Important: I accidentally left out a vital detail in the last chapter. Please re-read the first line of the last scene with the gentlemen. I added three little words which make a big difference! Thank You!
Disclaimer: I am not J.K Rowling and so have no claim over any names you recognise.
Hermione woke up slowly. The light streaming in through the windows clashed painfully with her still sleepy eyes and the burn radiated sharply to her temple. She snapped her eyes shut, her nose wrinkling at the stinging pain.
Why weren't the curtains closed? And why was the mattress so hard? And what time was it? Why hadn't her alarm gone off? Why hadn't she woken up before her alarm had gone off?
The questions drifted through her mind in quick succession and with squinted eyes, she lifted her head off her rock hard mattress.
She froze when one glance up answered her second question. Dear Merlin- she was draped all over Malfoy! She was practically laying spread eagled over his body, her right arm hugging his waist whilst her right leg was flung proprietarily over his thighs.
Please don't let him be awake!
"Good morning, Mate."
Hermione tensed as she heard him speak. Underneath her chest, his own, the very thing she'd apparently been using as a pillow, rumbled in vibration.
She swallowed in embarrassment, eventually tilting her head back further only to see him looking down on her with a pleased smile over his face.
Her eyes widened at his expression and she quickly made to lift off his body but the hands clasped at her waist tightened and she dropped back down on him with a whoosh.
She sent him an uncomfortable look, managing to manoeuvre her legs so that she was no longer straddling him but his refusal to let go off her waist meant she ended up lying in an odd diagonal position.
"Um, Malfoy." She said as she made to push herself off his chest again.
This time he complied and Hermione quickly shifted her upper body off his, pulling the duvet around her body in a defensive armour.
What in Merlin's name had happened? In the next split second, last night's events hit her like a Bludger to the head.
She gasped in her embarrassment, flicking her gaze to Malfoy's before shifting it away when she saw his satisfied smile had turned into one of arrogance.
She quickly jolted off the bed. Managing a squeak which slightly resembled the word bathroom, she ran to the room and once she'd safely locked the door, she buried her head in her hands.
Dear Merlin! How could she? She'd practically rubbed herself all over him last night! And this was after she'd made a point of how no-one would be climaxing behind their closed doors.
Ugh, his bloody bonding scent! Hermione's disgust grew even further as the mere thought of his scent caused her body to start thrumming in attention.
She quickly stepped into the shower, letting the warm water fall over her face as more memories slowly came back to her.
Oh, she'd acted like a sex starved hussy! Thank Merlin she had made Malfoy promise that he wouldn't have sex with her, regardless of anything she might say under the influence of his scent.
And he'd actually kept his promise…
She was oddly surprised and pleased. At least she could rely on him to keep a clear head- a fact that was only right since it was because of him that hers was getting so confused.
As she patted her body dry with a towel and moved over to the sink to brush her teeth, more memories revealed themselves and she couldn't help but pause at Malfoy's actions after she'd come down from her high.
He'd been sweet. He'd acted sweet to her before but she'd always been suspicious of his actions, believing him to be putting on an act.
But last night, he'd for all intent and purposes, achieved his end game.
Hermione blushed. She only wished his being sweet wasn't so embarrassing for her.
Good orgasms always had the power to send her into a sleepy stupor. She vaguely remembered Malfoy righting her clothes… and then cleaning her up with a warm towel…
Oh Merlin! Her blush deepened further and she washed her face with cold water in order to settle her body temperature back down to normal levels.
And now it was time to face the rest of her day. Day one of married life.
Hermione frowned, not liking the title. She didn't feel married. And like most other witches, she'd dreamt of what her wedding day would entail. Blood and biting, no matter how intense an experience it may be, had never factored into the equation.
"It is like a marriage." That's what Fleur had said. Like a marriage. So technically they weren't married. The thought made her feel slightly better.
Instead…they were Mated. And somehow, she had a feeling that the majority of the occupants in this Manor would find that a more momentous relationship than that of husband and wife.
Husband…Mate? Should she start calling him Draco?
Tentatively, she touched the ever present golden thread in her mind. She kept the contact short, but in the millisecond she held on for; she felt a wave of contentment rush over her.
Well, at least one of them was 100% happy.
She sighed as she studied her reflection in the mirror, her eyes looking over her flushed skin. Well at least one good thing had come from their mating; Malfoy's skin had lost its grey pallor and looked healthy again.
Harry and Ron suddenly popped into her head and Hermione dried her face with firm rubs of the towel.
Dear Merlin- what was she going to tell people?
She hadn't brought in a change of clothes and so putting on the jeans and shirt she had slept in, she walked back into the bedroom. Malfoy was sitting against the headboard, the duvet riding low on his hips and as Hermione followed the small trail of pale blond hair disappearing…Dear Merlin, please say that he was wearing bottoms and she hadn't been lying on a naked man all night!
"My Hermione likes what she sees." Malfoy commented.
Hermione jumped and averted her eyes as she fidgeted with her hands.
"Veela is glad his body pleases his Mate. My Hermione's body pleases Veela too."
Hermione fought the need to cover herself. She cleared her throat pointedly. "Shouldn't you be getting ready?"
Malfoy frowned, "For what purpose? Last night was our bonding ceremony. No one will expect Veela and his Mate to come out of their room today."
Hermione flushed at the images his words brought to mind. Merlin! When had her mind turned so dirty?
She cleared her throat again. "I want to go and see Padma." She said in reply.
She saw Malfoy frown in puzzlement, "My Mate is embarrassed?"
Hermione said nothing, merely looking at him in silence. Malfoy pushed the duvet off his body and Hermione was glad to see him wearing boxer shorts. She belatedly realised just where she was looking and quickly shifted her gaze back to his face.
Malfoy climbed off the bed and walked over to her. She straightened her spine as he neared her, wishing that she was taller so she didn't have to tilt her head so much when she looked at him.
Her breath held in her chest as Malfoy's knuckles rubbed down her cheek, "Veela's Hermione has no reason to be embarrassed. Veela has waited ten years to hear his Mate's cries. They were sweeter than he could have ever imagined."
Hermione closed her eyes at his mortifying words. After she managed to stop her face from burning, she stepped away from him. "Right…well…I'm glad…for you…" she said stupidly.
Malfoy grinned before moving towards the bathroom. "My Hermione's friend is coming down the corridor." He said as he stepped out of sight. And then his head popped back around the doorway. "My Hermione will only invite the witches inside." He said before shutting the door.
Hermione frowned at his odd words but moved towards the door regardless. She pulled it open and stepped back at the unexpected group standing in front of her. Padma had her arm raised, as if to knock on the door. Blaise stood behind her, James to his side with Parvati in front of him. The latter two were glaring at each other and from the way their heads were turned and the angry flush on Parvati's cheeks, they'd just been arguing about something.
Hermione smiled. It was nice to know that not everything had changed.
"Oh Hermione!" Padma said in surprise as she dropped her fisted hand.
"Hi." She said before her smile turned into a frown at the broad grin James was sending her way. With his blood red eyes and shiny white teeth, he looked more than a little mad.
"Good night?" he asked casually.
Before Hermione could respond, Parvati elbowed him none to gently in the stomach and he sent her an annoyed glare. "Hit me again and next time, I'll reciprocate." He hissed at her.
Parvati rolled her eyes in response as she turned away from him.
Hermione frowned and she looked back to Padma and Blaise, evidently the most sensible of the four. "What's going on?" she asked.
"It's late and since no-one's seen you since last night," Padma began before her cheeks tinged in colour, "I came to see if you needed something to eat," she finished before lifting her other hand which contained two large muffins.
Hermione took them from her. "Thanks, I was just about to come-"
"I think you did that last night." James quickly interjected.
Hermione gasped at his words and then her mouth fell open as realisation flooded her. Dear Merlin! How could she have forgotten there were people waiting outside their door?!
She wanted to crawl into a hole and disappear!
"Rosier, you're such a bloody arse." Parvati snarled as she elbowed him audibly, her elbow hitting his stomach muscles with a crack.
"That's it, Patil!" James barked. One of his arms came to grab onto her arm and he twisted her around violently before hauling her up to his chest. His other arm retreated, its path intending to finish on Parvati's backside.
"Stop it! Both of you!" Padma snapped.
James snarled but obeyed Padma's orders by dropping his hand and letting go of Parvati's arm. The witch made a point of rubbing away James's touch with a disgusted expression on her face.
"Next time I'll kick you were it hurts! If I can find the area…" she muttered under her breath.
"And next time, little girl, I'll turn you over my knee." James hissed, obviously having heard her.
Parvati let out a frustrated screech, "I'm not a little girl, Rosier!"
"Stop it!" Padma scolded again.
Hermione couldn't help the smile from stretching over lips. Parvati grumbled but James looked like a puppy being told off by his Master. Once Padma had turned away from him, he sent a deathly glare to the back of Parvati's head.
Hermione was glad for their little spat. It had certainly helped divert the attention from her and Malfoy. At least for a little while.
All four visitors turned back to her.
"I was actually coming to see you," she told Padma.
The witch nodded before glancing around to face Zabini. She bit her lip before speaking softly, "Are you going to wait here?"
Zabini nodded and Hermione watched in wonder as some feeling entered his stoic eyes as they softened at Padma's words. From beside him, James made a noise with his throat and Padma looked at him. "Play nice," she said, directing her words to him.
James raised his eyebrows and grinned wolfishly in response.
Hermione stepped back from the door, making way for both sisters to enter but only Padma did. She turned back to look at Parvati.
The witch smiled. "I only came to satisfy my own curiosity. I have to get to work on seeing how our press release went down with the public. I'll see you guys later," and with that she walked away.
Hermione gave one last polite smile to Zabini and James before she turned around. Malfoy was just walking out of the bathroom, thankfully fully clothed this time to avoid any more embarrassing moments, and he glanced at their visitors.
Walking over to her, Hermione froze as she wondered on what he was going to do in front of the others. He must have sensed her reticence for public displays of affection as he merely stroked down her neck before lifting her wrist to kiss the tips of her fingers.
"Veela will wait for his Hermione outside of the door." He stated against her fingers before he dropped her hand and walked out.
Hermione stood still for a moment before she moved to close the door behind him. She turned to face Padma who was looking at Hermione with a stunned expression on her face.
"Merlin, Hermione. What happened between the two of you?"
Hermione sighed. She sat on the bed, waiting for Padma to follow suit before she explained everything- after making sure she'd placed a Muffliato charm on the room of course.
It took a long time. A long time. A time in which Hermione voiced every fear, every hesitation and every question she'd had since waking up yesterday morning.
Padma didn't say anything for a few moments after Hermione finished. When she did speak, it had Hermione's head whipping her way.
"There had to have been something in the air last night."
"…I kissed Blaise." She admitted in a quiet voice.
"It was last night, before my shift at the Ward. I don't know what happened. One minute we were talking and then the next he was close and then he started touching my face and the next thing I know, we were kissing." She rushed out in one long breath.
"So…did anything happen?" Hermione asked.
Padma quickly shook her head. "I haven't changed my mind. There's no way I can be his Mate. Not when there's the whole painful biting thing involved." She said, her body shuddering in a shiver.
Hermione flushed as she recalled her own bite.
Padma let out a frustrated groan that snapped her out of her thoughts. "I can't believe myself!" She said, slapping her palms on the mattress on either side of her body. "I don't want to talk about it," she declared before turning her head back to Hermione, "so do you know what you're going to tell everyone?"
Hermione slumped her shoulders. "I have no clue. I'm guessing everyone at the Manor knows what happened between the two of us?"
Padma nodded pityingly. "Sorry…"
Hermione closed her eyes at the inevitability. She took a deep breath before opening them again. "I don't know what to say. Fleur said that it was like a marriage but I can't think of him as my husband. Not yet anyway."
"…Can you think of him as your Mate?"
Hermione froze at the question she should have expected. It took her awhile but she slowly nodded her head. "After everything that's happened, it's not as if I can refute it anymore."
"So that's what you tell everyone."
Hermione laughed without mirth. "I don't think that is going to go down too well with Harry and Ron or even the rest of the Weasley's."
"You have time. You don't have to worry about them yet. The identity of everyone staying here is still confidential to protect us and Harry and Ron haven't been assigned duty here which means you won't be facing them anytime soon."
"But I'll have to tell them eventually."
"Maybe by that time Malfoy will have regained his memory? It might make things easier if he acts less, you know…"
Hermione shook her head. "I don't know what's going on with his memory. I told you that his tests show that everything is fine. I thought in the beginning that he was maybe lying to me- that he knew I would want nothing to do with him if he was still the same Malfoy from Hogwarts but now…I don't know."
Silence descended between the two of them.
Eventually Hermione sighed, having grown tired of the conversation. She quickly changed topics. "Parvati mentioned a press release? It went out yesterday?"
Padma nodded. "In the evening edition so it would have the highest amount of readers. The Prophet was advertising the story the whole day."
"Do you think it'll do its job?"
"Hopefully it'll be a start. I don't think one press release is going to change anyone's minds though. The community need to see first- hand that the tenebris one can assimilate without being a threat. Articles in a newspaper, especially the Prophet, won't change their mind."
"Is that what Parvati said?"
Padma nodded. "She hates the fact that the articles will be running in the Prophet but her French paper doesn't have a high enough circulation in the UK."
"It's a start." Hermione said, repeating Padma's words softly.
"There's more. Parvati told me last night. She overheard Kingsley talking to one of the Auror's. Apparently the Muggle government is closing in on the people involved from their end. They managed to make one arrest but he's someone high profile and their media and justice system works differently to ours so they're finding it difficult to charge him without revealing everything about the Wizarding World."
Hermione frowned. "I would have thought the Ministry would be able to intervene?"
Padma shook her head. "The British Prime Minister isn't allowing it. He thinks this is the fault of the Wizarding world since someone from our world must have made the first contact with the Muggles involved and started the entire process. He wants to handle this alone with as little interference as possible from the Ministry. Although I'm sure the Ministry is ready with memory charms in hand should they need them."
"And Parvati overheard this?"
Padma laughed. "Don't ask me how my sister can nose out information. I don't think I even want to know. But you can't tell anyone."
Hermione quickly promised she wouldn't.
"Good. If the tenebris ones found out that the Muggle government are being lenient to anyone involved, well then there would be no chance of proving to the Wizarding World that they aren't a threat."
Hermione grimaced. "James would not be pleased."
Padma agreed. "Unfortunately he wouldn't be the only one. There are others who feel the same way as him but they're letting James speak for them for now. They might get fed up with being able to do nothing in the future. And if that happens- I'm not sure if Blaise will be able to stop them from getting revenge."
Hermione's eyes widened at the information, "Why does it sound like things aren't going well between Zabini and James?"
Padma grimaced, "Probably because they're not. They can't seem to agree on anything…and since they both seem to be stuck to me like glue, I get the pleasure of hearing every one of their arguments…Well, James argues, Blaise refuses to rise to the bait which only makes James madder."
Hermione swallowed tightly, "I have this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that this is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better."
Padma nodded, "Me too." She whispered.
Before they could discuss any further, there was a knock on the door and Hermione quickly moved to open it. All three men were standing side by side.
"The Healer has need for Mate and her friend in the Ward." Malfoy informed.
Hermione quickly turned to look at Padma over her shoulder. The witch was already beginning to stand from the bed, "What's happened?" she asked worriedly.
"There has been another rescue mission." Zabini said solemnly.
"It's bad?" Hermione asked hesitantly, her eyes flicking over to James who had his palms clenched into tight fists.
Zabini nodded and Padma quickly hurried over to Hermione. "Let's go."
Hermione closed the door and with Malfoy's palm heavy on the nape of her neck, the group quickly hurried to the Ward.
When Hermione opened the door to the Ward, she was expecting a scene similar to that of when she had first stepped onto Ward 17. But the room was oddly silent, other than a small huddle that had formed at the end of the room.
Both she and Padma quickly hurried over to the crowd and Hermione saw Healer Johnson and Healer Bentley both waving their wands frantically over the patient lying in the bed next to them.
It was only once they were close to the bed that they got their first glimpse of the patient. Hermione was struck still and Padma the same.
The man wasn't someone Hermione recognised. But at first glance, she wasn't looking to see if the wizard was someone she knew. Instead, her mind could only catalogue the differences that his creature half had resulted in his human body.
The wizard's eyes were open, the pupils an eerily emerald green colour and they shone like they were made of crystal jewels despite the blank expression they currently showed. And his skin…there were shiny green blue patches embedded in dotted areas over his arms and torso.
It was obvious to Hermione what the rogue scientists had tried to splice his human DNA with. But the thought was so abhorrent…
Vampires, Werewolves and even a male Veela she could come to terms with…But this…
Horrified, she looked to Healer Johnson in confirmation. The wizard caught her eye.
He only needed to say one word but it confirmed her horrible suspicions.
Author's Note: Cheers to all my lovely reviewers! You make being ill a lot more fun so the chapter is for you guys! As always, I hope you liked it and thank you for reading! Until next time, Curiositykils.