~~Innocence~~
~by Realmweaver~

Luna Lovegood was skipping down the halls in the west wing of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She had her bag slung over her shoulder, a copy of the Quibbler tucked under her arm, and her wand tucked behind her ear. She had just been thinking of the distressing fact that all of her roommate's heads were full of nargles, and none of them saw fit to do anything about it!

The sky was a grey color and the clouds were unleashing a watery fury on the grounds of Hogwarts. But that didn't bother Luna. Rain was one of her favorite things. It was fun to dance in.

Just as she passed one of the numerous courtyards at Hogwarts, she heard a distressed sound, sort of like crying. Luna, being the ever curious and caring person, went to investigate. What she found shocked her most to a great extent. The person who was crying was none other than Draco Malfoy.

It wasn't a full-out bawl, nor was it the silent crying that was just a simple fall of tears. He was sitting on the second step of three that went out to the courtyard, out of the rain but just barely. He was staring out into the courtyard, tears running down his cheeks and making distraught sounds that were somewhere between a hiccup and a sob. His eyes were squinted and his forearms were on his knees. "What a curious sight," Luna said to herself. She approached the other blonde slowly, not sure if she wanted to alert him of her presence just yet.

"Hello, Draco," she said softly, slowly sitting beside him, on his right. He whipped around to face her, eyes frantic.

"What are you doing here, Loony?" he asked, wiping at his tears angrily. "It isn't right to sneak up on people, no matter how mental you are."

Luna was unfazed by his insults, finding them quite old and boring. But she was determined to see what was the matter, so she stayed sitting. She hugged her knees to her chest and replied "I heard you crying, Draco." She knew that she was one of the few people that called him by his first name, including those in his own house.

"I was not crying!" he snapped.

She giggled. "I didn't know that Malfoys had a sense of humor," she said, though not unkindly. She didn't quite process that this could be taken as an insult. He looked away, to his left, where a rosebush was growing. The leaves rustled in the wind and rain. Droplets coasted off each leaf and petal.

"Why were you crying, Draco?" she asked him, peering into his face with concern. She didn't realize that most people found this unnerving, as if she were looking into their very souls. She was simply curious.

"It's none of your business, Loony," he said, thrusting his chin the air and trying to look intimidating and aloof. She knew better.

"I'm not going to take advantage of you," Luna whispered.

He turned around and looked at her, his pale eyebrows scrunched together in thought. There was silence for a few moments, and then he asked "What if you have to do something and you really don't want to do it, but you have to do it anyway? How would you feel?"

Luna looked at him, trying to put her thoughts together. "If you have to do it, that means that you are making someone happy, and that should make you happy, right?" she said after a moment.

"But what if it makes the wrong people happy? Bad people?" Draco asked.

She thought again, not realizing this he was almost flat-out admitting his affiliation with Death Eaters. She was so innocent and carefree. It was like she didn't understand the word "bad". "If it makes the wrong people happy, that means it makes you unhappy. So you don't really have to do it, do you?" she said.

He turned so he was facing forward, and was silent. His gaze was more open then usual, Luna noticed. Not softer, you might say, just… clearer. Like you could see what he was feeling through his eyes now. This was a foreign concept in the realm that was Malfoy, she knew. The silence was becoming unbearable now-for Luna, at least. She stood up, and Draco looked up at her. "Come on," she said, holding out her hand. "I want to show you something."

"Why would I want to touch that?" he said, pointing at her outstretched hand in disgust.

"Because I want to help you," Luna said simply, not getting that he was trying to insult her. She was so naïve sometimes, Draco thought to himself. But maybe that wasn't such a bad thing. Sometimes, innocence was beautiful.

Despite his better judgment he took her hand and pulled himself up from his seated position. She started pulling him towards the rainy courtyard and he hesitated. "We're going out into the rain?"

"Why not?" she asked, her head cocked to one side.

"Well, I'm going to get wet," Draco said reasonably. She laughed. It was a completely pure and radiant sound, and it flew through the air like the ring of a silver bell.

"That's the point," she said matter-of-factly. He decided to let her pull him along.

She took him to the middle of the courtyard, a circular patch of cobblestone that was about twenty feet all around. Draco tried to ignore the fat drops of rain that were slowly soaking his uniform. She let her messenger bag drop to the ground, even thought it was going to get soaked. She didn't seem to mind. "I'm going to show you how to dance in the rain properly," she said, letting go of his hand.

"What?" Draco said, mortified.

"You're not deaf, are you?" Luna said, cocking her head in genuine curiosity. "Or do you think you have nargles—"

"I'm not deaf, Lovegood," he snapped at her. "Why in Merlin's name are you teaching me how to dance in the rain? I know how to dance, so how is it any different from dancing in the rain?"

"Oh, but there is a big difference. But if you know how to dance, then why don't you do it?" she asked.

"Men don't randomly break out into dance," he replied icily. "Only loonies like you would do that for no apparent reason."

"I don't dance for no apparent reason, Draco. There are many reasons to dance. The sun is shining, or the birds are singing, or someone doesn't decide to steal my shoes, or they have pudding at breakfast…" Luna listed the things that caused her to dance, counting them off on her pale, slender fingers. "But dancing is much different from dancing in the rain."

"Alright then, Lovegood, show me how to dance in the rain properly," he said exasperatedly.

She grinned, and assumed a mock-business-like manner. "Alright. Dancing in the rain is much different from just dancing, because, for one thing, it shows that you know how to make the best out of a seemingly dreary or so-called 'bad' thing. Dancing is a way to express yourself, right?" she asked him. He nodded slowly, not sure where this was going. "Dancing in the rain is a very unique way of expressing yourself. When you dance in the rain, you have to make it clear that you are content, and you don't really care what other people think of you."

"But what if you do?" Draco countered.

"Then you really shouldn't," Luna said simply. "Now, to do that, you have to remember five things. First, must remember to lift your chin. Second, you have to keep your arms wider than you would've if you were just dancing in... let's say... a room."

"Wow, really? The possibilities!" Draco said sarcastically, but she ignored him and continued.

"Third, you have to keep your back straight. Fourth, keeping your eyes closed makes it all the better.. And finally, you have to smile." She demonstrated all five traits, and spun circles around the clearing.

"Now it's your turn," she said.

"Are you kidding me?" Draco barked. "Only girls dance like that. And gay guys," he added.

"Then I guess you're just going to have a homosexual moment," Luna said with a grin. She lifted his hand with her and spun under it, their fingertips brushing. She spun away from his touch, then again, then again, until she was ten feet away from him.

"Aren't you getting dizzy, Lovegood?" Draco teased her.

"Not really," she replied. For a while she spun in circles around him, and he watched, not really wanting to participate and getting a bit peeved at being wet. "Oh, come on, just one time around?" she pleaded to him.

Draco rolled his eyes, but took both of her hands in his and lead her through a few spins around the clearing. He blinked the rain out of his eyes and wondered how she didn't get disoriented.

As if she were reading his mind, she said "You find one spot around you to watch each time you go around and you never get dizzy."

He followed her instructions and found that he wasn't in fact getting dizzy anymore. The spot that he picked was her face.

Luna had a nice face, Draco had to admit. It was pointed, like an elf's, and pale, like his own. Her eyes were a crystal blue and they sparkled with what seemed like eternal delight. They were wide and filled with a child-like innocence. Innocent. I guess that's the best way to describe her, Draco thought. Rain dripped down her face and turned her pale hair dark. Maybe he could like this face, if he saw it more often. She noticed him looking at her strangely and threw her head back with a laugh. Then she found she couldn't stop.

Draco soon joined her and they laughed until they couldn't dance anymore, and they collapsed on the wet cobblestones.

"You were quite good," Luna commented after the laughter died down. "It makes me think you have had experience."

Draco stared at her long and hard, trying to figure her out. She was strange, alright. Undeniably weird, crazy, and peculiar. But she had made him feel different; she had made him put all of his anxiety behind him for the moment. And for that, he was grateful.

What he did next was something he would later label as the most impulsive thing he had ever done in his life. But that didn't mean he'd regret it.

He brushed her damp hair out of her face and gently placed his lips on her cheek.

He stood up and took a step back. "Good bye, Luna," he said. He turned around and walked away. But out of the corner of his eye he could see her looking quite stunned. Then she gently placed her fingers against her cheek, and smiled. Ah the beauty, Draco thought, of innocence.

Fin