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
After the meeting Sirius had cornered Harry. In the interest of Sirius and Draco not killing each other, which would have been detrimental to everything, Harry had asked his soulmate to give him and his godfather a few minutes alone.
Sirius was frowning and he had the intense look in his eyes that Harry had seen only a couple of times. It was obvious what was coming.
"Exactly what do you think you're doing?" Sirius demanded.
"What I have to," Harry replied.
"You could go into hiding," Sirius pointed out.
"Like my Mum and Dad?" Harry asked. "It's him or me, it always has been ever since he killed them and we have to end it."
"There are other ways."
"And they all involve lots of people getting killed."
"Not all of them."
"What am I supposed to do, Sirius, sit back and wait until you and the Order have beaten Voldemort into submission and then just pop in and finish him off?"
"If that's what it takes to keep you safe."
"Would you do that?"
"I'm not eighteen."
"You weren't much older last time."
Sirius didn't seem to have an answer to that one. He crossed his arms and frowned even harder.
"And what's this about the Dark Mark?"
"I discovered it by accident when Draco was kidnapped," he said. "I affected Snape, but with everything else that happened I forgot."
"And you just remembered now?"
"No, I remembered a while ago, and Snape let me practice on him to see if it would be useful."
"Do you realise how dangerous..?"
"Of course I realise how dangerous that could have been," he snapped back, finally having had enough. "I know how dangerous all of this is, but I can't let Voldemort run roughshod over our world because I'm afraid. Don't think Draco or I have made any of these decisions lightly; I'm bonded to a Slytherin remember, we went through all our options."
Sirius turned away, shoulders tight and head down.
"Are you sure?" Sirius asked after a few moments.
His frown had lessened when he faced Harry again, but he was exuding worry out of every pore. He almost looked like the Sirius Harry had first met, not the man who had emerged from the ritual without the rigours of Azkaban.
"Yes," Harry said. "This was the plan with the most likeliness of success and the fewest number of casualties. Do you really think we would put Hogwarts in danger if we didn't have to?"
"No," Sirius admitted.
"This plays to our strengths and his weaknesses," Harry said. "I know we're Gryffindors and sometimes we do things we shouldn't because we rush in, but this isn't one of those times, Sirius. Hermoine and Pansy helped come up with this plan and Ron did a lot of the strategising before we even took it to Albus."
Sirius stared at him long and hard and, for once, Harry let him.
"You're too like your dad," Sirius finally said. "He only went into hiding because of you and your mum, and look how well that turned out."
"Not your fault," Harry said before they could revisit that particular path, "all Wormtail's."
He saw the flicker of disagreement flash across his godfather's face, but Sirius did not voice it. They both had their deep seated guilt complexes and neither of them were going to get rid of them any time soon.
[Everything okay?} Draco asked silently, even though they had been holding their mind's apart deliberately.
[Fine, just hitting some old issues,] Harry replied. [It was to be expected.]
[Okay, just call if you need me.]
"You really don't have to do this," Sirius said, as if he just couldn't bear the thought.
Harry sighed and counted to ten in his head.
"Replay the conversation, Sirius," he said, because he wasn't going over it all again.
Sirius appeared worried and mutinous, not a good combination. It was annoying.
"Okay," Harry said, "since we're having a heart to heart, what about you, Remus and Tonks?"
He regretted it as soon as he had said it, but he wasn't getting enough sleep and he was irritable. Sirius' over protective attitude had finally got to him.
"Um, I don't know what you mean," Sirius said, but the way his cheeks were going slightly pink belied his words.
It was obvious Harry had hit a nerve by the fact his godfather didn't just laugh at him.
"Look, sorry," he said, "I shouldn't have done that. I'm just in a foul mood. What you want to do in your personal life is up to you. If it makes you happy, go for it."
Sirius looked kind of surprised.
"Harry, where did you get the idea that Remus and I were involved with Tonks?" Sirius asked.
"I saw you at Christmas," he admitted. "You were all huddled in a corner and I had visions of a Marauder style prank, so I looked to see if you were up to anything. I didn't see anything playful."
"Oh," Sirius said.
The way he bit his lip was more than a little guilty.
"I was going to tell you if anything happened," Sirius said eventually, after Harry let the silence drift on, "but it's complicated."
"I can imagine," Harry said.
"Remus and I, we're still new at this," Sirius said, "and we're very happy just being together. Yes, you're right, there is chemistry between Tonks and us, and we have talked about it, but none of us are sure we want to take it anywhere. Dora is so much younger than us for a start."
The fact Sirius looked so confused with a small frown and a faraway look in his eyes made Harry pause.
"Tell me to shove off if you like," he said on impulse, "but would you mind if I tried something?"
Sirius frowned a little more, but slowly the little wrinkles between his eyebrows lessened and finally he nodded.
"Give me your hand," Harry requested.
His godfather's fingers were warm in his own and he immediately felt the soft hum of another wizard.
"Tell me about Remus," he said quietly, carefully lowering his mental barrier to emotions.
"Remus is the kindest, gentlest, most wonderful human being I have ever met," Sirius said. "It's ironic that he is the one of us who is a werewolf, because it's so at odds with the person he is. He holds me in place when my brain threatens to fly off in all directions. He is my anchor, my rock, and I would do anything for him."
There is was, the bright gold of love, all over Sirius as he spoke about Remus. It was impossible to doubt that what Sirius felt for his werewolf was real. There was also a healthy dose of deep red attraction as well.
"Now tell me about Dora," Harry said.
Sirius actually smiled as some memory flicked behind his eyes.
"Dora is one of the most extraordinary people I have ever met," Sirius said. "She is a fine Auror and yet she falls over her own feet time and time again. She loves life and has a sense of humour to rival mine. She brings lightness to those around her."
This time Sirius was haloed in red and golden yellow, with tiny flecks of pure gold here and there. It was nowhere near as definitive as what he had been feeling when speaking about Remus, but it was just as real.
Harry pushed his barriers back up, but kept hold of Sirius's hand.
"Feel free to ignore me," he said, looking his godfather in the eye, "but if I were you, I'd talk to Remus again and make sure you're being totally honest with each other. You're a little bit in love with Tonks already, as well as being very, very fond of her and I'm pretty sure you're incredibly attracted to her. We're fighting a war that is just coming into the open and who knows what is going to happen tomorrow. Don't miss this just because you and Remus think you're too old."
For a few moments Sirius just sat there looking at him.
"And could you do this on Remus so I know what he's thinking too?" Sirius asked with a tiny little smile.
"That would be cheating and interfering," Harry replied, "and is what talking is for. I only know what I see, Padfoot, it's you who has to decide what it means."
"I knew you were going to say that," Sirius admitted. "Thank you, Harry, you've given me a lot to think about, but don't think that you've distracted me from this crazy plan of yours."
Harry closed his eyes and counted to ten. Just for a second he wondered if his life would have been simpler if he'd left Sirius in limbo.
* * *
It took another half an hour to finally talk Sirius round and, while Harry was not blaming his godfather for the toll on his psyche, Draco was. Luckily for Sirius, Draco was waiting in their room and was not waiting for Harry's godfather where Harry and he had been meeting. Draco was pacing by the time Harry finally returned.
"That was not a few minutes," he said, even though he could have conveyed the same at any point of Harry's walk back to the Assistant Professor's wing.
"I'm sorry," Harry said, looking and feeling tired, "I had to make sure he wouldn't do anything stupid."
Draco crossed his arms and glared-he was unimpressed with how Harry had come out of the discussion.
"You forgive that idiot too much," he said.
"He was in Askaban for twelve years and he actually died," Harry pointed out, "neither of which were very good for his mental stability. I'd forgive him just about anything."
Draco glared, but he could feel the underlying guilt Harry always felt when talking about his godfather's situation. The fact that none of it had been Harry's fault never seemed to matter. Draco didn't bother reiterating the point yet again.
Instead he sighed and beckoned to Harry.
"Come here," he said.
Harry walked over and Draco wrapped him in a hug.
"You are the most stubborn person I know," he said, letting Harry sag against him, "and the bravest."
"We're really doing this aren't we?" Harry replied, voice muffled by Draco's shirt.
"Yes, we are." Draco rubbed Harry's back in slow circles, feeling some of the tension his lover was carrying slowly seeping away. "I still can't figure out how any of you talked me into it and my Slytherin ancestors must be turning in their graves, but we are doing this."
He felt Harry smile into his shoulder at that comment.
The thing was, he was only half joking. Before Harry, he never could have imagined being in a situation remotely like this. The odds were so skewed in Voldemort's favour it was almost ridiculous. For their plan to remotely work everything had to fall into place. It was going to be a fine balancing act.
"We will make this work," he said, and it was more to convince himself than Harry.
Harry made a vague sound of agreement.
They stayed that way for several minutes until finally Draco felt something other than fatigue and dispelling anxiety going through his soulmate.
"Do you think of anything else?" he asked in his best scathing tone.
He felt Harry smiling again, which was just what he had been after.
"Not unless I have to," Harry replied, finally pulling back just a little.
The trickle of arousal coming from Harry grew as their eyes met and Draco felt his own body beginning to react.
"And how can you expect my mind to go anywhere else when you've been holding me close for five minutes? I can't help it," Harry complained with a mischievous little grin.
"Ugh, Gryffindors, no sense of propriety," Draco replied in kind. "Here we are having a deep and meaningful heart to heart and all my soulmate can think of is sex."
The moment he said 'soulmate' Harry's grin became a full on smile. As usual it took Draco's breath away-he couldn't help it when he saw pure joy in Harry's features.
"And you have turned me into a sap." He rounded off his declaration with an over dramatic sigh.
Totally oblivious to the insult to his Slytherin forebears, Harry simply leant in and gave him a kiss. With a silent apology to those in his family who had come before, he kissed back. He had to look after the best interests of his soulmate after all, and a bit of indulgent sex would relax them both.
* * *
"I think I know how to keep the rest of the school safe," Harry announced as he walked into where Draco, Ron, Hermione, Neville and Pansy were discussing part of the overall plan.
Of course Draco knew where his soulmate had been, but he couldn't help noticing the dust and cobwebs in Harry's hair. He definitely did not find them adorable; the situation was simply too serious to admit to that.
"And to stop anyone ratting us out," Harry added.
"Where?" Pansy asked.
"The Chamber of Secrets," Harry said and sat down.
Ron looked at him as if he was completely insane.
"But that used to be His hideout," Ron said.
"I know," Harry replied, "but I've just been down there and it's going to take work, but I think we can make it safe and secure."
"Why not the Room of Requirement?" Hermione asked, "surely that would be safer?"
"Too easy a target and too well known now," Draco said. "Half the school know it exists and it might be able to keep people out, but what if Voldemort just decided to blow up that part of the castle?"
"The Chamber is underground," Harry explained, "and there might be booby traps, but that's why we need to clean it out. We could stock it and create a hidden emergency escape route. Then all we have to do is put one person inside who knows how to open the escape and we have a completely secure bunker for all the students to hide in."
"He Who Must Not Be Named can open it too," Ron pointed out.
"Hence the escape route," Draco said.
Frowning, Hermione tapped her chin as she considered the idea.
"It could work," she said, apparently much to Ron's surprise if the expression on his face was anything to go by. "We'd have to do everything in complete secrecy."
"Not even the Order can know," Harry agreed and Draco was, for once, on side with his soulmate's reasoning; "someone would probably object in the wrong place. I would suggest us, Dumbledore and Bill if he's available, because we might need his curse breaking skills. Possibly Professor Flitwick if we need help with anything down there."
"We can always bring in more people if we need them as we go," Pansy said.
"But who would we put with the kids to activate the emergency exit?" Ron asked. "No one is going to want to be away from the fight."
Harry gave a small shrug; clearly he hadn't worked that part out yet.
"How about Dobby?" Hermione suggested.
"A house elf?" Pansy asked, sounding scandalised.
"Actually he would be perfect," Draco said as he thought about it. "House elves can Apparate around Hogwarts despite the wards so if we put him in there and pretend he is the emergency exit, no one will look for another one. You can guarantee there are some Dark Lord sympathisers among more than just the Slytherins and if we give them something to focus on, none of them should stumble across what we don't want them to find."
Pansy lifted her eyebrows and nodded at that reasoning.
"Isn't there a giant snake corpse down there?" Ron asked, cringing.
"It'll be skeletal by now," Hermione said, "or at least we can make it that way pretty fast. Some parts of it might even be useful if we gather them."
"I'd be more worried about the spiders," Draco said, "I mean, just look at Harry's hair."
[Did you have to,] Harry scolded him silently as Ron looked aghast.
Everyone knew of Ron's absolute terror of spiders and Draco just hadn't been able to help himself.
"He was kidding, Ron," Harry said; "ignore him, he can't help it when he falls back on old habits."
"Please, if I was falling back on old habits I would have conjured spiders at the same time," Draco said without the slightest trace of remorse.
Sometimes he had to bait his friends, it was part of his nature.
"Remind me why we like him, again," Ron said and glared.
[Not now,] Harry said sternly and Draco rolled his eyes, but did stop talking.
"Okay," Harry said, taking over again, "so no one thinks I'm out of my mind?"
"No more than usual, Love," Draco said and smiled at him.
No one in their right mind would call any of them quite sane these days.
"So when can we start working on it?" Neville asked.
"As soon as we've spoken to Dumbledore and have his approval," Harry said. "Then we can get going."