~~Picture Perfect~~
~by Realm Weaver~
Beta'd by enomix

Disclaimer: I do not own the lyrics used in this story, nor am I attempting to make money off my usage of them. They belong solely to the band 10 Years, from their song Picture Perfect (In Your Eyes). I also (still) do not own Harry Potter, or the quotes from Deathly Hallows that I used for the capture scene in Malfoy Manor.

~To those who always see a greener grass than the rest of us~

In your eyes,
is the picture perfect?
In your eyes,
does the grass look greener?
Have you seen it
through my eyes?

The word has caught on fire
From what I've been told
These city lights
are killing ever slowly
he sanity within me

Maybe I'm lost in my creation
This isn't how I thought I'd turn out

In your eyes,
I'm picture perfect
In your eyes,
the grass is greener
Have you seen it
through my eyes?

Wormtail was supposed to do it. He was the servant in this house, or as close as you could get to a servant considering the current situation of the Malfoy household. Wormtail was the one who was supposed to give the prisoners their food and make sure they hadn't died yet and that it was always cold but never too cold that they might freeze.

It was a shitty job. It was Wormtail's. And it was Wormtail's only.

Or, at least, it was supposed to be.

But somehow, every once in a while, Draco would have to do it, because Wormtail was sick, or Wormtail was at one of the meetings, or Wormtail was being a pain in the arse and needed to be punished by his father. And even though Wormtail was the one who was screwing up, Draco was the one who was stuck with the job that no one else wanted. Except maybe Auntie Bella and Greyback, who would ignore the disgusting smell and freezing conditions and dampness and just revel in their prisoner's discomfort and pain.

The first time was just after Christmas, just a few weeks after Loony Lovegood had been captured, and he had not gone down without a fight.

"This is insane, father!" he had said to Lucius. "I am not going down to that bloody hellhole when it's that Wormtail's job to do!"

"It shouldn't be that hard, Draco," his father then replied coldly. "You go down there, you check to make sure everyone's breathing, you set down the dishes and you're off!" He nearly shouted those last words, his frustration obvious.

After a few more minutes of arguing, somehow Draco had found himself climbing down the stairs to the dungeons, a small tray filled with leftovers from the previous night's dinner hanging from his fingers. He muttered a curse with each step.

The lighting in the dungeons had been absolutely terrible; Draco could barely see a thing. "Lumos," he murmured, trying to balance his wand and the tray at the same time. "Come out," he whispered, half to himself. Then, a bit louder, "I've got food."

"We're over here," said a quiet voice.

Draco then followed the voice to find two people huddling in a hidden corner towards the back of the dungeon. There was an old man that he knew to be Ollivander sitting against the wall, and a blond girl that could have only been Luna Lovegood learning against one of the columns to the right of the dungeon.

"Where's Wormtail?" Lovegood asked, in a voice that was clearly wrought with concern. It made Draco's stomach squirm. No normal person would be worried about the wellbeing of their captors.

"Not here," he muttered.

She nodded, as if that were an acceptable answer. To her, Draco thought, it probably was. What with that screwy little mind she's got in that damn head.

"Your food," he said, nearly throwing the tray down in between the two prisoners.

"Thank you, Draco," Luna said, sounding as if she quite meant it. She leaned forward to pick off the meager helpings of moldy cheese, stale bread and bruised fruit. Ollivander stayed backed up against the wall, though, eyes firmly trained on Draco.

"What?" he demanded. He would never have admitted this aloud, but the wandmaker's steady gaze perturbed him out considerably.

"I see what you mean, Luna," was all he said.

Draco turned to Luna. "What did you tell him?" he demanded, cursing furiously at the shakiness in his voice. He blamed it on the cold.

"Oh… things…" she replied, absentmindedly picking the mold off her cheese. And just as she accepted "Not here" as an answer, she expected him to accept "things" as one, too. And he would not have, had Ollivander not been staring at him so intensely.

"Hawthorn, 10 inches, unicorn tail hair," he said to himself, and it took Draco a minute to realize that the mental case was talking about his wand. "Ah, yes, I remember… and Lucius… keeps his wand in that bloody stick…"

Draco, now seriously disturbed and almost sure that the wandmaker had lost more than just a few of his marbles, turned around and headed up the stairs without a backward glance, feeling the burn of Ollivander's stare setting fire to his back.

~PP~

That night Draco could do nothing but think.

Over the past few months he had had many doubts; more than he had ever remembered having in his life. Was this really what he was supposed to be doing? It had seemed a brilliant idea before; joining the Dark Lord with his family, bringing respect and fear back to their name, landing a place of honor when Voldemort won the war. But the initial ecstasy and anticipation ended when the Dark Lord gave him his first task: killing Albus Dumbledore.

And he would bet his inheritance the Lord Voldemort could feel those traitorous, ugly doubts that had wormed their way into his mind, and that it was a contributing factor as to why his family was no longer on the Dark Lord's immediate right side any more. No, that position had been usurped by Auntie Bella as soon as she got out of Azkaban. Draco would also bet his inheritance that Bellatrix was in love with the Dark Lord, and the fact sent shivers rolling down his back.

The first doubt had been small; enough to spark fear into his heart but not enough to deter him from his task. But over the course of his sixth year, Draco's doubts had accumulated to something that would, in the end, prevent him from finishing his task. Instead, Severus Snape had killed the Headmaster, thus adding another meter to the Malfoy's already trailing ribbon of shame.

Now, having both the Dark Lord and prisoners in his home were shaking things up inside this Slytherin. Questioning himself was something he was strongly warned away from throughout all his life. Malfoys were superior. They could do no wrong. They were better. Malfoys were strong and proud enough not to have to question themselves.

But that wasn't stopping Draco lately.

And that day, serving food to the wandmaker and the lunatic, was a day Draco would never forget. Was it right to imprison someone as innocent as Loony Lovegood? Who had enough heart to be concerned for the welfare of her captors? Who was so utterly naïve and harmless and kind?

Needless to say, Draco had a sleepless night.

~PP~

The next time Draco was told to check on the prisoners, he didn't object. Though he wouldn't have said it aloud, even to himself, he was captivated by Luna. He would not go as far to say that he liked her—no, of course not, she was too insane to be liked—but there was something about the way that she talked to him and the clear naivety in her eyes and her voice that made Draco want to know more. And it didn't help that the closest the two had come to in school was him helping to hide her silly muggle tennis shoes and singing "Loony, loony, loony-loony-Lovegood!" at her as she passed him and his friends down the halls.

Draco had always known she was a floaty little thing that could barely walk straight she was so absorbed in her own little world, and that she was incredibly mild and never replied to their taunts and even would go so far as to just stare at them with those ridiculously wide eyes as they sang their little taunting chants at her.

But seeing her down in that dungeon sparked something inside of Draco that he would never be able to satisfy unless he saw her again. It was not a fire, devouring him with intense need; it was powerful but not trenchant; like a rolling wave that caressed its captives when they were unlucky enough cross its path. It was almost a… curiosity, of a sort, an urge to understand Lovegood in a way that few people took the time to do. He couldn't comprehend why he felt this way, or what to call it, and he would've never guessed what it would eventually lead him to do. One thing was for certain, though: Draco was going back down to that dungeon to see Loony Lovegood, if only one more time.

He just had to make sure the Death Eaters—especially his father—didn't realize what he was doing. And besides, if no one knew, how much harm could it do? He would only take a peek.

~PP~

Draco descended down the dungeon steps once again, getting a bit better and balancing both his lit wand and the tray. "Food," he murmured into the dark.

"Oh, it's you again, Draco."

Lovegood emerged from behind a wall. He hadn't noticed it last time, what she was wearing, but he let his eyes soak in her appearance. She was wearing overalls, ones that you might see on ten-year-old muggle girls, with a pink long-sleeved jumper underneath. He noticed she was still wearing those stupid little earrings and that butter beer cork necklace that "kept away the nargles", as she informed him on when he had mocked her for it. Her feet were bare, as they often were, and her skin was a pale blue-grey. She had dark rings under her eyes but didn't seem tired in the least. Her light grey eyes sparkled with interest.

"Hello," she said, walking up to him.

He said nothing; just held out the tray to her. Her voice was soft and sweet, smooth, pale-but not thick, like white chocolate-more like clouds. It was thinner, more high-pitched… floatier. Yes, her voice was like clouds. Or maybe dreams. Dreams of flying or running or dancing, dreams full of excitement and the feeling of wind on your face.

"Thank you," she said. Yes, Loony Lovegood seemed like the kind of girl who always remembered her pleases and thank-you's and how-do-you-do's.

"Luna? Have you gotten our meal?" came the voice of the wandmaker, echoing subtly against the walls of the dungeon.

"Yes, Mr. Ollivander," she called over her shoulder. "I'll bring it back in a moment."

Lovegood set the tray down on the floor; apparently she expected them to have a nice little conversation. "Mr. Ollivander says I shouldn't have talked to you as much as I did the other day," she said softly. She didn't seem to realize how insulting those words could be to other people, but she hadn't said them in a mean way. She simply said it, as a fact of life.

Draco didn't know how to reply to that, and instead, occupied himself by looking around the dungeon, waiting for a word of dismissal.

Idiot, he thought to himself. She's your prisoner. She's sitting in the dungeon of your Manor, waiting to die. I shouldn't have to be waiting for a word of dismissal from her.

But before Draco could drag himself away from the dungeons, something caught his eye. It was a drawing on one of the walls to his right, done with what looked like a crude piece of chalk. However, the picture itself was anything but crude. Draco lifted his wand so the light was cast onto the wall. It was a beautiful drawing, done by skilled hands and formed by arcing lines that had been scratched across the wall expertly.

"Oh, yes," Lovegood said quietly. "There are quite a few pieces of stone around here that make good drawing tools. When there is enough light, I like to draw. There are a few more pictures in over by the other wall, if you'd like to see them. I hope you don't mind. I'll rub them off if you'd prefer they not be there."

But Draco wasn't paying attention. His eyes were glued to the one on the wall to his right. The narrow features, pointed nose, slicked back hair… It looked terribly familiar. Then it hit him, and hit him it did, like a blow to the head or the stomach.

"Is that… is that me?" he asked, bewildered. Why would Loony Lovegood be drawing him, of all people?

"Yes, of course," she said, as if this were the normal thing to do; draw the face of your captors on the wall of their dungeons. "You have a very nice nose, Draco. My mother's nose looked a bit like yours. And your eyes. They are the perfect shade of silver. Unfortunately, as you can see, I don't have different colors of stone to draw with. Just the white."

What in Merlin's name was wrong with this girl's brain?

She just didn't seem to grasp that she was in a bloody war. To her, it seemed, the grass would always look the brightest shade of green—never brown and streaked with blood and bodies.

"Of course, I think I've made your chin to pointy, now that I've seen you again. And your cheekbones are too low. And your hair is an inch or two longer, because it peeks out from the sides of your neck. Oh, dear, I really have messed it up, haven't I?"

Draco didn't—couldn't—reply.

"Your face is perfect, I just had to draw a picture of it," she murmured. "It's so pure. It's a pity your heart is the exact opposite; murky and dark." She bent over and picked up the tray, and Draco understood that their conversation was coming to a close. He took a last lingering look at the drawing, admiring how accurate contours of his jaw line were and how exact the shape of his eyes was.

"That's what I said," she said to him as she turned to the corner in which the wandmaker was residing. "To Mr. Ollivander, I mean. About how beautiful you are, but how conflicted and hurt and cowardly your heart is. He understood."

Then she walked away, receding back into the darkness. For a moment, Draco wanted to call out her name, make her return so he could interrogate her more about the drawing, but instead he headed back up the steps.

"Oh, what harm could it do", he thought to himself as he opened the door. What a complete and utter moron you are, Draco Malfoy. Next you'll be sneaking off in the dead of night, descending into the dungeons to have a bloody, good-sized conversation with her.

Funny how the things we scoff at are usually the things we end up doing ourselves.

~PP~

There were two things that Draco was willing to acknowledge about his intent to visit Luna the next night he could. One: it was unbelievably corny, and two: he would never live it down if Blaise or Theo found out. Hell, he probably would never live, period.

But despite these things, and all of the voices in his head yelling at him to just give it up and forget about her, Draco found himself walking down the steps of the dungeons, using a charm to make his footsteps nothing less than silent.

One thing that Draco had counted on: the wandmaker being asleep.

And the fates appeared to be smiling down on him that day.

"Lovegood?" he whispered, hoping that she could hear him. It would've been hard not to; the dungeons were completely noiseless at this time during the night, and every little sound seemed to ricochet about the walls with varying degrees of loudness.

She was behind one of those columns again, and when she walked from behind it she squinted at the illumination Draco's wand provided.

"Draco?" she said. She rubbed her eyes. "Why are you here? You haven't gotten any food." Her tone was not demanding, nor accusatory. Again, it was as if she were stating a simple fact of life. Draco suspected it was impossible for Luna Lovegood to ever get angry with someone.

"I just wanted to talk to you," he said.

The faintest whisper of a smile fluttered on her elf-like face. "Mr. Ollivander would not be very happy if he knew you came down here. He'd tell me to yell at you to get out and never come back again unless you brought food. However, Mr. Ollivander happens to be asleep."

She sat down against one wall of the dungeon and patted the stone floor beside her. "We have to be quiet, though."

Draco nodded.

"Are you lonely, Draco?" she asked as he settled down next to her.

He was a bit taken aback at the abruptness of her question, but thought he should get used to it; Luna was always abrupt and completely honest when she talked. Like a little child, telling about her parents' "late-night 'wrestling' matches" at a dinner party, completely unaware of how embarrassing or offensive she could seem.

"No," was Draco's immediate answer. Malfoys were always better. They were always social, strong, handsome, brave, cunning and clever. Everything that you could ever want. Malfoys were never lonely, because they were always good enough for everybody.

"Do you often lie to yourself?" she asked, quite serious.

"No," Draco replied. He could tell already that even though he had come down to see her, she would be directing the conversation.

"Then why else would you come down to the dungeons of the Manor, what with the temperature never above freezing and the smell of rot and mold in every corner?"

That was a good question.

"I wanted to talk to you," Draco repeated.

Luna nodded, as if she understood. She can't understand, he thought to himself. She's delusional. And yet he stayed.

While Draco could feel the uncomfortable weight of an awkward silence bearing down on his brain, Luna looked up at the ceiling, seeming utterly interested in the spider web that hung between two beams of wood. "Can you see it?" she said, pointing to the miniature, adhesive net.

"Sure," Draco said.

"It's very beautiful, isn't it?" she asked with a sigh. "The way your wand-light lays on it, it looks like spun silver."

"I suppose," he said. To him, it was the trap the spider set to catch its dumb prey; nothing more, nothing less. It was a gruesome way to survive, but a cunning one. "Do you find everything beautiful?" he found himself saying, almost with… scorn.

"No, not really," she said, eyes still trained on the web, not registering the darker tone in his voice. "Death Eaters aren't beautiful. Lord Voldemort is not beautiful." He almost gasped, then, remembering the taboo on the name. But then he realized how pointless stopping her would've been. She was already Voldemort's prisoner. There wasn't much damage to be done. "Evil is not beautiful," she finished.

Draco thought for a minute. "What's it like?" he asked finally. "I mean, outside Hogwarts. Outside the Manor."

Luna looked confused. "You've been part of the world for the past four months, too."

"All I've heard are the opinions of Death eaters. The world could catch on fire and as long as only the muggles died they would be celebrating."

She was quiet for a moment.

"There's really only one word to describe it: fear." She looked ahead, eyes still dreamy and her features slack, but her voice had taken on a new quality; it was still Luna, all right, but there was an undertone of something unknown, something foreign to her vocal chords. It was something more steely, hardened… angry. And just a moment ago he had thought it would be impossible for Luna Lovegood to be angry.

"The whole world is living in fear, Draco. Even some of the Death eaters," she said pointedly. "Especially Wormtail. He pretends that he is not scared of Voldemort, or the other Death Eaters, or what might happen to him because of his incompetence.

"Dad says that we shouldn't let fear get in the way of what's right. In the Quibbler he's never stopped writing about Harry," she proclaims proudly. "But sometimes people do. Get fear in the way of what's right, I mean. I know you have, Draco." Her head turned to look at him, and he found her gaze incredibly disturbing. It had a feeling of effortless penetration; it was searching, like she was trying to see into his soul, but it was soft and easy.

Draco looked away from her becoming suddenly interested in the floor to his left. "There are things worse than death, Lovegood. Things that the Dark Lord is quite capable of doing."

"But is it really worth it?" she said, half to herself.

They sat in silence for a few minutes, and Draco felt himself slowly get more comfortable with the situation. Just sitting next to her, no matter what she had just said, made things seem easier. Because with Luna Lovegood, you could be anything—anyone, and she would still accept you.

~PP~

That was the last time Draco was in the dungeons over the rest of his Winter Holiday. All throughout the semester, Draco now found his mind completely consumed by thoughts of Luna Lovegood: the way her voice sounded, the dreamy quality of her eyes, how she was completely honest with him, how she was always polite, how she never seemed to sense danger, the layer of naivety that was disguising enough to mask her true cleverness and observation skills.

How everything was happy or cheerful or great or beautiful or perfect in some way to her—even him.

Another thing Draco could not pry his mind away from: what she had said. What she had said about his heart, being cold and black, and how she had called him cowardly. And what she said about the world outside Hogwarts and the Manor: how terrified people were.

Though he could not feel it yet, the hard, cold layer of black that had been building up and encased his heart so firmly throughout his life was peeling away like old paint, exposing itself to heat and emotion.

Luna Lovegood had changed him, all right, even though he only talked to her three times in his entire life.

~PP~

Warmth fluttered through the castle on the welcome wings of spring, though most people did not stay to enjoy the weather in Hogwarts. The Easter Holiday arrived, and the students boarded the Hogwarts Express, their heads and their hearts overflowing with conflicted feelings. On one hand, they were going home, getting a week without those Carrow twins or Snape cutting them to pieces, but they also knew that home wouldn't be as merry as it would have been. They were in the middle of a war, for Merlin's sake!

When Draco arrived home, he was informed that two more prisoners had been captured and were residing down in the dungeons. There was the goblin, Griphook, and a Gryffindor named Dean Thomas that he vaguely remembered as being a friend of Potter's.

To say Draco was disappointed was an understatement. He had been planning on sneaking down to the dungeons his first night back, but now he decided he would not and could not because of that blasted Thomas boy. He would be much harder to get around than an old, tired wandmaker.

And then his stomach squirmed at the thought that there was only a one-year age-gap between Luna and Dean Thomas. She has been alone, with only Ollivander and her pictures for company… Draco thought to himself. She'll welcome the git like a hero.

~PP~

It was the day after the start of Easter Holidays when his father asked him to bring down the tray once again. He did not object, of course, because even getting a glimpse of Luna would satisfy him for the moment.

He descended down the stairs hastily, almost dropping the tray, which was twice as filled as before, what with the number of prisoners doubling.

"I have food," he said softly. He found that his father had been earlier than usual with this delivery of food, and a beam of light sloped down onto the floor from the only window.

Dean stepped out from behind one of the columns first, eyes narrowing as he saw it was Draco.

"Malfoy!" he growled. "Come to mock us and laugh at us? Loony Lovegood and the black Gryffindor boy, holed up in your little dungeon? A dream come true, right?" he sneered.

Draco felt bewildered. It had been ages since he had ever thought of taunting anyone, and he now realized that that was something he probably would have done two years ago. Not anymore. Instead he was silent.

"Hello, Draco."

Ah, there she was. She came from behind the same column Dean had, and Draco wondered what the pair of them had been talking about or doing before he had come down.

He drank in her appearance, noting how dirty her clothes and face were, and how her white-blond hair—so like his—was ratty and threaded with strands of dust. Her clothes were getting worn; she had holes in the knees.

"Lovegood," he acknowledged, not wanting to reveal his excitement at seeing her in front of the Gryffindor boy. He set the tray down on the floor.

"Thank you," Luna said. "Come on, you two, we've got food!"

Draco could hear the pair rise from where they were sitting, emerging from behind another column.

Dean was still glaring at him, and he could feel it even as he turned around to ascend back to the rest of the world.

"Bye, Draco," he could hear Luna say.

"Goodbye, Lovegood," he said quietly, not even sure if she could hear him.

~PP~

They were asking him, and he did not want to tell.

"Well, Draco?" his father said. "Is it? Is it Harry Potter?"

Draco did not want to answer. He already knew it was Potter; there was no mistaking those green eyes or that messy black haircut. But he hadn't said anything yet. He'd been thinking about what Luna had said to him, about how you shouldn't let fear get in the way of doing what's right.

Well, he was very much afraid right now, and he was trying to decide if he was going to do what's right.

"I can't—I can't be sure," he lied.

"…Draco, come here, look properly!" his father demanded. "What do you think?"

He had no choice but to approach Potter.

"I don't know," he said, and walked away, hoping that his troubled face would not give him away.

They seemed to identify Hermione Granger, who Draco already knew to be her, and then they asked him if it was, in fact, she.

"I… maybe… yeah," he mumbled, averting his eyes from the trio.

"But then, that's the Weasley boy! It's them, Potter's friends—Draco, look at him, isn't it Arthur Weasley's son, what's his name—"

"Yeah," Draco muttered, and he could feel his face trying to decide if it should burn red or turn pale. "It could be."

And then the scene carried on without him, and he retreated into the corner of the room, hoping not to be noticed. What had he done? Had he sealed the fate of Potter and his friends? Did that count if he said it doubtfully? Oh, what would Luna say? He tuned out the rest of the room, getting lost in his own thoughts of uncertainty and disappointment; mostly in himself.

And then, suddenly, a scream ripped through the air of the room. Draco whipped around. Hermione Granger was lying on the floor, Auntie Bella straddling her and whispering threats, and Granger was whimpering, and then Bellatrix was slowly, ever so slowly dragging the tip of her dagger across Granger's skin, and another scream sliced the air as the blade sliced her flesh.

It was a terrible sound, wrought with anguish and hurt and horror and fear, and Draco felt as though both his head and his heart would crack in two if he heard that scream long enough.

What would Luna have done? he asked himself, and a feeble answer dragged itself into his mind, presenting itself like an ugly, foul-smelling creature.

Luna wouldn't be standing here, listening to those awful screams, waiting for everything to be over.

And then, suddenly, a flurry of activity and violence began, sending his father flying backwards into the fireplace and a spell shooting from his own wand towards Potter (who had somehow been sent to the dungeons and came back to the parlor again) and ending with Hermione Granger, back in his aunt's lethal grip, the dagger at her throat. "Drop your wands," she said quietly, her voice hoarse with excitement. "Drop them, or we'll see exactly how filthy her blood is."

They had no choice; the wooden rods clattered onto the floor. "Draco, pick them up!" Bellatrix commanded. And to his horror, he found himself complying, holding the three wands in his hands: Ron Weasley's, Harry Potter's, and his own.

Now Bellatrix was readying herself to summon the Dark Lord, her fingers poised over her mark. Her fingers descended slowly on the blackened flesh, her eyes filled with a crazed glee…

Then, a quiet sqeaking noise diverted all their attention to the chandelier above their heads. They all looked up to see Dobby, his old house elf, perched on the top of the chandelier and tinkering with the chain that hung it from the ceiling.

Draco realized what the damned elf was doing a second before he did it, but couldn't seem to move his body fast enough; shards of glass flew into his face and his chest and his arms as he flung himself away from the falling chandelier, and complete chaos ensued.

There was the strangled cry of hurried spells and the hasty sound of people trying to get away from the wreckage and broken glass.

Before he knew it he could feel a pair of hands trying to force the three wands away from him, but Draco held on tight, opening his eyes to see Potter's face, contorted with effort.

It's now or never.

"Where… where is Luna?" he said through clenched teeth, his grip firm on the wands.

Potter looked at him.

"Where is she?" he demanded.

"Gone. Dobby got her out," Potter replied, looking triumphant, as if he had just upset him.

The Slytherin nodded and suddenly let go of the wands. Potter reeled back from the sudden lack of effort on Draco's end, and stared at him for just a moment, startled at how easily he had given up.

But the moment passed and he ran to join his friends, apparating quickly out of the Manor.

What happened after that Draco would not be able to tell you. He had stopped paying attention. He rested his head against the side of the ottoman. Luna was safe. He had done something good; something right. He had let go of the wands. For Potter.

For Luna.

~PP~

Announcing the Birth of:
Ara Luna Malfoy

December 28th 2008
Daughter of Draco and Astoria Malfoy


A/N:

Ara is the name of a constellation that lies south of Scorpius. It means "altar" in Latin.

Okay, so this is the longest one shot I have ever written in my entire career as a fanfiction writer. I am extremely proud of it, and I would love it if you could review, criticism, praise, or whatever. Just tell me what you thought ^_^

Lots and lots of thanks to my writing buddy and beta, enomix; love ya, and thanks for everything you do!

Thanks for reading!
~Weaver