Valebis

We have lost even this twilight...

(Draco)

..No one saw us this evening hand in hand
while the blue night dropped on the world. (Pablo Neruda)


In retrospect.

Ah what a luxury it would be if after this very encounter I will be able to do any retrospection at all.

No, like everything else with Harry Potter, the jumper, the leaper, the pusher, the seeker…

There is no time for retrospection. He is a flood, a tsunami that will rush you away from any sane thinking before you jump in and make the stupidest decision of your life.

Or the most brilliant one. It remains to be seen.

It is no wonder why my Veela chose Harry Potter as my mate.

There is seriously nothing that can match this wild, broken creature that takes command like he was born to do the very thing.

The hero-worship is only fair. Now, I think.

Because a lesser man could not do things that Harry Potter did.

From sacrifice to sacrilege.

He owns it all.

And it is never more apparent to me than at this very moment. Why he owns me, without even having a clue about it.

I never stood a chance.

Even after everything, and especially the fate he unknowingly bind me to, I have still strived to be a creature worthy of him. In courage and in deeds. Even when there was no chance that he will even know or see what I have accomplished for him and only him. The relentless work. The washing out of all old and dangerous beliefs. The purity and celibacy. Tolerance, benevolence, devotion and modesty. All of it for him.

At this moment he stands looking at me like I am a most fascinating and strange creature that has just crawled out of a book he read long time ago, my wrist is wrapped in his grip.

Strong, scorching and maddening.

I never even imagined that this moment would come. This is the answer to all my unuttered prayers.

I can only thank Merlin for the woolen gloves his hand is swaddled in, or heaven knows what would be the scenario right now.

And it is not just the primal veela that is in danger of slipping out of control.

It is also me.

It was not just the veela that suffered all this time.

I did too.

Longing for touch, love, friendship, familiarity.

Counting down days.

In this moment, this very moment, it all becomes the clearest. Why I have chosen this path, because when you are faced with as big a situation? Task? Tragedy? as mine, you lose sight of it because of its size, there is only so much a small human mind can perceive at a time. So it is good to have it all simplified in front of you, for you to see the whole picture.

Due to the rejection, I am bound to waste away and die.

I have only survived this long because of the magic I have used and mastered all these years.

But like a deadly virus, my veela magic and instinct forms immunity to all the repression.

If I do not choose this path, this particular path, things would still deteriorate slowly but surely.

The poison of rejection and longing has been eating away at my soul for twenty years.

But that is not all it eats away at.

A couple of heats more and I will start losing my coherency, my sanity. Until I am nothing but a writhing mess of pain and waste. No longer able to keep care of myself. Nothing but a source of continuous torture to those who care for me.

Before I eventually waste away due to destabilized and desolate magical core and starvation.

It is a horrible prospect and a painful death. One you would not even wish on your worst enemies.

My coming to London will change things.

This path that I have chosen will speed up the process.

Had I not come here and continued the way I was going, I would have still died over a period of 5-7 years. This way, I can cut short the agony and go quicker even if not necessarily cleaner.

I am sure no one would begrudge me.

I could not choose my life, but they cannot begrudge me the choice of my death.

And why would I die? Why would the process be sped up?

Withdrawal. After close proximity of my one true mate for so many days so close to the heat, and then returning home the heat will be more severe. The withdrawal will be more caustic; it will be much faster and do more damage.

I might still be looking at a few months.

But that is better than a few years.

How I will rip myself away and into withdrawal when even with all suppression I can barely breathe in his proximity?

That is a question for another time and retrospection.

A part of me is scolding myself that I should not have just followed him out like this, what is he about to do to me? Torture? Take me to the authorities?

The other part of me wishes he would. Wishes he would torture me.. at least he would be touching me. Paying attention to me, concentrated on me, only me. Marking this flesh that has gone unclaimed for so so long.

I hate this part of me with a vengeance.

There is a third part of me that is still wallowing in self-pity and it is a shame that that is the part that is also paying attention at the time.

"You were travelling to England in December and that is what you decided to wear?"

The question registers a few moments later, and I realize that it is extremely cold.

'So now you care about me being cold? When you did not even wait for me to put my cloak on? So scared you were that I would touch your children somehow and contaminate them with my death-eater filth? Because that is what I am, am I not? Death-eater scum? No matter what I do and how much I have changed that is what I will remain. And you and your people accused my kin of bigotry? '

Then there is the fourth part the one that resents this man in front of me with a passion. The one that never listens to any kind of explanation or justification or even facts, the one that feels the abandonment most acutely and thrives on it and the one that will not know what to do if ever all my wishes came to fruition... Not that they ever will.

I realize that my head is filling up with too many voices.

His eyes, green green eyes are trained on my… cloak. A little… worried? How do I keep myself safe from these laser beam eyes. Why does he not wear those miserable glasses anymore?

No, don't fall into that trap.

Indifference is the best policy…

"It is adequate, were I given a chance to actually put it on before…"

There is an old flash in his eyes. Is it hatred? It is very muted to be hatred, but then again, everything about him is muted, weak… a little worn out.

He guides me into an apparition booth and then steps inside it. Thankfully the space is not too narrow, I am already on edge enough as it is.

I am glad he doesn't linger, clearly his decision is made. Whatever is about to happen to me at his hands is a risk I took in coming here, though that is not what I am really worried about, pain is one thing I am sure I can endure. No, at this point, I think it would be the opposite that will do me most harm.

I hardly keep track of where he has taken me. It is true, that London is not at all what it used to be when I was young. Especially with all of it on an apparition and disapparition lock down. An impossible feat and accomplished by a young muggle-born graduate straight out of Hogwarts almost a decade ago. The rumor was that it was somehow done via the microwaves that muggle mobile phones use to communicate. Though it was dismissed quickly. The wizarding world had been in an uproar in the beginning. But eventually the fall in crime-rate was impressive enough to make people stop mumbling about the inconvenience. The method had trickled down to the rest of Europe and eventually to America as well with its burgeoning wizarding colonies.

He apparates us to a back alley and I expect some violence, but it does not come. He simply guides me out of it and leads me to the main entrance of what looks like a very generic though tolerable apartment complex.

The man on the reception sends a playful yet cautious salute towards my companion who returns it nonchalantly with a nod. The man is not a wizard, but neither a muggle, a squib then, and in awe of Boy-wonder. It is clear enough in the way his eyes follow his hero, and fodder for his late night fantasies.

And he has all the reasons to. This man that I am following to god knows where might be the most popular wizard to ever grace Britain after perhaps Merlin himself. A hero to the last drop of his blood and a formidable wizard, which I can easily tell by the sheer power he exudes unaware of it with every breath he takes. He is perhaps the most powerful wizard in Britain and as many people believe in the world.

Or he was, until today.

Because just like he does not know how powerful he himself is.

He does not have the slightest idea that I just might be even more powerful than him.

In fact I am this powerful because of him alone. I am so powerful that it is killing me slowly. There is only so much magic one's body can control, without getting its own sustenance.

So if he has brought me here to incarcerate me, interrogate me, torture me.

He has another thing coming.

I will not be side-tracked from my mission.

I will not let him hijack my life and my death any more than he has already done. Intentionally or unintentionally.

There is a child's life at stake, his child's. And I will not let petty grudges hold me back. Not mine, not his, not anyone else's

"You are being incredibly cooperative."

His tone is wry, but I am all ready and coiled like a snake, ready for the strike if it comes to that. I know full well that I can never harm him physically, but I can surely hold him down. It takes some effort, but I do not rise to the bait.

"Oh… and while you are being cooperative, why don't you hand me over your wand?"

No.

Just no.

It is not possible.

I look up at him, hoping, praying…

Praying that he does not know.

Hoping and praying that he did not know the implication of taking my wand all those years ago.

Not then, and not now. Because, I would never be able to reconcile myself with the fact that the rejection was inflicted upon me intentionally. That I was rejected intentionally and knowingly twenty years ago.

A flash of a second and I do not know what he sees in my face but a flash of worry passes on his.

"Just so you don't get any ideas…" he says, brows furrowed in controlled concern.

It grounds me.

I root deep down inside myself in that second and find that I do not feel compelled to give him my wand. No, it was just a suggestion. Not an order.

I can almost faint with relief. He does not know the power he yields on me. He is still innocent in this whole mess.

The lift decides to open at that moment and I am only too happy to step out swiftly, keeping in mind the decision I had come to earlier. I did not come this far to get side-tracked.

Reassuring myself and the Veela inside me that I am doing this only for demonstration purposes and in no way to harm him, I turn around as fast as I can as my wand flies to my hand and in a blink of an eye it is pressed against his neck.

"Is this the kind of idea you were thinking about Potter?"

He looks startled for a moment, genuinely startled, which then turns into mirth. He is smiling now and I for the life of me cannot figure out why. Does he know of my impotence when it comes to harming him? Does he know of my weakness? Is he a thrill junkie? Does he like being in danger? Pain?

"Why are you smiling?" I can't help but ask, and that is all it takes. My distraction.

He flicks his wrist and I feel my faithful olive wand hum in response, but it doesn't budge, thank goodness that I am in control enough. The other wand on my person though is another story all together.

It flies into his hand like that is the most familiar thing for it to do.

I now remember once again with full clarity why I had to get a new one made.

I am seeing it happening. Why that wand was never mine again. Like its previous owner, it had surrendered to its abductor. Traitor.

What is peculiar is the expression on Potter's face the moment the wand is in his hands again.

Tenderness.

"Hello again old friend…" he whispers to it like you would an old friend that was always a little more than a friend.

It is obscene, and cruel and possibly the most beautiful thing I have seen. The way his fingers are touching its groves and stains. The way the wand is humming in his fingers.

I can't deal with it. The idea that he can bestow such tenderness on something that became the reason for my doom and at the same time my eternal connection to him. I don't know if I should hate it or adore it.

All I know is I can't deal with it at this very moment.

And while he is standing there and not attacking me and might listen to reason, I take my chance.

"If I had some nefarious designs on your family Potter, this would not be the way I would go about it." I start, but my voice is not with me as much as I would like it to be.

Seeing that there is no way else to do it, I lower my wand turn a little and lean against the wall. Feeling more tired than I could ever imagine being, though I am not actually. It is almost not worth the trouble.

""Then what is the meaning of this? What is meaning of your being here? Showing up after twenty years?"

The mistrust shows on his face.

Time to start spinning.

In the end, the unbreakable vow is the only thing that holds any weight with him.

"You know, I can arrest you right now, for even speaking of doing it…" his eyes are shining though. He will agree and fall just right with my plans with just a little more persuasion.

"I know that you can, but I also know that you won't Potter. I have no fear in making it, because I truly intend to treat your daughter to the best of my abilities, which are considerable, as your son will assure you. And though in general I would take it as an insult to my abilities and character, I will spare you just this once due to our…history."

He snorts sarcasm. As the lift door closes

"Oh yes, the history where you were a baby death eater and son and grandson of a death eater with a grudge against me the size of the Great Wall of China from the moment we first met. Forgive me if I don't just hand over the safety of my child, or any child into your hands, on a platter."

The words are cruel. But we have said much worse to each other. Were it not for my peculiar disposition, I would not feel them cut me to the quick the way they do. But being passive will not help in this situation. I need my full concentration to accomplish my task and I need to address this issue before it compromises my ability.

"Do you know, calling me a death-eater is not much different than when I called you a filthy half-blood, and Hermione Granger a Mudblood? It is just as wrong because just like you were born into your legacy, I was born into mine, but I worked years in penance of something I was born into and forced into. I turned my head around. I have cured as many muggles as I have magical folks. From Leukemia to Asthma, from Dragon pox to Daenaryen syndrome, so think really hard about that and what you will be teaching your children before you call me a death-eater in front of them. Think how it does not make you a hair's breadth better now than I was at my worse."

He is staring at me. I can see it reflected on the inside of the lift door. Before the air shifts and he is able to counter that with a reply, the lift slides open.

This time I stop him pointedly just before stepping out of the entrance of the building and shrug myself into my cloak.

"What is that thing even made of?" he asks as he steps out behind me.

I smirk at his tone. He sounds testy, a little whiny. Did I hit the spot with my anti-bigotry speech? A look at his petulant frown tells me that I have.

I want to kiss it all away.

I better not.

"It's a gift actually. A magical travelling cloak, woven by the Mountain elves out of Fawnish sheep's fur."

"Really? I thought fawnish sheep were extinct." In a most inappropriate gesture he is rubbing the material on my sleeve between his fingers, so very close to my pulse and looking really closely at it, bringing him inappropriately closer to me in proximity.

His hair smells of citrus and sandalwood.

It is the most captivating smell that I have ever inhaled in my life.

It is the smell of paradise and belonging.

Of home.

Of…

Tenderness washes over me. He is in such despair. It is in his scent. He is so tired, exhausted, so worried. He is hiding it all. The pain of seeing his most beloved child in such a state. I smell tears, all of them, for they all leave a trace behind.

If only I could take it all away. If only I could offer him comfort the way only I can. If only I could spread my wings and enfold him in them and sing away all this melancholy. A song only for him.

If only.

"It is extraordinary…" he says stepping back from me bringing me out of my reverie.

I swallow down the strained muscles of my throat that I am sure will not be able to utter a word but coo and give away everything. Where would I be then?

"A gift from mountain elves though?"

"Yes, I cured their head of tribe from magic mushroom poisoning when their own healers failed."

"hmmm… that is something I guess." He says as he turns and makes his way to the back alley again and castes a hasty tempus.

It is hard to believe that we have been able to come to an agreement in less than half of an hour.

Taking my wrist again, which is unnecessary at this point, but I don't object, we disapparate back to the hospital.

Just as we both step out of the apparition booth, he stops me with a hand on my arm.

"You will not tell anyone, especially Albus, about the thing we just agreed upon."

I want to ask why, but I don't and simply nod in agreement.

"It is because he has full faith in you for some reason, and I don't want him to think that I do not trust his judgment, but I still need this reassurance from you and so it shall remain between you, me and Hermione."

"Hermione?" No, this was the one thing I would only share with him by my own will. Am I to make the vow with Granger? Because Harry Potter can't….

"Yes, Hermione, I want her to be a witness and bonder of the vow between us."

So it is going to be between us.

Finally, something between us witnessed, held important, willingly by both parties, even if it has consequence of death attached to it. It is a beautiful thing.


"I know this might not be appropriate at the moment, but I must tell you, that I am secretly one of your biggest fans."

I look up at the boy, standing with a demure stance but somewhat excited and anxious at the same time.

Not totally gay, bisexual. I just use the eye brow arch that flusters all Potters for some reason into answering and explaining without delay. It is proving to be more useful than words ever were. As I expected he scrambles into answering, while I look down to the more detailed charts of my patient. Making mental notes. This is the very kind of multi-tasking I am used to because of Aali, who thinks me looking through records is a free pass for him to babble on and on and on non-stop and later be cross with me if I missed something. Usually plebian things, but often important intellectual ideas and aspirations.

"Uh… I stumbled upon your 7th year potions notebook in the common room, the annotations alone got me an O in my final coursework potions project. I worked on the extraction methods of the cultivated Romona-bloodpods and their uses out of the general blood cleansing arena. Your notes were… inspiring."

Romona-bloodpods, I remember my fascination with the nasty buggers clearly. I usually kept them in my trunk to keep Crabbe and Goyle out of it.

Wait a minute.

Common room? What were my books and notebooks doing in the Gryffindor common room?

He did say common room.

"You found them in the common room?" I ask still looking at the chart.

"Yes, in the… secret compartment behind the cobra head…"

Now I do look up at him. To see him smiling.

"Yes, I am a Slytherin too."

And out of the many bizarre things in life that I have heard.

That has to be the most bizarre! Harry Potter's son in Slytherin?

" And how did that work out for you?" I ask him without meaning to.

"Pretty good actually. I graduated head boy. Quidditch Captain and cup winner, And with the House-cup to Slytherin too. Three consecutive years."

"Good, that is impressive… A seeker then? Like your father I suppose…?"

"Oh no! Keeper… That one is the seeker. Was going to really follow in Dad's footsteps and be one of the youngest seekers , but she…" He bites his cheek and looks away from his sister. I look down at the girl. Long dark red curls that must have shined like embers when she was healthy and vital. Skin is fair and slightly freckled though it is more pallid and brittle now. Though her structure right now is gaunt I can tell that she has the perfect seeker physique, slender but swift and strong. She is a pretty girl. A pretty girl who would one day turn the heads of boy wizards everywhere.

I just have to make sure that her life does get to that stage.

I take a deep breath, put the clip board just by her feet covered in that awful light green sheet, hospital issue. The atmosphere itself is too brooding, too melancholy and Lily Potter needs positive energy around her, not residual energy of deaths and decays and pain and sadness surrounding her. A remain of those who stayed in this very room before her.

" …" I quickly glance at the glass door, out of which I can see Granger and Potter standing close and in deep conversation. By the looks of it, Granger is disapproving. Of course she is. I was the cruelest to her.

"… I think you had the right idea. This environment is not doing any good to her, and I do work with energies, if I were to take over her treatment, the first step that I would take without delay would be to move her out of here, to some place where she has always been most content and at ease."

"I had a feeling about that Ustad. I have studied a few of your cases and I know a little about energies, I already have had arrangements made in the town house, here in London. There is a Huge ladies saloon on the third floor, which was her favorite room in the house, she never really liked it all that much at Godric's Hollow…"

He pauses for a few seconds and I know there is something else he wants to say. I encourage it. If I can form a good relationship with this one, it will give me a better chance at working.

"…Ustad Beyazlamak, I wanted to apologize for this…." here he shoots a glance at the glass door too where now Potter is looking away while Granger rubs his arm in a comforting way. Yielding.

"Whatever it is, I am sorry that…some people are unable to look past old prejudices and realize what a truly great healer you are, whatever may your past be… all that should matter is what and who you are now…"

"That is easier said than done Mr. Potter. It may be easy for you to look past the prejudices because you have not witnessed the true darkness of discrimination and war that prejudice brings. Don't be too quick to judge people who have suffered it."

"That statement only increases my respect for your … That you would defend…"

At that moment the door slides open and two parts of the Golden trio step inside.

Potter looks weary and Granger wary.

Correction : She is Weasley now. Mrs. Weasley.

"How are you Draco? It has been a long time." She says after a few moments of tense silence.

Draco.

It seems such an alien word now.

Correction : I will call her Granger.

"Let us not waste time in pleasantries Granger, I need to know if you have reached a decision."

Her eyes widen for a moment and then finally after a few blinks her expression eases. She looks at Potter furtively.

"You do know that it is Weasley now don't you?" she says.

"Do I look like I care?" I say with all the Malfoy arrogance I can conjure.

An honest to god smile splashes on her face.

"No, you don't… and that is good… We have come to decision and we have agreed that you should be given a chance." I can tell that he is signaling to me that we are doing the unbreakable vow. I nod at him and turn to Potter junior.

"Please make arrangements for her to be transported to the place you were just now talking about. Make sure that she gets the largest space which gets a lot of natural light, solarium perhaps?"

The young Potter does not even look at his father for any confirmation and swiftly steps out.

"Why? Why are you moving her?" Granger asks.

I heave a sigh. Feeling the slight weariness of nerves. The Potion is still working but it is now on decline.

"I am an …alternate magical methods healer Granger. I work most with magical and spiritual energies. And for that I need space, not to forget that this place already has a boat load of negative residual energies. They are too stifling and will interfere with my work. I need room for security, runes work and precautions and I will also need easy access to a Potions brewing lab."

"Albus has one at the town house. I don't think he would mind sharing it seeing that you have already hired him as your minion."

"I don't think it is wise to antagonize Draco, Harry." Says little Granger, always the sound of reason and too much sound in general.

"I am not antagonizing Hermione…I'm just..."

"Patronizing?" I cut in. "I couldn't care less Granger, it does not matter to me what Potter thinks. What matters to me is that I get what I want so that I can do my optimum best with the task at hand."

"Task at hand? Is that all, my daughter and her life is to you? A task? Is that how your treatment works? Objectifying your patients? You unfeeling Bastard!"

"That is hardly fair Harry!" Granger tries to come to my defense again.

"Yes, that is exactly what this is to me, a task, a mission, for accomplishment of which - if you have not forgotten - I have forfeited my life. Forgive me if I do not humanize her too much like you have done and compromise my abilities as a healer like you have done with your Auror skills."

There is pin-drop silence in the room for a few seconds. While his widened eyes are fixed on me and Granger is shaking her head slightly as if involuntarily and I am slowly coming to the horrible realization that I may have just pushed him over the edge and that he might ask me to leave with the very next words that come out of his mouth.

But what actually comes out is..

"Alright…" He turns away and sits on one of the three chairs situated just near the door, hunched and curled in. Tiredness oozes out of him in waves. For a moment I can imagine holding him in comfort, curled around him, soothing him. I rip my mind off of that tragic yet glorious image.

"That is just right… I have… Now I know that this might just work… I realize… that you are not here to be nice and for my comfort… I get that… I envy you your detachment, just…"

"Granger… I think we should do the Vow, right now, If only because it will reassure Potter and avoid any kind of second guessing of my methods or motives once my work is in progress."

Granger looks down at Potter who does not look anywhere but at the floor in defeat. His profile a little more grey.

"Harry?" she reaches for him with her hand, how easy it looks. How comfortable and familiar as her hand touches his dense black incorrigible hair. Out of all the things that were denied me, this one cuts the deepest. There was never a chance that I could have had this. Not for a moment, not for a second. I turn away from it all, feeling a pain in my chest, it grounds me, this pain, this one familiar thing that has always been my companion over the decades. This pain is my reality, not my surroundings, not the nearness of him, this pain is what I have, and this is why I am here. To be at one with this pain and to be free of it forever. I have had years of self-pitying, now is not that time for it.

I am silently thankful for the Potion. It effects may be waning, but it is still helping me hold my own in his presence and think logically.

I look down at the girl again and imagine what colour her eyes must be? I will get to see soon I know. A most extraordinary green like her father? A striking but common blue of her mother? Perhaps both, a blue green similar to the Lake at Hogwarts? This little girl, a product of love between her parents. I know that even imagining that hurts, but, this is something I could not have given him. This precious gift. This child that has become the link to bring me out of my exile. I don't know when my hand reaches out at cups that slight cheek, shaped so much like her fathers. Her skin feels delicate, soft but a little rigid in my palm. Such a pretty girl. I can tell she had been suffering before she was put in stasis, the dark circles around her eyes and the greyish pallor is indication enough. And now she is even worse. Frozen in time without even the luxury of dreams. A child should always be able to dream. Dreams help through pain. What if she was having a nightmare when they put her stasis? She would be stuck in it all this time. I hate even the thought of that because I know exactly what that feels like. I feel it deep in my heart that I must pull her out of it.

'Just a little longer, little flower.' I pray to her.

"Draco?" I look up to see Granger looking at me with a strange expression. A little worried and a little.. shocked.

"I don't think we should waste any more time. I need to do my own tests as well." I say taking my hand away from the Child's cheek and standing straighter.

"Yes, we are ready now. Harry wants to say the words."

In that moment I realize.

I will have to touch him.

I watch in dread as he undoes the buttons of his Dark blue robe, unraveling his dark grey shirt underneath, that fits him like… No. I should not look. I pry my eyes away and start unbuttoning my own light grey robe, one of many in the same colour with varying shades.

I unclasp my right cuff and roll the sleeve up to my elbow. Looking closely at it, covertly and critically to see if the potion has worn off enough to start showing the… strangeness that my skin would certainly take in his presence. I am still not sure about his touch.

No, don't think about that. I brace myself the best I can and gather control from all little nooks and crannies of my consciousness before I turn around and find him standing there only a foot or two between us. His eyes flitter to my left arm, I haven't rolled up that sleeve. Is he looking for the dark mark? What would his reaction be if I turned my sleeve up and showed him the unmarked skin? No mark can remain on a mature veela permanently except the one made by their one true mate. Everything else fades with time.

I kneel slowly looking straight into his green eyes, he looks baffled…

"What are you doing?"

"Kneeling obviously, as per requirement of the Unbreakable Vow." I say and look toward Granger tp concur with me. But Granger is busy staring at her Magitab. Of course she would have a Magitab. She probably has the whole Hogwarts and British library of magic stored in there. I make a mental note of getting one for Aali from here on my way back. He has been pushing for one for a while now if his wish-list is anything to go by. A few seconds pass before she looks up and finds me kneeling in front of a standing Potter and her brows shoot up.

I realize what we must look like.

But I am a Malfoy, I am never in the wrong, and I don't care about implications and I am too graceful to be so… lewd.

"Harry, he is right, you have to kneel."

Looking a little reluctant he decides to kneel, his auror issue tough pants with patches of dragon skin on the knees stretch with the movement and make me realize that I wouldn't care much about lewdness at all and most probably abandon all grace in a heartbeat to have those strong legs so tantalizing wrapped in toughened corduroy, wrapped around me. Mine, all mine…STOP!

I clear my throat trying to erase the image. Oh Gods of the Orient! Please give me strength.

It is ironic really, that the official Veela bonding ceremony also takes place in the exact same position where the veela and bonded mate kneel in front of the head of Veela order and witnesses and exchange vows.

This is the best I am going to get. The pain of death. Weight of an unbreakable vow, no chance of even a friendly hand shake after. He hates me too much.

Why do you hate me so much? Why do I love you so much when I don't even want to?

Because I love you, and it is not just the veela and the chosen mate.

I put my hand and wrist forward.

'With this hand I offer my devotion, my fidelity, my love, my body, my soul and my instinct'

He takes it without hesitation. The temperature of his skin higher than mine, his palms a little moist and warm and scorching and I am falling apart, I am going to disintegrate right in front of his eyes and he won't notice. Would he notice? I will die the moment that hands lets go of mine. How will I survive? Who am I kidding? I won't! I won't survive.

But I hold through. Think of the child. Think of the task, the mission. My life is counterfeit anyway. The pain won't matter for much long, the desire will give way to sheer madness and agony of withdrawal when all is done.

Hold it together!

"According to this, after the bonder says the intention in their own magical language, that the first, that is you Harry, will ask a certain number of vows of the other, which is Draco, with the second accepting those terms. Each time a term is accepted a thin stream of fire will be emitted from the Bonder's wand, weaving around the hands of the pair taking the vows."

"I see, not very complicated then…" he mutters.

I say nothing in response as I am unable to make a sound anyway.

"Yes, dangerously uncomplicated, no wonder Fred got himself spanked… Any way… the catch is, that if any of the vows Draco does not wholly accept the fire stream will not appear… this will be telling of his lack of honesty or simply that a term needs to be negotiated on until it is of satisfaction to the both parties."

"Alright."

"Having explained that, Harry, as your lifelong friend and confidante, I would like you to judge Draco on the gesture alone that he has agreed to take the vow and not actually make the vow. It is barbaric not to forget illegal…"

"Please don't plead and advocate for me Granger I don't want or need it and surely don't appreciate it." It comes out harsher than I intended, and I can clearly see Granger taken aback. She won't take this away from me, I won't allow it. If I want to make an unbreakable vow with Harry Potter, I will. I might regret it later, but right now I don't care when his hand is joined with mine.

I see his Jaw clench and nostrils flair a bit. A dangerous yet controlled look in his eyes.

"Yes Hermione, I don't think Malfoy needs your help, If he can't tell a kindness from weakness then it is his prerogative. Just do the binding, I will take care of the rest."

His grip tightens on my wrist warningly.

"Hoc votum impleri sub poena mortis…" she mutters.

The hum of the magic flowing from her thin sprightly wand is very recognizable.

"Will you Draco Malfoy, also known as Ustad Beyazlamak, vow to me, Harry Potter, that you will in no way or mien, plan to or intend to harm my family and friends in any way, including through any kind of proxies? And reveal to me if any such action is already in progress to your knowledge?"

I have to say that the vow is very aptly worded. Something that I would not have expected from the usually tactless Gryffindor. But as always, life is full of too many surprises.

It is easy, the agreement, because my truth is simple.

"I will." I simply say. In a blink of an eye a thin string of fire pours out of the tip of Granger's wand. Twirling and hissing and curved around our joined hands in a most beautiful display of bonding. I feel the slight shift in my own magic as it absorbs the magic of the vow.

The tightness of his face at once eases. Relief is showing clear and his grip become a few points less savage, now just snug and warm. I want to bathe in that warmth. I want to be the reason for his comfort and relief for eternity.

He takes a deep breath and a new kind of determination is now shining in his eyes.

"Will you Draco Malfoy, try to cure my daughter sincerely to the true best of your abilities and knowledge?"

I feel as if someone has kicked the air out of me. As my mind whirls in on itself.

Oh it was too much to expect anyways. That for once in my bloody, sodding fuck-fest of a life, something could go right.

I think it is Karma! Or some joke of god and universe on me? I don't know what I have done to be treated this way…?

How can universe allow me to be condemned to death by my one true mate twice in a life-time without him even knowing it!

How can it be that Harry Potter has to be the one every time to give me my death sentence?

He doesn't even realize it! It is such a normal and easy thing to say.

But put that in an unbreakable vow.

Cure his daughter to the best of my abilities.

If I don't do it to the best of my abilities, I die instantly because of the vow.

If I do cure his daughter to the best of my abilities, I might die anyways.

Because the best of my abilities, when all else fails might just result in my death anyways.

The only difference is, this time he is holding my hand. This time he is asking this of me, not telling me.

You tell me what I am supposed to say to that? The one time he asks this of me, with such sincere plea, with such faith in his eyes. One time, there is no distrust in his eyes, no boiling hatred. Why do I love you? How can I refuse?

Two words.

One option. If it is even an option.

"I will." I say and watch the binding string of burning magic tie me down to possible mortal doom once again.

The light on his face is blinding, the moisture in his eyes shines like diamonds. There is no hatred in them right now. Only gratitude and relief.

I did that. I am the reason for his relief. See.

He does not let go of my wrist for a few second longer just breathing and staring while water shimmers in those eyes, and when he does let go his hands find my frozen one. A warm grip. A caress.

"Thank you…" he whispers. Only meant for my ears. My heart. I am too paralyzed to return the gesture, and it is fleeting, just a moment and he is gone… His hands let go of mine as he rises from his kneeling position. Standing again in front of me like a benevolent god and I, forever his worshipper, kneeling and praying.

In this moment. Twice damned to death or not. I would easily sacrifice myself for my benevolent god.

There is just no surviving after this kind of… Living.


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