After the Triwizard Tournament, Harry returned with an injured Cedric Diggory and told Dumbledore where he just just been. Lucius Malfoy showed up with a weird wrinkly thing that looked like a baby and a handless Peter Pettigrew who admitted to everything. Barty Crouch Jr was arrested and Mad-Eye Moody was let out of his box.
All in all, life in the wizarding world was on the upswing.
That is, until Hermione turned sixteen. It was only nineteen days into her fifth year and she wasn’t feeling very well. She felt like she did after taking the botched Polyjuice in her second year. Her stomach rolled, her skin tightened, and she was breaking into sweats.
Needless to say her birthday wasn’t as awesome as she had hoped it was going to be. Waking up in the Hospital Wing and being told that you weren’t what you thought you were...
She had a headache to rival the pain her body was going through.
Even after opening the lovely presents from all her friends and adopted wizarding family - books, mostly, and one knitted sweater from Mrs Weasley - she couldn’t forget her recent woes and wanted to know what was going on. Somehow she managed to convince the Headmaster and her Head of House to bring her parents to Hogwarts. But she was tired of being stuck in the infirmary. There was only so much discussion with Madame Pomfrey that she could handle.
After speaking with her mother, she had learned something groundbreaking, something so profound, so unusual, she barely believed it.
And then her nails turned into talons and she just couldn’t deny it anymore.
Her mother, who was of Greek descent, had a Veela grandmother. Hermione wondered if that changed her Muggle-born status. All she knew was that being able to perform magic activated the Veela gene and she had just come into her inheritance.
So now she was going through the school year trying to keep the news underwraps. Not only did she not want to let down Muggle-borns everywhere - she still wasn’t sure where she stood on her own blood status - by taking away the contradiction to pure-blood doctrine, she was now part creature.
And after the whole werewolf debacle of third year, she didn’t want that to happen to her. At first she thought it’d be wonderful to be part-Veela, she’d go from the ugly duckling to the beautiful swan, like the mascots for the Bulgarian team, or like Fleur Delacour. But no, she didn’t. She was still her same old self. Which was completely uncool, if she said so herself.
She researched it and she found out that there were actually different species of Veela. It was fascinating really, that wizards had used scientific classification for anything, but then she realised that wizards considered Veela as creatures and there were all sorts of regulations and registrations. And that was only the start of apartheid and could only lead to bad things.
So she avoided letting anyone know. Not even Harry or Ron were aware of the change. Sure, she was being somewhat paranoid, but she didn’t think she could handle being treated like Professor Lupin had been.
Therefore, she kept it mum. After that initial week, her levels balanced out and she only experienced flares in Potions and Care of the Magical Creatures. It wasn’t until after the holiday break that she realised the flare ups - sweat-breaking, teeth elongating, back aching - would only occur when she was near the Slytherins.
And that thought scared her.
So she researched some more - when in doubt, read!
It took Hermione until late February to find out the cause of these flare-ups and she spent the next month and most of the Easter holiday ignoring them. She tried for the week after the break, but the flare-ups became more painful, she was making frequent visits with Madam Pomfrey and people were starting to ask questions.
And she couldn’t have that. Not if she wanted her secret to remain just that. A secret.
Knowing that the flare-ups meant she was near her mate, she finally decided to bite the bullet - as the Muggles would say, which, she might still be. Not only was Hermione Granger awesome at research, but she was awesome at figuring things out. She did it in second year when realising how the basilisk attacked its victims and she was going to do it again.
She was that good. At least, she hoped she was, because she really didn’t want her being a Veela to affect her life plans - things just didn’t affect her life plans. If Lord Voldemort couldn’t change her goals, she wasn’t going to let a pesky problem that her great-grandmother left her manage the feat.
So she did what any good problem-solver did - she read a lot of Agatha Christie before becoming a part of the wizarding world - and she started a process of elimination.
She knew that the flare-ups only occurred when around the Slytherins, she just didn’t know which one. She only hoped it wasn’t Crabbe or Goyle Please, dear Merlin, anyone but Crabbe or Goyle.
Potions wasn’t a good class to try and figure it out, it was too obvious and the one time she walked over to the Slytherin side of the room she hunched over in pain and Professor Snape yelled at her. And that only brought further attention on her problems. It took her hours to get Harry and Ron off her back, only aggravating her further.
So she used the fact that they were outdoors during Care of Magical Creatures to her advantage. It helped that Professor Hagrid loved her - more like Harry, but Hermione wouldn’t complain that she was loved by association, and because dealing with the whole Veela thing, she wasn’t going to complain.
Side-stepping away from the rowdy bunch of Gryffindors, Hermione managed to get near a small group of Slytherin males. She only stepped close enough to break a sweat - an unnatural amount of sweat, perspiration that would be noticed on a female sort of sweat - and carefully eyed the potential mates.
Crabbe. She shuddered. Zabini and Nott. She wasn’t really sure how she felt about them - she hadn’t interacted with them enough to form a real opinion.. And then there was Malfoy. She barely managed to hold back a sob, instead a strangled garble - the sort of sound Crookshanks made when Ron accidentally stepped on his tail - escaped her lips, drawing the attention of the whole class.
“Hermione, yeh aright?” Hagrid asked, pausing his lecture on Thestrals.
Nodding her head, she jumped up when the group of Slytherins stepped closer to her. She apologised profusely and hid behind a wall of Potter and Weasley. Sure, it was a coward’s way out, but she just found out her potential life-mate could possibly be Crabbe - didn’t she pray for someone else? - or Malfoy. She was sort of regretting not including him in her earlier prayer.
So barricading herself in the library was in order.
And all was well.
Except that it wasn’t.
Because her sanctuary had to be invaded. Which was, just, utter... bollocks if she opted to curse. Which she didn’t. At least not out loud.
Her barricade was made up of her sitting on the floor with a table turned on its side - a Muggle-Repelling Charm modified to work on librarians worked wonders on Madam Pince, Hermione found - and books scattered around her. She didn’t expect for a group of Slytherins to make camp at a table on the other side of the bookcase.
Not only was she upset that her study time was being interrupted, but she was upset that the books were being made disgusting by her perspiration. She knew what that meant, and right now the year-end tests were far more important than an insignificant mate.
Stupid Veela genes.
Crawling from her corner, she hid behind the bookcase. She peeked through a gap in the books and sighed in relief. There was no Crabbe. Only Zabini and Malfoy. Both were busy with several text books sprawled across their table. Hermione lost track of time just listening to the two of them discuss their classes.
It was all rather arousing.
She knew part of it was that one of them were her mate, but she also knew that the whole mate thing only paired you off with someone who was your equal.
Watching - listening - daydreaming to them study definitely proved her mate to be her equal.
She just had to figure out which one.
Being a Veela sucked.
Professor Snape did the unthinkable and assigned the pairs in Potions. Hermione didn’t know if she should consider herself lucky or not, but she had to spend the double period working closely with Malfoy. With Malfoy.
He smelled good.
But was rather annoying. True, he didn’t mention her blood-status once, but the snide remarks he was making about Gryffindors and her best friends were just borderline cruel.
Well, not cruel, per say, but it was cruel how he would let his fingers linger over her hand when they fought over who would stir. She let him, obviously. It wouldn’t do to have an orgasm in the middle of Potions. She didn’t even want to think of punishment Professor Snape had in store for the student who even thought about doing that.
So Malfoy was her mate, and every attempt to study was derailed by thoughts of him. His scent. His hands. His lips. Him.
Something seriously needed to be done about all of this. She was not - not! - going to let the Veela gene get the best of her and prevent her from surpassing all school records.
If anything, she would prove that being part-creature meant nothing when it came to capability in magic.
Zabini and Nott tried to find her in her corner. Hermione thanked Merlin, Morgana, and Circe that she thought ahead and modified her charm again to repel anyone who she didn’t want to see.
Malfoy would pass her by and only pause for a second in front of the desk before walking down the aisle.
She had to think of something to get him alone. The flare-ups wouldn’t subside until she claimed her mate. And she could admit - if only to herself - that she was sort of looking forward to that bit.
But then the flare-ups would happen and she’d disregard any remorse immediately.
She needed Draco Malfoy and if she had to use speciality Honeydukes chocolate, then so be it.
Pheromones plus chocolate made for a happy mate, apparently.
She had left the special tin at his usual table, and she sort of let the pheromones out on overdrive. He ate the chocolate and followed the scent towards her hidden corner.
When he was close enough, she grabbed his wrist and pulled him in.
“Hi,” she breathed, fisting his robes, sniffing into his neck. Her mate smelled delicious.
“Hey,” he panted, chest heaving.
Hermione wasn’t really sure what was going on. She pressed her body against him. Her body was tingling. She was happy that she was no longer breaking into sweats or in excruciating pain, but her fingers seemed to grow into talons and she could feel a weird pressure in her back.
She was finding it difficult to not push him to the floor and ravish him. Her pheromones were flooding the space and she could tell how it clouded his judgement. She could hear a purring sound and slowly realised that it was coming from her.
Oh, bother, there really wasn’t anything she could do.
Pushing him onto the floor, she straddled his lips and kissed him hard, snaking her arms around his shoulders.
But this was wrong. She could feel the fluttering of wings descending back into her back. She could see the puncture wound of her thirty-two perfect teeth in his shoulder.
So like any good Gryffindor faced with potential banishment from the wizarding world and all sorts of other problems, she ran.
Jumping off the very much ravished body of Draco Malfoy, she didn’t even bother to put away her library books. She rushed out of the library wondering if sarcasm was something passed through a Veela bond.
It didn’t matter. She felt normal. The flare-ups should be gone. She could now focus on her O.W.L.s and the summer holidays would be on them. She could forget this whole thing.
She only hoped that Draco didn’t mention the whole wings and talons bit.
She was stepping off the moving staircase to the fourth floor when her arm was grabbed. Pulled into an abandoned classroom, Hermione was about to scream when she recognised the smell of her abductor.
“Why’d you run, Granger?” he breathed, pulling her in. He was nuzzling into her hair and Hermione was very much confused.
“Umm... Wings?” Hermione shrugged; she thought it obvious.
“Yeah, so. I wonder if we’ll both sprout them the next time,” he panted, now licking her neck.
“Wh-what?” Hermione stuttered.
“I thought it obvious,” he drawled, nibbling on her ear.
“You’re a Veela, too?” she moaned, very much affected by his ministrations.
“Of the French variety, yes.”
“Oh!” Hermione shouted, wrapping her arms around his waist. “I do wonder if we’ll both sprout wings. Or maybe only you will? Or maybe only Mediterranean Veela sprout-”
“Granger, I’m trying to ravish you. We can compare the different Veela species next time,” he whispered against her lips.
“Okay,” she panted, “next time.”