Author's Notes: Written for Rosa Clearwater's Staying Up All Night Competition and also an idea my good friend Ben, ThisLife103.7 gave me. My thanks to you, Ben.
Sequel-ish to "I'm Sorry" and "Because I Love You". Enjoy.
Stay awake tonight, Draco had whispered to Luna, when he brought her dinner. He had given no other instruction, no explanation as to why she was to stay awake, only that she had to stay up and wait for him. Luna had questioned, but Draco said nothing. So she sat in the corner of her basement room, and waited.
Draco waited until after sunset. He waited until the Manor was quiet, everyone asleep. Then he crept from his bedroom, down to the basement where Luna was.
She was sitting on the floor, her face even more serene and beatific than usual. If da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, any great artist had seen her, Draco was sure that they would want to dedicate their lives to transferring the expression on her face onto canvas. Her eyes were just barely shut, and she appeared to be on the very edge of sleep.
"Wake up, Luna," he whispered, shaking her.
Her eyes flew open, and she shook her head a little. "I wasn't asleep."
He smiled, though it felt forced. "It's all right."
"Why did you want me to stay awake all night?" Luna asked, rubbing at the corners of her eyes.
Draco's heart skipped a beat. "I'm here to get you out."
"Here." He shoved one of his aunt's dresses at her. "Put that on. I'm getting you out of this place. Tonight."
"But what about Lord Vol-"
Draco clapped his hand over Luna's mouth. "Don't say his name!"
She shook her head, and he released her.
"I'm sorry," she said. "You-know-who. What about him? Won't he be angry that you let me escape? Won't he try to kill you?"
"Probably," Draco said. "But if this goes right, he won't ever get the chance."
"I'm going to go with you," he told her. "I'm going to get us both out of here, and we'll go into hiding."
Luna bit her lip. "Aren't you worried he'll find us?"
Draco couldn't put into words how afraid he was that the Dark Lord would find them. While she was here, Luna was in no immediate danger, but if he helped her escape, and they were caught, neither of them would be shown any mercy. If this went wrong, it would be his fault if Luna died because he tried to play the hero and save her-
"Well, don't," she said. "I'm sure you-know-who won't find out too soon."
Luna took Bellatrix's dress from Draco and held it up in front of her. "That would mean telling him that we escaped. And I don't think that anyone here is going to be too eager to do that. We'll have a decent head start. And with any luck, the war will be over before you-know-who finds us."
"The war's never going to end," Draco said dully. "Not in our lifetime, anyway."
"Oh, you're wrong." Luna's tone was matter-of-fact. "Harry Potter's going to defeat you-know-who."
Draco felt a surge of anger. Potter, Potter, always bloody Potter! Of course, Luna was Potter's friend first, long before she was anything to Draco. Of course, she would believe that he was the second bloody coming. Draco knew better. "The Dark Lord will kill Harry Potter!"
Luna seemed surprised at Draco's vehemence. "But-"
"No buts, Luna," he said shortly. "Just put on the dress. We can argue about Potter later."
Luna nodded, and slipped the heavy black gown over the rather ragged dress she was already wearing. It fit surprisingly well, just a little long in the skirt and loose about the shoulders. Draco nodded, and handed her a cloak, which she pulled on, tugging the hood down so it shielded her face. Draco tucked the last few strands of blonde hair out of sight, trying to ignore the wave of tenderness he felt towards her. There would be plenty of time for demonstrating that once they got out. At least, he hoped there would be.
"Right," he said, pulling up the hood of his own cloak. With any luck, anyone watching would mistake Luna for Bellatrix, and they wouldn't be questioned. "Let's go."
He opened the door and ushered Luna through, pausing at the bottom of the stairs to appraise her.
"Stand up straight," he directed. "Make yourself look a little taller."
Luna straightened her back, though she kept her head tilted down to shadow her face. Draco was feeling uncomfortably warm, probably with nerves, as he led Luna up the stairs and out into the foyer of Malfoy Manor. His hand was clenched around the handle of his wand, the only thing he felt he could get away with bringing – he didn't want to look like they were doing anything but going out for a walk. Luna, a few steps behind him, was unarmed, and Draco could only hope that Bellatrix's reputation was enough to stop anyone who might see them from attacking.
They were almost at the door when they were stopped.
"Where do you think you're going, Draco?"
Their way was blocked, and Draco stared, horrified, at his aunt.
"Aunt Bella," he began, but his mouth was dry. Bellatrix was the one person against whom Luna's disguise would be useless. Why hadn't he thought of that?
"Taking our prisoner for a little walk?" Bellatrix grabbed the hood of Luna's cloak and pulled it back, revealing the girl's pale, now quite frightened face. "I don't recall giving you leave to do that."
Draco glanced at Luna, who was staring at Bellatrix with naked fear in her eyes. He swallowed, knowing that what he was doing was tantamount to signing his own death warrant.
"Let us through," he said, drawing his wand and pointing it at Bellatrix.
She looked shocked, stunned that her own nephew would think to fight her. "Have you lost your mind, Draco?"
"Let us through, or I swear I'll kill you," Draco said in a low voice. He didn't know whether he meant it, but if Bellatrix was going to stop him and Luna from leaving, he would be quite willing to fight her, though he knew the odds were wildly against him.
"What do you think you're doing, boy?" she asked, drawing her own wand. "Are you willing to risk your life, your service to the Dark Lord, everything, just to take Lovegood out for a walk?"
"I'm not letting you keep her here," Draco told his aunt. "I'm taking her, and there's nothing you can do to stop me. Except kill me."
Bellatrix hissed through her teeth, and her eyes glinted with fury. "Why would you do that, Draco? Does family honour mean nothing to you? What do you think will become of your mother when she finds out her own son has turned traitor? What of your father? Do you think the Dark Lord will let this go? What of me?"
"So fight," Draco told her. "Fight me, if you're so worried about your honour." He was gripping his wand so tightly that his knuckles were white. "I'm not going to stand around and let you all keep an innocent girl prisoner. She hasn't done anything wrong."
Bellatrix raised her wand to point at Draco's chest, but she seemed reluctant to cast the first spell. "Why?"
"Because I love her," Draco said, and liked the way it sounded. It was concrete. The expression on Bellatrix's face was enough to show him that what he said had meaning. She blanched, and Draco felt pride well in his chest, enough to say it again. "Because I love her."
Bellatrix seemed frozen in place. She stared at Draco, then very slowly turned to look to Luna.
"You love her, do you?" she asked.
"Yes." Draco was ready for an attack at any moment, but it didn't come. Bellatrix lowered her wand, and stepped past him, so she was face-to-face with Luna.
"Let me look at you, girl," she said, glaring critically at Luna, who met her gaze with open eyes. "Were both your parents magic?"
"Yes," Luna said softly.
"And your grandparents?"
"My father's parents were both magic, my mother was half-blood."
"Have you any part in your father's," Bellatrix's face twisted with disgust, "treasonous publication?"
Bellatrix considered the girl for a long time. Then she leaned in so their noses were almost touching.
"And do you love Draco?"
"Yes, ma'am," said Luna, and Draco could have sworn that, right at that moment, he could have fought Bellatrix and won, fought the Dark Lord and won even. Those two words inspired that much pride in him.
Bellatrix grabbed Luna's chin, tilted her head back so the girl was looking up at her.
"I know something of irrational love," Bellatrix said. "Which this clearly is. But the girl's blood is pure enough, and if she has no part in her father's work, well, we are not all like our parents. But mark my words, girl," Her hand tightened, long fingernails digging into the pale skin of Luna's jaw. "If you ever – ever – do anything to hurt Draco…"
"If you break his heart…"
Draco felt like he should protest, but he didn't know what he should say.
"If you are anything less than faithful, anything less than the perfect wife to him-"
"Wife?" asked Draco, but neither of the women paid him any attention.
"I swear I'll make your life Hell," Bellatrix hissed. "If you're lucky I'll kill you fast and have done with it. But more likely it'll drag on for years. A living Hell, I promise you."
"Yes, ma'am," Luna said shakily.
Bellatrix released her.
"You two have until dawn before I notify the Dark Lord," she said. "And then the hunt will be on." She fingered her wand, and smirked. "And if I'm the one to find you two, the traitor and the escapee, remember that I'll be there as a Death Eater, not as your aunt."
Draco could scarcely believe it. Was his aunt actually allowing them to go? Giving them some sort of fighting chance for escape?"
"There are four hours until sunrise," Bellatrix said. "I suggest you two hurry."
Draco didn't need telling twice. He grabbed Luna's wrist and bolted, the two of them stumbling down the path that lead to the gates of Malfoy Manor, out into the moors beyond them.
"We should go far away," Luna said, breathless from running. "Before she changes her mind."
"Yes," said Draco. "Just wait."
He slammed the gates behind them, then wrapped his arms around Luna and kissed her.