Title: My Evil Veela Mate
Warnings: This has slash, and so far, I haven't finished an actual story, so let's hope I finish this one. And it's been sometime since I've read the HP books so I'm a bit rusty in this verse.
Disclaimer: HP and everything recognizable isn't mine.
A/N: I'm so sorry it's taken so long. I've finally settled down in Brisbane, Australia, and am beginning my studies at UQ. There's been some ups and downs, and because of that I've found it hard to write. Not having Internet at home hasn't helped at all too. But here's one chapter, (the next is half written ;) and my most sincere apologies!
If you're not satisfied and want to know what I've been doing, or just feel like reading my awful rants, just visit my profile and follow the 'homepage' link to my journal. It's nothing much, but I was thinking of archiving my chapters there too, and when I get more organized, I might even post them there before I post them here:P
Oh, and btw, thanks ever so much for the 142 reviews. I actually copied them all down and saved it on my com, so that I could read them and feel inspired and appreciated whenever I felt down :)
And that's it! Now enough of author's notes (essays) and on with the story!
Chapter 8: Espionage
Harry came awake slowly, feeling snug and comfortable in soft blankets that were tucked around him, keeping him warm and safely cocooned. He lay content a moment longer till memories washed over him, making him sit up abruptly.
"Oh, Harry… you're awake!" Hermione said, getting up from a chair to sit beside him on his bed. She handed him his glasses from the bedside able. "I was so worried!"
Ron kept his seat beside hers, but smiled in relief at Harry. "How are you feeling, mate? You were out for hours, Hermione was going crazy."
His throat felt scratchy and his head felt like it had been blown up from the inside. "Okay, I guess… what am I doing here?" He was in the hospital wing, in a bed by the window on the far side of the room.
"Madam Pomfrey and Professor Lupin brought you in here in the morning. You were unconscious," Ron answered. "We only got to know about it around lunchtime when I woke up and couldn't find you, Harry. What happened?"
"Err… I'm not sure," Harry replied, not keen on relating his temper tantrum with Dumbledore. "What did they tell you happened?"
Hermione gave him a considering look before answering. "Well, Professor Lupin told us that Winky found the Headmaster's room on fire, but couldn't put it out, so she went to get him and Madam Pomfrey. Thankfully, Fawkes shielded the both of you before they arrived. Apparently he wept on your faces to prevent your dying from inhaling smoke, and kept the flames from your bodies." Hermione frowned. "But Madam Pomfrey said you still suffered from mild burns and scorching because the heat was so intense. Hogwarts had to cordon off the room after they got you out to prevent it from spreading."
"The room disappeared," Ron explained. "Lupin said Hogwarts does that sometimes to rooms that aren't needed or that are dangerously wrecked… they don't even show up on the Marauder's Map after that."
"Oh." said Harry.
"So… tell us what happened," Hermione insisted. "How did the both of you end up hurt?"
"Well, you know last night I went for detention," Harry said slowly, proceeding to relate all that had happened the previous night.
When he got to the part about Snape stealing his hair, Ron interrupted, eyes wide, "He took hair from you? Why on earth did you let him?"
Harry shrugged, "He didn't ask, okay, and I wasn't expecting it. If I'd wanted it back, he'd know for sure that I was hiding something."
"You're right… and we've underestimated him. Now Snape knows about you too." Hermione said thoughtfully. "Then what happened?"
"Well, I didn't find any shadowroot last night," Harry said, glossing over his meeting with Malfoy. "In the morning I had breakfast with Dobby who by the way, knows about me too." His lips twitching as Ron and Hermione exclaimed in surprise. It made him feel better somehow to be the one causing that stunned expression and not making it himself. Perversely feeling more cheerful, Harry related everything that Dobby and Winky had told him.
"So I went to talk with Dumbledore… because I thought that Snape told him that I'm a… a You-Know-What," Harry said, lowering his voice and glancing around the Hospital Wing which seemed empty at the moment excepting several occupied beds nearer the entrance. "But Dumbledore wouldn't admit that he knew," he continued. "It was as if he wanted to test me, to see if I'll trust him, or if he can get away with keeping it from me."
Ron frowned, pursing his lips, "You're sure he knew?"
"Of course he knew! He had that look in his eyes. And anyway, he's kept a lot of things from me; I know that's the way he thinks." Harry paused, not liking the looks Ron and Hermione were giving him - like they didn't believe him, or didn't think he understood what he was saying. "What's the matter?"
"You didn't actually ask him whether he knew, did you, Harry?" Hermione asked reprovingly. "You got angry just like that."
The three fell silent for a while as Harry gazed at Hermione. "What are you going on about, Hermione?" He glanced at Ron, but Ron just looked glumly back at him.
"I'm saying, that… it's highly possible, that you jumped to conclusions and… don't get angry with me, Harry," said Hermione worriedly as he glared at her, "but I think that… probably… you were the one who started the fire."
"What?" Harry exclaimed.
"She doesn't mean-"
"You're saying I meant to burn us alive?" Incredulous, Harry turned to Ron. "And you believe her?"
"That's just it, Harry, you-"
"I never cast Incendio, okay? I didn't even know the room was on fire till I smelled the smoke!"
"It must have been you, Harry. Dumbledore would never have been so rash-"
"Oh, so it must have been me, because it was rash."
"She's not saying-"
"Of course, she is. You heard her, Ron! She thinks I set the bloody room on fire!"
"You don't understand Harry-"
Hermione tried to take his hand, but he shook her off. "Of course I understand!"
"No, you don't!" Ron said heatedly as Hermione withdrew with a hurt expression, "and you should bloody listen so you do!"
Falling silent as Ron got up and stood by his bed, Harry craned his neck to see his face. "I'm listening," he shot out. "What are you saying?"
"I'm saying that what Hermione meant, and what we mean is… that you set the room on fire, because you got angry, and that's what veela tend to do when they're angry."
Ron continued when Harry didn't interrupt. "Remember at the World Cup? All those veela started to throw balls of fire. You must have done the same thing, not on purpose maybe, but accidentally, when you felt angry."
All three heads snapped up and around like whiplash as they turned to spot the intruder. Approaching them from the other side of Harry's bed was Remus, looking tired with his brown hair standing up every which way and his clothes more rumpled than usual. His eyes gleamed gold as he looked at each of them, and Harry was reminded that last night there had been a full moon.
"Oh, Professor Lupin," greeted Hermione. "How's Professor Dumbledore?"
"He's still at St. Mungo's. When I left, they were still puzzled as to how he had been afflicted."
Harry frowned. "Wasn't it the fire?"
"No, his injuries are different from yours were. We can't quite tell what's wrong with him." Remus turned to Harry. "Which is why we need to know everything you can tell us about what happened in that room."
Silence reigned as Lupin, Hermione and Ron looked at Harry and Harry looked back. "First, what did you mean by what you said earlier?"
"When I commented that veela also create fire when they feel threatened? I was just explaining one of their traits. I'll be teaching you more about them, Harry, now that you are one."
The bombshells just kept coming. Harry was tired of feeling shocked and suspicious from having people confess to him that they knew all about his secret. "Snape told Dumbledore who told you," he said accusingly.
"Harry, we're not trying to intrude on your life, and we're not spying on you." Or rather, not all of them were, thought Remus. The level of scrutiny Dumbledore put Harry under, did sometimes bother Remus. "But something like this is hard to hide, and you're not equipped with the knowledge to conceal yourself."
"So all of you have a right to just barge in and decide what's best for me?"
"Harry, you know Lupin doesn't mean that. He's just trying to help. We all are." Hermione said, reaching out to touch his arm. "Please don't be like this."
Harry took a deep breath, then sighed, nodding slowly. Hermione was right as usual. There was no reason to be belligerent to Lupin – he had always helped guide him and never once betrayed him. "I'm sorry, Professor."
Remus shook his head, "Don't apologise, Harry. I know how you feel. I felt the same way when James and Sirius told me they found out I was a werewolf. Suddenly everyone knows your deepest darkest secret, and they all think they have a right to help. They don't understand you're still trying to take in the fact that they know." He grinned. "It kind of makes you feel frustrated, doesn't it?"
Harry smiled weakly, relieved that Lupin empathized and wasn't affronted. "Yeah… I'm still wondering who else knows now."
"Nobody but me, Professor Snape, Professor Dumbledore and Ron and Hermione here, as far as I know," said Lupin.
"And we won't tell anyone, Harry," Hermione said, looking to Ron for confirmation. "You don't have to worry about it."
"Yeah, mate, you can trust us," Ron grinned. "Like you always have. So quit worrying, all right?"
"All right," answered Harry softly. "Thanks."
"Good," said Lupin. "Now we have this sorted out, Harry, please explain what happened."
"I don't really recall. I just know I went to talk with Dumbledore, and then we started arguing… I was angry with him because, I don't know if you heard, Professor," Harry said, "but it seemed to me like he was hiding the fact that he knew I was a veela."
"And that naturally made you feel suspicious," Lupin said understandingly. "Dumbledore does that sometimes. I think it's because he'd rather hear you tell him about it, and if you don't then he acts as if he doesn't know, either because he thinks you understand he'll keep it secret or because he doesn't want to alert you to the fact that he knows, for some reason or other. It's a rather annoying habit of his. If you didn't already know that he knew, then he would have gotten away with it. It's useful when he's dealing with untrustworthy people, but perhaps this wasn't an occasion for it."
Harry nodded dubiously then continued. "Anyway, it made me very angry, so I shouted at him. Then, I think I..."
"What, Harry?" Hermione urged.
"I didn't purposely set the room on fire," Harry said defiantly to her. "But… I… lost control, I guess. I could feel my magic build, and I knew Dumbledore was concerned, but… I was so furious. I just wanted him to know that I hated that he kept things from me. I wanted to… to hurt him…" he felt horrible, admitting it now, "but I didn't."
Harry looked earnestly at Lupin as he stressed, "I wanted to, but I didn't. I didn't do any magic. I just felt like it, that's all."
"You… didn't throw any fireballs?" Ron asked, then quailed slightly, making flapping motions with his hands when Harry glared at him. "All right, all right, you didn't… I was just asking."
"So then how did the fire actually start?" asked Hermione.
"Veela don't need to physically throw balls of flame to cause fire, it's just a way to focus the element. While I'm almost sure Harry started the fire, probably by unconsciously creating tiny magical sparks, I'm more interested in the fact that he says he didn't manipulate any magic, but Dumbledore still suffered from a magical attack," Remus mused. "There's something we're missing here…" he trailed off, while they puzzled over his words.
"So… Harry did start the fire, but that's not the real issue because Dumbledore should have been able to stop him, except Dumbledore was hurt by magic from unknown sources even though Harry didn't focus a magical attack on him?" Ron asked, speaking slowly as he summarized everything.
"Correct, Ron," Remus said smiling slightly. "What you told me, Harry, confirms the reason why Dumbledore's injuries are different from yours. You both suffered from slight burns and smoke, though it would have been worse without Fawkes protecting you, but Dumbledore has also sustained incredible damage on a magical level. All St. Mungo's mediwizards and witches are willing to tell us is that he needs a lot of rest and that he has to be confined because his magic is unstable."
"Unstable?" gasped Hermione. "What could possibly cause that?"
"Nothing that Harry is capable of, I'm sure," said Remus gravely.
They fell silent again for a while, each of them wondering what had happened. Harry wondered whether he should be feeling guilty about what had happened to Dumbledore, but… he truly didn't believe he had hurt the old wizard. He couldn't imagine that there was anything he could do that would even put a dent in Dumbledore's floppy pointed hat. And he had no idea why or how such an intense magical attack could have occurred. So he dwelled instead on the fact that he had unconsciously channeled magic, something that he hadn't done since before he came to Hogwarts.
"Is there… a way to not loose control again?" he asked Lupin, anxious to not repeat the incident.
Remus blinked as his mind was diverted again from pondering Dumbledore's situation. "Ah… well… in your case Harry…" he paused, "it's quite similar actually to what you had to learn to do when you came to Hogwarts. Except harder, I guess. You see, veela have very volatile tempers and are prone to loosing control. They're very passionate."
Ron rolled his eyes. "I guess that explains why the ferret's always throwing tantrums."
"Actually, Mr. Malfoy strikes me as having a very contained personality… quite like his father," Remus said, smiling at Ron. "Not all veela have magic, you know, excepting the innate magic they have as magical creatures. A few however, like the Malfoys and Fleur for example, are capable of wielding wands. These veela learn early on to get a firm grip on their emotions. And I daresay… the intensity of their feelings and their amazing restraint makes for very strong wizards and witches. Not always in terms of raw power, but in terms of better control and command of their abilities."
"That's interesting," Hermione said. "Most veela learn to deal with their own powers first then magic, but it's going to be the reverse for Harry…" she glanced at her friend, "it's probably going to be very tough. After all, veelas are born with instincts but Harry has inherited none."
Harry watched as Remus blinked, realizing the truth of her words. "That's very perceptive of you, Hermione. But only time will show if Harry has any innate knowledge. It's not something I know how to test."
"But you can teach him if he doesn't know, right, Professor?" Ron asked anxiously. "I mean… Harry needs help!"
"I'll do my best, as Dumbledore requested. I would have tried to help anyway, as soon as I found out," said Remus. "But for now, what you need most isn't more knowledge, its rest, Harry."
Harry nodded. He still felt a little weak from channeling so much magic. This whole business with being a veela was getting more and more complicated, what with uncontrollable magic and spontaneous mood swings. And to think it all stemmed from that stupid Transmogrification potion. He should have just told Snape where he could shove it. After all, the slimy git had known all along that Malfoy was the one who had wrecked his potion, and yet he hadn't even given him detention. I should have tied Malfoy to a tree and let those satyrs have at him, Harry thought as he recalled their encounter last night.
"What are you scowling at, Harry?" Hermione asked. "Lupin's right, you need to rest."
"I know, Mione," he replied, schooling his expression. "I just recalled that tonight I have to get shadowroot since I couldn't find any yesterday."
"Shadowroot?" Lupin asked, perking up slightly. "Why are you looking for shadowroot?"
"Snape wants it," sighed Harry. "It's part of my detention."
Lupin scratched his chin to hide his twitching lips as he regarded Harry's glum face. "Well, if you don't want to spend more time looking for it, I can take you to a patch I know, it's rather deep in the Forest, but I'm very familiar with the way," he offered. "I frequent it often."
"Really." Harry smiled gratefully as Lupin rose from the foot of his bed. "I'm going back to St. Mungo's now, but I'll meet you here at around eleven tonight. You lot take care, okay, and in the mean time, make sure he doesn't get up and about or Madam Pomfrey will think I allowed it," he said, directing the last bit to Hermione and Ron.
"Sure, Professor," said Hermione as Ron nodded. "Harry will be fine here," she reassured him.
"Fine but bored," complained Harry as Lupin left the Hospital Wing. "What am I going to do till tonight?"
"Well, I'm going to get some books from the library. You should learn about how to control your magic, and I want to find out more about the magical fire."
Ron rolled his eyes. "You go on, Hermione. I think he needs a break from all the veela-ness. How about Exploding Snap instead?" he asked Harry, pulling out a deck of shuffled cards and dividing it into two.
"Great!" replied Harry, making space on his bed. "I'll read your books later, Mione," he said absently to her, laying down a mismatched card beside Ron's. "Snap. Oh wait! Oops…"
Hermione slipped away as the cards exploded, shaking her head at their antics, and wondering when Madam Pomfrey would pop in and start scolding them for ruining her bedsheets and disrupting the peace in the Hospital Wing.
//The Forbidden Forest//
Remus inhaled deeply, enjoying the rich scent of the crisp night air. The wind buffeted the trees, making them shed their leaves to join its dance through the forest.
By his side walked Harry, a dark shadow in black except where his skin gleamed in the moonlight. The veela had been quiet since leaving the castle, only enquiring once about Dumbledore's condition. Remus was content with the silence though. He knew there were many things Harry had to think about, and knew that the boy would soon be interested in finding out what Remus could tell him. The only thing that troubled him was his certainty that what he knew was not enough for Harry. He already dreaded the day when Harry would come to him, needing help that he couldn't give.
Sighing, Remus thought, as he sometimes did when he felt too lonely or when trouble had knocked several times too many on his door, Maybe… it would have been better to have accepted his offer…
"Remus?" Harry's voice jolted him from his reverie, and he turned to his side, then further back to face Harry who had stopped several paces behind him. "Is it any further? It's been an hour and a half already… and I've never been here before."
He glanced around, surprised that he had lost track of how long they had been walking. The forest was darker now than it usually was, even at night, because they were nearing a particularly dense thicket; the trees were huddled close together with intertwining branches, blotting out the stars with their leaves. The undergrowth had also thickened until it was hard to find a place to step without treading on a root or stone or slipping on moss and plants.
"We're almost there, Harry." He looked back at Harry and beckoned him. "Watch your step though; there are creatures that live in the undergrowth."
He waited till Harry reached his side then moved to lead the way. The further they went, the closer the trees crowded, until Remus had to help Harry climb and squeeze his way through. It was puzzling at first, how tough it was to get there, until Remus realized that they were both human and lacked the physical abilities he had in wolf form.
"Is it much further?" Harry gasped as Remus helped him pull his leg out of a deep hollow he had stumbled into. "And I think that's a snake, so please don't move."
Remus startled as something slithered pass, feeling it push him aside with powerful coils. "Merlin!"
"It's all right," Harry whispered between clenched teeth while hissing softly under his breath. "I didn't hurt it, and it's just going out to hunt. It lives in this network of tunnels… I think I crashed one of them," he explained with remorse.
Remus eyed the snake till its swishing tail disappeared from view, glad that Harry was with him. Werewolf or not, a bite from a snake like that would hurt like hell until his body neutralized the venom and healed the bite. "Are you all right?" he asked the veela.
"My foot hurts a little, I think I sprained it just now," replied Harry, grimacing as he tested his right foot on the forest floor. "But it's not that bad, I can walk with it." He proved it by limping on, keeping his weight on his left foot.
"Well… the clearing's just ahead," said Remus. "I'll heal it when we reach there." he reached out and took Harry's arm, letting him lean against his shoulder whenever he needed to.
Several minutes later, they pushed their way through thick, close set tree trunks and stepped into a hidden copse where Remus stopped as Harry paused in wonder. They had left the towering forest behind them and stepped into a clearing where the trees were white and slender, with many small leaves that allowed the moonlight to speckle the ground. Beneath their graceful branches, the earth was blanketed in purple flowers the size of a baby's fist. As the wind blew, silver pollen streamed from the purple blossoms, making the air glitter and casting a magical aura over the scene.
"Is this it?" Harry asked softly, awed by the sudden appearance of beauty in the midst of the murky forest.
"Yes," replied Remus. "the roots of the purple flowers are the shadowroot you're looking for." He walked forward until they stood in the center of the clearing beneath one of the white barked trees, then pushed Harry down to sit. "Let me see your foot."
Harry tugged off his shoe and sock, and Remus knelt by his side, picking up his foot to test the ankle. He felt it carefully, then after making sure none of the small bones were broken, healed the inflammation with a muttered spell. "Better?"
"Yes, thanks," said Harry, as he stood and walked a bit. "It doesn't hurt anymore," he said, smiling gratefully.
"Good. Now let's see about getting you some shadowroot." Remus replied.
He appeared. A shadow in black, he dropped to his fours and shrank upon himself, growing small and furry till his belly touched the floor. Then he squirmed away from his fallen clothes, burrowing through the folds till he was free.
What a joy it was then, to scurry. Uninhibited, unwatched, unfettered, and able to crouch close to the ground and whip his tail as he so chose. He squeaked loud and clear, delighting in the sound as it was drowned in the rhythmic cacophony of the forest. For a second he foraged, picking up a little brown seed and gnawing on the skin, breaking through to the soft white flesh beneath. He gnashed with sharp teeth till it crumbled, and spread in a sweet paste over his tongue.
Then susurrations in the wind told him where they were, and he ran, ran, ran, zigzagging through the grass, till he stopped, twitching nose and perking ears, feeling the thump of big feet treading near. He darted around, searching for a sheltered nook and barely reaching it before they passed him by.
Two big humans, he saw - one a veela the other a werewolf. His mind quickened as he identified his quarry. Soon they passed, their legs carrying them further than his carried him. But he was quicker and craftier and managed to keep apace even as he circled around to see them head on, training his eyes on their faces and bodies.
Suddenly, the veela stumbled, and the ground reverberated beneath his little paws as something crumbled deep beneath them. Startling, he paused and crouched against the heaving earth, nervously stroking his nose to smooth the hairs that stood on end. Peripherally, he saw the veela grimace in pain and the werewolf steady him as they tried to free his trapped foot, but all his attention was focused mainly on a quivering mound nearby.
Gradually from the soft dark soil, a black diamond shaped head appeared, followed by a long sinuous body that slithered out, seemingly unending, as if it stemmed from the very bowels of the earth. He froze in place till the snake turned and a long tongue peeked out to wave in the air, forked ends reaching toward him. Then with a desperate squeak, he fled.
The only clear way was towards the veela, so he streaked pass, only sparing a glance to see the veela blanche as his foot was wrenched free. The sight jolted his memory, and with another fearful squeak, he dodged the fast approaching jaws of the snake and clawed his way up a tree with ragged bark. He had barely escaped a painful death, but he knew worse awaited him if he abandoned his mission now.
With the threat of the snake foremost on his mind, he nevertheless turned and trained his eyes again on the veela and werewolf. They were moving forwards so he did too, keeping apace again by jumping from branch to branch.
Soon though, the web of branches ended in an open space. Hearing the snake rustling beneath, he reacted hastily and took a flying leap from the farthest reaching branch, hoping to gain a head start.
As he crashed towards the ground, he saw the snake gain on him and bend its head back toward him. Blood rushed through his head and horror struck, he could only watch as it opened its maw, blue black lips stretched to accommodate his size, tail whipping as it positioned itself.
Falling swiftly into the gaping blackness, he held his right paw before him, and as he fell, desperately ripped blindly with all his might. The silver appendage flashed bright for an instant before flesh tore, spilling steaming hot blood onto everything.
Time seemed to stand still then, and all he was aware of were fleet impressions. He was suddenly on the ground against wet scales. The air was no longer cold, but heavy with the scent and warmth of blood. His paw ached and his body felt crushed - every breath drawn was a shard of pain. Thick, salty liquid slid heavily down his throat and a bitter taste spread over his tongue. The ground thundered as voices approached.
Hurriedly, he twisted his silver hand out from under the coils of the dying snake and concentrated with all his might, focusing his mind on the magic that made it. Just before discovery was imminent, the magic rippled and suddenly everything became blurry as he traveled through space, hurtled through and guided by his Master's power.
And all too soon, he landed with a harsh thump upon a scratchy carpet.
A/N: Yes, still no Voldie/Harry yet. But still… there can't be lovely nookie at all times! I'm actually trying to arrange things for the later chapters… but if you have something to say, or just want to encourage me, please don't hesitate to REVIEW!