Title: At Odds with Love
Prompt: Luna Lovegood lives for her work on the Quibbler, and she's always been antiromance…but she's positively drunk on Draco's soulful eyes and electrifying touch. Their steamy trysts around are pure magic. But lust can't outweigh trust…and Luna's about to learn the sobering truth.
Word Count: 4 640
Warnings: infidelity, awkard!Luna!sex
Author's Notes: Written for hp_harlequin on Livejournal, a fest that uses the summaries of Harlequin romance novels as prompts for Harry Potter fanfiction. Many thanks to VivusEtIterum for betaing.
Banner: http: / /pics. livejournal. com/gamma_x_orionis/pic/0000xh97
On a certain Thursday afternoon in late May, Luna Lovegood lay on her stomach, reading over an article for the Quibbler. She kicked her legs lightly and rhythmically against the grass, humming a Celestina Warbeck song to herself as she nibbled on the end of her quill pen and pondered whether to publish the recent eyewitness reports of Heliopaths now, or to make a quick trip to Albania to confirm them first.
She gazed into space, watching a butterfly flutter slowly down to the stack of letters she had brought out with her. It was still for a moment, then lifted off again, flapping away into the bright blue sky until it disappeared completely.
Luna sighed, putting her quill down and rolling over onto her back. Powdery scraps of pale clouds floated slowly overhead, forming into images of animals and objects that amused Luna for some time before she lost interest and began to ponder other matters.
Last week, Luna had put an advert in the Daily Prophet – much against her better judgement, given her feelings about the paper – requesting an assistant to help her with the editing and publication of The Quibbler. She hadn't wanted to, but with the increasing popularity of the magazine, she could no longer run it without help. The advert had been published on Monday, with brief descriptions of the help she would require – addressing letters, sorting through articles, and the like – and she had been hoping someone would respond quickly and save her the cost and bother of reprinting the request. But it had been the better part of half a week, and if no one had responded by now…
The voice startled Luna. It was cool and silky and familiar…
She sat up and looked around, surprised when her eyes fell upon the tall, fair young man standing over her. The sun glinted off his pale hair, a shade lighter than her own, and Luna recognized his delicate, pointed face.
He nodded once. "You didn't answer your door."
"Yes… I was out here…" She gestured vaguely around her.
Luna was quiet for a moment, looking blankly at Draco, and he looked back. This lasted an awkward eternity before Luna remembered her manners. "Oh! Er… How may I help you?"
"You placed a request in the Daily Prophet, did you not? For an assistant?"
"Well, I've come to apply for the position," he said as though that should have been supremely obvious.
Draco frowned. "Is that important?"
"Well… I suppose not particularly…" Luna admitted, pulling absently on a lock of her scraggly blonde hair as she watched him.
"Good. So I take it you do still need the help? You haven't found someone else to fill the position?"
Luna wasn't entirely sure what to say. Draco Malfoy had hardly been the type of person – much less the exact person – she had been expecting to reply to the advert. Draco, after all, was an ex–Death Eater, one whose family had kept Luna prisoner during the war, no less. Did she really want someone like that working for her?
But then, on the other hand, that had all happened years and years ago. It was hardly outside the realm of possibility that Draco had changed since then – Luna certainly had. And if he had not changed, surely he would not be requesting a position working for her…
"When would you like to begin?" she asked, putting on her brightest smile. Draco smiled slightly as well, looking pleased, proud and almost relieved.
"Monday?" he suggested. "But you can show me around and tell me what you'll be wanting me to do right now, if that's convenient?"
Luna nodded and bent down, scooping up her papers. "Come with me, then," she said, balancing the papers with one hand and offering the other to Draco. He seemed surprised and vaguely confused at the gesture, staring at her hand for a long moment before he took it and the two of them started for the Lovegood house. Luna pushed the door open with her foot, inviting Draco in.
"What a lovely home," Draco said. His tone was so polite that Luna could not tell whether he was being sincere or simply employing very thickly veiled sarcasm. The latter seemed more like the Draco she had known at school, but she decided she preferred to think it was sincerity.
"Thank you," she said, just as politely, setting down the stack of parchment on her table. "It's not much, but…" She glanced around the house fondly, then looked at Draco. "I run The Quibbler right here, you see. People send in articles and I publish them. It's not a very fancy operation," she added, shrugging her shoulders slightly.
"And what would I be doing?" asked Draco.
"Oh, just things like sending letters to people who have submitted articles for publication, telling them when they will be printed and if we need any more information – you needn't worry too much about that, I'll write the letters and you'll just need to address and mail them… yes?"
Draco was looking at her as though she had just sprouted several extra heads. Luna glanced quickly in her blurry reflection in the window to be sure she hadn't – anything was possible when you were the editor of The Quibbler – but she looked quite normal.
"You're being so… authoritative," Draco said. "You weren't like this when we were at school."
"You didn't know me when we were at school."
Draco mumbled something under his breath, then shook his head. "Never mind. Is there anything else?"
"Well…" Luna said, considering, "there might be some other little things you'll need to do, but I'll explain them if they come up." She stopped, thinking hard. She was sure there was something that manners dictated she should say right now, but she couldn't quite recall what.
"Well, I'll come in around nine o'clock on Monday morning, shall I?"
"Thank you, then. I suppose I'll see you…" He reached for the door handle.
"Yes… Oh, wait!" A smile broke across Luna's face as she recalled what she had been meaning to say. "Won't you stay for a cup of tea?"
Draco paused, his hand upon the door, and looked back at her.
"Thank you," he said, his voice as smooth and calm and drawlingly devoid of emotion as it ever had been. "Perhaps later."
Then he stepped outside, closing the door and leaving Luna standing, slightly confused, staring after him.
True to his word, Draco rang Luna's doorbell a few minutes before nine on Monday morning. Luna had been in her kitchen, stirring cream into her tea and singing quietly to herself, and at the noise of the bell, she looked up, her heart beating a touch faster than usual.
"Coming!" she called, setting down her spoon, picking up her skirt and hurrying to the door.
Draco was lounging easily against the railing of the steps that led to the front door, idly gazing at the Dirigible Plums hovering lazily over their patch.
"Hello, Draco," Luna said brightly. "Do come in. Would you care for a cup of tea?" she added, pleased with herself for remembering to ask.
"Yes, thank you, Earl Grey," Draco said, nodding slightly and stepping over the threshold. Luna led him into the kitchen, picking up her wand from the counter and waving it at the kettle, which immediately began to whistle. She dropped two bags of tea into it and allowed a few moments for it to steep before pouring it into a pair of earthenware mugs and handing one to Draco. "Won't you sit down?"
He nodded once more and settled at the kitchen table. Luna sat across from him, absently stirring honey into her tea.
"Why do you want to work here, Draco?" she asked abruptly.
Draco looked taken aback. "You said that didn't matter."
"It doesn't. But the fact that it doesn't matter doesn't mean I don't want to know."
He pondered his answer for a long time. Luna waited patiently while he chewed on his lip and stared into his mug. Finally he raised his head and met her eyes.
"I want a chance to apologize," he said. "For everything that happened during the war."
"You're quite forgiven."
"Can't you just let me work?" he snapped, suddenly sounding a lot more like the Draco she remembered from school. "You said that I could, you gave me the bloody job – are you going to go on about why I'm working here the whole bloody time?"
"No," Luna said simply. "Never mind, then."
Draco sighed, putting down his mug. "Can I just get started?"
"Of course." Luna set down her mug as well and took Draco's hand, leading him into the parlour where she had set up a desk. On it was a stack of letters for various people who had submitted articles to the Quibbler, and a stack of envalopes beside that. "You just need to address the letters. I'll send them out when you're finished," Luna told him.
"How long should it take?" Draco asked, eyeing the papers.
"Oh, take your time, there's no hurry," she said brightly. "Whenever you finish them is fine. It would be nice for them to be done by the weekend, but don't worry if it takes longer. I'm just going to go outside to fertilize the dirigible plums. I'll be back in soon, and come on out if you need anything."
Draco nodded and sat down at the desk. Luna hummed to herself as she floated outside, pulling back her hair and feeling the fresh morning breeze on her skin before practically skipping to the shed to retrieve a bag of fertilizer.
She took her time spreading it on the patch where the dirigible plums grew, humming quietly, and she was surprised when she heard a delicate cough from overhead.
"Yes?" she said, looking up and smiling at Draco, who was standing just outside her front door and watching her.
"I'm finished," he told her. "Shall I take the letters down to the post office in Hogsmeade and send them off, or do you have a different post office that you fancy using? Or something else you'd like me to do?"
"Oh…" Luna blinked slowly, taken aback. "You finished very quickly… yes, it would be lovely if you'd go down to Hogsmeade to have them sent. There's money on the kitchen table that you can use, if you'd like. Or you can just tell me the price of the owls and I'll add it to your pay…"
"No need," Draco told her, waving one hand lazily. "I'm not exactly short on money. I'll pay for the owls myself."
"That's… very kind of you…" said Luna. "Well, then… thank you…"
Draco inclined his head, then disappeared inside and returned a moment later with the letters in his hands. He gave Luna a quick nod, then disapparated.
Luna sat back on her haunches, staring thoughtfully at the spot where he had disappeared. There was a part of her that was unsure whether it was wise to trust him – for all the evidence to the contrary, she could not help thinking that he was still the one who had kept her locked in a dungeon during the war. But then, he did seem genuinely remorseful, and there was no denying that he was doing the work that she wanted of him – so what was there to worry about?
Through the week, Luna put more effort than she ever had before into watching Draco. She wasn't a suspicious person by nature, but she wasn't stupid either – she knew better than to blindly trust someone who had not only worked for Lord Voldemort, but who had been cruel to her before that without good reason. It wasn't difficult to excuse his actions in the war – everyone had been mad then, and could not be held responsible for their actions. But they had been at school for years before that, and Draco was often at the forefront of the group that had done everything to make Luna's life a misery.
Of course, they had only been teenagers then.
Days passed, and even the most suspicious parts of Luna's mind could find no serious faults in Draco. He worked well, was surprisingly civil, and went far beyond what Luna asked of him. The only flaw she could find, when she looked at it from the most objective standpoint that she could muster, was that he did have a tendency to look at her with a bit of his old sneer about his face, but as long as that didn't interfere with his work, she didn't see any reason to complain. She attracted far stranger looks from her own friends, after all.
The next two editions of The Quibbler were ready in record time, but when Luna suggested that Draco should take a few days off, he told her that he would rather keep working. Luna was thrilled.
Her friends, when she had them over for tea the Sunday after The Quibbler had been sent out for publishing, to tell them all about the wonderful worker she had acquired, were more sceptical.
"He's up to something," Harry said, the second the words "Draco Malfoy" had passed her lips.
"Oh, honestly," Hermione sighed. "How many times have you said Malfoy was up to something now?"
"How many times have I been right?"
"But he was right about the most important thing," Ginny put in diplomatically.
"You think this is all part of Malfoy's master plan to make Luna's life miserable?" Hermione asked, raising one eyebrow pointedly.
"No," Ginny said with a shrug. "I'm just pointing that out."
"Have you checked your jewellery box?" Ron asked. "He's probably robbing you blind."
"What?" Ginny snorted, choking on her tea. Hermione thumped her on the back while she coughed. Finally, she regained her breath and managed to snort out, "You think Malfoy bothered getting a job with Luna just so he could steal some ridiculous–looking jewellery? What would he want with radishes and butterbeer corks? No offence, Luna…" she added quickly.
"Hmm? Oh, I'm not offended."
"This is ridiculous," Hermione said, rolling her eyes. "When has Luna ever been wrong about someone? And you two…" she looked at Harry and Ron, "are doubting her?"
"What?" Ron asked defensively.
"Oh, nothing… you two have always been the perfect examples of good judgement about people."
"Well," Harry said, "maybe not, but–"
"Luna," Hermione said, turning away from the men and meeting Luna's eyes, "has Draco done anything to make you think that he isn't worth trusting?"
"No," Luna said promptly.
"All the more reason why we should be–" Ron began, but Hermione silenced him with a glare.
"Has he been working?"
"And he's been reasonably polite?"
"Well, then," Hermione said, "I don't see any reason why you shouldn't keep him working for you, as long as you don't do anything… stupid."
"She won't," Ginny said with utter certainty. "Luna's not an idiot. It's not like she's going to be sleeping with him or anything like that. Isn't that right, Luna?"
"Of course," Luna said absently.
Luna was quite satisfied by her friends' advice, and thought about it for a long time. Of course Luna didn't intend to start a romance. She was perfectly happy on her own – and besides, the idea of her friends' reactions if she did were enough to make eve her nervous. Of course, her own honesty – honesty that she had in large quantities – forced her to admit that he was not unattractive, but good looks were not nearly enough to make her want him. She pondered why Hermione would even suspect that of her, but a few days of wondering were more than enough for her to decide that the matter was unimportant, and she set it aside.
The Friday that the July edition of the Quibbler had to be prepared, Luna told Draco that she would be out most of the day, and to go home whenever he felt he was ready. When she returned from her errands – mailing copies of the magazine to the printers, trying to convince the Daily Prophet to run an advertisement for the Quibbler and the like – she found Draco still seated at his desk, so engrossed in what he was writing that he didn't even look up when she entered.
"Draco, are you all right?"
"Oh!" He jolted a little, twisting around, and then hitched a charming, almost shockingly winning smile onto his face. "Just getting a little more work done."
"That's very helpful," Luna told him, "but you don't have to do that. We're quite far ahead of schedule as it is. You've been very helpful."
"Thank you," said Draco, setting down his quill. "So you don't regret hiring me."
"No. I never did, you know." She paused, then added, "shouldn't you be going home? It's almost dark out."
"I'm fine. I'll stay."
"Are you sure?"
He trailed off and Luna waited patiently while he seemed to search for the proper way to phrase his next sentence.
"Yes, Draco?" she prompted at last.
"I was wondering if I might stay the night."
Luna looked at him quizzically, and he hurried to add, "Only for one night. I won't be any trouble." He met Luna's eyes and smiled once again, and though something about this felt just a touch strange, Luna saw no reason to turn him down.
"Of course," she said. "Give me a moment. I'll bring you a blanket."
Draco was silent while Luna went to the linen closet and returned with a quilt in her arms, and he didn't quite look at her even as she sat down beside him and placed it carefully in his lap.
"Did you make this?" he asked at last.
"Yes. At Hogwarts." Luna smiled fondly at the worn, brightly coloured blanket.
Luna and Draco were silent for a minute, then Draco spoke up abruptly. "Are you married?"
Luna tilted her head, puzzled. "No, I'm not. If I were married, wouldn't I have a husband somewhere around here?"
"Well, yes, obviously, but…"
"Well, I did wonder," Draco said, meeting Luna's eyes with an earnest, piercing stare, "whether I should feel… ashamed… for having such impure thoughts about a married woman…"
"Pardon?" Luna was hopelessly confused. What did he mean by "impure thoughts"? Did he mean that he had been considering hurting her? Were her friends right? But he didn't look like he was going to hurt her…
"Thoughts," Draco said, "such as… how much I want to do this…"
He leaned forward, and Luna started when he pressed his lips against hers. It sent a shock through her, like touching the horn of a Crumple–Horned Snorkack, only a thousand times more so. Her knees must have given out, because she found herself on the couch, in Draco's lap.
"Oh!" Luna pulled back, blinking and staring at Draco, her eyes even wider and more surprised–looking than usual. "Why did you do that, Draco?"
"Because." Draco looked as though he thought the answer should have been obvious. "Because I've been wanting to do that since we were in school."
"You have? Well, why didn't you do it until now?"
"Funny." Draco laughed mirthlessly. "As though your friends would take kindly to Draco Malfoy getting close to their precious pet. That Weasley girl would have had me killed if I even tried to touch you, I'm sure."
"They wouldn't have minded."
"Wouldn't they?" he asked, arching an eyebrow. "I don't suppose you've happened to mention to them that you've hired me?"
"Yes, I have."
"And did they take particularly kindly to that?"
"Well, no," Luna admitted, "not especially kindly, I suppose."
"They told you to be careful."
"Yes. They are my friends, after all. They care about me."
"Do they?" Draco asked, with a slight sneer. "Are you quite sure of that? Because if they care so much about you, I should think that they would want you to be happy – would they not?"
"Are you sure?"
There was no answer that Luna could give. She stared blankly at Draco.
He sighed impatiently.
"For God's sake, just kiss me," he ordered. Luna jumped a little at his harshness, but… well, why not? What would it hurt if she did kiss him? He hadn't done anything to hurt her – not in years, in any case – and ten year old grudges should hardly get in the way of a kiss. They were most certainly not enough to stop Luna from – if she was completely honest – wanting him, just a little bit. "That's not very polite of you," she admonished, frowning a little bit and trying to work out whether she should be angry at him or not.
"I'm sorry, then!" he said, with a touch of a sneer on his face, which Luna decided to ignore.
"All right," she said, and she leaned forward to kiss him again.
Luna had kissed people before, under all manner of circumstances – friends and family and even a lover or two – but they had always been soft, light and sweet. Not so with Draco – his hands knotted in her long hair, yanking at it, and Luna found herself enjoying the mild pain. His lips were burning hot, his tongue jamming into her mouth, forcing her jaw open while he deepened the kiss. Neither Draco nor Luna even noticed their foreheads and noses bumping together.
Luna did, however, notice when one of Draco's hands left her hair and went to her breast.
"What are you doing?" she asked, confused, pulling back again. Draco's face was flushed, and he was breathing a little heavily.
"Didn't I say I wanted you?" he panted. "I want you right now. You're not going to leave me hanging?"
"Oh…" Luna blinked, then shook her head. "No, I wasn't. But you're being rude again."
"Oh, pardon me, I didn't realize we were having a manners lesson!"
"We're not…" Luna's own heart was pounding with excitement, and she felt a pleasantly familiar wetness in between her thighs.
She swung one leg over Draco so she was straddling him, then hooked her fingers underneath the bottom of her shirt, lifting it up and over her head. She wasn't wearing a bra, and she blushed just a little bit as Draco's eyes immediately settled on her breasts, pert and bouncing, her nipples firmly pointed. She pinched them lightly, enjoying the little achy shots of pleasure that went through her when she did.
"Let me!" Draco ordered her. He shoved her hands out of the way and grabbed her breasts, squeezing them hard. Luna jumped a little, but she found herself smiling. She let him tug and squeeze them while she reached down to undo his trousers.
"You're bigger than I thought you would be!" Luna blurted out.
Draco looked like he wasn't quite sure whether to be insulted or not. His mouth opened and closed several times, then he said, "You've thought about it?"
"Yes," Luna said. "Of course."
"Didn't fancy you for the type who thought about sex a lot…"
"But I do," Luna told him. "Everyone always seems so surprised… But I like it, you know. I like it a lot…"
She was absently toying with Draco's penis, flicking the foreskin back and forth over the head, and looked at him, surprised, when he let out a loud moan.
"You're teasing!" he snarled, thrusting against her hand. "Stop it! Just– fuck me, for God's sake!"
She started, surprised and wondering if she had done something wrong, and Draco groaned. "Fuck's sake– Lovegood– just– please!"
"Oh… well, why didn't you say so?"She squirmed a little, throbbing between her legs, and lifted up her skirt, sliding off him to pull down her knickers, then climbing up to straddle him again. She was dripping, and Draco moaned, sounding almost like he was in pain, then he grabbed her by her hips and flipped her over in one smooth motion, pressing her down onto the couch and pressing the head of his cock against her opening.
Luna mewled like a cat, spreading her legs wide open as a flush rose in her body. She looked down at where he was pressed against her most sensitive parts, and gasped softly.
He let out a short moan, and wasted no more time. Luna's body shook violently when he thrust inside her, and she arched against him.
He was stretching her wide open, and Luna reached down automatically to rub her clitoris, but Draco grabbed her hand, pinning it over her head.
"Let me," he purred, and Luna cried out happily when he pressed his thumb hard against the sensitive little bump. She spread her legs as wide as they would go, hooking one over the back of the couch and thrusting her hips up to meet his. Her breathing came deep and fast as he rocked against her, speed increasing constantly, and then she screamed.
"Draco!" she cried out. "Draco– oh! You– you found–" She couldn't even get all the words out, but Draco knew what she meant, and he was pounding against that special, sensitive little spot over and over and Luna felt an incredible force building inside her. Her mouth was opening and closing like a fish's, her eyes wide upon Draco and then–
Then she was in heaven. Juices gushed and spurted from between her legs and she could just feel Draco's hardness breaking and flooding inside her, but she was too lost in her own ecstasy to notice.
At last, she fell back, gasping. Her body kept arching and shaking from aftershocks until she finally lay still beneath Draco, staring up to the ceiling, lips slightly parted. Slowly, very slowly, she turned her head to meet Draco's eyes.
Luna had a crick in her neck from sleeping on the couch, but she didn't mind. The very first thing she noticed when she woke up was how warm she felt with Draco's arms around her. She wasn't used to waking up with someone like this – oh, it had happened before, but not enough for her to get used to it. Her smile widened while she relived the events of last night. So what if her friends had specifically warned her not to do this? She hadn't hurt anyone. She hadn't done anything wrong.
On the contrary, she had never felt so right.
Luna turned her head slowly, wincing at the pain in her neck, and found her vision obstructed by Draco's hand. She kissed his fingers lightly, then stilled her lips when she felt something slightly cool and hard touch them.
She pulled her head back slightly and lifted his hand, stroking it gently. Draco stirred beside her but did not wake.
At first glance, nothing seemed amiss. The sunrise–rosy light filtering through Luna's curtains leant his hand a soft colour, and it hung limp and relaxed from her fingers. But as Luna looked carefully, turning it over and over and examining it, her stomach began to sink.
No, this couldn't be right… he would have said… he would have mentioned… she would have known…
Luna felt a wave of an unfamiliar feeling that could only be profound guilt wash over her. Because there, nestled at the base of his fourth finger, so thin and narrow and close to his skin tone that it was near impossible to see at a glance, was a ring.
Luna looked slowly to Draco. His eyes were open and he was looking at her, fear evident in his expression.
"You didn't tell me you were married," she said softly.