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Acceptance by JustBrilliant
Chapter 2 : Exchanging Glances
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 5


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Draco had not planned on arriving to Defense Against the Dark Arts, his first class of the year, as late as he did. But, somehow, he had overslept and had barely managed to walk through the door just as class was starting.

“Ah, Mr. Malfoy,” Professor Logan, a tall, thin witch wearing entirely too much eye make-up, greeted him coolly, “Please join us so I can begin today’s lesson.”

Trying to catch his breath, Draco nodded once and spotted the only empty seat in the room, which happened to be the seat beside Lovegood. Hesitant, he quietly crossed the room and sat down next to her, making more of an effort than usual to avoid eye-contact as he pulled out his quill and parchment and began to take notes.

Draco had, for the most part, quite forgotten who he was sitting next to as the class dragged on. But, whenever this happened he glanced over in her direction and caught her eye momentarily before quickly averting his gaze as if nothing had happened. Then, to his surprise, she spoke.

“It’s okay, Draco; it’s not contagious.”

Glancing at her for a split-second, he dared to utter out of the corner of his mouth, “What are you talking about?”

“Crazy,” she said, “I assure you that it isn’t contagious.”

He fell silent again, and tuned out Professor Logan’s lecture to think over what Lovegood had just said. Surprisingly, he found himself feeling a pang of guilt, wondering if he had looked at her as though he thought she were crazy.

He guessed that he probably had, considering he had always felt that way about her.But then he found himself wishing he hadn’t, and it occurred to him that he had changed more than he had originally thought.

“It’s okay,” Luna repeated quietly, her lips hardly moving, without taking her eyes off her parchment. In fact, she appeared to be so into her note-taking that Draco had a hard time believing he wasn’t just imagining her talking to him. “I’d have to be incredibly thick not to know what people say about me, but it’s okay. I know most of them don’t mean to be hateful, and that those who do don’t matter anyway.”

Draco found himself wishing he was imagining it, but he knew for certain that wasn’t the case when she glanced his way again, her big eyes damned near impossible to read. Before he could wonder any more about it, Luna’s eyes returned to her parchment, and he quickly averted his own eyes.

Is this her way of telling me I don’t matter?
He wondered, turning his quill in his hand.

As Professor Logan turned her back to the class for a moment, writing on the board with a few swishes of her wand, Draco turned to Luna again and quickly muttered, “Sorry.”

Startled, Luna whipped her head around to look directly at him, but she did this with poor timing, as the professor had just turned around to face the class again. “Miss Lovegood, is there something you would like to share?”

Luna, whose eyes were now on Professor Logan, simply shook her head, “Not today, professor.”

“Then you may want to keep your eyes forward, and off of Mr. Malfoy, for the remainder of the period.”

Draco could feel the eyes of the other students on him as Luna merely nodded, not appearing to be fazed by the attention. He, on the other hand, made more effort than usual to avoid their eyes as he waited for the professor to continue the lecture. When she finally did, Draco was thankful that the attention had been drawn away from him, though he couldn’t help feeling someone’s eyes on him periodically through the remainder of class. He guessed that maybe it was Luna, who was sitting right beside him, but he wasn’t sure seeing as he was trying very hard not to look in her direction again.

When the class was finally over, Draco practically jumped to his feet and darted out of the room, wanting to get as far away as possible as quickly as he could. He didn’t really think anyone would bother him about what had happened, but he feared that Luna would try to speak to him. And he knew that would gain him even more unwanted attention.


---

The first week went by quickly and, for the most part, smoothly for Draco. Before he knew it, it was Saturday, and he was trying to finish some homework in the Slytherin common room. However, just as he was finishing one assignment, intending to move onto the next immediately afterward, Pansy Parkinson snuck up behind him.

“Draco,” she said, startling him as she walked up behind him, resting her hands on his shoulders, “Do you want to go out to the grounds with me? You’ve been doing homework for hours now... Surely you could use a break.”

Turning around in his seat, Draco looked up at Pansy and said, “Why?”

Her arms back at her sides, Pansy answered, “I thought you might want to take a break… We could go to our usual spot by The Black Lake, you know, maybe get some fresh air.”

He studied her face for a moment, contemplating what to say. Truthfully, Draco had not thought about Pansy very much since his sixth year, neither during nor after everything that had happened. And, even so, he had stopped liking her so much in his sixth year anyway. So, he tried to find a way to refuse without hurting her feelings too terribly. Although he wasn’t sure if this was because he didn’t want to upset her, or if it was because he suspected the repercussions would be anything but enjoyable.

Finally, Draco explained, “I really just want to finish this, Pansy. But if you want to get some air then don’t wait up for me, I might not be done for a little while longer.” He hoped that that would be the end of it as he turned back around. Pansy, however, wasn’t going to give up that easily.

Stepping around the table, so that she was facing Draco, Pansy persisted. “You know, I’d prefer waiting in here rather than out there. Maybe I can help?”

Shaking his head, Draco tried to re-read the sentence he had just read as he said, “I thought you wanted to get some fresh air.”

“I thought it might be a good idea if we got some fresh air.”

Trying not to groan, Draco looked up at her from where he sat, gripping his eagle-feather quill in his hand, “And we will get some fresh air… But I’d like to finish this, by myself, first, okay? I’ll just meet you at the usual spot when I’m done.”

For a moment, Draco feared that she would protest. But when she merely grinned and said, “All right, I’m going to stop by the owlery first though – I need to send a reply to my mum – and then I’ll head over there… Okay?”

“Okay,” Draco repeated, waving his hand at her as if this would make her leave sooner.

Eventually, without another word, Pansy did finally make her way out of the common room. Draco even looked over his shoulder to watch her leave, although it was only to make certain that she really did leave. Once she was gone he returned to his homework, pushing the conversation he had just had with her from his mind. However, just as he was beginning to forget Pansy’s interruption, someone else had to come and tear his thoughts from what he was working on.

“Girlfriend getting on your nerves, Draco?”

Looking off to his side, Draco spotted Blaise Zabini, who looked positively amused.

“You know, it’s funny, Blaise,” Draco said flatly, “but I don’t recall asking for your input.”

“There’s no need to be an arse, Draco. I was merely asking a question.”

For a short while, Draco said nothing. Then, after a breath, he said, “I didn’t think she was still my girlfriend, to be entirely honest.”

“Well, have you told her that?” Blaise asked, still obviously smirking, his dark eyes more slanted than usual, “Because she appears to be under a different impression.”

Draco, realizing that Blaise was more than likely going to continue to interrogate him for another half hour, began to pack his things into his bag as he said, “As a matter of fact, I haven’t discussed the state of our relationship with her yet–“ –At this point, Draco had gotten to his feet and had slung his bag over his shoulder– “–and, quite frankly, I don’t think it’s any of your damned business, Blaise.”

Before Blaise could say anything else, Draco stalked out of the Slytherin common room. Emerging on the other side of the sliding wall, he continued at his brisk pace until he reached the destination he had in mind. Draco only stopped once to make certain he wasn’t being followed, and that was just as he reached the doors to the library, where he hoped he would be able to finish his studying in peace.

To his relief, the library was not considerably crowded, seeing as the weather was particularly nice on that Saturday afternoon. Thus, whenever he entered the library it took him only a few minutes to find an empty table in a more secluded section.

Either Blaise lacked common sense, which was all that he would have needed to find Draco again, or he had no intention of following him from the common room, considering the fact that Draco remained undisturbed in the library for several hours. By the time he finished his homework for the weekend he had completely forgotten that he was supposed to meet Pansy. However, he did not want to return to the common room anyway, and it was only an hour before dinner would start in The Great Hall. So, Draco began to browse the books on the library shelves aimlessly, occasionally picking one up and flipping through it before putting it back down again.

Maybe ten minutes of this went by before he ran headlong into Hermione Granger just as he was moving from one bookshelf to another. While he didn’t fall initially, she did, her things – books, rolls of parchment, quills, bottles of ink – scattering on the hard library floor, and Draco managed to trip over something, falling to the ground moments after she did.

Hermione got halfway through apologizing when she realized who she had tripped. Seeming to be frozen where she had landed on the floor, Hermione stared up at him, waiting with a scrutinizing gaze. Draco, who was still on the floor too, stared back at her until Ginny and Luna approached them.

“Hermione?” Ginny asked as she stepped carefully through the mess on the floor, “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Hermione said as she took Ginny’s hand and allowed her to help her to her feet. “I just ran into him and lost my footing, but I’m okay.”

“Are you sure?” Ginny pressed, looking more at Draco – who had still not risen to his feet – than Hermione.

As Hermione reassured her, Luna suddenly cleared her throat, and Draco realized with a start that she was standing directly in front of him with her hand offered to him. “Are you all right, Draco?”

With a stiff nod, Draco quickly got to his feet without her help. Luna didn’t appear to be offended that he had rejected her offer to help him, which surprised him a little, though not as much as her asking, “Did your things get scattered too, or is this all Hermione’s?”

Glancing at Hermione and Ginny, Draco saw that they were both staring between him and Luna with increasingly puzzled expressions. His eyes back on Luna, who was merely staring back at him with her usual dreamy eyes, he quietly muttered, “None of its mine, Lovegood. It’s all Granger’s,” scarcely a moment before turning on his heel and walking as quickly as he could from the library.

Then Luna turned to face Hermione and Ginny, who still looked incredibly confused, and stated in her relaxed voice, “He said that none of this on the floor is his, Hermione.”

“Luna,” Ginny started slowly, “what’s going on?”

“What do you mean?” Luna asked just as she was gathering some of Hermione’s things in her arms, kneeled on the ground.

“Why did you offer to help him?” Hermione reiterated.

With a shrug, Luna merely explained, “Because that’s what you do when somebody falls down… you help them up again.”

---

A/N: So I don’t have anything written past this point yet, but I do have to update like four other things first so it would be a bit of a wait for chapter three anyway… Soooooo, with that little message aside, I would just like to say an extra thank you for the reviews I have received so far, and I hope I keep getting them because I tend to think that means I’m doing a good job... You know, usually ;)

Also, just thank you for reading, when I see the number of views my chapters get it makes me happy, too. Oh, and for favoriting – I love it when people favorite (it just makes me think that my stories are on imaginary bookshelves along with a bunch of other fanfiction).

One last thing – I’m working on the whole banner situation, so hopefully before chapter three comes along we’ll have one :) I hope it turns out all right haha.

Until next time,
JB


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