Author's Notes: Thanks go to my beta and to all those who sent feedback about the original draft of the fic at schnoogle or on my LJ. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Gold Tinted Spectacles
Chapter 27 - The Ways of Slytherins
No matter how many times Harry tried to explain that it made no difference if Draco watched the team practices or was on the other side of the school, the fact that his lover still cheered for Slytherin at matches made the Gryffindor team nervous if he stayed around the pitch. The fact that Harry and Draco talked tactics all the time, often while he coached his house team, did not seem to have factored in to his house mates' mental attitude. Hence when Gryffindor practiced, Draco usually made himself scarce.
Harry was sitting on the Firebolt, which Draco had picked up in his sixth year, above the game that the main house team and the reserve team were playing, watching for any obvious mistakes. To some it might have seemed odd that Harry was sitting on a borrowed broom while the Gryffindor seeker used his, but in The Boy Who Lived's mixed up world it made perfect sense.
[Ashfield is really beginning to play well,] Harry commented to his soul mate thoughtfully, [next year he'll make a good beater.]
[You can train even the slowest dog to do tricks eventually,] Draco replied dryly.
Draco had not been in a good mood all day and it was showing in his acid tongue. Being friends with Hermione for six years Harry was well aware that girls had days of the month when you just smiled and kept your head down if you wanted to keep it; having shared his life with Draco for months Harry had come to realise that some males cycled as well. When his lover was brooding Harry had learned to ignore what he said and rely on what Draco was feeling instead: hence he did not rise to the bait. Instead he kept one eye on the game and changed the subject.
[Did you find the information you were looking for in the library?] Harry asked lightly.
[Actually I did,] Draco replied, his tone changing completely as the topic of conversation moved on to the only thing he seemed interested in today. [Snape's a sly old dog: he left the clues all over the notes from Monday's lesson. The key ingredient is wormwood...]
Draco stopped talking very suddenly and Harry felt a momentary spike of alarm. It was not a feeling that sent Harry shooting off at speed to rescue his lover from whatever was going on, but it was enough to make him lose all interest in the Quidditch practice and concentrate solely on Draco.
Since Christmas the pair had been experimenting with what Hilde referred to as 'rapport'. They had been able to send each other images, thoughts and emotions from the outset, but rapport was a little more than that: it was the melding of minds. Harry and Draco had achieved it many times when in physical contact; then it came naturally, but according to Hilde and their other sources it was possible when they were apart as well. So far they had not been completely successful, except once when Harry had tripped over his own robes and fallen head long over the common room sofa and Draco had found himself looking out of his soul mate's eyes when he was actually upstairs in their room. They could manage sound okay so one or the other could eavesdrop in the other's head if they let them, but vision was not as easy.
Turning his awareness inwards Harry gently nudged Draco's mind to let him in and then he was listening to whatever was going on around his soul mate.
"Goyle, Crabbe, Zabini, Pansy," Harry heard Draco say evenly, "this is a surprise."
"What, no Gryffindors to protect poor little Draco?" Pansy replied with a tone to her voice that Harry did not like at all.
From the feelings coming from Draco he did not appear impressed with her opening gambit.
"Let's not pretend," his soul mate said pointedly, "you know I am alone or you would not be here. What is it going to be: straight down to business or are we actually going to talk first?"
Draco's voice was completely without fear, but on the inside he was feeling at least a little anxious. Harry dragged his awareness back to his own body while trying to keep the connection open and then he flew as fast as he dared towards his soul mate.
"You're a traitor, Malfoy," it was Blaise Zabini who spoke this time, a hard, nasty edge to his voice, "you betrayed your friends and the Dark Lord."
"Oh please," Draco snapped back almost straight away, "you have no idea what you're talking about."
When Harry reached the castle he hopped off the broom and ran full speed towards the corridor outside the library.
"You abandoned everything for Potter," Zabini spat and Harry was pretty sure the Slytherins viewed his name as a swear word.
For the first time since the conversation began Harry felt his lover become angry.
"My 'betrayal' had nothing to do with Harry," Draco said vehemently, "what we have become is a consequence of what I chose to do. I changed sides before I was ever involved with The Boy Who Lived."
There was a moment of smug satisfaction from Draco and Harry had to assume that his words had at least surprised the other Slytherins.
"Why?" the question came from Goyle, which surprised Harry, but not apparently Draco. "Why did you turn traitor?"
"Have you ever met him?" Draco asked evenly. "Have any of you ever laid eyes on Voldemort?"
The other four pupils must have given Draco a visual signal to the negative because he continued.
"Well I have," he said firmly. "My father decided that I should meet him last Summer. He's a complete madman: Voldemort may be the most powerful wizard this side of the moon, but he's a raving lunatic. His fearless Death Eaters whimper at his side because they're terrified of him. There is no great cause for wizardkind: there's a psycho who's so wrapped up in his need to kill Harry Potter that he can't even see anything else, and his band of lackeys who don't have the guts to put him out of his misery."
Harry took the last corner slowly and quietly, entering the corridor behind the four Slytherins and drawing his wand carefully. He could see Draco standing beyond the other pupils, but Draco gave no outward acknowledgement of having seen him. Each Slytherin had their wand in their hand.
[If necessary I'll take Pansy and Goyle,] Draco's voice said in Harry's mind, [you take Zabini and Crabbe.]
[What do you mean if necessary?] Harry asked incredulously.
[Miracles have happened,] was his lover's flippant response.
"The Dark Lord is a great wizard," Pansy said, but her voice held just a trace of uncertainty.
These were children acting on the beliefs of their parents, Draco was acting on his own behalf and they all knew it. Harry doubted it would avert the coming fight, but at least it might make them think about what they were doing.
"He might have been once," Draco said evenly, "but now he's nothing more than a madman out for revenge."
"Enough with the speeches," Zabini said coldly, "you're going to get what's coming to you, Malfoy."
Harry didn't need any other encouragement: as Draco surprised his opponents by dropping the books he was carrying, ducking and rolling Harry raised his wand and uttered the word: "Expelliarmus." Blaise's wand went flying out of his hand and the Slytherin flew sideways. Harry did not pause to consider that he might have put a little too much force behind the spell.
"Stupefacto," he aimed at Crabbe this time and the boy keeled over with a surprised look on his face.
When Harry glanced at his lover, Draco had fared equally as well. From the aftermath it looked as if he'd hit Goyle with a full body bind and Pansy with a silencing charm. The girl was trying to cast, but without a voice she was incapable of doing anything. Harry kept his eye on Zabini who was sitting on the ground looking dazed and walked over to where Draco was picking himself up off the floor.
"You okay?" Harry asked out of habit rather than because he needed to know.
He could feel that Draco was fine, but a little bit of verbal reassurance never hurt anyone.
"Perfectly, thank you," his soul mate said shortly, glaring at Pansy, "my old friends don't seem to be up on their duelling skills."
"What do you want to do with them?" was Harry's next question as he viewed the devastation carefully.
He could have asked silently, but he rather enjoyed the effect his question had on the impotent Slytherins who were still conscious.
"Leave them," Draco said evenly, "you need to get back to practice and I have better things to do."
On the inside Draco was still excited from the fight, but on the outside he appeared icy calm. Harry never quite knew how his lover managed it: it was a skill he had not managed to master even after years with the Dursleys. He was unsure about just letting the Slytherins get away with their ambush, but this was Draco's fight and Harry did not want to interfere with whatever game his lover was playing. Strategy against his former friends was Draco's speciality and Harry chose to stay out of it.
"Okay," he agreed aloud. [You will explain what you're up to later, won't you?] he asked silently.
[Of course,] his lover replied.
"Have a little think about what I said," Draco said to his housemates as he picked his books up off the floor while Harry kept his wand on the others. "You might not believe me, but just take a look yourselves and you'll see what I mean."
Then as a pair Harry and Draco walked away, leaving the Slytherins to sort themselves out.
Harry sitting in the corner of the common room with the Prisma in front of him, creating the most spectacular patterns and colours in the air, had become, although not an everyday, definitely not a completely unusual sight. For a little while the Prisma had been a phenomenon amongst the Gryffindors and everyone had wanted a try, but then Christmas had happened and the fad had worn off. There were still a couple who were actually trying to improve and Harry had taken to giving little tutorials when he could, but mostly the Hecatemus was viewed from a distance.
With Harry safely ensconced among his housemates, Draco would often use the time to go to the library or complete any tasks that did not involve his soul mate, as so much of his life did these days. However, in the two months since Christmas, Hilde had been encouraging Harry to try other things than simply focusing his mind on the Prisma, and in their latest session she had shown him a meditation technique that took him even deeper into his mind.
The new exercises often involved Draco in a role to balance his lover, but for this one he was more of a guard than a participant. If Harry went in too deep he was there to pull him out, and so on the last Saturday in February the afternoon found both of the soul mate's in Harry's usual corner with the Hecatemus concentrating on his mental exercises and Draco with his nose in a book.
Harry had been at it for nearly half an hour and Draco had so far felt nothing untoward about the whole experience, and had taken to keeping a vague mental eye on his lover and most of his mind on reading. The Hecatemus was completely focused on his task and Draco could feel his soul mate's thoughts at a distance, almost as if Harry was sleeping. It was a peaceful sensation and the Prisma was floating in front of Harry, spinning slowly and giving out soft greens and blues as if echoing the remoteness of the Gryffindor's mind. Draco was also keeping half an eye on the patterns the device was producing in case he spotted anything untoward.
It would soon be time to pull Harry out of his meditations anyway since they had an appointment at four o'clock. Usually Harry would come out of the exercise by himself when he was ready, but today Dumbledore had invited them to tea so Harry did not have that luxury. The headmaster liked to have a rather fatherly chat with the couple every now and then and invitations to take tea in his office would turn up every now and then at random intervals. At one time these would have annoyed the magic out of Draco, but these days he found Dumbledore's rather eccentric outlook on life somewhat amusing and quite endearing; not that he would ever tell anyone that of course.
Draco was just considering how long it would take him to bring Harry back this time since the Hecatemus was obviously in very deep, when he felt something change. For a moment it felt incredibly peaceful and a sense of complete calm ran through him, but then it changed. From gently floating thoughts came sudden stillness almost as if time had ground to a halt and Draco dropped his book as his mind was dragged towards the same point. Not willing to give up control Draco wrenched back his thoughts as hard as he could and then threw everything he had at reaching Harry.
It was like his soul mate was there, but not there. Draco's mental communication went unanswered and although their bond was still very much in evidence it was as if Harry's mind had removed itself from any conscious movement. The sensation caused shots of panic to race through Draco and he was out of his seat so fast that it caused every person in the room to look in his direction.
"[Harry,]" Draco spoke with his mind and his voice unable to keep the panic out of his tone.
He had not been prepared for this and he desperately wanted Harry to answer him. Even if he made a complete idiot out of himself, if it brought his lover back from wherever his mind had gone, as far as Draco was concerned it was worth it. What made it worse was the Prisma; it was still hovering between Harry's outstretched hands, but it was perfectly still, the coloured patterns it had been creating frozen in place like a moment of time caught as an image.
Before Draco could reach out to his lover the Hecatemus began to speak, and to his ears if barely sounded like Harry at all.
"The Dark Lieutenant is in disgrace," the Gryffindor intoned, his voice strangely husky and much lower than his normal register. "He will seek his master's favour through his child. The father shall meet his doom or the child will be sacrificed."
The words froze Draco in place and for a moment he could not move a muscle until as suddenly at it began it was over and Harry blinked. The Prisma fall back into its box and the colours vanished from around it leaving it inert and lifeless. Harry groaned and his hand went to his head as he looked at Draco rather blankly.
"Harry," Draco slowly, incredibly relieved to have his soul mate's thoughts running through his mind normally once more, "Are you all right?"
It was really a stupid question, since Draco could feel that his lover was not all right, but he found himself in need of saying something.
"Headache," Harry said a little absently while rubbing his forehead, "what happened?"
It was then that Draco remembered they were far from alone and his Slytherin instincts kicked in. Harry's voice had been quiet enough that he doubted much could have been heard and he did not want this going any further.
[Not here,] the blond wizard said silently, [we need to see Dumbledore and I'll explain as we go.]
"You decided to quote poetry," Draco said, giving his best impression of someone slightly concerned but also vaguely amused. "I think perhaps we shouldn't let you into your subconscious too often, it seems to be a very peculiar place. We're supposed to be in the headmaster's office in fifteen minutes, so just enough time to get you a headache cure and make it on time."
Harry still appeared rather dazed but nodded and followed his lover's lead. Closing the box the Hecatemus climbed to his feet, at which point Draco slipped a hand under his soul mate's arm and swiftly lead him towards their room. Harry was obviously confused by the whole situation, but he allowed Draco to take the lead up until the point where he had him alone and summoned a glass of water to dilute the headache potion Harry habitually carried with him these days.
[What happened?] Harry asked firmly as he placed two drops of the potion in the water and waited for the solution to settle down.
The means of communication was deliberate and conveyed that the Hecatemus was not about to allow Draco to avoid the subject any longer.
"I think you just produced a prophecy," he said eventually and looked his lover in the eye. "And I think it was about me."
The way the words Harry had spoken stuck in his mind, Draco had no doubt that his soul mate had made a prediction, and it was all too obvious who it was about.
"What did I say?" Harry asked urgently.
Draco had been expecting the question and instead of repeating the words he shared the whole experience from his point of view. In response Harry sat down on the bed a stunned expression on his face to match his feelings.
"Dumbledore," the Hecatemus said eventually, "you were right, we need to see Dumbledore."
Draco nodded and hoped fervently that the headmaster would have a logical explanation for this one.
End of Chapter 27
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