Chapter 1 : The Story
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On Another Hand
There are many things that aren’t well known about me. I know how to play the Muggle game ‘football’. I like the smell of a blown-out candle. And I have a strange fascination of the female hand.
I know, I know. Draco Malfoy has a fetish for hands! If this got out to anyone, I would be destroyed, both figuratively and literally. (My father. Enough said.) But would you believe me if I said that this…thing of mine is really almost (dare I say it) innocent?
It started when I was quite young, maybe five or six years old. It was a sunny day, and Mother had sent the house elf to fetch me. He led me to our garden, where I saw her sitting on a bench in the sun. I remember how she looked like a statue, one of the beautiful ones that littered our garden and our maze. Her arms were out-stretched behind her, holding her up, her lovely face softened and lifted toward the sun, with her brilliant white-gold hair sparkling in the light. She looked up when she heard me coming, and smiled, one of her rare sincere ones. Beckoning me closer, she pated the seat beside her, mentioning something about how good the sun felt. I happily clambered up, rejoicing to be with her when she wasn’t involved in some business of my father’s. But instead of following her example and closing my eyes, I studied her. I tried to watch her face, but found that the sun’s light blinded me when I looked up.
I had to be content with her hands.
They were pale, yet somehow the color was overdrawn by a rosy hue. The fingers were long and elegant, her nails long and tastefully colored in some sort of pink. Her hand flexed, and I watched the bones underneath, and suddenly her hands looked fragile just for a moment, before settling into fashionable stability once more. Even as I stared, her hand moved and held my own, my hand seeming small and weak underneath hers.
It wasn’t until much later that I recalled this small piece of seemingly insignificant memory. And it took another rather long burst of time before I realized that the firstr thing I noticed about girls was her hands. Pansy’s were too soft, like squeezing a slug. Daphne’s were freakishly shaped. And on the list went.
So, there I was, the Slytherin Prince, without a plaything because of the faults of a girl’s hands.
It was during Charms when I first noticed them.
We were practicing some sort of complicated wand movement. I was distracted from my own study (of a Ravenclaw’s legs) by the flourishing and jerky movements of the person in the seat next to me.
Loony Lovegood. Merlin, she was almost as bad as Potter, the-boy-who-should-have-died-but-lived-only-to-become-the-teacher’s-pet. Her radish earrings swung wildly as she waved both arms in the manner of fending off an attacker rather than the Slythera wand technique. Her curly blonde hair was casually flung across her shoulders and face. She was bloody insane. What genius promoted her to 6th year Charms? I tried to focus on my own wandwork.
Suddenly, I found her wand inches from my face, and she called out a spell.
Thankfully, before my face could be obliterated, my hand flew out, grabbing her hand and pointing it away. A tiny explosion rocketed the classroom.
For a few moments there was chaos. Flitwick had bounced off his stool, people were coughing and choking, and several students were lying on the floor, as if trying to hide from Voldemort himself.
Plus, the air was filled with sparkly purple glitter.
Yet, in all of this, all I could focus on was the hand that was still in mine.
Her hand was small compared to mine, very small. It was dry and chapped, probably from not wearing gloves out in the cold. It was cool to the touch, and I could feel the bones in her hand, delicate and yet somehow strong. Suddenly, I found that, despite being chapped, her had was still very soft. I realized that my thumb had started to slowly skim over her hand, back and forth in soothing rhythms. I looked over and down—was she always that bloody tiny?—only to see her looking right back up at me. Her eyes were very blue. Distantly, I saw the smoke clearing, but in the foreground were bright blue eyes in a heart-shaped face. Her lips slowly and shyly smiled. Smiling. At me. A Malfoy. I quickly dropped her hand, threw it away from me, sneering at her and saying something cutting.
As she gave her explanations to Flitwick (something about Nargles), as the class resumed, as the day continued, I tried to ignore the fact that my hand felt curiously empty.
I was going mad. Completely mental. Clinically insane. If I did what was best for everyone, I would commit myself to St. Mungoes before I went off on a spree, killing small animals and feeding them raw to even smaller children.
Thankfully, I didn’t care about what is best for other people.
It had been a month since that incident in Charms. Suffice it to say, I hadn’t been able to get it out of my head. Or her. Bloody Lovegood. What right had she to be stuck in my head? This was a Malfoy’s head! Hasn’t she any respect for my standing? My privacy? My dignity?!
But no. In that month, I found myself watching her constantly.
I watched her in the Great Hall at almost every meal.
I watched her when she passed me in the hallway, her curls bouncing as she skipped. (Merlin!)
I watched her when she studied in the Courtyard.
And I secretly watched her through every Charm class.
And all this studying was taking its toll. I now noticed little things about her. Like how she didn’t like most meats, but was unreasonably fond of vegetables and sweets. How she tilted her head when she studied, or fiddled with her earrings. How, whenever someone said some sort of snide comment, she would wait til they turned, and then she would pull both full lips between her teeth, biting down on them before she let them slide out again, her only sign of hurt. I felt ridiculously caught up in her life, almost like a stalker. How were her classes going? Why did she act like a brainless wonder? Why did she put up with the entire student body’s derision? What was she thinking about when she sighed, or stared off into space? Why wouldn’t she get out of my head? Once, I even caught myself daydreaming about having a conversation with her. I decided it had to stop.
The plan was simple. Find her, say something absolutely cruel, laugh, and walk away. Then, she would hate me and leave me alone. It was perfect, foolproof, the easy solution. I tried not to think about how it wasn’t the most reasonable of plans, nor did I think about the fact that every time I thought of executing the Plan, I would procrastinate for no other reason than the weather.
Finally, the timing was decided for me.
I dreamed about her. Not just one where I saw her in a multitude of faces, not one where she outed me for being the one with the football boxers. (Never you mind.) No, this was totally different in the fact that in this dream, we were snogging like you wouldn’t believe. She was soft and warm and tasted so bloody good that I…
It had to be done today.
I was angry, almost irrationally so. I didn’t care that it was Saturday and that usually meant she’d be alone. I forgot about procrastinating and her soft, delicate/strong hands and bright blue eyes. I stalked around Hogwarts, finding my way to the courtyard that she always occupied on Saturdays. I scowled at everyone and didn’t stop for anything until I finally found the courtyard. And there she was, sitting with her head bowed on one of the stone benches.
It was lightly snowing, and a thin layer covered the ground, muffling my angry footsteps as I got closer.
It was quiet in an almost reverent way out there. No noise from the halls. No other students. Just my footsteps as I stomped over to her.
Somehow, my anger fizzled out as I got close to her, leaving an undefined feeling that would have been mistaken for nerves if I wasn’t a Malfoy. My footsteps grew quiet as I walked, until I silently stood in front of her. Her head slowly lifted, until her bright blonde curls parted to reveal her face.
Luna’s blue eyes stared into mine. I wondered, idiotically, if she thought my eyes were as brilliant as hers. I studied her face; her nose with the slight lift at the end, her almost ridiculously long eyelashes, her full lips. She scooted over on the bench and patted it, inviting my to sit. I slowly, subconsciously sat as I stared at her, not knowing what to say, what she wanted me to say. Luna broke eye contact first; she looked down and slowly took my hand. Her hand was cold, but that didn’t account for the shock that went up my spine. Her brilliant eyes lifted back to mine as her fingers slowly stroked the center of my palm. I couldn’t speak then if I wanted to. But I didn’t need to.
“You know,” she said, her voice high and clear and strong, “I have always liked your hands.” She smiled, the full, happy smile of the content.
And suddenly, I smiled too.
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