Prompt: Prompt: "She's like the angel he doesn't think he deserves." // Pairing: Luna/Draco // Additional notes/ideas: post-DH
Word Count: 1 288
Summary: A chance encounter gives Luna the opportunity to explain something important to Draco.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related characters and situations are the property of JK Rowling.
Draco sees Luna through the crowd and his heart stops. She looks happy, which shouldn't be strange to him, but it is. Not that she shouldn't be happy, he knows that. He wants her to be happy. Just, to see it-
She turns and sees him and instead of the smile dimming, like he thought it would, it only seems to brighten. Heat rises to his cheeks and he turns away, ducking into the crowd before Ginny, standing on Luna's left side, can see him too. He's seen the Weasleys once since that final battle and that… that was enough. He doesn't need to see any of them again.
He spends the next week trying not to think of Luna, of her smile, and fails utterly. He remembers the sunlight in her hair, the wonder in her eyes as she reached for something; he remembers her in the dungeon, covered in dirt and still shining so brightly-
Draco hears mother and father screaming at each other again and pulls the Floo powder out from under his bed. They don't know he filched it, or that he keeps topping it up at night. Then again, they don't notice when he's gone; he doubts they notice that he's there, most of the time. They're too wrapped up in the new dimensions of their marriage, the ugly sides that revealed themselves so recently.
He crosses to the fireplace and steps in, pulling the hood of his cloak up before he tosses the powder at his feet.
Diagon Alley appears in a swirl of colour and noise.
He has to keep his head down here now; he's learned that. He keeps his hood up, even in summer, and his eyes down. He remembers his proud younger self sometimes and thinks that this should be harder, but it's not. His wand is always in his right hand. Just in case.
Draco wanders the streets for a while, stopping whenever something catches his eye. No one really pays him any attention and he doesn't mind. There's too much going on for him to think too hard, but at the same time he can relax and doesn't have to worry about the future.
He steps around a display of books and starts at the warm impact of someone in his side.
He looks straight into Luna's face.
"Terribly sorry," she says, a smile playing around her lips. He sees the moment when she recognises him; her eyes widen but like before, the smile doesn't fade.
"It's you," she says instead. Draco is gripped with the terrible urge to turn and run, but that will only garner more attention.
"It's me," he replies. His voice is rough from disuse; he's been walking the alley for hours.
Luna smiles and tilts her head. "Do you want to get a drink?" she asks.
He ends up following her, even though every fibre of him is screaming that this is not a good idea. What if someone sees him? What if someone sees them?
He saw Dean Thomas, once, in Diagon Alley. He'd hidden in his room for days because he didn't know how to hide the bruises from his mother and couldn't bear to see his shame reflected on his father's face. It hurt that no one had helped him, even if he understood why.
Luna keeps glancing over her shoulder to check that he's following, so he keeps an even pace. She leads him down another little alley and to a pub he's never seen before. It's dim inside; dim enough that when they sit, he lowers his hood. He does cast a furtive glance around, but no one is looking in their direction.
"What do you want?" Luna asks. When Draco doesn't say anything, she stands. "I'll bring you a butterbeer."
Draco taps his fingers on the table. He fidgets in the chair. Luna puts the bottle in front of him and he looks up, startled. She narrows her eyes a little. She looks… together, now, Draco thinks. Like she won't float away on a light breeze.
They drink in silence. Draco's halfway down his bottle when Luna speaks.
"Are you okay?" she asks.
Draco nods. Luna reaches across and grabs his hand. It seems so impulsive, so terribly her, that he looks up in surprise.
"Why are you here?" he asks.
She frowns. "What?"
"Why are you here? Why are you sitting with me? Why are you – why are you speaking to me at all?"
She doesn't drop his hand. "Draco, why didn't you come back with us? To Hogwarts?"
He'd had the letter regarding another year at school. He'd burned it before his mother could see it. She would have sent him back.
"I couldn't go back."
He looks up, his gaze sharp, but her eyes are steel. She wants to know, he realises. She's studying him like she used to study the air, like he's one of her imaginary creatures. It's fierce and all-consuming and Draco can't look away.
"Everyone hates me." He swallows harshly. "And I can't blame them for it."
Luna sighs and stares at the table top. She hasn't let go of Draco's hand; she's clinging to it, now.
"I don't," she says. She's not looking at him.
He frowns. "I'm sorry?"
"I don't… hate you."
She looks up again and the fierceness is back. That look reminds him of Ginny Weasley and he has a feeling that's where she learned it. If she's said this to any of them, then she's used it before, too. He knows Potter still hates his guts.
"But you should-"
"Why? Why should I? You didn't lock me up, you didn't torture me. You protected me, and you protected Harry too. He's not forgotten that, you know."
Draco takes another drink, because that's easier than thinking or speaking right now. The general background chatter washes over him and he looks down to avoid Luna's stare.
He's surprised when she doesn't let out an exasperated sigh and leave, like his mother would. He's surprised when she doesn't yell, like his father, doesn't hit, like everyone else.
She strokes a thumb over the back of his hand instead and he looks up.
"Draco, I don't know if you'll understand it now or not, but your family doesn't define you." Her fingers tighten when she says, "You're not Bellatrix and you're not your father."
She finishes her drink and Draco looks at her, sees the woman she's becoming. She's going to be strong, like his mother and unlike her, because she'll always know who she is. She's always known.
"I'm still sorry," he says stubbornly.
Luna giggles. "Well then I forgive you," she replies. "For everything. Will you at least remember that?"
He nods. He feels a little more balanced, even though he shouldn't. Dean Thomas will never forgive him. Ollivander will forever shrink back when he glimpses Draco's face. Luna will hold his hand and absolve him of all his sins.
She lets go, though the touch lingers, and stands, hooking her bag over her shoulder. "I was supposed to meet Ginny half an hour ago," she says. "Will you meet me here again tomorrow?" Her smiles is hopeful and, for the first time, a little unsure.
Draco doesn't know how to reply, so he says nothing. No one will notice if he's gone, but, he realises, Luna will notice his absence.
"Well, I hope I'll see you," she says and he's not sure how she's interpreted his silence. He hears the door close behind her and he pulls the hood of his cloak back up.
The next day he's waiting, two butterbeers at the ready. Luna's grin nearly splits her face in two.