Draco had always known it was possible, at least theoretically. His mother had told him the old family stories when she tucked him in at night just as often as she'd read to him from Beedle the Bard, or one of his many other storybooks.
Tales of his veela ancestors who were mighty warriors, who always found their true love, and used their extraordinary abilities to protect their love and their family. They lived long fulfilling lives with lots of children in perfect harmony with their other half, their mate. There was always a happily ever after.
To hear his mother tell it being a veela was the secret to life. Which is probably why his mother's stories had always felt more like make believe than reality. Reality isn't that perfect, he'd known that even as a little boy.
And so, it never truly occurred to him that one day those bedtime stories could become his reality. He came of age in the middle of a war. The very idea that he could ultimately be destined to lead the perfect life described in his mother's veela stories was laughable.
So, when things began happening that set him apart from his peers, things that marked him as something potentially other, he was too wrapped up in just surviving to notice. Not to mention that his mother's stories were all focused on the romance of being a veela and ignored the practicalities. He wouldn't have known what to look for, had he even been looking.
For instance, he had no idea that he ate a lot more than your average teenage boy. All his meals were provided by house elves and they certainly weren't going to say anything about it. And while he was always acutely aware of his surroundings like any good Malfoy/Slytherin, that didn't extend to how much food his classmates were consuming, which he would have considered to be useless information.
Even when things were at their worst, when one misstep could have gotten him and his whole family killed and he had no appetite to speak of, he ate almost constantly. He needed food like he needed air. It was just survival to his mind, he thought nothing of it. It certainly never occurred to him that his body was preparing itself, growing stronger so that it would one day be able to transform at will.
He had a big enough ego that when witches basically began throwing themselves at him, and continued to do so even after he'd let a pack of psychopaths into his boarding school and attempted to murder its headmaster, he just chalked it up to being a good catch. His father had had his pick of witches in his day, and had ended up married to the great beauty of their generation. It was only natural that the good looking Malfoy heir would attract all manner of would-be brides. He didn't consider that he could be developing some kind of otherworldly allure.
The lack of libido would have been concerning though, under normal circumstances. But he'd been barely 16 when he'd received the Dark Mark and couldn't risk exposing it for a quick romp in an empty classroom. And by the time his status as a Death Eater was known he had hit rock bottom and simply wasn't interested, or so he told himself. It wasn't that he wasn't interested in girls, he'd just never met one who could hold that interest beyond a snog or two.
It was only when the war was over and he'd escaped without being killed, seriously maimed, or even sent to Azkaban, and he still felt that same way that he began to wonder. Due to a combination of his looks, his wealth, and his family name (the Malfoy reputation hadn't taken such a hit in France where he'd fled to his cousin's home after the war) he still had all manner of gorgeous witches throwing themselves at him. But he never seriously considered taking one up on her offer. The very idea just felt wrong.
And that was when he began to hear a niggling voice in the back of his mind that sounded suspiciously like his mother. Because one of the things everybody knew about veela was that they were highly sexual beings. Which was true, but she'd been sure to impress upon him that that didn't make them promiscuous. No, their allure and their sexual nature was all for the pleasure and protection of their mate and no other.
He finally began to suspect that maybe he was veela. But because he was still short of his twentieth birthday, he had no way of finding his mate yet. Despite that, he was programmed to reject all others, if only subconsciously.
He returned home from France after nearly a year away; once he was certain he could be in England and, more importantly, around his parents without letting his shame and his resentment show openly in a very un-Slytherin like manner. His father was displeased by what the older wizard insisted on labeling as Draco's 'disappearing act'- despite the fact that both of his parents had been fully aware of his whereabouts the entire time he'd been gone- and Lucius made no attempt to hide his opinion.
Draco was past caring, and simply found himself distracted by the fact that he was suddenly both taller and broader than his father, and Lucius was not a small man. He did I know that veela were larger than most humans. So, his suspicions grew.
But it wasn't until tonight- exactly two weeks after the 20th anniversary of his birth- that he'd been sure.
He had been attending an event which was doubling as a fundraiser and celebration of the summer solstice as a representative of the Malfoy family; all part of his campaign to bring the name back to respectability in Britain. Very soon after the cocktail hour began he spotted her: Hermione Granger, the girl who was inexplicably kind to him despite how abominably he and his family had treated her.
She was good for not just a civil, but an actually stimulating conversation. She also couldn't have given a damn about his money, and she certainly wasn't impressed (or-even more unbelievably in her case- repulsed) by his name. She was exactly the kind of refreshing company he wanted.
He looked around and was pleased to note that neither of her irritating and overly-protective sidekicks were in sight. Actually, she was doing that thing that he'd noticed she did, trying to fade into the background to avoid the attention any member of the so-called Golden Trio drew when they were in public. If it wouldn't have defeated the purpose of her attending the event he was certain she would have simply disillusioned herself.
He chuckled and made his way over to her. In the 14 months since he'd returned from France he'd noticed that she always felt like a bright spot at these ridiculous events. Once he'd gotten up the courage to actually speak to her (which he accomplished by sneaking up on her, scaring her, and laughing at her jumpiness; he hadn't had a personality transplant, after all) she'd proved him right. She was an intriguing conversationalist and her very presence made otherwise interminable events tolerable.
It was like she sensed his presence. She looked up and gave him a tentative but welcoming smile as soon as he'd begun to cross the room towards her. It was ridiculous, because he'd only ever had a handful of conversations with her or, at least, a handful of conversations since he'd stopped thinking of her as a lesser being and started treating her as a human being. Regardless, he was extremely pleased to see her.
She'd turned away by the time he reached her, her attention on some wizard who had apparently commandeered it, ostensibly asking about her work at the ministry, though Draco was dubious about his true motives. From her posture he knew that Hermione was as well. She was constantly approached by those who hoped to capitalize on her status as a heroine.
Until now Draco hadn't even noticed how much that, uncharacteristically, bothered him. He usually didn't worry himself over the affairs of others. He resisted the urge to growl at the offending man, but was too preoccupied to be concerned about that peculiar reaction. He was focused on Hermione.
But then he touched her elbow to get her attention and something happened that he was simply incapable of ignoring: his entire world shifted. He was frozen in place as she turned to face him with an inviting smile on her face.
"Malfoy," she breathed, meeting his eyes with a smile.
She sounded relieved. Merlin, she sounded happy to see him! That in and of itself was amazing, but it wasn't what changed everything. He'd felt a shock when he'd touched her, a wonderful shock, and then their eyes met.
His entire world shifted and he was suddenly certain that his life was no longer really his own, it belonged to her. He knew what would happen next, so he spit out a myriad of nonsensical excuses and then fled the room before he literally sprouted wings. He could only hope she'd forgive him, could only hope she'd accept him.
As a child, even a young adolescent, he'd been so smug about his place in society, about his station as a Malfoy. He was no longer that stubborn, ignorant boy. Now he was a desperate man.
Because he was a veela and Hermione Granger was his mate. The only woman who had any chance of truly making him happy was the same girl he'd spent half a lifetime tormenting.
He'd known his mother's stories were too good to be true, karma was a bitch.
Author's note: This started as a writing exercise. A bit of playful nonsense I worked on when I needed a distraction. Then one day I looked up and realized I had a large chunk of story just sitting here, so I'm sharing. It won't interfere with updates to 'An Unexpected Malfoy.' Chapters are short, I'll probably post the next one in a few hours because they sort of work in pairs. Thanks for reading! Oh, and I don't own Harry Potter.