The portkey happened to be an old ring. The carriage driver delivered it half an hour before their departure. Luna muttered silently under her breath and sighed. Rings bonded people. She had always wanted to get married, with a large, yet old fashioned ring like the one between herself and Draco, but it was never going to be possible between the two of them. She sorely sympathised for him. His sleeping draughts had taken all of the energy out of him, making him terribly moody and he only had one left. Narcissa had offered to make more, but he declined, ready to face whatever was coming.
His mother placed a kiss on both of their cheeks, but fluttered back to Draco once more, giving him a long hug and promising to settle the agreement he had made. He replied lazily.
He and Luna spiralled into the area between air and space and soon landed in a derelict building on a busy high street in London. They pulled their cases down the road and into the entrance of King’s Cross in silence, Draco not once offering to help Luna with her heavy trunk and bags.
When they crossed into Platform Nine and Three Quarters, Luna spotted Harry’s familiar face and walked beside him to say hello as Draco disappeared in the crowd. She quickly wrapped a pink scarf around her bruised neck.
“How was your holiday?” he asked after she greeted him, Ron and Hermione.
“And what were you doing with Malfoy?” Ron asked.
“You didn’t hear, then?” She swallowed the lump in her throat. “My father was killed.”
“Luna…” Harry began. He placed one arm over her shoulder consolingly. “Are you alright? Have you been alone all this time?”
“Yeah,” Ron added. “You could have stayed with us for a while.”
“If you ever need to talk…” Hermione offered with an outstretched hand.
Luna shook her head. “I’ve been living with Mrs Malfoy and we’ve talked quite a bit and -”
“I’m sorry, Malfoy? Mrs Malfoy?” Harry spluttered.
“Am I right to assume that Draco Malfoy was there?” Ron asked and Luna nodded. “You’re living with the MALFOYS! Why would you agree to that?”
“I - She was caring and thought of my safety when no one else did.”
“Well, if we knew your father was dead, we would have helped,” Harry complained insensitively. “Have you never heard of an owl?”
“Have you?” Luna retorted. “You’ve never sent me an owl over the summer.”
“We’ve been busy Luna,” Hermione said softly. “After what happened in the Department of Mysteries a lot has been going on.”
“So you couldn’t spare two minutes to ask me how I was? I was in the Ministry that night too.”
“It’s not like that,” Hermione said. “Besides, you seem to have been okay with the Malfoys. Not as evil as they seem?” she added spitefully.
“They’re just as human as you or me, Hermione. You just need to give them a chance.”
“Not Malfoy,” Ron said. “He’s been a git to us ever since he laid eyes on us. Besides, Lucius Malfoy is a death eater. Why would you want to even associate yourself with them? Malfoy’s scum, just like his father.”
“Well…” Luna pulled her trunk onto the train. “…his mother is very nice.”
As the train was loading passengers, Luna searched the compartments for Draco and found him sitting alone with his feet up on the opposite chairs. By the looks of things, he was about to fall asleep.
She slid the door open.
Draco kept his eyes closed, but could smell Luna’s saccharine scent. There was no doubting that it was her. “Don’t even think about it,” he muttered, his head leaning against the window, while inhaling as much of her fragrance that he could.
“These seats are taken.” He spoke slowly and clearly.
She held her head up so as to stop the tears mustering and turned on her heel and into the toilet, where she spent the remainder of the journey with her trunk banging against her knees and her face in her hands.
Draco ignored her when she approached him before going into the Great Hall for breakfast the next morning and the next evening at dinner. Each time it was very close. His friends were becoming suspicious, but nothing spiked their curiosity more than their next encounter:
As Luna sat in the courtyard the next morning, she saw him walking up to the castle with his friends after a Care Of Magical Creatures lesson. She pulled her scarf tighter around her neck; the bruising had not yet subsided.
When he saw who had called his name, his pace quickened and the other Slytherins began looking around curiously.
Luna scurried up the steps and up to the front door.
“Why do you keep ignoring me?”
“What do you want, Lovegood?” Pansy asked, pointing a sharp finger at her.
“Not you. I was talking to -”
Draco pushed her aside and walked through the doors, while the others laughed and stepped over her. Determined still, she dusted off her robes and stomped behind them.
“I think you’ve got yourself a stalker,” Goyle analysed.
Draco kept walking.
“I think she’s cute,” Blaise commented.
“Shut up,” Draco said. Blaise always wound him up.
“Finally. You speak!” Blaise said throwing his hands up in the air chuckling.
“What is wrong with her?” Pansy questioned, clinging onto Draco’s arm as they hurried towards their common room.
“Get off me,” Draco ordered. She let go, annoyed, and turned to face Luna.
“What do you want?” Pansy asked.
Getting the effect she wanted, Pansy watched as Draco’s face squirmed with anger and he turned around and ran towards them. If Luna said something…
Luna caught her breath. “I wanted to know why…” She held onto a stitch in her side. “…Draco is ignoring me. He was acting normally in the summer.”
“In the summer?” Pansy turned to Draco, who had just arrived by their side. “What the hell were you doing with her in the summer, Draco?!” She poked her finger into his chest.
“Nothing,” he rushed, rubbing over his shirt.
“It doesn’t sound like nothing.”
“Well, it was nothing.”
“I had the impression that -” Luna began.
“SHUT UP!” Draco shouted.
“No. Lovegood, tell me what’s been going on,” Pansy ordered.
Luna stared at Draco, who looked so damn miserable, and spoke. “We live together.”
Totally not expecting such a reaction, Luna held onto the side of her face as the pain from Pansy’s slap shot through her face.
“That was not necessary,” Blaise said from behind them. “She’s only small.”
Tears in her eyes, Luna whispered, “I am not small…and I’m not lying. We live together.”
Pansy seemed to have turned slightly demonic in the face of her worst fear - Draco with another girl. Pansy was hurt and angry. Draco had never even invited her for a day trip to Malfoy Manor. “She can’t be telling the truth, Draco. I thought that we…”
Barely breathing and embarrassed beyond belief, Draco fled the scene.
“You lying bitch!” Pansy shouted.
“I’m not lying,” Luna cowered. “Just ask him.”
“He wouldn’t do that to me,” Pansy told herself. She turned on Luna. “If I ever see you again, I will hurt you. And God help you if I ever see you around Draco.”
Pansy stormed to her common room determined to find Draco. Blaise, Crabbe and Goyle followed chuckling.
Heading off to Ravenclaw Tower, Luna clenched her fists in anger. Why was he being like this after they had given themselves to each other willingly? She would never forget it. Yet in the back of her mind, she already knew the answer to why he was ignoring her. It was as she had expected. He was embarrassed and there was nothing she could do about it.
Stay awake, Draco told himself. Stay awake.
He had taken his last potion over two days ago and it was definitely wearing off. Draco could feel his body closing down, ready to fall into a deep slumber. He had locked himself away in his room all night so that Pansy could not speak to him about Luna. Now that it was in the middle of the night, Draco left his dormitory and the common room to pace the corridors and keep himself conscious.
He had a slight spring in his step seeing as he had not heard a thing from Voldemort. He liked it when the corridors were deserted because there were no tiny kids to get on his nerves, no prefects to take points from his house and no teachers to chase him down for homework.
Draco climbed the staircase, eager to explore parts of the castle he did not know. He pulled open a random door and stepped inside. The floor immediately jolted and he was flung down a long steep stair-less tube onto a lower floor. That certainly woke him up. He dusted himself off and pulled aside a tapestry to see Luna striding down the corridor soaked through and through, heading for the winding staircase up to Ravenclaw Tower. Had Hogwarts wanted them to meet?
He quickly pulled the tapestry back across himself and waited for her to pass.
But, just as he had predicted, Luna pulled it back away from him and stared at him as he sunk his head.
“Are you going to come out?” she asked sadly.
He stepped out and stared at her downcast eyes and drenched schoolbag, purple ink spilling onto the ground. The water had given the illusion that her blonde hair was a chestnut brown; she looked like a completely different person.
“You’ve got your girlfriend to thank for this. I was sitting by the lake - crying over you actually - and she pushed me straight in. Are you happy now?” She trudged away from him, each step sloppy and wet.
“I didn’t ask her to do this,” Draco replied following her to the bottom of the staircase.
Luna noticed that he did not deny that he and Pansy were seeing each other. She felt disgusting.
“It doesn’t matter anyway. I can see things clearer now. You used me. And now that we’re at Hogwarts, you’ve run back to Pansy. It’s okay. I get it now Draco.”
“That’s not how this is and you know it.” He dragged her into a spare classroom just left of where they were standing.
“That’s exactly how it is. We spend one night together and you’re acting as if it never happened.” She sighed and whispered, “I gave you my virginity.”
“Don’t you understand?” He gripped her wet shoulders and stroked her drenched hair. “This is all because it happened. I didn’t plan it.” He had not even thought about the fact that she had his also, something which could never be reversed or altered. Something that he could not hide from.
“So you regret it?”
Luna pushed him away from her and peeled off her cloak angrily, muttering under her breath.
“I didn’t say that.” He so desperately wanted to explain that he was doing this for her own good. If Voldemort found out… if the students found out… he didn’t know which was worse…
“You didn’t have to, Draco.” Luna pulled off her tie, flicked off her shoes and her tights, throwing them to the ground vigorously. “What’s wrong, Draco?” she asked, flinging her cardigan next to the rest of her things. “I am a pureblood. There’s no need to be ashamed.”
“This isn’t about blood or anything else. This just can’t happen.”
“You didn’t have to ignore me or get my hopes up. Why didn’t you just say so?”
Because I don’t want us to stop Draco thought to himself. The problem was that his entire credibility, his reputation would go out of the window if he was caught with her. Nothing could be done. He didn’t want to not kiss her again, but it was for her safety. If only she could understand that.
Luna stared at him sadly although she was trying to act tough by putting her hands on her hips. He stood forward and placed both of his hands across the back of her neck, pressing a soft kiss on her damp cheek. This was definitely the last time.
She closed her eyes, that fluttering feeling in her stomach ruling her head. Realising that this was all wrong, she pushed him away savagely. “Stop doing this. If you can’t give me a straight answer then forget it.”
Draco shook his head. “It’s nothing you’ve done… it’s to do with before. What my Mother was talking about with my Aunt. I don’t want you involved.”
He slid down the wall and leaned his head against his knees. He hadn’t planned to tell her, but she brought out the truth in him. She sat by his side silently, waiting for him to continue.
“I can’t tell you much,” Draco murmured and closed his eyes. “I haven’t slept in days,” he moaned. “I know that was what I wanted, but…”
Luna stared at his red eyes and the dark patches beneath them. She tried to stop herself from feeling sorry for him, but she felt herself becoming sympathetic and listened intently.
“Don’t look at me like that,” he told her. He did need to wait for her to ask what she was staring like. “Like you forgive me. Well don’t. I’ve been rotten to you. I really have. You should just give up on me because I can’t offer you anything.”
Luna gulped harshly and looked through the pitch black window. “Fine. I accept that.”
“What?” Draco was startled. He didn’t want her to stop wanting him. He liked the idea that she yearned for him. He thought using reverse psychology would work on her. She couldn’t really mean it, could she? “What are you saying?”
“I’m agreeing with you. This can’t work. Maybe because of your secret, or maybe because I’m a blood traitor -”
“It’s not -”
“Or maybe it’s because we just don’t click.” Luna leaned next to him and whispered, “It was fun while it lasted.”
“Yeah…” Draco said hazily. He couldn’t quite get his mind around it. “Really fun.” He felt her arm close around his shoulders and her stroke his furthest cheek with her fingertips. “Luna, I -”
“Don’t think on it,” she told him. “Just sleep.”
“I told you, I can’t.” He leaned his head into her shoulder.
She hummed and shushed and sang to him gently until his eyes shut effortlessly.
While he slept, Luna sighed sadly wishing that she could see into his mind, wondering what Voldemort had asked of him. Maybe she could have helped him. At the moment all he needed was a friend, someone he could talk to. He was so closed and Luna believed that he liked her. She thought it was easier to give him some space at the moment so he could focus on keeping himself alive, because she could not live if he left her.