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 33 - Father and Son
Professor McGonagall had asked Harry to stay after the lesson for a few minutes. He had no idea what it was about, but Draco had received a note at breakfast asking him to meet Pansy on the other side of the school and had rushed off as soon as the Professor let them go. The corruption of the Slytherins as Draco referred to it was showing positive results after nearly two months of trying.
Harry was waiting patiently for his house head to finish explaining something to Seamus Finnegan when his mind exploded. The classroom faded out of his vision as Draco's anger and fear flooded into his head wiping away anything else. Someone had just cast a spell against his soul mate and Harry did not stop to consider his actions: without hesitation he opened up the link between himself and Draco almost completely and wrapped his lover in his mental presence. Acting on the same instinct Draco let him in and Harry was suddenly looking through the other youth's eyes. What he saw made his blood run cold: Lucius Malfoy was standing no more than ten feet from his son and he was holding his wand.
"Drawing your wand against your own father, Boy," Lucius said icily. "Tut, tut, I thought I brought you up properly."
Harry could feel Draco's hand stinging and he realised Lucius must have cast a disarming spell.
"You did," Draco hissed at his parent, "I should have been quicker."
This appeared to amuse the other man and his mouth curled into a smile.
"My, my," Lucius commented in a superior manner, "you can take a Malfoy out of the Death Eaters but you can't take the Death Eater out of a Malfoy."
Then he laughed at his own joke and Harry felt Draco's anger burn through him. It occurred to Harry that he needed to do something, to alert someone that this was happening on school grounds, but a dreadful instinct kept him from withdrawing from the link even slightly.
"You'll learn obedience, Boy," Lucius said coldly, the humour leaving his features, "and you'll bring Potter to his knees."
Then Draco's father lifted his wand.
"Imperio," he said viciously and Harry felt the curse flying towards his soul mate.
When it hit, the power tried to force him out of Draco's mind, replacing his presence with Lucius' will. Draco was used to obeying his father: he'd been brought up with Lucius as the authority figure and it was almost impossible for him to fight the Imperius curse from his parent. Harry became partially aware of his own body again, but the curse ignited a fury in him so deep that it almost scared him. He could feel Draco's mind desperately trying to hang on to him and he fought against the magic with equal ferocity.
"You can't have him, he's mine!" he heard himself yell and he was not sure if the words came out of Draco's mouth or his own.
The curse hurt as it twisted through his lover's mind and it tried to weaken the link between them. Harry knew he could not let this happen: he could not lose Draco to his father's will. Without knowing exactly what he was doing, he let down his guards and grabbed at the closest raw magic he could find. Then he forced it down the bond between himself and Draco and used it like a club to beat at the curse trying to take hold of his soul mate. He felt Draco cry out at the force which invaded him, and he felt his lover fall to his knees, but the Imperius Curse shattered into a thousand magical pieces.
As the curse dissolved, the link between Harry and Draco slammed back into place and for a few moments it was like they were the same person. The division between them blurred as they clung to each other desperately and Harry could not think of anything more than holding on.
"Well, Boy, you are full of surprises," Lucius' voice made it into the muddle of joined thoughts and Draco looked up.
His father was sneering down at his son and Harry felt the cold touch of fear at the ice in the man's eyes.
"I suppose we'll just have to do this the hard way," he said cold-heartedly and lifted his wand again. "Crucio," he said calmly.
The agony that stabbed into every nerve ending was blinding. The power of the curse travelled through the completely open link and Harry felt his own body react as well as Draco's. They screamed in unison, locked together in excruciating pain, but hanging on to each other frantically.
[I love you, Harry,] Draco had somehow managed to find his mental voice and threw emotion and words at his other half.
Then Draco, his body already having been weakened by the battle against the Imperius curse, passed out and the pain ended. Harry slammed back into his own body and found himself curled into a foetal ball on the floor of the transfiguration classroom. His muscles ached with the memory of the Cruciatus Curse and he felt disconnected as if his mind was not quite ready to remember how to be just one person.
"Harry, Harry Potter, can you hear me, child?" he heard Professor McGonagall's anxious voice, but it took a few seconds for his brain to understand it.
Slowly he moved his head and looked at the woman who was hovering over him not daring to touch in case she hurt him. Harry wanted to scream at her, tell her what had happened, make her help, but it was so difficult. Draco was still close, he was still on the grounds, Harry could feel him even though his soul mate was unconscious, but he could not find his voice. He tried desperately to speak, but the words would not form and then suddenly Draco's presence dimmed in his mind. One moment Harry knew Draco was close and then he was distant.
Harry had not been separated from his soul mate by any distance since they had bonded and the shock caused him to gasp. It was almost more than he could take, but in a last desperate effort he blindly threw out his hand and grabbed the Professor's arm.
[Lucius Malfoy took Draco,] he threw the words directly at his housemistress' mind and her eyes opened in shock.
Then having used the last of his strength Harry slid ungracefully into darkness.
As Harry's mind reached for consciousness it also automatically reached for Draco, but all it found was confusion. Panic threatened to take away sensible thought until he realised that the link was still there, it was just muddled. It was like looking through frosted glass: Harry could tell what was on the other side, but he could not make much sense out of it, or reach out to touch his other half. Acting on instinct he balled up his will and mentally threw himself against the barrier between himself and Draco. In return he felt a momentary flash of pain and the confused echo of the same in his lover.
The retaliation caused his body to convulse, which drew his mind's attention to his physical self. With a groan, he reluctantly opened his eyes and slowly focused on the very familiar ceiling of the private room he and Draco had shared in the hospital wing earlier in the school year.
The room was far too bright to his abnormal vision and he could see the magic in the wards all over the walls. Harry's barriers were completely down and he was very glad to find himself in the protected room. With long drilled habit he rebuilt the mental barricades before he thought about anything else: outside the room he was useless without them. Draco's vague presence in the back of his mind was a stabilising feature, but it took a lot of effort for Harry to put back the protection in his mind from scratch without the physical presence of his soul mate. Once the room looked normal he finally let himself think about what had happened.
Fear for Draco's safety almost consumed him but he pushed himself off the bed, refusing to give in to the feelings of desperation. He was not alone in this and he was not going to give in to the despair that threatened. His whole body ached, but then he hadn't expected anything else after the curse Draco's father had used and Harry pushed the discomfort aside without thinking about it.
Someone had changed him into his pyjamas, so he slipped off the bed and walked to the cupboard in the corner. Changing into his clothes was not the fastest thing he had ever done, but then he was fighting off a bone aching weariness. The more he thought about what Lucius had done the more angry it made him, and by the time he pulled on his robe he wanted to hurt something, preferably Malfoy senior himself. When he glanced at himself in the mirror his expression held a grim determination and his eyes were bright green in his fury.
Walking to the door he reached for the handle and was not surprised to find it locked and sealed with a charm. It was doubtful anyone had expected him to wake up: from what he'd read about Hecatemae, with what Lucius was trying, Harry should have been about as useful as a broken wand, however, Harry had never played by the rules so he wasn't about to start now.
First he weakened his newly erected magical barrier until he could see the charm on the door. It was a complex charm to prevent anyone opening the door except with the key, but his peculiar vision showed that it hinged on one point and he reached out to touch the magic with his fingers. It was not difficult to untangle the web of power and disperse the energy back into the surroundings. Then he pulled out his wand and pointed it at the door.
"Alohomora," he said evenly and the lock clicked open obligingly.
Gripping the handle he pulled open the door the rest of the way and stepped into the corridor. The sun was low in the sky as he looked through one of the windows: he had been asleep for most of the day and his incapacitation added to his anger. Without waiting for anyone to notice that he had woken up, he turned and headed straight towards Dumbledore's office.
On his way he met a group of pupils coming from the great hall and they divided like the Red Sea in front of him. Harry had a brief thought that maybe he looked a little scary as he saw the shocked looks on their faces, but it didn't stop his progress. In fact the only thing that did stop him was what he found when he entered Dumbledore's office: there appeared to be a meeting going on.
In front of the headmaster's desk was a host of people comprising of Snape, McGonagall, Ron, Hermione, Madame Pomfrey, Fred, George, Remus Lupin and Tonks. Harry was momentarily glad at the surprise of seeing his ex-defence against the dark arts professor and the now green haired Auror, but the emotion barely made it to, let alone past the fury that was keeping him going.
"Harry, My Boy," Dumbledore greeted with his usual smile, "we did not expect you to be awake so soon."
"Or ever?" Harry shot back and regretted it the moment it was out of his mouth, but quite unable to hold back his temper.
"Quite," the headmaster returned as if one of his pupils had not just bitten his head off, "please, join us."
"Harry, you're looking ..." Remus began as Harry walked towards the group, but seemed unable to come up with what he wanted to say.
"Very, very, angry?" the furious young man offered helpfully.
"Well I might have gone with avenging angel," Tonks commented conversationally, "but your description will do."
"Are you sure such raw emotion is good for you, Mr Potter?" Madame Pomfrey sounded genuinely concerned, but her tone did not improve Harry's mood.
The glare he turned on her made her eyes widen in shock and he tried to reign in his temper.
"Well you can have blithering wreck or blind anger, your choice," Harry said shortly. "Myself, I'm finding murderous rage far more productive at the moment."
The logical part of Harry's mind informed him that there would be some heartfelt apologies owing once this was over, but the rest of him didn't care.
"Well, Harry," Dumbledore interrupted smoothly, "we have been trying to ascertain what occurred this morning. Now that you are here would you care to tell us what you know?"
Having a purpose on which to focus was just what Harry needed and he took the lifeline for what it was. When their minds had combined the whole event had been at the forefront of Draco's mind, hence Harry knew everything his soul mate had seen.
"Lucius Apparated onto school grounds," Harry said evenly using the memory to channel his anger, "someone must have opened the wards for him. He wants to break Draco and then use him against me: it didn't seem to have occurred to him that if Draco breaks so do I. Lucius cast Imperius on Draco, but it didn't work so he used Cruciatus on him instead and Apparated away."
"Can you tell where Draco is now?" Hermione had become the resident expert on Hecatemae since Harry's emergence and her question was a reasonable one: Harry should have been able to locate Draco over any distance.
"That way," he said and pointed, "somewhere, but I can't tell where."
"Does Draco know where he is?" Remus asked evenly.
"I don't know," Harry admitted and the fear for his partner almost made it through the anger, "there's something between us, a spell, I can't get through it. I know he's there, but I can't reach him."
"Dissaepio Iugum," Dumbledore said with a nod, "the curse carries the same penalty as the Killing Curse. It's only use is to try and separate Hecatemae soul mates and if it succeeds it has the same effect, but its results are reliant on the subjects on which it is inflicted. In this case I am sure we are all grateful it has had only a partial effect."
There was a murmur of consent from the rest of the room.
Harry felt the familiar pain behind his eyes and threw up an extra mental barrier using his anger as a source of strength. It had not occurred to him that his godfather would be attracted to his pain, but as the man materialised to one side of the study the Hecatemus realised he should not have be surprised.
"Sirius," Harry greeted shortly as the spirit formed properly.
The rest of the room were all looking at him, especially the ones who did not know that he was in contact with his dead godfather.
"Where's Draco?" Sirius asked assessing the room in a single glance.
"Lucius took him," Harry replied evenly, much to the growing anxiety of those who had no idea what was going on.
He really did not feel like explaining himself to the majority of the room, but he knew he would have to. Speaking to thin air was not considered the done thing and with the pressure he was under Harry had no doubt that several people would believe he had lost his mind.
"Harry, is your godfather here?" Dumbledore asked reasonably, much to the surprise of the members of the Order and the teachers in the room, only Ron and Hermione did not appear startled.
Harry nodded and tried to fight off the wave of weakness Sirius' presence caused in his system: with his bond to Draco under such pressure it was very difficult to be in the same room as his godfather. The look in the dead man's eyes was almost as angry as Harry felt and he needed the support. The Hecatemus knew his knees would give out if he let them, but he held himself upright with force of will.
"How can Sirius be here?" Remus asked, seemingly shocked and anxious about the news.
"It would appear that the peculiarities of his death have given Sirius the ability to return from beyond the veil," Dumbledore explained calmly. "Unfortunately only Harry and Draco are able to see him."
Snape snorted at the very idea.
"Are you sure the boy is not simply delusional?" the Potions master said acidly.
Harry heard himself laugh before he realised he was making the noise and the fact that it sounded vaguely hysterical even to his ears probably didn't help his case.
"Oh, that would be so much easier," he said coldly. "Why don't you lock me up in St Mungo's just to make sure?"
"There is a precedent, Severus," Dumbledore stepped in before either Snape or Harry could take the argument any further. "It has been established that Sirius is neither a ghost nor a figment of Harry's imagination."
Snape did not look convinced and Harry was in no mood to figure out why. The small logical part of his brain told him that the head of Slytherin was never rational when it came to Sirius Black, but logic was not a big part of Harry's world at that moment.
"Ghost or no ghost," the head of Slytherin said acidly, "I fail to see how Black can assist if he is dead."
It was a similar jibe to those Snape had used to ridicule Sirius when he was confined to the Order's headquarters and Harry saw his godfather react to it. The hurt in Sirius' face caused a spike of fury to explode through Harry and at that moment all he wanted to do was hurt Snape.
"Death Eater," he hissed so that it carried across the room towards the potions master.
Then Harry did something he had never done before and had no idea he could do: he concentrated on Snape, narrowed his eyes and projected a thought of Voldemort. Almost instantly Snape's hand shot to his wrist as if he was in pain. Harry felt dizzy and sick at the same time as his scar throbbed and he reached out blindly to try and steady himself. Something hit him in the back of his knees and he sat down heavily, quite surprised to find the seat that had been against the wall ready to catch him. When he looked up his godfather was staring at him intently and Harry knew who had moved the chair.
"Voldemort?" Sirius asked rapidly.
Harry shook his head, but he was in no state to explain as well as being pretty sure he didn't want to in front of the gathered crowd. Snape's face was a hard mask and he was glaring away from Harry, almost ignoring him; the Gryffindor did not know if the head of Slytherin realised what had really happened.
"The first thing we have to do is find where Lucius has taken Draco," Dumbledore continued the meeting as if it had not just been interrupted by a dead man. "We can guarantee that he will not be using the Manor, which leaves us with a myriad of possibilities."
Harry tried once again to reach Draco and felt the wall of confusion between them. The Hecatemus knew his soul mate was awake and angry, but it was almost unbearable that he could not reach him. Being without the constant companionship; held from each other by force: it was almost more than Harry could bear.
"Why don't you know where he is?" Sirius asked as Harry tried to squash the overwhelming emotions that threatened.
"A curse," he replied, ignoring the rest of the room even as they looked at him oddly, "they're trying to separate us."
Then Harry remembered: last time Sirius had visited he had gone to Draco when the soul mates were not together: a spark of hope lit in the Hecatemus' mind.
"Sirius, can you find him," he asked, trying hard not to sound too desperate; "like you did before, last time?"
His godfather looked pensive and uncertain.
"I don't know, Harry," the apparition admitted slowly, "he was not far away last time. I'm focussed on you, I don't know if I can suddenly switch."
The rest of the room were staring at Harry, he knew it without even looking, but he didn't care.
"He's part of me," he said firmly, "can you at least try?"
Sirius appeared undecided, but he nodded anyway: it was all Harry could ask for.
"Harry, what's going on?" Hermione's voice cut into the conversation and Harry all but glared at her.
"You have to focus on him," Sirius said, ignoring the input from the living members of the Order, "give me something to start with."
There was very little thought in Harry's mind as he obeyed his godfather's instruction; nothing else mattered except Draco and Harry did not care what anyone else in the room was thinking. He put every fibre of his being into focusing his mind on his soul mate: he pushed at the barrier between them, knowing it would cause him discomfort, but wanting to give Sirius all the help he could.
Harry felt rather than saw his godfather do anything since he was barely aware of his outward senses as his mind focussed inwards. The sensation of nausea increased and the wrongness of the whole situation tried very hard to make itself known: the universe did not like what was going on and it made itself very plain to Harry's peculiar senses. To back up this position, Sirius grunted as if in pain, which considering he was dead, was quite an unexpected occurrence.
Something ruffled Harry's hair and he felt the magic within him stirring: it was not the most pleasant sensation. His body and mind were reacting to what Sirius was doing and he had to fight hard to remain in control.
"Harry," someone said, but was quickly hushed.
"Sirius, find him," it was almost an order and, as if he could do nothing but obey, Harry's godfather suddenly vanished.
Rather than the feelings of wrongness decreasing, they intensified and he knew he could not keep this up for long. His focus was total, but it was accompanied by a blinding headache and an inescapable desire to curl up and die. It did not help that the confusion that was Draco echoed the pain almost as clearly as if their bond was not being disrupted.
Harry lost all track of time, only one thought repeating in his mind. "Find Draco" bounced through his brain and he used it almost like a hypnotic mantra. Nothing made it past the focus; nothing impinged on his consciousness; nothing until he heard his godfather bark his name. His vision kicked in at the urgency and hurt in Sirius' tone and Harry snapped back to the present to see the man standing a few feet in front of him his features pale and drawn. If he had not known his godfather was dead he would have sworn that he was a flesh and blood man in pain.
"Brancepeth Castle," Sirius said as their eyes met, "the Death Eaters have him at Brancepeth Castle."
Then his godfather clutched his arms about his stomach and fell to his knees, beginning to fade as he did so.
"Sirius," Harry cried, reaching out to his godfather as the man vanished from sight.
In his panic Harry over stretched himself and he felt himself toppling from the chair before he could do anything about it. All strength had left him and even the seething fury at Voldemort's lackeys could not sustain him. Someone caught him as he fell and already weakened shields almost shattered under the pressure, but Harry managed to hold it together for just a few seconds more.
"Brancepeth Castle," he said as he looked up into Remus Lupin's eyes. "Sirius says Draco's at Brancepeth Castle."
Then the Hecatemus let blackness take him.
End of Chapter 33
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