He Didn't Like Her

by darsynia

Notes: AU—Luna and Draco are in the same year in this story. Created by request for ff.net's 'AngelicOne.' Written 4/22/06.

He didn’t like her.

Since first year, Slytherin took Charms with Ravenclaw, and even then, he hadn’t liked her. She was always reading, an activity he found intensely boring, and when she wasn’t reading, she was writing, something he wasn’t quite good at. Her eyes were too big, and her hair was too long—she looked rather well in her Ravenclaw uniform, whereas the Slytherin colors tended to make his skin look sallow and—wait.

Since when do I care what Lovegood looks like in a uniform?

He still didn’t like her; even her name was ridiculous.

Charms ended, and Draco studiously avoided watching the students turn to leave the classroom, determined to suppress whatever strange instinct had caused his admiration of his fellow student’s clothing. To his disgusted fascination, however, Luna had made her way to the front of the room to speak with Professor Flitwick.

She wore two different shoes today, and her gait was unsteady. Normally this would have caused him to be filled with a desire to ridicule her, but with his friends gone to lunch and no one to notice his scrutiny, he found to his surprise that her casual disregard for convention was almost endearing. Luna strode—as much as it was possible to do so when one’s shoes were of different heights—across the room with a confidence that many of his peers wouldn’t have been capable of, even when wearing a tuxedo and tails.

Draco sat down at his desk, arranging what little notes he’d taken with the textbooks he barely looked at, trying to appear as if he had a reason to delay his exit from the room. The conversation between Lovegood and her Head of House was animated, and he saw none of the dreamy, otherworldly quality that the girl usually displayed.

Her hands moved quickly, almost like butterflies flitting from flower to flower as she demonstrated an intricate wand movement. Finally, she reached up into the impossible tangle of what had originally been a bun, and retrieved her wand from her hair. His focus shifted from watching her hands to looking at her hair; there was a pale colored quill nestled in the back of it, the feathery ends of which tangled with wisps of blonde. He found himself wondering how long it had been there.

His charms text fell to the floor, and the two at the front of the room turned to see what had caused the sudden noise. Draco apologized curtly, gathering his things quickly and stalking from the room. He found it slightly insulting that Luna hadn’t displayed any reaction on her face whatsoever when she’d seen who had caused the sound. Draco would have thought that after nearly six years at school together, she should have had some sort of opinion formed of him by now, it was only natural.

After all, he didn’t like her.

She walked past him at dinner, and he resolutely did not turn his head to ascertain whether or not she’d removed the quill from her hair. As she passed out of earshot, Goyle let out a rough laugh and commented that the batty girl probably couldn’t afford to buy matching shoes.

“I think she just doesn’t care, actually,” Draco said, busying himself with a slice of pudding.

“That’s even more pathetic.” Gregory laughed, a rough sound that for the first time made Draco almost cringe from the crudity of it. He wanted to respond that, rather than pathetic, it showed an incredible strength of character—but he didn’t like her, and he didn’t want to give that sort of impression.

The next week in Charms, Professor Flitwick had them line up in a row to practice shield charms, something that the Headmaster had suggested the students learn. The diminutive professor made it clear that they were to choose from only three mild offensive charms—so that there was somewhat of an element of surprise—and each student would have the chance to defend themselves against the whole class.

Luna’s turn was before his, and it was only natural that the students turned to watch the action as she repeatedly cast Protego! against attempts to hex her. He couldn’t see the back of her hair, but was surprised to see that the necktie she wore was properly tied and straightened. He would have expected someone who had hurriedly chosen two wrong shoes (something she hadn’t done today, he’d noticed) would almost certainly not have bothered with the rest of her apparel.

When Luna reached him, she had an impressive perfect record. Just as he raised his wand to cast something at her, however, he saw the barest hint of a feather brushing the top of her head—the quill was still there, or she’d replaced it at some point during the day.

His momentary hesitation dropped her guard, and when he realized he’d been staring, he cast his charm at her quickly—and it struck.

She stumbled back as though punched in the chest, nearly falling over until he thrust out a hand to steady her. The look she gave him was grateful, and Draco was pleased that the girl finally had some sort of opinion of him that showed in her eyes.

He didn’t apologize, however, because he didn’t like her.

“You know, this is a women’s bathroom,” Luna told him, standing in the middle of the room and looking at him unconcernedly. Any other girl of his acquaintance would have screamed, ridiculed, or threatened him in some way, but Luna Lovegood treated this as an everyday occurrence. Which he hoped she didn’t know wasn’t far from the truth.

“That’s what the ghosts tell me,” Draco replied blandly. Had it been Gregory Goyle or Vinny Crabbe, they’d have responded with something like ‘then why are you here,’ or some similar nonsense. Draco thought he knew Luna well enough to know that an insult like that wouldn’t phase her in the slightest.

“Ohhhh,” she said in that vague voice of hers. “You mean Myrtle—we talk sometimes.”

Draco was a little put out by her casual treatment. He was under quite a bit of stress, and for some reason her lack of an extreme reaction to him seemed to add to his tension.

“Is there any particular reason why you’re here?” he decided to ask.

“No,” Luna said dreamily, intensely preoccupied with the handle of a faucet. He was exasperated, now. This was the one place he could go and release his feelings, be it anger, frustration, or—

“Do you think there’s somewhere else you could go, then?”

“If one of us were going to leave, don’t you think it ought to be you?” Luna pointed out, with infuriating logic. He started to get angry.

“What if I threatened to hex you if you didn’t leave?” Draco stood up and pulled his wand from the sleeve of his robe. Luna remained where she was, not even setting down her bag of books as though preparing for his attack.

“That might be interesting—but don’t use one of the Unforgivables,” she said animatedly, her grey eyes wide. “—I don’t think I would like that.”

Luna Lovegood had to be the most frustrating girl he’d ever met in his life.

“What would make you go away?” Draco said, starting toward her purposefully—but not even the menace of a physical attack seemed to make her budge. She even turned her head at the sound of a dripping pipe behind her, and as she did so the quill she’d stuck in her hair quivered. It was a different one from the previous days’, confirming his suspicions that she was in the habit of storing them there. He found himself wondering if it was warm from the heat of her body, and if it smelled like her hair…Draco stepped over to her and reached for it.

Luna trembled.

Finally he’d found something that affected her—but what he hadn’t counted on was the effect on him. When he stood this close to Pansy, she always melted onto him as though what she thought he wanted was a clingy second skin. Luna stood her ground, her eyes bright, her skin flushed.

“What do you want, Draco?” she asked; the manner of her query as different from Pansy as possible. Suddenly what Draco wanted wasn’t for her to leave, at all. He felt like one of the ancient warriors he’d read about once, the kind that conquered their foes in order to absorb their powers.

Draco wanted her confidence, her manner of doing exactly as she pleased without a care as to how she was perceived by others.

“What do you want?” He’d never asked Pansy that.

“A new experience,” Luna said, reaching out touch his face. He was struck by the certainty that whether he welcomed it or slapped her for it, either would be acceptable for her. He chose the former, stepping close to her and exulting in the way her warm body seemed to tremble at his closeness.

“I don’t like you, you know,” he said roughly, leaning over to kiss her neck.

“Good,” came her unexpected reply. “I’m not very good at making friends.”