We're going to Canada for our 20th anniversary :).
Title: Defence, Pretence, Offence - Chapter 28/70 - Celebrations
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.
"Where do you think we'll be staying?" Ron asked as he, Hermione, Draco and Harry walked towards the Great Hall for the final meal of the summer holidays.
"No doubt Dumbledore has something planned," Hermione said and Harry nodded.
"Since everyone is on the train back to London tomorrow I doubt we'll know before we come back," he added.
"I doubt it will be house based," Draco added his own opinion on the matter. "I'm not even sure where there is room to put us all up."
"Hogwarts will make room," Harry said and smiled.
At the back of his mind, Draco could feel Harry kind of exchanging a polite hello with the school as he spoke about it. It was something he'd noticed Harry doing since he had put the new ward in place. Draco wasn't even sure his soulmate was aware he did it, but something about it felt right, so Draco wasn't about to argue.
"I don't want anyone to ever try and explain how," Ron said before Hermione could so much as open her mouth.
"I'm not really sure anyone quite knows," was Hermione's surprising admission and Draco had to agree.
There were so many things about Hogwarts that were lost to the mists of time. The Founders had done some remarkable things with their school.
"Don't even think about making it a side project," Draco said before Harry could get any ideas.
"I'm not that bonkers," Harry replied as they walked into the Great Hall.
As a group they stopped.
It wasn't that the Great Hall was decorated with summer greenery and flowers, or that the sky in the ceiling was a lovely blue with bright sunshine, even though it was a bit of a grey day outside. It was the arrangement of the tables.
"Talking of Hogwarts changing things," Draco commented.
There were no longer four tables and benches. Two of the tables were gone and the other two, just enough to seat all the summer students, were now curved into half circles, facing each other with about two metres between each end.
"Looks like Dumbledore is making a thing of house unity," Ron said.
"Yeah," Harry agreed.
[Nothing subtle about this one,] Draco commented silently.
[I bet everyone will be talking about this for weeks,] Harry replied.
"Where shall we sit?" Hermione asked.
"Let's grab the far end," Harry suggested, "no one's sitting there yet."
Even though the tables were no longer straight it appeared as if those who had already arrived were still congregating in year groups. Some habits would never die, it seemed. Draco suspected that one day Albus would do away with house restricted seating altogether, except for feasts, and everybody would have to like it or lump it.
* * *
As usual there were some stragglers rushing into the Great Hall at the last minute, but everyone was sat down before Dumbledore stood up at the High Table. It was crowded up the teacher's end because all the summer instructors were there as well. Harry wasn't actually sure everyone should have fitted, and the whole area glimmered if he lowered his shields a little, so he was pretty sure there was magic involved.
"Welcome everyone," the Headmaster said as a hush fell over those gathered. "First I would like to say how proud you have all made me over this summer holiday, students and teachers alike. There were those who expressed great doubt that our endeavours were even possible, yet every person here has exceeded all expectations.
"To those who have taught our summer subjects, many of who have had no previous experience teaching young people, thank you. You have all worked tirelessly to make this summer a success.
"To the students who have persevered through studies way beyond their years, thank you also. Your dedication and desire to learn have made the efforts of your teachers perfectly worthwhile.
"I hope none of you will need the skills you have taught and learned in the days ahead, however, I let you all leave tomorrow knowing that you are prepared should any of you be faced with the worst. Those of you leaving us for pastures new or returning to their normal occupations, I wish you all the best and send you off with my gratitude. To the students and staff returning to school in little over a week, I wish you a safe journey home and a good holiday.
"And finally, to those who have exceeded even my wildest imaginings and who have put on hold their existing plans and agreed to help protect this school and those within it, as well as act as assistants to the existing staff, thank you. Each one of you brings something unique to this institution that will enrich school life for the coming year. Take the next nine days and rest, I can guarantee you will need it."
"And now, since I know the House Elves have outdone themselves, let us eat."
As the headmaster clapped his hands the tables were groaning with food. Harry wasn't sure he'd seen such a spread even at the Halloween Feast.
"Wow," Seamus said, which just about summed up what Harry was thinking as everyone dove in.
* * *
Arriving at the Weasleys was a rather chaotic affair. While most of the summer students had taken the train from Hogwarts, Ron and Hermione Apparated directly from Hogsmeade to the Burrow, but since Harry found the means of travel so uncomfortable Dumbledore was kind enough to provide a portkey. Transferring would have been easier, but it was too important a secret to use on something so trivial.
Thanks to Molly's paranoia that her son would manage to splinch himself if he tried anything too fancy when Apparating, Harry and Draco also had all the luggage. Hence when they arrived with a bag on each shoulder and their hands full, and Harry did his usual ungraceful sit down on landing, it caused great hilarity.
[I have no idea how someone so graceful on a broom can be so clumsy with every other form of transport known to man,] Draco said dryly as he put his hand out to help Harry to his feet.
[Wizard transport,] Harry replied and grinned at his lover, [I'd like to see you ride a bike.]
"Ronald Weasley, don't just stand there, help them," Molly's disapproving tone drew Harry's attention and he turned to see the woman come bustling out of the house.
Ron made a somewhat unrepentant grimace at Harry, but nevertheless, made to do as he was told as his mother took charge.
"Hermione, dear, it is so nice to see you again," Molly started with the closest and Harry couldn't help the goofy smile that appeared on his face as he watched Ron's mum mother his other best friend.
After a summer of serious study and preparation for war, Molly was such a breath of fresh air. Here, Harry could almost believe that he was twelve again and the most important thing to worry about was how many chocolate frogs Ron could eat without making himself sick. Of course at the age of twelve he hadn't been able to see the warm protective magic on the house, nor had he had someone in his life who made him complete; but it was a nice, if flawed illusion.
[I must be going mad,] Draco said in his mind as they waited for their turn to be mothered; [I think I'm actually becoming fond of this place.]
Harry decided that deserved a kiss, and leant over to give his soulmate a quick peck on the cheek.
[It's Weasley magic,] he promised with mock seriousness, [once they make you one of the family you just can't help it. Your pureblood pride and impeccable taste are quite safe.]
That earned him a raised eyebrow and a slight smile, but there was no time for a response as Molly reached Draco.
"My, I think you may have filled out a little since I last saw you," Ron's mum said as she gave Draco a once over. "You're looking as handsome as ever, just you be sure that you don't go breaking hearts when you start teaching."
It never failed to amaze Harry how a woman of Molly's size could appear to engulf someone clearly taller than herself, but as she wrapped Draco in a fierce hug, that is exactly what she did.
"I intend to be scarier than Snape," Draco said in a self important tone, which was belied by the smile on his face, "there will be no shattering of internal organs in my classroom."
"Unless Nev nips in to borrow a cauldron," Harry put in with a laugh.
Molly rolled her eyes in amusement.
"Boys!" was her expert opinion on the matter.
Then Harry found himself the centre of attention as Molly viewed him critically. When the woman gave him a huge smile, he knew he had passed muster.
"Now I know that you'll have first years trailing after you like love sick puppies," Molly said cheerfully, and then managed to engulf him in the briefest of hugs.
He was never going to be a touchy feely person ever again, except with Draco, but Harry enjoyed the brief contact, allowing the woman's love and welcome to wash through him. There were undercurrents of worry running through Molly, but that was what war did to people and he concentrated on the more prevalent emotions.
"Come on then," Ron's Mum said brightly, "I have tea and cake waiting inside."
By the time Molly had finished stuffing them with the richest chocolate cake Harry had ever seen, he thought he might be ill. The only one who did not seem to be having any problems with the amount of food was Ron, who had actually gone back for a third slice. Now Harry knew he could eat, but when it came to his mother's cooking, Ron had had far more practice.
[Harry, save me from the chocolate monster,] was Draco melodramatic response when Molly suggested that he might like another slice as well.
"If Draco eats any more sugar I won't be responsible for the consequences," Harry said with a grin, and was rewarded with a slap on the arm for his trouble.
"Ooh, sugar rushed Slytherin," Ron chimed in immediately. "Mum, Harry's right, that really wouldn't be pretty."
Draco's response was a look of disdain that could have frozen water; it just made Ron laugh.
"My talents are wasted on Gryffindors," Draco said with a mock sigh of resignation.
That drew a laugh from around the table.
"Well then," Molly said in her usual efficient but cheerful manner, "let's get you all settled. Hermione, I've put you in with Ginny. Harry, love, you and Draco are in Percy's old room. Ron, you'll be sharing with Charlie when he comes to visit on Wednesday, but until then your room's your own; I expect it to be kept tidy."
"Why can't Charlie sleep in Fred and George's old room?" Ron bemoaned, although he didn't sound too serious about it.
"Because Fred and George will be in it," Molly replied, as if everyone should have already known. "Bill and Percy wanted to visit as well, but they couldn't take the time off, so they'll only be here for dinner on Friday. We have to celebrate your N.E.W.T.s and your new job, Ron, dear."
It appeared that the event was turning into a Weasley gathering, and Harry could not help but smile as Ron blushed furiously as he found out that he was the reason for it.
"Mum," the bashful Gryffindor complained, much to the amusement of the rest present.
* * *
Hermione was going home in the morning and it was the first day Charlie could get away, so the celebration for Ron was happening on the Wednesday evening. The most strenuous thing any of them had done on the previous two days was eat as Molly insisted they all recuperate from their busy summer.
Harry had spent half of Tuesday asleep, which had pleased Draco no end. What with the summer classes, the saboteur and the wards, Harry had been at full stretch for far too long. Draco was not masochistic enough not to admit he had been at a pretty long stretch too, but Harry always pushed himself too hard. While Harry had slept, Draco had curled up with a good book. It had been very refreshing.
On the day of the party, no matter Molly's protests, everyone in the house had insisted on helping to get it ready. While Molly baked and cooked, the rest of them moved things around and decorated to strict parameters. Once upon a time Draco would have run screaming at the idea of being surrounded by so many Weasleys, but now it was just fun. He'd only had to hex one of the twins once.
George had only just missed Harry when flinging a spell at Fred and Draco did not take well to mistakes like that. A luminous green goatee really had clashed with George's hair, and Draco had added a little twist so the only one who could remove the extra facial hair was him, or possibly Harry. Molly's only comment had been: "You look very distinguished, dear." So Draco had taken that as approval of his actions.
Of course he had expected some form of attempt at retaliation, what he'd got was an offer of money for the secret to the spell. He really never would understand Weasleys.
Now it was party time and everyone was turned out in their best and drinking various concoctions in the Weasleys' living room. Draco was politely sipping a glass of champagne while Harry had a small glass of the same stuff in one hand and a butterbeer in the other. They were all waiting for Molly to appear from around the corner in the kitchen. Everyone had been banished from her domain for the last hour.
"Drum roll please," Fred, who was on lookout and still sporting his green goatee, said loudly.
Of course George took him literally and the sound of a drum roll filled the air. Draco was sure the pair just did magic all the time because they liked it. If they had had a mind to be dark lords they would have been very scary people indeed. When Draco caught that thought he realised that probably went for most of the people he was with at the moment. It was a good thing they were all on the side of the Light.
Molly appeared round the corner carrying the biggest cake Draco had ever seen outside one of his parents' parties when he was younger. Harry's birthday cake from the house elves had been big, but this was ginormous. There had to be magic involved in moving it, either that or Molly was a great deal stronger than Draco gave her credit for.
"Wow, Mum, that's amazing," Ron said, the awe clear in his voice.
"Here, here," Draco added his agreement.
The cake had three tiers. The bottom was a good half a metre across and a foot tall, and was covered in chocolate icing. The middle tier was a little smaller and covered in pink icing. The top tier was smaller still and covered in white icing, with "Congratulations Ron" written around the edge in gold writing that occasionally gave off sparks. There were edible flowers decorating every tier.
They had all seen some of the elements in their raw state in the kitchen over the day, but how Molly had hidden that she was making such a cake was beyond Draco. He couldn't help wondering if Molly had a timeturner in her kitchen, because putting something so grand together in only an hour should have been impossible.
"You deserve it, Love," Molly said, appearing from behind her creation, "you've made us all very proud."
"I'll say," Charlie agreed.
"Never knew you had it in you, Little Brother," Fred and George added their own take on the matter.
"Thanks for raising the bar so high," came from Ginny.
"Here's to Ron," Arthur said and lifted his glass, "our youngest son, ready to face the world."
Ron did blush well as everyone raised the toast. Molly looked like she might cry. All in all Draco thought it was probably a perfectly Weasley moment. There was darkness on the horizon, but at that moment, Draco only felt warmth.
[Wonderful isn't it,] Harry said and Draco could only smile at his soulmate.
He was clearly going soft in the head.
This entry was originally posted at http://beren-writes.dreamwidth.org/380179.html.