Author's Notes: Written for a-trip-to-honeydukes' Your Favourite Couple Competition on the HPFC forum and the January 2nd Prompt of the Day on Hogwarts Online II – "Sleepless".
Draco, Crabbe and Goyle were in their compartment of the Hogwarts Express, on their way to their second year at Hogwarts, not expecting anything, when it happened.
Draco had a chocolate frog in his hands, and was slowly pulling it apart, watching as the body parts twitched and wriggled before he put them in his mouth. Crabbe and Goyle were simply sitting across from him, looking dazed and absent as they stuffed food into their mouths. Draco's lip curled when he glanced at them. Disgusting.
Then the compartment door opened, and things had changed.
Standing in the doorway was a girl – probably a first year, since Draco had not seen her the year before. He stared at her, and so did Crabbe and Goyle, all of them utterly perplexed by her presence.
She had very long, tangled blonde hair and her eyes were huge. There was a wand stuck behind her ear, a peculiar orange stain on her yellow dress, and a necklace made of butterbeer corks around her neck.
It was all Draco could do not to burst out laughing.
"Who," he sputtered, his face twisting into a sneer as he tried to keep it straight, "are you?"
"Luna," she said mildly. "Luna Lovegood. And you're Draco Malfoy. May I sit here, please?"
"How do you know my name?" Draco demanded, staring at her as though she were insane – which she probably was – as Crabbe and Goyle laughed.
"I heard your Daddy talking to you on the platform," she told him. "And he called you Draco. May I sit here, please?"
The smirk slid right off Draco's face, and he narrowed his eyes. "No," he managed to say at last. "No, you may not sit with us. We don't fancy having someone like you sit here."
"Oh." Luna's eyes didn't betray so much as a shred of hurt. She kept a serene smile on her face, and she didn't move.
"You can go now," Draco prompted with a sneer.
"I'd really rather not. No one else will let me sit in their compartments either, so I thought I might as well stand here as go somewhere else."
"Well, you're not welcome here either!" Draco told her. "What happened to your dress, anyway?"
"Oh…" Luna looked down at the orange stain. "I was giving the Nargles pumpkin juice as a treat before I went away. I must have spilled some."
"You were giving the pumpkin juice to the what?"
Draco stared at her and she looked back with no emotion in her eyes but plain, simple happiness.
Draco turned to Crabbe and Goyle.
"You two," he said, "Get her out. I don't care how you do it. However you do it… just get her out."
Crabbe stood up immediately and shoved Luna hard in the stomach, pushing her physically out of the compartment, and Draco locked the door. He watched through the window as Luna – who had fallen to the ground – looked at the door, then slowly picked herself up and walked off, face still as impassively serene as ever. Draco did fancy, though, that he saw her chin tremble just a little bit, and he felt a twinge in his stomach.
Hang on – was that remorse?
He stood at the door for a while, frowning after her.
No. Definitely not remorse, he decided, and sat back down and tried not to think of her anymore.
When they sat down for the start-of-term feast, the Sorting Hat had sung its insufferable ditty about which house corresponded to which sort of personality, and the first years came filing in to be sorted, Draco found himself staring at Luna Lovegood once again. He told himself it was because she was so easy to notice, so out-of-place among the scared-looking first years.
"You're staring," Pansy told Draco, prodding him. "What're you staring at?"
"What?" He shook himself a little and looked at her. "Oh, just the first years." He gestured vaguely at the crowd.
"Look at that girl with the necklace," Pansy sneered, pointing straight at Luna and her necklace of butterbeer corks. "Is she out of her mind? Does she actually think that looks good?"
"Hmm." Draco made a noise of general assent, but he wasn't listening to Pansy at all.
She practically skipped up to the stool and sat down. The sorting hat was lowered over her head, and the Great Hall waited in its usual mild anticipation.
Please let it be Slytherin!
Draco started. He wasn't supposed to be thinking that. He didn't want her in Slytherin! She was definitely not Slytherin material, and it wasn't as though he wanted to have to have anything to do with her! Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.
Draco let out a little sigh of relief. Of course she'd be in Ravenclaw. That was where they put all the crazy people, as long as they could pass off their insanity as depth. Well, good. He wouldn't have anything to do with her, then.
So why didn't that idea make him happy?
Draco lay in bed that night and tried not to think about Luna Lovegood. She wasn't worth thinking this much about – what was he, out of his mind? He should have just told Crabbe and Goyle to get rid of her as soon as he saw her.
But he hadn't.
However he tried to turn it over in his mind and make it make sense, Draco couldn't think of a single reason why he had let Luna Lovegood stand there and talk for as long as she had. He would never have let most people do that. If Potter or – God forbid – Granger had tried to stand in his compartment and talk to him, they would have been tossed out in a second.
So why had he let Luna Lovegood stay as long as he had?
This was stupid, he told himself. She wasn't worth losing sleep over. Draco didn't want to be exhausted on his first day of classes because some stupid, crazy girl had left him sleepless. No, she most certainly wasn't worth that.
Draco turned over, pulling his pillow over his head and closing his eyes, trying to force himself to go back to sleep.
It didn't work.
He lay awake all night, tossing and turning and trying to dispel images of Luna Lovegood from his mind.
This was not an auspicious start to the school year.