Italicized words are character thoughts
Italicized & boldfaced words are dream sequences or memories
Boldfaced words are in text reading materials (like books or letters)
000 Represents a shift in character perspective
0~0~0 Represents a shift in scene (often followed by the date the new scene takes place if it is on a different day than the prior scene)
Chapter 1: Surviving Sectumsempra
When Harry had tried to explain to Ron and Hermione why he was choosing to remain at Hogwarts over the Christmas holidays despite having a standing invitation to go to the Burrow they hadn't understood his need to stay at school. But this, THIS was why. After months of trying unsuccessfully to stalk Malfoy the snake was finally visible on the map and not flanked by his idiot bodyguards, Crabbe and Goyle. From the moment Harry saw Malfoy's name on the list of students who were choosing to remain at Hogwarts over the holidays he had known that he would be declining his invitation to join the Weasleys at the Burrow for Christmas.
It was just too suspicious for Harry to ignore. Malfoy ALWAYS went home for the holidays. In fact, Harry remembered bitterly, Malfoy had expressed many times over the years that the only students who remained at school were those whose families didn't love them. Oh how that jibe had stung Harry back in first year. That single careless remark had cut Harry so much deeper than Malfoy could ever have hoped. That was how Harry knew that Malfoy was up to no good. If that pure-blooded prat was eschewing the undoubtedly lavish comforts of home than clearly he was planning something. Something he felt would be easier to accomplish with less students and teachers around to notice him. Well, whatever he was up to Harry intended to be there to stop him.
And so, against the vehement protests of his friends, Harry had signed up to stay at Hogwarts for the Christmas break. Due to all of the recent death eater attacks most families felt anxious to reunite over the holidays. The fact that there were so few students who had chosen to remain made locating Draco on the Marauder's Map trivially easy compared to how it usually was during term.
Harry had been staring intently at the map ever since Malfoy hadn't turned up at the Great Hall during lunch. Harry's first assumption had been that Malfoy was in the Room of Requirement, but that theory was dashed when he had quickly found Malfoy's dot unmoving in the Slytherin dormitory; the one place in the castle that Harry couldn't follow him.
Not one to be easily deterred Harry had decided to wait. After all, Malfoy couldn't hole up in the Slytherin dorms forever and when he finally resurfaced Harry would be waiting and at last Harry would find out where he was going and what he was up to.
Three painfully dull hours later Harry was beginning to worry if Malfoy was on to him. Harry had been waiting the time out in the library, as that is considerably closer to the dungeons than the Gryffindor dorm was and he had loads of holiday homework besides, not that he made any progress on that front.
But his diligent map watching was at last rewarded when Malfoy finally left the dungeons. Harry bolted out of the library earning himself an indignant glare from Madame Pince as he left the library books he'd been pretending to read scattered across the table. Harry hastened down the corridors that would intersect his path with Malfoy's.
Harry watched the Marauder's Map with burgeoning excitement as the two dots came closer and closer. Again, Harry had assumed that Malfoy would be headed to the Room of Requirement. So Harry was surprised when Malfoy's dot came to a sudden halt. Harry stared at the map suspiciously. Even more so when he saw where it was Malfoy had stopped.
'The out of order bathroom? Why on earth would Malfoy want to hang out with moaning Myrtle?' Harry wondered. With his curiosity peaked Harry headed for the loo that he and his friends had once used to brew their illicit polyjuice potion back in second year. He approached the room cautiously and quietly so as not to alert Malfoy or Myrtle to his presence. Years of late night stealth didn't fail him and managed to enter the disused room unnoticed by either of them.
The first thing Harry saw when he entered the room was Malfoy's back. He was hunched over and his hands were clenching the lip of the sink so tightly that his knuckles were white. His shoulders were shaking in silent sobs.
'Is Malfoy crying?' Harry thought incredulously.
"Don't." Myrtle's voice tried to sooth, "Don't… tell me what's wrong… I can help you…" She reached her ethereal hands out to Malfoy as if she wanted to hold him.
"No one can help me," Malfoy's body shuddered with emotion. "I can't do it… I can't… it won't work and unless I do it soon he says he'll kill me."
Unfortunately, Malfoy chose that moment to look up into the mirror and their eyes met in the cracked glass fixture. The wasted second Harry spent noting the still glistening tears on Malfoy's cheeks was all the time Malfoy needed to swivel and cast his first curse.
The hex missed Harry by mere inches as his body instinctively dove out of the way. In defense Harry shot a Levicorpus in Malfoy's direction, but without time to properly aim Malfoy easily blocked it.
Harry was vaguely aware that moaning Myrtle was screaming at them to stop fighting, but the adrenaline and blood pounding in his ears blocked out all other thoughts. Harry had never felt so alive. The room was alight with deflected curses that shattered the wall sconces, exploded the trash bins, and finally smashed the bathroom's water cistern thus flooding the room with water.
Before Harry could even register the wetness pooling around his feet he was already slipping, falling, and Malfoy was aiming his wand at his prone body, "Cruci-"
"SECTUMSEMPRA!" Harry yelled from the floor, halting Malfoy's unforgivable on his lips. Harry had no time to relish in his victory, however, because the moment the curse struck Malfoy it shredded his shirt open and rent his flesh in a horrific crisscrossed slash. Ungodly amounts of blood spewed onto the flooded bathroom floor. Malfoy grasped desperately at his now mangled flesh and collapsed onto the ground, dizzy from blood loss.
Harry hurried to his side, animosity forgotten in his horror and reached out to help Malfoy back to his feet. Malfoy was deathly pale and looked like he was about to pass out. Malfoy cast off Harry's proffered helping hand and tried vainly to rise to his feet on his own. Dazed from blood loss he quickly lost his balance and slipped on the slick tiles, causing his head to crash loudly as it collided hard with the bloodied tiles below.
The addition of a head wound only increased the goriness of the scene. Harry stared on sickened into stillness as Malfoy's blood plumed dramatically, rapidly turning the clear water from the cistern a violent shade of red.
"No-I didn't mean-" Harry grabbed at Malfoy's unconscious body, shaking his shoulders, trying to get some kind of response. "Wake up, you can't sleep now. I need to get you to Madame Pomfrey!" Harry clutched at Malfoy's ruined shirt helplessly.
"MURDER! MURDER IN THE BATHROOM! MURDER IN THE BATHROOM!" Myrtle screamed. The bathroom door slammed open and Snape dashed in. Before Harry had time to register the Professor's appearance he had already kneeled beside Malfoy and begun chanting in some archaic language that Harry couldn't identify.
Harry watched entranced as Snape recited the lengthy incantation without even pausing for air. Harry had never seen Snape look at someone this intensely. 'Though,' Harry supposed. 'He probably looked this way back in first year while he was chanting the counter curse that saved me from being cast off my broom by Professor Quirrell.' Harry desperately hoped Snape would succeed again. 'Malfoy can't die like this. This isn't what I wanted at all. I just wanted to know what he was up to.' Harry thought desperately. 'Snape has to save him.'
The effect of the chanting was so subtle that at first Harry was worried that Snape's spell wasn't working. Harry was used to seeing wounds disappear instantly with a wave of Madame Pomfrey's wand, but these wounds weren't going away. At best it looked like Snape was slowing the blood loss.
Harry knew without needing to be told that his reckless choice of curse was to blame. 'Why did I use that spell? Why did the half-blood prince even have a spell like that in his book?' Harry lamented in vain, silently hating himself for having stupidly cast a curse he didn't know the effect of.
The seconds dragged on, Harry could do nothing but watch while Snape's chanting continued to have little to no effect. Harry began to despair that anything would happen when Malfoy's body suddenly jerked rigid and began to levitate off of the ground. For the first time Snape paused in his incantation. His face blanched as the suspended body began to radiate a blinding golden light.
Snape grabbed Harry by the arm and dragged him across the room, as far from Malfoy's rapidly rising body as they could get without leaving the room. Snape leant against the cold wall and panted from the exertion of his continued chanting. Harry wasn't comforted by the exhausted defeated look on the teacher's face.
"What did you do to him?" Harry watched in morbid fascination as Malfoy's glowing body hovered ominously in the middle of the room. "What's happening to him?"
"This is not my doing." Snape fixed Harry with a seething glare as he spoke for the first time since he entered the bathroom. "This is your fault! You nearly killed him. You may still have. Now that he's transforming it is no longer possible for me to help him. My magic could disrupt his and interrupting him mid-transformation could kill him. So now it's all up to him. He either has the necessary strength left to heal himself or he doesn't. By the time we know that he has failed it will already be too late for anyone else to save him and his blood will be on your hands."
"Transforming?" Harry watched the floating body in confusion.
Snape let out an exasperated sigh not bothering to hide his disgust at Harry. "You really don't know anything do you Potter? I could have excused your ignorance back in first year, after all, you were raised by muggles. But you've been in the wizarding world for nearly six years now. I find it borderline irresponsible that you've taken no pains to learn anything of wizarding culture or traditions. Do you see how the light shimmers around him?" Snape pointed. "That light is his magic. If he is strong enough his magic will heal him."
"Wizards can do that?" Harry stared where Snape pointed in awe.
"No Potter, normal wizards can't do that!" Snape's voice dripped with derision. "Are you even listening to me? Is there any value at all in my continuing to speak to you? Your actions, your careless, dangerous, stupid actions have driven Draco's Veela heritage from its dormancy. In times of great danger or extreme duress Veela have been known to exhibit healing abilities. Clearly, the imminence of his own death has forced his latent Veela powers to the fore. So now he's transforming. You'd better hope he still has enough energy remaining after the transformation to heal himself."
"Malfoy's a Veela?" Harry asked dubiously.
"He will be now. Thanks to you!" Snape spat. "That is, if he survives the transformation." He added ominously.
Harry watched the metamorphosis in silence for several minutes. The radiant light Malfoy emitted reflected off the blood soaked floor and the broken mirrors, filling the room with a sickly red tinted light.
The swirling gold and silver beams of light wove around Malfoy like a swarm of glowing snitches and subtly altered him with each passing swoop. The changes were small enough that you might not immediately notice if you weren't looking for them. His hair grew slightly longer and seemed more lustrous. His frame which formerly would have been described as merely thin now appeared lithe and leanly muscular. His fingers and his nails elongated. His complexion smoothed out and was free of blemishes and imperfections with only one notable exception. The sectumsempra slashes remained. The savage curse wounds appeared all the more glaring against his otherwise flawless flesh and Harry was struck with another sickening wave of remorse.
Harry tried to distract himself from his guilt ridden thoughts by questioning Snape. "How could this happen? This doesn't make any sense, people don't just turn into Veela, that's ridiculous. This isn't my fault." He added half trying to convince Snape and half trying to convince himself. "He attacked me first. He was about to hit me with the Cruciatus curse. I was just defending myself." He explained.
"Nonsense! How dare you lie about an unforgivable. Draco would never be stupid enough to use dark magic on school grounds. Though clearly the same compliment can't be paid to your intelligence. When this is over you and I will be having a discussion about where you learned that dark curse." Snape threatened.
Harry paled but was saved from responding when Malfoy's body suddenly shuddered and collapsed back onto the ground with a sickly splash of bloody water. His body laid there unmoving without even a heaving chest to give any indication that he was still alive. Frightened into action Harry ran to Malfoy's crumpled form, not waiting for Snape's approval.
Up close Harry inspected the x shaped wound that bisected Malfoy's chest from shoulder to hip. It was nearly closed and the bleeding had died down to a slow drizzle, but it wasn't gone completely. He looked on in shame, wondering if it would scar Malfoy the way Voldemort's curse had scarred him.
'Please don't be dead.' Harry silently prayed as he reached out to see if Malfoy was still breathing.
At Harry's touch Malfoy's eyes shot open and he was instantly back on his feet. He lunged at the unsuspecting Gryffindor and their bodies slammed together against the nearest wall. The silver and golden lights that had disappeared with the completion of Malfoy's transformation roared up once more with a blazing luminosity that made it difficult to see. Harry couldn't breathe. The impact with the wall had knocked all of the air from his lungs and Malfoy's crushing closeness prevented him from taking in more.
Harry cried out as Malfoy's nails dug mercilessly into his back, pierced through his robes and clawed into his skin with an agonizing depth that made Harry feel like he was dying. The pain tore through him and felt like electricity coursing through his veins, burning him, lighting him up from within. The agony was followed by a wave of weakness, and the lethargic certainty that his life was flowing out of him. It was all too overwhelming, the pain of the claws in his back, the lack of air, and the blinding brilliance that was Draco Malfoy.
'I'm going to die in the arms of my enemy, in a bloody sopping wet broken down loo.' Harry thought bitterly. His arms were too weak to fight Malfoy off.
Harry could vaguely make Snape out in his peripheral vision. It looked like he was trying to get to them. He was pounding at the barrier that was Malfoy's Veela magic, but the swirling light wouldn't let him interfere.
'Magic is pretty.' Was Harry's parting thought as his pain at last overtook him. The darkness closed in around his eyes and he embraced unconsciousness.
Malfoy's whole body ached. He knew without needing to open his eyes that he wasn't in his own bed. The smell of poultices and antiseptics gave the hospital wing away. 'POTTER!' He thought angrily. He sat up opening his eyes groggily and saw that Harry was in the bed across the room.
He smirked, happy that it seemed he had at least managed to land Potter in the hospital wing as well, 'At least it looks like I gave as good as I got.' He thought smugly. He tried to climb out of bed, but Madame Pomfrey noticed that he was awake and hurried to his side, stopping him.
"Oh good, you're awake. How are you feeling?" she asked, pressing her hand to his forehead as she did so.
"Terrific." He snarked. "I feel like I've been hit by the knight bus. What kind of curse did he use on me anyway?"
Madame Pomfrey looked uncomfortable. "Oh, um, I think I better leave it to Snape to explain what happened in the bathroom. After all he was the one who found the two of you. I'll go summon him. You stay in bed." She ordered before she scurried away to find the Slytherin head of house, leaving the doors open behind her.
"Oi, Potter!" Malfoy yelled the moment he was sure Madame Pomfrey was out of ear shot. As far as he was concerned if he had to be awake and in pain than Potter ought to be too. Harry shifted in his sleep and then rolled onto his back letting out an inelegant snore. Draco threw a pillow at him, and managed to smack him full in the face.
"What the hell?" Harry swore, tossing the pillow onto the ground in his sleep hazed confusion.
"What did you curse me with?" Draco asked in a dangerous tone. Harry looked up at Draco's voice, blinking away his residual sleepiness as he took in his surroundings.
"We're in the hospital wing." He replied stupidly.
"Huh, funny that," Draco retorted sarcastically. "I had managed to ascertain that much myself. What I asked you was what you cursed me with?"
Harry looked down at his hands guiltily. Draco didn't think it was a good sign that Potter looked that contrite.
"I'm sorry. I didn't know what the spell would do to you. It was the first curse that came to mind." He explained, his eyes still fixed on his hands.
Draco was floored. 'Did Potter just apologize to me?' Draco hid his surprise at the apology and indignantly replied.
"Let me get this straight. You used a curse on me when you didn't even know what it did? You could have killed me."
"You're one to act all high and mighty." Harry shot back, contrition quickly giving way to anger. "I don't care what Snape says I know that you were about to cast Cruciatus on me. You're lucky my curse hit you first or you might be in Azkaban as we speak."
"And you're lucky your curse didn't kill Mr. Malfoy or you WOULD be in Azkaban as we speak." Snape interjected from across the room.
"Professor." Malfoy greeted his Slytherin Head as he approached the Slytherin's bed.
"How are you feeling?" Snape asked, concern written across his usually stern face.
"I've felt better." Draco admitted.
"I can imagine." Snape replied darkly, casting Potter a scathing glare.
"What happened? I don't- I feel like my memory is incomplete. I remember Potter coming into the bathroom and the beginning of the fight. Then the next thing I know I'm waking up here."
"That's not surprising, you were unconscious for most of what happened after you were attacked. Mr. Potter cursed you with a dark spell that rends flesh and is incredibly difficult to heal."
"But you knew the counter curse and you were able to heal me in time?" Draco assumed.
"It's true I do know an incantation that may have been able to fight the curse. If circumstances had been different I might have been able to heal you. Though there's no way of knowing and no use in speculating whether or not my counter curse would have been successful or not. You see, my efforts were interrupted by your own survival instincts. There's no easy way for me to explain this to you Draco, so I'm just going to be honest with you. You very nearly died the other night. The direness of your predicament awakened your latent Veela genes and you transformed to heal yourself."
"What? You're saying that I'm a Veela now?" Draco sputtered uncharacteristically.
"Well a part-Veela at the very least. We're not sure if the transformation has made you into a full Veela or if you are just a one-eight Veela with active Veela traits. It remains to be seen which Veela powers besides healing you'll come to display. Only time will tell, but I saw you transform with my own eyes. Your Veela magic awakened from its dormancy so that it could save you." Snape answered.
"Do I look different?" Draco raised his arms to inspect himself. He noted that his fingers had elongated and his nails were thicker and felt stronger and pointier than they had been before. His skin looked flawless, almost luminous even. 'How had I not noticed that when I woke up?' He wondered with a pleased smile.
Madame Pomfrey brought him a hand mirror obligingly and he assessed himself in its reflection. His face at least was largely unchanged. Like the skin on his hands his facial complexion looked pristine and was silky smooth to the touch. His eyes had turned from their prior bland gray to a molten silver that he quite liked. 'Very Slytherin.' He thought with a smirk. His hair had grown a few inches and draped gracefully at the nape of his neck. He had always favored shorter hair personally, but he had to admit the new look suited him.
"I find my appearance acceptable." He said at last, setting the hand mirror on the nightstand beside him. "What other changes should I expect?"
Madame Pomfrey and Professor Snape exchanged glances. But Madame Pomfrey spoke first.
"Neither Professor Snape or I pretend to be experts on Veela magic, Mr. Malfoy. Though I assure you, we have ordered books on the topic and we will both be researching the topic in the coming weeks. But based on the generic knowledge that we have at present we think it is safe to assume that you will manifest at least some of the more common Veela traits. I imagine you will find yourself popular among your classmates. It wouldn't be surprising if you found yourself able to use allure, or release pheromones, as that is undoubtedly the most common Veela ability. Though I feel I should state, on behalf of the school, that we would strongly prefer that you not purposely use your allure on fellow students while on school grounds for obvious reasons." She looked at him sternly than continued. "Someday, should you chose to bond to a mate, it is possible that you may grow wings. Really only time will tell how thoroughly your Veela heritage has manifested itself."
"So other potential perks aside you're telling me that I'm just extra good looking, charming, and universally desirable? That doesn't sound so bad." Malfoy preened.
"Do I really need to be here for this?" Harry interjected from across the room. "Because while listening to Malfoy wax poetic about himself does hold some entertainment value I think my time would probably be better spent elsewhere. To be honest, I don't even know why I'm here. I didn't even get hexed during our fight." He finished, his voice tinged with annoyance.
"About that…" Madame Pomfrey began, but Snape interrupted her.
"You're here because you lost a substantial portion of your life force the other night and Madame Pomfrey wanted you to recover under her supervision."
"What do you mean I lost my life force?" Harry tensed his hands clasping the sheets reflexively.
"Stupidly, though I suppose in this case fortuitously, the other night when Malfoy collapsed to the ground physically and magically exhausted from his transformation you ran to his side to help him. His magical core was drained when his mana proved not up to the task of both transforming and fully healing his body. When you approached him his Veela survival instincts kicked in, and identifying you as a source of life energy he latched on to you and siphoned off your excess energy until he was able to finish healing himself. Had it not been for your foolhardy intervention I suspect that he would likely have died from lacking sufficient energy to sustain his life functions. Do you not remember any of this?" Snape asked. Harry shook his head silently and Snape continued.
"Well, he clawed into your back and forcibly funneled a considerable amount of your life and magical energy into himself. I tried to stop the exchange of course, I didn't know if he would be able to stop without killing you. But Veela magic, particularly wild instinctual Veela magic is quite contentious. I was unable to prevent the exchange. By the time Draco finished healing himself Madame Pomfrey had joined us in the bathroom. After the magic released you and two of you collapsed to the ground unconscious Madame Pomfrey and I levitated the two of you up to the hospital wing. That was two days ago." Snape explained.
"But the two of you seem fine now and we have every reason to believe that with continued rest and healthy food the two of you will be back up to your normal energy levels by the start of term next week!" Madame Pomfrey piped in with what Harry had come to recognize as her reassuring voice.
"So there will be no lasting side effects?" Harry asked dubiously and was discomfited when Madame Pomfrey and Snape exchanged another set of loaded looks. This time Snape was the one who answered.
"You are both scarred. We were able to heal the wounds Malfoy inflicted on your back but just like the curse scar you left on his chest the marks he tore onto your back seem impervious to our healing magic. Not even dittany helped." Harry reached back and felt the jagged lines that marred his shoulder blades, four long lines on each side. They felt pleasantly warm to the touch.
"Potter scarred me!" Malfoy demanded. Tearing open the front of his shirt and staring at his chest angrily. The x shaped curse scar shimmered slightly against his alabaster skin with an almost pearlescent luster.
"Oh sod off Malfoy. Your scar is barely noticeable, look what you did to me!" Harry pulled up his shirt turned his exposed back to Malfoy angrily.
The Veela claw marks were raised and had an angry pinkish tinge to them, standing out starkly against Potter's pale back.
"You deserve it. You almost killed me." Malfoy shot back unapologetically.
"Boys." Madame Pomfrey scolded. "That's enough. Fighting on school grounds is a very serious offense, Professor Snape and I are both very disappointed in the two of you. Especially you Mr. Potter. The use of Dark Magic on Hogwarts grounds is strictly prohibited. Mr. Malfoy loses 20 points to Slytherin for starting the fight and you lose 50 points for Gryffindor, for dueling, using dark magic, and for nearly killing a fellow student." Harry opened his mouth to argue but Madame Pomfrey cut him off preemptively.
"And before you even try to argue with me, Mr. Potter, I'll have you know I had to argue with Professor Snape for hours to convince him to not call the Ministry and press criminal charges against you. I wish to impress upon you the seriousness of what you did. Not knowing the effect of a curse is not a defense for using it. To the contrary using spells you don't know is incredibly reckless and it is miraculous that Mr. Malfoy survived. Both of your families have been notified of this incident."
Harry couldn't help but roll his eyes at that last bit. He couldn't imagine that the Dursley's would care that he'd been in a wizards duel, if they felt anything at all it would be disappointment that one or both of them hadn't died in the endeavor. As for Malfoy's parents, they'd probably throw him a party for taking on the Boy-Who-Lived.
Fortunately, Madame Pomfrey didn't see his sarcastic display as her attention was once again focused on Malfoy, who Harry was surprised to see, seemed rather more disturbed by the news that his parents were informed.
"Do my parents know about me being a Veela?" He asked with trepidation. His eyes met Snape's almost fearfully. Snape shook his head.
"I thought it better to convey that to them in person. I intend to visit your mother in a few days' time. Once I can bring them news that you are fully recovered. Your father of course cannot be reached at present." Malfoy nodded in understanding, relief clearly showing on his face.
"Well, as interesting as all of this has been," Harry began, "I think I'd rather continue my rest back in Gryffindor dormitory. I don't imagine I'd sleep well in a room with-" He glared at Malfoy, "in a room with someone who thinks it's okay to just siphon off my life force whenever it suits him."
Madame Pomfrey exhaled a long suffering sigh and said, "Honestly, the two of you are too much. Really, Mr. Potter I think it highly unlikely that there would be any repeat of that. I assure you that you are perfectly safe here in the hospital wing under my supervision."
"Let him go." Malfoy said. "I'd sleep better knowing my would-be murder wasn't in the next bed over."
Madame Pomfrey merely shook her head in resignation.
"Very well, if the two of you are so determined. I'd rather have kept you both under observation, but as Potter has been fully healed and isn't suffering from the residual effects of a dark curse or a full body transformation he, strictly speaking, doesn't really need to remain here. You may go Mr. Potter, but if you feel unwell or have any unusual side effects over the next few days I implore you to return to the hospital wing for further inspection." Harry nodded, surprised but pleased that Madame Pomfrey was actually going to let him leave.
He exited the hospital wing with a decided spring in his step. 50 points from Gryffindor was bad, certainly, but not insurmountable and frankly he had expected it to be much worse. He could make up that difference with a quidditch win.
As he walked away from the hospital wing his new scars grew cold, and were aching painfully by the time he reached Gryffindor common room.
'Fucking fantastic,' He thought to himself bitterly 'yet another scar that I have to deal with random unexplained pain from.' He remembered Madame Pomfrey's words about side effects, but immediately dismissed the notion of returning to the hospital wing. Achy scars he could deal with. That was just his life.