Word Count: 3047
Summary: Seeking to atone, Draco finds Luna and discovers more than he imagined possible.
Disclaimer: This piece is based on characters and situations created by J. K. Rowling, and owned by J. K. Rowling and various publishers, including but not limited to: Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made from and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by the posting of this fic.
Author's Note: arynwy prompted me with Luna/Draco: Pensieve and diarchy. Draco submits himself to Luna in atonement for his family's treatment of her.
"Good relationships should be diarchies," Luna has told him, and Draco still isn't certain what she means. His father is the head of his family, and his mother's never seemed to have a problem with it, but Luna's different.
That's putting it nicely.
Draco would like to put it nicely, but he doesn't dare let on; he's not here to get himself off but to atone for his family's sins.
The idea is almost too Muggle to be borne, but Draco hasn't felt much like a pureblood of late; proper wizards don't imprison witches, torture people, or brand themselves with the Marks of a genocidal half-bloods. He's told Luna that he'll do anything she wants to make things up to her, and he means that. He does. Well, all right, he wants to mean it, and he's going to try; he was never well liked, and lately . . . .
What the hell is she doing? he wonders, as Luna pulls memory after memory from her mind and sets each one to swirling in the Pensieve she requested.
Actually, he thinks he knows: she wants him to see how much he and his family have hurt other people. It will be boring, but Draco's certain that he can bear up through the unpleasantness; Luna's memories aren't the only ones swirling about in that silver bowl.
He tries not to fidget while Luna works. Malfoys don't fidget.
"We'll need to set the rules now," Luna says finally, looking up. "Both of us are involved, so it's up to us to understand how things will go."
Draco still doesn't understand. He's the "penitent"; Luna should set the rules. That's how retribution works, isn't it?
"What do you want me to do?"
Luna shakes her head. "What do we want to do?"
"Er, I told you that. I'm here to make things right between us."
"So that . . . ?"
Draco swallows. "Sothatpeoplewon'thateme."
"I'm sorry, what was that?"
"So that people won't hate me, I said." Draco's annoyed, but that doesn't stop him from thinking, So that you won't hate me.
"That's interesting. You didn't say, 'So that people won't hate my family'."
Draco doesn't have an answer, so he waits for Luna to speak again.
"All right, well, what I want is for you to experience all the memories in this Pensieve. All of them. All at once. Without stopping. And then I want you to contribute some of your own."
"Why some of mine?"
"I don't want to tell you that," Luna says, smiling enigmatically. "I think you'll understand why some of yours when you've seen what's here," she tells him, gesturing at the bowl.
Draco nods his assent. "But what's the rest of it?"
"The rest of what? That's what I want. What you want will take more than this viewing, but it'll be a start. As long as we're both in agreement . . . ?"
"Er, all right," Draco says, leaning forward.
There's a dreadful, stomach-squishing sort of falling as he submerges his head into the Pensieve, and Draco hates it. He feels as though he's got no control whatsoever. It's not a condition in which a proper Malfoy should ever find himself, but he's doing this for his family. He has to accept it. Bracing himself for whatever horrible memory awaits him, he comes to "land" amid an orchard and laughter.
They're everywhere, and they're laughing. Fred and George Weasley are flying overhead on old-model broomsticks flicking Fizzy Fizzlepops in various animal shapes at an older redheaded boy.
Bill or Charlie Weasley, Draco thinks.
He doesn't seem to mind, and everyone finds it incredibly funny as he snatches one of the twins from his broomstick and sends him rolling over the ground.
"Pirate!" shouts the de-broomed twin, while even Percy Weasley, who's reading under a nearby tree, looks up and grins.
Ron and Ginny are doing something with a garden gnome.
Dressing it up. Ridiculous, Draco thinks, turning to see Mr Weasley give his wife a squeeze around the waist and a quick peck on the cheek.
He has no idea why he's watching this scene. There's nothing awful about it. It's just a family. He's just noticed a Weasley with a toy dragon—it's been carved from wood, painted, and charmed to fly, he sees—when the scene begins to go all watery and merge with another one; the light is darker, the tones of those present, muted, and he finds himself looking up into the loving, green eyes of a woman with vibrant red hair of a slightly different shade than the Weasleys' hair.
Potter's mother, he thinks, wondering how Potter was able to have recovered a memory like this one. He'd have to have been less than a year old when this happened.
He doesn't have long to consider it because the woman picks him up and opens her blouse.
Oh. Oh, no! he thinks, knowing what's coming, but suddenly, as his lips latch onto her nipple, a wave of warmth and safety and happy satiation overcomes him.
He's eating. He knows he's loved. It's . . . odd.
It's also annoying as hell to be interrupted with yet another memory just as the sucking gets good. He's now wandering an unruly garden in search of pixies. And he's just as intent upon those pixies as he was on that breast, which is odd.
I didn't think Pensieves worked quite this interactively, he thinks, only to forget about it as he achieves victory.
The hands holding the struggling pixie aren't his but Luna's, he decides; they're small and soft-looking and look like miniature versions of the hands of the woman before him; she looks exactly like Luna.
Draco can't remember the last time he felt such childish glee, such carefree happiness, such love. It makes his eyes burn, but he agreed to this, and anyway, Luna can't see him crying. Running after another pixie, he delves more deeply into the garden and finds himself in a forest.
Another memory, he tells himself. But whose?
"This way, Hermione," a woman with impossibly white teeth calls to him. "Your father's unpacking the gear, and I have a surprise for you!"
A surprise! Hermione-Draco is thrilled and runs forward, her-his heart nearly bursting when she-he sees the books in her-his mother's hands.
The surge of joy is almost too much to take, as is the squeal that Draco feels rolling out of herself-himself.
This is amazing magic, she-he thinks.
But it doesn't last.
The happy Granger parents disappear, their camping site with them, as he finds himself hiding in a clump of bushes before some odd contraption upon which two girls are swinging. He pushes his lank, dark hair from his eyes and only knows the desperate need to belong, to be loved, to be fed. Draco's never felt so hungry in so many ways before. It's awful, and yet, when he finds himself addressing the happy-looking redheaded girl and she looks at him, she speaks to him, Draco forgets everything but the joy he knows isn't his own.
It's not a shock, then, to find tears rolling down his cheeks when the harsh whooshing of the wind stops and he finds himself standing next to the Pensieve. Luna's standing there, holding one of his outstretched hands and holding up a handkerchief towards him with her free hand.
"I thought I might pull you out because of the crying," she says matter-of-factly.
Draco can't decide what's more stunning: Luna's eyes, the things he's just felt without knowing how it is possible that he did feel them, or the idea that someone might witness one crying and not mock one for it. He takes the handkerchief and wipes his eyes and cheeks without looking away. He feels naked. And wistful. And confused.
"Why did . . . you want me to see those?" he asks, of the memories.
"You'll never know anyone before you know what makes them happy."
That makes no sense, but Draco doesn't have an adequate response to Luna's assertion.
"And now it's your turn. Show me your happy memories," she says.
Draco swallows and pales. He should have figured it out; she showed him hers, and now he's to show her his.
But I don't have any happy memories. Nothing like those.
The idea frightens him. He blinks and drops the handkerchief. Luna doesn't drop his hand, however.
"Surely something good happened to you. Your parents love you."
Fuck you. Draco jerks away and turns his back on Luna, not truly certain at whom he's angry.
This isn't what he'd expected—this is worse than anything he could have imagined Luna would do to him.
"Draco, I'm afraid that I'll have to insist. I want to see your happy memories."
Luna's voice isn't unkind. It never is, is it? But Draco can't bring happiness to mind. Oh, there's approval; his parents showed him that, but there's nothing domestic or simply loving or . . . or whatever it is that Snape had felt when Lily Evans deigned to look upon him. Malfoys simply didn't behave that way.
"I can't do it."
"You can, and you will. You had everything, didn't you? You told us that often enough at school."
"I can't do it!" Draco shouts, beginning to run.
There's something familiar about the back garden, and of course even through his distress he understands: the pixies are still here. Luna and her mother didn't catch them all. But they aren't his, and he can't see them clearly enough to catch them because he's crying too hard.
No, no, no . . . .
The negative mantra follows him as the garden ceases being pretty and becomes thick forest. He can't escape the tenor of his thoughts, and they aren't happy ones. He doesn't know how long he's been running when exhaustion forces him to throw himself down upon the leaves. He sleeps.
When he wakes up, it's to the scents of meat roasting on a spit and wine mulling in a cauldron set upon a second fire. Someone has covered him with a blanket, and that same person, Draco assumes, has rolled him over onto another one. He's warm. And hungry. He's also alone.
Until Luna pushes into the clearing with a cage of pixies.
"Why do you catch them?" he asks.
"To let them go again, silly."
Draco wants to protest that; it's she who's silly, but he doesn't as Luna busies herself with dishing out the meal.
"This is for you," she tells him, handing him a plate and a goblet; Draco accepts them and waits until Luna has freed the pixies and got her own meal before eating.
"It's good," he says, really meaning it.
Luna smiles. "Diarchy," she says, as pixies begin to pile before them several dark-red berries.
"I don't understand."
"Well, you first approached me for a date, didn't you? With the idea that you might show me off to people who'd then forgive you as it would be assumed that I had, isn't that right?"
Draco drops the berries he's scooped up.
"You blush a lot," says Luna.
She told him to call her that within moments of his visit, and Draco doesn't understand why it's been so easy to think of her, let alone call her, by her given name. Everything's gone surreal.
"I do not." He doesn't quite snap the words.
"But you didn't really intend to give me a real apology at first, did you? That's all right. I knew that at the time. That's why I asked for the Pensieve."
"How'd you manage it? Those memories? Do they know you have them?" he asks, feeling like an idiot the moment the last question passes his lips. Of course they know. They'd have to.
"Mum's journals. She created spells and stretched magic. I've always wanted to try this trick, but I've never found her Pensieve, just her notes."
"Well, why with me? What are you trying to do?"
"I think you want to be happy," Luna says, as if that answer is enough.
Draco sinks his teeth into the rabbit and frowns. He doesn't know if anything he wanted to accomplish by coming to Luna has been successful. Good meat, though, he thinks, drinking from his goblet to wash it down.
"I think you want to belong to something that isn't a Malfoy something. After your running away, I'm pretty sure I'm right."
Draco's eyes burn again, and he tries not to think of how badly things have been going at home. During his parents' trials, it was Luna who'd sat by him. Just Luna. And even though her friends had eventually stopped glaring at him, he couldn't understand why they'd agreed to share their memories with her for his sake. It's too much not to know.
"Luna, tell me—please tell me what the hell's going on here. I . . . don't like not knowing."
"Get used to frustration," she replies, again, not unkindly, "because I don't quite know, either. I told you, I think you want to be happy, to be liked, and that means you have to know what happiness is so that you can try to give it to others. If you don't make people genuinely happy, no one will want to do the same for you—and that's very necessary to being liked."
Addled, he thinks. Romantically addled. He smiles because he sort of likes that she has that way about her now. "I don't see why you should go to all the bother."
"I don't either, I just know that I should. People tried to save you, you know, people I respect, so it's worth the trouble—and I don't always enjoy having a picnic alone. The pixies' conversation isn't very good."
"Yours might be if you can stop talking like a Malfoy and just be a boy. I like boys. And you're not that unpleasant, not really. A truly unpleasant person would never have brought me food in the dungeons, or blankets, or Healing salve for Mr Ollivander."
"Oh, so that's why."
"No, not entirely," Luna says, using a leaf to wipe her mouth.
It's very dainty, the way she does it, and Draco feels somewhat enchanted. Unexpectedly, he says, "I don't think Mother and Father care for one another very much," and flushes.
"I'm sorry to hear that."
Luna nods. "That's why I want you to learn about diarchial relationships. When we become a couple, it should be after we're friends. That way, when things go wrong, and they will because they always do, we'll have that friendship to rest on until the romance comes back."
It was his father who'd suggested that an arranged marriage with Luna would serve Draco and his "familial interests" quite nicely; at the time, Draco had just thought that shagging her after some very public dating would be enough, but the idea that Luna thought they should marry was almost as good as knowing that she wanted to be his friend.
"You're so . . . odd," he says, and there's wonderment in his tone that ordinarily he would have attempted to repress.
"No, I'm an Arithmancer, and numbers don't lie—well, unless people make them."
Not so loony, then, Draco thinks.
"I forgive you for being mean and an arse and too caught up in your own superiority to know that you were really just sad and acting a fool."
Draco, gobsmacked, can only stare at Luna.
She smiles and says, "Are you happy right now?"
Clearing his throat and thinking about it, Draco decides that he is. "Yes," he whispers.
"Good. That can be one for the Pensieve. We need a decent collection of your happy memories to share with the others. Not everyone's convinced that you're nice enough to feel happiness, but when they see that you are, and it's sometimes because of me, I think they'll learn to like you. You'd like that, wouldn't you? Knowing that people liked you?"
His eyes burn again. He doesn't quite like the way his mood keeps shifting. In spite of this, Draco nods.
"I'm glad," says Luna, setting aside her meal and reaching for him.
Draco does the same and takes her outstretched hands, and Luna rises with him following her.
"I don't want to alarm you, but we're going to embrace now if you agree. I think you need that. I know I'd like it. You're very tall."
Draco swallows. He's . . . he doesn't quite know what he's feeling, but he tilts his head down to meet Luna's upturned face and melts into the softness of her lips and arms. Well, it's almost like melting; he's aware of the tightness of his skin and the fact that he isn't breathing and—
Oh, gods, that's her tongue—and her hand!
Draco shivers in mortification as pleasure overwhelms him and he half-thinks about running away before Luna claps her hands delightedly.
"Oh! Oh, wonderful! I never thought I'd do that to a boy! Could you do that again soon? Only perhaps without clothes?"
"I, er, I—"
"I'd be naked, too, of course," Luna tells him quite seriously, her hands now clasping his elbows.
Draco laughs and seizes her, spinning Luna around despite his lingering embarrassment. "We're not," he says firmly, when he's set her back down, "putting that memory into the Pensieve."
"Oh, of course not," Luna agrees, setting his wobbly bits to tingling as she pulls her wand from her hair and casts what he can only hope is a cleaning charm.
This is not how things were supposed to go, he thinks, but he can't bring himself to mind how things have gone, not with Luna beaming at him. "So, when did you want to be naked?"
Luna rolls her eyes. "You are a normal boy. I knew it."
All Draco knows, as they sit down amid the scattered pixie-gifted berries, is that he's happy, and he supposes that being happy is enough.
"I hope you're not offended that I rushed past friendship," Luna says, popping a berry between her lips.
Draco forces the smirk on his face into a smile and says, rather nicely, too, "Certainly not. I'm rather less rigid than one might imagine."
"Stop that. It's too Malfoy and not Draco enough."
Draco flushes. "Well, all right, but only because this is a diarchy, and you get a say, too."
They both laugh.