Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.
Pairings: Harry/Draco (past Harry/OMC)
Warnings: Rape (past, but described and depicted in flashbacks), violence, creature!fic (Veela Draco), profanity, sex, deep angst. This assumes the epilogue does not exist.
Summary: Veela don't have destined mates, and thank Merlin for that. Draco wants to date Harry Potter because Harry is one of the few people in the wizarding world who treats him decently. But when Harry refuses, with his refusal focused on Draco's creature blood, Draco sets out on a different journey than he ever expected.
Author's Notes: This story is very angsty, and deals with issues of consent. Please think carefully before reading it.
Draco halted outside the door to Potter's office. He considered the state of his robes critically, although they had been immaculate when he left the Manor. Still, travel through Floo could crumple and disorder the clothes of the best and most experienced wizards. Draco found a grain of soot resting in one lacy cuff and disposed of it with a small twitch of his fingers.
Then he realized his fingers were shaking, and clasped his hands together with a frown.
You don't need to do this, he told himself for the hundredth time. If he rejects you, that doesn't matter. There are plenty of people out there who would be delighted to date you, for your Veela blood if no other reason.
Draco sighed. That was the problem, though. His blood was the only reason that most people would be proud to be seen in public with him. Lovers weren't exactly lining up for someone who had a Dark Mark on his arm and a tainted name in the public papers. Six years since the war, and "Malfoy" still invoked a sneer from anyone who heard it. Draco still had to be careful when he went to Diagon Alley, Hosgmeade, or anywhere else that the allies of the "Light" were likely to be out in force.
The Ministry was different, and not just because he had his own political contacts here. Harry Potter had made it clear that anyone foolish enough to threaten Draco, or one of his parents, would answer to him.
Not the only choice, but my best one, Draco thought as he raised his hand and knocked.
"Come in," Potter's resonant voice said, and Draco twisted the handle, suddenly much calmer. Foolish decision or not, he had made it, and there was no putting it off now. Potter's damnable curiosity would make him pursue the matter if Draco stuck his head in, apologized for disturbing him, and tried to leave.
Potter sat at the desk in the middle of the spacious office, bent over what looked like a long report. Draco shut the door quietly behind him and looked around. He hadn't been in the office in a few months, and he wanted to see what changes Potter had made.
Different photographs hung on the walls, of course. Potter changed them regularly as he took new cases and brought some old ones to a close. Dark wizards menaced and snarled at Draco, or took a wary step back and tried to blend into the shadows, depending on their individual temperament. Near the end of the line, Rabastan Lestrange pointed his wand directly at him and muttered a spell that, luckily, failed to take effect. Draco swallowed and looked away. It gave him a queasy feeling in his stomach to think about how long that particular photograph had been there.
The enchanted window poured sunshine on the empty desk next to Potter; Weasley was home with his wife, who was expecting their first child. Draco resolutely struggled not to think about that, because it might lead to thinking about what Weasley and Granger had done when they engendered the child. The floor was covered with a kind of artificial grass rather than carpet, and Draco wriggled his toes through it, though the leather of his boots prevented much coolness or relaxation from reaching him.
His sigh finally made Potter look up. He smiled and put aside the report, leaning forwards to fold his hands on the desk. "What can I do for you, Malfoy?"
Draco looked at him for a long time before replying. Potter was much handsomer than he had been only a few years ago. When he had come out of the Auror training program, Draco still remembered him as irresistibly gawky and bright-eyed, tumbling around the Ministry as though no one had ever arrested Dark wizards before. He had just announced to the world in general that he was bent, too, and had also acted as though no one had ever fucked men before. Though Draco was grateful for the way he had spoken up at the Death Eater trials, he could no more have been attracted to Potter in those days than he could have Summoned the moon with an Accio.
But things had changed, almost overnight. After some private trouble that he still wouldn't talk about, Potter had applied himself to his job, ceased his bragging and his robe-chasing, and become sober and respectable and frighteningly intelligent. And he had started calling at Malfoy Manor for other reasons than because he had to inspect the cellars for any sign of Dark artifacts, and actually listened and been able to contribute questions when Draco spoke about making potions.
Draco wasn't in love yet, a good thing when he had no idea if Potter would agree to date him. But he could be.
"Is something wrong?" Potter rose to his feet and came towards Draco with a long stride. When he halted in front of Draco, Draco shivered involuntarily. Potter carried so much power along with him, and watching him move was like watching a storm move, which made his abrupt stops seem unnatural. "Has someone threatened your family again?"
Potter's voice was low and calm, but his fingers crept to his wand and clenched down. Draco felt a stir of admiration and lust, and hoped that neither emotion was as hopeless as it seemed. It was an effort to clear his throat and speak casually.
"No. I had—something personal to talk to you about. I hoped you wouldn't mind me coming by the office like this."
Potter bent sharp eyes on Draco, as though afraid that he was trying to hide his concern behind a strong façade for some reason. Then he seemed reassured, and relaxed with a smile. His smile was far more attractive than his scowl, if less redolent of power. Draco felt his back flex, though it was far from the season when his wings would manifest.
"Not at all. Though I don't know if I'm qualified to give advice in matters of the heart." Potter cocked his head and seemed to wait for Draco to go on.
Draco nodded, coughed, and stepped past Potter to sit down in a chair that stood in front of his desk. Potter prowled over and sat behind the desk in turn. Draco's throat and lungs, his chest and groin and nipples, tightened. God, the man must have no idea of how he looked. But his obliviousness was easier to understand than the obliviousness of others. Draco wondered why someone hadn't snapped him up long ago.
Under Potter's focused eyes, simplicity seemed the best route to take. Draco only had to clear his throat once more before he managed. "I wondered if you would date me."
There. It was out and done now, and no matter what the reaction, Draco didn't have to feel the intense fear that he did when he hadn't spoken. He settled back and awaited Potter's reaction, which he desperately hoped would be positive.
He had been prepared for rejection, or so he told himself. He hadn't been prepared for Potter to shove himself back from the desk as though it were afire, stare at Draco with his mouth slightly open, and then shake his head furiously and say, "Not if you were the last wizard alive."
Draco felt his mouth sag slightly open. "What did I do?" he asked, too astonished to be hurt. "What—"
"It has nothing to do with you as a person," Potter said, looking away, though from the tense jerks his shoulders gave, Draco was certain it did. "It has everything to do with blood. I don't date Veela."
Draco blinked and touched one hand to his face, half-wondering if feathers had poked through his skin and revealed his heritage. Then he remembered that he had told Potter about it himself, one drunken night in the Leaky Cauldron.
Potter was staring at him now, but he looked away when Draco tried to catch his eye. The corner of his mouth was twisted in what looked like loathing. Draco stood slowly. That was it, then. Nothing he could say, nothing he could change.
"Thanks for letting me know," he said.
Potter didn't respond. Draco turned and trekked to the door, which now seemed considerably further away than it had when he first entered the office.
He had reached the door and actually laid his hand on the knob before the wrongness of what he had heard swung him back around. Potter stood up for the rights of vampires and werewolves; his most notorious incident in the last year had involved him invading a "secret" meeting of the Wizengamot to abolish centaur preserves, backed up the centaurs themselves. There was no way that he would refuse to date a Veela without a bloody good reason.
Draco turned back. Potter had started rearranging the papers on his desk, but he glanced up when he heard Draco stop, his face blank. "What is it, Malfoy?" he asked, his tone more distant than it had been even those last years at Hogwarts. "As you can see, I'm rather busy."
Draco shook his head. "I don't accept that," he said.
"Don't accept that I'm busy?" Potter picked up a stack of reports and turned it over so Draco could see how closely written they were. "I think the evidence speaks for itself."
"I don't buy that you won't date Veela just because you dislike them." Draco moved closer. Potter dropped the reports and braced his hands on the desk, breathing deeply. Draco watched the effort it took him to keep from reaching for his wand and shook his head. "Why don't you tell me the real reason?"
"Because the real reason is, quite frankly, none of your business," Potter said, with the faintest suggestion of a bark in his voice. Draco would bet it sent the junior Aurors running, but he wasn't a junior Auror, and he wanted an answer, damn it. "I'll date who I like. Get out of my office."
"No." Draco moved a step closer. He had the upper hand now, and sheer stubborn curiosity, nothing like the subtle diplomatic instincts he had assumed he would need, was driving him on. "Tell me. It's not like you to be prejudiced."
"Someone can think a werewolf deserves to be treated like a human being and still not want him around during the full moon." Potter's brow had broken out in sweat.
Draco moved one step nearer again.
Potter leaped over the desk and stood there with his wand digging into Draco's throat. His eyes were wild, but very focused. Draco knew he could fight, though the wildness suggested he might not be in control of his actions.
"I told you," Potter whispered. "I bloody told you. Why can't you get the fuck out of here and just take it without explanations, the way I gave it to you?"
Draco swallowed, which made the edge of his throat hit the wand. He raised his hands with exquisite slowness. Potter stared at them, but made no move, and Draco thought that was a good sign.
Sure enough, he shut his eyes, dropped his wand, shoved it into his robe pocket, and turned his back. Draco knew from the motion of his arms that he'd brought his hands over his face. He was shaking.
"I had a fucking Veela in my bed once," Potter whispered. "Against my will. That was more than enough."
Draco stiffened. He could never have guessed that this was the reason, and he wasn't sure if he wanted to press further. But it seemed his silence goaded Potter as effectively as a question would have. Perhaps he should have walked out the door when he had the chance.
"I could resist the allure," Potter whispered, in a voice that simply continued, running over itself, like grains of sand dribbling from a bag. "He hated that. When the Blazing Season came, he supposedly needed to control me for the sake of his Veela side, and he couldn't. He went further, and made sure I was struck. I woke up after a few days and arrested him. But that was the end of any chance that I would date someone who could control me that way."
He turned around, and his eyes were weary, but he managed to smile at Draco. "I never thought I would have to tell someone who didn't already know. I never thought the chance to sleep with another Veela would show up." He shrugged. "So now you know. I might like to date you if not for that. I know you better now. But there's no way it can happen. Sorry."
Draco was struggling wildly to control his emotions. His back flexed again, and he knew the reason. The wings were meant as powerful shields for a Veela's chosen. Draco wanted to seize Harry and shelter him behind ramparts of silver feathers that would part for nothing, not even another Veela's allure.
But Harry would only react badly if he did that, and Draco had to suppress his instinct.
He was fighting with his horror, too. Most of the time, the allure was enough. But people like Harry, who could resist the Imperius Curse, could also resist that. And so a Veela could go further and make a person like that Veela-struck, force the knowledge of the Veela's pleasure and control into the resistant wizard's mind and body. They would become little more than a sexual toy, capable of being destroyed and loving every moment.
No one ethical would do such a thing. But there were Veela who were perverse enough to do so, just as there were wizards who displayed the trophies of a Veela's wings on their walls.
Draco could not have anticipated that Harry would suffer such a thing. At the moment, though, it felt as though he should have, should have held back and never troubled Harry with his presence again.
Now that he thought about it, he could remember a flinch that had run through Harry's body when Draco confessed the secret of his blood. But that could have meant so many things, and the haze in his head from the drink had made it easy to dismiss the memory.
Draco returned to himself to find Harry backing away from him again. Draco blinked. He didn't think his wings were spread; they still rippled as they only did when they were beneath their blanket of skin.
Then he realized that he was making a soft, high-pitched crooning sound, intended to reassure traumatized children and others who had suffered. Harry's reaction made him think about how Harry's faithless Veela lover might have used it.
The sickness that rose up in his throat effectively stopped the croon. Harry straightened back up, his face yellow, and shook his head.
"I can't do it," he whispered. "I know that you don't have to date me, that Veela aren't bound to one person alone. Find someone else."
Draco stared at him with sadness and wonder and a longing that had only intensified. Then he swallowed and said, "I want to help you. I want to heal you."
Harry flashed him a murderous glance, a look that Draco hadn't known he was capable of. "I'm as healed as I'm ever going to get. And I don't need a pity fuck."
"I wasn't offering that!" Draco exclaimed, though he could feel the pity rising up in his throat like tears. "I meant—I want to offer you something that will make up for what he did to you. Something warm and large and encompassing. Something that will give you back some of what you lost." He knew he was babbling, but he didn't think he could stop.
Harry stood still, looking patient and tolerant, until Draco finished. If not for the way his fingers dug into his desk, Draco might even have believed his presentation of unbending calm. "It's not something you need to make up for," Harry said at last. "You didn't know him. You couldn't have prevented—what he did." His body shuddered for a moment as if it was on the rack, then stilled again. "It's done, and I'm living with it. You can't undo it by offering me—what? Sex?" He laughed, but it was a dry laugh, like the rustling of ashes.
"Then I'm offering this for me," Draco said. "Because I want to heal you, date you, do what I can to help you."
Harry paused, head tilted to the side as if he were listening to an undertone that would tell him the difference between the words Draco said and the ones he meant, and then nodded. "That makes more sense," he said. "But that doesn't mean you can. It doesn't mean that I have to let you."
Draco shook his head. His wings were close to bursting out again. He had held only one person in them before—Pansy, whom he had once dated and had believed would be the one for him—but he knew the lore well enough, and had no doubt of their effect. He wanted to help Harry, and this was the best way.
Well, for an ordinary person, it was. But Harry's eyes darted over his whole body, fixing on his shoulder blades, his arms, his hands, his legs, in a way that Draco hadn't noticed until he started paying attention. Harry was looking for signs of non-human body features, and Draco had the feeling he would run if he saw them.
"Let me help you," Draco whispered, the only thing he could say.
Harry snorted. "I don't see why it matters. Like I said, I'm dealing with it, and you can't expect someone who's been—raped—to pick himself up and go on as if it never happened." He said that one particular word between gritted teeth, so that Draco wondered how long it had taken him to teach himself to say it. "I'm doing—well enough. I'll handle this. I don't need to lose my fear of sleeping with a Veela. It's not important to my life, my friends, my job, or anything else."
"It's important to me," Draco said. There were other words, he knew there had been, but they had dried up and blown away.
Harry raised his eyebrows slightly, and his mouth almost, but not quite, smiled. "But we can be friends without me sleeping with you."
"I want you," Draco said, helpless, raw. The words had come back now, but they still weren't the powerful, eloquent ones he had hoped would persuade Harry. "And I want you more now than before I knew."
Harry's smile froze. "Why?" he asked, through the glittering ice of it. "Because you like sloppy seconds? Because the challenge of subduing someone another Veela couldn't subdue is what you adore?"
Draco shook his head. He didn't know the words. He didn't know the touches. He could have used his wings on someone else, merely to hold them still and keep them tranquil while he searched for the words, but that wasn't an option here. He didn't even want to come closer, because of the distrust in Harry's eyes and the way he flinched.
He had to use the words he didn't know, but which pressed on the inside of his mouth, his tongue, his cheeks, instead.
"I want you," he said, "because I know more about you. I wanted you before because I liked you. You were powerful, handsome, someone who stood up for me. Those made you a good candidate for dating."
Harry glanced aside, trying to force his tone into a horrid lightness. "Then go proposition that Auror who just won the Inter-Departmental Games. I've seen him looking at you in a way that suggests he fancies you, anyway."
Draco shook his head. He felt almost dreamy, held back, isolated, from the emotions that had poured through him before. He felt the way he did when he was flying.
"I want you because I want to help and heal you," he whispered. "Because it's wrong, what happened to you, and you deserve to live a full life. Because I want to see you smile and walk without fear of anything."
"I have fears," Harry said. "All the time." He was tapping his fingers on the desk in a quick, nervous rhythm now, head turned so that he could keep a watch on Draco from the corner of one eye. "Of Dark wizards. Of spells that could kill me. Of one of my best friends dying suddenly. You can't keep me from that."
"But I can help you with a fear and a wound that should never have been inflicted on you," Draco said.
"You can't," Harry said, so sharp that Draco felt the words cut into his body like throwing knives. "You're a Veela. He was a Veela. Maybe I could put up with you for most of the year, if I didn't know what you were, but the Blazing Season? No."
Draco lowered his eyes. Veela had a kinship to birds, and the Blazing Season were the few weeks out of every spring when they demonstrated as male birds courted the females: grew dazzling plumage, soared on spread wings, brought food and care to their partners.
None of those things were what Harry was objecting to, though. The Blazing Season made Veela bold, presumptuous. Dominant. They had to take care of those under their protection. They grew violently jealous, and they resented any attempt their partners made to stand on their own two feet. If they had sex, the Veela was in control, always.
It was only for a few weeks. But Draco already knew, without asking, that Harry had become Veela-struck during the Blazing Season. There was no way he would be able to put up with Draco during it.
But Draco still wanted.
"Will you give me a chance?" he asked, since it was the only thing he could think of. "Just to help you? It would be up to you whether you wanted to go further than that. Completely up to you, I promise." He looked up and caught Harry's eyes, trying to stare sincerity into them. "You wouldn't have to date me in the way you're thinking of. You wouldn't have to let me touch you, unless that was something you thought would help. But I want you to be able to get over this fear." He smiled, though it cracked his lips, they had gone so dry. "I want you to be able to walk beside me without constantly looking over your shoulder."
Harry stood so still that Draco could feel his own heartbeat shuddering through his skin. Then Harry looked up and shook his head. "Why would you want to?" he asked. "Why does this matter?"
"Because you're unhappy," Draco said, his voice charged with all those emotions again, but under reasonable control, this time. "And that matters to me."
Harry stood still again, but this time with a more natural relaxation; Draco could make out the shrug of his shoulders and the way his eyes shifted. Then he said, "I'll think about it. Don't press me right now."
Draco nodded, said, "I hope you feel better, and I'm sorry for pressing you so far," and left the office. It was the best thing for both of them right then—or at least for Harry. Draco would have liked to stay.
They were in November, months from the Blazing Season. Draco should be able to keep himself nicely in check, gentle, the way Harry needed him to be.
The wings burned under his shoulder blades. The croon burned in his throat. Every muscle ached as if tipped with fire.
Easier said than done. But I will do it.