Timeline: This is based after the Christmas holidays in their 7th years at Hogwarts. (So we're in the NEWT-prep phase...)
Note: Even if you don't read my Paradox series (which is currently around 200,000 words long), you must note that I'm going to be borrowing the veela theory that I've been describing in that. It's a variation of Frizzy's and the hundreds of Harry/Draco veela stories on with a few (new, maybe?) additions of my own. I hope to be original, but if not, perhaps this will be entertaining. If I do that, then I've succeeded in my job as a writer.
Much thanks to KrysRozand DraconisSenshifor being my sounding board for this story. I think I spoiled it too much for the latter soul, but it was worth it because now I've got my plot mostly tied down to its foundation!
Editorial Note: This is the second revision (thanks to KrysRoz for her input and SeparatriX, my beta). Also Short Fat Fag (who caught my Ron mistake, I must have conveniently forgotten JK Rowling had given Ron a middle name) and Nate (who pointed out Snape doesn't write the OWLs). The adjustments are minor, but they are there. If you see any other errors, don't hesitate in which to let me know.
The Secret Admirer
"You've got a secret admirer."
"He's got more than a secret admirer, 'Mione!" Ron exclaimed. "Blimey, he's got a rich secret admirer! Do you know how bloody expensive dragonlily flowers are? And he's got a bleeding dozen of them…"
"I remember," Hermione murmured, getting a far off look to her that Harry knew meant she was recalling something she had read somewhere or possibly heard in lecture, "Professor Snape saying how expensive the dragonlily roots are and that he couldn't afford to waste it on students in our 5th year. It's the reason why we weren't allowed to brew the… the… Amare Caritas Potion!"
Vaguely Harry had some recollection of hearing Professor Snape gripe about the expenses of certain ingredients for potions that they wouldn't be brewing. The snarky bastard would then go on and on about the uses of the potion. Back then, Harry had been too happily cheering on the idea that there were potions they wouldn't be brewing to really concentrate on the merits of the particular potion. That was what nearly led to his downfall when the OWL examinations came. Snape had decided not to inform them that the obscure potions might pop up on the theory portion.
"The Amare, what, Potion?"
Hermione gave an exasperated sigh that intoned every note of her frank disapproval for Ron's academic awareness. Harry still absently wondered as he lightly touched a velvety petal why Hermione was dating Ron. She should be dating someone as brainy as her, though there was the unfortunate problem that there was no one at Hogwarts that was as academically inclined as she was. A few Ravenclaws came close, but still Hermione was by far the smartest witch.
1, 2, 3… "Owe!" Ron cried out. Harry held back a snicker at the perfectly timed thump on the carrot head. "What'd you do that for?" Ron asked, shooting his girlfriend an annoyed look. "It's not like a potion we didn't brew is important…"
Any minute now, Ron was going to get it. He'd committed two of the three cardinal sins in Hermione's handbook of what made a proper Hogwarts student should be. #1, he hadn't remembered something a Professor had stated in class. #2, he'd said a piece of knowledge wasn't worth having. The only sin he hadn't committed was #3, not finishing his homework on time. Neither of them was given much of a chance to break #3; Hermione pestered them too much.
"RONALD BILIUS WEASLEY!" Hermione roared, fire spitting out of her eyes. "That is the reason you made such terrible marks in Potions. If you'd but pay attention in class, you'd have done much better on the theoretical part of the examination and you'd be in his NEWT class. Look at Harry," she gestured with a commanding finger, "he's definitely not good at Potions, but he pays attention and manages to scrape by at the NEWT-level." Her teeth were starting to grind together, not a good sign. "By Merlin, I don't know how I put up with a boyfriend like you! You're absolutely hopeless!"
To Harry's disappointment, there was no shin kicking. Hermione settled for grabbing her books and starting to haul her way out of the Great Hall. It was early enough in the morning that not too many of the students were there to witness her outburst. Good news on her part because as Head Girl, she wasn't looking particularly dignified. Just as she was about to leave, she turned around and marched directly back to the table.
Ron looked suitably chastised and she muttered, "For your information, Ronald Weasley, the Amare Caritas Potion is a very powerful aphrodisiac that mimics the affect that the presence of a succubus would have on a person." Harry almost felt sympathetic to Ron, but it was his friend's own fault. Ron should have known better than to mess with Hermione when it was only three months until the NEWTs. Last year, she'd already been stressing about it. This year had amplified it, and with the winter holidays safely gone--- it'd only grown exponentially. "Harry," Hermione said abruptly, "let's head to Potions."
It was only 8:30. NEWT-level Potions didn't start until 9:00, but unlike Ron, Harry knew when not to mess with Hermione. He got up out of his seat, grabbed his dragonlilies and his books, and like a good boy trotted meekly after Hermione. Right on cue, Harry heard Ron calling after them, "'Mione? Are you still upset with me? Hermione?"
God, Ron could be such a prat in the mornings.
"Ugghhh…" Hermione groaned loudly, "why is he such a prat in the mornings?"
Harry shrugged, dropped his books on the floor, and slumped into a comfortable position against the wall, placing his flowers absently on his lap. "Ron's Ron," he answered passively. "You know he's never going to be a great appreciator of knowledge or even books. You can't expect that from him."
Hermione sighed and slid down next to him, resting her head on his shoulder. "I didn't think you were the kind that thirsted after knowledge either, and look how wrong you proved me to be last year!"
She had a good point there. Harry had to admit he hadn't been one of the bookishly inclined students before last year, but that had changed. He'd dug into his books the summer before his 6th year and hadn't really looked back. He'd spent all of 5th year being angry, too angry to think straight, and it had gotten him into a shit of trouble. And then… he'd gone to the Dursleys.
Locked and barred in a room, he'd had nothing to do with himself except think. He thought almost too much, but it was hard not to be hit brutally by the consequences of his rash actions. He had to start thinking, and that was when he'd turned to his books. He not only read through them, but he really read them. He absorbed the knowledge because if he had known more, especially Occlumency, Sirius would not have died needlessly.
He realized his mistake, and had acted accordingly. It hadn't been easy to convince Snape to teach him Occlumency again, not after that pensieve debacle. But somehow, with Dumbledore's interference and his good but not great performance in Potions, he'd managed to make enough of an impression on Snape that he sincerely wished to learn. It hadn't been easy. Snape was a harsh teacher, but he was good.
Harry had mastered Occlumency and he was starting to get good at Legilimency. Unbeknownst to others, it was Snape that was his mentor in his accumulation of knowledge. It was Snape that recommended him which books to read and what spells he ought to know. It was Snape that allowed him to practice and to master them. It was better they didn't know about his special sessions with Snape. What Snape allowed him to learn was dark, sometimes terribly so but as the greasy git snapped, how do you expect to defeat the Dark Lord with light magic?
"I grew up," Harry responded lamely, knowing that Hermione was expecting an answer. This wasn't the first time she'd questioned him, and he gave her a variation of the same answer each time. It wasn't a lie. Indeed, it was fully shrouded in truth. But there was more to the equation than just growing up. Harry had always been naturally curious as a child; instead of getting into trouble and mischief, he'd focused it on knowledge.
Hermione snorted. "Do you think Ron will ever grow up?"
"He's going to have to one day," he murmured. "Besides, aren't you placing your bets that he is since you're dating him?"
There was a brief amazement before she laughed helplessly. "I suppose I am."
"Hopefully, when he does," Harry remarked wryly, "even if it doesn't come with a thirst for knowledge, it comes with an appreciation of knowledge."
"I do hope so," she replied wistfully, her eyes crossing over into a dreamy realm where she fantasized about red headed boys. Just as suddenly as she had dazed out of focus, Hermione's eyes refocused upward on him. "Speaking about a thirst for knowledge… aren't you curious about who your secret admirer is?"
Yes and no. Of course, he wanted to know. But at the same time, it was strangely pleasant not to know. If he didn't know who it was, he didn't have to deal with the issue of if the person liking him for him or because of his scar. It let things stand in a nice hazy area of uncertainty. As an unknown, he could imagine anything about the person. No set personality, boundaries, or anything.
She jerked her head away from him and stared at him with narrowing eyes. "Are you sure?" she asked sharply. There was disbelief in her voice, he knew because she knew how damn curious he really was once he'd focused it on the gathering of knowledge. "Because that's not quite like you… not wanting to find things out."
"I hear Snape's coming."
For the second time this morning, she had an exasperated expression. This time it was directed at him. It went without saying that she wasn't done deliberating on who his mysterious admirer was. Knowing Hermione, she was going to go after the identity of this person until she knew who it was and on the way drag him with her. Professor Snape's imminent arrival was only doing to delay the inevitable.
He could only hope she wouldn't remember; fat chance of that happening though.
"Put away that nauseating display of your fan's infatuation, Mr. Potter," Snape sneered from the front of the classroom. Harry had to remind himself not to wave his hand over the bouquet and shrink it with wandless magic. He doubted that Snape would appreciate other people seeing the evidence of how much he had grown up in the last year. Wandless was extremely rare, and a casual display wasn't something to be careless about. Harry aimed his wand at the dragonlilies and uttered Reducio He placed the shrunken flowers in his pocket.
"5 points from Gryffindor," Snape snapped, "for your blatant celebrity and get to your seats!" Harry and the rest of the ten students that made up NEWT-level Potions went to their personal workbench. In a change over the previous 5 years of Potions, they no longer had partners. Too often a good partner could make you more capable than you were. In Harry's case, his partners often made him look worse. Only Hermione had ever made him look better. "We will be brewing a new experimental version of the Wolfsbane Potion, which will be tested by a former Defense against the Dark Arts Professor, Remus Lupin. What are you doing, standing there? GET TO WORK!"
Harry had been wondering when they would be brewing that particular potion in class. He knew Snape had finished perfecting it a month or so prior. The new Wolfsbane Potion was definitely an advanced potion, so complicated that Harry was reasonably sure that he'd mess it up. Hermione wasn't exaggerating when she said he had no talent in Potions. How he'd gotten in NEWT-level Potions and managed to scrape by was definitely because of how hard he worked. There was no other reason. He spent more hours on Potions than any of his other classes.
However, he was going to try his best to get it right. Snape hadn't told him too much about the potion, only offering brief updates every now and then to his progress with it. But Remus had told him that the first dose that he'd taken at the last full moon had proven to be miraculous. The potion still tasted like crap, but it made the transformation from werewolf to man painless and it allowed him to retain his human mind fully. The only problem was the potion took forever and a day to brew. Snape didn't have that kind of time, not when he was teaching Potions, spying on the Dark Lord, and privately tutoring Harry.
Harry didn't doubt for a moment that Snape was giving them this potion to make for Remus's benefit. As much as Snape would like to be an evil, cruel git, he simply didn't have a cold enough heart for it. Certainly, his heart wasn't warm--- but it wasn't as icy as he would like everyone to believe. Even though Harry would never like Snape all that much, he had to respect and admire the bastard. Hopefully, Hermione's and Draco's potions would come out right. That would last Remus to the summer when Snape would have more time on his hands.
"Mr. Potter," Snape muttered darkly into his ear, "what are you doing staring into the bottom of your cauldron when you should be working on the potion that will help your werewolf mutt?"
Potions had been brutal (they still had two more sessions to go before the Wolfsbane would be done); Charms hadn't been too bad (they had to prepare a practical encompassing the latest innovations of the Glamour Charm); and Defense against the Dark Arts had been good (the Professor, an Auror taking the year off, was excellent). Tomorrow was Transfiguration and private lessons with Severus Snape. Thank Merlin he didn't have a double dosage of Snape in a day that was asking for too much from him even if they did get along better this year than last. But the day wasn't done yet. He had private lessons with Daphne Aureole after dinner.
Overall, the day hadn't gone too badly. At lunchtime, Hermione had been distracted making up with Ron to remember about the secret admirer business. Of course, knowing his luck, it'd be brought again at breakfast tomorrow when another token of this person's affection arrived by owlpost. It wasn't a concrete schedule, gifts didn't always arrive daily but the frequency had been increasing in the past month.
And… "Ron," Hermione remarked, "who do you think Harry's secret admirer is?"
Ron's eyes widened, and since he was looking at the direction of the Gryffindor table, Harry assumed that his secret admirer had upped the ante. Ron's eyes wouldn't be going crazy for the food. Glancing over, it was as he thought; a second gift was on the table. Two gifts in a day had never been before. He still didn't understand why though. But he was careful to keep his face blank. What was Snape always telling him? Emotions could be used against you.
At the spot he sat at, there was a silver serpent curled up in a ball watching him. There went his thoughts that whoever his secret admirer was, wasn't a student at Hogwarts. He'd been thinking perhaps the person was a foreigner, or at least someone outside of Hogwarts. This snake clearly narrowed down the field to Hogwarts. Who else would know about that he was a parselmouth? And who the bloody hell knew he was secretively fond of snakes? Not even Hermione or Ron knew that…
It had to be a guess then, and a good guess at that. He looked around the Great Hall, at the cheerful Hufflepuffs, the debating Ravenclaws, and the cunning Slytherins. He could cross a Gryffindor admirer off the list. No Gryffindor would have dared to give him a snake for a gift, and he certainly didn't know anyone rich enough to afford a dozen dragonlilies either. Hufflepuff was out of the question. They simply weren't clever enough to think of such a gift. It was a Ravenclaw or a Slytherin. The question was who?
"Must be a damn Slytherin," Ron muttered in disgust. "Who else would give Harry a snake?"
Ron and his prejudices, Harry thought with a sigh, were never going to change. Another reason not to tell anyone he liked snakes. Why wouldn't he be? Other than the whole Heir of Slytherin debacle in his 2nd year (and that had been a basilisk, not a snake); there was no reason not to like serpents. After all, he had fond memories of the python at the London Zoo that had scared the pants off Dudley.
"I'm not sure it's really a snake," Hermione replied.
"What do you mean it's not a snake?" Ron retorted. "Everyone with eyeballs can see it's a snake."
"What I mean," she responded patiently, "is that it doesn't quite look like a real, live snake. Can't you tell by looking at it? It looks a bit rigid and the scales seem a bit off. I think it's probably animated to look like a snake."
Harry saw what she was saying. The snake was moving, but the tongue flicking was a bit too slow to be that of a real snake and the gleam that was coming off it scale had too much of a sheen to it. Getting closer, he concluded that it was an ingenuous piece of craftsmanship though. At a fair distance, it was easy to mistake the silver snake for a real one.
He blinked. Parseltongue from an animated silver ornament that was supposed to look like a snake was very strange. Who ever had make it had to have been a Master Silversmith. He reached down to trace his finger over its silver head and down it glistening body. Just as he thought, it looked real but it felt like silver.
"Don't touch it!" Ron snapped, but Hermione shot her boyfriend a dark look.
"Ignore him," Hermione retorted. She turned back, watching the snake's response to Harry's touch with the eagerness of a scientist investigating a new experiment. "So am I right?"
Harry nodded. "I think so…"
Unexpectedly, the silver snake unraveled from its ball and latched itself around Harry's wrist with such speed that he could only watch as it looped itself several time. "What the hell?" He heard Hermione's startled rhetoric.
"That's not only a snake," Ron's voice was biting, "that's a promise bracelet."
"A WHAT?!" Hermione and Harry both said, though she was far more vocal than he was.
"It's a promise bracelet," Ron repeated warily, sitting down and thumping his head on the table. "I told Harry not to touch it. Of course, I didn't think it was anything like that. As Harry is effectively wearing the bracelet, he's now promised himself to someone. The brilliant thing is, the person disguised it so well and we don't know who the hell she is."
Who sent you? Harry asked the snake, causing both Hermione and Ron to jump.
Your secret admirer.
Harry sighed. "The snake doesn't know."
"Don't do that!" Ron cried out. "It's creepy when you're talking like a serpent just like…"
"You Know Who?" Hermione finished dryly. "I'll admit it's startling when he's speaking parseltongue, but if the snake has the answer I don't see why he can't use his abilities as a parselmouth to find out. Just because You Know Who is a parselmouth doesn't make that a dark art, Ron Weasley!"
Ron had the decency to look ashamed. "Sorry," he muttered, "it's just… I don't know."
Her smile was weak, but it was enough to give Ron a big hint that she wasn't upset with him. Harry was glad that the direction of the conversation hadn't been steered into another spat. He didn't know how many arguments they could have in one day and still manage to stay together. Thank Merlin! Hermione was deciding not to push the issue as she could have. Ron might start things, but Hermione definitely knew how to push all the wrong buttons. Without the sniping, they made a good couple.
"You know," Hermione murmured, "you could scry for the identity of your admirer."
Harry shrugged. "You know how hard it is for me to control my visions, even now with Daphne as my guide. And all seers have a problem with seeing things having to do with themselves."
"But you aren't necessarily looking into your future," she protested. "It's sort of like looking into a dual future, and some seers can do that can't they? Determine their futures with certain people?"
"Only the strongest of seers can do that."
"Well," Ron inputted, "doesn't Daphne Aureole say you're the best natural seer born in the last century?"
"Seers tend to exaggerate."
"Whatever the case may be," Hermione remarked, "you have something that involves both you and the other person." She gestured to the silver snake. "You are also a natural seer, and you're going to see your guide tonight." The smile on her face was positively Granger. "Doesn't that mean the stars are aligning themselves to find the identity of this mystery person out?"
Hermione still had a great misconception of divination and it was Sibyl Trelawney's fault.
His power was his downfall and his greatest asset, Daphne told him. It made him a formidable wizard in his own right, though he was never going to be in Dumbledore's or Voldemort's range. His gifts laid elsewhere. His sheer power made it hard for him to control the intensity of his visions. Under Daphne's guidance, he still got lost in his visions, but she was always able to reach into the astral plane and pull him out.
No one realized for years that his visions of Voldemort were from foresight rather than the misconceived connection from the scar. It wasn't until Daphne stumbled upon him on the astral plane, wandering around lost in the throes of what he thought were his nightmares that everyone realized what his dreams really were. Visions.
Other seers (the few that could walk the astral plane) never saw him because he was trapped so deeply in his vision that they probably thought he was a spirit wrestling with his past. In all of Daphne's years (and she was quite old even though she didn't necessarily look all her years), she had never come across an untrained seer being able to cross into the astral plane. Even she hadn't been able to, and she was hailed as the greatest seer in Europe.
It was the scar, she said, that gave her his identity. The Boy Who Lived. She found him at Hogwarts and demanded to be his guide into the Arts of Divination. Albus Dumbledore, for once in his life, was surprised. He'd never recognized Harry Potter as a natural seer. Sibyl Trelawney was outraged that she wouldn't be guiding Harry Potter as the Divinations Professor, even though she'd never recognized him as having the sight. How could she? She wasn't even a natural seer. She was a seer, but she wasn't a natural seer. She had been trained to see and thus had some sight. Natural seers controlled the sight. When they called for it, it came.
"Harry," Daphne snapped, "Harry!" He heard her voice, far away from the grey mist he was drifting in. The astral plane was silent today, eerie. Lifeless. He'd been thinking hard, staring at the silver snake until he had felt his spirit leave his body to be drawn to where the answer laid. But there was nothing there to see. It was the first time he'd utterly failed to call up some sight when he'd aimed to receive. "NOW HARRY!"
His body jerked and his head began to throb. It was always the same. Whenever he tried to enter the astral plane, he returned with his head aching. Daphne told him it would get better in time, but in the last year of astral plane jumping it didn't seem to get any better. It only seemed to get worse. He groaned his thanks when he felt her shove a bottle of painkilling potion into his hand.
"What did you see?" she asked bluntly.
"If you saw nothing," Daphne retorted, "you'd be blind." He nearly hated how right she was. "Now, tell me what you saw."
He related what he saw with painstaking detail. It wasn't that he was particularly sharp at details, but she was. She made him consider everything he said until she was satisfied that she had pulled as much of what he'd seen as could be had. There was a reason she was touted as being the greatest seer in Europe, and the fact she had deemed him worthy of her guidance told him of his seer potential. Daphne Aureole was extraordinary.
"I think that someone is blocking you."
"Isn't that impossible?" Harry responded. "I thought when the sight came, it's always true."
"True to the moment you envisioned it," she corrected. "Prophecies can be changed, but rarely are they. They have a tendency of staying put mostly if the seer is especially talented at seeing the most probable outcome. While seers may see true, that doesn't mean they can't be blocked. It's just you've never had a problem with it. Most other seers are blocked by their own inability. You, from what you've told me, and from what I saw in the astral plane were being blocked by someone."
"Who do you feel that it was?"
He shuddered. "Voldemort."
Author's Note: I think I'm crazy. I know that in the back of my head that I've always wanted to do a Harry/Draco veela story (with a twist, who doesn't want a bloody twist?) and so I've done it. But my plotbunnies usually tend to die soon after I write the first chapter. A good sign I'll continue a story is if I get past the chapter 5 to 6 stage, so until we make it past that stage… anything goes. I'm working on chapter 2 right now so it should be out pretty soon (if it isn't out before my orgo test the first week of October it won't be out until after). Anyway, how do you like this story? Obviously, you know who the secret admirer is but how's everything else? Do you like Harry as a seer? What do you think of Daphne Aureole? Also… did I mention without reviews my muse tends to starve? So be a kind soul and click the "go" button to feed her please! Also, the second chapter is done and getting looked over by a friend (hopefully I'll wait long enough so I can do the revision before I post it).
TBC (as soon as you feed the muse)