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A/N: For all those who have been waiting for the return of Draco & Luna!

Chapter 2

Bittersweet

It was cold, so very cold that his bones felt like ice. Sitting alone in the dimness on his sad excuse for a bed, Draco Malfoy stared at the chipped bricks and mould of his cell wall. He had only been in Azkaban for a week, but Draco could completely understand how his aunt and many others like her, had lost their sanity being cooped up with only the cold, the darkness and the four walls of their cells for company.

Draco felt some small measure of relief that the Dementor’s were not still howling around Azkaban, they hadn’t been rounded up yet. With the horrendous feelings of misery they brought with them he would be feeling ten times worse than he was right now; and Draco was feeling dreadful.

Regret was his best friend at the moment. He had been constantly feeling this single emotion for way too long. Regret was with him constantly, burning a hole in his stomach like an ulcer. Closing his eyes and leaning back against the pillow he had propped up against the wall, Draco saw Luna as clearly as if she were stood in front of him. He thought about her constantly, his one big regret. Luna had been the one good thing that he’d had in his life and he had thrown her away to follow in his fathers footsteps and worship the Dark Lord.

Guilt came at him next, it usually did when he thought about Luna. Thinking about her was bittersweet, he became blissfully happy for a short space of time as he recalled her kisses and the time they had spent together. But then the guilt and bitterness would take over, pushing his mind to the last time he had spoken to her, when he had shattered her belief in him and caused that distressed look to cross her face and the haunted look to come into her eyes. It hurt so much to think about Luna, but yet Draco couldn’t stop torturing himself with memories of her.

Swallowing back the tears that burned behind his eyes, Draco wrapped his arms around his torso as though he were holding himself together and stopping the pain from ripping him apart. He was scared, and lonely and Draco had no way to help himself get out of the mess he was in. He wanted to curl up into a ball on his bed and cry until he had no energy left and a peaceful, dreamless sleep would come and claim him, taking him away from the misery of his daily existence.

As much as he tried to stop himself, Draco couldn’t help his mind wandering feebly here and there, touching on memories that were best left alone because they only brought more internal pain, made his chest ache as though someone had slashed at his heart and left him bleeding.

Draco thought again of Luna, of her long silky blonde hair and big blue eyes, of her soft smile and lilting voice. He thought of her locked away in the cellar of Malfoy Manor for months on end, shut away underground in the dark with no light or fresh air, left to wilt like a flower without water. Luna liked to be outside, she liked to wander in open spaces and breathe in the many different scents of flowers brought to her in the wind. His family had denied her the simple pleasure of looking up at the sky, and he had done nothing to rectify it.

Draco scowled and pushed himself up off the bed, pacing round the small cube of a cell with frustratingly small strides. He had left her there, only sneaking down to see her in the dead of night and even then he hadn’t spoken to her. He should have done something, even if it was only to offer her an apology for everything. Draco kicked out petulantly at the steel frame of his bed, he should have told her the truth, told her why he had done what he had, why he had said those despicable things to her. He should have spoken some words of comfort to her, he could have been there for Luna when she really needed him, just as she had been there for him. But, he had done nothing. He had tiptoed down to the cellar to check on her, make sure she wasn’t hungry or too cold or suffering any harm. Draco sighed heavily, he had allowed himself to look at Luna through a crack in the door for a short time, memorising her completely before leaving her alone and helpless in the dark to go back to his big, warm and comfy bed.

Brushing his hair from his eyes, Draco went to stand in front of the small mirror hanging on the wall. He examined himself carefully, Draco did not like what he saw. He was a spineless, pathetic coward. He had been so scared of everything that was going on that he had left Luna when she needed him. Luna had needed him, Draco knew it deep in his heart that Luna would have welcomed him back into her life if he had only asked. If he had told her the truth when she was locked away from the world he could have had her back. But he had been too scared of what might happen if he did. Not just to himself, but to her. Any association with him would have done her no favours, she wouldn’t have been released and if her friends had found out, well, Draco didn’t know what they would have done, how they would have reacted towards her and he wouldn’t want her to loose her friends because of him.

When he thought about it, really, Luna was better off away from him. All he could have offered her over the last two years would have been darkness, pain and misery. Luna was like an angel, Draco had come to regard her that way, as something good and decent. Whenever he heard about the “Light Side”, somehow Draco always pictured Luna, and thought of Potter fighting for her rather than anything else.

Luna had been his light and he had extinguished her. There would be no going back for him now. Perhaps he might have stood a chance a year ago, if he had explained everything to her, begged for forgiveness and asked for her help. Now though, Draco shuddered, he couldn’t bear to see her, couldn’t stand seeing the disgust on her face and that look in her eyes condemning him for all his dark sins. For bringing the Death Eaters into Hogwarts, for the death of Dumbledore, for the disfigurement of Bill Weasley, for the near murder of Katie Bell and Ron Weasley.

Even Luna, even his angel couldn’t forgive him for what he had done.

For the last week, locked away from the world with only his thoughts to occupy him, Draco couldn’t help going over and over things in his head. He thought of all the opportunities he’d had to ask Luna to forgive him and he hadn’t taken them. Draco could easily recall all the nights he had spent lying awake, wondering what she was doing and how she was, missing her company and her soft voice. Still, he had done nothing to remedy the mess he had made between them. Still he had let himself drown in his own misery rather than admit he was wrong.

Sighing heavily, Draco gave himself a little shake to try to pull himself together, after all, he had done the right thing in breaking her heart the way that he had. All those hurtful things he had said to Luna had kept her out of all the darkness and horror. Draco knew that Luna was stronger than him, braver than him, and she deserved someone who was the same as her, not someone who couldn’t cope with life the way that it was.

Smiling faintly, Draco remembered how Luna used to stroke his fur when he was pretending to be her little pet, Dragon the ferret. He remembered how gentle her fingers were and how warm her hands were when she held his. Draco remembered how Luna felt in his arms, he could almost feel her right at that moment and how passionately she had kissed him!

Angrily he swore, kicking out at the wall with frustration and regret which did not ease up in their relentless torments to his mind no matter how much time passed.

Leaning against the cold wall, Draco raised his sore eyes upwards and stared out of the bars of the tiny window high on the wall. He could just see the grey of the sky through the swirling mist and fog that surrounded Azkaban. Even him, a criminal in the eyes of the law if not yet sentenced, could breathe in fresh air and see the sky. A harsh burning caught at his throat as he once again thought of Luna locked away in the cellar.

Draco heard the steady footsteps clicking down the corridor, but he didn’t bother to turn around and see who it was. It wasn’t unusual for one of the guards to do a patrol every few hours and they never spoke to him anyway, so he had given up trying.

Very suddenly, Draco caught a whiff of something familiar. His nose twitched in appreciation at the scent of lily’s and cinnamon, and a light flowery perfume. It was the sweetest temptation in the world and had always drawn him in. Draco blinked and shook his head slightly, Azkaban was really starting to get to him and he’d only be there a week. Already he was imagining her scent, Merlin only knew what would happen to his mind if he was found guilty and sentenced to years in this place. Draco thought distantly that he might end up as mad as his aunt Bellarix. Because really, he had to be imagining it. It couldn’t really be true, Luna Lovegood couldn’t really be there in Azkaban.

Before he could stop himself, although deep inside he was already prepared to feel foolish and incredibly disappointed, Draco turned around.

He blinked rapidly, complete shock registering on his face. Luna was stood on the opposite side of the bars a midnight blue cloak draped over her slender shoulders, the hood perched on top of her head.

Slowly, she raised trembling hands and pushed her hood back to reveal her honey blonde hair curling around her neck and shoulders. Large blue eyes, whose colour was only enhanced by the shade of her cloak, stared at him with shimmering tears threatening to fall at any moment.

Draco blinked again, clearly he was not as strong as he thought he was, he had only been in Azkaban a week and his mind had turned already. He was hallucinating.

Luna’s hand curled around the freezing bars of his cell, her dreamy voice whispering his name.

Draco just stared, he could still smell her. Surely hallucinations didn’t bring familiar scents with them did they? He swallowed back the lump in his throat, his grey eyes wandering all over her, drinking her in, memorising every tiny detail of her. It had been ever so long since he had last been able to look at her and Draco couldn’t tear his eyes away.

Finally he managed to find his voice, it sounded all rusty when he spoke, “What are you doing here? How did you get in here?” Draco frowned slightly, he really didn’t like the fact that Luna was there in Azkaban, and he also wasn’t happy that she had seen him locked away.

Taking a calming breath to ensure she didn’t start crying, she said, “I had to come, Draco. I had to. Harry arranged for me to come to visit you.” Luna’s voice began to clog up, and she pressed her free hand to her mouth as if she could keep her sobs locked away. Her tears fell anyway, she couldn’t help it, couldn’t control them, not when Draco was imprisoned in this place. “Oh, Draco, I can’t stand seeing you locked up.”

“You’re here,” Draco croaked, shaking his head slowly. He still couldn’t comprehend what was happening, and he was afraid to really let himself believe Luna was there in case he blinked and she disappeared.

“Of course I am,” Luna gave him a watery smile. “Do you really think I’d let you suffer in here all by yourself?”

Draco’s heart was hammering in his chest, and he had a sudden shortage of breath. Having Luna there in front of him brought to life the same bittersweet feeling that his memories of her did. She was so close to him but still he couldn’t touch her. Draco was unable to put even a hand through the bars of his cell, if he did he received the stupefy jinx that of course caused him to fall motionless to the ground.

A surge of guilt shot through him when he recalled that he had let her suffer all by herself. All he seemed to do to Luna was make her suffer, whether it was breaking her heart or leaving her locked away in the bowels of his home.

Almost as if she read his mind, Luna said, “I know you came to see me when I was a prisoner in your cellar, Draco. Even though you didn’t speak, I could feel you,”

Draco’s eyes widened in shock, his mouth worked for a few seconds but no sound came out. He was actually at a loss for an answer. How did he answer that? On the one hand he was glad that she knew he had been there, but on the other hand it really made him look spineless and weak. She had the backbone to come into Azkaban for him and he couldn’t even say hello to her when she was in his own home.

“I’ve missed you, Draco,” Luna whispered, silent tears trickling a glittering course down her pale face. Her heart ached unbearably seeing him locked away, looking so sick and scared. He was so thin, worry clear on his face, there were dark smudges under his eyes and his shoulders sagged dejectedly. There was a general air of exhaustion about him and Luna wished she could take away some of his burden and shoulder his despair herself.

His heart swelled at her simple statement, the truth of it evident in her face and her voice. In that instant Draco realised that his angel had indeed forgiven him for everything that he had done and everything that had passed between them. He had his chance, the chance he had been wishing for, he could have Luna back!

Draco opened his mouth to speak the words he so longed to say, but closed it again quickly. He had no idea how long he was going to end up locked away for, currently he was only on remand, but he didn’t even have a date to go before the Wizengamot, and when he did, Merlin only knew what sentence they would impose on him. Draco had been through his defence with his Counsel, and he didn’t even buy it, but it was all he had, the last card left to play, try to convince a bunch of old wizards and witches that he had been forced into everything, and that he was too young to take responsibility for his own actions. If he wasn’t so terrified of the outcome, Draco would have laughed at how ridiculous that sounded.

How could he do that to Luna? Draco wondered, how could he ask her to stay with him, to stand by him when he didn’t know what was going to happen to him? Draco knew he wouldn’t even have to ask, Luna was already there for him, all he had to do was confirm that he wanted her. However, if he did that, he could in effect, be imprisoning both of them. He’d be locked in Azkaban and Luna would be locked in her promise to him. Luna wouldn’t leave him, she wouldn’t betray him and Draco knew that, but she wouldn’t be able to live her life would she? He could be stuck in this place rotting away for years, not able to see her except on designated visits, and then on one of those visits he would be able to feel the change in her, he would know what had happened without Luna having to say the words. He would know she had met someone else, someone who was able to give her what he couldn’t and he would loose her.

Draco rubbed at his forehead absently, he didn’t think he could cope with loosing his ray of hope. His angel. Draco didn’t much like the idea of what being with an Azkaban inmate could do to Luna either. She would essentially become a target for anyone who had lost someone to the Death Eaters, to anyone who the Death Eaters had intimidated or humiliated, and unluckily for him, his Aunt and his father had indeed hurt a lot of people. Not that he was blameless, Draco didn’t for a second even try to convince himself of that anymore. He was responsible for the death of Dumbledore, and there weren’t many people in the wizarding world who would be willing to overlook that little incident.

Although he had a burning regret inside him for hurting her once before, Draco knew in his heart that he had to do it again. He knew he had to push Luna away for her own good, so that she could live her life untainted by him. Should he happen to get off with a light sentence, even though Draco couldn’t really see that happening, he could always go to see her and explain with the hope that she would forgive him a second time.

Squaring his shoulders and lifting an eyebrow mockingly, he asked, “Did you? Don’t you have anything better to do?”

Luna blinked, her mouth falling open in shock. “I… I don’t understand,”

Draco sighed heavily, “I would have thought that I had made it perfectly clear the last time we spoke,”

Luna shook her head slightly, “But you only said those things to me because of what you had to do. Harry told me what happened up on the tower, and I knew you had been distressed all through your sixth year,” she reached out through the bars towards him, “I could have helped you, Draco, I could have listened to you. You didn’t have to push me away,”

Draco felt the colour rise up from his neck to wash through his cheeks. He squirmed slightly on the spot extremely embarrassed at having been caught doing a good deed. Luna saw too much, she looked deeper than the surface of things and he hadn’t anticipated that when he had been busy doing the right thing. Although, the fact that Luna had known the truth for quite some time soothed his aching heart, Draco knew he still had to do what was best for her. For them both.

“You obviously remember it differently than I do. I distinctly remember telling you that you had to be loony to believe that I would really want to be with you,” Draco said harshly.

“But you didn’t mean that,” Luna told him softly, “You only said all of those hurtful things to push me away,”

“Believe what you want to believe,” Draco ran a hand though his hair with frustration, “You always do anyway. Although, I didn’t really think you were pathetic and loony enough to invent my feelings for you. You really don’t know the difference between myth and reality, do you, Loony?”

The blood drained from her face and Draco blurred as the burning tears filled her eyes and tumbled over her lashes. Luna pressed her hand to her throbbing heart, trying to squeeze the pain away. The pain that filled her body was unbearable, it made her think she was being torn in two. Luna gasped madly for breath, to attempt to bring herself under control and not break down, crumble to the floor and sob brokenly as she so badly wanted to do.

Clenching his jaw so tightly that it was starting to ache, Draco balled his hands into fists to try to steady himself. He hadn’t expected her to be overjoyed with his reaction, but the pain he was so obviously inflicting upon Luna seemed to be mirrored inside him. It was as though someone were continually sending the waves of crucio though his muscles straight to his heart that was cracking into pieces.

Luna’s face felt a slight relief when the cold metal bars of the cell touched her hot skin. She leant there heavily for a few minutes, worrying that she would collapse to the ground if she didn’t have something strong propping her up. Raising her eyes from the dirty floor she looked up at Draco, "For a few moments in my life you made me feel as if I truly meant something to someone."

Draco said nothing, he had no response to give to that, except to tell her the same thing. He wished she would hurry up and leave, he couldn’t stand looking at her when her dreamy face was contorted with so much inner pain.

Swallowing back the wrong words, Draco straightened his spine and looked directly into her face, willing his eyes not to give him away. “If you truly meant something, you would never have ended that year as a virgin.”

Luna jerked back from the bars as though he had burnt her. Her eyes were wide with shock and her face seemed to go even paler.

Lifting his top lip in his old customary sneer Draco mocked, “You can’t deny that you did rather throw yourself at me. If I had wanted you I could have had you. But, you were just a convenience at the time, nothing more,”

She was stricken, Luna couldn’t grasp the idea that she would have freely offered the one precious gift she had to give him when he looked down on her so much. She had loved him so fiercely all this time, believing deep in her heart that once the war was over she could be with Draco again, and all this time he hadn’t even thought of her once.

Draco watched, an agonising pain in his chest, as Luna’s hand flew to her mouth and for one horrible second he thought she was going to start screaming with hysteria. She swayed on the spot a sickly look to her face and clutched at the bars of his cell so tightly that her knuckles turned white. Draco took a step towards her, he had gone too far, she was going to collapse.

Her world was spinning and Luna thought she was going to vomit. Closing her eyes she took a deep calming breath trying to steady herself, and stop the swirling of her stomach. Her hand still at her mouth, Luna’s eyes popped open and she turned quickly on her heel, hurrying away from him, her shoes clattering on the concrete floor.

“NO!” The word left Draco’s mouth before he even registered it was in his head. What the hell was he doing? He was throwing Luna away again, the only person in the world apart from his parents who would be willing to stand by him and love him, Death Eater sins and all. He stumbled forward towards the cell door, panic stricken Draco called out to her again. “Luna! Come back! LUNA!”

He couldn’t do it, Draco realised, he couldn’t let Luna go for a second time. He was way too selfish to do once again what was best for Luna. Self-sacrifice was not in his nature, he had been lucky to get through it the first time. Without Luna, life in Azkaban wouldn’t be worth living. He needed her. Draco needed Luna desperately.

“Please! Luna, come back! LUNA!” Draco bellowed, getting as close to the bars as he dared to go, he couldn’t risk getting stupefied now. His voice echoed down the corridor and he heard her footsteps stop. He held his breath, his ears straining to pick up any little sound that might indicate what Luna was doing, he couldn’t see her from where he was and he was right in the corner of the cell.

With his heart in this throat, Draco listened to the distant sound of her footsteps, trying to work out if she was going or coming back to him.

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