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Chapter 6 : Unexpected Reactions
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She nearly fell down the stairs in her hurry to get out of the door. Rushing was so unlike her that she received several looks of astonishment from the students finishing up assignments in the common room. “Was that Lovegood?” She heard just as she slid out of the common room into the hallway.
She headed in the direction of the Great Hall even though she knew she most likely wouldn't be able to eat anything. She thought about going to the library, but thought better of it. If anything she could put an apple, or even a muffin in her bag for later, when her nerves calmed down enough for her to be hungry.
She walked to the Ravenclaw table not checking to see if any of her friends from Gryffindor were awake yet. She wanted to reread the journal again. She just couldn't wait til tonight at 7. She knew that today would be a slow one. As she flipped through the pages she heard someone sit down next to her, but she didn't even give them a glance.
“Not even a hello for you boyfriend?” Harry whispered into her ear causing her to jump slightly.
She snapped the journal shut before looking up at him. “Harry! I thought for sure that you'd still be asleep. It's really early.”
“Believe me I wish I were still asleep.” He poked his finger in the direction of the Gryffindor table. “Hermione insisted that Ron and I wake up before the sun to work on homework. She said that we missed too much studying time this weekend between Hogsmeade and her Head Girl duties.” He rolled his eyes, and she smiled. “Care to keep me company? Make the torture bearable?”
Her smile widened. “Of course.” They rose from the table Harry grabbing her bag to carry it for her. “Thank you Harry, but you didn't have to I could have gotten it.”
“Please! It's part of my duties.” He grabbed her hand as they walked, something he did often. “So I have Quidditch practice this afternoon. Do you think that you could make it to watch, and keep Hermione company? I'm sure you could convince her to make her fire in a jar to help keep your hands warm.”
Normally she would have said yes, but not tonight. She had to be in the stables at 7, and nothing was going to keep her from being there. “I can't tonight.” Was all that she said. She didn't want to explain any further. She had a feeling that if she told Harry what she was really doing that he wouldn't be very happy about it, but to tell him anything else would be a lie, and she didn't want to lie to him either.
He looked disappointed which made her feel a little guilty. “You have plans?” He probed.
“Just something I need to do.” She replied. She had a feeling that he would have questioned her further, but they'd reached the table by then and they both sat down.
Hermione looked up from her text book and glared at Harry. “Took you long enough.” She said, “I've finished proof reading Ronald's essay, let's see yours then.” She held her hand out impatiently. Harry rummaged around the papers that were scattered around his breakfast and handed her a roll of parchment. By the length of it, it could only be his Potion assignment. Hermione snatched it from his hand and almost immediately began marking on it with her red ink quill. Harry just shook his head and sighed as Ron looked at him with a knowing apologetic look followed by an eye roll. “Don't roll your eyes about me Ronald. I've made more than enough suggestions on yours to fix. Get to it.” Ron turned red before dipping his head down. Luna heard him mumble Bloody hell woman, and she couldn't help the giggle that escaped her lips.
Harry turned back to Luna, “It seems we have a few minutes.” He looked back to Hermione who was still scribbling away like mad. “Maybe more than a few at that rate.” He grabbed Luna's hands studying her face for a few seconds. “So tell me what has you up this early. I know you have your studies done with.”
He knew her well she thought. “I just couldn't sleep.” She replied.
“Is everything alright?”
She liked that he was concerned about her, even if he was working his way back around to what she had to do tonight and why she couldn't watch him practice. “Everything's fine Harry.” She squeezed his hands. “Better than fine really.”
“Oh?” He asked. “Something I brought about I hope.”
“Actually, Ginny has made things better than fine for me today.” This wasn't a lie she thought. It was very close to completely true. Ginny was a major part of her good mood, just not the reason she was too nervous to sleep.
“Ginny?” He looked confused. “What did Ginny do? I thought she was still mad at us, because of--” He made a motion with his fingers between them, “you know.”
“Because by being together we crush her every hopes at happiness?” She supplied, “Yes I imagine she is still upset about that, but she agreed to be friends again. I'm just supposed to pretend you don't exist when I'm around her.”
Harry had known that Ginny was upset they were together, but he'd never thought of the reason why as the way Luna had put it. He thought she was upset because of the war, and the potential of hurting Luna terribly if he were to die, or have to leave for an extended period of time. They had never talked about Ginny while they'd been together, and Ron skirted the subject like the plague so Harry had been left to make his own conclusion. A conclusion that had apparently been very wrong. “What do you mean that us being together crushes her hopes for happiness?”
Luna's eyes got bigger than usual for a moment, but she answered him truthfully anyway, “Ginny's in love with you Harry. She has been since she was nine.” She pulled her hands away. “You can't tell me you didn't know?”
Harry glanced at Ron and Hermione, both of which had stopped writing and turned ghost white. Then he looked back at Luna, “No. I didn't know that at all.”
The stables were pretty vacant as was usual in the evenings. All of the years Luna had been coming here the only person she really saw was Hagrid—with the exception of the year that they'd had unicorns. That year the stables had constantly been swarming with girls cooing and fawning over the majestic, shy creatures. Luna had felt sorry for them. They had clearly been agitated and afraid by the onslaught. Dumbledore had put a stop to the visits, and had decided to send the unicorns elsewhere. Things had since then returned to normal.
The vacancy made it very easy to see her Poet. He was standing by the horses letting one lick sugar from his palm. She paused simply letting the shock of his identity sink through her. She wasn't easily shocked, or surprised because she accepted everything for what it was and knew that anything and everything was possible. Therefore it was pointless to believe that something wasn't possible, and then be shocked when it turned out to be. She believed that with her whole being, but she never once even let it cross her mind that her Poet—the one who wrote and felt the beautiful words of the journal's pages—would be the man standing before her.
Once she accepted it, however, she realized that perhaps it should have been obvious, and once she did that she just smiled and took a step in his direction. “Hello Draco.” She greeted him in her dreamy voice, as she clutched the journal to her chest waiting for him to turn around and face her.
He jumped a little at her voice. He hadn't heard her coming. He had been waiting on her to get here for about twenty minutes, his nervousness only grew with the passing time. Now that she was here he could hardly breathe. He was so scared that her reaction to him would be negative.
“Hello Luna.” He breathed, her name coming out a raspy whisper.
Luna could read the fear in his eyes and cocked her head to the side her brows furrowing slightly while she continued to stare at him. Here stood Draco Malfoy—wealthiest and perhaps most arrogantly confident student at Hogwarts—and he was looking at her—Loony Lovegood—as if his life hung in the balance of this conversation's end.
“You write beautifully.” She complimented him. She'd been wanting to do so since she first read his work.
“Thank you.” The tension in his face loosened a little. “I wasn't sure you still were reading them.” He put his hands in his pockets. “I'm glad that you like them. I wasn't sure you were going to come.” He smiled shyly. “Now that you're here,” he paused “I don't know what to say.”
“It's easier and less complicated to simply be written words.” She said, and he nodded. “Draco. Why did you choose to give me the journal?”
“I would have thought that was obvious.” She had thought he would say that—a large part of her had hoped for it. She allowed him to continue, hoping that he would say what she thought was next. “Who better for a Poet to give his works to, but the subject of those works?” She beamed at him, but then her smile faltered. Harry popped into her mind, and with his face came guilt.
She had wanted to be the subject of the poems, she had even felt that she was, but now that she knew for sure that the Poet wasn't Harry she didn't know what to do with this new information. It was a lot for her to take in. How was she supposed to believe that Draco felt those things for her? That she had inspired his words meant more to her than anything, but it also made things incredibly complicated.
She felt the exact way she had when Harry had given her the Snitch. “That makes things difficult Draco.” She whispered.
The look he gave her she was familiar with. It was his sneer. “Ah yes—let's not forget Saint Potter.” she didn't want him to be angry. She felt tears form in her eyes. “I had hoped telling you who I was would make you realize that Potter couldn't possibly feel for you the way that I do. That I wouldn't have to suffer through him parading you around like a trophy he won.” He looked away from her. “Apparently I was wrong.”
“Draco. He's my friend.” She pleaded with him.
“Yes. He's your friend.” He interjected. “What I would be is so much more than that.” He looked at her again. There was a fire in his eyes, a desperation. “I would be the air you breathe Luna. I would be more than your friend. I would be your companion.” He stepped toward her in the passion of his outburst. “You can't look at me and honestly tell me that Potter feels for you what I have put on these pages.” He pointed to her journal, poking it where she held it at her chest. “And you can't tell me honestly that you don't feel more for me, and these words, than you do for him. I've seen how you ignore him while you read it. I've also seen how often you check for new entries.” He put both hands on her shoulders, and with how agitated his speech was, she was surprised at how gentle his touch was. “Luna.” He whined, “I know I'm asking you to choose, “ His eyes continued to plead with hers. “But I'm telling you that I'm a much better fit than Potter ever could be.”
Her eyes now wider than usual slowly closed against the tears in them as she thought of how to respond. “Now I don't know what to say.” She muttered.
He smiled at her even though her eyes were still closed and she couldn't see him. “Then don't.” He said. Then he leaned forward, and very gently placed his lips on hers.
Something happened in Luna that had never happened to her before, not even when Harry had kissed her—her body reacted even though her mind was frozen. Before she could push him away and tell him that she was dating Harry and this was a betrayal to him, her arms moved up so she could put her fingers in Draco's hair allowing her to lean into his kiss, deepening it.
If her mind had been frozen before it was now no longer there. She never knew her body could respond with as much passion as she threw into kissing Draco back, but it was, and to say she didn't like it would have been to lie.
Her enthusiasm caught Draco off guard and he pulled back. Smirking at her he raised his eyebrow and asked, “What was that?”
“I.” She stuttered. “I don't know.” She stepped completely back from him before turning and running back toward the castle.
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