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 31 - Defence
There were still five minutes to go before Hilde was supposed to arrive, but Harry couldn't help feeling a little impatient. It was their first session since the incident with his uncle and the Hecatemus was still bothered by his inability to protect himself from his relative's wrath. The fact that he had frozen and needed Draco to extract him from trouble had been preying on his mind. It wasn't that he minded being rescued, it was that if he ever ended up in combat his soul mate could easily end up dead because he was trying to extricate Harry. Being unable to defend himself was as unacceptable as being unable to Apparate. Unfortunately the knowledge on how to overcome the first problem was nowhere near as easy to come by, as it had been to find the solution to the second.
Draco was running his fingers over the back of Harry's neck in a soothing manner as they sat in the room of requirement waiting for Hilde. His soul mate chose not to voice whatever he was thinking about, but Harry knew Draco was somewhat worried about Harry's reaction to the incident. He knew he had a tendency to brood and when they had had no luck looking for a solution themselves that is what he had begun to do, but it was difficult to curb his instinctive reaction. The Hecatemus hoped Hilde would have some kind of response for them. The owl Harry had sent his tutor explaining the situation had not been answered, but it had only been two days.
Harry was so lost in his own worries that when the door opened and Hilde walked in with her usual exuberance and cheerful expression the young man actually jumped.
"Good evening," she greeted brightly and placed her oversized bag down on the desk.
If he hadn't been so worried Harry probably would have grinned and returned the greeting, as it was he tried not to frown at her. He could not help feeling anxious: he had thought that he was capable of coping with the world by himself and his Uncle's actions had proved that he was as helpless as he had been at the beginning.
"Hello, Hilde," Draco greeted for both of them. "You seem to be in a very good mood this evening."
"I am," the woman admitted and then Harry found himself on the end of one of her appraising looks. "This is really bothering you isn't it, Harry?"
That had to be the understatement of the year, but the Hecatemus nodded anyway. Hilde left her bag where she had placed it and walked over before stopping in front of Harry and looking him straight in the eye.
"You have such high expectations of yourself," she said with an exasperated sigh. "Harry, do you have any idea how much learning you and Draco have squeezed into half a year?"
Harry did not have time to respond since Hilde continued almost immediately.
"Twelve years," she said firmly. "The pair of you mastered the basics in two weeks, even Hecatemae who have been trained since birth usually give it a month before they are ready to return to their lives. Since then you have progressed from simple techniques to those that are supposed to take years to master. Harry, you need to give yourself some credit."
"But I was helpless," he said pointedly as all his anxiety leapt to the forefront of his mind. "We don't have the luxury of time. If Voldemort makes his move and all he has to do is touch me to take me down we are finished."
Hilde appeared a little exasperated at his response and she stood back with her hands on her hips appraising him again.
"I knew you'd say that," she said and shook her head with a resigned smile.
"You found something didn't you," Draco observed from where he was leaning close to Harry.
The woman nodded and Harry felt some of his worry flow away: Hilde appeared quietly confident.
"I may not have been a Ravenclaw," the Ministry employee said with a flourish, "but I can research with the best of them. Now you will probably not be surprised to hear that Hecatemae do not usually engage in battle, but there have been a few in the past who have had the role forced upon them. Close physical contact is a problem for anyone sensitive to the emotions and magic of others, and there are techniques to combat it. Since I doubt very much anyone could come close to either of you if you had your wands in your hands the particular method I suggest we concentrate on for the moment is wandless defence."
Now Harry was listening very hard.
"It is not a procedure which is normally taught," Hilde continued and walked back to her bag, "as it is difficult to pick up and more difficult to control. Aurors learn it, but they are about the only section of wizard society where you are likely to find the skill."
The dark haired woman pulled a large book from her bag and placed it on the desk.
"There are only three books on the subject, all controlled by the Ministry as to how they are reproduced and who is allowed to see them," Hilde said with a victorious smile. "This is one of them and I talked the Auror training school out of it. I have also talked one of the instructors into teaching me how to train someone in the technique and I should be up to speed in a couple of weeks. As for now, you both have some reading to do."
Harry looked at the book and then shared an expression with his lover: it was a very big tome.
"When do we start?" he asked eventually and Hilde gave him a big smile.
"Now," she said cheerfully and dumped the heavy book in his lap.
The wild wand was similar to a normal wand only in that it could be used to focus power. Whereas the magic used to create a normal spell usually came from the channel that was the caster, the magic inherent in the wild wand was that which was used when employing the crystalline structure. Hence the power had to be bent to the wizard's will without having passed through him first and was far more erratic than normal. It was, however, also pure, which meant it had none of its potential leached away. Raw power and less than perfect control were not a good combination and hence Harry had taken to practising with the wand well away from people and anything else breakable, including Draco. His lover always kept a mental eye on him when he was working with the wand, but Draco had agreed to stay away physically unless something went wrong.
Starting from first principles the young man had returned to the simple spells he had been taught when he first attended Hogwarts. On the initial try with the wand he had borrowed a feather from Professor Flitwick and found somewhere very quiet to see if he could levitate it. The smouldering husk which had been the entire earthly remains of the innocent feather after Harry's first attempt to use the wand had been a good indication that starting simple was the best way forward. Now, about three and a half months later, he was up to banishing charms and the like.
Focusing magic using the wild wand was a very different experience to using his normal wand. When Harry held his eleven inches of holly and phoenix feather it felt like he was extending himself, with the Christmas present Draco had given him it was much more a feeling of incorporating something alien into himself. The Gryffindor had learnt pretty quickly that forcing his will onto the wand and brashly trying to command resulted in the dangerous and unexpected. To control the power in the wand he had to understand it and feel its inherently raw nature before he could mould it to the path he had chosen for it. It was somewhere between letting the power take over him and using brute strength against the wild force he was trying to use.
Harry was not sure what he looked like when he used the wand, but he had a feeling it was not quite normal. When he opened himself to the power in the wand the Gryffindor could feel it travel across his skin as if getting to know him, and Harry had a feeling it was not an invisible phenomenon. The only time someone had stumbled upon him, the poor Ravenclaw fifth year had screamed and run all the way back to her common room if what Professor Flitwick had had to say was anything to go by. These days he locked himself in an empty classroom before trying anything.
Feeling at ease with the wand in his hand, Harry formed the words of the banishing charm in his mind and pulled the power flowing from the device to his will. It was less than a negotiation, but more than an order as the magic reared to the Gryffindor's control. Having what he wanted to do clearly in his mind, Harry spoke the words of the spell and flicked his wrist at the pillow he had appropriated for the purpose. The feather-stuffed soft furnishing sped across the room like a bullet and tried its best to make a dent in the wall, but being on the squidgy side merely flattened and fell to the floor.
"More control," Harry muttered to himself and, rather than attempting to summon the cushion back, decided it was safer to walk across the room and pick it up.
Being hit in the face by a speeding mass of material was not his idea of a fun thing to do and so the manual method was far less dangerous. Magic was energy, energy wizards and witches and their brethren could channel and use; that was what Harry had always been taught, but using the wild wand he couldn't help thinking that it was not that simple. It was almost as if the untamed power in the crystal had a rudimentary mind of its own and using it was more a matter of cooperation than simple focus.
Just performing a spell did not work, well at least not without unforeseen ramifications, and Harry had to be very precise about what he wanted. He had a sneaking suspicion that the words of the charms he had tried so far had very little to do with the outcome and it was the focus of thought that was working, but so far the young man hadn't had the guts to try anything outside the patterns he was used to.
Sitting down again Harry placed the cushion back on the table and constructed the whole exercise in his mind a little more precisely. High speed banishing charms could be very useful, but if he didn't want to damage the item he was sending away then control was the order of the day. Dropping into communion with the wand the Hecatemus spoke the words of the spell a second time and flicked his wrist, at which point the cushion sailed into the air in a graceful arc, coming to rest just in front of the far wall.
Harry couldn't help smiling at his success, but he wasn't stupid enough to summon the cushion back just yet and stood up again. It was as he went to step round the table that he felt the familiar prickling up his spine and crawling under his skin that announced he was about to have a guest. Throwing up his mental barriers with practiced efficiency Harry placed the wild wand back in its case and sat down, concentrating hard on not succumbing to the presence of his godfather.
[Everything all right?] Draco's metal voice sounded in his head instantly.
[Sirius,] Harry replied with only a little trepidation in his voice, [I'm okay.]
[I'll be there in a couple of minutes,] his soul mate replied quickly.
For a moment Harry was grateful for Draco's reaction and then some of his Gryffindor courage kicked in and he made a split second decision.
[No,] he sent to his soul mate, [don't worry. I'd like to try this on my own, if that's okay.]
There was no reply from Draco at first but the general feeling coming from the Slytherin was scepticism.
[Are you sure?] his lover asked eventually, concern obvious in his tone.
[I think so,] Harry replied without trying to hide that he was not completely convinced, [but I'd like to try. You can always make like the cavalry if I have a problem.]
[Hah, all I am these days is a bloody rescue team,] Draco replied with an amused feeling overlaying his concern.
[But a very dashing one,] Harry replied with a smile to himself and then focused back on the task of keeping himself together against the onslaught of his godfather's presence.
When a blurry shape slowly coalesced into the form of Sirius, Harry was looking directly at him, and the young man smiled as his godfather resolved. There was still part of him that was nervous about seeing Sirius and blamed himself for the wizard's death, but they had resolved that issue the last time in so far as it was likely to be resolved in the near future and Harry was pleased to see his godfather again.
"Hello, Snuffles," he said with a warm smile, "long time no see."
For a moment the older man appeared rather surprised by Harry's attitude, but Sirius soon smiled.
"Hello, Harry," the animagus said lightly, "have I missed anything interesting?"
The past few weeks ran through Harry's mind in a rush and one event rather stood out, but for the moment he put it aside; they had not had a chance to talk about the visions about Draco last time Sirius had appeared, but Harry did not want to talk about that then.
"Draco has plans to lure the Slytherins over to our side," the young man said, choosing his second subject of choice. "As unlikely as it may seem I think he has a chance as well."
"What brought this on?" Sirius asked and moved towards his godson as if they were having a perfectly normal conversation.
"Oh, he's had plans from the first," Harry replied calmly. "You know Slytherins; can't resist a bit of intrigue; after they tried to hex him and some other stuff, my soul mate decided it was time to go into action."
He knew that he was very bad at lying to those he loved, especially when he was trying to glaze over things and Harry hoped he had managed it this time. From the speculative look in Sirius' eye the young man was not sure how well he had done, but to his relief his godfather blinked and smiled again.
"Now the machinations of the tame Slytherin mind are something I would like to see," the man said with a grin.
"Tame!" Harry exclaimed with a laugh. "If you think Draco is even remotely tame, you haven't seen enough of him on your visits. He's corrupting most of my house."
At which point the young wizard launched into examples of exactly how his lover was about as far from tame as it was possible to be. Sirius began commenting in a way Harry remembered from the time they had spent together in Grimauld place and for a while he almost forgot he was not speaking to a living human being. Time flew past, but slowly Harry became more and more aware that Sirius was not what he appeared to be. The wrongness the young man felt in his godfather's presence began to make itself known and an ache started behind Harry's eyes. Eventually he ran his fingers up under his glasses and squeezed the bridge of his nose in an effort to relieve the pressure.
"Are you okay, Harry?" Sirius asked sympathetically, breaking out of the story he was telling about one of his run ins with the Slytherin's of his era.
The desire to brush off the incident and continue the conversation as if nothing had happened rose in Harry, but when he looked into his godfather's eyes he realised the man deserved the truth.
"I have to put up another mental barrier to block out your energy," the Hecatemus said slowly, "I'm not used to it yet and some gets through. I have a bit of a headache."
"Maybe I should go," Sirius suggested immediately, standing up from where he appeared to be perching on the table.
It momentarily occurred to Harry to wonder how his godfather did that if he could pass through doors and the like, but it was rather overruled by another stabbing pain through his temples.
"Okay, that does it," Sirius decided firmly, "I'm going. I'll be back when I can."
"Wait," Harry said instantly, "our meetings always seem to get cut short, and it's all my fault. How much longer can you stay?"
Sirius did not look happy, but Harry gave his godfather his best puppy dog expression.
"Probably another couple of hours," the man said eventually, but frowned none the less, "but I will not be responsible for injuring you."
"I'll be fine," Harry promised faithfully, "I just haven't had enough practise. Give me a little break and the headache will be gone."
An idea suddenly occurred to the Hecatemus and he smiled.
"You're so interested in Slytherins," he continued cheerfully, "why don't you go and get to know Draco properly. I can go and have a lie down and then I could join you both later."
Sirius appeared thoughtful although his frown cleared and then his face broke into a smile.
"Are you sure he won't bottle me and use me in some despicable plan?" the older wizard said lightly.
"Best be on your guard," Harry said with mock sincerity, "you can never tell."
"See you in a while then," Sirius said lightly and just like a good Gryffindor Harry's godfather leapt straight in to the idea and vanished.
The Hecatemus was left looking at thin air and shaking his head with a small smile.
[Draco,] he sent silently in a bid to warn his lover what was coming, but the sense of shock from the other end of the bond showed him that he was too late.
Draco looked up from where he was writing an essay for Professor McGonagall and came face to face with Sirius Black. Much to his chagrin he managed to knock his, thankfully, sealed bottle of ink off the library desk as he jumped in surprise. The man had the gall to grin at him and Draco scowled and bent to pick up the fallen item.
[Thank you so much for the warning,] he sent to his lover in an unimpressed manner.
[Sorry,] Harry's apologetic response came back instantly, [when I suggested he come and see you I didn't think he'd just vanish.]
There was an underlying feeling of fatigue and discomfort coming from his lover which made Draco pause in his expression of his displeasure. Concern made itself known and he almost forgot about the fact that Sirius Black was standing only a few feet away.
[You're hurting,] Draco said slowly.
[It's just a headache,] Harry promised faithfully, [and I'm going to go and have a lie down. That's why I sent Sirius to you, and then I can come and see you both when I feel better.]
[And you felt that I would enjoy the company of your godfather, why?] Draco asked dryly, but he really didn't mind, in fact getting to know Sirius was something he meant to do sooner rather than later.
[Because you love me,] Harry replied sweetly which made Draco laugh and the young man snapped back to his current situation to find his lover's godfather with his eyebrows raised.
"Talking to Harry?" Sirius asked, sounding genuinely interested.
Draco nodded and then schooled his features into a polite smile: he was not quite sure how to interact with Sirius Black since the last time he had remained in the background, and he was not clear exactly how the man thought of him. The expression on Sirius' face was friendly and cheerful, but Draco decided to wait and see: he had heard many things about the man, before and after he bonded with Harry.
"I was scolding him for not warning me you were coming," the Slytherin said lightly. "Do you make a habit of trying to scare your godson's friends to death?"
"Only the first couple of times I meet them," Sirius replied with a grin.
"That's all right then," Draco replied dryly, "I think it's rather bad manners to hex family."
That made the man laugh and the Slytherin found himself looking around to see if anyone heard and then mentally kicked himself as he realised he was the only one who could hear the other side of the conversation. No matter how Black had arrived he looked so solid that for a moment Draco had forgotten the man was dead.
"Maybe we should take this somewhere more private," Draco decided quickly with a glance around the library, "I have no wish to be observed talking to myself."
And with that he began to pack up his things, trying to think of the best place to go. It being a weekend, he decided that an empty classroom was his best bet. As he stood he noted Sirius looking at him in an amused fashion, but the man made no objection when Draco moved towards the exit.
"The transfiguration classroom shouldn't have anyone in it this afternoon," the Slytherin said as they made their way into the corridor. "No clubs or extra-curricular activities in there today."
"Well none that you know about, anyway," Sirius replied suggestively.
Draco came to the stunning conclusion that Harry's godfather had a more one track mind than he did.
"Oh please, the transfiguration classroom has been out of fashion for that since the Charms room was refurbished and they added new heating charms," the Slytherin replied and led the way to their destination.
It didn't take them long to traverse the school corridors and very quickly Draco was locking the door of the empty classroom.
"So what is it that's bothering Harry that he won't tell me?" Sirius asked openly as soon as the Slytherin was finished.
"Isn't that between you and Harry?" Draco replied evenly, unwilling to discus something that his lover was not.
Harry's godfather appeared thoughtful at this and sat on one of the desks still thinking.
"Under normal circumstances I'd say yes," Sirius replied honestly, "but I don't have a lot of time. We were talking about you and your plans for the Slytherins and there was something behind your reasoning that he didn't want to mention. Knowing Harry it's something important, and I'd like to be prepared if I'm going to find myself summoned."
It was a reasonable argument, but going against his lover's wishes was not something Draco would do unless he had a very good reason.
"Just a minute," the young man said evenly and turned his attention to his soul mate.
[Harry,] Draco called silently, [why don't you want Sirius to know about the prophecies?]
There was silence for a while, but from the feelings coming from the Hecatemus, Draco knew his lover was not ignoring him.
[I didn't want to worry him,] Harry finally admitted. [I suspected he knew I was holding something back, but I thought he'd decided to leave it.]
[I think it might be a good idea to tell him,] Draco replied honestly. [If Sirius really is attracted to you when you're in trouble he may need to know.]
Silence reigned again and the young man could feel the conflicted emotions coming from Harry, but he knew what his lover was going to say before Harry finally replied.
[Okay,] Harry said reluctantly, [but I should be there.]
[Not on your life,] Draco said firmly, [you're going to lie down. I'll tell him, and you can talk to him about it when you're feeling better.]
There was a surge of rebellious feeling along the link, but it faded as fast as it arrived to be replaced by discomfort: Harry's head was still bothering him even though he was no longer in contact with his godfather.
[Fine,] the Hecatemus said sulkily after a few moments, [but don't let him try and do anything stupid.]
[Harry Love,] Draco said gently, [he's dead, there's not a lot he can do to make anything worse.]
Harry did not reply and Draco sent a mental hug at his lover before turning his attention back to Sirius.
"Harry has agreed," Draco said in a much lighter tone than he felt. "If you must know, your godson has launched into the world of prophesying the future. Just before your last visit Harry had two visions, both of which boil down to the fact that my father is going to attempt to remove me from the current equation. It wasn't exactly a new idea, but it brought certain things to my attention, so I decided that it was time to bring enlightenment to my house mates."
Sirius looked surprised and opened his mouth before closing it again and thinking for a while.
"Let me get this straight," the man said slowly. "Harry had visions which indicate danger to you, and your reaction is to try and convince the rest of the Slytherins that Voldemort is not the way they should go?"
"The more who end up on my side the fewer there are to help my father," he replied calmly.
Sirius was silent for some time again.
"You really are a complete Slytherin," Harry's godfather said eventually.
"Thank you," Draco said with a smile and prepared for the onslaught of questions he knew was coming.
End of Chapter 31
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