[personal profile] valentine_veela
Title: Much Ado About Nothing
Author: [personal profile] the_gubette
Pairing: (highlight to read - spoiler warning!)*Draco/Harry, very very mild Draco/Ron*
Prompt #:
Rating: very soft R
Word Count: ~9200
Warning(s): (highlight to read)*language, silly boys kissing*
Author's Note: [personal profile] lotus_lizzy, I hope you and the rest of the [community profile] do_me_veela community enjoy it!
Disclaimer: This piece of art or fiction is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros. Inc. No money is being made, no copyright or trademark infringement, or offence is intended. All characters depicted in sexual situations are above the age of consent.


"Honestly, Harry. We haven't even been here an hour. You can survive a little longer."

Hermione's reprimand was because, once again, Harry had moved his hand to loosen his tie. Hermione batted at his hands and straightened the shoulders of his dress robes. She gave him a Look.

"I know you don't want to be here. This isn't exactly my idea of a good time, either. But we should make the best of it, and we can slip out early after we’ve made an adequate appearance."

Harry nodded obediently, then smiled at Ron's sympathetic look. Ron’s face immediately cracked into an answering smile and he held up his glass, sloshing the contents around inside it. "Don't worry, mate. At least the drinks are free!"

Harry gave a laugh that was only slightly forced, and felt his body start to relax. Maybe this won't be so bad after all, he thought.

In the two months since the defeat of Voldemort, Harry had come to dread the formal dinners and celebrations he was constantly expected to attend, because it always seemed as if he was expected to make some speech, or toast, or to re-tell the whole story of the final battle and his eventual victory. Harry had begun repeating the same version almost verbatim after the third time.

However, Kingsley had assured him that tonight, all that was expected was his presence, and that he was more than welcome to make an early night of it if he so desired. The absence of the normal expectations made the party much more bearable. He grinned, as much to himself as to his best friend, and snatched a glass of champagne from a tray floating past.

"There is that, Ron. Free alcohol is never a bad thing." He took a swig of champagne as Ron laughed and Hermione rolled her eyes. Yes, maybe this party wouldn't be so bad.

Harry was ready for a semi-drunken conversation, but Hermione changed the subject. "Wait… isn't that Draco Malfoy?" She sounded surprised, and Harry couldn't blame her.

Malfoy had become something of a recluse since Voldemort's defeat. Harry had quietly persuaded Kingsley not to press charges against Draco and Narcissa, and to reduce the charges against Lucius. The elder Malfoy was sentenced to a month in Azkaban, and three years of house arrest. Harry hadn't been prepared for such a light sentence, but when he questioned Kingsley about it, the Minister had given the vague reply that Lucius had shown sufficient evidence that he needed to be with his family as soon as possible. Lucius had just been released the week before, so Harry was surprised to see Draco out at a party so soon.

Harry watched Malfoy at the side of the room. He seemed to be staying as near the wall as possible, yet continuing to move slowly through the crowd. Harry also noticed that no matter what part of the room Malfoy was in, he was always watching Harry, Ron and Hermione. Actually, Malfoy didn't even seem to notice Harry, which surprised him – something fluttered in Harry's stomach at the thought of Malfoy not noticing him, but he chose to ignore it. Malfoy’s eyes stayed on Ron, never letting Harry's friend out of his sight.

Harry nudged Ron and nodded toward Malfoy. "Mate, Malfoy keeps looking over here. I think he might be up to something."

Instead of growling, or cursing, or getting angry as Harry had expected, Ron just laughed and thumped Harry on the shoulder. "Harry, I hate to say this, but you've got to move on. I'm not afraid of Malfoy. I doubt he'll try anything, but I feel pretty confident that we can handle it if he does."

With that, Ron slipped his arm around Hermione's waist, and gave her a small kiss on the cheek of her stunned face. Ron laughed again. "What? Why does everyone always expect me to be the one who hates Malfoy? I just think it's time to move on from petty grudges. We've survived a war; Malfoy included. Old Hogwarts rivalries just don't seem as important anymore. Besides, I learned my lesson about letting my temper get the best of me during the war."

Harry sighed, remembering the time Ron was referring to – when he left Harry and Hermione in the forest, then came back in time to save Harry and the Sword of Gryffindor from a frozen lake. Harry was happy for his friend's newfound maturity, but he had noticed the way Malfoy's eyes had narrowed on Ron when he’d kissed Hermione. Malfoy was definitely up to something.

Harry was so lost in his attempts to figure out what Malfoy was planning, that he didn't notice Malfoy himself had approached Ron until he heard his friend greet him. "Hello, Malfoy. How have you been?"

If Malfoy's stunned look was anything to go by, Malfoy was just as surprised by Ron's change of attitude as Harry had been. Malfoy, however, recovered much more quickly than Harry had. He nodded and extended his hand for Ron to shake. Ron took the proffered hand without hesitation, causing another strange flutter to travel through Harry's stomach. It grew as Harry realized that Malfoy had not yet acknowledged him. He seemed completely focused on Ron.

"Weasley. I've been well, thank you for asking. I was wondering if I could speak to you in private, please." It seemed to Harry that Malfoy had tacked on the please as an afterthought, but Ron didn’t seem to notice. Instead, Ron looked thoughtful.

"No. Don't worry about Harry or Hermione, Malfoy. Anything you and I discuss, I'll inevitably tell them anyway."

For a moment, Malfoy looked uncomfortable, but the look was gone before Harry could really process it. Malfoy scanned the ballroom, then replied, "If you'd like Potter and Granger present, that's fine. However, I would rather this conversation took place in a more private setting than the grand ballroom with hundreds of ears listening in. Could we perhaps move into a side room?" Malfoy gestured to a door set in the wall not far from where they stood.

Ron nodded. "Sure. Let's go."

The two of them started walking toward the door before Harry could truly process what was happening. By the time he understood that Malfoy wanted to speak to Ron in private, and that Ron seemed to be okay with this bizarre request, his two best friends and one former arch-enemy were almost out of the room. He hurried to catch up.

Once they were seated comfortably, and suitable privacy charms had been placed around the room, Malfoy began to fidget. Harry decided that it was finally time to speak.

"Ok, we're here. What is it that you want, Malfoy?"

Malfoy’s fidgeting immediately disappeared as he turned to glare at Harry. "My business is not with you, Potter. Weasley wanted you to come. I don't mind that you're here, but what I have to say is between me and Weasley, so your input is not needed."

Harry began to move from his seat, but a hand on his arm stopped him. He turned to look at Hermione, who simply shook her head and gestured for him to sit back. Harry huffed, shot Malfoy a dark look, and sat back in his chair.

Malfoy turned back to Ron. "Weasley, you may or may not know, but my 18th birthday was a month ago, on June 5."

Ron ignored Harry's snort and shook his head. "I didn't know. Happy Birthday, Malfoy."

"Thank you. The reason I tell you this is that the Malfoy family has a secret, something my mother, father, and I didn't even find out about until right before the end of the war. It turns out that the Malfoy blood is not as pure as we once thought. Apparently, somewhere in the Malfoy line, there was a Veela."

Hermione gasped and clutched Ron's arm as if whatever Malfoy had said made sense to her. Harry was glad it made sense to someone, because personally, he couldn't fathom what Malfoy being a Veela had to do with his best friend. Malfoy continued.

"The Veela heritage hasn't manifested itself in generations of Malfoys, but somehow I ended up lucky enough to have it manifest in me," Malfoy's sarcasm was clear, and his voice still held the same scorn that it usually did, but this time it almost seemed as if Malfoy was sharing a joke with them. He had a slight smile on his face that Harry couldn't remember ever seeing before.

All of a sudden, the flutter was back in Harry's stomach, so strong that Harry actually placed a hand over his belly, as if the feeling in there could make an audible sound. Malfoy looked at him for a moment, still wearing the barely-there smile, and Harry felt his face heat. He quickly looked down at his hands to avoid Malfoy's eyes.

"The good thing about part-Veelas is that we don't have to deal with things like turning into a bird," Malfoy shuddered, "or attracting people with some kind of thrall. The bad thing is that part-Veela mate with one person, for life."

Malfoy paused and looked at Ron expectantly. Harry looked to his friends as well. Hermione's eyes were filled with tears, but Ron looked as confused as Harry felt. Ron noticed Hermione crying and took her hand.

"Hermione, what's the matter?"

Hermione just shook her head, causing some tears to trickle down her cheeks. She had locked eyes with Malfoy, and it was then that Harry noticed the most astounding thing he had ever seen. Malfoy was staring back at Hermione with suspiciously bright eyes, as if he understood Hermione's pain and wanted to commiserate with her. Staring into her eyes, Malfoy whispered, "Granger, I'm sorry."

Ron looked from his girlfriend to Malfoy, and narrowed his eyes, finally suspicious. "Malfoy, I have to admit I don't follow. What is it that has Hermione so upset? And why are you sorry?"

Malfoy turned bright eyes to Ron, and blinked them rapidly. "I'm sorry because part-Veelas mate for life, and I've found my mate. I'm sorry because I've found my mate, but in doing so, I have probably messed up some plans that Granger has made. I'm sorry, because you are my mate and I know that you hate me."

At that, Hermione broke down completely, but when Ron reached to comfort her, she pulled away from him and shook her head. "No, Ron, please. It hurts him to see you touch me," she turned to Malfoy, "doesn't it?"

Malfoy shrugged slightly to the quiet question. "I knew you two were dating. I have a general idea of what that involves. But I also know that you are all best friends, and comfort goes with that as well." He gave that half-smile to Hermione, and she blushed and smiled in response. When Ron tried again to put his arm around her, Hermione met him halfway and rested her head on his shoulder.

"Malfoy, how exactly do you know that I'm your…that is to say that I'm the…how do you know that it's me?" Ron asked.

"It's mostly instinct, a gut feeling. I've seen you a few times since my birthday, and I've felt drawn to where you are. I felt like I needed to prove myself to you, needed to gain your approval for some reason. I didn't know why at first, but I eventually figured out that it is because you are my mate."

Ron nodded, seeming to absorb this information. "So, what do you expect me to do? I mean, not to sound brash, but what are the expectations of the…m-mate…of a part-Veela?"

Harry felt his stomach twist as Malfoy gave Ron another little smile. "Honestly, you've taken the news much better than I expected. I knew I was taking a risk by telling you, but I thought that at least you should know. I want you to know that you don't have to do anything, but there are some things I would like to tell you, as well as some things I would like for you to consider."

Ron gestured for Malfoy to continue. "First of all, Veela believe that fate, or destiny, or whatever you want to call it, meant for us to be together. That is sacred to Veela. That being said, all of those myths about Veela dying when rejected by their mates isn't exactly true either. So I want you to know that if you decide to reject me, I won't die."

Ron heaved a deep sigh, then quirked an eyebrow at Malfoy. "There's something you're not telling me."

Malfoy fidgeted a little, then seemed to realize what he was doing and straightened quickly. "You're right. While I am not condemned to death if you reject me, I also will never be with anyone else, for the rest of my life." His tone was casual, but the tension in his voice was clear.

He turned to look at the wall as he spoke his next words. "You're kind of it for me, Weasley. That's why I wanted to meet with you. I know this isn't what you had planned; I never considered the possibility either. But I'm asking for a chance. I would rather take a chance with you and fail than to give up now and be lonely for the rest of my life. 'To have loved and lost…'" he trailed off.

Silence reigned at the end of Malfoy's speech. Harry had an unexplainable lump in his throat as he stared at Malfoy and contemplated what he had said. One person for the rest of his life. One person destined to be his complement.

Harry would never admit it, but it actually sounded very romantic. If it were anyone but Malfoy. Harry was jarred from his thoughts by the clearing of a throat. He glanced up to see Ron looking steadily at Malfoy. Finally, he spoke.

"I have to take some time to think about this. I'm not saying no, but you have given me a lot of information to process. And I need to discuss this with my family and friends." Ron looked to Hermione, and Harry noticed that she had moved a fair distance from Ron, and was now sitting a little closer to Harry.

"That's understandable," said Malfoy. "If you need any more information, please feel free to owl me. And I'd appreciate it if you didn't discuss this with anyone outside your family. My parents, for obvious reasons, would rather that this information stay as quiet as possible. I appreciate you meeting with me."

This time it was Ron extending his hand for Malfoy to take. "I have to be honest with you, Malfoy. I've never thought about being gay. That is something else I have to think about. But I'm not saying no."


The dining room at the Burrow was much more somber than usual for a Sunday evening dinner. Harry wasn't even aware he was glaring at Malfoy until he felt a sharp kick to his shin. He hissed and started to complain to his assailant, when he realized the kick had come from Mrs. Weasley, who gave him an admonishing look before she spoke.

"Draco dear, would you like some potatoes?"

Harry's jaw dropped as Malfoy smiled at Mrs. Weasley and responded politely. "Yes, please."

Harry started to speak, but Bill beat him to it. "So, mates, huh? That must have been a kick in the gut."

Malfoy stiffened and Bill rushed to explain. "I just mean, most people with enough Part-Veela tendencies know from birth, so they can prepare for the whole mate thing. Thank goodness Fleur didn't have to go through that."

Bill shot Malfoy a look that caused Malfoy to blush, although Harry couldn't figure out why. Harry noticed that Fleur elbowed Bill in the side and said, "Vhat is 'at supposed to mean?"

"Absolutely nothing," stuttered Bill. "I just meant that we might not have gotten together if you'd had a mate."

Fleur appeared to accept his explanation, though Harry couldn't quite see what the offense of his comment. Why wouldn't Bill be happy that Fleur didn't have a mate?

Harry was pulled from his thoughts by Malfoy's voice. "It was definitely a surprise. I certainly had no clue that it was even possible, and my parents had to do quite a bit of research to even find the Veela in our ancestors. Then to realize that Weasley – uh, Ron – was my mate was..well, a shock, to say the least."

Draco chuckled, and everyone else at the table joined in. Harry's stomach dropped when he realized he was the only one not laughing.


"Why are we doing this again?" Harry asked Hermione, sitting next to him in a corner booth at the Leaky Cauldron.

Hermione rolled her eyes. "We are doing this because Ron is our best friend, and we love him, and we want to support him no matter what," she replied, ice in her tone.

"But do we have to love and support him while he's out on a date with Malfoy?"
Harry made a disgusted face. "I mean, can't we just love and support him from home?"

"Ron and Draco both thought it would be best for all of us to get together. They thought it would be more comfortable."

"Well, it's not comfortable for me. In fact, it's the exact opposite of comfortable."

Hermione gave Harry a look that could freeze fire. "I'm terribly sorry, Harry. I apologize for not taking your comfort into consideration when the man I love is the mate of a male Veela, and we're just trying to deal with it as best we can. I should have realized that you might consider this a fate worse than a dementor's kiss. How unforgivable of me."

"Sorry, Hermione." Said Harry, ashamed.

She shook her head. "Forget about it. This has been difficult for everyone. Just try to remember that, okay? Here come Ron and Draco."

Harry looked up as his best friend and Malfoy took seats at their table. Tense silence settled over the table. Finally, Hermione reached for a menu and said, "I wonder what the specials are today."

Malfoy picked up a menu as well. "Me too. I don't eat here very often, so I'm not sure what's good."

Harry couldn't resist a jab. "Is the Leaky Cauldron food too lowbrow for your tastes, Malfoy?"

Somehow the question, which would have sounded joking if it were directed to anyone else, wound up sounding mildly threatening when directed at Malfoy. Harry could see Malfoy's fist clench where it sat on the table.

"Actually, the Leaky Cauldron isn't the problem, Potter. I know this is one of your favorite restaurants. You're here all the time. So while the food is perfectly acceptable, the clientele is decidedly 'lowbrow.'" Malfoy sneered.

"Well it wasn't to begin with, but since you walked through the door…" Harry wasn't sure when his voice had elevated to a yell, or when he had pushed his chair back to stand up and lean both hands on the table. All he knew was that Malfoy was mirroring his stance, and his eyes were alight with challenge, and he was finally paying attention to Harry.

"Enough!" Harry could hear Ron's voice in the distance, but he couldn't tear his eyes away from Malfoy's. He knew they were probably causing a scene, and a part of him (a very small part) wanted to look away from Malfoy's grey eyes, but he just couldn't. He absolutely could not make himself look away, sit down, and it seemed as if Malfoy was having the same problem.

Harry wasn't sure how long he and Malfoy stood, locked in their staring contest, but Harry felt a large hand on his shoulder push him back into his seat. He finally tore his eyes away from Malfoy, ignoring the git's triumphant smirk, and turned to look at his best friend. The table was silent for a moment before Hermione spoke.

"So Malfoy, do you mind if I ask some questions about your Veela manifestation? I've done some research, and it sounds fascinating." Her voice was decidedly strained.

Malfoy made a vague gesture with his hand and nodded.

"I was reading about how rare male Veela are; there's only one in every ten thousand or so. For some reason, there just don't seem to be as many male Veela. Do you know anything else about that?" Hermione leaned forward to wait for Malfoy's response.

Malfoy turned a distinct shade of pink, and took a deep breath before he spoke. "Well, as you know, Veela manifest on their 18th birthday, quite separate from the rest of the wizrding world, where almost every major change occurs at seventeen. That is common knowledge. What is less common knowledge is that there have to be specific circumstances in place for the Veela manifestation to take place. Circumstances that, had I known about my Veela bloodline ahead of time, would have enabled me to avoid the Veela manifestation entirely."

Malfoy paused to take a sip of water. When it seemed he would not continue, Hermione cracked, "Ok, I give. What kind of circumstances?"

“Humans with Veela blood will not experience Veela manifestation if they have had sexual intercourse by their 18th birthday." Malfoy said in a rush. "Apparently, it is more common for males to become sexually active at a younger age than females, which explains why there are more female Veela manifestations than male."

Harry and his friends looked at each other as they processed this information .

"So you're a virgin?" Harry blurted.

Draco gave him a glare which was weakened by the pink tinge on his cheeks. "I was busy the last couple years of the war," he said.

Harry opened his mouth to reply with a stinging remark, something like, And we all know what you were busy doing, but was stopped by a foot crushing his big toe under the table. He snapped his mouth shut.

"If anyone understands about being busy during the war, it's our Harry here," said Ron, jostling Harry's shoulder. "He's in the same boat as you."


Ron gave his friend an exasperated look. "It's not like we don't know you're a virgin, Harry."

"Malfoy didn't know!"

Draco smirked. "Well, I know now, Potter."

"Now wait just a minute, Malfoy…" Harry started, but Ron raised his hand.

"No, Mal—Draco. Don't think that you can mistreat my friends just because of this mate business," Ron said, giving Draco a stern glare. "I shared that information with you as a friend, and I expect you to treat it, and Harry, with the same respect. I'm trying to look past a lot of things to give this mate thing a go, but that's one thing I won't budge on. No telling secrets about Harry; no calling Hermione a mudblood. Those are two things I will not forgive."

Harry was stunned at the fierce tone his friend had employed. Apparently, Malfoy was as well. He didn't say anything to acknowledge Ron's statement, but he caught Harry's eye and gave him a quick nod.

Hermione came to the rescue to yet again. "So what other Veela characteristics will you have to deal with?"

Draco looked thoughtful. "Most of it is instinct. I don't really know what to expect most of the time. From what I've read, there is an intense need to protect and care for my mate, as well as an instinct to be the dominant partner sexually. Once we're bonded, there is also a slight ability to feel each other's emotions. The books are very vague on that, though I think it has something to do with the strength of the magical core of each partner."

Hermione nodded in excitement, and Harry could almost see all of the questions forming in her mind. Ron spoke first, however, with a question of his own.

"What do you mean, 'dominant partner'?"

Harry groaned internally. Hermione cleared her throat and stared at the table. The pink tinge had returned to Draco's cheeks and he coughed slightly before responding.

"The dominant partner, although I hesitate to use the term dominant, in a gay relationship is typically the person who is considered the 'top'."

"The top," Ron repeated slowly.

"Well, yes. It's the natural instinct of the Veela to take care of their partner in all ways. Apparently that even means sexually. It's a genetic trait of the male Veela."

Ron had turned a peculiar shade of puce, and Draco rushed forward in his explanation.

"Now, personally, I think I would prefer equality in the bedroom, with the understanding that some Veela instincts must be assuaged."

It seemed the sentiment hadn't made Ron feel much better. His eyes were still wide and he shook his head slightly.

"I hadn't thought much about it, to be honest," stammered Ron. "I just kind of…I thought that…I would…and Draco would…"

"Honestly, Ron, I think you're making much too big an issue out of this." Hermione said.

Ron turned incredulous eyes to Hermione. "Too big an issue? We're talking about a dick in my arse, Hermione! I don't want a dick in my arse! I've never even considered having a dick in my arse. I've only barely considered my dick in someone else's arse!"

Ron had gone very pale and was taking very shallow breaths. He was clutching his chair much too tightly, and his eyes had taken on a glassy, panicked haze. Harry spoke before he actually considered his words.

"Come on, it's really not so bad."

Just like that, Ron's panic attack retreated. Hermione coughed, Draco raised his eyebrows, and Ron gaped at Harry.

"How do you know it's not so bad?"

Oh. "Erm. Well, uh…"

"I thought you were a virgin."

"I am! I mean, I have thought about it…and uh…I may have experimented, uh…before" Harry's voice faded out to a mutter.

Suddenly, Ron's dick/arse dilemma was forgotten.

"Harry, are you gay?" Ron asked.

"No!" Hermione exclaimed at the same time Malfoy said "Obviously."

Ron ignored both of them to stare at Harry. When Harry didn't meet his eyes, Ron placed a hand on Harry's arm. Harry finally looked up, and Ron gave him a sheepish grin.

"You know we don't care, right? I mean, I kind of flipped out about the sex thing, but you know that we just want you to be happy. Right?"

Harry looked over at Hermione. She was smiling and nodding at him, agreeing with Ron. Then he looked at Malfoy. Draco was staring at him intently, but there was something in his eyes that Harry couldn't quite pinpoint. When Draco realized Harry was looking at him, he flashed a brief but genuine smile. For reasons Harry didn't want to consider, his breath caught.

He quickly shifted his eyes to his hands and mumbled, "Thanks, guys."


After that, it seemed that their trio became an odd little quartet. Malfoy accompanied them just about everywhere, and although it was almost beyond Harry's comprehension, Hermione and Ron actually seemed to enjoy Malfoy's company, though Harry had no idea why.

Sure, once Malfoy stopped spitting out insults like blood-traitor or mudblood, he was generally pleasant to be around. And okay, Harry was mature enough to admit that sometimes Malfoy could even funny, in the dry, sarcastic kind of humor that Harry favored.

That didn't change the fact that Malfoy was still an annoying git, and not entirely trustworthy. Harry suspected Malfoy was using Legilimency on him, because suddenly he and Malfoy were making the same sarcastic jokes at the same time; something that seemed to amuse everyone but Harry and Malfoy. Harry found himself trying to provoke Malfoy, catch him off guard somehow; but to Harry's irritation and dismay, Malfoy barely acknowledged his existence. Instead, Malfoy maintained a respectful civility that bordered on awkward, and Harry could tell his friends were getting weary of the constant tension between the two.

It appeared that he had won over Hermione, even with the awkward circumstance of him being mated to her boyfriend. He answered her multitude of questions about Veela with patience and respect. For her birthday, he bought her some obscure book, the title of which Harry didn't recognize. Hermione clearly did however, and it must have been meaningful, because Hermione's eye filled with tears and she practically tackled Malfoy in her lunge to hug him. Malfoy merely shrugged, gave that infuriating smile, and returned the hug.

Then Ron began inviting Malfoy along when they went out for dinner or flying as well. It seemed as if Malfoy had fully ingrained himself into their lives, and was enjoying himself quite a lot. When Harry mentioned this to Ron, he wasn't prepared for the exasperated response he received.

"Bloody hell, mate, what do you expect? I'm his Veela mate. We’re trying to figure out if this thing is going to work. How can we do that if we don't spend time together?"

Harry opened his mouth to reply, but Ron continued on.

"Harry, have you noticed you're the only person still holding on to this suspicion of Malfoy? My dad is even convinced Draco's a decent bloke, and you know how he feels about Lucius Malfoy. He's tried everything he can think of to prove himself to us, and you still won't accept him? What will it take to get you to admit that maybe, just maybe, he's not so bad?" Ron's tone wasn't angry; just tired, as if he'd known this argument was coming and had prepared, but was still disappointed it had to happen. Harry felt a sudden need to both defend himself and please his friend.

"I…You're right, Ron. I should try harder. I will try harder."


The first time Harry asked Malfoy if he wanted to join Harry for a pint at the Leaky Cauldron, Malfoy had grimaced. "No thanks, Potter."

"Come on, Malfoy. You're my best friend's Veela. We should put the past behind us and move on, right? Harry asked.

Malfoy gave Harry a strange look before he spoke. "Do you think you'll be able to do that, Potter? You make it painfully obvious that you don't like me, no matter what I do or say. I know you're only asking me now because Weasley must have said something to you."

"Ron may have…given me some things to think about, but the invitation is all my idea. Look Malfoy, it looks like we're going to be spending some considerable time together, maybe even the rest of our lives."

Malfoy's eyebrows rose, and Harry rushed to explain, "I mean, I'm Ron's best friend. I don't see that changing. If this Veela thing works out, we'll be seeing a lot of each other from now on. I know I've been a prat, but I'd like to try to make it up to you. What do you say?"

And that was how Harry and Malfoy began their Monday night Leaky Cauldron ritual. The conversation was stilted at first: mostly consisting of Quidditch, brooms, and Ron. After a couple of months had passed, the conversations hadn't gotten much deeper, but were much more relaxed, and it was then that Harry began to see the real Draco Malfoy.

They still fought; about Quidditch teams, broom manufacturers, and Ron's very faded and worn 'lucky' Chudley Cannons shirt. But the arguments had no bite, the insults they flung at each other were conjured more from habit than from animosity. Harry would never have thought he could feel so relaxed with Draco, and he was sure the rest of the Weasley clan was eternally grateful that they had finally come to an understanding. They all laughed and joked at Sunday family dinners about Harry and Draco turning over a new leaf, and Harry was glad that he could do his part to make the whole 'mate situation' a little easier.

If Harry were honest with himself, and he had tried very hard not to be honest with himself, he had to acknowledge that while he enjoyed the Sunday dinners with the Weasley family and Draco, he much preferred his and Draco's Monday dinners, when it was just the two of them. On Mondays, he could bask in the glow of Draco's uninterrupted attention, though he did not even want to consider what that might mean.


Harry had planned to go to the muggle cinema with Ron, so he was a bit confused to see Draco at his door when he answered the knock.

"Oh, hello Malfoy."

"Potter. Ron can't make it, so he sent me in his place." Harry felt a little pang at Draco’s familiar use of Ron’s name. Last time he’d checked, Draco had still been calling him “Weasley”.

"Oh. Is he alright?"

Draco waved a dismissive hand. "He's fine. Hermione called with some emergency research project she needed help on immediately. Ron said I should go with you instead." Draco gave Harry a shy smile. "I've never been to the muggle cinema."

Harry suddenly realized two things. First, he was willingly smiling at Draco Malfoy. Second, they were still standing in the doorway. He quickly moved back and invited Draco inside.

"So you've never been to the cinema? It's one of my favorite things to do. I think you'll really enjoy it. We had planned to see I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, which is a sequel, but you don't really have to have seen the first one to understand it. How do you feel about scary films? I thought that I wouldn't like them, but I've found that I actually like getting scared in a safe place. At least at the cinema, you know that all of the scares are just on the screen, you know?"

Harry was babbling, but it was as if he could not stop his mouth from leaking. Draco appeared to be listening intently, probably in an effort to keep up with Harry's monologue. Harry finally covered his mouth with his hand to stop talking, and felt those damn butterflies in his stomach again when Draco smiled.

"I've never seen a film before, either at the cinema or on those telly things. I'm sure whatever you pick is fine."

As they left Harry's flat and walked the short distance to the cinema, Harry tried to keep as much distance between himself and Draco as possible without seeming rude. However, the sidewalks were full of people, and because Draco didn't know where he was going, he and Harry had to keep almost constant contact to avoid losing each other in the crowd. Draco eventually looped his arm through Harry's, and when Harry looked at him in surprise, he just shrugged and looked away.

Draco seemed amazed with the whole process of the cinema. He gazed around with wide eyes, taking everything in and asking Harry questions in a quiet voice. When the room went dark and the screen lit up, Harry sneaked a look at Draco. He immediately wished he hadn't.

Draco's face was illuminated by the light of the screen, his eyes wide and his expression open. His blonde hair was shining, and had fallen down around his eyes, framing his face. He was beautiful.

Draco looked at Harry and grinned; a large, genuine grin that Harry was positive he had never seen directed at him before. He was sure he would remember if it had, because it made his stomach clench tightly, and the butterflies were fluttering like mad. It was a feeling he had never experienced.

About halfway through the film, Harry realized what a mistake it had been to choose a scary film. As enthralled as Draco was with the film, every time the villain jumped out at a victim on screen, he would gasp and clutch Harry's arm. Harry found himself focusing less on the film and more on the warmth radiating from the hand on his arm.

Harry jumped from his seat the moment the film was over. He walked quickly from the cinema and stayed a step ahead of Draco the entire way back to Harry's flat. When they reached the front of Harry's building, he finally turned to look at Draco.

Draco's expression was a furrowed frown. His eyes held an icy anger that made Harry flinch.

"What is your problem, Potter?"

"I don't know what you're talking about, Malfoy." Harry made to turn away from Draco and enter his building, but Draco grabbed his arm and spun him around.

"You know exactly what I'm talking about, Potter. We were getting along. I thought we were having fun. Hell, we had a whole conversation without a single sarcastic comment, that's practically a miracle in itself! Then you suddenly freak out and ignore me. So I ask again, what the hell is your problem?"

Draco had backed Harry up against the wall of the building, and was leaning in so that they were nose to nose. He could feel Draco's breath against his cheek, and the slight pressure of Draco's chest against his.

Harry moved without thought. In an instant, he had touched his lips to Draco's, pulling a surprised sound from the blonde. Harry closed his eyes and pressed closer still, reveling in the feel of Draco's body, the electric shock of contact between their lips.

Then he realized Draco hadn't moved, and he wasn't kissing back. Harry pulled back immediately, eyes wide with the realization of what he'd done. He looked to Draco, who had put one hand to his lips and was staring at him with suspiciously misty eyes. Draco took two quick steps back, and shook his head.

Harry reached a hand out toward Draco, who took another step back in response. "Draco, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to…please, you have to believe me. I don't know why I did it, I wasn't thinking—"

Harry's next words were lost in the sound of Draco's apparition.


Harry stumbled through the floo at the Burrow, into the arms of Mrs. Weasley.

"Harry dear, how are you?"

"I'm fine, Mrs. Weasley. Is Ron here?"

"Yes, dear. He and Draco are in his room."

Harry stopped short. "Draco's here?"

Mrs. Weasley nodded. "Yes, he got here not long ago; said he had something very important to discuss with Ron. I assumed it was mate business." She made a strange face at that, then she paused, as if trying to decide to continue.

"You know, Harry, we were quite stunned of course when Ron told us he was Draco's mate. The Malfoys and Weasleys have disliked each other for generations, and heaven knows I've heard enough stories about Draco Malfoy from Ron to know there's no love lost there. I was proud of Ron for being willing to try a courtship with Draco; it was a mature decision. But over the past couple of months, watching Draco and Ron navigate this unusual situation, and watching them along with you and Hermione, I still can't quite believe that they are destined for each other."

Harry hadn't quite followed Mrs. Weasley's train of thought, but he nodded anyway, as it seemed the best way to show he was listening without drawing out the conversation. Right now, he just knew Draco was in the bedroom telling Ron that his best friend had kissed his Veela mate. What kind of a friend does that? He needed to hurry and explain everything to Ron, as well as Draco. It was just a moment of temporary insanity; he was just confused about his sexuality, and had taken advantage of Draco's closeness. He wasn't proud of what he'd done, but he wasn't trying to steal Draco away from Ron. He just needed to make Ron understand that.

Harry began to move toward the sitting room when Mrs. Weasley spoke again, this time with a twinkle all but hidden in her eye. "It's hard to believe Ron and Draco are mates when I see you and Draco interact. You incite such a passion within each other. Even though it seems like anger, there is a fire and intensity between you two that I don't see with Ron and Draco. If I didn't know the situation and had to choose, I'd say that you and Draco were mates. Isn't that funny?"

Harry looked into her eyes and gave a bitter laugh. "Hilarious, Mrs. Weasley. Absolutely hilarious. Excuse me."

With that, he sidestepped Ron's mum and ran up the stairs to enter the bedroom. "Ron, I—"

Harry stopped speaking as he took in the sight of his best friend snogging Draco Malfoy. Draco's hands were cupping Ron's face, and Ron's arms had twined around Draco's waist. They were so engrossed in the kiss that they hadn't even heard Harry walk in.

Harry stepped backward, intending to leave the room before drawing attention to himself. Instead, he knocked into a side table that fell to the floor in a loud crash. Draco and Ron jumped apart, panting. They locked eyes for a moment, and then they both nodded at the same time.

"Harry, mate, we need to talk to you." Ron said. Draco snorted.

"Erm, okay, but you know what? I can tell this is a bad time, so how about I come back later? Much later. Please, feel free to continue, um, whatever it was that you were doing. That I absolutely didn't see." Harry stuttered, then turned and fled, ignoring Mrs. Weasley's call as he jumped back into the floo.


Harry hadn't actually decided to floo to the Leaky Cauldron, but that was where he ended up. He'd been in such a rush to avoid Ron, Draco, and Mrs. Weasley, that the floo powder was out of his hand before his mind caught up with a destination. When he thought about it, however, it really was the perfect place to go. He told Tom that he needed a room for the night, and that he would prefer it if no one knew where he was. Tom simply nodded and sent him to room #12.

Once Harry was in his room, he locked the door manually, and then threw up every locking and warding spell he could think of as well. He knew that eventually his friends would find him, and his wards were no match for Hermione, but he needed some time to process the waves of emotions rolling over him.

He removed his t-shirt and toed off his shoes before lying down on the bed. He just needed to figure out a way to explain what had happened with Draco. Maybe he could write it off as Veela thrall? No, he remembered Draco had said long ago that male part-Veelas didn't have a thrall.

Perhaps he could fake a head injury? That idea had potential, but Draco had been with him for a few hours before the kiss, so it would have had to have been a delayed reaction to a head injury. That excuse probably wouldn't work.

He could tell the truth. It was times like these that Harry wished he was a better liar. But there was nothing for it; he would have to admit his feelings for Draco, as well his confusion about his feelings. Then he would promise it wouldn't happen again, beg for forgiveness, and hope that his best friend would maintain his new forgiving attitude and let the whole situation go. If not, there was always the head injury line.

Harry crossed his room to a small bar, which contained a rather large bottle of Firewhiskey. If there was ever a perfect time for a drink, it was probably right before you confess to your best friend that you're in love with his Veela. Hell, that's probably how Firewhiskey came into existence; for situations just like Harry's.

The bottle was half gone when Harry decided he should write out what he wanted to say to Ron and practice his speech for a while. If the enchanted mirror in the en suite was to be believed, he was doing rather well. The only part he kept forgetting was where he promised it wouldn't happen again – every time he began to talk about the kiss, all he could remember was the feel of Draco's lips, however unresponsive, and that surprised little grunt he had heard. A few more drinks later, Harry fumbled out of his jeans and drifted off to sleep, imagining what other noises Draco might make.


Before Harry fully awoke to face the day, he felt the rays of the sun stab his eyes through his lids, sending shots of pain straight through his skull. He groaned and fumbled blindly for a pillow to pull over his head.

"Oh, no you don't. Wake up."

That wasn't Hermione's voice. Harry had expected Hermione. She was the female of their group, and therefore the designated "emotion" person. When Ron was angry, she calmed him. When Harry was brooding, she cheered him up. It was an unspoken agreement. Plus, he hadn't thought that Ron would really go to the effort of tracking him down and dismantling his wards, seeing as how Harry had interfered with his destiny and all.

Apparently, he had been wrong, because his best friend was sitting on the side of the bed, holding Harry's pillow and yanking the covers off of his head. Harry groaned.

"I understand that you want to hex me, or punch me, or…yell or something at me, but let me assure you that nothing you could do to me would possibly cause me more pain than I'm going through right now."

Ron chuckled. "I wouldn't be so sure about that. Here; sit up and drink this."

Keeping his eyes closed, Harry dragged himself into a semi-upright position and took the vial Ron held out to him. He immediately tipped his head back and drank. Almost instantly, the pounding in his head receded to a dull ache, and his eyes felt like they just might open on their own at some point. Harry gave a sigh of relief and made to lie back down, but Ron would have none of it.

"Oh no. You made your bed, and now you have to lie in…erm, deal with the consequences. And you might want to cover up a bit more."

"Wha-" Harry sat up, and immediately pulled the covers up to his neck. Surrounding his bed were Ron, Hermione, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Draco, and a strange man wearing a muggle business suit.

"Ron," hissed Harry. "You could have told me we had an audience."

"True, I could have. This way was much more fun though. Ok mate, we're all here for a reason. You didn't stick around long enough yesterday for us to talk to you."

Harry rolled his eyes. "I walked in on you and Draco snogging. It didn't seem to be the best time to stop by for a chat."

There was a small gasp from Hermione's direction, and Ron's face flamed red.

"And who is that guy? This wasn't humiliating enough, you had to bring a complete stranger along?" Harry screamed.

"We'll get to him later, Harry." Draco said, stepping forward and drawing Harry's attention. "What you saw with Ron and me wasn't exactly what you thought."

Rolling his eyes, Harry asked, "So you weren't snogging?"

Draco and Ron exchanged a look. "Well, we shared a kiss, that's true, but it was more of an experiment."

"An experiment." Harry repeated flatly. Apparently, Hermione decided it was time to intervene.

"Draco, Ron and I have been discussing our situation, Harry. While Draco and Ron have been getting along really great, they don't seem to be connecting on a deeper level."

"A deeper level?" Harry asked, confused.

"We don't want to jump each other's bones, Potter." Draco said. "We're friends, and we like each other, but there's no attraction. And there should be."

"Oh. Well, okay," said Harry. He steadfastly refused to give a second thought to the relief he had felt at learning Ron and Draco didn't like each other that way. Not a second thought. "You still haven't explained what this has to do with me, and why you've brought that guy." Harry gestured toward the man in the muggle business suit.

"Oh, him, right," said Ron. "After the, you know, kiss, that you saw, Draco and I went to ask Hermione what might possibly be going on with our connection. Well, Hermione didn't know--"

"I didn't say that didn't know, Ron," Hermione interrupted. "I just said that I thought Professor Fuddlestein could potentially tell us more about your relationship. Harry, this is Professor Fuddlestein. He studies Veela culture and is considered a foremost expert on the subject. He was very kind to agree to come with today."

"I wouldn't say very kind," Draco said. "I had to grant him an interview and allow him to perform certain tests on my body. It wasn't mere kindness that brought him here."

"Whatever, Draco. He's here now, and you should be happy he's here, because if he hadn't come we might still not have figured out—"

"Excuse me," yelled Harry. "But I am naked, humiliated, and completely out of the loop, so if someone would kindly let me know what the bloody hell is going on here?"

"Draco and Ron aren't mates," said Hermione in a rush.

Harry tried not to smile. He really did. However, no matter how hard he tried, he could not control the automatic upturn of his lips at Hermione's words. He tried to school his features into a serious, contemplative expression, but based on Ron's laugh, he assumed he hadn't exactly pulled it off.

"Draco and Ron aren't mates? How did you figure this out?"

"That would be where I come in," chirped Professor Fuddlestein. "When Ms. Granger, Mr. Weasley, and Mr. Malfoy came to see me, I could tell immediately that Mr. Weasley and Mr. Malfoy were not mates."

"Well, that's just great," replied Harry, his tone dry. "You mind filling the rest of us in?"

Draco made a sound that could have been a muffled snort, which Professor Fuddlestein politely ignored. "I was just about to explain. When Mr. Malfoy felt drawn to Mr. Weasley, he automatically assumed it was because they were mates, which is a logical conclusion to someone who is unfamiliar with Veela culture, because that is generally the way a female Veela finds her mate. Since male Veelas are so rare, not many people are familiar with the way a male Veela finds his mate.

As I'm sure Mr. Malfoy has told you, part of being a male Veela is taking care of and protecting his mate. Female Veela often feel the same way. However, a male Veela differs in that he also feels an instinctual need to prove his worthiness to his mate, as well as to his mate's family. The male Veela is compelled to prove that he is a worthy partner who can care for his mate and provide for his mate's needs. For this reason, a male Veela is not drawn to his mate, but instead—"

"is drawn to the person most important to his mate," finished Ron, leaving Fuddlestein looking disappointed. Ron looked to Harry. "Do you realize what that means?"

Harry heard Ron's question, but he wasn't paying attention to his best friend. Instead, he had locked eyes with Draco, who had been nodding along with Fuddlestein's speech.

"It's me?" Harry whispered, and though Draco shouldn't have been able to hear him, the Veela nodded once, and took a step forward.

"I thought…when I kissed you, you didn't…so I thought," Harry stuttered. "I thought you didn't want me."

Draco came to sit next to Harry on the bed, and it was only then that Harry noticed that everyone else had left the room. Draco hesitantly touched his hand.

"I didn't think I was supposed to want you. I thought Ron was the one, and I couldn't figure out why I felt the way I did about you if I was supposed to be with Ron. So I finally confessed to Ron how I was feeling, and how it felt when you kissed me, and we had to be sure. You're not mad that I kissed Ron, are you?" Draco asked, biting his lip and for the first time, looking somewhat unsure of himself.

Harry smiled. "Kissing him made you realize he wasn't your mate, how could I be mad at that? I thought I was destined to be miserable for the rest of my life, forever in love with my best friend's Veela."

"In love?" Draco asked.

"Oh! I mean, I was just being dramatic," said Harry quickly. "You know me, Mr. Overdrama—"

Harry was cut off by the press of Draco's lips against his own. It made Harry realize how much better kissing Draco was when Draco was actually participating. He moaned as Draco nibbled at his lips and slipped his tongue inside Harry's mouth. Harry felt the same electricity between them as Draco deepened the kiss, and the butterflies in Harry's stomach were fluttering so much that he actually imagined that he could hear them, if he could hear anything over the pounding of his heart.

Draco slipped away, panting slightly, and rested his forehead against Harry's. He smiled, then dipped his head to place a sweet kiss on Harry's nose.

"Potter," said Draco, his eyes alight. "Harry."

"Yeah?" Harry replied.

"Your breath is rank."

Before Harry could even consider blushing, Draco had moved in for another deep kiss. Harry laughed, and then sighed into the kiss of his mate.


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