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
The last two weeks of term flew by. Snape and Draco had come up with the excuse that he and Snape were being required to stock up the Hospital Wing with potions, now that Voldemort was on the move, hence their new meeting twice a week. Harry was along by default. So far everyone was buying it and Snape was being extra offish with people as if he hated the idea. Not too far from the truth really.
Draco thought Harry had made remarkable progress already. Harry was able to affect the Dark Mark without needing the regression technique any more, but, of course, it wasn't enough for his terribly Gryffindorish soulmate. Draco was letting it lie for now, at least until they had the end of term out of the way.
Everyone was nervous. It was the first train ride home after Voldemort had shown his hand and every person from first year to teachers knew the Hogwarts Express had a huge target over it. That was why all the assistant teachers had agreed to assemble on the platform early.
Professor McGonagall, Professor Flitwick and two Aurors were also in place. No one was willing to take any chances.
"Okay," Harry said as they all stood around waiting, "the whole student body is going to be on edge, so we have to be as relaxed as possible."
"Relaxed, with You-Know-Who breathing down our necks," Seamus complained.
"Just pretend you're back in first year trying to explain to Professor McGonagall why you exploded water, again," Pansy suggested, which made a few people smile at least.
"Harry's right," Draco decided to step in, since there were still some doubtful faces. "It's going to be a long journey. If everyone is tense it will be even longer and it won't do any of us any good."
"But we're supposed to be keeping an eye out for danger," Susan pointed out.
"No we're not," Hermione countered. "There are two Aurors on the platform and there will be four more on the train when it gets here. It's their job to spot trouble. We're the second level of protection. We're there to get as many kids to safety as possible if anything does happen."
"Yeah, and if we look confident, everyone on the train will be too," Ron added.
"What you're saying is grin and bear it," Neville said.
"And laugh if you can," Harry said with a small smile at his friend.
"Act like it's any other train ride home," Draco said. "Channel your inner first year and imagine all the sweets waiting for you at home."
"It's going to be a nightmare," Pansy said, rubbing her temples before straightening and plastering a smile on her face, "but look sharp, people, here come the students."
Draco couldn't help feeling a little proud as their anxious little group suddenly visibly relaxed. Justin told an amazingly rude joke, which shocked everyone into laughing.
[We might even get away with this,] Draco told Harry, allowing his expression to go to mildly amused.
[We all learnt to act a long time ago,] Harry replied, and wasn't that just a comment on their generation.
Good actors they might be, but Draco was sure Harry was about to vibrate apart by the time they reached London. They had played the relaxed, confident guardians of the pupils on the train, but Harry had been tense every last second of the way. No matter what Hermione said, Harry had been on the lookout for trouble the whole journey and Draco had spent his time making sure Harry didn't over tax himself.
There was the usual chaos on the platform as everyone disembarked. The added layer of worry was palpable over the top of the usual excitement because every parent was aware how vulnerable their children were, but at least the charade all the assistant teachers had put on seemed to have calmed their offspring.
The Auror presence was obvious and pointed, which also seemed to help.
[One attack,] Harry said silently, [all it took was one attack for everything to change.]
[It's not just you anymore,] Draco replied. [Now they all understand too.]
Harry turned to look at him.
[Don't you think that's rather harsh?]
[No,] Draco replied. [You've been dealing with this for years.]
Harry frowned, but didn't reply, going back to surveying the platform instead.
His shields were as low as Harry dared let them go, Draco could feel it, and he upped his mental support. He didn't like how hard Harry was working, but he also knew that sometimes what Harry could see meant the difference between life and death, so he wasn't about to argue. Voldemort had declared war on the Wizarding World, clearly and deliberately. Now they had to deal with the consequences.
Draco was so busy making sure Harry didn't overtax himself more than necessary, that he didn't notice Tonks until she was almost up to them.
[Harry, incoming,] he said quickly.
He knew Tonks wouldn't touch Harry deliberately, especially at a time like this, but he was also all too aware she was quite capable of falling over thin air.
"Tonks," Harry said, as he turned at the warning, "I didn't think you were going to be here."
They had all been briefed on which Aurors were playing babysitters. Tonks' name had not been on the list.
"I'm not, officially," Tonks replied with a smile, but it didn't quite reach her eyes.
Draco had a bad feeling.
"What is it?" he asked, in no mood to play games.
She passed him a note.
"Albus flooed this to HQ," Tonks said. "He asked me to deliver it as soon as the train arrived."
She said nothing else, which was telling. Draco was well aware his cousin was a chatty sort. He opened the paper.
"my apologies for interrupting your plans, but I am afraid I must ask you to return to Hogwarts immediately, rather than visiting the Burrow. A matter has arisen which requires your presence. Please do not worry, it is not a life threatening issue, but I believe it best we discuss it as soon as possible.
[We're needed at Hogwarts,] he told Harry as soon as he'd read the message.
[It doesn't say,] Draco replied, [but it has to be important.]
"You know what this is about, don't you," Draco said, looking at Tonks.
"I do," she replied, "but I'm not allowed to talk about it here."
No matter Dumbledore's assurances, that was nothing if not ominous.
They had a portkey to get back to Hogwarts for once they had visited with Ron and his family. To be extra safe, this one could only be activated by Harry's magic, but it looked like that precaution was unnecessary because they would be using it straight away. It was not a great start to the Easter holidays.
"I have no father. The only way I am ever going to be in the same room as that man ever again is to convict him or see him buried."
The anger was rolling through Draco in waves. They were so strong Harry had to dim their connection or be swept right along with him. He could not believe what Narcissa had just asked her son.
When they had returned to Hogwarts they had gone straight to Dumbledore's office. After they had first walked in Draco had been delighted to see his mother, but any of that sentiment had been burned away by complete fury. Narcissa was there to ask them to visit Lucius with her in St Mungo's.
Harry had never seen his soulmate so furious about Lucius, upset yes, furious no, not since Draco had declared that any relationship they may have had was over. That Draco had gone from happy to apoplectic in a heartbeat was so unlike his usually controlled lover that it had taken Harry completely by surprise. It was worse than when Draco had protected him from Vernon, and almost as bad as when Draco had snapped and attacked Zacharius after they first bonded.
As soon as he could gather his wits he stepped up behind Draco and placed a gentle hand on each of Draco's shoulders. Leaning in, he rested his face beside Draco's ear.
[It's okay, Love,] he said silently, sending love and comfort down their bond, [you do not have to see him.]
Draco was so worked up that he was actually shaking, but Harry felt it begin to ease at his touch. He stroked a hand down Draco's arm in a soothing gesture.
"Draco, my darling," Narcissa said, walking over, clearly upset by the distress she was causing her son, "you know I would not ask this of you unless I believed it was important. I did not believe either, I was sure it was some trick, but I have visited your father five times, and he was finally strong enough for the Ministry to test him with Veritaserum and other truth diving methods. The Aurors have supervised everything. Lucius really does not remember anything about Voldemort, or his involvement with him. The last memory he has of you is at fourteen, before this madness really began."
"He gave Tom Riddle's diary to Ginny Weasley when we were twelve," Harry pointed out, as unwilling to give in to the idea as Draco was.
"Which is something else he does not remember," Draco's mother insisted. "Every piece of dark magic has been purged from his system. He knows what an Unforgivable is, but he does not remember how to cast one. He is the man I fell in love with, not the Death Eater that he became."
Her tone was so earnest and her demeanour so pleading for understanding that Harry almost faltered, but the anger was still bubbling in Draco. He would not go against his soulmate, not in this.
[Let's go,] he said silently, unwilling to let Draco say anything he might later regret.
"Harry," Dumbledore finally entered the conversation as they turned to leave, "Draco, I am sorry to place this burden on you, but I must second Narcissa's request. Lucius' dark mark has been removed; he has been tested to the full ability of the Ministry; but I believe there is only one way to be sure of the truth of this situation, and that is for Harry to see him. If what appears to have been achieved is true then it has consequences far greater than simply that one man sits in St Mungo's purged of everything dark. The greatest threat from dark magic is that it is addictive; once a practitioner starts it begins to twist them. If it is possible to remove all trace then there may be hope for those considered lost to the light."
Harry froze in place at Albus' words and had to stifle the desire to lash out himself. There were very few things that could have made him even consider going to St Mungo's, but that was one of them, and the headmaster had to have known it. There were certain psychological buttons made into Harry's psyche and Albus knew how to push them when he needed to. He could do nothing about his reactions, even with a Slytherin soulmate.
"We'll think about it," Draco spoke before Harry had a chance.
Harry wanted to say no, the manipulation was making him angry, but Draco just looked at him. He didn't want to say anything he would regret either, so he remained silent as they headed towards the door.