Pairing: Draco Malfoy/Luna Lovegood
Other characters: Blaise Zabini, Hannah Abbott, Pansy Parkinson, Astoria Greengrass, Marcus Flint, Xenophilius Lovegood, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, Arthur Weasley, Narcissa Malfoy, Morag MacDougal, Tom the barkeep, Daphne Greengrass
Summary: Draco gets a little inebriated for his 30th birthday and stumbles into a relationship that will redefine him over the next year.
Author's Notes: Hopelandic is a made-up language (created by the band Sigur Ros) which the sound of the word is a meaning and a story to each individual.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
He was having one of those ‘every day is exactly the same’ days, so when he left his office at the Ministry of Magic, Draco Malfoy decided to stop in the Three Broomsticks for a pint or perhaps some firewhisky. Perhaps both – he had not decided yet. The difference was that it was not just any other day. Yes, it was a Saturday, and he’d put in a full day anyhow because he was behind in his work, but that was not why today was different. It was Draco’s birthday and he was thirty, so he was feeling a bit melancholy. Self pity was a weakness, and he was not about to show that to anyone. He apparated from the alley near the Ministry directly to Hogsmeade and hurried inside the pub.
She blinked owlishly in her confusion. Draco was thinking his drink had been spiked or something. He was acting very oddly, he'd agree, and he could not seem to stop himself. It was different. Everything about tonight had been different so far, and he found it very refreshing. It was as if being slightly off and spontaneous had breathed new life into him.
The dancing stayed vigorous, and though she protested, Luna Lovegood did not refuse dancing with him in the end. She even started drinking with him. The dancing was tiring, and they needed to cool off after. It was not too terribly long into this pattern that Draco was quite inebriated.
His night ended with vague fragments of singing off-key, more dancing and kissing someone.
Draco awoke the next morning with a splitting headache. He stretched without opening his eyes, wondering what time it was. His eyes snapped open when his hand brushed across naked skin not his own.
There was a woman in the bed with him. She was all blonde hair and pale skin. Flawless skin. There was a butterfly tattooed across her back between her shoulder blades. It was purple and black ink. Draco reached out and touched it. The woman sighed in sleep.
A quick glance told him he was naked. Another glance told him they were not in his flat. He was trying to think of who she might be. The only person he could recall talking to after work was Loony Lovegood. Draco's eyes went wide. He looked at the pale back with the butterfly again - and all that golden hair.
Had he really gotten that pissed last night? So pissed he'd slept with Luna Lovegood?
She groaned and rolled over onto her back. Draco was awarded with a nice view of her bare breasts before she was awake enough to take in the situation. She shrieked and pulled the sheet over her body.
"Well, good morning," Draco said.
He was sure his eyes were just as wide as hers were right now.
"I... we... oh, dear."
"So it would seem," Draco said.
She sat up with a groan, sheet clutched to her chest. Draco took the opportunity to look at the curve of her back. She really was a handsome woman when you got past all of the oddness. It was no wonder he'd slept with her. She had a long and lean build. She looked delicate, but he knew she wasn't. The slight pains and aches he had this morning also told him she was in no way delicate.
Draco watched as she started to get out of the bed and wrap the sheet around her. This pulled the sheet off of him.
Draco grabbed the sheet and pulled it back. Lovegood screeched as she toppled back into the bed.
"I need to get my clothes and get out of here," she protested.
"And I don't?"
He should have been a gentleman and let her have the sheet, but Draco was feeling bratty. She shocked him by shrugging and stepping out of the bed without a stitch on. All she was wearing as her hair. His mouth opened slightly in surprise as he watched her snatch up various articles of her clothing from the floor.
He didn't know people were really that free. It was fearless. Draco envied it. As much as he liked to think he was out from under his former life, he knew he was not. There were still things he refused to do, things he thought he could not do.
Draco's eyes narrowed as she slipped her dress over her head. He threw back the sheet and stepped out of the bed. He stalked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. She went rigid. He could not have explained this. Only that the alcohol had dulled his reserve and he wanted to recall what he could of this. Draco moved her hair out of the way and kissed that bit of skin that was not quite shoulder but no longer neck.
"What are you doing?" she asked softly.
He couldn't see them, but he could imagine how wide her eyes were. It was all there in the shocked tone of her voice.
"Don't know exactly," Draco murmured.
"Well, stop it," Lovegood said, shoving out of his arms.
She spun around to give him what-for, Draco was certain of that, but she just stopped. She was staring at him as if she had never clapped eyes on him before.
Draco looked down. "I am."
"Have you been bitten by a wandering willybogg? It causes people to prefer nakedness. It makes your clothes feel itchy."
"I don't think I'm naked because my clothes were feeling itchy."
"No, likely not. You should get dressed. We'll be needing to leave."
Draco made a face.
"We're in a room above the Three Broomsticks. We need to get out of here before the place fills up."
"Embarrassed," Draco snapped.
"Rarely if ever," she replied in her dreamy tone. "But I would think you would be after having spent the night with Loony Lovegood."
"It all right if I call you Luna?" Draco asked, annoyance welling up within him.
Sure, he'd been calling her that in his own head, but that was his head. No one heard it. Only he was allowed to use that deplorable nickname. No one else. Not even her.
Draco's brow furrowed. What was wrong with him?
"What? Did you want me to say no? Very well then. You may not call me Luna."
Draco scowled at her. "Don't call yourself a loony, Luna."
Something happened to her face just then. Draco didn't quite know what to make of it. It was as if she suddenly softened, and it should not please him for her to have such a look and be pointing it in his general direction. Draco Malfoy did not do soft looks.
There was a noise in the hall that broke the moment.
Luna picked up his trou and threw them at him. "Get dressed."
Draco followed Luna down the stairs. Yes, she was Luna now. Ever since saying her name aloud, she was no longer Lovegood in his head. They made it to the bottom and rounded the corner out into the pub. The MacDougal who owned the place was grinning from ear to ear at them.
Luna stopped suddenly and Draco bumped into her. He started scowling and nudged her forward, but she was looking at the bar. Draco looked up and followed her line of sight. He cringed mentally. Potter, Weasley the gorilla and Longbottom didn't look pleased with him at all.
"See, Harry," the bartender said. "The lass is just fine."
Weasley was already getting up and knocking over his barstool in his haste. Luna backed up some more, and Draco involuntarily moved her behind him. Longbottom made a face like a dog hearing a high-pitched sound at that gesture. Luna had a hold of one of Draco's arms and was peering around his body. Even though Draco was pretty sure she was not the one who was about to get the thrashing, Draco took a protective stance.
"Ron," Potter said in a warning tone.
"Now see here, Weasley," MacDougal began. "I willna have ya makin' a fuss in m'pub. I'm offended ya thin' I would let harm come to Luna. She an' m'sister have been friends for years."
"Wha' th'fock is this then?"
Draco blinked. It was Morag MacDougal, and she was addressing Potter. For such a tiny woman she did look a bit menacing. She was all raven hair and glares right now.
"I dinna owl ya Luna were here for ya to all come to m'brother's pub and start tearin' up th'place. She dinna do nothin' she dinna wan' las' nigh', so back down. I jus' dinna wan' ya t'worry."
"Was that English," he whispered.
Luna pinched him.
Everyone else had stopped and they were looking at Draco and Luna. Draco shot them all a saccharine smile before turning his back to the crowd and looking down at her.
"I suppose I should walk you home."
Weasley was not agreeable to that. "Luna-"
"That would be lovely, Draco. Thank you."
He offered his arm in an exaggerated gesture with a smirk on his face. Luna blinked at him with her buggy eyes before slipping her arm in his. They left the pub with several people looking on in surprise.
As they started down the main street in Hogsmeade, Luna tried to pull her arm from his. Draco glared at her and held it there.
"You don't have to walk me home. I know you only did it to make Harry, Ron and Neville mad."
"Longbottom didn't look particularly mad. He looked confused, nothing new there, and I am walking you home because I feel like it. The fact that Potter and Weasley are upset about it is just a bonus."
She giggled at that.
Draco had no idea what he was doing. This was not him. He'd gotten piss-arse drunk, slept with a woman he wouldn't have bothered to insult on a normal day and now he was missing work to walk said woman home. He should probably owl in.
"Have you an owl or a floo I might borrow? I do believe I am very late for work."
"I have an owl."
"Or we could stop in at the post office," Luna suggested, nodding in that direction.
Draco steered them that way.
The little old woman running the post today was grinning knowingly at Luna. Draco was making a big show of saying aloud what he was writing to his secretary so that was likely the reason for the grinning.
"It's Sunday, you know," Luna said in a matter-of-fact tone. "You work on Sundays? I thought the Ministry was mostly closed on Sundays."
"I do if I need to catch up."
Draco tapped the quill against his chin and considered what to write.
"My dear Miss Penshaw, I will not be in to work today given the fact that I got quite drunk and had relations with a beautiful woman last night. Please make my excuses to the higher-ups, and take an early day yourself. Sincerely, Draco Malfoy."
Luna's eyes were wide. "You did not really write that."
Draco showed her that he had. Daisy Penshaw was not just his secretary. She was his friend. He could write those sorts of things to her.
Luna grabbed for the parchment. "You can't send that."
Draco evaded her. It was as if he were back in school again, damn Hogsmeade and its magic. He laughed and held the parchment away.
"It isn't as if I told her it was you, Luna. Daisy's a friend."
He still could not figure out what was making him act so undignified, but Draco was having too pleasant a time to really care anymore. He could not even recall the last time he'd felt like he did not have a care in the world. It was probably before he started Hogwarts. He was going to do some shopping in Hogsmeade, and he planned to ask Luna Lovegood to go with him.
She looked like she could not decide if what she was doing was a good thing or a very bad mistake.
"You didn't have to say yes, you know," he mentioned when they walked into the Hogsmeade branch of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.
She turned and walked backwards to speak to him. Draco liked that. It was very little girl, and there were many elements to Luna Lovegood that were little girl. Instead of finding them annoying, he was amused, intrigued even.
"Didn't I? When you ask things, you do it in such a tone that you might as well add 'I double dog dare you' after it. You practically challenged me to come along with you, Draco."
And she had not backed down.
"I always speak like that. Rather unfortunate that you took it for a dare and that's the only reason you're here."
"I didn't say that was the only reason."
"Yes... oh," she replied with an enigmatic smile before turning and skipping down an aisle.
Draco blinked. She had just skipped. Why wasn't that annoying to him? It should be. It should irritate the hell out of him.
"You're not going to tell me," he said with a bit of whine as he trailed after her.
George Weasley was glaring a hole in him. They would happen to come in on a day he was here.
"No," Luna replied. "I am not."
"That's really not fair."
"Are you going to pout because I am not giving you something you want?"
Draco glared at her. How did she know him so well already?
"Is he bothering you, Luna?" Weasley asked.
Draco rolled his eyes and resisted the urge to growl.
"No, George. Thank you."
Draco turned and flashed a nasty smirk at the Weasley.
"That wasn't very nice."
Draco snorted. "Did you forget who you're talking to?"
He held out his arm to her. She took it as they exited the shop. Draco barely resisted the urge to stick his tongue out at George Weasley - who was still glaring a hole in him. They set out upon the main street in Hogsmeade.
"I seem to recall last night that you mentioned it was your birthday. This was after many drinks."
Draco didn't comment on that.
"So I was wondering... there's this Muggle tradition."
"Yes," Draco prompted warily.
"Did anyone... spank you yesterday?"
He stopped walking and turned to face her fully. "What?"
He'd never even heard of such a thing.
"I am going to assume by that blank expression that it is a no on the birthday spankings."
She moved suddenly and started slapping his bum with her hand.
"Hey! Oi! Bloody hell!"
Draco jumped away trying to evade her. Luna grabbed his shirt sleeve and continued trying to administer his spanking.
"How old are you," she shouted. "That's how many you get!"
"Leave off! Stop that!"
People were stopping to stare. Narcissa Malfoy would be mortified if she saw this behavior. He was grappling with a witch who was trying to spank him on a public street. Draco was having fun, though. Best. Day. Ever.
He was still laughing when they lost their balance and went toppling into the street. Draco turned them so that he took the brunt of the impact. He might not use them all the time, but he did possess manners.
After collecting themselves, they finished shopping and had a rather pleasant day. More pleasant than Draco could have possibly expected.
"Are you out of you mind?"
Draco looked at his best friend and raised one eyebrow. Blaise could be so dramatic. He'd burst into Draco's flat like a tornado hex.
He usually enjoyed his personal days and weekends. Sometimes Draco did not even get out of his pajamas on Saturdays. Today certainly was not Saturday, but he'd taken a personal day to recover from his unexpected birthday weekend. He had his tea and read the paper or a book. It was his quiet time.
That was obviously out today.
"Do come in, then. What on earth is up your bum today? What have I done to irritate you now?"
Blaise made a face before slapping a copy of the Daily Prophet down on the table where Draco had been having his morning tea. Draco scanned the page and saw nothing of import. The main article was about Scarhead. He looked at Blaise and shrugged.
Blaise pointed, his finger thumping the table underneath hard.
Draco peered. There was a tiny blurb about... HIM BEING ENGAGED TO LUNA LOVEGOOD.
He slapped his palms on the table as if to steady himself and looked up at Blaise with eyes that probably rivaled Luna's in their surprise.
"My... mother..." Draco managed.
"Is going to give birth to kneazles," Draco whispered in horror.
Just then his floo roared to life.
"DRACO ORION MALFOY!"
"I'm not engaged," he said in a panic, turning to face the fireplace and his mother's angry head in it. "I don't know where they got the idea! I'll take care of it!"
His mother huffed in anger and closed the floo connection.
"Bollocks," Draco muttered.
The next family dinner was going to be a tad uncomfortable.
"Do you know how they got the idea, Drake?"
Draco wiped a hand over his face and muttered his answer.
"Pipe up, Princess. I don't speak gibberish."
"All right," Draco said holding up his hands and preparing.
Blaise sighed and sat down at the chair across from him.
"I might have gotten really pissed on my birthday and slept with her. Then I might have spent the next day playing hooky from work and walking all over Hogsmeade with her, which was, you know, yesterday. She might have tried to give me birthday spankings in public."
Blaise sat back in his chair, mouth hanging open in slight shock. "Birthday spankings?"
"It's this Muggle thing. They play slap-arse for how many years you are."
"How come I am just now hearing about this? Why couldn't THAT have been taught in Muggle Studies? I might have liked the sodding class then."
It was silent again.
Something seemed to occur to Blaise. "You slept with her?"
"Yeah," Draco answered. "But don't recall any of it. Might not have happened. I was really pissed. Might have even been too pissed to..." Draco made an obscene hand gesture.
Blaise started chuckling.
"This isn't funny."
"It's a little funny. She's a Ravenclaw."
"Pot calling the cauldron black? You were with a girl from every house, and you married a Hufflepuff. A HUFFLEPUFF, Blaise."
"I'll say," Draco said. "She'd have to be to put up with you."
"If we're going to stay discussing my marriage, which I have warned you about, I am going to be taking out my wand and hexing your face off. Lovegood might not like that."
"I haven't a clue what she likes. Except for weird creatures."
"Well, I think you ought to know more about your new girlfriend, Malfoy."
"Oh, fuck off. She's not my sodding girlfriend."
"No, according to the Prophet, she's your fiancée."
Draco glared at him, and Blaise started laughing.
He had just died down to snickers when the door to the flat slammed open again.
"Were you even going to sodding tell me about this, you wanking pillock?"
Blaise and Draco both looked up as Pansy swept into the flat with a crumpled copy of the Prophet in her hand. Draco pinched the bridge of his nose as Blaise started laughing again.
"It's not funny, Blaise," Pansy Parkinson snapped, hitting her friend with the crumpled paper. "And don't you 'hello, Pans' me, Draco Malfoy. I'll hex you... in something more disturbing than your face. Explain this, this instant."
She threw the paper on the table. Right next to the one Blaise had put there.
"It's a mistake. I am not marrying anyone."
Pansy turned. "HA! You bitches owe me three galleons!"
Draco was making a face of confusion as his door opened a third time and the Greengrass sisters breezed in.
"You three bet on this?" Draco asked incredulously.
"I just figured on you settling down eventually, darling," Astoria replied. "Daphs just backed me up, but Pansy was right. Wild oats and all."
"Wild oats?" Blaise said. "He's not the one shagging Marcus Bastard Flint six ways to Sunday."
Draco sighed and began banging his head on the table.
"His middle name is not bastard," Astoria snapped.
"Do let's start this again," Daphne snapped, tossing some wild strawberry blonde hair over her shoulder.
It was the exact shade of her younger sister's hair, but Astoria's looked more kempt.
"Draco, do you have any firewhisky?"
"For fuck's sake, Daphne," Pansy snapped. "It's only ten in the morning."
"Same place it always is, Greengrass."
Funny how he called her Greengrass, but Astoria was always Tori. Not even when he'd been seeing Astoria did he call Daphne by her name.
"So what are we going to do about this?"
Draco frowned and looked at Pansy. "Why do we have to do anything about it? It's a mistake. They print a retraction. No big deal."
Pansy gave him what was commonly referred to in their circle of friends as the basilisk look. Blaise started laughing again, and Daphne was drinking his Ogden's Old right from the bottle. Draco banged his head on the table yet again.
He stopped short at his office. There were glowing magical letters floating above the door that read 'congratulations'. He was officially annoyed. Must be Tuesday.
"Oh, for fuck's sake," Draco muttered.
"How come you didn't tell me, Boss?" Miss Penshaw said, attempting to give him a hug.
Draco backed away so fast he tripped over his own feet and fell to his backside.
"There's nothing to-"
"I need to speak with you. Now."
Draco looked up to see who had spoken. Potter was standing over him in his Auror robes looking remarkably like an angry hornet.
"Bugger." Draco sighed and got to his feet.
Potter took a deep breath. "Look-"
"No, you look, you poncy wanker," Draco snapped, pointing a finger in the other man's face. "I have had just about enough of this. I slept with her, but I'm not marrying her."
Daisy Penshaw gasped. Potter started turning red in anger.
"She wouldn't have me. I didn't ask. It wasn't like that. I don't know where the sodding Prophet got that story, but that's what it is - a story. Fiction! I didn't ask her to marry me, and even if I had, she wouldn't agree, so we're all solid here, yeah? You don't have to worry about my tainting Luna."
"Who said you'd taint me," a dreamy voice asked from behind him.
Draco spun around quickly. He smiled at her despite everything. Her long and wavy golden hair was loose and had flowers woven in it. They were pale blue and matched her flowered sundress and flip-flops. Even her toes were painted that powder blue color.
"You looked very pretty with your hair down," he said before he could stop himself. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to speak to my fiancé," she said playfully.
Draco's eyes went wide.
"What? You think it bothered me - people thinking you'd have me? Decidedly not, but I do think we ought to think on how to proceed with the announcement that we are not due for impending nuptials. Though my first instinct was to retaliate by setting a pack of nifflers loose in the Prophet's offices."
Draco smiled. "I was thinking blast-ended skrewts or conjuring a gorgon. Medusa came to mind. I think all the reporters around there would look smashing as statues. We could put them in a park with lots of birds and sprinkle birdseed there every day."
She laughed loudly at that. Draco found himself mesmerized by that laugh. It was not a polite snicker to be kind. It was a full-bodied belly chuckle. There was nothing false in that laugh, and he liked that very much.
"My office is right here," he said, nodding his head that way.
They left Potter and his secretary staring.
"This is rather odd, isn't it?"
Draco looked at her.
"I have no frame of reference since I am mostly odd, but this situation is odd for you, yes?"
"A bit, yeah," he agreed.
"I suppose you'll want the Prophet to print a retraction? Well when I owled them this morning, I was informed that they have a strict 'no retractions' policy."
"The bloody blighters!"
Luna blinked at him. Draco knew he could be dramatic. She probably was not used to that. Then again, she was friends with Potter. It was possible that she was.
"I'm terribly sorry, Draco. If I had not sat down at your table..."
She had probably trailed off because of the dark look on his face.
"I had a bloody good time on my birthday for the first time since I was fifteen, so don't you dare say you wished it never happened."
That enigmatic smile was back. "I wasn't. It's nice to know you weren't regretting things as well."
"Definitely not," Draco snapped.
He was shocked because he actually meant that. He honestly did not want to take one minute of it back. Draco couldn't even explain why. He'd sort of despised her and her friends in school. He still despised her friends. He was currently unclear on his feelings towards her. It did not make sense to him.
But he did like the fact that she did not treat him like a social pariah. She had a reason to.
"Why don't you seem to mind this?" he asked. "You shouldn't be pleased that people think I want you. You should be furious."
"Well, that just shows how much you know about me."
Draco considered. He did not know her. He never had. She was just a vague but huddled shape with a sad face he'd see in his nightmares about that time in his life when people were locked in the family dungeons. Was it pity?
No, that could not be it. Malfoys did not feel pity.
"Well, what should I know? After all, we will be married soon according to a certain media source not fit to wipe my arse."
"When you get annoyed, you get very descriptive in your insults. I never noticed that about you before now."
"We aren't talking about me," he said in exasperation. "We're talking about you."
"You don't want to know about me."
"I asked, didn't I?"
Draco was getting annoyed. Why was she being so resistant?
"All right then," she said, holding out a hand. "Come on."
There was the vague possibility that Draco would get into a bit of trouble for having left the Ministry in the middle of a work day, but he honestly did not care.
What he did care about was the fact that they had apparated to a wooded area and were now trudging through it while holding hands. He'd already asked her numerous times where they were and what they were doing. She just gave him what he was coming to call her secret smile in his head. It was that enigmatic dreamy grin of hers that suggested the universe told her things it did not tell him.
Draco suspected that might be true. He saw no wonder in the world. She seemed to see a great deal in it. She was pointing out several sorts of mushroom varieties. So much so that he was beginning to suspect she had a fungus fetish.
He froze when they entered a clearing.
Hippogryffs. A whole heard of them. Draco was fairly certain his hand began to sweat in hers. Not to mention the rest of him. What sort of a sadistic bitch would take him, of all people, to view a whole herd of hippogriffs?
"Is this a joke?"
"Why would it be?"
They stared at one another - her in dreamy confusion and him in glaring irritation.
"Oh," she said. "I'd forgotten. The attack, yes. Well, we'll just have a quick lesson and you should be quite fine."
"Lesson? Fine? I am not going out there with all of those beasts."
"Of course you are, silly. We're going riding."
That outburst got several of the animals' attention. Draco's eyes went wide and he pulled Luna in front of him as a human shield.
"Stop being such a baby. Just do as I do and for Merlin's sake, don't insult any of them."
"You're insane if you think I am getting near any of them."
Luna turned around and moved into his personal space. Draco was quite surprised when she grabbed the sides of his face and kissed him. Something in it was familiar. It jogged a memory of a kiss such as this whey they were tumbling into that bed in the room above Three Broomsticks. Draco tried to hold onto that, but she pushed him away gently.
"Be the man who asked me to dance on a whim. Fortune favors the bold, you know."
He watched in nervousness and she walked into the clearing and bowed to the first one of the damned beasts that looked at her. Draco took his wand out, ready to stun things should there be any charging. The damned things did not charge. It bowed back to her and Luna approached it.
Draco watched her from the tree line. She had a way with the thing. She spoke softly to it, and petted its beak. Then she waved him out. Draco shook his head 'no' at her. She waved more vigorously.
He sighed and moved tentatively. They would find his trampled and clawed body months from now. He could see it already. Luna was motioning for him to bow. Though Draco felt a little ridiculous bowing to an animal, he did as she instructed. He felt as if the rest of the herd were watching him, knowing he'd insulted one of their kind before.
He breathed an audible sigh of relief when the beast he was bowing to bowed in return. Draco still approached cautiously.
"See, that wasn't so terrible, was it?"
Draco glared at her as he ran a hand through the hippogryff's feathers. She was insane. That was the only explanation, and perhaps he was a bit bent himself because he was following her on a merry chase.
"Let's ride him now."
Draco glared at her. "Let's not and keep all our limbs."
He was windswept as they entered his flat laughing. Draco had never been windswept off of the Quidditch pitch. He had also never been flying on anything save a broom. In a matter of days, he was changing. One drunken sexual encounter had warped his brain. He was laughing and doing things he would have never done before. All because of the woman currently with her arm around him.
They both stopped short at the assembly in his living area.
"Just so you know, I don't give a rat's arse who you're shagging or marrying," said a very annoyed looking Marcus Flint.
Draco knew he usually went where Astoria did, being very possessive, but this was a little ridiculous. He and Draco did not like one another. Marcus usually made an exception when the location was Draco's.
But there he stood behind where Tori was sitting, Daphne next to her. Daphne - who was once again helping herself to his firewhisky. Pansy was looking pinched. Blaise had brought Hannah, and even Gregory Goyle was there pacing like a caged animal.
"Well, the gang's all here," Draco snapped sarcastically. "If this is an engagement party, I have to warn you all that we're not getting married. Just hanging out and having fun."
"What on earth is with your hair, Draco?" Pansy snapped.
"I was flying," he announced proudly. "On a hippogriff."
He almost wished he had a camera. The looks of confusion and bewilderment on his friends' faces were deliciously amusing.
"That's not Draco," Blaise said. "Get him."
Draco shouted and jumped back, reaching for his wand. He'd show them who was Draco around here. Luna had drawn hers from behind her ear.
"What the bloody hell is this? An intervention? I don't need to be intervened, thank you!"
"Oh, stop it," Hannah snapped. "All of you just stop it. That's Draco. Did you see how quick he drew his wand? I told you lot he was not possessed."
"I heard from a friend," Pansy began. "That you'd left the Ministry early with Lovegood there. We were concerned."
"How is Davis anyhow? Why isn't she here? Too busy flogging her house-elves?"
Flint actually snickered until Astoria reached around and slapped his arm. He gave her a fiery look that always disturbed Draco. He did not need to know that Marcus Flint liked to be knocked around a little.
Draco shook his head and put that thought from his mind. Far, far from his mind.
"Were you planning an exorcism? A deprogramming?"
The looks on their faces said it all.
"You were," he stared incredulously. "You pack of wankers."
Draco could not believe this. He acted a little out of character and started having fun for once and everyone wanted to toss him in Mungo's.
“Now... Draco...” Hannah said, raising her hands in surrender.
She was usually pretty good at calming any one of them within their group down. Except for Marcus. Astoria seemed to be the only one who could defuse him. However, Draco was beyond irritated now.
“I think you all need to leave.”
“Malfoy...” Daphne said.
“We’re going to have sex now,” Draco said, gesturing to Luna. “So unless you’d like to watch...”
Her eyes were huge at that comment. His so-called friends made hasty exits with promises of owling or flooing later. Draco shut the door behind them with a sigh.
“Sorry about them. They’re really very...”
He’d been turning back to her as he spoke. When he saw her, words failed him. She’d dropped her dress and wasn’t wearing stitch under it. Draco blinked. She’d been stomping around with him all day with no knickers on?
“I thought you said we were going to have sex now?”
He swallowed loudly. That was certainly unexpected.
Draco was in a strange pattern. It had been a little over three weeks since he'd been to his own 'intervention' with all his Slytherin friends. He'd seen Luna most of those days at least once. He could now recall in detail what she looked like sans clothing. He didn't remember the night of his birthday, but he had other memories. He could not figure out why he was doing this. It wasn't like him.
And maybe that was the problem.
Being a good little Slytherin, no oxymoron intended, had never exactly made Draco's life exactly livable for him, so perhaps it was time to redefine who Draco Orion Malfoy was. Spending time with someone who he'd formally considered beneath his notice had made Draco realize how unhappy he had been. He was too rigid, too trained. Like a poodle. Draco did not like poodles. He had never liked them. The realization that he might share qualities with one was quite disturbing.
He sighed when his door was flung open.
"I've been looking through the Prophet every day for weeks," Blaise announced. "When are they going to print the sodding retraction?"
"Might be difficult since I never spoke to them and when Luna did she was told they do not print retractions."
The look on Blaise's face was hilarious, so Draco started chuckling.
"Do close your mouth, B. You look like a codfish."
"What are you doing?"
Draco frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Is this another rebellion or do you honestly like her?"
"What sort of a question is that?" Draco snapped.
"Look, don't get pissy, Princess. It's a real question. I want to know if I need to get to know this woman. Actually, Hannah wants to know. She has all these plans."
"She wants Lovegood to feel welcome to the fold. She's going to speak to Pans and Tori about shopping even. Now, I'm wondering if I need to tell her not to bother."
"I don't know."
Blaise's eyebrows went up.
"I don't know what I'm doing. I know she's different, and I like that. I know it irritates Potter and his chums, and that's definitely a bonus. But I don't actually care about that part. I was determined to spend the night of my birthday alone, but I spent it with her instead. I spent the day after with her. I cannot remember the last time I just had fun."
Blaise was looking pinched.
"Please don't be offended. You know I have fun with you and Hannah, but I feel like a fourth witch trying to be in the Weird Sisters. This is different."
Blaise seemed to be considering. "I'll tell Hannah to owl then."
"I didn't say-"
"Yes, you did. You call her Luna, and you're happy. I haven't seen you honestly happy since Hogwarts, you wanker. I won't let you sabotage your own happiness this time. Even if the bird is a little off. You're a hoop short of the Quidditch pitch yourself, so this could be interesting."
"You just called me and my." Draco didn't know what word to use.
"Yes, Princess? Your what? Exactly? What should we call her? Your new friend? Friend with benefits? Girlfriend? Fiancée? I'm quite curious."
"I don't know," Draco snapped. "She and I haven't talked about it."
"Well, maybe you should."
"Well, maybe you should stay out of it," Draco said, getting more irritated.
"Like you did when it was Hannah and I?"
"How? You would not allow me to ruin my own happiness. I see this the same way. Everyone you've ever dated has not been able to make you happy. It's a damned miracle Pansy and Astoria are still your friends."
"Sorry, Princess. I warned you back in the day that your meddling would come back to haunt you. Be prepared to go on a double date with my wife, myself and your new girlfriend."
"Don't call her that."
"You'd best talk to her. because that's how I will be introducing her to people."
"You right bastard," Draco said in awe. "You're going to use this as revenge for how I acted when you and Hannah started liking one another? You're going to use Luna like that?"
"Ah ha!" Blaise shouted, pointing at Draco. "That tells me everything. If you didn't care, you wouldn't care what I did."
"I suggest you speak to her. See you both soon, Princess."
Blaise got up and left. When the shock wore off, Draco threw a hex at the door.
"Your owl seemed a bit. urgent," Luna said as she did what she usually did in his flat when they weren't in the bedroom. She was looking at all of his belongings and studying them. She picked some up, others she just leaned in to peer more closely at. "I have something to discuss as well, but do go first."
"Yes, well, there's an issue."
"Go on," she prompted when he did not speak for a long time.
"Blaise and Hannah want to go to dinner with us. Like a date. A four person date. A double. Yeah," he said in a rush.
Luna turned to him suddenly, her eyes even more owlish than usual.
"I know. I'll make our excuses. It's not a tragedy. I just. I don't."
"Well, it makes what I need to say easier."
Draco didn't like the sound of that.
"Ginny is my best friend. Ginny Weasley."
"Uh huh," Draco said warily. Ginny Weasley was also Ginny Potter now.
"She trusts my judgment. Harry doesn't. She wants us to have dinner at their house."
Draco felt like he'd been hit with a stunner. "What?"
"It won't be too terrible; I promise I'll protect you from Harry and Ron."
"Scarhead AND the redheaded gorilla?"
"Perhaps you could not call them that to their faces. Hermione and Neville might get offended."
"Granger and Longbottom too?"
Draco was now debating. He absolutely did not want to do that, but if she actually asked him, he did not know if he could say no.
He was doomed. "Fine, but you will be called upon for the doubles thing and to go shopping with Hannah, Pansy and Astoria."
"I couldn't possibly. Didn't you date Pansy Parkinson and Astoria Greengrass? "
"I don't think I could-"
"Look, I'm having dinner with three of the people I despised most in my youth. I'm having dinner with my childhood arch nemesis. I think you can do a bit of shopping with my best mate's wife and my two exes. I think you're getting the better deal. Hannah won't allow Pansy or Tori to treat you with anything but respect."
"Then I will go if it means so much to you, and I will make it understood that you are my guest for dinner with my friends and you are to be treated as such."
Draco blinked. Were they really doing this?
"What should I call you?" he asked.
"I thought you'd been calling me Luna."
"No, I mean. are you my." Draco swallowed nervously. "Girlfriend? Is that what this is for us?"
"Do you want it to be?"
Did he want it to be? She was asking him. It was a strange feeling. Did he? Draco considered. He thought about all that Blaise had said.
"Yes, I do."
"Then that's settled," she said smiling. "Now one more thing."
He watched as Luna pulled something from her bag. Draco almost laughed when he saw what it was - a copy of the Quibbler. When he saw that the cover story was all about the Prophet's no-retraction policy, he actually did laugh.
"I know that not as many people read the Quib or take it at all seriously, but I do hope you know that I am fighting in my own way."
He was beginning to like her way. That was a startling discovery.
"Thank you," Draco said, shocked again that he was meaning it.
Those two words together usually tasted like ashes on his tongue.
"Excellent. I'll pick you up tomorrow at seven. We'll be going to the Burrow."
"Dinner with Ginny's family and my friends."
"Her whole family?"
"Well, Molly Weasley will be cooking. I'm not entirely certain who all will be there."
She could have been a rather smashing Slytherin with ambush tactics like this. His father was going to have a whole litter of kneazles when he found out about this. Draco was beginning to wonder what he was getting into with this one.
Not that he wanted out.
Draco glared at Pansy as she laughed riotously.
"You're having dinner at the Weasley family home with Potter. Your parents are going to die, Draco. They're also going to hex you. How did you allow yourself to get into this mess?"
"I like her, all right."
"You know, this was cute when we were teenagers. But you need to stop getting into these messes. It's unbecoming in a man of your years."
"Oh, shut up. I need to know what to take over there."
"I still have manners. I need to bring a gift for the meal."
"Well, I'd normally suggest a fancy dessert from that bakery in Hogsmeade or a bottle of wine from the Zabini stores, but they'd probably think you were trying to be snooty. Why don't you get Hannah to help you bake some bikkies?"
"I don't know how to bake."
"Hence the getting Hannah to help you part of the plan, moron. They won't be expecting that, I can assure you."
Draco made a face. "Pansy, I am not doing it to put anyone off balance."
"I don't understand."
"These are her friends, and damn my eyes, I am actually concerned about making a good impression."
"Oh, that's so sad," then she seemed to realize what she had said and backtracked. "Look, darling, these people already know you. Well, they think they do, anyhow. The impression has been made already. I don't feature you changing that with a tin of biscuits."
Draco scowled at her.
"And what's this Hannah keeps telling me about myself and Tori taking Lovegood shopping?"
"I do wish you'd refer to her as Luna."
"Oh, my goddess," Pansy said in horror.
"What is it now?"
"You actually like her."
"I don't know," Draco replied.
"No, you do. I can see it. It's written all over you. My gods. You should have just said, darling. We'll help you. Of course we'll help you. I'll even be moderately nice."
Draco chuckled. "Thanks, Pans."
Draco was sure his eyes were just as wide as Luna's when they arrived at the Burrow. He had a tin of the biscuits Hannah had helped him make clutched tightly in his hands. Perhaps he should have insisted they do a friendly gathering with his friends first so that she could be scared off before him and he would not have to be subjected to this. Draco had not been this nervous in years. He'd almost sooner face the Dark Lord again rather than Molly Weasley.
"Are you all right?" Luna asked, slipping a hand into his. "You look a bit pale. Well, more pale. We can go. I can make excuses."
Draco straightened his spine. "No."
"Good. Nice to know bravery is not restricted to Gryffindor alone. I know this won't be easy for you, and I know it's soon, but they're worried about you. They don't know you. I've told them they don't. You aren't who you used to be."
Draco blinked at her. She was amazingly trusting. He was like he used to be. That had not changed. What had changed was his ability to hide it. Or perhaps he no longer had a desire to be a nasty git to her upon knowing her better.
Her hair was no longer stringy, but wild. Like spun gold, and it caught light like nothing he'd ever seen. Her eyes were not bug-like anymore. Just owlish and wide to take in as much as she possibly could. She was not loony and never had been - she saw the world through eyes no one else could comprehend.
Draco could hear people talking in another part of the house, but while they were alone in the foyer, he clasped her hand and brought it to his lips. His world was different. He was trying new things, and as resistant as he was, it was not boring. Draco was beginning to suspect he'd been bored for the last decade and that was half his problem.
Someone cleared their throat, and Luna jumped in surprise. She tried to move away, but they weren't doing anything wrong, so Draco gently put a hand on her arm to keep her near. He turned to look at the intruder to find Mr. Weasley looking at the both of them with a pleasant smile on his face.
"Ah, Luna, there you are. With your. friend. I thought I heard someone enter. Your father's been wondering where you two were."
Father? Draco knew his eyes now surpassed Luna's in wideness.
"Hello, Mr. Malfoy."
Draco almost froze from the ice, but he smiled politely and took the hand being offered to him.
"Please. Do call me Draco," he replied, shaking the hand firmly and looking Mr. Weasley right in the eye.
A strange look passed over the other man's face before he grinned. "Will do then."
Draco willed himself into a state of calm as he was led through the mismatched house that could have fit into Malfoy Manor about a hundred times over. He willed himself into a state of calm. He needed to behave for Luna's sake, and to do that he needed to be calm.
"Luna and her boyfriend are here finally."
Draco's calm was severely damaged by that announcement.
Luna was yawning as they entered his flat. Draco had apparated them here. She had a small cottage in Hogsmeade. Their floos were already connected, but with how tired she seemed, Draco's plan was to walk her up the stairs and put her to bed.
In the literal sense and not the sexual one.
Tonight had been horrific, but Draco was thinking he bore it well. The veiled insults were everywhere. It was like old times only no one hexed one another. There had been a few times when Draco had suspected Granger had kicked her husband under the table, but he could not be certain.
The crowning event of the evening had been when George Weasley had eaten one of the biscuits Draco had brought then pretended to die of poisoning. His mother and wife had hexed him for that. Draco could not help himself. He had laughed. Loudly.
Unfortunately that had freaked everyone else out - his laughing. Well, not Luna. She started laughing too. After that, the giggles dropped like flies. The only ones who had not been laughing were Scarhead and the gorilla.
Draco was all right with that.
He just removed her shoes before putting her on the bed.
"So tired," she said between yawns. "Must floo home."
"Nonsense, you'll go out the wrong grate. Go to sleep. I'll get you home after brekkie tomorrow."
She was already asleep. They had stayed rather late at the Weasleys'. He was glad tomorrow was Sunday. His assistant did not know what to think. It was rare for him to not work through the weekend, but Draco had not done so in over a month. He changed into his pajamas and got into the bed. Luna unconsciously curled towards his warmth in her sleep.
Draco was wondering when in the hell he'd turned into such a sap because her doing that made him smile. A real smile too, not his nasty smirk.
Draco opened his eyes slowly to find someone staring right at his face, not inches from him. He sucked in air sharply and reached for where he kept his wand under the pillow until it dawned on him that Astoria was in the bed with him.
"What the devil are you-"
"Shhh," she replied, putting a finger to his lips. "You'll wake your girlfriend."
Draco could feel Luna curled up against his back.
"What are you doing here? I swear to Merlin, Tori, I will take you out of the wards," he snapped in a whisper. "I don't want Marcus coming over here and throttling me because you decided to play. I'm not in the mood for your games today."
"I was checking on you. I see you are still alive, so last night must not have been that bad."
"It was awkward. I'd have rather faced a hexing squad, but she asked me to go. She said please even. How was I going to say no?"
Astoria was propped up on her side looking at him. She ran one manicured finger down the bridge of his nose.
"You should admit to yourself that you like her then."
"I don't know I."
"You know, Draco. You always know. You're just always afraid to admit it. You're like the poster child for denial."
"Is that why we never worked out?"
"Oh, don't be silly. We never worked out because our parents tried to force it, and I've known since I was eleven that I was going to be Marcus Flint's girl. The first time I saw how viciously he flew in a Quidditch match, I knew. Hate to say it, love, but I bided my time until he accepted me."
Draco grinned at her. There was no point in being angry that she'd used him because he'd only dated her to get his parents to shut up about it.
Astoria rolled out of the bed fluidly. "I better get back before Marcus misses me. I was just checking on you. I love you like my own brother, you know that right?"
"You don't have a brother, Tori."
"What do you call Daphne?"
He chuckled as she left the room.
Draco sighed and rolled over to find Luna staring at him with wide eyes.
"I didn't make it home last night."
"No," he replied softly, tucking some hair behind her ear. "You were too tired. I was afraid you'd go a grate too far and end up asleep on the floor of Three Broomsticks. I think the MacDougals would come looking for me if that happened."
"Do your friends always come by and just get into the bed with you?"
"Only Tori, Pans or Blaise."
"Oh. So I should tell Harry and Ginny that's all right too, then?"
Draco's eyes went wide. Surely she did not expect him to put up with that.
Luna started laughing. "Your face. I need a snap of it right now."
"Oh, ha bloody ha."
"Oh, don't be cross. I would ask that if we are unclothed your friends try to restrain themselves."
Draco grinned. "I think that request to be simple enough."
Draco was in his office when Daisy stuck her head in.
It had been several days since his waking to find Astoria in bed with him and Luna. He was having dinner with Blaise and Hannah tonight. Blaise had already warned him that Hannah was dying to hear all the details about the Burrow dinner. She found it amazing that Draco had been within hexing distance of Potter and Ron Weasley and no one had been hexed.
"You have a visitor."
She had the oddest look on her face.
"And?" he prompted.
"It's Hermione Granger-Weasley."
"Fabulous," he remarked sarcastically. "Do send her in then."
At least she had the grace to look uncomfortable. Draco had not said much to her at the dinner. He felt that would be best. She'd spent so many years as 'Mudblood' in his head. Just like Potter was Scarhead and Weasley was the gorilla.
"So do I call you Granger still? Or would you prefer Granger-Weasley? Or just Weasley, which, I warn you, could get confusing."
"I think Hermione might be all right."
Draco raised a brow. That was a bit informal. He didn't exactly feel comfortable with that. Maybe it was immature of him, but they weren't friends here. He did not see how they could be.
"Or you can just call me Granger if that makes you feel more comfortable."
"It does, actually," Draco answered honestly. "Do sit down. Would you like tea?"
"Thank you, no. I just wanted a quick word."
"Obviously, but are any words with you quick ones, Granger? I don't recall that, and I suspect it has not changed about you."
She smiled and that made him uncomfortable as well.
"It hasn't. Look, I'll be blunt, Luna seems to like you for reasons I cannot fathom. I have not always been her biggest fan. I find her a great deal too dreamy for my tastes, but she is a friend. If you are messing her about-"
"Not everyone is a bloody realist," Draco snapped. "I don't think you should be down on the lady because you can't see things as she does. I happen to like her dreaminess."
Granger blinked, as if she had not expected such a vehement defense. Then she smiled again.
"I'm sorry to have troubled you, Malfoy. Forget I spoke. Do excuse me."
She got up and bowed slightly in his direction before leaving. Draco just sat there with his mouth hanging open.
"What in the hell was that?" he muttered to himself.
Bint thought she could come into his office and insult his girl.
"Oh, bloody hell," Draco said loudly then banged his head on his desk.
"Tea, sir?" Daisy asked.
"Yes, please," Draco mumbled without lifting his head from the desk. "Just keep it coming today."
If she was nervous around Blaise and Hannah, Draco saw no signs of it. It had been slightly amusing when everyone discovered that Blaise could be as vulgar as he liked and Luna did not get offended. She laughed. It made Draco oddly happy that she got on with his friends.
Tori had told him that Pansy tried to embarrass Luna by taking her underwear shopping on their first outing as they had done to Hannah when she and Blaise were dating. Astoria was impressed. Not only had Luna not cared or been embarrassed, she'd been holding things up to the other two women and saying how smashing they'd look in stuff. It made him proud that she could hold her own with two Slytherin girls.
Hannah, of course, was being very nice. Blaise was being a bit of a git, but Luna took it in stride and was teasing him in return as much as he was teasing her. There had been a great deal of laughing, and Blaise had remarked that he had not heard Draco laugh so much in a very long time.
It was true.
They were still laughing as they entered his flat after apparating there from Zabini Manor. Draco froze when he saw his mother.
"We're not," Draco said in a rush. "We're just. well."
"I think the word you are searching for is dating," Luna said matter-of-factly.
His mother looked one heartbeat from apoplexy.
"Mother, this is Luna-"
"I know very well who she is!"
"That's right; you and father locked her in the cellar for Voldemort because of the things her father was printing in the Quib. I try to forget about that."
His mother's face went splotchy. Luna moved closer to Draco and he tightened the arm he had around her. They'd never spoken about what his family had done to her specifically. Draco questioned the wisdom in bringing it up.
"Is this out of pity?"
He was struck dumb by his mother asking such a question. First of all, he didn't 'do' pity. Not with anyone but himself. Second, how dare she try to cheapen his happiness by suggesting it was anything other than that, and finally how dare she suggest Luna could not have him any way but his feeling sorry for her or using her to balm some old guilty wound.
"Mother, please go."
"I can't speak rationally to you right now. You've insulted me and Luna. I would appreciate your going now."
His mother was so angry, she left by floo. She never travelled by floo. She hated it.
"Sorry about that."
"Is it true?"
Draco looked at her in surprise. "What?"
"Do you feel sorry for me?"
"How can you ask me that? Do I strike you as the sort that would do such a thing?"
"You're not always nice. Neither are your friends. I do find myself questioning this. It makes no kind of sense, Draco. Why is it working at all? It should not. You and I are against all laws and gods and men."
"So I'm just some evil bastard that is using you to alleviate his guilt over a decade later?"
"That's not what I said," Luna replied.
"You implied it."
"Draco, I'm just trying to figure this out, and you're suddenly acting like a ghelpie has a hold of you."
"What the fuck is a ghelpie?"
"An angry spirit that causes irrational anger in others."
"So now I'm irrational," Draco snapped.
Luna stood there just blinking her wide eyes at him for a moment. "A little, yes."
"Irrational because I like spending time with you," he snapped, stalking close to her. "Irrational because I am insulted that you would think my motivations are anything but the honest desire to be near you? I suppose I was a fool to think you've accepted I had changed. I'm still Draco Malfoy, all around git who rides the evil coattails of his father."
"I didn't say that," she said in a desperate tone. "Stop putting words in my mouth. You are not evil. You never were. Just misguided."
"Whatever. This was a mistake. This whole thing between us was a mistake. I think you should go now."
"I think I should too," Luna snapped. "You floo me when you're feeling more like the Draco I'm falling in love with."
"Don't hold your breath," he snapped back.
Luna gave a frustrated cry before tossing floo powder into the fire.
Draco threw himself into a chair dramatically. He was rewarded with a loudly cracking sound as the chair protested from his rough treatment. It broke apart and he was dumped rather ungracefully to the floor. Draco just laid there on his back on the remains of the chair and glared at the ceiling.
It was several minutes before Luna's parting words finally filtered through his angry haze.
He sat up so suddenly he got a tinge of a headache. The Draco she was falling in love with? No way. Not him. Who in their right mind would love him besides his own mother? Then again, she was a bit off.
And he'd just gone and buggered that all to hell.
Draco scrambled to his feet. He threw floo powder into the fire and tried to go to her cottage in Hogsmeade only to be bounced back to his own grate. He landed hard. She had locked him out. She must really be mad. Draco felt a burning need to fix this. He needed a plan. He'd probably have to apologize and win her back, but he did not think Slytherin-style wooing would do the trick. Most people did not respond well to being kidnapped. Also, he was terrible at apologizing. He always ended up sounding like he was mocking the people he was supposed to be saying he was sorry to.
Draco got to his feet again. He was a bit more clever than he looked. He could figure this out.
Draco supposed she was truly angry. She returned his flowers and candies. That did not surprise him. He did not go to the next step of sending jewelry. Those were typical responses. He needed something atypical to reach her. It had been weeks, and he was no closer to solving this than he had been the first night after her leaving.
The problem was he was so unhappy with himself that he could not think properly, and he was snapping at everyone. This was all his fault, and maybe he was not clever enough to fix it. He didn't know how regular people acted. His gut was telling him to kidnap her and hold her in his flat until she agreed to be with him again.
But that was a good way to have Auror Potter come crashing through his door. Provided the wanker could get through his wards, but Draco did not want to test it.
Daisy burst into his office.
"Um, you have a visitor," she replied, eyes wide. "It's Xenophilius Lovegood."
Draco swallowed nervously and nodded. He didn't speak because he was certain his voice would come out as inaudible squeaks just now. He rose to meet Luna's father.
"Mr. Lovegood, sir-"
"She's just angry and being prideful right now, my Luna is, but she's unhappy without you. It's her pride is making her return things. You need to do something that can't be returned, so I am here to help."
Draco blinked. Then he realized Mr. Lovegood was trying to hand him a parchment copy, so Draco took it. As he started reading, a smile bloomed on his face.
"Why would you help me? My father kidnapped your daughter to use her as leverage."
"And you are not your father, Draco Malfoy."
It was silent while Draco attempted to absorb that. Ironically, Mr. Lovegood was the first person to ever have said he was not like Lucius. Draco rather liked the idea of being judged on his own merits. Not that he had many merits.
"As to why I'd help you, well, this isn't for you. It's for Luna. Do I have your permission?"
"For her. Yes. Yes, you do."
"Would you care to comment, then, Mr. Malfoy?"
Astoria walked into his office at the Ministry. It was a Saturday, but ever since his fight with Luna, Draco had been back to working six or sometimes seven days a week. She dropped a copy of the Quibbler on his desk with a smug look on her face.
Astoria had always read the Quib. She liked it.
"It was not my idea," Draco replied as he looked up at her. "It was her father's."
Astoria sat in the chair opposite his desk. "If this doesn't work, I suggest you kidnap her. That worked wonders for Marcus and I."
"I really don't want to hear about the wonders of Marcus sodding Flint, Tori, thanks all the same."
Astoria snickered and picked up the Quibbler to read from it.
"Because a sane man would never give up the most wondrous thing that had ever happened to him." She gave him a look. "I think I'm offended, darling. I thought I was the most wondrous thing in your life."
Draco chuckled. The whole article was about how Eros had gone rogue and was making perfectly happy couples fall apart for no good reason.
"Your every move, every gesture, says you are falling in love with her."
"I know. It makes absolutely no sense. One little one-nighter, and I'm hooked."
Astoria made a face at him. "You didn't sleep with her on your birthday."
"What? How do you-"
"Hello, I'm friendly with Mac. Her aunt and grandmother are in the same coven I'm in. We talk occasionally. Plus, I put all that effort in getting to know her when she and Blaise had their thing. I'm not just going to not be friends with people because my friends can't be bothered to have real relationships."
"Get to the point," Draco snapped.
"Mac said her brother and some of her cousins put you and Luna in the bed together because they were full-up that night."
"How did we get naked?"
"I think her brother did it as a joke."
Draco sat there in shock for a whole minute before getting to his feet and grabbing his jacket.
"What are you doing," Astoria asked as Draco stalked past her.
"Going to hex Brody MacDougals' face off for putting his hands on her like that."
Astoria was left standing next to Daisy. Both women's mouths were hanging open in surprise.
Draco stalked into Three Broomsticks and right towards the bar. He sort of forgot for a moment that he was a wizard. For once he did not think hexing would be as satisfying as physical contact. MacDougal opened his mouth to say something right as Draco swung his fist in his general direction.
It hurt when it connected. He had not expected that, but he'd never laid hands on someone before, so it was a new experience for him.
"Son of a bitch!"
Draco grabbed for the man's shirt as he was hauled back by what he was assuming were more MacDougals. He didn't care. They could beat him to death. He was too irritated to be concerned.
"You took her clothes off and put her in that bed with me!"
"I dinna hear ya complain'!"
"You put your hands on her without her say! It's a violation of her privacy! And beyond that, she's sodding mine! No one touches what belongs to me!"
There was a tense silence.
"I belong to you?"
No one moved as Draco slowly turned to see Luna standing there.
"Um. yes?" he said. "Don't get offended. I belong to you as well."
She did not say anything, just stared at him with her owlish eyes that were the color of the sky on a cloudless day.
"Then," she began finally. "I think Cullen and Duff should get their hands off of what's mine."
Draco was released, and everyone sort of went back to their business, but they were looking at them still, watching to see how it all unfolded.
She was holding a copy of the Quibbler in her hand. Draco looked at it before looking at her.
"Are you more sane today?" she asked.
"With the punching like a Muggle? Not so certain. What was I thinking? He outweighs me by like five stones, yeah?"
"You were upset on my behalf."
"You thought you had removed my clothes and it was okay then, but another man touching me."
She reached up and smoothed some hair off of his forehead. "You are different than any other person I have ever met, Draco Malfoy."
"I can say the same of you."
"I don't mean to be," she said softly.
"Mean it. It's what draws me to you."
He meant that too. She was like nothing he'd ever known, and half his fascination was that he never knew what she would do next. The other half was that she did not care what he had been. She really did not.
"I'm sorry for what I said to you, Luna," he said, choking the words out.
He meant them, but damn, if they weren't difficult to get past his lips.
"Apology accepted, and I am sorry for what I said."
"Don't be. It was a very valid worry for you. Unnecessary, but understandable."
Draco looked around the pub. Everyone suddenly looked down into their glasses or to their plates.
"And Brody did not undress me. Mac did."
Draco frowned. Had Mac undressed him as well? "Did she."
"Yes, so should I go punch her now? Is that how this works?"
Draco snickered. Uncaring who was watching them, he pulled her into a hug. She was the one who had introduced him to the fact that not all embraces had to lead to sex or had a hidden agenda. Sometimes you just needed to hold a person.
"Are you out of your mind?"
Draco sat up in his bed to stare at Pansy.
"Oh, my goddess, can you two put clothes on?" she snapped.
"You busted into my flat, Viper. If you don't like the view, knock first."
Pansy shielded her eyes and Draco pulled on some pants and handed Luna his robe to put on since her dress was on the floor near one of Pansy's designer boots.
"What's wrong now?"
"Well, your mother's furious. And getting into pub brawls in Hogsmeade? On the first Hogsmeade weekend? You two are all the rage at Hogwarts right now, darlings. More star-crossed than Merlin and Nimue. I cannot believe you announced to a whole pub population that she was yours after punching Brody MacDougal like any Muggle off of the street. You ought to have just peed on her while you were at it, Draco. Really marked that territory."
"I'm really getting tired of being chastised."
"Then stop acting like you're still at Hogwarts. You're acting like Blaise did when he realized he. oh, fucking hell. Really? Are you certain?"
"I am," he said.
Pansy sighed loudly, waved a hand at them, and then left the room. Draco heard the door to the flat slam.
"Is she angry that you like me?"
Draco grinned at Luna. "She's angry she did not see it sooner."
Time again passed swiftly for Draco. Weeks turned into months. He was happy again, eerily so according to his friends, and when he was happy, time moved quickly. He might have known he'd bugger things up again when given the chance to overreact. It was a pattern with him. He was a nasty, possessive git. That was a difficult trait for him to alter.
He'd been walking through Hogsmeade on his way to her cottage to see her. He's stopped off in Honeyduke's to get her their white chocolate covered cherries she was so fond of when he spotted her coming out of the Post Office. He was about to call to her when he saw she was not alone.
Her arm was hooked through Longbottom's, and she was laughing and touching the git in a familiar manner. Draco's insides went cold. A deeper part of him knew he was jealous. He'd always leaned towards the emotion. He tried not to be because he knew she was friends with Longbottom, just friends, but Draco had a difficult time being rational when his loved ones were involved.
He sent the box of sweets whizzing towards Longbottom's head with his wand, but disapparated with a pop before he could see the aftermath.
He was sitting at the kitchen table reading a book when Luna shot out of the floo. He never understood why that was her preferred mode of travel, but it was.
"Did you magic a box of sweets at Neville's head today in Hogsmeade?"
"Because whoever did it looked a great deal like you. I find it very curious that he should be hit with my favorite sweet that you like to bring me from Honeyduke's, and that-"
"All right! I did it!"
"Are you seeing him behind my back?"
Draco regretted the words the instant they passed his lips. He'd never seen her angry before. He suspected until now that Luna did not even get angry, but her face mottled in anger, and he knew he was quite wrong.
"How. dare. I can't even."
Not even able to find words - a very bad sign.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean that."
"And see? I think you did," Luna snapped. "You have this issue with my liking you that I do not understand, Draco. Why do you see yourself as so worthless that I would cheat on you? I know Pansy did, and Astoria was meant for Marcus, but I am neither Pansy, nor am I Astoria, and if you can't trust me, trust us, then perhaps we should no longer see one another. If I wasn't sure they were extinct, I would say you are under the influence of merrygrub earwigs."
Before he could respond, she was back through the floo.
Draco groaned and banged his head on the table. He was not entirely certain how he could have managed to make it to thirty while being such a stupid git.
He didn't think a story in the Quib would help him this time.
He'd had to look up what a merrygrub earwig was too. Half the time she mentioned something, he had to go look it up. It was a bug that nested in your ear and whispered things about loved ones that made you jealous. Draco was sort of glad they were extinct. He had enough trouble being jealous all on his own without some mystical bug helping him out in that department.
Draco had just sat down for lunch in the Leaky. He couldn't bear to eat in the Ministry like usual. Today the walls were closing in on him.
Oh, bloody hell. He knew that voice. Draco sighed. He really was not in the mood for a round with Scarhead today. He turned to tell Potter to bugger off, only to get a fist to the face that toppled him from his chair.
Draco blinked, trying to figure out what had happened. His eyes landed on Potter standing over him with his fists raised like a Muggle. The pub had gone a bit quiet.
"What in the hell-"
"What did you do to her?"
Draco's brows knitted together.
"She used to be happy, but all you two do is fight, and you make her cry. Get up."
Draco blinked. Was he serious? Like he was really going to box him like a Muggle. They had wands for a reason. Draco reached for his, but Potter stepped on his arm. Draco shouted in pain. Potter removed his own wand and accio'd Draco's from his jacket. He stepped back and handed both his and Draco's to Tom.
He was bloody serious.
"No," Draco snapped. "You're out of your damned mind."
Draco was on his feet in an instant. He tackled Potter by the midsection, and the two of them crashed into a table that the patrons had thankfully vacated. Plates and mugs scattered everywhere, spilling and some breaking. They rolled across the floor, grappling and shouting. If he had been thinking about anything besides bruising Potter as much as possible, Draco would have thought this eerily reminded him of the summer before his second year when Mr. Weasley had thrown himself at his father in Flourish and Blott's.
Draco managed to get a fist out and land a solid punch to Potter's jaw. How did Muggles fight like that? It really stung and made his fingers go a bit numb.
Someone had called for aid because the next thing Draco knew he was being hauled back. In a last ditch effort, he threw a wild kick in Potter's direction. The other man was being held by the gorilla and George Weasley. Draco looked to see how had him and nearly groan aloud when he saw the dark look on Flint's face. He must have hauled arse from Knockturn.
"Who's to pay for this damage?" Tom snapped.
"I am," Potter and Draco said in unison.
They glared at one another again and lunged. They were held back by their respective groups. Everyone jumped when the door that led into Diagon was flung open. Astoria Greengrass was there looking out of breath, so the men relaxed.
"Oh, my stars," she whispered.
"What happened?" the gorilla Weasley asked.
"That ponce strolled in here and hit my face," Draco snapped.
"I wasn't speaking to you, Malfoy!"
"Tis true," Tom confirmed. "Potter threw the first punch."
"Harry," the gorilla admonished in shock.
Draco shook Marcus' hand off of his arm and reached into his jacket for a Gringotts bank note. "This should cover the damages, Tom."
Potter was suddenly there with a bag of coins. "I said I was paying."
Draco reached out and shoved Potter in the shoulder.
Almost instantly they were rolling on the floor again. It felt like an eternity, but it was likely only a few second before Marcus was hauling him up again. Potter shot off a wild fist before they could be completely separated. Unfortunately, he hit Astoria in the face, who'd been trying to help separate the men. She went down like a felled tree, and suddenly Draco was trying to hold Marcus back instead of the other way around.
Draco couldn't move. Well, except for his head. He craned his head around to see the curse had not been quick enough. Potter was frozen right as Flint's fist had connected with his face. The gorilla was also frozen mid-dive at Flint. George Wealsey had been stopped while trying to haul Potter back.
Granger was standing there with her wand drawn looking very pinched indeed, and next to her was the Weasley girl. and Luna.
"Oh, dear," Luna said rushed to where Astoria was on the floor. "Tori, are you all right?"
She helped Astoria sit up.
"I'm probably going to have a bruise," she snapped, slapping Potter in the leg. "Git."
"Like you mind a little bruising," Marcus muttered.
"If it's such a non-issue, why is your fist frozen to Potter's face like that?"
Marcus did not answer. Granger slowly unfroze everyone and got things to rights. The groups separated, and Draco was saddened to see that Luna went to Potter's side. He sighed and sat down heavily as Marcus took an extraordinary amount of time examining the reddening mark along Astoria's jaw.
Draco jumped when he felt a hand on his arm. It shocked him because it was right over where his Dark Mark was, but Luna was looking at his face.
"Your nose is bleeding. It doesn't look broken, though."
He had not noticed, but now that she pointed it out, he did feel an odd wetness on his upper lip. Luna tapped his nose with her wand and muttered something he did not quite hear.
"There. All cleaned up."
He was just staring at her.
"Dare I ask?"
"Have you been crying about me?"
She looked away, so Draco put his hand to her chin and gently made her look back at him.
"Have you?" he asked more firmly.
"I don't mean to hurt you. Perhaps that is all I am good for - hurting others."
"That's not true, but you have got to trust me, trust yourself, trust us, Draco. Have faith."
"Not my forte."
"I know, but will you try to work on that? Please? I miss your nakedness."
"Oh, vomit," Marcus said loudly.
Draco had forgotten that he and Tori were standing right there. Astoria shushed him. Draco was about to snap something that would likely get him punched him when Luna copied his move by taking his chin in her hand and turning him to face her before she placed a soft kiss on his lips.
Draco pulled her close and deepened the kiss, a hand taking a handful of her hair to hold her in place.
"Oi," the gorilla called. "Get a room."
Draco pulled back to see Luna blinking at him in her owlish manner that he had come to adore. She was breathing heavily.
"Tom, we'd like a room."
"Oh, good going, Harry," the gorilla said. "You just got them back together with your little stunt."
Both his sister and Granger slapped at him.
Draco felt he got better at being a real boyfriend. After their last tiff, he tried to talk things out instead of getting all defensive. It did not always work, but sometimes it did. Sure he and Luna had bumps and bruises, but he tried. She seemed pleased when he did try. She never asked him to be other than he was either. She made allowances - just as he made allowances for some of her kookiness. He adored her kookiness. Luna said at times she found his deplorable behavior endearing. It was nice, she said, because she knew how wicked he could be, but he chose not to. She said she liked that about him.
They divided their time between his friends, hers and the Three Broomsticks. The MacDougals all treated him with a certain amount of respect since punching Brody, which Draco found odd, but he was not about to complain about it.
He had only seen his mother a few times since the night he and Luna had found her in his flat. Luna was hopeful that he could mend things with his parents, and Draco had tried to explain his parents to her, but her family was so different. Her father actually liked him. Well, Draco won by default there because Luna liked him. Her father liked what she liked. So long as she was happy, Xeno liked Draco.
Time had started passing quickly again because he was vastly contented.
He was sitting at a big table in the back yard of the Burrow, letting his mind drift as it tended to do when he was at these big gatherings with Potter present.
"Ron and I have an announcement," Granger said, grinning wildly at her husband.
Draco frowned as he looked at the both of them. A thought suddenly occurred to him. "Oh, bloody hell. You're spawning."
Luna elbowed him.
"I mean pregnant."
"How did you."
She was drowned out with excited cries and words of congratulations. People were up and hugging and kissing cheeks. Draco just sat back and watched. He didn't do babies or hugs. In fact, he could not stand children. He had not even liked them when he was one.
"Oh, Draco, isn't this exciting," Luna said and she took her chair again. "A baby."
"Yes, a wailing at three AM poo producer," he said in a dry tone. "I'm terribly excited. Can barely contain myself I'm so excited."
Luna swatted his arm and gave him a playful scowl.
"I am happy it makes you happy," he conceded. "Just don't expect me to hold it when it comes. Babies are nasty."
Everyone else had a look of distaste or horror at his remarks, except Luna and Arthur Weasley. She was grinning at him, and Mr. Weasley was chuckling softly.
"Nothing," Luna said with one of her dreamy secret smiles he adored.
Draco gave an exasperated sigh. "Yes, Blaise."
Draco choked on his tea, spraying across his newspaper and the table in his kitchen's eating nook.
"What in the bloody hell makes you say that? Also, not possible. She's on the potion, and we use charms."
"You know the only true form of birth control is abstinence."
"Shut your piehole. Luna is not pregnant."
Draco had spent all night thinking about it.
It was not wholly impossible that Luna was pregnant, and the more he thought about it, the more he convinced himself it might be true.
He snapped at Daisy no less than five times before the morning was over. He was supposed to meet Luna for lunch, and he was terribly nervous about it. He did not know what he would say to her. What if she was pregnant? Obviously she would be afraid to tell him with the comments he made and just his general demeanor. He could not be someone's father. He could barely take care of himself, let alone another person.
But she had better not expect him not to be uninvolved. He would own up to his responsibilities. He'd take care of her and the baby. He'd make sure they never wanted for anything. He knew he was not the ideal choice, but he'd step up.
He hoped she didn't think to hide it from him and do this on her own. Maybe he should marry her to prove that he was serious.
By the time she finally joined him, he worked himself into a right state.
"Hello, Draco," Luna said as she finally joined him.
"Don't think that you're going to run off and have my baby by yourself. I'll take care of you and him or her, and we'll be a family. I know how I talk, but I'd marry you. I'd give the child a home."
Luna blinked at him.
"I mean it. You're not running off with my child. I know I'm not the ideal father, but I can learn. I want to learn. I can learn new stuff. Please don't run off with the baby."
The waiter had stopped at their table. He did an about-face and left.
"Draco, I'm not-"
"Running off with the baby? Oh, good."
"So it's going to be pretty impossible for me to run off with the baby."
"Right then. Sorry about that." he looked down, feeling his face flush.
Luna made a face at him. "Wherever did you get such an idea? We're very careful. You've said before you're not ready for that. Well, I'm certainly not. Leave you and take the baby, indeed. And they call me loony."
"Who called you a loony?"
"Don't change the subject. You're so funny, Draco."
"I'm very glad I can amuse you," he snapped.
"I didn't mean funny ha ha. I meant funny queer."
"I think all the time we spend in the bedroom should tell you that I am not a homosexual."
Luna made a face at him. "I meant queer as in odd, but I understand you. You get all ranty and irritated, but I am not bothered. And sometimes you jump to conclusions. Or you say mean things. Your words don't have the same meaning to me as they do to others, though. I hear the tone, see the way they are said. Each utterance has a story all its own that tells me everything I need to know about how you really feel about me, Draco."
He blinked. What did you say to that?
Luna just started laughing and put her hand over his.
Someone just entered Draco's apartment, and Draco assumed it was Blaise.
"Well, she's not pregnant, so thank you for putting that idea into my head, you git. I looked like an idiot because I got all worked up over it and then basically told her she was not running off with my child."
"There was the possibility of a child?"
Draco jumped and turned. "Mother."
"You would have married this girl because you got her pregnant."
"Actually, it would be that and because I happen to like her, and she thinks I speak a language only she understand, but yeah, I'd have taken responsibility."
"What can you possibly dislike? She comes from a pureblood family."
"Happens to like me despite everything."
"They aren't our kind, darling."
"Oh. Because she's poor. You know, holding out hope for myself and Astoria isn't a good thing. Flint would skin me. She is very much his, and Daphs? A little gay. I have one too many appendages for her. So who does that leave? Pans? Having too much fun being a singleton and going through men like tissues. Luna doesn't happen to care about money."
"They all care about money, darling."
"I think you've been in pureblood upper crust society too long. Some people don't care about money at all. I know this is a foreign concept to you."
"I like her. I wish you would try to. She makes me happy, and I've spent most of my life pretty unhappy. I'd like to try happy now."
His mother looked sad.
"Look, don't be upset."
"How can I not be upset, Draco? You've just told me I make you miserable."
What? How in the hell did she make that radical leap? Now he was beginning to understand where his ability to jump to conclusions, usually the wrong one, came from.
"Never once did I say you made me unhappy."
"You implied it."
Draco threw his hands up in surrender. "You don't make me unhappy, Mother. Bloody hell."
"Watch your mouth with me."
Draco sighed. Loudly.
"Well, since I am so very vexing, perhaps I should go."
She stormed out of his flat before he could say anything. Draco threw himself face-first onto his couch and screamed into the cushions.
Draco glared at Blaise's wife as she laughed wholeheartedly.
"You're about to be a widower, Blaise."
"Touch her and die, ferret."
Draco ground his teeth together.
"Oh, Draco, you're so amusing," Hannah said, chuckling. "You got yourself so worked up over one of Blaise's stupid ideas-"
"Hey!" Blaise said. "Sitting right here, you realize."
"That you," Hannah paused to laugh some more. "Were going to argue with Luna about her running off with your imaginary baby because in your mind she would do so because you think she thinks you'd make a bad father. Oh, it's too comical."
"Happy to amuse," Draco said dryly.
"Oh, don't be cross, Draco. I think it's very sweet that you did that, that you'd consider committing because it would be the proper thing to do."
"But that's not all," he said. "The idea of basically hanging about with her for the next hundred years doesn't bother me. I can't recall anyone I've been like that with. Sure we fight, mainly because I'm an idiot, but we also make up. We have fun. She doesn't treat me like I'm a plague because I was epically stupid when I was a teenager."
"So you want to marry her?" Blaise asked.
"Well, I don't actually want to marry anyone, but it wouldn't be the worst thing ever. You know? What am I saying? You guys know. You know firsthand."
Hannah gave Blaise a hooded look and started giggling. Yeah, they knew.
Draco was attempting to have lunch at the bar in the Leaky when someone sat down right next to him. He hated that. There were at least a dozen empty stools and this pillock had to sit in the one right next to him. Draco looked at the guy and groaned. Of course. Potter. Of course he had to be a pillock. The world wouldn't spin properly on its axis if Harry Potter wasn't acting like the giant wanking arsehat Draco knew him to be.
"You know, I overheard Luna telling Ginny how you thought she was pregnant and you were all set to marry her to keep her from running off with your baby."
Draco dropped his spoon into his almost empty bowl of stew.
"I am not having this conversation with you of all people, Potter."
Draco turned to face him. "I don't like you. You get on my sodding nerves. You don't like me either, so just go on. I am not discussing Luna with you. Not today, not ever. Yeah, real funny. Go on. Make fun of me for overreacting. Go on then."
"I was going to say that the fact that you were going to step up surprised me."
"Yes, well, I was mistaken about things." Draco picked up his spoon again.
"But you were really going to marry her?
The spoon clattered loudly in the bowl again. "Yes. Yes, I was going to marry her. Why is that so hard to believe? You don't think I know how special she is? How I've changed just for knowing her?"
Potter looked surprised.
Draco took the opportunity to throw some money on the bar for his lunch, grab his jacket and get out of the Leaky before the conversation started up again. He knew he'd messed up, but he was not soulless. He would not leave a child of his or the child's mother to fend for themselves. What a monster Luna's friends much think him to be. They probably thought it a pity she would not leave him.
Well, they could piss off. He was sticking around as long as she'd have him, and sod anyone who got in his way.
"Your mother spoke to mine."
"Hmm?" Draco replied, looking at Astoria.
His mind was utterly somewhere else.
"What on earth are you thinking about? Nevermind. I know. Lovegood. You have a disgustingly dreamy look on your face. It has to be about her."
"As I was saying," Astoria continued. "Narcissa spoke to Mother. They're very upset. They can't understand why you think Daphne is gay."
"I know. What my mother doesn't know is a lot. She lives in her own little world. She's still holding on to the fantasy that I'll marry you and Blaise will have Daphne. Nevermind that Blaise has been married for five years now."
Draco started laughing. "Nevermind the fact that Flint would rip off my arms and bludgeon me to death with them."
Now Astoria laughed. "Oh, he would not."
"What Marcus Flint are you seeing? He so would. And with great relish, I might add."
Astoria laughed again as if she knew something Draco did not. She probably did, but he didn't want to know. Not about Marcus Flint.
"I was thinking we should have a party for your birthday."
Draco choked on his bite of sandwich. He'd met Luna for lunch at this little café in Diagon that she liked. Things had been going smoothly for months. He might have known a disruption was on the horizon.
"What?" he rasped. "No. I don't need to. I never celebrate my birthday anymore. Not since I was sixteen."
"Then we should. We can invite all your friends. Have it at Three Broomsticks. You know, where the real Draco and the real Luna first met."
"Oooo, I know that face. This is the face of thinking about it. I like that. Keep making that face."
"You seem like you really want this," Draco said.
"I want it for you. I think it would be nice to celebrate your life for once. You do so little of that, and I think there are things within it worth celebrating."
"Well, you're worth celebrating."
She gave him a playful glare.
"Fine. If you like," he conceded. "You're certain Brody MacDougal will allow me in there again?"
"I'll tell him you promise to behave."
"You should make no such promises."
"Hannah told me that Ginny was going to make Potter come to your birthday, but then Luna told her not to because it might ruin the night for you."
Draco looked at Blaise. "Huh?"
"This big birthday party your girlfriend is throwing for you? She personally came by the manor and invited Hannah and myself."
"I know you no longer like to celebrate, but I think this might be all right. There will be plenty of firewhisky. That should help."
"Why do I get the feelings she has invited half the wizarding world?"
"I think it's nice that someone who is not your mother is doting on you, and in a healthy way. Narcissa always catered to your worst traits, you know."
"And your mother did not do the same?"
"We aren't talking about my mother," Blaise said, a wry smile on his face.
"No, that's a whole other conversation. Well, I don't want any presents."
"Too late. Already bought."
"Hannah's had your gift practically since the day after we got the invite, Princess. My wife wastes no time. She has never had the urge to experience the joys of procrastination."
"I still think it amazing that she puts up with you."
"So do I." Blaise made a face. "And with you always shouting at her and jumping to conclusions and generally acting like a maniac, I'm equally surprised Luna tolerates you."
"Well, I'm pretty."
Blaise snorted. "I'm prettier than you are, and something tells me Lovegood's beholder eye doesn't see like other people's do."
"Are you excited?"
Draco met Luna's eyes in the mirror. Tonight was his birthday. One year ago today, she had asked to sit at his table in the Three Broomsticks since everywhere else was full up. So much had happened since then, so much had changed. He was a little nervous about a party, but Luna had assured him it would be fine. The last party had been the summer before his sixth year. That was when everything had gone to crap in his life.
Maybe he had things to celebrate again.
"You aren't ready yet," Luna said. "I got ready more quickly than you, and I'm female."
"It's my birthday. Don't rush me, woman."
"Well, we have to go soon or we'll be late. I want to be on time for the girl that jumps out of the cake."
Draco blinked and turned to face her suddenly.
Luna started laughing. "Just kidding. About the girl, not the cake. There will be cake. Unless the Three Broomsticks happened to develop a nargles infestation and it's been stolen."
"Bloody nargles best not have stolen my cake, the bastards."
Draco did not believe in nargles, but she did. It was a quirk of hers he had first found annoying, but now played along with. The funny part of it was that he was fairly certain she knew he was only playing along with her. Draco got the feeling she appreciated that more than if he actually believed in nargles.
He'd at least gotten her to agree to apparate to Hogsmeade instead of flooing. Draco would never understand her fascination with that. He finished in the mirror and they exited the flat, immediately apparating once they walked to the secluded side street. Draco and Luna walked into the pub with her arm still linked through his. Draco smiled when he saw his friends there.
Hannah waved excitedly at him while Blaise just smirked and saluted Draco with the glass in his hand. Pans and Greg had showed as well as Tori, and someone must have blackmailed Marcus to be there. Flint didn't look especially thrilled either, but he could get over it. Tracey Davis was also looking especially pinched, but Pansy had probably threatened her if she did not come. Of course Daphne was already at the bar and drinking. He hoped she didn't get plastered and start hitting on Hannah like at the last gathering. Draco thought Blaise was going to hex her face off for that. He also hoped Greg didn't start a fight, and Pansy did not start hexing people.
Mainly because he noticed that some of Luna's friends were there. Scarhead and the Weasley gorilla were notably absent, but that was fine by Draco. He also spotted Daisy and a few other people he did not absolutely hate from his office. The only person he was unsure of was Longbottom, who was eyeing the Slytherins in the room with unease.
"Drinkin' and dancin' or cake first," Mac said as she leaned over to Luna.
"Oooo, I think dancing. Cake then robust dancing might equal vomit." She looked at Draco. "But it's your birthday."
"I think dancing first. Once everyone eats the cake, I'd really rather not see it again if it's all the same to you."
Mac started playing a lively tune on her violin. Several MacDougals started clapping and a few even join with instruments of their own. Mainly some sort of drum that resembled a bongo, but Draco did not think it a bongo, and some sort of wooden flute.
Draco immediately grabbing Luna and set a bracing pace for the area cleared for dancing.
He was limiting himself on firewhisky this time. He wanted to recall the ending of this birthday. The pub had not closed for the night, so a great many townspeople were in there. Some had joined the festivities. Draco did not think they realized it was for him. Either that or they were too drunk to care. His parents would definitely call this low class, but he was having fun.
Pansy had been wrinkling her nose in distaste until one of the MacDougals got her good and soused. Now she was laughing and dancing and about as free-spirited as Draco had ever seen her. Astoria had never left her feet once she started dancing. Draco had always joked with her that she was half Gypsy in the way she moved. Flint was not dancing, but he was very carefully observing every partner Astoria had, including Draco.
Currently Pansy was telling some story to Longbottom. She kept laughing and touching the man's chest. Longbottom looked like a bunny caught in a trap. Draco could tell he wanted to run, but he was too polite to insult Pansy in that way. It was a bit humorous.
Hannah had tried to match shots with Greg, and was now unable to exhibit proper motor function. Draco did not envy Blaise having to get her home tonight. This was only the second time Draco had seen her intoxicated.
It was when the cake was wheeled out that Draco adopted a pinched look.
It was custom made - in the shape of a giant white ferret.
Blaise laughed so hard he could no longer stand upright. Everyone was snickering. Draco glared at Luna. The Draco from a year ago would have started hexing people, but he knew she had not done it to be mean. Luna was not mean. She'd likely meant it to be fun and funny, so Draco felt it best he see the humor in it, and spare her feelings - and everyone else the hexing they so richly deserved for laughing at him.
"It gets better," Luna said excitedly as she handed him a knife.
Draco's brows furrowed. Dear gods, there was more. He took a deep breath and cut into the cake.
It was red velvet.
Draco grinned. It would look like they were slicing into an animal.
"I thought that would amuse you."
"You're terribly clever," Draco replied, leaning over to kiss her cheek. "I'm quite over being annoyed about all of this. Perhaps I can celebrate my birthday after all. Thank you, Luna."
"Did Draco just thank someone?" Pansy asked. "I think someone spiked my drink with a hallucinogenic potion because that can't be true."
"Oh, sod off, you lush."
"Don't make me hex you."
"Don't worry," Greg said in quiet tones. "I took her wand earlier when she started slurring her words. She did not even notice, so she won't be hexing anyone, or herself accidentally like last time, tonight."
"Not a problem."
The celebration carried on well into the night, well past when Three Broomsticks usually closed. Greg had taken Pansy home. Marcus got the unhappy task of helping Daphne. He had refused at first until Astoria had glared him into it. Blaise had taken Hannah home as well.
The end of the celebration was spent passing a bottle of Ogden's old around the table. Draco was honestly surprised Longbottom had stayed. He was also surprised by how much the Gryffindork could drink. Even all the MacDougals save Brody and Mac had retired for the night. Rounding out the table was Daisy, who was also shocking Draco. He was friendly with her, for him, but she was so much more interesting outside of the Ministry with a few drinks in her.
Brody had already insisted everyone still at the table take a room for the night instead of trying to apparated home. He didn't want any splinching.
When the bottle was empty, everyone retired for the night.
Draco groaned and sat up. It was like déjà vu. He was thinking they were even in the same room. He had a headache from the drinking and Luna was sprawled out next to him wearing only her hair and the bed sheet. She was on her stomach, so he had a nice view of the tattoo on her back. He propped himself on his side and started tracing the wings.
It occurred to him that he was a completely different person for this birthday than he had been last year.
Part of him worried that he had lost his edge, but another part suspected he had just finally grown up. It had only taken him thirty years and the right woman to do so. He'd always thought he'd hate feeling settled, but he didn't really feel settled. He felt understood. It was like she had said; he spoke a different language to her. She translated him differently than other people. She understood the varied meanings to his words and applied them in a way they were meant to be applied in his heart of hearts.
There was also the fact that she believed he had a heart.
"Mmm," she groaned. "What time is it?"
"Not really sure. Don't care."
He'd taken a personal day so that they could do as they had done last year - shop in Hogsmeade.
"Oh, balls. You know what I forgot last night?" she asked and she clutched the sheet to her chest and rolled to face him.
"Last night was near perfect. I don't think you forgot anything."
"I forgot the spankings," Luna said mischievously - right before she gave a very silly cry and attacked him.
Draco started laughing and shouting. She was not just trying to spank him. Luna was tickling as well. He was terribly ticklish. He grabbed a handful of her hair and jerk. She shouted loudly then started laughing. Draco rolled them and pinned her to the bed as best he could. Luna got one of her legs loose and started trying to tickle him with her toes. It was very silly, and he should be annoyed.
He stopped for a minute and took stock, though. He had a naked woman climbing all over him and trying to spank him while ticking his sides.
He'd had birthdays that were far worse.
Draco leaned down and started kissing her. She gave a little sigh into his mouth that told him she was far more interested in snogging than tickling or spanking now.
Someone banged on the door and Draco groaned. This had just been about to get good.
"What?" Draco snapped.
"Brekkie from the bakery in town downstairs 'less yer busy," Mac called through the door.
"Sounds fine," he said to Luna. "I forgot we weren't wholly alone earlier. Best we press on with our day, yeah?"
"We could stop at my cottage after brekkie for an hour or two and then press on with the day."
Draco smirked at her. "Have I mentioned that I do happen to like the way you think?"
"Did you know complimenting a Ravenclaw's thought process is a sure way to get a good reaction?"
"I'd heard such a thing, yes."
"Because Blaise dated Ravenclaws in school?"
"Lots of them," Draco replied.
"He dated lots of everyone."
Draco laughed loudly as he rolled off of her and out of the bed in one swift movement. He grabbed his trousers from the chair and grinned at how her clothes were strewn all over the room. They had been dropped where they were removed. She was very untidy about certain things, but she had her reasons. Other things she was very organized about. Her knickers could be hanging off the arm of a chair and that was fine, but Merlin help them if Newt Scamander was filed before Miranda Goshawk on her bookshelves.
"Did you have a good time last night?"
He looked at her, catching a glimpse of her backside right before the long sundress she slipped over her head covered it up.
"I did, actually. Thank you again."
"You better stop thanking me. People will suspect I've got you under the Imperius or a love potion or something."
"Oh, my gods," he said with faked dramatics. "I knew there was a reason I didn't hex everyone about the ferret cake."
"First off, I am resistant to the Imperius Curse. Second, you would never do that to anyone. Not in your nature. And C, I take a potion once a week that makes me resistant to all love potions."
Draco was glad Luna decided not to bring to his attention that his points had switched from numerical to alphabetical mid-speech. He was perfectly aware. Sure, not while he was saying it, but shortly after his words caught up with his brain. Draco did stuff like that when he was annoyed. He knew Luna found it amusing - which only annoyed him more.
"What is this?" she asked. "Two lies and one truth?"
"Which is the lie?"
"You taking the potion, of course," she replied with a grin. "There's no such thing."
"How do you know?"
Luna gave him a look of exasperation. He loved that he could do that to her when most other people only saw her dreamy doe-eyed look.
"Now I do suppose we should head down for brekkie before they think we're rattling the bureau drawers loose with our wild sexcapades."
Draco's brows shot into his hairline. Sometimes she said stuff, and he was just amazed. He would not have suspected she spoke that way, but upon knowing her better, he realized she did not say such things to be shocking like he did at times. She said the things she did because she was matter-of-fact. There was quite a refreshing bluntness to her.
"Why does the sex have to be wild?" Draco asked as he slipped his shoes on. "Maybe we have nice sex. They don't know. Unless you told them. You didn't tell them, did you?"
"First off," she began, mimicking him from earlier. "You could not have nice vanilla sex if you tried, Draco. It's not in you. And second, it's most certainly not within me either."
"Well, if we hurry and go eat, it can be in you."
He wiggled his eyebrows at her. He also dodged the pillow she tried to smack him with. Draco grabbed her around the waist and tackled her to the bed. They hit a bit hard, he supposed. So hard, if fact, that the frame cracked. Luna shouted when the bed bowed in the middle and hit the floor hard. They looked at one another in alarm before both busted into helpless laughter.
Everyone was staring when they finally came down the stairs. Longbottom and Daisy were sitting at a table with Mac having what looked like the full.
Draco set a bank note on the bar near Brody. "That's for the damages."
"The bed's a bit. broken."
"Ahhh," Longbottom said, covering his ears. "My brain needs a cleansing charm now."
"Your brain needs a great deal more than just a cleansing charm," Draco remarked.
Luna elbowed him.
"Right then," Draco said as he moved over and grabbed two strips of bacon and a piece of toast from Daisy's plate.
He had most of the bacon eaten before she could even get her "oi" out. Then he licked the toast before offering it back to her. She glared and shook her head 'no', so Draco started eating it happily.
"That was rude," Longbottom said.
"And?" Draco replied, glaring.
Just because he smiled more often did not mean he wasn't still Draco Malfoy. Rude just so happened to be one of his best qualities.
Luna giggled and stole some toast off of Longbottom's plate.
"And now you're a bad influence on sweet Luna."
"Luna's not as sweet as you think," Draco said seriously. "She likes to hit people. Oh, yeah, she tried to give me belated birthday spankings just this morning."
Longbottom shouted and covered his ears again. Draco shook his head. Like you could un-hear something. So ridiculous.
Luna pulled him out of the door before he could make any more remarks.
She was walking them down the street with their clasped hands swinging between them. If it had been anyone else, Draco would have vomited, but something about her made him tolerate and even like it.
"Where shall we go first?"
"Um, hello," Draco said, making a face. "To your cottage so that I might shag you properly in peace."
An elderly woman passing them gasped at Draco's loudly-given answer. She hurried past them and Luna giggled. She then started a leisurely pace through the town. Her cottage was on the far end, past the run off to go to Madam Puddifoot's. Draco did not mind the walking. He was sort of a fan of anticipation.
They even stopped and window shopped a little, discussing things and making little noises that only they understood. It was ironic to Draco that the woman who seemed to get him and his nature was one that everyone else had thought a little crazy. She was not crazy, though. He knew this now; he had discovered it by knowing her better. She saw the world through eyes that were wide because they took in as much as possible.
He'd been sitting alone a year ago, and she'd seen him when not even his friends and family could find him hidden in the shell he had been starting to become. The bitterness was like a slow poison working through him over the years. In the back of his mind, Draco had felt like he'd had few choices that were his own, and it had made his life become a waste.
He now saw that it was not. It was just not exactly normal, and that was okay. He was just as odd, just as loony as she was, but in different ways. It made them work. They complimented one another. She made him better, and he made her more able to be free. He was not good. He'd never be good, but that was not so tragic.
Now he could deal because hope had landed on him rather unexpectedly.