The enchanted ceiling in the Great Hall was overcast that day. Only Luna really took notice of it, however - she craned her neck and gazed up, blissfully unaware of the stares she'd begun to attract. The cloud formations were really quite lovely.
The other Ravenclaws around her merely glanced at her and then dismissed her behavior as typical for "Loony" Lovegood. A Hufflepuff or two looked up as well but became bored almost immediately - whatever was on that ceiling was of interest only to the strange blond girl. Neville Longbottom and several other Gryffindors turned towards each other and started whispering. As Luna slowly raised a hand to stroke her chin, still gazing skyward, Draco Malfoy started laughing at something Pansy Parkinson had said about Lovegood.
"Hang on," Blaise Zabini said, picking a muffin off the tray in the middle of the table. He tossed it two or three inches in the air, and, with a quick glance at the teachers to be sure none were watching, threw it hard at Luna.
It hit her square in the temple and bounced onto the table. Her reverie broken, she turned her gaze to the muffin and rubbed the side of her head. Unseen by her, Zabini, Malfoy, Parkinson, Nott, Crabbe, and Goyle were hard-pressed to stifle their laughter in their sleeves. Luna, meanwhile, peered around for a moment and decided that it had to be Nargles. Unperturbed, she peeled the paper off the muffin and began eating it.
Zabini and Parkinson practically howled with laughter. "I can't believe she ate it!" Parkinson said between giggling fits. But Malfoy's laughter had already subsided, and now, he was looking at Luna with a different perspective.
Something like that would have made a Gryffindor - or really, anyone else - fly off the handle, demanding to know who threw the offending muffin. Not Luna. Maybe it was because she was so used to people trying to make her life miserable, or maybe it was because she genuinely thought it was some strange creature that no one else believed in, but either way, she displayed a great resilience.
Malfoy couldn't suppress a small smile as he watched Lovegood munching happily.
Inexplicably, her eyes met his. He couldn't wipe the smile off his face before she smiled back and looked away. His throat tightened as he stared at her face, trying to detect even a hint of a blush on her cheeks, but there was none. He wondered what was going through her mind right now as she slowly finished her muffin. Didn't she find it odd that a Slytherin had smiled at her?
Meanwhile, at the Ravenclaw table, Luna had just finished eating when a late owl dropped a rolled-up magazine onto her plate. She smiled again and unrolled it, quickly flipping it upside-down and opening it. She did this so quickly that Malfoy didn't have time to determine the title, but the lurid artwork on the back hinted at The Quibbler.
He quickly looked away, back at a third-year further down who was recounting the last Quidditch match - Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw, Ravenclaw victory - and attempting to offer useful strategies for the next one - Slytherin versus Ravenclaw. He highly doubted the third-year could suggest anything worthwhile; the bulky boy had probably never played Quidditch before in his life. The captain a few seats down rolled his eyes.
All in all, Malfoy was grateful when nine o'clock rolled around and he was able to join the mass of students heading off to their first class of the day. He picked up his bag and slung the strap over his shoulder as he stood up and was immediately stopped by the throng of students suddenly clamoring to leave the Great Hall. Absently, he looked up, and almost immediately, he heard a small voice say, "It's lovely, isn't it?"
He looked back down at a mop of dirty-blond hair and his heart skipped a beat. Luna was smiling serenely at him. For a moment, he couldn't think. "Er, yeah. It is," he said finally.
Her smile widened slightly, and she somehow managed to find a break in the crowd wide enough for her to slip through, leaving him standing there and feeling rather lost. What was that? he wondered briefly. Someone bumped into him, and when he turned around, he saw it was Zabini. Trying to push the morning out of his mind, he headed off towards Transfiguration with Pansy, Goyle, and Nott at his heels.
|Evanna Lynch||as Luna Lovegood|
|Tom Felton||as Draco Malfoy|