A/N. Thanks to all those who reviewed the last two chapters. You guys are great! *hugs*
Unfortunately for Draco, the Lovelys had only one room to spare and so, Draco and Luna had no choice but to share a room during their stay. While Luna was not at all concerned about this, Draco couldn’t be any more annoyed. He was not used to being kind to others and now, being the gentleman that he was taught to be, he offered the bed to Luna while he camped near the bed on a low mattress.
Both of them could not sleep for obvious reasons. Luna was excited and could not wait for the next day to dawn so that she could go exploring the village; Draco, on the other hand, was dreading the next day. He could not believe he was in a parallel universe. He had always thought that if there was a parallel universe, it would be better than theirs but this was turning out to be a nightmare. Oh, was I wrong, he thought to himself bitterly. All this love business made him sick.
Instinctively, he said, “Hmm?”
“Are you awake?” Luna whispered.
“Yeah.” He had even forgotten to correct her each time she said his name. He didn’t like to admit it but he liked the way she said his name.
“What are you thinking?” she asked him, her face peeking at him from above. Her blonde hair shone in the moonlight as it fell down her shoulder, long enough for Draco to touch it if he wanted.
“Stuff,” he replied vaguely. “You?”
“Stuff.” When Draco gave her a dry look, she giggled. “Do you like it here?”
Draco snorted. “Is that a trick question?” he muttered sarcastically.
Luna stared at him, her eye-brows knitted together in thought. When she did not say anything, Draco began to feel uncomfortable. “What?” he demanded.
“Why do you hate this land so much? Is it the bright colors or is it the concept of love that’s been instilled in everyone?” she asked him, curiously.
“Both,” he told her, pulling a face. “They make me sick. Besides, I don’t believe in love.”
“Why don’t you?”
“Because it’s a load of rubbish.”
Luna looked affronted, as if it was her who he had insulted. “No, it’s not!” she cried out in a whisper. “Love is what is holding the whole universe together. If there’s no love, there’d be no Draco and no Luna.”
“And thankfully, no Love land,” he muttered, her words hardly affecting him.
“What do you have against love?” she asked him, still leaning awkwardly over the edge of her bed.
“I can’t believe I am having this conversation with you, of all people, Lovegood,” said Draco, but he did not look in the least bit surprised or annoyed.
Her face fell at his words. “If I like you, why can’t you put aside our differences and like me back?”
Draco gaped at her, stumped. Had he heard her correctly? He somehow knew that Luna did not mean it in that way but it still surprised him that she could be so open and frank about stuff she said.
Not knowing how to reply to her question, Draco sighed, “Goodnight, Lovegood.” He turned over and closed his eyes.
“LOVEGOOD!” boomed Draco, thumping on the bathroom door with his fist.
He had been waiting outside for more than half an hour and she still didn’t show any signs of coming out soon. Why was she taking so much time? What exactly was she doing in there, anyway? He wondered to himself. Draco rubbed his aching hand on his clothes before stamping his foot angrily and slapping the bathroom door again.
“Draco, love, what’s the matter?” It was Mrs. Lovely, hurrying inside their room. “I could hear you downstairs!”
Draco resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Great, that’s what I need – a scolding. But Mrs. Lovely did not look angry in the least. Although she looked slightly confused, she was smiling at him as she always did.
“It’s her!” croaked Draco, his throat hoarse from all the yelling he had done. “It’s like she’s doing this on purpose. I have to use the bathroom, too, you know!”
Instead of asking Luna to get out, the woman giggled, much to Draco’s annoyance. “She’s a girl, son. Girls take time. She’ll come out soon.” Draco watched her leave with a scowl on his face. Of course, she would take Luna’s side.
He turned back to beat on the bathroom door again but it was open and Luna was standing there, looking amused. Draco jumped back in surprise. Her hair was dripping wet and so was her blouse. What had she been doing in there!
“What happened to you?” he asked her, forgetting to be angry at her.
Luna grabbed a handful of her hair and started squeezing the water out of it. “You were knocking like crazy; so in the hurry to get out, I pulled on the clothes without drying my body properly,” she told him calmly. Draco stared at her in astonishment. She didn’t look at all angry or irritated, considering what he had made her do.
Without realizing it, he said, “Sorry.” What did I just say?
Luna smiled at him. “Go ahead. I’ll wait here,” she said. What was her problem? Why was she always so nice when all he did was shout at her and insult her?
Draco raised his foot to step forward but was surprised when he found himself stepping back. He felt possessed. “No,” he said, shaking his head. “I’ll wait.”
He sat on the bed, thinking over what he had done five minutes ago. Acting kind was not normal for him and he felt odd, almost humiliated. He wanted to bang his head against the wall in frustration. Either he was growing soft or else this stupid land was having an adverse effect on him. Yes, that explains it, he decided stupidly. Perhaps the Lovelys had put some kind of enchantment on him.
He told this Luna when she came out of the bathroom, dry this time. “This land is dangerous for us, Lovegood,” he said urgently. “As soon as my arm is healed, we’ll get out of here.”
Luna chuckled. “You are paranoid. There’s nothing wrong with this place, Draco,” she said, touching his arm. But he shrugged it off and stepped back angrily.
“Fine, then. You can stay here, if you want. I’ll go back alone!” And he slammed the bathroom door behind him.
Draco’s mood still hadn’t improved by breakfast. The Lovely couldn’t understand what was wrong with him and kept throwing confused looks his way. Finally, Mrs. Lovely asked, “Are you alright, dear?” When Draco nodded without replying, she turned to Luna for explanation. “He looks odd,” she whispered.
“He’s just angry at me,” said Luna, smiling slightly in a ‘not-to-worry’ way.
“You mean he is unhappy?”
Luna glanced at Draco, sitting opposite her with his head lowered; he was holding a piece of crumpet in mid-air as he tried to listen in to their conversation casually. Luna repressed the urge to giggle and replied, “Yes, but he angry too.”
“Angry?” They still looked puzzled. Didn’t they understand her?
“Yes,” Luna replied slowly. Am I speaking in French? “That’s what I said. You know that emotion you feel when something goes terribly wrong or someone hits you for no reason…”
The Lovelys exchanged looks. “Weird. That sounds a lot like when you are unhappy,” Mr. Lovely said, buttering his toast, which not so strangely, was heart-shaped.
Draco stared at them, the crumpet in his hand forgotten. “Don’t you people ever get angry?” he asked them, bemused.
“Not much, no. We are a happy lot,” said Gina cheerfully, blushing when he turned to look at her.
“You mean to tell me people here never fight?” He looked positively incredulous now.
Mrs. Lovely smiled and shook her head and spoke in a voice that is usually used with a child. “We are born to love each other. Not fight. That’s a ridiculous thought.”
Luna beamed at her. “I completely agree with you!”
Draco rolled his eyes and returned to stuffing food into his mouth, his anger at Luna forgotten.
“These people are weird,” said Luna when she and Draco had left the cottage for a village tour.
Draco actually laughed. “Coming from you, that’s something,” he said but Luna hardly heard him. She was already skipping ahead of them, peeking into different shops as they walked past and muttering enthusiastically, words that Draco could not understand. As much as he did not like to admit it, Draco was fascinated by the various things they saw and learned in this land. For example, he was shocked to know that they had only one season here all year round – Spring.
“Of course, we have seen snow. It snows once a year and we gather the powdery stuff and dump it in one cold place,” said a kind old shopkeeper who had convinced Luna to buy a silver necklace with a heart-shaped pendant. While she fussed over it, Draco chatted with the man, gathering information about this strange land. He even wondered if this was all part of a big dream that he was currently trapped in.
“Come on, Lovegood, let’s go,” he said, tugging on her dress. She turned to face him, her face glowing and her eyes sparkling with delight. Draco stared at her.
“Let me buy this necklace,” she pleaded, holding up the jewelry in front of him. “It’s so pretty.”
“But…but we don’t have money,” stammered Draco, suddenly feeling very lightheaded, and unable to tear his eyes away from her glowing face. “We can’t. I only have a few galleons and a couple of sickles in my pocket,” he added in a whisper so that no one other than Luna could hear.
Her face fell and she seemed to understand, because she put the necklace in its box and handed it back to the shopkeeper. “You can buy it for four gold coins instead of five,” he said eagerly. When Luna shook her head, he tried again, “How about three, eh? Come on, that’s a fair bargain.”
“I don’t -,” began Luna but Draco cut her off.
“We have different kind of money but it’s pure gold, if you are willing to accept it,” he said to the shopkeeper, who looked on with curiosity as Draco extracted a galleon from his pocket and tossed it on the counter.
The old man picked it up and examined it, fascinated by the unfamiliar marks and symbols on its face. After a long time, he nodded. “It does look like real gold,” he said to Draco, who looked smug. “We’ve a deal, Mister. Cough it up.”
The couple walked out of the jewelry shop with Luna’s new necklace with them. She was already wearing it and Draco thought it looked pretty on her. “Thank you,” she said after a while and Draco started.
Luna grinned happily and pointed to the pendant resting on her neck. “You were kind enough to buy it for me when you could very well have used it elsewhere,” she said.
“I wanted to,” he said and, for the first time since coming here, he smiled a genuine smile and it looked so new and strange on his face that Luna stopped to stare at him.
“What?” he asked her, feeling self-conscious.
“You have a wonderful smile,” she said dreamily. “You should smile more often.”
He watched her skip ahead of him, his head spinning. What was happening to him?
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