A/N: Hello, lovies. Just a few notes before you dive in. (1) Beware the sarcasm (I lay it on rather thick in places); (2) Beware the OOC-ness (I have taken certain liberties with certain characters); (3) Beware the slash (that's right: boy-on-boy action; no like, no read). Also, I have disregarded books 6 & 7 and, honestly, this story is slighty AU. Just a heads up.
This is my take on the Veela!Draco story. I tried to make it as original as possible, but, of course, there will be a certain level of established clichés. Just bear with me.
Silver Shades of Grey—Chapter One
Harry blinked owlishly at the Headmaster. "He's staying here?"
Dumbledore smiled patiently, quite prepared for Harry's petulance. "We did offer him our protection."
"I thought that meant an Order safe house not Grimmauld Place."
"Draco Malfoy has become a valuable asset to the Order."
Indeed. As though Harry could forget that four weeks ago the Prince of Slytherin had approached the Order with an offer: in exchange for information regarding the Death Eaters, and more specifically Voldemort's inner circle, he wanted protection from his father and the Dark Lord himself. The Order agreed. And as it is their habit to jump without a chute, it was only after they extended their protection that they learned why Draco had defected.
In fact, there were several reasons. The first being the death of his mother—killed at the behest of his father. Now, Lucius Malfoy had never been a kind man, but no one had ever thought him a fool either. Draco, as heir to the Malfoy legacy, was privy to the inner workings of Voldemort's scheming—and capable of an unrelenting spitefulness. And what better way to spite his father for the death of his mother than to defect to the enemy?
Why Narcissa Malfoy had been killed was the second factor in Draco's defection. The short end of it was that she'd asked Albus Dumbledore for help. Not for herself, but for her son. Narcissa remained loyal to the Dark Lord up until her death. She abhorred the Order and thought Dumbledore a doddery old fool…but a fool who could protect her child.
Why was Draco in need of protection?
Factor three: He was veela.
Oh, and not just that. Draco, to the amazement of all, actually displayed veelic tendencies. "It's incredible," Hermione had explained somewhat breathlessly. "I've never head of such a thing. Male crossbreed veela simply do not inherit tendencies."
The significance of this impossibility was later explained to Harry. The crux of it was thus: Draco Malfoy possessed a strength of magic that was near equal to Harry's and, therefore, near equal to Voldemort's. Ergo it was safe to assume that Voldemort had certain plans for the young Malfoy that Narcissa found neither pleasant nor savory. Thus her turning to Dumbledore for help.
To be honest, Harry was curious despite himself. The advantages of having someone like Draco Malfoy on their side were undeniable—imagine having both the Boy Wonder and the Slytherin Prince as allies against the Dark Lord. Voldemort wouldn't stand a chance. Then again, would Draco be willing to throw his lot in with the very people who stood against everything he believed in? Or would he stop at betrayal and keep behind the lines?
No doubt the ever-optimistic Albus Dumbledore believed he could somehow sway Draco to fight for the Light, and no doubt he believed Harry would ultimately play the key role in said swaying—which would explain why the young Malfoy was to be staying at Number 12 Grimmauld Place.
Harry frowned disappointedly at the Headmaster. Really now, he was becoming much too obvious in his scheming. Must be the old age setting in, Harry mused with an inward shrug. No need to spoil the old man's fun. "And Malfoy's staying here because…?"
Dumbledore peered at Harry over the rim of his glasses. "Need I even explain, dear boy? With your combined strength Voldemort would be easily defeated."
Bingo. "I'm going to go out on a limb here," he said ironically, "and guess that you want me to bring the little ferret around to our way of thinking."
"Can you think of anyone better suited to the task?"
Other than every other living creature on Earth? "I could name a few."
The kitchen door swung open. Ginny waltzed in, frowning curiously at the pair. She grabbed a box of cereal from the cupboard, pirouetted gracefully on her toes, and waltzed back out. Harry smiled and shook his head—she could be such a dramatist.
"You and he will share adjoining rooms on the upper floor," Dumbledore resumed. "In the morning you will both attend Order meetings. Afternoon lessons—"
"—will be split. One half to your teaching him wandless magic and channeling, and one half to his teaching you the fineries of dark magic."
Harry slouched back into his chair, pouting. "Lessons, sir? I thought I was through with lessons when I graduated."
Dumbledore's watery blue eyes sparkled with a kind, gentle sympathy. Harry squirmed uncomfortably in his seat, clutching desperately to his quickly-fading irritation. Honestly, he huffed, how does the man expect me to stay angry with him when looks at me like that?
As though Harry had any hope whatsoever of kindling any sort of displeasure toward the affable Albus Dumbledore. It really wasn't fair.
"The lessons are necessary," Dumbledore explained. "If you are to defeat Voldemort, you and Mr. Malfoy must learn to work together."
"But, sir…we hate each other."
It was really quite distressing the way Dumbledore would sometimes look at you as though he knew the inner workings of your soul. He would peer straight through you and down into the misty no man's land known as—well, Harry hadn't the faintest clue what it might be called, but it was certainly the realm of fate, destiny, all of that nonsense which he refused to believe in and which nonetheless seemed to steer the course of his life. Perhaps Dumbledore was a Fate? It would certainly explain a lot.
But no. Dumbledore was merely an irritatingly wise man with an irritatingly pleasant mien with whom, much to your irritation, you simply could not remain irritated. Honestly, it really wasn't fair.
"I am aware of your sentiment toward young Mr. Malfoy," Dumbledore said. "This task will not be easy, I admit. But I have complete faith in you, Harry."
Oh sure. No pressure. Harry slouched further into his chair. "Yes, sir," he mumbled.
Dumbledore smiled and stood. "Wonderful. Now do excuse me, dear boy. I believe the Minister is expecting me."
And with that he was gone, leaving Harry to brood over the unfairness of wanting desperately to be angry with someone he couldn't be angry with. "This sucks."
Since his mother's death, Draco had been somewhat…subdued. Or so Harry had been told, and to which he had replied quite brusquely, "Bullshit." And he had maintained that it was pure bullshit right up until the moment he actually saw Draco—and then he put his foot in his mouth.
He looked terrible. Proud, vain, arrogant Draco Malfoy schlepped into the kitchen of Number 12 Grimmauld Place looking for all the world like a walking corpse. Sallow, disheveled, utterly miserable. It was quite a system shock.
Subdued my arse," Harry thought. He's the bloody living dead.
Oddly enough, he found that he wasn't relieved by that little revelation. He should have been thrilled—Draco Malfoy, his long-standing adversary, was down for the count. There should have been streamers and noisemakers and multilayered cake, right? Ron, at least, looked properly joyous; looking fit to start bouncing in his seat. Even Hermione—Hermione!—was hiding a spiteful pleasure beneath her otherwise cool features.
So why was Harry feeling…what? Worry? Pity? Disappointment? All of the above?
Worry and pity were, if not wholly reasonable, at least logical when faced with such a disaster as Draco Malfoy now presented. But disappointment? Disappointed about what? That Draco hadn't yet sneered and drawled out one of his arrogant remarks? That he hadn't yet called Hermione a mudblood? Or Harry half a dozen other obscenities?
It took a moment, but Harry eventually realized that was exactly what he was disappointed about. Malfoy wasn't being Malfoy. To say the least, it surprised him that he should be disappointed by Draco's sudden sobriety. Then again it really wasn't all that surprising. After all, he had been an integral part of Harry's life for over seven years—certainly not a wanted nor appreciated part, but a part nonetheless.
And although Harry may not have fully realized it, Draco was also a driving force in his life. He pushed Harry, tested his nerve, forced him to push himself harder than he would if left to his own devices.
Perhaps that was the ultimate purpose of an adversary.
"Merlin, but he looks like hell," Ginny whispered to him.
She, too, felt no joy at Draco's ragged tumble into disarray. Nor did she feel disappointment. Rather, she sympathized with him. She could not imagine the desperate pain of losing her mother, did not want to imagine it, but she could imagine herself tumbling into the same endless pit of misery as Draco. Arrogant as he may be, needlessly cruel, and outrageously vain, he still had a heart and he still bled when it was ripped from his chest. With that, Ginny could sympathize.
"Do think we should, I don't know, do something?"
Harry's gaze swept the kitchen. Ron and Hermione sat across from him, silent, their varying degrees of unseemly delight written clearly upon their faces. Mrs. Weasley fretted over cooking pots, stirring this and mixing that, looking more harassed at Draco's presence than anything else. Dumbledore and Snape were speaking in low tones near the door, away from curious ears. Draco sat slumped in his chair, hair falling unnoticed over his eyes, his hands plucking at the rumpled material of his dark grey slacks.
Harry frowned, looked at Ginny. Should they do something? They were hardly obligated to be hospitable, and if they chose not to extend some small kindness they would hardly be faulted for it. But he looked so utterly, so impossibly, miserable that Harry could hardly sit there and do nothing. Adversary or no, Draco Malfoy still deserved the least bit of cordiality.
They went about the tea making process drawing little attention other than an initial cursory glance from Mrs. Weasley. Harry set a kettle of water on the stove, Ginny retrieved a cup and pulled down a tea canister. A teabag was placed in the cup, the boiling water poured over it—Ginny gave it a few good stabs for good measure—and topped it off with a spot of milk. There. A perfect cup of tea.
Crossing the short distance between the counter and the corner where Draco had draped his lifeless body, Harry felt the suddenly curious eyes of every occupant in the kitchen. It was strange really, but he could actually differentiate the stares.
Ron gawking in his simple, habitually bewildered way. Hermione, chagrined by her earlier lack of sympathies and sense of spiteful glee. Mrs. Weasley watching with a flush of motherly pride and a sprig of dumbfoundment. Snape's standard scowling. And of course Dumbledore, looking quite pleased with himself and apt to pat himself on the back.
The only person not looking at them was Draco, who only lifted his head when their feet came into his line of vision. For a moment he stared at them blankly and Harry felt a jolt of something—Panic? Anxiety? Dread?—but quickly suppressed it. Or tried to, at any rate. He couldn't help the jumbling of emotions swishing around in his gut.
Where was the ever-sneering Draco Malfoy he had come to know and hate? Where was the look of utter hostility reserved exclusively for Harry and his friends? Where were the scornful remarks and callous insults? Harry tried very hard not to look betrayed by his adversaries lack of reaction.
Wait a minute. Harry suddenly perked up. Is that a frown?
Indeed. It appeared as though Draco had mustered the merest expression of distaste. Harry felt an irrational sense of elation, and surmised that he must be going mad—and a quick glance at Ginny, who looked equally elated, told him that he wasn't alone.
The rational part of Harry's brain was screaming rather shrilly at him that he should have felt a welling of triumph over his enemies obvious defeat, rather than delight at the revelation that Draco still despised him. But again, Harry was forced to concede that, like as not, Draco Malfoy was a keystone in the pillar of his existence. Life was certainly never dull with the little ferret bouncing around.
Harry set the teacup on the breakfront—aware of, but feigning ignorance to, Draco's developing scowl. He felt a certain degree of pride in knowing that he could elicit such a strong show of emotion from one of the living dead.
"What do you want, Potter?" asked said dead, his voice harsh and raspy like dry parchment, like he hadn't spoken in years.
"Nothing," Harry shrugged, he and Ginny retreating back to their seats before Draco could reply.
Ron stared owlishly at them, his jaw hanging open dumbly. Hermione furrowed her brow incredulously. "What was that then?"
Ginny frowned thoughtfully. "What was what?"
"You made tea for Malfoy," Hermione said somewhat accusingly.
"And?" Ginny countered. "There a law against making tea for someone?"
"You made tea for Malfoy."
"Yes, Hermione, we made tea for Malfoy."
Ginny's tone was condescending. Hermione scowled and pushed her chair back, standing. "Fine," she said briskly and strode from the kitchen. Ron sat indecisively for half a moment before glowering at his sister and following after Hermione.
Harry looked at Ginny, made a wry face and shook his head. She stared back at him in all innocence. "What?"
"You did that on purpose."
Harry gave her a pointed look.
"Oh, alright," she relented with a dismissive wave of her hand. "You know I can't help myself. She's just so easy a target. And anyway," she shrugged, "Hermione knows I'm only joshing her."
"Yes, but I'll be the one who gets a lecture for not keeping you on a shorter leash."
Ginny snickered, waggling her finger at him. "Bad master."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Oh, shut up."
"Is master angry?" she asked coyly, staring up at him with puppy eyes, playfully nuzzling his arm. Harry loured. Ginny cackled, pushing herself to her feet. "Come along, grumpy. We've a lecture to attend and we mustn't be late."
"Couldn't you write me a sick note?" Harry asked sullenly, schlepping out behind her.
Ginny just laughed.
Neither had taken any notice of the silver-grey eyes watching their entire exchange with an unequivocal spark of interest.
"Explain it to me again," Harry said.
Hermione tucked her legs in on the couch, pulling a tasseled pillow onto her lap. "There has never been a documented account of a male crossbreed displaying any sort of veelic tendencies," she said. "As we understand it now, it has something to do with the bonding of the X and Y chromosomes. For some reason, the genes for wizarding magic and those for veelic tendencies don't seem to correlate for males as they do for females. A male crossbreed can, in effect, inherit every veela gene but that for veelic tendencies."
"If that's true," Ginny said, "then how is it Malfoy's displaying tendencies?"
"Maybe he's really a girl," Ron remarked.
He was ignored.
Hermione shrugged. "I don't know. No one knows. There is absolutely no basis for comparison. For all we know his tendencies are entirely innocuous," she said. "Or they may prove incredibly destructive."
"What sort of tendencies is he displaying?" Harry asked.
"As of this morning? Only two, and they appear to be interrelated," Hermione replied. "The first is a type luminescence—glowing—associated with strong or sudden emotional response. The second is an unconscious tendency toward wandless magic borne out of said emotional response. With proper instruction," she said, glancing at Harry, "and a bit of goodwill, he could very well prove indispensable to the Order."
"And what? You want us to make nice with Malfoy?" Ron said incredulously, a look of utter distaste written upon his face.
Harry was rather apt to agree with Ron's sentiment himself. For all his jumbled emotions—his irrational sense of betrayal at Malfoy's sudden slide into misery; his equally irrational elation at having provoked the little ferret from his living dead romp; his disappointment and pity; and above all the tiny voice at the back of his mind, which, incidentally, sounded remarkably like Dumbledore, insisting he indeed "make nice" with Draco Malfoy—he could not suppress the once all-consuming, but recently dwindling, aversion to all things even remotely tied to the name Malfoy—except for Doby, of course, who was liberated from his vile master and who, Harry insisted, wouldn't touch a single thing Malfoy with a ten-foot pole.
It was second nature to Harry to slip into combat mode whenever Draco approached, to assume the always prim Slytherin Prince would take the time and effort to rile him up, instigate a foul tête-à-tête involving, namely, the insult of his friends, and then, with a sneer and a flourish, leave before Harry even had the chance to conceive a witty retort.
Not that Harry often had a witty retort. Witty was more the realm of Hermione and Ginny, whereas he was infinitely more comfortable in the lands of Blunt and Scathing, where the objective was to test just how deeply Draco was able to scowl and just how homicidally hateful he could become. True, it wasn't exactly tactful nor particularly intelligent on Harry's part to press Draco to the point of murder, but it was so immensely enjoyable that he just couldn't help himself.
It was understandable, then, that Dumbledore's entreaty for help in his ultimate plan of wooing Draco to the Light came as a bit of a system shock—not to mention the flooring Harry received on hearing of his adversaries unique gene pool. It was, well, bizarre. Draco Malfoy a veela? It was absurd, ridiculous, preposterous…and a dozen other equally negating synonyms. It just couldn't be real. But it was.
Draco was veela and Harry, beyond all semblance of sense and rational, did want to help him. He understood the heart-shattering agony of losing someone you loved. Hell, it'd been more than two years and he still awoke in cold sweats at night, a silent scream dangling from his lips, images of Sirius falling through the veil seared onto the back of his eyes, haunting him. Nightmares of Cedric, his parents, even the could-have-happened visions of Ginny lying dead by Tom Riddle's hand plagued him to this day—and would no doubt plague him until his death.
So yes, he could sympathize with Draco over the loss of his mother and the cold betrayal of his father.
But sympathizing with and befriending were two totally different beasts.
Hermione was peering down her nose at Ron in such a way as to make anyone feel hopelessly feeble and insignificant. It was a rather impressive look—one Harry tried very hard to avoid whenever possible. "It wouldn't kill you to be civilized, Ronald."
Ron cringed beneath the weight of The Tone, looking very much as though he were trying to fold himself back into the couch and away from Hermione's steady, entirely frightening, stare. "But…Hermione!" he whined indignantly. "It's Malfoy! No one's nice to Malfoy."
"Well then," she sniffed. "You can be the first."
Had his jaw the realistic ability to hit the floor, Ron's would have crashed straight through and down into the kitchen. As it was, his jaw flapped wordlessly with the sheer indignity of Hermione's command—and there was no doubt whatsoever that it was, indeed, a command and no mere request.
Harry bit hard on his lip to keep from laughing. No need to draw Hermione's righteous determination his way. He had enough on his plate already. Beside him, Ginny's body shook with suppressed mirth, eyes tearing from her effort to keep silent.
But it was to no avail. Hermione's sharp eyes honed in on them like flies to a honey pot. And suddenly things didn't seem all that funny anymore.
"We should all make the effort," she said, The Tone leaving no room for argument. "He hardly deserves our compassion, I know. And were we in his position, I doubt very much he would show us any kindness. But one does not cut off their nose to spite their face." She looked at each of them, eyes narrowed. "If nothing else, our kindness will prove us better than Malfoy."
Harry smiled to himself. That's certainly how you hit the nail on the head. Ron's head, anyway. Ron, who was now looking quite smug at the prospect of proving himself a notch up from Draco Malfoy. Harry really couldn't do anything but smile. Hermione knew how to be devilishly manipulative when it suited her.
Truth was, Harry agreed with her…if but reluctantly. They were better than Malfoy in that they didn't ignore suffering simply because it belonged to an adversary. They didn't shrug their shoulders and turn away just because a person had, at one time, said something offensive or demeaning. It just wasn't something decent people did. It wasn't something they did. They weren't spiteful—or, if they did happen to slide down into that murky pool, it was a short swim and they felt immensely dirty afterward—and they didn't hold grudges.
After graduating, they had each happily pushed all thought of Draco Malfoy from their minds—wiping clean the slate, so to speak. School was over, so what was the point of holding to schoolyard grievances?
Was there still a lingering resentment? Of course there was, but that didn't mean Harry dreamt of gutting Malfoy like a fish or rapping him across the skull with his broomstick. Resentment was natural in the face of mockery and harassment, and eventually Harry came to realize that Draco Malfoy simply wasn't worth the effort of hating.
For whatever reasons Draco was the way he was, nothing Harry ever said or did would change who and what Draco was. So why, he found himself pondering one lazy afternoon, even bother hating him for being himself in the first place? He is who he is, whether I like it or not, and hating him isn't going to change a damn thing. So why go to all the trouble?
Which was how, in his seventh and final year at Hogwarts, Harry found himself simply ignoring Draco's snide remarks—and sure, sometimes they struck a cord and flooded Harry's system with an almost irrepressible desire to break the nasty little ferret's nose—reminding himself that the Prince of Slytherin wasn't worth the dirt on his shoes.
Of course, worth his effort or no, Harry nonetheless felt more than a little odd hosting such a jumble of emotion in his gut. Again, the rational side of his brain was screeching at him that he should not care about Malfoy! Be cordial, yes; be decent and considerate—such were the traits of civility, after all—but, his brain shrilled, do not care!
If he wasn't worth the effort to hate, than he certainly isn't worth the effort to care about. His mother was killed, yes, and it was a horrendous act of betrayal on the part of his father, to be sure, and Harry was well within his boundary to sympathize, but…but! that did not mean he should be affected by Draco's plight.
As cold as it sounded, the expression was true: Shit Happens. The world didn't stop spinning just because Draco Malfoy was suffering. The War wasn't put on hiatus. Voldemort certainly wasn't going to take the week off. And although Harry very much understood what it was Draco was going through, he simply could not afford to put any effort into really, truly, caring.
That's what he told him, anyway.
Had he not been so studiously ignoring the tango of emotion in his gut, not been working tirelessly to rationalize his earlier tea-bearing lapse into the world of Caring, he may have noticed that his sentiment of so-called "choosing not to care" was, in fact, pure and unadulterated horseshit.
He couldn't help but care. Ginny would say he was too goodhearted, too innocent in his willingness to see the best in people, too quick to forgive. Maybe that was true, and maybe it wasn't, but regardless, Harry would care—whether he wished to or not.
"Not possible," Ron finally said. "Hermione, there is no bloody way in hell I can play nice with the ferret."
"You needn't play nice," she replied. "All I ask is you don't incite a confrontation."
"And if he starts it?"
Ron looked utterly flabbergasted by such a request. Walk away from Malfoy? Ronald Weasley did not walk away from anything, let alone a sneering little ferret. "He'll think I'm cowardly."
Hermione leveled him with a stare. "Since when do you give weight to Malfoy's opinion?"
"I don't. I just…" Ron struggled with his words, shifting uncomfortably beneath Hermione's unwavering stare. "If I walk away, Malfoy wins."
"Oh, I see. It's a pissing contest. A guy thing, right? I couldn't possibly understand." Her words dripped with acid-like sarcasm. "It couldn't possibly be your damn pride getting the better of you, now could it?"
"My pride! He's the one—"
"Yes, yes, yes." This last was said with such force Harry was sure he felt the very walls tremble. But just as quickly her features softened into something very much like resignation.
Ron was stubborn as a mule and proud to the point of absurdity, and Hermione was quite aware that arguing with him would get her absolutely nowhere. "Please, Ron," she conceded. "At least promise not to do anything senseless, like throw him out a window."
Ron cracked a smile and the tension in the room deflated. "Out a window, huh? Sounds promising."
Hermione also smiled. "You're incorrigible."
Harry nudged Ginny, giving her a look as if to say Can you believe these two? Ginny smiled, rolled her eyes.
It was a routine both were familiar with, this fierce butting of heads between Ron and Hermione followed always, always, by a sort of pseudo-flirtation. Pseudo- because neither of them would openly, or privately, for that matter, admit to harboring an attraction toward the other—despite the fact that anyone with eyes, and probably anyone without them, could see that they were hopelessly, madly, deeply in love with each other.
Sirius had once asked Harry how it was that they hadn't yet torn each other to shreds. The two of them had been sitting in the front parlor, playing cards, when Hermione had suddenly marched in—unaware, or uncaring, of their presence—looking for all the world as though she were seriously contemplating someone's slow, torturous death. Harry had never seen her so livid.
Sirius had moved as if to approach her, but Harry had wisely counseled against it—citing the fact that she probably knew more spells than Dumbledore, and furthermore that she had been researching the Dark Arts as of late, and that she would most likely take aim at the first thing she set her eyes upon.
Sirius remained seated. And a few moments later Ron came storming though the hall, glaring daggers at Hermione. The argument that followed put all others to shame. It was like watching a cock fight—you were fascinated by the sheer ferocity of destruction, unable to pull your eyes away even as the killing blow was struck.
That blow came from Hermione in the form of a wicked slap across the cheek. The clap of palm-against-skin purled through the room, followed by a thick, suffocating silence. From where they sat, Harry and Sirius saw the angry red impression on Ron's cheek, the shocked expression on his face. Hermione had looked near tears, her expression cold and deadly.
After they had each gone their separate ways, Sirius had turned to Harry and asked, "What the hell was that?"
"That," Harry had answered, "was their way of saying 'I love you'."
It was strange, but each fight seemed to bring them ever closer to admitting their feelings for one another. Harry only hoped they didn't kill each other first.
A/N: There you have it. What did you think? Don't be shy: submit a review. Go on. You know you want to. Everyone's doing it…