spock: logic is sexy

HP Ficlet: Knight in Dented Armor (Gen)

Title: Knight in Dented Armor
Characters: Draco, Luna
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Draco Malfoy never spoke to Luna Lovegood until she became a prisoner in the family dungeon.
Notes: Originally written for downjune at the Harry Potter Non-Canonical Ship Meme, but it came out more of a gen piece.
Word Count: 800

If there were any justice in the world, Draco Malfoy would not be waiting on the prisoners in the family dungeon. He hadn't wanted to let the Death Eaters into Hogwarts, but he had, hadn't he? So what if Snape had finished the job in the end? None of the other Death Eaters would have made it into the castle at all if not for the vanishing cabinet and the instant darkness powder. That had been Draco's plan, no one else's. The Dark Lord ought to be grateful. Instead, he had made Draco nothing more than a glorified house elf, a servant who received neither notice nor thanks, yet dared not violate a single order.

Only the thought of his mother, who held her back straight and spoke the family name with pride, propelled him down the stairs and deeper into the dungeon. Him, of all people, carrying food to Luna Lovegood.

He had intended to fling the plate of scraps at her feet and leave, hurling an insult into the darkness behind him, but she was waiting for him at the foot of the stairs when he arrived. Close, but not so close that he could reach her. Like a frightened dog begging for food from its master, he thought. Except her eyes, which were far too alert and understanding to belong to an animal.

“Thank you for the food,” she said, and then he had no choice but to hand it to her. She munched on a bit of stale bread slowly, as if this weren't the only meal she'd had all day. “This isn't very good,” she added, but her tone was so matter-of-fact that there was no way she meant it as an attack, or even a reproach. Draco snorted despite himself. It was absurd, a prisoner criticizing the food. Luna Lovegood criticizing anything Draco Malfoy had to offer.

She took his snort as a gesture of friendship and stepped a little closer. He'd forgotten that about old Loony, how she'd take even the slightest attention as the beginning of a friendship. It had made her such an easy target.

“I'm sorry your father's not well,” she said. The words pulled him up short. There was no sneer on her face, no hint of sarcasm in her voice. She really was sorry that the man holding her captive -- a man who would kill her if the Dark Lord ordered him to -- was unwell. For a second, Draco was consumed by curiosity. Why should she be sorry for his father when she should be praying him to an early grave? But he banished the question quickly.

“What would you know about my father?” he snarled. What right did she have to talk about his father? Look at her old man.

“I saw him when they brought me in,” she answered as if his question had been sincere. “I would worry about my father if he looked like that.”

Draco was about to say something cutting about Xenophilius Lovegood's usual appearance when she focused those creepy blue eyes on him. Most of the time, they made her look like she was off in some other world, but when she looked straight at him, it was like she could see all the way through him, past the Malfoy mask and into things he didn't even know he thought.

“Is my father alright, do you think?”

She didn't look away, and he realized that she was waiting, not just for any answer but for the truth.

“Yeah,” he said. “Yeah, he is. They're just keeping you so he doesn't do anything stupid, you know.”

“Like supporting Harry Potter?”

“Yeah. Like that.”

“Oh,” she shrugged her shoulders, toying absently with a lock of hair. “Well, I'd rather he keep supporting Harry. Even if it meant you hurt me.”

She pressed the plate back into his hands and sauntered away. Halfway to the dank corner where she'd been sleeping, she turned around and said in that strange vague voice of hers, “I wouldn't worry too much about your father, Draco. People like him always survive.”

Then she'd wandered away again, feet moving in a bizarre dance no doubt invented to ward off imaginary dungeon creatures. He stared after her for a moment, forgetting to be angry that he had been dismissed by his own prisoner.

“Draco?” she called when he'd almost reached the top of the stairs. He didn't stop; if she couldn't finish by the time he got the door, he wasn't listening.

“You can come down here again if you need to talk.”

He didn't answer.
I love how you wrote Luna: she seems to catch Draco off guard with her insights, just like she catches Harry off guard in the books.

This is the kind of Draco characterization that I like as well. He's arrogant yet broken, in a place where his family is not at the top of the heap. He tries to hold onto those pieces but nothing fits together for him anymore.

Great job!
Aw, thank you so much! I have not written anything in HP before, so it means a lot that you liked the characterization.

You seem a lot more familiar with this fandom than I am - do you have any suggestions for comms where I might post this ficlet?
Oh, wow. And so very Luna. Poor Draco; I'm sure he has no clue what just hit him.
... well, that's *perfect*. Just such a perfect moment of time and them, so palpable it breathes.
This is really great - Luna is spot-on. I can just imagine Draco coming back down there, too, the way he used to talk to Moaning Myrtle. Really excellent story!
Thank you so much! You're right - it would be a bit like Moaning Myrtle. Makes me want to write more of them this way...
Oh. Such a great job with Luna, you captured her just right. Draco could be so lucky to have a friend like her. I just love how she stumps him.

(I bet he goes down again to talk to her. :)
Thank you so much! I think he will go down and talk to her again. I accidentally started imagining such a conversation was I was going to sleep last night...
This really captured both of the characters for me. I would not have put these two characters together except to imagine something comic, and I love that you made it so heavy and important.
Thank you! I think it probably helped that I had a prompt to work with, otherwise I doubt I would have put these two together at all.
What a charming interaction. You really captured Luna's knack for unexpected insight.