‘there is always some madness in love. but there is always some reason in madness’ – friedrich nietzsche
No one even notices when Draco collapses in a side-corridor with Goyle. Gregory has no idea what to do other than check that Draco is in fact still breathing. Both have inhaled a lot of smoke and he is uneasy on his feet himself. It isn’t like he can safely go and find help either because that would involve leaving Draco passed out in the middle of a battle. Deciding to wait it out, he drags the blond to the side and sits down beside him. It might be better to do nothing than to do the wrong thing and make everything worse.
“What happened though?!”
“I don’t know, Mr Weasley and even if I did I wouldn’t be able to tell you because of patient healer confidentiality! I won’t say it again!” Madam Pomfrey snaps, wand waving in intricate patterns over the still forms of Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. Ron scowls and rubs his hands together, rocking back on his heels, before looking at the door. His mother has lost a son and he should be with her really but his best friends don’t have anyone else, don’t have family that can be called to sit with them. It isn’t a question when it comes down to it. The hospital wing is swarming with Healers brought in from St Mungos, healing the injured and comforting the dying. Too many beds are covered in white sheets like Fred’s body and Ron is convinced it is the only thing keeping his mother away.
“Someone said they heard him say some-”
“One more word and I will throw you out!”
“Fine,” Ron scowls before stomping across the wing to grab a chair and grab it between the two beds. He makes sure not to get in the Healer’s way and takes comfort in the steady rise and fall of their chests. Harry collapsed immediately after taking out Voldemort for good but he had looked shaky and pale from the moment he returned from the forest and Ron can’t imagine the curses that might have been used on him. Voldemort had thought him dead after all.
Hermione had collapsed as Harry did, and that is what worries Ron most. She had been perfectly fine one moment and unconscious the next even though he was sure that she was never hit with anything. They had fought side by side all evening and he had prided himself on managing to keep her safe, even though she had insisted she could protect herself. It just didn’t sit right that they both collapsed and at the same time too. Something else is going on but Ron isn’t Hermione; he can’t just work it out on the spot like she can with only a couple of facts and that is if there is anything to work out at all.
Hermione meanwhile dreams. She dreams of the battle and of her time at Hogwarts. She remembers the fights and all the terrible names that she has been called and Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter both seem to be at the centre of everything. Both Harry and Draco are part of every memory, every feeling, and every dream. With Draco it isn’t the fights and the name calling and the gaunt look in his eyes as Hermione slowly came around to the idea that maybe Harry was right and he was up to something the year before. No, instead it is the smiles he gives his house-mates, the laughs at the Slytherin table and the moments of pure joy he has before the snitch is released on the quidditch pitch when he can just fly freely. It is everything that Hermione has seen but never been part of and somehow it feels like she is meant to be. With Harry it is the feeling of finally having a friend, someone to defend her, and care about her. It seems she dreams of every time she borrowed Hedwig without Harry giving it a second thought, and then it is the nights they pressed together in the tent and hoped they would see the next morning, recalling the good times and laughing despite the despair. She dreams of things that haven't happened, times where she is with both Harry and Draco and they both laugh and smile at her and she feels safe and comforted. They hold each other and pull her into the embrace and she feels safe. Then Draco stops smiling and drifts away from them, into the white light, screaming for Harry and then for her before disappearing completely.
Harry then seems to fade slightly, shadows filling his eyes, and he's calling to her,
"Where is Draco, Hermione? I can't find him!"
"I don't know. I, I don't know, he was here," Hermione answers him, frowning in her sleep because why would she care where Draco Malfoy is? Yet it doesn't sit right with her, him not being there, and she tosses and turns on the bed, mumbling. She had felt safe and now there is a fear in her belly, making her feel sick as she scans the light for a sign of Draco.
"We need him, Hermione, we need him! It hurts, Hermione, it hurts! We need to find him!” Harry screams at her and in the dreams she is crying and reaching for Harry through the white light but she can’t reach him. The more she tries to grab his hand the further away it seems to get and she cries and it hurts in her chest. Panic takes over because she needs to find Draco, needs to reach Harry, needs everything to be together and whole and stop hurting.
"Hermione! Wake up! Hermione!"
"No, no, I need to find them! I need to find them! Harry! Harry, why can't I reach you, H-"
"Wake up!" and suddenly she is awake, being shaken by Ron, his blue eyes worried and wrong because it should be Harry and his green or Draco and his gray.
"Harry, where is Harry?"
"Right here, in the bed next to you. It is o-"
"Draco! Where is Draco?! I need to find him, Ron. We need to find him now! It hurts! Harry says we need to find him!"
"What?" Ron scoffs, pulling away from her slightly in astonishment before Madam Pomfrey is pushing him away and soothing Hermione, waving her wand around and frowning.
"No way she n-"
"Out!" the healer screeches before waving her wand again and physically banishing Ron out of the ward. As the doors close he sees her throw up wards and then a white curtain surrounds her, Hermione and Harry. Other healers carry on as normal and Ron is left sitting on the floor wondering what is going on, and what it has to do with Draco ruddy Malfoy.
“Miss Granger, I need you to remain calm.”
“Yes, but I need to find Draco. It hurts, Madam. It hurts!”
Madam Pomfrey sighs and then smiles, tries to be comforting, stay professional despite not sleeping for hours and constantly being covered in the blood of children. Hysterics are the last thing she needs, especially given her finds. “Miss Granger, I can assure you that I have tested your rigorously during the time you have spent unconscious and apart from a little exhaustion I can assure you that there is nothing wrong with you.”
“But it hurts!”
“Miss Granger, I need you to remain calm.”
“Yes, but I need to find Draco,” Hermione insists. “It hurts! I promise you Madam, I can feel it! And why is Harry unconscious? He won! I saw him! Please tell me he isn’t dead!” Hermione continues, a manic look in her eyes. All she can focus on is the pain in her chest and the need to find Draco and bring him to her and Harry. Dimly, she realises there is something strange about it all but it is a faraway thought that she can’t quite grasp at yet.
“Mr Potter is also suffering from magical exhaustion which is understandable given his extraordinary feats this evening. There is nothing wrong with him as such and he will awake when he is good and ready to,” the nurse explains quietly. “If you explain the pain that you are feeling, I may be able to help you. Also, it might be of some use to know why you require Mr Malfoy’s presence. Did he curse you during the battle at some point?”
“No, I- well I’m not sure why I need Draco,” Hermione admits slowly, frowning, before looking at the blankets and squirming slightly. “I just feel that he needs to be here. It is important for him to be here because I need him and I have to find him but…I don’t know why.”
“He did not curse you?”
“Not that I remember. I…I don’t remember seeing him at all after the …well, there was an incident earlier where we were in a fire, doing something to stop Voldemort but he didn’t curse him. I need to find him though,” she finishes, setting her jaw in determination. “Can I sit next to Harry?”
“You are right next to him dear,” Madam Pomfrey states quietly, starting to put together the information she has.
“I know but I need to be closer.”
The behaviour is strange and the experienced nurse can find no magical reason for it and yet she recognises the manic behaviour, the distraction, the need to find another, and be close to them.
“Very well Miss Granger. You may join Mr Potter on his bed if you wish. Just do not disturb him. He will wake when he is ready. Meanwhile, I wish to take some blood from you for another set of test sand then I think I will see about tracking down young Mister Malfoy.”
Once it is explained that finding the young Malfoy may lead her to finding out what is wrong with his master Madam Pomfrey finds Harry Potter’s elf to be of great assistance. With a determined nod he disappears with a crack only to reappear mere minutes later with a stunned Gregory Goyle and an unconscious Draco Malfoy.
Goyle gives her a similar account to the one given by Ron Weasley. One moment Draco seemed fine and the next he was unconscious on the floor with no curses in sight and without having sustained any wounds. The Malfoy family name is what gets Madam Pomfrey thinking. There had always been rumours but not in all her years of treating either Draco or his father had Poppy been given cause to believe that they were true. Yet the way they had all collapsed at once, the way one had awoken and instantly become manic with the need to find two others, fixated on the one furthest away were classic symptoms of veela fever, sparked by the separation of newly bonded mates. Hermione's muggleborn ancestry threw Poppy at first but genes can remain dormant and the magic in her had to have come from somewhere in the healer's mind.
The Potters had never been so obsessed with blood purity as any of the old names and so it wasn't too farfetched to think they had magical creature blood in their veins. The fever would never show on any tests because they were human tests and now it seemed these young adults were nothing of the sort. The blood tests for Hermione confirm her veela status and Poppy decides to take Draco to her before checking him or Harry. Left untreated the fever will slowly drive Hermione insane with the need to find her mate, even if she doesn't even know that they are bonded.
"Draco," Hermione breathes, as soon as Poppy levitates him around the curtain she had erected previously. Her eyes become glassy with tears and she slips from the bed towards the one she had previously occupied where Poppy now places Draco. Reaching for him she begins to talk quietly and stroke his face. Knowing the history of the three students in front of her, Poppy sighs and wonders how she will possibly explain once they are lucid or if she will even have to. She has never treated veela and has no idea if the bond will take their freewill, force them to be accepting of the bond. It seemed unfair given they had only just got their lives back. Another obstacle to be thrown Harry's way, she thinks to herself while moving around to his bed. She is almost certain that he doesn't know. Given the nature of his injuries over the years she would have been able to treat him so much more effectively if she had known. There are different potions that can be given to veela, higher doses, and they could have saved him many nights in the hospital wing and saved a lot more worry for the people that loved him. She includes herself in that. Never has she spent so much time with a student since Remus Lupin.
The news of his death still stings.
Pressing her wand to his arm she takes the blood sample she needs and runs the test, nodding to herself when it confirms positive before turning back to the other bed.
"Hermione, I need to do a blood test on Draco now. I think I know what has happened," she says carefully, aware that a newly bonded veela can become aggressive if they feel their mate is provoked. She has no idea if there is enough veela blood in Hermione to force a transformation and has no intention of finding out through demonstration. Her magical knowledge and skills are a deterrent enough. Making sure to approach slowly she does the test and confirms her theory.
The trio are a set of newly bonded veela who apparently neither realise they are veela nor know that they have bonded. Wonderful.
Ron doesn’t take the news of the trio’s isolation well, not that he knows that there are three of them in the room. Madam Pomfrey knows of his feud with Malfoy and has no desire to set him off. He informs his family, and all those concerned, that Harry and Hermione are suffering from magical exhaustion from the battle and their time in the wild. His guilt at abandoning them when they needed him most stops him asking many more questions, and he devotes his time during their recovery to keeping people away from them.
He gives answers he doesn’t really have and gives them time.
Meanwhile, Hermione falls in and out of restless sleeps. In a back room of the hospital wing they are placed in three beds side by side but Harry and Draco don't wake for days. Hermione finds that food seems bland to her now, books uninteresting, and the outside world of no interest. There are only her mates and when they will awaken. Madam Pomfrey gives her books on the subject but the words blur on the page and she can't focus. When she dreams it is of Harry and Draco and the white light. She can never reach them.
"You have to find him for me," Harry pleads with her.
"I need Harry," Draco adds, over and over again. Need. Need. Want. Want. Mine. His. Hers. Them. The dreams drive her to tears because they won't wake and she doesn't know how to make them. They talk of each other and of her and being together and it doesn't make any sense because the longer she spends in the hospital wing the more she remembers she doesn't even like Draco and Harry is only a friend but then there is the need, want, hers and when Madam Pomfrey brings them food Hermione itches for the wand that hasn't been given back to her. Hers.
"I want to wake up." Draco insists to her during a restless nap.
"I don't know how to help you," Hermione pleads with him. "They say it is the fever but you should be awake by now! They don't know why you're not awake!"
"You know how to wake us up."
"You're the smartest witch of your age." Harry whispers to her and suddenly she is awake and sweating and rolling over into her pillow and growling in frustration. Taking a piece of parchment and a quill that have been left for her, she starts to write down some of the facts and feelings. Her mind is a raging conflict. It doesn't seem fair that she is bonded to them and yet when she writes down ideas for reversing the bond she almost works her way into a panic attack because that cannot happen. She won't let it, she insists to herself, silent tears streaming down her face when she remembers that it is her that is trying to work out how. She feels like she is slowly losing her mind.
Still they won't wake. Still they plague her dreams and beg her to bring them together and wake them up so they can be together. She wants it so much and yet it terrifies her because she was a muggleborn wasn't she? There was never meant to be anything special about her. Now she is special, magical in ways she could never have imagined before. Slowly, she comes to accept it and with her acceptance comes the change.
It is nearly ten days after Lord Voldemort's defeat that Harry slowly comes to, blinking twice before finding himself smothered by his best friend.
"Oh Harry, thank Merlin that you're awake!" she cries, literally, into his shoulder as he glances around the room in confusion. It feels perfectly natural to have Hermione in his arms and though he can hardly see his surroundings he shivers at the mere thought of letting her go. And yet something feels like it is missing. Draco. Panic bubbles in his chest. He needs to find Draco and he needs to find him now.
"He's here," Hermione whispers. "He is in the bed over there see? We're all here."
“Where is here?”
“Hospital wing. We’re in a private room at the back because of….because of what we are and the fever.”
“Don’t you remember the dreams?”
“Oh,” Hermione sighs softly. She hadn’t been expecting this, thinking that Harry and later Draco would remember the dreams and the talks they had. Perhaps it is because he has just woken up, or perhaps she just really is going insane. “You’ve been unconscious for over a week. Ten days to be precise. Madam Pomfrey says that…well she says that we are vela, all three of us. I swear I didn’t know I was one but…apparently I am. When we were in the room of requirement we must have started a bond. Draco must have stronger blood than us see and it sparked, well, this. We’re mates now. We’re bonded for life.”
Harry stares at her for a few seconds and then promptly reaches for his glasses, ramming them onto his face before studying Hermione’s face. She is now curled into his side; her hand pressed to his chest and looks completely serious. Glancing over at the other bed he sees Draco lying there peacefully and feels a strange urge to go to him, touch him, and make sure that he is alright. He thinks of everything he has read or heard about vela and comes to the conclusions by himself to Hermione’s obvious relief.
“So, we’re…mates, all three of us? And this bond thing is the reason I don’t want to punch him in the face? And we were apart and I heard that isn’t er good so we passed out?”
Hermione frowns and opens and closes her mouth several times, more herself now that one of her mates is awake, debating whether to explain things properly as she would usually but instead she just shrugs, “That is about it.”
Harry blinks and glances at the other bed again. “I’d like to pretend to be shocked but…this is me and I guess even after killing Voldemort I couldn’t be normal. When will he wake?”
“When he is ready. When we’re settled. I don’t know. It is weird but…I’ve read stuff over the past few days and of course I’ve talked to Madam Pomfrey and one of the other healers and I’m not mad anymore? Sometimes I think clearly and I was but…the thought of changing it-”
“We can’t! We just can’t! Harry blurts out suddenly, making Hermione smile and curl into him more.
“Terrifies me,” she finishes quietly. “Maybe the bond is making me think differently but I guess there are worse things. I can still think. I-I guess I wanted to feel like it was slavery or something but I can’t. I just can’t. It feels…natural. It feels like I fit now, in this world. I know Draco is…difficult but if we’re affected like this then maybe he is willing to try?”
“I’m willing,” a hoarse voice answers from the other bed. Startled Hermione pushes up on Harry’s chest, making him wince, before they both fumble to get to their feet and reach a confused looking Draco. Harry’s tired and weary legs don’t support him and he more falls the meter from one bed to another, gripping hard onto the edge of Draco’s mattress and shifting until he can sit on the edge. Hermione scurries around the bed to the other side and tentatively sits on Draco’s left. They glance at each other for a moment before Draco gasps and reaches for her. They melt into each other and Harry sighs before allowing himself to fall into the pair.
“I don’t understand,” Draco begins, his voice cracking slightly. He winces and Hermione whines before pulling away from him and crossing the room to get him a glass of water. The action makes both Harry and Draco feel deeply uncomfortable and they both stare and follow her actions the whole way.
“I just woke up,” Harry offers, “so I’m not much better. Apparently we’re veelas, formed a bond after the fire incident and have been out cold for 10 days from separation issues.”
Draco turns to look at him, stares for a second, and then smirks, “Sounds like your sort of luck, Potter. Just had to get me involved didn’t you?”
“I like making your life difficult,” Harry returns with a grin.
“This bond, it impacts our minds? I should be, frankly, rather pissed off,” says Draco, frown creasing his face as he looks between the other two. He is used to hating this pair with a passion and he can’t bring himself to muster any sort of negative feeling towards him. Harry is his. Hermione is his. They belong together. He can feel something pulling, something that hurt when Hermione crossed the room. They make him feel safe in a way he hasn’t for a long time perhaps not since he was a young child.
“It seems to…help us get along? I’ve been so worried about you, Draco and yet I remember hating you with a passion,” Hermione admits softly, “I can’t help myself though. Neither Harry or I knew anything when we woke up but you…”
“Offered to try and I didn’t even know at what. Not sure I like that. It is a very Gryffindor attitude to have towards life,” Draco remarks but Harry and Hermione can hear the tease in his voice. Already it seems there is another side to Draco, one that isn’t totally impacted by the bond and one they might be able to get on with. “I never knew I was a veela. I mean, people said things but I didn’t know.”
“Neither did I,” Harry says slowly, confused, “All that time I spent in here and they never noticed?”
“I didn’t know either. Apparently they are just bad at detecting these things. If we had known maybe we could have…” Hermione starts before trailing off. Both men look down. None of them want to mention preventing their bond now. The thought hurts.
“We’ve a lot to work out,” Draco mutters. “And…the Dark Lord is he?”
“Gone. Harry killed him for good,” Hermione says with a smile, glancing at the man in question to see him sigh in relief. He knew before but it feels good to hear it.
“I’ll still have…I mean, questions and such,” Draco mutters and both Harry and Hermione glance at his pyjama covered arm.
“We’ll be with you. I don’t understand any of this but I’m not letting go of it without a fight. I feel happy right now, content. The thought of losing you physically hurts so even if this is weird I think…well I think I want to keep it,” Harry states adamantly, Hermione nodding along with him.
“You’ve known about this for how long? Gryffindors,” Draco exclaims, but he is smiling and Hermione shoves him playfully in the shoulder.
“Your Gryffindors though. Besides, are you saying you want out?”
Horror flashes through him and he scowls and shoves her back softly, “You know I’m not.”
“I should tell Pomfrey that you are both awake,” says Hermione. “Ready to let the world in?”
“Not in the slightest, but then I’ve never been ready for any of my adventures so let’s do it,” Harry scowls.
“Right. I’ll fetch her. In a minute. Or two.”
“How about we just let them find us?” Draco says, “I want to talk about this more without us being poked and prodded and whatever else.
Harry and Hermione agree and curl into Draco, both aware that their actions are strange and would have repulsed them only a few short days before and yet it feels right and natural. Something pulls them together, something inside that they can’t control but only listen to and follow. His. Hers. Them.