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Chapter 4 : IV
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Author's Note: I think this is my favorite story I've written, so after you've finished it, I'd love if you could tell me what you thought, especially any thoughts about the end. :)
Luna Lovegood smiles at Draco Malfoy, a timid smile that grows and ripens as they hold hands and walk. She wants desperately to be happy, to love, to wander.
Draco feels foolish, unarmed as he walks, but he is in a trance cast by Luna, and the spell has hit him so deeply that against all his better judgments, he once again enters the little thatched that still smells of tea.
They sit on the loveseat, silently, awkwardly connected. “Draco,” Luna begins, “I think…”
She cannot finish the sentence. She wants to be happy, but she knows as well as Draco that by now his fellow Death Eaters are tapping their feet and checking their watches and wondering where their most able executioner is. She knows she shouldn’t be alive, that the very fact that she is not sprawled on her kitchen floor is a problem, but she doesn’t want to remind Draco or herself of that very potent thought. She looks at the ticking clock on her white plastered walls, and she knows that the two hours, thirty-four minutes and three seconds Draco has spent here might be his last.
Draco, of course, is having these very same thoughts. He knows if he wastes any more time in the little thatched cottage that his loyalty, his life, will be called in question. For if he cannot follow orders, what is he good for? His aunt Bellatrix helped murder her brother-in-law; Lucius would have done the same to her. Draco himself had stood by as his father was pronounced a traitor, unfit to live. If he wastes any more time drinking tea and spending time with his…target, his victim, the little girl he’s supposed to have dealt with by now, then his own life is forfeit.
Luna knows what she has to say, what she must say, but the words are sticking in her throat like old toffee.
“I think…I think…I think you should go,” she finally says, bittersweet sadness coating her words. “The Nargles…they’ll leave the tabby alone. He can catch mice too, you know, fend for himself, although I don’t like him too. I don't like to see the mice get caught, but…but I think he will be all right. Don’t you?”
She knows what she’s giving him permission to do, giving him her blessing, her acceptance, but some one has attached marionette strings to her mouth because she can’t keep the corners from turning down, just as she can’t keep the lump from forming in her throat. Her silver tears are the only thing she can control, blinking them back quickly. Luna has chosen this one time to make the sensible decision. She doesn’t think two should die when one will suffice. It only makes sense, in her mind at least.
The resolute acceptance is breaking the fragments that are left of Draco Malfoy’s hardened heart, but he still takes out his wand. Luna’s eyes widen, just enough to raise her golden eyebrows, as Draco’s grip tightens on his Hawthorn wand. She clasps her hands together tightly, her nails biting into the soft skin below. She turns to face Draco, her face austere except for her trembling lips.
“Don’t be afraid,” Draco says softly, soothing as a doctor. “It’s all going to be alright.” He would never tell Luna, or anyone else, how much it’s costing him to bottle up enough hatred to even whisper the spell to himself. “It’s all going to be all right.”
Even though she promised herself she wouldn’t, Luna speaks.
“Really?” Luna wants so much to believe him, to believe everything will be all right. She feels as though she’s going to retch. Her bravery is deserting her as quickly as doxies in January.
“Yes,” he assures her.
Her eyes are closed by now; she can’t look him in the face because she fears she will start begging, crying, shaming her father. He didn’t beg, she was sure. She feels Draco exit the loveseat and she wonders if she’s dead yet because she can’t open her eyes but she hasn’t heard him say it, and oh God, she is so afraid. She feels a hand on her check and she wrenches eyes open and she wonders if this is heaven or hell or maybe reincarnation, but Draco Malfoy is kneeling next to her and his gray eyes are on her blue ones. He leans in and suddenly their lips touch and she realizes then that they are both going to die.
His lips are soft and even if her confusion and surprise Luna Lovegood kisses Draco Malfoy back. It rushes through her, and jumbles her conflicted emotions before quieting her mind entirely. His kiss is hard and soft and insistent and reckless and it infects Luna like a virus as calm, detached, Loopy Luna kisses him back, hard and soft, her tiny hands on his rough cheeks and mop of fair hair, eyes closed.
She tastes of honey and salt and Draco wonders whose tears he is tasting. The little humanity he regained in the gray skies and the green fields and the little thatched cottage is enough, and for the first time, Draco takes the difficult way out. He cannot say the words and he knows he will pay, but in this moment, this second in the prism of time, he does not care.
Slowly, Draco pulls away from Luna’s lips and tucks a piece of errant hair behind her ear. He is more surprised by this gesture then she is— he didn’t think he retained any small acts like that, acts of kindness. Luna does the same to him, tucking a piece of his blond hair behind his ear.
She slides off the loveseat and sits next to him, engraining the moment into her heart.
“Draco?” she whispers.
“Yes?” he whispers back.
“Can we…can we just stay like this?”
Draco realizes he had tasted his own tears because as he entwines his hand with Luna’s, he can feel them coming again. “Of course.”
He doesn’t try to pretend that he is a different person, a new man, but somewhere in his soul a seam has split, and through that tear, he thinks maybe, just maybe, he can be redeemed. He knows he will not get the chance in this life, but he thinks maybe, just maybe, he will in the next.
Luna leans her head against Draco’s shoulder closing her eyes. Draco puts his arm around her. He knows he has sacrificed himself, and for all his good intentions, he wishes that he could live, that she could live. He tells her that she could hide, that they could hide, but she just smiles her sad little smile at the thought of hiding in England, the land where Voldemort reigns. Instead of running, of hiding, they sit, waiting, side-by-side.
They find them like that, executioner and would-be victim intertwined, holding hands while the Death Eaters break down the door. They fight, of course, they try to live, but two against six has never won.
These men who Draco has worked with, laughed with, seen rebuked and rewarded kill Luna first, a careless Aveda Kedavra.
She smiles at Draco before they kill her, releasing him from blame as he watches helplessly. “Think of me,” she whispers, just once, before she slumps backward, her soul flying through the thatched roof, up to the heavens, past the tabby that she once loved.
They make Draco watch, holding him down and laughing at his hatred of them, of Luna, of himself. They slap him, taunt him, bait him until he flies at them, one against six.
They don’t even close her eyes after they murder her, and Draco’s heart, previously dead, is shattered by Luna Lovegood’s blue stare, the pure light no longer shining from her eyes.
The Death Eaters refuse to kill him. That would be against the Dark Lord’s orders, one tells him, his face delighted. Instead, they take Draco with them, back to the life that he thought he left.
It only takes Draco two more months to die, killed by the same people who murdered Luna. They destroy him because he is no longer useful; he has not executed anyone since the day he met the Lovegood girl. “Bloody mad” is the consensus among the Dark Lord’s followers.
Draco is killed near the hamlet where Luna is buried. He is murdered right outside of the Woodlock’s home, who tell the Muggle police they had heard no strange noises, only the meowing of a cat, a stray orange tabby they have decided to keep.
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