Life Long Love Chapter Fifteen

Author: Emerald Thorn

Disclaimer: If I owned 'em I wouldn't still be in school busting my bum and be broke.

Categories: As I said before, take your pick but definitely in the romance category.

Warnings: Slash, veela!draco (if that could be considered a warning)

Author's Notes: must stay away from clex fanfiction and jack/daniel fanfiction and get some work done This was a really, really hard chapter to write—I actually wrote it three times and I'm still not happy with it and the writer's block I had for a month and a half didn't help at all. This is my best attempt out of three so I hope everyone's satisfied. Let me know what you all think (was it worth the wait or should I have posted the first attempt and ran with it even though it really jumped the plot waaaaaaay too far ahead?). Thanks to all who reviewed. Reviews are just what I need to get a kickstart for writing. This is being posted non-proofed as I'm feeling guilty for not posting in so long.

And on with the story:

"Haven't you ever heard of knocking Hermione?" Harry asked, one eyebrow arched in a parody of Draco's favorite facial sneer coupled with his own characteristic grin. In the back of his mind he could hear Draco growling about misuses of smirks and how it was unfair that he had to appear like a 'pansy-assed fool' while Harry got off on the exhibitionism. Harry snickered internally and pulled Draco more towards the forefront of his thoughts so they were essentially almost sharing their thought processes.

Hermione skid to a halt, her eyes wide in shock before she regained the use of her voice. "HAROLD JAMES POTTER!"

Draco took this opportunity to arch his back and lazily thrust and snuggle his body more into Harry's side while moaning as his left hand clutched at Harry's chest and his right petted the other side of Harry's face. Harry could feel Draco's thoughts whirring in the background as if he had separated the lust crazed half from the scheming part that was currently melding with Harry. He was also began to slowly and carefully slip into Hermione's mind via Harry's eye contact with her with a whispered legimens.

"Hermione? Is there some reason you're reverting to yelling at me?"

"I don't believe this!" Hermione looked beyond upset. "You go missing for over an entire week worrying Ron and I to death not to mention everyone else and I find you... you having relations with a Malfoy whose father just gave me a lecture on manners and made me swear a wizard's oath? What in Merlin's name happened to you?"

Hermione was sniffling by the end of her outburst and Harry could not help but feel sympathy for his best 'girlfriend' and ignoring Draco's possessive mind shout of 'he's mine granger!'. Letting his right hand fall to the small of Draco's back, Harry's other hand flicked a few loose strands of hair out of his eyes at Draco's request for an unimpeded view. Draco's connection to Hermione was so subtle and quick that Harry, had he not been monitoring Draco's progress, would not have noticed the sharing of his own senses. The awareness of Draco slipping and sliding like a gentle breeze through the modest defenses of Hermione's mind would have been distracting to Harry if he had not picked up on Draco's attention-splitting technique within moments of sensing how his mate was accomplishing the feat. Cocking his head slightly as his fingers stroked Draco, Harry took up his role of soothing Hermione's ruffled feathers.

"Hermione, there were circumstances that prevented me from immediately informing you of what was happening. I did not mean for you to worry about me—I was not in a great amount of danger for very long and I've had someone looking out for me at all times. You shouldn't have worried so much. While I don't think that trusting Dumbledore exclusively is the right way of doing things, I do think he would honestly tell you if he knew I was hurt."

Draco, meanwhile, quickly scanned Hermione's surface memories to check for what she remembered of her day before shaking his mental head as he slipped through the magical barrier that Blaise had bound her memories of the infirmary in. Skimming the surface of the memories while making special note of the emotions that Hermione felt during each moment for future reference, Draco quickly accessed Hermione's memories and thoughts about himself. He was dimly aware of Harry's response to Hermione's outburst.

"That still doesn't answer my question Harry! What happened to you? Why aren't you back up in the Tower with the rest of us? Why are you in the dungeons with a bunch of Slytherins?" Hermione was angry with Harry but most of her anger was caused by her worry and fright over what had happened to her close friend. Draco was touched by the way Hermione pictured Harry and had to suppress the pleasure and pride that he felt at seeing the positive mental representation of his mate. However, he was somewhat miffed at how Hermione seemed to have such a shallow opinion on the Slytherins—while she was prepared to defend them on the basis of not everyone was the same she also didn't make any special efforts to understand the way they thought and acted which he had rather expected she would, being bookish and all. Bring forth Hermione's mental representation of himself, Draco was somewhat irritated with the snobbish, callow idiot she pictured him as. Wasn't she aware of just who was second in the class to her? See if he let her take first ever again. Really, sometimes his cover was just too much if she really had no clue just who it was that made sure she got just a point or two more each term.

"Hermione, I found out some things about myself that really surprised me as well as Draco." Harry couldn't help the slight smile that fought it's way onto his face. "I also think I've found a way to protect myself and those I love from Voldemort and maybe even get rid of him for good without having to off myself."

Hermione still wasn't happy with Harry so Draco worked on his own image—deciding that perhaps he could work with her poor opinion of him and make her think that flakey and stupid as well as servant to his passion would make him a nonviable potential source of danger. After all, you couldn't think of a brainless, love-struck chit as dangerous unless you got between them and their next sexual conquest. Altering her mental image of him to become less of a danger and more of a joke—which really was becoming embarrassing for Draco as well as easy—subtly changed Hermione's current attitude at a rate that she wasn't detecting. By changing her perceptions Draco was slowly and surely changing her reaction and thought patterns as well as her emotional involvement. As a non-threat Draco was considered non-important in the conversation and would now allow him to steer her cognitive decisions without detection.

"What happened to you---and start at the beginning!"

Receiving confirmation from Draco that they were up and running per plan and that Sev was now also monitoring Hermione's thoughts, Harry began a slightly modified version of the truth. "The first night I was gone I was kidnapped by Death Eaters while walking on the other side of the lake. They brought me before Voldemort but before he could do anything I was rescued by Draco. I had been hit on the head so Draco took me to a safe haven to get fixed up and once I was in kind-of in my right mind I used my legimancy on him."

Hermione's attention was absolutely frightening as Draco watched her mind filing away details and cross-linking with other ideas and memories while bringing the modified Draco-representation closer to the forefront of her mind to scrutinize. "What did you see?"

"His family has been working deep within the ranks since before he was born. He's a born and raised natural spy and knows more defensive and offensive spells than all of Gryffindor Tower combined. He's so good at threat assessing and hiding everything he truly feels so deep within his mind that the only way I was able to break through his barriers was because he was really worried for me and my concussion somehow managed to make my intrusion harder to detect."

Draco couldn't believe it when Granger actually bought the complete crap Harry had just fed her. And she still thought of him as stupid! If he could build a mental shield good enough to fool everyone else why the hell was he still labeled in big red letters "ignorant ass" and the representation still looked slightly rodentish.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes I am. Draco's also part-veela and when I entered his mind I kind of smashed a few barriers I wasn't supposed to and now he's bound to me like a full veela mate. I'm not bound to him in the same way but whatever I did it set off a chain reaction that makes him mine completely. There's no way he could do anything that would cause me harm without severely hurting himself. Not to mention he's quite fixated on making me completely blissed out every chance he can and he offered to decapitate the next person who tried to so much as look at me in a hostile way—including his own father."

Hermione took almost a full minute to think of this. Draco couldn't believe the amount of information she self-referenced in regards to veela but was somewhat amused by the amount of information that was also, ironically, incorrect. He saw no reason to point out the inconsistencies or inaccuracies though as most of them helped push her into believing Harry's story. It was amazing how much she truly believed in her books when most of them were not well researched or grounded in solid theory.

"So you're sleeping with him?" Hermione actually seemed more appalled at Harry sleeping with and using "the slytherin slut" as she was now currently labeling Draco than the actual fact that it was Draco he was sleeping with. The girl had strange priorities for a Gryffindor.

"Yes I am. He's rather good in bed and eager to please, aren't you Draco?" Harry pulled Draco more fully into his lap and his hand slid further south until it possessively cupped Draco's right cheek.

Draco took this as his cue to bare his throat and grind his pelvis into Harry's. He could barely hide the gleeful smirk of possession as Harry's own thoughts sidetracked into their last lovemaking session.

"Harry! You shouldn't be taking advantage of him like that! You'd never sleep with him otherwise?"

Now that Draco was not prepared to let go. Turning fully around on Harry's lap, Draco glared fiercely at Hermione and began using his own eyes to maintain the mental surveillance. "He is my mate and therefore if he desires to join our bodies you will not interfere. It is his right and my pleasure to allow him access. By veela law I willingly submit to my mate and nothing shall prevent me from carrying out his wishes and pleasures."

"Even if he forced it on you?" Hermione shot back, her mental image of Draco wavering slightly before reforming as before with some structuring from Draco.

"The bond that binds me is irreversible and the method of which it came into existence does not matter because my mate has accepted me. Even though I am not able to fully give him what a full-blood would I will do my best to satisfy, defend, and become whatever he wishes of me. You do not understand the laws that bind me now that I am mated and you will never begin to comprehend the forces that enshroud us." Draco then turned back around and firmly placed both of Harry's hands on his backside before wrapping his own hands in Harry's robes.

"I know much of veelas Malfoy even though veela law is never written down in wizard sources. You willingly submitted? Why?"

"Because, Hermione, he was already destined to submit to me. My rummaging about in his mind only hastened his binding to me. His blood wasn't strong enough to attract me or bind me back to him as he would be bound so he was trying to avoid it. However, I somehow managed to trigger all the right attachments that link him to me without the stress of a full blooded bond on my side of the equation."

"So this is very much one-sided?"

"Essentially, in so many words, yes. Draco is now bound to me for the rest of his life. There is no way to reverse it or strengthen my side of it. He will forever be bound to my will according to both Snape and Lucius."

"And you're okay with this?" The skeptical look on Granger's face was oddly touching to Draco. Harry felt as if he was being an asshole.

"I've come to see it as an advantage. One less person after my life and I get laid out of the deal."

Pursing her lips, Hermione broke eye contact and began pacing hands on both hips as she muttered under her breath. Draco felt the connection fade slowly over the next two minutes and his sensitive hearing listened as Granger measured the pros and cons of keeping him bound to Harry and the possible ways of breaking his ties to Harry. The few mutterings he heard about sex and coercion were a bit too pervvy for him and he ignored the impulse to tell her that their sex life was none of her business and quite good now that he wasn't avoiding mating. Harry just observed and kept his hands happily where they were currently quite adequately filled by the swell of his 'Ko's backside. Draco, out of the corner of his eye, saw the light catch on the fire of the jewel slung decoratively around one of the tall vases that stood at the corner of the sofa. The jewel burned with an inner fire that told Draco that Severus was now working to steer Granger's decision process in the right direction since they no longer had direct eye contact.

Hermione finally spun on her heel and faced the mated pair. Her eyebrows were deeply furrowed to make a connecting ridge straight across her forehead right above her eyes and her generous mouth was carved into a deep frown of irritation. "So, if I have this right Malfoy will now work to protect you?"

"Yes." The frown, if at all possible, deepened. Harry just tightened his grip in response and Draco purred at the possessive display.

"What about the rest of the time you were gone?"

"Mostly spent getting rid of my concussion and getting better acquainted with Draco. I seem to be transferring my residual headaches to him when he tries to soothe me from a distance. Also, we didn't think it would look good for both of us to return at the same time since we disappeared at the same time."

"Oh." Hermione obviously hadn't thought of that. "When were you planning on coming back to class?"

"In a few days when I'm headache free. We waited too long for them to try and mend my head fully."

Hermione again took her time processing the information. "So why is Lucius and Zabini helping you?"

"My father protects the family as is his duty. The Malfoy honor now rests with my bond mate as I go where he goes and does what he does. His decisions are now my decisions." Draco debated the merits of slipping back into Granger's mind. It seemed as if Sev was doing a find job now on his own.

"And Ron? What happened so he was sent to the hospital wing?"

"He followed Draco back here and unfortunately caught us at a bad time and tried to hurt Draco which activated the protection charms around these rooms."

Oh his mate was one smooth shit-faced liar and wasn't that one of the sexiest things his mate had done for him yet. 'Protect me any more Harry and I'll have to lock us both away for a month to reward you for putting me first above all else' Draco send mentally to his mate. Harry was so going to be rewarded as soon as they were sequestered away in the privacy of their bedroom.

'I look forward to renewing our commitment to each other' Harry sent back with a full dose of love.

"So it was an accident?" Hermione stated, interrupting their miniature mind love fest.

"Yes. Ron fired off first without so much as a scream of "Ferret-face!" and triggered the emergency wards. Evidently whatever spell he tried wasn't well perceived by the wards and he ended up stuck to the wall and unconscious. If it weren't for Snape he'd probably still be there."

"Are you planning on telling Ron?"

"Yes, just hopefully in a calmer and less ouch inducing manner than letting the wards blast him."

"I'll say."

"Well, that is if he doesn't remember when he wakes up. If he doesn't I do plan on telling him."

"You mentioned you thought you might have a way of beating Voldemort?"

"Yes, well, I'd rather work on the details a bit more before I say anything about it. I don't want to jinx it by getting everyone all excited about it until I know it'll work."

"Just as long as you're all right Harry..." Hermione sniffled a bit at this, her eyes going glassy with unshed tears of worry for her friend.

"I promise to be careful and make sure that Draco doesn't get me in too much trouble."

"You both better keep yourselves out of trouble. I've got enough to worry about already."

"We will," Draco stated firmly as he answered for both Harry and himself. "I will protect my mate." And with that he pecked Harry on the nose.

Tbc. Sooner rather than later for once (next chapter should be posted within two weeks and maaaaybe the next chapter of SH)

Preview of the Next:

"I do believe, dear Severus, that everything is going so smoothly that something, somewhere is destined to go completely and hideously wrong. There is no such thing as perfection in this business."

"Then we shall make sure we are prepared for all comings my lord. The plot is thickening even as we stand here speaking of trivial issues."

"As of today the training of our heirs shall be handled by us. This will allow you to make the contingency plans foolproof."