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 28 - Divination
Harry climbed up the ladder into Professor Trelawney's loft dreading the whole appointment. Okay, he had had a vision, but that didn't mean he wanted to ever have to share it with Professor Trelawney or her Sunday afternoon group of Divination sycophants. Why Dumbledore had insisted that he go he could not fathom, Harry was of the opinion that Firenze with his mystical vagueness would be more use than the batty woman who continued to predict his death. The only good thing was that Draco had agreed to go with him and hence his soul mate was right behind him.
"Harry, My Dear Boy," Professor Trelawney's voice greeted him almost before he was through the trapdoor, "welcome back to my domain, and Draco. How lovely it is to see you both now you have realised your destiny."
Harry shuddered inside, but gave the professor a weak smile.
[She hasn't changed I see,] Draco said dryly. [What possessed Dumbledore to suggest this?]
[He saw it in my stars,] Harry replied sarcastically.
"Come, Gentlemen, come," the woman was still going, "I have a place for you here. Your connection to the universe can only increase the flow of the energies in the room."
[I was wrong,] Draco commented at that, [she's worse.]
Harry did not bother replying and walked through the incense-laden room to the seats Professor Trelawney indicated: over the years he had come to the conclusion there was no point in fighting these things. As he glanced around the room the members of the group were not a surprise that was except for one: Neville Longbottom.
[Did you know Longbottom was in this group?] Draco sounded and felt as equally surprised as Harry at the sight of his ex-dorm mate.
[Didn't have a clue,] he replied quickly, [and I thought he failed the O.W.L. as badly as I did.]
[Well I've always said there's no accounting for Longbottom,] his soul mate replied dryly, [no matter how many wards you put between him and a cauldron.]
"I see danger in your future," the teacher pronounced as Harry and Draco sat down, interrupting their conversation, "but together you will stand against it."
[Well that's a new one,] Harry said, quite surprised, [even when I forget to avoid her in the hallways I'm going to die in one of any number of horrible ways. She obviously likes you.]
[Nope,] Draco said lightly, [she's just an incurable romantic. You used to be the lone hero who had to die to save the world; now you're one of the star-crossed lovers who has found his love against all the odds. Next week we'll probably be the tragic couple doomed to be separated and then you'll start dying again.]
Harry had never thought of it quite like that before and he had to admit that it made sense. He decided to enjoy the not dying part while it lasted.
"We have just turned our inner eyes to the power of crystals and especially crystal balls," the professor pronounced grandly. "I understand from the Headmaster that you were using a similar device when you were blessed with a vision, Harry."
Harry tried hard not to grimace: he wouldn't have called it being blessed; cursed sounded more like it to him.
"Um, yes," he said quietly, "it's called a Prisma, I use it for meditating."
Dumbledore had instructed him to take the device with him to the class so Harry pulled the box out of his pocket and placed it on the table.
"Fabulous," Professor Trelawney announced brightly, "I would be extremely pleased if at the end of today's session you would give us a demonstration. But first I think it would be prudent for us all to focus our energies. There is a crystal ball for each of you and I want you to let your inner eyes open onto the other realm."
Draco lent back in his chair as Harry looked at him and his soul mate indicated the crystal ball on the table: it was obvious who would be doing the work for this afternoon. Harry sighed and looked back at the Divination mistress hoping that this wouldn't go on too long.
Feeling curious never-the-less, as Professor Trelawney demonstrated her technique over her crystal ball Harry let his barriers partially down to see if she was actually using anything other than guesswork. To his surprise there were actually tendrils of magic swirling around the woman's hands as she lent over the ball frowning deeply. They did not appear to be very focussed and Harry was pretty sure the professor was not really aware of them, but they were there. It occurred to Harry that Trelawney had made predictions that were true and hence had some talent even if most of her ability was formed on guesswork.
[Do you think it's possible that Divination works,] Harry asked Draco silently, [but people can't make it happen?]
[Hmm,] was Draco's reply and Harry glanced around again to see that the incense was having a similar effect on his lover as it had always had on him: Draco was falling asleep.
Harry sent his soul mate an image of what he was looking at which woke Draco up a bit.
[Could be,] he said reluctantly, [or it could be just random stuff. Now will you let me go to sleep, this is your extra-curricular activity, I'm here under protest?]
From the tone of Draco's reply Harry knew that he was not going to get a sensible conversation out of his lover so he let it drop, turning his attention back to Professor Trelawney. He watched, for the first time interested in the technique the woman was using and eventually the professor ended her demonstration and told the rest to work with their own crystal balls.
For a moment Harry just observed the rest of the group as they lent over their divination aids and he was surprised to see that some of Trelawney's groupies had similar flickers of magic flying around their hands. It leant weight to his theory that maybe Divination wasn't just a fluke all the time, but it by no means proved it. Harry found that he was actually curious about the subject. When Neville's crystal ball somehow jumped out of its holder and rolled across the table towards Lavender, Harry became very interested.
"Professor," he said quietly as the woman watched the group, "divination comes from inside doesn't it: the crystals and charts and things are just aids aren't they?"
There was quite a surprised expression on the woman's face when she looked at him: Harry did not think she expected him to ask questions.
"That's one way of looking at it," Professor Trelawney replied and her voice held none of its normal melodramatic flare. "The external stimuli give a channel to visions, but the truth comes from the viewer."
"That would suggest that some people would be better at using some things than others," Harry continued his train of thought, "and vice versa, wouldn't it?"
The Divination mistress nodded.
"Most with the talent find they prefer one medium or other," Professor Trelawney replied and for the first time Harry felt as if he was having a real conversation with the woman rather than a staged performance.
"You see Neville seems to be having a problem with his crystal ball?" Harry continued calmly as his eyes watched Neville place the clear ball back in its stand.
That question seemed to confuse the Professor, but she nodded again anyway.
"I don't think it's his fault," he continued quietly. "I don't think the balls we're using suit him."
Professor Trelawney looked surprised and slightly unsure; Harry decided to explain.
"When you used the crystal ball," he said calmly, "you had gold sparks coming from your hands. Everyone else in the group who has anything has gold ones too, except Neville: his are silver and are bouncing off whenever they touch the ball."
The professor sat there for a moment with a vaguely stunned expression on her face and Harry waited for her reaction. Eventually she gave him a genuinely warm smile.
"Thank you, Harry," she said quietly, "I will see what I can do."
She climbed to her feet and walked to the other end of the room where she pulled aside a small curtain. When she turned back she was holding another crystal ball, only this one was completely black rather than being clear.
"Neville," she said, back to her normal dramatic tone, "I would like you to try this one: your energies are flowing differently today."
The boy looked surprised and a little nervous and Harry had to sympathise: the new crystal looked hideously expensive. Harry continued to watch as Professor Trelawney placed the new ball on the table in front of the shocked Longbottom and whispered something in the boy's ear. Under the Professor's guidance Neville went back to what he had been doing but with the new ball and the silver sparks coming from his hands swirled around the crystal and when they hit it they flowed into the dark surface. With a satisfied grin Harry turned to his own crystal ball.
It took him a couple of minutes to produce the sparks from his own fingers and a great deal of concentration. Divination was harder than it looked and Harry decided that maybe there was a reason for teaching it. It took him another half an hour to realise that just because he had the sparks it didn't mean the whole thing was suddenly going to become obvious. He knew there was a connection being made between himself and the crystal ball, but how on earth he was supposed to use it he had no idea.
"One must make order out of the chaos that is the future," Professor Trelawney announced to the group just as Harry was about to throw his hands up in disgust.
He looked at the sparks again and they did look chaotic which gave him an idea. Taking a deep breath he tried to figure out what was controlling their flow. He watched them and attempted to find some pattern, but nothing seemed obvious which was rather frustrating. He mumbled in annoyance and the sparks sped up into an even more chaotic dance. Harry sat there for a moment and then it hit him: the sparks were reacting to the chaos in his brain. When he meditated he focused and removed the chaos so systematically he began to empty out his mind, calming his thoughts as much as he could and just concentrating on the empty space that was the crystal ball. Gradually, the magic slowed down and each spark took up a position around the centre of Harry attention.
He was completely focussed and when the magic suddenly shot into the crystal ball he felt his body stiffen as awareness of his environment vanished.
Harry came back to his senses with the sensation of his forehead splitting in two and his right hand flew to his scar before he even thought about it. He knew the dizzy nauseous feeling of almost passing out very well by now and he moved to the side and put his head a low as possible before he either threw up or fainted.
"Potter, talk to me," Draco demanded from where he had both hands on Harry's shoulders.
Absently Harry thought it was funny how his lover would often resort to his last name when he was stressed.
"Ow," he answered in a very dazed, confused manner.
"Don't you ever do that to me again," Draco was obviously very stressed since he was admitting to a weakness where everyone could hear.
"Oh hell," Harry said mournfully wishing to be a lot less conspicuous, but unwilling to take his hand away from his scar since it felt like it was the only thing holding his head together, "I did it again didn't I?"
It then occurred to the young wizard that there was complete silence from the rest of the room. He sat up slowly and looked around the group to find that everyone was staring at him.
"Group, back to work," surprisingly Professor Trelawney came to his rescue, clapping her hands to break every one out of the stony silence.
Only when the rest of the pupils had returned to their crystal balls did the Divination teacher walk over to Harry and Draco.
"Are you feeling alright, Harry?" she asked calmly.
"Except for a splitting headache, yes thank you," he replied as politely as he could manage.
"Perhaps you should go and see Madame Pomfrey for a potion," Professor Trelawney suggested helpfully.
Harry fished in his pocket and pulled out the small bottle.
"Already have one, thanks," he said while trying to figure out what had happened. "May I have some water please?"
The Divination Professor nodded and moved to help. Harry felt that he was seeing a completely different side to the woman than usual. When she was gone he turned and looked at a very pensive Draco.
[Was it the same?] he asked silently.
For a few seconds Draco did not reply: he really looked worried.
[Yes, you went somewhere,] his soul mate finally told him, [and I don't know where. It was horrible; you wouldn't talk to me at all and then you told everyone that my father was going to try and kill me because Voldemort was going to tell him to.]
[I seem to be fond of that don't I?] Harry hated that he seemed to be predicting his lover's death.
[Well what you said was: 'The father shall trap his golden child at the will of the Dark Lord or fall forever from his service.'] Draco explained and his emotions were a mixture of anxiety, annoyance, betrayal and just a touch of fear. [There may be other candidates for a date with death at the hands of their parents, but I think I'm the most likely, so yes you seem quite fond of that.]
Harry chose not to disagree, after all his soul mate was correct.
[Predictions are there to help us change things,] he said firmly, [and it isn't as if we didn't have a pretty good idea that your dad would try something anyway. I was probably just dragging up stuff from my subconscious.]
His last affirmation did not ring true and both he and Draco knew it, but they both just let it hang. The incident appeared to have affected the Slytherin quite badly and he was looking and feeling shocked and unsettled. Harry placed a hand supportively on his lover's arm.
[I won't do it again, I promise,] he said faithfully.
Just then Professor Trelawney returned with the water and placed it on the table.
"Will you be alright, Harry?" the woman asked genuinely as Harry put a few drops of the headache cure in the glass.
"Yes thank you, Professor," the young man replied, swirling the water in its vessel in a mirror of the thoughts in his head, "I just need to sit quietly for a while."
The eccentrically dressed woman smiled and nodded.
"Take as long as you require," she said kindly, so different from the woman Harry was used to that he felt as if he was talking to a different person. "If you wouldn't mind staying behind for a few minutes when the other's leave. I think it would be better if we speak alone."
Harry nodded without pausing for thought: he also very much wanted to talk to the Professor Trelawney without the rest of the year over hearing.
[I am beginning to think the entire world underestimates Professor Trelawney,] Harry commented silently to his lover as he downed the headache cure.
[As unlikely as it seems, I think you may be right,] Draco admitted as he watched the woman return to the rest of the group.
The rest of the afternoon in the classroom seemed to go very slowly. Harry and Draco sat quietly in their seats watching Professor Trelawney move between her students and assist them in their efforts. For the first time since the end of his first class with the woman, Draco found himself watching her closely, actually paying attention and he was coming to some remarkable conclusions. Professor Trelawney was not who she pretended to be.
He decided that the woman had an incredibly good smokescreen, so good in fact that no member of staff or student in the school suspected her of being anything but the batty woman she appeared to be. However, studying her closely, Draco could see the image change depending on who the professor was talking to: she adjusted her persona slightly depending on her audience. It had been quite a shock to realise that he had been underestimating her quite so badly for the last four and a half years; Draco was not used to misjudging people so completely. It also did not escape his notice that he and Harry had been allowed to see part of the real Professor Trelawney.
As the last of the group filed out and the hatch closed, Draco prepared to find out just who this teacher really was as she walked over and sat down on the chair opposite them. From the emotions coming from Harry he was waiting for the same thing.
"Thank you for staying, Gentlemen," Professor Trelawney said with a smile, somewhere between the over exuberant woman most of the school saw and a normal human being.
"I think I owe you an apology," Harry told the professor and managed to catch Draco by surprise.
The woman bowed her head in recognition of the compliment and then shared a look with Draco; the Slytherin had the sudden thought that he was looking at one of his own house.
"Being a seer is a perilous position," the professor said calmly, "and unpredictable at best. I have grown into the role of an eccentric, but I was not always that way. There have been seers in my family for generations and they have often been targets for madmen and despots. Those that were not were those who had the brains to appear to be nothing but charlatans with the occasional good guess. For those of my students who have a gift, I do my best to help them, for those who do not, I play the batty woman in the attic."
The way she delivered the last sentence was in her usual eccentric tone and Draco found himself smiling.
"I did not think Professor Dumbledore would hire someone just because of one prophecy," Harry admitted thoughtfully.
"I have other uses," the woman replied with a smile, "although my usual gift is no where near as detailed at the visions with which I have been blessed. From time to time I see things which have proved useful, although I admit to never having seen anything about both of you coming together."
"I'm not sure the universe was quite sure of that outcome either," Draco said dryly.
The fire flared as if to agree and drew a laugh from Professor Trelawney completely unlike the absent, vaguely absurd laugh she normally used.
"Divination and Prophecy are not the same thing," the eccentrically dressed woman said calmly, "although they stem from the same root. I sense neither the inclination nor the talent in either of you for Divination, although I pride myself in encouraging both of your creative writing talents when you were in my class."
Draco managed a rueful smile at that revelation; he remembered predicting Harry's death in many weird and wonderful ways once he had cottoned on to the professor's seeming obsession.
"Divination is the art of tuning into the energies of time and perceiving possible events," Professor Trelawney continued her explanation. "It may be taught and those with an aptitude may improve. Prophecy is the gift of the universe given when it sees fit, to any whose minds are open to receive its message. You appear to have achieved that state twice, and from what I understand have been given a similar warning each time, Harry."
Of that there was no doubt in Draco's mind; his soul mate had definitely been warned. The whole idea of Prophecy made the Slytherin uncomfortable, the thought that there was an event approaching that could not be avoided and would end in only one of two ways was not compatible with Draco's need for control.
"I would council against ever attempting to use your sensitivity in this area deliberately," Professor Trelawney said calmly. "Prophecy can lead to over confidence and misdirection, especially if forced."
"I wasn't trying to see anything the first time," Harry replied honestly, "and I was just doing what you suggested the second time."
"And I suspect this was a message the universe wished to be made known, I merely wished you to understand that you may never make another prediction," the professor replied calmly. "But know this, guard your soul mate well, Elemental Child," she continued in what sounded more like the person Draco had come to expect, "he is in great danger."
The Slytherin did not comment, but he could feel Harry taking the woman's words on board. Draco found he had new respect for Professor Trelawney, but he wished she hadn't said that. He would have to work on making sure his lover did not try to lock him in their room for safe keeping.
End of Chapter 28
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