A Way Out
For the Houses Competition (THC): round 2: everyone needs companionship. (year 7)
Prompt: Draco/Luna (positive pairing)
Story Word count: 2856 (inc line break) (currently)
Total inc AN: 2932
Betas: Butterflies765, CupCakeyyy, VanillaAshes and DaughteroftheOneTrueKing thank you guys.
This is an Au where Daphne Greengrass goes to the Hogshead meeting and decides to sign herself and her year mates up. Another Au factor is Lucius Malfoy is horrible in this world, and Draco is not part of the inquisitorial squad, or is yet to join.
I do not own HP.
Draco laid back on his bed in the cottage he and his mother shared as he thought back to how he had gotten here. It started three years ago, during his fifth year, that everything had changed, including his perspective on people such as Dumbledore and Potter. He owed part of this revelation to Daphne, but Luna had been the one to save him. If it weren't for Luna's meddling, he would probably have become a Death Eater and either be arrested or dead by now.
Shock had filled the fifteen-year-old when Daphne had told him that she had signed them up for a secret defence club, known as the 'DA'. As excited as she seemed about it, Daphne always evaded any question about what that stood for. "You'll see," was the only response he got.
While he wouldn't admit it, Draco had been nervous about this 'DA Club' and hadn't been in the mood to follow along with Daphne's mysterious plan. He had bet that this club hadn't been cleared by Umbridge. Draco did want to get good marks in all his O.W.L.S, after all, and at the rate they were going with Umbridge, he'd be lucky to pass Defence Against the Dark Arts, let alone receive an Exceeds Expectations or an Outstanding. That pink toad seemed to have made it her life ambition to see them all fail her class by not allowing them to practice their spells, he felt like he didn't have a choice but to attend this secret club.
The bright side was, however, that Daphne had signed all of the fifth-year Slytherins up, too, despite the fact everyone except for her, Tracy and Blaise didn't like blood traitors or muggle-borns. Therefore, he wasn't the only one being dragged along..
Much to his shock and horror, the club was headed by none other than his least favourite trio: Weasley, Granger and Potter. At least those three had seemed just as shocked to see him as he was to see them. Weasley had attempted to throw him and the other Slytherins out.
"They can't stay, they're slimy Slytherins! We can't trust them, Hermione!" Weasley exclaimed.
"Ron, they are students, too. They have just as much right to pass their Defence Against the Dark Arts O.W.L as we do." Granger sighed. "I have done things to ensure anyone who exposes us regrets it. Can't you please put aside your prejudice for one hour every now and then?"
"They might be here to spy on us! We can't trust them!" Weasley argued.
It didn't escape Draco's notice that Potter had been very silent, he probably agreed with Weasley.
"I'm not saying we should share The Order's secrets, I'm just saying we should let them stay," Granger said, somehow staying patient. "They can't back out as their names are on the list. If they sell us out, they'll get into trouble too."
"Come on, Ron, let's give them a chance," Potter finally spoke. "I trust Hermione and we are just wasting time now."
He wasn't about to go and find out, but the Slytherin was willing to bet if he tried to tell a teacher, he'd find he couldn't say anything or, worse, he'd get cursed, thanks to Granger's parchment. If it was discovered, his name was on the list and he'd get into trouble anyway, even if he didn't turn up.
The second he had been paired up with his 'practice buddy' he instantly regretted his decision in coming here. She was chosen just to annoy him, Draco was certain. Potter was always pairing him up with Lovegood when they were practising spells, and she frustrated him to no end. He was sure Potter had done it on purpose. The amused looks Potter gave him didn't help matters.
The Ravenclaw was behaving as if she were on drugs, walking around in a dream-like state. Not to mention, she loved annoying him, constantly talking about creatures he was sure didn't exist, like blibbering humdingers. He idly wondered whether she did that on purpose. Was that some cracked-up test Potter had decided he needed to be put through?
He also hated the fact Lovegood never seemed to be paying attention, and yet she'd know which spell they were working on and always seemed to best him when she cast it.
One day, when they had been taking a break, Draco found himself chatting with Lovegood. It had started out of plain boredom, when everybody else was distracted, and about general school homework.
"I think I know what Umbridge's problem is," Luna said suddenly.
"Huh?" Draco replied, being broken out of his musings. Where did that come from?
"I think Umbridge is terrified of us," Luna explained. "That's why she's unkind to everyone, to assert her authority before we usurp hers."
"Why would she think that?" Draco asked, wondering what was wrong with Umbridge simply being a mean nasty woman.
Unfortunately, Luna just shrugged. "People do weird things when they're scared." Her gaze drifted away from him as her eyes glossed over. "I think Professor Snape needs some dirigible plum earrings. I believe he is being tormented by Nargles and these help ward them off." She gestured to the radish-like earrings she wore.
Despite his previous thoughts on her, Draco found himself enjoying conversing with the girl. He still found her annoying, but as he quickly discovered, she was a lovely person once you got past her annoying side. Another thing he liked, was that unlike the other members of the DA and Hogwarts in general, she talked to him like he wasn't anyone special, just another student.
She didn't care that his father was a Death Eater, she didn't care that he had been horrible to half the school, and she didn't care that he was a Slytherin. Lovegood, or Luna as he allowed himself to call her now, knew all those things and treated him normally.
Draco, for some reason that he couldn't quite place yet, he had started enjoying her company. He realised that out of all the people he talked to, Luna was the one who never failed to make him feel better.
"Look, your friend Daphne is having trouble," Luna said, changing the subject once more and pointing behind Draco. He turned around to see Daphne failing to cast the disarming spell spectacularly. The sight made him gleeful. The blond might have been enjoying himself now, but he was still sore at Daphne.
Draco turned his attention back to his 'partner' and stood up, it was probably time they got back to training. Though, as he looked at Luna, he couldn't help but ask: "What's on your mind?" He couldn't predict it and that was exhilarating.
"I hope the muggles go back to the moon soon," Luna answered.
"What? You're pulling my leg! There is no way muggles have been to the moon!" Draco exclaimed, unable to believe such a thing is possible from muggles.
"They have," Luna shook her head over Draco's denial that muggles could do such a thing. "Daddy says if they go back, a wizard should go so they can prove moon frogs exist."
Draco almost smiled as he thought back to one of their discussions about creatures and thought back to when he had decided that mood frogs were his favourite of her creatures.
"That would be good." Draco nodded, begrudgingly allowing himself to give muggles some credit for going to the moon.
They soon got back to practicing, and had he known that would be his last DA meeting, he might have said something else to her. He wasn't sure what, but something.
But things changed. Somebody sold them out and DA - or Dumbledore's Army as he had become accustomed to - had ended. Dumbledore had taken the responsibility - and earnt a newfound respect from him.
However, the biggest change that he focused on was Luna; she had gone with Potter and his friends to save Sirius Black in the Ministry, and despite saying she was fine, he knew she wasn't.
Draco spent many hours letting her talk about it and talking it over with her. He found himself opening up with events he'd never told anyone before. Like how he was thankful his Dad had been arrested and hoped he never found about his involvement in the DA club.
However, with all this, he still had his own fears and stresses to get through.
Even though Draco pretended that he didn't care about what had happened to his father, he couldn't stop the overwhelming amount of emotions. By the time Luna had found him, tears had openly begun to fall down his cheeks. He had tried to stay strong, but now his facade had broken, he couldn't hold it any longer.
"It's all over!" he sobbed.
"What do you mean?" she asked, a puzzled expression on her face.
"My father won't be gone long," he told her, tears still running down his face. "He's horrible to me and Mother, and without the dementors, he'll escape soon."
Luna nodded, but she didn't speak a word. Draco waited for her to say something, anything. But she didn't and he felt compelled to continue.
"But that's not the worst," he continued, the words pouring out of him. "He was on some kind of mission at the Ministry and he failed! He had to get something but he failed!" Draco tried to take a breath but it turned into another sob. "The Dark Lord will kill all three of us, now! Or worse, he'll make me join him for my mother's life," he cried, his anguish pouring through his voice. "Don't you see? I'm going to die."
Luna paused. She looked as though she was thinking over what he had just said. After a moment, she suggested: "You and Mrs Malfoy could run away. Surely she can leave?"
Draco looked up at her earnest face, trying to find solutions.
"I'm sure if you talked to the headmaster, he would protect you. And perhaps the rest of your family, too." Luna hesitated before continuing. "According to Harry, the headmaster runs a secret organisation called the Order of the Phoenix, which is for fighting Voldemort." Draco flinched at his name, but if Luna noticed, she didn't show it. "...and protecting people who need it. Please consider it. I couldn't bear it if anything happened to you."
"I suppose," Draco allowed, wondering if Dumbledore would really help them. He was shocked that such an organisation existed. He was sure the man didn't like him, so why would he? "I'm not sure if I could, though. He's been my enemy for so long now... How can I go and talk to him? He probably doesn't care, anyway."
Luna grabbed his hand and pulled him off the floor, causing Draco to blush at the touch. Shoot, he didn't need to discover he had feelings for her right now. Despite his suspicion, he hoped it was a crush.
"I'll go with you and lend moral support! I'm sure Headmaster Dumbledore will listen!" Luna exclaimed. He could see her desperation to help him.. "Professor Flitwick has always been kind to me, listening to my stories of nargles and helping me, so I'm sure he'd understand and get Dumbledore to hear you out." She paused for a moment then adding: "Speaking of which, have you seen any of my shoes? The nargles have run off with them. I'll tell Flitwick eventually but I thought I'd ask you first."
"Again?" Draco exclaimed, sniffling, recalling how she had been missing some shoes just a few weeks ago. The entirety of the DA had joined in the search, with the female Weasley eventually finding them stuffed behind a toilet in a bathroom.
"Yes." Luna nodded sadly. "I know they like to have their fun, but it's a pain when the nargles take my shoes. I have to wear my school shoes all the time, and they're uncomfortable."
"You could try anti-theft charms," Draco suggested, wiping his face. "I don't know any, but I've heard of them. There are probably some books in the library. "
"Really? Do you think that would work?" Luna asked, perking up.
"Why wouldn't the charms work? Those charms have proven to stop pixies and rodents from stealing things." Draco shrugged. "Some jewellers use them, too, according to Mother."
"Right, I'll look into it. Either way, they'll turn up eventually." A pause. "Shall we go and find Professor Flitwick now?" Luna asked, changing the subject.
"Sure." Draco nodded, feeling very nervous about the whole idea. Could Dumbledore really help him? Would he? Luna assured him the elderly wizard would help Draco and his mother, but he couldn't help but feel doubtful and worried.
As Luna had promised, Flitwick was happy to help, especially when he heard what could happen to Draco and his mother. Draco noted that he had looked very concerned as Draco told his story.
Professor Flitwick escorted them to the headmaster's office, leaving them just outside the door as he spoke to Dumbledore. Draco stood there feeling nervous, there wasn't even any scenery to look at to take his mind off it.
"Come in," Flitwick said, opening the door and gesturing for them to come closer. As they entered the office, a sense of dread filled Draco, and he soon found himself with the desire to turntail and run.
It suddenly occurred to Draco he had been holding Luna's hand this entire time and he hastily let go. Holding someone's hand was a sign of weakness and he didn't want to show that. He flinched as the door closed behind them. Fltiwick was gone.
"Ah, Miss Lovegood, Mr Malfoy, sit down. Lemon Drop?" Dumbledore offered, gesturing to the dish in front of him filled with sweets in yellow wrappers. Draco didn't recognise them.
"No thanks, Headmaster. I fear they may attract gulping plimpies." Luna shook her head as she and Draco sat down across from Dumbledore.
"No thank you," Draco answered, not sure what lemon drops were and not wanting to find out. He just wanted to get this over with.
"So, Professor Flitwick tells me that because your father got arrested, yourself and your mother are in danger, correct?" Dumbledore asked and Draco nodded. "And if Voldemort doesn't kill you, he'll make you a Death Eater?"
Draco flinched at the Dark Lord's name being said. "Y-yes, sir. Knowing the Dark Lord, he'll give me an impossible task in light of my father's failure to make him pay," Draco responded. "I'm worried about my mother, Headmaster. She'll certainly be punished somehow and this is not her fault! Please!"
"I understand, Mr Malfoy," Dumbledore nodded. It seemed like a lifetime of silence while Draco waited for Dumbledore to respond, to say anything.
"With the help of various Order members, we have several safehouses set up for people in your position. Perhaps your and your mother could even stay with your aunt, Andromeda, for a while?" Dumbledore suggested, recalling the senior Tonks. Despite not being Order members, they were always happy to aid them, and he knew Andromeda had always valued family above all else.
"She might," Draco considered. "I don't know what Mother's relationship with her is like, though. I know they haven't spoken in many years."
"War brings people together," Luna commented.
"What Miss Lovegood says is true, Mr Malfoy." Dumbledore nodded. "In the meantime, perhaps ask your mother to come to the school. I can arrange for Severus to pick her up at the gates. Until we find somewhere for you to go, we can at least ensure your safety here."
"Okay, I will." Draco nodded. He liked the idea. "Thank you, Headmaster."
"No problem, Mr Malfoy, but I think Miss Lovegood is the one who deserves the credit. She was the one who brought it up with Fillius," Dumbledore said, smiling. "I shall contact you as soon as I hear anything."
"Thank you, sir." Draco nodded again as he and Luna stood up. They said goodbye to Dumbledore then left the office.
As they stepped past the Gargoyle statue, Draco turned to Luna. "Thank you, Luna. You have no idea how much better I feel. It was a good idea to come here."
"It's okay, Draco. That's what friends do," Luna said warmly. "When your mother comes, I want to meet her. I'm sure she'll be just like you and will love hearing about Nargles and Moon Frogs!"
"Maybe," Draco said, not believing she'd be interested, but not wanting to burst Luna's bubble.
"Anyway, see you later!" Luna said cheerfully. Out of nowhere, she kissed him on the cheek before skipping off leaving him to stare after her. Oh Merlin, what had just happened? Why had she kissed him? Could she possibly have feelings for him?
Draco didn't know, but he resolved to find out. In the meantime, Draco would enjoy the fact the future was looking up. He hoped it would stay that way.