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.
The staff had not been willing to outright call the incident in the defensive flying class sabotage. The Aurors at the school were looking into it, but there was the faint possibility it had been someone trying to do something else and accidentally messing everything up.
Draco didn't believe it for a second, but he could understand keeping everyone calm, so he didn't say that out loud. Seamus, on the other hand, was taking it personally.
"That was no accident," the Irish Gryffindor said loudly as they sat down for dinner.
They had each been questioned individually and it had taken a long time, so their group had gone straight to the Great Hall when they were finally allowed to leave.
"Seamus, keep your voice down," Hermione warned.
"Why should I? You can't believe..."
"Of course we don't," Draco said, tone low and perfectly even, "but causing a panic won't help."
Seamus looked around the room and finally seemed to realise that more than a couple of people were looking in his direction.
"Yeah, okay," he said, moderating his volume, "I get your point."
"So, Harry," Hermione took over again, also keeping her voice down, "what did you see?"
"It was only out of the corner of my eye," Harry said, "but I had my shields lowered, so I could see whoever it was through the stands. They were running away."
"If that's not a dead giveaway I don't know what is," Seamus commented.
"I don't think I know them," Harry added; "they didn't seem familiar."
[Not at all?] Draco asked silently.
[Every instinct still says stranger,] Harry replied.
Draco had asked similar questions before, but he wanted to be sure. Sometimes it took Harry a while to sort through new experiences.
"You can tell that from their magic?" Dean asked from the other side of the table.
Harry gave a small shrug.
"Everyone's magic is different," he said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Sometimes Draco was sure his soulmate forgot that he saw the world in a completely different way to anyone else these days. This was the second time in two days that Harry had shown his ability to recognise, or not in this case, someone from just their magic. Draco made a mental note to do some investigating.
"So when you do your thing you can tell us apart just by our magic?" Seamus asked.
"I suppose," Harry replied. "It's not something I've tried. Faces are much easier."
"Even your ugly mug," Dean commented and elbowed Seamus in the ribs.
"I'll give you ugly," Seamus said.
"Boys!" was Hermione's comment before it could get out of hand.
Draco couldn't help noticing that Ron looked very impressed with his girlfriend's ability to completely control the Gryffindor seventh year.
"There are spells to reveal a person's magical signature," surprisingly it was Neville who spoke up, "but they aren't much use because, to most people, it just looks like a mess."
"Does it look like a mess to you, Mate?" Ron asked.
"Um," Harry said and Draco grinned; he always enjoyed watching Harry try and explain things like this. "I guess, but it kind of makes sense."
"So if you saw this person again without your barriers up you would recognise them?" Hermione asked.
Of course it was Hermione who saw the usefulness of the situation.
[Don't worry if you can't,] Draco said immediately, [you're not a miracle worker.]
"I don't know," Harry admitted, sending back a grateful mental hug at the same time. "I've never tried anything like that. It might just be that I know what I don't recognise, if you get what I mean."
"Heaven help us," Seamus said, "but I think we do."
[We can experiment later,] Draco said, knowing all too well that the question would eat at Harry. [Now, I'm starving.]
[Me too,] Harry said.
[Of course you are,] Draco told him, [you did something spectacular again this afternoon. It's only because you do them so regularly that everyone isn't talking up a storm about it.]
That raised a smile from Harry, which was just what Draco was after. They needed to find out what was going on, but, for now, food was the order of the day.
* * *
The common room was decidedly less full than it usually was in term time, but people were still in the habit of congregating there. Harry picked himself a spot in one of the armchairs with a book he had no intention of reading. As Draco had pointed out, it did, however, stop people from asking stupid questions.
Usually after a display of magic like he had managed on the Quidditch pitch he would have a session with the Prisma. It always helped him focus and get his thoughts straight. But he needed to be able to concentrate on those around him and there was no way to fake half focus with the Prisma.
Draco was sitting next to him, with Ron on the other side of the table and a chess board between them. Hermione had been summoned to see the headmaster or she would probably have been there too. His friends knew what he was about to do and Ron had been happy to provide additional cover.
"Prepare to lose, Malfoy," Ron said with glee.
"You wish, Weasley," Draco replied and set up his pieces.
Harry would never tell his soulmate, but his money was on Ron. Draco was a fair chess player, but Ron had a gift for the game.
[I can read your mind, remember,] Draco voice sounded dryly in his head.
[What?] he asked, making very sure to keep his tone innocent. [I know I'm not broadcasting anything.]
[You don't need to be.]
Harry made sure his face was as schooled in innocence as his mental voice and Draco rolled his eyes.
[Just remember that when I lose, I'm doing this for you,] Draco said.
[So you think Ron will beat you too, then?]
[See, I knew it, you were thinking Ron will win.]
Harry realised he had been conned right into that one.
[And so do you,] he said, [and you're the one who's trying to teach me to be a realist. No one can beat Ron at chess. I think Albus might lose too.]
He felt Draco's ire dim considerably at that. Not that he would say it, but he was pretty sure it was put on anyway. Sometimes Draco liked to make a point.
"If you two are finished," Ron said from his position on the other side of the table, "we have a game to play."
Ron looked positively gleeful; this was one of the few things where he was allowed to indulge in the old rivalries. Smiling, Harry picked up his book and prepared to pretend to read.
What he actually did was lower his barriers as far as he dared in such a public environment, and take a look around. He was often so focused on blocking everything out, that he didn't take time to take in what was around him. Today he was interested in the people.
House elves and other magical creatures were positively made of magic; the clue was probably in the name. Magical people on the other hand where just like Muggles, except they had a core, allowing them to interact with all things magical. Harry was used to sensing this about everyone he met, but he'd never really investigated it before, not on an individual level. He'd only used it to tell magical from Squib from Muggle.
It took effort to see it under everything else. The only reason he'd seen the person on the Quidditch pitch was he'd just about dropped his barriers to nothing to find out what was going on.
He looked at Ron first, doing his best to block out other forces like emotion and just concentrate on the magic. When he finally managed it, he had to admit it wasn't much of a surprise to find that Ron was awash with warm, deep metallic colours. What was interesting was the way the seemed to swirl all through him, like a maelstrom.
For a while, Harry watched, fascinated.
Then Neville came down the stairs and Harry flicked his gaze over to his other friend. Neville's magic was all light metallic greens and blues, with only a little of the deeper reds Harry had seen in Ron. It also wasn't swirling all through Neville's body, it was compact and contained at Neville's centre. The only place it flowed was up to Neville's shoulder and down his arm to where Harry knew Neville kept his wand holstered.
Harry had little idea what it meant, but he suspected it was significant.
As he scanned the room, each person was different. Some burned brightly, some not so much, some swirled with metallic colour, others had their magic tightly controlled. Everyone was so diverse it was like looking at the universe in an entirely different way.
Pureblood or Muggleborn, it made no difference. Some had stronger magic, some didn't, and it had nothing to do with birth. It made Voldemort and all his racial purity nonsense seem even more ridiculous.
As far as Harry knew, no one had ever explained why some people were magical and some weren't. Seeing what he could see, he doubted it was purely about genetics. Magic was as unscientific in this as it was about everything else.
Of course the question he had been trying to answer had nothing to do with that; what he'd wanted to know was if he could recognise someone purely by their magical signature. It didn't take him long to decide that he probably could in principle. However, that didn't mean he was sure how to go about it. Everyone's magic was very complex and some people differed from others only a little; remembering it all would be very difficult.
He wondered if it was like Muggle DNA analysis where he was the machine, but it all needed to be written down and compared to be really useful. His instincts worked well, recognising those he was used to at some level, but he wasn't sure he could bring it up to a conscious level. There were too many variables.
"You know if you want to look like you're reading, you should turn a page every now and then," said a very familiar voice from behind him.
"This is me," Harry said, turning to smile at Hermione; "they'll just think I'm stuck on a paragraph."
"Maybe once," Hermione replied.
Harry found he didn't have anything to say in response, because he hadn't put his barriers back up and his other best friend was truly something to see. He was pretty sure there was not one metallic hue Hermione's core had left out. She wasn't simply awash with it either, but rivulets ran all through her body from the central concentration, in ordered streams.
"Wow," he said quietly.
"Everything okay?" Ron asked, looking up from the chess board for the first time since he and Draco had begun their game.
Hermione nodded and smiled, but there was something tensed about her stance.
Harry put his barrier to magic back to full strength and lowered the one to emotion. That clinched it; Hermione wasn't panicked, but she was putting on a front for everyone else in the room.
"Anyone else peckish?" he asked.
"Now that you mention it," Draco played along.
"Yeah, me too," Ron added.
"Come on then," Harry said, "let's visit the kitchens."
"If we must," Hermione said in a very good impression of put upon.
"Bring us back some biccies," Seamus said as the four headed towards the portrait door.
Significantly, however, not one of the other seventh years tried to follow them.
* * *
They chatted about nothing on their way to the kitchens. Technically they still weren't supposed to go down there, but it wasn't like anyone really cared. The house elves were overjoyed to see them and they were set up with cake and sandwiches without even having to ask.
"So, what did the headmaster have to say?" Draco asked once they were all sat down and the house elves had left them to eat.
"Tomorrow they're going to tell everyone that it was a prank gone wrong," Hermione told them, "but no one believes that."
"Do they have any idea who did it?"
That came from Harry.
Hermione shook her head.
"They couldn't find any trace of who it was," she revealed. "Everyone at Hogwarts for the summer has been vetted by the Ministry and the school. I don't know how they did it, but I think they've been very careful. No one wants another Mad-eye Moody incident."
"What about people from outside?" Ron asked.
"Again, I don't know what extra safeguards are in place," Hermione said, "but there is extra security. I'm guessing it should be impossible for anyone to get in without people knowing."
"I hope it's not another Blaise," Harry said and Draco nodded his assent.
The last thing they needed was a traitor who didn't know they were a traitor.
"All the pupils, at least, were accounted for at the time," Hermione said. "It has to have been one of the adults. Either that or someone didn't go back on the express."
It wasn't very satisfactory. Draco would have liked to have gone through the school with a fine tooth comb, but the Ministry weren't about to let students do that. No doubt they thought that with Aurors on the grounds they had everything covered.
"So we keep our eyes open, pat Harry on the back for the save and pretend that everything is fine?" Draco said, not sure he liked the idea.
"That's about it," Hermione said.
"Wouldn't it be better if everyone was keeping their eyes open?" Ron said.
Draco could only agree.
"Professor Dumbledore tried to get the Aurors to agree to that," Hermione said, "but he was overruled. As ever the Ministry don't want to panic anyone."
"Fudge," Harry said in the most disparaging tone Draco had ever heard from his soulmate.
"The man is an idiot," Draco said, nodding in agreement.
"He can also pull the plug on the summer school in a heartbeat," Hermione said, "so we can't openly go against him. I think we should tell a few of the seventh year, but make sure it's only those we trust completely."
"Neville," Harry said immediately.
"Pansy," Draco added; he wasn't sure he did trust her completely yet, but in this he did.
This entry was originally posted at http://beren-writes.dreamwidth.org/373276.html.