Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
A/N: Right, so. This just takes place sometime in sixth year. I have read all the books but I forgot a lot. So if I have things wrong, I apologize. Plus I know nothing about nettles. Anyway, Goyle deserves some love. And yeah, I called them by their first names rather than their last names. That was done intentionally. Oh, and I apologize for being so obviously not British.
"She's like an angel," said Gregory Goyle dreamily.
The object of his newly developed admiration tripped over a sneering Pansy Parkinson's conveniently placed foot and then apologized for her own clumsiness. Bringing a strange magazine up to her face, she resumed ignoring the world.
Vincent Crabbe, who had found her unfortunate stumble amusing, sneered, "That's not quite right."
Luna flopped unceremoniously onto the grass, unconsciously leaning against the tree behind. It was impossible to tell if she actually knew where she was sitting, for her eyes never left the magazine.
"Well, I think she's beautiful," Gregory snapped defensively. He folded his giant arms over his chest, glancing nervously over at the absent-minded girl to make sure her attention hadn't shifted in his direction at his outburst. Vincent shook his head.
A very nervous and disheveled Draco Malfoy started toward them, unnoticed by the gawking Gregory. Draco did not acknowledge Gregory at first, instead turning to Vincent and discussing something hurriedly. Draco must have said something, for next Gregory knew Draco's tiny hand was wrapped menacingly around his arm.
"I said, let's go," the little blond fumed. He followed Gregory's nervous glance toward Luna. "What are you gawking at?"
Vincent had an answer to that. "He's been staring at that Loony Lovegood for about an hour now. We've been all over the bloody castle following her."
Draco seemed both outraged and slightly amused by this. "So that's why I couldn't find you?" With a roll of his eyes, he released Gregory. "I suppose I should have expected something as brainless as that." He paused. "Why are you stalking her?"
Gregory's face had shifted to a bright shade of red and he found it increasingly difficult to make eye contact with the irritated Malfoy, which was absurd as Draco was perhaps a fourth his size.
The large boy stared intently at his feet and mumbled almost incoherently. Draco raised a well-groomed eyebrow, head jerking to the side. "An angel?" he mocked. Gregory grunted and nodded. Draco found this highly amusing, as depicted by his scathing scoff. He glanced across the courtyard, watching as Loony Lovegood looked up from her magazine to stare intently into the canopy of leaves over her head. Her lips moved, like she was talking to someone who was not there. Or perhaps singing. "Perhaps, if the angel fell from the sky and received brain damage when she hit the ground."
Vincent deemed this worthy of his own laughter and the two of them reveled in Draco's clever insult. Gregory did not laugh, but suddenly pointed toward the odd girl. Draco and Vincent begrudgingly glanced over.
A random Ravenclaw girl, very pretty with jaunty movements and a confident twinkle in her eye—one that would surely not exist if she was not flanked with two other plain girls—snatched Loony's magazine right from her hands. The three Slytherins could not hear what words were exchanged, nor did most of them care, but Loony seemed to be taking the whole situation in stride, regardless of the obviously caustic manner in which she was being treated.
The Ravenclaw did not return Loony's magazine before strutting away. Loony's eyes fell, unmistakably well aware of what really happened. But the truth in her eyes faded and she returned to singing at the leaves as though she had never possessed the magazine in the first place.
All of this was well and good and of no real consequence to people like Draco, Vincent, and Gregory. But it was not this typical form of bullying Gregory meant to draw their attention to. The most remarkable aspect of the situation? Harry Potter walked right by, the Mudblood on one side and the Weasley on the other. The three wonders of Hogwarts looked directly at Loony and her enemy and did absolutely nothing. Hermione even gave a little spiteful laugh, well hidden into her sleeve so as not to let Potter catch her.
Now, why would Potter, defender of all worthless beings, forsake dear Loony?
Draco Malfoy found himself fascinated. And a quick glance at Gregory revealed that said boy was having an uncharacteristic fit of free will. The large boy stormed—it looked more like a furious waddling—away, eyes set firmly on the Ravenclaw bully.
"Hey!" Draco shouted after him, scandalized. "Where the bloody hell do you think you're going?"
Gregory stomped his way to bar the path of the flitting bully, absolutely unwilling to harm her in any way but determined to show her exactly how angry he was. "You!" he shouted, and that was really all it took to make her cower behind her lackeys (who exchanged nervous glances indicating the intention to bolt and leave their dear leader behind). And it was a good thing that alone got the point across, for Gregory had not even an inkling as to what else he should do. Draco always decided that.
Like a brilliant flash of white lightning the young Malfoy appeared, stepping forward with his arms folded over his chest and his nose in the air. He stared the girls down. The leader tried to look a little less pathetic, riled by this skinny little boy almost as pretty as she.
Draco held out his hand and glared. "Give me that magazine."
The Ravenclaw's eyes widened. "W-what? This piece of rubbish?" She tossed her head around, to stake dominance as the prettiest by flipping her hair dramatically. Draco's interest in the worthless possession of Loony Lovegood diminished his threat to her unmistakable superiority.
She tossed the magazine at him carelessly, no longer intimidated until she caught Gregory glowering. Sputtering some excuse, she hurried her lackeys away, chattering animatedly with them as they all tossed conspiratorial glances at the Slytherin boys.
"What were you thinking?" Draco snapped. "Oh, I forgot. You probably weren't thinking at all, were you?" He waved the magazine around in his infuriated flailing.
Gregory merely shrugged, eyes settled once more on the lonely form of Luna Lovegood. Draco continued to rant. "…am I going to do with this rubbish…The Quibbler? …your fault, you moron." He snapped his fingers to attract Gregory's attention. "Well?"
The boy shrugged. "We could…give it back," he suggested shyly. Draco immediately butchered Gregory's hopes, explaining in great vigor why his idea was stupid and therefore he was stupid as well. Gregory did not find much interest in Draco's behavior. His eyes drifted back to Luna, who had now strumbled clumsily to her feet and was reaching into the tree branches. Draco growled.
"Bah! Fine! If it will satisfy you!" Gregory's eyes brightened, but he frowned when he saw Draco irritably moving toward an unsuspecting Luna. He made to follow, but Vincent blocked the way with his arm.
"You. Loony Lovegood."
Luna did not look at him, much to his ever-rising annoyance. She gave a vague, "Hmm?" as she clambered about in the tree. Her hair was becoming tangled and messy, full of twigs and leaves. Draco huffed.
"Here's your worthless magazine. I'm only doing this because Potter didn't," he proclaimed, tossing the magazine down among the vast roots of the tree. When he realized Luna wasn't throwing herself at his feet in gratitude, he narrowed his eyes and looked up at her. "Listen, you—what are you doing?"
"I saw it," Luna replied. "I saw it here and I climbed up to get it down. What business could a rabbit have in a tree?"
Draco did not have any sort of response for that.
"It winked at me. I want to ask it how it did such a thing."
"Wait—you saw a rabbit. In this tree. Is that right?" the bamboozled blond demanded. He rubbed at his temples. The whole situation was ridiculous.
"Why, yes." Luna looked at him patronizingly, as though he should be able to grasp the concept perfectly. She rustled about a bit more until finally sighing in resignation. "It appears the rabbit has gone." Draco watched her fumble her way back down to the ground, ignored his inclination to run forward and catch her as she nearly tripped.
Luna combed her fingers through her hair until giving up on that as well. Too many twigs had taken up residence. She would have to battle it out with them later.
"You look stupid," Draco pointed out. He stepped forward irritably, swatting at the twigs and leaves, roughly yanking them from the tangles of her mane of hair. Then he seemed to realize what exactly he was doing and jerked his hand back as though burned and infected with a fatal disease all at once.
"The nettles are in bloom today," Luna said suddenly, eying him too intently. He began to feel uncomfortable beneath the scrutiny of her blank stare. But he still felt the need to correct her.
"Nettles don't—" He stopped when she smiled. He'd never seen anyone smile at him like that before, except maybe his mother. It made his nervous, but he thought he could learn to like it.
"Thank you," Luna said simply. It wasn't a glamorous parade or a fawning bow or anything that could possibly put him on the same level as Potter, but he felt remarkably superior to the good-for-nothing hero in that instant. He wanted to rub it in Potter's face until he realized how stupid that sounded. It was some loony Ravenclaw thanking him for something he didn't want to do in the first place. A waste of time.
"I didn't do it for you!" he hissed. And he ran away. Luna watched him as he shoved at Crabbe and Goyle, flustered and angrily dismissing fervent questioning showered upon him by Goyle. She placed a finger to her lips thoughtfully.
Harry Potter glowered at Draco Malfoy from afar, muttering talk of conspiracies. Insults were tossed around the group casually, until Luna finally peeked over the edge of her magazine.
"I think he could kind of be like an angel," she interrupted. "Maybe, sometimes." Hermione shot her a borderline glare—her typical response to pretty much anything Luna said—and Ron snorted. Harry tried to pretend like he didn't find her absurd, but Luna Lovegood was a Ravenclaw. She was not stupid. She could see him snickering into his sleeve, much like Hermione had done when Luna's magazine had been kidnapped.
"Yeah," giggled Ron. "If the angel fell from the sky and got brain damage when he hit the ground."
The raucous laughter of the boys meant nothing. She smiled when Draco caught her gaze and tried to pretend he didn't look at her. He scowled, face red. She caught Goyle watching her, too, and smiled at him. He nearly tripped and fell over himself.
Hugging her magazine tight, she thought of rabbits and trees and nettles with pretty flowers. Maybe an angel…
Draco shoved a small Gryffindor out of his path, spitting something rude in his general direction.
…but that's not quite right.