Darkness Before Dawn

By Tiny_Teddy_Bear

Romance / Drama

Chapter 1

Draco isn't sure what woke him, for an instant. The room's dark grey and the air is crisply cold, but the bed is warm and soft. Then his wife moves beside him again, a little, spasmodic, terrified judder, and his heart thuds against his chest.

He pushes up on one elbow, snatching at his wand, handy on the table beside his bed, and creates a sphere of soft illumination with a muttered 'Lumos!'

Luna's lying half-curled on her side, frozen, her eyes squeezed shut. The ghost of a whimper parts her lips, and she seems afraid to move, shrinking small and white into herself.

'Luna!' he says urgently. 'Luna, what's wrong?' And he reaches both hands out quickly to touch her.

But she doesn't reply, or open her eyes, her body shivering beneath his hands like a terrified trapped creature, and he realises that she's in the grip of some nightmare.

'Luna,' he says again, and moves his hand to push her tangled hair away from her terrified face, out of her tightly closed eyes. He feels wetness on her cheeks, silvery tears like trails of moonlight leaking from beneath her eyelashes. 'Sweetheart, it's all right. Wake up. Listen to me, darling. It's Draco.'

It's as though the sound of his name brings her out of her trance, and her eyes snap open, huge and grey and disorientated, glancing about wildly before fixing on his face.

'Draco,' she chokes out on a half-sob. He opens his arms to her at the same time as she pitches towards him, grabbing his pyjama shirt urgently, burying her face in his chest and burrowing into him. He holds her, close and warm and tight against her trembling, feeling her heart racing, the rhythm of her sobs, gulped out against him.

'Luna,' he says after a while, and brings his hand up to stroke the nape of her neck. His fingers run through the soft under-curls of her hair, then gently trace the bumps of her spine, one – two – three. He slips below the neckline of her nightgown, running his finger beneath it, back and forth, soothing, reassuring, and he feels her relax a little more, the drumming of her heart slowing slightly. 'Luna, sweetest, do you want to tell me about it?' he says quietly.

She nestles against him for a few moments, then slowly lifts her face to his, drawing in a deep breath. 'It – it was… her… Bellatrix,' she says softly, struggling for composure, but then her voice catches on another sob and goes higher, wavering. 'Just – please – kiss me now, Draco… kiss – please…?'

He bends swiftly over her and covers her lips with his own, kissing her deeply, gently, pouring in every bit of reassurance he can. Tiny shaking sobs keep rising in her throat, but she kisses him back urgently, clinging to him, and he can taste the salt-sweetness of her tears.

He caresses her body with his hands, slow and sure, down her back, her hips, then up again and over her shoulders, down her arms… She quietens beneath his touch, as though she's drinking it in, and her little sobs grow fewer as he goes on kissing her, slowly, tenderly, thoroughly.

They break the kiss eventually, and he cups her fair head in one hand, drawing it to rest on his shoulder, rubbing soothing circles onto her back. As the last of her shaking dies away, she goes soft and yielding against him. She lifts her little white fingers and traces slowly over his collarbone, lingering at the points where his pulse beats the strongest, as though for reassurance.

When she speaks, it's into his neck, softly, her breath sending little shivers over his skin. 'She was – shrieking, Draco… shrieking and laughing, and I couldn't move or make a noise or she would do something terrible, she had her knife out.' She stops, another little shudder running through her, and he moves his head slightly to press his lips gently to her temple.

'Poor darling,' he murmurs into the curls at her hairline. The instinct of protection, possession, is humming through him, deep and innate, and he tightens his hold about her a fraction. She gives a little sigh of relief and content.

'I was so scared, I wanted you so much, Draco… she was in the cellar, and she shrieked louder and louder, it burnt through my head.' She takes a deep breath. 'It hurt – so much, and then everything seemed to be getting smaller and tighter, as though the walls were squeezing in. Pushing me closer to her and the knife. And her eyes were crazy…'

Her hand clenches around the flannel collar of his pyjama top, and he spreads his own larger hand over it, caressing the taut fingers, rubbing little circles over her small tight knuckles. 'It's all right. It was just a dream,' he says, and then, very quietly, into the hair above her ear, 'Oh, darling… I'm so sorry – so sorry.'

She cuddles the softness of her body into him, and shifts her head, a little, to slowly kiss his neck. He feels the tingle of her tongue, poking out to taste his skin, and he smiles slightly against her forehead.

'I love you,' she says softly, and she's so close that the words vibrate deliciously against his throat, his skin. 'You were so – gentle – there in the cellar…'

'Gentle?' he says, thinking he hasn't heard her right.

'Yes,' she says, and takes in a little quick breath that's a bit like a laugh and a bit like a sob. 'You used to put your arm around me – carefully, like you thought I might get bruised.'

'It was my fault you were there,' he says, in a low voice, 'indirectly.' His fingers move in light circles on her face, caressing her forehead and cheek and the curving line of her jaw.

'I missed you so much…' she says. 'When you were away, back at Hogwarts during the term… and she came…' She trails off, and they both reach for the other's hand at the same time.

'Oh, Luna,' he says, very quiet. Her hand snuggles within his, her small fingers curling and twining with his longer ones.

They're silent for a long while, still, drawing comfort from each other's closeness, their bodies soothingly warm and cuddled together.

'I used to lie there, curled up,' she murmurs at last, 'thinking about – you, Draco… it seemed so long, so long and – dark, and alone.'

'I know…' he says into her hair. 'I was – so scared for you, all that time. And it was so… lonely, at school, and I – I wanted you so much…'

She quivers against him, but not, he thinks, with fear, this time. 'Luna… darling…' he breathes, and tugs her back down with him, bending across her and dropping light burning kisses about her mouth, first on one corner, then the other, the little dip at the centre of her top lip…

'Oh, Draco…' she murmurs, thrilling to him, her hands soaking small warm patches on his shoulder and chest. And their bodies twine together, nightmares and darkness and fear driven away by joy and long forgotten.

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