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 17 - Consequences
Draco had his nose in Harry's latest potions essay when the morning owls arrived. He refused to write anything for his soul mate, but he had no problem with helping Harry improve and he was so engrossed in making notes on the parchment that he had to be nudged before he noticed there was a very familiar bird sitting on the table in front of him. For a second Draco did not move and the owl glared at him and did not appear pleased to be sitting on the Gryffindor table.
[Mother's owl,] he said silently and slowly reached for the letter attached to the bird's leg.
He undid it as he perfected an air of indifference and hoped that few of the other pupils had been watching his momentary lapse. Harry shifted uneasily beside him and gently placed a supportive hand on his leg, unobtrusively under the table.
Trying to appear as if it was any other morning and any other owl Draco unrolled the parchment as the bird flew off with a screech. He recognised his mother's handwriting immediately and the Malfoy seal at the top of the letter: he knew almost instantly what was coming.
The correspondence was long and as Draco read he recognised his father's words. It was his mother's hand but definitely Lucius' scathing reaction to his liaison with Harry. The letter made reference to everything his father had ever found lacking in his son and spoke at length about how disappointed the family had always been, but that was not what really bothered Draco. He had heard the diatribe before, even when he was the favoured child, and he had become immune to it; what was new were the last few sentences.
"You have dishonoured the Malfoy name for the last time. From this moment you are disinherited and disowned. Never will your name be spoken in my house again."
He was without family and without any visible means of support of his own. Draco had been expecting this letter since the moment the truth became known, but it did not make it any easier to bear. What hurt the most was that it was his mother's hand: even if she had only been writing what his father dictated, she had still written it and it was painful to know she shared Lucius' opinion. Although he knew Harry would always be there for him Draco suddenly came to the realisation that the foundations of his old life had been completely ripped away. It was an insecure feeling and he hated to feel insecure.
[I will never leave you,] Harry's voice was firm in his mind, as was the sudden explosion of love his soul mate sent him.
[I know,] Draco replied, but was unable to return the gesture and keep up the emotionless facade on the outside.
He would not show weakness in front of others and Harry knew this and did not push. Draco Malfoy might be without wealth and family name, but he was still a Slytherin. For the rest of the hall who were either openly watching or surreptitiously glancing in his direction he had to make a statement.
Taking out his wand he pointed it at the letter and said calmly, "Incendio," at which point the parchment burst in to flames. With exaggerated care Draco placed the burning document on his nearly empty plate and made a dismissive gesture.
"Mother sends her love," he said lightly and then went back to examining Harry's essay.
Harry waited until they returned to their room at lunchtime to gather their things for the afternoon lessons. Then and only then, once they were alone did he broach the subject of the letter, even when they could have had a perfectly private conversation whenever they liked. It had been more difficult than Harry liked to believe to stay silent, but he had known that Draco would react badly if he broached the subject anywhere but somewhere they could be completely alone.
"You are allowed to be upset," he said finally, when he could stand the silent denial from his lover no more.
Draco looked at him blandly from where he was examining the bookcase that stood in the corner of their room. There was a momentary feeling of loss from his soul mate, but it was squashed so quickly that if Harry had not been looking for it he would have missed it.
"Harry," Draco said calmly, "I've been expecting that letter since the moment I climbed onto the Slytherin table and jumped across the hall."
"But it must still have been nasty," Harry insisted, knowing that the emotions were there somewhere even if Draco refused to acknowledge them. "You've just been cut off from what you've known your entire life."
He was rewarded for trying to understand with a patient sigh: Draco obviously had denial down to a fine art.
"I cut myself off, Love," the apparently composed Slytherin said, as if he was explaining to someone who couldn't possibly understand. "All the letter did was make what I knew was true official."
Harry frowned, knowing that he was talking to a brick wall. He knew Draco was not as calm as he pretended to be, but Harry was also aware that admitting to such a weakness, even to himself and his soul mate would not be easy. Draco was cut off from his entire original support system, but the Slytherin part of him was well trained and he was suppressing everything. Draco needed comfort, Harry knew that without a doubt and he needed a way in.
"Draco it has to be bothering you," he tried to push, but knew he didn't stand a chance.
At the nudge Draco's face went blank and he turned back to the books as if they were very important to him. Harry knew he was banging his head against a very solid piece of rock and there was only one thing he could think to do.
"Okay," he said and walked up behind his soul mate, "it's not bothering you, but can we just agree it's bothering me."
And with that he put his arms around his lover and pulled him close. At first Draco stiffened with resistance, but eventually his soul mate relaxed back into Harry's arms. There was a genuine feeling of love coming off him and even if he could not admit that he was the one in pain he could share that emotion with Harry. As Draco let Harry in, he could feel the insecurity that under laid his lover's current mood of denial, but he did not comment on it. It did, however, spark an idea in his mind.
It was the insecurity that was stopping Draco admitting to anything else he might be feeling and Harry knew exactly how he could make his lover overcome that emotion. Draco was without his own means of support which undermined part of the fundamental character of the Slytherin; Harry realised he had to give it back to his lover and he began to form a plan.
Their first Quidditch match of the season was always a high point for a house and as usual everyone turned out. For only the second year in his life at Hogwarts, Harry found himself in the stands and perversely he was more nervous than he ever had been on a broom. If he was nervous for Gryffindor's new Seeker, or for his broom that the fourth year was riding, he was not quite sure, but Draco kept making fun of him none-the-less.
It was not unprecedented for the Captain of the house team not to play: there had been one incident about thirty years previously when the Ravenclaw team captain had been injured in a practise session and been unable to play all year but retained his position. Hogwarts had never had a team captain who was prohibited from playing for any other reason before, but the Gryffindor team had point blank refused to let Harry quit so he was stuck with the title. He felt a little like a mascot, but since the team would be flying his strategies it wasn't as if he didn't have some input into the game.
Draco for his part was in the stands with the Gryffindor supporters, but was resolutely wearing his own house colours with pride.
"We're going to cream your lot," Draco told Harry cheerfully as they leant over the edge of the stand with the other supporters.
"In your dreams," he responded automatically.
"Well you should know," Draco said with a grin.
They were down one end of the Gryffindor supporters with Draco between Harry and the rest of the mass of pupils, and Hermione and Neville beyond the very protective Slytherin. When a couple of fifth years had tried to stand behind them Draco had given them such a glare that the pair had virtually run to the other end of the stand. Harry couldn't help admitting that his soul mate having a reputation for being a vengeful bastard did have its uses.
"Players ready," Madame Hooch's clear tones rang out across the field, "I want a clean match."
Harry and Draco looked at each other and laughed: a clean match between Gryffindor and Slytherin just didn't happen, ever.
The whistle sounded and the match began: it was fast and furious. Slytherin took an early lead thanks to a deadly paced run by their lead chaser. There were a few disgruntled looks from the Gryffindor supporters when Draco cheered the goal, but he grinned at them unrepentantly. Harry had only just managed to stop himself cheering as well since he was as caught up with Draco's emotions as his own, but fortunately he avoided that embarrassment.
[Harry Potter, captain of Gryffindor cheering for Slytherin, now that would be something to see,] Draco commented as his eyes returned to the game.
[About as unheard of as Draco Malfoy cheering for Gryffindor,] Harry returned unable to worry about the potential slip up because he was enjoying himself so much.
The six-year intense rivalry between them had turned into friendly baiting and Harry found it highly entertaining. When Gryffindor scored an answering goal Draco almost joined the rest of the stand in jumping up and down. When he looked at Harry his eyes were sparkling with amusement and Harry took it as a challenge.
[First one to cheer for the wrong house gets to tidy the room for the next week,] he said brightly.
[You're on,] Draco replied with an evil grin.
They both spent the next half an hour going completely mental whenever their team scored in an attempt to make their other-half slip up. Harry was absolutely positive he was doing a better job at keeping his mind on his own team, but when he said so Draco just raised an eyebrow at him. The next time he attempted to illustrate the point it was so close that even Draco had to admit it and the two ended up laughing like loons.
"What are you two giggling about?" Hermione asked as a gap in the game occurred.
"Nearly had Draco cheering for our side," Harry told her with a huge grin.
"Just waiting for you to let your guard down, Potter," his soul mate replied challengingly, but broke into a grin of his own pretty quickly.
Gryffindor were twenty points ahead of Slytherin, which meant there was everything to play for and both young men were rooting for their teams.
"You two are just strange," was Neville's comment on the proceedings.
Harry looked at Draco who looked back and then they both turned to their friends.
"We know," they said at exactly the same time with matching smiles.
Hermione found this very funny and giggled cheerfully before turning to the pitch and waving at Ron in his keeper position. The game started again and everyone turned their attention back to it. Five minutes later Harry saw the glint of gold that he'd been trained to look for, for six years.
[Snitch,] he said silently to Draco and flashed his lover an image of where it was.
[Blennim's seen it,] Draco said excitedly as the Slytherin Seeker shot off at speed.
[So's Spari,] Harry said a second later as the Gryffindor Seeker also powered towards the spot and the crowd went wild.
The two Seekers flew through the air at breakneck speed as their supporters cheered them on. Both Draco and Harry saw Slytherin's Seeker's mistake at the same time and as one yelled "Duck!"
Just in time the boy seemed to remember that there were other things he had to think about as well as the snitch and he swerved out of the way of the bludger coming straight for his head. His path took him into the line of the Gryffindor Seeker who pulled up sharply and the crowd groaned as the snitch was lost in the confusion.
"Warning the Slytherin Seeker," Draco commented dryly, "if I wasn't in such a good mood I'd say that counted as cheering."
"It so does not," Harry protested as his lover looked at him with a superior quirk to his features, "it's just good manners."
"Manners have no place in Quidditch," Draco shot back lightly.
"Maybe not for a Slytherin," Harry replied, only half paying attention to the game.
"So that's all I am to you now," Draco said in a mock petulant tone, "your token Slytherin."
Harry would have laughed, but he caught something out of the corner of his eye and the gasp from the crowd alerted him as well. Turning back towards the game he raised his hand on instinct and the bludger that was hurtling towards his head stopped millimetres from his fingers, spinning in mid air. Harry stared at it stupidly for a few seconds unsure of what he was doing, or why the ball was just hovering there. A hush had come over the Gryffindor stand.
Madame Hooch's whistle sounded loudly.
"Penalty against Slytherin for bumphing," she called into the air. "If we could have our bludger back, Mr Potter."
Harry would have loved to oblige, but he had no idea how to send the ball back the way it had come. All he knew was that if he moved his hand the bludger would continue its course straight at his head.
[I don't know how to send it back,] he told Draco, a little panicked by the situation.
His lover came to his rescue pulling out his wand and banishing the ball at speed so that is barely missed the Slytherin Beater who had sent it in their direction.
"Try that again, Gunner," Draco yelled at the green uniformed player, "and I won't miss."
The anger running through his soul mate was more than apparent to Harry although the shock of the situation had deprived him of any annoyance himself.
[Thanks,] he said honestly as Draco looked at him critically to make sure he was okay.
[What I'm here for,] Draco replied without thinking about it.
Thankfully Madame Hooch's whistle went to restart the game so the crowd went back to watching the players rather than Harry.
"You okay?" Hermione asked as everyone else lost interest.
"Yeah, fine," Harry replied honestly.
"What did you do?" the young woman asked, ever the information seeker. "I thought for sure that bludger was going to take your head off."
"I have no idea," he admitted with a shrug, replaying the events in his head.
"Useful anyway," Neville commented, his eyes straying back to the game. "That was a foul, I'm sure that was a foul. Harry don't you think that was a foul?"
The Gryffindor supporters appeared to agree as a boo went round the crowd, but Madame Hooch did not concur, Harry found himself drawn back to the game even if his thoughts were still reeling.
[We'll talk about this later,] Draco said silently as the Harry tried to concentrate back on the match.
[Okay,] he agreed, not sure it would make any difference, but willing to let his lover have his way.
In five minutes they were both back to cheering their teams along. Slytherin were ten points ahead when Spari went shooting off towards the opposite end of the pitch to most of the players.
"The Gryffindor Seeker has seen the snitch," the commentator yelled excitedly.
As soon as Spari showed her hand the Slytherin Seeker was after her, but the newly serviced Firebolt was too fast for Blennim. The two Seekers shot all over the pitch, but the green clad player never quite caught the red clad Gryffindor. The crowd erupted in cheers as Spari's fingers closed over the golden ball. Harry totally forgot the earlier incident as he went nuts with them.
End of Chapter 17
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