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
It was almost time, they all knew it, and the key players were gathered in the headmaster's office for the final details. Draco knew Snape did not appreciate sentiment, but when his former house master grimaced very slightly and went to leave their council of war, he followed him. He gave Harry one glance as he walked out of the room and his soulmate simply nodded at him.
"Professor," Draco called, hurrying to catch up with the man who had helped him through a great deal during his school life.
Snape did not look surprised to see him. Of course the man had known Draco was following.
"I am in something of a hurry, Mr Malfoy," Snape said.
"You forgot something, Sir," Draco said and held out the small package he had been carrying since the previous afternoon.
Maybe one day, when this was all over, they would get past the respectful distance and actually be friends.
Being a Slytherin, Snape did not ask any questions, the man simply opened the cloth in his hand, tipping what was inside into his palm. The small knut looked completely innocuous.
"Harry perfected a camouflage for the Transferer," Draco said. "Now we can be sure the secret hasn't leaked, once the battle begins the anti-Apparition wards on the grounds will go up, but the anti-Transfer wards will come down."
He didn't bother with any of the platitudes, like 'if you need to make a quick exit you can' because he knew Snape would find stating the obvious foolish. They both knew what the Transferer was for and why it might come in very handy in a fight, saying it out loud would not change any of it.
"I will use it if necessary," was all Snape said, which was as close to a thank you as was likely at the moment. "Now I must be leaving."
"Of course, Professor," Draco said with a nod.
Snape folded his hand around the Transferer and slipped it into his pocket, before turning and continuing down the corridor. Just as the Potions Master was about to turn the corner Draco couldn't take it anymore.
"Good luck, Professor," he said.
Stopping, Snape looked at him once again.
"And you, Mr Malfoy," the man said, which rather underlined quite how dangerous this day was going to be.
* * *
Nothing was being left to chance. Members of the Order began arriving via the tunnel from the Hogshead as soon as the message alert went out. It was all planned down to the finest detail and Harry went with Draco, Ron, Hermione, Fred, George and Professor McGonagall to Gryffindor tower.
Harry, Draco and George were stationed at the entrance, Harry and Draco inside and George outside, while Ron and Fred disappeared up the boy's staircase and Hermione and Professor McGonagall did the same with the girls'.
The idea was to wake one dorm at a time, starting with the eldest and working down to the youngest. No one in any house would have the remotest chance of getting a message off without being seen and intercepted. All the children were being told it was a drill, but there were bound to be those who did not believe it.
Harry had his senses peeled for any offhand magic, no matter how small and Dumbledore, Mad-eye Moody and Professor Flitwick were using charms for the same thing on the Hufflepuffs, the Slytherins and the Ravenclaws respectively. No one doubted that Professor Sprout was a capable witch, but she was head of Hufflepuff for a reason, hence Dumbledore taking that role with their house, while Moody stood in for Snape. The official story with Snape was he had been called away on urgent business, not that it really mattered now anyway.
The seventh years were the first to appear in the common room, mostly in their night clothes, but Colin Creevy had somehow managed to half change into day wear. None of them looked surprised to see Harry or Draco and didn't ask any questions, crossing towards the entrance.
"We need you to look after the first and second years," Harry said; "they're going to be frightened."
"No problem," Ginny said with a nod.
And that was the only communication that was required. As more students appeared, Harry was proud of his house. There were a couple of questions from the younger years, but no one argued and the older students immediately split up to make sure their younger fellows were okay.
When the whole of the house was present Professor McGonagall made her way through her students to the main entrance.
"Gryffindors," she said, voice calm, but very, very firm, "you will follow me in close file. First years, take a seventh year's hand, second years, take a sixth year's hand, third year, fourth year and fifth year, I expect you to be capable by yourselves. There will be no talking until we have reached our destination and magic of any kind is strictly forbidden. Do not make me have to take your wands."
Several faces looked stricken at that and Harry couldn't blame them. Taking wands was not something ever done lightly.
"Miss Granger, if you would be so kind," Professor McGonagall said.
Hermione nodded and opened the portrait hole, stepping outside with George.
"Ready," she said, looking back into the common room.
They would be arriving in staggered groups, since the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets, even though it had been expanded, could not take the whole school at the same time. Gryffindor had been allocated first slot and they were on a timetable.
As all the students filed past him, Harry checked each of them over with his senses. Ever since the incident with Blaise he knew it was impossible to be sure of anyone. All he could see was worry and curiosity and no magic that wasn't supposed to be there.
Hermione and McGonagall were in the lead of their party, the others were stationed along its length and Harry and Draco took up the rear. It was a silent and serious procession that made their way to the first floor bathroom. When they entered the first floor corridor they all bunched up into a much closer group.
Of course once they arrived there was much confusion and quite a lot of whispering, but one look from Professor McGonagall put a stop to that.
"You will enter the girl's toilet eight at a time," she said, holding up her wand as a light, "and you will follow instructions from there as soon as you are given them."
Hermione and George went in first and then the first group of students walked after them.
It felt like an age, but Harry was pretty sure it couldn't have been more than a minute or two before Hermione reappeared at the door.
"Next," Professor McGonagall said.
She didn't need to say it more than once more as Gryffindor obeyed their head of house without question.
Only as the last group went inside did Professor McGonagall appear remotely anything except supremely confident. However, when the last student went through the door, just for a fraction of a second, Harry saw worry on her face.
"We'll take it from here, Professor," he said, knowing that she would be worrying about the children she cared for almost as her own, "they'll need you to settle inside, and Slytherin will be here in five minutes."
"Thank you, Mr Potter, Mr Malfoy" Professor McGonagall said. "Good luck."
And with that the head of Gryffindor followed her students. Harry stuck his head into the girls' toilets a few moments later to find Hermione beside the open entrance. Now the whole bank of sinks moved back, rather than just the one to allow entrance to several people at a time, but it still looked as ominous as ever.
Ron and Fred and George were already in the Chamber to help with handing out sleeping bags and everything else the children would need, but Hermione was going to remain in charge of the entrance.
"How'd it go?" Harry asked.
"A few were scared," Hermione replied, "but they're Gryffindors; you ask them to jump into the unknown, they ask how high."
"Let's hope it's as easy with the Slytherins."
Hermione snorted, they both knew that was never going to happen. With a tight smile, Harry went back to standing with Draco outside.
[Ready for this?] he asked.
[As we'll ever be,] Draco replied. [Don't turn your back on any of them.]
[Never,] Harry agreed.
* * *
It was only a few minutes before the sound of feet on stone echoed up the corridor. There had been the odd whisper with the Gryffindors, but the Slytherins were completely silent. Draco saw Pansy first, leading a rebellious looking group behind her.
Pansy and Greg had been sent with Moody, along with Remus, Sirius, Shacklebolt and Tonks. No one was taking any chances. If there were Death Eaters in Hogwarts the most likely place to look would have been Slytherin. On top of that they were also the most likely house to object to the cloak and dagger and one of them could easily have put a powder in the potion just by trying to find out what was going on.
Draco felt Harry lower his mental shields to an almost dangerous level as he surveyed the approaching group. He stepped closer to offer his support. He had not been joking when he told Harry not to turn his back on any of the Slytherins.
The first and second years looked afraid, but there was no hand holding in Slytherin. Every child was self-contained and watching their surroundings carefully.
Pansy nodded to Draco as she arrived, but they exchanged no words.
"Eight at a time, inside," she said simply and waved the first group into the girls toilets using the tip of her wand.
There was nothing subtle about this exercise.
Draco watched them file past, one by one. There were several scowls aimed at him and he stared back coolly. This wasn't supposed to make anyone feel warm and snugly, it was to keep them safe.
The first twenty four passed without incident, but then Draco felt something from Harry.
[The blonde girl,] Harry said.
[Pavider,] Draco provided her name.
[She's carrying something under her right arm.]
[How did Moody miss it?]
[It's under some kind of concealment charm,] Harry said, [that's what I can see.]
As the girl's group went to enter the girl's toilets, Draco brought his wand arm down in front of her before she could walk past him.
"Give it to me," he said simply.
The girl's eyes went wide with fear and she curled her left arm over her right.
"Now," Draco said, totally unbending.
He was expecting the tears as she hung her head and reached under her robe, what he was not expecting was what she said as she handed over what turned out to be a book: "I'm sorry."
Draco looked at the leather bound book in his hand. It was emblazoned with the words "Rose's Diary".
"Miss Pavider," Draco said, a little more gently, "you were instructed to bring nothing. Why did you feel the need to disobey for this?"
The girl sniffed.
"The other girls," she said quietly at a level only he could hear, "they've been looking for it."
Draco knew this one; the girl would not have been the first Slytherin to find her innermost thoughts paraded around the common room if she had been careless enough to leave them lying around. Now he understood the concealment charms.
"Not a good enough excuse, Miss Pavider," Draco said, "five points from Slytherin." However he slipped the diary into his own robes. "This will be returned once the exercise is over and you will write me an essay on why it is foolish to disobey instructions during safety drills."
"Yes, Professor Malfoy," the girl said in a very small voice.
"In you go," Draco instructed.
[Nicely handled,] Harry commented, but sounded distracted as he continued to scan the gathered Slytherins.
The only person who met Draco's eyes through the entire group without scowling at him was Blaise. When he shared gazes for a few moments with his old friend all he saw was resignation.
They barely swapped two words with those escorting the Slytherins as they also disappeared one by one to keep an eye on their charges. There was too much to do and too much at stake. It was going to be a long night.
* * *
Once the students were all safely in the chamber, Harry resealed the entrance. With him in the girls' toilets were Draco, George, Hermione, Ron and Albus. Everyone else had already gone on to other tasks.
"The children are safe," Albus said without the slightest trace of the usual lightness in his voice.
"Now it's time to make sure Hogwarts is too," Harry added.
They shared a look. Both of them had stood against the dark, both alone and with those they called friends and Harry felt a kinship with the headmaster. They had both also made mistakes in their time. Harry could only pray this was not one of them.
"We need to check on the vantage points," Draco said, lightly touching Harry's arm.
Harry simply nodded.
"I better get back to Fred," George said, "we have some fireworks to set."
"I'll come too," Ron said.
They were standing on the precipice. Never before had Harry felt quite so exposed. Never before had he helped plan a confrontation with Voldemort himself. In the past he had always been the one reacting to plans Voldemort had made. It felt like such a great weight to be at the dawn of something he had helped plan.
"Today," Albus said, since it was after midnight, "will be a great day. Let us hope that greatness smiles on the Light."
"Amen to that," Hermione said and Harry simply nodded.
[This will work,] Draco told him as they turned to leave the room.
[Of course it will,] Harry replied, but they both knew he was not remotely sure.
See you tomorrow for the next one