Virtuoso

She was curious, and she wasn't afraid to show it. Luna didn't want or need to hide; she didn't like being secretive like some people she knew. So there she stood at the doorway to the Room of Requirement as it disappeared and melted away behind her, watching him play the piano.

She had heard music coming out of the seemingly solid wall on her way to dinner, and out of intrigue, had walked towards it and put her ear to the stone, listening. She liked to meander about the school in her spare time when she wasn't doing homework, and she hadn't been particularly hungry at the time anyway. Besides, it wasn't like anyone was waiting to see her at the dinner table. After thrice repeating her wish to find out who was playing inside, the gateway to the Room appeared and she stepped through. She let out a silent gasp as she closed her eyes and let the music wash over her.

The tune was mournful and heartbreaking at the same time. It was a melancholy mixture of sadness, agitation and fear. His fingers skimmed over the keys in some parts, slowly building to a heavy cacophony of clashing notes, then banging on the bass notes now and then to maintain a low, steady drone. Draco didn't look as if he knew he was being watched.

Slowly, she began to sway to the music. The melody transitioned through a series of falling notes, and in her mind she imagined a waterfall cascading down a high cliff to the depths below. The notes became more harmonic and less random, rising and falling likes waves lapping at the shores, or a wind trying to decide which way to blow. Luna twirled, her hair fanning out and turning with her. Her feet made no noise, for she was barefoot; she had lost her shoes again. She held her hands above her head and looked up, smiling serenely as she continued to spin.

Just as she was beginning to enjoy herself, there was an almighty crash of notes, ringing out and reverberating around the room. She jumped, startled, and turned. She couldn't see his face; she inched to the right so she could view him in profile. He was staring into his lap, a calculating expression on his slowly paling face as he breathed in and out. He looked tired, she noticed. His eyes were bloodshot, and he had the hunched figure of someone who had lost a lot of sleep.

She continued to watch him quietly. He breathed slowly, in and out, in and out, closing his eyes and muttering under his breath. His fists clenched and unclenched as he focused on steadying his breathing. Then he leaned over, his white-blond hair just brushing over the black and white keys, and Luna realised that he was crying, actually crying; he covered his eyes with his hands, and Luna suddenly understood what the sixth-year Slytherin was whispering to himself. "I can't do this… I can't do this…" He rocked back and forth, his sobs getting louder and louder the harder he fought to keep them at bay.

Most people would have asked immediately what was troubling him, but Luna wasn't most people. Instead, she was more concerned about how to comfort the boy. An idea came to her, and she stepped backwards. As if the Room knew she was about to leave, the door appeared again behind her. She left quietly, looking back once again before heading for Ravenclaw Tower.

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He knew someone had been there just a moment ago. All he had seen was a flash of blonde hair much like his own, except it was longer and had streaks of light brown, before whoever it was had disappeared. Draco peered out from between his fingers where his hands were covering his face. The tears had stopped; he cursed inwardly at the self-control he had lost so momentarily. He knew his father would not have been pleased at his pathetic display of weakness.

He looked at his hands. They were long-fingered and delicate, shaped from more than a decade of playing the piano. In a few months, they would be stained with Dumbledore's murder. He hated himself for feeling so unclean. He knew he hadn't been trying hard enough, and every time he managed to harm some other person instead of his intended target, he felt an uncomfortable wrenching in his stomach. Sure, he didn't like Katie Bell much, but he hadn't meant to curse her to St. Mungo's. As for Ron… well, it wasn't like he had a choice. The Dark Lord set him a task, and for all he could do at the moment, The Dark Lord's word was law.

He told his father he had been modifying the Vanishing Cabinet in the Room of Requirement, but that had only been half of the truth. Draco couldn't bring himself to work on it every single time he visited that corridor; for one thing, he was too tired to concentrate on such tedious work, and sometimes, he just wanted to be left alone in his self-pity.

So instead of thinking I want to get into the Room of Hidden Things whenever he stood opposite the invisible doorway, he wished for a piano. Though he had originally hated the instrument, what with being forced to play it at the age of five due to his aristocratic heritage, as the years passed he had grown to appreciate music and the wonders he could do with it. Music was about creativity, about expressing emotions and thoughts, and he felt a certain satisfaction from being able to do whatever he wanted without a rulebook to go by. It was all up to him, no one could tell him what to do. What was even better was the fact that there was never a wrong answer to it, never a punishment someone could administer if he stepped out of line, for there were no lines to music, none at all.

Throughout the course of the year, in between schoolwork, friends and meals, he had been composing. He never completed his works, but started a new one every time he played. His music was always the same – harrowing and desolate, sorrowful and heartbreaking all at once. Here, he could immerse himself in what he was playing, concentrating on nothing except his fingers on the keys and his right foot on the pedal. He didn't have to listen to anyone when he was playing. Here, he could be himself, the true Draco Malfoy no one knew, not really at least. Here, he could escape from the horrors of his present.

Draco lowered his head and bent over so that his forehead pressed onto the keys. It made a strange clashing sound as they sank downwards, resonating through the air. He stayed there for a long while. I have no choice, he thought despairingly. I have to kill him.

Then, out of the blue, he heard a long, wavering note from behind him. The single, solitary note echoed, and as it did, whoever was playing began another. Then more began to join the first two, rising and falling and rising again, before reaching a high, wistful, vibrating tone. It unsettled him, but not in the way where he felt compelled to take out his wand. The sound was a little unnerving in the sense that someone else was there, but for some reason, he didn't feel as angry as he thought he should be. He turned.

Luna Lovegood was standing at the doorway, eyes closed, her head cocked to one side as she held a small violin to her chin. The violin looked old, almost antique even, but it was this that made it sound so beautiful, the notes sounding effortlessly through the air. Luna's lithe hand was on the strings, the other was holding a long bow. She was absorbed in her playing, oblivious to the world around her.

Her hopeful melody filled the room, repeating over and over again, and the effect was soothing, calming, unlike anything he had ever experience. It wasn't like he had never heard anyone play the violin, but there was something about Luna's grace and the way she held the violin so carefully, almost affectionately, that he knew that she loved her instrument too. It was a bizarre sight, but Luna didn't look like she cared; she never did. After watching her for a few more seconds, his hands landed on the piano again. They began to play a tune of their own accord, a gentle melody much unlike what he normally played.

It blended together with hers in harmony, one that built in volume and in depth, the notes gradually getting faster and faster until it was a mass of scales and arpeggios and chords, her bow moving quickly as his hands flew over the keys. Luna opened her eyes and their gazes met, and hers seemed to be full of understanding as much as his was full of regret. She didn't want to know anything, he realised, and she didn't need to. She only wanted to make him happy.

She began to slow down, her music guiding his hands to reduce in speed. As they decelerated, they began to play longer notes into a steady andante, as if both of them didn't want to stop their serenade. But they did eventually, slowing to a rubato before Draco played one last chord on the piano sotto voce. He exhaled slowly, lifting his hands off to look at her.

Draco suddenly noticed just how similar the two of them were in appearance. Both had blonde hair, though his was closer to a platinum sheen while hers was a darker ash blonde. Their eyes were the same too, grey with flecks of blue and silver, but his own were cold and unfeeling, and hers were shining with compassion. They could have passed for siblings, if they so wished, and Draco wondered momentarily how things could have been if he hadn't been in this situation. But it was all wishful thinking, and that was never good. He realised he hadn't wanted the music to stop.

Both of them were lost for words; but then, there was no need to speak. Their haunting duet had rendered them speechless, so there they stayed just staring at each other as if a telephathic stream of thoughts had linked them together. Luna smiled at him wordlessly and turned, leaving him alone in the Room of Requirement, which all of a sudden seemed like a suffocating void of silence.

Author's Note:

Hello, I haven't posted in a while! I've reached my milestone of 30 stories, which makes me very happy. I'm aiming to get to 50 though.

I've always imagined that Luna knew how to play the violin. Its versatility and grace fits her personality. As for Draco, well, the piano's very expressive in the way that suits him too. Did you like it? Review below!