Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, his friends, or his enemies.
This story will be a slash story in time. However, they will not jump in bed immediately, since this story is just as much, if not more, about personal development and growth. Nagging me about hurrying things up will be pointless, sorry. Hopefully you will find the wait worth the time, grin.
This is an AU, which begins at the start of Harry's sixth year. There will probably be spoilers from all of the first five books, but none from book six since in my universe HBP doesn't exist.
A/N: This chapter has been re-written since it needed a major overhaul.
Thank you Lia, for doing the Beta-reading.
Find Your Mate, Draco
Day One - Monday Sep 2 1996
Draco Malfoy was sitting at the Slytherin table, fighting the urge to bang his head against the hard surface. He was slowly going insane, and there was nothing he could do about it. At least not yet.
The Veela inside him was singing in his blood, urging him to go and find his mate and claim them so that no one else could get their grubby hands on him. The urge was only getting stronger the more he resisted, and Draco wasn't sure how much longer he could fight the siren song that was his other half.
Draco had known almost all his life that he was a Veela; his father had made sure that he knew both of the dangers and the benefits this entitled. Considering the misfortune Lucius had had with his own mate, Draco was very aware of the pitfalls that awaited him until he had safely claimed the other half of his soul, which made fighting the mating urge even harder.
However, he was a Malfoy, and he was not about to do anything foolish that might jeopardise his entire future. If only his father would bloody well hurry up and get here!
"Are you alright?" Blaise asked, sending Draco a worried glance. Of all the Slytherins present, he was the only one who had an inkling what it was Draco was going through. In spite of his dark looks, Blaise Zabini carried Veela blood as well in his veins. It was diluted though, and not many of the Veela gifts had manifested themselves when he turned sixteen, but he knew the stories, and he understood, somewhat, the urges Draco was currently fighting.
"No!" Draco snapped harshly, only to immediately apologise. "I'm sorry, Blaise, but this is driving me batty. He is here, I can sense him, he is smelling so sweetly, but he is so sad, Blaise, so sad. All I want to do is find him and hug him and make everything better, only I can't." Draco said in frustration.
The blond boy clasped his tea cup in an iron grip - it was a miracle it didn't shatter under the strain – just so he wouldn't do anything foolish, like tearing his hair out. Or run up and down the tables, sniffing the air. Where the hell was his father? It wasn't as if he hadn't been kept waiting forever as it was. He had been waiting the entire, bleeding summer for Salazar's sake!
Draco had turned sixteen in the beginning of June, and once he had recovered from having his Veela blood awakened, something had been niggling at the edge of his senses. It had been extremely distracting, and it was a miracle he had managed to perform as well as he had on his O.W.L.s.
The only thing stopping him from hunting down his mate was the fact that he couldn't pin point who it was, which indicated that whoever it was, hadn't turned sixteen yet. A fact that somewhat put a damper on Draco's spirits. What if their birthday wasn't until Christmas? No way in hell was he going to manage to get anything done while being distracted like this.
Lucius had been sympathetic, but there wasn't much he could do, other than making sure to keep Draco busy. This had resulted in one of the best summer holidays of the young Veela's life. His father had taken him on an extended trip around the world, visiting places of prominence in both the magical and the Muggle world. Draco had loved every minute of it.
Father and son had ended their vacation by spending two glorious weeks on an unplottable island outside the coast of Australia, doing nothing more strenuous than sunning themselves, lying on a soft, sandy beach, or swimming in the warm ocean. And this was why the blond had returned to Hogwarts with a most healthy tan, causing just about everyone who saw him to drool. Because, if Draco Malfoy had been pretty before, he was now down right beautiful, with his pale blond hair that was almost resembling a halo as it contrasted against his nicely tanned skin, which no longer was looking like alabaster.
They had also done a lot of talking, and Draco felt he was a lot closer to his father now than he had ever been before. That he was now considered an adult in the eyes of the law probably had something to do with it, but mostly it was due to the older man working on re-connecting with his son. The two of them had been very close when Draco was a child; however, some of that closeness had diminished since Draco spent most of his time at Hogwarts. But now their closeness was back in full force, and the teen was determined not to let it slip away from him again. Mate or not, he was not giving up on his father as a friend and confidant.
Speaking of mate, where the hell was his father?
Draco sighed, fighting the urge to pout. The distraction the vacation had provided had worked and he had almost, almost, forgotten all about that niggling feeling, which was probably why he had been hit so hard when he had entered the platform where the Hogwarts' Express was waiting.
One whiff of that enticing scent, and Draco had felt his transformation start. Completely lost in the perfume that spelled M.A.T.E Draco had been unaware of moving. He had been deaf to the calls of his father, and he had been utterly unprepared for the stunner Lucius had cast on him. Needless to say, he had been most displeased waking up in his own bed, in his own room at Malfoy Manor.
Lucius had had to do some very fast talking to avoid both the fight and the hissy fit Draco was ready to indulge in. In the end they had come to a compromise. Draco would be allowed to spend the night at Hogwarts, since that would calm his raging instincts somewhat, but he would not attend the Welcoming Feast, and only appear for breakfast the next morning.
Draco had not been entirely happy, but he had agreed; anything to get closer to his mate. So here he was, sitting at the Slytherin table, waiting for his father so he could start looking for the one that was destined for him. The only thing he knew for sure was that it was a he, and that he wasn't a Slytherin.
Even though he knew that his mate was supposed to be the one being that completed his soul, making him whole, Draco still had feared that it would be one of his fellow Slytherins. Hard pressed to suppress a shudder, the Veela was thanking just about every deity out there for escaping that fate.
"Are you alright?" Blaise asked once more, eyeing his friend worriedly. Severus had given him the responsibility to make sure that Draco didn't do anything rash before Lucius arrived, though the youth wasn't sure how he was supposed to manage that. Draco was far stronger than he was, both physically and magically, and if you equated the Veela instincts fighting for dominance...
"I'm fine, Blaise, there is no need for you to worry so much. I'm just feeling grateful that it isn't a Slytherin," Draco replied, sending the other boy a small smile.
Doing a swift mental inventory of their year-mates, Blaise was hard pressed to suppress his own shudders. "Thanks a lot, Draco!" he complained, doing his best to erase the mental images that had popped into his head. Diane Greengrass was the only female worth her salt, but since her ambition in life was to become the next Celestina Warbeck, she was forever obsessing about clothes, make-up, and music. Only the dire threats from her father caused her to buckle down and study, ensuring she got good grades. She might live for her music, but she wasn't about to starve for it.
The boys weren't much better when it came to marriage material. Draco and Blaise were too good friends to even consider themselves as lover material for the other, aside from the fact that Blaise so far had only liked girls. There was Theodore Nott, but since he was an incredible flirt, who refused to take anything seriously, he was not someone you wanted guarding your back. As for Crabbe and Goyle, could you say 'Eeeuuw'?
"Hey, why should I suffer alone?" Draco asked, some of his good mood restored. Blaise merely huffed, sending his friend a mock glare.
"At least this should get Pansy off your back," Blaise said, turning to more serious matters once more. "I can't believe that your mother is actually encouraging her. Stop. I take it back, yes, I can. But not even she will be able to fight the Mating. I'm just glad I don't have to worry about that," Blaise said with feeling.
He had been a bit worried when his father had informed him that he was betrothed to a witch from Sweden. However, having met her this summer, those worries had been mostly put to rest. She was beautiful, and none of it was due to glamour charms, with long blond hair and dancing blue eyes. It was only an added bonus that she had a wicked sense of humour and an even temper, a perfect match for the steady Slytherin boy who loved playing practical jokes.
The month Blaise had spent with her and her family had been pleasant, and he couldn't wait for next year when she would be transferring to Hogwarts, enabling the two to get to know each other better. She would have transferred this year, only her family had been worried about the unrest in Britain, and had been urging Blaise's father to allow the boy to be the one to transfer instead. At the moment, things were at an impasse, and Blaise could only hope that the war would end soon. He had no wishes of becoming a Death Eater, and he sure as hell didn't wish that fate on Draco, but as things looked at the moment, their futures were bleak to say the least.
Determined to think of more cheerful things, Blaise looked around the Great Hall, trying to figure out who Draco's mate could be. There weren't that many available candidates after all. "Can you sense him?" he asked, still deep in thought.
"'Can you sense him?' What kind of inane, idiotic question is that? Of course I can bloody well sense him," Draco hissed angrily, giving his friend an incredulous look.
"I know you can, but can you pinpoint from which part of the Great Hall the scent is coming from?" Blaise asked with a longsuffering sigh, waiving the glowering look aside with ease. It wasn't as if he hadn't been subjected to them for years.
Draco huffed, but he too turned to look out over the hall, delicately scenting the air. "No," he eventually groaned, "and it is driving me insane. I need him so much. I have never experienced such a divine fragrance, but every time I try to analyse it, I just get lost in it. I need him, Blaise. I need him so much it hurts," Draco moaned, pushing his plate away, suddenly revolted by the sight and smell of his breakfast.
"Calm down, Dray. Look, your Father just arrived, he'll help you make it better," Blaise said, having just spotted the senior Malfoy entering the Great Hall, doing his best to ease the distress of his friend.
"Good morning, Dragon, I take it you are still searching?" Lucius asked, sitting down next to his son and looking at him with worry. He had accompanied Draco to the Hogwarts' Express the day before and had barely managed to stop him from hunting down and pouncing on his unsuspecting mate there and then.
Even he had been able to sense the child, and never in all his years had he encountered such a strong scent. Whoever the boy was, and it was clear it was a boy, he was extremely strong and not entirely human. It wouldn't surprise him if the child wasn't human at all. But who? If you went by power alone that would indicate the blasted Boy Who Lived. But both his parents had been extremely human, not a whiff of non-human blood in either of them. So who was this unknown entity?
Realising that there was no way Draco could travel on the train and not attack his mate and claim him right there, Lucius had Portkeyed the two of them home before placing a fire call to Severus. Draco had not been pleased when he woke up in his own bed. In the end, he had given his permission for Draco to return to school in time for the Welcoming Feast, as long as he promised not to leave his dorm before breakfast. Severus had made sure that the promise had been kept by putting up a few choice wards around the dungeons. It had helped that the mate was not a Slytherin, for which Lucius was extremely thankful. Just about anyone was better than his son's Housemates, even a Hufflepuff.
"Morning, Father. Can I go look now? I need him, Father, it hurts." Draco pleaded with his eyes for Lucius to give in.
Normally the blond aristocrat would have reprimanded his son for his behaviour, but how could he, given the circumstances? "Yes, you may go and search for him," Lucius allowed with a small smile of understanding. "Be careful and make sure no one sees you," he added, watching indulgently as Draco jumped up from the table, a bright smile on his face. With him here, Draco should be able to control his instincts better and now that he wasn't taken by surprise, he wouldn't pounce on whomever it was that was calling to him.
Lucius and Blaise watched as Draco sauntered towards the doors leading to the dungeons, the blond boy was oozing sex-appeal, and quite a few individuals were watching him go, lust evident in their eyes.
Draco was blind to them all, totally focused on his mission. Walking through the doors, he quickly faded from everyone's view, slinking back into the hall before the doors closed again. Only Lucius was able to still see him, one of the powers of the Veela that had aided the older Malfoy more than once when he had found himself in a tricky situation. He had been very happy to find out that Draco possessed the ability as well, since it would help keep both him and his mate safe. Not everyone was going to be thrilled with Draco's Veela status, and depending on who his mate was, there could be real danger for the two in the near future, especially before they had bonded.
Then there was the girl, Pansy Parkinson, Lucius was still livid with Narcissa for encouraging the girl, promising Draco to her. He would not allow what happened to him to happen to his son. He would rather kill the girl than allow her to bound to Draco. The boy did not deserve such a fate.
Draco was unaware of his father's darkening thoughts. Finally, he was being allowed do hunt for his mate! The scent was driving him absolutely, positively, up the wall, crazy. Not losing any time, Draco walked by the Hufflepuffs, quietly sniffing the air. As he had suspected, none of them were calling to him. Thank Salazar and his snakes, Draco thought, moving swiftly towards the Ravenclaw table. He was pretty sure he would have all but died if his mate had been a Hufflepuff. Lucius' cousin might be happy being married to one, but Draco had so far yet to meet one he actually liked, aside from Mercury's wife, who didn't really count since she was more Ravenclaw than Hufflepuff.
His trek around the Ravenclaws took a bit longer, the scent was stronger here, but it was soon evident that it was none of them either that was calling him. Reluctantly, Draco turned towards the Gryffindor table, not particularly happy by this revelation. Swell! he thought darkly, it had to be a Gryffindork. Why me? Salazar, Father is going to kill me. Then again, oh Circe, the power this one possesses.
As if in a dream, Draco found himself moving forward, not having made a conscious decision to move. As he got closer to the last table, all his senses were assaulted, and he felt as if he had been sucker punched. The emotions that washed over him were so powerful that he almost staggered. His mate was so tired, and in so much pain. Not to mention annoyed.
Draco closed his eyes, fighting to stop his feeling from overwhelming him. It did put a damper on his urge to claim what was his, which he supposed was a good thing. Instead, he was overcome with another emotion, that of protection. All he wanted was to go up to his mate, sweep him up into his arms and take him away from everything that was hurting him. He had never felt anything like this in his entire life, and for the first time ever, Draco faltered, not sure what to do.
Re-opening his eyes, his gaze landed on and locked with Harry Potter's. As soon as their eyes met, Draco knew who his mate was. The Veela found himself frozen to the spot, unable to either move or look away, not that he particularly wanted to do the latter. Then he realised that Potter was looking right at him. Not through him but squarely in the eyes, and Draco felt his eyes widen in alarm. How was that even possible? He was invisible, for Salazar's sake! No one but another Veela should be able to see him, and, whatever Potter was, he was not a Veela. What was going on here?
With almost morbid fascination, Draco watched as Potter opened his mouth as if he was about to address him. Then he closed it again and, shrugging slightly, he turned away and refocused on his breakfast. Picking up his teacup, a look of annoyance flashed across his face when Granger, the stuck up know-it-all began berating him for something or other. It took all of Draco's willpower not to attack her there and then for hurting his mate.
Knowing that there was nothing he could do at the moment, Draco turned away with some difficulty and made it back to where his father was sitting. As he drew near, Lucius elegantly rose to his feet, and leading the way, the two of them left the Great Hall together. Once they were secure in an empty classroom, Draco allowed his invisibility to melt away, sagging against one of the desks. He felt strangely drained, and he was panting as if he had run from a herd of rampaging Hippogriffs.
"I take it you have found your mate"? Lucius asked once he had put up several strong privacy wards. In no way did he want this conversation to be spied upon. Moving to stand next to his son, Lucius wrapped his arms around him, lending him his support. "Son?" he nudged gently, when Draco was just standing there within his arms, "are you alright?"
"I am, but I'm not so sure about my mate," Draco finally said, his voice slightly muffled by his father's shoulder.
Lucius' eyebrow arched an inch. "I see. I am afraid your words are as clear as mud, my Dragon. Shall we start with the more important information first? As in: who is your mate?"
Draco blushed slightly, and taking a small step back, he looked up at his father. "Harry Potter," he said simply.
Lucius merely nodded his head; the revelation hadn't been that unexpected, especially when the scent had led Draco to the Gryffindor table. "Hmm, not a bad choice. He is strong, and powerful, and he is quite easy on the eyes," Lucius mused, thinking the situation through, ignoring the slight growl coming from Draco.
"Too bad he is so firmly under Dumbledore's thumb. It can't be helped I suppose... Very well, we will do what we can to support him; after all, he is family now. Come, my Dragon, let us see that bumbling fool of a Headmaster. The sooner he is informed, the sooner the two of you will be together.
"And Draco? Know that I do not care who your mate is, as long as they make you happy," Lucius added, giving Draco a swift hug before letting him go.
Draco smiled up at his father, feeling ridiculously prideful and happy this man was his father. Lucius had always been there, no matter what. To know that he was supporting him still, even though it was 'Harry bloody Potter' who was his mate, meant a lot to Draco, especially after the summer the two of them had shared.
"Thank you, Father, I promise that I will not let you down," he said softly, gratitude shining from his silvery eyes. Then his thoughts returned to his mate, and Draco couldn't help but wonder what was going on. He wasn't supposed to feel his mate's emotions this clearly, that only came after the bonding, and then only once the two had grown comfortable with each other. To Draco's knowledge, the situation he found himself in was unheard of. Then he snorted. This was Harry Potter; common laws of magic somehow never seemed to apply to him. Why would this be any different?
Deep in though, the two Malfoys made their way to the Headmaster's office, there was a lot of things that needed to be discussed, it was too bad that they couldn't avoid getting Dumbledore involved.
"Ah, Draco, Lucius. Come in and have a seat. Lemon drop?" Dumbledore asked, his eyes twinkling. He had of course been informed that Draco had come into his inheritance last June and he was eager to find out who the boy's mate was. If he was fortunate he would end up with the two Malfoys fighting on his side in this war. Draco would never do anything to hurt his mate and Lucius would never do anything to hurt his son. Mentally he rubbed his hands together in anticipation.
"I take it young Draco has located his Mate?" he asked, playing on his grandfather persona as much as he dared. Magical creatures were so much more difficult to manipulate than humans were.
"Yes," Lucius said regally, knowing fully well what the old schemer was thinking and disliking it immensely. There wasn't much he could do about it though but play along. At least for the moment.
"Excellent! And may I ask who the fortunate youth is?"
"Harry Potter," Draco stated, no less regally than his father.
Behind his desk Albus Dumbledore felt his control slip, and it was all he could do not to crow in delight. Harry was Draco's mate? This was wonderful news. Harry and Draco, why the Malfoys would fall over themselves to please him now, since that would please Harry, and what Harry wanted, Harry got. He knew he had made the right decision keeping the boy humble and beholden to him. This revelation could very well change the entire war.
Remembering the Malfoys, Albus swiftly schooled his face to something a little less triumphant. Smiling benevolently, allowing his eyes to twinkle full force, he said, "This is wonderful. Congratulations, young Draco, I am sure both you and Harry will be very happy together. Allow me to summon Minerva and have her bring Harry here immediately. The sooner the two of you start to bond, the better. You will both be excused from class, of course, and I believe the suite of rooms your father requested is ready and waiting for you."
While he talked Dumbledore swiftly penned a short note; summoning one of the house-elves he requested it to deliver the message to McGonagall and to inform Severus that he too was needed at the Headmaster's office. With luck, neither of the professors had left the Great Hall yet.
Leaning back into his chair, the aged wizard fell silent, not bothering to try and chat with his guests. At this stage, there wasn't much point in talking with them anyway. Draco was too distracted by his mate, and Lucius... well, Lucius would need some time to come to grips with his need to change alliances.
Instead, Albus happily lost himself in glorious daydreams of the future. With Harry at his side, and with the Malfoys backing Harry, why, the war was as good as won! Harry Potter, eh? he thought to himself. Who would have thought he and young Draco were destined for each other? This is simply splendid. I couldn't have planned it better myself. This will be so much better than have Harry marry the Weasley girl. The Weasleys are a loyal family, although there has been some discord of late... no matter, I will just have to straighten things out with Molly later. There is no hurry.
But back to Harry... he is a strong boy, and he is so firmly grounded in the Light that there is no way the Malfoys will be able to sway him to see face to face with Tom. If nothing else, their past history will see to that. How fortunate that I managed to get Harry involved with that stone business in first year, it put him right on the top of Riddle's hate list. Yes, I knew involving Harry could only be a good thing.
And to think, with Lucius backing me, I might finally find out just what Voldemort is plotting. Severus has turned out to be woefully ignorant on that point. Silly boy, he never did manage to get back in Voldemort's good grace. Maybe now I won't have to depend on him so much. If I play my cards carefully it shouldn't be difficult to talk the older Malfoy, and perhaps even the younger one too, to spy on Tom for me. They should be willing to do just about anything to keep Harry happy and safe. By Merlin, it wouldn't surprise me if they both volunteered for that service, practically begging me to allow them to help, Dumbledore thought smugly
In their chairs, the Malfoys were unaware of the plots the Headmaster was weaving around them. Draco was thrumming with impatience to be near his mate again, and Lucius was plotting strategies to ensure that Potter gave his son a chance and did not refuse him on the spot.
The silence remained until there was a knock on the door, heralding the arrival of three people. "Come in," Albus called cheerfully, almost blinding the three newcomers with his twinkle. "Ah, Minerva, Severus, Harry, I am so glad you could come. Sit down, lemon drop?"
Harry's thought about being Draco's mate