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 32 - No Longer Frightening
Defence Against the Dark Arts was undoubtedly Harry's favourite lesson and of course his best subject. Everyone knew this from all the members of the DA up to and including all the Slytherins who in the sixth and seventh years shared the classroom for the discipline. Harry could only think that this was the reason he found himself at the front of the class with everyone else arranged behind him when Professor Daemon announced that they were doing some practical revision today.
The subject of the moment was boggarts. For the NEWTs the pupils were often up against more powerful and dangerous creatures, but some of the discipline was to handle the less lethal possibilities in a more professional and efficient manner; hence the revisit to boggarts, which hadn't been much of an issue since the third year.
"This should be easy for you, Harry," Professor Daemon said cheerfully as she took hold of the door of the shipping crate which held the creature, "show the other's how it's done."
The problem was Harry didn't really know what was going to come out of the box. At the beginning of the year he would have said positively that it would have been a Dementor: the creatures still filled him with terror because of what they could do to him even though he had a strong patronus; but he was no longer so sure. There was a nasty suspicion at the back of his mind that one of two things would pop out of the crate: a vengeful Sirius Black, even though at a conscious level Harry knew his godfather did not blame him for his death; or a dead Draco.
With a deep breath, Harry gripped his wand and steeled himself at which point the professor opened the crate. For a moment he just stared, his mouth open and his wand remained motionless in his hand and then he felt the smile creep onto his face. The boggart blinked at him and stepped forward at which point Harry couldn't help himself: he laughed. There was a cloudy, indistinct shape hanging around the creature, but there was one thing no one had told the Hecatemus; he could see the real boggart.
From the gasp that had escaped the class Harry was pretty sure that they could see whatever had turned out to be his greatest fear, but he couldn't even tell what it was; all he could see was a quite ridiculous sight. The laughter bubbled out of him partly from relief and partly because quite frankly the boggart was hilarious.
"Harry, you didn't cast yet," Professor Daemon sounded somewhat perturbed by the situation.
"Um," Harry tried to control the laughter, but it was getting away from him; the boggart blinked at him again and for all the world appeared offended. "This high," the Hecatemus tried to explain and waved his arm at about knee height while gasping for breath, "pink!"
Then he dissolved in another fit of giggles. The boggart was an ugly little creature, but it was no more than a foot and a half tall and any nastiness it might have had thanks to its features was offset by the fact that it was bright pink.
[Harry,] Draco's voice sounded confused, [you're looking at a mutilated, very dead me and you're laughing your arse off. Have you lost it?]
Rather than replying Harry sent his soul mate an image of what he was looking at.
[Oh,] was the Slytherin's prompt response which caused Harry to laugh even harder: Draco almost sounded insulted.
[It's pink,] Harry sent back, which was the part that his brain refused to move past.
Harry managed a glance at the class and they all appeared to think he was deranged if their expressions were anything to go by, but he just couldn't stop laughing. The fact that the entire wizarding world was afraid of boggarts which were in truth bright pink, was completely absurd. He wanted to explain, he really did, but he could not form the words. Since Draco's worried expression had cracked into a grin and was rapidly forming into a forerunner for a fit of the giggles, Harry did not think he would be gaining any help from that direction.
It was a little hard to breathe as the laughter kept coming, almost like he was under a tickling charm. It occurred to Harry that his instincts knew the best defence against the boggart and were not about to let him stop until it was gone. After this thought it occurred to him that the more people who were laughing the quicker this would be over and that was all his peculiar mind required to come up with a solution.
There was a mirror on the professor's desk and, following the rather abstract idea in his mind, Harry pointed his wand as it and cast a revealing charm with a twist. The mirror turned helpfully towards the boggart so that the creature was reflected in it and for a moment the class stood there completely stunned by what they were seeing. Harry didn't need to wait long to find out that whatever he had done to the mirror had worked; Neville was the first break down and within a minute the whole class was laughing. The boggart didn't stand a chance and it went up in smoke like so much firewood doused in lamp oil.
"Thank you, Harry," Professor Daemon said as the minor bout of hysteria the class seemed to be undergoing began to pass, "ten points to Gryffindor. I think that is the most interesting solutions to a boggart I have ever seen."
Harry stood in the middle of the room of requirement looking around himself dubiously; it was almost completely bare and the walls were padded. It was the last fact which was somewhat disconcerting. The young wizard had a suspicion he knew why Hilde had sent them a note changing the location of their weekly meeting, and the state of the walls was backing up this suspicion; today they would be beginning wandless defence.
The book on the subject had been long and mostly boring, but both Harry and Draco had finished reading it in under a week. The only thing that had been stopping them after that point was Hilde's unwillingness to teach anything she had not researched very thoroughly. The Hecatemus could sympathise, but he had been becoming a little impatient over the last week or so.
"Good evening, Gentlemen," Hilde greeted grandly as she strode through the door.
She may have been a petite woman, but as soon as she entered a room she seemed to fill it and Harry found himself smiling despite his curiosity.
"Wandless defence?" Draco asked before Hilde even had a chance to put down the bag she habitually carried.
Coming to a halt the woman put her hands on her hips and gave a mock pout comparable to the Slytherin's when he was trying to wheedle something out of Harry.
"Oh poo," she said dramatically, "now you've ruined my surprise. What gave it away; I thought I was being so subtle?"
Harry laughed and Draco waltzed up to Hilde, sunk down on one knee and bowed his head.
"Mademoiselle," he said grandly, "can you ever forgive me?"
At which point Hilde dissolved in a fit of giggles and Draco stood back up again.
"Harry, save me," she said between laughs, "your soul mate is trying to steal my scene."
"Ah, Dear Lady," the Slytherin responded and rose to his feet, "that would be impossible."
Sometimes Harry wondered if his lover was related to thespians since he could carry off any character, if somewhat over the top. As it was, the Hecatemus trotted over to where the other two were standing and slipped his arm round Draco's waist with a cheerful grin on his face.
"So you finally know all you need to know to teach us?" he asked enthusiastically.
"Well, not at much as I'd like," Hilde replied cheerfully, "but you know me, that could take years. Bryan finally managed to fit me in for an intensive training session last week, so at least I know how to not damage any of us."
Harry was still having trouble picturing an Auror named Bryan; it just didn't seem like a wizarding name. From the way Hilde described her friend, as with all people that started out as acquaintances of the woman, the instructor was now forever a friend, he could be anything from a six foot five mountain of a man to a five foot nothing master of magic; she was never very clear with the details.
"So when do we start?" Harry asked brightly, trying to distract himself from the bizarre thoughts about his teacher's friends.
"As soon as you tell me who wants to go first," Hilde replied in her usual bubbly manner.
The soul mates exchanged a glance and Harry knew exactly what Draco was going to say before he voiced it.
[I'll go first,] the Slytherin said, having lost the playful air he had had only seconds before, [that way you can watch and make sure there's nothing that's going to be a problem for you.]
Logical as always, Harry could not fault his lover's argument even if he was impatient to try out the theory they had been going over for the last few weeks. Rather than replying verbally he just nodded.
"That would be me then," Draco said calmly, turning back to Hilde. "Where do you want me?"
[Anywhere and everywhere,] Harry couldn't resist the silent comment.
That earned him a raised eyebrow and Hilde was grinning like a loon so she had undoubtedly guessed what the pair was up to.
"Centre of the mat please, Draco," she told the Slytherin in a perfectly innocent tone. "Harry, if you wouldn't mind standing over by the door. In case of accidents there will be some wards going up around the central area, so don't worry if you see them flaring into life."
The two young men nodded and moved to their respective places. Harry wanted to see exactly how the whole procedure worked and since Draco had basically volunteered to be a guinea pig, he was not about to waste the opportunity. Leaning against the wall, the Hecatemus lowered his mental shields to a level where the magic in the room was faintly covering his normal view of the world and then he waited for whatever was going to take place.
In the centre of the room Hilde pulled out her wand and flicked it to the right, speaking a couple of words Harry did not catch. Suddenly the young wizard was blinded as bright metallic colours flared in his vision and his hands went to shield his eyes automatically.
"Harry?" Draco sounded instantly worried and Harry held up his hand in a gesture to say he was okay.
"Just very bright," he explained and blinked, trying to clear the luminous spots that were now in front of his eyes, "I'm fine."
When he could finally see again he found himself looking at his lover through an intricate web of power and for just a second something flared inside Harry causing his heart to beat faster. A feeling deep at the centre of him almost caused him to panic and he had stood away from the wall and taken a step towards the barrier between himself and Draco before he could stop himself.
"Is everything okay, Harry?" Hilde asked in a serious, but gentle tone. "I'll take down the wards again if they're bothering you. We don't have to do this now."
The instinctive reply that leapt to his lips was to say yes and ask the woman to remove the barrier between himself and his soul mate, but common sense won through. It was a basic instinct on being separated from Draco by anything, Harry had felt it before when the pair had returned to their separate houses that first day out of the hospital wing, and he knew he could deal with it.
"It's okay," he said, taking a calming breath. "It's just a bit strange having something like that between us. Go ahead."
Draco was giving him a thoughtful look, but eventually his soul mate turned away, back to Hilde.
"Ready?" the woman asked, her air of excitement returning as the perceived crisis was averted.
With a bob of his white blond head Draco signalled his willingness to begin and the pair stepped up to each other in the middle of the wards so that they were side on to Harry.
"Right," Hilde said in a very businesslike manner that she tended to adopt when teaching, "place you hands like this on mine."
She lifted her arms and held out her hands, palms towards Draco, who mirrored the gesture and placed his fingers against Hilde's.
"Now, we'll start small," the woman said with a slight smile. "I'm sure you know the theory backwards by now, but as I discovered with Bryan, it's not quite how it sounds."
The serious expression on Draco's face indicated the level of his concentration and Harry tried to keep his mind very quiet so as not to distract his lover.
"Now technically you should be able to expel magic from any part of your body," Hilde continued to explain. "It's a matter of focusing where you want it to go and then pushing it out, but since all of us hold out wands in our hands normally, it's easiest to start there. I want you to visualise some of your magic pooling in your hands. Not too much to begin with, but enough to make your fingers tingle."
Draco nodded again and then fixed his eyes on his hands. It was quite difficult to make out anything specific through the barrier of the wards, but as he watched, Harry could sense more than exactly see his lover's power gathering in his palms and fingers.
"I can feel it," Draco said evenly.
"Okay," Hilde said calmly, "now push it out. Think of your hands in the same way as you'd use your wand and send the magic through them. Don't worry about anything like what the power should do when it is released just force it out."
A frown graced Draco's features as he concentrated firmly on his hands; it appeared to Harry as if the process of expelling the magic his lover had pooled was much more difficult than it sounded. Letting himself sink further into the experience with Draco, the Hecatemus focused on feeling what his soul mate was experiencing rather than just watching it from the outside. His brain rationalised the sensation as pushing against a wall; it was as if there was a barrier between Draco's magic and the outside world that refused to be breached.
Harry's mind worked around the problem as his lover continued to concentrate and the Hecatemus tried to picture in his head how magic looked coming out of a wand. Then suddenly it hit him as the peculiar image of a pin on the inside of a balloon made it into his head. Pushing a flat surface against an immovable flat surface was never going to work and Harry flashed his lover the mental image of the thousands of pores in his skin each being a tiny conduit. The acknowledgment came from Draco in a very direct manner, as Harry slipped back to his outside awareness and saw Hilde slide backwards a few feet.
Draco smiled triumphantly and sent Harry a glance and a non-verbal feeling of thanks.
"Very good," Hilde said brightly, "that took me four hours the first time. How did you do it? Bryan says it's different for every user. I have to imagine my whole body as a wand and the place I want to expel the energy from as the tip."
"Every pore is a tiny wand," Draco replied openly; "Harry's idea. I think his unique insight rather sped up the process."
"Well if you've got it, flaunt it," the brunette said cheerfully. "Want to try again?"
Draco nodded and Harry settled himself in to watch his lover practice.
Over the next ten minutes or so Draco managed to move Hilde away from him four times. The amount of movement and the speed at which she was pushed were never the same, but the woman assured the Slytherin that this was perfectly normal and control would come with practice. By the time Hilde looked over the where Harry was standing the Hecatemus was dying to have a go.
"Your turn, Harry," the woman said brightly and pulled out her wand to turn off the wards.
The soul mates walked past each other as they swapped roles and Harry couldn't help feeling a little excited. This would be a big step to becoming completely self sufficient and he was eager to take it. He had defended himself on instinct before, but instinct on other occasions had been his downfall, and this was a step to controlling his impulses. Putting his mental barriers back up to their normal level he waited patiently for Hilde to reset the wards and he couldn't help his grin of anticipation as she raised her hands to him, palm first.
"Okay, Harry," Hilde said calmly as he placed his palms against hers, "let the magic pool in your hands."
Feeling the currents of his inherent magic, the Hecatemus did as he was told and turned the flow to his extended limbs. His skin began to tingle almost instantly and he rather liked the sensation.
"Visualise it in your mind and once you have it firmly, push it out at me," the professor continued her teaching smoothly.
Harry did not need any constructed ideas of what magic looked like to visualise the whole experience since he could see it happening and he let his barriers to magic down slightly so he could view the power in his hands. It was as if his skin was almost translucent and colours moved underneath it. Without pausing Harry changed his perception of his hands from smooth, seamless skin to the more accurate idea of a porous membrane and then he pushed the power inside out. He was not expecting the result.
Unlike when Draco had forced his magic to the outside and it had felt almost reluctant to go, Harry's power jumped at his command and energy exploded out of him like a firework. Hilde gave a surprised squeal and went flying backwards as the force of the expulsion caught her in the shockwave, sending her sailing towards the wards. Harry's mouth opened in horror as he watched the woman arc through the air at quite a rate, but there was nothing he could do.
As Hilde hit the wards they expanded outwards around her back slowing her progress and bringing the woman to a gentle halt before resuming their original shape. For a moment it seemed as if the wards would leave Hilde suspended as she was, several feet off the ground, but as words of apology leapt to Harry's lips she was slowly lowered to the floor. Before the Hecatemus could babble out how sorry he was, Hilde's shocked expression turned into a broad smile.
"That was fun," she said brightly, much to Harry's surprise. "Ooh, let's do that again."
End of Part 32
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