A/N. Story idea derived from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" by Tim Burton. However, the plot is completely different. The movie merely was the inspiration for this fic.
No Man's Land
It was one of those days when Luna Lovegood felt more ‘normal’ than she usually was. That morning when she woke up, she felt hyper and excited, as if something unusual was about to happen to her. Whenever Luna felt like that, she skipped work and went hunting, hoping that the ‘something unusual’ would be a crumple horned snorkack or a collection of wollyprickles.
After putting on her coat and boots, Luna swung her bag of important accessories behind her shoulder and hopped out of her house happily. Diagon Alley was pretty busy in the mornings, especially the Wizarding Bank, Gringotts. People rushed in and out of it, most of them walking out with huge jingling purses.
Luna knew where she wanted to go. What better place to go hunting than the forbidden forest? She apparated near the Hogsmeade village and from there she took the lane to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Maybe she would pay Hagrid a visit before continuing with her adventure.
Unfortunately for Luna, Hagrid was not in his cabin. She could hear the frantic barks of Fang, the boarhound, behind the door but no Hagrid came out to greet her and offer her rock cakes, which she was so fond of. With slightly low spirits, Luna ventured into the Forbidden Forest.
However, as soon as she stepped onto the forbidden territory and the breathed the fresh forest air, her spirits rose and she walked ahead with a spring in her step. She was so sure that something was about to happen that not even the strange noises of the forest scared her. Luna calmly stuck her wand behind her ear and pulled out a map from her bag. She pretended to study the strange and completely nonsensical lines drawn on the map and nodded as if she understood what the lines meant.
“Hmm, it says I need to go straight,” Luna muttered to herself. “There must be a group of Boggartaries very near.”
According to Luna, Boggartaries were little creatures with a lot of power. They were the only creatures in the world that boggarts were terrified of. Ironic, but true. If she could capture some and take them back with her, her house would be free of boggarts forever!
It was getting darker as Luna walked further into the forest. The trees were very closer here. “Lumos,” she whispered, lighting her wand and holding it above her head. “Where are you, little Boggartaries?” She searched the ground, the tree trunks and the branches alike. They could be anywhere.
The sound of a twig snapping somewhere behind her, startled Luna and she whirled around, expecting to see a wondrous creature. But there was nothing there. Confused, Luna turned back ahead and took a couple of steps before she heard another noise. “I am brave. I am not scared. I am not going to die,” she mumbled to herself, gripping her wand tighter and treading cautiously ahead.
For a while, everything was silent. Then, suddenly, she heard the rustling of leaves and her eyes fleetingly caught sight of something silver as it dashed towards her through the trees. “Stupefy!” Luna shouted just as the creature came into sight. She gasped. It was not a creature at all. It was a human being. Luna’s curse had hit him square in the stomach and he slumped down hard on the forest floor. Luna hurried up to the body and knelt down, pointing her lighted wand at his face.
“Oh, it’s you,” smiled Luna. “What are you doing here, Mr. Malfoy?”
When she got no answer from him, she asked again. “Are you deaf? I said, what are you doing here?”
He grunted in anger and Luna gasped guiltily. “Oh, I am sorry. Ennervate,” she said softly, lifting her curse. “Are you okay?”
Draco Malfoy sat up and glared at her. “Are you bloody crazy?” he shouted. “What are you doing in this part of the Forbidden Forest at this time? I thought I was being ambushed by centaurs!”
Luna giggled. “Centaurs are friendly creatures, Draco,” she said. “They don’t ambush people.”
“Whatever. And don’t call me Draco,” he grunted. “You never answered my question. What are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same question,” said Luna, sitting down properly beside him. “Are you here to search for Boggartaries too?”
“You know, Boggartaries…the creatures that scare boggarts. Were you looking for them too?”
Draco gazed at her as if she had grown two horns. “You are crazy, Lovegood,” he said, rolling his eyes. “I am not here to look for Boggartomories or other imaginary creatures.”
“Boggartaries,” corrected Luna calmly. “And they are real. Look, I have a picture.” She rummaged inside her bag and pulled out a worn and yellowed parchment. She shoved the picture under Draco’s nose. “See?”
It was a most heinous looking creature. Completely ugly with big uneven eyes and droopy lips. Its head was bigger than its body and it had no hands, only feet.
Draco looked up. “That’s not a photograph, you idiot. Somebody drew this. Probably a baby.” It was the ugliest drawing he had ever seen his life.
“Of course not! My daddy gave this to me. It’s a real photograph,” insisted Luna defiantly, snatching it back from him and cradling it in her hands.
Draco pursed his lips in annoyance. Who in their right mind would claim that a picture drawn with obvious black ink was a photograph? But then again, Luna Lovegood hardly had a brain. Merlin only knew how she had been sorted into Ravenclaw. “Whatever you say, Lovegood. Now take yourself out of this forest. It’s dangerous for silly girls.”
“I am not going anywhere,” announced Luna, stuffing the picture back into her bag and getting to her feet. “I came here to search for Boggartaries and crumple-horned snorkacks. That’s what I’m going to do.”
“Fine but if you get yourself into trouble, don’t expect me to help you,” snapped Draco angrily. Even the Forbidden Forest couldn’t offer him the peace and solitude that he so craved. Someone always had to intrude.
Much to Draco’s dismay and annoyance, Luna would not leave. She continued her search around and her mouth was like a wireless radio. It just wouldn’t stop talking. By now, Draco knew about every imaginary creature possible, along with their stupid imaginary descriptions.
“Can’t you leave me alone and search for Bogmortaries somewhere else?” he ground out when he couldn’t take anymore.
“But then, you’d be all alone. There are creatures here who prey on humans, incase you don’t know,” stated Luna, her large protuberant eyes staring at him. “And it’s Boggartaries.”
“Yeah, whatever. And I know that but I want to be left alone. I don’t need anyone’s company,” said Draco, frowning in her direction, daring her to argue with him.
Luna shrugged. “As you wish, Draco. I-”
“It’s Malfoy to you.”
“…will say good bye now. It was nice seeing you again.”
Draco rolled his eyes and turned his back to her. What a stupid girl that Lovegood was! “Completely mental,” he muttered to himself, closing his eyes and hoping she had already left. After a good few minutes when he opened his eyes, he was alone again. Luna was gone. “Good riddance.”
Suddenly, an ear-shattering scream pierced the air and Draco’s eyes snapped open. “Lovegood!” He got to his feet and looked around frantically. “…told her not to go off like that…dangerous creatures…silly girl!” he muttered to himself angrily as he ran in the direction of the scream.
“Lovegood, where are you?” Draco called out, holding his wand in front of him for a possible attack of some kind. Anything could happen in here. It was a jungle…and he was lost deep within it.
“Draco! Over here!”
He stopped at the sound of her voice and turned around, confused. “Where? I can’t see you,” he shouted, adding quickly, “Don’t call me Draco.”
“Follow my voice. I am in a clearing of sorts,” came Luna’s voice, still muffled by the distance between them. She screamed again and Draco quickened his pace. What was going on?!
There was a thick wall of green ahead of him (“Oh God!” whispered Draco) and closing his eyes, he jumped right through it, hoping against hope that he wouldn’t crash into any tree trunks. Fortunately for him, he passed through without any obstacles but out he flew…straight into Luna, who was standing on the other side.
She shrieked when Draco collided with her and both of them fell to the ground. To Draco’s utmost surprise, Luna seemed to be alone in the strange little clearing. He stood hastily and turned angry eyes on blonde. “What happened? Why did you scream?” he asked her, wondering if danger was lurking just around the corner waiting to ambush him. “Is this an ambush?”
Luna stared at him unblinkingly for a while and then started laughing so hard that tears came to her eyes. “Why,” she hiccupped, “are you so worried about an ambush?” She ended her laughter with a snort. “Sorry,” she said quickly when she noticed Draco glaring daggers at her. “I think I saw a crumple-horned snorkack. I couldn’t contain my excitement; that’s why I screamed.”
Draco took deep breathes of calm himself. He didn’t trust himself in such situations. Anger drew him out of control. “You scared me, you loon! I thought you were being attacked,” he scolded her, crossing his arms across his chest.
“Well then, I should thank you for coming to save my life,” smiled Luna.
“But I didn’t save your life,” said Draco with a frown. “There was nothing to save you from.”
“But you came. That’s what counts.”
Draco cooled down a little but refused to respond. Instead, he turned his intense gaze to their surroundings. Obviously, they were deep within the Forbidden Forest and Draco had never been here before. It was a strange place – a little stretch of land (without grass or bushes or any kind of greenery) surrounded by half a dozen trees with thick trunks.
“What is this place?” whispered Luna, looking around in awe.
Draco shook his head, busy gazing at big colorful shapes carved on the tree trunks along with some text, which seemed to be in a different language because Draco couldn’t understand a word of it. A strange little picture of red horns was drawn on a trunk directly in front of him, and exactly beside that tree, another tree trunk displayed a carving of white wings, just like that of an angel.
On another tree trunk, a pretty little heart was carved and Luna was standing there, examining it. “There’s something written here that I can’t understand,” she told Draco, who was busy sniffing the air.
“Huh?” he asked her.
Luna turned to look at him. “What is it?” she asked, curious at the odd expression on his face.
“Didn’t you notice the sudden absence of all sounds when you came here?” On an impulse, Draco turned back to look at the thick foliage he had just dashed through. To his shock, he found himself staring at a vast tree trunk. Just like the others, this one had a carving of a golden chest which was being struck by a bolt of lightening. “What the hell!” exclaimed Draco, stumped.
He looked back at Luna, whose eyes, if possible, had grown bigger. “Draco, I don’t think we are on Earth anymore,” she whispered fearfully.
“”Don’t be stupid,” snapped Draco, rolling his eyes. “I think someone’s playing a silly prank on us.”
Draco nodded. “And don’t call me Draco,” he said forcefully. “Come on, let’s go.” He made to squeeze himself between two tree but something made him bounce back. “What in Merlin’s name…” he muttered trying again. But there seemed to be some kind of an invisible wall that would not let him pass through. Frustrated, he craned his neck to see what was behind the trees but all he could see was nothingness. This is so strange, he thought to himself.
Luna was still lingering by the tree that had a heart carved on it. When Draco went up to tell her that something was seriously wrong here, she announced, “Look, there’s a knob here!”
“What? Don’t be silly,” said Draco, although he leaned in to look properly. Luna was right. There it was – a little red colored knob, affixed to the tree trunk, right beside the heart.
Luna excitedly said something about a hidden door and Draco rolled his eyes. “Don’t be silly,” he repeated. He hardly believed in such fantasies. Secret hiding places inside tree trunks, talking animals, fairy godmothers… “That’s bullshit!”
Luna glared at him. “I am not being silly, Dra-” She quickly corrected herself before Draco opened his mouth, “…Malfoy. I think there is something…”
“There’s nothing in there!” argued Draco. “Let’s just go, okay? I don’t want to – hey!”
Before he could even complete his sentence, Luna grabbed the knob and pulled it. After that, everything happened so fast that, today, when Draco Malfoy looks back to that day, he can hardly describe what exactly happened. All he remembers is that there was a huge gust of wind and he and Luna found themselves falling…falling…falling into the darkness…falling down the rabbit hole.
Were they really in a fairy-tale?
A/N. A bear hug to Gubby for giving me such a cool prompt. Thanks, girl. I hope you enjoy it. And Gubby, I won't post the second chapter until you review. I know how much of a procrastinator you are :P
CC is appreciated, dear readers. :)
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