Disclaimer: I own nothing, all credit to J.K Rowling

Warning: Rated M Everything you would find in a standard romance novel is found in this fic.

As this fic comes to an end I wanted to take a moment to thank Trinkisme, who has been such an integral part of why this fic was finished. Her support, ideas, and friendship got us to this point and I wanted to say, thank you. She was my alpha before I knew what an alpha was and the only reason this did not end up languishing for years more.
She also made two amazing mood boards for this chapter. See them in full on my Tumblr: CrystalJeanRed
To Ihrin for helping to Beta some of the older chapters, thank you.
Diane, thank you for being an alpha for the final chapter.

Music is my Muse:

Song for this chapter: Follow My Feet; Unlikely Candidates
Lyric of choice: "If I don't do it, nobody will…"

Don't forget you can listen to the stories playlist on my YouTube channel.

Love of a Mate

Chapter 25

Follow My Feet

Hermione was working on not becoming a raving shrew. It had been three hours and they still had not heard back from either Draco or Harry. Draco would send her quick messages asking her to stay put but nothing more, and the emotions she got out of him were muted as if he was blocking them.

Ginny had transfigured the table into a loo for the girls, a rather brilliant bit of magic. But when her stomach rumbled for the third time in under a minute she had finally had enough.

"Ginny, I am hungry."

Ginny snorted and stood up wiping none existent lint off her robes. "I was hungry an hour ago."

Hermione nodded and stood up putting on her coat and sighing. "Shall we warn them we are leaving or just ask for forgiveness after we are gone?"

Ginny tilted her head waving her wand to have another look at the wards they had both been studying for the last hour. "I think forgiveness sounds like a plan. How should we leave though? The wards are back up to full strength, and taking them down doesn't seem wise since we have no idea what is going on."

Hermione chewed on her lip as she considered the problem and reached out to Draco again. "Draco is not responding, although I can feel him. He is blocking me from his emotions."

Ginny looked at her worry flashing in her eyes. "His father?"

Hermione nodded rubbing her arms. "I think he has died or is dying. There is deep grief. I need to find him," her tummy rumbled and she gave a sheepish grin, "after I eat."

Ginny nodded waving her wand to drop the wards they had put up in the room itself, still studying the other wards that Kingsley and probably a few curse breakers had put up. "I think the death of his father is the only thing that would cause him to leave you down here this long," Ginny said in a worried tone considering the wards carefully. "Come on, let's cut through the wards and head to the Manor and have the house elves fuss over you."

Hermione smirked suddenly. "Ginny, that's it!"

Ginny looked over in confusion. "What's it?"

Hermione waved her wand in excitement and then laughed out loud. "They didn't put back the wards against magical creatures, look!"

Ginny looked at the runes and grinned broadly. "Well, damn! Kreacher!"

There was a pop and Kreacher was crouching looking around in horror. "Misses Potter and Misses Malfoy should not be in such a place."

Ginny smiled in relief, "no kidding, can you take us to Malfoy Manor please?"

Kreacher was already grabbing their hands and in a flash, they were standing in the kitchens of the Manor where no less than three elves started crying pulling Hermione over to a seat and shoving food in her face. Kreacher had already gone. He wasn't very sociable.

"We's could not leave. Mistress was hungry but we's could not leave as no one is here to order us to do so."

Ginny looked around in shock at the wailing elves. "What in Merlin?"

Hermione shook her head trying to calm the elves and taking the food at the same time. "If I get hungry they panic."

Ginny chuckled and then sighed, "okay, now to figure out how to tell the boys where we are. I don't want to send an elf and it would seem we are the only ones here right now."

Hermione nodded around her bite of bread and cheese. "Hmm, yes, if they could have gotten me food Narcissa would have sent them by now. Bugger you are right about an elf, especially if Harry is still fighting."

Ginny snorted, "same with a Patronus, I don't want to distract him. Can we send an elf to St. Mungo's?"

Hermione shook her head. "No, no magical creatures are allowed and I wouldn't send a Patronus either, Draco might not want anyone to know we are not still locked away on that rock."

Ginny sat down and accepted a glass of pumpkin juice. "Hmm, I guess we shouldn't leave the Manor. We will already be in trouble for leaving the prison and we have no idea what is going on."

Hermione snorted and grabbed her glass of milk from an elf. "I was hungry, they will both have to get over it."

Ginny smiled at her friend and took a piece of cheese. "Yes, and you are still hungry if you are this grouchy."

They bantered back and forth about what to do and finally decided the best place to start was the hospital where they had known Draco had been heading. Neither witch was comfortable just sitting around worrying about things and Hermione was unable to ignore the urge to comfort and check on her grieving mate.

After they both had eaten Hermione stood up and stretched. "I want to change and then we will floo over to St. Mungo's. I can get into the labour and delivery ward by floo, so we can avoid the main atrium and from there we will figure out where Draco is."

Ginny grinned at the plan her eyes sparkling. "If you kiss him before he starts yelling we might not even be in trouble," she teased before she stood up as well. "Let me pop back to change and I will meet you in twenty minutes."


A half-hour later the girls stepped out into a deserted waiting room and quickly headed over to the medi witch who was looking at them curiously.

"Is there a problem?"

Hermione smiled at her brilliantly. "Not with me, no. My husband brought his father here, and we were wondering where we could find them. I forgot our floo was linked to your waiting room," was said apologetically.

The medi witch smiled at her setting down her magazine. "Oh, yes, that is a problem when you are expecting, being rerouted here," she waved her hands, "no worries dear, many a witch has ended up with us. Now, let me see if I can help you."

Ginny winked at Hermione who rolled her eyes as the older medi witch took forever to run her hands down a list of patient names. "Ah, here we are. Malfoy, yes he is in a private room now."

Ginny took the paper with the room number the witch handed over thanking her and grabbed Hermione's hand pulling her out.

"I would warn him you are on your way, Hermione," she whispered as they headed to a lift.

Hermione frowned but nodded. "I suppose so, he can yell at me privately that way."

Ginny hid her giggle as she punched the button for the lift.

"Draco, I was able to have a house elf come and get me. I got hungry. Ginny and I are headed to you from the lift now." Hermione sent out her anxiety and also her love with the thought and boarded the lift giving Ginny a small grimace.

"He is very upset, but I think he might have just realized the time, there was some self-loathing in there," Hermione whispered softly.

Ginny glanced over at her friend and sighed, "I knew he would not have deliberately left you there that long."

Hermione nodded and rubbed her belly absently as she felt for Draco through the link. Sadness, shock, grief, anger, and finally love.

"I will be waiting for you at the lift."

Hermione bit her lip and grabbed Ginny's hand. "He didn't even yell at me."

Ginny's' eyes went wide. "Oh, well, hmm," she said lamely squeezing her friend's hand in comfort.

Hermione watched the numbers anxiously as they climbed up until the lift stopped and opened. Immediately she flew into her mates' arms and held onto him. He had been crying and looked so pale.

"What has happened?" she asked urgently into his neck.

"He was starved. The wards kept them from harming him in any other way. Apparently, the only thing they could do was slowly starve him. Most of the other prisoners are in the same shape."

Ginny gasped in horror. "What? That is outrageous. Why?"

Hermione felt Draco shaking with anger and grief. "Anti- Death Eater sentiments. Kingsley sent word that they had managed to capture all the guards, idiots had their wands tracked as they are technically a part of magical law enforcement, yet kept using magic. I am sorry that I left you there my heart."

Hermione rubbed his back and stepped away to look him over. "We figured you had to be very busy and once we realized that elf magic was not blocked just called for Kreacher. How is Narcissa taking all this? Is it too late? Can't they help him?"

Draco shook his head his eyes haunted. "No. He has full organ failure. They can just make him comfortable until he passes and mother is a mess. She blames herself for not corresponding with him, not that he could have told her they were starving him anyway. They monitored all the mail."

Ginny let out a harsh grunt. "This is going to be such a scandal. Kingsley promised to reform the prison just last year."

Hermione wiped at her eyes as she looked back at a horrified Ginny. "Yes, I know," turning to her mate she sighed and rubbed her thumb along his white cheek. "This isn't your fault, Draco. We tried to get to him."

Draco nodded and then swallowed. "Hermione, there are about thirty former Death Eaters in hospital."

Hermione looked at her husband and mate carefully before she asked softly. "What will they do with them?"

Draco sighed. "Kingsley is releasing those with family back to their estates to die within the wards. We are transporting father within the hour. Those who don't die," he swallowed. "I am not sure."

Hermione nodded before she turned to look at Ginny. "I would imagine the ones who do survive are going to be younger wizards and witches who have not been there that long and have systems that can bounce back from such a shock."

Ginny flinched and put a hand to her face. "Merlin, that means they probably would have been released eventually."

Hermione closed her eyes and nodded and turned to her mate. "Is it safe for us to go back to our office?"

Draco studied his mate, stroking her face as he considered her. "What are you going to do?"

Hermione gave him a soft sad smile. "We have a list of Estates that are empty that we have been looking at for the werewolf reserve. I think we will try to find one that can become a detention center where healers, mind healers, and a bunch of young death eaters and death eater sympathizers can all stay. Somewhere safe where they can be rehabilitated."

Ginny snorted. "Kingsley will be in our debt for this. If he has a plan of action for the Prophet he might survive the scandal."

Draco wiped a hand over the back of his neck and closed his eyes, he wanted her next to him, but he also didn't want her anywhere near his dying father. The man was not lucid and he wasn't sure how Lucius would react if Hermione suddenly showed up in his line of sight.

"Right, use our gold. The ministry won't have the funding for something like this."

His mate laughed and he felt her soft lips along his jaw. "Of course, I am only a thought away. If he passes before we are home tonight call for me."

Draco opened his eyes and nodded. "Stay with Ginny at all times. Set the wards so only myself or Potter can get in, and have Kreacher stand guard. Allow him to be able to apparate you both out if there is any kind of problem."

Hermione smirked at him her eyes dancing with laughter. "Why Kreacher?"

Draco shrugged a small smile playing on his lips. "He is meaner than any of our elves."

Ginny chuckled and grabbed Hermiones' hand. "That is true enough. Come on, we can floo to the Leaky and call Kreacher from there, shouldn't take more than five minutes to set up all the wards we need."

Draco leaned down taking Hermiones' face in his hands and looking into her soft brown eyes. "Be safe, my heart."

Hermione leaned up and kissed him sweetly before she nodded and stepped back, turning with Ginny and rushing off.


Draco watched his wife and mate until she rounded the corner and then spun on his heel to head back to the room where his mother waited with Theo.

"Are we able to move him yet?" Draco asked once he had closed the door.

Theo nodded. "Yeah, just waiting on you. The Malfoy healer will meet us there. The wards will lock down once he arrives. Kingsley set it up himself and Potter is his Auror."

Draco nodded and looked at the skeletal man who had raised him. "Mother, my wife is safe."

Haunted blue eyes met his before they seemed to understand what he had said. "Oh, that is good dear."

Draco looked at Theo after his mother looked back to her dying husband. "Did she eat?" he mouthed.

Theo gave a tight nod. "A little," he mouthed back before he moved to the other chair in the room and sat down his face agitated.

The next few hours passed by in a blur for Draco. Eventually, the healer talked his mother into taking a sleeping drought after assuring her that Lucius was not going to die that night. Draco wiped a weary hand over his face and nodded at Theo who had agreed to stay with the dying man.

"I am going to get my wife," Draco said softly.

"Is it true?"

Draco went totally still as his father's raspy voice sounded out in the now quiet room.

"Is it true you found a mate?"

Draco stepped forward and met silver eyes so like his in a face he no longer recognized. "Yes. It is true."

The skeletal head nodded and the man's haunted eyes now too big for his face closed. "That is good. Very good. The wards, they are stronger now. I never thought to feel them again."

Theo stood up and backed out slowly, leaving father and son to have a chat.

Draco waited a moment and then sank down into the seat his friend had abandoned. "Father, do you remember speaking with Theo Nott Jr about my mate?"

Lucius shook his head slightly. "No. I would never talk about such a thing, even with Theo."

Draco sighed heavily. "It was his father, actually."

A sneer passed across the gaunt face of his father. "Especially not with that wizard. I have not seen him since before the final battle. He fled, why do you ask?"

Coughing followed this and Draco found himself helping his father sip water until he was breathing heavily again and nodding.

"Theo Nott Senior discovered I was Veela. They assumed that I didn't have a mate and planned to bleed me to death for potion ingredients."

Silver eyes flashed open and were full of fury, he watched the mans' hand twitch for his wand. "You handled this, I assume?"

Draco nodded his face full of disgust. "Yes, a few memories might have been altered and Nott Senior did not survive, but we handled the situation."

The fury died a little but the voice was still gruff. "Good. Your mate, is she well?"

Draco smiled and nodded. "Pregnant, she is due in a few weeks."

Lucius seemed to ponder that for a moment before he said softly. "You are happy."

Draco sat back shocked. "Yes, I am."

Lucius gave a small nod and drifted off into the fitful sleep he had been in since he was stabilized leaving Draco to stare at him for a long time before he got up.

Theo was waiting for him in the hall. "You okay, Drake?"

Draco nodded. "Yeah, he is sleeping."

Theo patted him on the shoulder and headed back into the room. "Keep Hermione busy, he mumbles in his sleep, usually about revels and such."

Draco shivered in understanding. He had stayed out of the privacy bubble that had been erected around his father most of the night, but what Theo was explaining now helped him to understand why his mother looked so haunted.

What a bloody mess!


Hermione looked up as someone apparated into the room. "Ginny! Draco is here," was yelled as she rushed forward as fast as her belly would allow her to hug her pale husband. "What has happened?"

Draco held onto her, burying his face in her neck. "He is still alive, sometimes lucid, and other times he just rambles."

Hermione pulled back to look into his beautiful eyes. "Narcissa?"

She watched him flinch and sighed heavily hugging him again letting him know without saying anything that he didn't need to keep talking unless he wished to.

Ginny rounded the corner with a quill stuck in her hair and a piece of parchment. "We got an owl back, if we transfer the money tomorrow we should have the Beacroft Estate. Needs a bit of work, but I am sure we can get it completed by the end of the week. Gold sings a lot of Gold sings and dances."

Hermione laughed into her husband's robes before she pulled back to smirk at her friend. "We can set that all up first thing tomorrow morning."

Ginny waved her hand. "Yep. So am I free to take Kreacher and go? He is mumbling over the free house elf file right now. Whispering all kinds of nasty things about elves who would dishonour themselves in such a way. I never knew he could read."

Hermione had to hold in her fits of giggling. "Yeah, have a good night."

Ginny nodded at Draco and turned on her heel heading down to retrieve her elf and head home.

"Kreacher can read?" Draco asked his tone incredulous.

Hermione hit him playfully. "Shush, all elves can read, you just don't realise it. They are highly intelligent creatures."

Draco smiled down at her softly and gently pushed a stray curl out of her face. "So you keep telling me. Are you hungry?"

Hermione shook her head. "Harry popped in to bring us food and check on us before he left again. Are you?"

Draco shook his head. "Couldn't eat."

Hermione sighed and took his hand. "Can we just go to bed?"

In an instant his arms where around her and she landed in the soft firelight of their bedroom.

"I need you tonight," Draco said huskily already pulling her jumper off her head.

"What makes you think I don't need you?" she asked as she worked on his robes.

Within minutes they were naked and he was gently laying her on her side cuddling behind her. Their passion might be great but he was still so careful with her due to her pregnancy. She moaned as he slipped into her from behind and wrapped her arms around him as he cradled their child.

"You are moving too slow," she hissed as he went deeper but kept up his steady and very sedate advance into her.

He sucked at her neck and moved a hand up to her breast. "You are simply impatient."

Hermione smiled and moved a hand back to grab his silky hair. "Draco, move!"

His deep chuckle met this demand and then he was finally moving in and out of her slick passage, one hand still on her belly holding her to him and Hermione let out a deep moan of completion.

Whatever life might throw at them; she always knew that in the arms of her mate she was safe.

"I love you," she whispered softly in his head as her body started to peak.

Draco moaned and gave her another love bite, this time on her shoulder as his thrusts became faster and more erratic.

"I love you, Hermione!"

She smiled and then fell off the cliff right along with him, drifting off to sleep safely held in his arms.


Draco didn't sleep, he couldn't, finally, he got up, careful not to wake his mate, and headed down to the room his father was in. Theo was sleeping and Draco waved so that the wizard couldn't hear him.

"I don't know that I forgive you for what you did to our family. I have hated you for so long. But, I am about to be a father, and I don't want to burden my own child with the hatred I hold for their grandpapa. So, go in peace father," he turned but stopped as a cold hand grabbed his.

"I loved you, even when I was wrong and cruel."

Draco looked into the mournful eyes of his father and nodded. "I will be sure you are buried in our wards and I will make sure mother lacks for nothing."

Lucius nodded his eyes pained. "I will wait for your mother to return before I pass. She will be upset if she isn't here."

Draco nodded and waited a moment before he whispered hoarsely, "was it worth it father?"

Lucius went paler and shook his head. "No, never put anything above family, Draco. Please, teach your children this, let them learn from my mistakes."

Draco sucked in a pained breath and nodded. "I will."

The hand fell away from his wrist and the man was sleeping again. Draco went back to the arms of his mate and fell asleep peacefully.


The next morning when they learned that Lucius Malfoy had passed moments after his wife had arrived to sit with him, Draco held Hermione as she cried for what could have been. His eyes, however, were dry. He would cry eventually for the man who had been his father. The wizard who had allowed hate and bigotry to destroy him and by extension his family. But they were not tears for himself, he cried for a father and husband who never knew true happiness. Hatred had eaten away his father until just the shell of the man remained. But, Draco had survived, and against all odds found his one true mate who made him see that the world was a place worth living.

She was his light in the dark and he was more than happy, more than content. Draco Lucius Malfoy was loved, because of her.

The children they raised together grew up in a home filled with happiness and light. They never had to fight a war, or live with a madman. They were never tortured or left wanting. Eventually, they would learn of their parent's pasts, learn all that the two had to overcome to find one another. However, no Malfoy ever put a cause over family again. In the end, Lucius had gotten his wish. His grandchildren and even great-great-grandchildren had learned from his mistakes.

Your family was the most important thing and should always be treasured. The Malfoy line thrived because a son was not his father and had found a woman who made him wish to become a better man. A man worthy of a true mate.

Author Notes:

I want to thank each and every one of you who have gone on this journey with me and my muse. I wrote this story because I was disappointed that there were not more Veela Dramione stories to read. My only hope is that my contribution to the trope holds up to the others alongside it.

Thank you so much for all the encouragement and love you have shown me throughout this story. I have had two major surgeries, almost lost my life twice, moved across the country, and lost a family member during the course of writing this fic. For that reason, the annoying Author Notes will stay. This story especially is a look at a time in my life that I need to remember.

I hope the ending meets your approval. I feel no overwhelming sense to add an epilogue. I kind of want you all to decide yourselves how many children they have, what they name them. To me, the spirit of this story was Draco's redemption and Hermione not giving up on him. The story was about their incredible love and bond. The rest, in the end, didn't seem to matter. What mattered was they were happy.