The Strange Land of Love
The darkness gradually dissolved and the world around them materialized again. Luna refused to open her eyes during their fall because she was mighty afraid of heights. She stretched her arms in hopes of catching Draco but, at that moment, their fall ended and Luna found herself sprawled right over him.
He groaned and pushed her off, though surprisingly gently. “Dammit! I think my arm’s broken,” he said, struggling to sit up. “And I bumped my head really bad. And my…” He suddenly realized he was being whiny and childish and, so, he clamped his mouth shut.
Luna looked worried but as their eyes adjusted to the brightness of their surroundings, their pain was forgotten and their mouths dropped open in surprise. They had fallen onto a small grassy hill and down below, they could see little red houses, each of different shapes and sizes. All of them were different shades of red and pink.
“What in the name of Dumbledore’s beard is this place?” asked Draco, wide-eyed, staring curiously at the weird little houses. He had never seen such a thing before in his life. “Lovegood, where’s this place? Where did you bring us?”
Luna, who was busy admiring the clear blue sky, gave him an excited look. “I think we are in the fairy-tale land!” she cried, to which Draco rolled his eyes sarcastically.
“Look how beautiful everything looks. The sky is clear and the village looks so pretty,” she explained cheerfully. “And look at all the pinkness. Pink makes me hyper!” She grinned at Draco and, for a moment, he forgot to be irritated and angry at her. “And I bet there’s a castle here, too.”
Draco shook his head, mildly amused, but still alert. “Lovegood, this cannot be a fairy-tale,” he told her firmly. “I wonder if we are still in London…” He looked around with a sigh. Why did bad things happen to him? If he hadn’t been so stupid as to follow Lovegood, this would never have happened. Draco sometimes feared he was going soft. “Do you have a map or something?” he asked Luna, his eyes occasionally glancing at the row of weird houses down the hill. He still could not comprehend how someone could live in such out-of-this-world houses. Didn’t the pink-and-redness hurt their eyes?
Luna nodded absently and pulled out the same old yellowed parchment she had referred to in the forest. She handed it to Draco, hardly sparing him a glance, because she was so engrossed in the beauty of the place they had landed into.
Draco unfolded the parchment eagerly, thinking that it would help them in some way, but his face fell when he saw that it only contained stupid criss-cross lines. “Is this supposed to be a joke?” he asked Luna, a huge frown on his handsome face. “What is this rubbish?”
Luna stared at him, puzzled. “It’s a map.”
All Draco could do was stare at her in disbelief. “A map?” he repeated incredulously. “This is a piece of junk, you idiot! What do you make of these nonsensical lines?”
“This map has helped me many times in the past, Draco,” explained Luna. “It’ll help us again, I am sure of it.”
“Sure of it, my arse! This thing’s useless,” he snapped angrily, crumpling up the map and throwing it at Luna. Her smile faded and she quietly put it back in her bag. Draco ignored her and tried to move his left arm. “I was right,” he muttered, grunting in pain. “It is broken.”
“Maybe I can fix it,” said Luna immediately, shifting closer to him and pointing her wand at his arm.
“Do you know the spell?” Draco asked in surprise.
Luna nodded proudly. “Madam Pomfrey taught me in seventh year. I learned some important healing spells,” she told him, before muttering a complicated sounding spell under her breathe.
A red-colored bubble in the shape of a heart burst out of her wand and popped when it touched Draco’s skin. Luna looked amazed. “This is not what I expected,” she said. “Try to move your hand.” Draco shook his head. It still hurt him. “Okay, I will try again.”
The same thing happened. On saying the spell, her wand produced the heart-bubble which popped the second it touched Draco’s arm. “What’s wrong?” questioned Draco.
“It’s not working!”
“Maybe you are saying the wrong spell,” he suggested.
“No, I am quite sure this is the one,” replied Luna, disappointed that she had failed on her first attempt at this spell when the situation really required it. “You try something,” she said suddenly. “Any spell.”
With his right hand, Draco pulled out his wand from within his robes and waved it, saying clearly, “Expecto Patronum.” Both of them stared in astonishment at the heart shaped bubble that came out of his wand and floated away in the breeze. “This is so not normal!”
“It may be the wollyprickles, you know,” said Luna. When Draco looked at her in confusion, she explained, “They are little parasitic creatures that live inside a person’s ear and gradually suck all of their magic. Perhaps this place is full of wollyprickles and now, we are infected.”
“Right.” Draco put a hand to his forehead and prayed for patience. What had he gotten himself into? “I merely think that we are unable to perform magic in this place, wherever this is.” But none of them could explain the red heart-bubble.
“Let’s go to one of the houses below. They might be able to help us,” suggested Luna wisely and, for the first time, Draco seemed to agree with her. Clutching his left arm in his right hand, he stood up and both of them walked (skipped, in Luna’s case) downhill. It was a busy time of the day and people (Draco was quite relieved to see that they looked pretty normal) were rushing about but almost all who noticed the two new-comers took time to smile and greet them on their way. It surprised Draco and Luna because this would be a very unusual happening in London. There, people usually minded their own business.
Draco had a hard time deciding which door they should knock. Each cottage was more bizarre than the previous one. Luna was growing impatient by his behaviour. “All of them look great. How can you even choose one?” she asked him and Draco suppressed a snort. If only she knew why he was taking such a long time…
“Alright, let’s go to that one.” He pointed to a comparatively large house which was a light shade of red and seemed rather classy. But as they neared it, he noticed that it had a heart shaped door. “On a second thought, let’s not!” He stopped abruptly, looking disgusted.
Luna giggled. “I like it.”
“You would,” muttered Draco darkly. “I don’t know what it is with this place and hearts.”
“Come on, let’s go. Your arm’s swelling up!”
A plump, grey-haired lady answered their knock. “Hello, may I help you?”
“Yes, please,” replied Luna immediately. “My friend’s,” Draco coughed rather loudly, “arm is broken. Could you tell us where to find a doctor?”
“Why, you have come to the right place,” beamed the lady. “I am Ellie Lovely. My husband’s a doctor. Please come in.”
Draco was amused. Lovely? He leaned in and whispered to Luna, “She must be kidding us.”
Mrs. Lovely led them into a spacious-looking den, chattering all the while about how wonderful her husband was and how fortunate they were to come here. Luna nodded to her every word.
“That’s wonderful, Mrs. Lovely. I am so glad we came here first,” she smiled.
“I’ll go fetch my husband. He hasn’t left for work yet.” When Mrs. Lovely left them alone, Luna turned to grin at Draco.
“Isn’t she wonderful?”
“Sure,” replied Draco sardonically. “A little too lovely, if you know what I mean.”
Luna waved a hand casually. “Come on, she’s helping us, isn’t she?” she argued good-naturedly.
“So? That doesn’t erase the fact that she makes me want to throw up.”
Just then, Mrs. Lovely re-entered with her husband. He was a wispy looking man with a wild mop of snowy hair on his forehead. He looked more like a mad scientist rather than a doctor. What amused Draco was that he was shorter than his wife.
“Who’s the patient?” he asked in a soft but manly voice that surprised both Draco and Luna.
While Draco was ushered out of the room by Mr. Lovely, his wife offered Luna tea and cookies. All of them were shaped like hearts. Luna thought they were delicious. She thanked Mrs. Lovely but the older woman waved her polite ‘thank you’ away.
“It’s my pleasure, really, dear,” she stated. “Being the sister of the Mayor, it’s my duty to help new people.” She nodded her head at Luna’s impressed expression. “Yes, my brother is the Mayor of this land.”
Luna was about to ask what land was this when the doorbell rang and Mrs. Lovely excused herself. She came back with two red-faced girls at her heels. They introduced themselves as Mrs. Lovely’s daughters – Gina and Tina, who had returned from their morning walk.
“It is to maintain the body and stay in shape,” they told Luna matter-of-factly. “We, girls, grow very fast unless we exercise regularly.”
“And why is that?” Luna asked, awed by the way they talked and the manner in which they did things.
“Food,” they said in unison, as if the word explained everything and there was no arguing against it. Luna arranged her lips in an ‘O’.
The three girls talked for a while, Luna merely nodding and shaking her head wherever needed. She found that she enjoyed listening to the Gina and Tina. Just then, Draco came out again, followed by Mr. Lovely. His arm was in a sling.
“He’s okay,” said Mr. Lovely at large. “’Twas just a minor fracture. It’ll be okay in a week or so.”
”Oh, that’s wonderful!” said his wife cheerfully. “Go sit by the girls, dear.”
While Mr. Lovely hurried back into his lab (“No time for breakfast, honey, I am late for work!”) Draco walked over to Luna and sat down beside her, ignoring the giggles and stares of the other two girls. “Who are they?” he whispered in Luna’s ear.
“The Lovely daughters,” replied Luna with a grin.
“So, what exactly is this land called and where is it?” Draco asked, during breakfast. Gina and Tina were sitting opposite him and they blushed red whenever Draco looked at them, which annoyed him very much.
“This is the L land,” replied Ellie Lovely, scooping some butter from a heart-shaped plate and spreading it on her toast. “But I am not sure what you mean by your second question.”
“You mean you don’t know here this place is situated?” asked Draco, knitting his eye-brows together.
“Of course, I know that, dear. We live on the Earth.”
Draco looked at Luna, who shrugged. “Right. So what does ‘L’ land mean?” he asked. These people were weird, even weirder than Luna Lovegood.
“L stands for love, Draco,” one of Mrs. Lovely’s daughters said immediately and started giggling.
“I am sorry, what?” Had he heard her right? What kind of person would name a place ‘Love Land’? Something started to click in his brain and he noticed the plates, the interior of the house, the little things that usually went without notice – all of it was either heart-shaped or red/pink in color. And comprehension dawned on him.
“Didn’t I tell you we were in fairy-tale land?” said Luna, her face glowing with delight.
Mrs. Lovely smiled but looked puzzled. “What’s a fairy-tale?”
“Draco, I think Gina and Tina like you,” said Luna, sprawled comfortably on her bed, her body covering more than half of the polka dots on her baby-pink sheets.
“Didn’t you hear what Mrs. Lovely said?” muttered Draco irritably. “They develop a crush on every boy they lay eyes on. It’ll go away.” He went over to stand beside her bed. “But will you listen to me for one second, Lovegood?”
“Yeah, I know. I should not call you Draco,” replied Luna blandly.
Draco raised his eye-brows. He had even forgotten to reprimand her for that. “That too,” he said. “Listen, I don’t think these people can be fooling us. They seem genuine enough…”
“Of course they are genuine! It’s a fairy-tale.”
“Will you stop saying that?!” snapped Draco, impatiently. “Now listen. I think this is a completely different universe. A universe which consists only the ‘L’ land.”
Luna sat up. “You mean to say we are in a parallel universe?” she whispered, and Draco could see her badly suppressed excitement.
He nodded seriously. “That explains the strange houses and shapes…”
“…and our magic,” Luna reminded him.
“Exactly. This stupid land is all about love!” The blonde Slytherin shook his head in dismay. “We need to get outta here.”
“But I want to stay! I want to tell them fairy-tales,” protested Luna. “I want to learn to bake heart-shaped cookies and I want-”
“Are you insane, Lovegood? They’ll be worried back in our universe. We can’t stay here forever! We have to go back,” Draco said sternly.
“But let’s at least stay till your arm’s healed,” insisted Luna and Draco looked down at the sling he was wearing in dismay. He had no choice but to agree.
Luna was ecstatic. She spent the whole day in the kitchen with Mrs. Lovely and her daughters, baking cakes and cookies and telling them fairy-tales which left them in awe, while Draco stayed in their room, feeling bored and frustrated. Even staring at the ceiling did not soothe him. The pink hurt his eyes. Finally, he slouched out of the room, following the wonderful scent of strawberry pie which wafted from kitchen.
“So, where exactly are you from, Luna?” Tina (or was it Gina?) was asking when Draco entered.
“London,” came the reply.
“I’ve never heard of London before. Where is it?”
“Oh, it’s not here,” Luna told them, without thinking.
“Then how did you come ‘ere?”
“We fell down from the sky.”
Draco hurried inside, inwardly cursing Luna and her thickhead. “Hello ladies!” he said loudly. “I am hungry.” It had the desired effect. Gina and Tina immediately set about preparing the table for supper and Mrs. Lovely made tea for them all. Draco shifted closer to Luna and whispered, “What’s your problem? You know we can’t explain things to them.”
“I am sorry, I was just telling the truth,” Luna whispered back defiantly.
“Well, zip the truth, then!”
“Okay, but on one condition,” said Luna, her face lighting up into a brilliant smile. “We go exploring the village tomorrow.”
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