Chapter 5 : Chapter 5
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How did you find me?
Where did you read my story?
Pulled from the papers
Desperate and hardened...
~ “Mercy” by OneRepublic
“Are you sure?” the Welcome Witch asked, looking at Luna in a way that reminded her of the public opinion of “Looney Lovegood” back at Hogwarts.
“Yes,” Luna said firmly.
“But you know that if you do become that patient’s Healer that you won’t be able to work in any other ward?”
Luna tried and failed not to get exasperated. “I am well aware.”
The other witch shook her head, incredulous. “Very well, then.”
Luna smiled in victory. “Could you actually send a memo to room 409 right now, telling him that I’ll be late today? I have an... errand to run.”
“Of course, Healer Lovegood,” the woman sighed, pulling out a small sheet of green paper and a quill. “Have a nice day.”
Luna smiled brightly and walked out of St. Mungo’s large doors. With a graceful turn and a loud crack, she Disapparated.
Startled, she blinked in the sunlight that was so uncharacteristic of England in December. She appeared to be on a tall hill that was, unless she was mistaken, relatively close to her own childhood home. She smiled. All that time, they had lived so close to one another and never realized it. Maybe she could pop in to her house for a brief visit-- but no. That could wait. She had more urgent business to attend to.
Luna set off at a brisk pace for where she thought her destination should be located. Her efforts were not in vain-- after about five minutes of walking, the beginnings of a sprawling mansion emerged at the top of a nearby hill. She paused briefly and contemplated Apparating there and saving herself the trouble of walking, but, after rebuking herself for being lazy, began to walk again.
It was an imposing place-- all dark stone spires and dying shrubs. Luna shivered. Could Draco really have grown up here? No wonder he had turned into who he now was.
Leaving behind her reservations about the house, Luna walked up to the front door and wrinkled her nose. Unsurprisingly, the door knocker was a snake, naked fangs bared at unwelcome intruders. She shuddered, picturing Draco locked in this prison for months at a time. Pausing only for a second in doubt, she raised a fist and knocked decisively, staying away from the black-eyed serpent.
A few minutes passed with no response from inside, so she knocked again. This time, however, she heard faint footsteps, and, sure enough, the door swung inward a few inches. A cautious eye appeared in the gap.
“Yes?” It was a middle-aged woman with high cheekbones and graying hair. The family resemblance was visible, though Draco lacked the constant fear in his mother’s eyes.
His mother. Narcissa.
“I-- are you Narcissa Malfoy?” Luna asked, strangely anxious.
“I’m not buying anything, young lady,” the woman said sternly, closing the door with a bang one wouldn’t expect from a woman of her appearance.
Luna, determined to succeed in her mission, knocked again. The door opened with a squeal.
“I told you. I’m not buying anything.” The woman had already begun to turn away when Luna, desperate, cried out.
“Please, it’s about your son!”
The woman froze.
“My... son.” The haughtiness of her features slipped from her face like a mask and she suddenly looked decades older than she really was. “My son Draco?”
Luna nodded. “M-may I come in?”
The woman, eyes tired as her son’s could be, opened the door wider and Luna stepped in.
“Wait here,” Narcissa said and vanished down the corridor. Luna took the opportunity to look around and instantly wished she hadn’t. There was very little light in that corridor; the walls were dark and lined with imposing paintings of hostile-looking men that she supposed were the previous Malfoy heirs. She studied the faces on the paintings and was not surprised when she saw a painting of a very young Draco-- he looked to be about ten or so. His face was contorted in a sneer, and he raised his eyebrows scornfully as Luna approached.
“Yes? What do you want?” he drawled.
Luna smiled at him. The plaque below the picture featured Draco’s full name and lifespan. Luna frowned. It read 1980-1998. That couldn’t be right. Luna moved in a little closer, but before she could say anything to the portrait, Narcissa reappeared.
“In here,” the woman said, gesturing to the hall she was coming out of.
Luna followed her into what must have been the dining room at some point. She felt a twinge of pity for the Malfoys-- they had lost everything after the fall of Lord Voldemort, and it showed. The whole manor had fallen into a state of disrepair, with a thick layer of dust covering all of the furniture and the yellowed wallpaper peeling.
“Please, sit.” Narcissa indicated the table in the middle of the room. “Would you like some tea?”
Unbidden tears pricked at Luna’s eyes. What had happened to this woman? From the way Draco had always described her, at school and at St. Mungo’s, she was a cold woman who cared for very little. “Sure,” she choked out. Narcissa set a steaming mug of brown liquid in front of her and sat down across from Luna.
“My husband Lucius should be here shortly,” Narcissa said softly. “Until he gets here, what did you--”
“You sent for me, Narcissa?” It was a tall man with long hair that was caught between silver and blond. He, too, looked spent and years older than he was.
“Yes,” the woman said, rising from her place and walking over to her husband. Their exchange was too quiet for Luna to hear, though she caught the word “Draco” several times.
“Draco?” growled Lucius Malfoy, pushing his wife aside. “Did he get that girlfriend of his pregnant before he-- he--”
“Not as far as I know,” Luna said, eyes wide. Lucius paused, a frown forming on his face.
“Good,” he said at last. “Y-you look familiar. Have we met before?”
Luna stood, a sad smile on her mouth. “We fought in the Department of Secrets seven years ago.”
Lucius’s dark grey eyes widened as he took a few shaky steps back, putting his arm around his wife protectively. “You haven’t come to--”
Luna shook her head. “I’m just here to talk about Draco.”
“You knew him at school, then?” Lucius asked, still wary of the girl.
Luna half-smiled. “You could say that. We were in different years and different Houses, but I knew who he was, yes. Didn’t everyone, though?”
Narcissa pulled away from her husband, pretty mouth twisted with sadness. “If you’re just here to... reminisce about the past and make us feel guilty about our son, you can leave.”
“Guilty?” Luna asked, confused.
Lucius cleared his throat. “Don’t you know?” When Luna shook her head, Lucius continued, despite the obvious pain it caused him. “Our son has been dead for the past four years.” Something wild came into Narcissa’s face and she turned away.
Those few simple words hit Luna with such force that she staggered back and fell into her chair. “Dead?” she whispered.
“In a fire. They couldn’t get there fast enough to save him. He was long gone by the time help came.”
Luna’s mind reeled. “I’m-- I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry.” She reached for her tea, hoping its warmth would comfort her as she struggled to comprehend. His file had said that he’d tried to set fire to himself, but... had he lied to his parents and sent them a message saying that he was dead?
“They couldn’t even find a body,” Narcissa began in a low voice, rubbing at her tired eyes. “The fire was so powerful that they couldn’t even find his body.” A tear slid down her face. “And I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye.” And then she was crying in earnest, slender frame shaking as Lucius enveloped her in his arms. That, too, was strange-- Draco had said that his parents generally avoided physical contact. The loss of their beloved son had brought them together in their misery.
Luna stood abruptly, unable to bear this devastating sight any longer. “I’m Luna Lovegood.” Not waiting for a response, she continued. “Come with me,” she said, voice shaking. “I have something to show you.”
“St. Mungo’s?” Narcissa asked, looking up at the imposing entrance to the hospital after a particularly strenuous trip of Side-Along Apparition. “I don’t understand.”
“You will,” Luna said grimly. “In here.” Lucius and Narcissa followed Luna to the golden elevators, watching, confused, as she sent it to the fourth floor. They exchanged a glance as they followed the girl down corridor after corridor. Normally, they would have questioned her actions, but there was something about the determined set of the girl’s mouth that kept them from saying anything.
After a few minutes of walking and tight corners, the group stopped in front of a room in a seemingly empty ward that, instead of rows of beds, featured doors into what appeared to be the patients’ private rooms. Luna half-turned the doorknob to room 409, but then paused and faced the bemused Malfoys. “Wait here-- I’ll be back in a second.” She slipped through the door, leaving the Malfoys alone with their confusion.
“Luna!” Draco exclaimed, putting his book down on his table and rising from his armchair.
Luna smiled absently as she reached up and pushed a stubborn strand of hair out of Draco’s eyes. “You have visitors,” she whispered.
“V-visitors?” Draco began to say, but Luna had already turned around and opened the door fully.
“You can come in now,” she told the shadowy figures outside the door.
And Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy came in, staring at the face of their only son, believed dead for four years.
Draco blinked. He opened his mouth, trying to say something that would make up for lost time, but the only thing he could say was one word that almost broke Luna’s heart in its childlike vulnerability.
“Mother?” Draco whispered.