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Chapter 1: Draco & Luna
Draco Malfoy was displeased with this whole thing known as "winter." It was much too cold and far too white to be anything but hideous.
Bundled in his black overcoat and an old fur hat, Draco sluggishly made his way up to the Astronomy tower. With each step his boots echoed on the cold, hard concrete underneath him. Much to his dismay, the staircase was lined with silver garland and festive blue flowers. The sight made him want to hurl. "Christmas," he muttered to himself with a frown. The holiday of all holidays. The time of year where one was meant to be happy and cheerful.
Yet Draco felt lousy and lonely. The only thing he had to look forward to was the gift of baked goods he would find in his room on Christmas morning. His mother never failed to send him that gift each and every year. Yet this year, he couldn't find excitement in these goodies. What was the point?
The Dark Lord (his arm tingled at just the thought of him) gave him a task to do. A task that would show Him just how worthy he was. A task that would ultimately end in death.
Draco's stomach turned at the thought. Death. Was there enough strength and bravery in him to take away someone's life? He knew the answer to that without even having to think. No. No he didn't have it in him to do it but he had to, for it was either Dumbledore's life, or his own. And he valued his own life far more than some old fraud like Dumbledore. Surely he had lived a long enough life?
Draco turned a corner and found himself already facing the tower. A winter breeze flowed through the open windows that caused a chill rise up his spine. He bundled his coat closer to him and shivered. He wanted to turn back and go to the Common Room where he knew a warm fire was burning, but he longed for the cold even though he detested it so much. He needed to feel numb for a while to clear his thoughts. So many thoughts.
He approached the furthest end of the tower and watched as snow gently floated down from the sky. Even though clouds covered the moon, it's light still shown through. He once found nights such as this somewhat enjoyable, but there was no joy left in him. He was empty.
The sound of echoing footsteps brought Draco out of his thoughts. In a flurry he tried to hide, but the person arrived too quickly to do anything but stand still and straight.
A blonde haired girl ran into the room and looked around with large, wondrous eyes. She was wearing a multi-colored beanie and a large, purple coat that made noise with each of her movements. She turned her attention to Draco and blinked.
"There was a nargle," she said in a soft voice. "I followed it up here. Did you see it?"
Draco stared for a moment before slowly shaking his head. Nargle? What in bloody hell was that?
"It jumped from a mistletoe, you see." The girl pointed down the stairs as she spoke. "On the sixth floor it just hopped out and off it ran. I would very much like to catch one."
Draco remained quiet, unsure of what to say. Who was this girl and why was she so blatantly odd?
"You're Draco Malfoy," she stated suddenly. She had a dreamy stare on her face as she spoke. "I saw you at the party. Filch had you."
"Who are you?" Draco asked in a snarky tone. He was in no mood to play games and was in no mood for company. He wanted to be alone.
"Luna Lovegood." Luna stared curiously into his face, the dreamy look still prominently obvious.
"How wonderful to meet you." Draco's words were drenched in unmistakable sarcasm.
"Why thank you." Luna was either unaware of his sarcasm, or she chose to ignore it. Draco was more than certain that she hadn't picked up on his "get away from me" attitude. So with a sigh he turned around and leaned on the edge of the building. Maybe if I ignore her, she'll go away.
"You're much too full of thoughts," Luna said thoughtfully, joining his side on the ledge. "A wrackspurt or two might help you out with that."
"Lovely," Draco muttered icily. Why wasn't she getting the hint?
It was quiet for a moment, so quiet, in fact, that he wondered if this girl had suddenly disappeared. Yet looking around he found her standing next to him still, her eyes fixed upon his face. He was about to make a retort, but she interrupted his thought.
"You're thinking about him aren't you?" Draco turned to look at her with incredulous eyes.
"Thinking of who, might I ask?" He sneered at her and she frowned.
Draco blinked and felt every bit of warmth leave his body. How did she know?
"A lot of people think about him," Luna continued. "He's a bit scary, you know?"
"Yeah," Draco said with a bit of relief. He was so sure she was talking about his task. The task. "Scary."
"But you don't have to do what he says," she whispered suddenly, looking pointedly at his arm.
The Dark Mark.
"What do you know?" Draco demanded. Her turned to stare down at her with his stormy gray eyes, trying to be intimidating. It was something his father had taught him to do. "Why are you saying this?" Though he tried his hardest to hide it, fear was rising up in his stomach and he had the sudden urge to throw up.
"It's a guess," Luna said with a bit of a shrug. "You're very easy to read. More open than a book."
"You-- I--" Draco was trying to think of an appropriate threat. Something, anything, to keep her quiet.
"You don't have to worry," Luna said in her soft, almost annoying, voice. "I'm not going to tell."
"Why?" How could he be sure she was telling the truth? There wasn't a person in this place he could trust, and she was no exception. Her word meant nothing to him.
"Because you're human," she said simply. "And humans make mistakes, and that's okay. I know that, in the end, you're going to do the right thing."
"How can you know that?" Draco spat.
"Your soul." She placed her gloved hand over top of Draco's heart and left it there. "It's not as far gone as you think."
Draco watched as she dropped her hand back to her side. A warm feeling began to rise in him again, and he welcomed it.
"You're wrong," he whispered. "I'm too far. I'm in too deep. It's drowning me." He had never opened up to someone like this, and his words spilled out of him like vomit. Yet he couldn't hold back, and for some reason he felt as if he could... No, he couldn't trust her, but he felt like he could talk to her.
"Then swim away from it. You can't drown if you reach the surface."
"It's pulling me in!" Draco shouted. He felt the tears rising again and the anger flowed through his veins. "It pulls me under. You don't understand, you can't understand."
"You're right," Luna said. How was she so expressionless? Where were her emotions? "I have no way of understanding, so that must make my thoughts worthless to you."
"I-- I mean-- I didn't mean that your thoughts are worthless," Draco sighed, wiping at his eyes. "I just--"
"You're just overwhelmed," Luna finished. "I could find some wrackspurts for you. That'll clear your mind."
Draco furrowed his eyebrows. What were these wrackspurts and nargles she spoke of?
"I have to go," Luna said suddenly, her voice as dreamy as ever. "Here, take this." She reached around her neck and unclipped a necklace she had been wearing. It appeared to be made of corks. She shoved it into Draco's hand and offered an expressionless smile. "That nargle is up here somewhere, that should protect you from it."
"I don't--” Draco sighed and offered a small smile to the odd girl. "Thank you."
"Have a Merry Christmas, Draco Malfoy. I believe in you." Luna tenderly kissed his cheek and ran off in a flurry. Within seconds she was gone and Draco was surrounded by nothing but silence again, his cheek warm and his head confused.
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