Disclaimer and warning at the beginning of first chapter.
Draco had managed to persuade his family to visit Dumbledore, much to Harry's relief. He had been overwhelmed at meeting his future family, and had been alarmed to discover that his beliefs about yet another member of the Malfoy family were in fact untrue.
Narcissa, whom he had previously believed to be cold and malicious, appeared completely different. Combined with Draco, Harry wondered idly whether his opinion on the elder Malfoy male was wrong as well.
Draco had led him towards the Potions classroom, much to his distress. The only person he needed now to make him feel any worse was the dreaded Potions Master, none other than Severus Snape. It was a well known fact at Hogwarts that Snape detested Harry as much as he had detested the late James Potter.
"Sit down" Snape ordered coldly, his arms folded and robe swirling dramatically as he turned to glare at Harry.
Automatically, Harry sat down in his usual seat, barely registering the fact that Draco sat next to him on his right. Ron and Hermione sat in front of them, close enough to Harry to guard him from 'that blasted Veela' as Ron put it.
"Today we are studying the Unvelaia Potion. A potion master called Leon Bonneau created the potion in 1577. Bonneau was a French potion maker who spent most of his life creating potions in his laboratory. The potion, Unvelaia, is in fact a Veela repellent, and due to the...unusual circumstances at Hogwarts, both myself and Headmaster Dumbledore believed it would be wise to eliminate you all from feeling the Magnetic Attraction" Snape sneered, his eyes automatically meeting Draco's innocent silver eyes. He caught sight of Harry. "Well, boy, what are you waiting for? Write this down!"
"The potion will be given to all years this week, to prevent any of you drooling in my classroom" Snape added with a sneer.
The class began to mutter between themselves, several of the girls giggling while staring at both Harry and Draco. Snape glared, clearly not finding the situation 'cute,' as Lavender and Parvati did, if his icy glare in their direction was any indication.
"But of course, Mr. Potter will not be allowed to take it. After all, we can't deprive a Veela of its mate, can we" Snape added vindictively.
Harry blushed crimson at the comment, glaring at Snape angrily. He really hated the other man when he was like this. Harry respected Severus Snape for his spying abilities, knowing it took skill to deceive Voldemort, but he still couldn't stand the man.
Ron opened his mouth to snap something offensive to Snape, and was barely prevented by Hermione, who hastily elbowed him in the side. He glared at the girl by his side, but she merely sniffed at him, disapproval clear.
Draco, on the other hand, appeared completely unruffled, but his eyes glowed with anger at the insult to his mate and himself. He liked Snape, every Slytherin did. He cared for them, in his own way, and only interfered when it was necessary. He was a very intelligent, powerful man, and he was one of the best Potion Masters in the world. However, he would not get away with insulting his mate – no one would.
"I personally suggest you take it yourself, sir. We can't have you drooling in class either, can we? After all, it wouldn't do to be acting inappropriately" Draco said, voice innocent, but eyes narrowed slightly.
Snape eyed him in contempt, understanding the warning and meeting it with a raised eyebrow. The dark eyes moved to stare at Harry's blushing, smaller form, and Draco's body tensed, his Veela blood urging him to protect his mate. After several moments, Snape turned his eyes to the blackboard, much to Harry's relief.
"The ingredients are on the board, do not mess it up"
Draco and Harry immediately set to work. They worked individually. Harry knew that Snape was only allowing him to brew the potion in the hope that he failed. He was furious that the man had completely humiliated him, and cheapened his and Draco's relationship somehow.
"Calm down" Draco said soothingly, lightly brushing his arm in a gesture of comfort.
"I hate him" Harry hissed back.
Draco smirked, but inwardly he was angry. How dare Snape upset his mate – his actions could have caused their fragile relationship to disintegrate. Draco was aware that Harry was gradually beginning to trust him, and Draco didn't want to lose that trust.
By the end of Potions everyone had successfully created and drank their potion, much to Draco's relief. He didn't fancy having a crowd of hormonal teenagers trying to seduce him while he used his charms to attract Harry.
Harry's potion had been bottled and Snape, surprisingly enough, had insisted he take it with him. It had not been tested, but Harry knew that it would work. He had followed the recipe closely, wanting to prove that he could do well at Potions when he wanted to.
It appeared that Severus Snape was a man filled with contradictions.
They were heading down to the Great Hall when Seamus decided to try and attract Harry's attention. He grabbed the other boy around the waist and lifted him up off the ground, causing Harry to cry out in shock, not used to being grabbed so suddenly.
"Hey, Harry" Seamus grinned.
Harry smiled warily, and struggled out of his arms, he glanced at Draco, expecting him to explode, but was alarmed by the calm look on his face; a calm look which hid the fury and rage smouldering in the silver eyes. Harry knew that Draco was barely controlling his Veela blood, and sighed.
Everyone moved away from them, apparently remembering the Pansy incident, which had left the girl afraid to even look at Draco, but Seamus stayed his ground. He knew that the Veela couldn't force Harry into bonding, and was hoping that Harry would pursue a relationship with him instead of the Veela - and Seamus being Seamus, he wasn't about to give in because of a few obstacles.
"What the hell do you think you are doing, Finnigan" Draco drawled coolly.
"Just playing around" Seamus said with a mischievous grin.
Draco growled warningly, eyes flashing with increasing anger at the sight of his mate in another boy's arms. He was pleased to see Harry react negatively to the Irish boy but the sudden flame of jealousy that had erupted in Draco's heart was hard to disperse.
"Draco..." Harry said softly, shooting Seamus a dark look.
Seamus gaped in surprise, having never had Harry look at him in such a way before. He suddenly realised that Harry was growing more than fond for the Veela, and knew he'd have to strengthen his attack.
He didn't want to lose Harry to Malfoy. He genuinely cared for Harry and wanted to be with him. Harry was unique, and when he loved he loved with all his heart, something Seamus craved for. What would everyone say if they knew that the 'Gryffindor Slut' wanted love and affection? He didn't want casual sex. He wanted something deeper – something more lasting and more of a commitment, and he knew Harry wanted the same thing. He thought that they'd be perfect together.
"Let's go to dinner, ok? I'm hungry" Harry murmured softly, gently guiding Draco through the doors leading to the Great Hall.
Draco did not protest, but his eyes glared fixedly at Seamus, the warning clear. The Veela wouldn't take kindly to any more interference.
"I think you'd better stop annoying him" Hermione warned carefully, not wanting to choose sides but wanting to caution the friendly, cheerful Gryffindor.
"I'll stop when Harry tells me to" Seamus said stubbornly.
"Malfoy will kill you" pointed out Ron. He may not like the Veela, but he obviously cared for Harry, and Harry liked the Veela in return, even if he couldn't see the attraction. Malfoy was… well… Malfoy.
"And I might win Harry" Seamus said with a grin.
The Gryffindors shook their heads in exasperation. Seamus was apparently not going to give in, and would see his challenge through until the end, even if it meant that he would be burnt, and badly, and they had no doubts on that. Draco Malfoy would not appreciate Seamus continuing his seduction.
It was at the end of the day when Harry and Draco retired to their Tower. Draco had stayed continually at Harry's side ever since the encounter with Seamus that morning, and Harry hadn't objected, content to be 'protected' from 'Irish perverts'.
Harry smiled at Merlin, and on Draco's quiet 'Magnetic Attraction' the portrait swung open. Harry climbed through instantly; he did not notice the loving look Draco gave him at how relaxed and natural he seemed on entering what Draco called 'their home'.
Draco immediately waved his wand and lit the fire, and Harry jumped in shock, finally noticing the two women sitting on the sofa. It was none other than Narcissa and Marissa Malfoy. Draco groaned, loudly, and didn't even try to hide his irritation. He had been looking forward to a quiet evening, alone, with his mate.
"Really, Draco, I would have thought that you would have been pleased to see me" Narcissa teased good-naturedly.
"It's lovely to see you, Mother" Draco said coolly, moving protectively towards Harry who was staring at the women with a stunned expression on his face.
"You have no reason to fear for his safety" Marissa said gently, understanding the Veela's protectiveness.
Harry's gaze instantly turned towards Draco. He offered a soft smile, which reassured the Veela. Narcissa smiled at the way he calmed her son. She was amused to see how easy Draco could be manipulated when he had been taught to manipulate others instead.
"You just scared me" Harry explained.
Narcissa shrugged elegantly, not apologising, even though Draco was glaring at her. She was a Malfoy, and although Harry was to be her son's mate it was difficult to set aside a lifetime of prejudice.
Harry hesitantly moved towards the other sofa, sitting down and meeting Marissa's eyes with a curious gaze. He knew hardly anything about the two women, and he wondered why they were here.
"We're here to talk about the bonding" Narcissa explained, sensing Harry's thoughts.
Harry blushed. The very thought of discussing such an intimate moment with Draco's family was distinctly unnerving. What made it worse was the fact that Harry did not know the two. The bonding was something Harry considered to be private between himself and Draco.
"I see you know what I am talking about - however; I was told by Dumbledore that you have not bonded yet..." Narcissa said softly, the unspoken question left hanging for Harry to answer.
Draco's glare intensified. His mother had always had a habit of interfering in his life, and it was unwanted. Harry didn't have to explain his behaviour.
"Harry does not have to answer..." he began to argue, eyes flashing.
"It's ok... It's just that it happened so suddenly. It was a shock to find out about Draco and the bond. I wasn't ready. I'm not ready now... I've learnt to accept it but I'm not..." Harry trailed off hopelessly, unable to explain himself, reaching out to touch Draco's arm in order to calm the irate Veela.
"He was afraid to commit himself to someone he didn't know" Draco added, voice soft as he fought for control.
Marissa nodded, eyes lingering on Harry's arm for a moment before they moved to stare at Draco, a neutral expression on her face. She understood the urge within Draco to protect his mate, but these questions needed answering.
"I can understand that. However, I need to know whether you do intend to bond or you are merely trifling with my grandson's affections" Marissa said coolly, switching her gaze to stare at her grandson's mate.
Draco tensed, visibly, shooting his grandmother a dark look. He knew that Harry would never tease him about something so serious. The Gryffindor was too kind-hearted to lead him on, and he was a hopeless liar anyway, so Draco would have seen the truth if Harry had been trifling with him. He couldn't believe that Marissa would dare to ask the question, and without her usual tact. He pointedly ignored the small voice telling him that she was only looking out for him.
"I do want to bond with him, but I want it to be special. I guess you could say that I want it to be perfect" Harry admitted finally, looking at Draco, his eyes telling the Veela that he was speaking the truth.
"Of course" Narcissa smiled, softening again.
Marissa nodded, excepting his answer. Her face didn't change, but Draco saw the reluctant approval in the woman's eyes. She was a Malfoy, and Malfoys thought out their actions before they went through with them. Harry's behaviour proved that he would be an adequate and acceptable candidate to join the Malfoy family.
Draco smiled at Harry softly, relaxing again now that he knew that Harry would not get angry about the accusation. He didn't want to argue with his mate. They had made progress over the past few days, and Draco would hate to find himself back where he had started.
"We just wanted to talk to you about male pregnancy" said Narcissa, a wistful expression crossing her face before it disappeared.
Harry flushed, lowering his eyes in embarrassment while Draco narrowed his eyes. He knew that his mother wanted children to carry on the Malfoy name, but Harry and he were not bonded yet, and hadn't even discussed having a child properly.
"When you do bond, Harry, there is a large chance of conception" Narcissa informed Harry, ignoring his embarrassment.
"Oh..." Harry mumbled.
"You do want children" Marissa asked, curiosity tinting her voice. If Harry answered negatively then there would be problems. Draco needed to produce a heir to carry on the Malfoy name.
"Yes" Harry exclaimed firmly.
He did want children, after all. He wanted nothing more than a large family – something which had always been denied him. He knew that Draco wanted children as well, and Harry wanted him to be happy; he owed Draco happiness. The Veela had been calm and patient with him at every obstacle they had come across.
Narcissa's eyes lit up and another dreamy smile crossed her face. She was clearly delighted with the prospect of becoming a grandmother. Draco choked back a laugh, and Marissa shot him a disapproving look.
"Good" Marissa said, eyeing Harry with something akin to approval in her eyes.
"Are you having a ceremony" asked Narcissa suddenly, her thoughts returning to reality.
"A ceremony" asked Harry blankly.
"Yes. As you probably know, in the wizarding world there is no prejudice against marrying someone of the same sex. Veela's can, if they wish, marry their mates before bonding" Narcissa said calmly, clearly approving of that choice.
"Marriage" Harry asked blankly.
Draco had never mentioned making their relationship official. In fact, the other boy had only mentioned the bonding. Why hadn't Draco asked him? Did the Veela not want to marry him? No… Draco loved him!
"I didn't want to tell you until you were more comfortable with the idea..." Draco murmured uncomfortably, sensing Harry's doubts.
"So we have to get married" Harry asked, understanding in his eyes.
"We don't have to - but we could" Draco said hesitantly.
He prayed that Harry would say yes. He had wanted to talk about having an official ceremony for some time, but had feared such a commitment would scare the skittish boy away. Draco could think of nothing better than being married, and bonded, to the boy he loved.
"I think I'd prefer it actually... it'd make me feel more... normal... I guess" Harry said quietly, his eyes fixed on the floor.
Draco sighed with relief, stroking Harry's hand lovingly. Their eyes met; dark silver and vivid emerald clashed with a variety of mixed emotions in their depths.
Harry could feel the magnetic attraction urging him to bond with the Veela, but fought it – for now – knowing that it wasn't the right time. He wasn't ready; if he gave himself now then he would grow to hate the other boy for being forced into something he wasn't prepared for.
"Then we will arrange a ceremony. Perhaps the dance could be an engagement party as well" Narcissa suggested not so subtly. It had apparently been her idea to do that all along.
Draco glared at her again, not liking the way she was pressurizing his mate into making decisions when he wasn't ready to commit just yet. He knew that she wanted a grandchild, but she was making the situation more difficult. Seducing his mate was a slow process, and so far Draco had made tremendous progress. In the beginning Harry had been in denial, and over the past few weeks the other boy had accepted Draco into his life, and agreed to a relationship. It was the best that Draco could hope for. They had been rivals and had hated each other for years before the discovery of the bond. It would take time; time Draco was prepared to wait.
"Ok...but I don't want to be married yet" Harry raised pleading green eyes to Draco's silver.
He hoped that Draco understood his reasons. He didn't want to hurt the Veela, but he couldn't give in yet. He needed to be completely sure about his decision before he did. He didn't want to make a mistake and be trapped in a loveless home… He had spent nearly his whole life trapped in a home with the Dursleys, who hated him, and didn't want the same with Draco.
"We don't have to marry until you are ready. The party will simply be procedure" Draco told him soothingly.
Instantly, Harry relaxed. Draco had understood, and didn't blame him.
"Good. Now, Draco, please leave so that your grandmother and I can call in the dressmaker. We simply have to do something about Harry's clothes" Narcissa said carefully, avoiding Harry's horrified eyes.
Draco understood. Malfoys were well known for being perfectly dressed to every possible occasion. He had been thinking about buying Harry clothes, but hadn't known how to broach such a sensitive topic, especially when Harry had no clue about fashion. It appeared that his dilemma had been solved.
Harry stood tiredly in the bedroom on a stool. The dressmaker turned out to be a man called Silvius Snazzer, one of the best dressmakers in the entire wizarding world. As soon as he had seen Harry he had set to work, discussing fabrics, colours and styles with the two older Malfoys as if Harry was not even in the room. He clearly believed that Harry was incapable of choosing a respectable outfit – not that Harry blamed him. The clothes he had been wearing had been Dudley's cast-offs, after all.
Harry wondered idly if Draco would have a fit about a male dressmaker touching him – his mate. The sight of Draco cursing the man to hell and back bought a grin to Harry's face. The Veela was very protective of Harry, and had a possessive streak a mile wide, which Harry found strangely endearing. It made him feel cared for to know that someone cared for him enough not to want to lose him.
"I think green is one of the best colours on him... and of course black... not too much decoration... plain and simple... perhaps a black robe, a green cashmere pullover... or a white shirt..." Silvius mused, studying Harry critically.
Harry shifted slightly, unused to such scrutiny. Silvius' eyes narrowed again, taking in the lithe form, dark hair and dazzling green eyes. The boy was quite a beautiful creature, underneath, and Silvius would enjoy dressing him. He adored a challenge.
"I'm sure Draco would like black...and green brings out his eyes. Make sure he has enough clothes for an entire winter wardrobe...cloaks, robes, casual clothes - everything. Draco will want him suitably attired" Narcissa said coolly, clearing showing her superiority to the dressmaker.
"Of course..." Silvius murmured, bowing his head slightly in subservience. He may be the best money could buy, but the Malfoys had a large hold over the wizarding world, and once word got out that Silvius had attired the wizarding world's saviour then more people would demand his services.
Harry started staring wistfully at the door leading to the living room, where an impatient male Veela was waiting for him.
'Help...' was Harry's last thought before he was forced to try on yet another outfit.
Nearly four hours later, Narcissa emerged from the room to find an impatient Draco glaring at the door. She smirked at the sight. During her visit she had discovered that Draco was completely and utterly hopelessly in love with his mate. She could imagine that his first reaction to the discovery would have been amusing to watch.
She had always wondered about the strange rivalry between her son and the Potter boy, but had put it down to Lucius' influence. She should have known that only his Veela blood would have caused such a strong emotion. Veela's were intense creatures. They either loved or hated.
On seeing her enter, Draco leapt up, eager to see his mate. He pushed past her, gently – she was his mother and a Malfoy, after all - and stopped, his eyes riveted on the figure before him.
Harry's small frame was dressed in a black robe, the silk gently skimming the floor around his feet. The cloth was tight fitted, clinging to his body, much to Draco's secret delight. The green silk shirt he was wearing was open at the top, revealing a tantalizing view of tanned skin. The black trousers were well fitted, perfectly showing off Harry's long legs. Draco inwardly praised Quidditch for being such an intense physical sport.
Harry's face was flushed in embarrassment, a query in the vivid green eyes as he waited patiently for Draco's approval or disapproval. Draco cleared his throat, his eyes burning with open desire.
"You look beautiful" Draco murmured, voice strangely husky.
Harry blushed, recognising the look in the Veela's eyes by now, and feeling the now familiar magnetic attraction Draco radiated increase. He relaxed slightly, fingering the expensive cloth. He had been a little overawed by the outfit, never having thought that he would one day be dressed in such garments, but Draco put his fears to rest.
"It's for the dance... Silvius said that green and black suited me the best..." Harry muttered, eyes lowered.
Draco's eyes moved to 'Silvius' and his expression changed to one of utter loathing within seconds, silver eyes cold and foreboding. This man had dared to touch his mate… Had dared to see Harry's frame partially unclothed... His mother had not mentioned that Harry was to be fitted by a man!
"Draco" warned Marissa, trying to calm her grandson, sensing the oncoming disaster.
Silvius eyed Draco warily, knowing that the boy was a very protective Veela. At the moment the younger Malfoy appeared to want to hex him. He had to admit that he had found Harry attractive, in an innocently appealing way. The boy was beautiful, and Silvius enjoyed dressing beautiful people.
However, Silvius would never approach Harry for numerous reasons: Harry was a customer, and one never mixed pleasure with work; Harry was also the Boy Who Lived, and out of his league; and Harry was also the mate of one of the Malfoy family who spent thousands of galleons every season for his creations.
"Your mate is very beautiful, I had no problem fitting him with an entire wardrobe" he said calmly, the word mate emphasised to show the Veela that he meant no danger to Harry or their relationship.
Harry seemed to understand and moved forward, gently reaching out to touch Draco's cheek. The gesture caught Draco's attention immediately and he smiled down at Harry, his eyes softening noticeably.
"Thank you for the clothes, Draco..." Harry said carefully, knowing that although his pride was fighting over being provided for by another, his gratefulness would calm the Veela.
"You are welcome. You will wear nothing but the best" Draco swore, meaning it. Harry would want for nothing. He would wear the best Draco could provide.
The fierce protectiveness and love in Draco's voice stunned Harry. He smiled lopsidedly, overwhelmed. He reached up and placed a soft, brief kiss on the Veela's cheek - a gesture that sealed his promise to Draco and proved that he had no intention of leaving him.
By the door, Narcissa and Marissa smiled at one another at the gesture, while Silvius silently thanked Merlin that the Veela had not tried to kill him.
He hastily made his departure.
After Marissa and Narcissa had left, promising to visit the next day as they were staying at the castle for several days, Draco and Harry had retreated to the bedroom again. Harry had instantly gone to the bathroom, wanting to relax in a tub of warm water after his stressful day.
Draco had taken a shower while waiting for Harry to be seen to by the dressmaker to make the time go by faster. It hadn't worked, but it did mean that he would be able to spend more time with the Green Eyed God, as Draco had secretly begun to call him, when he reappeared.
He stripped off and got ready in his pyjamas. He climbed into bed, waiting for Harry. Soon enough, the Gryffindor appeared from the bathroom dressed in a pair of new green silk pyjamas, which had been part of his new wardrobe.
Draco had to admit that Harry looked gorgeous. He could understand the way other people reacted around his mate; Harry had beauty, power, and had a silent strength which drew others to him.
"That Finnigan better leave you alone" Draco said suddenly, remembering the Irish Gryffindor.
"Seamus is just..."
"Trying to seduce you" Draco said calmly, but his voice was hard.
"He's just pratting around - I doubt he means it" Harry argued, climbing onto the bed.
"He keeps trying to touch you" Draco growled, temper rising rapidly at the thought of his mate with the other boy.
"You need to learn to calm down, Draco. I am not interested in Seamus" Harry said with a frown.
"You don't fancy him" Draco asked, curious but dreading the answer.
Seamus was an attractive boy, Draco couldn't deny, and he and Harry had known each other longer than Draco had known Harry. Oh, they had known who each other was for the same period of time, but Draco had not had the chance to know the boy hidden behind the pedestal the wizarding world placed Harry on.
"Seamus is like a brother to me. I feel for him the same as I feel for Ron" Harry explained carefully, not wanting to anger the Veela.
Draco had already proved several times just how possessive the Veela inside of him was, and Harry did not want to anger the Veela into believing he felt anything except friendship for the Irish boy. He didn't want to make Draco jealous, as jealousy was something which even when proven unfounded, left a trail of doubt.
"Good" growled Draco, and promptly pushed Harry down onto the bed.
He began to kiss Harry's face, gradually making his way to Harry's parted lips, which were desperately pleading for his attention. Draco moaned as he caught sight of passion filled green eyes.
"I love you so much" he whispered into Harry's ear, fighting the urge to ravish Harry then and there.
"I know" Harry murmured back.
Harry did know that. Draco had shown his love in a million different ways, and it was the love Draco had for him which drew Harry to him. Harry longed to be loved, and Draco loved him. He just didn't want to commit himself to Draco without loving him back – Draco deserved better.
As they kissed passionately Draco's heart clenched painfully with the realisation that Harry had not said 'I love you' back. He could feel the Veela blood running through his veins urging him to take his mate, to bond them together; to make Harry love him, but Draco controlled it. He knew that if he ever went too far and forced Harry to do something he did not want to do, then he would lose the Gryffindor for good. It was a chance Draco could not afford to take.
'You will love me, Harry...even if it takes a lifetime to make you realise it,' Draco swore silently, moaning into his mate's soft mouth, needing to reassure himself that Harry was there, with him, needing him.
But the pain that had been caused by Harry not returning his sentiments, burned deep within his heart even as he lost himself in his mate's response.
Harry awoke the next morning to find a strange owl standing on the dressing table, a letter tied to its snowy leg. The creature reminded Harry strongly of Hedwig, apart from the scattered black feathers adorned on the otherwise white breast. Harry carefully disentangled himself from Draco and walked over to the owl. He easily untied the letter and watched as the bird flew out of the window with a soft hoot of goodbye.
Harry opened the letter:
Upon meeting you yesterday, I was surprised to say the least. You were not like anything I had expected. I guess that I had expected to meet the duplicate of James Potter and although you look uncannily like him appearance-wise, I have to admit that your personality was completely different.
I had been worried before I arrived, upon hearing the news about my son's mate. Draco is, and always will be, the most stubborn boy I have ever met. I have heard stories about you, and although I did always wonder at the strong emotions between you both, I never considered this scenario.
I was pleased to discover your wish to become a father. I have always wanted a grandchild, and I know Draco has always longed for a large family - due to his own loneliness as a child.
I have several pieces of advice for you. Veela are very possessive creatures, as you know already. You need to be careful to let Draco know that you will never leave him for another, as the thought of losing their mate can drive a Veela to madness.
To a Veela, their mate is everything. To Draco you are his entire world, and always will be.
Never hurt my son, as my own Veela instincts will barely refrain me from taking revenge against you, even though it would hurt my son to have you hurt.
He will always want your happiness, and will give you everything. Draco will never allow you to be hurt, of that you can be certain, and he will protect you until death, if it is needed.
I hope to speak to you in private,
Harry folded the letter and placed it on the dressing table. He moved back towards the bed, a soft smile playing at his lips as he gazed down at the sleeping face of his future husband.
'My fiancé,' Harry mused thoughtfully.
He watched as Draco stirred, his body automatically searching for Harry in the huge bed. The eyes snapped open suddenly, sudden panic filling them at the thought of Harry disappearing. Harry saw it and moved closer, so that Draco's eyes could fix on him.
Draco visibly relaxed. The fear that Harry had left him, or that it had all been a dream and that Harry still hated him, abated.
"Your mother sent me a letter" Harry explained.
"What did she want" Draco asked, wary.
"She told me some things I needed to hear" Harry said softly, leaning down to kiss Draco's lips possessively.
He may not love Draco yet, but he cared for him, and that was a start. He had not lied to Draco – he did not believe in uttering false promises of love when in the throws of passion. When he returned Draco's love, he would do so wholeheartedly.
When Draco and Harry arrived at the Great Hall for breakfast, everyone stared at them, much to Harry's chagrin. Narcissa and Marissa were sitting with the teachers, faint traces of carefully concealed amusement gleaming in their eyes as Harry promptly dragged Draco towards the Gryffindor table. Draco, used to his mate's behaviour by now, and wanting to be with him, allowed himself to be dragged along, a faint smirk dancing across his face.
"Hey Harry" Hermione said cheerfully, nodding politely at Draco.
"Hey 'Mione..." Harry said distractedly, helping himself to toast and bacon.
Draco shook his head at his mate, and nodded his greetings to Hermione and Ron. He was polite – he knew Harry loved his friends, and knew that they were protective of Harry in return. He helped himself to a mug of coffee, giving a little sigh of appreciation as the smell reached his nostrils.
"You seem cheerful" Ron said, narrowed eyes fixed on his friend.
"He's just pleased that he's still alive" Draco said with an elegant shrug, eyes scanning the Slytherin table where they lingered on several of his friends.
All eyes turned to him, the old suspicion lingering. They had accepted him because Harry seemed to care for him, but they still did not trust him. He didn't blame them. He was a Slytherin, and a Malfoy at that. The Malfoy family name had bee tarred since Voldemort's first reign, and even today they were associated or suspected of being Dark Wizards, even if few dared to confront them with the accusation.
"What? My mother nearly smothered him with clothes" Draco shrugged.
"Clothes" asked Hermione, curiosity in her voice.
"Draco's bought me some new clothes" Harry explained, shooting Ron a warning glare.
"He's buying you" Ron hissed, voice loud enough that everyone near them, including Draco, could hear. Harry narrowed his eyes; unable to believe that Ron would think he was shallow enough to allow himself to be bought for worldly possessions. Ron knew that Harry had never had many belongings of his own, and that he valued emotions higher than necessities. Material possessions only meant a lot to him if someone he cared about with his entire heart, and couldn't be replaced, had given them to him. His invisibility cloak was an example, as was his Firebolt, and clothes did not compare to them.
"No - I'm providing for my fiancé" Draco corrected, having sensed Harry's anger at his friend's lack of subtlety. He wanted to prove that he was not buying Harry. He cared for Harry, deeply, and as his mate, it was his job to provide him with the necessities he needed.
The hall went deathly quiet at that declaration, as Draco had known it would. He smirked.
"WHAT" shrieked Ron, obviously stunned.
"When" asked Hermione, a soft smile on her face as she eyed Harry, pleased. An engagement meant that their relationship was progressing, and that Harry was beginning to love the Veela. Harry would never have agreed to be tied down if he didn't care for Draco… Harry just needed to realise that he was in love – which could take a while. Harry was too innocent for his own good most of the time.
Draco smirked wickedly, pleased with the effect his news had had. He was a Slytherin, after all, and Slytherins enjoyed causing large reactions, especially publicly.
"Harry's agreed to an engagement. The invites to the ball at the Manor will no doubt be arriving tomorrow. Harry and I will write them this afternoon" Draco said calmly.
"Invites" Ron asked weakly, seeing the situation rapidly spinning out of control.
"Harry, hadn't you better explain" Hermione said tartly.
"Well... Draco's mother mentioned marriage, and as I'm not ready to be married or bonded I agreed to an engagement" Harry blushed.
"At least you're not getting married" Seamus said suddenly, relief obvious in his voice.
Draco growled threateningly, furious at the thought of Seamus continuing his seduction. Harry was his!
Harry automatically reached out to touch his arm, controlling the Veela easily with his touch. He had already figured out that he could soothe the Veela instantly by making his attention wander to him. It was a Slytherin tactic, but it worked, and Harry had been nearly put in Slytherin, after all.
"Not yet" Harry said warily, not liking the grin on Seamus' face.
A grin that Harry knew meant trouble. He had spent his entire life at Hogwarts talking, laughing and hanging around with the other boy and knew his facial expressions fairly well by now.
"So, is there such a tradition called kiss the fiancé" asked Seamus casually, eyes sparkling mischievously.
"No" hissed Draco, visibly furious now. He didn't care if it was beneath a Malfoy to show emotion in public – he wouldn't sit there and watch as that boy fawned over his mate!
Harry grabbed his arms to prevent him from trying to strangle Seamus, knowing from the way the Veela had attacked Pansy that he would not stop to consider his actions and that he would not regret them afterwards.
"Seamus..." Harry pleaded, trying to tell the other boy with his eyes that he had to stop tormenting the Veela to deliberately make him lose his self-control.
"I wasn't going to kiss you" Seamus grinned, amused at the fire crackling in Draco's stormy eyes and ignoring Harry's pleading green eyes.
"You'd better stay away from my mate" Draco angrily ordered, and lifted his head arrogantly, a sneer spreading across his face.
"Harry, technically, isn't your mate until you bond" Seamus pointed out, smug.
Draco moved to get his wand and Harry hastily leaned forward, brushing his lips over the Veela's cheek until a pair of calm, slightly glazed silver eyes met his. Harry inwardly sighed with relief.
"I'm your fiancé" Harry reminded him softly.
Draco seemed to calm down completely at Harry's reassuring words, content to wrap his arm around Harry's waist, while watching Seamus through calculating silver eyes. He appeared intent on watching the other boy in case he tried to 'attack' Harry, much to Hermione's amusement. She hastily stifled a giggle when the silver eyes narrowed in her direction.
Everything resumed as normal, and Harry waited to see whether his godfather would send him any post with the morning owls.
Thousands of owls entered the great hall, but one bird stood out. It was a large raven, the feathers a pitch black and the eyes a vivid crimson. But what attracted the most attention was the black parcel tied to its leg. A parcel headed straight for Harry Potter.
As the bird dropped the parcel into Harry's plate, the Hall fell silent. Draco tensed as Harry reached out, untying it to reveal a black box. Fingers slightly shaking, Harry removed the lid and peered inside. At first nothing happened and then a voice erupted from the box. A voice, Harry knew, that belonged to none other than Voldemort.
"Congratulations on your relationship to Mr. Malfoy, Harry. Call this an early wedding present. Technically, the only reason why I'm sending you this is because the snivelling rodent has become useless to me. Try to prevent that mongrel from killing him before he's freed" the familiar voice hissed, almost trailing into parseltongue, before dying away.
"Harry" Draco questioned softly, concerned about the ecstatic look on Harry's face. He had recognised the voice, having heard it himself, but he was wary about the gift. Why would Voldemort send a gift to his enemy?
Not noticing the stunned faces around him, Harry reached inside the box and pulled out the stupefied body of Wormtail.
"Wormtail" Ron gasped, eyes going round as he recognised the rat.
"Sirius is free" Harry murmured, eyeing the rat as if it was the most precious gift he had ever been given.
Draco had known about Sirius's innocence and about Peter but he had never dreamed that Voldemort would free Sirius. It seemed that Voldemort was not too far gone by madness to enjoy irony. His father had often commented on the Dark Lord's unusual twisted sense of humour.
"What do you mean, Harry" asked Seamus, his voice slightly shaking, having never heard Voldemort's voice before.
"This rat is none other than Peter Pettigrew in his animagus form" Harry explained in a dazed voice.
Dumbledore hastily stood up, moving quickly with a grace which surprised many, his blue eyes narrowing and his power flowed freely, the strength of which he kept hidden except in dire situations, creating an atmosphere of awe and wonder around the watching students.
"Mr. Potter, please give me the rat" Dumbledore asked calmly, trying to extract the rat from Harry's fingers. He knew that Harry hated Peter Pettigrew, and he couldn't blame him, but Sirius would never be freed if Harry lost his temper and the control he had over his magic.
Harry pulled back, eyes uncertain. It was clear that even now he didn't quite trust the Headmaster, which made Dumbledore inwardly sigh. He had thought that their relationship had been repaired, but apparently they still had a long way to go before Harry trusted him enough to agree and abide by his decisions.
"No. I want to give him to the aurors" Harry argued, not wanting to give Pettigrew the chance to escape again.
"Then at least let me transform him" Dumbledore insisted gently.
Harry nodded, agreeing that it would be easier that way.
Dumbledore muttered something and a flash of blue light hit the rat in his hands. Harry let go hastily and dropped the rat on the floor. There were stunned gasps from the students and several of the Professors as the rat turned rapidly into the figure of a man, a man who Harry loathed completely. A man who had betrayed his parents and allowed his innocent godfather to spend twelve years living in hell.
"Peter Pettigrew," Harry whispered - hatred obvious in his voice.
End of chapter 10