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Chapter 1 : Ice Castles
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Dumbledore was an annoying old geezer, but Draco never had it out for him, at least not to the extent of extinguishing the sod’s life! And he only truly disliked the Headmaster because of his leniency to Gryffindor and that he was a Potter fan.
It’s him or me. It’s him or me. Draco thought as he paced the empty dungeon common room. He needed to escape. He’d already yelled at Pansy, sending her (no doubt crying) to her room, but now that he’d been alone in here for the past few hours it hadn’t relieved much of his tension.
He felt as though he wouldn’t recognise relaxation if it bit him in the arse. Each tendon in his body ached from sleep deprivation and strain. His anxiety was the only thing dragging him out of his sleepless bed each morning and keeping him up all night. He wasn’t eating properly and Pansy was the only one who seemed to notice for she was constantly nagging him about it, threatening to tell Madam Pomfrey that he needed to eat more.
Draco gave up on pacing and drew his house robes around his wide shoulders and exited Slytherin. He didn’t realise he was headed for the library until he got there and seeing that it was sparsely populated, stalked the rows of books, desperate to find anything that would take his mind off his responsibilities. He found a book that looked somewhat interesting and sat at the nearest table to peruse it.
“Draco,” Luna said plainly as she approached from an opposite stack. She’d witnessed him pick the book from the shelf and seeing as how none of his cronies were with him, she felt obliged to go over and see if he fancied company.
“Lovegood,” he replied, looking up from his book.
“What're you reading?” she asked. “Oh, and you can call me Luna. Or Loon or even Loony, if you want. It seems a lot of people enjoy calling me the last one, if you can believe it.” Luna sat down near him, smiling away.
“OK, Loony,” he said in a mocking tone, wondering what on earth made her tick. He held the book up, cover towards her. “For Defense Against the Dark Arts,” he lied, “though I don't see anything Dark Arts about it.” He really just liked the cover. It had an interesting illustration that metamorphosed when the reader touched it. The shapes and patterns changed with the amount of pressure as well, he noted.
“I don't particularly enjoy the school books myself. I've read them, but I much prefer reading Muggle fairytales and things. Like Cinderella, The Princess and the Pea, Rapunzel, The Snow Queen,” she said eagerly. “So, Draco…what’s got you in such a foul mood?”
Fairytales? Muggles? What was this bird on? Then she asked the dreaded question. In exchange for his normally snarky attitude, a frown appeared on his face. His jaw hardened. “The task the Dark Lord gave me,” he said stiffly. “I don’t want to—he’ll kill me if I don’t…”
Draco didn't know why he was telling her any of this or why she should even care. It was true though. He didn’t have anyone to talk to about this. Not even Pansy.
“Draco, you look horrible,” said Pansy.
Draco removed her hand from his hair. “Leave off.”
She knew his moods. “I’m worried about you.”
“I don’t need your sympathy.” He wasn’t even looking at her.
“What can I do?”
“Go away.” He stared at the fire, the flames licking the wood. “There’s nothing you can do. There’s nothing anyone can do.”
He didn’t notice her leave. The fire blazoned ever brighter.
“Trapped…” he whispered to the discarded ashes.
Luna nodded thoughtfully. “What would he have you do?” she asked kindly, cocking her head to the side in a quirky manner.
Her question reminded him that her father worked for the Quibbler. “Why should I tell you anyway? It'll probably make headlines in that ruddy magazine your father works for.”
“Oh no, Father never prints anything that we don't get permission to print first,” she assured him. “This is personal and I won’t tell a soul.” She was loath to admit it at first, but finally said, “I don’t have any friends to tell anyway.”
If she were a Weasley, she would have gone off on him for talking cack about her father, but she didn't even blink an eye! In fact, he almost detected a hint of sadness in them. “Right...” said Draco, only a little hesitantly. He frowned a moment, looking at her queerly. “What about Potter, Weasel, and Longbottom? Aren’t they your friends?”
“When have you ever seen them say more than two words to me, Draco?” She raised an eyebrow in his direction.
He cleared his throat. “What's it to you anyway? And why are you being nice to me? Is there something you want?” That must be it. “What is it? Money? Look, if you're trying to get in my pants, it's not working.”
Luna raised her eyebrows. “Gee, not many people are very pleasant to you, are they?”
Draco frowned at her, clearly not amused.
Luna grinned. “Well, considering you're automatically suspicious and paranoid just because I give you the same respect I give everyone else.”
She was right on that account. “Most people are civil to me or afraid of me...or downright arses, depending on the person's sentiments. Feared and respected.” He looked at her strangely. “I figured you'd hate me along with the Gryffindors since you're so keen on Potter, Weasley, and Granger.”
“I don't think I know how to hate. I've never been taught,” Luna said thoughtfully. “I respect you, you know, but I'm not afraid of you. I don't think I could do them both at the same time.” She smiled serenely.
“So you're just here to make new friends or something? You don't want something and you're not trying to blackmail me?” he asked, just trying to clarify.
Luna narrowed her eyes. She looked at him for a moment and then laughed aloud. “Of course not. I've never blackmailed someone in my entire life. And I don't want money or sex. I mean, no wonder you're upset! The minute someone is civil to you automatically assume they want your money, to sleep with you or to blackmail you. I'd be quite upset. No, Draco. I just like you. You're fascinating.”
When she laughed at him, he was quite put out. No one laughs at Draco Malfoy. Besides, he was being completely serious. “Me? Fascinating?” That was load of tosh.
“I'm quite serious. You are fascinating,” Luna said fervently, looking directly into his eyes when she spoke.
He smirked at this, examining her protuberant eyes thoughtfully. He leaned towards her, asking, “How so?”
“You hold the highest position in your house. Not technically, but everyone knows you practically own Slytherin. You have power, money, girls, looks...” She examined him innocently. “And yet somehow, you are still unhappy.”
She’d hit him closer than he’d ever let on and met her eyes warily.
“Why does it seem to me that you are one of the least happy people I've ever met?” Luna asked in wonder. “What's missing, Draco?”
All of her compliments boosted his ego, making him smirk wider, not thinking about how she was a Ravenclaw. Then she had to go and trip him up by mentioning something he thought he was able to hide so readily.
He thought about it for a moment, his brow furrowing in concentration. He thought about Pansy and how unfulfilling things had been for him. He thought about his parents and trying to please them. He thought about how he would fail at the Dark Lord’s task and how that wouldn’t bring him what he wanted. He shook his head and looked back at her. “I guess...” he began slowly, “love.”
“I sort of figured that was the answer.” Luna replied thoughtfully. “So what're you going to do about it?”
“Not much I can do.” Draco shrugged. “Sod it. Who says I need to be happy anyway?”
“I do,” said Luna firmly. “If you never find love, how will know what you’re missing? I hate not knowing. That's why I always like everybody. I always try to like everyone because I think it'll help me fall in love faster. It's killing me; not knowing what it's like.”
Chances are it was his lot in life to be miserable. Rich and miserable. “What's the point?”
She felt there was no other answer in her head, except for the fact that she knew, somehow, that love would be worth it when she found it, no matter how long she had to look. “You deserve some happiness in your life.”
He looked at the ground for a moment, before meeting her eyes again. “Will you teach me?” he asked softly, hesitantly. “How to find…happiness…”
If Draco Malfoy had said this to anyone else but Luna Lovegood, a thousand thoughts would rush into their mind and they'd become delirious, but Luna smiled with complete serenity. “Yes.”
No witty retort, no sweet metaphor; just complete honesty. A small smile played about his lips in amusement. He had no idea what she had in store for him. “So...” he started, closing his book absentmindedly. “What's the first step in finding happiness?”
Luna stood up abruptly, outstretching a hand towards him. “Come on.”
He looked at her, confused. “What?”
She bent over to take his hands in hers in order to attempt pulling him to his feet. “You’re coming with me. I’ve got something to show you.”
He got to his feet without her aid. “Outside? It’s freezing!”
She put her hands on her hips. “Warming charms,” she said simply and tilted her head to the doorway. “Let’s go.”
Draco’s brow furrowed as he looked around to make sure no one was watching as he followed Loony Lovegood out of the library and through the hallway leading out of Hogwarts. It dawned on him that it was nearly curfew and here this Ravenclaw bird was dragging him onto the grounds. “Where are we going?” he hissed through the frigid night air as he caught up to her.
“You’ll see,” she said mysteriously, taking his cold hand in hers.
An awkward silence followed as Draco pondered why she was holding his hand, drawing him closer to the Forbidden Forest. He glanced back to see their tracks from the castle had already been covered by new snow.
They walked along the edge of the forest for a good while until she stopped suddenly.
Draco looked over at her to see she had her eyes closed and she was smiling. It was quite odd and he freed his hand from hers. He moved to step away from her side to get a better look. “What are you doing?”
“Can’t you feel it?” she said without opening her eyes. The wind whipped her long hair in all directions, but she stood straight and still.
He looked at her as though she were completely mental. “Feel what?”
Luna turned to him, opening her eyes. “It’s enchanted here,” she whispered. “Look.” She leant forward and blew. Her hot breath revealed a window pane.
The snow continued to fall at a steady pace.
Draco watched her blow into the air, wondering what in the hell she was doing.
Luna broke off an icicle from a tree branch and handed it to him. “Here,” she said.
Draco grabbed the other end of this freezing icicle without any gloves on and she snapped it in half. He keenly watched her as she used her piece to—well he wasn’t sure what.
Luna’s icicle unlocked the door and she beckoned him to step inside.
She was beyond mental, Draco concluded. And he was just as gone in the head apparently, because he followed her.
“It’s a castle,” she said. “Look around. It’s our ice castle. And look here, some tea…and frosted cakes…”
Draco listened to her prattle on about their surroundings as he joined her on the bed of snow. He couldn’t feel his fingertips. It was so cold, his eyes were watering, but as they did, he began to see it. Walls went up around them. He saw the smiley face she’d drawn on the outside of the window. When he looked in front of them, he saw the place-setting, the teapot, and pale blue frosted tea cakes. “Wow,” was all that escaped his lips.
Luna was perfectly beaming when she saw the look on his face. It had worked. He was letting go and allowing himself to actually imagine. She performed a miniscule heating spell around them so they wouldn’t freeze to death and set about pouring tea.
Frost clung to their hair and eyelashes as they feasted on their icy meal. Their breath was still somewhat visible though they weren’t nearly as cold as before.
Draco wasn’t really paying attention as she talked about the icicle village and the people who were made of gumdrops, because he was studying her. He was intoxicated and he didn’t know why. There was just something about her. Maybe it was this place.
When she felt his intense gaze on her, she turned to face him. “Stop being so modest, Draco.”
Caught red-handed, he stuttered, “S-Sorry?”
“You’ve been staring at me for the past five minutes,” she observed matter-of-factly. “Are you going to do something about it or do I—”
Before she had a chance to finish her sentence, he’d leant forward, cupping her chin to tilt it up so their lips could meet.
Luna closed her eyes instinctively--she wasn't sure how she could keep them open anyway--and leaned in innocently. He seemed a lot taller than her, even sitting down like this.
He lightly nipped at her bottom lip; his tongue darted out, lightly licking so she'd allow his tongue access to her mouth.
Unexpectedly, her heart jumped when he kissed her like this. Luna placed her hand winding around the back of his neck.
Draco’s free hand went around her waist to pull her at an angle, closer to him.
Luna found this was all surprisingly easy for her first time.
He pulled back to see the rosy colour rising in her cheeks and that she'd had her eyes closed. She was actually very pretty, now that he had the chance to really look at her. He grinned, running his thumb across her cheek.
“Liberated,” Draco whispered, his breath making patterns on the imaginary glass window.
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