AN: Here is the next chapter! :0) Hope you enjoy it… there is a lot of drama coming up in the next few chapters; hopefully it's not too much!

CHAPTER 4

She surprised all in the room when she walked over to the Professor who had also stood, and hugged him. "Thank you. I will never forget this" She smiled as he hugged her back for a second before gently pushing her away. She didn't look at him again as she walked back to Draco and placed her hand in his and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and they walked out of the room.

The couple walked down hand in hand to the Black Lake and watched the waves with Hermione leaning against Draco. Hermione felt that something had shifted inside of her… she felt more accepting of her new relationship with Draco.

"What happened with Professor Snape… it makes me very glad we found each other, Draco."

"Me too." Hermione looked up at him and he leaned down and kissed her. It was such a sweet kiss, that she was extremely disappointed when it was disrupted. "What the hell is this?" Hermione and Draco looked up to find a wide-eyed Blaise Zabini and a disgruntled Pansy Parkinson.

"Blaise, Pansy" Draco also seemed to be displeased that they had interrupted.

"I'll ask again, what the hell is this?" Pansy said gesturing between the two.

"What does it look like? We're enjoying a nice day together."

"But Drakey, what about us?"

"Us? Pansy, there hasn't been an 'us' since third year" He said as if tasting something disgusting.

Pansy's mouth dropped open before she growled and stomped off leaving Blaise standing there with his eyebrows raised looking back and forth between the two. "So how long has this been going on?"

Hermione glanced at Draco interested to see what he would say. "It's fairly new, but you better get used to it because she's going to be around for a while."

To Blaise's credit he simply raised an eyebrow and nodded his acceptance. He moved to lean against a tree with his legs crossed and hands in his pockets.

"So I noticed your stuff was moved from our room?"

"Yes." Draco said daring him with his eyes to comment on that further.

Blaise smirked, "Alright. I'll try and keep the hissing to a dull thunder in the snake pit."

"Good luck with that" Draco returned with a smirk of his own. "And thank you."

"Wow, Draco Malfoy actually said thank you; clearly hanging around a Gryffindor too much." He winked at Hermione who only smiled in amusement and shook her head.

"Oh get out of here," Draco said as he pointed his wand at a clump of moss close by and flung it at Blaise. The boy chuckled once before saluting and heading back towards the castle. "Why do I feel like he was speaking a different language for a moment there?"

Draco chuckled, "He just said that he'll make sure other Slytherins don't spread too many malicious rumors about us." Hermione and Draco smiled at each other before Draco stood and helped Hermione up and made their way back to the castle as well. One set of friends out of the way, one more to talk to.

The stares continued as they walked aimlessly through the castle. Draco actually growled at some first years that stopped dead in their tracks to gape at the Slytherin and Gryffindor walk as a couple down the corridors. Hermione chuckled and pulled him away after their eyes widened in fear. He was smirking at her as she laughed when they walked around a corner and ran into Harry and Ginny. "Oh!"

Ginny's eyes widened as she looked between the two and their connected hands, "So it's true?"

Hermione cringed, "It depends on what they are saying?"

"They are saying the Gryffindor Princess and the Slytherin Prince are now a couple and that you have been given your own room together… among other things."

"Who on Earth came up with those titles? And yes… it's true." Hermione said as she felt Draco squeeze her hand in support.

Harry glanced at Ginny who was frozen with her mouth open in shock. Then he scratched the back of his neck as he glanced wearily at Hermione and Draco in front of him. "So is your back alright Draco?"

Draco narrowed his eyes but bit back his comment as he felt Hermione tighten the grip on his hand. "Yes. I heal faster than most wizards, so I'll be fine in a day or two."

Now Harry narrowed his eyes, "And why is it that you heal faster?"

Draco looked around before casting a silencing spell around the four of them. Then he looked to Hermione who bit her lip but nodded. "Because I'm a Veela."

"No" Ginny said in an unbelieving tone. She quickly changed her glance from Draco to Hermione, "You're his mate?"

"Guilty." Hermione said with a raise of her shoulders.

"Mate? What does that mean?" Harry asked.

"It means Potter, that a man and a woman- oomph!" Draco was cut off and rubbed his stomach where Hermione had elbowed him to stop talking.

"It means, Harry, we are bonded and will be further bonded in the near future."

"Bonded how?"

Hermione flushed. "Well in the future it means marriage, but for now…" She took a deep breath and pushed her hair aside and pulled down her shirt slightly to show them the bite mark, the claim left by Draco.

Ginny grinned as she turned to look at Draco, "And you?"

Draco had an amused smile as he lifted an eyebrow at the redhead. He unbuttoned the top portion of his shirt and pulled it down to show the rest of the bite mark that matched Hermione's.

"Wow, already Hermione?"

Hermione looked at Ginny bemused, "How do you know so much about Veelas, Ginny?"

She sighed. "It's all kind of romantic don't you think? Chosen by one being who will only ever love you, who was meant for you, and will spend the rest of their life trying to make you happy and protect you. I was always fascinated by Veelas, not to mention Bill married Fleur who is part Veela, but she chose to marry Bill; she wasn't mated to Bill. Why is that, now that I think of it?"

"She must be too far down the line from her pure Veela relative to have enough of the gene to find a mate. Once your Veela wakes up on your 17th birthday, no one will catch your interest except your mate." Draco said as he wrapped an arm around Hermione's waist. He had to fight every nerve in his body not to purr when she snuggled into his side standing there in the middle of the corridor.

"How far are you from your Veela relative?"

"I have two Veela grandmothers, one paternal, one maternal. My parents were an odd coupling."

It was Harry who spoke now, "And how do you think your parents will accept a muggle-born as your mate?"

Draco's eyes flashed silver and he growled, "They will accept her if they know what's good for them."

Hermione turned and ran her hand over his arm. She felt him calm and his eyes went back to gray.

"Why do your eyes keep doing that Malfoy?"

"Because my Veela is taking charge and one of the reasons he 'appears' is when he feels the need to protect Hermione."

"Why do you talk about your Veela as a separate being?"

Draco ran his hand over his face, "Ugh, you ask as many questions as Hermione."

Ginny took pity on the blonde, "I'll tell you everything I know later, Harry."

"Right"

Draco looked over the Weaslette; maybe she wasn't so bad. He could probably tolerate that member of Hermione's friends.

Harry pursed his lips, "This is going to take a while to get used to. Ron wants to talk to you by the way, Hermione. I think he wants to apologize and figure out what's going on. I'll let you explain."

Draco growled out, "He is never going near her again."

Hermione rolled her eyes, "Draco, stop being so dramatic. He's one of my best friends. I'll go talk to him later Harry."

He nodded, "He's been hiding out up in the common room. He feels badly for what happened earlier."

"If you must go, I'm going with you." Draco said with an air of finality.

"Draco, it's the Gryffindor common room! I'll be fine, I promise."

"Hermione, I'm serious. I can't let you talk to him without me right now."

Hermione was beginning to get frustrated. "Draco, I need to speak to him, and I don't think you being there will help anything. I'll be quick."

Draco's eyes flashed silver as he pushed her against the wall. It wasn't hard enough to hurt, but it definitely captured her attention and she felt a flash of fear run through her. When he felt her fear Draco's expression changed to a pained one. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry Hermione." When he felt Hermione relax, he rested his forehead on hers, "But I wasn't joking when I said I can't let you talk to him without me. I don't think I could handle not being able to protect you or see you right now." Draco's eyes finally were returning to his normal gray.

Hermione looked over to see a shocked and angry Harry being held back by Ginny before she returned her eyes to Draco. "Alright. We'll both go. It will be interesting to see if a Slytherin can even get into the Gryffindor common room…"

"Thank you" Draco said letting out a large, relieved breath of air and relaxing a little. He could handle anything some measly Gryffindors tried to do to him, but he could not handle anything happening to his mate. He would kill that Weasel if he so much as laid a finger on her.

Hermione was mildly frustrated with Draco. She understood his Veela needed to be in her presence to feel as if he could protect her, but she was going to Gryffindor Tower to let Ron apologize (according to Harry anyway) and explain their situation. Ron was smart enough not to try and send a hex in her presence again… at least for the next few days.