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 18 - Resolutions and Allergies
Harry read through his latest correspondence from Bill Weasley and glanced over the figures on the report that had come with it. Everyone knew that Harry was well off thanks to the money his parents had left him, but most people thought he was just living off the capital. However, after his investment in Weasleys Wizards Wheezes had turned out to be so successful it had given him the idea to look into other options; Bill had been the first person he thought of and had been managing Harry's money for a generous retainer ever since.
Thanks to the sound advice of the eldest Weasley son and an inordinate amount of luck, Harry had increased his family fortune quite substantially. He never mentioned it to anyone and even Draco did not have any idea of how much was in the Gringotts' vault, but with the plans Harry had set in motion he soon would.
Draco was still firmly in denial and was refusing to admit that anything was wrong so Harry was using the time to sort everything out. He had owled the bank at the first opportunity about changes he wanted to make to his account and now he had a stack of forms to fill in. Banking when goblins were involved was a very paranoid, bureaucratic affair, but for once Harry did not mind having to sign everything in triplicate.
"That is a large stack of parchment," Draco commented as he wandered into their room from the stairway.
"Just stuff from the bank," Harry said with a smile, as if everything was completely ordinary, "investments and stuff."
His soul mate looked surprised and then interested.
"You have investments?" Draco asked curiously, but before Harry could answer his lover frowned and turned away.
For just a second Draco had forgotten that he was supposed to not be thinking about money or wealth or anything to do with family history and Harry realised this. If asked, Harry was willing to explain exactly what he was doing, but he knew Draco was not about to do that.
"Ron's brother Bill manages them," he said as if it was nothing at all, "every now and then he sends me stuff to sign; boring really."
Draco gave a very noncommittal reply and Harry sent his soul mate a mental hug before he went back to the forms. Ticking boxes and scratching his name in various places, he kept his mind firmly on mundane matters and looked forward to the surprise he was going to give his lover.
It took three days for everything to go through and then a red-ribboned certificate arrived for Harry on the talons of a large eagle owl accompanied by a letter. He opened the letter and scanned it quickly, just checking that nothing had gone wrong. Draco was chatting to Hermione where they were sitting with the other Gryffindor seventh years at breakfast when Harry placed the certificate next to his lover's plate.
"What's this?" Draco asked curiously.
He felt intrigued but Harry just smiled at him.
"It's for you," he said quietly.
"Harry, wasn't that an official Gringotts owl?" Hermione asked conversationally from the other side of Draco.
Harry nodded openly.
"Lost all your cash on a bad Quidditch bet?" Seamus joked from across the table, having heard the tail end of the conversation.
"No," Harry replied with a grin, "I've just been making a few changes to my account. Which, by the way, is none of your business."
The Irish Gryffindor beamed at him cheerfully and raised his juice goblet in an unrepentant salute. Harry turned back to Draco to find that his soul mate had picked up the parchment and was looking at it as if it might bite.
[This is about all those forms you were filling in isn't it? What did you do?] the blond youth asked silently.
[Open it and see,] Harry replied warmly.
Looking at his soul mate suspiciously Draco pulled on the ribbon and slowly unrolled the official document. As Harry watched his soul mate began to read, keeping the parchment where only he could see it. Draco's expression went from curious, through disbelieving to amazed, and then his features were warring with several different emotions at the same time. Draco looked at Harry and the Hecatemus could feel the confusion in him.
[I ... ah,] his mental voice was as confused as his feelings. [Harry you didn't have to.]
[What's mine is yours,] Harry replied firmly, sending all his love with the thought. [All I've done is made official what was already true. The account is ours now, yours and mine. My parents left it for me and now I'm sharing it with you: I think they would have approved. You should have your own key by next week, but that takes a little longer.]
Draco looked back at the paper again and then over the Hecatemus.
[Harry,] he said slowly, [is this number right?]
Just to make sure Harry leaned over and peered at the bottom of the parchment and then nodded. He could not quite identify the feeling coming from his lover after that.
[I know you told me you had plenty of money,] Draco said very precisely as if he was trying to avoid something, [but, Harry, you never mentioned you were richer than half the pureblood families.]
Harry looked at his soul mate in surprise: this was news to him.
[I didn't know,] he said honestly, it had never occurred to him how much was filthy rich in wizarding circles.
He had been aware that he was well provided for and Bill had done a great job of increasing his wealth, but it had not occurred to him he could complete with some of the purebloods.
[I love you, Harry,] Draco said with a shake of his head and a half smile as he rolled up the parchment, [never, ever, change.]
Harry was peering very hard at the writing in his textbook and he still couldn't quite make sense of the instruction he was supposed to be following. The way he read it he had to cut up the ginger root, add it to the juniper berry pulp and then somehow chop it up even though he'd just done that, which couldn't be right. Much to some of his teachers' delights and some of his teacher's disgust his marks had shot up over the beginning of the year, but that didn't mean he suddenly found everything easy. Potions was still his hardest subject and it caused him problems.
[Draco,] he asked eventually, [what does this actually mean?]
He sent his soul mate a quick flash of the paragraph in question knowing that Draco would have the answer. The problem with the particular potion they were working on was that the recipe was very old and hence the language it was using was not very straightforward. Why no one had bothered to translate the instructions when they put it in the text book was a question that made Harry wonder if the wizarding world would ever make it into the twentieth century, let alone the twenty first.
[Chop the ginger,] Draco replied efficiently without even pausing what he was doing at the other end of the bench, [add it to the juniper and then transfer both to the pestle and mortar and crush them together until they're a paste. They won't mix properly otherwise.]
It always made so much sense when his soul mate explained it; sometimes Harry wished he was as good at his other subjects as Defence Against the Dark Arts. Being in mortal peril always seemed so much easier than remembering to add the mugwort before the dandelion. Harry followed the instructions carefully and added the ingredients to his cauldron, watching the mixture go from brown to pinkish orange; so far so good.
Next he reached for a small jar which contained an off white powder: it was ground dragon's tooth and if Harry understood it correctly was the ingredient which would give the flame repelling potion its fundamental magical properties. The recipe only required a very little and so he picked up the scales he and Draco were sharing and placed them on the desk in front of him.
[You have to let it simmer for a few minutes before you add that,] his lover warned as he glanced over.
[I know,] Harry promised with a smile, [I was just going to measure it out. I don't want to miss the right point to add it.]
[You know, maybe there is hope for you yet,] Draco replied lightly.
[Not all of us can be geniuses like you,] he returned with a laugh and unscrewed the top of the little pot he was holding.
[I know,] his soul mate replied dramatically, [sometimes I wonder how the world keeps turning without me.]
"Mr Malfoy, Mr Potter, no chit chat," Snape's cool tones drifted over the classroom, "you are here to learn, not to prattle on at each other."
The Potions master had developed a nasty habit of being able to tell exactly when Harry and Draco were talking even when they were doing it silently. Snape was the only one besides their closest friends and Dumbledore who seemed to be able to do this and it was very annoying.
"Sorry, Professor," Draco said smoothly, "we were discussing the potion."
"That may all be very well, Mr Malfoy," Snape said evenly, "but you know the rules. In this classroom if you wish to converse with Mr Potter about the lesson do so out loud."
"Yes, sir," Draco replied, much to Harry's pleasure handling the whole situation with his usual charm, "sometimes we forget."
Snape fixed Harry with a stare and he knew who was receiving the blame for that one, but before either he or the Professor could say anything about that, Harry gave an almighty sneeze. The young wizard had just taken the top off the ground dragon's tooth and he hurriedly put it back on again as another sneeze threatened. This one nearly dislodged his glasses and he scrabbled in his pockets to try and find a handkerchief. Three sneezes later his nose was itching like mad and his eyes were streaming.
[Harry, are you okay?] Draco did not seem to be considering the rules.
[I just can't stop,] another sneeze interrupted all thought. [Sneezing,] he finished lamely.
"Mr Potter, is there a problem?" Snape had risen to his feet and was walking down the classroom.
Harry sneezed again and tried to figure out if he'd done anything stupid. The potions master picked up the half closed pot of off white power and looked at it with his eyebrow raised as Harry sneezed again.
"Did you inhale this?" Snape asked coolly.
Harry shook his head.
"I," sneeze, "barely got," sneeze, "the top off," sneeze.
"I was watching him, sir," Draco added his point of view to the conversation, "Harry didn't breathe it in."
Harry tried to keep his eyes on Snape between sneezes which were giving no sign of abating: the man appeared thoughtful.
"An allergy then," the professor did not sound sympathetic.
"But I've," sneeze, "never been allergic," sneeze, "to dragon's," sneeze, "tooth before," Harry said as quickly as he could manage and sneezed again.
It was then that something hit Snape on the back of the head. Harry saw the man's hair move and then the professor spun on the spot looking furious. A small globule of essence of unicorn milk fell from Snape's shoulder and landed with a splat on the floor. A few desks away sat an astounded looking Pansy Parkinson and an empty crucible. If it had been a Gryffindor, Harry was sure house points would have been falling, but since Pansy was a Slytherin Snape did not fly off the handle instantly.
"Miss Parkinson," the professor began in a very low tone.
Harry sneezed again, leaning over to try and catch his breath.
"Ugh," came from Draco's direction and Harry turned to see more of the essence of unicorn milk as it oozed off his lover's robe.
The sound had drawn Snape's attention and he rounded on Harry again. A very nasty suspicion entered his head as Harry felt another sneeze coming on. The moment it exploded from his nose he saw something out of the corner of his eye and with Quidditch trained reflexes grabbed his textbook and held it up just in time to catch another flying globule coming straight at him.
"Potter," Snape said dangerously.
"I'm not doing anything," Harry insisted, pleased that he could finally produce a whole sentence but knowing there was another sneeze on the way.
Draco intercepted the next soggy missile when it arrived using his chopping board.
"Get out," Snape almost roared and Harry did not bother to argue, after all it did seem the sensible thing to do.
When the next sneeze came he was halfway to the door and he ducked, at which point the essence of unicorn milk hit one of his fellow Gryffindors in the chest.
"Fifty points from Gryffindor," Snape yelled as Harry fled the room.
It took twenty minutes, a trip to the hospital wing and an anti allergy potion from Madame Pomfrey for Harry to stop sneezing. Of course the story of Harry Potter and the incredible flying unicorn milk was all over the school by the end of the day at which point he found himself summoned to the headmaster's study. He and Draco made their way there just before dinner.
Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape were standing on opposite sides of Dumbledore's domain when the two young men walked in.
"Headmaster," Harry's house mistress was saying pointedly, "I do not see how it can be considered fair or just to remove house points for what is clearly no one's fault, and so many at that."
"The incident disrupted the entire class," Snape returned coolly. "If Potter had simply alerted me to the fact that he was allergic to any of the ingredients it would not have happened."
"Ah, Harry, Draco," Dumbledore greeted in his usual manner and interrupted the two house heads, "thank you for coming."
Professor McGonagall smiled at Harry warmly and Snape glared at him and the young man wondered for the hundredth time why everything had to happen in the potions master's lessons.
"I believe we can clear this up quite quickly," the headmaster said brightly. "Harry, did you know you were allergic to ground dragon's tooth?"
"No, Professor," he replied honestly, "I've used it before with no problem. I really don't understand what happened today."
Dumbledore smiled at him as if he had said exactly the right thing.
"There you are, Severus," the headmaster said cheerfully, "it was all just an accident. I'm sure Harry's very sorry that it happened, aren't you, Harry?"
"Yes, sir, very sorry," Harry replied on cue.
"Don't you think it might be a good idea to rethink the house points," the headmaster continued, "especially as it would be a shame for two houses to lose so many at the same time."
Snape stood up straight and took notice of that: he looked annoyed and suspicious.
"Two houses?" the potions master asked coolly.
"I'm afraid that if you penalise Harry, we shall be forced to penalise Draco as well," Dumbledore said in a very reasonable tone. "In school rules as well as in law they are considered to be the same person, rewards and penalties meted out to both equally."
Harry thought Snape might burst a blood vessel the way the vein on his temple throbbed.
[Well played,] was Draco's comment on the situation and there was genuine admiration in his voice.
"In light of the fact that it was an unfortunate accident," Snape said slowly through clenched teeth, "I can see that maybe I was slightly hasty. The house points should be restored," he paused, "but," Harry did not like the sound of that, "to avoid future accidents," Snape stressed the word 'accidents', "I must insist that Mr Potter be tested for any other unforeseen allergies, since his condition appears to create irregular phenomenon."
Somehow Snape's suggestion sounded decidedly unpleasant.
[Snape's on his game,] Draco appeared to be enjoying this far too much.
[He's going to try and poison me, you realised that don't you,] Harry replied. [Remember when I suffer you suffer.]
[Dumbledore will never allow anything like that,] his soul mate replied calmly, [just enjoy the show.]
"A very good idea, Severus," the headmaster said to Harry's horror and the young wizard looked at Draco in desperation, "it would be unfortunate if something like this were to occur again. I'll have Madame Pomfrey arrange it, would you mind assisting her with the substance supplies?"
[Albus Dumbledore has the snitch,] his very Slytherin lover said in Harry's head.
Draco watched with sympathy as Harry held out his arm for yet another noxious substance to be place on the small patch of skin Madame Pomfrey had prepared for the purpose. At least it wasn't as barbaric as the Muggle way; Harry had explained how when he was eight he had been dragged to a Muggle doctor with a suspicion of a peanut allergy and it sounded horrendous. Having small cuts made all up your arm and then having various substances dropped on the cuts sounded prehistoric.
Madame Pomfrey had sat Harry down and charmed a square of skin on the Gryffindor's arm to glow if anything touched it that interfered with Harry's magical field. Since it was the magical properties of the substances that had caused the last adverse reaction this was the information the healer was interested in. There were anti allergy potions at the ready just in case, but if everything went smoothly it was unlikely they'd be needed.
The continual use of the charm to prepare the patch of skin was grating on Harry's nerves, but other than that, as far as Draco could tell, his lover was suffering no adverse effects.
[How many so far?] Harry's mental voice asked silently.
[Twenty-three,] Draco replied without thinking and then sent Harry a curious glance. [How did you know I was counting?]
That at least drew a slight smile from the besieged wizard as yet another potion's ingredient failed to do anything but take up time.
[You always keep track of the details,] Harry replied and Draco could feel his lover bracing himself for the cleansing spell Madame Pomfrey was employing. [I'm going to go insane if this takes much longer.]
[But at least once this is done there shouldn't be anymore unwanted episodes in Snape's class,] Draco out, trying to find the positive aspect of the situation.
A snort of laughter was the reply to that opinion and Harry received a penetrating look from Madame Pomfrey for his outburst.
"Anything wrong, Mr Potter?" the healer enquired in her usual business-like tone.
"No, Madame Pomfrey," Harry replied with a smile and an innocent expression that could have won an award, "thank you. Draco said something funny."
The witch glanced in his direction and Draco gave her a polite smile.
"I was commenting on how at least once this is over Harry should not cause any more incidents in Potions," Draco explained since he had no reason to hide the comment and did not wish to antagonise Madame Pomfrey. "He seemed to think that was funny."
"I think it's my destiny to cause incidents in Potions," Harry responded. "I doubt this will make much difference."
"But it will prevent any, possibly nasty, adverse reactions," Madame Pomfrey said calmly and picked up the next small container.
Draco watched Harry sober at the comment and he doubted that his lover had considered the possibility that his condition could cause anything dangerous to occur. Nasty ideas had been running about in Draco's head ever since Snape had suggested the testing, but he had tried to dismiss them.
[It's highly unlikely that an allergy could cause a big problem,] he told his soul mate before Harry could ask the questions that Draco knew were building up in his brain. [This is just Snape's vindictiveness, nothing more.]
The slight frown on Harry's face relaxed until it was almost imperceptible, but it did not go away completely.
There were four sets of substances being tried and so far Madame Pomfrey had been through those from animals, and half of those from plants. The other two categories were mineral and toxic. The toxic substances would not be placed on Harry's skin, but the healer was going to expose the Gryffindor to them in a close enough proximity to affect his magical aura. Draco was not looking forward to that part at all: he was already sitting on his hands so he couldn't be tempted to whip out his wand to defend Harry. He had a reasonable handle on his instincts, but it never hurt to be careful.
For a few minutes the pair did not converse and Draco went back to counting tests. It was as Madame Pomfrey placed a tiny spot of something sticky on Harry's arm he felt a shift. If he hadn't been concentrating very hard on Harry he never would have noticed anything, but since his soul mate was all he was focusing on, Draco spotted it instantly. Harry had also noticed something because he looked up and locked gazed with his lover.
"I think..." Harry said uncomfortably, but that was all he managed to say.
The Hecatemus hiccupped once and the pillow on the bed on which he was sitting exploded in a burst of feathers. The white down flew up into the air and proceeded to rain down over the whole area as the three occupants of the hospital wing remained like statues.
"The sap of the singing willow," Madame Pomfrey said evenly, as if she was not being covered with feathers.
Draco found it hard to repress a smirk as he recovered from the shock of the explosion and viewed the quite ridiculous scene before him. He doubted that even Snape could have pulled off aloof and superior with white duck down gently settling on his head and Madame Pomfrey definitely couldn't.
"Sorry," Harry said quietly, blinking at the healer apologetically.
"Not to worry, Mr Potter," Madame Pomfrey replied in her normal tone, "this is, after all, why we are here."
The woman picked up one of the vials of potion sitting in the rack beside her, unstoppered it and handed it to Harry.
"Drink this," she said calmly, "and then you may assist me in removing these feathers from my hospital wing before we begin again."
Harry grimaced as he did as he was told and Draco was very glad that they did not share all experiences. It would take fifteen minutes for the anti allergy potion to clean out the Harry's system and then dissipate so they had some time on their hands. Normally a mess like the feathers could be cleared up with a swish of a wand, but with so many substances in close proximity an encompassing spell like that would be a very bad idea. That meant the avian snow fall was going to have to be cleaned up by hand.
"You too, Mr Malfoy," Madame Pomfrey said evenly just as Draco tried to think up some excuse to not have to get down on his hands and knees to pick up feathers. "Since you are here you may as well make yourself useful."
With an unimpressed look in Harry's direction he slowly stood up: manual labour was not his idea of a fun Sunday afternoon.
[I would like to lodge an official protest,] Draco said as he surveyed the devastation, [I am here purely as moral support.]
[Say that out loud,] Harry commented and also stood up.
Draco fixed his lover with a superior stare.
[I may object,] he said, a grin gracing his features, [but I am not suddenly insane. There are only a few people in this world who frighten me and Madame Pomfrey is one of them.]
[You and the rest of the world,] Harry agreed and began scooping feathers off the bed as the healer in question began removing the offending items from her tray of supplies. [Now if Madame Pomfrey wanted to rule the world and not Voldemort we'd be in real trouble.]
Draco pulled a feather out of his hair and looked at it contemptuously before flicking it at his soul mate.
[If Madame Pomfrey wanted to the rule the world,] he replied lightly, [the world would take its medicine quietly and surrender.]
End of Chapter 18
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