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
Draco had not expected an answer so quickly, but when Snape met him after breakfast the next day with the words: "My office, 3 o'clock, Mr Malfoy, bring Mr Potter if you must," he took it that Dumbledore had already had the significant conversation.
He and Snape occasionally had meetings about lesson plans on Sunday afternoon, but they were always arranged well in advance. Hence he and Harry arrived in the dungeons early, at which point they waited until exactly three before knocking. The last thing either of them wanted was to put Snape in a bad mood by arriving either early or late.
"Close the door," Snape said as soon as he had invited them in.
Draco didn't need Harry's senses to feel something snap into place as soon as he did as they were asked. Harry blinked and looked at the walls in a way that was all too familiar to Draco.
"Wow," Harry said very quietly.
"We will not be disturbed," was Snape's only response.
"Thank you for agreeing to meet, Professor," Draco said, going for a slightly more formal tone than they usually maintained between them, because of the circumstances.
"The headmaster has recounted the situation, but, Mr Potter, I would like you to explain exactly what it is you think you can achieve before I agree to anything," Snape said, completely ignoring the greeting.
It was going to be that sort of meeting then. Draco wasn't surprised.
"The truth is, I don't know," Harry said, as straightforward as ever. "All I know is I made you react to the Dark Mark during the search for Draco and, if I can do it again, maybe even refine whatever it is I did, we might be able to use it against our enemies."
Snape sneered, just a little. Draco knew it was a reflection of quite how much trepidation the man had to have been feeling. It made him wonder for the thousandth time what consequences of the Dark Mark the rest of the wizarding world never took into consideration.
"What makes you so sure this is not imbecilic folly which will make you vulnerable, as you were in your fifth year?"
Snape was not pulling any punches. Draco felt the momentary spike of guilt from Harry even though his actions since had nullified the consequences of the incident with his godfather. One day Harry might get over it, but not for some years.
"I feel it," Harry said.
Draco waited for Snape to react to that. Slytherins didn't hold 'feelings' like that in high regard. If it had been anyone else Draco would have hesitated as well. He couldn't remotely tell what Snape was thinking. His natural instinct was to say something, back up Harry, but he knew that would be nothing but a distraction as far as the head of Slytherin was concerned.
"What do you believe this will achieve?" came Snape's next question.
"I don't know," Harry admitted. "I don't even know if I can repeat what I did before, but if I can I'm sure we can both see the possible benefits."
Snape said nothing, but did not disagree.
"How do you propose to proceed?"
It was a sensible, calculating question, but, just for a moment, Draco saw Snape's perfect mask slip. In that instant he knew Snape had already decided, but he kept the information to himself. He'd seen resignation in that instant, and fear. Most people would have missed it, but he had been trained by the best.
"I would like to examine your Dark Mark, if I may, try and understand it," Harry explained. "Then I would like to try and recreate what I did before."
Once again Snape was silent, making them wait. Harry's nervousness ran through Draco in a fizz of worry and he sent back what comfort he could. He was as apprehensive about this as Harry, but he refused to let it be his overriding reaction. If he had not believed in what they were doing he would never have let Harry go to Dumbledore in the first place.
Finally Snape moved. Draco held his breath as Snape, slowly and carefully, rolled back his sleeve, keeping the underside of his forearm down as he did so. Only once Snape's robes were neatly folded above the elbow did the head of Slytherin finally turn over his arm, placing it on the desk in front of him.
"You may look," Snape said shortly.
Draco hung back as Harry stepped up to the desk. He refused to gawp at what clearly caused Snape pain, be it psychological or physical.
What he did do was sure up his presence for Harry. Harry believed completely there was no chance of Voldemort breaking through their bond, but Draco wanted to be ready in case anything did happen. He felt Harry lowering his shields, and he could feel Harry's mind at work, but he neither wanted to distract Harry, not be distracted by him, so he held his thoughts distant.
Harry leant over the desk, looking carefully for several minutes, before finally lifting his head and looking Snape in the eye.
"Very complex magic," he said. "May I please touch your arm?"
Snape stiffened, but nodded after a moment.
Draco kept very still as Harry very carefully and very briefly touched the mark on Snape's arm. Harry full body shuddered and the feeling of disgust filtered through their bond.
"I can see why there is no way to remove it," Harry said, making a great effort to keep his voice even, although Draco could hear the slight tremor. "Thank you, Professor."
[It is woven right into his core magic,] Harry said silently. [It's horrible.]
[But effective,] Draco replied. [Voldemort knew what he was doing.]
"How shall we proceed, Mr Potter?" Snape asked without further ado.
"I suppose we should see if I can make it ache like I did before," Harry said.
Snape merely indicated the two chairs that were sat against the wall. Deciding to be useful, Draco grabbed both of them and placed then in front of the desk. Harry sat in one and he the other. This was unlikely to be a short visit.
Harry took his glasses off.
"I need to be able to concentrate on the magic," he said before Snape could make a comment, "the image is getting in the way."
"Get on with it, Potter," Snape snapped.
Harry nodded, glanced at Draco, who gave his soulmate a smile, and turned to the task in hand. The look of concentration on Harry's face was something Draco had become very familiar with lately.
Ten minutes later and all Harry had to show for his effort was a ball of frustration Draco did not need to be in his head to feel.
"I'm sorry, Professor ..."
"Idiot boy," Snape all but exploded, and it even startled Draco. "You waste my time and invade my privacy. I should never have listened to that senile old man. This is worthless."
The tirade continued with more vicious words. Draco would have reacted but for the fact that Harry just sat there. Snape knew how to choose his insults. They were barbed and nasty and would have had Draco reaching for his wand, only Harry wasn't reacting at all. Eventually, however, even Snape ran out of words.
"Thank you, Professor," Harry said in a perfectly reasonable tone, "but I have my barriers down, I can see you don't mean it. I understand why you tried, but you're not going to make me angry."
Draco mentally kicked himself for not realising what was going on.
"But I think you have the right idea," Harry continued.
When Harry turned to look him in the eye, Draco knew he wasn't going to like what was coming next.
[I'm sorry,] Harry told him silently, [but I think I need to bring up the memory of last time. I need to remember what I was feeling so I can get this to work and figure out what I'm doing.]
Draco went cold, not that he was surprised by the request. The memories Harry wanted to revisit usually only haunted them in their nightmares.
[Do what you have to,] he replied.
"Professor," Harry said, turning back to Snape, "I am going to revisit my memory of what I did to make the Dark Mark react last time. It is a technique Draco and I have used to share memories before and it makes them very realistic. I apologise in advance for any outburst I might have."
Surprisingly, given how worked up Snape had appeared before, the Potions Master barely reacted.
"Do are you must, Potter," was all Snape said.
If the situation hadn't been so tense Draco might have been amused by how alike their responses were.
[I don't want you to see this,] Harry said, looking back at Draco, [in fact I think I need you to be as remote as possible for it to work.]
[I understand,] Draco told his soulmate. [I'll be here when you need me.]
Harry gave him a very tight, but appreciative smile, before looking at Snape's arm on the desk once more.
Draco knew the moment Harry started to bring up the memory. The distress was instantly obvious. This was not simply remembering, this was like when they had shared themselves with each other, this was reliving a memory.
Harry had gone a ghastly shade of pale, and his expression was completely closed. Draco could feel the turmoil boiling below the surface and it took every ounce of will power he had not to reach out mentally and physically and offer comfort. Holding still within their bond, and in the real world was incredibly hard.
Harry's fingers screwed up into tight fists. He began to shake. But not once did Harry's eyes waver from Snape's dark mark.
There was a feeling in the air, like static, but this was purely magical. Draco had only ever felt anything like it around Harry. Usually he was on the inside as well, because it tended to happen at times of stress. From the outside only it was more than a little awe inspiring. It made his skin prickle and his stomach churn. He could only guess what others saw when they witnessed Harry in this state.
The trembling increased as Harry's expression twitched from rage to fear and back again. Draco almost broke as his need to help his soulmate battered at his will. He was fighting instinct at the deepest level. Only the knowledge that Harry was fighting something far worse held him still.
Draco was so tense that when Harry finally moved he almost jumped out of his skin. Harry snarled and then screamed and threw his arms out as if throwing something with force. Then he collapsed into his chair and Draco finally let himself move.
"Harry, Harry, talk to me," he said, wrapping his arms around his soulmate and dragging Harry into a close embrace.
For a moment there was still nothing.
"I'm okay," Harry said, looking up at him with tired eyes.
[Then let me in,] Draco said.
[Give me a second,] Harry replied, still holding himself apart, [I need to put the genie back in the box.]
[That I can help with,] Draco tried to insist.
Snape cleared his throat. Harry looked round so Draco did the same. Snape was holding on to his forearm with his other hand.
"Successful, but impractical," Snape observed.
"Proof of concept, Professor," Harry said. "With your permission, I think I understand it better now, and practice should make it more useful."
Draco sat on the urge to shake both Harry and Snape as they stared at each other for a few moments. The whole idea had worried him from the start and he could already see the fallout they would be dealing with. He didn't want Harry to have to carry another burden, but the practical part of his nature knew this could be the technique that gave them the advantage they needed.
"Not now," he said, however, because there was only so much instinct he could fight.
"Agreed," Snape replied. "I would suggest we meet twice a week. Mr Malfoy, you and I will speak tomorrow and devise a reason for these meetings that when released to the general populous will allow us all to retain our respective images."
"Thank you, Professor," Harry said, voice still strained. "I will not let you down."
"You had better not, Mr Potter," Snape said.