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.
Snape looked about as unhappy as Harry had ever seen him. The glare that came his way as he and Draco walked into the potions classroom could have been lethal.
[Uh-oh,] he commented to his soulmate.
[It's an act,] Draco replied.
It didn't look like an act to Harry. Not sure what he would see he lowered his shields slightly. He was shocked to find Draco was right. The emotions he could see hovering around the Potions Master were not exactly happy, but neither did they go with the murderous visage Snape was showing the world.
[Supposed to be a Death Eater, remember?] Draco commented and raised an elegant eyebrow at Harry.
[So he would be taking this class under extreme protest,] Harry concluded and Draco gave him a small smile. [Why do I get the feeling this is still not going to be fun?]
[Because Snape's a very good actor.]
When Snape finally stood the whole room went completely silent instantly.
[One day I'm going to inspire that reaction,] Draco said and Harry had no doubt his soulmate was actually serious.
"The headmaster, in his wisdom," Snape said, voice as low and menacing as ever, "has put it upon me to teach students potions far beyond their talents. Hence in this class there will be no tomfoolery, not chatter, no frivolity and, most of all, no incompetence."
The way Snape looked at him, Harry suspected he knew who would get it in the neck if there was.
"I do not intend to waste my time," Snape continued. "This summer the brightest students will learn how to brew antidotes to certain poisons and curses. Those not competent of that will be brewing sleeping drafts and pain relief potions, which all of you should already know. All successful potions will be added to Madam Pomfrey's stores for the coming year."
Harry didn't think Snape expected there to be many successful potions.
"Today you will each brew the potion on the piece of parchment in front of you," Snape said. "You will be rated on the result."
Harry went to pick up his instructions.
"Mr Potter," Snape's voice stopped him, "the potion requires the sap of the singing willow, to which you are allergic. Since Mr Malfoy is my most outstanding student I will be forced to accept you into the advanced group anyway, so go and sit in the far corner. Do not move or speak until the class is over."
[Here we go,] Harry said. [I'm only allergic to three things so he did this deliberately.]
[Clever really,] Draco replied, [it makes his point, but it harmless in the long run.]
"Yes, Professor," Harry said and walked to the dingy back of the room.
It was going to be such a fun afternoon.
* * *
Harry had absolutely no doubt what was going to be on the agenda next as the seventh years all walked back into the Great Hall and recognised the set up for Apparition class. He very much did not relish the thought. For him Apparition was akin to low level torture, even if it was incredibly useful.
"Welcome," one thing that did surprise Harry was it was Dumbledore who greeted them, "and welcome to Apparition for Emergency Situations. Due to an unfortunate scheduling error with the Ministry, I will be supervising the test section of this class."
[Scheduling error my arse,] was Draco's opinion on the matter, [he just wants to be able to find out what everyone can do without the Ministry breathing down his neck.]
[But the Ministry is helping for once,] Harry said.
[There are still a thousand and one regulations to do with Apparating,] Draco said, [and Albus is probably about to circumvent them all. He'll probably outright break them if he has to.]
[But no one can Apparate into or out of Hogwarts, why would he be so concerned about it?]
[To answer that I'd have to know how the mind of the great Albus Dumbledore works,] Draco replied, [and I'm brilliant, but even I'm not that good.]
Harry had to agree; sometimes it was simply impossible to know what the headmaster had in mind.
"First I would ask if those who have their Apparating licence stand to the left and those who have yet to undertake the test, please stand to the right," Dumbledore said.
As Harry understood it, an Apparating licence was similar to a Muggle driving license in that many people rushed out to get one as soon as they could. There were, however, a few who hadn't yet found the time, but only five out of their current group. Harry thought that probably said a lot about how prepared most of his yearmates wished to be.
"Ladies and gentlemen," Dumbledore said, turning to the smaller group, "because of certain regulations all those without an Apparating licence will be placed in the less advanced classes. However, as I am aware that sometimes a lack of a license is merely a sign of a lack of opportunity, rather than aptitude, there will be a special opportunity to take your test here at Hogwarts on Saturday morning. Please see me after class if you wish to take advantage of this option."
All four students looked at each other.
"Professor Dumbledore," one of them said just as the headmaster went to turn away. "I think we'd all like to do that," she added as Dumbledore faced her once more.
"Very good, very good," the headmaster said, doing a perfect impression of a dotty old man, "splendid."
It never ceased to amaze Harry how disarming Dumbledore could be even when a person knew what a shrewd mind lived behind those twinkling eyes.
"Now there is one warning I must give out before we begin," the headmaster announced, "unlike the term time classes, the Apparition wards on Hogwarts have not been disabled, they have simply been circumvented within the Great Hall. If you attempt to Apparate beyond these walls, I'm afraid you will get a nasty shock, so no one is to make the effort."
[They'd have to be down all the time otherwise,] Draco commented.
"Some very nice people from the Ministry assisted in the modifications," Dumbledore continued to prattle on, "and I am sure we are all grateful for their assistance."
[He totally could have done it himself,] Harry said, [he did it in the Room of Requirement for me to learn before my seventeenth birthday.]
[Ah, but does the Ministry know that?] Draco asked.
[So the headmaster keeps his secret and makes the Ministry feel useful.]
[Two birds with one hex,] Harry concluded.
"Now we are going to start with a few simple exercises, I am sure you are all familiar with," the headmaster continued, "and then we will talk about Side-Along Apparition."
[Splinching here we come,] Draco commented.
* * *
Draco was watching Harry like a hawk.
So far the headmaster had gone over everything about basic Apparating, just to make sure, and he'd set up two circles at either end of the Great Hall. Being a wizard meant that things appearing out of thin air was nothing overly exciting, except when Dumbledore did it. The circles were gold and glowed in the floor and all Dumbledore had done was look vaguely towards the ceiling and say: "If you wouldn't mind, thank you."
Unfortunately that had been the fun part of the class over and the beginning of Draco's extra vigilance.
Four people had Apparated from one circle to the other while the headmaster observed. With each one Harry went whiter.
"Okay, that's it," Draco finally said as the fifth person vanished and reappeared with routine efficiency. "Sorry, Professor Dumbledore," he said as he slipped his arm through Harry's, "I'll be back in a moment, Harry won't."
Harry opened his mouth to protest, but shut it again when Draco gave him a very pointed look. If there were awards for obstinate stupidity, Draco would put his soulmate down for one immediately.
"Of course, Gentlemen," Dumbledore said with his usual smile, "not to worry."
Draco escorted Harry out of the room before the next member of the class stepped into the ring at the far end.
[Well that was embarrassing,] Harry said, although Draco took the lack of a louder protest to mean Harry was at his limit.
[More or less embarrassing than passing out or having your breakfast revisit?] he asked, less gently than he could have because he hated it when Harry put himself through things like this.
"Okay," Harry said, out loud this time, "I'm sorry."
Then he winced again and Draco all but pushed him down the corridor towards fresh air.
It was warm and the sun was shining brightly, so Draco picked a nice spot in the courtyard.
"How many fingers?" he asked and held up his hand.
That at least drew a snort of amusement from Harry.
"I know, I know," Harry said, "I'm an idiot. I will sit here and not do anything, I promise."
"Good," Draco said.
"And you can tell me all of the useful stuff and we'll practice at some point if it might actually be helpful."
Draco put his hands on his hips and glared, but Harry just stared back at him.
"Merlin, you're impossible!" he finally said. "Alright, if, and only if, I deem something to be more useful than you not looking like a ghost I will teach it to you."
"I'll take that," Harry said and smiled at him.
"Now sit, relax and don't do anything stupid or I might splinch myself," Draco said, because he knew his soulmate far too well.
* * *
Most of the Apparating class milled around in the Great Hall as it set up for lunch around them. Harry had returned once Draco assured him the Apparating was over. The four seventh years without their Apparating licences were with Dumbledore at the front of the hall where Harry could see them filling out a familiar form.
While the others had been put through their paces by the headmaster, Harry had been doing some thinking.
[Okay, tell me what it is,] Draco said, reading him perfectly as ever.
[I don't like having such a huge weakness,] Harry admitted.
[It's not like it cripples you,] Draco replied immediately, [and I did promise I'd help you with anything that might save lives. All of us have things we'd rather avoid and this is yours. You can Apparate when you need to and you can cope with people doing it around you.]
[I know,] he said, [I just don't understand why I can't deal with it like everything else. The whole world used to cause me pain and it doesn't anymore.]
[I'll give you that,] Draco said.
[So why not Apparating? I was thinking, what if it's because I'm exposed to the world all the time, but Apparating only occasionally. What if I just need to acclimatise?]
He knew he might have said something sensible when Draco didn't object instantly.
[But you really hate Apparating,] Draco pointed out after a few moments.
[I know,] Harry agreed, [trust me I know, but what if I can get over it? You have to admit its limiting.]
[Not really,] Draco countered; [like I said, you can do it, you just try not to...]
Harry went to reply.
[But,] Draco added before he could, [I see your point. You want to take part in the classes.]
[More observe,] Harry said. [For once I'm willing to go one step at a time.]
[And you think it will work?]
[No idea, but don't you think it's worth a try?]
[Are you sure you want to put yourself through that?] Draco asked. [It's not necessary.]
Harry knew he didn't even have to answer that. Neither of them ever took the easy path any more.
[Okay,] Draco said when Harry refused to change his mind, [but you better catch Albus before he leaves.]
Harry smiled and nodded. He was probably going to regret this decision more than once before the summer was up, but he had to do it. Weaknesses were not something he could allow himself anymore.
This entry was originally posted at http://beren-writes.dreamwidth.org/374070.html.