Author: Beren (aka Tasha)
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: This story is canon compliant until the end of Order of the Phoenix and then goes AU. None of the HBP or Deathly Hallows plot will be used, or the Horcruxes for that matter since this story was planned before we knew the details about those things, and hence has it's own fanon. This includes birthdays and other information that have since been revealed on Pottermore and in further productions.
Summary: The threat of open war in on the horizon. The Order and the Ministry are of one accord and both know that where Harry Potter is, Voldemort will eventually be. Preparations are being made and this time the side of the light will not be caught unawares.
Summer classes, sabotage, revelations about Draco's father, teaching and the final showdown with Voldemort all await Harry and Draco in this exciting sequel to Gold Tinted Spectacles (LJ | AO3 | Wattpad).
Author's Notes: This is the second story in the Hecatemae universe. It starts up just after the end of the first instalment and I advice reading that one first so you understand the premise. Thanks go to my sister Sophie for the beta reading.
It has taken me 12 years to finally get around to finishing this, I very much hope everyone enjoys it.
Link to other parts: LJ | DW | AO3 | Wattpad
New chapters will be posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
"Hello, Albus," the woman who walked through the door of the headmaster's office greeted, "it's been quite a while."
"That it has, Grace, that is has," Dumbledore returned, "doesn't time fly. Grace, may I introduce Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy. Harry, Draco, this is Grace Proforos, she is an old friend and currently employed by the Department of Mysteries."
Ms Proforos lifted an eyebrow as the headmaster revealed that and Harry was pretty sure it was an objection. She had one of those ageless faces and Harry would have put her at about thirty five, only there was more grey at her temples than he would have expected for someone that age. She almost looked as if she had dyed it like that, but it was hard to be sure. Her piercing stare reminded him of more than one Slytherin of his acquaintance.
"Quite necessary, I'm afraid," was the only thing Dumbledore said in way of apology. "Especially after the incident with Mr Fitzsimons. Please come in and close the door so that we may confer privately."
Ms Proforos did as she was asked.
"I can assure you Mr Fitzsimons' new division has been disbanded and his remit allocated to subdividions of the existing structure," she said, "under proper supervision."
"As it should be," the headmaster said with a smile. "We, shall of course, pry no further."
"Mr Potter, Mr Malfoy," Ms Proforos said as she moved over towards the desk, "it's a pleasure to finally meet you both. Hilde speaks very highly of you."
"You know Hilde?" Harry couldn't help himself. "Oh and please call me Harry."
"Thank you, Harry, and call me Grace," Grace responded, "and yes, Hilde and I have been known to sit together for lunch when time permits. Of course she has been much busier since last year."
"That's what Harry's here for," Draco commented, "to give us all that much more work to do."
Harry rolled his eyes at his soulmate. He hadn't missed the fact that Draco did not invite Grace to use his first name; Draco was clearly reserving judgement. Since there were no horsemen of the Apocalypse on the horizon, Harry was satisfied this was just as it should be.
"Tea, Grace?" Dumbledore offered.
"No, thank you," the woman replied.
"Well, on to business then," Dumbledore continued as Grace took the last chair, "thank you for coming on such short notice. My apologies for being so vague in my correspondence, but I am sure you will understand why, once Harry explains why we have asked you to come."
"Albus, when you request anything, I always know there is a good reason," Grace said.
Dumbledore nodded at Harry.
"I've discovered a new way of travelling from place to place without using Apparating or a portkey," he said simply, "and current wards cannot block it."
He watched Grace's face as the consequences of his concise statement dawned on the Unspeakable. There was only a flicker of reaction, but he knew his point had been made.
"You have been experimenting with alternative means of travel?" Grace asked and her voice gave away no emotion at all.
"Not deliberately," he replied. "I find Apparating very uncomfortable and I was trying to acclimatise myself to people doing it around me, for obvious reasons. It's a hideously destructive process. I was just thinking that there must be a better way to do it and then I just saw them."
"The connections," Harry said, "between energy. For want of a better word we call the new mechanism Transferring; it uses the same techniques as Apparating, but rather than blasting a hole to pass through it uses the energy connections like Muggle phone lines."
"The current spells against Apparating block the making of the hole," Draco backed him up, "which means they cannot block Transferring."
Grace sat back in her chair.
"And you've proved this works?" she asked.
"The discovery was somewhat overwhelming to Harry and in his need to be with Harry, Draco used this technique to travel from one place within Hogwarts to another," Dumbledore said. "Luckily he was unobserved and we have taken great pains to keep this information limited, but you can see why I contacted you."
"Completely," Grace acknowledged.
"The good news is we believe the ability to Transfer is currently limited to Harry and through him, Draco, because of the complexities of finding these connections," the headmaster continued to explain. "However, should this information get out, there is no guarantee someone would not find a method to do so."
"Quite," Grace agreed.
Harry sat forward.
"We've been working on a new ward," he said. "We've already warded Hogwarts and tested it, but the Ministry is still wide open. That's why we needed to speak to someone who could help."
"And not blab because it might be politically convenient," Grace added and Harry nodded; they were on the same page.
It was nice to know they weren't the only ones with such a low opinion of Fudge.
"So, what do you need?" Grace asked.
"You to get Harry into the Ministry in secret to set the new wards," Draco said, "and a wards expert to help us come up with a way to allow someone who doesn't have Harry's gifts to do the same thing."
Looking down Grace tapped her top lip with her index finger for a moment, before glancing over at Dumbledore.
"Alright," she said, turning back to focus on Harry, "both of those I can do. Are you sure these new wards won't affect the current security of the Ministry?"
"They don't interact with any existing defences," Draco said before Harry could say anything. "If you're worried we'd be happy to explain them to your wards expert before going anywhere near the Ministry."
"That would be satisfactory," Grace said. "The man I have in mind is Maximillian Tutela, he spent several years in our department before moving on to the private sector. Totally trust worthy."
"Ah, yes," Dumbledore said, "I know his work. A very good choice."
"When can you see him?" Grace asked.
"As soon as you can get him here," Harry said. "We're free evenings and weekends, but we can make space in our summer schedule if necessary."
He felt much better about the whole situation now that things were in motion.
* * *
Harry was halfway through his breakfast when Professor McGonagall placed a stack of envelopes on the end of the table before moving on. Hermione, who was sitting opposite him that morning just stared, and he couldn't help noticing she'd gone a little pale.
"Everything okay?" he asked, not sure what had his friend so riveted.
"Don't you know what day it is?" she asked, never taking her eyes off the envelopes.
Harry thought about that and then shook his head.
"Not a clue," he admitted.
"Those are our NEWT results," Draco said, tone completely casual.
Now Harry understood Hermione's fixation. If there was one thing Hermione would always worry about, even though she was the cleverest witch of her generation, it would be exam results.
"Someone pass them down this way before anyone faints," Draco said as the pile just sat there.
Seamus grabbed the stack and quickly began to shuffle through it, passing down envelopes and throwing his own carelessly beside his plate. The first thing Harry noticed was that he and Draco only had one envelope addressed to both of them. It made sense given how they were viewed by the Wizarding World, but he still hadn't expected it.
"You can open it," he said to Draco, far more interested in his eggs than what might be in the envelope.
"What if I failed?" Hermione said very quietly.
Harry couldn't help noticing Draco give a very exaggerated look around.
"Nope," Draco said, "no horsemen on the horizon. If you don't have all Os I will sing the school song, standing on the table on one leg."
"I'll join him," Harry added.
Hermione gave them both a little smile for that.
"And I'll volunteer as a tester at Fred and George's shop," Ron added.
[Points to Ronald,] Draco commented.
[Safe bet though,] Harry replied and gave his soulmate a grin. [Are you going to open ours?]
[In a minute,] Draco replied.
It was said casually, but the thing about their connection was, it wasn't just words that came across. Harry realised there was a prickle of anxiety under them.
[You'll have Os too,] he said, [don't worry.]
[I'm not worried,] Draco said, which was clearly a lie, but Harry knew when not to push.
He had perfect faith in Draco's abilities and Draco had managed to rub off on him. Where they had both taken an exam their results would have been averaged and Harry was almost positive Draco's excellence would have been enough to drag their combined marks up to O even if his alone had been E. Where just Draco had been taking the exam, he had no doubt it would be an O.
When no one moved to open their enveloped Seamus gave an exaggerated sigh and picked up his. He clearly wasn't worried in the slightest and tore it open.
"Me Ma is gonna be so proud. Got the lot. Not a P a D or a T in sight."
The Irish Gryffindor waved his letter in the air and patted himself on the back, which lowered the tension level somewhat.
"Congrats," Harry said.
Hermione took a deep breath, looked at everyone else and opened her letter in a flurry of movement. She took another huge gulp of air before unfolding the piece of paper. Harry could literally feel her nervousness from where he was sitting. He was pretty sure everyone at the table was holding their breath in anticipation.
"Os," she said with a small smile and her shoulders sagged in relief.
"Well done, Hermione," Dean said.
One by one all the others opened their letters as well, but Draco did not touch his and Harry's. Some results were good, some were average, but, significantly, none were bad. Harry suspected their year was full of very focused people for obvious reasons.
Ron got Es and Os and, before they were the last at the table, Harry finally had enough and picked up the envelope Draco was refusing to look at. He opened it, scanned it and felt thoroughly satisfied.
[All Os,] he said. [You're a genius, Love, it couldn't have been anything else. I should be thanking you for dragging me up with you.]
[Says the man who figured out a new way to Apparate by accident,] Draco commented as if he hadn't been worried at all.
"Full house?" Hermione asked as Draco casually accepted the letter when Harry passed it to him.
"Of course," Harry replied and grinned, "Draco's right behind you at the top of every class, and I didn't screw anything up badly enough to bring us down."
It was then the normal owls arrived and one dropped a copy of the Prophet right in the middle of the table. It was hard to miss the headline: "Highest NEWT Grades Ever Recorded".
"Y'know it would have been nice to see that first," Lavender commented.
It just backed up what Harry thought about his fellow seventh years. Maybe his presence in their year hadn't been as disruptive as he had always suspected.
This entry was originally posted at http://beren-writes.dreamwidth.org/378901.html.