Chapter 4 : Chapter 4
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There’s a jump in my step as I rush to see you.
I could be happy here as long as you’re near to me
As long as you’re close to me...
~ “Goodbye Apathy” by OneRepublic
A soft knock sounded at the door. Draco Malfoy’s head jerked up and he took a shaky breath.
“Come in,” he said, relieved when his voice came out steady, and tugged on the tight collar of his shirt.
The door opened and Healer Luna Lovegood walked in, smiling.
All of the air left the room abruptly.
She was wearing a dress of the most incredible shade of blue that perfectly matched her eyes. Her hair flowed down her back in loose blonde waves, dotted here and there with blue flowers-- forget-me-nots.
“Draco, honestly,” she said, a smile dancing across her face. “What is it with that chair?”
“I-- uh--” Draco stammered as he attempted to form cohesive thought. “You look... nice,” he finished lamely.
A slight tinge of color appeared in her cheeks. “Thanks,” she said, the color rising. “Y-you do, too.”
There was a brief silence, and Draco stood. “Er-- should we be off, then?”
They walked down the stairs to the festively decorated lobby in relative silence, occasionally shooting furtive looks at each other out of the corners of their eyes. Once they reached the newly dramatic entrance to the drastically redecorated lobby, they stopped and looked at one another.
“Miss Lovegood?” Draco said, offering her his arm. She looked at him with those starry eyes of hers and smiled.
“Thank you, Mister Malfoy,” she said and slipped her arm through his.
As they stepped into the hall, heads turned to watch the striking couple. He was so imposing in his height, dressed in black, skin paler than usual, hair silver-blond. She was almost childlike in her delicate smallness and the tilt of her head as she looked up at him. After a brief pause in the murmuring conversation of the hall as the occupants stared at the remarkable pair, Healers and patients turned back to their own lives, still shaking their heads at the strange beauty of the two.
Draco could only watch in amazement as Luna greeted every single patient she knew with the same loving respect. Eyes brightened and hands waved at the sight of the girl in blue-- when she walked over to the people in question, they seemed to never want her to leave. She handled each and every one with such grace, such care that it made Draco’s head spin. So many faces, so many names and delighted smiles. His heart flipped every time she smiled at him as they drifted from dancing couple to dancing couple, and he was so deep in a reverie from staring, transfixed, at her hair that he almost didn’t notice her introducing him to someone.
“And, of course, Draco already knows you, right, Draco?” Luna was saying.
Draco blinked. “I’m sorry, what?”
Luna smiled at him, blurring his vision for a second. “You remember Professor Lockhart, right?”
“P-professor Lockhart?” Draco stammered, looking for the first time at the man that Luna was talking to.
“Oh dear, another one who calls me ‘professor!’ I wonder why all of these children insist on calling me that,” the man mused. Sure enough, it was Lockhart. This much was evident in his dazzling white smile, twinkling blue eyes, and strawberry-blond hair that was slowly turning grey. “Did I teach you, young man?”
“Yes,” Draco managed to get out, “in my second year.”
“Taught you everything you know, then, didn’t I?” Lockhart chuckled, beaming fondly at Luna, who beamed back with equal brilliance.
“Of course you did, Professor,” she said, “we’d have been completely lost without you.”
Jealousy began to twinge at Draco’s heart like an angry sparrow, but he pushed it away, telling himself that, despite Lockhart’s good looks, he couldn’t have been Luna’s type.
Draco snorted. Like he was.
With a last smile, Luna detached herself from Professor Lockhart, who seemed rather reluctant to let her leave. “Well, there you go,” she said, looking up at Draco with a twinkle in her eye.
“Er-- see you later, Professor,” Draco muttered, shooting a vaguely resentful glance at Lockhart. He offered his arm to Luna once more and she took it, sending sparks of electricity through him. As they walked towards a gap in the dancing masses, Draco asked, “So... what was that all about, exactly?”
Luna paused and thought for a second. “Well-- let’s see-- if it was your second year--”
“Second-- second year... That was the year the Chamber of Secrets was opened again, wasn’t it?” Draco began, frowning.
“Yes, it was. And poor Professor Lockhart used a broken wand and accidentally put a very powerful memory charm on himself.”
Draco smirked. “Well done, Professor.”
“He’s been here for more than eight years,” Luna said softly. “He still can’t remember anything about himself.”
“Lucky him,” Draco muttered.Music swelled around them, conveniently changing to a much slower song. The two looked at each other awkwardly for a second, and Draco cleared his throat. “Er-- d’you-- d’you want to dance?” he asked, hopeful.
“I’d love to,” she replied, smiling.
They circled in place for a while, Luna marveling at how tall he was, Draco trying desperately not to notice that his hand was on her waist, and failing quite miserably. A reckless step on Draco’s part sent them stumbling into another dancing couple, pushing Luna much closer to Draco than they had been previously. It turned out that the flowers in her hair were more than just decoration-- the aroma rising from the blossoms encircled Draco’s senses, making him dizzy as he looked into her eyes.
After a breathless pause, he found his voice again. “Er-- sorry. I can be extremely clumsy sometimes.”
“Well, that’s what comes of being six foot one,” she said, placing her hand back on his shoulder with a smile.
They spun in silence for a few more minutes, Luna transfixed the way his silvery-blond hair fell into his eyes, Draco attempting to get close enough to smell the forget-me-nots again.
“Ow,” Draco said, puzzled. The ceiling toward the edges of the hall was quite a bit lower than Draco had expected. “That should leave a mark.”
Luna’s eyes sparkled. “Here, let me.” She pulled her wand out of a pocket on the side of her dress and passed it over the back of Draco’s head, murmuring something soothing.
“Handy, that,” Draco said, all too aware of the warmth of her hand on the back of his head. Her eyes darted above him, and an amused smile flitted over her lips.
“Interesting,” she said, luminescent eyes drifting out of focus.
“What?” Draco stuttered, intoxicated by her frail beauty.
Still looking above him, she stood on her tiptoes and put her mouth right next to his ear. His heart stopped. “Nargles,” she whispered and pulled back, smiling like a child with a bag of Fizzing Whizbees.
“What are nar--” Draco began, but, deciding against asking, looked up instead.
Hanging above them was a rather large clump of green leaves with waxy white berries.
They looked down at the same time, eyes locking. Draco swallowed and Luna took a shuddering breath.
“I--” Draco started, but Luna placed a finger on his lips.
“Shh,” she breathed, drawing closer. Draco thought he could drown in her eyes as her hands met behind his neck.
Their lips met.
Draco’s heart exploded inside of him as he pulled her closer. He tasted salt on her lips-- was she crying? But he couldn’t think about that now. Not while Luna’s lips were on his.
Luna was, indeed, crying. She’d never been in love like this. Her heart beat out an erratic rhythm, that, strangely enough, matched his almost perfectly.
Suddenly, they were interrupted by a powerful burst of red and green confetti from the wand of another Healer. “Now, then, let’s keep it clean in here,” she chided. Luna pulled back, eyes enormous. Draco shot a glance at the other Healer, who smiled in a motherly fashion.
And pressed his lips to Luna’s once more as fireworks boomed in his heart.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed Ch4! Shoutout to my friend Pangolin-- thanks a bucket for all your help with this chapter. Ch5 is coming along nicely-- I'm hoping to finish this story this summer. As always, please leave reviews etc! :D
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