I really shouldn't be starting a new WiP - but here we go anyway. Big thank yous go out to Koorime and Darkangel Rose for the French help, and also big hugs for TSOSH who is currently my biggest fan, and I hers.
Chapter One - Debutante
They were dancing.
The small French village of Sauve was considered the resting place of all the ancient Veelas; in the streets the yearly summer festival took place with the streaming of white ribbons against the landscape of mountains and blue sky. In the main square the Veela community took to folk dancing in their glossy while robes and their guests too joined in.
Pansy liked to analyse the origins of things, even as she laughed and stepped out, clapped hands with her partner, turned, shuffled… Why did dancing exist? It was communication - yes, that was a good word for it, communication - but what were the dancers trying to say? What did the little flicker of fingers against the cheek mean? Did it represent crying, or simply something as innocuous as curly hair?
Veelas from all over the world gathered in Sauve; from England, Asia, even African Veelas, their skin light but their features the prominent make up of their race. During the shuffle of the line dance, Pansy ended up with such a boy, who she linked arms with and they danced around in a circle. Down the line, Draco was making faces at her.
His simple folk dancing was touched with the sexy swing of hips and rolling of shoulders. He was pretending to be a Vogue model now, pouting and fluttering his eyelashes. So what was he trying to say with these extra little moves? I've had too much punch. I'm bored and making my own fun. I'm hiding my nervousness by acting like a knob.
Another couple of shuffles down the line and she would be back to dance the end of the song with her original partner. Just before her and Draco would be reunited in dance, however, a flash of red caught her eye. She craned her head around even as she gripped her hair in one of the folk dance moves (was that to represent wings, I wonder?)
She and Draco were back to the front of the line together. They clapped hands and linked arms. "Draco, there's a very fit fellow over there, two o'clock."
"Where?" he gasped, looking over his shoulder; but they were dancing around in a circle now and all direction was lost.
She glanced once more at the man's long, red hair and beautiful blue eyes, and then at the Veela woman attached to his arm. She made a face, jealous. "The red-head."
Draco looked. "Oh yes," he drawled, curling one arm and stroking down with the other, as if to pat an animal or a small child. "If I'm not mistaken, I'd say he was a Weasley. I swear they're everywhere. You can't even escape them in some segregated town in the middle of France, for crying out loud."
The song ended, and they bowed to each other. She grinned at him from a fringe of wavy golden hair. "He is gorgeous though, isn't he?"
He grabbed her arm gently and pulled her towards the sweet stand. The Veela girl gave them both thick caramel toffees on wooden sticks. Pansy gave Draco an inquiring look.
Draco sighed, dramatically. "Well I suppose he was alright, for a Weasley. Maybe he was the good egg and stole all the genes, or something."
Pansy laughed, and then looked once again across the sunny courtyard. "I say, isn't that Fleur Delacour permanently hanging off his arm like bad acne?"
It was Draco's turn to laugh. "Yeah, she's here every summer." He stuck the toffee in his mouth and his next words were muffled: "Come on, I need you in the loo."
"Oooh, Draco, I never thought you'd ask!"
He widened his eyes in mock-panic. "Play for the wrong Quidditch team, I'm afraid." He led her to the Town Hall, and through it to the door marked 'Monsieur'.
A few of the boys gave Pansy affronted looks as she unabashedly entered the boys' toilets. It was crowded, but they managed to find themselves a sink and mirror. Draco flapped his hands at her. "Fix my hair! We have to go to a cottage in the next street. Someone's getting married and they've asked me to sing."
Pansy was pleased; weddings were ever so romantic, and Draco was a fabulous singer, though in this instance he would be singing in a choir and not on his own. She took a few flowers out his hair and re-pinned them. "Who's getting married?"
"How should I know?" said Draco, simultaneously fiddling with his silver-blonde fringe and eyeing the boy at the next sink. "A couple of Veelas who couldn't give a Kneazle's arse about the wedding and want to get straight to the honeymoon. Veelas have an overly-high libido, apparently." At this, he bit his lip.
Draco was only one-eighth a Veela, as his father was a quarter, but it was enough. After the Debutante ceremony, which all young Veelas and part-Veelas partook of after their seventeenth birthday, Draco would come into his full Veela powers and everything that came with it. It was obvious to Pansy that he was nervous about that afternoon's ceremony.
"Thanks for inviting me here, by the way," said Pansy, softly.
Draco found the best thing about the Sauve Veela Festival was all the good looking boys; however, this was the year of his Debutante, and as it was, his father was a fugitive from the law and would not be able to attend. He wondered if that was the reason for the strangely large amount of British Aurors hanging around the little cottage the wedding was to take place in the backyard of; but perhaps the bride and groom merely had friends in the British Magical Law Enforcement.
That morning Draco was getting himself ready in his bedroom at Malfoy Manor when his mother came in. She had been running around like a headless chicken, fretting about the Debutante; smoothing his robe, personally ironing his trousers fifty million times (an exaggeration, but it seemed that amount to Draco) and fixing and re-fixing his hair, as if he had not done so himself half an hour before.
She had sat him down on his bed and stood in front of him, fanning herself with her perfectly manicured hands, getting ready to make the proud speech that really should be made by the boy's father.
Truly, Draco loved his mother to bits, but she had passed on the curse of over-dramatics to her only son. She fiddled with her corset and took a deep breath.
"I am so proud of you, my darling."
He gave her a kind smile.
"And you look absolutely beautiful. I can't imagine you appearing anymore lovely than you already are. You will sweep all the women off their feet like a breeze from the heavens…"
Ugh, thought Draco. "Mother, there's something I need to tell you -"
"Shh, quiet my sweet. Let a mother have her moment." There was a pause in which she went over to her little bag filled with hair potions for Draco, and pulled out a minute white velvet box. It was small, like the case for a wedding ring. She adjusted her skirts and kneeled in front of Draco, presenting him with it. "It's usually the father who presents the son with the Key, but as things are…"
Draco quickly took the case and opened it. Inside sat a small round object, shiny like a pearl, but slightly bigger. Draco knew it to be a live magical egg, born from the volcanos beyond the village of Sauve. It could give birth to any animal; his father had been presented with one from his own father, and when it had cracked open, a miniature dragon had burst forth. It was how Draco had gotten his name.
Apparently the animal would help the Veela find his or her soul mate, but Draco did not entirely believe it. He could not truthfully consider that fate of such proportions actually existed. In his reasoning, the presenting of the egg was just an old and over-used tradition.
Narcissa was looking at him expectantly. He exhaled shakily.
"Thank you, Mother."
Her smile faded and she gave a curt nod. She glanced down, as if to compose herself. Her chin shook with suppressed emotion, it seemed. She made to put her hand on his, but hesitated and eventually pulled away. When she finally looked him in the eye again, she gave him a smile and laughed lightly.
"My little boy, all grown up!"
Back in the present, the conductor was directing Draco in French to stand on one of the highest steps up the back, and as he awkwardly stepped up next to other Veela boys his age, he got a glimpse of the groom standing near the alter, getting a "it's perfectly normal to have cold feet" lecture from his brother.
It was the red-head Pansy had been perving on.
A Weasley. Getting married.
He felt a tug on the bottom hem of his traditional white Veela dress robes. He looked behind and down to see Pansy looking up at him, panic-stricken.
He raised an eyebrow. "I know; it's the Weasley you love so much. Tough biscuits, Pansy, he's taken."
But she was shaking her head. "It's not that," she rasped, "they're here!"
"Who?" he demanded.
Her teeth were clenched in a 'holy shit!' look. "Potter! And the other Weasley, Ronald. Oh and his little sister, you should see her Draco." Abruptly, her fearful demeanour changed to one of amusement. She burst out laughing. "She looks like such a slut, oh my god, her boobs are falling out all over the place -"
But Draco was frozen, hoping against hope that he had misheard her. "Potter and Weasley? Here? Merlin's hairy chest, Pansy, you can't let them see me. No wait - what are they doing here?" His eyes widened. "Pansy! I'm wearing flowers in my hair!" How embarrassing, he thought frightfully. He touched a hand to his hair and winced. "And hairclips, Pansy, hairclips!"
Pansy was still cackling like a hyena on steroids. She seemed to want to say something but she was gasping and clutching her stomach in hysterical glee.
Narcissa came up and rested a hand on Pansy's shaking shoulder. "You'll be fabulous today, darling," she said to Draco. "Come now dear," she added to a sobering Pansy, "come stand over here with me."
Draco shot Pansy one last panicked look before subtly looking around for Potter and Weasley. Them, here! On his Debutante! But, he realised, that would explain why all the Aurors were looking stricken. They were here to protect their Precious Potter. He scowled.
The boy next to Draco was given him the nudge. He was a pretty Veela with long hair and appeared to Draco to smile way too much. He handed Draco the small song book. Draco took it and flipped to the right page. It was a song he already know, thank Merlin. Even though it was in French and he had forgotten much of the language, he still remembered the song from when his French tutor sung to him as a child.
He nudged Draco again. "Salut," he said, before saying something rapidly in his language that Draco did not bother to catch. "Je m'appelle Luc. Vous?"
Draco did a double-take. Oo-er, 'Luc' eh? Draco sized Luc up and decided he liked what he saw. He gave the boy a long, lazy smile. "Je m'appelle Draco. Are you from around here?"
Luc frowned in a confused and very cute way. "Qu'est-ce que vous êtes Brittanique?"
"Britain, yeah." Draco was already bored. He craned his neck and finally spotted his target, hovering nervously in the crowd, shuffling to his seat.
Potter had this weird aura thing, pulling everyone towards him where ever he went, which was so incredibly annoying, because that was attention that should be directed at Draco alone. There was nothing remarkable about Potter; he was just this scarred, speccy, messy hair twat with bad dress sense. Even now his glasses were smudged with fingerprints and he was wearing boring blue dress robes. People were staring at him, some even pointing as he sat down with Weasley on one side and the Weaslette squeezing close on the other. Draco moved towards Luc in order to hide behind him a bit. "Bollocks, bollocks, bollocks!" he muttered to himself.
"'Boll… ocks'?" asked Luc innocently. "Que ce moyen?"
Draco put his hands on Luc's shoulders, putting him in position. "Just… stand still, right here. Don't move!"
"'Dont moove'? Que veut dire 'donte moove'?"
"Shh! It's about to start."
Indeed the ceremony was about to start. There was a hush among the guests as Gabrielle Delacour, the flower-girl, started up the isle to where William Weasley stood at the altar. She enthusiastically showered the garden path with white petals, and Draco lifted the song book, opening his mouth to sing.
Overall, the ceremony was beautiful. Fleur looked particularly splendid in her long wedding gown, and when the young couple were saying their vows, they actually cried together. It was concluded with the releasing of a butterfly, which flew into the air about two metres before bursting into a million tiny bright white sparks.
The guests headed over to where ever the reception would be, as Draco, Narcissa and Pansy headed back to the town square to partake in or watch the year's Debutante ceremony. Draco fiddled with the collar of his robe nervously.
"You'll be great," Pansy told him confidently. Draco nodded.
"Well," he said, saluting, "I'm off!"
"Good luck, pumpkin!" Narcissa called after him as he walked to the centre of the crowd. He blanched, embarrassed by his mother.
The soon-to-be initiated Veelas' families and friends made a thick circle around the perimeter of courtyard. There was a group of about forty young Veelas this year - not many for the population of the world. Veelas, like any other magical creature, were quite rare in that century. Draco went over to stand with the only other Deb he knew - Luc. The boy seemed pleased to see him. "Salut! Quelle belle jounee!"
"Hi," said Draco, looking around nervously. The main priestess, an old Veela woman, was directing the small group into two lines of approximately twenty. Draco got into the second row between Luc and some girl he did not know. In the crowd, he caught site of Potter and Weasley squeezing through to get a good look at the ceremony.
"Crap," Draco swore, turning away to hide his face. Why did they have to come here today of all days?
Three other priestesses stood at the front with the first. They were directing the boys and girls in different languages: French, Italian, Spanish, English and a few others. "Take off clothes now!" one of them demanded. "Then you must kneel!"
Draco did what he was told; he knew the drill: shoes came off first, then his robe, so all he as in was the trousers, like everyone else. The girls had their breasts strapped in white clothe and ribbons, as was the custom. He and Luc exchanged glances and kneeled, sitting back on their heels and leaning forward, palms flat on the stones, so their arms were outstretched in a kind of prayer bow. The hot afternoon sun beat down on Draco's bare skin, and he felt his back muscles twitch with the stretch.
"Howdy!" said the girl from beside him. A Yank. Fabulous.
Draco lifted his head to look at her. In front of them, the main priestess had started on the first girl in the front line; touching her shoulder blades with the thick balm, and throwing petals over her. "Don't talk to me," Draco drawled.
"Don't worry, I'm a little scared too," said the American, undeterred. "But I'm also so, like, excited!"
Draco gave her a pointed look. "Aren't we not supposed to talk?"
She looked around quickly before saying, "Nah, they can't hear us! Isn't this, like, the coolest ever?! My mom - she's a Veela - told me that in her day, they used to sacrifice goats and use the blood on our wing-scars instead of ort-balm! Isn't that exciting?! So are you like, from England and stuff?!"
"Oi!" said a boy from her other side. "Shut ya flytrap, ya fat mole!"
"Draco," Luc whispered in his ear, as the American girl and the Australian boy started verbally fighting, "Voulez-vous sortir avec moi ce soir?" Draco turned from where he was looking at an enthusiastically waving Pansy to the anxious French boy.
"Look," said Draco softly, "I don't think going out with you would be such a good idea; we don't even speak the same language." Not that that really mattered in Draco's mind; any other time he would have taken up the offer, but this was the day of his Debutante, and his stomach was fluttering with unease. Besides, after this he would be flooing straight home to have a little celebration with his mother, Pansy, and Crabbe and Goyle had said they would come over too.
The priestess had finished the front row, and was now making her way down Draco's line. To the side, Potter was staring at him. Draco took a deep breath and lowered his head.
The American whispered to Draco. "Oh my god! It's like, my turn!" And then she lowered her head as the priestess stepped in front of her.
A minute later, it was Draco's turn. There was a three-step process: first, the priestess rubbed thick clear ort-balm on his shoulders; her wrinkled hands made soft, cold circles on his shoulder blades. This was a kind of anaesthetic; when Draco's wings would first come forth, it would be painful, but he would get used to it with every future transformation. Second, white rose petals would be thrown upon him as the priestess chanted a prayer in the old Veela language. This was purely tradition. The last rite involved Draco lifting his head and taking the Communion.
It was a small dry biscuit that he had to hold in his mouth and not swallow until the priestess gave the signal. As he opened his mouth and stuck out his tongue, Draco glanced at Potter. The boy was watching with parted lips and wide, curious eyes. The priestess placed the sweet onto his tongue and he took it into his mouth, his eyes unblinkingly never leaving Potter's green ones.
Christ, thought Draco. He looked away and lowered his head once more.
It was one of the most beautiful things Pansy had ever seen.
If the world had turned upside down, and angels did not fall from the sky but raised themselves from the ground, this, she decided, was exactly what it would look like.
There was a flurry or growing wings; the feathers were not completely white, as some were grey and brown; but they grew from the Veelas' backs like the sprouting of a voiceless heaven. When sprung they tossed the white confetti upward, only to see it flutter back down over them like soft snow as their bodies rose. The extra limbs were the size of the owner plus some, and they furled into their great glory to the soundtrack of a choir of castrati, who sung the hymn of the Coming of Heaven. There was grand applause and cheering from the crowd.
Pansy had noticed Weasley and Potter across the court, and had made sneering faces at them. However, it was only Weasley who noticed, sticking his finger up at her, which Pansy found amusing. Potter only had eyes for Draco in the French sun. Draco himself had been embarrassed by the gaze, it seemed to Pansy, and she wondered what Potter's game was. Her imagination twisted away from Potter's motivations to the idea of Potter and Draco together… she was a teenaged girl, after all. But like all fantasies, the thought of a Draco/Potter relationship was just plain unrealistic.
After talking briefly with a few of the other Debs, Draco turned and caught Pansy's eye. She beamed at him, but it was soon to waver as he approached her like a deathly warrior angel readying himself for a mission on earth. His wings arched high, and his feet and fingers were hard and roughened and sharpened like claws.
"Merlin Draco," she breathed, and he grinned at her. His canine teeth had lengthened and sharpened like a vampire's, and his grey eyes held a feral gleam.
"Darling," Mrs Malfoy purred, touching her hands to her son's bare shoulders, "you look very handsome."
"You know what?" said Draco, smiling at both women conspiringly. "I have this strange urge to kill something." Indeed, behind Draco, a Veela girl was fluttering her wings in agitation as she had a shouting match with one of the boys. She made to claw his face off, only for him to hiss in her face. They were acting like fierce animals. Pansy took a wary step back.
"Hey," said Draco, pouting at her, "why aren't you attracted to me yet? Aren't you supposed to be trying to gain my attention by impressing me with great feats or something?"
It was Narcissa who answered. "You can't attract anyone while you're in your natural form. This," she gestured at him, "is only supposed to occur when angry; only for fighting, you know what I mean."
Draco frowned. "How boring."
"Return to yourself and you'll attract plenty."
Draco screwed up his eyes in concentration, and then slowly, his wings got smaller and smaller and retracted into his back. The broken skin around his fingers, toes and shoulder-blades healed themselves.
"Ouch," said Pansy, wincing, "doesn't that hurt?"
Draco gave a dramatically suffered sigh. "Just a bit. But I'll learn to endure the great pain that is inflicted upon me."
Pansy rolled her eyes and had a quick look around. The Gryffindors were no where to be seen. "We should probably get home," Narcissa was saying. "Vincent and Gregory should be over at the Manor soon."
Draco accio'd his robe and after dressing, slung both arms around his mother and Pansy and steered them away.
Pansy felt an odd feeling build in her gut as she looked at Draco, now beautifully glowing, and seeming to light up her whole world. The heat radiated to her cheeks and limbs as she gazed upon his godly form. "Draco," she began breathlessly, "have I ever told you that I'm the richest woman in the world and winner of Witch Weekly's Most Beautiful Diva Award?"
Draco pulled his arm away as he gaped at her in shock. "What? Since when? You never told me - "
"Here, dear," said Narcissa to Pansy, pulling out a small blue glass bottle from her robe pocket, "drink this. It'll make you feel… better."
Pansy thanked her profusely.
To Be Continued.
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