It was all so dreadfully familiar to Luna.
A part of her even wondered whether she had managed to step back in time, back into herself as she had been when the Death Eaters first took her away. The way that they were gripping her arms now, dragging her along, towards a pair of tall, imposing gates and up a cobbled walkway towards the familiar form of Malfoy Manor, was exactly how she remembered it happening before. The memories were enough to send terrible shivers down her spine and the knowledge that Lucius Malfoy was so close behind her made it even worse.
"Don't fight," one of the Death Eaters growled, tightening his grip on her arm. Luna bit her lip to stop herself from gasping. There were tears in the backs of her eyes and she had to fight to keep them from falling, just as she had to so many other times in far less serious situations. She was skilled at keeping herself from crying. Because Luna Lovegood did not cry.
The Manor doors swung open and the Death Eaters led her through, and it was almost as if she was being escorted. If she closed her eyes and let herself be guided by them without looking, she could almost pretend that she was a princess being brought before an adoring crowd rather than a frightened little girl being dragged into her prison again.
She had barely taken two steps inside when she was all but pounced on. Her eyes flew open and she stared straight into the bright, glittering eyes of Bellatrix Lestrange.
"Our little house guest is back!" she cooed, and gripped Luna's jaw in a claw-like hand, making her wince where her nails dug into her skin.
"Don't manhandle the girl, Bellatrix," Lucius said from over Luna's shoulder. His voice was soft and satin smooth, tinged very lightly with slight amusement. "You don't want her to be damaged, do you?"
"You're a fine one to talk about not damaging, after what happened when she was here last time," Bellatrix said. The corner of her lip curled up into a sharp, frightening sneer. "I don't recall you being worried about damaging her then…"'
No, he didn't.
Luna shivered and tried to pull away a little, but Bellatrix just dug her nails into her cheeks.
"Don't fight, little girl. It won't do you any good," Bellatrix purred. "It didn't before, and it will do even less now, when you don't have your little friends to come help you…" Then Bellatrix turned and called out to someone presumably lurking in another room. "Come out! She's here!"
There was a brief, tense silence and Luna wondered whether Bellatrix had been heard or if she was even calling to a real person or whether she thought that her Master could hear her. Then a door creaked open and Draco Malfoy stepped out.
Draco had never been a particularly strong-looking boy. Luna had always thought him rather unpleasantly peaked and pale, and he had looked particularly weak and sickly last time she had seen him, which had been at the battle. Before that, when she had been last imprisoned in Malfoy Manor, he had seemed, if possible, even worse. But now, it seemed almost as though what little life he had had before had been sucked out of him entirely, leaving a weak and skeletal shell of a boy. He looked to Luna as though he hadn't eaten in days or perhaps even weeks. His eyes were rimmed with pink and Luna wondered if he had been crying, and if so, what over.
Narcissa Malfoy followed her son, one thin hand gripping his shoulder so tightly that her knuckles were white and her fingertips bunched the fabric of Draco's shirt. Her eyes were also reddened, and, in her case, it was much easier to tell that she'd been crying. Her smooth, fair complexion was blotchy and pink and her eye makeup had run and streaked down her cheeks. There were dark shadows under her eyes that were obviously partly caused by ruined mascara and partly lack of sleep, though she had done a cursory job of brushing the makeup away.
"Draco…" Bellatrix sang out softly. "She's here…"
Draco looked briefly at Luna, then away. She saw him twisting the hem of his shirt between his fingers and could tell that he had done it many times before, because it was frayed. Luna felt an incredible urge to reach out and touch his hand, still it, stop him from twisting the cloth any more because it wouldn't do any good if he continued to, but her arms were still held immobile, so she settled for trying to catch his eye, though he was looking resolutely away from her, at the floor.
"Draco," Narcissa said quietly, and he looked up at his mother. Even though he was turned partially away from Luna, she could see the desperation in his eyes. She could tell that he was mentally begging his mother to get him away from there and she shook her head just slightly before she pushed Draco gently towards Bellatrix.
"Well?" Bellatrix demanded. "You're going to look at her, aren't you?"
"I've seen her before," Draco mumbled. "I know what she looks like."
"She's very pretty…" purred Bellatrix. "Don't you think so, Draco? Such lovely hair, such lovely eyes… aren't you pleased that she's a Pureblood? Aren't you pleased that the Dark Lord picked her?"
Draco made a small, noncommittal noise in the back of his throat. He was focussing on the ground and not looking at Luna, who glanced worriedly between Bellatrix and him, then back, trying to catch the eye of one of the Death Eaters. Lucius was turned resolutely away from her, staring at his son, and the others only leered when they looked at her.
"Aren't you pleased," Bellatrix repeated, very slowly and clearly, grabbing the front of Draco's shirt and pulling him around to face her, "that the Dark Lord picked her?"
"Yes," Draco mumbled.
"What did the Dark Lord pick me for?" Luna piped up. She supposed that it was really a bit unwise to ask – she had learned that it was generally better to keep silent with the Death Eaters – but she could think of nothing that they could do to punish her that they hadn't already done and she would rather understand what was happening.
"Haven't you told her?" Bellatrix looked up at Lucius with abject surprise, and he shook his head.
"I thought it would be better for Draco to be here when she was told."
"Oh, quite so…" Bellatrix let out a small laugh. "Draco, you tell her…"
Draco didn't say a word and Bellatrix's eyes narrowed slightly. She grabbed Draco by his shoulder, yanked him away from Narcissa and physically dragged him so that he was face-to-face with Luna. He met her eyes, and his expression was full of terror, as if he was being brought before an executioner instead of a prisoner.
"Well, now, come on, Draco," Bellatrix prompted, prodding him in the small of his back. "Come on. Say hello to her. Be polite and say hello to your bride-to-be."