Chapter 06

Lucius Malfoy stood frozen in shock, stunned by the sheer amount of emotion Harry Potter had shown. The unearthly wail the raven-haired wizard had unleashed still reverberated in Lucius’ soul. He knew, by the amount of pain in that cry, that Harry Potter would never intentionally hurt his son. Relieved, he walked out of the school, took a carriage down to Hogsmeade, and Apparted back to Malfoy Manor.

Harry and Draco were in Potions class yet again, but for the first time in forever, they had a substitute teacher. Remus Lupin looked as haggard as ever in his patchy robes, and his voice gave away how tired he really was.

No wonder he’s tired, Harry thought to himself. He just transformed a few days ago.

“I wonder where Snape is?” Draco wondered aloud.

Harry shrugged. “Probably running an errand for Dumbledore.” More like spying for the man, Harry grinned inwardly. I should probably tell Draco that sometime soon. It might amuse him to find out that particular fact.

Just then, as if speaking the Headmaster’s name was an instant way to call him, the man burst into the classroom, face flushed. “Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter-I need to see you two outside immediately.” The man’s voice was urgent and brooked no argument, and the twinkle in his eye having disappeared made him look half-insane.

Harry and Draco both knocked over their chairs in their haste to exit the room. Something was very wrong. Harry didn’t need his Hecatemus powers to know that. And apparently, neither did Draco, for he was acting quite fidgety.

“Harry, I know this might be a bit rude, but it is very important. Have you and Draco fully bonded yet?” The Headmaster asked, leading the two teenagers down the hall.

Harry looked at Draco for permission to answer Dumbledore’s question. Receiving a slight nod, Harry answered, “Not yet, sir. I do not know if we will, Headmaster. That is entirely up to Draco. If I might ask, what does that have to do with anything?”

Dumbledore sighed. “Perhaps nothing, Harry. Perhaps nothing.”

“Sir?” Draco asked. “What exactly did you bring us here for?”

“Ah, that.” Dumbledore’s expression was not a happy one. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Mr. Malfoy, but Voldemort found your father. The Dark Lord was lying in wait for your father at the Manor and, well, let’s just say that it did not end pleasantly.”

Draco’s heart went numb and he pushed away from Harry’s offered comfort. Shock cascaded through Draco and he took off at a run, diving into his bed as soon as he reached the empty Slytherin dorms. How could this have happened? Draco thought to himself, tears rolling down his cheeks. Just a few hours ago my father was perfectly safe and alive. He was smiling and he approved of Harry. Why did Voldemort have to enter into the equation? My father didn’t hurt him. He never publicly disapproved of him at all, so what gave him the right to murder my father? He was my father and my best friend. He meant everything to me. Oh gods, why did it have to be him?

Draco’s sobs racked his body for a full hour and a half before his logical reasoning took over. It’s all because of this bloody war! His mind shouted. If Harry had killed Voldemort already my father would still be alive! Here his incessant anger gave out. But it isn’t Harry’s fault. Harry was only one, he couldn’t have known how to defeat the Dark Lord then. Draco sighed. He really needed to find Harry. Better than anyone, Draco knew how much he distrusted people, and if Harry was his mate, the blonde really needed to learn how to trust him. Why is it that every time Harry offers his help, I refuse it? Draco knew the answer, of course, but that didn’t mean he had to accept it. Sighing once more, he picked himself up off his bed, and prepared himself-yet again-to apologize to his mate.

Ron and Harry were playing Wizards’ Chess up in Gryffindor Tower, discussing Draco, of all people. “Harry, I do not understand what you see in Malfoy. He has never been nice to any one of us, never given us a reason to trust him, and we’ve always assumed he was affiliated with Voldemort. I’m still not full convinced he’s not.”

Harry ran a hand through his hair, sighing, and foolishly put himself in check before rectifying the siuation. “Ron, I can assure you that he is in no way affiliated to Voldemort. And as to how,” he added at Ron’s suspicious look, “his father was just murdered at the man’s very hands.”

Ron stared at him in disbelief.

“That’s why Dumbledore crashed into Potions earlier.”

“Oh. But that still doesn’t answer my question. Why Malfoy?”

“Ron, I am pulled towards him by my Veela bood. But it is more than that. I don’t know how to explain it. When he enters a room I always find him, no matter how thick the crowd might be. He could be fifty miles away and crying his eyes out and I would know. It is like a bond that goes deep down even without the full bonding ritual.” Harry looked at his best friend, desperately wanting Ron to understand.

After a couple of seconds, Ron exploded in shock, “Blimey, Harry! You’ve gone and fallen in love with the bloke!”

Harry blushed a deep crimson. “I guess I have, Ron. And it isn’t all that bad, either,” he added defensively.

Ron smiled, happy for his best friend. But he was rather squeamish about the whole “Malfoy” issue so he added, “Just don’t tell me about anything the two of you do. Ever. Really. Ew.”

Harry grinned as Ron shuddered. “Ron, not to be offensive or anything, but Hermione is the best person to go for advice on relationships.”

Ron returned the grin good-naturedly. “No offense taken, mate.”

Harry sighed. And speaking of relationship advice, I am going to need some serious help in not too much longer. Draco has avoidance issues-that much I can spot a mile off. But he also has a serious problem with trusting people. And more than anything, I need him to be able to trust me. After all, he is my mate. And I do have to spend eternity with him. Harry smiled serenely at the thought. Sure, Draco was a bit thick-headed. But the boy had a soft side-Harry just knew it. Now if only he could find it. That was going to be the hard part.

Draco paused outside the Fat Lady’s portrait and stated, “Hecatemus,” extremely pleased when the portrait swung open to admit him entrance. Draco stepped carefully inside, ignoring the malicious glares of the majority of the Gryffindors. He had expected nothing else. After all, only Hermione, Ron, and Harry had been in the Common Room the previous night.

Harry, who was sitting alone, brooding, looked up. Ron had found Hermione in the library and they had gone off to do “couple stuff.” The raven-haired wizard smiled uncertanly at Draco, not quite certain why the Slytherin was making an appearance in Gryffindor Tower with so many witnesses around.

“Hello, Draco,” he said courteously, shrugging off his confusion. The rest of the Gryffindors turned their previous glare for Draco on Harry, who gave as good as he got.

“He isn’t supposed to be in here,” Neville Longbottom stated haughtily.

Harry glowered at the boy, who shrank in fear, and began to speak, ire quite apparent in his tone. “As I’m certain you are all supposed to be aware of the situation between me and Draco, it appears that you have forgotten. I am part Veela and part Hecatemus and Draco Malfoy is my chosen mate. He is here at my behest-I gave him the password to Gryffindor Tower. Any quarrel you have with him you have with me. Do I make myself quite clear?”

The Gryffindors nodded, awed by Harry’s rare show of raw authority. A few of them had seriously doubted that Harry could be such an authority figure, but that little speech had proved them very wrong.

“Hi, Harry,” Draco said.

Just then, Hermione and Ron came stumbling down the stairs.

So that’s where they got to, Harry thought in amusement.

Catching sight of Draco, Ron blushed crimson through his grin.

Startled, Draco immediately reverted to sarcasm-his automatic self-defense mechanism. “Been enjoying yourself, Weasel?” he sneered. “Geting off with the-

“Don’t say it, Malfoy,” Harry growled in his ear. “If you do, I swear I will not hesitate to slap you.” Draco caught the undercurrent of thought, It’ll kill me to do so, but I’ll be damned before I’ll let you hurt my friends.

Draco swallowed hard, remembering his lessons about Veela. Once a Veela slaps a chosen mate, they have rejected the bond that would have existed between him/her and their bondmate. They will never take another person as mate, and a Veela’s rejection cannot be taken back. Smiling softly, he started over. “Sorry about that Weasley, you startled me.” It was the first time in his life the blonde had ever been so completely honest about his emotions.

Harry smiled at him-a secret smile-and Draco’s heart lifted. He would hate to have to apologize to Harry-again!

Ron looked pretty shocked himself. He looked at Harry, then Draco, then Harry again and went scarlet. As he walked by he muttered, “I don’t want to know. Ever.”

Harry rolled his eyes, grinning at Draco, who was rather confused about the whole thing. The only thing the Slytherin was sure about was the amount of relief he was feeling. Harry had almost truly rejected him as his mate. Draco went numb at that thought, having finally realized just how much the crazy Gryffindor meant to him Quietly, and on his own initiative, Draco slipped his pale hand into Harry’s tan one.

Chapter 5     Chapter Index     Chapter 7

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