A/N: Hi! I know, I bet you all thought I was dead or something, right? I know, I know! I'm very sorry, and I hope this chapter makes up for it. I had wicked writers' block, combined with starting college this fall, and I guess the writing sort of fell by the wayside for a while. However, in his usual fashion, my muse first inspired some Golden Sun randomness, then switched gears to get me jazzed about this fic again! #glomps muse# So, please forgive the long wait! I'll try to write more quickly in the future. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed this fic! I love you all, and I know I would have given up on this a long time ago if I didn't have all your support and encouragement!
There won't be any review responses this chapter, but please continue to Read and Review!
Chapter XXX -- Lucky Charms
Draco had enjoyed breakfast immensely. Of course, he had now traded Blaise's suspicious looks for Blaise's knowing and calculating looks, but those were far easier to handle. Of course, waking up next to Harry probably helped a bit with his mood, Draco would admit. And the note had been a nice touch. A touch that he'd been all-too-happy to respond to during Transfiguration that morning with one of his trademark folded-crane notes.
Harry, sitting in front of Draco, didn't see the thing until it was past the catching stage, and instead watched it hit the desk with rather less grace than he expected. Of course, paper cranes weren't exactly built for landing softly, but he still found it funny --especially when he heard Draco's indignant huff and the scratching of his quill. He knew, somehow, that the next crane would land so beautifully it would make his eyes hurt. Until then, he rolled the eyes in question and unfolded the note.
There, in precise green script, was a single word. No.
Harry resisted (just barely) the urge to turn around and smack his boyfriend with the slightly rumpled parchment. It was, after all, McGonagall's class. He was forced to make due with another roll of his eyes and the smile that the vaguely amused wear when they are trying not to smile.
Lunch provided nothing more interesting than another opportunity for Blaise to remark (to himself, of course) that girls were really, really bad at spying (Or maybe it was just Gryffindor girls; he really couldn't be sure).
Soon enough, lunchtime was long gone, and Harry was on his way to Charms-- with Ron and without Draco, and for the first time in his years at Hogwarts he was regarding that as a Very Bad Thing. So much so that Ron must have thought that he wasn't prepared for class, as he kept offering to tell Flitwick that Harry was sick.
In actuality, Harry was prepared for class. With what had happened to Draco while learning the same spell they would be covering today, he had spent extra time going over the section in their textbook that covered it. He hadn't known exactly what he was looking for- after all, it wasn't the detection spell that had done... whatever it was that had been done to Draco. It had simply revealed it. And anyway, the professors didn't have a clue what it was, so Harry doubted he'd have any luck at all. Nevertheless, he had read and reread, and found absolutely nothing other than a funny (in a vaguely horrifying way) anecdote about some lady from Sussex.
"- then he tells me he wants to date Ginny! My sister! Can you believe that, Harry?" Ron was saying something, Harry suddenly realized, though he had really no idea what the diatribe had been about.
"What?" Harry asked, slightly bewildered.
"Exactly! That's exactly what I said!" Ron was off again. "I mean, Dean? He's alright and all, but dating my sister?"
Oh. That was what Ron was jabbering about. Harry tuned him out, not really wanting to listen and not having the heart to tell Ron that Dean was already dating his sister, and had been for nearly half a year.
By the time Professor Flitwick began talking -- explaining procedure for the period and so on -- Ron had run out of ways to be outraged, for which Harry was grateful. It wasn't that he didn't care who Ginny dated -- he did. She had become as much a sister to him as she was to Ron, in many ways. It was just that he didn't see why Ron had so much of a problem with Ginny dating Dean. It was pretty silly, in his opinion. After all, they had known the other boy for more than five years now; it wasn't as if she was running off to elope with some stranger. And anyway, Harry trusted Ginny's judgment of people's character. She was far from stupid, and fully capable of making her own decisions. He supposed that Ron would just have to get over it in his own time. Until then, he figured he'd send the youngest Weasley an owl or something, just to warn her to steer clear of all Dean-related discussion in front of her brother.
At the front of the room, Flitwick was still speaking, now finishing his remarks on the numerous ways in which detection spells were used, and the particular uses of the spell that was their subject today.
"If you'd all please line up along here! Yes, yes, that's it." Flitwick arranged them all in a line, and Harry felt an odd sense of deja-vu come over him as the professor made his way down the line of them, casting his test charm on each student. Harry shivered a little as the charm- whatever it was, Flitwick hadn't said- took hold. There was an odd feeling in the pit of Harry's stomach, and he didn't like it one bit. It felt far too much like dread, and Harry felt he already had quite enough to deal with already.
"You want to do me first?" Ron asked as they sat back down. Harry blinked. Oh, right. The Revealing Charm thing. He glanced down at his book again, making sure he knew the words and the accents correctly, then cast it in Ron's direction with a quick swish of his wand. Ron looked down at himself.
"I don't see anything. Are you sure you did it right?"
Harry nodded. Ron may not have been able to see anything, but he could. Flitwick's charm clung to the edges of Ron's form like a thick, dark, grey-blue mist. Flitwick, walking around supervising, could obviously see it too, as he rewarded Harry with a grin and a "Well done, Mr. Potter!" Ron just looked confused.
"But why can't I see it?" He was looking himself all over, now, peering at his hands and taking glances toward his feet and over his shoulders. Harry wondered if he was going to start chasing his tail, and had to hide a laugh.
"It says in the book that the one the spell's cast on can't see it, Ron. Don't worry about it." Harry assured, managing to halt Ron's desperate search for his spell-shadow. "Just go ahead and do mine so I can get started on the essay." Ron grimaced at the mention of homework, but did as instructed, borrowing Harry's book to check the words as he had neglected to mark the page in his own copy.
Ron's eyes widened as his mouth and wand hand dropped in unison, and Harry could feel a migraine forming. In fact, he could feel his entire day becoming more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Really.
"What is it, Ron?" Harry sighed. "Just tell me and get it over with."
The redhead tried to speak but no sound was coming out of his mouth, and Harry was beginning to become aware that they were gathering an audience. The nearly-a-migraine was gaining strength, finally exploding in its full grown form as Professor Flitwick approached, stopped, and pronounced his opinion.
"Oh, bugger." He sighed, looking even shorter than usual as he slumped slightly where he stood.
The few people who hadn't noticed Harry's condition certainly did now-- it wasn't every day that Professor Flitwick lost his permanently pleasant demeanor. Aware of the audience and the fact that the rumors grew with every second that the students remained in the presence of anything abnormal, Professor Flitwick was forced to end class early for the second time that week. This time, however, Blaise Zabini was the one hanging back, trying to catch another glimpse of the odd halo in the air around Harry Potter. He could tell, even if the other students hadn't made the connection yet, that this was related to what had happened to Draco earlier in the week. Whether he was pleased or displeased about it, he didn't know yet. But he certainly wasn't going to forget about it any time soon.
Once all the students had exited (Ron included, at Professor Flitwick's insistence and with Harry's apologetic gaze following him out the door), the professor led Harry to the same mirror in his office that Draco had looked in earlier that week. Harry looked, and his first reaction, much like Draco's, was that it was more than just a little cool to have a sparkling halo of silver-and-gold light all around you.
His second reaction fell somewhere between "oh, shit." and resignation to the fact that his life was destined to be weird, why should one little magical lightshow make a difference? He looked over to Professor Flitwick, who was wringing his hands nervously.
"Based on past experience, Mr. Potter, I feel that it would be unwise for me to attempt to remove the spell at the moment." He was saying as Harry studied the halo in the mirror. "It wouldn't do to have you crashing in amongst the first years that are out by Hagrid's right now, I believe, would it? No, of course not. Well. We'd best just take you to see the Headmaster, though I expect he already knows all about it."
Harry merely nodded, following the tiny professor out of the Charms classroom and through the castle to the large gargoyle that guarded the entrance to Dumbledore's office.
Harry emerged from Dumbledore's office some two hours later, after having been questioned and re-questioned by the combined forces of Dumbledore, Flitwick, McGonagall and even Professor Snape, who had been called in simply because he had been involved in the earlier events of the week. Harry had suffered through it, repeating what had seemed like a never-ending chorus of "I don't know".
Do you have any idea what this spell is?
Do you have any idea how you or Mr. Malfoy could have had this spell cast upon you?
Dumbledore's question -- if he had had any more strange dreams about Voldemort -- made Harry twitch slightly. Strange dreams, certainly. After all, it wasn't every day that your newest professor showed up in three forms and told you that you had to jump into some other dimension thing and save the world. Of course, considering the rest of his life, Harry figured that the scenario might even be considered 'tame' by comparison. But, as the dreams had little to do with Voldemort himself, Harry didn't feel badly about lying as he said "no".
Harry was rather sick of the whole thing, by the time they reluctantly released him to his dinner, and was nearly beyond caring about the spell, whatever it was. He knew that it was reckless, stupid, and would probably come back to bite him in the arse, but whatever it was didn't seem to be doing him or Draco any actual harm. In fact, he decided, a slightly wicked grin painting his face, they had never been better.
He managed to slip into the Great Hall relatively unnoticed. He was late, anyway, and most of the students had already dispersed back to their dorms or other evening activities. Hermione and Ron were still at the Gryffindor table, though, and Harry quickly joined them.
"Harry!" Hermione's face lit up as he approached, and he could see Ron try to hide a glower. Harry wanted to laugh. If it meant that much to him, Harry didn't see why he didn't just ask Hermione out, already. She had been dropping hints for months. At the moment, however, she seemed far too involved in making sure that Harry was in one piece to be worried about what Ron was thinking.
"Are you sure you're alright, Harry?" His nod did absolutely nothing to convince her that he wasn't going to keel over at any moment. "What was that spell? It certainly looked interesting; I was there when that all happened with Draco, you remember. Ron told me all about it, and it certainly sounds similar, maybe even identical. I wonder what it could be? You know, silver and gold are both such rare colors to get with the charm Professor Flitwick was showing us." Harry's ears pricked at that. The professors had gone on and on about the spell, but hadn't actually told him anything about what they were talking about, only that they didn't know what it was.
"Really?" He inquired, mixing his mashed potatoes with his fork idly as he finally tuned in to what Hermione was saying. She looked surprised.
"Well, yes. I thought you knew. I mean, you were doing all that looking into it after what happened with Draco..." She trailed off, looking at Harry expectantly and ignoring Ron's look of shock and perhaps horror that Harry had been at all interested in whatever had happened to Draco Malfoy.
Harry shrugged, a little sheepishly. "I read what was in the Charms textbook, but I didn't really look beyond that."
"Here." Hermione dug a book out of the bulging sack of them that she always carried around, laying it with a slight 'thump' on the table. "It has whole sections devoted to identifying various types of spells by the colors and textures of the auras they produce." She explained. Harry picked it up, mindful of his goblet of pumpkin juice.
"Basic Home Spell Detection: Keep Your Family Safe!"Harry read aloud, quirking an eyebrow as he looked at Hermione incredulously. She blushed slightly.
"Well, it's helpful! I read about that poor woman, Mrs. Millberry, and I couldn't help thinking about the way wizards tend to just throw spells around all the time. I thought it might be useful to read up on the subject. Did you know that over two-thirds of wizards never even check for existing spells on objects before enchanting them?"
Ron and Harry exchanged a surreptitious look, sighing in tandem as they realized that there was no way they were avoiding Hermione's latest lecture. Harry tucked the book away as Hermione's voice washed over them, casting a quick look at the Slytherin table and idly wondering why it was so empty.
Any Slytherin, of course, could tell you why the table was so empty. There were only about four of them remaining in the Great Hall, though, all First Years who for one reason or another had never flown on a broom before. The rest -- First Years through Sixth Years, whether they liked it or not -- had been ordered by their Prefect to report to the Quidditch pitch immediately after they finished eating in order to try out for the Slytherin Quidditch team.
About an hour into the proceedings, Draco had culled that group down to about twelve he thought might be decent enough, sending the others (all of whom were either annoyed at being forced to come out in the first place or distraught at the fact that they hadn't made the team but hiding it by acting annoyed, too) back to the dormitory to wash up.
The rest, standing huddled together facing the pacing bundle of tension and energy that was Draco Malfoy.
"Alright. We already know I'm Seeker, so if any of you were holding out for that position, give it up now." Draco scanned the little group with coldly calculating eyes. Blaise barely resisted the urge to snigger at the way the lone Second Year among them cowered slightly. "Now then," Draco continued, "Pansy, you'll be Keeper, if you don't mind."
Pansy Parkinson smiled flirtatiously at him. "Anything for you, Draco." She cooed, earning her a roll of Draco's grey eyes. Despite all, Draco knew she was proud that he thought enough of her to give her the spot. And, privately, he thought she was probably better for it than the idiot who'd held the spot before.
"Millie?" Millicent Bulstrode nodded, knowing exactly what was going to be asked of her.
"Excellent." Draco gave a little self-satisfied grin. "Now, which of those among you would like to try for the other Beater position?" A hefty Fourth Year and a couple of the bigger Third Years raised tentative hands, and were quickly sent off with Millicent, who would try them out herself. Draco had full confidence in her ability to choose the best partner. As for the rest...
"Well, then." Draco's grin split even wider, and the poor Second Year suddenly understood real fear. "Blaise will now run the rest of you through some basic Chaser drills. Pansy?" He had no sooner spoken her name than the girl was on her broom and circling the goal hoops at the end of the field opposite where Millicent was working with her Beater candidates. "I will, of course, be watching. After you've all worked for a while, we'll decide who's staying." His piece said, Draco mounted his broom and took off, flying up to Pansy to refresh her on her instructions.
"You know, Draco," She looked up at him through slightly lowered eyelids, "I couldn't help noticing what a lovely broom that is. New?" She winked, and Draco realized that she'd figured it out. He managed to remain unfazed as he winked back.
"You could say that."
He made a mental note to purchase a broom exactly like this one to replace his old one, which was currently collecting dust in his room back at Malfoy Manor, and which he had no compulsion to retrieve. Harry's Firebolt flew like a dream.
A/N- Yes, I meant not to tell you what the original note said. You'll find out soon enough. Also, yes, Draco totally nicked Harry's broom. Well, he does have that distressing habit of just leaving his broom in the broom shed with everyone else's... Besides, you're entitled to nick your boyfriend's stuff from time to time, right? I sure hope so... Well, please Read and Review! You know I love all you guys!