A/N. I am so sorry for the delay in posting this chapter. But life's been busy. Also, in the hurry to update and please my readers, I did not have this chapter beta-read. So please tolerate minor errors. I wrote this in a real rush. But I hope it's enjoyable for you. :)
The Snow Shed
As the days passed, Luna Lovegood noticed a change in Draco Malfoy. The Lovelys noticed it, too. Draco had stopped being complaining about everything and he had stopped being grumpy all the time. The usual air of superiority that surrounded him had seemed to fade a little. He was almost like a nice, normal human being. And the best thing was, Draco knew that he had changed.
More than a few times, Luna had seen him, slumped on the bed, staring confusedly at the ceiling, as if wondering what was wrong with him. But as soon as this puzzling bout of questions left him, he was back to being happy again. Of course, he didn’t talk much, nor did he help around in the house, but he was definitely an improvement from the previous Draco Malfoy. For Luna, the surprising bit was that he was good to her and most of the times, seemed interested in what she was telling him.
“It’s like a big, horned monkey, you know. Only worse,” Luna was saying once, four days after he had bought her the necklace.
“Sounds more like Satan,” joked Draco. His arm was much better now, but Mr. Lovely insisted he use it less often, though he had removed the sling. “Have you ever seen it, then?”
“No, but I’ve dreamed about the horned monkey,” she replied. “In my dream, it kept chewing my hair off.”
Draco snorted. “What do you call it?”
“You are joking, right?” sputtered Draco, eyes widening. “Do you even know what hormone means?”
“I like to think so, yes,” smiled Luna. “Hormones make you do silly things. But what I am talking about- it’s h-o-r-m-o-n.”
Draco inwardly rolled his eyes. He was actually beginning to enjoy talking to Luna Lovegood but sometimes, she was just plain silly. I mean, who had ever heard of a horned monkey called Hormon?
The last time they had had a silly conversation, it was about colors, which had somehow led to talk about love.
“What’s your favourite color?” Luna had asked him, to which he had shook his head and replied vaguely, “Dunno. Black, probably.”
Draco shrugged and Luna sighed. “You are hopeless. Make pink your favourite color and you’ll always be happy,” she told him.
Draco had rolled his eyes then. “What’s so special about pink?”
“Not just pink. Liking bright colors affects our mood, you know,” explained Luna. And although her explanation was vague, Draco completely understood her. Still, he couldn’t force himself to like pink. That color sickened him!
“Don’t you want to know my favourite color?” Luna asked.
“I already know your favourite color. Pink, isn’t it?” She always talked about pink and how it made her feel hyper and happy.
But Luna shook her head. “Red,” she said, sighing softly.
“Red is the color of danger.”
“No. Red is the color of love, Draco,” she corrected him and Draco made a face. “That’s why I like red roses so much. No one except Neville has presented me with a red rose.”
Before he could think about it, Draco blurted out, “I can get you a rose too.” Luna looked surprised and he added hastily, “That is…er…if you want.”
It was not the fact that he was beginning to like The Love Land, it was the fact that he dreaded the day when his arm would be completely healed and he would’ve to leave it that terrified Draco. He had absolutely idea when his hate for this place had grown into fondness and he could not understand why. Malfoys weren’t supposed to like mushy stuff, do mushy things and stay in mushy places. That was against the law for Draco Malfoy, and yet, he wished that the day of their departure would never come.
Why? He did not know. And that’s what irked him.
“Let’s visit the Snow Shed,” suggested Luna. “That’ll take your mind off things.”
The Snow Shed was the place where the people of the Love Land stored the snow since they only had snow-fall about once a year. It was a wonderful place; the ground was totally covered with soft white snow and the ceiling was decorated with confetti and balloons. It was freezing there, so that the snow wouldn’t melt.
Draco and Luna paid a galleon each for their tickets and were ushered in by the guard. Luna gasped at the beautiful sight. She immediately pulled on her gloves, skipped down the stairs and jumped right into the snow below. Draco, looking slightly amused, followed her but did not step into the sheet of white that covered the ground.
“Lookit!” Luna exclaimed, making a snow-angel and giggling softly.
Draco chuckled and shook his head. He never did childish things, however much fun they might be. But when a snowball suddenly hit him on the face, he couldn’t stop himself from taking revenge. He stepped forward into the snow and bent down, grabbing a handful and moulding it in his hands.
“You are dead now,” he said to Luna, who giggled and darted off to hide behind a pillar.
A huge snowball in hand, Draco slowly inched towards the pillar and flattened his body to it. One…two…three. Luna poked out her head and Draco slammed the snow to the face. She shrieked with mirth and scampered away from him, quickly scooping up some snow and throwing it at him. He hurried to make another snowball but before he could even get up, Luna’s snowball hit him square on his chest. Another followed. And then another…
Luna was fast. Very fast. She never even gave him time to prepare his attack. Half an hour later, a thoroughly soaked Draco put up his hands in defeat. “Alright, alright, you win,” he mumbled, pretending to be exhausted.
Luna flashed him a triumphant smile and walked back towards him. Just when she was close enough, Draco tripped her and she fell face down in the snow. Laughing madly, he scooped up more white and threw it on Luna’s back.
Luna rolled over on her back and looked up at him. “That was cheating, Draco,” she said huffily, but she did not look angry.
Draco shrugged, grinning broadly. “Everything’s fair in war, right?” He lay down next to her on his stomach, propping himself up on his elbows. “But you were really good,” he told her. “Very agile.”
A smile tugged the corners of her lips and Draco suddenly had the urge to kiss her. No. NO! He gave himself a physical shake and tried to think about something else. But it didn’t work. All he could think about was Luna’s flushed cheeks, her light hair spread out on the white snow and her red – very kissable – lips.
“Your arm looks perfectly healed, Draco,” Luna observed, breaking the silence, and he tore his eyes away from her lips and looked down at his injured arm. He hadn’t even remembered to be careful when he was snowball-fighting with her. It didn’t even pain him anymore.
“Yeah,” he replied, feeling as if a giant weight had settled down in his stomach.
“What is it?” asked Luna, looking confused. “Aren’t you happy?”
“Huh? Of…of course, I am glad!” said Draco, frowning. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
Luna raised an eye-brow. “You don’t want to leave this place, do you?” she asked him knowingly.
Draco sighed and dropped his face into the snow. “We can’t stay here forever,” he murmured and Luna seemed to understand. They stayed there for a while, lying in the snow, talking occasionally. Later that day, soaked and freezing, they left the Snow Shed, a smile on their faces.
“So, when do we leave, Draco?” Luna asked him that night, sticking her head over the edge of her bed to look down at him.
“Day after tomorrow,” Draco replied. “I don’t think Mr. Lovely would get me go yet…”
Luna was silent for a while. “What happens if we don’t go back?” she asked. Draco glanced at her, contemplating her question. He had been wondering about the same thing these past couple of days.
“I don’t know. But nothing good, I presume.” His parents would be worried and so would Pansy. They all expected him to propose her anytime now. Before now, Draco hadn’t had the courage, but now, he wondered if he even wanted to marry Pansy. She didn’t love him anyway. “What are you thinking about?” he asked Luna, curiously. She had gone quiet again.
“The fact that we might never meet again after we get back.”
His eyes shot to hers but she wasn’t looking at him. Her eyes were glazed over and she seemed to be lost in her own world.
“Why do you say that?” he asked her, feeling worse by the second.
Luna shrugged, blinking her huge eyes and looking back at him. “Just a hunch. If I remember correctly, you’ve told me a dozen times before that we are from completely difference classes of human. I assume you’d never want to see me again,” she told him, nervously playing with the loose threads on her sheet.
“That’s not true!” Draco countered immediately. “We’ll keep seeing each other.”
“I hope so,” she sighed and rolled over. Draco couldn’t see her face anymore. He breathed deeply and put an arm over his eyes. Sleep didn’t come to him very soon.
The next day passed by so fast, Draco seriously doubted his wrist watch. He prodded it with his finger to see if it was working properly. The Lovelys had been disappointed when Draco and Luna had told them that they would be leaving the next day. But they helped in packing them lunch and a few spare pastries for their journey, since they had no idea where their young guests were from.
Gina and Tina were very sad, indeed, to see Draco going but if he was glad about one thing, it was to be away from those two girls, whose giggles still echoed in his head.
“They irritate me,” he complained to Luna as they marched back to their room.
“Well, they like you, what’s so irritating about that?” questioned Luna. She tripped on the rug and Draco instinctively caught her arm. “Thanks.”
Well, either they stare at me and start giggling stupidly or else they give me the sad face, which I totally don’t understand!” grunted Draco, making a face. Girls were a mystery.
“They are sad to see you go, that’s all,” soothed Luna. “Just forget about them, okay? We are leaving tomorrow anyway. For now, we need rest or else we’ll be easy prey to the Meerukas.”
The next morning, Mrs. Lovely and her daughters gave Draco and Luna a kiss on each cheek before sending them on their way. “Hope to see you again, dears,” sniffed Mrs. Lovely. “It was lovely to have you both with us.”
“Thank you,” replied Draco politely. “Um, Mrs. Lovely, is there a forest on this land?”
“Why, yes. There are three woods in our land. The nearest one is on the other side of the mountains. Why do you ask?”
“Oh, just wondering,” smiled Draco, waving his hand casually. “Come on,” he said to Luna, who was actually crying at their departure. Draco bit his lip in amusement. He was sad to leave them, too, but not as much as Luna. “Let’s go.” He tugged her sleeves, throwing her a significant look.
Luna nodded and hugged Mrs. Lovely. “Bye...sniff…I’ll miss you all. Tell Mr. Lovely my dad is just like him,” she called out as Draco dragged her away, back up the hill where they had landed days ago. The sun was right over their head but it didn’t seem like afternoon at all. The atmosphere was as cool as it usually is in the mornings.
They reached the top of the hill and Luna was still sniffing. Draco looked back at her. “Stop crying, Luna.” He didn’t expect her to obey him so quickly. She was looking at him in surprise. “What?”
“You just called me Luna,” she said, her eyes wide.
Draco hesitated, biting his tongue. “So?” he asked as casually as he could. “That’s your name, isn’t it?”
“Yes, but you never call me by my name.”
“Okay, I get the point,” said Draco quickly, getting angry. “I won’t make that mistake again.”
He paused. “What?”
Luna smiled, wiping her wet eyes with the back of her hands. “I like it when you call me Luna,” she told him.
Draco stared at her, speechless for the first time in his life. He opened his mouth to snap at her for doing such a thing to him but all that came out was, “Right, okay.” Damn you, Malfoy!
An awkward silence stretched between them for a couple of minutes before Luna remembered something and knitted her eye-brows together. “Why did you ask Mrs. Lovely about the forests?” she asked Draco, who snapped out of his confused thoughts and explained, “We fell down the hole in the tree, right?” Luna nodded. “But do you see any trees here?” Luna shook her head. “So how will we get back then?”
“Ohhhhh,” uttered Luna, looking like she understood what he was trying to tell her. “You mean to say, we’ll live in the jungle.”
Draco sighed in defeat. “No, Luna. I mean we found the clearing in the Forbidden Forest, didn’t we?” he said. “I think it was a no man’s land of sorts. There’s a chance we might find it in one of the forests in this land and thus, get back to our universe.”
Luna nodded, looking impressed. “I didn’t think of it that way.”
“Yeah, you didn’t. Now, come on, we’ve a long journey to make.”
Thus, both of them set off towards the mountains, hoping to find the so-called no man’s land, as Draco called it, and go back home.
R&R please ^_^ Constructive criticism is appreciated.
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