Disclaimer: Harry potter and all characters are the sole property of J.K. Rowling.

Summary: Hermione learns Blaise Zabini is half-Veela and she is his mate. As head boy and girl it would seem this may be her most interesting year at Hogwarts yet. Includes H/G, R/LL Voldemort is dead.

A/N: Thanks to my lovely Beta Rhonda (Sinfully-Snape)

Silently, the young woman walked through the dimly lit halls of Hogwarts towards the Headmaster's office. She felt a slight stab of trepidation, something she had been feeling since the letter arrived a week ago informing her that she was to report to school a week before the other students in order to take care of some Head business. She felt a flush of pride once again as the realization washed over her that, yes, she, Hermione Granger, was head girl.

Stopping before the Gargoyle that protected the Headmaster's office, Hermione gives the password that had been included with her letter.

"Cockroach Clusters."

The Gargoyle jumped aside revealing a spiral staircase that led up to Albus Dumbledore's office. Her smart shoes made a clicking sound as she climbed the unbearably winding set of stairs and entered into a room filled to the ceiling with piles of miscellaneous junk.

"Ah, yes, Miss. Granger, come in, come in, take a seat," the happy voice of Professor Dumbledore called out from behind one precariously high pile of what looked like enchanted toasters. Rounding the pile she came to stand before Dumbledore's desk.

"Please, have a seat Ms. Granger," Professor Dumbledore waved towards the comfortable looking armchair situated in from of his messy desk.

"Thank you, Sir," Hermione said as she sank deeper into the cushions then she expected. After some initial flailing and shifting she managed to make herself comfortable. Looking around, she noticed she was the only one besides Professor Dumbledore in the room. "Sir, where is Zabini? I assumed that since he was Head Boy he would be here early as well."

"Yes, Ms Granger. Mr. Zabini is here, but he is not feeling well and is currently in the quarters you will be sharing." Professor Dumbledore steepled his fingers and looked at her over his half-moon glasses.

"Oh, I'm sorry I hope it's nothing serious," she said, worried.

"Don't worry Ms. Granger, it's nothing we can't fix." He studied her for a moment before continuing. "Tell me, Ms. Granger, what you know of Veelas?"

"Excuse me, sir?" Hermione asked in confusion, but he only nodded at her to answer. She cleared her throat self-consciously. "Well, sir, Veelas are a form a Fae. There are two distinct races. The Northern Veela are fair, with blond hair and very light silver eyes, the Southern Veela are darker, with black hair and blue eyes. The Veela possess the ability to produce pheromones that insight lust in the opposite sex. Male Veelas are very dominating, while the females are subservient. Veelas have the ability to turn into a birdlike-creature with a sharp beak and claws when angry. They also possess the ability to perform some basic wandless magic. They reach maturity at eighteen. Once maturity is reached they dedicate themselves to finding their mate. Once their mate has been identified, they have very little time to find them and mark them. Their sanity is slowly lost until then and if their mate is not found or rejects them, they will eventually fall insane, refusing first to speak, then eventually to even eat or drink, finally killing themselves. That is about all we learned about them last year, sir."

"Excellent, Miss. Granger. Ten points to Gryffindor,"he said happily.

"What I am about to tell you, Miss. Granger, is strictly confidential. Without Mr. Zabini's permission, I must ask you not to speak to anyone about this, and that includes Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley. Is this understood?" he asked somberly.

"Yes, of course, sir,"she said without hesitation. This seemed to please Professor Dumbledore and he gently rested his chin on his steepled fingers.

"Mr. Zabini's father was a full blooded Southern Veela, Ms. Granger. This August was Mr. Zabini's eighteenth birthday. We were unsure as to how many Veela attributes he would be inheriting from his father so he stayed the summer here at the school so Madam Pomfrey and I could keep a close eye on him as he reached his maturity. It seems that while Mr. Zabini did not inherit the more physical traits, such as the ability to transform, he did receive the need to find his mate."

Hermione was quite shocked. She pictured the quiet boy who was in most of her advanced classes with her. No denying he was quite stunning with glossy black hair that hung in soft waves to his collar and deep blue eyes. But he was so reserved and shy, Veelas were exotic and erotic, she blushed slightly when she thought this, creatures. Zabini had never been rude to her; in fact he never even seemed to acknowledge her existence. Except of course that one time last year in the library, she had been reaching up, balanced on her tip-toes, to try and retrieve a particularly heavy volume of ancient Mayan ruins when he come up behind her. He had leaned up against her, and reached above her head to pull the book from the shelf. For a moment he paused, his front pressed flush up again her back before handing her the book. She murmured a thank you and he had just smiled slightly, nodded his head and continued down the aisle. Professor Dumbledore, obviously, wanted her help in assisting them find Zabini's mate.

"Professor Dumbledore, is there anything I can do to help?" she asked, already considering which text to use in her research. Yes, she would probably need to check the restricted section. She was sure there had to be books that contained information on how to find someone's mate.

"Yes, Ms, Granger, actually there is. You see Veelas have the advantage of knowing upon maturity whom their mate is." He peered at her for a minute as if deciding the best way of wording what he had to say next. Finally he let out a small sigh and simply said, "You, Ms. Granger, are Mr. Zabini's mate."

"Ex-excuse me, sir?" she stuttered. No this couldn't be right. She wasn't someone's mate, no, not someone, Zabini's mate. She barely knew him. What does Professor Dumbledore mean, he knows I am his mate? "I think you must be mistaken, sir. I couldn't possibly be his mate. No, absolutely not... that's not possible," she said with a rising sense of panic.

"Calm down Ms. Granger. I assure you we made sure Mr. Zabini was correct before we called you here." He sighed and for the first time Hermione noticed how tired and old he seemed. "We had hoped since Mr. Zabini is only half-blooded that we would have more time to inform you and help you adjust to the news. But the truth is he has had an opposite reaction then expected."

"About a week and a half ago Mr. Zabini started to show an accelerated need to find and mark his mate. His mental status has been decreasing daily and Madam Pomfrey was afraid to wait for the start of term to call you in and inform you." He removed his glasses and wiped them with his robe absently. "Ms. Granger, we need you to allow Mr. Zabini to mark you as soon as possible. Tonight would be best. Once he has marked you, his symptoms should abate and you should be able to take some time to get to know each other before the bonding ritual occurs."

Hermione stared at Professor Dumbledore with a mixture of shock, anger and disbelief.

"You want met to let him WHAT?" she cried indignantly. "You call me in here to inform me that one of the most important choices I am to make in my life is already made for me and expect me to happily fall into Zabini's arms and let him… mark me?" she sputtered.

"Ms. Granger I understand this is hard," Professor Dumbledore said gently, "I understand this is hard but Mr. Zabini WILL die without your assistance. Do you believe you could live with an innocent man's death on your hands?" he asked with his eyebrows raised.

How could he... HOW COULD HE!! How could he just sit there and stare at her expectantly. Of course, she couldn't let him die she thought bitterly. She had pretty much sacrificed her childhood to help her best friends kill a maniac. Now she was expected to sacrifice her freedom and her future for a man she barely knew.

"Of course not," She said bitterly. "What am I expected to do? Walk up to him and say 'Mark away'?" she asked sarcastically.

"Actually not much is written about the actual marking. What is known is that he will place a mark somewhere on your person that will connect the two of you," he said.

"Does it…Do I…Do we have to have sex?" she asked hesitantly, blushing profusely.

"Madam Pomfrey assured me that sexual intercourse was not required for the marking," he said, reassuring her with a broad smile. "Now I need to prepare you for what you will find when you return to your quarters," he said gravely.

"P-prepare me?" she stuttered hesitantly. She felt a sense of dread coil in her stomach.

"As I stated earlier, Mr. Zabini seems to be experiencing an accelerated reaction to his onset. The longer a Veela waits to mark their mate the less mentally stable they become until they are completely insane, at which time they refuse food and water until they perish. Mr. Zabini is greatly diminished and, according to Madam Pomfrey, has stopped talking and simply waits. I am not sure if he will be able to speak to you before the marking. As you stated Ms Granger, male Veelas are dominating and while Veelas are instinctually averse to harming their mate, they can become slightly aggressive. Once the mark is on you and sealed, he will regain his normal mental state and you will have plenty of time to talk about things. I have also taken the time to stock your quarters with some books on Veelas and their mates and you will of course be given an unlimited usage pass to the restricted section of the library."

Hermione couldn't help but feel a slight thrill at this news. The thrill did nothing to calm her fear through. Aggressive, what does he mean aggressive? Professor Dumbledore said he wouldn't hurt her… but still, how could he be so sure?

"I think you should head to your quarters now. Here are directions and the password is Patronum. I would like to see you and Mr. Zabini in my office after dinner tomorrow so we can go over your duties as Head Boy and Girl. Does that sound agreeable to you?" he asked politely.

"Fine," she mumbled. Feeling slightly numb, she stood and walked towards the stairs.

"All will be fine Ms. Granger," Dumbledore called to her as she left.

'Sure, bloody wonderful,' she thought to herself as she walked down the stairs and started off in the direction of her quarters.