April 21, 2005 11:32 AM
His favorite thing to do lately when he had spare time was sneak into the library and watch Lovegood without her knowledge. Sometimes she caught him, sometimes not. He also liked to see how close he could get without her freaking out. He tested touching. He often had to open a window so she did not feel closed in.
Draco had been coming in more since the incident with Blaise being here. He had not noticed his best mate around. For some reason that pleased him. Currently Draco was hiding under a table and walking her legs walk back and forth as she organized. She was remarkably relaxed without him there.
Luna stuck the pen in her mouth to hold it. Wonderful invention, the pen. She was surprised that the muggles had come up with it. More compact than a quill, and self-inking without being free flowing. Oz had been amused when he introduced the little cylinder to her. Willow, on the other hand, kept telling her about something called a "come-pewter" that would completely revolutionize her life.
Luna didn't believe that one for a minute. The "come-pewter" couldn't possibly do everything Willow insisted that it did.
She carefully marked the title, author, and Council Library Code on her parchment and used her wand to engrave the CLC on the spine of the book before placing it on the proper shelf. She was making good progress on the organization, though she was now only around a quarter of the way through the library.
Draco watched as she marked the books. She was very meticulous. He appreciated that. He loved the library. Of course a Ravenclaw would be careful of the books. Draco shifted and went back to reading the text he'd brought under the table with him. It was proving less than helpful in his research. He'd sighed loudly, then stilled. He'd forgotten where he was for a moment. He wondered if she had heard.
Luna stiffened when she heard the sigh. Just for a moment. She'd seen Malfoy over an hour before, hiding under the table for some reason. But he'd been so quiet that she had forgotten that he was there.
She ducked down enough to see that he had went back to reading. That's what he did most often when she found him quietly sitting in the library while she worked. She didn't know why he did it. Maybe he just liked the library?
"A chair would be more comfortable, I would think," she said as she straightened again.
"You forget I'm here and act normal when I hide," Draco replied as he crawled out from under the table.
He set his text on the table and pulled up a chair at the table he usually sat at - because he could see all the exits from it. Draco waited until she went back to work before looking up from his book. He did not move his body, but his eyes followed her. It was a talent that only Astoria exceeded him in - stalking. He'd never met anyone who could stalk like she could. Though he did think himself a close second.
Luna shook her head in confusion and went back to work. The next book she picked up had no label on the cover or spine, and the title page was missing. She should have set it in the small pile of books to be identified, but started skimming it for clues instead. Soon she was lost in a treatise about the mating rituals of different demons species. It was fascinating, and at times uncomfortably specific about what they did. How had the Council gotten that close to Chaos demons in rut anyhow?
Though, how the Bracken dealt with their spikes was very interesting.
In no time at all, she had forgotten that Malfoy was there again, despite the fact that he was not hiding under the table.
"What book are you reading?" Draco asked.
She'd been flipping through the pages for a while. He was curious as to what sort of text would hold that much of her attention.
She jumped a bit and snapped the book closed with a blush. "I can't find a name for it," she said, stacking it with the other unidentified books.
"I sometimes forget not to read the whole book when I'm trying to figure out the title or subject. What about you? What are you reading?"
Draco sighed. "Demons strong enough to override magical signatures made by humans. Not exceedingly helpful, though. What was yours about?"
"Mating rituals," Luna answered. The next book she pulled was in pathetic shape, the spine falling apart and missing half of the back cover. She carefully carried it over to the table that held books that needed serious repairs before moving to the next in the stack.
"Are there demons that strong? I wonder what it would be about them that would drown out humans. Does the book have any theories?"
Draco's eye brow was still quirked about her reading a book of demon mating rituals for that long.
"Not any that can survive on this plane of existence. Most of the ones who carry that sort of power are trapped, thankfully, in demon dimensions. Willow is working on the theory that what is making the marks burn is demon related, but not one demon. A few of them. She says the energy is disjointed. I agree that the magic behind the burning is not the same as when Voldemort summoned people. There's no pulling, but more of an 'I am here' to it, but not him, not a 'get your arse here now and do my evil bidding'.."
She shuddered at the name, but pushed aside the memory of the hissing voice she had heard so often. She didn't smell dank wetness. Or mold.
"So, several mid-strength demons instead of one big one? I'm not sure that would be any better."
She didn't ask why he was doing the research. If she'd been magically linked to someone, she'd want to know as much about the link, and who could use it, as possible as well.
"It's not. It hurt like a son of a bitch. It isn't pulling us anywhere, so why bother? It makes no sense. Voldemort had the marks on what he considered his to rally his soldiers. I can't figure out any good reason to flare the marks like that. It's very frustrating."
Luna sat down in the chair across from him and considered the question, her fingers absently playing with the spine of a book. Thoughts and questions flowed through her head, sometimes in no order that she could understand.
"How many witches and wizards out there have the Mark? Outside of Azkaban, I mean. I know some of them had been imperioused. And others managed to talk their way out of prison. But how many are actually out there?"
Draco shook his head. "Maybe a couple of dozen. Maybe more. Most of the Death Eaters are in Azkaban. The worst are in Azkaban. The ones with marks that I know for certain that are still out and about are my father, Marcus Flint, Daphne Greengrass, Seh, um Selwynn. Just about all of the Averys that took the mark managed to escape Azkaban." Draco considered. "I know there are more. Voldemort had a lot of followers that attended Durmstrang. I'm sure the Ministry has a detailed list, not that they'll cooperate with us, the bastards. Willow has spoken to a few of them already."
"A couple of dozen people, spread over the continent, probably under heavy watch by the various ministries. And the Marks just hurt, they didn't summon. I don't know how the other ministries have been reacting to it, but I know ours has been jumping out of their skin, even if the official word is that it was nothing." Not that she believed the Prophet
article that covered the events.
"The Aurors have been running around like nikabriks with their tails cut off." She hesitated and considered what she was about to say. She wasn't one of those people who understood games like chess. But sometimes she saw things that others did not. Because she thought outside that mythical box that everyone talked about.
"Is it possible that that's the whole point?"
Draco looked at her sharply. Gods, that would be brilliant, wouldn't it? The wizarding world was still far from healed in regards to Voldemort. Any suggestion of him returning yet again, and there would be panic. In fact, it would be, and already was causing, a bit of chaos.
He put an arm on the table and leaned towards her, involved in the theory of the situation. "Why do that, though? What would the goal be?"
Luna shrugged. "Well... A distraction makes people look in one direction. And if everyone's looking at the birds, they don't notice the snake that's wrapping around their ankles."
"So we know who the birds are. The question now is who's the snake and what are the ankles."
Draco's brow crinkled in concentration.
"That's actually brilliant. A distractionary technique, and yes, I just made up a word. So this is what all this is? A distraction? It's working. Rather well too. In fact, the only suspect the Ministry wankers seem to have is Willow."
"I still don't get that," Luna told him. "I get that Willow is powerful, but she doesn't seem the type to try to take over the wizarding world. She's much too sweet for that."
She stood and walked back over to her work table to ring the little bell that Zyngi had given her for summoning the house elves. She wasn't exactly comfortable using it, but was feeling the desire for some tea. And maybe biscuits.
A few minutes later she sat at Draco's table again, tea tray loaded with two cups, tea pot, and a lovely selection of sweets.
"What do you know about Willow's life before coming here?"
At her look, Draco had his answer. She did not know much of anything.
"When I first met Willow, she was broken," Draco said. "She's a very powerful untrained witch. She doesn't use a wand to focus her magic. She'd gone mad in grief for the loss of a loved one, and she did a lot of things I will let her choose to share with you when she's ready, but among them is her trying to end the world. She's the witch from California in the United States. The Dark One."
Draco sighed. He did not feel comfortable explaining that, and he had left a great deal out, but it was not his story to tell. If she wanted to hear about being tortured with the Cruciatus and being threatened with having his best mate or his mother killed, then he was her storyteller.
"Oh," Luna whispered. She never would have connected Willow to the Dark One. Willow was always so bright and happy. And powerful, yes, but she still couldn't imagine the redhead doing the things they had whispered about the Dark One.
But it made sense that the Aurors were looking at her now, she supposed.
"So, the Ministry is focused on Willow and Voldemort. And you and Willow are focused on demons. Is there anyone else that's being overlooked? Someone that can make use of the distraction?"
"Not that I am aware of, but you have given me something new to discuss with Willow and Giles. Good on you. Way to still be a Ravenclaw. The question still remains, why the distraction?"
Draco grabbed a cup of tea and started sipping. Tea always helped him to think.
"Please don't treat Willow differently because of what you know. She's sensitive. She's a very good person who believes in second chances and redemption. Hell, she took a chance on me."
"I will try not to," she told him. She had practice at not treating people special. Harry Potter, for all his fame, was still just a man, and had once been a scared boy who knew nothing about thestrals or snorkacks.
"Good. Because I actually like her, and you know I don't like many people."
Draco grinned. He was joking with her. He hoped she got that.
She smiled in return, an instinctive reaction to his own expression. She could tell that he was joking, or at least thought he was. But she thought there was some truth in it as well. In the statement that he didn't like many people, at least.
"I should get back to work," Luna said after a few minutes. "Are you going to stay or wander off?"
"Both," he answered honestly. "I'll do a bit more research then I have to wander off and meet Pevensie for some training. Just pretend I am not here."
"Alright, then," Luna said, knowing that soon enough she'd forget about him being there as she got lost in the books again. And even if she did remember him, it would be all right. He didn't take up much space and didn't cause a distraction.