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
Practicing on Snape's Dark Mark was uncomfortable for both Snape and Harry. Draco always sat in the corner, silent, just watching as both men became more and more ragged round the edges. Both of them were so stubborn that neither would be the first to give up. Hence they were both prone to pushing themselves too hard.
Draco had set himself up as the voice of reason.
Snape grimaced and reached for his arm as Harry frowned and all but full body shuddered. Draco stood up.
"Harry," he said, "we promised we would meet Madam Hooch to go over the plans for the additional Quidditch tryouts."
It was an excuse, they both knew it, but Draco had discovered very quickly being direct and just telling his soulmate or Snape it was time to end just didn't work. The way the two played off each other would have been comical if it hadn't been so damned annoying.
"Is it time already?" Harry asked.
"I'm afraid so," Draco replied. [And I am not carrying you back to our room.]
[Sorry,] Harry apologised.
"Thank you, Professor," Draco said, "we're sorry we have to run."
"Yes," Harry said, "thank you. I'm sorry for the discomfort."
"It is nothing, Potter," Snape replied, "as long as you use the knowledge you gain."
Harry did not reply and stood up. He looked vaguely green to Draco; influencing the dark magic was never good for him. As soon as they were away from the dungeons Draco was going to make sure Harry had a restorative. He had taken to brewing them himself.
"Same time tomorrow, Professor?" Harry asked.
"Of course," was Snape's short reply.
[Come on,] Draco said, coming over to take Harry's hand, [you need to rest.]
[Not as much as Snape,] Harry replied.
[Yes, well we discussed how one-upmanship helps neither of you,] Draco said. [Now...]
He turned when he heard Snape make a sound of pain and saw the man grip his arm hard.
"Potter!" Snape said, coming out of his seat in an explosion of movement. "How dare you!"
Harry shied away and Draco could feel the fury coming off Snape, so Merlin knew what Harry was experiencing.
"What..?" was as far as Harry got.
"Imbecilic boy," Snape railed. "Control yourself or I will withdraw my permission for you to come anywhere near me."
The shock rocketing through Harry almost had Draco as well, but he shook it off. He put himself between Snape and Harry.
"It wasn't Harry, Professor," he said very firmly and very calmly.
His instincts told him to scream at Snape, but, luckily for everyone, his more logical side had overruled that. Reacting to Snape's fury with his own would only make the situation worse.
Where Snape would have dismissed Harry, Draco was and always had been a Slytherin, and Snape never dismissed his own students.
"Mr Malfoy," Snape said in a warning tone.
"It was not Harry," Draco reiterated, "on my honour."
Snape pulled himself up to his full height and then looked down at his arm.
"Please inform the headmaster I have been summoned," Snape said, recomposing himself.
"Yes, Sir," Draco said and ushered Harry out of the room.
* * *
Snape did not look remotely surprised to find Harry and Draco waiting with Dumbledore when he returned. If Draco was even half right, the man appeared to expect it.
"The Dark Lord will attack before the 31st," Snape said without circumspection.
"Thank god," Harry said.
"Tea, Severus?" Dumbledore offered, lifting an already filled cup.
They were all aware how much these meetings took out of Snape and Draco knew there was more than simply tea in the cup. It was obvious by the grateful acceptance from the Potions Master. No one was that pleased by tea.
"He plans to break his forces in two," Snape continued, folding into a chair with grace even though his skin was even paler than usual. "The main bulk of the Death Eaters will attack the castle, which he believes with activate the escape plan for Mr Potter. The Dark Lord and a small group of his inner circle, of which I will be one, will be waiting in the Forbidden Forest to intercept."
"And what does he plan to do with me?" Harry asked, because that, of course, was paramount.
"He plans to humiliate you, drag you back to Hogwarts in chains where his supporters will have been victorious, and execute you in front of your supporters," Snape said. "He has forbidden anyone to so much as touch you."
"And me?" Draco asked, although he suspected the answer.
"You he wishes to kill slowly before he executes Mr Potter, if possible," Snape replied, "but should you prove troublesome has given the inner circle leave to kill you immediately."
Not overly surprising, Voldemort had always been completely obsessed with Harry.
"I think I'm insulted," Draco said, when he felt distress at the very idea coming from his soulmate.
It was supposed to lighten the mood; it didn't work very well. He reached out and took Harry's hand instead. It always amazed him how Harry could throw himself into danger without a second thought, but was quite ready to fall to pieces at the idea of danger to anyone else.
"He'll fight me then," Harry said in a clear attempt to drag the attention back to himself, rather than Draco's possible demise.
"I believe he is relishing the idea," Snape said and sipped his tea.
The way the tension began to dissipate from Snape's shoulders was quite obvious as Draco watched him. He had only ever been to one Death Eater meeting in his life and he had no wish to ever repeat the experience. That Snape put himself through it over and over again was quite remarkable to Draco.
* * *
The Chamber of Secrets was ready, Dumbledore having cast an illusion of rock over the emergency exit, which could only be removed by the right combination of words. Harry was pretty sure that his little revelation about the purpose of the Chamber was going to have repercussions once their plans had come to fruition. He could tell Dumbledore was planning something. After all if Slytherin hadn't been trying to kill Muggleborns with his basilisk and the Chamber was not simply a lair for his heirs, then a great deal of pureblood propaganda was nonsense.
Of course those were all thoughts for once they had won.
That left the rest of Hogwarts to be prepared, very carefully and very quietly. They had made a show of some fortifications before leaking the false plan to send Harry away, but what they were doing now had to be done in secret. The whole point on the day was to make sure Voldemort thought he was winning.
Fred and George were working with supplies Charlie had procured from the dragon sanctuary to create areas of mock fire. Illusions were all well and good, but they were tricky to get right to an extent that would fool a group of Death Eaters. The idea with the flame retardants Charlie had brought and the specialist equipment was that it would look like real fire had broken out, even though it was contained and safe and not actually burning the structure of the building.
There was also the ambush of Voldemort's second force to set up for. They had found a sheltered spot round the back of the castle, nicely hemmed in on two sides by the castle walls, where they planned for it to take place. There were also plenty of vantage points for the defenders. It was a matter of making sure that once the trap was sprung, there was no way back out for the Death Eaters.
Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall, Flitwick and Sprout had all been working on something for that. They appeared to be having far more fun than Harry would have expected, so he was focusing on other tasks while they got on with it. Whatever they had up their sleeves, he was sure it would be perfect.
Of course there were fall back defences being added in as well, just in case. Sometimes Harry felt as if Hogwarts herself knew what was going on and was working with them all, because it was surprisingly easy to set up dormant traps and ambush zones, just in case Death Eaters penetrated their defences.
There was one important matter that Harry had decided he needed to deal with himself. Which was why he sent his senses out looking for one very particular house elf as everyone else quietly sured up the school. He found Dobby helping in the kitchens and headed down there. The elves were already helping stock the Chamber of Secrets with hot and cold food in special storage cases.
"Harry Potter," Dobby said and smiled a very toothy smile, "Dobby is very pleased to see Harry Potter."
"Thank you, Dobby," Harry said, "I was wondering if I could have a word."
"Of course," Dobby said, "anything for Harry Potter."
Harry drew the elf to the side and crouched down so they were close to the same height.
"I have a very special favour to ask," Harry said, "because I think there is something only you can do."
The little elf bobbed his head.
"You know we have been setting up the Chamber of Secrets to keep the children safe should Voldemort attack," Harry said.
"Dobby is knowing this, yes," Dobby said.
"Well if we do evacuate all the children in there," Harry said, "we need someone who can get them out again if I'm not there to open the front entrance, or if the Death Eaters try to break in. We've built and hidden an emergency escape route and we would like you to accompany the children to help them get out if necessary."
Dobby's eyes, already large, went impossibly round.
"Harry Potter would put Dobby in charge of keeping safe the children?" Dobby asked.
"There is no one else I would trust more," Harry said.
The house elf threw himself at Harry and hugged him before dancing back. The bright spark of house elf magic Harry felt was breathtaking.
"Dobby is sorry," Dobby said, "Dobby forgot."
"It's okay," Harry said, "your magic is beautiful."
Dobby really looked like he was about to burst into tears.
"So you'll do it?" Harry asked.
"Dobby would be honoured to help Harry Potter and the children," Dobby replied.
"Thank you so much," Harry said and patted the elf on the arm. "Professor Dumbledore will show you how everything works if you come to the Chamber of Secrets this evening at eight, okay?"
Dobby nodded so hard his ears flapped.
See you tomorrow for the next chapter :)