gives him an impish, almost challenging look.
So he drains his own shampain, the bubbles making him cough a little as he places their empty glasses out of the way near the doors. He smirks at Luna when he turns back towards her, and the answering smile is radiant.
"Dance with me," says Luna. She holds her arms straight above her head and spins, dress swirling out around her.
Draco's sort of high on being alone in the low light out here, in formal clothing like something out of one of those Muggle films he's never seen, and he's tingling a little from skulling his shampain, so it just feels natural to step forward and catch her. To place a hand in the small of her back and draw her closer. To use the other to trace the line of her jaw.
To lean down and catch her soft lips in a kiss that's warm and slow and sweet.
Luna is still at first, long enough for him to begin to worry that maybe he'd read this wrong, maybe she hadn't wanted this after all, but then she melts. His hand slides up and into her hair, and Luna's arms lower to wrap eagerly around his neck.
At length, Draco pulls back. "I've wanted to do that for years," he says.
"I would have let you," Luna replies.
"Even in the cellar?"
Luna laughs, loud and hard, and she stands there, in his arms, looking almost otherworldly. Draco remembers suddenly that he used to think of her as the most and least real person he'd ever met.
"Maybe not in the cellar," Luna says, and it's so cheerful and honest that he kisses her again.