Title: Lifelong Love

Author: Emerald Thorn

Rating: Rish eventually (just to be safe)

Category: AU, Romance, Fantasy

Notes: This hasn't been through a beta. I'd appreciate it if someone would volunteer since I'm horrible at catching my mistakes. Also, this is my first attempt at hp fanfiction so I'd love feedback.

'thoughts'

"speech"

Prologue

Draco sighed as he picked up the white mask and placed it over his face. It was very stifling to say the least. The mask was a bit too big to sit properly on Draco's defined features, having been made for a one-size-fits-all crowd of Death Eaters, some of which still had problems hiding their whole face behind the oversized mask. At least the robes fit, for now at least. Since he'd finally hit his growth spurt last spring Draco had grown over eight inches in less than six months. Not that Draco actually liked having to wear the horrid uniform and given a choice would have tossed the uniform and the ugly skull and snake tattoo on his arm as well.

Sadly, Draco had been initiated as soon as he had returned home after the end of his sixth term. It was now almost two months into his seventh. In the past six months, Draco had come to the conclusion that if any of his comrades-in-arms were semi-sane they were doing a good job of hiding it. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that he wasn't working against the group as a mole he would have run screaming for civilization years ago. Ah the joys of working against madmen.

Not that he wasn't well used to the act, and to put it mildly pulled it off rather well. Then again, you can't do anything without good genetics. His father and mother were also not quite as loyal to Voldemort as they were thought to be. Only one man knew of their treacherousness and it was going to stay that way. The Malfoy's had been passing information to Dumbledore since before Draco's parent's had graduated from Hogwarts. Lucius and Narcissa were as committed as could be, in fact, it was a highly probable that neither of his parents would make it out of the upcoming war alive. The family's official goal was only to protect Draco's mate, though the original reason had been because Voldemort's magical scent was worse than walking through a graveyard of half decomposed bodies.

'Ah yes, my beautiful mate who has no clue what he means to me' Draco mused, trying to adjust the straps that held the horrid mask in place that kept rubbing uncomfortably. 'Why couldn't things be simple? Oh, that's right. Nothing simple is worth the time and effort of a Malfoy.' That was another family rule (as well as being another excuse for not liking Voldemort). Draco had known who his mate was from the moment his mother had taken him to a small school reunion and his mate's mother had brought his mate when he had been just over a year old. According to Narcissa, Draco's scent had immediately taken on a different overtone, and Draco had cried until he was placed on the play mat with his mate. Draco had then proceeded to only pay attention to his mate, who had, again according to his mother, cooed happily and snuggled into Draco at naptime. When the two of them had been parted by their mother's departure, Draco had been inconsolable for days and cried himself to sleep nightly. He had finally been calmed down by his mother finding the blanket that had been wrapped around the two when they had napped and giving it to Draco.

Luckily, no one else but Narcissa had been able to tell why Draco was suddenly so attached to Lily Potter's firstborn. If one of the other Death Eaters that had been at that reunion had noticed and reported it, it could have been disastrous. Lucius had been supremely proud that his son had such good taste, as well as developing a nasty protective streak for Harry—not that anyone could tell unless they were reading his mind or knew how to read him by his scent like Draco.

Draco knew that his family appeared to be the biggest Voldemort supporters around. Draco could even see why they thought this. It wasn't as if everybody knew that each oops that Voldemort encountered was usually put there by one of the Malfoys. In fact, it didn't occur to most people to blame the Malfoy's for accidents since they made sure to make it look like they were full supporters. It frustrated Voldemort to no end that each of his carefully laid plans always went astray somehow. It wasn't that Voldie was a bad planer, he just trusted the Malfoy family too much, and unluckily for Voldie they were probably his second most unfaithful servants. The most unfaithful title went to Draco's godfather Severus Snape since he was fairly well known to be somewhat untrustworthy because Voldie wasn't too sure that Snape hadn't sold him out.

But back to the original topic. Draco's mate was a very special person, so special that he managed to severely wound Voldemort several months after Draco had recognized him. Because of Draco's attachment, his parents had decided that they would continue to work secretly just in case Voldemort did somehow manage to pull himself back together. Dumbledore, for reasons he wouldn't tell, agreed and the arrangement that the Malfoy's had with him continued on. Dumbledore had insisted that he know why the Malfoy's insisted upon being kept secret and had been told about Draco's connection to Harry.

Dumbledore had been reasonably amused by this announcement, yet somewhat sad. Dumbledore then ordered Lucius and Narcissa to continue on as if nothing had happened and Draco was not allowed to see his mate. In fact, Dumbledore insisted that it was safer for Harry that the Malfoy's not know his whereabouts. They had reluctantly agreed.

For the next ten years Draco had not seen his mate. It was a constant pull at his heart, knowing his mate was out there and he was unable to see him. He was taught by his parents what every Malfoy must know, how to act and be a Malfoy. By the time he next saw his mate his outer transformation was complete. Truly, Draco had known what his mate's name was and why he couldn't see him, but it still made him somewhat moody at times.

The Malfoy's had long ago married into a clan of veelas, and every few generations or so the veela blood was enhanced by marrying a full-blooded veela. Unfortunately, since Draco had recognized his mate so early in life and been unable to physically and mentally complete the necessary bonds, he had to take several potions monthly to gain control over his magic and veela allurement. He also took another potion to deaden his positive emotions to the point where the longing for his mate was dulled enough so he could act semi-normally. His parents had also resorted to several potions to keep their instincts to protect Harry from overwhelming them. At the start of term, Draco had been forced to add a stronger numbing potion. It seemed being anywhere near Harry was wearing down the potion's effectiveness since Draco had reached maturity by veela standards and was now fully capable of mating.

So far they were doing fairly well in protecting his mate. However there were several downsides to the increased moodiness that happened when Draco took the potions. Sure, they kept him from jumping his mate every time their paths crossed, but it also had made Draco unable to have a nice conversation with his mate. Several times in the summers between terms Draco had refused the potions for a few days and the pain from knowing his mate had no feelings of affection for him had left him severely depressed. Draco was increasingly afraid that someday, when Voldemort was gone and the potions were no longer necessary, he would not be able to feel for his mate. So every summer he made sure that his feelings were still intact and had not been subjugated permanently by the huge potion doses he regularly took.

When he was not under the potions influence, Draco often felt his heart had shattered. As the effects of the potion grew less and less towards the end of the month, Draco often had horrible, flash-back dreams that reminded him of every slur, every hurt that he had inflicted intentionally and with purpose upon his mate. When the dreams increased in intensity it was time to take another dose.

Draco knew he'd need another dose in a day or two. This morning when he'd seen Harry sitting in one of the large windows near the fourth floor corridor watching the early October rain. Draco had almost reached out and cradled Harry to him. Harry had looked so melancholy starring at the clouds and rain, tears glistening in his eyes but none falling down his cheeks. Draco knew that the last two years had not been the greatest for his mate and he felt ashamed for leaving his mate to be abandoned by his family.

'Someday Harry,' Draco thought as he finished getting ready for the gathering, sparing a glance at the small framed picture of two one year olds cuddling in their sleep, 'Someday I'll be able to explain. I hope you will still have room for me in your heart when the time comes and be willing to take this poor lost soul that seems to fade more every day.'