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 7 - Reality
The metallic hues and the patterns around the room were interesting for about the first six hours Harry was awake: then they became a little over powering. It was tiring having his brain stimulated by so much information and it was beginning to give him a headache.
After their bath they had somehow managed to dry each other off, although is had taken a long time since they were both easily distracted. Then they had returned to the bedroom where Draco has pounced on Harry like sex was the only thing on his mind and they had made love to each other as if the rest of the world didn't exist. After that they had cleaned up again, put on clean pyjamas, eaten some more, and then alerted the world that they were awake.
Madame Pomfrey's instructions had been simple: rest, relax, eat and don't do anything strenuous for at least another day. That was when they had discovered that the speaking wall recorded laughter. They had not enlightened the healer to the fact that the horse had already bolted on the last point.
They had talked for a while, but neither of them was ready to consider the full consequences of their position so it had just been chatter. Then Draco had used the summoning chamber to bring him a book he had been reading and Harry had retrieved the book on Quidditch tactics Ron had given him for his birthday. They had managed to sit quietly reading for about half an hour before Harry had noticed that Draco looked incredibly sexy in silk and some serious petting had resulted. It was quite honestly as if Harry was addicted to his soul mate and he could not get enough of him: Draco did not appear to be resisting at all.
They had been lying in each other's arms since, enjoying each other's bodies as they felt like it, indulging their impulses and Harry was happier than he had ever been. It was only as they were resting quietly that he began to notice the dull ache behind his eyes.
[It's beginning to hurt isn't it,] Draco said in his mind. [You need to shut it out.]
[I don't know how,] Harry admitted honestly.
[That's where I come in,] his lover said calmly and sat up beside him.
The Hecatemus went to sit up as well but Draco placed a hand on his shoulder and stopped him.
[Just lay still,] his soul mate said with a small smile, [I'm working on instinct here so go with me okay.]
Harry nodded and couldn't help the grin when Draco pushed him onto his back and climbed on top of him.
[Relax,] Draco instructed looking down at his lover seriously.
[It's kind of difficult with you sitting there,] Harry said lightly as his eyes ran up and down the half undone pyjama top his companion was wearing.
[Behave,] Draco said with a slight smile, [we're here to cure your headache; remember?]
Harry's hands snaked up under the back of his lover's top as if they had a will of their own.
[You could just distract me,] he said unable to resist the urge to touch Draco.
His soul mate reached behind him under his clothes and took hold of Harry's hands bringing them round and pushing them down onto the bed on either side of his face.
[You have no self control, Potter,] Draco said with a knowing shake of his head.
[Not since I fell in love with you, anyway,] Harry replied, but did not try and free his hands.
[No sex until you've successfully blocked out the magic,] Draco said seriously, [now close your eyes.]
The Hecatemus tried to drag his mind away from sex for a few minutes and did as he was told. He could no longer see the magic in the room but he could still sense it. Draco shifted above him and Harry felt his lover lay down flat so that the blond youth's head was on his chest. It took a great deal of effort not to flip straight back to the idea of Draco's naked body.
Their minds were already deeply connected but Harry felt Draco's presence intensify even more and they were almost as closely connected as they had been during sex. There were still two of them, but they almost seemed to occupy the same space.
[Use me, Harry,] Draco's voice said in his mind, [I am between you and the world. I can take some of it away, but you need to block out the rest.]
The Hecatemus let his mind explore the feeling of his lover for a while, examining his mental presence in ways Harry had not realised were possible. Draco was blocking some of the power, Harry could feel it, and slowly he opened his eyes. The patterns on the ceiling were still there, but they were fainter almost ghostly. Taking the feeling of Draco, Harry pulled the sensation deep inside and tried to forge the same feeling within himself. It was quite difficult and he lost the idea several times before something flared inside him.
It was like flicking a switch, suddenly the lights went out and Harry was left blinking at the white ceiling in amazement. He heard himself laugh and Draco slowly sat up, his mind steady and constant inside Harry's. The Hecatemus looked into his lover's grey eyes with triumph, then a lock of Draco's hair slipped over his face, which Harry found adorable, and his concentration cracked. The light switch went on again and the room lit up with the forces in it.
[Not bad for a first try,] Draco said cheerfully, [we'll have you doing this in your sleep before you know it.]
It was thirty six hours before Harry could keep his barriers up for more than a few minutes, at which point he could shield long enough that Madame Pomfrey requested that she be allowed to come in and make sure there were no physical side effects of the bonding.
They had been left pretty much alone except for a few brief conversations through the speaking wall and someone entering their sanctuary bothered both Harry and Draco. The Slytherin knew that he was experiencing a protective streak that he had never felt before and it was a little frightening. Suddenly finding himself placing someone else before his own interests without question was not something Draco was used to. The fact that he suspected he was willing to do anything to protect Harry was rather overpowering as well.
Contrary to what every Gryffindor except Harry, and a large percentage of the rest of the school thought, Draco had never been completely self-centred. He cared about his friends and his family, but there was no denying he was a Malfoy, and as such he had certain responsibilities, which included making sure he always ended up at the top of the heap.
When people accused Draco of being a self-centred git they failed to realise that in every action he took he considered many generations of family. That he had already betrayed said family and would quite happily kill any one of them that tried to touch a hair on Harry's head, had not escaped his notice. It was quite worrying to the normally cold and collected youth to realise that if anyone so much as raised their voice to his soul mate just at the moment, they were likely to end up on the wrong side of Draco's wand.
Waiting for Madame Pomfrey to enter the room was not helping Draco's equilibrium, especially since Harry was a bundle of nerves. The Slytherin was having to employ all his years of Malfoy training to retain a semblance of calm.
[If you need her out of here just say,] Draco told his lover firmly.
To his surprise the young man saw a smile appear on Harry's face at that instruction and he felt the underlying amusement run through his soul mate. Draco was not amused at all by the situation and he failed to see the humour in what he had said.
[You against Madame Pomfrey,] his lover explained, obviously having picked up on the Slytherin's confusion, [now that would be a confrontation to see. I'd want to be a mile away in a bunker, but it would be something to see.]
Draco felt the corners of his mouth quirk upwards without his conscious consent at the mental image Harry's words brought into his mind. On consideration he had to agree that 'formidable' was a description which went very well with the school healer and most would never cross her. He sobered quickly, however; he had meant what he said.
[Just remember, okay,] Draco said in the sternest tone he could manage, and Harry squeezed his hand in return before turning his green eyes back to the door.
They had exchanged messages on the speaking wall only a few minutes previously and Madame Pomfrey had informed them that she would be in shortly. Shortly was turning out to feel like an eternity as the two soul mates sat on the bed waiting nervously for the door to open. Patience had never been one of Draco's strongest virtues in such situations, but he kept himself calm for Harry's sake.
[I wish she'd just get this over with,] the Hecatemus broke the silence which had fallen in his mind.
[You'll be fine,] Draco reassured gently. [I'm not going to let go and Madame Pomfrey already said she can do everything she needs to do with a couple of spells.]
He had the feeling that his lover was going to reply, but before Harry had a chance the sound of a key in the lock drew both their attentions. They were locked in for their own safety and there were some pretty impressive locking charms on the door to prevent entry from anyone except the key holder. Draco was sure that at one time he would have felt like he was being caged, but just now it felt like a major protection was being taken away as the door unlocked.
The moment the oak barrier against the world moved, Harry tensed beside him and a shot of alarm went through the nervous Gryffindor. His lover's grip on Draco's hand was vice like and the Hecatemus moved to place another hand on his arm as well. Draco followed through on his instinctive reaction and opened his mind further, solidifying his presence in his lover's thoughts. In response Harry's touch became less of a death grip, but he was still so tense he was almost vibrating.
Draco could feel the pressure on his lover's mental barriers even though only a small part of the outside world was being allowed in and he did his best to make sure it was not too much for his soul mate. Madame Pomfrey did not open the door very far and she did not keep it open for long, stepping through and closing it behind her quickly. As soon as it shut, Draco felt the strain on Harry ease somewhat, but the presence of another magically gifted individual who was not part of the bond was causing his lover to expend more energy than he had ever had to before to maintain his equilibrium.
"Gentlemen," Madame Pomfrey greeted cordially, "shall we proceed as quickly as possible?"
The woman seemed to be as aware of the stress she was putting Harry under as Draco was and her quiet efficiency and acknowledgement of the situation went a long was to calming the annoyance at the intrusion, which had been building up in the Slytherin. Giving her a nod Draco muted the glare he had been planning on giving the healer the moment she entered.
"Yes, please," he said evenly.
Draco's protective instincts were far too much in play to let him be pleasant, but he could at least be polite.
[Just breathe,] the young man told his lover silently, [let it all flow over you.]
Harry gave him a small thank you smile before the returning his attention to their visitor.
[I can do this,] Draco heard from his soul mate and he doubted that Harry knew he was broadcasting.
Madame Pomfrey walked towards them and came to a stop a few feet from the couple. The healer produced her wand calmly and looked over both of her patients. Draco steeled himself for whatever effect the woman's magic might have on Harry.
"There are two spells I need to cast," Madame Pomfrey explained efficiently; "one will check your general health; the other will examine your innate magic. Neither should cause you any discomfort."
Harry swallowed and put on an expression of calm that even impressed Draco, who had been the master of such things since he was a small child.
"We're ready," Draco said quietly, knowing that if his lover so much as opened his mouth the facade would crack.
"Mr Potter," the school healer turned her attention to Harry, "I will cast on you first."
He was definitely paler than usual and his fear was obvious in the tightness of his face, but Harry gave the tiniest of nods and Draco kept his gaze firmly fixed on him. Madame Pomfrey raised her hand, spoke the words of a spell which Draco vaguely recognised and flicked her wand. Harry gasped and shied away from the woman even before she had finished casting and Draco felt confusion and panic run through his soul mate. The Hecatemus' mental barriers shuddered and Draco knew he had to act before they crumbled and Harry was exposed.
Ignoring whatever Madame Pomfrey might be doing Draco stood and placed himself between Harry and the healer.
[Look at me,] he instructed firmly and took his lover's chin in his hand, forcing the struggling wizard to meet his eyes. [It's okay, you felt the magic; it can't hurt you. Relax. Concentrate on me, nothing else.]
Even as he spoke Draco could feel Harry adjusting. It was quite an amazing feeling as his soul mate's mind adapted to the new input and Draco was reminded that he was bonded to a quite remarkable individual.
"Sorry," Harry apologised, colouring with embarrassment as he regained his composure.
"There is nothing to be sorry for, Mr Potter," Madame Pomfrey replied before Draco could say almost exactly the same thing. "You are adjusting to a completely new way of interacting with your environment. Certain reactions are to be expected in such circumstances."
Draco turned and favoured the healer with a calm gaze. Part of him was screaming that she had just harmed his soul mate and that he should exact revenge, but the rest of him pointed out that Madame Pomfrey was only doing what she had to do and was concerned about the consequences. He considered all the facts for a moment and then he made a decision; with calm deliberation Draco smiled genuinely at the woman. With her words Madame Pomfrey had moved from neutral, possibly helpful, in his mind, to ally. For a second the healer appeared slightly surprised and then she returned the gesture with a smile of her own before moving her attention back to Harry.
"I'm sorry, Mr Potter," Madame Pomfrey said calmly, "but I must recast the charm, are you prepared?"
Draco couldn't help but be proud of his lover as Harry squared his shoulders, sat straighter on the bed and nodded.
"I know what to expect this time," the Gryffindor said in a voice that was almost calm.
Retaking his seat on the bed, Draco gave his soul mate all his support. Madame Pomfrey moved forward once more from where she had backed away. This time when she cast, Harry did not shy away, but the Hecatemus' grip on Draco was almost painful and he had to put a lot of effort into helping his lover keep his shields in place.
They had learned pretty quickly that once Harry was used to something his abilities improved rapidly, but new situations were a problem. Draco made a mental note of exactly what he could feel the magic doing to his lover's mental barriers so he could recreate the sensation later.
Madame Pomfrey cast her spells quickly on both of them and Draco mostly ignored her, concentrating on Harry, until she had finished and stood back once more. When he looked at the healer she was frowning slightly: never a good sign when it came to Madame Pomfrey.
"Is something wrong?" Harry asked, sounding worried.
"Both of your magic is fine," the woman said, clearly displeased with something, "but I believe I instructed you to eat."
Harry looked at Draco and he looked back; they had been stuffing themselves whenever they felt like it since the moment they woke up.
"We have been eating," Draco replied for both of them. "I've eaten more in the past two days than I ate in the last week and Harry's been putting away even more."
Madame Pomfrey frowned, but did not look quite so annoyed with either of them at the explanation. At least she didn't accuse Draco of lying; he wouldn't have handled that very well.
"You are both healthy enough," the healer said evenly, "but your energy levels are down. Whatever you are eating now I suggest you increase it by at least one half. Make sure you choose high energy foods: lots of carbohydrates, Gentlemen."
Draco found himself nodding obediently before he even thought about it and almost smiled at how Madame Pomfrey made him feel about seven years old. He shared the mental image with Harry who did smile and glanced over.
"Well then," the woman said, calmly ignoring the exchange between her patients, "thank you for your time, Mr Potter, Mr Malfoy. I will not detain you further. If you require anything contact me through the speaking wall."
"Thank you, Madame Pomfrey," Draco said politely and stood up as the healer turned to leave.
Harry tensed again as the door opened, but his reaction was nowhere near as bad as the first time, however, Draco doubted his lover noticed. When the lock clicked back into place the Slytherin let out a long slow breath and then turned to a rather confused looking Harry. Draco had no doubt that his lover could feel the pride that was running through him at what the Hecatemus has achieved.
[What?] Harry finally asked.
[You, that's what,] Draco said cheerfully. [You did it, Harry, you coped and your barriers didn't slip once. Okay so we came close once, but other than that you were perfect.]
Harry didn't look so sure and the Draco sat down next to his soul mate once more.
"Trust me," he said aloud this time, "I was watching very carefully and you did fantastically."
"I nearly lost it three times," Harry said with less enthusiasm.
"No you didn't," Draco replied firmly. "You had to reinforce your barriers both times the door opened, which is only to be expected, but that was not close to losing it. When you felt Madame Pomfrey's magic you panicked, but you recovered quickly, and there is a reason I'm in this relationship. Now repeat after me, Draco knows best, always listen to Draco."
That finally drew a smile out Harry.
"Draco knows best, always listen to Draco," the Hecatemus said in a martyred tone.
For that Draco leant forward and kissed his lover gently. It was like a charm and he could feel the remaining tension flowing out of Harry at the touch. The young man smiled to himself; he really did know best.
End of Chapter 7
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