Luna and her Stalker
Draco was doing a bit of stalking in his downtime. It was what he usually did when he wasn’t trying to get Pevensie to talk to him or worrying about Blaise and Hannah. If Luna knew how many times he’d been standing outside her flat, she’d probably file a restraining decree. Draco peered at her through a gap in the bookshelves in Flourish and Blotts. The crups were at home today. Mr. Pokeby didn’t like them in the shop.
Luna hummed to herself as she straightened the books. Customers really had no care for how disruptive they really were. Was it so hard to put books back in their proper place? The slayers were better about it.
Anna Caroff went to the right of Petre Carlif. And that book about fungi belonged in a different section all together, not with the fiction novels.
She was sorting. She was so meticulous about the alphabet and everything being in its place. He liked that sense of order about her. Draco felt it complimented his sense of chaos. She was humming to herself. She did that. It should have bothered him, but it did not. There were a great many things to her that should have bothered him, but they simply didn’t.
Mr. Pokeby came down the aisle, carrying more books to be shelved. Another man was manning the register while she organized and Mr. Pokeby dealt with customers. She’d met the man before, Mr. Damuel. He seemed nice enough, but Luna was not quite comfortable with him yet.
“Miss Lovegood,” Mr. Pokeby said as he set the books on the cart they used for stocking. “Would you please have your gentleman caller sit in the tea area instead of lurking in the stacks? I’m afraid that he’s startled a few of the customers and I’ve had complaints.”
“Gentleman caller,” she asked, confused.
“Mr. Malfoy,” a thump and curse came from the next aisle over when Mr. Pokeby announced the name. Luna pushed a few books aside to see into that aisle and found Draco clutching his elbow.
“Draco, how nice of you to visit.”
He had absolutely no idea what to say to her. Had he always been this awkward? No. It was her. She did something to him that sucked the suavity right from him.
“You look, um, nice today.”
Luna glanced down at her grey wool skirt and bright yellow blouse. Her hair was pulled back into a bun, held up with her wand. She looked pretty much like she always did, except for the fact that she was wearing shoes. Mr. Pokeby insisted on it when she was at work.
“Thank you. Did you hurt your elbow?” When she saw his confused look, she silently reminded herself that not everyone followed her conversational segues. “You were holding it just now. Did you bang it against a shelf?”
“Um, yes, but it’s fine. It’s fine. I’ll just go sit. Over there. I don’t want Mr. Pokeby to be upset with you. I was just... checking on you. You know, how I do sometimes. Have to make certain everyone is where they should be. You understand that.”
Had he just... babbled? What in the hell was wrong with him?
“OK,” Luna said, drawing the word out the same way that she had heard Pevensie do. Draco was acting a little off. She wondered if he had a wrackspurt bothering him. She didn’t have a pair of Spectrespecs handy, so she couldn’t tell for sure. Hopefully it would get bored with him soon and let his brain work normally again.
“Would you like some tea,” she asked as she led the way to the small sitting area. “Or coffee? Mr. Pokeby read in ‘The Prophet’ that flavored coffees were very popular and has started integrating them as well. I’m sure that it’s just as good as that star money coffee Willow and Buffy talk about.”
“I’ll stick with tea, thanks, but you don’t have to wait upon me. I can get it myself. I’m not too good to fetch my own tea.”
He sat down and stared up at her. There was an older lady sitting nearby reading a book. She was paying neither of them any attention.
“But I’m getting some for myself anyway,” Luna told him as she poured two cups. Hers she fixed with honey and lemon and his with two sugars and a splash of lemon. That was how he had taken it the last time they had tea together.
“How are you, Draco,” she asked as she handed him his cup.
“I’m...” She knew how he took his tea. Draco was completely distracted by that fact for a moment. “I’m fine. How are you faring with... everything?”
“I’m fine as well. The crups have settled in nicely. There’s a boy in the neighborhood who pops by the flat and takes them for a walk while I’m here. It’s very helpful. And I found the animal healer Mrs. Wintourfall used. She’s a pleasant witch who seems to really enjoy creatures. She gave them all a good look over when we visited and then spent an hour answering my questions. So I now know that Vasel and Duchess have been ‘fixed’. Not that they were broken,” she assured him. “It’s a term the healer used to indicate that neither could produce pups. Why do you think it’s called ‘fixing’?”
“I... um... I’m not entirely certain. I’m not an animal person. They don’t like me.”
The little old lady sitting near them chuckled, but never looked up from her book.
“I’m glad things are settling for you,” Draco said. “And thank you for speaking to Pevensie. I know this is long overdue, but she told me about your talk and how you said she could come to the library whenever she wanted. It made a difference.”
She had not realized that Draco knew that the two of them had talked. Not that it was a secret. But she had assumed that Pevensie would keep that information to herself. She did tend to play her cards close to her chest.
“You’re welcome. I set up a little reading nook for her in the back corner. It’s not much. A comfortable chair I found in a thrift store a few years ago and some throw pillows. I’ve found her there a few times, reading with one of the crups curled up in her lap. They seem to like her.”
“I know,” Draco said. “She wants a pet. I just... I’m not an animal person, but she seems so set on it, and it isn’t as if she isn’t responsible. She’s the most serious fifteen year old I’ve ever met. She could probably do with a bit of fun.”
“You keep claiming that animals don’t like you, but my crups do. And you had an owl in school, didn’t you? Maybe you could get her a low maintenance pet. Like a cat or kneazle. Or something that stays in a cage, though those tend to be less cuddly than leash pets. Some of the rodents are very intelligent and social, like rats and ferre-” She cut herself off, remembering the story from Hogwarts. She supposed that a ferret would be the last thing that he would get his slayer.
Draco had known what she was about to say.
“There is absolutely no way I am getting that girl a sodding ferret. I refuse. Do you think she’d be all right with a fish?”
Luna’s look said what she thought about that.
“Anything but a sodding ferret. Anything.”
“My animal healer runs an animal rescue. She adopts out animals who have been abandoned by their previous owners. Maybe you could take Pevensie there and let her decide what type of pet she wants. There’s both muggle and magical animals there and Healer Surim said that she is constantly finding more animals to take in.”
Draco smiled. “She would like that, taking in an animal someone else didn’t want. She would really like that.”
Draco knew that’s how she felt about herself - an animal no one wanted. Until him. He had to work really hard to make her feel wanted. Not that he minded in the least. He liked having someone look to him.
“I’ll speak to her get the name of the healer from you if she agrees.”
“That sounds like a plan,” she said with a smile. Luna was happy that her suggestion was met with approval and oddly proud that he was overcoming his dislike of animals in order to make his slayer happy.
“You two should come to dinner soon,” she said, once again changing the subject on a whim.
The little old woman near them chuckled again.
“I mean, all right. yes. That would be nice. Lovely even.”
Draco smiled. He was oddly very happy right now. Ecstatic even.
“Well, if that’s all...” Luna paused for a moment, to give him a chance to say something else. “I should get back to work.” She could see Mr. Damuel looking between her and the stocking cart, which had grown new piles of books while she and Draco talked.
Draco gulped down the rest of his tea and went to set the cup and saucer down. “I’ll help you.”
This way he had an excuse to follow her about and speak to her. Mr. Pokeby was glaring, so Draco glared back.
After a brief moment of arguing, Luna agreed to let him push the cart down the aisles as she shelved books.
“How is everything else,” she asked, assuming that he was hovering because something was on his mind. She was a good listener, always had been, and did not mind listening as Draco worked through whatever it was that was bothering him.
“Better,” he replied. “Aside from the trolls, things are good. Everyone seems better, and Pevensie is finally speaking to me, so perhaps not such a bad guardian after all. I’m just glad you seem all right. I don’t like to see you upset.”
“I’m not sorry that I missed the troll,” she confessed. “I saw one or two during the war. Unpleasant creatures, to say the least.” She pulled a book about potions from the shelf and placed it on the cart, absently wondering how it had gotten in the herbology section.
She thought back over what they had already discussed. The had touched on Pevensie and “everything else”, but Draco had not mentioned anything bothering him. Maybe she needed to hit upon the the subject before he would open up.
“How are Blaise and Hannah doing now? I heard about her getting her memory erased.” And thought that it had been a very stupid risk.
“Fine. Finally, thank Merlin. I was going to hex the both of them. And Willow. I was going to hex Willow for doing it. Sure, things aren’t exactly easy since Blaise took that job in Italy, but they’re working on it. Things mean more when they have to be worked for, I’ve found. And please don’t laugh because I’m the one that just said that. I know how I sound sometimes. I get odd looks from my mother and father for being so different now.”
She was reaching for a book on a higher shelf, so Draco grabbed it for her. This sort of thing was always his main issue. He did things like this without realizing them then got stuck dealing with it. Presently he was stuck dealing with the fact that he’d moved into her personal space to grab the book and was now standing painfully close as he handed it to her.
If she were anyone else, the way he was peering down at her would give him away utterly, but this was Luna. Draco was fairly certain he could be so bold as to tell her he fancied her and she’d never notice. She did not notice him that way. It was so frustrating it was beginning to border on comical.
“And the professor?” She accepted the book and side stepped to continue down the aisle. She did not think a thing of him standing too close. She had a rather fluid sense of personal space and had made several people uncomfortable with her closeness before figuring out that not everyone responded the same way.
Draco actually shook his fists at the ceiling when she sidestepped him like that.
“You mean Snape? He’s... Snape,” Draco said, unable to think of how to explain it further. “He’s better than he was, I suppose. Still not at full Snape strength, though. Bit anti-social. Not that he was ever the life of the party before, but... well... you know what I mean. He’s a bit less reserved in certain areas, and less angry unless someone’s done something really foolish. He’s getting ready to head into the ministry and have a chat. Very upset that he’s been branded as a hero by certain people.”
Luna hummed. She’d taken classes with the professor for years but did not know him well enough to say anything about his apparent change. Draco knew the man much better, knew him from something other than Potions. She’d have to trust his opinion on the matter.
“How is he adjusting to people knowing about him?”
“Better than I suspected he would,” Draco replied. “He’s helping Willow, and he’s been rather lively since then. I think he just needed something to do, focus on, you know? I think he mostly wants to be left alone, but I know that’s not going to happen once the world finds out he’s not dead and everything.”
“No, I suppose not. I imagine there will be plenty of people demanding to ask questions of him. And wanting to do tests.” She had no idea what tests the healers might want to perform, but she was sure that they would need to make sure that he wasn’t a polyjuiced imposter. Though, why someone would want to polyjuice into Snape, she didn’t know.
And if it was polyjuice, not that she thought that it was, how had they come across bits of the professor to use in the potion? That was a disturbing thought.
“Does polyjuice need bits of live people to work?”
“I... what?” Draco considered. “Oh. No, it’s him. No one could fool me there. He’s my godfather. It’s him.”
“I trust you.” They shelved in companionable silence for several minutes before Luna came out and asked what was wrong.
“What’s on your mind, Draco?”
You. “Um... just... stuff. You know, stuff. I think about stuff.”
Draco had heard of people wishing the ground would swallow them before. He’d never actually wanted it until now. Could he be more of an idiot?
“What kind of stuff? I personally think of all sorts of interesting things. Like how Mr. Pokeby should attract mobreys to the store. And about where Minister Fudge’s heliopaths are now. Do you think that they died, or maybe made their way back to the desert?”
He was looking at her oddly, but Luna was used to that.
“Well, you would think that if they were loose in England, we would have noticed the large swatches of burned ground, at the very least. But no one at The Quibbler
has found any reports of them.”
He was going to have to start reading the sodding Quibbler because Draco had no clue what she was talking about.
“You know the large swatches of burned ground might be me. Let’s not go giving the heliopaths all the credit. There’s a cemetery in WIltshire that can testify to that.”
“But you can control it,” Luna pointed out. “Heliopaths can’t. Everything they touch burns. A bit like Midas, only more obviously destructive. You just like burning things. Don’t the muggles have a word for that? Byromanic or something like that?”
“Pyromaniac, but they like to set fires or do it to have some sense of control, various mental reasons. It’s just my preferred method of destruction.”
She reached for the book in his hands that he’d just taken off of the cart, but Draco held it away, forcing her to step close to him.
“Is there any creature you don’t know about? I know you’re a Ravenclaw and all, but the random facts just waiting to tumble from your mind to your mouth never cease to amaze me.”
“I’ve always loved creatures,” she said as she stretched to get the book. Her chest ended up bumping into his side. Draco must have been hiding his ticklishness, because he hissed and his arm dropped, allowing her to snag the book.
“Before, my plan had been to join The Quibbler
staff and travel the world, looking for those creatures that the Ministry does not acknowledge. I was going to get proof of crumple-horned snorkacks and nargles and all sorts of things.” She forced back the musty smell that invaded her nose as she shelved the book.
He had barely heard a word she had just said because she had just touched him with her boobs. Sure, she had not meant to at all, because Luna wasn’t like that, but that didn’t matter to the side they had bumped - the rest of him for that matter. If she were anyone else, he’d think she was torturing him on purpose. Draco leaned in behind her and smelled her hair. He loved her hair. He loved the shampoo she used.
“Do you smell it too?” Luna had heard him sniff behind her. “I thought it was just me. It’s a musty smell, right? Like something is on the verge of molding.” She started pushing books aside, trying to find the source of the smell. “Someone may have spilled their tea or something.”
“Your hair does not smell moldy,” he said in an affronted tone then realized she was not talking about her hair. “Oh. Right. The books. I hadn’t noticed. I think that might just be old books. They have that odor. I like it though. It smells like history.”
“Of course my hair doesn’t smell moldy.” She pulled a lock forward and held it to her nose, just to be sure. No, it smelled faintly of lavender, just as it always did. She found the smell very soothing. She turned back to the books, a frown on her face.
“It wasn’t old books that I smelled. But it’s gone now, so it must have just been my imagination.”
He leaned in and smelled for himself. It was very bad of him to lean into her like that, but he couldn’t help it. She didn’t seem to mind when he was close to her. In fact, she acted like it was a normal thing, like she let people stand this close all the time. And that thought made him a little crazy, but he took solace in the fact that she didn’t just have a ton of friends, so the people he might have to hex for this were limited.
“I don’t smell anything bad,” he said softly.
A voice cleared behind them and Luna turned, bumping into Draco once again. Mr. Pokeby was behind them, his face serious.
“This is a place of business, Miss Lovegood. Not a place to flirt.”
Luna blinked in confusion. Mr. Pokeby thought that she was flirting with Draco? How funny. Guys didn’t see her that way, pretty much ever. She was just Loony Luna.
“Yes, sir,” she nevertheless replied. It was better to agree than to try to right his misperception. People saw what they wanted to see, after all.
Pokeby nodded and went to find another customer to help, leaving the two of them alone again.
Luna turned back to Draco, who was glaring at Mr. Pokeby’s retreating back.
“Don’t worry,” she assured him. “Just because Mr. Pokeby got the wrong impression doesn’t mean that anyone else would. He probably just assumes that we’re flirting because you’re the only person who ever comes to visit me here. If it were Mac or Nev, he’d probably assume the same thing.”
Draco leveled his gaze at her. “Let’s be clear about something. I’m not offended by Mr. Pokeby thinking you were flirting with me. I should be so lucky, Luna.”
He nodded at her politely and started to leave. Best to not get her in trouble at work. She wouldn’t thank him for that.
“That’s a wonderful compliment, Draco, thank you.” She smiled a little too brightly at him. “But I know how people see me, don’t worry about that.”
He spun around and stared at her for a long time not saying a word.
“I will worry about it, thank you,” he said finally. “Let’s think about how particular I can be. Do you think I’d spend so much time with you if I suspected you not to be worth my time? Not everyone sees you like you suspect they do. I think you’re very set in how you think people view you, but anyone who takes the time to look knows the truth. You’re different, in the best definition of the word. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, and if they do, tell me their names, and I’ll hex them. I very much never grew out of that stage.”
Luna laughed a bit. “Thanks for the ego boost,” she said, bouncing up on her toes to steal a kiss from his cheek. “If you ever run across anyone who does take the time to look, send him my way. Having a wizard to cuddle late at night would be a nice change of pace.”
He needed to go set something on fire.
Draco also wanted to bang his head against a hard surface repeatedly. He had absolutely no idea what to do here. She just didn’t see him that way.
She had kissed him on the cheek.
Draco sighed loudly.
“I don’t tell you things like that to boost your ego, Luna. I say them because they’re true.”
Then he went for it.
“I know I don’t seem like much, if you ever get desperate for cuddles, I’m... I’m available.”
Then he spun on his heel and all but ran from the bookstore.
Luna blinked in confusion as she watched him dash away. What a strange thing to say. She almost wished that he were serious, if only because it was a nice thought. To have someone as handsome as Draco interested in her as something other than an oddity. The last time that had happened, she had ended up the winner in an Oddest Date party. Which she had been annoyed about not because everyone else thought that she was odd, but because if she had known that that had been the purpose of the date, she would have worn her radish earrings and played up her oddities. If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right, after all.