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
A/N: I just wanted to say thank you to all the lovely people who have commented on this series so far. Thank you so much for reading and thank you so much for taking the time to tell me how much you are enjoying it. I am so sorry for the delay in posting the rest of this story - my father was very ill last year and it pushed everything else down the priority scale, unfortunately with fanfiction right at the bottom. He's well on the mend now and I am just about catching up, so here are the next chapters of DPO - I hope they were worth the wait :)
February slipped into March with the most interesting thing happening being an unfortunate explosion of tiny sugar hearts all over the Great Hall on Valentine's day. Everyone had been finding them for weeks. Harry and Draco expanded the number of people with access to their new devices with more Weasleys, Tonks, and those in school who had taken the Hecatemus oath.
It was a nice quiet, uneventful few weeks, so of course it couldn't last.
Harry was finishing his evening meal while reading over a very industrious Ravenclaw's ideas for teaching Quidditch to her year, when the whispering started. Two Hufflepuffs had just entered the Great Hall and were talking excitedly to members of their house still at dinner. It was only the last few as Harry had been late himself, having had to deal with escorting one of his first years to the hospital wing after the boy had fallen while doing something enormously stupid.
Draco had gone to set up the Room of Requirement for their weekly meeting with Hilde, which was why he was by himself in the first place.
Something about the body language of the Hufflepuffs put him on edge. He could see whatever they were telling their friends spreading like a wave through the remaining pupils. This definitely wasn't good. He had just made the decision to go over and find out what was going on when a hand brushed him lightly on the shoulder.
Of course he turned immediately. That is was Professor McGonagall was not a surprise, he had automatically recognised her magical signature, but the grave expression on her face said far more than words.
"Voldemort?" he asked.
"He has made his first public move," Professor McGonagall told him, "there has been an attack."
"Tintagel," she replied, "the magical part."
"Three killed, twelve injured."
His blood ran cold. So far Voldemort's efforts had been confined to him and those he knew, whatever the insane wizard had been up to behind the scenes. This was a new step, a public declaration of war against a civilian target.
"Thank you," he said and stood up.
His appetite was gone, there was no point in staying in the Great Hall.
[What is it?] Draco asked.
[It's begun,] was all he replied.
Draco could tell Harry was thinking dark thoughts even without touching his soulmate's mind. When Harry walked into the Room of Requirement the frown that marred his face was more than clear.
"It's really beginning," Harry said, sitting down at the table Draco had requested for this session; "he's starting to show his hand."
"Frankly I'm amazed he waited this long," Draco said and finally Harry looked up at him, slight surprise showing on his expressive face. "Ever since the Ministry joined with the Order I've been expecting reprisals. If he's moving then he thinks he has the upper hand and we know he doesn't."
"Are you sure?"
Harry sounded so uncertain that Draco had no choice but to walk over, take Harry's hand and look him straight in the eye.
"Of course," he said, with perfect certainty, "we have you."
His complete faith in Harry was one of the few things that allowed him to sleep at night. It was not a blind faith, he knew they had to prepare, that Harry needed all of them as well, but he was sure of his soulmate. Harry had said very little since his declaration in the Great Hall and Draco had let him mull everything over. He knew Harry was considering something important.
"What is it?" he asked now they were finally together.
"I've been thinking about the dark mark," Harry said after a few moments hesitation. "It might be time to see what I can actually do. We're going to need all the advantages we can get."
"That could be dangerous," Draco pointed out.
"Maybe," Harry admitted.
"You had to have been using your connection to Him somehow to affect Snape's Dark Mark," Draco pointed out, "what if it opens your mind to Him again, or yours to his?"
A little frown played between Harry's eyebrows, but he nodded.
"I thought about that," he admitted, "and, honestly, I don't think it can."
"I am only human," Draco pointed out.
"Not to me," Harry said. "To me you are a shield. You stand between me and the rest of the world. My scar aches occasionally, but I don't feel anything from him anymore. Before you I had to block him regularly, not anymore, not ever."
"Yet you can still affect the Dark Mark when you are angry enough."
"That's magic, not mind," Harry replied and he actually sounded sure about that.
Draco knew his job was to be the voice of reason, but he could also recognise when to trust Harry's instincts. After all he'd already looked beyond the veil because of things Harry felt, this was no different.
"What do you want to do?" he asked.
"There's only one person with a Dark Mark who might let me practice on him," Harry said.
It wasn't as if that was a shock to Draco.
"We need to talk to Albus first though," Harry decided. "He may think the whole idea is too dangerous or too dark."
"Of course we may be getting ahead of ourselves," he said, standing and walking over to the fire place, "you might not be able to do anything without the blinding rage you were feeling last time. I assume you don't want to wait?"
"Sooner the better," Harry said with a nod of his own.
Draco reached for the floo powder so he could see if Dumbledore was available and to let Hilde know they would be late for their session.
"Good evening," Dumbledore greeted as they entered his study. "I presume there is something of a most serious nature you wish to discuss?"
"It was the news of the attack," Harry said, "people died."
"And we believe it is time we took a proactive stance," Draco added for them both.
Harry would have been lying if he had said he was not nervous, but he was also determined. Waiting around and letting people die because he was too afraid to step up was not something he could do.
"And we're going to need every advantage we can get," Harry continued, "which is why we need to tell you something. It could be useful."
Dumbledore indicated the chairs in front of his desk and Harry walked over, taking what was becoming a more and more familiar position. Draco folded into the other chair at the same time.
"I suspect that this something might be considered dangerous," Dumbledore said.
Harry nodded; the headmaster knew him too well.
"We're not sure, which is why we came to you," Draco said.
"I can affect the Dark Mark," Harry all but blurted out as the tension became too much for him. "I accidentally did it to Snape when Lucius had Draco. I forgot about it until we heard about Lucius' Dark Mark beginning to disappear and we've been so busy since then ..."
"My dear boy," Dumbledore interrupted him before he could rush on, "I completely understand why you may have been reluctant to talk about this before. Please, would you explain what you mean by affect the Dark Mark."
Harry took a deep centring breath and calmed himself down. No matter his fears, of course Dumbledore was not looking at him as if he was the next dark lord.
"I was very, very angry," he said, not fond of the memory, but bringing it up none the less, "and Professor Snape said the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time. Remember when I called him a Death Eater just after I woke up?"
The headmaster inclined his head in acknowledgement.
"I was so angry and I projected a thought of Voldemort at him," Harry said, "and I saw him grab his wrist. I know I connected to his Dark Mark somehow."
"And you believe this might be to our advantage?" Dumbledore asked.
"If I could learn to do it more accurately," Harry said, "it would be an advantage during a fight if nothing else. It would be hard to cast spells with a crippling pain in your arm."
"And if Harry could understand more about what he's doing he might even be able to fool Death Eaters into thinking their master was summoning them," Draco said.
"That would indeed by a most useful ability," Dumbledore agreed, but his tone was very grave. "I surmise you have realised this could also open Harry to assault from the other direction?"
"But I don't think it will," he said. "I've been connected to him since I was a baby and that connection began to open while I was at Hogwarts, but it's been blocked since Draco and I bonded."
"And you believe there is no way for that block to be circumvented?" Dumbledore asked.
"Not while Draco is alive," Harry replied.
"On what do you base this hypothesis?"
"I feel it."
Now Dumbledore nodded.
"Then, Gentlemen," the headmaster said after a moment, "I believe I see your point. Had this been based on pure research I would have been hesitant to allow you to try it, but, Harry, my boy, your feelings have proved to be most accurate. And Draco, if you are in agreement, then I bow to both your expertise in this matter."
Harry's stomach twisted as the whole thing became more of a possibility. He was willing to do this, but he didn't actually like the idea.
"Which brings us to how we may ascertain if this ability can be useful," Dumbledore went on.
"Professor Snape," Harry voiced what they both knew.
"Precisely," the headmaster acknowledged.
"Do you think if we tried this it could endanger his position?" Draco asked.
Dumbledore steepled his fingers together and tapped his nose as he considered that.
"Severus reported no indication that Voldemort reacted to the incident you described to me," Dumbledore said eventually, "however, at the time, we were all unaware there was anything for which to be vigilant."
Guilt welled up in Harry.
[Stop it,] Draco told him silently. [You forgot because you were under enormous pressure at the time. It's not your fault.]
"I believe the closest we have to an expert on the possibilities is Severus himself," the headmaster went on before Harry could reply to Draco. "In this case I suggest that I be the one to approach him about this matter."
That was an idea Harry could get completely behind and he nodded quickly.
"Of course we must bear in mind that there are ramifications to the Dark Mark that those of us without one cannot begin to comprehend," Dumbledore added. "I do hope you will not think less of Severus if he feels he must decline."
"Not at all," Draco replied.
"Definitely," Harry agreed.
He knew all too well about being the only one in a group to understand certain things. In this Snape had lived with the Dark Mark and would have the final word.