Beren (beren_writes) wrote,

Defence, Pretence, Offence - Chapter 78 - Sorting Things (Harry/Draco, NC17)

Title: Defence, Pretence, Offence - Chapter 78 - Sorting Things
Author: Beren (aka Tasha)
Pairing: Harry/Draco
Rating: NC-17
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 wasn't overly happy that they had not postponed the meeting with Mr Ollivander. He wanted Harry to have some more recovery time before dealing with the whole wand problem. However, Harry had been adamant. It was only the fact that he could tell Harry was uncomfortable without a wand that made him give in.

He did his very best not to glare at Ollivander when he and Harry walked into the Headmaster's office to find the man already there. It wasn't the wandmaker's fault, but Draco needed someone to take his ire out on.

"Welcome, welcome, dear boys," Albus said, coming round from behind his desk, "thank you so much for joining us."

Harry smiled at the headmaster and Draco could only tell his soulmate wasn't quite feeling it because he was inside Harry's head. Harry was getting far too good at hiding what he was feeling.

"Thank you for coming, Mr Ollivander," Harry said, holding out his hand to the man, "I'm sorry to be such a bother."

"Not at all, Mr Potter," Ollivander said, shaking Harry's hand and then keeping hold of it and looking down, "I am honoured by your faith in my skill."

The way the wandmaker was carefully examining Harry's hand was clearly making Harry uncomfortable, so Draco placed a hand on his soulmate's back in gentle support. He didn't want to do anything else for fear of interrupting Ollivander's concentration. If anyone could sort this out it was the best wand maker in the world.

"Most interesting," Ollivander said, finally looking up, but still keeping hold of Harry's hand.

Draco could all but feel the man's magic through Harry.

"Will I be able to use another wand?" Harry asked, sounding more than a little on edge.

"Yes," Ollivander said and finally released Harry. "You may have to adjust slightly for the extra magic travelling through the imbedded fragments, but someone of your talents should have no problem with that."

Draco assumed the man was talking about Harry's Hecatemus status. Being able to see magic definitely helped with refocusing it.

"However, the new wand will need to be made of identical materials as your old one," were the words that made Draco and everyone else in the room look over at Fawkes, where the phoenix was currently cleaning his plumage.

Fawkes lifted his head, glanced around at them all and then went back to preening.

"Do you think he would..." Harry sounded reluctant to ask the obvious question.

Fawkes had already saved their lives and Draco could understand the reluctance to ask more of the bird. What he did not expect was for Mr Ollivander to pull a box from within his robes. It looked like a wand box.

"A few months ago I had a visitor very late at night," Ollivander said; "he flew through my bedroom window. He left me with a tail feather and the finest piece of holly I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Since I find it best never to argue with a magical creature as powerful as a Phoenix, I made this."

When Ollivander opened the box he revealed an exquisite wand. It did not look like Harry's old wand, it was longer and slightly broader at the base, but it was clearly made out of the same wood. Draco watched Harry stare at the wand, then look over at Fawkes, who was now ignoring them, and then back at the wand.

"I would take it if I were you, Mr Potter," Ollivander said, a small smile playing at his lips. "At least now I understand why I was urged to make it."

[Go on, Love,] Draco encouraged Harry when his soulmate glanced at him for support.

Harry reached out, almost as if it might bite, slowly wrapping his fingers around the wand. As soon as Harry lifted it out of the box sparks shot out of the end in joyful appreciation. To Draco it felt as if there was a metaphysical click.

Harry smiled properly for the first time since his breakdown the previous day.

"Thank you, Mr Ollivander," Harry said, "thank you so much, and thank you, Fawkes. How much do I owe you?"

The phoenix gave a small trill and then went back to preening.

"You are most welcome, Mr Potter," Ollivander said. "I do not like to imagine what would have happened had a wizard like Voldemort gained control of our society. There is no charge for this wand. Think of this as my thank you for your sacrifice."

[Do not ask if he is sure,] Draco said before Harry could voice that very phrase, [just say thank you again.]

"Thank you," Harry said.

Ollivander inclined his head.

"Oh and, Mr Potter," Ollivander said, "you might like to practice more wandless magic with that hand as well. It should give you an edge."

Harry just nodded, eyes going back to his new wand.

"Go on," Draco said, "we know you want to."

Harry grinned and pointed the wand as a piece of paper on Albus' desk.

"Wingardium Leviosa," Harry said and the paper lifted off the surface.

More sparks also came out of the wand, but that was the only side effect.

"Most eye catching," was what Albus chose to say.

"As I said," Ollivander commented, "it may require a little work on focusing."

Harry beamed at Draco; it seemed he was far too happy to care at the moment.

* * *

Hilde had not been part of what was now being called The Battle of Hogwarts. Given that she had already been exposed to Death Eaters, and she was the only expert on Hecatemae that knew Harry, she had been deemed too important to risk. If the final battle had had repercussions for Harry's abilities, she may well have been the only one who could figure out how to help. As it was she arrived at the school as soon as Draco sent her a message to say Harry was in a fit state to see her.

What Harry was really not expecting when she walked through the door of the Room of Requirement, was for her to be carrying a very large, white box.

"Let me help," Draco immediately offered and was across the room in a moment.

Harry did the next best thing and conjured a table for the box to go on.

"Thank you," Hilde said in what was a tone that was a little too bright, even for her.

On instinct Harry lowered his barriers a little and was unsurprised to see rather a swirl of emotion around his friend. It seemed to be quite a common thing at the moment, and he was noticing it now his brain wasn't chasing after his body trying to catch up.

"Everything okay?" he asked as he submitted to the now very familiar once over everyone who knew him seemed to need to do the moment they saw him for the first time.

"Oh yes," she said, smiling, "just very glad to see both of you in one piece. It's one thing to be told, but it's completely another to be able to see for yourself. How are you both feeling? Any aftereffects you need my help with? How's the new wand, Harry?"

All the questions came out in a mad rush. It was almost like being back when Hilde had first met them both after they bonded.

"Physically we're both very well, thank you," Draco said, placing the box on the table. "Mentally we're both getting there as well."

"I imagine that will take a while though," Hilde said and her smiled dulled a little bit.

"Yeah, probably," Harry agreed with a nod.

He really didn't want to talk about it anymore at the moment. Getting it all sorted out in his own head with Draco's help was hard enough.

"The wand is perfect," he added, "just like using the old one. Although I need more practice because of this hand."

He held out his arm so Hilde could see. Like the consummate professional she was, she stepped closer to take a look, but did not reach out to touch. She was still the only person who was perfect at that. His friends remembered most of the time, but just occasionally they all forgot now that his mental shields were mostly stable.

"Definitely something we can look at," Hilde told him, going up on her toes and down again.

Harry always took it as akin to her patting him on the arm, because it seemed to be a habitual gesture.

"And you, Draco," Hilde asked, "any after effects from the blood bond?"

"Nothing noticeable," Draco replied without hesitation, "especially since Harry stopped staring at all the pretty lights."

"Sorry," Harry apologised immediately.

He still felt stupid for having been in such a daze for so long.

[I was only teasing, Love,] Draco said and walked over, taking his hand and squeezing it gently.

"I was reading somewhere about Iris Dembottom," Hilde said, tactfully ignoring Harry's reaction, "she once spent three months totally unable to keep up her mental barrier against seeing magic after a particularly unfortunate magical explosion. She had some of the most incredible insights by the time her control returned."

"Didn't she write a book?" Harry asked, because the name sounded familiar.

"We read it last year," Draco supplied. "So that's how she came to some of her conclusions," he added, "the book never said."

"I suppose when she wrote it, it was probably one of those known things," Harry mused.

"I wish more people would write down the 'known things'," Hilde said with a grin, "it would make my job a whole lot easier."

Harry managed to crack a smile at that. Ever since the whole Hecatemus thing, he was beginning to get a very different appreciation for history.

"Okay, I can't take it anymore," he said as his eyes slid to the box for what was probably the fifth time, "what's in the box?"

Hilde's grin grew.

"Cake," she said,

That was totally not what Harry had been expecting.

"Cake?" he asked. "Why are you carrying round a large cake?"

"To celebrate, of course," she said. "Go on then, open it both of you, it's for you."

Harry looked at Draco.

[She brought cake,] he said.

[Of course she did,] Draco replied, a little smile playing at his lips. [Come on then.]

Really not sure what they would find, Harry followed Draco to the table and let his soulmate open the box. Inside was the biggest chocolate cake Harry had ever seen, which was saying something after the size of some of Dudley's birthdays. It had to have had a spell on it to keep it pristine, because every little swirl of icing was perfectly in place.

Emblazoned across the top of the cake were the words: "Congratulations on being alive. All my love, Hilde."

It was so perfectly Hufflepuff that Harry had to laugh.

"Do you like it?" Hilde asked.

"It's wonderful," he said, and tried to figure out yet again how he deserved such fantastic friends, "thank you."

"We're going to need an army to eat this," Draco pointed out.

"Ron has been going on about that party," Harry said, "maybe we should have just a little one with them and the others?"

[You sure?] was the immediate question.

He nodded. He might not feel on top of the world at the moment, but something like this would help and it would be good for all of them. Everyone had been so careful around him and Draco had kept him safe, even from himself, until his mind had been ready to face reality. They all deserved at least cake.

"Hilde, how do you fancy joining us and our friends for cake and butterbeer this evening?" Draco invited once Harry gave his affirmative.

"That would be lovely," Hilde replied with the most beaming smile.

If there was one thing they could always count on when it came to Hilde, it was that she did everything with her whole heart. It made Harry feel very warm inside. The black cloud of what he had done was still there, lurking, but it was things like this that allowed him to push it away. Maybe, one day, it would even dissipate completely.

* * *

The last thing Harry really wanted to do was give a press conference. He was still having trouble coming to terms with everything that had happened, he really didn't want to talk about it with complete strangers. However, he was completely aware that if he didn't stop being a hermit soon, people would be silly enough to break into the school.

The setup was very similar to when he and Draco had first announced the truth of their relationship to the world, only this time, Dumbledore was there, as was one of the Aurors from the Ministry who had assisted in the round up after the battle. For once this was not all on him and Draco.

"Good morning," Dumbledore greeted, twinkling at the gathered crowd of reporters like an aging grandfather, "thank you all so much for coming."

Harry might have laughed if he hadn't been so nervous.

[Nutty as a fruit cake,] Draco commented in his head. [How can one of the most influential and powerful men in our world be completely batty?]

[He just likes everyone to think that,] Harry replied.

[Are you sure?] Draco asked. [Because I'm not.]

Harry turned and gave his soulmate a small smile.

"I must apologise for the delay in these proceedings," the headmaster continued, "unfortunately there were some unforeseen circumstances which meant we were unable to allow general access to Hogwarts."

[Yeah, I lost it,] Harry said.

Draco just squeezed his hand.

"I am sure you all received the statement the Ministry released about the events that occurred here last Saturday," Dumbledore said chattily, "but we are here to answer any individual questions you may have. Who would like to go first?"

Of course every single hand in the room went up.

"Miss Skeeter," Dumbledore said as if he didn't know exactly what he was doing, "what is your question?"

"Harry," the reporter said immediately, and Harry mentally prepared himself, of course the first question came to him, "how does it feel now that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Names is dead?"

"I think you can call him Voldemort now," Harry said as the euphemism annoyed him somewhat; "he's really dead this time, trust me, I watched him go."

Probably not the best way to start off the press conference, so Harry took a long steadying breath.

"As to your question," he said, "it feels wonderful and terrible at the same time. I never wanted to kill anyone, unfortunately it was him or me. He died in a very horrible way as all the dark magic he had ever created turned on him. It was no way for a human being to end their life, not even one as cruel as he became. We must do everything we can to make sure this does not happen again."

He could see mouths open to ask him more questions, but he wasn't sure he wanted to wait.

[Do it,] Draco said silently, [tell them the truth.]

"We are a people divided," he said, before Dumbledore could take over again. "It was this division that Voldemort fed on, how he gained power in the first place. We take Muggleborn children and throw them in to a magical world without giving them the slightest help to understand it. Then we have pureblood wizards who have never interacted with the Muggle world and have no basis to understand that either. Muggle Studies should be compulsory from the first year up and we need a new one called Pureblood studies as well. If we can't understand each other how are we supposed to stop the prejudice and the lies? One of the first things I learned when I entered the magical world was that all Slytherins are evil and purebloods. Well I think it's obvious the first isn't true."

He gave a significant look at Draco and managed to raise a small laugh from the gathered crown.

"And Voldemort was a half-blood called Thomas Riddle, so the second part isn't true either," he continued. "Purebloods have ancient traditions they are afraid of losing, Muggleborns have the most amazing ideas from the Muggle world. Now is the time to embrace both. We, as a people, need to look not to retribution, but to reunification. We need to grow up and realise that Muggles are no longer the witch burning puritans of old and neither are purebloods the racist purists Voldemort wanted them to be. If we are one, a new Dark Lord has no foothold to create another civil war."

As he stopped speaking there was total silence. He didn't really know what to do with everyone staring at him.

"Don't you want the Death Eaters punished?" someone from the back finally asked.

"Of course I want them punished," Harry said, with very little patience for the question, "they tried to kill me and everyone else here. What I don't want is innocent people being accused like last time, or have you forgotten my godfather? We need to be careful, one people, united in peace, not united in retribution."

"Well said, My Boy," Dumbledore said very loudly. "Now, does anyone have any questions about the events of last Saturday?"

Of course every hand went up again. It was going to be a long morning, but more than a few people were looking at Harry very speculatively.

The next morning the headline on the Prophet read: Boy Who Lived Calls for Peace. Harry was utterly astounded.
Tags: category: slash, ch_story: defence, fandom: harry potter, fictype: 30kwds up, fictype: chaptered, genre: fantasy, genre: romance, offence, pairing: hp - harry/draco, pretence, rating: r to nc17, type: fiction

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