Draco Malfoy knew something was wrong when the house elves brought out the filet mignon. He gave his parents an angry look. "I love filet mignon."
His mother was in the process of raising a piece of it to her mouth, and stopped mid-action. She gave her son a confused look. "What?"
"I love filet mignon," said Draco, glowering at his parents, not even touching the food in front of him.
"Oh," said Narcissa, taking a moment to chew before continuing. "Good, then. Eat up."
"What are you doing?" asked Draco. "This morning, father, you complimented me on how nice my new suit looked. And, if my nose isn't fooling me, mother, the house elves are baking lemon meringue pie right this minute." His eyes narrowed. "I love lemon meringue pie."
Lucius frowned at his son. "What of it, Draco? Can't parents spoil their only child every once and a while?"
"Not mine," said Draco.
Lucius and Narcissa shifted uneasily in their seats. Narcissa opened her mouth, tentatively. "Draco, we—"
She shut her mouth again after Lucius directed a hard stare at her. She frowned, and continued lamely, clearly picking up on a different idea, "…want you to be happy, that's all. It's not often that you have your last day of being 16, after all."
"Right," said Draco. "Sure."
"You should eat up," said Narcissa, turning back to her food. "But not too much. There is lemon meringue pie for dessert."
Draco continued frowning for a minute or so, then slowly started eating. It was filet mignon, after all, and it was his favorite meal. Just like lemon meringue pie was his favorite dessert. The problem was, whenever his parents had the house elves prepare meals he loved, they were always up to something. When he was 6, his parents had the house elves make him a gigantic cake, only to have them tell him his pet puffskein had been eaten in the middle of the night. When he was 9, his mother took him to his first concert, then made him perform his first unforgivable curse (the Imperius Curse, on a moth outside the Manor). When he was 15, his father had him go out and buy an elegant set of fine robes. Then, his parents had hosted a dinner party, where Draco had the pleasure of meeting his parents' dear friend Tom, who was unpleasant company, at best.
That meant his parents were about to do something very, very unpleasant. And Draco didn't want to find out what it was.
He didn't have any chance to delay, however. Soon after all three of them had their plates cleared away by their house elves, Draco asked for permission to leave the table. Lucius cleared his throat, and said, "No, Draco. We have something important to talk about with you."
"Can't it wait?" asked Draco. "Until after my birthday, maybe?"
"No," said Lucius, firmly. "This concerns your birthday."
"In a way," said Narcissa, biting her lip slightly and looking at Lucius. She took a deep breath, and seemed to struggle a bit to keep her face straight.
"Yes, in a way," said Lucius. "Tomorrow is your seventeenth birthday."
"I'm well aware, father," said Draco.
"So you are," said Lucius. He gave Draco a serious look. "Draco, do you know what happens on the seventeenth birthday of every witch and wizard?"
"We're liberated from our parents forever?" said Draco, trying to look innocent.
Narcissa tsked disapprovingly. "No, you get your inheritance, Draco."
"Grandfather left me a load of money?" asked Draco, his eyes widening.
"Don't be silly, you know what we're talking about. Your… inheritance. The moment you realize your true wizardly powers," said Narcissa.
Draco was dumbstruck. A rather odd state for him to be in. He was Draco Malfoy, after all. But his parents weren't making sense. "True wizardly powers"? What had he been doing for rest of his life? Waving some stick around?
"And you will be getting one of the most unique inheritances of them all," said Lucius. "You see, further back in the bloodlines, there were, shall we say, 'impurities' introduced."
"On both sides," said Narcissa, nodding.
"On both sides," agreed Lucius. "Nothing non-magical, you know. No… Muggles. Or Mudbloods."
"Perish the thought!" said Narcissa.
"But… well…" said Lucius, hesitating now. He became suddenly tentative, looking at Narcissa with a strained expression. "You, you are, you are-"
"What your father is meaning to say, Draco," said Narcissa, cutting off her husband, "is that you, my son, will receive your inheritance, and will become a full-blooded weremerveela."
Draco tittered, then chuckled. He chortled and guffawed. His parents maintained their serious expression. Lucius's brows lowered. "Draco, why aren't you taking this seriously? Draco? Draco?"
Draco had practically laughed himself off his chair when his laughter finally abated a bit. A weremerveela? What the hell? They might as well be saying he wanted to screw Harry Potter, or something.
His parents were still looking at him with a serious expression, though. Narcissa was practically on the verge of tears. "I'm afraid it's so, son. You are a full-blooded weremerveela, and you will realize your true potential tomorrow, when you come into your inheritance."
"What do you mean, 'inheritance'?" said Draco, practically shouting.
"Your inheritance, Draco. Haven't they taught you anything at Hogwarts?" asked Narcissa, inclining an eyebrow at her husband. He gave her a thin-lipped smile.
"They haven't told me about any… inheritance," said Draco.
"More's the pity," said Lucius, "Must be because of the Mudblood-lovers that have been Headmaster at Hogwarts lately. When I went to Hogwarts, the purebloods had our own class in sixth year to prepare us for our inheritances. It only happens to purebloods, you see."
"Quite right!" said Narcissa. "When a pureblood comes of age, he or she comes into his or her inheritance, based on his or her ancestry. Just like you will become a merwereveela."
"Weremerveela," corrected Lucius.
"Yes. Right," said Narcissa, trailing off a bit.
"So… the…" started Draco, not sure of the exact order.
"Weremerveela," clarified Lucius.
"Weremerveela. Just, what does that imply, exactly? Mermaid… werewolf… and… veela?" asked Draco.
"And fae," said Lucius. "It's just not in the name."
"Oh," said Draco. "So what will it mean if I'm a… weremerveela?"
"Well," said Lucius. "When the moon is full, or if you are feeling particularly emotional—say, if you are unduly angry—your legs will merge into a tailfin, you will sprout wings, and you will become immediately attractive."
"To both sexes," said Narcissa.
"To both sexes?" asked Draco.
"To both sexes," confirmed Lucius.
Damn, thought Draco. Now Goyle will be all over me for sure. Or was it Crabbe? I can't recall. Well. Hey. Unlimited poontang! And, uh. Never mind that.
"Why hadn't I heard of this before?" asked Draco. They're acting so normal about this. What if they're not joking? What if… what if this is happening?
"Weremerveela are vanishingly rare," said Lucius, "and you would probably be hunted. Who wouldn't want a weremerveela as a mate?"
"I… I think I need some time to process this…" said Draco, standing up from the table. He suddenly felt very worried that his parents were telling the truth. For a moment, he considered bolting to the library, like that mudblood Granger, and doing all the research he could about inheritances and weremerveelas and the like. But that's what house elves are for, right?
"We understand, Draco," said Narcissa, nodding slightly. "Take your time. But not too long. You have about… 40 minutes, before the inheritance, by my reckoning."
Draco bolted from the table and moved towards the library, then practically slapped himself. House elves. House elves! He snapped his finger, and one of the Malfoy family house elves appeared. "Elf, do all the research you can on inheritances. And on were…. Weremerveelas. The ones with fae inheritance."
"Yes, Master Draco," said the house elf, bowing deeply. He had a grin on his face, for some reason. Lucius had probably already told the house elf staff what was coming, and they, of course, were taking delight in his pain. Or something. Draco could never tell with house elves. The house elf disappeared, presumably to rummage around in the books.
Instead of raiding the library, Draco walked up the stairs to his room. It was a rather severe-looking thing, decorated almost entirely in black, with only a hint of green here and there. Draco had once put up a "Weird Sisters" poster on the wall, in a fit of adolescent rebellion, only to have it torn down within a fortnight by his enraged father.
He took off his shoes and lay down on his bed. He checked the time; 38 minutes to go until his birthday. Until he came into his inheritance. What an odd thought. Yes, here he was, alone with his thoughts.
It really shouldn't've been so surprising that he immediately fell asleep.
He sat bolt upright again, looking in panic for the time. Five minutes to go. Hell. Where were the house elves? Shouldn't they have finished their research by now? He leapt up from his bed over to the desk in the room. Taking out quill and parchment, he started a letter.
He paused. Who should he write? Who would listen? Who would care?
I have received some most distressing news this night. I fear by the time this letter gets to you, I will be a changed man. Or, rather, a changed creature. Please come soon—not strong enough; he scribbled out 'soon'—as soon as you possibly can. I know you are just my Head of House, but you're the only one I can talk to about this in confidence.
Draco Abraxas Malfoy
With that, there was one minute left until the transformation. Draco tried to take out another sheet of parchment, but it was no use. His handwriting had already been getting shaky and scattered. He could hardly read "confidence" at all; it looked somewhat more like "continence". Well, at least he wasn't incontinent.
45 seconds left.
Horrific thoughts went through Draco's head. What if he transformed into this… weremerveela while at Hogwarts? What if someone saw him? What if someone he never wanted to see lust after him did so? What if horrible things started happening?
30 seconds left.
Terrifying mental images. Blaise Zabini, licking his lips as he wolf whistled at Draco. Millicent Bulstrode, undulating salaciously as Draco gaped open-mouthed in horror.
15 seconds left.
That mudblood, Hermione Granger, clothed in what Draco could only describe as "very feminine pajamas", thrusting her hips and smiling seductively. Harry Potter—that Mudblood-loving cretin—making out with Draco, yes, Draco!
10 seconds left.
Severus Snape… doing… well, let's just say…
…playing cards, or something…
…maybe he should just burn the note…
Why was this happening to him?
To him! To Draco Malfoy!
It seemed like a sick joke.
But it wasn't. It was true.
This was it.
What? Had Draco gotten the time wrong? He checked his watch again, and tapped it a couple of times. Squinting, he suddenly noticed that it was actually a minute past midnight. As in, he had been a weremerveela for a minute now.
A whole minute. It had happened. He had transformed.
After Draco stormed out of the room, Lucius and Narcissa kept very still for about a minute, trying not to laugh. Finally, they couldn't take it anymore. Laughter exploded out of them, Lucius a deep chuckle and Narcissa a peal of high-pitched titters.
"Oh, Cissy! Did you see his face?" said Lucius, nearly doubling over.
"And his questions! 'Why hadn't I heard of this before?'" said Narcissa, adopting a mocking impression of her son. "Oh, poor Draco, I wonder why… perhaps because we just made it up this past weekend!"
Lucius snorted. "Oh, you were right, Cissy. This was a lark. Just, just, the look on his face," said Lucius.
"'Oh, I'm Draco, and I have noooo idea what is happening,'," said Narcissa, nodding and screwing her face up as if dumbfounded and crossing her eyes slightly. "By the way, you should thank me."
"For what?" asked Lucius.
"For saving you. I saw you: you almost started laughing when you had to say 'weremerveela' for the first time," said Narcissa, smirking.
"Well, Cissy…" said Lucius. "It's hard to keep a straight face."
Narcissa laughed. "So it is. So it is."
There was a brief lull in the conversation.
"Say, Lucius?" asked Narcissa. "How long do you think he's been on to us? With the food thing?"
"Oh, I wouldn't worry about it," said Lucius. "He'll probably have forgotten come morning."
They chatted together for a bit more, mostly congratulating themselves on how terribly clever they were. One of their house elves stopped by, and said that Master Draco had ordered him to look for books on "weremerveelas". As much as Lucius despised the creatures, Narcissa had apparently been right to warn them in advance about their plot. Unexpectedly, the house elf was grinning. Perhaps the house elves detested Draco.
Midnight was fast approaching. Lucius and Narcissa went to their bedroom. Narcissa sat up in bed, reading a book, while Lucius changed into his nightrobe.
Suddenly, a scream rent the air. They gave each other a satisfied look. "You take care of it," said Narcissa.
Lucius padded towards Draco's bedroom, then took a moment outside to take a couple of deep breaths. Draco was still screaming. Lucius put on his best "gravely concerned" face, then walked into the room.
He hadn't expected to find Draco completely naked, tearing at his leg hair. He was babbling. "Hermione humped! Hermione humped, father! Hermione humped! Hermione humped!" This was a bit more serious than he had thought.
The staff at St. Mungo's were known for their studious attention to privacy, thankfully, so they asked very few questions when Draco Malfoy was brought in for examination. They quickly pronounced him schizophrenic, and chastised Lucius and Narcissa for, as they put it, "exacerbating your poor boy's clear genetic predisposition towards mental disorder." It eventually made it rather awkward that Draco's permanent room was located next to the Longbottoms', but it couldn't be helped.
Lucius and Narcissa, for their part, were not very brokenhearted. Oh, sure, Draco was their only son, and having him in the mental ward of St. Mungo's was an embarrassment to the family, but Draco was a liability already. Besides, they had a daughter, Waterflower, who everybody had always had much higher hopes for. Waterflower was studying at Beauxbatons to become a model. She was showing great promise. Great promise indeed.