Harry had always been envious of people who had someone care for them. Be it familial or romantic love, it didn't lessen his feelings of longing. Especially when Hermione and Ron finally got together his jealousy started rearing its head. Of course he was happy for them, but feeling like a third wheel and being abandoned all the time was starting to make him depressed.
He knew that finding someone who didn't know his name or didn't want to see his scar above all else would be impossible. Unless he looked in the muggle world. But that didn't entice Harry at all. When he had gotten his Hogwarts letter he had thought he'd finally found his freedom. Despite not being free in the least, he had still determinedly left the muggle world behind and probably would have never stepped foot in it again if it hadn't been for the dreaded summer holidays at the Dursleys.
All in all, Harry just wanted some place, someone, to belong to. Someone who would like 'just Harry'.
Well, he hadn't quite expected to find someone like this.
Harry blinked at the big man standing in front of him. Oh he was big alright, but not in the way you would call Uncle Vernon big. This man was tall, towering over Harry laughably easily, and his muscle mass indicated that you didn't want to piss this guy off.
He tried to remember how to talk. "I'm sorry, could you repeat that?" he managed to ask through a suddenly swollen tongue.
The man's brown eyes closed as he sighed. "As I said, I am a veela and I just discovered that you are my mate."
Harry blinked once again as the man started fiddling with his shirt sleeves. He blurted out the first thing that came to his mind. "I thought veela were female?"
The man gave a slightly nervous laugh. "Heavens no. The females are more easily distinctable but that doesn't mean male veela don't exist." He stopped fiddling his sleeve as if he suddenly realized what he was doing.
The young wizard was still having a hard time understanding what exactly was going on. "So how did you suddenly find out I'm your mate?"
The man's eyes looked around before returning to rest on Harry. "I'll answer all your questions but could we please sit down somewhere a bit more private?" Harry looked around, suddenly realizing that they were still on the crowded streets of Diagon Alley which he had been travelling with his best friends moments ago. The couple had unsurprisingly disappeared without him. He turned his attention back to the man when he continued, "Nowhere out of the public eye if you would prefer not to be alone with me yet."
He really had no reason to trust this man whose name he didn't even know yet, but he really felt that he was being honest and what could talking and asking a few more questions hurt?
So Harry nodded his acceptance. "Alright, where to?"
The man noticeably relaxed in relief and gave a small smile that did funny things to Harry's insides but he ignored that. "Florean's sound alright?" he asked, gesturing to the shop.
Harry smiled and agreed. Having this weird discussion over ice cream could not be bad.
They headed to the shop with the older man leading the way. He turned to Harry as he gestured at a table. "You go ahead and take a seat. What flavour do you want?"
The man smiled and went to get their treats. Harry meanwhile sat down and stared at the people passing by as he tried not to think about anything. The man quickly returned and handed Harry his chocolate ice cream while he settled down with his own vanilla in hand.
Harry watched as the man started on his dessert. "So…I don't even know your name and you didn't answer my question about how you found out I'm your mate."
"Sorry, I completely forgot my manners. I'm Terence McQuillan."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "It's not a pureblood name I've heard of before. Not that such things matter much to me," he quickly amended.
Terence snorted. "That's because it's not a pureblood name. My mother found her mate in a muggle and I was given his name upon birth. Some don't think I'm a pure veela, but I inherited the gene so I don't care what they say. Some believe I'm lower than trash because of my parentage, but I don't care about their opinions either." He took another bite of his ice cream and Harry noted that it seemed a bit of a sore subject. "As for your question about me finding you, it is very simple. Veela naturally find their mates by smell. Some spout nonsense about the mate having to be of certain age, but that's all a lie."
Terence sighed as he finished off his ice cream and settled to sit more relaxed. "Veela can smell their mate from a distance but not an impossible one. Age plays no part in it. Each mate smells different to each individual veela but the one thing they share in common is that they smell divine to us and that is how we know who our mate is."
Harry blushed and took a bite of his melting ice cream to cool down a bit. "But doesn't that mean that you could possibly never meet your mate?"
Terence nodded. "Yes that is true. We could go on our whole lives without ever finding our mate, possibly even starting a family with someone else. But we'd never feel complete, and rarely content." He shuddered as if imagining it happening. "I have been looking around for you for some time now and am glad I found you so early into my search."
Looking into Terence's eyes Harry could see a burning dedication directed straight at him. The man really was handsome, even if Harry had never before even looked at a guy in an assessing way. Terence was fit and in good condition. He seemed nice and when he had relaxed, his own personality had started to show and it got Harry interested. And Harry couldn't deny that he felt a strange urge to run his hands through the veela's chocolate brown hair and the same colored eyes made his stomach do flips.
He licked his dry lips. "I still have one school year to finish."
Terence nodded. "I know, but that gives me ample time to court you." The veela smiled and added, "I know you're Harry Potter, but that really tells me nothing except that you can handle pressure unbelievably well."
Harry's eyes widened before his face lit up at the force of his smile. "I think I'd like that," he stumbled a bit on his words, feeling a blush spreading on his cheeks, "for you to court me that is."
A smile was also on Terence's face and whatever nervous tension had been left in his body, was released. "Alright, I hope you know that now that you've given me a chance, I won't let you go. There is no one else for me."
Harry nodded, "I understand." He smiled nervously at the veela as he started to get up from the table. "I look forward to getting to know you better." He shifted from one foot to the other, cursing himself. Why was he so nervous? "You'll owl me? At school I mean? To keep in touch?" he rambled on.
Terence laughed and rose up as well. "Yes I'll definitely be owling you. Hopefully you won't get sick of the amounts of mail you'll be getting from me." He winked.
Harry stopped fidgeting and smiled at the veela. He needed to go find Ron and Hermione. He needed to get away from Terence before he made a total fool of himself. "I have to go find my friends now; if they've noticed I'm gone they'll probably be worried sick."
"Of course," Terence nodded. He paused and seemed a bit nervous. "Could I…that is…could I hug you…before you go?"
Feeling another blush coming on, Harry nodded. As Terence drew closer, Harry felt anxious, but also excited. As those big and warm arms encased him and drew him closer, he felt at home. When the Weasley matron hugged him he thought he had gotten his closest glimpse of feeling at home, but Terence's arms around him felt amazing.
He thought the felt a few tears drip down his cheeks but he didn't notice them. All he could concentrate on was the feeling of warmth and safety that Terence gave him.
As the big man drew back and started wiping Harry's cheeks dry, Harry smiled shyly at him and was answered with a warm smile. Terence made a move as if he was going to draw closer, but changed his mind and instead stepped back.
Harry felt instantly a bit colder.
"Expect to see my owl frequently, Harry!"
And with that parting, Terence was making his way down the street, disappearing into the crowd Harry before this day would not have spotted him in.