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 courtyard where they were asked to meet for their next class was bright, sunny and airy; a lovely change from the Great Hall. Waiting for them was Professor Flitwick and a woman who had to be another Auror, if her severe pony tail and grim expression were anything to go by.
"Welcome," Professor Flitwick said as soon as the last of them was through the doors, "please gather round."
Draco kept himself between Harry and the rest of the group as they all huddled in front of the diminutive professor. Only as he glanced around did he notice several targets placed at the far end of the enclosure.
"It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to Offensive Defence," Professor Flitwick told them all. "This is Auror Parma and together we will be improving your timing, your aim and your grasp of some very useful spells."
[This sounds like fun,] Harry told Draco and grinned at him.
[How did I know you were going to say that?] Draco replied. [If there's one thing you like almost as much as flying it's throwing debilitating spells around.]
Harry's grin only grew.
[So do you,] Harry pointed out.
[That's not the point,] Draco said.
Okay, so he did feel a certain thrill of excitement about the class. What made it even better were the targets; Harry would not be putting himself in the way of any spells. That pleased Draco no end.
"In your Defensive Flying class you were expected to aim at a moving, but large target," Auror Parma said. "In this class we will be working on pinpoint accuracy."
"By the time we've finished with you, you'll be able to shoot the head off that pin," Professor Flitwick added and Draco laughed along with everyone else.
Parma didn't look overly pleased with the joke. Draco made a mental note to keep an eye on her; Aurors without a sense of humour could be troublesome. Mad-eye Moody sprung immediately to mind.
"I'm sure you're used to all the testing by now," Professor Flitwick said with his usual good cheer, "and this afternoon you're in for some more."
Everyone groaned on cue.
"We will first test you on your accuracy," Parma told them. "We will be using the Shooting Spell. Who is familiar with this spell?"
Over half the class put up their hands and for the first time Parma's stern expression eases a little.
"Excellent," Professor Flitwick said, "that should, indeed, save us some time. We will of course go over the spell for those who do not know it and to refresh everyone else's memory."
[And to make sure no one is going to shoot themselves in the foot,] Draco added silently.
"Please form a line along the side of the courtyard," Flitwick said.
The courtyard was about twice as long as it was wide, so they all fitted along the wall nicely. The professor and Parma remained in the centre of the area.
"I believe the Muggles would say 'stick 'em up'," Professor Flitwick said, much to the apparent annoyance of Parma.
Unlike Hooch and Duggan, it did not look as if their two instructors for this class were on the same page at all. Draco looked forward to the fireworks. He had no doubt Professor Flitwick would win if it came down to it.
"This is the Shooting Spell," Parma said, pointing her wand at one of the targets, taking aim and demonstrating perfectly so a small hole appeared just slightly to the right of centre of the bullseye.
Professor Flitwick clapped and so everyone else joined in, including Draco. He wasn't overly impressed, after all the woman was an Auror, but it always did to keep up appearances.
"Now, we would like everyone to practice," Flitwick said. "Once Auror Parma and myself have moved to a safe distance," he looked at them all over his glasses and everyone laughed, although Seamus did already have his wand raised, "use the spell to fire at the grass. If anyone has any problems, please raise your hand."
[Why do I get a feeling of doom?] Draco asked as their instructors walked to the end of the courtyard, well out of the way.
[Because you know everyone too well,] Harry replied, although his grin belied his ominous words.
[Shall we?] Draco said and lifted his wand.
Harry's only response was to do likewise. A sod of earth exploded out of the grass in front of Harry as he cast and sailed through the air.
[Maybe I need to tone it down,] Harry decided.
[Might be a plan,] Draco agreed.
* * *
In the end it didn't take Harry long to find the correct balance between raw power and accuracy, which was a relief, because the last thing he wanted was to blow up a target. However, other members of the class didn't have as much luck.
Lavender couldn't seem to master the spell at all.
[It's the noise,] Draco said as Flitwick tried yet again to show Lavender how the spell worked.
[I don't follow,] Harry said, not sure what his soulmate was getting at.
[She doesn't like the noise,] Draco explained, [so she's stopping herself casting. It's got nothing to do with technique.]
Curious, Harry lowered his barrier to magic a little and watched as Lavender tried to cast again. He didn't look closely enough to see her magical core, but he could see the build up near her wand as she concentrated. She pointed her wand, cast and that was when Harry saw what Draco must have picked up earlier; Lavender narrowed her eyes and looked like she wanted to shy away. The magic she had been about to cast just exploded into a puff of what looked like sparks to Harry.
He shared the mental image with Draco.
[Told you,] was Draco's response.
"Hermione," Harry whispered and his friend looked round. "It's the noise."
He wasn't sure what to do about it, not without landing himself in the centre of attention again, but he was pretty sure Hermione could come up with something. For a moment she frowned and Harry pointed at Lavender.
"Oh," she mouthed and nodded.
As ever, Hermione had no problem taking charge.
"Professor," she said before Flitwick could try yet again, "would it be possible to have ear protectors? The bangs are beginning to make my head ring, I don't know about anyone else."
[Gotta love her,] Harry said to Draco.
[No comment,] Draco replied with a grin.
Flitwick raised his eyebrows and then slowly nodded.
"As ever Miss Granger you have wonderful ideas," Flitwick said with a smile. "I don't know why I didn't think of that before."
Auror Parma did not look as impressed by the plan, but then, as far as Harry could tell, the woman hadn't been impressed by anything so far. He couldn't help wondering if she had been press ganged into the whole summer school idea. She didn't really act as if she wanted to be there.
Luckily, Parma had no say in the ear defender debate, because Flitwick summoned a house elf and, in no time, the whole class was wearing the useful devices.
* * *
It seemed to take forever before the whole class had the shooting spell down, at which point the fun part of the class could actually begin.
"Now, if everyone would divide into two groups," Professor Flitwick said after they had been herded to the end of the courtyard opposite the targets. "Don't worry, these are not teams, simply I will supervise one half of the class while Auror Parma supervises the other."
[Can't help noticing he hasn't said who'll take which half,] Draco said as he and Harry followed Ron and Hermione toward the left.
Harry wasn't surprised to see the division was mostly along house lines: Gryffindors and Hufflepuff as opposed to Ravenclaws and Slytherins. There were a couple of students who found themselves in the other group, like Draco for obvious reasons, but not many.
"For the first test we will be measuring accuracy only," Auror Parma told them. "Everyone take a paper target from the pile on your side of the courtyard and write your name on it. Then place it on the table."
[I'll get ours,] Draco said as everyone bundled for the targets that were in a box on the grass.
It was quite a crush, so, for once, Harry didn't argue and just watched as Draco wrote each of their names on a target using his wand. There was quite a lot of noise as everyone sorted themselves out, especially since some people were still wearing their ear defenders and so they were shouting. However, eventually there was a pile of targets on each of the two tables.
"Very good," Professor Flitwick said to bring everyone back to order. "Auror Parma and I will take the targets to the other end of the range. When your name is called you will step forward and when you are given the signal by myself or Auror Parma, you will fire five times at the target, taking care to aim each shot. There is no time limit for this section, so do not be in too much of a hurry."
[Now there's a shock,] Draco commented when Flitwick walked over to the group containing most of his Ravenclaws.
Auror Parma picked up their group's pile of targets and took them down the range, Flitwick used a charm to move his pile. Probably a good thing since the targets were almost as big as he was.
"Dean Thomas," Parma announce after she attached the first target to the frame.
"Wish me luck," Dean said and walked to where there was a line on the grass.
Harry watched the first couple of people with interest as some shot well and others missed wildly, but soon time began to drag. Hermione was incredibly accurate, but she took forever, and she wasn't the only one using the tactic. Harry took to leaning against the wall enjoying the sunshine. That was, until Draco's name was called.
[Good luck,] he said as he began to pay attention again.
[So I look like I need luck?] was the sarcastic reply.
[Everyone needs luck,] Harry replied.
No matter Draco's words, Harry could feel the fizz of nerves from his soulmate. Everyone was watching, including most of the other group. Terry Boot was getting it easy on the other target as everyone wanted to see how Draco did.
Harry was amazed how Draco could give absolutely no indication he had even noticed. All he did was take up his stance and wait for the signal from Parma.
Doing his very best to keep his mind completely silent so as not to distract Draco, Harry watched with anticipation. The moment Parma lifted her hand to signal a go, Draco fired off his five shots in quick succession. Every single one hit the centre circle of the target.
The round of applause was completely spontaneous.
[You,] Harry said, completely impresse, [that was ... wow.]
[I've been shooting since I was five,] Draco said, turning away from the target and smiling and inclining his head to his audience.
[And you didn't mention that because?]
[You were having too much fun shooting the grass,] Draco replied.
Harry gave his soulmate a peck on the cheek for that when Draco walked back to where he was standing.
They had to wait for Terry to finish on his target, but Harry knew his name would be next. Given how well Draco had done, he was more than a little nervous when he was called to the range. As Parma changed over the targets Harry took a deep breath and did his best to relax his shoulders and wand hand. A death grip wasn't going to help his aim any.
As soon as Parma was clear, Harry took up the same stance Draco had used. Then he waited.
Parma lifted her hand and Harry focussed on the target. He took another breath, held it and fired off his first spell. It hit the centre circle bang on.
"Nice one, Harry," someone said, which wasn't overly helpful because it distracted him.
He had to take time to reset. The second shot went just slightly wide of the centre circle, but he readjusted again, and the next three all went in. Not as fast as Draco and definitely not as flashy, but not bad, even if he did say so himself.
The next round tested speed. They had new targets and instructions to fire all five shots in under ten seconds. Of course Draco had no trouble, Harry had two go wide, Hermione didn't hit the centre at all and Ron had a nice cluster, but to the left of centre. It was interesting to see who didn't deal well with the pressure and who actually improved when they had no time to think.
Everything was going really well until they were halfway through the third round. This was about speed and accuracy. They had five shots once again and a maximum of five seconds for each one. If they took longer that shot didn't count.
Ernie Macmillan was shooting on their side and Pansy on the other. Harry had been impressed with Pansy's performance so far; she, like Draco, appeared very practiced at the discipline. Hence he was watching closely as she took up her stance and prepared to fire, which was why he saw things go wrong as soon as they did.
Pansy's first shot hit her target, but it did not go through, it bounced off at a wild angle, glowing like a spark. It hit the stonework of the courtyard walls and rebounded madly again in a completely random direction. Someone screamed and ducked as it shot over their head.
The spell seemed to be obeying no physical laws Harry knew, and the very significant thing was, every time it hit something, it got bigger. It almost hit Neville as it careered off another wall. Sooner or later it was going to collide with someone and do some serious damage.
Both Flitwick and Parma had their wands out and Parma cast a shield, but bouncing off that seemed to only energise the magic more. Flitwick looked like he was trying to bring it under control, but it was too fast and he was having no luck.
It reminded Harry of the snitch, and like a snitch, there was only one person in the game who could catch it: the Seeker. Letting his barriers fall he watched the growing sphere with more than his eyes, and he called to it. The ball of crackling magic veered off its path directly at three of the Ravenclaws and straight at Harry instead.
He focused everything he had on it and brought it to a shuddering halt just in front of his face. The only way he could describe the feeling of the magic was excited. It was like holding a squirming cat.
Draco hand touched the base of his back, strengthening him and what he was doing. The magic was not about to get away from him. Unlike if it actually had been a cat, Harry had no qualms about ripping it apart. It took little more than a thought to undo the spell holding the magic together and it dissipated harmlessly into the environment.
[That was no accident and no prank,] Harry said and looked at Draco.
His soulmate didn't have to say anything to agree.
This entry was originally posted at http://beren-writes.dreamwidth.org/374779.html.