All characters belong to JK Rowling
A Silver & Gold Lining
Summary – She was everyone's golden girl. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. However, people weren't always what they appeared to be on the outside. Sometimes there was more to them than even theyrealized, especially when you took in consideration ancient Nordic lore, romance and suspense.
Left a widow at age 25, Hermione Granger felt alone and despondent, and it didn't help matters that her dead husband's cousin decided to swoop in on her to try to make a claim on her. She needed someone to help sort out everything. Little did she know that help would come by the way of her former enemy…Draco Malfoy.
Draco Malfoy didn't want to become involved in her affairs, but her husband was a distant relative his, and he married Hermione Granger for a very specific reason, one that she was not aware. She was the descendent of the fabled Valkyrie – an ancient Norse legend, Odin sent a Valkyrie into battle, to determine which men were to live, which men were to die, and which men would have victory.
Draco Malfoy had a secret of his own. He was a descendent of Veela. If a Veela should marry the last Valkyrie, he would become the most powerful Veela of them all- not that Draco Malfoy wanted that position, but he merely didn't want anyone else to have it either.
Chapter 1 – Tangled Web
Three times nine girls, but one girl rode ahead,
White-skinned under her helmet;
The horses were trembling, from their manes,
Dew fell into the deep valley,
Hail in the high woods;
Good fortune comes to men from there;
All that I saw was hateful to me.
From the poem Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar
The Valkyrie - an ancient Norse legend, Odin sent a Valkyrie into battle, to determine which men were to live, which men were to die, and which men would have victory
The sun felt unusually bright today. Summer was almost over, but the days were still long, and Hermione felt that the sun was hotter and brighter for the last few weeks, but especially today, for some reason. Opening her desk drawer, she pulled out her purse and placed it on the top of the desk so she could rummage through its contents. She knew she'd placed the letter from her dead husband's solicitor somewhere in here yesterday. Searching for a good five minutes, she was about to dump the entire contents on the floor, when she finally located the long, white envelope.
Clutching it to her chest, she looked at the clock. It was fourteen minutes after five, which meant she was fourteen minutes late for her appointment. If she hurried, she would still be late.
Not that she cared.
She didn't care for much of anything these days. Since her husband, Jonathon, died nine months ago, she had felt as if she were in a dream state – a fugue, where nothing was real or how it really seemed. It wasn't as if she was in love with Jon when he died, for she wasn't. Therefore, her numbness didn't come from mourning the man. It came from mourning what might have been, because she loved him at one time. She loved him when she first married him, but he quickly showed his true colours and her love vanished just as he soon vanished. He wasn't even in England when he died. He was in Sweden with his family. And to this day, she didn't know how he died. Nor was there ever a body found. She was merely told that he died by an impersonal letter from his cousin and that was that.
Perhaps this meeting with his lawyer would shed new light on everything.
She recalled her storybook wedding only two years ago. She was so happy. It was like a fairytale come true. She felt like the proverbial princess, marrying the man she loved. And although she hadn't known him long, she was smart and she felt as if she knew exactly what she was doing - which only goes to prove that ANYONE can be duped – even the smartest witch of a generation.
Jonathon Hagen was handsome, blond and blue eyed, and although she only knew him for six weeks, she fell in love with him instantly. He grew up in Sweden, in a little magical town near Stockholm called Vanaheim, went to school at Durmstrang Institute, and he didn't seem at all enamored by Hermione's celebrity. She met him at University and they married right after graduation.
Then the nightmare began.
He was prone to fits of rage, which would lead to bouts of depression or worse, bouts of violence. He even made the mistake of once taking out his rage on Hermione…but he only made that mistake once. She still wore the scars of this single episode on the skin of her back.
Still, the violence was overshadowed by his melancholy. He would lock himself inside his study for days at a time. Then he would travel and leave Hermione alone for weeks. She began to find proof that he was seeing other witches, and when she confronted him with this proof, he laughed and told her it was his 'right' to have as many women as he wanted.
She laughed right back at him and told him to leave for good and never come back. Then she filed for divorce the next day and moved out the day after that. They were living in separate households, (their divorce not yet final) and hadn't spoken to each other for almost a year when she got the Owl that he'd died.
She didn't cry. She didn't know what to think. She felt numb, but not overtly sad. A week after the first letter, she received another from the same cousin, (a man she'd never met) saying that he was planning his funeral. There was never a body found, so Hermione didn't know why go to the pretense of a funeral? Still, out of respect for her dead husband's family, she went to the small town near Stockholm with Harry, Ron, and her parents to attend a funeral without a body, for a man whom she no longer loved.
Oddly enough, Draco Malfoy was there with his parents. She didn't think too much of it at the time. She merely assumed that as a pureblood (which Jon was) he must have been related somehow to the Malfoys, hence the reason they were at his funeral.
Three months after Jon died, the same cousin, Devlin Halberdsen, visited Hermione in London. He told her that as head of Jon's family, he would now 'protect' her.
She laughed in his face.
She explained that she didn't need anyone to protect her and she politely showed him to the door.
Before he left he asked her when her birthday was, which she thought was odd, but still she answered, for what was the harm? She told him she'd turn 25 years old on the 18th of September of that year, which was now only two weeks away. Then he asked an even odder question. He asked the surname of her great-grandmother on her mother's side. She thought for a moment, said, "Hansson, why?" He smiled and said, "I merely wanted to be sure. By the way, your ascension will begin sometime around your birthday in September. I'll call on you again before that time."
As he left her home, she stared at him oddly. For the life of her, she had no clue what he meant by the phrase, 'her ascension'. Nor did she care. He was an odd man, and she didn't care ever to see him again.
Now, nearly six months later as she walked out of her apartment building, through the crowded Muggle London sidewalks, her mind was crowded with thoughts of her deceased husband, his odd cousin and the letter she still clutched in her hand. And the heat was overwhelming – oppressive. She placed her free hand on the back of her neck, behind her hair. She would do anything to go ANYWHERE but where she was going today. She honestly felt too ill to Apparate, so she took a taxi to the address on the envelope, knowing she'd only be later, but not caring in the least.
Traveling in the back of the cab, she began to think about the weird dreams she'd been having lately. They were manifestations of dreams she had when she was younger, but these dreams were more vivid than her childhood dreams.
These dreams were intertwined with a story that her grandmother told her when she was very young. Her grandmother often told her that their family came from a long line of fairy princesses, but they weren't normal fairy princesses. They didn't wait for a prince to come along to protect them, or to carry them off in the sunset. These princesses, of which there were originally nine, were the ones who protected the princes. They made them strong. They helped them to become warriors.
Then her grandmother told her the strangest thing of all. She told her that Hermione was the last of these princesses, and that one day, it would all make sense to her. Now she was dreaming about this story…she was this princess, this last warrior princess, the one from her grandmother's story.
In the dream, she was a warrior, wearing a white glowing gown, a breast plated-armor that glistened white even as it glowed so bright that mere mortals couldn't look upon it. She rode on a white horse, her hair long and dark, flowing down her back. She carried a long, white sword, made of some sort of metal that was stronger than any other known metal. Moreover, she was fearless. She would ride into battle, and with one point of her sword, she could decide which warrior would live, and which warrior would die.
It all felt so real. It felt as if it was all about to really happen. She dreamt about it almost every night. And every day her skin felt different, she thought her hair looked different. She wasn't hungry, she ached all over. She constantly needed something that felt unattainable. Something was about to happen. She only wished she knew what it was.
Draco Malfoy looked at his watch. She was late. He didn't know much about Hermione Granger, since he hadn't seen her much since school. But from what he recalled of her, he remembered her as a straight-lace, know-it-all, snob who was fastidious about many things, including being on time. Much like him, to his chagrin.
He saw her only nine months ago at her husband's funeral. He was a distant cousin of the man, so he was forced to attend the funeral, along with his parents. If he expected to see her in mourning at the thing, he would have been surprised. She was there with her two side-kicks and her parents, but she didn't wear black, she didn't cry a tear, she didn't say a word to any of his friends or relatives, she didn't walk up to the podium to say any words in deference to the man. No. Hermione Granger acted in cold indifference that day.
Standing in the solicitor's office, he now understood why. From hearing the man speak with Jonathon's closest cousin, Hermione Granger was estranged for a very long time from her husband. In fact, she was separated from him longer than she was married to the man.
Furthermore, it was Draco's understanding that she never came to realize the true reason why Jonathon Hagen married her. Hagen never told Hermione of her destiny. He never told her of her ancestors, or of her refuted fate. Well, she would learn soon enough. It was the fourth day of September. Her birthday was a short two weeks away. She would be heading toward her ascension very, very soon.
The thought made Draco's eyes burn and his mouth grew into a tight line. He remembered his own ascension. It was different for Veela and for males, but still, it wasn't a walk in the park. It was painful. It was humiliating. It was exhausting, draining, and life altering, to say the least, and Draco at least had time to prepare. He knew what was coming – for from the time he was twelve years old his father had prepared him for the time he would turn twenty-one.
His father told him of their Veela ancestry. He told him what to expect on his twenty-first birthday. He helped him. He prepared him for the pain, helped him with the cravings, hunger, and yearnings. Who would help Granger?
Did anyone even know what would happen to her? What to expect? If she were a female Veela, there would be no problem, no problem at all. His mother or one of their relatives could help her, and after all, ascension for female Veela wasn't as bad as it was for males.
But she was reportedly the last known Valkyrie in the world, as odd as that sounded, and she didn't even know it. There hadn't been a Valkyrie change, or ascension, in at least two hundred years. From the things that Draco had read (to prepare for this meeting), it wasn't going to be a pleasant incident. She could very well die from the experience.
Jon Hagen should have told her what to expect. Or Devlin Halberdsen should have taken her into his protection earlier than now.
Upon learning that Halberdsen hadn't done his familiar duty, Lucius Malfoy came forward with a petition to the other Veela clans, claiming that Jon Hagen was related to Lucius' mother's family, making Draco as much a protector over the woman as Halberdsen.
Hence, the reason he was here today.
Wouldn't Granger weep with joy when she heard all this good news?
He stood up and paced around the solicitor's office even as the man said, "Perhaps we should Disapparate to her flat – see if she's there. It's not like her to be late, is it?"
Draco feigned, "How would I know?" Even though inside he was thinking the exact same thing.
The dead husband's cousin replied, "No, it's not like her to be late."
Draco stared at the man. How would he know? Draco took a deep breath in his nose and exhaled long and loud. He didn't like this man. He never had and never would. Why was he even here? Draco's petition was recognized by the counsel as a legitimate claim. They decided that Hermione had the right to 'choose' her own mate, as the last of the Valkyrie.
Although, damn it to hell, would Granger choose Draco over this other man? He wasn't so sure.
Draco almost groaned as he sat back down. It wasn't so much that he wanted to be chosen by his bushy-haired nemesis, but he didn't want this pile of rubbish sitting beside him to be chosen either. Something inside him told him that knowing Granger as he did, she would storm out of here without choosing either of them. She wouldn't believe them at first, then she would laugh in their faces, then she would claim that she needed time to 'think' and research their claim, even though time was something she didn't have.
Then she would leave. That would be the worst thing she could do. If she left, anyone might take her. He wouldn't want to alarm her, but that was the truth of it. She was coming near her ascension, and any Veela in the United Kingdom (hell, even on the Continent) would soon find out that the last of the Valkyrie was on the eve of ascension. It would be the thing of legends. For a Veela to mate with the last Valkyrie…it would make him the most powerful Veela of all.
Not that, that kind of thing mattered to Draco. Not in the least. He was here as a sense of duty to his father, and to make sure that Devlin didn't get her. He always hated that man. He really did.
When she finally entered the office, upon knocking on the door twice, Draco was taken aback slightly. It was the scent in the air that overwhelmed him first. Was it strawberries? Merlin. It was either strawberries or passion fruit. She was very, very close to her time. The room fell quiet when she walked in. The late afternoon sun was waning, but it was still bright enough to light her features, and to make her seem warm and welcoming. Almost otherworldly, and she didn't even know it.
Her hair was the same chestnut colour. Waves and curls that she'd always had, worn in long layers over her back and shoulders. She smiled, and her eyes sparkled with hints of gold and amber. Draco felt gobsmacked, as if he had never met the woman. In fact, Halberdsen stood to welcome her before he did, a fact that rankled him to no end. Then the damn solicitor shook her hand next. While those two fools fondled her hand and made fools of themselves, Draco continued to look at her oval face and fine figure.
She was beautiful. Was she always so beautiful? Yet she looked wane and somewhat sad. She looked overly tired. She was always on the small side, a fact that he just now registered. A fact that made him feel primitive down to his toes, because he wanted to sweep her off her feet and tuck her next to his side, away from the other men.
Then, the strangest thing happened. She approached him with a smile. She never smiled at him.
She hugged him. It felt odd to have her small, but lithe body melding next to his. He stood ramrod straight for a moment, until he felt her arms go tightly around his middle. She was warm and acquiescent next to him, so he lifted his arms, threw them around her, and stroked her back several times, before he greeted her with a, "You're late, Granger."
She smelled like summer rain. She turned her face up to his, her smile vanished, and in its place was a look of trepidation and weariness.
He wanted to bend his head, place his mouth on hers, and kiss her. How odd was that?
Then he realized that his response couldn't be real. It had to be him responding to the fact that she was so close to her ascension. Yet, her hand came up to his face, brushed his cheek, and she said, "Always frowning. You seem to be always frowning. Why are you even here, Malfoy?"
Another wave of heat coursed through his body, along with a fragrant desire to pick her up and take her away from the other men. As far as he was concerned, the fact that she greeted him with a hug, albeit a weary one, meant that she had already made up her mind as to her choice and it was he. He was seriously about to do just that when Halberdsen said, "We need to get started."
The man had the gall to reach over and snake a hand around her arm, pulling her away from Draco. Draco wanted to reach back over and pull her back, but he reigned those feelings in, pushed them aside, for now. The solicitor pointed to a seat by the desk, and Halberdsen ushered her to it, taking the seat next to it.
Draco decided to stand to the right of the solicitor, so he could watch her and Halberdsen the entire time.
She rubbed her eyes, then said, "Fine, fine, tell me, why am I here? If it's about Jon's estate, I already told you, Devlin, I don't want anything. He died nine months ago, so I don't understand why we're just now settling things anyway. We were in the process of divorcing when he died, in fact, our divorce was almost final. He only had to sign his copy of the papers."
Devlin smiled at her, making actual bile rise to Draco's throat. He wanted to take out his wand and do permanent damage to the man so badly. Devlin said, "This has nothing to do with Jon's estate, Hermione. This has to do with his legacy, and as far as the divorce is concerned, our magical law doesn't recognize Muggle divorces anyway, not that it matters, because you were still legally married when he died, which means his estate is under my control, as his next oldest male relative."
Draco cleared his throat and was about to argue that point when she threw up her hands, and with reproach in her voice, said, "Fine, then you can have everything! I already sold our house and sent his half of the money to his family! I sent all his belongings there, too! You can have it all! Why are we here?"
When Halberdsen didn't answer, Hermione turned to Draco. Draco suddenly found the pattern on the carpet very interesting. Lastly, she turned to the small solicitor sitting at his desk.
The middle-aged man said, "Mrs. Hagen…" only to be corrected by her when she said, "Miss Granger. My name is no longer Mrs. Hagen, so please call me Miss Granger."
"Ah…fine, Miss Granger, under the statue that protects magical creatures, section 12, article nine, when Veela marries another species, such as a Muggle or a Witch or Wizard, they are still protected under the laws of their own kind. However, when Veela marries one of his or her own kind, the law that protects magical creatures is very specific."
Hermione stood up suddenly. "What are you talking about? What law? Section 12, article nine, or what statue, or what law?"
"The law that protects magical creatures, such as Veela, Werewolves, Vampires, etc. You see, most of these creatures have their own laws, and under the laws that govern our kind, they are allowed, to a certain degree, to carry out their own laws, or practice their own rules and customs, govern their own kind, as is their tradition. Since you married a man who was more than one fourth Veela, and who was a practicing Veela, you fall under that edict."
Hermione's eyes lost their sparkle and shine. They turned from amber to a deep, cold brown. She stood, her stance suddenly that of a warrior, a fighter. Her weariness gone, she said, "Let me understand you, Sir. Are you saying that my husband was a Veela?"
Before the solicitor could answer, Devlin Halberdsen leaned forward and said, "It's not proper to say, 'a Veela' just 'Veela' and yes, he was. I am. So is, unfortunately, your old friend, Draco Malfoy."
Hermione gasped, turned to Draco, and said, "No."
Draco shrugged with one shoulder. He hadn't intended for her to find out this way, but it was a relatively easy and painless way for her to find out. So be it.
She turned back to the other gentlemen and said, "Be that as it may, it doesn't matter, because you said the law protects them when they marry someone of their own kind. I'm not VEELA," she turned to Devlin, making a point not to say, 'a Veela', "I'm a Muggle-born witch, so the law must not discriminate against me, correct?"
The little man looked at Draco for help. Draco said, "You're on your own with this one, old man."
The man looked at Halberdsen. Hermione turned to the other man and waited. Draco waited as well. While he waited, his feelings of hate for the man wrapped up with his feelings of desire for her, making him feel an antagonism and an enmity that he couldn't quite explain.
Then suddenly, Halberdsen started talking. He told Hermione that her great-grandmother, last name Hansson, was from Sweden, and though she was a Muggle, she was refuted to be an ancestor of the Valkyrie. He said that his branch of Veela had been set to watch her family for centuries, with the hope that someone with magical powers would emerge, to lay claim as the last true descendent of the great Valkyrie warrior princesses.
He told her that she was that person - the last Valkyrie. Jon was made to marry her by his family, but that he failed her. Then the man told her that 'HE' wouldn't fail her, as his cousin had.
The entire time the man spoke, she looked shock, incredulous, with one hand on her chest over her heart, the other hand on her wand. Finally, when he told her that on her twenty-fifth birthday she would 'ascend' to her full powers, but that she would need a male Valkyrie there, or in this case (since no male Valkyrie existed) a male Veela, to help her ascend, or she would die, Hermione Granger did something that shocked Draco Malfoy to his very core.
She walked over to him, took him by his hand and said, "Are you leaving with me, or are you staying here?"
"But…" Draco stuttered.
"You can't leave, Mrs. Hagen," the little solicitor spouted. "We have so much more we need to tell you! Please, you don't understand."
"Malfoy?" she pleaded.
"Granger?" he asked back.
"Don't you even think about walking out that door!" Devlin Halberdsen ordered.
Hermione Granger walked up to Devlin Halberdsen, placed a finger under his nose, and said, "I've never liked you, and I never will! And the funny thing is, I actually believe you, but if I need a Veela, or Veela, to attend me, whatever that means, it will be him," and she pointed to Draco, "and not you," then she pointed back to him.
She took Draco's hand and she walked out the door.
She was still holding his hand as they walked further down the busy sidewalk, only dropping it when they reached the corner. Finally, she turned to Draco and said, "I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I believe them, Malfoy! I believe the complete crazy story! However, what did they mean when they said I would need a male Veela to attend me when I ascended?"
Draco swallowed hard again and said, "They, ah, well, it means…hell, Granger. It means I'll have to have sex with you." There. He said it.
Her mouth opened in shock and she Disapparated away, leaving Draco Malfoy alone on the corner of the sidewalk. He cursed, then sighed, then went to go find her.
Because there was so much more to it than that. And because she'd chosen him, after all, hadn't she?