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.
It had never occurred to Harry that he and he fellow assistance professors would not be sitting at their house tables like usual. However, they weren't students anymore and when he and Draco arrived for the sorting feast the first thing he saw was a new table at the end, in front of the dais where the rest of the staff sat. It was to the right and had benches either side, rather than being completely across the room as the head table was, and several of their fellows were already sitting at it.
Draco set off down the hall with an impressive swish of robes and Harry hurried to keep up with him. He suspected Draco was making the perfect impression with the returning pupils, but he doubted he was doing as well. Not that he had delusions of greatness or anything.
[I do not have delusions,] Draco said and Harry realised he must have projected the last part.
[Of course not,] Harry replied, [but if I had any such expectations they would be.]
Draco turned and gave him a small smile for that comeback.
"So," Draco said as he slid onto one of the benches, saving the end spot of Harry, "anyone blown anything up yet? I know there's only one Weasley in the main school population now, but I am sure someone will rise to the challenge of filling the vacuum."
Ron opened his mouth to retort, then thought about it and shrugged.
"No one yet," was what Harry's best friend said.
There really was no arguing with the Weasley reputation at Hogwarts.
"I already heard two third years talking about the epic snog they saw Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy having in the train corridor," Seamus put in.
"Then I pity whomever they choose as future life partners," Draco said in a very superior tone, "because there was nothing epic about it; nice, yes, even boarding on very good, but definitely not epic."
"No, we save those for when no one can see us," Harry said and grinned.
"That's more than enough information for dinner time, thank you, Harry," Hermione said before he could say anything else.
She narrowed her eyes at Seamus as if daring him to start a war of innuendo. Luckily he wasn't that stupid.
"You were supposed to be setting an example," Hermione said, giving Harry a look.
"We were," Draco said, "just not the one everyone was expecting. Besides, it put everyone at ease, if we were relaxed enough for a quick snog then there was no danger of attack."
Harry hadn't actually been thinking like that at the time, but Draco had a point. Given the way Hermione lifted her eyebrows, looked at the floor and finally nodded, he thought she might agree.
"Okay, I'll give you that," she said, "but don't think I believe that was your only motive."
Draco grinned at her then.
"Of course not," Draco said, entirely unrepentant.
"What do you think the sorting hat will sing about this year?" Harry asked.
"I'm guessing united houses," Pansy said from a little further down the table, "because we've been put at the front like prize turkeys for all to see and no one is going to miss we're a mixed bunch."
Draco nodded and Harry found it hard to disagree. They had been on show since the moment they stood on the train station. For once he actually didn't mind, and the fact he was part of a group rather than all by himself helped that feeling enormously.
"And we're cheering for all houses during the sorting, right?" Harry said, looking around at his fellows one by one.
"Of course," Neville agreed even as Seamus, Ron and Goyle, plus a couple of others looked somewhat rebellious.
"Appearances must be maintained," Pansy said with a nod, which stopped any objection coming from Goyle.
"And we're staff now," Hermione added, sending a very significant stare at Ron, "we should show enthusiasm to all the first years. What kind of example would it set if we showed house favouritism?"
"You mean like all the other members of staff?" Seamus countered.
"And we're going to be better than them," Hermione said very firmly.
Harry had to smile; when Hermione and Pansy agreed on something is was almost scary.
"Good," he said before anyone else could say anything, "glad that's settled then."
Several mutinous glares were aimed in his direction, but he was pretty sure the message had been received.
* * *
The Sorting Hat lived in Dumbledore's office, Harry had seen it more than once since his life changing discovery, however, when it was brought out and placed on the stool he couldn't resist looking at it properly. Thanks to all the returning students already in the hall, the place was abuzz with magic and emotion, so he was very careful.
He couldn't help just staring at what he saw. When safely in the headmaster's office the hat had a magical feel to it, but Harry quickly realised that had to be just a dormant state. Now the hat was alive with metallic hues and it positively gave off sparks. Harry was reminded of Dumbledore.
[Look at the hat,] Harry said and gave Draco a taste of what he was seeing.
[That's a lot of magic,] Draco said, the feeling of awe following the statement. [All just to sort students.]
[It's probably been gathering it for its whole existence,] Harry said, fascinated by the mix of power. [I don't think I want to know what would happen if someone tried to take the Sorting Hat away from Hogwarts.]
[Agreed,] Draco said, [let's not try that.]
A complete hush fell over the hall as everyone awaited the hat's song.
Once, long ago, when I was young
and danger came a calling,
A Founder knew what should be done
So built a refuge dwelling
Hogwarts is still that refuge place
Within its walls collect
So once again a Founder's grace
Is needed to protect
Four noble Houses we shall be
Yet one we stand united
Let not the past in darkness see
For lies too much are cited
Hufflepuff your loyalty find
For you our heart shall be
Treat others as you see in kind
Til goodness shine from thee
Ravenclaw your minds will lead,
Let not your will be stolen.
For darkness on ign'rance will feed,
And blindness let the troll in.
Gryffindor your courage must
From the front inspire all
The darkness is upon us thrust
Stand firm and heed the call
Slytherin your cunning wins
The battle coming soon
Hold to the light dear cousins
For darkness brings just doom
Hogwarts, her hallowed walls have stood
For a thousand years and more
All Founders four, their aim was good
Lose not their goal in war.
[Well that was rather blunt,] Draco said as Professor McGonagall approached the stool with her list.
[I think it thinks we're all idiots,] Harry replied and just kept watching.
"Armarda, Elizabeth," Professor McGonagall called out.
A very nervous little girl with the most adorable pigtails Harry had ever seen, walked tentatively towards the stool. McGonagall nodded at her and she picked up the hat, sat down and put it on her head. Tendrils of magic flowed from the hat tinged with the four house colours. Most hovered around the girl's head, but some snaked down to her heart and over her stomach.
It was the most amazing thing to watch and Harry wished he could share it with more than Draco.
"RAVENCLAW," the Hat announced loudly.
As ever there was a huge round of applause from the house in question and Professor Flitwick, who seemed most excited. There was a smattering from the rest of the school and teachers and Harry nodded at Draco and they instigated a hearty celebration from the whole of their table as well.
When Harry glanced at the high table, Dumbledore gave him a wink and a twinkling smile.
The sorting continued and, clearly, what no one expected was for the new table to be equally enthusiastic when Slytherins were chosen. However, Harry refused to let house bias mar the celebrations for all the new first years. They had just finished a riotous round of applause for a tall boy with a very distinct nose who had joined the ranks of the most reviled house in Hogwarts when Harry saw a familiar face.
The tiny girl (Harry had no doubt Hogwarts food would have her sprouting up in no time) started her walk to the stool. She looked hideously afraid, eyes darting everywhere and fingers in a knot. When her gaze found Harry he smiled at her and nodded.
For a moment she hesitated. Professor McGonagall gave her a look and Harry nodded again. Katherine stood up taller, straightened her shoulders and walked proudly to the stool.
[Merlin, but you have an effect on them,] Draco commented. [New minion number one.]
[Follower,] Harry said.
Harry wasn't sure who was more surprised, Katherine or the boy who was definitely her brother Pip sitting at the Gryffindor table. The girl recovered quickly, hopping off the stool and trotting to her new house as everyone clapped. She sent a beaming smiled at Harry as she sat down.
[Looks like she was hiding her true talents in Flourish and Blott's,] Draco commented, clapping along with the rest of the table.
[I thought she'd be one of ours for sure,] Harry agreed. [Shows you can never tell.]
[That or the hat is going as batty as Albus,] Draco joked.
Harry laughed as they settled in for the next first year to be sorted. Warnings of dire things aside, it was turning out to be a fun feast.
"Welcome new first years," Dumbledore said once every child was sitting at a house table, "it is so nice to see so many happy faces. Without further ado, let the feast begin."
Of course the food was amazing when it actually arrived and Harry ate until he was bursting. Only as everyone was going into a food induced coma did Dumbledore finally rise to his feet once again. Silence descended across the Great Hall.
"I do hope we are all feeling full and content," the headmaster said. "As ever there are a few notices to give out before you all go to your houses for the night. As all of you will have noticed there is a new table at the front of the hall. It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you our new Assistant Professors. Second years and above no doubt recognise our new teachers and many of you from first to third year will find your classes being taught by our new staff. No doubt much fun will be had by all."
[Or not,] Draco commented dryly.
"The third floor corridor on the right hand side, which has been closed for some years, has been refurbished to house staff bedrooms and recreational area," Dumbledore continued. "This wing is off limits to pupils unless accompanied by a member of staff."
Harry still wasn't sure he liked the idea of sleeping where he had once faced Fluffy, but he supposed there was little alternative. Hogwarts had a long tradition of the house common rooms and dormitories being student only places most of the time. None of them could stay where they had been.
"The forest is also out of bounds to all students," Dumbledore went on.
[Unless you get detention and someone is feeling vindictive,] Harry said.
He was never going to forget that fright from his first year and Draco's raised eyebrow said everything about the way his soulmate felt about the incident.
[Never mention that again,] Draco said to back up the look.
It had not been an auspicious moment for either of them. Harry reached out and took Draco's hand in apology as Dumbledore continued to talk. It was all routine and they had all heard it seven times before. There was darkness on the horizon, but Hogwarts could always be relied on to be a place of safety for the children within its walls.
* * *
The house elves had taken all their bags when they arrived and they'd all gone straight to the feast, so it wasn't until afterwards that the Assistant Professors were allowed to see their new quarters. The first thing Draco noticed when they climbed the staircase to their new home was that everything looked bigger.
Given how Hogwarts worked, he didn't bother to wonder how.
There were doors all along the corridor now, each with a name on it in gold.
"Oh, this is mine," Hermione said as they passed the first door.
"Looks grand," Ron commented as she went to open it.
"Welcome, Miss Granger," said the gargoyle above the door that Draco hadn't even noticed. "I am currently instructed to only allow entrance to you and anyone accompanying you, however, should you wish to add exceptions to this rule all you have to do it tell me."
"Thank you," Hermione said as the stone devil returned to lifelessness.
"I will never get used to bits of masonry suddenly being sentient," Harry complained.
Draco laughed, as did Pansy.
"I cannot help growing up a Muggle," Harry said with the most adorable pout.
"Come on, Potter," Draco said, still laughing, "let's see where the headmaster put us. See the rest of you in the morning."
Everyone acknowledged that and made their own goodbyes as they split up to their own doors.
"This is us," Draco said as they reached the door right in the middle where the gold letters proclaimed their names. "Looks like Albus put us as far away from wild student magic as possible."
Given that at one end was the Charms corridor and the other was the main staircase, Draco appreciated the gesture.
"Shall we?" Harry asked, reaching out for the door handle.
"Good evening, Mr Potter, Mr Malfoy," their gargoyle said. "I am currently..."
"Yes thank you," Draco said before the animated stone could go on, "we will let you know if you are to allow anyone else access."
"Very good," the gargoyle said and returned to its inanimate state.
Harry opened the door and smiled. Draco stepped up beside his soulmate as he felt the pleasure radiating off him. There was a four poster bed to one side, with brocade curtains covered in blood red roses with green leaves and stems. On the other side of the room was their desk and bookcase, with plenty of storage space towards the back. There was also a window where Draco wasn't quite sure there should have been able to be one. He was pretty confident it should have been an inside wall.
Then again: Hogwarts.
"Oh yes," Harry said as they stepped inside and Draco felt the way his soulmate relaxed.
The room was clearly warded in the same way their last one had been. It was always amazing to feel the effect such assistance had on Harry. Draco likened it to slipping into a nice hot bath after a hard day of working.
"Wonder where the bathroom is," Harry said as if picking up on that thought.
"Two doors down in either direction," Draco said, "and if you missed that you really do need a good night's sleep."
"Probably," Harry agreed, sitting on the bed and bouncing a little to test it; "it's been a long day. We're home again, though," Harry added and smiled.
Draco couldn't disagree. The Manor was still his family home, but where Harry was, was his true home and Harry belonged in Hogwarts.
Their home was under threat for Voldemort and his forces and they would be there to defend it. This was where they were meant to be.
* * *
Harry sat on the bed with his legs crossed and his eyes closed. Their new room felt good and safe, but he wasn't used to it yet and he wasn't quite tired enough after the long day to just let it go.
He's already used the "Assistant Professors Men's Bathroom" as it had proudly announced on the door. It was every bit as nice as the Prefects' bathroom and was actually down some stairs on the floor below. Only Harry was sure there was something else on the floor below, so maybe it was actually a floor in between or actually somewhere else entirely. Walking down the stairs had felt a little weird if he was honest.
Taking a deep breath, Harry slowly and carefully began to lower his mental barriers. The first thing that lit up in his head was Draco, only a few feet away and quietly reading a book, so as not to disturb him. As ever his soulmate was his rock and ready to help if he did anything stupid.
The patterns of magic in the room became clear to his inner eye. They were beautiful and he felt around them, letting himself absorb the feeling of them bit by bit. The wards were identical in make up to the ones on their room in Gryffindor tower, but, of course, no two sets of wards could be completely the same. Two identical spells cast in two different places were never exactly identical in execution.
Harry carefully learned his way around, feeling the security of the similarities and acknowledging the small differences. It was almost a meditative exercise.
Once he was sure of their room he sent his magical sense out further. He laughed.
"Pansy already has up privacy wards," he said, "she's as paranoid as you."
"Careful," Draco said, "I believe careful is the word you are looking for."
"Of course," Harry agreed with another laugh, "careful was definitely what I was after."
He wasn't trying to spy on his fellow Assistant Professors, he just needed to know the feel of his new home. The incident with Fitzsimons seemed to have kicked his instincts into a higher gear and which of his friends was where seemed obvious to him, even though he wasn't trying.
He didn't linger. Everything magical was noted and catalogued in his peculiar brain, from the gargoyles to the spells on the bathroom doors that definitely weren't just locking charms. This was his new home for the foreseeable future and he let it sink into his bones. It made him feel happy.
"You know," Draco said as Harry began to reign in his extra senses, "your expression is far too much like Albus' for comfort when you do that."
Harry opened his eyes and grinned.
This entry was originally posted at http://beren-writes.dreamwidth.org/381136.html.