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An Unsuitable Mate

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For all appearances, Draco Malfoy only looked a little tense as he observed the petite brunette witch seated across him at the dinner table of his family home, Malfoy Manor. On the inside, he was raging. There would be no more escaping the suffocating presence of the queen of Mudbloods, Hermione Granger, or more accurately as of today, Hermione Malfoy.

He glared at the person responsible for orchestrating this travesty- Lucius Malfoy. Now, at age twenty-three, his father's decisions would once more have a devastating impact on his life. Draco struggled to fight back the bitterness he bore towards his sire. Wasn't this the same man who had indoctrinated into him the Pureblood ideologies? Yet, now, he thought filth was good enough to be a part of one the wizarding world's most prestigious families?

The meal progressed and everyone else continued with their polite conversations, unaware this was probably the beginning of the end of the life he had carefully orchestrated for himself over the past six years. It was suddenly all too much for Draco. Standing abruptly, he made his excuses and, before anyone could so much as acknowledge him, rudely rushed out.

As Draco ran towards the nearest floo, desperate in the moment to put as much distance as possible between him and Granger, a single thought ran on a loop through his head: Why had the fates cursed him by making the most disagreeable and in every way unsuitable person in the world his mate?

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Hermione friggin Granger, Gryffindor's princess and the most frigid of swots. He always suspected there was something to the way she got under his skin and riled him up which went beyond house rivalries and blood purity.

Theo once foolishly suggested that he secretly pined for Granger and was putting on an act to hide his true feelings. Theodore Nott, his childhood friend, would have certainly thumped him on the back with a smug 'told you so' had he lived long enough to discover Granger was his mate. He paused momentarily his restless pacing to squeeze his eyes shut and push back the hurt he felt any time he remembered someone he lost in the war.

Of course, no one who had peeked into young Draco's mind would ever suspect him of harbouring any kind of tendre for the bossy witch. Everything about her- from her dull looks to the desperate-for-approval hand raising in class, from her carefree smiles to her swotty mannerisms, from the way she was always prancing around with Potty and the Weasel while disdainfully sniffing at him- everything about her aggravated him. There had been times he found himself objecting to her simply breathing in the same air as him. He was not just being dramatic when he had wished her dead in second year, he found her so infuriating.

Then, just before his sixteenth birthday, his mother had drawn him aside and informed him about his Black inheritance. He expected to hear about some forgotten vault in Gringots, instead what she shared helped him finally understand the nature of his impulse to engage Granger in verbal spats even though he couldn't stand the sight of her.

Naturally, he did not take kindly to the knowledge he wasn't as pure as he had been led to believe all his life. He almost dismissed it as a prank on his mother's part- except he'd never known her to engage in such juvenile behaviour. Initially incredulous over the idea he was anything but pure, he quickly grew angry at the hypocrisy of everything he was raised to accept as true.

Astonishingly, it wasn't the Malfoy line that carried the Veela blood as many had suspected over the centuries due to their distinctly pale colouring, so like full-blooded Veelas.

Toujours pur, my arse.

Turned out the Noble House of Black wasn't so noble after all as one of the ancestors had bred with a Veela over a century ago. As a result, members of the Black family got to enjoy some of the Veela traits, even if they didn't turn into harpies with talons, beaks and wings like the typical Veela.

"So I won't turn into a bloody bird, but it still means I'm not pure!" he raged at his mother. "I'm no better than the Mudbloods and Halfbloods you and father taught me to look down upon!"

"No! You are the last living heir of two of the oldest and purest magical families. Do not compare yourself to the scum of our society-"

Never before had he seen his mother, the Ice Queen, look so angry or distressed over anything he had ever said to her.

"-Having the blood of a magical creature like a Veela is not the same as having muddy blood run in your veins. You were born with magic. Unlike the Muggles, you didn't need to steal it from some innocent child, making them a squib, just so you could wield a wand."

It was one thing to know Veela-Wizard matings were a common occurrence in their society and quite another to accept it as part of one's own heritage. It took a while, but he eventually cooled down and accepted the truth of his mother's words. Nevertheless, it rankled. All his life he had thought of himself as pure, to then discover he also had creature blood, was shattering.

"I can see you'll need time to adjust to this. I should've told you sooner, but I was so worried about upsetting you I kept putting off telling you."

"So why tell me now?"

"Well, I couldn't delay it any longer. You're turning sixteen next week and I wanted you to have some time to prepare."

"Why? What happens when I turn sixteen?"

The grim expression on his mother's face worried him. She patted at the empty space beside her and invited him to sit. He preferred to pace when dealing with bad news but could tell from the tension in his mother's posture she would not continue until he complied with her unspoken command.

He settled himself next to her with a sigh.

"Sixteen is considered to be the start of adolescence for Veelas. So, the day you turn sixteen your body will be seized by a fever and you will begin to transform-"

"Transform?!! I thought you said I wouldn't turn into a bird!"

With a firm shake of her head, she attempted to reassure him.

"No, you won't transform in that way. You will grow more attractive to everyone around you. You will grow taller and stronger, with heightened vision and hearing. Your spell casting will also improve in both strength and accuracy."

Draco nodded along. So far, everything about this Veela business had sounded great; he couldn't see why his mother looked so concern.

"The fruits of the Transformation are sweet indeed, but the process is a particularly painful one. Even though you are only part Veela your body will mimic the Transformation process of a full Veela. Once the fever takes hold, you will feel like every bone in your body is breaking and rearranging itself to accommodate the growth spurt you will undergo. The skin on your back will itch as if you have wings there just waiting to burst out. Your fingernails will feel like talons- you'll end up clawing at everything around you to test their strength- and your gums will hurt with the phantom pain of fangs you do not possess.  The fever may last for as long as a week, throughout which you'll feel like you're dying or at least wish you were."

Draco winced at the mention of pain. As the only child of an extremely wealthy family, he was spoiled rotten by his parents; he was never given any opportunity to develop a tolerance for suffering of any kind. He supposed he could endure the pain if it meant gaining a more attractive body in exchange.

Not like I have a choice either way.

Although he would never admit it out loud, he was rather embarrassed by his scrawny built and how little he'd grown since his first year at school. He was shorter than all the boys and half the girls. Even Granger stood at eye level with him, which meant he had to tilt his head up in order to look down his nose at her. It was hard to look menacing when you were the littlest in a group. Not that he didn't manage, mind you, he was a Malfoy after all. Still, it would nice not to have to strain his neck to look down on others.

He also liked the idea of witches throwing themselves at him because they found him attractive; not because they found the Malfoy galleons irresistible. Thus far, the only witch to allow him as much as a snog- and some over the clothes petting- was Pansy Parkinson; and that was only because she was expecting to be Lady Malfoy someday, otherwise he could tell from her fake smiles and faker moans she wasn't into him at all.

Surprisingly, the only witch, not family, ever to touch him of her own accord was the Mudblood when she punched him in third year. At the time he'd been outraged she'd dared to put her filthy hands on his person, but over the years he'd developed some rather confusing reactions to the thought of her willingly touching him. Yet another thing he was too ashamed of to dwell on properly.

For a brief moment, he felt gratitude towards the Black ancestor responsible for making possible the Veela traits about to be bestowed upon him. That was until his mother explained about Veela and their mates.

"What do mean just one witch for life?" he demanded of his mother.

She simply raised an eyebrow at his outburst, reminding him whom he was addressing. Being more than just some insipid society wife, Narcissa Malfoy had raised her son to be respectful of witches and see them as his equal and partners, not playthings there for his amusement the way his friends were taught to think. Of course, Mudbloods were the exception since they weren't real witches.

Feeling admonished by her look alone, he took a more diplomatic approach.

"I mean, why do I have to stay stuck with some witch I didn't even choose for myself?"

His mother tilted her head and pressed her lips tightly together. After some moments of silent contemplation, she slowly explained, "Your mate is someone the fates created as the one person perfectly suited to you. Therefore, your happiness is assured with this person. When you consummate your bond with your mate you will feel so content, you will not want to consider seeking anyone else."

"Does this mean that I could seek someone else if I wanted to?"

"Since you're not a full Veela, I suppose it is possible -- But, it doesn't matter, as you will lose interest in anyone else once you've claimed your mate."

"...and I claim my mate simply by having sex with them?"

She shook her head.

"That's only a part of it. Both, you and your mate need to truly accept and acknowledge each other publically as mates. The Black family changed their marriage rituals a few generations ago to include a simple handfasting ceremony where the couple publically claim each other as soul mates. This way the Veela bond is completed without anyone being wiser of the Blacks secret heritage."

Watching the smirk plastered on her face as she explained how her family had hoodwinked the wizarding population for close to a century, for the first time he wondered if he had inherited that particular facial quirk from his mother rather than his father as he'd always believed.

"Do I have to bond with this supposed mate?"

"You don't have to, but you will want to."

"What do you mean?"

"I can't explain it. You will know when you feel the pull. Your mate will be the focus of your life, second only to any children you may have."

"So if I don't claim my mate, nothing bad will happen to me like it does in those romance novels Mrs Parkinson and Pansy enjoy reading so much?"

As he had understood from Pansy's rather dreamy narrations- which he had to put up with as her boyfriend- the stories usually involved the Veela finding their mate and fucking them senseless or risk dying. He was sure his mother wouldn't appreciate that particular phrasing.

His mother's hand flew in front of her face to hide her smile. "No, you won't die. Neither will your mate." The tone of her voice then changed to a more serious one. "You will be okay if you don't claim your mate. Both of you will go through life always feeling like something is missing, but you will live."

Unsatisfied with his mother's answers, he had consulted with some of the Black family portraits during his holidays. He discovered there was a lot his mother had not told him, either too embarrassed to discuss sex with her teenage son or maybe because she could not imagine Draco having cause not to claim his mate.

"So how will I know who this mate is?"

"You will see her face in a dream when you complete your Transformation next week. But you may already have an idea who it is."

Pansy?

Sure, they were seeing each other and the Parkinson family name was only second to the Malfoys. He could not think of anyone else quite as suitable. Plus, he thought Pansy was quite fit even if he did agree with the Gryffindors about her being a bit pug-faced. All things considered, being with her would be no hardship even if she was with him only for his family name.

"Your mate will be someone you cannot ignore, no matter what. You'll always pay attention to them when they're around and think of them when they aren't."

Not Pansy then.

He could easily tune her out whenever she went on about the trashy novels she read or the shopping she was looking forward to. He also couldn't stand her when she played the pure princess around him, even though everyone knew she'd let that brute Marcus Flint finger her after Slytherin won the match against Ravenclaw.

Had he really cared about Pansy, it would've hurt something other than just his pride when Marcus had shown up in the common room looking rather smug as he held out his finger for Draco to sniff so the Malfoy heir could know what his girlfriend's cum smelled like.

He had merely raised an eyebrow at Flint and then resumed his conversation with Theo as if nothing of consequence had occurred. As it was though, he was biding his time; when they left Hogwarts, he would show Flint how difficult things could get for a wizard of his lowly station when one earned the displeasure of a Malfoy.

Where Pansy was concerned, he had suspected all along that she was getting her itch scratched elsewhere since she never came to him. As much as he would've liked to dump her as his girlfriend, she was the only suitable witch available who had shown any interest in him at all. He had no choice but to put up with her, waiting for the moment she finally spread her legs for him.

Now that he knew it couldn't be Pansy, Draco did a mental rundown of all the witches who could potentially be his mate. As he quickly eliminated one witch after the other, he began to panic when it started to dawn on him just who the witch might be.

His mother noticed his expression but fortunately mistook it.

"Oh Draco! Did you and Pansy have a falling out? Is she seeing someone else? What is it?"

Not wanting to be caught lying or share his suspicions of who his mate might be, he remained silent with his eyes cast down, letting his mother draw whatever conclusions she liked.

"You know, your mate will find it hard to ignore you too, and she'll never truly be happy with any other wizard. Even if she marries someone else and has children with him, she will always feel incomplete unless she bonds with you. The same goes for you."

Interesting.

Unlike full Veelas, he wouldn't die without his mate- from the sound of it, he would barely even experience any discomfort.

"So how will I go about initiating the bond with my mate?"

He asked because the last thing he needed was to accidentally bond with an undesirable witch for life.

"Oh, don't worry about that, when you give in to the pull you feel towards your mate, your Veela instincts will guide you."

From the way his mother blushed, he had assumed some kind of kinky sex act was involved. His mother had not bothered to explain about the mating heat that took hold of Veelas every month once the bond was triggered between mates. She certainly did not speak of the consequences of ignoring the bond or delaying consummation once it was initiated, and she most definitely never gave him any reason to suspect that all it would take was a kiss for him to end up tethering on the edge of his sanity.

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As his sixteenth birthday drew nearer Draco suspected he knew who his mate was- something he didn't wish to acknowledge till he had no choice but to accept it.

He didn't need to wait too long.

A week later, when he finally fell into a deep sleep on his bed, exhausted from the fever that facilitated his Veela transformation, he saw, quite unmistakably the smiling face of one Hermione Granger, with her hand outstretched, reaching out to him.

Later, as Draco watched his reflection in the bathroom mirror, he frowned. Here he was, a wealthy, shrewd, and now also physically attractive, pureblood wizard, and yet the person the fates had chosen to be his mate was Granger of the plain face, muddy brown eyes and birds nest hair.

She didn't even have an impressive figure like that Hufflepuff in their year who was always seen with Longbottom. She may have a completely forgettable face but, Salazar's balls, the curves on the witch made everyone do a double take. All the boys recalled the day she had shown up in the Great Hall soaking wet, thanks to one of Peeves' pranks. Her entry, with her uniform clinging to her body obscenely and her otherwise modest Oxford shirt rendered transparent, was soon followed by an exodus of young wizards excusing themselves from dinner to deal with their stiffies.

As if having tainted blood wasn't bad enough, Granger lacked physical appeal and possessed an annoying personality. He wasn't a shallow person, but if he was going to be tied to one witch for his whole life he'd have picked someone who was the complete package.

Splashing his face with water, Draco decided he was going to try his best to make sure he never bonded with Granger so he could someday choose for himself the kind of mate he desired and, surely, deserved.

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Draco finally managed to find his much-needed answers in the diary of one Nigel Phineas Black. The portrait of the former headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry had remained tight-lipped when Draco first approached it with questions related to the Veela traits in the Black family. The old coot got talking only after Draco let slip that his mate was a Muggleborn.

Nigel, it turned out, had some personal experience in dealing with an unsuitable mate- though his mate was a pureblood with impeccable bloodlines who only suffered the misfortune of being sorted into Hufflepuff, nothing quite as bad as having a Muggleborn Gryffindor for a mate. The former Slytherin offered his sympathies to the Malfoy heir on his mate and asked him to read his for possible solutions to his problem.

During his next visit home, Draco spent a great deal of time in the section of the library containing unsorted books from the Black family archives till he came upon a diary with the initials NPB on it. Waving his wand in the pattern shown to him by Nigel allowed him to unlock the diary and read the man's notes on his own experience as a part-Veela.

Thus, armed with the knowledge provided in the diary, Draco was confident he would be able to live his life as he desired without being shackled to a Mudblood for life.

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It was simply horrible, thought Draco, as he watched Granger get tortured by his aunt. He was ready to break down into tears and throw himself on top of her to save her. He closed his eyes, focusing harder on making sure his occlumency shields held- it was the only way he could resist the pull- and didn't open them until he felt in control again.

This was her fault. Granger shouldn't have been gallivanting outside with Potter and Weasley. She should have tried harder not to get caught. Didn't the silly bint realise they were in the midst of a war?

His dear aunt was now using her favourite tool, a cursed blade, to carve out Granger's arm. Granger howled in pain and he almost drew his wand out to hex Aunt Bella; just in time he managed to remind himself how this was Granger's own fault. If only she answered Aunt Bella's questions, honestly, this would all be over and he could run back to his rooms to hide.

He avoided looking at Granger, knowing it would upset him to see her miserable condition, but then the bitch twisted in the midst of the Crucio his aunt cast on her and looked him in the eye. Instead of the pleading gaze he expected, he saw only a dull vacant stare. She was his mate, yet she did not expect him to save her; it bothered him a great deal that this is how it was between them.

To distract himself from the ache in his chest he began to plan how he would bust Granger out once the Death Eaters were asleep. He was spared the trouble by his father's elf and the wonder twins, Potter and Weasley, themselves.

In the moments after Granger disappeared right before his eyes, he swore he'd never bind himself to a witch like Granger, even if she were a Pureblood. Like the rest of the Gryffindors, she had a knack for getting into trouble and he lacked the mental constitution required to withstand the constant worry and stress that came with being a Veela to such a reckless mate.

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As prophesised, Harry Potter defeated the Dark Lord, again; and this time, with the destruction of the horcruxes, it looked like Tom Marvolo Riddle was sure to stay dead. Unfortunately, for Harry Potter, he was unable to defeat the killing curse a third time. When it was all over, no one knew whose wand cast the curse that finally killed the Boy Who Lived.

Having seen their leader as well as the boy saviour of the wizarding world fall, the more loyal Death Eaters made one final desperate push to turn the tide in their favour. The result was absolute chaos on the battlefield, with both sides making indiscriminate use of the Unforgivables in an attempt to decimate their enemy's ranks.

As the day of, what would later come to be known as, the Final Battle wore on, the situation was looking bleaker and bleaker with no end to the battle in sight. That was until Lucius Malfoy intervened. He called for a cease-fire and negotiated a deal with the Light side, assuring blanket pardons and amnesty for any Death Eaters willing to switch sides. 

Apart from his wife, no one knew that Lucius Malfoy, one of the most loyal followers of the Dark Lord had secretly been supplying information to The Order of the Phoenix for months before the Final Battle. Ever since Lucius learnt of the Dark Lord's assignment for his only son and heir, he turned against his master. He hoped that by working as a double agent he would be able to keep his family safe and out of Azkaban when the Dark Lord finally fell.

Despite Lucius' scheming, he failed to keep his family safe. When the Dark Lord discovered Harry Potter was still alive, he knew Narcissa had deceived them all when she confirmed Potter's death. Before Lucius could even think to formulate a plan, the Dark Lord had turned his wand away from Potter and cast an Avada at Narcissa instead.

Lucius fell to his knees, stunned by his grief, as he watched the love of his life go down. For the next few hours, he simply sat there, in the midst of the ongoing battle, holding the limp form of his wife in his arms. When the battle erupted into chaos following the death of both leaders he finally realised he needed to find his son.

Unwilling to lose the only family he had left, Lucius engaged in battle again like a mad man, killing anything in his path as he desperately searched for Draco. He was shocked when he finally spotted his son, injured and exhausted, yet continuing to fight. What really took him aback though was how Draco stood back-to-back with Potter's Mudblood, both working in tandem to take down the group of Death Eaters attacking them.

Something about watching the heir of two of the oldest Pureblood families and follower of the Dark Arts working together with the young Muggleborn witch and follower of the Light, made Lucius think it was time for a new era to dawn on the wizarding world.

Using all of the Slytherin cunning he so famously possessed, Lucius Malfoy secured alliances across the battlefield that ultimately culminated into a detente between the warring sides.

In the aftermath of the war, there were huge losses on both sides, but overall, the wizarding world had been the one to suffer most. With a large portion of their population laid to waste, rather than continuing the fight for their respective beliefs, the wizarding community as a whole came together to heal and rebuild itself.

The Purebloods had learnt that an outright war hurt their society rather than help maintain their rich traditions and way of life. As such, many chose to be more accepting of the non-Purebloods, while others chose more subtle means of achieving their goals. By and large, everyone seemed to feel less strongly about blood purity; after all the blood they'd watched spill in the years since the return of the Dark Lord, they had come to realise, finally, that blood looked the same no matter whose veins it flowed out of.

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The war was over, and Malfoy Manor was finally free of the oppressive presence of the Dark Lord, however Draco Malfoy was not free of the memories of the horrors he witnessed within his familial home during the period the Dark Lord was in residence there.

Many Purebloods who first joined the Dark Lord's cause eventually came to regret the side they chose in the war. While they didn't consider the Muggleborns their equal in magical ability, they also didn't possess the desire to see them slaughtered or enslaved.

Draco, like many other Purebloods, noticed the war had long ceased to be about protecting their customs and turned into a sick game where it didn't matter what kind of blood ran in your veins so long as the Dark Lord and his sadistic followers like Bellatrix Lestrange, got to make a spectacle of draining a person of it completely.

As if all the gory tableaus he had witnessed in his home in recent years weren't enough, he also found himself assaulted with memories of happier times involving his regal mother. Draco found he couldn't turn a corner without escaping, either reminders which made his heart shudder in fear and revulsion, or simply ache with longing. Everything was still too recent, too fresh in his memory and his home became unbearable to Draco.

In such a time of grief, his father was of little support to him. Draco rarely caught sight of the man as he was either busy at the Ministry or locked in his study, going through his reserves of Ogden's finest while having one sided conversations with Narcissa Malfoy's portrait, which had yet to come to life.

Even when he did see his father, it was awkward and uncomfortable. Draco didn't understand his father's behaviour till he happened to overhear Lucius's confession to his mother's portrait; he was so used to being told he looked like his father Draco never once thought how hard it was for his father to look at him as his presence only served to remind Lucius of the wife he lost.

When the owl arrived with an invitation to return to Hogwarts and redo his seventh year, Draco didn't have to think twice to make up his mind. He needed to escape and Hogwarts was his home away from home.

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Returning to Hogwarts had been strange. There was the old familiarity but the place now held a new ache. Few students had chosen to return to school after the war; he could understand why most would prefer never to return despite Hogwarts being a second home to them for years. Everyone had lost someone they loved or cared about in the war, many of them fallen during the Battle of Hogwarts. He could well understand the need not to pick at fresh wounds by returning to the scene- something he would've avoided himself if staying at home wasn't even worse for him.

Granger had chosen not to return. He couldn't explain the disappointment he felt at her absence since he knew she wouldn't be there even before he arrived at Hogwarts. He'd read in the Prophet she was offered an internship at the Ministry and was planning to sit directly for her NEWTS.

Going by her pictures, that were printed often enough in the Daily Prophet, she seemed to be doing okay. Everyone was curious about how the war heroine was coping with being the only surviving member of the Golden Trio, so the tabloids were filled with updates on her comings and goings. He passed off any concern he felt towards her wellbeing as a general curiosity about a former enemy.

Since they moved in different circles outside of Hogwarts, he did not get the opportunity to meet her in person again for years. He'd occasionally catch a glimpse of her in Diagon Alley but never close enough to interact. Not that he wanted to, he told himself.

What he felt was relief, he convinced himself, by the lack of interactions; he could relax and simply do as he pleased with his life instead of worrying about triggering the mate-bond. He did not want to meet her, just as he did not want to think about her.

Draco disliked remembering how scared he was at finding himself trapped with the out-of-control Fiendfyre in the Room of Hidden Things, or the shock he felt when Granger appeared before him on a broomstick. He did not like recalling how, in spite of the layer of dirt and soot covering her and the grim expression on her face, with her hand held out towards him she brought to mind the vision of his mate dream. At the time, he was so stunned by the similarity he'd remained rooted to the spot, unable to move until Granger huffed and, grabbing a hold of him, pulled him onto her broom. He especially hated thinking about how it felt to hold her as she flew them to safety.

Of course, she didn't bother sticking around long enough to even allow him to thank her after unceremoniously dumping him as soon as they were out of danger; she just nodded at him before taking off with her friends to defeat the Dark Lord. He did manage to return the favour the same day by pushing her out of the way of a stray killing curse during the battle.

He didn't give much thought to why he was even close enough to save her- after all, he was supposed to be fighting for the Dark side. There was something magnetic about the magic radiating from Granger when she was on the battlefield. He had kept his distance from her, keeping an eye out for anyone trying to sneak up on her- he told himself he was only watching her out of appreciation for her fighting style, not because he was watching out for her in any way. She may not have been Pure or beautiful but her wandwork was a sight to behold. Remembering the power emanating from her as she boldly advanced, striking down her enemies, made him shiver in a way he wished not to dwell upon.

It really was a good thing they wouldn't be around each other again as he found himself entirely too fascinated with the Muggleborn witch to trust himself not to do something as foolish as initiating their bond when around her.

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Astoria Greengrass wasn't anyone new. Draco had crossed paths with her on several occasions in the past, though he'd never seen her as anything more than Daphne's younger sister. Then after the war, they'd returned to Hogwarts and Draco couldn't help but notice her long legs, silky brunette hair and sharp eyes that seemed to miss nothing.

Astoria was beautiful, smart and a Pureblood, but above all that, she was also affected by the war. She shared his abhorrence for the Pureblood ideologies that had led to the senseless deaths of so many of them. She seemed to understand the weight he carried on his shoulders for his role in the events that led to Dumbledore's death and the start of the war. She could see past his sneers and arrogance to the insecure boy he was, and not feel repulsed by his cowardice.

After they got together, Draco was pleased to discover that Astoria Greengrass wasn't the shy and demure Pureblood Witch she appeared to be. She was sexually adventurous and didn't believe in limiting their experiences in any way. She was perfect.

When they finished with Hogwarts, Draco wasn't ready to return to Malfoy Manor. He decided to travel the world instead and try to forget the horrors of the war. Astoria willingly joined him in his travels. He found her company helped him feel a little less lonely and, a little more like the carefree privileged wizard he may have been if the Dark Lord had never returned. He decided he liked the feeling, so he asked her to marry him. 

Lucius Malfoy was disappointed with his choice. Astoria was neither his mate, nor was she Sacred Twenty Eight. Yet, his father did acknowledge Astoria was perfect in every other way and begrudgingly gave the union his blessing for the sake of his son's happiness.

The couple was in England for the marriage, which took place with great fanfare in the Greengrass Estate instead of Malfoy Manor, as was tradition for every Malfoy heir before Draco. Both, father and son agreed that the Manor would need a major makeover before they could consider hosting any guests in their family home. The house still reeked of the dark magic the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters had engaged in during their stay in the Manor.

The newlyweds spend the next few years globetrotting and observing wizarding cultures in other parts of the world. Draco found himself frequently resenting these sheltered communities for having escaped the ravages of war. As much as he enjoyed learning about alternative potion making and spell-creation techniques, he also found himself harbouring bitterness towards these communities for choosing to sit along the sidelines and allow the Dark Lord to upend their world.

After years of travelling and avoiding his home, Draco Malfoy began to grow steadily restless and homesick. He decided it was time to return to England and commence a new chapter in his life.

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Predictably, Lucius Malfoy was once again in the upper echelons of the Ministry- there was even talk of him making Minister of Magic when the current minister retired. Astounding, though, was the newfound camaraderie between the senior Malfoy and the Muggleborn, Hermione Granger. He admired the young Gryffindor for her brains and spirited nature but grew exasperated at her bleeding heart that made it possible for everyone to take advantage of her. He could tell she was lonely and like him trying to survive in this new world.

They met for tea at least once every fortnight before heading back to their empty homes and lonely lives. Their conversations were strictly related to work or the magical world; they rarely if ever spoke of personal matters and they never discussed the past.

Lucius found himself looking forward to his time with her, though his interest in her was strictly platonic. While she was an attractive young witch, albeit with hair that was a lost cause, Lucius did not think he could ever care for another woman romantically again. 'Cissa had been it for him; he was simply biding time till he joined his beloved beyond the veil.

When the marriage law came out, Lucius did not find it hard to decide whom he would ask. He admired Hermione and they had a friendship of sorts. If he was forced to marry and have kids, there was no other woman he would rather ask. He was older than she was, but he didn't think she would care too much about that- despite her Gryffindor sensibilities, he knew she was far too sensible to be holding out for love in the current scenario.

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Hermione Granger tried to focus on the words before her but struggled to make sense of what she was reading as her mind kept drifting to the marriage law and its implications for her.

The news itself of such a law being passed wasn't as much of a shock to her as it was to most in their world. She was well aware of the dwindling numbers of wizarding folk in recent decades, which the war had only further cut down dramatically, and as a Ministry employee, she had known a marriage law was one of the drastic measures being considered to give their population a boost.

She wasn't pleased with the law but she didn't find it as upsetting as she probably should have. The years following the fall of Tom Riddle had ended up being lonely ones for her. She felt Harry's and Ron's absence deeply. Ever since they became friends, she had always been at their side. Losing both of them felt akin to losing her limbs.

The Weasley family completely broke down following the deaths of Ron, the twins, Ginny and Molly. Each of the surviving children took off to a different corner of the world trying to make a new life for themselves with no reminders of what they had lost. Bill and Fleur settled in France, Charlie in Romania, and Percy decided to start afresh in Salem, America.

Arthur alone remained at The Burrow, but Hermione only ever saw him in passing at the Ministry. He was a changed man- withdrawn and quiet. She used to think of Arthur Weasley as her surrogate father in the wizarding world, but their relationship had grown strained after the war. Perhaps she was a reminder of happier times or the children he had lost- Hermione wasn't sure what about her presence made him look so weary and his eyes so sorrowful anytime he ran into her; however, seeing how she upset him, she kept her distance from him.

It wasn't just her friends and surrogate family she lost during that traumatic phase of her life. After the war, Hermione was still working on figuring out how to restore their memories when she received news from the Australian ministry that her parents had passed away in an accident a few weeks prior.

So devastated was she by the loss of all the people she had loved she was amazed she could even manage to get up some days. Nevertheless, Hermione Granger was not made for sorrow. Her nature wouldn't let her stay idle and wallow in her grief. Instead, she focused on her work, trying to improve relations not just between Wizards and Muggles but also Wizards and other magical beings.

Her friendship with Lucius Malfoy was as much a shock to Hermione as it was to anyone else. At first, she was wary of his intentions, wondering why the former Death Eater had taken to advising her on better ways to put forth her proposals before the Wizengamot. Over time, she came to understand that, like her, he too was lonely.

But of course, since he was Lucius Malfoy, not just anyone's company would do. Even if he were not one of the wealthiest men in all of Europe, he would still be a handsome man in his prime. There was no shortage of witches who would gladly spend time with him in any way he desired, but Lucius was the kind of man who gravitated towards power. He had followed Voldermort because of his power and now, for similar reasons, Lucius sought her company, regardless of her Muggle roots.

Despite their easygoing friendship over the past few years, she was caught off-guard by Lucius' offer of marriage. He may no longer harbour his old prejudices towards non-Purebloods, but she didn't think the former Death Eater had come so far as to choose to marry a Muggleborn over his pick of Pureblood witches.

Hermione was aware Lucius was only looking to marry because the law required him to do so. She wasn't silly enough to imagine the wizard in love with her. From what she had observed of the Malfoy patriarch in the time she had gotten to know him, the wizard was still in love with his departed wife.

Hermione felt a little sad that the marriage law was going to make so many people have to settle for loveless marriages. She had always wanted the kind of marriage her parents had but gradually came to realise she may not be as lucky. She had tried dating, but it always felt like something was missing. Maybe things would've been different if Ron had lived, but as things were, she had grown so disillusioned with the notion of finding love it was well over six months since she had even gone on a date.

Nevertheless, she still wanted a family of her own. She may not get to marry for love like she wanted, but she could at least have children. Whatever faults Lucius may have, he was a devoted father.

Our marriage will be one of convenience. I cannot promise you love, but I will care for you and any children we may have, Lucius had said to her,

All things considered, Lucius Malfoy's offer was the best she could ask for under the current circumstances. They got along well enough, seemed to understand each other and could support each other's political aspirations. Moreover, he appeared to genuinely respect her and care about her wellbeing.

Yes, she decided as she put away the book she had tried to read for the last few hours, she would marry Lucius Malfoy. That night before nodding off to sleep, she briefly wondered what Draco Malfoy would think about the girl he liked to taunt for her dirty blood marrying his pure father.

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A fucking marriage law!

Everything was going swimmingly in his life and then the ministry passed a marriage law, which set in motion the events that would bring Granger back into his life.

When the news first came out, Draco didn't think it would ever have so great an impact on his existence, after all he was already happily married and it was a Marriage Law, well, The Marriage and Procreation Law or Decree No. 101735, to be precise.

The Ministry expected them all to pair off and breed, because in spite of their best efforts the birth rates in a post-war society had yet to improve while the numbers of the magical population steadily declined. As a desperate fix, the ministry had written a marriage law into effect.

The crux of the law was that every witch and wizard under the age of fifty be married and produce a minimum of two children per couple within the next five years.

All single witches and wizards under the age of fifty were required to marry a person of their choice within a year, have their first child within three years of marriage, and a minimum of two children within four. After the birth of the mandated minimum number of children, the marriage would be dissolved unless the couple chose to remain married. If at the end of five years the couple was unable to reproduce the set minimum, their marriage would be dissolved and the Ministry would pair them up with a magically compatible partner they would be certain to have a child with.

For married couples under the age of fifty, the law only applied to those without at least two children. Couples affected by the law were required to get pregnant with their first child at the end of two years from the issuance of the degree and to have their second child within four years. Failure to do so would result in the dissolution of their marriage, following which they would be required to marry their Ministry-assigned match and produce the minimum number of two children within five years of their marriage.

Draco couldn't believe his father had picked the Mudblood to be his wife. How could he ever think that the likes of Hermione Granger would ever be able to fill in the shoes of Narcissa Malfoy nee Black? Sure, the marriage law required his father to remarry, but there were more suitable witches out there. Granger had to be leading his father by the short hairs for him to have made such a decision.

Chapter Text

The marriage ceremony between Draco's father and Granger had been a simple one conducted at the Ministry followed by lunch at Malfoy Manor. A handful of the couple's closest family and friends gathered to watch them sign the marriage contract. A spell on the document, courtesy of the Ministry, ensured the contract only became valid once the marriage was consummated by the couple; this was to ensure couples were truly complying with the marriage law.

Granger was dressed in a set of robes more suited to a business meeting than a marriage ceremony, then again, for all he knew her marriage was probably just a business arrangement with his father. Secretly, he was glad he was spared the details of their relationship. From the looks of it, while the couple were friendly with each other it didn't look like there was any great passion between them. Although he didn't expect his father's face to be anything other than its usual impassive mask, he expected the Gryffindor witch to show more emotion towards her lover slash husband.

The marriage union wasn't attended by anyone from Granger's family. In place of the friends Draco had known her to have during her Hogwarts days, the only people in attendance were his Aunt Andromeda- or Aunt Andy as she insisted he call her- and his cousin Teddy. Arthur Weasley attended the service at the Ministry and left quickly after the marriage was sealed. However, the long hug he shared with Granger before leaving made Draco wonder if the witch had a predilection for seducing older men.

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Draco should've known better than to underestimate Granger for almost immediately after her marriage the witch moved into the Manor. He had expected Granger to be too traumatised by memories of the torture she had experienced in his familial home to ever return to it again, let alone make it her home. Clearly the Gryffindor was stronger than he gave her credit for; he himself had taken years to struggle with his demons before he could call Malfoy Manor home once more.

Granger took residence in the Mistress suite which connected to his father's personal suite. It offered him some respite to know she wouldn't be occupying his father's suite the way his mother had when she was alive. It was bad enough thinking of Granger warming his father's bed, he didn't need the added woe of dealing with the thought of any witch trying to replace his mother.

Draco had to acknowledge that for her part Granger was making an effort. From the time Lucius first brought her home to meet him and Astoria, Granger would chat pleasantly with Astoria and was always civil to Draco whenever they were in the same room. Mostly though, she kept to herself. He usually only saw her at the breakfast table and occasionally at dinner. On days she was home he knew he was most likely to find her curled on the window in the library lost in the pages of some book. Without really meaning to, he seemed to have figured out her routine.

She was still working at the Ministry, which seemed like a strange notion to Astoria who didn't know Granger quite as well as Draco did. He knew there was no way Granger would settle for being a society wife, so, it was no surprise to him when she relinquished most of her duties as Lady Malfoy and mistress of the house to Astoria.

Draco could tell his wife had taken quite the shine to the Muggleborn witch who was meant to be his mate. Maybe it was Granger's war heroine status, or the fact she'd snagged as formidable a wizard as Lucius Malfoy for her husband, whatever the reason, Astoria seemed rather impressed with Granger. So much so, Astoria had even taken to nagging him about making more of an effort to be nice to Granger- going as far as elbowing Draco anytime she believed he was out of line. Oddly, while Granger stoically ignored his attempts to bait her, Astoria would angrily hiss at him.

Draco himself didn't care much for this grown up version of Granger. Her cool demeanour towards him was rather unsatisfying. She never paid him any attention beyond general civilities ; her conversations with him were limited to enquiring after his health, commenting on the weather or some other equally insipid subject in Draco's opinion. On the other hand she talked about all sorts of interesting things with his father- from books she was currently reading, to happenings at the ministry, advancements in potioneering and spell crafting.

Draco never joined in their conversations; it would never do to seem eager. But, the more he listened to his father and Granger talk about their lives the more restless and idle he felt. Did she perhaps think of him as just another rich and lazy aristocrat with no care for intellectual pursuits? Or, and he bristled at the thought, did she perhaps not consider him bright enough to keep up with their discussions, even though he'd only ever been second to her in Hogwarts?

He didn't care what Granger thought about him, he told himself. He was only thinking of these things because he was bored and needed to find some way of being productive. He'd spend the last few years travelling and indulging himself in every way possible. Nevertheless, rather than feeling content, it only made him feel more restless. Listening to Granger reminded him of his own ambitions. Instead of resting on her laurels, she sat for her NEWTS and got record setting scores before she began working at the Ministry, starting her career from the ground up.

Of course, lacking political savvy Granger had struggled, or so he'd gathered from listening to conversations between Lucius and his new wife. However, with guidance and direction from his father, she'd quickly climbed up the ladder. He had no idea what kind of earth shattering moment had led to Lucius Malfoy taking Hermione Granger under his wing, but, apparently in a post-war world the former Death Eater had decided he would help the Muggleborn navigate the political waters of their world and help her achieve her potential.

While he still failed to observe anything resembling passion between the duo, the ease between Granger and his father unsettled Draco. He told himself the jealousy he felt was due to his father's decision to groom Granger instead of his own son. Of course at those moments Draco chose to ignore the tiny fact that he had no political aspirations whatsoever. No, Draco was certain he wasn't jealous of the way Granger smiled at his father or the trusting look in her eye when she listened to Lucius speak.

Chapter Text

Draco watched Granger trip and start to fall. He didn't mean to catch her, especially since he'd always taken great pains to avoid touching her, but his seeker instincts kicked in and he caught her by the waist before she could land face down on the marble flooring.

He only felt real horror when he realised they were somehow stuck together on the spot and he was unable to let go of her. It was around the same time Granger realised just who was holding her and attempted to leap away only to discover she couldn't.

Almost simultaneously, they looked up to notice the source of the mischief. Mistletoe. Charmed mistletoe at that. They wouldn't be able to separate till they locked lips and considering Astoria was responsible for the Yule celebration taking place downstairs, including the decorations, Draco knew a simple peck on the cheeks wouldn't cut it.

"Okay, Malfoy. Let's just get it done with unless you'd like to stay stuck here together for the rest of the day."

She huffed at him in annoyance when he refused to respond in any way.

Grabbing him by the collar of his robes, she pulled his head down to her level and pressed her lips to his. The moment finishing before he'd even managed to make sense of her actions.

"There, that should do it." She announced smugly and once more attempted to move away only to find herself still rooted to the spot.

"How pathetic of you to think a peck like that qualifies as a kiss. Also, please don't put your hands on my person without my express permission."

He made a show of dusting his robes as he sneered at her.

"Merlin dammit, Malfoy, I'm already on edge today; don't you dare push me today."

"Or what? You'll violate me again?"

"Violate you! Why I've never-"

"I'm sure there are lots of fun things a buzzkill like you never did. Now pucker up, Granger unless you want to stay here the rest of the night and take advantage of me after I fall sleep."

He reached for her, tilting her chin up with one hand and holding the back of her neck with the other. Draco lowered his head and pressed his lips to hers much like Granger had earlier and gently teased the seam of her lips with the tip of his tongue. She gasped and when he suckled her plump lower lip he felt her hands press against his chest in a way he wasn't certain was meant to push him away or pull him closer.

As Draco suckled her upper lip, using his tongue to tease the underside and slip into her mouth, he was well aware the spell from the enchanted mistletoe had already worn off. However, after so many years of knowing who his mate was he finally had the chance to get a taste of the witch. As a true Slytherin, he wasn't going to waste this opportunity handed to him by fortune to check if there really was something different about being with one's mate.

As he deepened the kiss and tasted her moans, feeling her hands run through his hair and tug on the back of head as if demanding for more, he didn't find it to be some kind of earth-shattering experience. What was unexpected, though, was the amount of sexual tension between them. He couldn't believe how pliant she was in this moment and how arousing it was have her soft body pressed against him.

He didn't know how long they stood there- their lips locked, hands holding each other's heads in place, tongues teasing and dancing with each other. Draco released her face and slid his hands down her back enjoying the way it dipped and curved. Using both hands to grab her plump arse, he pulled her hips flush against his so she could feel the length of his erection against her core.

He wasn't sure which one of them was more shocked in the moment to discover he was hard simply from kissing Hermione Granger. The shock seemed to jar them out of their moment of madness; both jumped away from each other as if burnt. Not even caring to come up with an explanation, each turned tail and fled in opposite directions.

Draco's heart thud loudly in his chest as he ran away as fast as he could. Upon finding himself on the Manor grounds he ran to the broom shed and grabbed his broom intent on flying around till he cleared his head of the memory of how it felt to have Granger pressed against him.

He flew at breakneck speed trying hard to rein in his emotions. He was angry at himself. Since he didn't fully understand how the bond between mates worked he knew he was playing with fire getting anywhere close to Granger. He was frustrated they didn't go any further than they did. And finally, he was angry at Granger for making him want her. Even in his most secret fantasies he always imagined Granger responding to any move on his part with violence. So, he wasn't prepared to have her melt at his touch as gloriously as she did. In retrospect, it was only natural, he told himself, to get an erection from having a willing witch moaning in your arms, provided she wasn't hideous.

And Granger was no longer hideous, especially since she now made an effort to tie or twist her hair into something that kept the beastly thing off her face. Granger may not be a great beauty like Astoria, but, clearly she wasn't entirely repulsive either.

While Draco tried to make sense of his own behaviour, he continued to remain puzzled by Granger's. Why did she kiss him back? Granger had never struck him as one of those witches who'd fall for a wizard's looks. Plus, considering their history she should want to hex his bollocks off, not snog the living breath out of him.

Draco cringed as a terrible thought occurred to him. People often commented about the strikingly similarity he bore to Lucius in terms of his looks. Could it be that when Granger was moaning in his arms and tugging at his hair to get him to kiss her more deeply she was thinking of his father at the time?

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He was sick but Draco couldn't figure out what was ailing him. The only conclusion he could draw from the results of the diagnostic spell was that the source of his illness was something magical.

Ever since Yule, he noticed he was beginning to feel more and more off. He was feverish- sweaty and hot, but his body temperatures were normal. He felt restless and horny all the time. Sex with Astoria and even jerking off only made him feel frustrated as he was unable to climax.

Draco was known to possess a prickly personality which somehow only became worse with the onset of his mysterious illness. He began to snap at anyone who approached him and Merlin save those who ventured close enough for Draco to pick up their scent.

He found his sense of smell heightened and he was often out of sorts due to the offensive odours he was constantly surrounded by all of a sudden. By some unhappy coincidence it was as if everyone he came in contact with had chosen to give up on their personal hygiene because they all reeked of something foul.

Unfortunately, the one person whose presence didn't irritate him in any way was Granger. And incredibly, every morning at the breakfast table when he passed by her seat, he'd find her scent to be the only pleasing one in the room. Later, he'd berate himself for not sooner realising what was going on based on this anomaly alone. But he was no longer his sharpest self as the fever was already affecting his brain.

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As the weeks progressed, Draco found himself snapping more and more at people even as he kept growing weaker from being unable to keep his food down since he was constantly throwing up due to how terrible everything around him smelled. Astoria's constant fussing over his health only made him feel worse as he couldn't stand her scent.  At first he held his tongue, worried he would hurt her feelings, but eventually he snapped at her too.

"How am I expected to keep my food down, when you insist on hovering over me smelling like rotting flesh and thestral dung?"

And then as if to underscore his point he turned and puked all over the floor, narrowly missing her shoes.

After that everyone in the manor gave him a wide berth. Which was a shame in some ways as Granger steered clear of him altogether. He supposed it made sense, seeing as how he couldn't normally stand the bint, in his current state, it was only logical, he was likely to cast an unforgivable at sight. Except, inexplicably her presence didn't upset him. Her scent, far from offensive, was really delectable- sweet but tart at the same time, like a juicy peach he just wanted to sink his teeth into. He moaned as he stroked the length of his cock at the thought, unaware he was doing so.

Yes, he remembered just how sweet she tasted when he'd kissed her. Her body flush against his; ripe- that was the word for how she'd felt, ready to be devoured. He fisted the head of his cock remembering how she'd moaned and melted against him. So lost was he in his fantasy he wasn't even conscious of his actions till he felt hot cum spill onto his bare stomach.

Fuck.

No, he corrected himself, fucked,  he was fucked, he thought as his brain finally caught up to what was happening to him.

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The first person Draco chose to disclose his suspicions to was his father. Lucius was already familiar with a lot of the baggage which accompanied his Veela genes, but more importantly, Draco had noticed his father's scent was tolerable compared with Astoria's. There were even days when his father smelled good enough to cause Draco to experience both embarrassment and confusion over the way his body responded to his father's scent.

Now, having deduced the likely source of his malady, he realised why his father's scent was so beguiling some days. He tried not to dwell on the reason; with the unreasonable rage and mood swings he was experiencing these days, pondering over why his father would be covered in his mate's scent could only lead to patricide.

"You're sure it's her?"

Draco didn't respond, only gave his father a look that conveyed how absurd he found the question to be.

"Wouldn't you have known sooner? If she is really your mate, wouldn't you have known earlier, back when you were in Hogwarts?"

Draco didn't make eye contact with his father, instead his entire body went rigid, and his chin tilted up defiantly. Lucius got his answer from Draco's defensive stance.

"You knew!" He accused. "You knew back then."

Draco continued to remain silent; now trying to play aloof.

"You knew she was your mate even when you were in Hogwarts... So, why?"

Draco knew his father was shocked. As a mate to a part Veela, Lucius likely understood the relationship dynamics far better than Draco himself did.

"Well, she was hardly suitable, was she?"

"You think your soul mate is not suitable to you?"

Draco shook his head. "No. I didn't think a Mudblood was suitable for our blood purist family. You forget father, but back then you had them writhing beneath you for entirely different reasons," he spat out tauntingly.

Lucius had the good grace to look away from his son.

"Your mother said it was Pansy."

"Mother assumed it was Pansy; I never corrected her."

"Well, why in the seven hells did you marry Astoria when you knew your mate was alive?"

"I had no reason to think I'd ever see much of Granger again after Hogwarts. I most certainly didn't expect to be living with her in the same house someday or that it would be enough to trigger the mating heat."

He didn't tell Lucius about the kiss. Clearly, Granger hadn't spoken of it, so Draco saw no reason to upset his father by confessing to his moment of weakness where he snogged his father's wife and initiated the bonding process.

Remembering the kiss just then was a bad idea as the memory caused a further tightening in his pants; the situation made worse by the scent clinging to his father. Draco could practically feel his skin itch with the need to grab his father's hand and lick his fingers- it was where her scent was coming off the strongest.

"Salazar's bollocks! How long since you felt the heat come on?" his father asked, looking very concerned.

"A month? Maybe more."

His father shook his head.

"This is bad. You two need to consummate. You've delayed this long enough."

Draco remained quiet. After all this was why he chose to speak with his father first. Lucius knew from experience what needed to be done.

Lucius pinched the bridge of his nose, looking rather agitated.

"She's not going to like this. She'll agree, of course, because she wouldn't want anyone to suffer if she can help it. But, she's not going to like this one bit."

"I'm not exactly thrilled either. I did my level best to keep my distance from her over the years to avoid exactly this kind of a situation."

"At least you have your distaste for each other in common."

"Well, we did fight on opposing sides in the war."

"And yet, you had each other's back in the Final Battle." His father closed his eyes as if replaying a particular memory. "You should've said something..." he trailed off at the withering glare Draco cast at him. "I can understand why you didn't back then, but, after the war you should've pursued your mate."

"Why would I? I had no intention of claiming her. Besides, I highly doubt Hermione Granger would've been too thrilled over the idea of being my fuckbuddy."

"Merlin save us! You'll need to work on your charm if you wish to stand any chance with Hermione."

"Are you saying you needed something more than the Malfoy galleons to charm the iron knickers off Granger?" Draco asked with an ugly sneer plastered on his face.

"You would do well to remember it's my wife you're referring to, not some Knockturn alley slapper I got home for the night. You also know very little about the witch in question if you believe she was impressed by either my name or my vault size."

Lucius stared at Draco pointedly, as if challenging him to say something to the contrary. At his silence, Draco watched his father pour himself a glassful of Ogden's finest and down it in one gulp before sitting down on his armchair heavily and tossing back another glassful of the rare and expensive firewhiskey.

Lucius sighed deeply before he spoke again. "I will speak to her on your behalf. Just, make sure you heed my counsel."

And then with a wave of Lucius' hand, Draco was dismissed.

Draco wasn't sure what to say to his father given the situation. It was obvious enough that his father cared more about his new wife than Draco first thought. As such it wouldn't have been easy for Lucius to accept that his wife would have to sleep with his own son. Draco knew there was no way he could successfully convince Granger on his own. So he ought to feel gratitude towards his father for his willingness to mediate for him. However, in the moment even as desperate as he was to fuck Granger thanks to the mating heat, all he could feel was resentment over the kind of intimacy his father got to share with his mate.

Chapter Text

Hermione Malfoy couldn't be certain if she had misheard her husband or if he was suffering from some variant of the Confundus charm. Everything he just said sounded like fanciful nonsense. She looked at the clock and dismissed the possibility of the person standing before her being someone polyjuiced to resemble Lucius; it was well over an hour since he came into her rooms to have a personal chat and, judging by the expression on his face, he really believed what he said to be true.

"So Mal- Draco­ is a Veela and I'm his mate?"

Yup, sounds just as crazy when said out loud.

"Part Veela." Lucius immediately corrected.

"And, I'm his mate? Me, Hermione Granger, Muggleborn, is the mate of one of the most bigoted Purebloods I've ever had the displeasure of knowing?"

"Well, you are married to someone who was one of the most bigoted Purebloods. Why would it be so farfetched for you to be the mate of my offspring?"

"Do you hear how crazy it sounds- me and Malfoy? I mean, Gods, how could anyone who's known us or seen us together ever think we could possibly be soul mates. I'm pretty sure Mal- Draco had one too many or took a knock to his head... Whatever the reason, he has to be mistaken in thinking I'm his mate."

"We can try a simple test to check whether you are his mate or not."

The certainty in Lucius' voice gave her pause.

"And if I am?" she asked, searching her husband's expressionless face for a hint of how he truly felt about the situation. "Do you realise what you're asking of me?"

"Yes, I do. I'm asking you to save my son's life, Hermione."

It wasn't often one got to see Lucius Malfoy looking vulnerable, Hermione didn't think she'd ever seen him look so worried since the war ended.

"You're asking me to have sex with your son."

"I'm asking you to bond with your mate."

She shook her head.

"We don't know for certain if I am indeed his mate; but if I am, you're still asking me to sleep with another man. Will you truly be okay with that?"

"Hermione, I told you before we married, I would never expect you to stay faithful to our marriage bed. I am an old man who was grieving the death of my wife and mate. Your friendship has been a bright spot in the darkness but I would never have pursued you for more if the new law had not required that I marry.

"You know I consider you to be an exceptional witch, and a friend. For me, you were the best choice and whatever your reason for marrying me, I know it wasn't because you believe yourself in love with me. You are a beautiful and passionate young woman; I expect there'll come a day when you'll find yourself swept off your feet. So I've always been okay with the idea of you taking a lover."

Hermione scoffed at the notion.

"Merlin! Even if what that were true, this is hardly the same thing. Do you really see your entitled son doing anything more than barking orders at me about how and when he'd like me to be available to service his needs?... I can't imagine him being nice to me, let alone sweeping me off my feet. And please, never again refer to your son as my lover unless you wish to see me throw up over this beautiful rug."

Lucius rubbed his temples.

"If the situation were not so dire I would think the fates were playing a joke on us by pairing the two of you. How is it that two, otherwise intelligent, people can behave as childishly as you do when it comes to the topic of the other? Mates usually get under each other's skins in the way that makes them desire each other sexually, but somehow you two only seem to irritate each other."

"Do you realise how surreal it is to hear my husband complain that I don't sexually desire his son?"

"Hermione, you will need to look past my relationship with Draco. He is your mate. He needs you." Lucius took her hand and enveloped it with both of his. "I do not care that you'll be sleeping with my son, as long as you save him."

There was no doubting the sincerity in her husband's words.

"We'll have this discussion after we confirm that I really am his mate."

"Okay. We can visit his room. With the mating heat he's very irritable and in pain from not being with his mate- he's been a right bastard to everyone. The only person Draco will tolerate in these circumstances is his mate. Given how he is usually around you, if you aren't his mate he is very likely to hex you -- Keep your wand ready, just in case."

Hermione nodded and followed him to the section of the family wing, which housed Malfoy's personal rooms.

Lucius Malfoy held open the door to his son's private sitting room. Draco and Astoria's bedroom was beyond. The couple usually slept in the same room, but because of Draco's recent mood swings, Lucius had informed her that Astoria was occupying one of the guest bedrooms in a different wing of the Manor.

"Granger, is that you?"

She hesitated outside the doorway despite the sound of approaching footsteps.

"I really hope it's you, Granger, and not my father teasing me with your scent. As frustrated as I am feeling right now, I may just have him wank me if that's the only way I can get your smell on me."

"Merlin!" The exclamation escaped her lips before she could think of turning tail and escaping from this crazed version of Malfoy.

"Hello, Granger!" Malfoy called out to her cheerily. Perhaps noticing how green she very likely looked in the moment, he added, "I take it you've heard then?"

Despite the merry tone, Malfoy was clearly miserable, if his looks were anything to go by. He sported dark circles around his eyes as if he hadn't slept in a while. His hair looked dull and astonishingly his skin had managed a sickly new level of pastiness compared to his usual sheet white self. Regardless of his overall condition, Malfoy's eyes looked full of life, as they roamed over her body.

Growing self-conscious due to the way he was staring at her, she went on the offensive.

"What's all this nonsense about mates, Malfoy? What kind of thestral piss have you been dosing yourself with to come up with the theory that I'm your mate?"

"Granger, I wish this was nothing more than a drug induced dream, unfortunately I can tell you from past experience, my drug induced dreams are far more exciting than imagining the most prissy and annoying swot as my mate. Still, if you'd like we can confirm it."

She gave him a scathing look meant to tell him to get on with it already.

"Father, I know you're standing out there. Will you please ask one of the elves to get Astoria here for a moment?"

Lucius was heard instructing one of the elves to call Astoria.

"Now, Granger," said Malfoy, stepping closer to her. "Aren't you curious about what set this off... or did that big brain of yours already figure it out?"

Hermione avoided looking directly at him. She focused on a spot behind him and pretended not to have heard what he said. She had known that kiss between them during Yule was all kinds of wrong, which was why she made no mention of it to Lucius. Now if what they were telling her were true she would have one more reason to curse her moment of temporary insanity, as she had taken to referring to the kiss between Malfoy and herself.

He came closer now and lowered his voice so only she could hear him.

"Have you been thinking about our kiss, Granger? Do you get wet thinking about it; thinking about my mouth on other parts of your body? I know you were very wet that day. I could smell you. Should I send father away? Will you spread your legs for me and put me out of my misery by letting me lap your juices right now?"

Merlin, what do I even say to that!

She was completely out of her element.

Fortunately, just then she heard the pop of elfish apparation followed by the voices of Lucius and Astoria. She expected Malfoy to step back upon hearing them approach but he looked like he was oblivious to everything except her at the time. The look he was giving her wasn't adoring or even lustful, just an intense scrutiny.

"Why did you summon me, Lucius? You know how my presence only upsets him in his current state."

Malfoy pinched his nose as his wife and father came into view and stepped even closer to Hermione, invading her personal space now.

"Actually, it was me. Granger needed a demonstration of sorts to be convinced she is my mate."

"Oh Drake! I've missed you so-"

"Yes, just don't come any closer," said Malfoy, cutting off Astoria rudely. He was shuddering and leaning close enough, Hermione could feel his breath brush against her neck.

She turned to give him a piece of her mind on the topic of personal space but was left speechless when she found herself eyelevel with him, barely an inch between their faces.

 Before she could pull back, a hand was on the back of her head, holding her in place.

Was he going to kiss her again? Her heart started racing at the thought. Merlin, did she want him to?

Her mouth suddenly felt incredibly dry. She licked her lips, a movement which seemed to draw his gaze to her mouth.

He groaned loudly.

"Salazar's rod, Granger, don't be a fuckin' tease."

He closed his eyes and dipped his head to the crook of her neck where he proceeded to slide his nose along the length of her neck. She couldn't help but shiver as his lips ghosted against her skin and his hot breath teased her flesh.

He took a deep inhale and let go of her. He moved away from her and closer to Lucius and Astoria. The closer he got to them, the more his face appeared to crumple. By the time he was near Astoria he looked positively green.

 "I'm sorry, 'Stori," he apologized to his wife before throwing up over her shoes.

Astoria looked like she wanted to reach out to Malfoy but pulled away instead. Still looking at her husband, she spoke to Hermione.

 "It's been like this for over a week now. Anytime I go near him he throws up."

Malfoy had turned away from his wife and father and was back to invading her personal space.

 "It's been going on for a lot longer. I was just able to hold it together until I was by myself. But it's become worse over time."

Lucius, who was silent this entire time, gave her a pointed look. "Draco's only able to stomach your presence. You know what it means." 

"Nimue help us! How is this even possible?" she asked no one in particular and then turned to look at Malfoy. "How is this even possible?" she asked him pointing to the two of them.

He shrugged.

"Maybe the fates have a sense of humour?" he suggested, twisting his index finger into a lock of her hair.

 "Okay," said Lucius, steering Hermione towards the room's exit. "Let's give Draco some time and space."

Malfoy didn't look pleased over the idea. In fact, he looked downright angry when he growled at Lucius. While Lucius and Hermione stayed immobile- surprised by the sudden change in Malfoy's demeanour- his wife acted promptly to neutralise the situation by casting a stunning spell at him.

The three proceeded to Lucius' study where he poured them a round of his strongest firewhiskey. Hermione was grateful for it, even as she felt the burn when she gulped down a mouthful of the potent liquid. She took the remainder of her drink and dropped into one of the cosy armchairs to think over the predicament she found herself in; the other two appeared to be doing the same.

Lucius finally broke the silence. 

"Have you needed to stun him before today?" he asked Astoria.

 "Yes. I foolishly thought that maybe if I did some of the things he usually likes he'd be less grouchy. Let's just say my attempts at seduction only made him more violent."

Astoria looked up at the sound of Hermione's gasp.

"No, I didn't mean to imply he was violent with me. He just - just went on a rage, ripping apart everything around him and shouting obscenities at me. He kept telling me that I smelt wrong. I was afraid he would cause the ceiling to crash on our heads so I stunned him. I haven't returned to our rooms since then, but the elves tell me he hasn't gotten any better."

"He's usually more tolerant towards me- says he can smell Hermione on me so he doesn't usually mind me," Lucius explained.

 "Please, Hermione." Astoria said, turning towards Hermione. "You have to have sex with Draco. He hadn't been himself in weeks."

Hermione choked on a response. How could they expect her to bond with Malfoy?

Maybe Lucius understood her hesitation. "It's not permanent," he assured. "You won't be bonded with him by having sex with him, but if you don't the mating fever will make him go insane in ways we cannot even understand."

"I am actually afraid of being alone with my own husband," said Astoria. "He's been lashing out at me and everyone in general over the littlest of things. In the past few weeks, the only time I've seen him behaving reasonably is when you're around ... It's just sex. I know Draco still loves me and wants me, but this whole Veela thing is making him act crazy -- I know you don't like him, that if you sleep with him, it's only to save him." Astoria told Hermione.

"It is your decision, of course, but please know that whatever you decide, we will not let it change things between us. You will still be my wife. Draco will still be Astoria's husband. We will not let things get awkward between us," assured Lucius.

Hermione looked at both of them; they appeared to have come to terms with Malfoy's Veela madness.

"How can you be okay with any of this?" she asked no one in particular.

"I would really like my Drake back. If it means he has to have sex with someone else every now and then, I could live with that. I know I'm the one he loves and chose to be with," said Astoria in a matter-of-fact tone. "I hope you don't leave Draco to suffer for too long while you make up your mind on this." She excused herself and left the study.

"Are you hesitant because he is my son or because of your history together?" Lucius asked her once they were alone.

"Both? I don't know. Is it really bad to leave him like this?"

"Do we want to see the making of a new Dark Lord?"

"That bad?"

"You saw how bad Bella got- Cissa used to say it was because of the mating fever."

"Merlin!" She was glad she was sitting for this conversation.

"I'm going to need some time to digest all of this." She said to her husband after some time. "This is all too much to take at once. I need to make sense of it all before I can decide."

"Of course," said Lucius, rising from his seat. "Just don't take too long," he added before leaving her to her thoughts.

Chapter Text

"Godric. I can't believe I have to do this," said Hermione out loud to herself.

It was bad enough she had to fornicate with her husband's son, who also just happened to be none other than her childhood rival and bully himself, which would alone warrant an appointment with a mind healer. Worse still, she had the added stress of having to be the initiator of their carnal relations because Malfoy was currently in too poor a state to do anything himself.

She could see him lying asleep on the bed. They were forced to give him some dreamless sleep potion because Malfoy kept tearing at his face and chest when he was awake. They tried to heal him but he only tore the wounds open again. Eventually, they forced the potion down his throat and healed his wounds while he lay passed out.

Hermione approached the bed. As far as she could tell, he was naked under the sheets- she would thank the elves later for taking care of that one thing for her. She doubted her courage would see her through if she were also tasked with getting Malfoy naked.

She undressed and neatly placed her clothes at the foot of the bed before pulling back the sheet and climbing into the side of the bed furthest away from him. From what she read, it was likely that full physical contact would be enough to stabilize him. However, there was a distinct possibility she would need to have sex with him ... Sex with Draco Malfoy, an incoherent and out of his mind Draco Malfoy.

Merlin, this is like taking advantage of the mentally challenged.

A nervous giggle escaped her throat as she imagined Malfoy reacting to her referring to him as mentally challenged.

Slowly, Hermione slid closer to him. He faced the other side, so all she could make out was pale skin- barely distinguishable in colour from the sheets- over a muscular broad back and pale silvery hair. If she squinted just right, she could pretend it was Lucius. She had slept with Lucius; she could handle this, she assured herself.

Hermione pressed herself along Malfoy's back, wrapped a hand around his waist and then held her breath, waiting for something to happen. After a few minutes when he continued to remain asleep and nothing changed, she let out her breath.

After another twenty minutes of doing nothing but lying beside Malfoy while he remained in his potion-induced slumber, Hermione grew drowsy. Overwhelmed by what was expected of her to fix the whole Veela mates mess Malfoy had unexpectedly found himself in, she had barely slept the past week as she tried to decide upon a course of action. Listening to the frightened elves talk about how Malfoy had started physically hurting, both, himself and anyone who approached him, had helped her finally make her decision.

The exhaustion of the last few days finally caught up; she found herself being lulled to sleep by the steady sound of Malfoy's breathing. Her last thought, before nodding off, was that while it was a little weird to be spooning Malfoy, if she didn't think about who he was, she could admit it was kind of peaceful to just lay there holding him.

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Hermione woke up to a hand possessively cupping her breast, hot breath against her ear and what she was certain, was an erection pressed against her hip.

"You're awake, finally, mate."

It was Malfoy but his voice sounded so different. Was it sleep or all the screeching he'd done the last couple of days which lend that husky tone to his voice?

"Don't ignore me, mate," he commanded, squeezing her breast a little harder.

So Malfoy was awake and not trying to rip himself or his surroundings apart, but he was clearly not himself if he was calling her 'mate', not Mudblood or some other ugly name.

"Yes, Malfoy. I'm awake," she said with a roll of her eyes. What did he expect her to say?

"I've been waiting for you to wake up."

Really? How long had she been asleep?

"Well, I'm awake now," she said, sounding chipper than she felt. She could really use a few more hours of sleep.

"Good," he said before sliding his hand down to the vee of her legs.

Okay, this was it. Things were going to happen. She braced herself for whatever was coming next.

"Relax, mate. I won't hurt you," he whispered in a voice so soothing it was hard to believe it was coming out of the mouth of one Draco Malfoy. She was usually so distracted by the insults spewing forth from his mouth she had never noticed how incredibly seductive a voice Malfoy possessed.

She tried to relax, but, it is a well-established fact that it is nigh impossible to relax right after someone tells you to relax- she remembered reading that in some book.

His fingers slipped between her thighs and slid easily over her labia.

"You're so wet," he moaned.

Yeah, she was wet. How was she so wet? She usually needed foreplay- loads of foreplay.

"Looks like you enjoyed me playing with your breasts."

Ah, now it made sense. She did have sensitive breasts.

"Let's see what other parts you enjoy having played with," he said suggestively.

This was weird. She had prepared herself for the task of plain intercourse with Malfoy. What he was now asking for was well out of her comfort zone. Besides, he wasn't currently self-harming or hurting anyone else, shouldn't this be considered enough recovery for one day? She could leave now and return in the morning for some more skin-to-skin contact to complete his transformation from Veela paramour to Pureblood prat once more.

She pushed his hands away from her body, but couldn't roll away quick enough.

"Wait. Don't leave."

Malfoy sounded lost and childlike.

"Please. I won't do anything you don't like, just don't leave me again, mate," he begged.

Hermione didn't like the way he sounded. Inexplicably, it was upsetting to hear him sound this upset.

She decided to stay, albeit on her terms.

"I'll stay, but, I'm really tired, Malfoy. Is it okay if I just sleep?"

"You'll sleep here?"

"Yes."

"Okay."

She let him pull her into his arms- hands not straying from her waist- so he was the one spooning her this time. Once more, she fell asleep thinking this felt nice if she pretended it was someone else's erection pressing against her bum.

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"What the fuck are you doing in my bed?"

Malfoy's back. Oh joy!

She cracked open an eyelid and was relieved to see she was covered by the sheet. Now she just needed to figure out a way to get dressed and escape the room without drawing any attention to herself- hard to do since Malfoy was currently perched at one end of the bed shooting daggers at her.

"What did you do to me, Mudblood?"

Not even two minutes awake and we've already moved on to the racial slurs. Malfoy's definitely back.

She held one end of the sheet against her body and with a hard tug pulled the rest of the sheet around herself as she got off the bed.

"Stop ignoring me, Mudblood, and tell me what you did to me?"

She continued to ignore him. A fast exit was the best option here. Foregoing her clothes, she moved to the door and barely reached it when he stepped in front of her, blocking her exit.

Since she'd taken the entire bed sheet with her, she was currently confronting a very naked, albeit a very angry looking Draco Malfoy. She blushed and looked away making sure she didn't accidentally catch a glimpse of his member. It was bad enough she'd had it pressed against her long enough to have an idea, she didn't need an actual visual on top of it.

"Malfoy, as you can see we're not currently decent. How about we get dressed and meet in your father's study later. We can all have a nice talk to discuss everything then."

"Like hell I'm letting you leave before you explain why we're naked."

She really wanted to glare at him right then but that would entail looking at him, and being so much shorter than him meant she wouldn't need to lower her eyes by much to see his thing. Merlin! Didn't he realise he was naked? He was so eager to pick a fight with her he couldn't even be bothered to get dressed first?

Malfoy, probably tired of her attempts to ignore him, grabbed her by her shoulders and spun her around so he had her backed against the door and facing him.

"You better start talking soon."

Hermione imagined he must look rather menacing, but she wouldn't know since she had her eyes screwed shut.

"Look at me when I'm talking to you," he demanded, giving her a shake.

Both her hands were currently employed in ensuring the sheet stayed wrapped around her or she'd teach him to manhandle her.

Just don't look down and it'll be fine.

She kept the mantra on repeat in her head as she opened her eyes and glared at him.

"What?"

"You know what, and I want answers."

"And I said you'd get them once we're dressed. Or better yet, you can call Astoria and have her explain."

"No, I want to know what spell you used on me."

"Spell?"

Suddenly, he felt too close for coherent thought. It was one thing to lie this close beside an ailing Malfoy, on a bed, in the dark of the night, and quite another to stand this close to him, naked, in bright daylight, in a really large room. It relatively felt like they were closer, or something like that. It was hard to make sense of her own thoughts right then.

"Yes, a spell. Obviously you put some sort of lust spell on me, and I want to know which one."

She sputtered, trying to come up with a response.

Lust spell! The man was delusional.

"Don't try to deny it, Granger. I know I've never wanted to look at your disgusting body- which is most likely covered in oozing sores and hairy warts- and yet all I want to do right now is rip that sheet off and shag you against the door."

Hermione held on to the sheet even tighter.

This was a predicament. Malfoy was clearly feeling the mating instinct and was understandably mad, but it's not like any of this was her fault.

She was getting a headache and wanted to rub her head, but couldn't risk letting go of the sheet.

"I haven't done anything, Malfoy. Your Veela just wants to consummate."

Did he realise his hands were currently stroking her bare arms instead of the punishing hold he had earlier? It was rather distracting and causing goose bumps to break out.

"Bull shit! I was fine till you moved into the Manor. You caused this."

She was pretty certain he meant to blame her for the situation on the whole, not specifically his erection that was currently poking at her belly.

Does he really not realise what he's doing?

"Umm, Malfoy?" she said, clearing her throat and jerking her chin downwards, trying to make him aware of his actions.

He looked down but not to where she was trying to direct his attention.

Do Veelas have x-ray vision?

He was definitely staring at her breasts like he could see through the sheet.

She cleared her throat a little louder this time. Evidently, she needed to try a different approach to the problem.

"Malfoy, let's say you're right and I did put a spell on you. Wouldn't it be in your best interest to let me leave so I don't take advantage of you?"

Of course, he shook his head.

"Not if the spell makes sure I go mad unless I shag you."

"What! That's ridiculous. You know there's no such spell."

"True, but you're cunning enough to make up such a spell if you wanted to."

"Oh, this is just crazy talk now. I'm leaving, Malfoy."

She pushed against his shoulder to move him out of the way, but he refused to budge.

"Let me go right now, Malfoy, and I won't hex you."

"No, I'm not letting you leave. You're going to perform the counter-curse and only then I'll let you leave."

"There is no counter-curse, you idiot, because I didn't curse you. Though I've half a mind to do so right now."

"Ah-ha! So you admit you want to curse me with a lust spell," he crowed, wrapping a hand around her waist.

"Grrr, you infuriating man," she growled.

Trying to reason with him was simply pointless at this time. Mustering all the force she could, Hermione stomped on his foot hard enough to cause Malfoy to howl in pain and step away from her to nurse his foot. At least that is what she imagined must have transpired; she didn't bother to look back to confirm if true. Instead, Hermione used the moment of distraction to pull the door open and run down the corridor, not stopping once as she rushed towards the safety of her rooms.

She could hear Malfoy cursing and calling after her, but the blood rushing in her ears made it impossible to gauge his proximity to her. Merlin, how had she allowed herself to get so out of shape she couldn't even run a few hundred metres without feeling like her heart was ready to burst? She reproached herself as she felt the burn in her legs; she had outrun snatchers for nearly a year while hunting for Voldemort's horcruxes, and now she couldn't even outrun a sickly Draco Malfoy.

She barely made it inside the door to her private rooms when she found herself falling- he must've lunged at her, pulling her to the ground with him. She pulled her face back just in time to avoid it hitting the ground and the shaggy rug had softened her fall; nevertheless, she had the wind knocked out of her.

Hermione used her free foot to kick at his hand, which still firmly held onto her other leg- the one he had grabbed to tackle her to the ground. She scrambled to push herself up as best as she could while tangled in the extra large bed sheet she had wrapped around herself earlier. Not until he spoke did it dawn on her that getting on your fours before a part-creature wizard in some kind of mating heat was a very bad idea.

"Finally, ready to submit to me, mate?"

She struggled to get up but only managed to unravel the sheet so she was now fully exposed to him. She looked back to check where he was and instantly regretted it. Malfoy was right behind her and staring at her bum with such lust it would be comical if she weren't in real danger of being attacked.

She moved to get up but he grabbed her hip and stilled her.

"Stay still, mate."

His hot breath washed over her skin when he spoke. He was dangerously close to her lady parts.

Hermione closed her eyes and held her breath. This was absolutely mortifying. She could only imagine all the insults Malfoy would shout later about what he'd seen of her.

Wait, what!?!

She should be more concerned about the impending assault- but she wasn't. Her heart was still racing from the run, but there was also a sense of anticipation.

She felt something nudge against her the entrance to her vagina. She couldn't tell what it was without turning around, but she wasn't ready to face him. Not when he was like this.

"You smell wonderful," she heard him say right before she felt his tongue lapping at her folds.

It wasn't a tentative lick. No, he was lapping at her like a cat with a bowl of cream. Sweet Circe, it felt good. She was getting wetter and wetter.

Hermione buried her face in her hand to hold back her moans. No way was she going to give him more ammunition for later by letting on just how much she was liking this. Her resolve was instantly tested when his tongue pushed in and began to shallowly thrust inside her.

She had experienced Malfoy's tongue many times over the years, but who knew it could also be wicked  in a completely non-evil way ... She was just about ready to come- it felt so good.

The thought barely crossed her mind when Malfoy's lips were on her clit, sucking gently on the bundle of nerves and then she was tumbling over the edge, into her climax.

By the time the haze of her orgasm had cleared, there was no chance to register what was happening before she felt him breach her with something impossibly hot and hard.

Merlin, is he ripping me in two?

He just made her feel so lovely and now it felt like he was tearing her insides.

"Sshh, mate. Relax. Let me in and I'll make you feel good again."

Oh, there was that voice from last night again- soothing, in a really seductive manner. Plus his hands kneading her bum was helping her muscles relax.

She went to him last night fully knowing she would have to sleep with him at some point, so why fight it now. She took in a deep breath and let it out slowly.

"That's it. Nice."

He was in completely now. There was the discomfort that came from being suddenly full, but she was wet enough there wasn't any burning or tearing. She just felt incredibly stretched- at least she did until he started to move.

Malfoy grabbed her hips with both hands as if he were holding onto to the handlebars of a cycle and began to ride her like one.

His movements were raw and animalistic, all the gentleness from earlier gone.

This is fucking.

Surprisingly, she continued to stay aroused. Hermione never thought she would enjoy rough sex. Sex for her was about intimacy and sharing the most secret part of oneself with a special someone. She wasn't the type to engage in casual sex, yet here she was, feeling aroused with the way Malfoy was just taking her.

"That's it, mate," he grunted. "Submit."

He changed the angle of his thrusts and suddenly he was hitting her in a way that made him bump against her clit, causing pleasurable frisson. She bit her fist to hold back her whimpers. He was riding her harder but pushing her quickly towards another orgasm.

"Come with me, mate. I want you to come on my cock. Just like you came all over mouth, I want to feel your pussy come over my cock."

Oh, there was that mouth again, doing wicked things to her, this time with his words, and again, in a non-evil way, she thought before she lost all thoughts.

She was still riding the tail end of her orgasm when she felt his hot come shoot into her. The manner in which Malfoy jerked his hips and the length of time he stayed inside her just coming felt like he must have painted her inner walls completely white. It was a funny visual, even if she wasn't in any state to laugh just then.

His grip on her hips loosened and with his penis now softened, it was easier for her to push him off her. He fell back and landed on his arse. She made sure she got a good look at him- she would laugh at the dazed look in his eyes and silly smile on his face when she viewed the memory in a pensieve later. Her priority now was to get to her bathroom. While she was eager to be rid of all traces of Malfoy from her body, she needed to get to her bathroom because it was the one room in the house she had been able to ward so no one- not her husband, the master of the house, or even the elves- could enter unless expressly invited in by her. However, the most important reason was her wand, which she'd left on her bathroom counter for safekeeping, last night.

No care for modesty, Hermione streaked across the room and dashed into the bathroom, immediately slamming the door shut behind her. There was no sound from Malfoy. He was probably more himself now that he'd consummated the mating heat, and was just about beginning to commit ritualistic suicide upon realising he'd had sex with her.

"Open this door, you fucking bitch."

...or just ritualistic murder, she thought to herself as she listened to him pound on the bathroom door.

Ignoring him, she started the shower, flicking her wand about to get the water temperature just right. His Veela sharpened hearing must have picked up the sound.

"Don't wash off, I'm not done fucking you yet, Granger. Let me in."

What!

She rubbed her face with both hands. Shouldn't he be repulsed by her if he was back to his senses? He sounded like Malfoy, but the words were more like something his Veela self would say- with a lot less swearing.

"Granger, you let me in this instant or next time I'll tie you to the bed and fuck you raw."

Ooh, threats! Lovely.

She had heard enough. With a swish of her wand, she soundproofed the room. He was okay now. He'd get over his fit, realise who he'd demanded to shag and then go crawl into some hole to die from sheer embarrassment.

She finished her shower quickly and then eased herself into the large bathtub. She had added some healing and relaxing oils to the water so she planned to have a good soak.

The oils did the trick and Hermione began to nod off in the tub, she was so relaxed. Not wanting to end up with a crick in her neck from sleeping in the tub, she stepped out of it despite her reluctance to leave the soothing waters.

She wrapped herself in a large fluffy towel and used her wand to dry her hair- this was one way to ensure her hair was a frizzy mess in a couple of hours, but she was ready to go to bed. It was an odd time for a nap but she had the day off and was feeling rather lethargic after the abnormal burst of activity this morning.

Remembering the reason for the activity, she cancelled the silencing spell she cast earlier. To her relief there was no sound, not that she was expecting there to be any. Malfoy must have thrown a fit when he realised her wards were unbreakable, but, eventually given up and headed back to his rooms.

Sticking her wand into the loose bun she tied her hair into, she stepped out of the bathroom. She had barely taken a couple of steps towards her dresser when she felt herself being picked up and tossed over the shoulder of one very angry looking Draco Malfoy.

"What the hell, Malfoy? Put me down this instant."

He ignored her order and kept walking towards her bed.

She flailed about trying to slip out of his grip but he held on firm and even swatted her bottom like she was some unruly child in need of disciplining.

When he reached her bed, he flung her on top of the mattress and instantly climbed up to grab a hold of her before she could make her escape.

"Dammit, Malfoy, will you just stop manhandling me!"

It's as if he's all caveman, not part-Veela!

She gave him her strongest glare, which the git ignored as he crawled up her body instead.  At least he wasn't naked; he must've left her suite at some point because he was wearing pyjama bottoms now.

Hermione backed away from him until she hit the headboard. She tried to roll away, but he yanked her by her leg and slid her down the bed so she was beneath him. He grasped both her hands and pulled them above her head. She was calm through it all- that was until he pulled out his wand and nonverbally cast the spell to bind her hands to the headboard of her bed. Then, she began to panic.

He, on the other hand, wore a smug little smile as he pulled her wand out of her hair and tossed both their wands to the side of the room. Malfoy straddled her hips and sat up- though he was careful enough not to bear down on her- with his arms crossed across his chest.

"Malfoy, what are you doing? Untie me, and we can talk."

"No, I don't think so."

He leaned forward, ran his finger down the length of her arms and watched with apparent fascination the goose bumps rise on her skin. And then he did something so unexpected she couldn't withhold her reaction.

The git tickled both her armpits at once.

"He he he, geroff, Malfoy." She giggled loudly and thrashed about trying to throw him off.

He didn't stop. He tickled her until she had tears in her eyes from laughing.

"He he, please, stop, he he. It's too much. He he, Merlin! Stop!"

Finally, he relented.

"That was your punishment for leaving and I do still have to punish you for not coming out when I asked you to. If I recall," he said, playing with the edges of the towel along her thighs. "I did say I would tie you up and fuck you raw."

Hermione shivered at his words. She should've been scared, or angry, but most certainly not thrilled.

His fingers slowly danced up her thighs, pushing the towel up higher along the way. Again, his eyes followed the path of his fingers with fascination.

She cleared her throat hoping to distract him. He looked up at her, but his fingers stayed on her thigh, absentmindedly stroking the skin there.

Okay, she needed to figure out what was going on, quickly.

"Malfoy, are you still feeling a compulsion to mate?"

He stared at her intensely and his hand firmly slid up between her thighs.

Guess that answers that question.

"Does it have to be me? I mean, if you're just feeling randy, couldn't you have sex with Astoria?"

He gave her thigh a hard squeeze and leaned down to stare menacingly into her face.

"Granger, do you think I'd want to be doing this with you if I absolutely didn't need to?" he sneered.

It was incredible how a single expression could rearrange the features of his face so he went from handsome to ugly. No wonder she'd never considered him good looking before- this was the version of his face she was most familiar with.

"Great. Since neither of us really wants to do this but you seemed compelled to do so at a risk to your sanity, perhaps we could establish some ground rules?"

He tilted his head as if he meant for her to continue.

"First of all, none of this," she said, tugging at the bindings on her wrist to show him what she meant. "There will be no manhandling of my person, whatsoever."

"Secondly, I am not your lover or your friend -- I don't even like you. And I know you at least feel the same."

He nodded.

"So there will be no kissing, no tickling, no-" Maybe it would be quicker to just say what she could tolerate.

"To keep it simple, let's just stick to sex. Simple, straightforward, penis-in-vagina sex, so you can get your itch scratched when the mating heat takes a hold of you."

He was staring at her with intense scrutiny. She didn't like the way he was looking at her, it made her feel like squirming, but she managed to keep a lid on it.

"And lastly, we keep our clothes on during sex. 

His hand slid further up under the towel to caress her hipbone on one side, then gently across her belly to caress the other side before crawling up her ribs to rest close to her breasts.

Her breath hitched and, without meaning to, her back arched, chest thrust up into the air.

"You know," he murmured huskily. "If your body wasn't so wonderfully responsive, the way you talk one would mistake you for a frigid prude."

Malfoy bent his head to suck on the nipple she had unwittingly offered.

Merlin, she could feel his hot mouth even through the fluffy fabric of the towel. His hand, that had only been teasing the underside till now, moved to cup her breast and give it a firm squeeze, while his mouth opened wider to take more of her in.

His teeth teased her nipple in a way that may have hurt if it were directly on bare skin, but through the thick towel felt electrifying.

All along, his gaze remained locked on her face, as if noting and cataloguing her responses.

His other hand parted her thighs and his fingers dragged along the length of her slit, slipping through the slickness gathered there.

"Fuck!" Malfoy moaned, letting go of her breast. "So wet just from this, Granger?"

He looked shocked, making her feel even more embarrassed about her body's responses.

"Salazar's balls, I need to be in you, right now."

"Wait, what?"

She looked on in confusion as Malfoy moved from straddling her to kneeling between her thighs.

"No, Malfoy. Hang on. What about our ground rules!"

He pulled off his pyjama bottoms and grabbed her ankles, pulling her legs so the back of her thighs rested against his thighs.

"Granger, we'll discuss your rules next time, but if I don't fuck you right now I'll be scratching my eyeballs out next."

Damn this Veela compulsion to mate!

She nodded her consent to him, even though he was no longer looking at her. Well, not at her face anyway.

Malfoy held his penis in his hand and rubbed it against her slit. She felt the fat head bump and slide against her clit a few times- it felt like he was trying to coat his penis in her juices. He pushed just the tip of his penis inside her and held still.

Hermione wondered what made him stop, but when he raised his head and looked her in the eye, she knew. He slowly pushed himself into her while keeping his gaze locked with hers. Once more, she could feel herself being stretched to accommodate him, and it was torturous because this time there was no hiding from Malfoy just how good it felt.

His hands slid up her body dragging the towel open until he finally undid the knot at her chest and flung it open. She lay completely naked and exposed before him now, and the ravenous look in his eyes made her shiver. A part of her was fascinated by this duality within Draco Malfoy where the wizard was completely disgusted by her while the Veela felt unbridled lust.

Hermione turned her head sideways to focus on the bookcase on the far end of the room instead of Malfoy, but he was making it hard to ignore him. His hands roamed the length of her body, caressing and stroking every bit of skin they came in contact with as he slowly drove himself in and out of her.

She felt breathless. The way he was looking at her, touching her, moving inside her- it was all too much.

Hermione bit her lips trying to hold back her moans, but with her hands tied and the position he had her in, it was getting harder to hide her body's responses from him.

Malfoy must've sensed she was holding back on him; he stretched himself over her, holding both her wrists in his hand, his face close to hers. His lips brushed against her cheek, her ear, her temple, as he continued to rhythmically pump into her. His chest rubbed against her nipples, teasing the hardened tips with every graze and his lips tugged and sucked on her earlobe.

Oh Merlin! His mouth- his sinful, wicked mouth!

Her eyes prickled with tears as her orgasm built, her entire body electrified from his assault on her.

"You're ready to come, aren't you? I can tell you are. What if I stopped right now?" he asked, letting go of her wrists and pulling back to sit on his calves. He slid his hands under the back of her knees, letting them hang off his arms, never breaking the pace he'd maintained. "What if I stopped and just left you here, unsatisfied?"

Oh, she'd most likely murder him if he walked away when she was this close. She turned her head to shoot him a warning glare then realised her mistake.

The bastard!

As soon as Hermione made eye contact with him, Malfoy opened her legs wider and began to piston in and out of her rapidly. It was clear he wanted to maintain eye contact through her orgasm, and he did. The new angle and rhythm had her crying out instantly. Her upper body arched and lifted off the bed as if desperately trying to get closer to him as she shuddered through her climax.

"Yes. Come on my cock. Yes, keep squeezing my cock ... just like that." His movements became more frantic."Keep your eyes open," he commanded in a strained voice, "I want you to watch me come."

His hips jerked and Malfoy gripped her tighter, face contorted into an expression of agony before he tossed his head back with a groan. He went completely rigid as he shot his release into her. It was her turn to watch in fascination as his eyes fluttered close and strained expression on his face changed to one of bliss. Corded muscles twitched and flexed beneath his skin- usually pale, now slightly flushed and sweaty- while he tried to catch his breath. He looked like some Greek statue come alive.

Beautiful.

Malfoy slumped forward, resting his forehead on her chest- his breath tickling the skin there. Hermione moved to push his hair back from his face and stroke it, then thanked the stars her hands were still bound and she was unable to touch him; it would've been an entirely intimate and inappropriate gesture between them.

"Um, Malfoy? Can you please release my hands now?"

He lifted his head and looked at her. The content look on his face changed to confusion- as if he was only now noticing her presence- and then his face twisted into that familiar ugly sneer, his brain finally registering just who lay beneath him.

Malfoy pulled out of her suddenly- in a way that would've been painful if he wasn't flaccid at the time- and scrambled off the bed. He retrieved his wand and waved it over her hands.

Feeling the binds dissolve, she instantly moved her hands and massaged her wrists to improve the circulation there.

Without a word to her, he left her on the bed and moved to leave the room. In the moment, she couldn't help feeling used, even though it was exactly what she'd agreed to when she told Astoria and Lucius she was willing to have sex with Malfoy in order to save him.

However, just as he was about to step out of the room, Malfoy stopped at the door. When he finally opened his mouth to speak, she wished he hadn't.

Malfoy addressed her without bothering to turn around.

"Hey Mudblood, I hope you're on some contraception potion- wouldn't want any bastards running around," he said and left.

Too late for that. Twenty three years, too late, she thought, glaring at the back of his head.

Chapter Text

It was over a week since the mating heat had passed and Draco no longer felt the- quite literally- maddening compulsion to fuck Granger. He didn't know if she was avoiding him, but, he had yet to see her around the house; not that they often ran into each other- the house being as large as it was and them having their own set of rooms and all. Still, they usually crossed paths at least once a day during one of the mealtimes but there'd been no sign of Granger the past week.

He had only just finished with his dinner when one of Lucius' elves informed Draco he was expected in his father's study.

Upon entering the room, Draco immediately spotted Granger seated in one of the chairs beside the ornate executive desk. It took him another moment to notice his father, lounging in one of the armchairs closer to the fireplace, sipping on a glass of firewhiskey.

"Father," Draco greeted his father with a nod of his head and then offered Granger a similar manner of greeting. She ignored him and instead shared a look of silent communication with Lucius, who stood up promptly thereafter and excused himself saying he was in need of a particular book from the library.

Finding himself alone with Granger, Draco eased into one of the empty chairs across from her and studied the witch's appearance while he waited for her to speak. Granger sat before him looking rather prim in her elegant-but-sensible robes. He stared harder at her robes, trying to discern the shape of the body underneath.

In the last seven days, every time he had sex with Astoria, his mind would unwittingly conjure images of Granger and the way she looked when he fucked her. Now, however, as he observed the dumpy looking witch seated before him, it became clear that the Granger of his memory was a product of the delirium he suffered from while experiencing the mating heat.

"I feel we need to speak and agree to some ground rules to avoid a repeat of what happened last week."

What was it she wanted? No kissing, no funny business, just straight sex with their clothes on...

He wasn't keen on doing anything more with Granger than what was needed to keep him sane. It was true that Granger excited him, just not sexually. She excited him in ways that made him want to throttle someone's neck- mostly hers.

Her conditions sounded reasonable, but there was no way he was going to come out and just say so. He raised a brow.

"Granger, I don't know if you really understood this Veela mate business, but, there's going to be many more repeats of last week," he said, speaking with a lazy drawl.

"I understand perfectly well that you need to have sex with your mate every once in a while to satisfy your bond -- That doesn't mean it needs to happen the way it did last time, Malfoy!"

"I know a few other positions we can try out, if that's your preference. I'm just surprised. I did not expect you'd be so eagerly anticipating our time together to put in such forethought, Granger."

She spluttered; he smirked. Yes. This is how things were supposed to be between them. Not him half crazed with his need to shag her, tying her to her bed and fucking her until his balls were drained.

"You arrogant pig. I didn't mean-"

Granger stopped, squeezed her eyes shut, and took a few deep breaths.

"Malfoy, I agreed to help you out, but I will only do so under certain conditions. If you continue to ignore my conditions I won't care for the consequences, I will not sleep with you-"

Anticipating what he would say next, she quickly corrected herself. "I will not have sex with you ever again."

Having missed an opportunity to make Granger uncomfortable by pointing out he only needed to fuck her for his sanity, not sleep with her, Draco internally pouted. This wouldn't do.

"And what would Princess Mudblood like in exchange for her sexual favours?"

"That- that right there has to stop," she said, wagging her finger in his face. "No more calling me that name. I will not stand for your bigotry. I didn't when I was in school and most certainly not now, when it is you who needs me," she said, pointing first at him then herself for emphasis.

She must have taken his silence as a concession on his part. She continued. "There'll be no kissing, no teasing, no taking our clothes off. We just do what we have to do to satisfy the bond and leave. This situation is bad enough as it is, I don't need us feeling confused about why we're doing it."

Now, that's interesting.

He was going to store that nugget to reflect upon later.  

"Finally, I think we should have a schedule for intercourse. I believe if we're having sex on a regular basis you will not feel driven to madness with the need to mate. It is my opinion that we start with a frequency of once a month- we can check with our spouses to see what day works best for everyone- and based on when you feel the compulsion next we can decide if we can safely increase the duration between our sessions."

Trust Granger to make even sex sound dull and clinical. If he accurately remembered her love of timetables in school, he wouldn't be surprised if she made one for days they could have sex.

The thought barely crossed his mind and Granger was pulling out a colour-coded calendar for the year where she'd marked out days she was busy with something else and 'Malfoy's Treatment Sessions', as she'd labelled the days they could potentially have sex.

With a mental eye roll, Draco accepted the calendar.

"Malfoy, I promised Lucius and Astoria I would help you out and I won't back out on my word, I just need you to respect my wishes to help me do this."

She waited for him to say something, but there was nothing for him to say; she held all the cards currently. Recognising his silence for the resigned acceptance it was, she gave him a stiff nod and left.

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"One of her conditions is that I cannot call her a Mudblood anymore," Draco told Lucius, taking a sip of firewhiskey from the tumbler he had been nursing since Granger left the study.

His father had returned shortly after Granger's departure and enquired if everything had gone well. Draco learnt that Granger had only informed Lucius she wished to discuss with Draco the terms of their arrangement, without getting into what those terms would be. Feeling a tremendous amount of gratitude towards Granger for her assistance in saving his heir, Lucius had not bothered to check what she may demand of Draco.

Draco looked up at his father's sharp intake of breath.

"Do not call her that word. Hermione may not be your mother, but, I hope you remember she is still my wife and I expect you to offer her the respect afforded by that position."

"You can hardly blame me when you were the one to teach me that word, father."

"And I also taught you how a wizard is expected to treat a witch."

"Well, you used to say Mudbloods aren't real witches and wizards, so they don't deserve to be treated as such."

Lucius pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Son, I thought you understood; we were wrong to believe what we did ... The Muggleborns may be disadvantaged compared to us, but they are still magical."

Of course, he knew that. It just rankled that after years of brainwashing him, his father was now disappointed he was behaving exactly as he was trained to do.

His father was waiting for some kind of response so he gritted his teeth and nodded.

"Even if you've lost all sense of self-preservation, you may not call her that word again. I will not stand for you insulting my wife in my house. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, father."

Something in his expression must've struck deep in Lucius; his face instantly softened and his voice grew wistful.

"You know, I was your mother's mate. And I loved," he shook his head, "I love your mother dearly. After she was taken away from us I never thought I could find any sort of happiness with another woman, but in some small way I have."

His father sat before him now speaking not father to son, rather, wizard to wizard.

"Hermione may not be a Pureblood but she is a capable and powerful witch. She also does not bore me with insipid talks of parties and the latest fashions. She is capable of providing me counsel should I seek it and brings with her political connections and alliances that only elevate my position.

"The Ministry mandate requires that I have children again and I know any children I have with Hermione will be formidable. If for whatever reason you cannot treat her right as your mate, you will treat my wife with due respect."

His father gulped the rest of his drink and moved to stand up.

"And now, I must take your leave for I am an old man with a young wife waiting for me and I'd still like to get my eight hours of sleep afterwards," said his father, before walking out the door.

Chapter Text

Draco waited for Hermione in one of the spare bedrooms in the guest wing of the house. This was only the third time they would be meeting here like this, but it already felt like an old routine- and one he wasn't too pleased with.

Once a month Hermione would show up on the previously agreed upon date and let him fuck her. As part of her terms, she refused to undress beyond taking off her panties. Foreplay consisted of her handing him a jar of lubricant, getting on all fours and then telling him to get it done with already.

She didn't let him touch her beyond inserting his cock in her and holding on, and she most certainly never touched him. There was something depressing and deeply unsatisfying about the whole act, made worse only by the fact that despite it all he was always hard and ready for her.

He was tired of fucking a consenting corpse. It wouldn't have bothered him so much if he didn't keep having vivid flashes of their first time together- of how she looked naked and how responsive she was to his touches. Draco needed to know if any of it had been real or just a fevered dream.

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"Take off your clothes. I want to see you."

"No."

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"Let me get you off first."

"No."

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"Touch me."

"No."

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"Turn around, I want to watch your face."

"No."

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"Ride my cock."

"No."

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"Let me touch you. I swear I'll make you feel so good."

"Don't you get it Malfoy? I don't want you to make me feel anything. Just do what you need to and leave."

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What Hermione offered satisfied the Veela bond enough he no longer felt the maddening compulsion to have sex with her the way he did when the mating heat first took hold of him nearly six months ago; still, he found himself indulging in fantasies of watching her come apart at his hands, mouth, cock or all three. That she wouldn't let him pleasure her left him irritated and angry with her all the time quite like the way he felt towards her when they were at school.

How, as his mate, could she remain so unaffected by him? Her cool and detached demeanour grated at his pride and he was about ready to snap at her. In hindsight, it was unfortunate he chanced upon her secret on the day of one of their therapy sessions.

The information came to him quite by accident. The elf came to request for a refill of the potion supplies; they were short of one ingredient needed for 'Missy Hermione's special tea'. Several tactfully directed questions later, he discovered Hermione was taking a magical suppressant that dulled the senses for a few hours so she wouldn't feel anything he was doing to her.

Perhaps if he had time, Draco would've come up with a better way of dealing with his discovery than just being cruel to Hermione; as it was he fell back to old habits when he realised he'd been played by one Hermione Malfoy. Furious with his discovery, Draco bribed the elf into leaving out the suppressant from Hermione's tea that evening and seethed in anger as he waited for her to arrive.

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"Who are you thinking of, Granger? Do you imagine it's my father's cock inside you when I'm fucking you?" he cruelly demanded, thrusting harder into her.

"Tell me, Granger, do you lie here with your eyes closed thinking it's my father taking you like an animal?" He yanked on her hair, pulling her head back into his chest.

Normally, she would've long protested the liberties he was taking with her, but without the suppressant Granger was too focused on her struggle to maintain her facade of being unaffected by him to bother fighting him in any way.

"...or, do you imagine it's me pounding your wet pussy when my father makes love to you? Fucking answer me," he barked into her ears.

Granger didn't say anything, only whimpered and screwed her eyes shut tighter.

"Look at me, you bitch. You're going to look at me and know who's fucking you right now. I'm not going to let you think of anyone but me when I'm in you."

During sex, he already felt compelled to assert his dominance over her and now he was mad at her for holding out on him. One of his hands slid up her hip and squeezed her breast before pinching her nipple hard.

She opened her eyes in a flash of anger to look at him, but once she did, she was unable to look away. Through every thrust of his hips and caress of his hands, he maintained eye contact with her.

"Do you feel me, Granger, do you feel me stretching your pussy? Does it feel as good for you? Because, I've never enjoyed sex more than when I'm buried balls deep in you, like right now."

He felt her pussy spasm around his cock at his words. She was struggling to hold back, to hide how good it felt to be joined with him, but it could be seen clearly in her eyes. No wonder the bitch always wanted to bury her face in the mattress; she didn't want him to know. The thought made him fuck her harder still.

"Is this how you seduced my father... using your filthy cunt? I can see why he'd want to fuck it- I'm half his age and I spend most of my time thinking about the next time I'll get to sink my cock into your hot pussy. Poor father, stuck with a whore like you for a wife -- can't even keep her legs closed before his son."

Had he missed the way she sharply inhaled at his insulting words, he would have known he'd gone too far when she soundly slapped him.

"You- you arsehole." She pulled away from him.

"How dare you! I'm only doing this to save your pathetic life!"

She quickly moved off the bed and began pulling on her robes.

"And it's not like this entire situation isn't of your own making either." She stomped angrily in the midst of walking away.

"What? You think I chose to be a Veela and picked you as my mate?" he scoffed, while remaining on the bed. He made no attempt to cover himself; he figured this way he'd give her an eyeful, seeing as how she preferred to simply take off her knickers and get to it without taking the time to explore each other.

Granger turned on her heel to face him, her hair practically giving off sparks of raw magic thanks to her unbridled fury.

"Do you take me for a fool, Malfoy? Do you think as soon as I got to know about your condition and what I mean to you I didn't research the subject to death? Do you think in the last few months I've allowed you to fuck me, I haven't figured out that the only reason we are in this predicament is because you, the bigoted coward that you are, didn't want me for your mate and chose to ignore me and marry someone else instead?"

He started to protest, give her the old spiel of how he didn't know she was his mate, not till she started living so close to him in Malfoy Manor. She cut him off by raising her hand in a stopping motion.

"Please stop insulting my intelligence. I know that you had to have figured out who I was to you during our time at Hogwarts. Even if you didn't, since we went to the same school you would've recognised me when you had your mate dream."

She looked him in the eye as if daring him to deny the truth. She shook her head at his silence.

"For years you let me suffer through one failed relationship after another, wondering why I was never happy, why something always felt missing..." Her lip began to tremble and her eyes looked misty. "You would've left me in the dark for the rest of my life if circumstances had not demanded you seek my help. You rejected me when you refused to claim me and chose someone else instead. You rejected me till the Veela blood in you made you so sick you had no choice but to come to me -- Do you have any idea how dirty any of this makes me feel?"

While Granger took a moment to compose herself, he rubbed at his chest trying to relieve the sudden ache he felt there.

 Gone was the hurt in her voice when she spoke again, replaced by righteous anger.

"Even though I think you deserve every bit of suffering you'll experience without me, I'm going to stick with the deal I made with you. For your father's and Astoria's sake, I will. But, I need to leave now, I cannot stand being around you for another minute."

Draco didn't know what to say or do. While everything she said was true, he had never really paused to consider Granger's feelings over their situation. He certainly never imagined he possessed enough power in their dynamic to cause Granger the kind of hurt he had.

In the moment, the only thing clear was that somehow he had bollixed things up completely. 

Chapter Text

"My son is responsible for this mess... He knew and deliberately caused this situation."

Draco stood still outside Lucius' study.  He was there to seek his father's counsel on how to fix things with Granger but halted when he heard how angry he sounded- not that he could blame him.

Coward that he was, he turned on his heel; he would return when his father was in a better mood. He paused midstride at the sound of Granger's voice. Surprisingly she was defending him.

"I doubt Draco intended for things to end up this complicated."

She only used his name when talking to his father. What it would it take to have her call out his name when they were alone together?

"Throughout school he saw me as nothing but his enemy, why would he want to bond with me? ...and then he fell in love with Astoria. I can understand why he chose her over me."

"While I admire your sense of fairness, Ms Granger, I think you're being too easy on our son."

Mother.

Draco gasped silently. His mother's portrait had only recently come to life, or so he had heard from his father. She never spoke or even moved whenever he visited her portrait. It felt like she was avoiding him, and now he knew why.

Neither Granger nor his father corrected the title Narcissa had used for Hermione. He supposed that for the three, Narcissa would always be Mrs Malfoy.

Afraid of being discovered eavesdropping outside his father's study, Draco walked back to his rooms. Besides, he needed time to himself to process what he had heard.

What a strange world to live in- where Granger was the one to understand him while his mother refused to even speak with him.

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"I don't know if it's due to your childhood resentment of her or because you're married to someone else, but your failure to appreciate her fine qualities is rather unusual behaviour for a Veela."

"Fine qualities? You cannot expect me to appreciate having to be stuck in a position where I'm forced to have sex with that - that hideous thing just to hold on to my own sanity. Plain face, muddy hair, muddy eyes, and a body that looks like it's covered in warts."

So, he was lying, but, Draco wasn't about to let his father know just how desirable he found his wife to be. He also hated the idea that his father had intimate knowledge of his mate's finer qualities.

"Your insults would be convincing if I didn't know what the witch looked like naked." Lucius arched an eyebrow and gave him a knowing look. "Or for that matter, was under the impression you didn't know either."

His father smirked at him over his glass of firewhiskey.

"Son, I'm truly amazed by how blinded you are to everything but what you consider to be Hermione's faults. While she's not the kind of witch likely to ever grace the cover of Witch Weekly she's far from the wart-ridden hag you make her out to be. Even at my age, one look at the witch with her clothes off and I'm good to go."

Oh, he really wanted to punch that smarmy look off his father's face. Since he couldn't, Draco chose to hit him with something he thought was sure to rattle his father.

"Well excuse me, father," he sneered, "for being happy enough with my Pureblood wife not to want to stick it to your Muggleborn whore quite as enthusiastically as you do."

Lucius leaned forward in his seat and hissed at him.

"Watch who you call a whore, Draco. Hermione may not be a Pureblood, but, she came to my bed pure, can you say the same for your wife?" he sneered back, the menacing expression on his face a startlingly reminder of the man he had been during his Death Eater days.

"Do not call her a whore. You continue to treat lightly the gift she gives you. This is not some witch who thinks little of jumping from one wizard's bed to another -- You appear to have forgotten that she does not sleep with you because she desires you or is trying to get something out of you."

Draco found it hard not to wince at his father's words but contained himself as Lucius continued to sternly admonish him.

"I'm sure it'll come as no surprise that Hermione was reluctant to sleep with you, but you may be surprised to hear why. She wasn't hesitant because of your history. No, she's the type of person who won't let anyone suffer if she can help in any way. Her concern was about how this would make me feel and what it would do to our marriage.

"Our marriage is one of convenience; we never promised each other love or fidelity, yet she was worried I'd end up resenting one or the both of you for whatever you may need to do to satisfy the mating compulsion. Between the way she was raised and her Gryffindor sensibilities, you have no idea how many conversations it took to eventually wear Hermione down and convince her I didn't care what she did so long as she was saving my son."

Lucius grew silent, seemingly lost in his thoughts. His expression softened a little.

"Draco, I know you have a contentious past with Hermione, but speaking from personal experience, I can assure you she is a fair person who will give you a chance, if you treat her right. You already spurned her by choosing someone else to be your wife, in spite of knowing she was your mate. Yet in your hour of need, she didn't hold it against you. She was willing to help you even after she figured out the truth."

His father walked up to him and placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Son, you don't need to love her, just don't make her hate herself for acting on the pull she feels towards her mate. You still need Hermione for a few years before you stop experiencing the mating heat altogether. Do you think she'll be willing to accommodate you for that long if the only thing she feels after she's been with you is self-loathing?"

Chapter Text

Until now, Draco was under the impression he knew Granger's routine well, but perhaps she had silently been studying his habits too as he had yet to catch the witch alone ever since she walked out on him a few weeks ago. Anytime he went looking for her in her usual haunts she was either missing or in the company of his father.

In the presence of company she no longer acknowledged him or even made any attempt at basic civilities. For all intents and purposes he had become persona non grata where she was concerned and her aloofness, instead of annoying him the way it usually did, caused a steady ache in his chest that no amount of rubbing could banish it away.

Draco hadn't quite decided what he would say to the witch, all he knew was that he needed to make things right with her. It wasn't even that he was worried she would refuse to have sex with him. No, he knew her well enough to know she wouldn't shy away from doing something distasteful to her if she was doing it for a good cause. What was eating away at him was the hurt he saw in her face after she slapped him.

In his younger days, Draco had gleefully imagined himself taking great pleasure in being the one to hurt goody-two-shoes Granger. However, as an adult, Draco took no joy in knowing he had hurt her. He first discovered he hated watching Granger in pain when his crazy bitch of an aunt tortured her. So, he most certainly couldn't stomach being the one to cause her pain. He had only wished to unnerve the witch; get some kind of reaction out of her, instead of the aloofness he was constantly subjected to by an indifferent mate.

It felt weird going about his day like everything was normal when something was so terribly wrong. It wasn't right for Granger to feel hurt by him and it wasn't right for Granger to be forced to his bed if she took no pleasure in it. The whole business made Draco feel unsettled in ways that reminded him of his sixth year of school, trying to go about business as usual while he planned Dumbledore's death.

Realistically, Draco knew that even if he wanted to go all noble he couldn't afford to keep away from Granger during the mating heat. Even though, Dumbledore and his godfather had considered him worthy of redemption, he wasn't so sure of himself. Coming from two ancient Pureblood houses, being exposed to the Dark Arts as early as he was and with the hideous, if faded, tattoo on his arm that served as a daily reminder of the kind of hatred he once held in his heart, he felt justifiably scared of the kind of evil he may find himself capable of unleashing on the world if he went mad like his Aunt Bella.

Yet, he couldn't bear the thought of forcing Granger. He'd been so caught up in himself he had not really stopped to think about her feelings. Merlin, the witch had only ever been with his father and then she had been forced into Draco's bed by his condition. No, he needed to accept more fault than that. He knew the kiss was dangerous. He could've warned her then about the consequences. They were both powerful enough to manage undoing the magic of the mistletoe without needing to kiss. But, he had been too damn curious at the time to care for the consequences.

Granger was right. He was responsible for the situation they were in. There was no going back now, but he still needed to fix things so Granger wouldn't be so disgusted with him or feel hurt by him.

---------------------

As Granger continued to avoid Draco, he was left with no choice but to send her a missive saying they needed to talk. He could've asked Lucius to intervene on his behalf, but he was growing tired of using his father as a messenger.

Granger refused to meet him saying they had nothing to discuss. She reminded him that she had already laid down the rules for their engagement; if he wanted her to continue to show up every four weeks for his therapy session then he simply needed to abide by her rules.

As a response, he send her another owl telling her he wished to see her to make amends for his poor behaviour and try to improve things between them. Granger, however steadfastly refused to see Draco outside of the appointed dates claiming there was nothing between them outside of what the fates had, in ill humour, thrust upon them.

According to her, they both needed to tolerate each other for a few years. Granger expressed she only expected him to be respectful towards her till such time when they could finally be free of each other. She didn't care to listen to any regrets he may have about his behaviour, only wished he didn't make an already difficult situation harder by constantly antagonising her.

Left with no choices, Draco spent the next few months seeing very little of Granger outside of their session every four weeks. She would show up and not even bother making eye contact with him before they would simply go through the motions of sex. While the contact he got from Granger helped keep the mating heat in check, it did little for his spirits.

Draco found himself growing more broody and unsatisfied with life in general. Astoria was trying to be supportive, but, he could tell she was growing tired of his sulking about. She didn't see his moodiness as having anything to do with his part Veela nature as she knew he was having sex with Granger on a frequent enough basis to not cause him any problems.

He himself couldn't understand why he simply couldn't go about his life the way he had before Granger came back into his life. He had everything he wanted in life and was finally truly free to live it exactly as he pleased, yet, in reality it felt more like his life had been scrambled up and then put together in a way that the pieces no longer fit together. He could make no sense of it.   

It wasn't long before Granger and his father were celebrating a year of their marriage. The celebration was simply an excuse to bring together many of the wizarding world's power players so Lucius could discreetly begin campaigning for the position of Minister of Magic. It worked out  wonderfully too as Granger , the Golden girl, stood beside him playing the strong supporting wife.

Though Granger wasn't the prettiest witch by far at the party, Draco found he couldn't keep his eyes off her. He watched her all evening- studying her movements and expressions. He knew her well enough to see she carried herself stiffly, never looking quite at ease. He also noticed that she hadn't once smiled genuinely all evening. Even when she looked at Lucius, though her smile was warm, he didn't see love or adoration in the witch's eyes, the way he remembered her looking at the Weasel when they were in school.

Watching Granger, Draco knew exactly what he wanted from the witch. He had given her a wide berth and tried to play by her rules, but, he decided he was tired of doing things by half measure and constantly feeling unsatisfied. They could do so much more than just tolerate each other for the next couple of years. He suspected, if he played his cards right, Granger would be amenable too.

Chapter Text

Draco watched the ministry toady lick his lips and ogle Granger's cleavage as he stared down her blouse. She was of course her usual self- too busy pulling our parchments and tomes, leaning over to highlight a point here and another one there- clueless of where the wizard's attention really lay. She was always so oblivious to male attention, yet in recent months, something between them had changed so now she was always aware of him.

Like right now, if he stared at her tits long enough, she'd look up in- one, two, three-

Contact.

She noticed him, blushed, and then immediately looked away. He smirked as she distractedly tried to continue with her presentation. Finally, with a resigned sign, she made her excuses and dismissed the other wizard.

The toad looked disappointed over the interruption. Draco stood in the doorway looking as intimidating as possible, forcing the man to squeeze past him sideways on his way out. Draco didn't look at the wizard but made a mental note of who it was- he'd be sure to teach him a lesson for ogling his mate.

"Granger," he nodded, stepping in and shutting her office door behind him.

"Malfoy, what are you doing here?"

"What do you think?" he asked, walking around her table to where she stood before her chair.

Frustrated with his stubborn mate, Draco had taken to accosting her in unexpected places and demanding sex instead of showing up in the appointed room at the appointed date and hour. It was harder for her to fake disinterest when he caught off-guard. He had figured out that if he went without contact with Granger long enough he looked crazy enough to cause her concern on his behalf. If she were too worried about his health, she wouldn't refuse him. Thankfully, so far she had not.

Granger was no longer avoiding him around the Manor and things between them had improved, to the extent where they frequently shared evening tea together- sometimes spent in engaging discussions and others in companionable silence- after she returned home from work. However, he deliberately stayed away from her in the days leading up to the four-week mark just so he could end ill enough to play on her sympathies.

Until now, he had only approached her around the Manor. It was a risk, confronting her like this at her place of work, but he was growing tired of her behaviour and felt it was about time.

Draco stepped behind Granger, bent her over her desk and pressed himself into her back.

She must not have gotten over her shock at him showing up at her workplace like this as she had yet to protest his behaviour.

Draco wasted no time. He lifted the hemline of her fitted skirt and pushed it over her hips. Unzipped his trousers, took out his cock and used some of his spittle to lubricate its head. He shoved her knickers to the side and rubbed the head of his cock along her pussy lips.

"Malfoy, wait. Someone could walk in."

"You're a witch, Granger. Ward the door shut."

He smirked- she had not asked him to stop. He teased her entrance until she was wet enough. She was still casting the spells to seal and silence the room when Draco gave one hard thrust to push to the hilt inside her.

Fuck, but this always felt so good with her. Like coming home, to a warm embrace.

As he thrust into her he panted into her ear, knowing it would affect her more.

"Fuck Granger, you won't take off your clothes when we fuck but you'll shake your ta-tas for any wizard at the ministry."

"What the hell are you on about?" she asked, pushing her arse back on his cock. He doubted she realised how very willingly she participated if she was distracted enough not to hold out on him.

"You heard me. Flashing your tits at that wizard just to get him to approve your proposal."

"Why you-" she turned to glare at him but he shushed her.

"Eyes forward, Granger. Or have you forgotten your own rules for sex."

He could tell she was seething; he took advantage of her distraction to nuzzle her neck.

"Mind, I don't blame you. We all resort to underhanded tactics when we can't have things our way."

He snuck his hands under her blouse and cupped her breasts while she tried to come up with a response.

"Please do not lump me with the likes of yourself, Malfoy. I most certainly was not doing anything underhanded," she grunted.

Oh yeah, she was playing right into his hands. He pulled down the cups of her bra and tweaked her nipples; he was rewarded with a moan and a more forceful thrust for his efforts.

"Even your nipples are hard. I bet you liked him looking at your tits. Sure looked like it, the way you were practically shoving them into his face."

"What nonsense! I was merely showing him these articles citing case law-"

"Granger, the man wasn't drooling because of the musty tomes you had on display."

"Mr. Southington is an expert on the goblin treatises and he was interested in hearing about the relevant articles before he could consider my pro-"

He smirked into her skin as she lectured him about her proposal.  She was so passionate about the things she cared for; it was easy to goad her. And, if he had her sufficiently distracted he could get her to be passionate with him. Like right now. She probably didn't realise that he had stilled and it was her doing all the work- enthusiastically pushing her arse back and forth on his cock. Of course he wasn't going to ruin the moment by pointing it out to her.

"Protest all you like, Granger, but we both know you're a fucking tease." He caught her right leg by the back of her knee and placed it on the table, opening her further to him. He planned to pound all his pent up frustrations into her now that she was finally letting him have his way with her.

"You refuse to get naked, you refuse to let me eat your lovely cunt and you're always holding out on me, knowing it drives me crazy. Most days I'm more frustrated after I've fucked you because you won't let me have you the way I want."

He untied the bun her hair was in and buried his hand into the thick curls, yanking on them to pull her head back.

"What the hell, Malfoy?" She glared at him while placing both hands palms down on the surface of the table for support as he began to drill her with his cock.

"It's not enough for you to just lay there and let me fuck you. You're not just some hole for me to sink my cock into. I need to feel you come undone by my mouth, my fingers, my cock- whatever it takes."

He tugged on her hair again, pulling her head close enough to nip at her earlobes playfully.

"I want your pleasure, Granger," he whispered seductively in her ear and was delighted by the way she shivered under him.

He curled the fingers of one hand around the delicate column of her neck and used his hold on her hair to keep her head in a position that forced her to maintain eye contact with him.

He increased his pace and from the way she hissed and her eyelids fluttered he knew she was close to her climax. She tried to twist her face away but couldn't. She tried to raise one of her hands to cover her face but he wouldn't let her.

"Don't hold back on me, Granger. It fuckin' drives me nuts. It makes my brain itch and my skin crawl when you don't completely give in."

Since she wouldn't let him kiss her, he pulled her face against his so their cheeks were pressed together, lips mere millimetres apart; he could feel her breath just as he was certain she could feel his.

"Give yourself to me, Granger. Just give in and let yourself feel everything I can give you, witch. Please trust me, I promise never to hurt you again."

He wasn't sure where the words had come from. Sure, he meant them, he had simply never planned on saying them to her.

Draco began to worry he'd pushed her too far once more when her only response was to reach into her robes for her wand. He blew out a breath of relief when all she did was magick their clothes away into neat little piles on the vacant chairs in her dingy office.

She grabbed his hands in hers and moved one to cup her breast while she moved the other to the vee of her legs to play with her clit.

"Oh Merlin!"

He stilled against her to relish the feel of her bare skin against his. His eyes followed the curve of her back, from her supple arse to her dainty neck. His fingers squeezed the flesh of her plump breasts, enjoying the feel of their weight in his hands.

She moaned and he felt her inner walls flutter around his cock when he teased her nipples and rubbed her clit. He shoved his sticky fingers into her mouth and the way she lustily sucked on them, he wondered if he could ever convince her to do the same to his cock. Draco held back a whimper at that thought.

He was just about ready to burst, so he began to move again inside her, fucking her more deeply and with greater enthusiasm even as his fingers teased her towards her climax.

It was only a matter of minutes before she was coming, her cunt clenching in a way that drew out his own orgasm.

"Fuck," he groaned as he emptied himself into her.

Both heavily collapsed against the table. as they caught their breath. He was pleased that she didn't push him off of her or try to disentangle herself from him in any other way now that the deed was done. He was content to stay there just like that but had to move before he her petite form under his weight.

It still caught him off guard at times to realise how tiny she was in reality. It may be because his memories of her were mostly from the time before his Veela heritage took effect. Back then, they'd both stood around the same height. It also helped that Granger had such a bossy personality; it was hard to think of her as anything less than a giantess.

"You know, you can't just show up at work like this."

They were both dressed now and things should've felt awkward but they didn't- a sign of the progress between them in recent months.

"Will you continue to use numbing potions when you're with me?"

She didn't deny it, instead she looked away and turned red.

He patiently awaited her response.

Still not looking at him, she swallowed and asked, "Does it really affect you if I don't participate?"

"I can't explain it and to be honest, I'm not sure if this is part of the Veela compulsion or just me, but doing things the way we have has left me feeling more irritable, unsatisfied and obsessively thinking about ways to please you in bed."

He was risking her wrath with his confession but if he wasn't honest with her now, she'd never forgive him or give him another chance ever again.

"If I try to make more of an effort, will you assure me you will only seek me out when we're at home?"

"Granger, I don't want you to make a fucking effort. I want you to just go with whatever comes naturally to you. Don't tolerate my touches and don't have me thinking you're only tolerating my touches. If you like or don't like what I'm doing, let me know. I need you to be honest with your body the way you are with everything else."

He stood in her personal space, his aggressive stance and tone would've intimidated anyone else, not Granger. She looked him in the eye and nodded.

"I can do honesty."

So maybe he'd manipulated her Gryffindor sensibilities a little to achieve his end, but he was sincere about everything he's said.

"And I can control myself till you're at home."  

Chapter Text

Draco sat through breakfast feeling sicker and sicker as he watched his father repeatedly touch his mate. The touches were innocent in themselves- a kiss on the back of her knuckles, a loose curl tucked behind the ear, brushing the back of his fingers against her cheek- but he couldn't help but feel jealous over the intimacy of those touches. Draco knew his father well enough to know Lucius wasn't one for physical displays. He also knew his father didn't feel threatened by Draco to put on a show for him. The innocent, though intimate touches before an audience were probably meant to reassure Granger of her role as Lucius Malfoy's wife. Draco, however, could do without the reminder.

All the books he'd read on Veela had not prepared him for the possessiveness he felt towards Granger or the bouts of jealousy he experienced when he felt any male capturing her attention or the rage he felt towards any male showing an interest in her; the worst was always when he saw reminders of his father's claim on Granger.

In Hogwarts Granger had been too busy with books and saving the wizarding world to pay attention to the opposite sex. After Hogwarts he'd kept himself so far away from her he never had to watch her with another man, to trigger the possessiveness. But now, Draco finally understood why his mother said he would want to claim his mate even though it was not required.

Physically, he could probably survive on just the monthly fuck with Granger, but he needed more from her. He couldn't even articulate to himself what he felt. It was just an itch beneath his skin that ran all the way through to his bones and into his very soul. He felt off kilter, like he'd been broken and the pieces put together, just not in the place they should be. And then she'd come along and everything would slide into place and inexplicably feel just right.  

He had a hard time keeping his food down, feeling the urge to throw up every time his mind replayed the scene from breakfast. He needed a new memory to cling to, or he was going to end up pummelling his own father for touching his mate.

Waiting till everyone had retired for the night, Draco returned to the family breakfast room after instructing one of the house elves to bring Granger to him. He knew his father's routine well enough to know he'd be in his study at this hour enjoying a cigar and a nightcap.

He'd barely seated himself at his usual spot at the table when his elf appeared with a pop holding on to the hand of an annoyed looking Granger.

"Malfoy, what is the meaning of this? Your elf didn't even allow me time to dress before apparating me here."

Draco inhaled sharply as he took in the form of his mate- or at least the bits and pieces exposed by the silk night robe draped loosely around her naked flesh.

He mustn't have looked too great though because she sounded very concerned when she spoke.

"What is it? Are you okay?" she asked, unaware of the hungry stare he gave her as he watched her robe shift teasingly over her flesh as she moved closer to him.

Or maybe she was aware, for her nipples had hardened to points by the time she was next to him.

"I need you." He managed in a strangled voice, feeling a desperate need to possess her.

He thought she must've researched the subject better than he did, as instead of being her usual self and asking several questions, she seemed to understand just what he meant.  Every time she simply acquiesced to his requests, it never failed to make him wonder how things might've been if he had properly courted her and claimed her when he was sixteen.

No sooner did she nod her consent, did he grab her by the hips and place her on the table before him.

"I'm so hungry. I haven't been able to eat anything today without getting sick," he explained as he tugged at the loose knot holding together the ties of her robe- the motion causing the silk robe to fall open.

He allowed his gaze to wander over his mate's body- from her heaving round breasts tipped with rosy peaks that begged to be suckled to the small nest of curls hiding her pussy lips.

She sat a little stiff as if uncertain of what she was expected to do. So he helped her out.

Placing his hands firmly on her knees he opened them. He took his time, he needed to take his time so his Veela could feel like he had possession of his mate.

Gently caressing the soft skin of her inner thighs he licked his lips as he caught sight of the moisture at her opening.

Reaching forward he stuck out his tongue and gave her folds a long and slow lick.

Her body reacted instantly with a jerk and a tug on his head by her fingers.

"What are you doing, Malfoy?" she hissed.

"I told you I was hungry, didn't I?" was his casual reply before returning to his feast.

He licked her folds teasingly and lapped at the juices collected. As the sensations grew stronger she attempted to yank his head away from her but he ignored the sting in his scalp, gripping her thighs tighter as he continued to fuck her with his tongue.

He spend the next twenty minutes forcing several orgasms out of her as he thoroughly ate her out using his lips, tongue and fingers. Each time she held back by stuffing her fist into her mouth, refusing to let him hear how well he was pleasuring her.

When he finally felt like she was boneless and completely pliant, he stood up and with a flick of his wand vanished his clothes.

She lay flat on the table, her robe now discarded was spread beneath her. As she struggled to catch her breath, her breasts quivered delightfully on her petite frame. He wrapped her legs around his hips and before she could even manage to open her eyes thrust all the way into her tight pussy till he bottomed out.

Her eyes flashed open and she gasped at the intense manner in which he was scrutinising her face before he eventually started moving.

"Fuck Granger, I'm never going to eat in this room again without remembering the sight of you spread out before me and eating your delicious pussy to my heart's content."

He took his time pulling nearly all the way out before slowly sliding back in.

"You won't believe how miserable I was the entire day; and now, I feel wonderful."

He was aware of her hard nipples scraping against his chest with every slide and thrust into her body. Leaning away a little, he lowered his head and took one of the rosy buds in her mouth.

He felt more than heard her moan.

"Your body is sinful, Granger." He spoke around the mouthful of breast he was greedily suckling.

"Enticing me to abandon my very sanity for a chance to sink myself into your tempting body."

He left a trail of spittle behind as he moved his mouth to lavish his attention on her neglected breast.

"I'm so scared," he whispered, nipping at her nipple and eliciting a delightful little squeak from her, "one of these days I'll just snap and have you naked and impaled on my cock without giving a damn about where we are and who may be watching."

She moaned loudly before biting on her fist again. He was going to have none of that. Pulling her fist away from her mouth he took both her wrists in one hand and held them flat against the table above her head.

"And it's not just my Veela, Granger. Don't kid yourself. While I eagerly wait for the time of the month when you will let me fuck you again I wank off pretending it's your hand or mouth on my cock."

She moaned loudly and Draco was thrilled by the sound. She really had been holding back on him.

"Oh yeah. you may think I only tolerate your touches to get through the mating heat, but, I don't, Granger. I crave your fucking touches. I long to fuck you. Sometimes, I just want to sink my cock into your wet pussy and lie there enjoying how good it feels to simply be joined with you."

He changed his pace so he could swivel his hips before each thrust. He kept adjusting the angle till he was able to hit that spot inside her.

"Draco."

His heart skipped a beat at hearing her moan his name. Finally.

"Yes, my sweet. You like that?" He thrust again hitting the spot just so- slowly at first and then at a rapidly increasing pace.

"Say my name again. Say my name when you come," he pleaded as his hips snapped furiously pushing her further towards her climax.

"Draco, Draco, Draco, Draco-" fell from the lips of his sweet mate like a chant till she shattered drawing his own orgasm out of him in the process.

"Hermione," was all he managed to whisper into her hair as they both clung to each other.

Chapter Text

Astoria Malfoy was a smart, stunningly beautiful and confident young woman who had no reason to suspect her husband would ever cheat on her or even think of leaving her. Most certainly not for Hermione Malfoy nee Granger. In the months following the spectacular revelation of her husband's unfortunate Veela ancestry she discovered Draco had known all along just who his mate was and had nonetheless chosen to marry her instead.  

By itself, simply being preferred to the plain looking Muggleborn witch was hardly an accomplishment, but it did make her feel especially secure about her place in Draco's life knowing he found her attractive enough to ignore a mate bond. She knew her husband was only sleeping with his step-mother because of the weird Veela magicks compelling him to do so, not because he was attracted to her. Astoria wasn't too clear on the specifics, and they didn't matter either as they'd managed to come up with a fix for Draco's little problem.

So now her husband had to sleep with someone else once a month. It didn't bother her. She did, however, feel bad for him. She knew he couldn't stand Hermione- he still had many of his prejudices from before the war. Astoria, on the other hand, didn't care. She didn't care much about blood purity before the war and most certainly not now, not after having seen the devastation caused by those very beliefs during the war.

Of course her life experiences were barely the same as Draco's. Not being one of the privileged Sacred Twenty-Eight, she wasn't raised to think of non-Purebloods as scum to start with, whereas, Draco had been thoroughly indoctrinated with the old Pureblood beliefs. Even as a child, she found his brand of Pureblood snobbery unpalatable when she first met him as her sister's classmate. Then, the war happened and Draco was dramatically altered. He seemed tired of it all and eager to leave it all behind him. She could empathise with those feelings even though she had not been forced to participate in any way and most certainly didn't have to bear the burden of being the one responsible for starting the war by letting the Death Eaters into Hogwarts.

Astoria had seen enough changes in Draco's speech and manner in the years following the war to be convinced he had revaluated the Pureblood ideologies he'd been raised to believe in. Yet, the reappearance of Hermione Granger into her husband's life had somehow turned back the clock on all the progress he'd made. He reverted back to being the schoolyard bully once more, with childhood rivalries revived and  slurs like the 'm' word casually tossed around.

Hermione got under Draco's skin. And not in a good way, as far as Astoria could tell. She didn't know if it was linked to the whole mate business or just remnants of Draco's school rivalry with Hermione. For whatever reason he was unable to ignore Hermione. When she was around Draco it always felt like Draco was on the edge - just a moment away from snapping  and throttling Hermione.  

It was almost scary, the kind of hatred he felt towards Hermione. Draco seemed to hold Hermione personally responsible for the whole mate business- as if she'd somehow forced him into it. While Astoria found his hatred unreasonable, she knew him well enough to understand why he would feel resentful for needing the help of someone he couldn't stand, as well as understanding his disgust over being forced to bed a witch he didn't even find attractive.

From the start Astoria held Hermione in high regard. House rivalries aside, she long admired the Gryffindor for gaining recognition in their world at a young age, despite being an outsider. While Astoria, her friends, and family hid away during the war, maintaining their neutrality. Even though Hermione lost a great deal as a result of it, rather than giving up and running away during the war, Hermione fought and helped bring down the tyrant Dark Lord. She continued to fight for her beliefs even after the war by entering into public service at the Ministry.

But by far the most awe-inspiring thing about the Muggleborn lioness was that she'd managed to catch the interest of Pureblood and reformed Death Eater, Lucius Malfoy. That man only recognised one thing, power, since he had an abundance of everything else- good looks, wealth and intelligence. He'd once followed the Dark Lord in pursuit of power and married Hermione Granger for the same reasons.

Yes, Astoria had a high opinion of Hermione, and it only improved when the witch agreed to sleep with her husband. Sex with Draco could hardly be considered a hardship but having observed some of their interactions Astoria didn't imagine Draco was any less insufferable towards Hermione in bed than he was outside. Yet, despite his obnoxious behaviour  Hermione had sacrificed her pride and let Draco into her bed.

Hermione's plain looks aside, Astoria still wouldn't have felt jealous over Draco sleeping with her. She'd shared Draco with other women before. Astoria understood that a couple needed to spice things up occasionally to keep the excitement alive in a relationship. Over the years they'd been together, every now and then she'd notice Draco checking out another witch. Rather than getting mad at him, she'd invite the witch to join them in bed. Draco always looked at her with greater adoration after such occasions- like he couldn't believe he was lucky enough to have someone like her for his wife.

Usually, she preferred to join in so she could keep a check on Draco and ensure he wouldn't end up taking too much of an interest in the other witch. As much as she trusted her husband she wasn't naive enough to be unaware there were women out there who'd like nothing better than to ensnare a wealthy aristocrat like Draco. Of course, with Hermione there were no such concerns as she was already married to Lucius, famous in her own right, and shared a contentious past with Draco.

Additionally, as straight-laced a witch as Hermione appeared to be, Astoria couldn't imagine her ever agreeing to a threesome or even to the presence of a spectator during sex. While she and her husband didn't see eye to eye on everything else he vexed Hermione over, Astoria internally agreed that the witch was definitely a prude. She also wasn't particularly attractive, in strictly physical terms, in Astoria's opinion. The witch had that fresh faced look without an ounce of glamour or intrigue. She was petite but looked like she was carrying a bit of extra weight around- though she couldn't say for sure thanks to the elegant but formless robes the other Mrs Malfoy was so fond of wearing.

The other thing Astoria agreed with Draco on was the matter of Hermione's hair- it was a right mess. With all the cosmetic and glamour spells at their disposal, she couldn't understand why any witch would choose to be seen in public the way Hermione did. While she did have a great deal of respect for the witch, the idea of sleeping with her or watching her get fucked by Draco was completely unappealing.

If Astoria had stuck to her old habit of never letting Draco sleep with another witch unless she was involved, she wouldn't have mistaken the burning desire in his eyes for revulsion. Perhaps if Astoria had spend more evenings in the solarium Draco and Hermione wouldn't have shared as many evenings simply talking to and getting to really know each other.

And, if Astoria had attempted to secretly observe the Veela mates she would've noticed how Hermione's dull brown eyes sparkled while talking to Draco. For the first time in her life she would have experienced jealousy when she saw the devotion and tenderness in Draco's usually cold grey eyes as he sat across from his mate and watched her perform mundane tasks like sipping her tea or just talking about her day.

And so it was that Astoria went about her life completely oblivious to the relationship that, despite its volatile beginnings, had slowly begun to blossom between her husband and his stepmother. 

Chapter Text

"What am I wearing to the Annual Victory Ball?"

Hermione was looking at him like he'd sprouted a new head. In hindsight, it was a pretty stupid question. She was hardly the kind of witch who concerned herself too much with what she wore provided it got the job done- a fact evidenced by her next statement.

"I don't know," she said, shrugging her shoulder. "There's still over a week to go. I'm sure I'll have something suitable in my wardrobe."

She returned her attention to the book she was engrossed in before Draco interrupted her.

He cleared his throat to draw her attention back to him.

"In that case you wouldn't mind terribly if I dressed you, right?"

"You want to dress me?" she asked, confused.

"Yes, I'd like you wear something I've picked out for you." He explained hastily lest she think he meant to act like some ladies maid to her.

"Oh? I suppose it's okay." Then she narrowed her eyes suspiciously at him. "What are you playing at, Malfoy? You're not going to have me wear something embarrassing, are you? Because I refuse to look like some dolled up fashion plate." She huffed and crossed her arms over her chest.

He shook his head.

"No, nothing embarrassing. It's just, you'll be there with father and there'll be all these men talking and dancing with you-"

She snorted at that but he ignored her and continued.

"- I just know I'll end up feeling irrationally jealous. I thought, maybe seeing you dressed in something I chose would help me stay calm knowing you were wearing something for my pleasure alone."

Her expression softened as she set her book aside to give him her undivided attention.

"I don't understand why you feel jealous; it's not like I'm interested in any other men. For goodness sake, I'm already married!"

He didn't look at her face, instead he focused on the wedding band she wore. She usually took it off when she came to him- whether it was because she didn't want to feel uncomfortable by seeing any reminders of her marriage while she was sleeping with another man, or because she knew he bristled at any reminders of another man's claim on her, he couldn't say- but right now it was merely a coincidence he'd chosen to take his tea in the little parlour adjoining the library and happened upon her relaxing there.

"Draco," she said moving to settle herself on his lap. Hermione noticed his irrational bouts of jealousy around her and had long chalked it up to his Veela nature. She had also figured out that maintaining physical contact with him during such moments helped in quickly neutralising the situation. The more physical contact, the better.

He wrapped his arms around her waist and nuzzled her neck inhaling her clean smell. No overwhelming scent of perfumes and potions- just the refreshing and soothing smell of his mate.

Draco enjoyed the feel of her running her fingers through his hair while he held her close to his chest. It was often at moments like this he regretted his past actions towards her. Yet, she still gave of herself so willingly because she recognised his need for her.

"I'll wear whatever you like, and then after the ball, you can take it all off. Would you like that?" she asked him shyly.

"Yes," he groaned, feeling aroused at even the thought of it. He could bear the night with half the people staring at him and his family like they were monsters and the other half like they were blood traitors while also trying to keep his jealousy in check if he had what she was offering to look forward to.

Hermione didn't move from his lap for the rest of the time they remained in the room, choosing instead to summon her book and continue reading it while seated in Draco's lap like it was the most natural thing for her.

For his part, Draco absentmindedly traced patterns on the bare skin of her legs- something accomplished by sneaking a hand under her robes- while he finished his tea.

Chapter Text

"What are you doing here?" she hissed at him, hastily checking if the door she'd entered through was securely shut behind her.

Hermione had good reason to sound panicked, since her husband was just through that door. Draco didn't really care.

He'd come to her bedroom needing her and then found her bed empty. Knowing she was with his father had only soured his mood further, and watching her walk in wearing a racy looking teddy just made him feel worse. Not that she didn't look utterly shaggable in the emerald green lace and silk confection; it just didn't look like anything she would pick to wear herselfand had probably only done so for his father.

"You're lucky, he's asleep, or it could just as easily have been him who found you here."

She scolded Draco.

He didn't look at her or so much as acknowledge her words as he struggled to rein in his jealousy. She must've found his behaviour concerning as she climbed onto the bed and scooted near him.

Hermione took Draco's face in her hand and looked him over checking for any symptoms of the sickness.

"Are you feeling okay?" she asked.

He shook his head, unable to speak.

"Do you need me?" she simply asked.

He nodded, again without looking at her.

"Okay," she said and moved to lie down, but he stopped her by pulling her to his lap.

Draco buried his hand in her messy hair and pulled her head back so her neck was exposed. He pressed kisses down the column of her neck, across her collar bones and over her shoulders- first soft and then teasing. He licked a line down her cleavage and up again, avoiding her delicious nipples, straining against the silk, begging for some attention.

He sucked at the sensitive spot at the base of her neck and kneaded the flesh of her arse till he had Hermione writhing over him.

He smirked against her skin when he felt her tug on his head attempting to move his lips to her sensitive breasts. He knew what she wanted but he needed her on the edge first, he needed her bursting at the seams with a need to fuck him.

He playfully nipped at her collar bones making her sigh and grind her pussy against his covered dick harder still.

Draco ran his fingers along her covered slit, which was dripping enough it had soaked through both her panties and his pants. His cock twitched eagerly as he felt her moisture seep through the fabrics.

His fingers pushed against the crotch of her panties teasing the swollen nub it covered, even as one hand continued to squeeze her bum.

His mouth moved away from her neck and closer to her breasts, but not quite. Using only his teeth Draco tugged the straps of her teddy down Hermione's shoulders till her breasts lay exposed to his eyes. She didn't waste time pulling her hands out of the straps altogether.

He opened his mouth and allowed his hot breath to wash over her breasts. He traced wet circles on her breasts starting from the outside and spiralling towards her nipple but never touching it.

She tugged on his hair hard, trying to once more get him to suck her nipple, but he simply bore through the pain. Though as punishment he did nip at her nipple.

She yipped and tried to pull away but he held on to the turgid piece of flesh with his teeth till she had no choice but to remain as he wanted her.

His fingers continued to tease her clit while his thumb shallowly thrust into her pussy.

Hermione finally had enough and shouted in annoyance.

"Do you only plan to tease me tonight, Malfoy?"

"Whatever do you mean, Granger?" he grinned at her growing frustration before licking the underside of her breast. She shivered.

"Ugh!" She groaned in frustration, looking like she was ready to take matters into her own hand but Draco swatted them away.

"Do you want me to suck your sweet tits, Granger?"

"Please."

"What is it, Granger? What do you want?" he asked her patiently.

"Please, suck on my tits."

"You forgot sweet, Granger. Your tits are so sweet, when I can't have you I like to suck on gumdrops and pretend I'm sucking on your nipples instead."

She mewled and begged.

"Please Draco, please suck my sweet tits."

"Is that all?" he asked putting on the most innocent face he could muster. "Doesn't your hungry pussy want to be filled by my fat cock?"

"Oh Merlin! Yes," she hissed and ground herself against his cock.

He reached for the waist of his pants and pushed them down his hips allowing his erect cock to spring into view.

"Go on then, ride me, Granger and I'll suck those sweet tits of yours."

Shakily she removed her panties and positioned herself above his cock before she began to lower herself.

"Slowly, Granger. Take me in slowly. I want you to feel every inch of me entering your hot body."

He held her hips to support her as she did what he asked.

When she'd finally taken him as deeply as her petite body could, he leaned forward and gave her nipple a small suck. The response was almost immediate as he felt her inner walls flutter.

She spend a few minutes gently rocking herself on his cock letting herself adjust to his size. On his part he did what he said he would and wrapped his lips around her neglected nipples and gave one than the other a good suck.

They kept at this for some time. The harder he sucked the harder she slammed against him. He was now using both his mouth and his fingers to pay proper attention to both her breasts.

"You know I never cared much for a witch's tits before, but yours are so incredibly sensitive." He told her between sucks.

"Please, don't stop. I'm so close." she told him.

"Sometimes we're at dinner and I imagine you're sitting in my lap completely naked feeding me with your bare fingers while I play with your tits."

She bounced up and down his dick harder at his fantasy.

"At times I imagine we're at Hogwarts and sitting at our house tables. You walk over to mine and climb into my lap before you forcefully drag my mouth to your nipple demanding that I suck it or you'll hex my balls off."

"But you know which one's my favourite?" He asked her between sucks. Hermione was really fucking him now and he could tell she was ready to come, as was he.

At the shake of her head, he continued.

"I imagine I have you impaled on you cock like now, sucking on your tits and I taste your sweet milk before it gushes down my throat before I shoot my seed deep into your swollen womb."

She climaxed with a loud cry and a shudder.

"Fuck, Hermione!"

Draco held her hips tightly against his as he thrust hard into her a couple of times, grinding his crotch against hers while he shot hot ropes of cum into her.

-------------------------------

When they finally caught their breath she repeated her question from earlier tonight.

"What made you come here tonight?"

He wasn't sure if he should tell her but thought it best if he was always honest with her.

"Astoria," he said, in response to her question. "We had sex."

Hermione went from relaxed to stiff almost instantly. Draco wasn't sure what he expected from her in that moment but he had not expected her to sound so considerate towards Astoria.

"She is your wife."

"She's not you."

Chapter Text

Objectively, Draco still considered Astoria to be an incredibly beautiful and sexy witch, however, he no longer felt the attraction to her he once did. Sex with her no longer satisfied him even if he managed to climax. On the contrary, he would end up feeling hollow and empty afterwards.

Astoria lay beside him looking sated and exhausted, yet, instead of admiring her slender figure, like he'd once done, he now found himself wishing it was more curvy like his mate's. When she was riding him, instead of admiring the perfection of her rosy pink nipples on her blemish-free porcelain skin, he found himself thinking of the freckles and scars adorning his mate's golden skin.

How had his tastes changed so much? Had he simply tired of Astoria? Would he someday tire of Granger too?

No.

No, he was certain he wouldn't tire of Granger. With Astoria the attraction had been mostly physical. She had been a source of comfort during one of his lowest points in life, and he had clung to her like a drowning man to a lifesaver. But she never managed to excite him outside bed. She didn't challenge him or inspire him the way Granger did.

Granger was a truly unique witch. Intelligent, fierce, loyal and so brave. Like him, she knew what it meant to be a child soldier in a war that had their roles written long before they were even born. She had experienced loss and grief and it did not break her like it did him. While Granger had spent the last few years helping rebuild their world, he had hidden away and not even managed to fix himself. While Granger had climbed the ministry ranks to being the next in line to head the Department of Mysteries, all he managed to accomplish was to remain the Malfoy heir.

And while Granger didn't possess the kind of dazzling beauty that made one halt in their tracks to take notice. She did have the kind of quiet beauty one grew to appreciate over time, like he had. The more time he spend with her, the more things he found he liked about her, even if he'd never considered those things attractive before.

No, that's not true. If he was being honest then the truth was he'd never allowed himself to consider anything about Granger attractive. She's always been taboo for him. But now that he was finally afforded the opportunity to interact with her without any fear of scrutiny, Draco found himself constantly discovering things about Granger he liked a great deal.

Was a time he used to consider Granger frumpy because of the modest cut of her robes. Now though, however foolish his Slytherin nature thought her refusal to exploit all her strengths to be, he couldn't help but admire her choice not to flaunt or use her physical assets to gain an advantage.

Draco waited till Astoria fell asleep, trying to rub away the ache in his chest. In a recent development, sleeping with Astoria left him feeling terribly guilty, like he'd cheated on Granger. He couldn't deny his wife- who was still under the impression that he and Granger only engaged in intercourse once a month for the purpose of his health- his duties as her husband. So, he'd simply go through the motions, trying to re-enact past moments when he'd genuinely enjoyed sex with Astoria. Then once he was certain she was fast asleep he'd seek out Granger.

With his cock not completely deflated, despite ejaculating, Draco only paused long enough to pull on his pajama pants before he grabbed his wand and headed towards Granger's rooms in the Manor.

She had her own suite- attached to his father's, of course, but a completely different set of rooms. Most nights she slept alone in her private bedroom, but, there were nights when she slept in his father's bed. Those nights he'd return to his own bed only to sleep fitfully as he dwelled on what his father and mate were up to.  He'd curl up on his side as he lay there in agony, feeling alone and desolate even with his wife, the woman he once convinced himself he loved, lying a few inches away from him.

Luckily for him, tonight, Draco found Granger sound asleep in the centre of the bed. Curled up as she was on the large bed, she looked almost childlike. She looked so peaceful he could not bring himself to ruin it by disrupting her sleep. Instead of trying to have sex with her, Draco chose to lie beside and make do by simply holding her.

With this in mind, he vanished their clothes and slid into bed beside her. As if sensing his presence she immediately snuggled into his side and sighed deeply in her sleep.

Warmed by the smile that appeared on her face, he pressed his lips to her forehead and closed his eyes allowing sleep to take him.

------------------------

Sometime later in the night Draco awoke feeling disoriented. It took him a few seconds to realise why he'd woken up when he felt something warm and soft brush against his gradually hardening dick. He groped blindly in the dark and found his hand full of pliant flesh.

Hermione.

His sleep fogged brain slowly recalled he was in her bed. Was she awake? Was she aware of him? Did she know it was his cock nestled between her arse cheeks, that it was his hand palming her breast? Whether she knew it was him or not, one thing was certain- she was aroused. He could feel the moisture slipping out of her folds as she pressed her arse more firmly against him.

"Please," she whimpered with need as she continued to lazily rub herself against him.

He stilled her hips with his hands. He needed to make sure she wasn't mistaking him for his father.

Granger reached for his hand, took a hold of it and moved it from her hips to between her thighs, forcing his fingers to slide against her wet folds.

"Please," she continued to insist. Surely she was mistaking him for his father, thought Draco. While she often gave in to him, she was never proactive in any of the things they did.

"Please, mate, I need you."

Well, no mistaking who that could refer to. Draco didn't think his cock had been harder in his life than it was at hearing Granger call him mate.

He nuzzled her neck and used his fingers to tease her nether lips like she wanted him to.

She made a sound that was half moan, half sigh as she threw her head back giving his mouth better access to her neck.

She was so slick below, his fingers easily slipped into her wet heat. The pressure from his palm on her pelvis forced her to press her arse more firmly against his cock.

Draco used two fingers to collect the moisture from her gash and rub her clit in little circles, enjoying the way her body jerked against him from the resultant tingles.

He used his mouth to press hot kisses to her neck, ears, jaw and wherever else his mouth could reach, enjoying the sweet moans he was able to draw out of her.

In the moment he no longer burned with a desire to possess her, instead he was filled with a longing to be joined with her.

He pushed one of her knees forward so her thighs parted and gave him room enough to press the tip of his cock against her slick nether lips. It took incredible self-control on his part to slowly sink his cock into her one inch at a time when all he wanted to do was slam all the way in.

They both gave out a deep sigh when he was finally seated deep within her.

She reached out behind her for his hands, entwining her fingers with his as she took a hold of his hands and tugged on his arms so that they were wrapped around her torso.

She was completely held within the circle of his arms, their fingers entwined, and their bodies joined.

He moved languidly inside her, gently nudging her towards her climax instead of driving her towards it like he usually did. For every lazy thrust, her pussy responded by squeezing his cock. He lost track of how long they kept this up before he could no longer hold back his climax.

"I'm close, tell me what you need to come." He asked of her.

"Touch me," she croaked.

He took one set of their joined hands to her mons and the other to her breast. Together they teased her clit and her nipple while he continued to fuck himself into her. With their twin assault it wasn't long before he finally felt her go over the edge.

He immediately gave in to his climax too. His cock had softened a little but not enough to slip out of her sheath. He didn't move and neither did she. Both enjoying the feeling of satisfaction washing over their bodies in their post-coital bliss.

As he held her within his embrace he marvelled at how perfectly she fit there, and how good this made him feel.

"You really were made for me," he whispered into her neck as if he was only just beginning to realise what it meant.

"Yes," she answered just as quietly and then twisted her body enough to be able to turn her head back and place a kiss on his jaw.

"As you were for me." She said, placing another kiss at the corner of his mouth, dangerously close to his lips.

He inhaled sharply, screwing his eyes shut to hold back the tears he could feel welling up.

"I'm sorry," he said, and he was. He couldn't think of anything he regretted as much.

She remained silent for a long time and he worried she must hate him for the needless misery he had caused them.

"Do you hate me?" He asked, fearful of what her response would be.

Her bushy curls scratched against his chest and chin as he felt her shake her head.

She pulled their linked hands to her face and pressed a kiss to his knuckles.

Overwhelmed as he was by her unexpected response, all he managed to choke out was a quiet but heartfelt, "I don't deserve you."

If her earlier response had been a shock, the next one felt like a nasty jolt.

She barked out a laugh at his words, as if caught off guard by something genuinely funny.

"What?" he asked, sounding rather annoyed with her mocking his feelings when he was trying to open up to her.

"It's just, sometimes, I remember how you were in school... Can't imagine you ever so much as thinking there was anything you desired you didn't deserve. Whatever you wanted, daddy got it for you."

He squeezed his eyes shut and grit his teeth. "You say that like my daddy didn't have a role in helping me get you."

Because there was no way his mate would've let him put his hands on her if his father had not intervened on his behalf. The only reason he got to be with Granger now, in any manner whatsoever, was only because his father was generous enough to share. At the end of the day she remained Lucius Malfoy's wife.

By then his cock had completely softened and slipped out, which may be why it was easier for her to completely turn in his arms and face him.

It was too dark to see the expressions on her face clearly, but, she appeared to be contemplating him. After several minutes of tense silence she sighed. Sliding her arms around his neck, she pushed her chest to his, curled one leg over his and softly kissed his cheek before tucking herself under his chin.

"This is nice." She hummed into his chest causing him to shiver.

Now that she seemed to have settled into a comfortable position he brought his arms around her once more.

"I don't think we've ever done sleep sex before." She noted, while running her fingers through the fine hair on his chest.

"Is that what this is called?" He wasn't really paying attention to the conversation focused as he was on the peasant sensation caused by the movements of her fingers- he was just about ready to purr with contentment.

Draco felt, more than saw, her shrug.

"I suppose. I haven't done this a lot to say for sure."

"Haven't done a lot of sleep sex, then?" He raised a brow, amused, even though she wouldn't see the gesture in the dark.

 "Haven't done a lot of sex."

He was curious. He knew from Lucius that Granger had been pure when she married Lucius, but that didn't tell him much. He had spent a great deal of time the past year or so, obsessing about what kind of intimacies others may have shared with his mate, but, he had enough good sense to never ask, until then.

"No? Do you mean with my- with Lucius?" He asked cautiously treading into the subject.  "Or ...?"

"Just, in general. It never really felt right, somehow."

His heart skipped a beat at what she didn't say out loud.

But it does feel right now.

Unlike Granger, Draco did have a fair number of sexual experiences before- all quite pleasurable, but as Granger had put it, none of them had felt quite as right before. It wasn't even something he noticed, till he slept with her.

He reached for the hand now drawing patterns on his chest and laced his fingers with hers the way she had earlier.

For the next few moments they both lay there silently, simply listening to the sound of their breathing.

"Will you stay a while till I'm asleep?" she asked knowing he would have to slip out or risk Astoria finding him absent from their bed or his father seeking her out in the morning only to find his son there instead.

"Of course."

He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze and continued to hold her till her breathing evened out and she was eventually fast asleep. He was so relaxed and comfortable he wanted to nod off as well. As Draco moved Granger out of his arms and left her to sleep alone on her bed, he once again silently cursed his past self while he returned to his wife;  the contentment he felt slowly being replaced with a heaviness of heart with every step he took away from his mate.

Chapter Text

Hermione tried to make sense of what she was feeling but couldn't, lost as she was in the moment to the sensation of Draco filling her and driving her nearer to her climax. She screamed her pleasure when she felt herself finally pushed over the edge.

Usually it was him who came looking for her outside their monthly schedule. This was her first time seeking him out. She would be embarrassed if he made her explain why she was in his bedroom at a time she knew Astoria was out. However, instead of the mockery she expected he chose to give her what she needed. 

He was different now- she couldn't quite explain it because in many ways he was still the same person, just different with her. He still baited her, just not with insults. He still infuriated her but now it was because of how well he knew his way around her body. He still challenged her, but instead of his beliefs in blood superiority he appeared to be motivated by intellectual curiosity. And while no one would describe Draco Malfoy as a ray of sunshine, or even nice, spending time with him somehow eased the dull but constant ache of the loss of her friends and family.  Despite these changes, Hermione still wasn't used to this new Draco, always expecting him to transform back into the cruel little boy she'd known at Hogwarts.

Hermione was in the midst of riding out her orgasm when she heard the distinct sound of a door opening followed by a woman's voice calling out, “Draco, I’m home.”

Hermione froze and swallowed hard as she locked eyes with Draco. He just grinned and started to fondle her breasts again. “We’re busted,” he whispered, his eyes sparkling impishly as he spoke.

What?!! Shouldn't he be pushing me off?

Hermione couldn't understand why he wasn't eager to be rid of her. At any moment now, Astoria could enter the bedroom and discover them in flagrante delicto. Why would he risk his wife, the woman he loved, finding him with Hermione at a time she knew he wasn't being influenced by the mating heat. However, the only thing bothering Draco just then, was her inattentiveness so he pinched her nipples to gain her attention. Godric.

"Wanna go another round?” he asked but didn’t wait for an answer. His cock, now flaccid, had slipped out of her but was now replaced by his fingers teasing their way inside her.

“Don’t you mind Astoria? She could come in here any second looking for you,” Hermione asked, shocked at his behaviour.  

“Yes, but I'm not letting you go till you're thoroughly satisfied," he answered, sat up and sucked at her pulse point giving Hermione butterflies in her stomach.

====================================================

 

"We're going to have to start skipping the contraception spells."

"What! Why in Merlin's name would we want to do that?" Draco said. He looked like he was panicking, she could empathise.

"Hey, don't give me that look. Do you think I'm in any rush to ruin my body? But we need to abide with the Marriage & Procreation Law, or did you forget about it?"

From the look on his face it appeared he had.

"We're a few months away from the deadline for us to get pregnant. We don't know how long it'll take. May as well start."

He was sulking. He was evidently not ready for parenthood and neither was she, but what could they do? Non-compliance meant they'd have their magic bound. Failure to produce children would result in their marriage being dissolved.

"No, Stori. No kids."

She was going to have to get him to calm down before he lost it completely. As far as she knew, Hermione wasn't around and there was no way Astoria could manage Draco by herself.

"You would've needed to produce an heir eventually. We're only doing it sooner, rather than some years down the line."

Instead of responding he just kept staring at her belly and shaking his head.

"Look, if you're worried about me getting all fat and ugly while pregnant, you know it'll only be for a few months. And we can have fun with other witches during that time. Tracey keeps asking me when we're going to invite her again. She says she's even got some fun new toys and spells for us to try out, the kinky witch."

Astoria already let Tracey try some of those on her recently, so she was certain Draco would love them too. She was waiting for either a special occasion or for him to show some interest before she surprised him with this plan. But recently Draco seemed to have lost all interest in trying new things or even sex for that matter. She figured it was related to the Veela thing.

"No. I can't do this. We can't have kids. Please. No."

"Of course we can! We just need to have the kids to comply with the law and then we can turn them over to the elves or my parents if they are too much of a bother. Our lives won't need to change in any way, I assure you."

He went from shaking his head to clawing at his face and hands. She could only imagine the kind of force he was using to be able to draw blood with his blunt nails.

"Calm down, Draco. Please, love. It's okay."

She approached him, intending to calm him down, but it only made him withdraw further away from her and drop to the floor where he curled into himself whining. It wasn't as bad as it was when his Veela first reacted to Hermione's presence, thought Astoria, but it was still pretty bad.

She knew from previous experience that any attempts to bind him in order to prevent him inflicting further damage on himself would only make things worse. She wasn't aware of Hermione's whereabouts and didn't know how to cast a patronus to summon her home instantly.

In Hermione's absence, Astoria settled for the next best thing. Having remembered something from the last time they'd had an incident, Astoria called for one of the elves and asked them to bring back some of Hermione's clothes that were waiting to be laundered.

The elf returned with a couple of items of clothing which Astoria promptly took and placed near Draco's face.

He held the garment to his face with his eyes closed, inhaling Hermione's scent and said just one word, mate. It was said with such affection it would've bothered her if she hadn't first hand witnessed how her husband, Draco, behaved around Hermione, quite unlike this Veela creature in Draco's skin before her now.

She quietly slipped out of the room, leaving Draco to himself to calm down. Frankly she found it a bit disgusting when she witnessed any of his Veela displays. He was so unlike the man she was in love with and married to. She was sure even Draco would be sickened if he could see himself in his current state. Clearly, she thought, she couldn't discuss the topic with him again.

Later that night, while Hermione lay beside her husband questioning her sanity for having stayed with Draco for a second round even after Astoria returned home, Astoria Malfoy decided she would just have to fall pregnant and deal with the consequences later.

Chapter Text

Then

"You won't even experience the mating heat, unless you initiate the bond with your mate in some way."

"Mating heat?"

Draco could swear he saw his mother blush.

"Just a special time of the month when a Veela really needs to be with its mate or suffer."

"So I will suffer if I'm not with my mate?"

Even though this was going a lot better than their first conversation on the subject, it still didn't clear things for him.

"Draco, your Aunt Bella- she didn't go mad because of Azkaban. Her insanity and cruelty was due to the mating fever. You see Bella found her mate after her marriage to Rodolphus. Her mate was a married man- Frank Longbottom. She never told him she was his mate, but she did get involved with him. I think she planned to use him till she no longer experienced the heat. 

"Unfortunately for Bella, Frank's wife found out about them. She was carrying his heir at the time; she threatened to leave Frank if he didn't end the affair... Bella changed after that- she went from being the sister I admired and wished to emulate, to one I genuinely feared."

"And you say it was caused by this mating heat?" asked Draco growing concerned for his own wellbeing.

"I'm not clear on the details because my parents went to great lengths to hush the matter, but I've always thought so."

"But, what if mates aren't compatible? Could I end up like Aunt Bella or worse, if I can't be with my mate?"

"You grow anxious over things which will never be a concern for you. Just remember that the mating pull works both ways. Both, you and your mate will always find it easier to give in to the pull you feel towards each other, rather than resisting it."

"Easy for you to say, you didn't need to worry about blood purity," he mumbled, sticking his hands in his pockets and staring at his shoes.

Narcissa noted how very much Draco looked his age just then. Her little boy had grown into a man this past year- forced to take on the role of man of the house while Lucius was in prison. He was under tremendous pressure to accomplish the impossible task set upon him by the Dark Lord, so it was easy to see why he was feeling overwhelmed by something that should be considered a boon.

She wished to hug her son and reassure him, but he was no longer her little boy. She could better put to rest his concerns by sharing a few facts.

"Oh, but I did. The Malfoys views on blood purity are rather well documented. Even before I had my mate dream, I suspected your father was my mate because of the pull I felt towards him, but I never told him about the Veela blood in the Black family. Instead, I chose to pursue your father and win him over as a witch. I disclosed my secret only hours before the handfasting ceremony, by which time your father was too in love with me to care.

"I can understand you may harbour some concern over being rejected by a Pureblood witch due to your true heritage, but that is no reason to deny your mate. I took a huge risk trying to claim my mate- your father could've humiliated me and my family by exposing our Veela ancestry. As a fellow Slytherin, you can recognise the foolishness of my actions- I had no reason to believe your father would abandon his views for me. I could've married some other equally eligible wizard and happily gone about my life. I didn't want that. I wanted to bond with my mate and claim him in both this life and the afterlife. You should want the same, Draco."

Too ashamed over failing his proud family by having a Muggleborn for a mate, Draco couldn't bring himself to share the truth with his mother. He simply nodded before walking away. The problem posed by unsuitable mates would need to be tackled at another time, preferably when he didn't have the added stress of trying to figure out how to kill one of the most powerful wizards alive. 

---------------------------------------------------------

Now

He could feel her getting restless now, her body pushing against him as if to say it needed more. She grabbed his free hand and placed it on her breast.

He chuckled in her ear but didn't move.

Merlin!

He was beginning to feel feverish with his need for her, but he was enjoying watching the way she squirmed.

"Not like this. Beg for it."

"Just fuck me already, you ferret."

He snorted. She really was adorable when she tried to swear.

"Do you want my hard cock deep inside your cunt?" he whispered in her ear, thrusting his hips so his cock stabbed her stomach.

She shuddered.

"Yes. Yes." She moaned.

"Go on then," he said as he settled into a position that offered him a good view of her. "Ride me, Granger."

---------------------------------------------------------

Then

"This explains why you were always so obsessed with her."

Draco sputtered. "What?! Why- I never-"

"You were always complaining about her. Always more upset when she bested you or taunted you. I used to think it was because of her Muggleborn status, but I see now you were simply reacting to what you considered to be disinterest from your mate."

"She was unsuitable in every way. I was simply disgusted by how poorly the Fates had chosen for me."

---------------------------------------------------------

Now

He pulled her head to his, fully intending to kiss her, but she turned her head.

"No, not on the mouth," she insisted as she turned around and steadied herself against the dresser.

"You let him kiss you."

He nipped at her ear lobe with his teeth.

"He's my husband."

She opened her legs wide enough to let him comfortably nestle against her.

"I don't need you to remind me."

He grunted as he pushed into her a little more forcefully than needed.

She sighed and sank against him.

"What do you want from me, Draco?" she asked of his reflection in the mirror, sounding tired.

"Let me kiss you," he said, staring right back at her.

"No." She shook her head.  "I need some kind of line- something to separate the two men in my life."

He couldn't see how confusing all of this was for her. Married to one man while fated to be a mate to another- that they were father and son and looked so similar just seemed to blur boundaries in a way that made both her heart and head ache.

In truth though, there was no mistaking the two. Lucius Malfoy had married her and she found him sincere in his desire to build a life and family with her. Draco Malfoy, she believed, only used her to his convenience. Worst of all she let him because thanks to the magic that had marked them as mates she only felt at peace when she was with him.

"Okay," he said, even though he wasn't. He was still the spoilt kid, unused to being denied anything. She tried to make eye contact with his reflection but he looked away. She tried to move against him but he held still inside her and continued to avoid eye contact. Even though she knew he would insist that Malfoys never pout, it was exactly what he was doing at the time.

"Ugh, why do you have to be such an entitled prat?" she complained, pounding her fist on the dresser.

 He raised an eyebrow, looking rather amused by her uncharacteristic behaviour.

"Might I remind you, that entitled prat currently has his cock inside your lovely cunt?"

She bumped her shoulder back into his.

"Must you always be so crude?"

"Yes, because I love how your body reacts when I do."

"I'll eventually become inured to this kind of behaviour, Malfoy," she said with a huff.

"Never, Granger. I'll make it my life's mission to find new ways to make you blush."

---------------------------------------------------------

Then

"Take it off."

Under any other circumstances he would've loved to take it off her himself, with his teeth preferably. But between the untamed hair, short stature and the red and gold colours of the lacy number the witch before him was currently wearing, the resemblance to a certain someone Draco was adamant on forgetting all about was far too great to truly appreciate how perfect a girlfriend Stori was turning out to be. While he had stayed in their hotel room getting drunk before he passed out, Astoria had gone out and picked up the witch who was currently going down on him even as his girlfriend was eating her out.

For a brief moment, Draco squinted and imagined she was the witch he was trying not to think about, and then, in the blink of an eye, everything felt wrong. Certain, the only reason he was feeling disgusted with himself was for thinking of the Mudblood in a sexual manner; he pushed the strange witch off him and headed to the shower.

Twenty minutes under a scalding hot shower later, Draco still felt filthy.

---------------------------------------------------------

Now

"Are you only going to gawk or are you also going to fuck me, mate?" Hermione stood in a wide stance, hands on her hips; her entire body language challenging him.

"Oh you minx, you're going to get it hard from me today."

"Only if you catch me first, you prat!" she yelled then took off in a mad dash.

Draco didn't know what was making her act this way but he loved it. He paused only for a moment to catch the direction of the sound of her laughter before bolting after her.

Chapter Text

Draco nuzzled Hermione's neck and began sliding her dress up her hips, eager to lose himself in her wet heat and forget for a while that he had no real claim on the witch before him. He had grown sullen over the last fortnight from not getting two minutes alone with his mate. For some reason Hermione was suddenly busy all the time. She would turn up late from work, looking exhausted and wouldn't be in her own bed when he'd go see her late at night.

He had grown concerned when she didn't show up for mealtimes three days in a row, but the elves assured him that Missy Hermione had been taking her meals in her room and had not taken ill in any way. He saw her around the house in passing but either Astoria or his father would be around so he never got more than a casual exchange of words.

After some days he began to wonder if perhaps he had caused her offence in some manner, but nothing during their brief interactions suggested she was upset with him. She just looked tired and distracted all the time.

Finally today, being the day they had sex every month, Draco went to the room reserved for their tryst in the house and waited for her. He was going to demand an explanation from her. She couldn't just shut him out of her life in this manner! However, when she finally walked into the room, he was so relieved and excited to have her alone, he forgot all his plans to grill her and simply folded her into his arms.

Judging by the eager way her hands were tugging at his robes, she too appeared to have missed him. So it was baffling when she suddenly stilled his hands.

"No, wait. There's something important I need to share with you."

He looked up at her in confusion unable to recall the last time she'd stopped him.

"Granger," he warned, grinding into her so she could feel his hard cock between her soft arse cheeks. Merlin he wanted to spank it and watch it jiggle in that obscene way it did that could give a ghost a hard-on. He stroked her thighs, wanting her legs wrapped around him as he fucked her so hard her cries of pleasure would be heard by everyone living in the Manor.

Draco pushed her to the wall, took his cock out of his pants, pushed her dress up over her hips and nearly ripped her lacy knickers as he shoved them aside, eager to enter her cunt.

"Stop. Listen, I may have figured a way to end this."

"What?" he asked hoarsely, his focus on the way her cunt clenched at the three fingers he pushed into her in order to stretch her pussy and prepare her for him.

She whimpered and pushed her arse back on his fingers.

"Yeah," he moaned. "Fuck my fingers, sweets. Let's get you nice and ready."

"No, listen ah we need uh to talk-"

He shut her up by withdrawing his fingers from her cunt and shoving them into her mouth forcing her to taste herself.

Using his free hand to ease his cock into her, Draco pumped her with a few shallow thrusts before driving home all the way. As always, she felt so stuffed and stretched by his cock. He continued to use his fingers to fuck her mouth as his cock fucked her pussy.

He pulled both her arms back by the elbows forcing her body to arch and her head to be thrown back. Then withdrew his fingers from her mouth and wrapped his hand around her torso- under her breast and across her shoulder. His possessive hold, made her feel so wanted in the moment she couldn't help her eyes welling up knowing it was all a lie.

Hermione didn't think she made a sound yet somehow he knew. He stilled, and pulled out. Turning her around in his arms, he tenderly brushed the tears off her cheeks with his lips which only made her cry harder.

Draco lay her down on her bed and stretched next to her, taking her into his arms.

"Hush, what is it? Did I hurt you?"

She shook her head, but couldn't stop the tears or the sobs. He sounded so sincere. This wasn't even his fault. Why did the fates play this trick on them, she cursed. He held her closer to him, rocking her and muttering sweet nonsense into her hair as he rubbed soothing circles into her back. Why couldn't this be real, she asked herself, feeling miserable.

It took her a few minutes, but, she finally calmed down and pulled away from him.

"I'm sorry about that. I- I was just feeling a little overwhelmed. Everything is okay, though. I'm fine."

The expression on his face said he wasn't really buying it but he didn't voice it.

"I was trying to tell you earlier, I have some good news for you. I think I figured a way to end this without causing you to suffer in any way."

He looked surprised, almost shocked at the words.

"You want to end this?" Both, his words and the look gave her stinging with accusation.

"I promised to help you out. I know you didn't want this bond, and I finally found the way out for you."

His face had pulled on its blank mask so she could no longer tell what he may have been thinking or feeling. Hermione thought it best to simply explain what she'd found out.

"Children are the key. The purpose of the mating heat is to produce children. Once a male Veela has sired a child, they no longer suffer the mating heat. I also came across some accounts where part Veelas felt the mate-bond weaken or break when their mate had children with someone else."

She paused and looked at him, waiting for some kind of response. When there was none, she took his silence as a sign for her to continue.

"Lucius and I have been discussing the Marriage and Procreation law. We are all required to produce two children within five years. He thinks we ought to start trying as he would like his children to be older than his grandchildren, even if it's only by a few months."

"Granger, can you please stop babbling for a moment and just confirm if I heard correctly. Is my father trying to get you pregnant?"

There was just something about the way he'd phrased the question that didn't sit well with her.

"Yes, we're trying to get pregnant. I've already stopped taking the contraceptive potion, and your father expects me to take all necessary precautions to ensure the child is his so we will need to find other ways to satisfy the bond till... I guess till the time you no longer feel the compulsion."

"Like hell, my mate's going to carry some other mans seed."

"You forget, Draco, you are the other man." She hissed angrily. "I would be carrying my husband's seed."

He was fuming. She didn't think she'd ever seen him this angry before. It puzzled her. Wasn't he listening to what she said? She'd given him a way out.

"I don't understand why you're upset. This is what you've wanted- not being tied to me, free to-"

"After everything, you would be rid of me?"

His mask slipped for a moment and she saw the hurt in his eyes.

"Rid of you? No," she said, gently cupping his cheek. "Freeing you." 

"Do you think I want to be free of you, you daft bint? Do you not know what you are to me? Do you really think I only seek you because of the Veela-"

"Being with you feels so good it's easy to sometimes forget how you really feel about me. But I haven't completely forgotten. I remember exactly what you think of me and the extent of your hatred for me."

She'd tried so hard to hold back the bitterness she felt but after holding it in for as long as she had, she couldn't anymore not now that she'd bust the lid on all the emotions that had been simmering inside her for so long.

"The hatred you felt for me goes beyond blood prejudices. I was tortured in front of you while you casually stood by and watched your aunt carve me up. I remember the vacant look in your eyes- like I wasn't even a person let alone a girl who went to school with you. For a long time I'd see your face in my nightmares- looking on with disgust or indifference as I bled to death. And then to discover you behaved the way even after knowing I was your mate..." 

He looked like she'd struck him.

"You hate me."

She took a shuddering breath and exhaled to ease the pain she still felt when she recalled her torture at Bellatrix's hands or Draco's apathy.

"No," she shook her head.  "I don't."

It was true, she really didn't. "I feel... disappointed." She said, sighing deeply. "I just wish it was someone else who filled me with this sense of completeness I feel when I'm with you. I wish it was someone who doesn't loathe me-"

"Granger- Hermione, you're wrong. I don't want to end our bond, I want you-"

"Just because you enjoy fucking me, doesn't mean anything. Am I supposed to believe you're happy about having the Mudblood- you know, the annoying bookworm, know-it-all frigid bitch- as your mate? Am I supposed to console myself with the knowledge you didn't want me for a mate but would now gladly keep me around as your mistress- alone and unloved for the rest of my life because your Veela instincts make you impossibly jealous of any other man making me happy? You-"

She made a sound of exasperation followed by another deep sigh.

"I'm sorry about that. I didn't mean to dump on you in this manner. I remember you looking out for me during the final battle, so I know you didn't actually want me dead. And I understand that you wanted for once to feel in control of your own life... wanting to make your own choices. So you went with the woman you actually wanted. I just... I find this situation so frustrating, and... I feel so used-  by the marriage law, by your Veela needs..."

She saw his crumpled face and quickly added, "Not that I don't enjoy it when we're together. You know I do. It's just, just... Why did it have to be you? Why not one of the Weasleys or Neville- someone who would've wanted me?"

Hermione walked away and sat down heavily on the bed. She didn't think she felt this weary even after the Final Battle.

"This isn't how I envisioned my life would turn out when we fought Voldermort. I always thought I'd marry Ron someday and give birth to red-headed babies- that the boy who loved me would be the only one I'd ever be with. Instead I'm married to Lucius Malfoy and having an affair with his son.

"I've never hesitated in anything I choose to do as I've always known my own mind. But everything is so muddled now I can't even trust if my own feelings are real or just something induced by Veela biology to ensure I can never leave you."

She had her eyes closed trying to get her emotions back in control. So when she did open her eyes, she was surprised by the tenderness she saw reflected in the normally cold and expressionless face of Draco Malfoy.

"I don't loathe you, Granger. I really don't. You may choose to think that I only want you now because of the mate-bond but you're wrong. I don't deny that I would've kept my distance from you if circumstances had not made it unavoidable, but I don't regret that it's you," he said with a gentleness no one who knew Draco would think him capable of.

 

"Considering the amount of research you've done on the subject since discovering you are my mate, I'm sure you know that I only need to have sex with you for the fever from the mating heat to break each time it takes hold of me. And yes, I do enjoy fucking you. Merlin, I'm not going to apologize for how much I enjoy your delicious body. But again, you're wrong if you think it's all I enjoy doing with you.

"It's not the Veela instinct forcing me to seek you out in the library just to enjoy the peace of having you tucked into my side reading some of the dullest law articles ever published. Unlike my father, I don't care much for the Ministry or politics so there's no need for me to wait for you every day in the solarium- knowing you like to take your evening tea there once you return from work- eager to discuss your day.

"I know things are different than we imagined them as kids. I can't help the way things turned out, but while I wish things weren't so complicated- and yes, I know I only have myself to blame for it- I most certainly do not wish for someone else to be my mate."

Then all the softness vanished his face, replaced by a fascinating mix of determination and fury.

"Things have to change, Granger. I refuse to be the other man and stand idly by while you have children with my father."

Hermione knew how uncomfortable he got about discussing his feelings, and considering how he always liked to keep his guards up, she was shocked at how vulnerable he'd allowed himself to be. Some of the things he said, she'd suspected while others had completely caught her unawares.

Stunned to silence by his confession she was unable to even react let alone formulate a coherent response before he turned on his heel and marched out of the room.

Chapter Text

Draco was still enraged thinking about his discussion with Granger from two nights ago. He tried not to think about it and decidedly avoided her, hoping the time apart would help her see things more clearly. Astoria had already questioned his absences at mealtimes despite his presence in the house. Undoubtedly, Granger would've also noticed and rightly guessed that he was sulking.

It was Sunday morning. Usually, he would trek to the breakfast room, knowing he'd find Granger alone there while Astoria slept in and his father was out either riding or tending to his thestrals, as was his habit. But since he planned on avoiding Granger till she was willing to be reasonable about their situation, Draco was resisting the urge to go be with his mate.

As an angry grumble emitted from his belly, Draco considered calling for a breakfast tray to his room. However before he could even snap his fingers to call for the elves, one of the little creatures popped into view.

"Master Draco, the Mistress be calling you to her room."

Without bothering to look at the creature he replied, "Okay, let Astoria know I'll be there in a few minutes."

"No master. It be the other Mistress that be calling you."

That made him look up.

"Hermione?"

"Yes. Mistress Her-me-ninny be waiting for you in her sitting room."

"Alright," he said standing up, curious as she'd never before summoned him in this manner.

He held out his hand and let the elf apparate him to Granger's location, which turned out to be her sitting room.

Draco dismissed the elf and seated himself in one of the cosy looking chaise while he waited for her to appear. She must've been there all along, waiting for him under a disillusionment charm for he was barely seated when he spotted her out of the corner of his eye.

Granger walked seductively towards him dressed in nothing but a flimsy silk slip of a dress. She stood in front of him and pulled the robe up her body exposing her legs, then her hips, her stomach, her round breasts and finally her shoulders as she tugged the garment completely off her.

She stood naked before him letting him drink in the sight of her before she walked closer to him and nudged his knees so she could stand between his legs.

She leaned forward, grabbing the back of the chaise- in the process leaving her tits hanging in delicious offering before his face. She proceeded to delicately raise her knee and placed it on the chaise- between his legs and a bit too close to his cock for comfort. She tethered there for a moment before climbing into his lap.

"What's going on?" Draco asked cautiously, enjoying the feel of her after two days of not so much as hearing her voice, at the same time wondering what she was up to.

She didn't reply, instead she summoned a fruit platter from across the room and settled it on the side table near them.

"You've been sulking and skipping your meals," she said, then messily tore into an orange, ripping into a segment- juice running down her fingers. "I thought I'd serve you breakfast in a way you may enjoy."

She placed the piece of fruit against his lips.

Salazar's rod! She'll be the death of me.

But what a way to die it would be, he thought, before opening his mouth to take what she offered.

She tore another segment of orange this time over her breasts- allowing the juice to drip onto her nipple before pressing the fruit to his lips.

 He ate the fruit and then bent his head to suck the juice off her nipple.

She kept picking different fruits, tearing them into little pieces and feeding them to him directly or placing them on her breasts for him to eat off.

Draco now had her seated on him such that one leg straddled his thigh while the other was folded at the knee with her foot placed on the chair outside his thigh. The position left her nether lips exposed and open to his manipulation.

As Hermione continued to feed him, he lazily rubbed her vaginal folds. Every now and then he'd pick a strawberry and rub it back and forth against her entrance before pushing it a little into her. When the fruit was thoroughly coated in her juices he'd pop in into his mouth and eat it messily allowing the juice to drip out of his mouth and down the side of his face.

She'd respond by holding his head in her hand and licking the side of his face as well as his lips- the closest they'd ever come to a kiss since their first kiss so long ago.

Looked like the witch may have had a little Slytherin in her after all, and he wasn't just referring to the tip of his cock now nudging against the opening of her pussy.

"You won't always be able to distract me with your delicious body, Granger," he said with what would be described as a pout only if Malfoys were allowed to pout, he decided.

She responded with a small tinkling laugh that did funny things to his insides.

"Well, you can bet I'll keep doing it for as long as it works."

Hermione slammed down on him so Draco was completely inside her.

"Okay, I'm going to fuck you now. But we're going to have a serious chat afterwards," he said, latching on to the nipple she offered.

"Yes. Talk afterwards. Fuck now." The neediness in her voice shot straight to his cock.

"Merlin!" he moaned, lifting his hips to meet hers.

Hermione clutched at Draco's shoulders while he held onto her slim waist, both of them eagerly driving their lower bodies towards each other.

She pinched his nipples in the way he usually did hers; in response he slapped her arse goading her into riding him harder.

Suddenly needing more he wrapped one arm around her waist, using the other to support her bum he stood up and laid her on the ground. Before she could even register the loss of his cock from her pussy, he flipped her over and had her on her knees.

She'd barely raised herself on her fours when he slammed into her.

"Fuck, Granger. How do you do to this to me?" he demanded.

He squeezed the fleshy globes of her arse before he gave her bum a good hard slap.

"That is for upsetting me."

He gave her another spank as he pounded into her cunt.

"That is for waiting this long before calling for me."

He spat into the palm of his hand and massaged it into her arse cheek before giving it another slap.

"That one was because I wanted to. You've turned me into a fucking pervert, Granger. I see hearts and all I think of is your arse. On Valentine's day instead of those stupid hearts they should stick pictures of your arse. It is a thing of beauty. Of course, I don't want anyone else looking at your arse. Just saying, if they want to see a pretty thing, it should be your arse, especially right now- all red-"

He knew he sounded mental as he mumbled out the thoughts running through his head, but he was too lost to his crazed need to thoroughly fuck her to care about making sense.

"Fuck, witch! So perfect. Like a glove. I'm gonna cum. Fuck. I can't hold on. Merlin! I- I'll make it up to you later, I need to fuck-"

"Just come, Draco," she implored. "I want you to come."

He held her hips hard enough to leave bruises as he slammed home once, then twice before shooting his cum into her while letting out a string of curses. His climax seemed to have trigged hers because he felt her pussy clench around his cock milking him for every last drop of his cum.

By the time the last of the sparks of their orgasm had faded away Draco felt completely spent.

"By Merlin and Morgana, you are amazing," he said as he fell back on the rug covering the floor.

She crawled beside him and stretched out with her head resting on his chest.

"You're not too bad yourself."

He snorted. Among other things, the dark mark on his arm was proof of just how bad he was.

"You're just saying that because you love my cock."

She huffed.

"It's not just your cock I love, you prat," she said, giving his chest a playful swat.

Placed as she was on his chest, Draco wondered if Hermione could hear his heart racing at her words. He swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry.

"Yeah?" he asked softly trying to play it casual, "What else do you love?"

Suddenly the air changed around them, the playfulness from the previous moment all gone.

"You know," she spoke shyly, her eyes looking suspiciously bright as she avoided making eye contact with him.

Draco gently held her chin and tipped her head back a little so he could look into her eyes. He swallowed the lump in his throat.

"I- Really?"

She nodded.

"How?" he asked feeling baffled. How could she? After everything he'd done- his behaviour towards her in school, all the misery he'd caused her after discovering she was his mate. After all the cruelty he'd shown to her how could she love anything about him.

"You didn't think it was just about the sex all this time, did you?"

Yes, yes, I did, he thought to himself.

She snorted.

"While the sex is great, I like being with you, Draco. When you aren't hurling insults at me, there's a general sense of contentment and well being that comes over me when I am around you."

Draco knew what she meant. He'd felt a similar sense of peace once he began to embrace the notion of Hermione as his mate.

She propped her chin on her hands to get a better look at him before continuing to speak.

"It was hard in the beginning. I was constantly resisting the attraction I felt towards you. I thought maybe it was just physical, maybe I was a masochist to enjoy sex with you despite your attempts to humiliate me.

"But then things changed between us. We started spending time getting to know each other. And the better we got to know each other, the better we got along and the easier it became for me to open myself to you and give in to the pull I've always felt towards you.

"You also changed how you treated me. Instead of making me feel like something you'd stepped on in the streets you made me feel truly desired. It was so liberating to finally let go- to stop resisting and to simply follow my own instincts without constantly worrying about how you could use my feelings to hurt me."

Gods, he really had been a total shit when it came to her. He held her head in his hands and tilted her face towards his.

"Hermione, love, you can punish me any other way you like for all the things I've done to you, but please," he closed his eyes, ignoring a lesson drilled into him since infancy- Malfoys don't beg. "Please," he pleaded. "You can't let him get you pregnant. I don't think I could survive if you had anyone else's child."

His plea seemed to anger her, as her body grew rigid and she moved away from him. They were back to their argument from two nights ago.

"What would you have me do, Draco? The marriage law requires Lucius and I have children together. I can't keep putting it off. "

"But, you can. Just keep putting it off till the time lapses and your marriage is dissolved!"

"And what happens after that? You'll still be married to Astoria. I know, you've been trying for a child."

He shook his head in denial.

"Not me. She wants to get pregnant."

"Well, as far as I know there haven't been any immaculate conceptions in the wizarding world, so she's not going to conceive your children without any contribution from you." She spat out.

"I'll make sure she won't get pregnant. I'll make sure our marriage gets dissolved too."

"And then? We wait for the ministry to match us up? What are the chances of that happening? We have no idea who the ministry in their infinite wisdom will force us to marry. I work there, I've seen firsthand the stupid tests they're using for coming up with matches. You'll be matched with some Pureblood and I'll be matched with a half-blood or Muggleborn."

"We'll fight the law then-"

"They're snapping wands, Draco. Anyone found resisting the mandate is having their wand snapped. You've never lived without magic-"

"We'll complete the Veela bond and call upon the laws protecting Veelas..."

"Which would work only if you were a full or even a half Veela. Besides-" her voice sounded cruel as she taunted him. "- would you really want to risk people finding out about your Veela's heritage?"

"Granger, I don't fucking have the answers. All I know is that I want you. I want to father children with you. I don't want you having my father's children. Salazar's balls, do you not see how messy it'll make things for all of us?"

"Yes, I do. I want to be with you too but we're both married and we've made promises to our spouses. Astoria loves you and is expecting to carry your child. Your father cares about me and chose me with an expectation that I would bear him a child. The law, commands us all to have children... At least this way we get to be close to each other and live in the same house. If we dissolve our marriages now, we'll be matched to someone else and be living apart for the next five years before we can ask for a dissolution."

"You're the brightest witch, Hermione. You helped defeat the Dark Lord-"

"And lost almost all my friends and loved ones in the process."

"- there has to be something you can do. This cannot be the only way. Maybe we could speak with father and As-"

"No, Draco. No. It would be such a selfish thing for us to do. We'd hurt them both if they knew-"

"But isn't this worse-"

She shook her head.

"No. They can't know we've been cheating on them."

"- so tired of sneaking around to be with my mate-"

"It isn't their fault. They didn't ask for any of this. We can't hurt them."

"- living a lie. I'm not in love with Astoria. I care about her, maybe even love her in a platonic way, but, she's not my mate."

"- was trusting enough to be okay with us sleeping together because it was making you sick not to complete the bond with me. But, everything else we've done has been cheating on them. They-"

"I don't want children with anyone but you. I don't want any other man putting his child in you. Why can you not understand this?"

"You selfish bastard! Why can you not understand that this is the price we have to pay. These things which you say you cannot abide is the cost of your past choices so we can finally be together. Do you not understand that the fates are exacting their payment of you for ignoring their gift!"

It always comes back to this, doesn't it.

He forgot, so often it was so good with her he forgot there was a time he didn't want her or what the fates had picked for him. He had wanted something else and now he was forced to live with his choice.

She must've seen the understanding dawn on his face because all fight left her body. She cupped his face gently in her hands.

"I will love all your children, even if they are born from another womb. And every child of mine will be yours, no matter who sires them. I promise you this."

Then she leaned forward and pressed her lips to his in a kiss that was equal parts fierce and equal parts tender, just like his witch.

He wrapped his arms around her and held her to him, relishing the feel of her lips against his.

He kissed her back with all the passion he held for her knowing everything she said was true and accepting that they truly had no other choice. What broke his heart though, was that his sweet mate was also forced to suffer because of his regrettable past choices.

Chapter Text

Draco couldn't help but feel stricken as he watched his father wrap his arms around Granger and dip his head to press his lips against her rosy ones whilst everyone around them clapped and cheered. He clenched his fists as he watched Lucius draw her closer so her soft breasts were flattened against his chest while he deepened the kiss.

Granger looked like she'd been taken by surprise and simply stood passively for the first few seconds of the kiss. If he felt terrible before, watching her slowly return the kiss made him feel like he was dying.

Draco rubbed his palm against his chest trying to ease the pain. He was glad everyone else was too engrossed watching the happy couple to pay him any attention. Even Astoria was busy cataloguing the many ways the party she'd organised to celebrate Lucius Malfoy's fiftieth birth anniversary had been a success to notice her husband openly longing for another woman.

He watched his father possessively hold his mate and dance with her till he was required to attend to some of his guests. But, of course, it wasn't the end of his misery as he was forced to watch many other wizards place their paws on Hermione when they danced with her, while all he had to satisfy himself with was one measly dance early in the night. It was a different sort of torture, thought Draco, to hold his mate rigidly at arm's length not to give away to anyone watching how he really felt about her.

When he finally couldn't take it anymore, he exited the ballroom, stepping to the open terrace outside. Draco watched Hermione through the charmed glass of the French window, which allowed him to look into the ballroom while everything outside remained invisible to the people inside.

Hermione must've either sensed his misery or seen it on his face before he left because it wasn't long after she gave the crowd a slip and came looking for him. She spotted him only after turning a corner, hidden as he was by a tall shrub. He stood leaning heavily against the wall and had his eyes squeezed shut. If she didn't know him as well as she did now, she would have mistakenly thought he was relaxed from the blank expression on his face and the droop in his shoulders.

"Hey, are you alright?"

At the sound of her voice he inhaled sharply but refused to look at her. It hurt too damn much to look at her and know he couldn't really have her.

"What do you think?"

"Come here," she said, tugging on his hand and pulling him into her open arms. Unable and unwilling to resist her, he went to her, enjoying the contentment that washed over him when Hermione wrapped her arms around his waist and rested her head against his chest. His arms encircled her and he nuzzled her neck inhaling her soothing scent.

"I am yours, mate."

The words she spoke were so simple and yet he felt his whole world shatter around him and rebuild itself in an instant with this brilliant witch at the centre of his universe.

All the tension and distress he experienced earlier simply melted away.

"Mine." he breathed, reverentially, into her hair.

His father may have married her, but Hermione would always be his.

----------------------------------------

He could tell from the way her brows were scrunched up she was completely engrossed in the book on Goblin politics she was reading, yet it spoke to how closely tuned she'd grown to his needs that the fingers of one hand continued to run through his hair in that manner he found so soothing while she balanced the heavy book in her other hand so her lap was free to cradle his head.

Draco sighed, feeling rather satisfied in the moment, as his hand snaked beneath her robes to caress her bare legs. It wasn't meant as a come on, he just really liked having skin to skin contact with her. There were days he'd want to strip them both and lie bare skinned, simply holding each other, but, she wasn't the type of witch who enjoyed lazing around in bed all day doing nothing. As a result he had to take advantage of moments like these.

Sneaking around was getting harder for both of them, because they both wanted to do more than just have sex. He wanted to hold her hand while they took their evening tea and discussed her day at work. He wanted to be able to show up at her work with lunch and not have to come up with excuses for visiting his father's wife. He wanted to take her to Paris and show her the works of his favourite artist and not have to worry about who may see him with his hand wrapped possessively around her waist. These were just a few of a long list of things he wished to do with Hermione.

It was also getting more and more difficult for him to avoid sexual contact with Astoria who'd grown more aggressive than usual ever since she was trying to get pregnant. In the past this kind of behaviour on her part would have thrilled him greatly but now it only upset him. While he could still objectively admire Astoria's beauty, he no longer felt any desire for her. As such, he was unable to have an erection, something which was a growing source of frustration for Astoria, who tried all sorts of things to get him in the mood. And even though, he didn't have sex with her even this level of intimacy with someone other than Hermione filled him with self-loathing. It was no wonder mated Veelas were such famously monogamous creatures.

Hermione insisted that their relationship could only live in the shadows because they had no right to upset his father or wife. Draco on the other hand found he could no longer live the life of a coward, always hiding. It was also clear to him that Hermione was struggling with the pressure of trying to live two lives. For now she was still using the contraception potion, so at least he didn't need to worry about Lucius getting her pregnant, but he could also see that the status quo could only be maintained for so long before it all turned to chaos. Averse to waiting idly by, Draco was determined to do something that would finally secure their happiness.

-------------------------------------

"Do you love him? Is that why you don't wish to end your marriage? It would make sense if you did-"

She shook her head.

"I care about him. He's been a good friend to me the past few years. I don't wish to hurt him with our betrayal."

"He cares about you- no doubt, but... He's not..." Draco looked away, wishing to say the words but reluctant because of the pain they may cause.

"He's not in love with me. I know."

He was surprised that her tone held no bitterness or resentment.

"Do you want to be with me? I would understand if you weren't sure, if you thought-"

"Of course, I want to be with you. I have no doubt, my place is with you." She cupped his face and looked at him with such tenderness he wondered how he'd ever be worthy of her.

He grabbed both hands with his and laced their fingers together.

"Marry me; have my children Hermione. Let me talk to father and Astoria. Please don't force me to be with someone else. It makes me sick and it is unfair to Astoria as well as everyone else involved. What are you so afraid of?"

She closed her eyes, unable to explain her fears even to herself, except for one thing.

"I don't want to lose you- don't want to lose what we already have and end up with nothing."

He grabbed her by the shoulders and hugged her to him fiercely.

"You're never going to lose me, witch. In this life as well the next I will follow you as your soul mate."

She swallowed the lump formed in her throat at his words. While he was always very vocal when it came to expressing his contempt or disdain and even his lust, he didn't often voice his more tender feelings. When he did she was always struck by how sincere he sounded. There was still moments she found it hard to reconcile her Draco with the Draco Malfoy she knew in Hogwarts.

And such thoughts naturally led her to again wonder how different things might have been for them if not for the prejudices that kept them apart throughout their school years.

She nuzzled against his chest, inhaling his masculine scent. Even though he used the same cologne as his father he smelled different than Lucius, a scent she distinctly identified as Draco, she thought with a smile as she rubbed her face against his chest.

"I swear sometimes, it's like you're the one with the Veela blood." He noted with amusement. "You practically purr, you know."

"I can't help it that you smell so good." She said unashamedly, burrowing further into his chest.

"I should've sat near you during classes in Hogwarts, lured you with my scent. It may have altered the last few years of our lives dramatically."

He did it more often than she ever did, far more often, wondering how they may have gotten together without any of the current complications if only he had done or not done one thing or another.

"Doesn't matter. We're together now."

"Just not in the way we need."

"We may have never even gotten together at all, if not for Lucius."

"Yes, I'm so grateful that my father got my mate first," he spat out bitterly.

She knew he really resented that he owed it to Lucius that she was with him at all. She sighed. There was nothing they could do about the past.

"And now you'd like to have his child too."

"I don't like it," she defended herself. "I promised him children when I agreed to marry him. Sort of the point of the marriage law."

"So let's tell him the truth. He may feel hurt by the subterfuge, but he'll understand. He was my mother's mate, after all. He will certainly be able to understand why you wish to be with me."

"We already discussed this. It's not so simple. There's no guarantee that we would be matched!"

"About that-" he started and paused to make sure she was listening.

"What if I could guarantee it? You know, the Malfoy coffers easily surpass the greed of the Ministry employees."

He grew unnerved when all she did was gape at him with her mouth hung open. Was it really that surprising to her that he would use some back channel to achieve his ends?

"What?! Did you forget I am a Slytherin?" he asked, incredulous himself.

"No. Did you forget I'm supposed to be a particularly bright witch? Do you really think I didn't consider as simple a workaround to our problem as greasing a few palms?"

He wasn't sure what he'd missed, but, clearly he'd overlooked something crucial going by the shrill pitch Hermione's voice had taken on by the end of her statement. He thought he'd been particularly clever when he approached different members of the Wizengamot in an attempt to bribe them into abolishing the marriage law or alternatively amending it to suit his needs. Failing to get the numbers he needed for either action, he decided on a simpler course of action- bribing the people tasked with coming up with the matches to ensure that when the time came he would be matched with Hermione.

Draco was already in contact with several spell crafting experts, he'd met during his travels abroad, to consult with them on how the magic used to come up with matches could be manipulated by an official on the inside to achieve the desired match. They had worked together to come up with a technique guaranteed to work. All they needed to do now was to either divorce or wait for the dissolution of their marriages and the rest would be taken care of. He still didn't see any flaw with his plan.

Hermione observed the baffled look Draco wore and let out a long sigh. It was, as she'd suspected, he didn't know. Maybe it was time she shared with him just how hopeless their situation was, she thought.

Something must've given her away because he regarded her with suspicion.

"What is it? What are you not telling me?"

She stepped away from him and rubbed her temple.

"Did you never look at your marriage contract?" She assumed from the way he spoke that he did not.

"It was the standard contract, mostly about money-"

"Well, is it standard practice to ensure the couple cannot dissolve the marriage or divorce?"

Draco look stunned.

"From what I gathered the contract was made by your mother when she was alive, imagining you would marry your mate. So it's more of a standard Black family marriage contract than a Malfoy one. You and Astoria, can never divorce each other. In the event you're unable to produce an heir with her you are required to use a surrogate but Astoria will be the mother of your children and will be given everything due to her as the bearer of that title."

From the gobsmacked expression on his face it was clear no one had shared these details with him. He walked on shaky feet to the armchair and sank heavily into it.

"It was after the war. I just wanted to move on- get some kind of normalcy. I didn't bother with the details. I- I didn't know." He looked pained as he admitted it to her.

She moved closer to him and perched on the arm of the chair he was settled in, but he promptly pulled her into his lap and nuzzled her neck.

"I swear, I didn't know." he whispered it this time, his voice breaking on a sob.

"As it stands, I can never be anything more than your mistress and I doubt Astoria will be as gracious towards our relationship once she knows you wish to leave her."

As if he expected her to be snatched away from his arms any moment now, he pulled her tighter into his embrace.

"Is there really no way out?" he asked, voice shaking, afraid of what her answer would be.

"Nothing short of death."

 

Chapter Text

They landed, stumbling, in the hallway of Malfoy Manor and before Hermione could kiss him again, which was what she really wanted to do, Draco had corrected his balance, scooped her up in his arms and took off running up the stairs as if she weighed nothing.

She clung to him and peppered his jaw with kisses, eager to feel him inside her and not in the mood to wait till they got to the family wing and her rooms. After unexpectedly running into each other at Flourish and Blotts of all places, the two had tried to play it casual and browse books together. However, Draco decided to torment her by whispering naughty things he'd rather be doing to her.

As if that wasn't torture enough, he made it a point to brush against her body or lean into her personal space pretending all along he was only interested in the books she was looking at.

"You know, it's kind of a mystery," he said while continuing to tease her hardened nipple over her robes. "I'm not sure if you're more aroused by your mate, or the smell of all these books, my lovely bookworm."

Merlin! How could a word that once sounded like an insult sound so appealing coming from the same mouth. She grabbed the collar of his robes and yanked on it fully intending to kiss that mouth, then let go as she remembered where they were just in time.

From the way the git's eyes sparkled with mirth he must've clearly understood her intentions. He continued to wreck havoc on her nerves with his not so innocent touches, even while making sure nothing looked inappropriate to any casual bystander. It took Hermione several long and torturous minutes to recall Lucius and Astoria's schedules for the day and recognise the opportunity presented to exact her revenge by the lack of either individual's presence at the Manor at this hour.

Pretending to be upset with Draco she stormed off towards the apparition point knowing very well he'd follow. When he'd caught up to her, she only took a second to look around and ensure no one would notice them before she wrapped an arm around her mate and apparated them to the Manor.

Payback was going to be fun, she thought as she watched in satisfaction, him gulp and swallow when she dragged her nails down his covered chest.

When she licked a stripe down his neck and grazed the flesh at the joint of his neck and shoulder with her teeth, they'd barely made it up to the landing and Draco set her back on her feet with a whimper.

“Fuck, Hermione.”

Yes.

Hermione shook her head trying to clear the fog of lust clouding all rational thought at the moment. It would probably be best if she let him take them somewhere more private before she made him lose control, but at the moment she could only focus on her mate- smart, snarky, sexy Draco.

“Draco,” she whispered, her voice choked with the sound of her need. It was seemingly too much for him as he finally snapped.

Hermione found herself being grabbed and lifted once again, only to be pushed against the nearest wall with no consideration for the ancient tapestry hanging there. Draco's lips captured hers in a searing kiss that made her want to sigh with satisfaction even while it made her body buzz with arousal.

She rocked her hips against his, desperate to have his hard length rub against her core.

“Merlin, Hermione, what are you doing?” Draco mumbled, in the process breaking the kiss.

Now, that just won't do.

She grabbed fistfuls of his hair and pulled on it till his head was sufficiently lowered to allow her to resume their kiss, his lips parting when her tongue swiped over his lower lip and sucking greedily as it entered his mouth.

She had no idea how long they stayed there kissing and while she was sure she'd never tire of it she needed more from him as her body practically vibrated with her desire for him. Sensing her eagerness Draco broke their kiss again, and lowered his mouth to her neck- sucking and nipping, lapping at the skin as if she was a delicacy to be savoured. Hermione moaned and arched her neck, desperate to feel his cool lips all over her burning flesh.

“Fuck!”

Their hips ground together and Hermione could finally feel Draco’s erection rubbing against her clit. Even through the layers of clothing it was almost too much for her to bear. She was so aroused and aching with need, she felt just about ready to burst out of her skin.

 “Fuck me, Draco,” she heard herself beg, in a voice almost unrecognisable to her, even as her hands greedily palmed the length of his shaft through his pants.

“Shit!”

Draco's hands reached under her robes and squeezed her arse in that way which let her know he was struggling to restrain himself. She didn't want that; she needed him unravelling just as she was. She dragged her teeth along his jaw and opened the fastening of his pants to take his penis out, marvelling at its hot hard length as it pulsated in her small hands. She licked her lips and squeezed his penis cognisant of the effect it would have on him.

It was only recently she'd come to realise the kind of hold she had on him. Every little gesture on her part- a lick of the lips, a flick of her untameable hair- would excite him. The movements, which under normal circumstances Hermione would've considered corny, made her feel sexy and in control watching how it affected her mate.

Lacking the patience to remove her knickers, he attempted to tug them aside, but only ended up ripping them. He didn't pause to apologise for ruining yet another pair of panties as he used his hand to guide his penis into her wet sheath till he was able to thrust all the way into her.

Even after the numerous times she'd done this with him it still felt so good each time he entered her. She could tell, from the slack jaw expression he wore, he was just as affected, if not more.

Hermione threw her arms around his neck and clung tighter against him, resuming their passionate kiss while he continued to fuck her against the wall.

It was perfect, except they were wearing too many clothes and she needed to feel his skin against hers.

She pulled on the clasp of his robes at the neck, growing impatient with the numerous buttons she took to ripping them open, but struggled since she lacked physical strength.

He chuckled into her mouth at her obvious frustration and let go of his hold on her hips for a moment to withdraw his wand from his robes. A couple of swishes of his wand, had them both naked without once breaking the rhythm he'd set about fucking her.

She raked her fingernails down his chest and stomach, loving the way the muscles flexed under her touch. Recently, she'd noticed his pale skin- such a contrast from her warm colouring- which usually made him look cold and unfeeling, glowed whenever they were joined together. She knew it was probably something to do with his Veela genes and the fact that they'd both not only come to terms with being mates but whole heartedly embraced the fact they were mates.

Hermione felt her heart swell with love for her mate, knowing though he didn't express it, he glowed with his love for her.

She cupped his face this time and looked at him, allowing him to see in her eyes the love she felt for him. They had not had an easy road to love but somehow they got there together eventually and even if things were complicated and they couldn't simply belong to each other the way they wanted to, she was grateful she finally had the kind of love she always craved.

"Mate," he started, but she already knew how he felt, she could see it. She knew he wasn't good with expressing how he felt so she said it for him.

"I love you too."

He swallowed hard, nodded and squeezed his eyes shut before pressing a reverential kiss to the inside of her palm.

He regretted his past actions towards her. Along with love for her he also felt self-loathing for not claiming her when he had the chance. Hermione knew these things, but she also knew she would've fought the idea of being with him back then just as he did. They needed to fight in a war, watch each other bleed and feel the other's pain to get to the point where they could finally accept who they were.

Before the war Hermione had mistaken his pride in his rich traditions as nothing but snobbery; his desperate need to protect his mother, fight for his way of life and everything he was raised to value was seen as simple bigotry towards her kind. She knew better now.

The young couple was so lost in their need for each other they failed to notice the watchful eyes of one of the portraits, taking in the scene with disgust.

 

Chapter Text

"You need to take the law more seriously, Draco. The only reason we haven't been given grief about having missed the two year deadline is because you're Lucius Malfoy's son, but they will enforce the law most severely on couples who haven't produced the mandatory two children at the end of five years."

Draco didn't speak, choosing to stare into the fire as he sipped on his firewhiskey. He found it easier to hold his tongue if his mouth was otherwise occupied.

"If that happens, even the Minister of Magic won't be able to intervene. Marcus says they had the Unspeakables perform some kind of ancient magic ritual which will automatically dissolve marriages of couples who failed to comply with the terms of the Procreation law."

Draco's mouth twisted into an ugly smile, which went unseen by Astoria who was busy inspecting her reflection in the mirror as she went about the task of ensuring her hair remained in perfect order.

"Well, 'Stori, if that's true, let me just put your mind at ease. As per our marriage contract, there will be no dissolving of our marriage."

She must've picked up on the bitter edge of his words for she spun around and looked him over with her eyes.

"You're in ill humour." She stated at the end of her scrutiny, turning to face the mirror once more to complete the task of fixing her appearance. Astoria Malfoy was not a vain woman, she was simply one who knew her strengths well and preferred to always play to them.

"I know very well they cannot dissolve our marriage but we don't know what horrible people they may force us to have children with."

Satisfied she looked as perfect as she possible could, she sashayed seductively over to Draco and perched on the armrest of the chair he was seated in.

"I think we should see a sex witch," she said when he made no move to ravish her even after she suggestively ran her hand up his inner thigh and traced his cock through his trousers.

She continued to massage his cock over his robes in a manner that so many years ago had driven him crazy but now barely got his attention. Despite his lack of interest she refused to give up. Hiking the skirt of her robes, she exposed her bare pussy lips to him. A lewd display of this sort from a fully dressed witch usually turned her conservatively raised husband into a sex maniac, but this time he didn't so much as blink.

Frustrated she dropped her robes and stepped away.

"This isn't normal, Draco! You're a young guy, there's no natural reason for your lack of interest in sex."

He continued to ignore her. There were things he wanted to say, but like Hermione repeatedly kept pointing out there was nothing to be gained from upsetting the status quo. Plus, he'd promised Hermione he wouldn't say anything to 'Stori. So till he had some kind of plan in place, he would keep quiet.

It wasn't in his nature to take blame for his actions, so he needed to often remind himself that none of this was Astoria's fault. The only person he could rightfully blame for the current mess was himself. He also needed to remind himself that he once loved Astoria, though he questioned if that ever held true.

Was he simply clinging to his old way of life when he decided to be with Astoria? Astoria was the perfect combination of both, a modern witch- open to Muggle culture invading and, for better or worse, altering their society- as well as someone familiar with his world of traditional Pureblood values. Was she desirable because, as a true Slytherin, he recognised the value of having a partner like Astoria to help him fit in with the changing landscape of the post-war Wizarding world? Or had he simply chosen to settle for Astoria because she was attainable while his mate was not?

"Merlin and Morgana save us! You're not even listening to me." Astoria shrieked in exasperation. "Draco, we have less than three years now to produce two kids. Marcus says I should take you to the sex witch in Knockturn Alley-"

"Marcus?" asked Draco, as if coming out of a daze and only just hearing her voice.

"Would that be Marcus Flint, by any chance?"

"Why, yes," she responded tentatively, trying to place the odd expression on her husband's face.

 "And why have you been discussing our sex life with Marcus Flint, my dear wife?"

"Because, unlike you, he's actually interested in my sex life. If I didn't know any better I would say you were jealous, but it sounds like you're really just angry that it's Marcus Flint pleasuring your wife."

"You do know me well, dear. But can you say the same of Flint? It looks like he's up to his old tricks, but I'm no longer a kid," he said, guffawing. Flint had probably intended to rub his affair into Draco's face, ignorant of where his true affections lay.

Astoria got up and stood a safe distance away from her husband. He was sounding a little unhinged to her in the moment.

"Look, I don't know what's going on with you recently but we need to fix this. Maybe it's the whole veela nonsense again. Are you not having sex with Hermione either? I thought you were seeing her regularly-"

"No," he replied promptly without thought, "She's not the problem."

"So, you've been having sex."

He nodded, not wanting to give away any more than he already had.

"Hmmm... So you are able to have sex with Hermione." She tapped her lip with her right index finger in a manner she was prone to when in deep thought. Draco had once considered it adorable till she revealed that the habit was an affectation she had been forced to rehearse as a child till it came naturally to her.

"Do you think it would help if Hermione was present when we have sex? Or maybe we could even try a threesome? I mean, I don't particularly care what gets you hard, whatever does the trick, right?"

Draco felt physically ill at the idea of sharing Hermione. He wasn't sure how to respond without either agreeing with Astoria or arousing her suspicions by refusing.

Fortunately for Draco he was given a respite when the floo roared to life drawing Astoria's attention away from him. As she went to check on which of her friend's were calling- since they were in her chambers- he quietly slipped out of the room and rushed outside to the broom shed. Grabbing his fastest broom he took to the air, riding the broom hard.

He knew Astoria well enough to know how determined she could be when she got an idea stuck in her head. He felt suffocated in his marriage to Astoria and even harboured some resentment towards her because of their marriage contract, even though it was drawn by their parents. He hoped his flight cleared his head of all uncharitable thoughts of Astoria so he could to come up with a plan that would be fair to all the people involved.

Normally Draco wasn't one to care about fairness provided he got to have things his way. However, after experiencing the consequences of his past selfishness, he was determined to do right this time. After all, this time it wasn't his future happiness that was alone at stake here.

Chapter Text

"It's disgusting, how you've managed to pollute my proud family line with your filthy heritage!"

Narcissa held her tongue out of respect for the Malfoy patriarch. She knew if she ignored him long enough he'd spew his vitriol and go about his business of sulking by himself in his own portrait.

"It was bad enough my poor Lucius was stuck with a creature, but at least no one knew of your unfortunate ancestry. But now, that fool of a grandson has to taint the line with a mudblood and add further insult to injury by doing so against grand-mère's tapestry! Has he forgotten how valuable it is?"

"Oh what are you on about this time, Abraxas?" asked Narcissa finally losing patience with the old man's ramblings. In life she had found it much easier to get along with her father-in-law. Of course back then he was under the impression that she was the daughter of an ancient line of Purebloods. After Draco's mating heat came on it was hard to keep her heritage a secret from any of the members of the house- living or portrait.

Abraxas expressed his disappointment to Lucius, but, saved the real nastiness for Narcissa. He heaped abuses on her for ensnaring his son and ruining his line. He didn't do so frequently, however, when he did it, it bothered Narcissa that it was so easy for Abraxas to set aside their relationship and all the things he had admired about her in light of one little fact. It presented Narcissa with a whole new perspective on the blood supremacy ideology.

Even before her death, Narcissa had begun to question the Dark Lord's agenda, but her reasons at the time were purely selfish. Back then, she was more distraught over the goings on in her household than the mistreatment of non-Purebloods. Now, she questioned the validity of her lifelong beliefs.

"FORNICATION!" he roared, practically vibrating in rage. "They were fornicating- right there in the open- with no regard for my family heirloom! He had that mudblood naked and writhing against it; how will we ever cleanse it of the filth?" he lamented loudly.

Even though Narcissa understood what Abraxas was saying, it made no sense to her. As far as she knew Draco had refused to accept Hermione beyond what was needed to survive the mating heat.

"I won't stand for this. No more! Lucius must discard that harlot and marry a proper Pureblood. That is the only way to ensure the Malfoy line stays pure." Abraxas grumbled to himself.

"Abraxas, can you explain what is it you saw that has you so worked up?" Narcissa asked with all the patience she could muster.

"That creature son of yours was further defiling himself by having carnal relations with the mudblood. They were naked, rutting like the animals they are, against my grandmother's tapestry! Do you have any idea how old, intricate and delicate the magic involved in that-"

"Draco, you were talking about seeing Draco and Hermione? Lucius's current wife, Hermione? And they were having sex out in the open in the East Wing?" she clarified.

"Yes. I am going to have him disowned. I can't have him further sullying my lines by getting the mudblood pregnant. Love- blah! They're in love, they say." He spat the words at her with all the disgust he could muster.

Narcissa was taken aback. Draco and Hermione were in love? How come she had not seen or heard anything? She was certain Lucius was unaware, as he had yet to mention anything to her. Last she heard, he and Hermione were trying to have a child.

"You are going to fix this!"

Narcissa looked up at Abraxas wondering what is it he thought she could do about the situation.

"Lucius needs to disown Draco and marry a proper Pureblood. This will hurt Lucius, but for the sake of the family's honour it needs to be done. Lucius still thinks himself in love with you. I know you could convince him to do the right thing.

"Narcissa, you know me well enough to know that if I took on the task to purge my family line myself it wouldn't be as pleasant to all as perhaps your way could be." Abraxas paused only to smile at her.

Narcissa shivered watching the sheer malice in that smile. She had been lucky enough to have never before seen this side of Abraxas, but she had heard the stories. As charming as Abraxas could be to those Pure, he could be just as inventive with his cruelty to those he considered dirty. If he decided to be rid of Draco and Miss Granger, thought Narcissa, being a portrait wouldn't make much of a difference.

Since her marriage, she'd become acquainted with some of the lesser known Malfoy history. The Malfoys had created curses to specifically target those members of the family who brought dishonour upon them or did not live up to the Malfoy ideals. Squibs, children with any kind of deformities, and female firstborns were unheard of in the Malfoy family because they were eliminated from their line by use of these curses. In comparison, her parents had been generous to Andy, thought Narcissa, when they merely struck her off the family tree. Should Abraxas choose to employ one of the family curses there would be nothing anyone could do to save Draco.

"Fix it, Narcissa," he stared pointedly at her. "So I won't have to." He waited only long enough to ensure she felt the full weight of his words before leaving the portrait.

---------------------------------------------------------

"Astoria wants to have a threesome with you."

"What!" Hermione raised herself from her rather comfortable position on Draco's chest to look at his face for any signs he was speaking in jest.

The sudden move on her part had Draco struggling to push her hair out of his face and mouth. He almost laughed out loud at the sight she made- eyes wide, mouth agape searching for the right words, unruly curls tumbling wildly in every which way. He felt sort of proud for being responsible for that last one; they'd spent the last hour with her curled on top of him as he ran his fingers through her hair in the manner he enjoyed a great deal when done to him.

Draco had not meant to let slip about Astoria, but he thought it best to warn Hermione in case Astoria decided to approach her directly. Plus he knew her reaction would be priceless.

He buried his hands in her hair once more and drew her close so he could press a quick kiss to her lips. Being able to kiss her when he pleased was something new, but already he could tell it wasn't something he would tire of. Sure, there were passionate kisses that reflected their hunger and desire for each other, but there were other kisses too. There were kisses that tasted of her complete acceptance of him- flaws and all. There were kisses that tasted of the brilliant hope for a better life and a better world that lived eternal within her no matter how desperate their situation. There were kisses that felt like promises from her lips to his, that she'd always be there for him. And then there were the fierce kisses where she claimed him as hers- those were his favourite.

Draco knew his witch well enough to know there was no way she would agree to a threesome. Even if she had been the polyamorous sort, she was as possessive of him as he was of her, she just did a better job of hiding it than him.

"Is, is that sort of thing... normal for you?" she asked, brows furrowed.

He looked her in the eyes and spoke evenly.

"It has been in the past."

"Will you, will you want... in the future, I mean... Will you want us to-"

"Are you asking if I will want other people to join us in bed?" he asked directly sensing her concern.

She nodded.

"Do you think I'd ever willingly share you? Do you ever imagine yourself being willing to share me?"

"No. But, we don't know how things may change."

"What do you mean?" he asked, baffled by her statement

She didn't answer his question. Not directly anyway.

"Draco, you know the mating heat stops when you get a witch pregnant. Once Astoria is carrying your heir the compulsion to mate with me will stop."

"What are you saying, Granger?"

When she refused to answer or look at him, he narrowed his eyes at her. "Not sure if you meant to insult me by implying my feelings for you will evaporate with the compulsion."

"I'm just saying that we can't be certain if it will always be this good, this intense."

"Do you see your feelings changing- disappearing or even diminishing in some way?" he asked her with more patience than he knew he possessed.

In the silence that followed it was clear to Draco that it wasn't the first time she pondered over the question.

"No I don't see it happening. But, Draco, I'm not the one bound by Veela instincts. Since getting to know you, I've discovered I rather enjoy your company. I don't think I could ever tire of listening to you share your knowledge of ancient and rare forms of magic from around the world.   

"You are a surprisingly good listener and you're supportive of me. You have all this knowledge of the history of the wizarding world but because you're not political, you speak objectively when I share my ideas with you, rather than trying to push your own agenda through me.

"I even enjoy your twisted sense of humour and dry wit when you aren't being cruel to anyone. And, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the physical aspects of our relationship- though that may just be the Veela bond, which may fizzle out if the bond weakens. But the rest, I believe, is just you, Veela or not. I find I would still want to be with the wizard you are, Draco Malfoy. I cannot imagine that changing unless...

"Unless you go back to being the horrible person who took great pleasure in trying to make me miserable any chance he got."

"I deserve it. I know I deserve your doubt. Maybe if you were a legilimens, you'd be able to peer into my mind and see how clear everything is to me."

He gathered her hands in his and held them to his heart hoping she'd feel the steady rhythm and know the truth of his words.

"I know what I want, Hermione. For once, I'm not running away from something. I'm trying to desperately make my way to something I want. I want to be with you. Forever. I want to see you heavy with my children. I want to be able to tease you when our four year old is able to handle a broom better than you. I- I can't bear the idea of someone else having that with you."

"Draco, I want those things too- except for the four year old on a broom-"

"Witch, do you not trust me to know my own heart or do you not trust me?"

She shook her head. She did trust him, she just wasn't sure if there was more to his feelings for her than mere biology. She couldn't bear the idea of him wanting someone else again once the Veela compulsion wore down in some years.

"It doesn't matter though, as you can never separate from Astoria."

"We could move in together- explain how things are to Father and Astoria and unofficially separate from them, and move in together. I have properties in my name-"

"To do that we'll need to disappoint them first by telling them that despite our marriage vows we can no longer be with them. And still nothing will come of it. Believe me, I spend enough time studying your marriage contract for any loophole or way out. We'll just end up making a public spectacle because even if I dissolve my marriage you and I can't ever have children together.

"If you fail to have children with Astoria, you will need to use a Pureblood witch as your surrogate and you can have no ties or contact with the surrogate once the child is born. Knowing the fondness for dark magic shown by both, the Blacks and the Malfoys, I can't even begin to imagine the kind of nasty curses placed on the contract to ensure complete compliance."

While researching the subject of Veela bonds and marriage contracts, Hermione had even spend time looking into the consequences of breaking magical marriage contracts. She shuddered as she recalled details of some of the curses old Pureblood families employed to ensure family members obediently toed the line. She refused to put Draco's life at risk by attempting to violate any of the terms of the contract.

"It was really hard for me to come to terms with the fact that all we'll have is this- these stolen moments-"

Sensing her distress, Draco wrapped Hermione securely in his arms and attempted to calm her by speaking soothing nonsense into her hair as she quietly sobbed against his chest.

He'd figure something out, he promised himself. His witch was so strong, she was always looking after others, but it was time someone took care of her for once. He'd be damned if it wasn't him. There had to be another way, he just knew there had to be. A wizard made his desire manifest into reality with every spell that left his lips, magic making the impossible possible. He'd empty his coffers to get his hands on a time-turner and travel through time, if need be, to make things right.

Chapter Text

"I hear you've bonded with your mate."

"Mother," Draco set aside the journal he was reading and bowed in greeting.

Draco was growing frustrated from spending hours daily in the library poring over the family books for any information on getting out of his marriage and finding nothing useful, except for devious and undetectable ways of killing an undesirable spouse. He'd already re-read all the old Veela journals and scrolls he'd collected when he first learnt of his heritage, hoping to find something to help him out of his current predicament.

He knew there had to be another way for Hermione and him to be together. He couldn't shake off the nagging suspicion that he'd overlooked some tiny but crucial detail. So, he read, and re-read every book by the experts on the subject of magically binding contracts, wizarding marriage laws, legal rights of Veelas, mate-bonds of Veelas and other creatures, as well as all the personal diaries of his Veela ancestors he currently possessed.

Even though she drafted his marriage contract and was a part Veela herself, Draco had not once considered his mother as a source of information. As much as he loved her- in the past as well as present- he knew her preference for sharing or withholding information based on how it suited her own agenda.  

Moreover they weren't on talking terms ever since Narcissa discovered that Draco had known Hermione was his mate all along, and had simply misled all of them into thinking it was Pansy. She had taken Draco's poor treatment of his mate rather personally. He overheard Narcissa telling Lucius that she had clearly failed as a mother for not instilling in her son proper respect for his Veela heritage or even witches in general.

After a lifetime of being doted on and pampered by his mother, her refusal to talk or even acknowledge him anytime he was before her portrait had cut Draco deeply. He decided to respect her wishes and stopped greeting her portrait altogether. With the passage of time he forgot his mother's portrait was alive at all. So it came as a shock to Draco to hear his mother's portrait addressing him again.

 "Is it true, Draco?"

Draco paused, uncertain if he could trust his mother with his secret. He knew his mother loved him and cared about him and even though she was upset over his behaviour towards Hermione, he wasn't sure how his mother would react to his desire to divorce Astoria and publicly claim Hermione as his wife and mate. There were already far too many hurdles to overcome, he didn't want to also have to worry about his mother adding to his woes.

"Abraxas claims to have seen you while you were intimate with Miss Granger."

"I believe everyone in this house is aware that I need to be intimate with Granger." He stated nonchalantly. "Setting aside the matter of why grandfather would be so perverted as to spy on his kin in this manner, I'm more curious to learn how he was able to do so. Far as I know there are no portraits hanging in any of the bedrooms."

His response earned him a smirk from Narcissa. Once again, Draco questioned if the Malfoys had even known how to smirk before Narcissa joined the fold.

"Well, Draco, your concern would be justified if you had limited yourself to the bedroom while expressing your ardour for Miss Granger."

If possible, Draco believed he'd blanched to a paler shade of white than he already was. How could he have been reckless enough to forget about the portraits of Malfoy Manor? Just because they hid away the most offensive ones and relegated the rest to common spaces or less frequented hallways, didn't mean that the Manor was safe from watchful eyes.

"So, it's true then?" asked his mother in a softer tone.

"Yes," said Draco, his voice clear as he steeled himself to hear his mother express her disappointment in him.

"And you love her?" While she sounded hesitant, he found it curious to note that she didn't appear critical.

"She is my soul mate, mother." He stated simply.

His mother smiled at him and Draco felt like a piece of his heart that had broken off a long time ago was restored once more.

"You're not angry?"

"Angry?" she asked in confusion, her eyes shining with unshed tears. "Why would I be angry over something as happy as my son finally bonding with his true mate?"

"I'm sure you haven't forgotten that Hermione is a Muggleborn and married to father."

Narcissa waved her hand dismissively.

"Oh, who has the energy to care about blood status anymore? Our family already lost so much to the cause. Besides, I've had the opportunity to get to know Miss Granger a little better since she took residence in the Manor- I must say she truly is a bright and exceptional witch. With her intelligence and proficiency in magic, she would only improve any line she becomes a part of."

Draco shakily let out a breath he didn't even realise he was holding. Hearing his mother sing praises of his mate and approve of his feelings for her made him feel like a burden was lifted off his chest. When it came down to it, the truth of it was that he did seek the approval of his parents. While he had no intentions of ever casting Hermione aside, no matter who disapproved of his relationship with her, knowing his mother wasn't going to fight him came as a relief to him.

"Mother, I... "

He felt like there was so much he needed to share with her much like he did in his childhood. He needed his mother's counsel but felt too overwhelmed to even know where to begin. Instead, he decided to say the one thing that stood out for him in the moment.

"It is so good to have you talking to me once more."

She nodded in agreement.

"I was angry that you led me to think Pansy was your mate. I was ashamed of your callous treatment of Miss Granger. But above all, as a part-Veela I was hurt that you'd throw aside a gift from the fates by choosing someone else over your mate.

"Perhaps death has made me selfish, Draco. I never paused to think how different your circumstances were from my own. If it was scary for me to act on my attraction to someone like Lucius, I cannot imagine what it must be like to know your destined mate is forbidden to you in every way.

"We raised you as a princeling, catering to your every whim so you have never responded well to being denied anything. And Miss Granger has always been verboten for one reason or the other; it is no wonder you've harboured such resentment towards her throughout your acquaintance."

For too long Draco had lived in denial where his feelings for Hermione were concerned. He recalled the confusion he experienced when Hermione had punched him during their third year at Hogwarts. As much as he'd publicly felt affronted, in private he was thrilled that she willingly touched him. Of course, back then he convinced himself it was special only because she was the only girl to have ever done so, and not because she herself was special.

 "What I don't understand is why you haven't told your father yet? You know he is trying for a child with Hermione. Surely you wouldn't want your mate carrying someone else's child."

"No. I absolutely don't want that, but once more I find myself helpless. The new law demands that father and Hermione have children and I am unable to leave Astoria thanks to the terms of our magically binding marriage agreement."

Draco regretted the rancour in his words, more so when he saw the pinched look on his mother's face.

"Well, in my defence I made the contract thinking it was going to be for my son and his mate, Pansy. We were already in poor standing with the Dark Lord and the future was uncertain. I was worried that somewhere in the future, if the Parkinsons and the Malfoys ended on opposite sides, you two may suffer.

"I had our lawyer change the typical Malfoy marriage contract to include legal text from the contracts used by Veela Blacks. It was insurance for when you two eventually married."

Well, this confirmed what had only been speculation on Hermione's part, thus far. With the war brewing and uncertainty looming, his mother had only wished to permanently secure his happiness.

"I understand, mother. I am bitter about the situation but I do not blame you in any way."

Narcissa watched her son closely for any signs that he wasn't entirely sincere before speaking again.

"Well, we need to speak with your father at the earliest. As I said earlier, Abraxas saw you with Miss Granger and he is most upset. He insists that Lucius divorce Miss Granger and disown you for your transgression."

"Grandfather can't threaten me into giving up Hermione. I won't give her up , mother."

Narcissa shook her head."

"He is beyond caring about any of that, Draco. For Abraxas you are a creature, as is Miss Granger. He cares not for your actions, only that they no longer be associated with his family. He wishes to renounce you as the Malfoy heir."

"The Malfoy heir," thought Draco out loud. Well, beyond materialistic concerns, when had it ever benefitted him to be the Malfoy heir, Draco asked himself. All his life he lived under the weight of the responsibilities that came with being the Malfoy heir- his life mapped out for him before he was even born. Every action a reflection of the family name and honour. And yet his accomplishments till date were limited to being the youngest member inducted in a terrorist group like Voldemort's Death Eaters, and his role in starting the war by letting the Death Eaters into Hogwarts. He felt suffocated by it all. Would it be such a hardship to no longer be a Malfoy?

"So grandfather will not try to hurt Hermione in any way, even if she is with me, so long as she is no longer with father?"

"That is my understanding, yes. His primary demand is for Lucius to remarry and produce a proper heir. He is too angry at the moment to see reason. But maybe in time Lucius could talk him into giving up on rejecting your claim to the Malfoy line?"

As proud as Draco had always been of his ancient wizarding family, he found in the moment he didn't really care one way or another on the subject of being cast out of the family. But for his mother's sake he pretended to care.

"I will speak with your father. In the meanwhile, please be careful about what you do around the portraits."

Draco bowed and excused himself. While on the surface he appeared calm, he was eager to get to his study and recheck his marriage contract. Unless he was mistaken in his interpretation of the text, his racist grandfather may have provided him with a way to be with his mate.

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"I thought you approved of Hermione. What has brought this on?" Lucius watched his late wife closely to look for any sign of what was going through her head. It was over two years since his marriage to Hermione, yet this was the first time Narcissa suggested he needed to divorce to witch.

"I do approve of her. I think she would make an excellent daughter-in-law."

Lucius wondered if it was possible for a portrait to go insane. Narcissa, who knew her mate well enough to have guessed his thoughts, chuckled softly.

"Have you forgotten that she is Draco's mate."

"I assure you, I haven't forgotten. If his actions are anything to go by, I'd say it is Draco who forgets it."

"My dear, I think you need to spend a little less time politicking and a little more time with our son if you wish to know what he really wants."

"I know I've been busy, but I've spoken with Draco on enough occasions to know how he feels on the subject. The boy's childish resentment of Hermione overshadows all else. If the war wasn't enough for him to change the way he sees non-Purebloods, I don't think anything will change his mind."

"You're wrong in thinking our son is unchanged, Lucius. My little boy was forced to become a man when they put you away in Azkaban. I saw him struggle with the old beliefs even then, but he did what needed to be done for my sake and yours.

"You failed him when you made him a soldier for the Dark Lord. You failed to be there for him after my death. And now, once more I find you failing our son in his time of need."

"I don't see how I could push Draco towards Hermione anymore than I already have."

"You don't need to push someone who's already there."

"You mean he wishes to be with Hermione?"

"Our son is in love, Lucius. And from what I hear, it's mutual."

Lucius pondered over the numerous implications of Narcissa's words. While he wasn't in love with Hermione, he had begun to gain some sense of normalcy after his marriage to her. She was a source of comfort at home, and a powerful tool for him to wield at the Ministry. But despite it all he had harboured the suspicion that this day would eventually come. Having experienced the love of a Veela he knew Draco wouldn't be able to resist the attraction forever. He just had not expected his recalcitrant son to see sense this quickly.

In the early days Lucius tried to provoke Draco to action by attempting to incite his jealousy with public displays of affection towards Hermione, but nothing came of it. He even stopped having sex with Hermione for a long time, finding it almost incestuous in some ways to be with his son's mate. Lucius only resumed relations with Hermione when it looked like Draco was content with the situation the way it was.

"I know you are fond of her, but you need to let her go."

Lucius waved his hand dismissing his wife's concern.

"I am hardly the one you ought to be apprehensive about. If what you say is true, I imagine the only reason the two aren't together yet is because of Astoria."

"She's a dear girl," started Narcissa.

"I never approved. Not really. She wasn't his mate and she isn't Sacred Twenty-Eight. I never understood why he chose her. It made even less sense when I learnt Hermione was his mate."

"We're Slytherins, dear, we don't take risks when the odds aren't in our favour. We can hardly fault Draco for not imagining he'd ever live in a world where he could be married to a Muggleborn. Come to think of it, that world may still remain out of Draco's reach."

"What do you mean?"

"Have you forgotten about the contract that exists between him and Astoria?"

Lucius continued to stare at his wife in confusion.

"Lucius, do not tell me you let our son sign something without bothering to ever read it yourself first!"

"My dear, when you were the one responsible for creating it, why would I have ever felt concerned over its contents, especially since it relates to our son?"

While Lucius may have been able to fool anyone else, his wife and mate knew him well enough to recognise when he looked guilty.

"I would ask if your Gryffindor wife's nature is rubbing off on you, only you weren't married to her at the time. As a Slytherin you ought to have known better."

"Are you saying you included something in the contract that makes it difficult for Draco to leave Astoria?"

She nodded.

"They can only be parted in death," said Narcissa and then rushed to explain, "I only wanted to secure my son's happiness. None of us suspected things were not as they appeared."

Sensing his mate's anxiety, Lucius tried to reassure her. "It's okay my love, I'm sure an accident can easily be arranged."

She shook her head.

"We have bigger concerns than Astoria at the moment. Abraxas saw Draco with his mate and wishes for you to divorce Miss Granger and remarry a Pureblood."

"That is hardly a concern. It is rather convenient since I would have to divorce Hermione anyway for Draco's sake."

"That is not all. His main wish is for you to disown Draco and provide a suitable heir in his stead."

"I will remarry and sire more children, but I will not disown my son. I shall explain it to him myself."

"Lucius," Narcissa started cautiously. She had never spoken of Abraxas' abusive treatment of her since his discovery of her Veela roots and wasn't sure if her husband grasped the extent of his father's displeasure. "You can try to negotiate with him, but please be careful. He is rather determined to have Draco struck from the family."

"Well, then I'll just have to disappoint father. As the current head of the family, he'll have to accept my decision."

"Abraxas implied that Draco would be hurt if his wishes are ignored."

"Now, that is a concern," said Lucius understanding the severity of the implied threat.

"You may try talking to him, but it would be best not to take a stand without first ensuring he is incapable of harming our son."

Lucius nodded.

"Have you already discussed the matter with Draco?"

"Yes, I believed he needed to be alerted for his own safety."

"Okay, I'll manage my father. What about Astoria?"

"I have something in mind, but it all depends on how serious Draco and Miss Granger are about each other."

"You've got that look on your face, dear, the one that tells me you are going to suggest a really bad idea."

"It isn't a bad idea," snapped Narcissa defensively. "It's risky and has been illegal for a while but it'll serve the purpose."

"What is it?"

"Just some blood magic with a little soul binding." She rushed the words as she spoke.

It took Lucius a few minutes to recall the specific type of magic Narcissa was referring to.

"You can't be serious, Cissa. Those rituals were made illegal for a reason."

"I am serious. It is ancient magic with the power to supplant the terms of Draco's marriage contract."

"How can you even think of suggesting something so risky. The only reason we ever heard of the ritual was because of all the witches and wizards who died while trying to attempt it."

"And the reason in those cases was a lack of compatibility. That will hardly be a concern for Draco since Miss Granger is his soul mate."

"You know that is not the only concern. Even if everything goes well, which is extremely rare, it is irreversible. They won't ever be able to undo it."

"Why would they want to undo it? They're in love, Lucius."

"So you say. I have yet to see any evidence of this. I wouldn't want Draco, or even Hermione, to find themselves in a situation where they are permanently stuck with each other with no other option. They will never be able to stay away from each other for long periods of time, and when one dies so will the other."

"They're mates, Lucius, they won't want to separate once they are bound together."

"You may know your son's heart, but why would you presume to know Hermione's? She isn't particularly fond of our son, and you can't fault her for it either. By his own admission, Draco has been terrible to her."

"I only wish to offer them the option," said Narcissa with a sigh. "It is up to them to decide if they are ready for that level of commitment to each other. Even if she is a Gryffindor and impulsive at times, Miss Granger strikes me as the kind of witch who weighs all the risks against the benefits before acting. She won't agree to the ritual unless she is certain of the constancy of her own feelings as well as Draco's."

"Is there really no other way? Wouldn't it be easier to simply arrange for an unfortunate accident to befall Astoria?"

"And risk either you or Draco ending in Azkaban if the Ministry finds anything suspicious about her death? Besides, will Miss Granger not grow mistrustful if Astoria were to conveniently drop dead? Do you think she'll want to be with Draco once she learns the cost of his freedom?"

"By Salazar, bugger it all. A fine mess we have here." Lucius stood up.

"It appears I really am overdue a long chat with our son. But first a word with father. Meanwhile, can you please hold off on any mention of ancient soul-binding rituals to either Draco or Hermione till we've had the chance to talk with them? Let's first make sure that they both truly wish to be together."

"That sounds reasonable enough," said Narcissa. She agreed to do as Lucius asked and bid him farewell.

Lucius waited a few more minutes after his late wife left the portrait in his study to collect his thoughts before heading towards the East wing of the house to have a talk with his father.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Draco stood across from Lucius, trying to keep his annoyance in check. He did not like the turn their conversation had taken. He didn't feel comfortable having to explain his feelings for Hermione to anyone let alone the man currently married to her. He couldn't help but bristle at every question put forth by his father; they didn't feel casual, more like an interrogation. Clearly Narcissa had informed Lucius about Draco's relationship with Hermione; it made sense for Lucius to want to confirm things for himself. Still, Draco couldn't help but feel insecure in the presence of the older male who had claimed his mate.

"Yes, I loved Astoria. But not like this. This is different. Hermione is different."

"Well, she is your mate. Maybe it's just the mating instinct."

Draco lost his patience and walked up to Lucius, looming over him in a display of dominance.

"I've experienced the heat long enough to know the difference between when I'm being guided by my cock and when I'm not, father."

Lucius simply smiled at Draco looking absolutely unfazed by his son's display. Having personally witnessed Narcissa's bouts of irrational jealousy before they had bonded, he was able to identify the same in Draco.

"You have no need to feel threatened by me, son. I will not challenge you for your mate. I simply wish to make sure you have thought things through this time."

Draco let out a sigh of relief, visibly deflating.

"This isn't a passing fancy, father. Even if my desire for her ends up diminishing with time, my affection for her will only grow. She is that kind of witch. The more I get to know her, the more I like her. While you seek to change her into something more suitable to your needs, I think she is perfect as she is. I wish to spend my life at her side proving myself worthy of her."  

Lucius was surprised to hear his usually surly mannered son express his feelings so eloquently. How had he failed to see Draco's true feelings for Hermione?

"I suppose I just have to hear Hermione's thoughts on the subject. But, you need not worry on my account, son. I won't stand in your way. I have known what it is to be loved by a Veela. I just never understood before how fortunate I've been, till I lost your mother."

Lucius looked away so his son wouldn't see the pain etched on his face. Having Narcissa's living portrait was a great comfort to him, but it wasn't the same as having his mate there with him.

"How are things between you and Astoria? Does she suspect anything?"

"Stori suspects nothing, but she has been frustrated with my continued disinterest in bedding her. She is determined to have my child; she's gone as far as lacing my food with virilis masculinis. Luckily for me, the Malfoy elves are extremely loyal so I am able to avoid being drugged. Since I haven't confronted Stori, she doesn't know that I know. She's both troubled and bewildered by her husband's poor libido despite the use of such a potent virility potion," said Draco with a chuckle.

Lucius raised an eyebrow at his son's immaturity.

"Why aggravate the witch? Things are going to be hard enough even if she is willing to accept your relationship with Hermione."

"I know better, father. I really would like to speak plainly with Stori and have everything out in the open. I believe I owe her as much. And I know she wouldn't be as disappointed to lose me as Hermione fears she would. While Stori cares for me, she wouldn't be devastated by the ending of our marriage. She may be distressed by the inconvenience of it all, but she will get over it and move on."

"But you're choosing to be smart by keeping quiet about it all till you have worked a way out of your marriage." Lucius said, thinking it was a wise move on Draco's part.

"Hermione insisted we do."

"I can tell you're not happy with the decision, but it is a smart one. However open minded about these things, no witch likes being scorned for another. You will need to be more careful from now on, Draco. Not just around Astoria, but the portraits as well."

"Grandfather?"

"Yes. He," started Lucius and then decided against sharing details of the rather unpleasant discussion he had with Abraxas.

"Let me deal with him. Just be on your guard till he and I can come to an agreement."

Lucius parted ways with Draco intending to check his family's journals hoping to find information on how to neutralise his father's powers without destroying his portrait.

---------------------------------------------------

Draco waited patiently for nightfall to slip into Hermione's bedroom. He needed to speak with her in private without having to worry about spying portraits or being discovered by Astoria.

Hermione had long ago altered the wards to her room so he was able to come and go as he pleased, something even his father couldn't do. So he was able to enter undetected by her. He watched her seated on the edge of her bed, brow scrunched in thought as she went about the task of tying her wild hair into a loose braid. There was an intimacy to being able to observe her perform so mundane a task, thought Draco. Only one who shared a life with her would get to witness these moments.

"Hey," he called out softly, shutting the bedroom door behind him

Hermione looked up, saw who it was and smiled at Draco.

"Hello. Busy day? I missed you during our evening tea."

He was glad he wasn't the only one who felt that way. He had taken his father's words to heart and decided to play it safe by avoiding Hermione till he could speak with her in private.

"I needed to talk to you."

"Is everything okay?" she asked, getting up and walking to him. She immediately started fussing over him, checking him to make sure he was okay. He so loved her touching him in any way he took his time in telling her there was nothing wrong with him.

"What is it then?" she asked wrapping an arm around his waist and walking him to her bed so they could cuddle.

It was obvious Lucius had not had the chance to speak with her yet, so as soon they were settled on the bed with Hermione comfortably snuggled against his side, Draco started off by telling her about his conversation with his mother, saving for last details of the threats made by Abraxas as well as how he came to discover their secret.

"Your grandfather watched us having sex!" she screeched.

Draco continued to be both baffled and amused by how his witch could be calm and composed while staring down the wand of an insane dark witch like his Aunt Bella, and yet lose it over something as innocuous as being watched during sex. As much as he would've liked to tease her about it, they did have more important matters to discuss.

"In his defence, I don't think he meant to. He saw us that one time you seduced me in the hallway of the East wing of the Manor."

"I seduced you?!" she spluttered.

He smirked and caught her lips in a kiss. She really was adorable when indignant. She sighed and sagged against him when their kiss ended.

"Don't worry, none of the portraits can spy on us when we are in our bedrooms," he assured her.

"He can still hurt you though. I know enough about Purebloods to know we need to take his threats seriously."

"Well, father intends to get grandfather to change his mind."

"Lucius knows?"

Draco felt her stiffen in his arms.

"Yes."

Draco went on to fill in Hermione on his conversation with both his parents earlier that day.

She took in a deep breath and let it out.

"I feel bad that he didn't get to hear it from us, but it's a relief knowing he knows. So, he understands? About us, I mean."

"I think so," he said taking her hand in his and squeezing her fingers. "He assured me he wouldn't stand in the way."

"But, you're not convinced?" she asked, unable to see why he didn't feel as relieved as she did.

"He doesn't believe this is anything more than a passing fancy. He wishes to speak with you."

"Of course, it makes sense. Two years ago we didn't want anything to do with each other- forced together by things out of our control... Lucius has never even seen us engage in a normal conversation together, and now out of the blue he hears about us having sex in the hallways. He probably thinks we're using each other for sex- you because of your Veela heat and me since he and I don't have sex on a regular basis."

"You don't?" he asked brightly. Since there was nothing he could do to change their situation, Draco avoided asking Hermione about her sex life with Lucius. It was easier to pretend he didn't share her with another man if he didn't have to hear the details.

"No. Lucius is an attractive man, and a generous lover in bed," she was paused when she saw Draco lower his head and grit his teeth, his hands curled into fists at his side.

Hermione cautiously tipped Draco's chin up so he'd look into her eyes.

"But, I don't feel attracted to him. While I will always be grateful to Lucius for the gentleness he showed me during my first time, as well as every time afterwards, I do not desire him. We have sex on my fertile days, in order to have children- he doesn't know that I am still using the contraceptive potion."

"Gods! Father had me believing he was ploughing you on a nightly basis. You have no idea how angry it made me those first few months to have you with me for only a few fleeting moments under your rigid rules while he got unfettered access to you daily."

His voice gradually rose as he grew upset recalling how things were earlier in their relationship. "You were my mate. You were meant to be mine."

Hermione instantly recognised the crazed look of jealousy in Draco's eyes. This was part of his Veela nature. As a wizard he understood that he had Hermione's love and devotion, however as a Veela Draco struggled with having to share his mate and needed physical reassurances.

She climbed into his lap and wrapped her hands around his neck and pulled him closer to her. Wrapping her legs around his torso she pushed herself as close to him as she possibly could before she closed her eyes and kissed him.

She broke her kiss only to whisper against his lips.

"I'm yours, mate."

He whimpered and held her hips tightly against him while she resumed their kiss. They kissed with all the love and desire they felt for each other, stopping only to catch their breath.

He pressed his forehead against hers as they waited for their hearts to return to their normal pace.

"Thank you," he said. "Thank you for being who you, thank you for being here, thank you for giving me all the chances I needed-"

She cut his words off with another kiss.

"I'll talk to Lucius and he'll know this is real. Then we'll need to figure out a plan for in case Lucius doesn't manage to change Abraxas' mind."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, if Lucius divorces me and marries someone else, I will also have to marry someone else. How will you and I get to be together then?"

"I think you should go ahead with your divorce, I may have a way for us to be together."

Hermione waited patiently for more details, when none came she narrowed her eyes at him.

"What is it?"

"Oh don't give me that look," he said with a chuckle. "It's nothing sinister. I'm waiting for confirmation from some experts that I am not mistaken." Draco took her hands in his and kissed her knuckles.

"Once I have word I will fill you in," he said and grew quiet.

She noticed his gaze was caught on his signet ring. When he continued to remain quiet and unmoving she grew concerned.

Pushing the hair back from his forehead so she could look into his eyes she asked, "What is it?"

"What if I have nothing? Would you still want me?" he whispered shakily refusing to look her in the eye.

"What do you mean?"

"What if I have nothing to offer you, not even my name, would you still want me?"

"Would I have you?"

"Yes, but that is all."

"Then it will be more than enough for me. Are you worried about being cast out of your family?"

"No. I'm... I don't know what it means to not be a Malfoy. I don't know if you will like who that is."

"I suspect you'd be as much of a snooty, condescending ponce even if you didn't have a galleon to your name." She said, attempting to lighten the mood.

"Are you suggesting you love me because I'm posh?"

"No, I'm saying I love you despite knowing your capability to be an absolute wanker."

"Hermione Granger, you kiss your mate with that potty mouth?"

"Absolutely, he claims to love it."

He laughed.

"Oh, that I do. There's something so satisfying in watching your prissy mouth form the naughty words."

She snorted in the most undignified manner. "I have no idea why you have this image of me as a prissy prude. Just because I was too busy fighting in a war to fool around like other girls my age, doesn't mean I didn't want to."

"I prefer to think you secretly knew you were my mate and were simply waiting for me to come to my senses and claim you."

It was her turn to laugh.

"As romantic as that sounds, you should know I'm not the kind to wait idly by if I can act."

"You sure know how to dash a wizard's dreams."

"Well, I can't do anything about your wishful thinking related to the past. But I can surely help with the ones related to our future. I love you," she said, holding his face in her hands, "and I will continue to want you, whether you are the Malfoy heir with unimaginable wealth or you're simply Draco, my mate."

He nodded and swallowed hard the lump in his throat, unable to articulate the love he felt for her in the moment.

"Stay the night," she said and stretched out on the bed. He waved his wand to shut the light and stretched out beside her. Neither spoke another word as they shared a comfortable silence, each sensing the depth of the other's feelings for them. They slept peacefully that night holding each other without any worry of their relationship being discovered.

Chapter Text

"Are you disappointed?" asked Hermione, handing Lucius his cup of tea. With both Draco and Astoria absent from the breakfast table this morning, it felt as good a time as any to talk to Lucius about the recent developments.

So far his behaviour towards her was no different than what she'd come to expect of him in recent years. He greeted her with a kiss to her knuckles and held her chair out for her before taking his own seat. Impeccable manners as always, thought Hermione.

"With you?" he asked.

She nodded.

"Not at all." He said as he buttered his toast.

"With Draco then?"

"No," he said setting aside the toast and knife. "I'm disappointed with myself."

"Why?"

"For being so oblivious for as long as I have. I pride myself on being a very observant man, Hermione, and yet I didn't see what was going on between you and Draco."

"But otherwise, you're okay with this? With Draco and me being together?" she asked hesitantly. Even though Hermione had not broken any of her wedding vows, having been raised with a different outlook on the institution of marriage, it may her uneasy to think Lucius may see her relationship with Draco as infidelity.

"I can hardly object to Draco's choice when I, myself, chose to marry you. You will find no objections from me, if you wish to be together."

"I do wish to be with Draco." She nodded profusely with relief. "You've been a considerate and generous husband, Lucius, far better than I could've expected- marrying under the circumstances we did- but, I'm in love with Draco and I would like to be with him."

"I don't know if you know anything about Draco's marriage contract with Astoria, I myself only learnt of the particulars yesterday."

"I am well versed with it."

"Then you know that you'll never be able to marry or have children together?"

Hermione took a deep breath hoping to dull the sting of his words. As aware as she was of the facts, it still hurt to hear the truth so plainly uttered by another.

"I know. I still want to be with him... any way I can."

"You really do love him then?"

"Yes, I do. My life would be far simpler if I didn't, but I do."

"One need not be saddled with unfortunate feelings in our world, Hermione." He spoke to her in a gentle and soothing manner as if handling a skittish mare. "A memory charm, and both of you could forget about these feelings and go on with your lives the way you planned to before you married me and entered my household."

Hermione watched Lucius in shock trying to figure out what he was playing at, but all she saw in his face was compassion.

"No," she said, shaking her head for emphasis. "There are many things I wish were different in my life, but I don't find myself wishing I wasn't in love with Draco. Impossible as it may sound, he makes me happy. I don't wish to forget. Never." She said firmly.

Convinced that Hermione must hold genuine affection for his son, Lucius decided to move on to other matters.

"Staying married to me would be one way you could remain close to Draco, regrettably, that option isn't available for too long as my father insists I divorce you," said Lucius.

"Yes, Draco spoke to me about it. He said we should go ahead with the divorce as he may have found a way around the contract."

The expression on Lucius' face twisted to reflect his displeasure. Hermione didn't need to ponder the reason for his sudden change for too long.

"I asked Cissa not to say anything to Draco, but it appears she's adamant on pursuing this crazy idea of hers."

"What idea? Draco didn't give me any details."

Lucius considered not answering but then decided it was pointless anyway. Between the two, Hermione was far less likely, than Draco, to dabble in illegal and dark magic, thought Lucius. If his wife had seen fit to tell Draco, he saw no harm in doing the same with Hermione.

So Lucius told Hermione all he knew about the ancient ritual of binding souls, laying a great deal of emphasis on the high risks involved as well as the low success rates. By the end of his explanation, he was certain even the brashest of Gryffindors wouldn't consider attempting the ritual. It wasn't that he didn't want his son bound to Hermione. He was afraid one of them, if not both, would end up dead while attempting the fatal ritual.

"I've lived in this world for more than half my life now, and yet I still find there is still much to learn," said Hermione, her face and voice clearly reflecting the awe and reverence she felt towards magic.

Lucius instantly regretted saying anything to Hermione when she excitedly enquired, "Would your library have books on the subject that would give me more details?"

With her curiosity sparked, it was clear she was at the very least considering exploring the ritual as a probable solution.

"You may find a book or two in the Antiquated Magic section, cross-reference Dark Magic. But, Hermione, I hope you aren't seriously contemplating pursuing this foolhardy idea."

 "Foolhardy as it may be, Lucius, I need to check for myself and be certain there is no possibility of it working for Draco and me before I can dismiss it as an option."

When he continued to look on unpersuaded, she added, "Put yourself in my shoes, wouldn't you do the same if it meant there was a possibility you could have Narcissa back in your life?"

Lucius opened his mouth to argue, only to shut it the next instant. It was the truth after all, he would've risked everything to be able to have Narcissa at his side once more. However, rather than admitting she was correct, he focused on the task of eating his toast.

Familiar by now with some of Lucius' tactics, Hermione smiled to herself when he continued to ignore her and focus on his meal instead. Despite Lucius' words of caution, her spirits lifted; for the first time her hope that Draco and she would be together, in the way they wished the most, was accompanied by the knowledge that there may be a way to do so.

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Draco was sure the last forty-eight hours had involved more discussions about his feelings with his family than his entire life put together. They were currently assembled in his father's study before his mother's portrait while his parents took turns questioning both Draco and Hermione. The only thing he'd gathered so far during the course of the interrogation was that Hermione and his father had managed to have a discussion earlier that day.

Growing up, he was raised to keep his true feelings guarded lest his weaknesses become known to an adversary. So it put him on edge to, now, have to convince his parents of the authenticity of his feelings for Hermione. As he had not official claim his parents questions made him feel threatened despite their assurances to the contrary. He hovered over Hermione, sitting as close to her as would be appropriate while in the presence of his parents, even though his father was seated a safe distance away behind his desk.

His mate on the other hand didn't seem to have the same problem as him. He couldn't help feeling like they all knew something he didn't from the way they kept circling back to certain things.

"I really feel that, rather than worrying about my compatibility with Draco, we need to be concerned with Abraxas." Draco heard Hermione tell his mother.

"If there is any truth to the stories I've heard about him, he poses a real threat to Draco's life. I don't know if he has as much control over me as I'm not a blood relative."

"Times like these you can be grateful for not being a Pureblood, Hermione," said Narcissa. Because, sometime during their lengthy conversation his mother had finally felt comfortable enough to start calling Hermione by her given name. "Considering how closely related most of the old families are, there would be little chance of you not being related if you were."

Draco watched Hermione lower her head and nod politely. Based on their previous discussions on the subject, he could tell she was resisting the urge to snort at his mother's veiled reference to the inbreeding rampant in Pureblood families. 

"I believe I am happy to act on grandfather's wishes," said Draco, finally speaking of the matter he wished to discuss with his father since receiving external confirmation on the soundness of his theory.

"Yes, we all agree that the dissolution of my marriage to Hermione is inevitable," interrupted his father. "However, it would be wise to first figure out how to set things so that you two can still be together. You need to remember that the next guy Hermione has to marry may not be as understanding of the Veela bonds as I've been."

"They won't have to concern themselves with the marriage law or either of their existing marriages once their souls are bonded, Lucius," said Narcissa in a reprimanding tone.

"You weren't supposed to bring that up until after we were sure about their situation, dear," replied Lucius sweetly but in a tone clearly meant to chastise.

 "You can hardly complain when you've already discussed the matter with Hermione. Besides, haven't you been listening to the two? They sound like the perfect candidates."

"Okay, will someone finally tell me what are you all talking about?" asked Draco getting up from his seat and protectively standing in front of Hermione, while looking to his mother for answers.

He felt Hermione tug on his hand and pull him back to his seat.

"Your mother believes that you and I can bond our souls so that we will always be together."

"But, what about the contract?" he asked in confusion as he sat down beside her once again.

"It won't matter," she said, shaking her head. "Because the magic involved in bonding souls is far more elemental and powerful, it will overpower all other bonds and replace them."

"That..." started Draco, feeling at a loss for words. "That sounds just perfect. I... How did I miss this?" he asked in a daze and then turned to look at Hermione. "How did you?" he asked her.

Hermione giggled at the comical expression on Draco's face. Hearing the carefree sound from his mate for the first time in so long made Draco's heart swell. He wished to snog her senseless, but since his parents were around he settled for lacing his fingers with hers.

"So," he said looking at Hermione and then his mother. "Tell me more about this wonderful bit of magic that is going to make my dreams come true."

"Well, I hate to burst your bubble, son," spoke Lucius as he got up and walked to Draco to hand him the tumbler of firewhiskey he had poured him. "But the magic involved is Dark, illegal and deadly."

They spent the next hour discussing everything each one knew about the soul-binding ritual. Hermione had managed to squeeze in some research during the day, so she had her own contribution to the conversation. The more Draco listened to his father, mother and mate argue the more it dawned on him that it wasn't a realistic enough solution for them.

"As much as I would love being bound to Hermione for eternity," he said interrupting the heated exchange, "I would not put her life at risk, no matter what I may stand to gain as a result."

"Draco," Hermione spoke softly. "You wouldn't be risking my life-"

He shook his head.

"No, you're grasping at straws here, and I can understand why. We've grown so desperate over the course of the last few months... Even though you try to remain optimistic about our situation, I know it's hurting you- so much that you're unable to see how terribly dangerous this is.

"And maybe if I didn't have another way I would've considered this option myself- Slytherin self-preservation be damned! But, I have another way. And I actually have grandfather to thank for."

"You've been consulting with Cygnus? I thought his only living portrait was stored in the family vault at Gringotts with the rest of the Black possessions," stated Lucius, sounding clearly surprised.

Draco chuckled.

"No, grandfather Abraxas was the one who got me thinking when he asked that I be disinherited. It made me wonder what it really meant to be the Malfoy heir. Sometime during my introspection it occurred to me that the marriage contract isn't really between me and Astoria, it's between the Malfoy heir and Astoria Greengrass. Sure, it has my name and my signature, but primarily the contract is made for the Malfoy heir."

Lucius nodded, "Yes, that is correct. Whatever changes your mother would've made, she couldn't have changed that part of the contract."

"So, if I'm not the heir, my marriage to Astoria automatically becomes null and void. Because my name has always been synonymous with the Malfoy heir, none of us considered the two being separate entities. And yes, I did consult with some of the top magical law experts in our country, including the ex- Chief Warlock Vance; they've confirmed I am correct in my theory."

"Yes, it's just that no one imagined you not being the heir." Lucius kept staring blankly ahead of him as if in a trance and then turned to look at Draco as if he'd only just noticed his presence.

"Draco," his father looked at him with pleading eyes. "Son, are you really suggesting what I think you are?"

"Yes, father. It is the only certain path to a future with Hermione."

"But, do you not understand what you'd be giving up? I can't undo this or reclaim you. Once you're struck from the family that is the end of all your ties to the Malfoys."

"I have given this matter serious thought, father. I understand the repercussions, and I am willing to make the sacrifice because I am sure that even if I am struck off the tree you wouldn't cut me out of your life."

"You'll have nothing, Draco," said his mother, looking even more agitated than his father. "All the Black fortune was lost to war reparations. It may have slipped your mind, my dowry was absorbed into the Malfoy fortune and my personal inheritance was willed to the heir of the family, not my son."

"I do know what I'm giving up, mother. I guess I will have to either make my own fortune or learn to live with less," he said with a smile, trying to put his mother at ease. But it only ended up drawing a sob out of her.

"It won't be easy, Draco. You're used to a life of extravagance and indulgence, not the daily grind of a commoner," said Lucius, trying a different approach. In response Draco snickered.

"I'm sorry," he said, restraining himself. "I'm not laughing at you. It just occurred to me that this would make an excellent reason for Astoria to happily part ways with me once our marriage is dissolved."

His father stared at Draco looking for any sign of weakness he could exploit to change his son's mind. Finding none, he let out a resigned sigh.

"You're determined to see this through then?"

"Yes. You can't deny there's a certain poetic justice to being able to claim my mate by no longer being a Malfoy when once upon a time I found her unsuitable and not even worthy of consideration on account of me being a Malfoy."

"Well, all that's great, Draco. But don't you think you should ask me about how I feel about all of this?" asked Hermione. Though the expression on her face and her words were harsh, there was no mistaking the twinkle in her eye.

"And dare insult you by insinuating you may not wish to be with me once I'm a pauper? My self-preservation instincts are stronger than to indulge in such foolishness."

She smiled brightly at him.

"Besides, I think the great Hermione Granger, future Minister of Magic, would be perfectly capable of bringing in the galleons while I stay at home and raise our kids."

She laughed.

"We're going to have a wonderful life together," she promised with a quick kiss to his lips. "And I don't think we'll do as poorly as your parents seem to think we would. We may never own second homes in every major city of the world, but we'll definitely be able to live comfortably. And if we are in need of some extra money, perhaps in the near future when you've relinquished the mantle of the idle young aristocrat, you'll consider publishing all the research you've been doing on the global history and roots of magic?"

"Who are you and what have you done to Hermione? I can't imagine my mate suggesting I trade knowledge for galleons!" Draco exclaimed with a mock gasp. 

"Clearly, I've been exposed to your corrupting influence for too long." She playfully swatted at him.

They stopped their banter only at the sound of Lucius clearing his throat.

"Alright, it seems, the two of you are perfectly happy pursuing this path. We clearly have no choice than to accept it for your sakes. But, can you go be giddy elsewhere? I find the task of disowning my only child to be rather depressing."

"Father," began Draco, looking at Lucius with concern.

His father waved his hand in dismissal.

"You don't need to try and convince me. I can understand your reasons and one may even consider your actions noble, if one liked that sort of thing," said Lucius looking at Hermione with distaste. "But, understanding your reasons doesn't make it any easier for me as I still end up losing my son. Right or wrong, all my actions have been towards building a legacy my son would be proud of. I cannot help but feel like everything was for nothing."

"I will always be your son, father." Draco assured him. "Even if I am no longer a Malfoy, I will always... " Draco felt his words choked with emotion.

"Godsdamn it! I feel like I've turned into a bloody Hufflepuff these past few days," cursed Draco while trying to discretely wipe the tears from his eyes.

Hermione approached him intending to give him a comforting hug, but she was beaten to it by Lucius who had pulled his son into his arms and held him against him fiercely.

"We will do what needs to be done, but we will always be family, Draco." His father promised him.

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Chapter Text

Upon hearing reports of their Golden Girl, Hermione Granger, and Lucius Malfoy, former Death-Eater, divorcing due to irreconcilable differences, not many in the Wizarding world seemed particularly surprised. For most of the populace, who were personally unacquainted with these public figures, it was more shocking that the former enemies had married at all.

The announcement that Lucius Malfoy was to marry Emmeline Prewett was practically yawn-inducing. Childless and in her thirties, the widow was expected to remarry at the end of her mourning period. Despite being pretty, smart and belonging to one of the distinguished Wizarding families, Emmeline didn't capture the public's interest in the way Lucius' previous wives had done.

Some people took note of the dissolution of marriage between Draco Malfoy and Astoria Greengrass due to the official reason stated: their inability to produce children. It was hard to believe that the Malfoys had failed to buy themselves an extension to comply with the Procreation Law as the Ministry was known to have made exceptions for several other couples who'd missed the two-year deadline; especially since the dissolution occurred nearly a year after the deadline had passed.

When news got out that, the Ministry had matched Hermione Granger and Draco Black to marry as per the regulations of Decree No. 101735, few thought to question the validity of a spell that paired the Golden Girl with her ex-husband's son. All everyone could focus on was that Draco was no longer a Malfoy.

Long after the fact, rumours of Lucius Malfoy disowning Draco as the Malfoy heir started to make the rounds. Barely a line on page 5 of the Daily Prophet's evening edition, the official public announcement had been missed by all. For weeks, the gossip rags churned out theories about why the Malfoy patriarch had suddenly decided to strike his son off the family tree. It was a mystery to all, largely since the father-son duo always appeared perfectly cordial when seen together in public.

There was some speculation that the Malfoy brat may have fallen for the Golden Girl and engaged in a secret affair with her until his father caught them in the act, subsequently resulting in the divorces as well as his disownment. While it made for a juicy scandal, no one really believed it to be true. Even Rita Skeeter thought it better to focus on other reasons for why Lucius Malfoy would have cast his son out of the family than hint at a possible affair between Draco and his former stepmother. Rita remembered all too well how things had turned out for her the last time she made false claims about Hermione.

Therefore, when the couple married soon after they were matched- rather than taking the time to court like most of the other Ministry matched pairs- people shrugged it off thinking the couple, presumably well acquainted with each other, had chosen not to delay the inevitable. The public opinion was still favourable where Hermione Granger was concerned, though quite a few thought the sole survivor of the Golden Trio must have terrible luck to find herself once more saddled with a former Death-Eater. Over time, though, it was hard not to notice that the couple shared a genuine affection for each other. This gave heart to many in the Wizarding world, who thought that perhaps with the help of the Ministry's matchmaking spell they too could find a truly compatible partner for themselves.

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"The London Townhouse? Which one is that?" asked Narcissa.

"I don't think you've ever been. I, myself, haven't visited Renault House since before our marriage," said Lucius, continuing to study the scroll before him.

"And, you think this place will do for Draco?"

"Yes," he answered distractedly, his attention solely focused on going over the finer points listed on the document before him.

"Lucius, please put that away for two minutes and explain to me why you're considering a townhouse I've never even heard of, let alone seen," Narcissa demanded.

Lucius put away the scroll and looked at Narcissa instead.

"Well, as rich as I am, you know I can't just give away any of the Malfoy properties. Each Malfoy heir is simply the caretaker of the estate, managing and growing it until his successor is ready to take over. My ancestors were able to build a dynasty they knew would last by ensuring no Malfoy would ever be able to give away any of the Malfoy owned assets."

"Yes, Lucius, I know all this. But, surely you have some personal properties you could give our son should you choose."

"Yes, dear, the London townhouse is exactly such a property. It was a gift from my maternal grandmother when I bought my first wand. It's in Wizarding London- close to the barrier to the Muggle side; I'm sure Hermione would appreciate that. Moreover, the place has a large study overlooking a garden. Draco could use it as a home office, now that he has decided he wants to treat his research as something more serious than a passing hobby... The house maybe modern in style and humble compared to our other properties, but it should do well enough. "

"What do you mean humble, Lucius? You know those two will want to start a family right away. With Hermione, I sense she is eager to have a family of her own. And I suspect Draco won't stop feeling threatened by any male who gets too close to his mate till they've had a child together."

"Yes, I agree," said Lucius with a nod. "I admit that with just five bedrooms, Renault House is a little bit cosy but the garden attached to it is of a considerable size for a London property."

Narcissa didn't look sold on the idea.

"Cissa, it's the best I can do, given the circumstances. Hermione has too much pride to accept a house I purchased for them, but I think Draco could convince her if I gave them a property they believed I had no need for." 

Narcissa quietly pondered over Lucius' statement.

"She really has him wrapped around her finger, doesn't she? Good thing she's a clever and highly capable witch."  Narcissa smirked. "Make the townhouse an early wedding gift from the two of us, that way it will be harder for them to refuse."

Lucius smiled in acquiescence and returned to the task of perusing the deed to the townhouse.

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Lucius Malfoy stopped his scrutiny of the study to face his son. "Granger?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at his son.

Draco had invited his father over to show him the changes made to Renault House since he began to reside there.

He was oblivious to his father's keen gaze appraising him when he replied, "Yes, I thought it would be a nice touch." Draco had a silly smile plastered on his face as he recalled just how his mate had rewarded his thoughtful suggestion.

Draco was startled out of his reverie by a snort.

"You're completely whipped, boy."

"What? No," he protested.

"It's okay, I wasn't any better when it came to your mother ... Though I never went as far as considering taking on her family name."

"No, it really was my suggestion," he insisted. As his father still looked unconvinced, he went on to explain his actions.

"As you're aware, Hermione has no family left. She's the last of the Grangers, and I thought, well, if I was to get used to a new name I could just as easily grow used to Granger as I would Black. This way, her family name won't die with her and our children will be grateful we didn't stick them with a double-barrelled surname."

"Oh son! I'm guessing you were rewarded well for your thoughtfulness," said Lucius, giving him a sly smile.

"Yes, but I assure you, it wasn't what motivated me. At the moments, we both are without family" -the frown on his father's face made him hastily add- "in strictly legal terms, of course ... Once we're married and have children, it would make more sense for us to be at the head of a whole new Wizarding line, rather than a continuation of the Blacks."

His father was finally able to envision the future as he saw it and understood his reasons.

 "My wedding gift to Hermione is a tapestry of the new Granger family tree, which will start with the two of us."

Lucius' eyes were suspiciously bright as he placed a hand on his son's shoulder and gave it a squeeze.

"I understand that we need to be more progressive in this new world, but it gives me pride to see you haven't forsaken all our traditions, Draco. Always strive to preserve that which is best of our world."

-----------------------------------------------------

Watching her ex-husband vow his eternal love and fidelity to the bushy-haired witch smiling brightly at him, what Astoria felt most was relief.

"Are you okay?" Bastien, her fiancé, gave her fingers a light squeeze. Having only heard the highlights of her relationship with Draco, he probably imagined she was upset watching her ex remarry.

Frankly, she came to the event expecting to feel upset about the whole thing; she even carried a small vial containing a mild dose of Calming Draught, just in case. After all, she had given so many of her prime years to Draco. Looking past his role in the events that started the ghastly war, she started a relationship with him. Together, got over the devastating loss they saw all around them.

However, even before their marriage, Astoria sensed Draco was restless and in search of something more than she was capable of providing. Unlike most women, rather than feeling disheartened, she had taken it as a challenge. She ensured their social circle consisted of people he found interesting and their bed shared with witches who caught his interest so he was never bored or unsatisfied. She had done it all because she loved him. Sexy, smart and a Malfoy, Draco was undeniably the top prize she deserved. Astoria had it all figured out, until his veela side took over and fucked up all her plans.

Yes, she was sad to have lost Draco, but she really lost him three years ago when his instincts drove him to have sex with Hermione. Sometime during those early months of his veela sickness, he stopped being the Draco she fell in love with. Suddenly sex between them turned into an unpleasant chore before stopping altogether. After seeing, the kind of pathetic snivelling creature he became when separated from Hermione for too long, it was impossible to feel the attraction to him she once did, and yet she had done her best to maintain their relationship. But there was only so much she could do when Draco's libido plummeted to the extent he couldn't even get an erection anymore.

There was also the added pressure of the Ministry mandate, demanding they have children. While not eager to have kids right away, Astoria knew she would want them eventually. A visit with one of the top healers at St. Mungo's had confirmed there was nothing wrong with her. On the other hand, Draco couldn't even manage an erection- let alone the task of impregnating her- despite having his meals dosed with the strongest virility potions.

As his sickness grew, her patience wore further down. She was so tired of his mood swings, where he was either wallowing in melancholy or snapping at anyone who crossed his path. Then, finally came the cherry on top of everything else gone wrong with her marriage; Draco ended up penniless and disinherited because Abraxas Malfoy discovered his grandson's creature ancestry. She did not envy Hermione for having to deal with the hot mess that was the current Draco.

Instead of dwelling on the past, Astoria looked to her future- the man seated to her right. While his family was not as illustrious as the Malfoys, Bastien de la Marche was French aristocracy and in need of a wife after circumstances forced him to relocate to England and abide by the Marriage and Procreation Law. Lucius had introduced the two, believing she was less likely to cause the Malfoys trouble if she was well settled in life. Bastien had money, an appetite for life and none of the emotional baggage that came with being a part of the Wizarding War; Astoria excitedly looked forward to starting a new chapter in her life.

"I'm fine," she said, giving Bastien a reassuring smile. "I did love him, but we were so incompatible; over time we simply grew apart. He needed more of an intellectual type, and I had far too much joie de vivre to just sit around discussing law journals and potion ingredients. Rather than drag it out, I'm glad we chose to dissolve our marriage like civilised people- no guilty parties or victims."

"And you're happy with me, my angel? You will not find me too dull for your lively tastes?"

To his credit, Bastien considered himself extremely lucky to have the most beautiful witch he had ever seen be available for marriage just when he was in need of a wife. Even if she didn't find his mildly accented speech charming- which she did- his concern for her happiness was endearing.

"Darling, the way you indulge me, no woman could ever grow weary of such adoration. I could easily fall in love with you, if I'm not already."

Astoria kissed her fiancé, unmindful of the guests around them raising a toast to the successful union between her ex and his mate.

-----------------------------------------------------

"May Merlin send a pox on them all! How long does it take for everyone to get in their fucking carriages?!"

Draco stood impatiently tapping his foot as he waited outside his former home in Wiltshire.

He eagerly ushered the exiting guests into their respective carriages, while he cursed the ones still dallying inside.

The cream of wizarding society had shown up that day to celebrate his father's most recent marriage. That by itself was not the reason for his foul mood. He got along well enough with Emmeline; even if he found her a bit too meek and eager to please to be the next Lady Malfoy, she was smart enough to maintain his father's interest and was empathetic of the relationship Lucius still maintained with his late wife.

No, Draco's mood had nothing to do with the wedding and everything to do with his infuriating mate. He couldn't wait till he'd sent every one of the attending guests home packing and resisted the urge to slam the door on yet another carriage after the last guest had finally stepped in.

Spotting Hermione standing outside, smiling and waving to the last of the departing carriages, he snapped. 

"Granger. Get in the fucking carriage. Now!"

Hermione rolled her eyes at his command and turned to speak with the Malfoy elves who had chosen to reveal their presence now that their guests had left.

 "Don't make me fucking toss you over my shoulder and drag you out of here," he threatened while holding their carriage door open for her.

"Enough! Don't take that tone with me, Draco. I'll be there in a moment."

He scowled at her as she took turns hugging and thanking each of the elves individually for their excellent service. Given the circumstances, he couldn't understand how she could remain so cool while he felt like a grouchy old bear ready to rip someone's head off if he didn't get what he wanted soon.

No sooner was she done speaking with the last of the elves, he swooped in and placing his hands firmly against her back directed her away from the Manor and into the open carriage. He jumped in soon after and slammed the door shut.

"Don't give me that look, Granger. This is your own fault," he grumbled and tapped his wand against the carriage to initiate flight. "I wasn't the one who volunteered us to plan father's wedding and I most certainly was not so caught up in it all to neglect my mate for nearly two weeks."

Hermione was busy looking out the window, watching the other magical carriages fly across the night sky. She sighed in relief; everything had turned out just as beautiful as planned. Social event planning wasn't exactly her forte, but she thought it would make for a thoughtful wedding gift. She knew Lucius appreciated having Draco involved in his wedding, and it send a clear message to all of the closeness between father and son, even if officially Draco was no longer recognised as a Malfoy.

"Two weeks, Hermione! I've barely even seen you. You're not in bed when I go to sleep and you're already out by the time I'm up. Other than the floo calls to give me instructions on what you needed me to do, I've had no interactions with you."

In addition to being a Muggleborn, Hermione was not raised to be a society wife, unlike his mother and Astoria. She was ignorant of the Pureblood customs and traditions that dictated the planning of these events, and was not familiar with the experts one could rely upon to make the necessary arrangements within a short time frame. Knowing she was in over her head, he had not wished to overwhelm her by demanding her attention. But now that the wedding was over, all restraints were blown to bits.

"I know, and I'm sorry," said Hermione. "I thought it would be easy. For Godric's sake, I could've been an Unspeakable if I wanted to, I didn't think planning someone else's wedding would be this time consuming or exhausting ... And I certainly didn't anticipate you being this upset over it."

He wasn't upset. He was sexually frustrated.

Since becoming single, they had not spent a day apart. Now, accustomed to sharing physical intimacy with her on a daily basis, he thought he might just explode if he wasn't able to bury himself inside her soon. It didn't help that she looked absolutely delectable in the formal dress robes she was wearing. Even if the cut of the robes was a bit too modest for a witch her age, he thought she looked alluring.

"You're a fucking tease, Granger. All night you've given me the chase while I ran around salivating at your heels. You could've easily ducked out for a few minutes and put me out of my misery."

"When have you ever been satisfied with a few minutes?" she asked in a teasing tone. "We would've missed the entire event if I'd given in to your wishes. You forget how well I know you, mate."

She slowly slid the skirt of her robes up to reveal bare legs in high heels, but no more.

"You're tempting enough as it is, but you're an absolute vixen when you start making the moves on me. Lean back," he instructed. When she didn't budge, he groaned.

"I am beyond blue balls right now, Hermione. Stop being a fucking tease."

"No, Draco. Whatever it is you're thinking of doing, the carriage ride isn't long enough to-"

She shrieked as Draco reached across and pulled her onto his lap so she was straddling him. He ran his hands down her side, bringing them to a rest on her hips.

"You don't know what I'm thinking of, witch," he whispered huskily in her ear. His hands slid up and down her sides before cupping her breasts and pinching her nipples over her robes. He enjoyed the way she squirmed in his lap as well as the gasp that escaped her lips when she felt his raging erection.

"Merlin! We can't have sex right now. We're outside, Draco!" Hermione protested as Draco slid his hands under her robes to run them along her bare skin. 

"Thestral dung. We're finally alone together-" his fingers began to play with the seam of her panties "-and I haven't been inside you in weeks ... You've worn out my patience, Granger. Time for you to be a good girl and give me what I want-" He ripped her panties apart.

"Draco!"

At times like these, Hermione wondered why she even bothered with pretty undergarments when her mate never took the time to appreciate them. He was always more eager to have her out of her clothes to care about what she wore. He liked to joke that since he was no longer one of the richest men around, she should save him the expense of her underwear by not wearing any. While this usually worked in her favour, since she wasn't the kind of witch who spend time grooming and primping herself, on the occasions she did make an effort, it was awful that he didn't notice.

"Fuck!" Draco moaned, slipping his fingers against her wet folds. "You're dripping," he observed, enjoying how easily he could slip one, two, three fingers inside her.

 "Can't wait any longer," he breathed, "Need to be inside you now"

Before she could even think to protest, Draco had aimed his wand at both of them and vanished their clothes. The robes she had worn were hand sewn and far too delicate to have spells directly fired at them, but she thought now may not be the best moment to point that out.

Since their marriage, she had several arguments with Draco on the subject of money. While they were financially secure to some degree, they could not afford to be wasteful with their galleons- a concept Draco was finding harder to come to terms with than he previously imagined. Hermione knew he hated it when they fought about money because it had always been of little consequence to him and she hated having to be the adult who had to nag him about being more responsible with their money. Fortunately, he was smart and didn't need to have the same thing told to him twice, with one exception. When it came to sex, he didn't give any thought to the garments he ruined when he got carried away in his desire for her.

Rather than scolding him for most likely destroying their overpriced dress robes, she raised herself so Draco could line himself with her entrance. Truth be told, she was just as upset with the change in their routine, but having committed herself to a task, she could not bring herself to abandon it. All evening she was patiently waiting for the time when they could return home to show her mate just how much she had missed him.

Draco pulled on her hips and with one quick thrust was all the way inside her. In unison, both sighed in relief- finally joined together after so many days of being apart. Hermione took a moment to rest her forehead against his, before she gripped his shoulders to anchor herself.

Sensing she was ready, Draco began to move her on top of him.

"Missed you -- Missed this -- So good -- Perfect -- Gonna fuck you so hard -- won't be able to leave our bed for a week -- Gonna take you again and again -- Fill you with my seed."

While Draco noisily rambled on, Hermione cried out, feeling him increase his pace. His cock impaled her over and over again, hitting something inside of her that made her want to break apart.

"We're never staying away from each other for this long again," he growled. "It's a wonder I didn't toss you over the table and pound your juicy pussy till everyone knew exactly who you belonged to."

"Yours, mate. All yours," cried Hermione. She should've felt suffocated by his possessive nature, but she didn't. It served as a thrilling reminder of just how much he desired her.

Her orgasm began to build and after successfully teasing him all evening, she could tell it was going to be spectacular for the both of them.

Draco grabbed the back of her neck and pulled her face closer. The kiss that followed was unexpectedly sweet and gentle, a complete contrast to the hard thrust of his hips.

"Mine," he whispered into her mouth. "My wife, my love, my mate ... Don't ever stay away from me."

As handsome as he was, Draco had a harshness about him that made it hard to believe him capable of such tenderness. Hermione was glad she had given this wizard all the chances he needed to make their current relationship possible. Knowing him as she did now, she couldn't imagine anyone more suitable for her.

"Never," she promised.

He changed how he moved- it was slower now- and Hermione thought she might have died and gone to heaven.

"Oh my little witch, you have no idea what your sweet promises do to me," he breathed.

Hermione ground down on him, causing him to hiss.

"Are you ready to come with me, love? Will your pretty pussy come all over my cock?" he asked huskily.

She nodded, so close to the edge her eyes were watering. She squeezed her inner muscles to help them along and wrapped her arms tightly around him, enjoying how it made the hair on his chest rub against her nipples.

Draco's thrusts grew more erratic, he was on the verge of exploding, but held back, waiting for Hermione to climax first. His orgasms always felt so much better when drawn out by hers.

The lovers locked eyes, unwilling to look away from their mate as wave after wave of pleasure washed over them. Either one was unable to tell if they were experiencing their own orgasm or their mate's, they felt so connected in that moment. They held each other close, never losing eye contact as they ground their bodies together, prolonging their climax. They didn't separate even after their climax ended. Hermione snuggled against Draco, running her fingers through his chest hair while he rested his cheek against her head and stroked her back.

They looked out the carriage window; above them, the beautiful night sky glittered with stars and below, the world glowed with the light of lamps. Alone, in a flying carriage, suspended as they were between the two worlds something about the moment assured the couple that everything would be okay. No matter what the future had in store of them, they would be okay so long as they were together.

"Love, don't take this the wrong way, but have you been gaining weight? Your belly feels like-"

Draco stopped himself short. Hermione wasn't a vain witch, but he doubted any woman took kindly to their partner suggesting they were getting fat just after they made love.

Hermione pulled back to look Draco in the eye.

"If you have a problem with my belly now, I can't imagine how you'll react in around seven months," she said, crossing her arms over her chest in a way that emphasised her breasts.

Draco, too distracted at the sight to catch the meaning of her words, tried to explain himself.

"I'm not complaining. Your tits look even more mouth-watering than usual. Merlin! Just the sight makes my cock happy, thinking about sliding-"

Having his brain suddenly catch up to his mouth, Draco stopped his rambling and dragged his eyes away from her tempting body to look closely at her face.

Hermione Granger's lips twisted into a smirk watching realisation dawn on her husband's face. More than a fortnight had passed since she discovered the news herself; however, thanks to the distractions that came with planning the wedding, there was never an opportune moment to tell Draco. She had planned to go home tonight, make love to him and then share her special news.

As Draco looked on at Hermione, mouth gaping open and shut, too dumbstruck to formulate his question, she helped him out.

"Yes, dear, we're having a baby."

THE END