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.
Of course rumours in Hogwarts spread like mushrooms in the dark, so everyone knew everything that had happened by bedtime. That made the beginning of breakfast the next day a somewhat tenser affair than usual.
Draco looked around and noticed there were a few of the younger students missing as well.
[I think it was too much for some,] he commented as he and Harry took their seats.
[If I get my hands on whoever did it, they'll know what too much really is,] Harry replied.
There was no evidence to say this was anything to do with him or Harry, but Draco could understand why his soulmate was taking it personally. The timing hadn't been right to specifically target them, but that could have just been a mistake. When things like this happened anywhere near them, Draco automatically assumed they were the focus.
If how many times they had been asked about it already that morning was anything to go by, so did everyone else.
"Here we go," Hermione said quietly as Dumbledore stood up at the head table.
"Good morning, everyone," the headmaster greeted, all smiles. "Now I know there are many rumours flying around as to the nature of the accident that occurred during one of the summer classes yesterday. I am pleased to be able to say, we believe it to be nothing more than an ill-conceived and badly executed joke. There are signs the safety measures for the class were deactivated by accident while attempting to deactivate a different spell."
[I'd hate to think of a world where Dumbledore decided to use his powers for evil,] Draco commented. [I know it's a lie and I almost believe him.]
[Why do you think Fudge is terrified of him,] Harry replied. [He could be Minister of Magic a hundred times over if he really wanted to.]
"The Aurors will be keeping an eye out to make sure the prankster does not try to rectify their mistake, however, I very much hope we can put this all behind us and carry on," Dumbledore finished. "Do enjoy your breakfast."
Draco felt Harry relax when the headmaster finished his speech without so much as mentioning him. Everyone already knew Harry had saved the day again, but it seemed to matter to Harry that it not be brought up. Draco had taken to glaring at anyone he thought might mention that aspect of the whole situation.
"So where are we this morning," Seamus asked with a lovely mouthful of toast, "I forgot to look?"
"Transfiguration's classroom, you uncouth barbarian," Draco said, taking great delight in the whole thing.
Among Gryffindors he had to enjoy what he could.
Seamus had the gall to grin at him.
[How the mighty have fallen,] Draco complained to Harry, [once I inspired terror.]
Harry almost choked on his cereal.
* * *
Walking into the Transfigurations classroom to find Professor McGonagall was not really a surprise, after all, she was a stalwart of Hogwarts. However, Harry wasn't sure what she would be teaching them. Tonks was already covering disguise and steal, which involved Transfiguration, so it could be a follow on from that, but then why wasn't Tonks there as well?
McGonagall was one of the foremost experts in Transfiguration in the world, but Harry doubted the advanced end of the subject would be much use in defence.
"Welcome everyone, please take your seats," the professor greeted in her usual stayed manner.
She was as an imposing figure as ever and Harry felt very much like it was a normal school day, except for the fact he wasn't wearing his uniform.
"You are probably all wondering what discipline I have to offer which will aid in your wellbeing should the need arise," Professor McGonagall said. "I am well aware transforming a mouse into a snuff box is unlikely to be particularly useful."
Harry grinned; he remembered his first year well.
"I have been tasked not with teaching you Transfiguration this summer, but the Animagus transformation," Professor McGonagall said. "We have received special permission from the Ministry to register anyone who is successful, but have their registration remain secret until the current crisis is over. It is unlikely any of you will attain the transformation within the summer, but those who show promise will be offered further instruction over the coming year, up to and including leaving seventh years being invited back for evening tuition."
[Oh,] Harry said silently.
[Oh indeed,] Draco replied.
"Although not a defensive spell in and of itself, Animagus forms offer escape opportunities that human forms do not," Professor McGonagall continued. "This old frame is not as spritely as it once used to be, but..."
In an instant there was a cat in her place and she leapt up onto the nearest desk. Professor McGonagall then proceeded to jump from desk to desk, right to the back of the room. It was a very pertinent demonstration. Pausing to give the class a once over, Professor McGonagall then jumped off her perch and transformed back into her human shape.
"...as you can see, my animagus form is much more lively."
Harry was impressed; he was always impressed when he saw the Animagus transformation.
"I will also be teaching everyone the Animagus Reversal spell," Professor McGonagall continued as she walked back towards the front. "Even if you should not master the transformation yourself, should you encounter a strange animal at Hogwarts, or out in the world, you will know how to check it really is an animal. We have a registration system, but it is not unknown for individuals to neglect to use it."
Harry refused to feel guilty; there was a very good reason he, Hermione and Ron were unregistered. The person other than Draco who knew of their successes was Dumbledore, which begged the question, why had he sent them to this class.
"Everyone who elects to continue with this class will be sworn to secrecy with a Wizard's oath," Professor McGonagall said. "No one will be able to reveal another student's Animagus form outside this classroom until such time as this war is over. Should they do so the consequences will be dire and will last the duration of this conflict."
That explained a few things.
"Everything discussed within these walls will be confidential," she continued, "and this is non-negotiable. Should you wish to avoid such restrictions, I must ask you to leave now."
[What should we do?] he asked Draco.
[I think,] Draco said, after a moment's contemplation, [you're going to have to come clean, and I don't think there's any point in hiding it either.]
[Why?] Harry asked.
[If you just leave no one will believe it,] Draco offered his reasoning. [If you stay and try and pretend, someone will work it out anyway. Even with Professor McGonagall's help one of you is bound to slip up. Therefore the only option is to come clean that you don't need this class. I assume you also know the reversal spell.]
[Learned that first,] Harry replied.
[Then, once we get this wizard's oath over, you and your cohorts need to confess,] Draco decided.
Harry glanced over at Ron and Hermione, who were both looking at him.
"Later," he mouthed at them.
It seemed no one, not even the Slytherins had decided to leave to room. Harry couldn't help feeling a little more comfortable about their presence given that they were willing to bind themselves with an oath. Such things were not done lightly.
"There is a piece of parchment on my desk," Professor McGonagall said, "please read it and sign it. Do not expect the consequences for one individual to be the same as another."
Feeling more than a little trepidation, Harry stood up and followed Hermione and Ron towards the front of the room, with Draco by his side. Hermione was first, as usual and Harry watched her go pale as she leaned over the desk and read what looked like from Harry's angle, to be blank parchment.
However, Hermione picked up the quill from the inkwell and signed her name without hesitation.
"What did you get?" Ron asked before leaning over to look himself.
"Lose the ability to read and write," Hermione said.
Ron looked aghast and Harry had to agree. This was definitely a spell very specifically aimed at the individual. When Hermione gave him a pointed look, Ron began to read himself. If anything he went paler than Hermione.
By the time Harry stepped up, he was expecting something terrible, which was why, when he read it, he had to read it twice.
"Restrictions not applicable," it said in bold letters. "Harry, I have no doubt you are quite able to keep secrets and it might, at some point, be necessary for you to be able to impart information you or Draco may learn in this room. Please sign anyway."
[Draco,] he said, quill poised above the parchment, and simply showed his soulmate what he was looking at.
[That sounds like Dumbledore's phrasing,] Draco replied. [Just pretend and sign it.]
It felt weird being left out, but, for once, Harry didn't mind. He signed and then made way for Draco.
[I have the same message,] was all Draco said while signing his name.
They went back to their seats and waited as student after student signed the parchment, each looking as shell shocked as the next. When everyone was sat back down, Harry knew it was time.
* * *
Harry looked at his friends and shared a glance with Draco before he slowly put up his hand.
"Yes, Harry?" Professor McGonagall asked as soon as she spotted him.
"Professor," he started, "Ron, Hermione and I, um, we don't need to take this class."
For a moment his housemistress fixed him with her stern gaze which meant she was trying to ascertain if he was telling the truth. Harry could only think that she thought he might be joking.
"Harry are you telling me you three have already mastered the Animagus transformation?" Professor McGonagall asked evenly.
"Yes, professor," he replied.
Several of their fellow students were also looking at him as if this might turn out to be a badly timed leg-pull. Given the cover for the previous day's events, jokes probably weren't in anyone's interest. Professor McGonagall regarded Harry steadily for a while longer and then nodded at him.
"Go on," she said.
"After," Hermione began for him as he looked at her somewhat helplessly; he hadn't actually thought of what to say beyond the original confession, "the incident at the end of the fifth year we decided to learn anything that might be useful."
There was the unspoken acknowledgement between the three Gryffindors, Draco and Professor McGonagall that recognised Sirius' contribution to the decision.
"Took us six months," Ron chimed in and gained a rather startled look from McGonagall. Harry had the distinct impression his head of house was impressed.
"We only told one person because we didn't want the Ministry telling everyone what we were when we might need it," Harry added.
Since the whole class was being given the same dispensation, this time legally, he was pretty sure everyone would understand.
"Given your rather unique situations," Professor McGonagall said, "I do not believe anyone could argue with that."
[Fudge could,] Harry commented silently.
[Because the man is a blithering idiot,] Draco replied.
"Well," Professor McGonagall continued, "I believe this would be a good time for a demonstration. Too many people believe the Animagus transformation to be impossible and I think a visual demonstration from their fellow students will greatly improve morale within this room."
There was no arguing with that tone and Harry suspected their professor knew exactly who the one person they had told was and was ticked off the headmaster had not warned her.
"I don't mind going first, Professor," Hermione said, standing up from her place.
"Thank you, Miss Granger," Professor McGonagall said, apparently mollified by Hermione's willingness to show off her skills.
In only a moment Hermione the girl was gone and in her place was a large, brown eagle owl with somewhat wild looking ear tufts. Harry had always felt of all their animals, Hermione's was the best. It suited her perfectly and she could fly.
As if she had heard his thought, she spread her wings and launched into the air, soaring around the classroom once and then transforming back as she came into land, lightly stepping back onto solid ground as her human form completed. It was a very skilful display and Harry knew quite how long Hermione had had to practice in secret to manage it.
"I am most impressed, Miss Granger," Professor McGonagall told her; "I am led to believe flying is a skill that is not always natural, no matter the shape."
"Thank you, Professor," Hermione said and retook her seat.
Even Pansy and Goyle looked interested in the display, which, for a Slytherin, screamed respect.
"Guess it's me next," Ron said, looking a little embarrassed, but standing up anyway.
Harry knew just which part Ron was embarrassed about, but there was no need to be, Ron's animal was just about as perfect as Hermione's. Ron was almost out of his awkward adolescent stage, with just a few reminders that he was not quite fully frown, however, as he transformed, his animal showed no signs of not being mature at all. Ron was a very robust, large fox, with deep red fur.
Rather than doing anything clever, Ron put his front paws on his desk and let his tongue loll out to one side. That even raised a smile from Professor McGonagall.
"Thank you, Mr Weasley," she said, "I believe your form is most apt."
Ron transformed back from his fox shape and moved back to his seat beside Hermione which left Harry feeling a little awkward.
This entry was originally posted at http://beren-writes.dreamwidth.org/373508.html.