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 was sitting on the bed reading the Daily Prophet when he felt it; a sudden absence of feeling from Harry as if his soulmate's mind had ceased to function properly, and then the tidal wave hit with devastating force. He had been waiting for this since he had had time to consider the bigger picture rather than just being alive.
Harry had been walking and talking since the battle, he'd even almost been himself most of the time, but Draco had known what was to come, and so had almost everyone else. He remembered all too well how Harry had reacted when he had believed he had killed Lucius, and the safe little shell Harry had been living behind since the demise of Voldemort was bound to crack some time.
Draco was on his feet so fast the room span, as Harry stared at his own reflection, laughing hysterically. It was a frightening sound; totally devoid of the aspect of the man Draco loved; frighteningly close to the inhuman laugh of the Dark Lord himself. Draco did not hesitate; he needed to bring Harry back and he needed to bring him back now.
Stepping up to his soulmate he reached out and, taking Harry's face in his hands, turned him so that his lover's startling green eyes were looking directly at him.
"Harry," he said firmly, making sure he was looking into the slightly mad stare, "focus on me. It's shock, you need to remember where you are."
There was confusion and a feeling of unreality coming from Harry and Draco tried to push through it to his soulmate's mind, but it was like trying to see into fog. He knew Harry was there, he could feel him mentally just out of reach, but he couldn't quite touch him. Madam Pomfrey had warned him what to expect when reality finally caught up with his soulmate, and Draco was not about to let Harry suffer alone. He had no doubt that Harry would come back eventually on his own, Harry was far too strong to let this drag him under, but Draco did not want him to have to do this on his own.
The green eyes weren't quite focused on him anymore and Harry's mental presence felt more distant than ever, which annoyed Draco more than he could express. The continual laughing wasn't helping either.
"Harry," he said in a very stern tone, "you are not doing this to me, now focus. I'm here, let me help you."
Dark lashes flicked up and down several times and slowly the laughter died. Draco could not feel the usual, firm mental presence of Harry, but as he watched the green eyes slowly begin to see him, so the fog obscuring his soulmate's mind began to lift. It took a few minutes, but eventually Draco knew he mostly had Harry back.
"He's dead," Harry whispered in a breathless, almost disbelieving tone.
"Yes, Love," Draco replied gently, "he's gone for good. Voldemort can't hurt anyone anymore."
Another few seconds went by as Harry just stared into Draco's eyes.
"I killed him," this was even quieter than the first affirmation. "I'm a murderer."
It was a shock to hear the derisive tone Harry used to talk about himself, but it was not an affirmation Draco had not expected. He knew Harry's psyche very well, and no matter how Harry had gone into the battle with all his Gryffindor courage, Draco had known what his lover would feel in the end.
"No, Harry," he said firmly, opening his mind as completely as he could to let Harry feel and see that he was only speaking the truth, "you are a soldier. In war people are killed and others are the ones who kill them; you did what had to be done. If Voldemort had had his way we would all be dead. You played the part he created for you when he killed your parents and now it is over."
There was disbelief in Harry's expression and drifting through his mind, but it was vague and unfocused; Draco knew he had the real Harry back. There would be pain and recrimination no matter what he said to try and avoid it; that was Harry's nature, but the crisis was passing.
"Over?" Harry asked as if he did not quite understand the word.
"Yes, Love, over," Draco replied and ran his thumb down Harry's cheek.
He felt what was coming before the damn burst and as Harry's half empty stare dissolved with a heartfelt sob; Draco pulled him into a firm embrace and held him close. All the pain and suffering Harry had ever received at the hands of Voldemort came pouring out at the same time and all Draco could do was stand there like a rock as the waves crashed against him. His soulmate had been so strong for so many people and now it was his turn to be strong for Harry.
Somehow they made it to the bed and Draco sat them down, cradling Harry to him and rocking gently. Harry was not really aware of his surroundings, that much was very clear to Draco as he held him, but he also knew that Harry was very aware of his presence. He enclosed Harry with love and warmth as completely as possible.
Harry's psyche needed time to deal with the role that had been forced upon him and Draco was perfectly willing to give him that time.
When Harry's sobbing dissolved into quiet snuffling, Draco shifted and, continuing to hold Harry with one arm, he threw floo powder into the ever burning fire with the other hand.
"Minerva McGonagall," he said quietly.
The fire flared and then the head of Gryffindor's face appeared in the flames.
"Draco," she greeted with a smile, "good morning."
"Good morning, Minerva," Draco replied politely. "I'm afraid Harry and I will not be making the press conference. Would you mind apologising to them and rescheduling for us."
"Of course," Minerva replied kindly, "is everything all right?"
"Let's just say that reality reared its ugly head," he told her a little sadly. "I'm sure Harry will be fine in a couple of hours, but he's in no state to deal with the press today."
Professor McGonagall nodded understandingly.
"Would you like me to reschedule for Friday or put them off until next week?" she enquired efficiently.
Draco thought about that for a moment.
"Friday," he decided eventually, "that should keep them happy."
"Keep him safe for us, Draco," Minerva replied with another nod of acknowledgement, "we owe you both a great debt. If Harry's not well enough by Friday we can always cancel again."
Draco smiled; he pitied any reporter who dared express displeasure at the cancellation of the press conference. Minerva McGonagall would probably turn them into a mouse and chase them around the castle.
"Thank you, Minerva," Draco replied warmly. "I doubt we will see you at lunch time, but we'll be at dinner."
"Stay well, Draco," the woman replied and withdrew from the fire.
Harry was still mostly unaware of the world around him as Draco settled them both in a more comfortable position on the bed. Stroking Harry's hair, Draco relaxed back to wait for his lover to return to him properly.
* * *
Harry spent a long time drifting in the warmth of Draco's mental and physical embrace, letting his soulmate's love comfort his bruised psyche. The rest of the world could have been a million miles away for all it mattered to him. He took no notice of it. That was until his rational brain decided it was time to switch back on and his last real logical thought jumped straight to the front of him mind.
"Press conference," he said, rapidly sitting up from where he was reclining in Draco's embrace, "we're going to be late."
As he was about to scramble off the bed, Draco's arm, which he had so recently dragged himself away from, was once again placed around his shoulders.
"We were late two hours ago, Harry," his soulmate said gently. "I cancelled it."
"Cancelled?" he asked rather stupidly and blinked at Draco.
Two hours; he couldn't work out how he had lost two hours.
"I asked Minerva to reschedule for Friday," Draco explained calmly.
"Friday," Harry repeated and couldn't help thinking that he sounded like a complete idiot.
His brain did not appear to be functioning at optimum, or even sub-optimum for that matter and he shook his head trying to clear the cobwebs.
"I think," Draco said and gave him a gentle kiss on the lips, "that you could do with a nice cup of tea. You're making even less sense than usual."
A warm smile from Draco made Harry smile back, but he was still more than a little confused. Everything was a jumble in his brain that he couldn't quite sort out.
"That sounds nice," was the most sensible thing he could come up with to say.
Climbing off the bed, Draco picked up his wand and Dobby almost immediately popped into existence.
"Tea for two, please," Draco requested.
"Dobby is very happy to be helping," Dobby said and popped off again almost instantly.
It couldn't have been more than twenty seconds before the elf was back again with a steaming pot of tea and a large plate of biscuits. Harry was pretty sure he couldn't eat a thing at the moment, but the sentiment was nice.
"Thank you, Dobby," Draco said, "this looks perfect."
Dobby smiled and bobbed his head before disappearing once more.
Harry wanted to say something, anything really, but the words just didn't seem to want to form in his head. It was most off putting. While he mused on his own lack of focus, Draco set about pouring them both a cup of tea. Harry was becoming increasingly annoyed with his misbehaving thoughts. He was beginning to think someone had replaced his brain with cotton wool.
"It's shock," Draco said, handing him the tea, "I'm actually surprised it took this long. Hermione called it PTSD, I think."
Some of the things he had been thinking as he lay in Draco's arms threatened to rear their ugly heads again, but he pushed them away. There was one thing he couldn't escape though.
"I killed someone," he said.
"Yes," Draco said, "and I would have killed him too, if I could have. You had no choice."
It was blunt and bleakly honest and it was exactly what Harry needed.
"I don't know what to feel," he admitted.
[I'm going with relief,] Draco told him.
[But I committed premeditated murder,] Harry said.
[No,] Draco said, sitting back down, [you performed a pre-planned battle against a superior foe and won. I told you before and I will keep telling you until you believe it, you were a soldier in a war. We didn't choose this war, our parents did, but we had to finish it. You are a hero, no more, no less.]
[What if there was another way?]
[He asked me to join him.]
[And kill at his command?]
Harry looked at his tea and thought about that.
[He was insane,] Draco said, reaching out and touching him gently. [Any ability to reason with him was lost when he tried to kill you the first time. When he returned he was no longer a man. He was a twisted shadow and you put him out of his misery.]
[This is what you wouldn't talk about the other day, isn't it?]
Most of Harry wanted to believe, he really did, but he kept seeing Voldemort dying.
"It was so horrible," he said aloud, because it felt as if the words were trying to explode out of him.
"Harry," Draco said, taking one of his hands properly; "it was only so horrible because severing the ties he had with his minions turned all the dark magic he ever performed back on him. If he had not been such an evil person, had not caused so much harm, he would have died an easy death. How he met his end is not on you, it is on him."
He couldn't deny the truth of that. It had been Voldemort's own magic that had killed him in the end.
"Why couldn't I do what I did with your father?" he asked.
"Because there was nothing left," of course Draco had an answer even for that. "There was part of Lucius that was never touched by the dark magic, by the evil Voldemort spread. You couldn't have saved Tom Riddle, he died a very long time ago. All that remained was the Dark Lord, the evil that blighted our world."
It almost made sense ... almost.
[I almost killed us too,] Harry said as his mind circled everything that had happened.
Now Draco moved, taking the tea and putting on the bedside table, then gathering Harry into his arms.
[Sometimes the heroes sacrifice themselves for everyone else,] Draco told him. [You were ready to die to save our whole world and I couldn't let you go alone. We were lucky, but I will be forever proud of what you did.]
The feeling of love that came with the words was so overwhelming that it left Harry speechless as he basked in it. He could never doubt that Draco meant every word. For a while it even stopped him thinking.
[Do you really think you'd become another Voldemort?] he asked eventually, as what he had thought was their final conversation came back to him.
[I don't think, I know,] Draco said simply. [You are light, Harry, I see it in you all the time. I'm not. If I lost you I would break. They say you couldn't live without me, I know I couldn't live without you.]
It was Harry's turn to pull Draco close.
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
"Never be sorry," Draco whispered back, "not for that. I love you."
They remained entwined for so long Draco had to completely reheat the tea.