A/N: This is for LadiePhoenix007—who is always supportive of the HP fandom's writers. I am privileged to have the opportunity to be supportive back. This is silly and fluffy and I hope it makes you smile, love.
It was… perhaps… possible that Draco was spoiled. There were moments when Narcissa felt guilty about that, but they were few and far between. She and Lucius had tried so many times before they had Draco. There had been too many nights that she cried herself to sleep, too many days that she had woken up and couldn't bear to look at herself in the mirror, too many years where she felt a failure to her husband and to her House for her to let the guilt eat away at her. Every time those grey eyes looked to her with absolute love and trust… every time Draco gave her that winning smile… Narcissa caved.
"Narcissa," Lucius sighed. "We have to rein him in. If he continues on like this… his condition won't be much of a secret."
"I know," Narcissa replied. She twisted her hands together anxiously. "I know, Lucius, it's just that..."
Another heavy sigh from Lucius and then he was sitting down next to her and pulling her into his arms. He crooned soothingly against her temple and she melted against his side.
"He is perfect, Narcissa," Lucius told her in a soft, gentle voice that no one save Narcissa was privileged to hear. "He was worth all the pain and all the waiting."
"It's just a park," Narcissa whispered. "I know that it's packed with Muggles, but I'll do Notice-Me-Not charms… I disillusion him if I have to do so."
"Fine," Lucius agreed. He pulled away so that he could look at Narcissa's face. "But I'm coming along."
"You can't," Narcissa protested with a worried frown. "What about the Wizengamot?"
"This is obviously important to the both of you, and if it's important to you then it is important to me," Lucius replied firmly.
The radiant smile on Narcissa's face was all the proof that Lucius needed that this was the right choice.
Being the parent of a gifted child was difficult. Portia and Marcus Granger had always known that their Hermione was… special. To be honest, the fact that she could read from a young age and seemed preternaturally intelligent was almost normal compared to… everything else. The first time Portia had seen one of her baby's toys float in the air she had screamed. Hermione had started to cry and the toy fell to the ground.
"It's time to go to the park, Hermione," Portia called with forced cheerfulness.
Hermione looked up from her book with a frown. "Can I take my book, Mummy?"
"Yes, of course, darling," Portia reassured her.
The only way to get Hermione outside so that she could get fresh air was if Portia and Marcus allowed her to bring a book. Usually, she would sit quietly under a tree and read the entire time they were there. Occasionally, they had witnessed her wandering around the park, but that was rare. Once or twice, she had played with other children at the park, but she usually grew impatient with them because children her own age couldn't keep up with Hermione.
It was horrible, but Portia was rather glad that Hermione was so reluctant to play with other children. What if she were to have one of her little accidents around other children? What on earth would Portia and Marcus do then? What if, god forbid, some child was hurt because of Hermione's strange powers? Portia had nightmares about the government coming to take Hermione away in the name of public safety.
The park in summer was really quite pleasant, Hermione decided. Her spot under the oak tree was perfect: she had just enough shade and a bit of a breeze so that the heat didn't overwhelm her. She stretched her legs out in front of her and turned her attention back to her book.
There were other children at the park today, but Hermione ignored all of them. One blond little boy didn't seem to like being ignored. She could feel his eyes on her, and she noticed that he kept drifting closer and closer to her. No one else seemed to notice that he was there. Hermione wondered why that might be.
Finally, the boy edged into her space under the oak tree. He lifted his pale, pointed face and sniffed at the air. Then he turned and stared at her.
"You are my mate," he announced.
Hermione frowned up at him. "What?"
The odd little boy sniffed the air again, and then moved closer to her and sniffed at her hair. She jerked back and glared at him.
"You stop that," Hermione demanded.
"You are my mate," he said again in a pleased sort of voice. He puffed his chest up and looked down his nose at her. "You will play with me, mate."
"No," Hermione retorted. She lifted her chin. "I'm reading. Leave me alone."
"You can read later, mate," the boy decided. "Let's play."
"Stop calling me that," Hermione said. She scowled at him. "Go away."
"No!" The boy yelled and stomped his foot. "You are my mate!"
"Hermione?" Mummy called and hurried over. She knelt down and looked Hermione over carefully. "Is everything alright?"
Hermione knew what Mummy meant. Had Hermione had an accident and used her gifts in public?
"Everything's fine, Mummy," Hermione said firmly. She glared at the boy. "He won't leave me alone."
"Draco!" A pale blonde woman hurried over to them. She gave Hermione and her Mummy a strained smile and then focused on the boy. "Sweetheart, what are you doing?"
"She is my mate," the boy, Draco, said and pointed at Hermione.
"Stop calling me that!" Hermione snapped. "Mummy, make him stop!"
"Let's go find, Daddy, shall we?" Mummy suggested with a weak smile.
When Hermione stood up clutching her book to her chest and reached out to take her mummy's hand, Draco screeched. There was no other word for it, really. He sounded almost like a bird. Hermione practically ran to her mother and hid behind her, peeking out to stare at the strange little boy who kept calling her 'mate.'
"You can't take her, she's mine," Draco wailed loudly.
"Dragon, please," the blonde woman tried to hush him.
"She's my mate," Draco screeched again.
A blond man hurried toward them.
"Narcissa," the man hissed. "What in Merlin's name is going on?"
"He says that she's his mate," the blonde woman explained.
"Mummy, let's go," Hermione said and pulled on her mother's hand.
Quicker than Hermione had ever seen anyone move, Draco darted over to her and grabbed her hand. She tried to pull away, but he was stronger than she was and he held fast to her arm. Then he raised her hand to his face and bit her wrist. Hermione shrieked in pain and jerked her arm away from him.
"There," he said with satisfaction, her blood on his lips. "Now you can't leave me."
"What?" Hermione stared at her wrist, which was already healing into a silver scar. "What did you do?"
"We're married," Draco announced proudly. "Now you have to play with me."
"We are not," Hermione protested. She turned back to her mother. "Mummy I want to go home now."
"You CAN'T," Draco screeched. "You are MY MATE!"
"Draco," the blond man hissed and glanced around the park anxiously. "You must calm down. We can't attract attention."
"Dragon, darling," the blonde woman cooed at him. "Why don't we go to Diagon Alley? We could get you a new broom?"
Instead of calming Draco down, he only seemed to become more and more upset. Hermione stared in wide-eyed fascination as he threw himself on the grass and began to scream and kick his legs. Mummy tugged at her hand and they slowly edged away from Draco and what Hermione thought must be his parents. The two of them had managed to make it halfway across the park before Draco noticed. When he began screeching like a bird again, Mummy picked Hermione up in her arms and ran toward the car park.
It was several days later that there was a knock at the door. The blond man was standing outside their door, and Mummy and Daddy invited him in. He stood awkwardly in their living room, and he sat cautiously on their couch… as though it might bite him or something. He looked as though he smelt something awful, but he was very polite to Mummy and Daddy.
"My name is Malfoy. Lucius Malfoy," he told them. "I wanted to apologize for our Draco's behavior the other day. He… read some fairy tales and he got rather carried away."
"Which fairy tales?" Hermione spoke up for the first time.
The pinched look on Mr. Malfoy's face lessened slightly when he looked at her. Instead he looked pained. He tried to smile at her, but it faltered slightly.
"Beedle the Bard, of course," he told her.
Hermione's brow crinkled in confusion. "Beedle the Bard?"
"The Wizard and the Hopping Pot," Mr. Malfoy prompted her expectantly. "The Fountain of Fair Fortune?"
"I've never heard of those," Hermione said slowly.
Mr. Malfoy's shoulders slumped a little and he gave her another awkward half-hearted smile that didn't reach his eyes. "No, I guess that you wouldn't have done. I'll send you a copy."
Happiness bubbled up in Hermione's chest. A new book!
"Thank you, Mr. Malfoy," she said cheerfully. "That would be lovely."
"My wife and I were hoping that we might find a way to apologize to your daughter," Mr. Malfoy continued in a careful voice.
"Oh, that's not necessary," Mummy protested.
"How did you find us?" Daddy asked with a frown.
Mr. Malfoy shifted uncomfortably on the couch and cleared his throat. "I have quite a few… contacts," he told them. "I work in the… government."
After that first awkward meeting, Mr. Malfoy kept his promise and sent Hermione The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Funnily enough, Mummy and Daddy couldn't see the book. Hermione loved it because the people in it were just like her. They were magical. Carefully, Hermione read through the entire book. When she was done she frowned at the book. No one in the entire book had bitten anyone. Perhaps Mr. Malfoy was confused?
"Now, Draco, remember what we talked about," Narcissa prompted her son gently.
Draco sighed heavily and pouted at her. "I can't tell anyone about my mate."
"That's right, darling," Narcissa agreed with a smile.
Draco's pout grew. "Why not?" He demanded.
Narcissa's smile grew strained. "To protect her, of course. You must always protect your mate just as Papa does with me."
"Her parents don't like it," Draco confided in his mother.
Narcissa sighed and gathered Draco close, stroking his hair. "I know, Dragon. They're Muggles, you see, and they don't really understand."
"Can't we just take her and bring her here to live with us?" Draco asked.
"No, we can't do that," Narcissa said firmly. She pulled back to look at Draco. "How would you feel if someone took you away from us?"
"I wouldn't like that," Draco said with a frown. "You think that she wouldn't like it either?"
"No, I don't that she would," Narcissa murmured. She paused and took a deep breath. "And then there is the fact that she… that she isn't exactly like us, is she Dragon?"
"Because she's a Muggle?" Draco asked artlessly.
"Yes," Narcissa replied.
"But she's my mate," Draco said with a scowl.
"I know, darling," Narcissa sighed.
There were several tentative play dates in the park, and Draco hated saying good-bye to his mate every time, but he was becoming used to it. He was also becoming used to the bossy way his mate spoke to him. Mummy always agreed with whatever Papa said. His mate usually argued with him—sometimes at the top of her lungs.
"Come on, mate," Draco called imperiously. "Let's go feed the ducks."
"Stop calling me that," his mate snapped at him. She scowled at him. "My name is Hermione."
"Please come feed the ducks with me," Draco tried again. He had noted that his mate had a weakness for the word 'please' and he had begun to use it with regularity.
"Fine," his mate sighed heavily.
Reluctantly, she allowed him to take her hand and lead her down to the lake where the ducks were quacking and splashing in the water. Draco threw bread crumbs and watched them eat. He noticed that the drake always stood between his duck and any people, protecting her from any possible attack. Draco carefully positioned himself between his mate and the other people at the park, protecting her just like the drakes did their ducks.
Nearby, a group of boys were kicking around a black and white Quaffle-looking thing. Draco eyed them suspiciously, and then focused on his mate who was cooing over the small ducklings.
"Draco, look at how cute they are," she called to him in that imperious voice.
"I can see," Draco told her impatiently.
With a huff, she turned to him, her lips already pulled into a pout. Suddenly, her eyes widened in surprise and she threw a hand out toward him.
"Draco!" She cried.
Draco turned and was surprised to see the black and white Quaffle frozen mid-air, inches from his face. The Quaffle dropped immediately to the ground and his mate gave a muffled sob.
"I'm sorry," she wailed. She put her hands over her face and turned away from him.
"Wait," Draco called to her. "What's wrong?" He asked.
"I'm not supposed to do that where people can see," she told him in a small voice. She pulled her hands down and looked at him with misery pouring from her eyes. "And now you know that I… I understand if you don't want to be my friend anymore."
"You're my mate," Draco reminded her firmly. "We're married and everything. Nobody can ever take you away from me. Come on, we have to tell Mummy and Papa."
"I'm not supposed to tell anybody," his mate whispered with wide eyes.
"We're not supposed to tell Muggles," he corrected her. "Mummy and Papa are just like you and me."
"They are?" Wonder filled his mate's voice.
"Come on." Draco grabbed her hand and practically dragged her to where his mother and father were having a stiltedly awkward conversation with his mate's parents.
"Hermione? What's wrong?" His mate's mother crouched down so that she could look at them.
"I'm sorry, Mummy!" His mate threw herself into her mother's arms and began to cry.
"What happened?" Papa asked with a frown.
"My mate protected me," Draco said proudly. "There was a black and white Quaffle, and she stopped it from hitting me."
"Stopped it?" His mate's Daddy repeated with a frown. He turned to where she was huddled in her mother's arms. "Oh, Hermione."
"I didn't mean to," his mate wailed.
Both Mummy and Papa frowned at one another and then looked to Draco.
"She used magic, Papa," Draco explained.
"Magic?" Mummy and Papa said together. They turned as one to look at Draco's mate speculatively.
"Of course," Mummy said happily, beaming at Draco.
"Narcissa… that means she's a… a… Mu—uggleborn," Papa reminded her with a pained expression.
Mummy sniffed and waved a hand. "Piffle. We'll think of something. Besides… who's to say she's actually a Muggleborn? Perhaps we should research her family tree. Who knows what we might find?"