At first, Draco doesn’t think much of Luna Lovegood being locked up under his feet. Many have passed through their walls since the Dark Lord’s return, some surviving and some not, but it is when the first body of his Christmas holidays is carried out that he starts to wonder. How is she coping? Is she coping at all? Draco would like to think that he is strong enough to stand being locked up but then he never has been, and he doesn’t really know what they are doing to her down there. It might be nothing but leaving her to suffocate in her own fear but then they might be torturing her for information she doesn’t have. Potter is not the sharpest but Granger knows better than to leave someone with information inside Hogwarts. The anguish on her face when he passes her in the halls makes Draco think that even the Weasley girl is completely in the dark about things, and yet it was Lovegood that the Death Eaters dragged though his entranceway, stunned and bruised from the fight she had obviously given them.
Draco has not spent much time thinking about her over the years other than to agree with the general consensus that she is loony. The Lovegood family always has been a bit different and so the Malfoys have stayed away from them over the years. They might actually be one of the few that Draco is not related to and so knows less about, or at least less gossip about. Therefore, other than her connection to Potter, Draco has no idea what the Dark Lord would want with Lovegood. As far as Draco knows, Potter has never even met Lovegood’s father so when his mother says something about bait, it just doesn’t fit for Draco. His inquisitive side gets the better of him and he ends up pulling the hood of his cloak up one evening and slipping down into the cellars where Lovegood is being kept.
Of course, there are others but Draco manages to blend into the walls and avoid being seen until he reaches the room that Lovegood is being held in. She hasn’t been put into the larger cellar where the rest are yet, not while she is still considered useful or so Draco hears. There are no guards down here, because anyone that manages to get this far probably deserves to free someone. Draco’s house is not a home any more, but a fortress crawling with Death Eaters and creatures that Draco has always thought himself above sharing space with. The keys to the rooms had been easy enough to swipe, again because no one thought that anyone would dare, and yet Draco still breathes a sigh of relief when he is in and the door is safely locked again behind him.
Lovegood is lying on the stone floor at the opposite side of the room. There is only a food tray with the remains of her last meal on it, a bucket and a blanket within the room. Screwing up his face, Draco scowls and thinks about one of the phrases he has heard from the mudbloods at school, something about curiosity killing cats. It sure seemed pretty dangerous to him now. Blowing out his cheeks, Draco reaches up and lowers his hood as Lovegood looks up from the floor, watches as her bright blue eyes widen in confused alarm before he holds his hands up and mutters, “I’m not going to hurt you. Relax.”
Frowning, Lovegood pulls her knees up to her chest and rests her chin on them, watching him wearily as he slides to the floor to sit and leans his back against the door. She clearly doesn’t believe a word that he says.
“I have no reason to hurt you.”
“Then why are you here?” she asks softly and Draco wonders if the crack in her voice is from disuse or overuse from screaming out in pain.
“I’m not sure,” Draco says, shrugging his shoulders. “I guess I’m here…because I don’t understand why you’re here.”
“I’m here to bait Harry Potter.”
“Yeah but, does Potter even know that you are here? The Dark Lord can’t find him so what makes him think that your father can in order to get help? It doesn’t make any sense.” Draco says, all very matter of fact as he pulls up his sleeves and adjusts his position on the stone floor.
“You are unwise to question him, Draco Malfoy. You might end up in a neighbouring cell.”
“This is not a cell,” Draco says stiffly, unwilling to admit out loud or accept that his home has become a prison. This is where he grew up, where he is meant to feel safe not lie awake wondering if his classmates are being tortured while he lies on duvets of the softest goose feathers and wrapped in the softest silk.
“I’m not allowed to leave,” Lovegood points out quietly. “It is not safe for you to be here. You should return to your rooms.”
Draco laughs bitterly. “You’re the one being kept captive here, Lovegood. Why care about me?”
“Why not? You did not kidnap me and bring me here though you could have. You could have hurt me at any time this year but you didn’t. I have to care about something. Daddy would want me to,” Lovegood states firmly and Draco just doesn’t get her. It is not because she seems loony or distant like others have talked about, as she hasn’t mentioned anything weird at all, but because she seems to have accepted her part in things. Her voice is not resigned either so it is not like she has simply given up hope.
“I wanted to see if you were okay,” Draco begins slowly. “It is weird to think that…well my bedroom is pretty much directly above this room by about three floors. I guess I…well it is weird. You’re just down here and…”
He gestures at her face, the cuts and scratches, the bruised cheek and the split lip. She tilts her head and nods slowly, “You asked why I care. I think you just answered that yourself.”
“What? No I didn’t,” Draco replies utterly baffled.
Lovegood only smiles and nods again before getting unsteadily to her feet and crossing the room. Draco springs up immediately, on the defensive, thinking about his wand if she is strong enough to take if by force. He doubts it. She doesn’t even try, just smiles at him sweetly before reaching up on her tiptoes and kissing his cheek, leaving him stunned.
“I care because you care and, given our respective pasts I think you caring is a little more important than me,” she smiles before retreating back to the other side of the room and curling up on the floor, knees into chest before shutting her eyes and taking a shuddering breath. The walk has clearly taken more out of her than she expected it to and it answers more questions than Draco realised he wanted to ask.
Glancing at his watch, Draco realises that the house will be filling up more soon and doesn’t want to be caught leaving. Lovegood is no longer paying him any attention, more focussed on getting the thin blanket to cover as much of her thin frame as possible. It makes something inside him clench and he feels deeply uncomfortable watching her. Making his way quietly from the room he thinks about what made him go down in the first place. It was more than just simple curiosity if he is honest with himself. Too much of this feels wrong. Lovegood has yet to see her seventeenth birthday. She is a child, and children are sacred to purebloods.
It all makes him think, and he isn’t sure he’s ready to think. Not yet.