Hello Readers. As you will see this story, Beauty in Perfection: Stand by Me, is finally going through a major rewrite. So much so that I have deleted everything from the old version. Don't worry new sections will be uploaded soon.

I would like to thank all my previous Readers & Reviewers. As always I would love to hear from you. When you read, you will discover that some story elements have been deleted. This is practical because over time my writing voice has changed. However, I'm trying to maintain as much of the old story as possible.

Instead of uploading chapter by chapter I will be setting the story into segments or parts. This first part is titled 'All Plots Must Have a Beginning.' It includes the Prologue through the conclusion of chapter three: Two Cats & a Courtyard. (just over 10,000 words after edits)

Now a word about plots… This is Fanfiction. Beauty in Perfection is AU because anything Slash is considered AU in my mind. Following that line of reasoning the story will have other elements that are not in Harry Potter canon. "Broaden your minds…" lol It's all meant for enjoyment. Comments are always welcome; however, please remember that I'm not the author that made Dudley into a boxing champion. :vbg: If your curiosity is piqued then you may follow the story with interest. You will also discover within the plot line that Harry and Dumbledore don't always get along perfectly. That's another reason this story isn't canon—remember, Beauty was completed before book six HP & the Half Blood Prince was released.

Hogwarts castle, still named Moenia is alive and well. Another plot thread…Bloodline.



P.S. Please Forgive Me! When I went into my account to start making the changes I discovered that there have already been more than 350 hits to Beauty since May 1st. WoW! Please understand that deleting the old chapters is quite necessary.

Please Note: Disclaimer is below.
WARNING: Rating R: This story will have SLASH.

Beauty in Perfection; Stand by Me

Part 1:

by imLittleLily


Harry walked the corridors of Hogwarts and found himself wandering within the maze of his thoughts. Many hours in the organization of his memories with Occlumency helped to keep information away from his enemies. These corridors had become his inner sanctum. The castle furnished him with both solitude and solace within her loving embrace. Ever strong she protected him.

Tonight, on this Harvest Moon night, Harry experienced restlessness despite the exertion of his workout in the Room of Requirement. Normally, on any other night, he would have practiced until his body was ready to fall into exhausted slumber.

Tonight, however, his restless feet carried him.

Hogwarts herself guided him to an exterior door. He opened it and discovered it led to one of the courtyards off the east walls. Why? His senses heightened to the point of pulsating throughout his nervous system. Something was happening out here and Hogwarts, in her wisdom, told Harry to investigate.

The moonlight shimmered as it reflected off the walls and the fountains. Splashing musical water sounds cleansed the night with magical purity. Then Harry's eyes beheld a sight that astounded and confused him beyond any of his previous experiences, even in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.

Draco Malfoy.

Yes, Harry had seen his arch nemesis before, but never like this! Harry slid backward into a dark shadow to observe Draco in his magical ritual. There could be no other term to describe the sight before him.

Malfoy stood in the center of a circle of ice which shimmered iridescently in the moonglow. The circumference rose like stalagmites from the earth and gave the impression of Draco surrounded by guardians of absolute protection. This was not the only surprise. Draco was dressed in a way Harry would never have imagined the Malfoy heir to appear. Instead of his usual wizard robes, his clothing could only be described as being Muggle, even if they were dragonhide.

Harry's breath hitched with sudden arousal.

Draco's upper body was covered by a vest of the lightest shade imaginable, soft and pearlescent dragonhide. His arms were well defined from many hours of Quidditch. Harry was surprised to see that they were completely tattoo free. (this answered the ever present question of Draco's loyalties) His trousers seemed to be made of leather, Harry couldn't be sure. The boots on his feet were knee high and created from the hide of a Chinese Fireball, very red and effective for repelling many jinxes and curses.

More stunning…Draco wore a katana strapped across his back. In his right hand was a gold and silver hilted dagger with a blade of—ice? His wand was in his left hand and pointed vertically above his head. The dagger in his right hand was extended before him horizontally.

All previous hostility evaporated within the musical sounds of the water and created seamless fusion into a new stream of consciousness for Harry.

Beauty in perfection.

In the midst of this new consciousness Draco's voice finally came through to Harry's auditory senses.

"On this night of the Harvest Moon I, Earth Warrior, Draconis, Watcher for The One, call upon Cerridwen, Warrior of Water, White Lady and Moon Goddess, I seek your great council this night . . ."

"On this night of the Harvest Moon I also call upon the Cerddorion, the Sons of Cerridwen, Taliesin, Warrior of Air, Prince of Song, Chief Bard of the West, the Way-Shower and Belenus, the Warrior of Fire, Protector and Consort of the Goddess, I seek your great council this night . . ."

"On this night of the Harvest Moon I call upon Queen Medb, Warrior Queen of Earth, Goddess of Tara and Tuatha De Dannan, and faery Queen of Connaught, I seek your great council this night."

As he completed this invocation Draco knelt on one knee, head bent in supplication and awaited their arrival.

Standing in the shadow of the wall, Harry became aware that the moonbeams within the icy circle had become a vortex of swirling spiritual energy. He heard the cry of an osprey which first startled him and then calmed him. As She came into Harry's sight, he remembered his history lessons. The osprey was a representative of clear sightedness, wisdom and new life. Cloaked in darkness, Harry found himself kneeling in the presence of Her greatness as She shape shifted into Her warrior goddess form.

Draco also greeted Her with humbleness, "Welcome White Lady, I thank you for your presence this fine night. I have asked Your presence here because I seek Your council regarding The One."

With a nod, the White Lady replied, "All is well, Earth Warrior Draconis, as it is surely a fine night."

Sheltered in shadow, Harry saw that vortex had intensified into three separate spirals revealing the presence of Taliesin, Warrior of Air -- a ruby-throated hummingbird and Belenus, the Warrior of Fire - - a bear. The third spiral coalesced into a beautiful unicorn -- Queen Medb, Queen of the Earth.

The White Lady spoke with a mellifluous voice, "Shift, my children, so that we may converse with Draconis this night."

Within the ice circle they transformed before Harry's eyes. He breathed in sharply as their conversation began.

Draco stood and said to the Warriors, "I requested your presence this night because I have concern for The One. A concern that is not shared by those in charge of his care. Word has reached us of a pending attack of Hogwarts and yet he knows nothing of Your alliance with me and of our sole purpose."

"Why has he not been shown or told of our involvement by this time?" asked a frowning Taliesin. "Surely he has reached his 17th year by now and has been informed of this vital information?"

"The Old One, Dumbledore," Draco said while shaking his head, "has a history of keeping information from him. It's a means to manipulate the outcome of the situation. This has been a source of great pain for The One in the past, yet the Old One claims that it will make him stronger in the course of events, thereby giving him the ability to conquer the Dark Lord. I have disagreed many times with this council but have yet to make the Old One understand the consequences of his actions may actually be detrimental to our cause for the Light."

Harry couldn't help but notice that those in the circle frowned at this news.

"Surely," asked Queen Medb, "the boy has been trained to access his elemental abilities for the coming conflict?"

"No, Your Highness," Draco shook his head. "The Old One, though wise, doesn't work with elements as You or I view them. He only uses magic as a singular energy. He doesn't understand that the combined forces of all elements can be separated and utilized on their individual merits. Therefore, he doesn't know that The One is great with the force of Air and Fire. Also, many consider the element of fire a dark form of magic due to its destructive use in history. They do not see the mark upon his forehead as a combination of the fire and lightning runes. They only see it as a curse scar inflicted by the Dark Lord."

"You have spoken to the Old One about this?" The White Lady's asked.

"Yes," Draco said. "My White Lady, but he refuses to acknowledge the information. It is outside of his manipulation plans. He will not tell The One this information nor tell him of the gifts that may assist him in defeating the rising darkness. This is the reason I've asked You here tonight. It's my hope we may combine our efforts and reach The One with this necessary information. I'd approach him alone, but as you know, my cover over the years has been as his antagonist. I do not believe he'll be willing to hear me out if I approach him alone without Your assistance."

The White Lady's soft musical voice carried across the courtyard to Harry's ear. She said, "We understand is the case. We will each contact him and impart knowledge to assist him in our fight for the Light." The ethereal sound of the White Lady's voice was accompanied with luminescent moonbeams as each regained their animagus shape and disappeared into a vortex of air.

Harry still knelt in the shadows, stunned into immobility and silence.

In the blink of an eye Draco turned to face his dark shadow, the dagger pointed to Harry. In a strong defensive voice, he spoke. "Who dwells in the shadows of the night? Speak now, or you shall feel the ice of my dagger within your heart!"

When Draco spoke, Harry had a fleeting view of a moving wizard tattoo coming onto his arm. A lightning bolt of surprise traveled through him. A stag on whose pronged antlers rested small lilies embraced an ice dagger with a silver and gold hilt etched with a lightning bolt. Oh Merlin!

Harry knew then that he must respond with all the formality of a wizard's oath. "It is I, Harry James Potter, The One, Warrior of Light, Seeker of Knowledge, would-be-defeater of Voldemort here to acknowledge you Warrior of Earth, Draconis, Watcher of The One. Stand by me; from this Harvest Moon night . . . forward into battle."

Well, what else was Harry to say to him? That Draco was beauty in perfection? Not yet.

Chapter 1: A New Beginning...

Two hours prior to Prologue...

Student chatter filled the Great Hall. The ceiling showed the rising full moon on this crisp fall evening. Stars twinkled with the dark blue sky. Sirius, the dog star, kept a vigilant watch over the proceedings.

Malfoy entered with his usual cronies of Crabbe and Goyle. They stopped just within the large double doors to scan the perimeter of the hall and see who was there tonight and who wasn't. This was a regular occurrence; however, on this particular evening it raised irritation within one Gryffindor.

Ron Weasley became furious. His anger was due to the fact that the scan of the hall had ended with the Gryffindor table and most specifically upon Harry.

Ron rose from his seat, stalked over to them, and growled gruffly at Malfoy. "Knock it off with the show, ferret."

Nose to nose by this time, Malfoy scowled deeply. "Bloody hell weasel, what is your problem tonight, have another argument with the Mudblood?" Draco said. "I can't believe you waste time arguing. You're a git and a blood traitor."

Ron snarled.

"Oh look. Here's Potter to call off his mutt." Without taking his eyes away from Ron, Malfoy hissed through his teeth, "Potter, glad to see you could make it. You need to shorten your new mutt's leash. He is getting in everyone's way."

"Malfoy," Harry said, "why are you always arguing with Ron anyway? Can't you ever grow up?"

"Grow up?" Draco sneered. "Your mutt came at us while we were on our way to the Slytherin table for our share of the feast. I told you, you need a shorter leash for him. He's the one that needs to grow up. Now if you will excuse us, Vincent, Greg and I are going to have a seat and enjoy this great feast." Malfoy smirked at Harry while raising a perfectly groomed brow.

"Why you, bloody bouncing ferret…"

Harry blocked Ron's advance by stepping in between them. "Ron, come on…now. NOW, Ron. Don't you think…no way…" Harry shook his head thoughtfully as he pulled Ron along the Gryffindor table and back to their seats. He muttered in a low voice, "Can't be possible."

"What can't be possible?" Hermione asked.

"Malfoy just called Ron my new mutt and said I needed a shorter leash for him."

"Harry!" Ron growled with a quick look around to see if anyone had heard them.

"Well," Harry said and to his friend."How can it be a coincidence? You tell me Ron, how would he even have any idea?"

"I am not your mutt!" Ron hissed angrily while scowling.

Harry rolled his eyes. "The point is, how would he even know anything about any of…well, you know?"

Ron picked up a chicken leg and gnawed it while growling about mutts and leashes and shaking bloody bouncing ferrets in his jaws.

"Ron," Hermione said with a grimace. "Don't mumble or talk with your mouth full. Maybe its just a lucky guess or even an unfocused insult. After all, we can call him a ferret because he was one once. Maybe he is just tired of calling Ron a weasel."

"Growl…grumble…chomp…growl…mmloody 'eret."

"I guess that's always a possibility, red-dog needs a nickname," Harry said. He ducked a roll that Ron threw at him. Professor McGonagall harrumphed from the Head Table and looked at them with a frown.

"All right you guys settle down or I will end up in trouble," whispered Hermione who was Head Girl this year.

"I've got to go anyway," Harry said, "seventh floor." Rising from the bench with a tilt of his head, Harry left the Great Hall.

Malfoy watched Potter's exit from the corner of his eye and made a sign to Vince to follow him. Vince grabbed another roll and made for the exit with only a slight nod in acknowledgement to Draco.

After finishing his dinner, Draco left the Great Hall and made his way down to the Slytherin dungeons. Pausing at the top of the stairs, he thought, I like walking the empty halls of Hogwarts. She is really humming tonight, as if she knows about our celebrations and even the coming confrontation. She always helps me put my thoughts in order and decide how I am going to go about calling in my real bosses. Dumbledore never seems to realize that doing so will only up our odds when the final confrontation comes. This isn't 1945 anymore. We need to do things differently now. Potter won't even know half of his allies if we continue in the way Dumbledore wants.

Draco stepped into the corridor and found his memories propelling him back through the mists of time…

Midnight16th birthday.I am curiousabout what my wizard's inheritance will be. Hope what I experience isn't too painful. No matter what anyone thinks I'm not into pain.'

Midnight. Arrrrgh! Well, sooo…much for not being painful. What the hell is that white light? I can't see anything specific but I hear a sound…what's that? I've never seen such a spiral of magic. Something is in its center? Water? Bloody hell, that is soooo cool. Some sort of bird? Argh…damn, now my knees hurt, too.

"Blessed Be, my young Draconis." said the White Lady after she shape-shifted from her osprey form. "We have come on your 16th birthday to impart to you your gifts of elemental magic and to show you the way of your destiny."

"I'm an elemental?" he asked.

"This is truth, young one," she answered with a smile. "You are great in the power of Earth and Water. There is, however, more to you than just your elemental gifts. You have a great destiny to fight by the side of the chosen one in a decisive battle between good and evil. Before the battle you will serve the greater good by becoming a Watcher for the The One."

"Is the identity of The One you speak of the Dark Lord?"

"No, Draconis, the one of whom I speak of is a Warrior of Light, Harry James Potter."

"Oh Salazar!" he groaned. "Please tell me this isn't so. I have been raised, even bred to be at the side of the Dark Lord. How can you say I will be fighting on the side of the Light?"

"AH, young Draconis," her musical voice sounded as if she was laughing. "But it is truth. As you begin your training you will experience many visions which will explain it all. You will also come to realize the lessons you have learned from the Dark will benefit the cause of the Light in many unforeseen ways. There will come a time that you and The One will indeed fight side by side to conquer the Dark Lord who calls himself Lord Voldemort."

Returning to the present, Draco stood before the Slytherin Common Room door. "Purest of Blood," he said with conviction and walked through.

Later, after changing and preparing for his ritual, Draco left his dorm. The Slytherin common room was empty when he passed through on his way out to his favorite courtyard. That's good, he thought, I guess since curfew is extended tonight because of the feast everyone is taking advantage. Good for my purposes, they'll be otherwise occupied.

Draco exited, turned to his left. This route would take Draco to his favorite spot in Hogwarts. In the last six years he had spent many nights exploring the dungeons after curfew. Being a prefect had helped with his wanderings. During one such exploration, he had stumbled upon a staircase that traveled up into a dark recess with seemingly no outlet anywhere.

Curious, he had returned several times. Finally he discovered the secret exit out to a courtyard he had never seen before. He quickly learned that there was indeed no other entrance or exit. Draco was bent on further exploration; for instance, seeking from above while flying his Nimbus, he discovered that his favorite spot was unseen—magically warded. Awesome!

This was where he was headed on Harvest Moon night.

"ShadowPhoenix's Kat," Draco said the password that he had set. The stones evaporated into an archway. "Destination Secure," resealed the entry way once he was through.

Once the barrier was secure, Draco removed his cloak and exposed his uncharacteristic attire. He always felt more comfortable in his work out clothing but realized that many of his fellow Slytherins would not understand. Removing his dagger from its sheath attached to his thigh, he conjured his favorite protective circle of ice; stalagmites, four of which were at the points of the earth; north, south, east and west. The main points were approximately 2 meters tall.

Damn, I love playing with that, he thought. At this point he spoke his invocation to call in his visitors.

"On this night of the Harvest Moon I, Earth Warrior, Draconis, Watcher for The One, call upon Cerridwen, Warrior of Water, White Lady and Moon Goddess, I seek your great council this night . . ."

"On this night of the Harvest Moon I also call upon the Cerddorion, the Sons of Cerridwen, Taliesin, Warrior of Air, Prince of Song, Chief Bard of the West, the Way-Shower and Belenus, the Warrior of Fire, Protector and Consort of the Goddess, I seek your great council this night . . ."

"On this night of the Harvest Moon I call upon Queen Medb, Warrior Queen of Earth, Goddess of Tara and Tuatha De Dannan, and faery Queen of Connaught, I seek your great council this night."

When Draco knelt awaiting the arrival of his visitors his mind wandered to the-boy-who-lived and sensed that he was close by. Right now, however, he did not have time to focus on such feelings. The atmosphere within the circle swirled and coalesced into the warriors which he had summoned. They appeared in their animagus forms.

Draco took a deep breath of the cool night air after the Warriors and White Lady left. Letting his breath out, he realized that he wasn't alone in his courtyard. Drawing his ice dagger, he spun around. "Who dwells in the shadows of the night? Speak now, or you'll feel the ice of my dagger within your heart!" Draco's dagger glistened in the moonlight. Slowly, he lowered it as he realized it was Harry Potter. Maybe, he thought, this will help our situation. How he reacts will determine our future.

Draco studied Harry as he said…

"It is I, Harry James Potter, The One, Warrior of Light, Seeker of Knowledge, would-be-defeater of Voldemort here to acknowledge you Warrior of Earth, Draconis, Watcher of The One. Stand by me; from this Harvest Moon night…forward into battle."

Tingles traveled down Draco's spine. He nodded and said, "Perhaps we should talk. How much did you hear?"

"Since before the arrival of The White Lady," Harry answered. "How long have you been an ally and my Watcher? Why has Dumbledore kept this vital information from me?" Harry asked as he stood face to face with Draco.

"As you know," Draco said, "Dumbledore has a habit of keeping things from you. For example; the prophecy, your wizard inheritance, and several allies you should know about before we are attacked. By the way, has he told you Voldemort is planning a massive attack on Hogwarts just in time for Yule?"

"Bloody hell, no." Harry scowled. "You still haven't told me how long you've been my Watcher."

"Since I received my inheritance on my 16th birthday, shortly after Father was taken to Azkaban."

"Who are the allies you speak about?"

"Crabbe, Goyle, Zabini and Finch-Fletchley," Draco said.

Harry made a strange noise in his throat while his eyes grew large.

"There's others, but they're more a minor act compared to those four. We've been trained in martial arts, sword and knife fighting and Muggle kickboxing. By the way, we learned that last art of defense from some Muggle named Dursley, Dudley." Draco waited for a response from that last little bit of information. Well,he thought, I don't think the shocked look is a surprise to me. We can talk more about that later.

Harry sat upon a bench angry, stunned and preoccupied with his swirling maelstrom of thoughts. He hadn't felt or thought in such a manner since before he had accomplished his mastery of Occlumency.

Draco studied the-boy-who-lived. "Zabini and I are unregistered animagus. Zabini is a wolf and I'm a white panther. Yes, I know about your own animagus forms of shadow phoenix and black panther. Don't worry I haven't disclosed this information to Dumbledore. It may come as a surprise to you, but my purpose is to stand by you during this war, not specifically the Order or Dumbledore. That is why I was compelled to call in the Warriors tonight. Dumbledore has refused to pass this information on to you. He also refuses to realize that utilizing your elemental gifts air and fire would be an advantage when Voldemort attacks on Yule."

"I have difficulty controlling the fire. Air seems to be the easiest for me."

"Don't worry about that, Belenus will be visiting you and giving you practice in control and strategic ideas for using your gifts on the battlefield."

"Great," Harry mumbled. "Will he be able to assist me with Ron when he discovers this latest bit of information? Especially, when he finds out about you."

"Can I be there for that?" Draco asked with a smirk.

Chapter 2: Converged Blood Lines

After his meeting with Malfoy, Harry wandered the corridors completely lost in a haze of thought and feelings. Exhaustion had set in, but he still moved through the semidarkness. Several times he noticed the fleeting glimpse of a Slytherin green cloak passing through a portrait or a snoring occupant grumbling at Harry's presence.

Harry knew he was supposed to be in the Gryffindor common room for a meeting. However, he wasn't ready to face his friends just yet. Hermione is going to be surprised, he thought. Ron is going to…well explode would put it mildly. Damn.Looking at his watch 12:30 am.Guess I better head back.

Instead of using any short cuts available to him, he still walked along thinking. Tonight's events still stunned him. He was sure the castle had led him to that courtyard. It wasn't the first time she had guided him. The first time had been when he discovered that he was the heir to both Gryffindor and Slytherin.

He thought back to that special night when he learned his true identity…

He walked under the expanded invisibility cloak carrying amidnightsnack up to the common room. The Marauders' Map began to make strange changes they had never seen before

The lines on the map showed a whole new area of Hogwarts just off of the infamous 3rd floor corridor. Driven by curiosity, he became distracted from their errand to gather and deliver food. Even Ron wanted to investigate these new changes.


They encountered a life size portrait of Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin in the space previously occupied by the door to Fluffy's room.

Ron dropped one of the éclairs on the floor. It splattered and made an incredible mess. The sounds combined with his own "arrgh!" of frustration filled the corridor.

"Who goes there?" Godric Gryffindor asked the éclair.

Harry was so surprised he removed the cloak hood. With an ear wide grin and arched brow, he said, "Oh come on, how cliché can you get, sir?"

Salazar's grin in response was alarmingly familiar. Salazar Slytherin turned to his companion and hissed with amusement, "He is ssssooo correct, Griff."

Harry experienced a deeper connection seeing his own grin looking back at him. He turned to Ron to see if he noticed the same thing. Ron's expression showed that indeed he did.

After almost 1000 years, Harry found himself face to face with two faces so close in their appearance to his own. Salazar's emerald green eyes and grin were so uncanny—he found himself questioning his maternal family tree. That was not the full picture however, because the messy black locks upon Godric's head in combination with his strong jaw line framed the green eyes and Salazar grin upon my own face.

Who goes there? Indeed.

"I am Harry James Potter," he answered. "And my companion is Ronald Bilius Weasley. May I ask why your portrait has been previously unseen, sirs? Perhaps you're just another secret of our venerated Headmaster Dumbledore? We have both been in this corridor before and your portrait was not here."

"We can only be seen by our own heirs and anyone accompanying them," answered Godric Gryffindor. "We have only just been moved back to this location after a 100 year hiatus. How is it that you can be our heir? Where do our sangraal lines merge?" Godric Gryffindor asked as he drew his sword.

"I'm sorry sir," he said apologetically. "I cannot answer that question." Just as he finished speaking, the magic of the castle gave him a gift. In midair Godric's sword and Salazar's dagger appeared right before him.

His next question was directed to Ron. "I thought we've always been told Voldemort is the heir of Slytherin, was everyone right in second year?"

Ron shrugged.

Harry came back to the present. The Fat Lady arched a brow at him waiting.

"Sangraal line." He stepped through the portal.

"Of course Harry's late again, Neville," Hermione said. "He's become more obsessive about his work lately. You know we accept it as a consequence of these dark times."

"Hey, guys, sorry for being so late," Harry said. "The castle has given me another surprise tonight. I know you want to hear about it, but I'm exhausted. Need sleep. Can we reschedule our meeting for tomorrow after classes? Say, in the Lion's Den at 3:00?"

"Sure, Harry," Neville said. "We'll see you tomorrow."

Harry ignored their concerned looks and climbed the stairs to his dorm. He fell onto his four poster bed, exhausted. Muttering a spell, he transfigured his clothing into pajamas and curled up on the blanket on his bed. The slumber which he had thought about hours ago took him. He didn't even know when a blanket appeared in midair and rested upon him.

Further response of the beloved Hogwarts—the bed curtains closed. The action was accompanied by a bright white light of protection that the castle had recently acquired to assist him in dreamless slumber. Harry was her heir; her son, the very essence of her continued future.

Harry went through the paces of his classes the next day seemingly in another world. He did notice Draco watching him during lunch and Charms but simply decided this should no longer be a surprise or negative concern. If he really thought about their history, they had always noticed the presence of each other—even as far back as Madam Malkin's before first year.

Charms class would have been routine except that Theodore Nott had attempted to place a charm on Ron that would make his hair Slytherin green.

Ron simply countered the charm--turning Nott's clothing green.

"Inappropriate wand use!" scolded Professor Flitwick. He removed the spell from Nott and promptly given them both detention.

At lunch Hermione sat with a grin. "I have a nick name for Ron."

Ron grumbled something, but was distracted by the treacle tarts.

"Later then," Harry said and up to see Neville approaching. "Hey, Neville."

"Hey, Harry. I just left the hospital wing. Luna won't make the meeting because Madame Pomfrey sedated her. She had a vision this morning in the Charms corridor. Did you see it?"

"No. was it bad?"

"Not sure," Neville said. "Didn't get a chance to talk to her. I wonder what she saw this time."

Hermione paused with her pumpkin midway to her mouth. "Will she be alright?"

"I think so," Neville said and nodded. "Madame Pomfrey says she will sleep through until tomorrow morning. She'll be able to leave the infirmary then."

Harry listened closely. He had never told them about his prophecy in its entirety, believing that it had been a necessary precaution to protect them. He did have some secrets from his best friends. It was an unfortunate consequence of being a weapon of war. Luna's visions had on several occasions mirrored his prophecy; however, she was unaware of it.

Harry arrived at the Lion's Den ten minutes before three. He greeted Griff and Salz with a smile. "Unity," he said. Harry wanted to arrive before the others so he could gather his thoughts. Godric Gryffindor's former chambers were perfect for that. He had a lot to tell everyone and was still unsure how he would proceed. Unity hopefully would have a stronger meaning after this meeting.

Precisely at three the portal swung open to admit Ron, 'Mione, Ginny and Neville. Dobby popped in to bring tea, snacks and butterbeer. Harry had asked him to come by because he was unsure how long the meeting would take. Refreshments would hopefully smooth over the news Harry had to give everyone.

Well, he thought, I hope I am not becoming like Dumbledore. Politeness is all well and good but sometimes I think he uses cheering charms on the goodies he conjures at a moment's notice, if not at least on his lemon drops.

"Hi everyone," Harry said. "Take a seat and we'll get started. Thanks Dobby for the refreshments, I'll call if we need anything else," Harry sat at the round table situated in the center of the common room.

"You is very welcome, Mister Harry Potter, sir. Dobby is doing anything the great wizard Harry Potter wants."

"Thank you, Dobby." Harry said, resigned to his place in Dobby's perceptions.

Dobby bowed low and popped out.

He cleared his throat and said, "I seem to vaguely recall telling you last night that the castle gave me another surprise. I wasn't dreaming, was I?"

Everyone shook their heads no.

Harry took deep breath; he was definitely going to need it. "Last night after my workout I went for another guided walk." As he spoke, he gave Ron significant look indicating that it was similar to the one which had led them to this very room. "I found myself in a courtyard which I had never seen before."

"Harry?" Hermione asked, "how can that be?"

"Yes, 'Mione," Harry said nodding to emphasis his point. "I had never seen this courtyard and no itn't on the map. That wasn't the biggest surprise of the night though." Harry looked around at everyone's inquisitive looks and decided he just couldn't sit during this announcement. He got up and began pacing in front of the fireplace.

Godric Gryffindor appeared in the portrait over the mantel. Harry sent him a pensive look which only served to increase everyone's curiosity.

"Okay, you two," Ron said with a low growl. "What are you trying to tell us and why does it require both of you to give us this message?"

"Tell me Ron," Godric said with a smirk. "Are you sure you are not descended from Rowena?"

Ron glared and became more irritated. "Do not to change the subject, Griff."

"The thing is this," Harry said and took a deep breath and plunged into his speech before they could get carried away. "Dumbledore has kept yet another secret. One that could change the outcome of this war. We have allies throughout the castle that we would not have ever thought about. They are affiliated with the Order; that is why Dumbledore has kept us in the dark about it. Since he would not allow you to become members, we all know that I declined membership myself."

"You could change your mind," Ginny said.

"No. I won't partially due to his refusal to admit all of you. Besides, I have kept my own council about what information I've decided to share with him. As an Order member, I would have been required, from his perspective at least, to tell all. Since I tend to trust with caution I declined his request. His control issues where my privacy is concerned was also an important."

Neville took a sip of his butterbeer and watched Harry as he pace. "Okay, Harry who're you talking about and why will it affect the outcome of the war?"

Harry paused in his pacing to get a cookie and butterbeer. After a bite, he answered. "They will change the outcome because," Harry stopped in mid-sentence to take a deep breath, "most of them are Slytherins."

"Bloody hell," Ron interjected. "Harry, please don't tell us what I think you are going to. Slytherins are not going to be willing to help the Light. Besides, you said yourself you don't trust easily." Ron stood at this point; his red hair electrified as it stood out from his head in anger. He looked up and noticed that Salazar Slytherin was conspicuous in his absence from the portrait.

"It is true, Ron," Ginny said with a shake of her head. "Luna saw it this morning. She kept saying 'Draco help Harry, please,' over and over again. Madame Pomfrey had to sedate her to calm her down. She scared everyone who was in the Charms corridor. Well, everyone except Draco and I. He was there, too. Actually the one who took her to the hospital wing."

"Bloody hell, it'll never happen!" Ron roared.

"Ron, calm down," Neville said with calm solidness while watching Harry. While Ron's hair was electrified; Harry was a different matter altogether.

Black and green flames surrounded Harry. The angry energy between Ron and Harry fed the flames. "Calm down!" Neville said again. "It'll take all of us to bring Harry's flames under control. Transform now, Ron. DO. IT."

"'Mione and Ginny, please talk to him and try to help him calm down," Neville said. "I'm going to transform also." Neville was hardly finished when he transformed into his lion form and began talking to Harry in the language of the cat. Their feline connection allowed the communication.

Slowly the flames began to recede until only Harry's head and shoulders showed fire. At that point, Ron could get close enough to lick Harry's hand, his own way of calming and cooling Harry.

Hermione and Ginny continued to talk, trying to get him to reduce the fire even more. Harry's cookie now lay in ashes on the floor along with his melted bottle of butterbeer. A haze of smoke filled the chamber with the odor of burned chocolate chips and butterbeer.

Hermione led the calmer Harry to a seat. Ginny cast a cleaning spell to clear away the mess and odor. Neville transformed as Ron lay on the hearth rug with his ears back. A whine emitted in the back of his throat.

"Ron," Harry stressed his point forward, "it is true that I don't trust easily. I even understand you are even more stubborn in that area than I." He noticed at this comment there were several smirks around them. "However," he said, "what I witnessed cannot under any circumstances be forged into some plot to bring me down. What I witnessed was real."

Harry decided that that was enough for now. Everyone would just have to let the information sink in; after all he had slept on it himself. He decided to change the subject and atmosphere in the chamber. Harry turned to Hermione. "Didn't you say at lunch that you had some ideas for a nickname for Ron?"

"Yes, I did. I've even added another one after this incident," she said to the dog lying on the hearth rug.

"humph . . . grrr"

"First," Hermione said, "I came up with Blitz. It is a moniker for red dogand can also mean 'a sudden overwhelming bombardment,' for instance an advertising blitz. Of course we all know that Ron can often be such a bombardment, this is probably why he is such a great Keeper in Quidditch." 'Mione grinned and continued, "But then I came up with something that I thought would be even better."

Harry noticed her grin had widened and a mischievous twinkle appeared in her eyes.

"Clifford or Cliff for a shorter version."

Harry sipped from a new bottle of butterbeer, but it all came back out when he sputtered and started laughing. The more he looked at Ron on the rug the harder he laughed. Hermione joined in by now and even Neville laughed.

An angry growl from Ron—now in his human form—brought Harry and Hermione back to the moment. However, they simply couldn't hide their mirth from Ron.

"What exactly is so funny about the name Clifford or Cliff?" Ron growled. "I don't like either of them but I fail to see the humor in any of this."

"It is a Muggle thing," Neville said once he realized that even suppressed mirth made it difficult for Harry and 'Mione to answer. "Clifford the Bid Red Dogis a series of Muggle children's books. My gran found some in Flourish and Blotts once; they had been delivered there by accident. She bought the whole set for me when I was about five years old. Cute little books if you're into that sort of thing."

"Wait, I'm not…finished," laughed 'Mione. "There's more." She tried to calm down. "My freshest idea is Cayan.It's an old folk term for cayenne pepper. As in; red, hot, spicy and can even be a blitz of heat from our perspective." A tiny smile graced her face.

"Cayan, it is then," said both Harry and Neville at the same time. Their eyes met and grins grew. "So be it," Harry added. Ron from this day forward would be known as Cayan by his cronies; nothing could or would change it.

Chapter 3:Two Cats & a Courtyard

Draco stood in front of his mirror gazing at his reflection.I can't believe I've finally lost some of the stress I've carried lately off my chest tonight when I talked to Harry. Look at your reflection Draco; you look like you've been hit by bludger. Hot shower may help.

Hot steam embraced him. Rivets of hot water massaged the kinks out of his tired body. He found himself wondering if Potter had told the rest of his circle the news yet. At any rate, if the news got back to Dumbledore he would be sure to call Draco to his office and give him a lecture about keeping the Order's secrets. Draco needed to figure out what he was going say about that.

He didn't think the issue of Harry's elemental gifts was strictly Order business. Especially since he'd discovered Harry was already trying to gain better control of his gifts. Harry had kept this information from Dumbledore. It seemed as though Harry didn't have the absolute trust in the old codger that everyone thought.

Maybe the rumors were true: the Golden Boy had turned down membership in the Order. The question in Draco's mind—when had the schism begun and just how deep did it go? It seemed as if it had been there at least since the beginning of sixth year.

Ah, he thought, the death of Sirius Black and the prophecy; that's probably when it started.Draco's Watcher duties didn't actually start till Sept. 1st and much had apparently already been set into place by that time.

Argh! This isn't helping! Draco scolded himself in his thoughts, Clear your mind…so many thoughts…Harry…standing in the shadows…beautiful. Why is it that all I want to do is forget the way his emerald eyes looked when the moon reflected off of the ice stalagmites. Draco's thoughts were interrupted by a feral groan. It came from somewhere deep inside. Everything, about Harry's face glowed with an intensity that rivaled the moon itself.

The visual memory of Harry finally won out.

Moaning, Draco allowed the resulting thoughts of Harry in the courtyard to come freely. You've known you feel this way for ten month. This is no time to weaken to attraction; don't give in to hormones. Right focus on the task at hand; helping Harry work with fire. Practice with determination and intention. Hopefully, Belenus will put in an appearance soon. We don't have much time left.

Sighing, he leaned his hands against the shower's wall while the water cascaded over him—easing his tension slightly.

Contemplation deepened his thoughts. He was suddenly overcome with flashing visions of Death Eaters attacking a Muggle neighborhood. The atrocities performed made him tremble and fall to the floor. Within the grip of the vision, his eyes rolled back into his head. He had seen this many times before; however, that did not change his physical and mental reactions. Draco lay passed out on the wet floor covered with goose bumps. Blood seeped from a cut on his head where he hit it as he fell. "Draco, how long do you need when you take a shower?" Blaise yelled. "Draco?"

No answer.

"Draco…damn!" Blaise swore when he saw Draco on the shower floor, "Justin, get Greg and Vince now. Draco come on, wake up man. We gotta get you outta here." Blaise was torn between shaking Draco and trembling in fear. He realized he needed to stay calm. Finding Draco like this spiked his concern.

Blaise turned the cold water off and conjured a warm blanket. "Wake up, Draco." It was usually a bad sign when they couldn't bring Draco out of one of his visions. His friend's eyes were closed and very active behind the lids.

He shook his head. "What the hell is going on around here anyway?" he muttered. "Something big must be in the works." He looked up when Vince and Justin finally came in. "Vince, thank Merlin, I can't get him to come around. The water was still turned on and was cold when I found him. That must mean he was passed out for a while. He's been in here for close to an hour."

"Let's get him to his bed so he'll at least be warmer," Justin said.

"I already put a warming charm on the blanket when I conjured it." Blaise smirked. "Get your mind out of the gutter, Justin. This is no time to allow your flagrant, out there for everyone to see, hormones dictating your mind. You would think that hanging around Slytherins you'd pick up some of our bloody traits. Subtlety?"

Justin winced, but then shrugged. "Yeah. Like you don't think the same thing. Who needs subtlety?"

They levitated Draco to his bed and made sure he was tucked in warmly.

When Draco woke he found himself in bed with the hangings around his large bed closed. He didn't remember how he got there. He gasped suddenly when he remembered his latest vision.

Bloody hell! What time is it? He pulled the hangings around his bed aside to see his clock glimmering in the darkness, 3:49 am. Taking a deep breath, he lifted the covers to get up. Something akin to shock passed through him when he realized he wasn't wearing the usual silk boxers, the only attire he slept in. Bloody hell,he thought again, how did I get here?

Draco dressed and went to his desk. He needed to write a note to a friend. Someone, that no one in their right Slytherin mind would ever suspect him of having.


Please take your family and leave. Use information you already have.
I will contact you later with specifics.

Safe Journey,


P.S. The fire burns well.

That should cover it.Draco decided that he would take the missive up to the owlery immediately. He could use a good run. After exiting his room, he shifted into panther form and began his workout. Running up to the owlery as fast as his four paws could carry him, he arrived with high adrenalin.

He grinned when he saw the reaction of a few owls that had spent the night roosting. Then he transformed and whistled for his favorite eagle owl, Horus. On swift wings the bird floated down to see Draco. "Hey boy," Draco crooned, "please take this urgent message to D. He will not be expecting you this time but I'm sure he will be grateful for the visit. Safe journey, my friend."

Draco made a point of stopping by the headmaster's office on his way back to the dungeons to give Professor Dumbledore an update. Maybe he would be able to save some of the other Muggles. Little kids, Muggle or not should not have to die that way.

When Draco arrived in the Slytherin common room Vince was gathering his books for the morning's classes. Nodding in greeting, he walked toward the corridor leading to his dorm.

"You better hurry, Draco," Vince said, "at this rate you're going to miss breakfast."

"Been there already," Draco said grinning. "I left you some, in case you're worried."

"I'm not worried," Vince said with easy banter, "we all know you eat like a bird in the morning."

"Maybe it has something to do with his whole Best-Looking-Slytherin-Prince look, Crabbe," Pansy said in her high bitchy voice. "We all know he must watch his figure." Her hands reached out for Draco as though they were magnets attracted to another magnet.

UGH! I don't think so, Parkinson, Draco thought and he stepped out of her range. "Not now, Pansy. As Vince already pointed out, I'm running late and need to go. I'm sure you can enjoy breakfast without my gorgeous self present. Catch you up later." Draco turned away with a tilt of his head in her direction telling Vince to keep a close eye on her. He would speak with the others about the new information later, after Potions class would have to do.

Students gathered outside the Potions classroom for N.E.W.T. level Potions. The last to arrive were the Gryffindors; Potter, Granger and Longbottom.

Draco watched them approach in the reflection of Pansy's pocket mirror while she primped. He waited. When Harry came closer, Draco bumped Pansy with his elbow.

Pansy fell backward.

"Watch it!" Blaise grabbed her arm while covering Draco's action as he bumped into Potter. Confusion and mass muddle in the hallway ensued. Message passed, mission accomplished.

Professor Snape opened the classroom door and came out with his trade mark glare on his face. "Potter, what are you doing? Twenty points from Gryffindor for creating so much noise in the hall between classes. Inside everyone, now." Professor Snape stepped to the side so that everyone could pass by him.

Harry walked into the classroom with Neville and found his seat in the middle of the room. He had always sat in the back of the room with Ron in previous years. Not anymore. Ron had decided to switch to basic healing this year. So he and Neville had been paired up by Professor Snape; apparently with hopes of creating disasters in class.

This plan of Snape's had failed. Both Harry and Neville worked diligently together and both were passing potions.

Harry waited until the rest of the class became focused on today's assignment. Neville went to the cupboard to get the required ingredients. He opened the message from Draco.

It was art.

That is to say that there was an image of two panthers; one black, one white in the center of a beautiful courtyard under a waning moon. The strokes that made up the fountain base contained a figure 8 within its pattern. He looked up and saw Draco with his usual sneer in place. Harry pushed his glasses up over his forehead and rubbed the bridge of his nose while nodding acceptance of the scheduled meeting.

Draco gazed around his dorm room at Vince, Greg, Blaise and Justin. They came when he summoned them curious at his secretive behavior. "Thanks for coming."

"Sure," they answered in unison.

Draco snapped his fingers and said, "Dobby."

"Yes, sir?

"Tea and butterbeer for five this evening, Dobby."

"Yes, sir." Dobby left and returned moments later with a tray of tea, snacks and butterbeer. "Will that be all, sir?"

"Yes, Dobby."

Dobby left with another soft pop.

"Okay, listen up everyone," Draco said. "We have a lot to cover this afternoon so we should get started. Today's agenda is important because in the last Order meeting we received intelligence that Voldemort plans to attack on Yule."

"I realize that I'm from Hufflepuff," Justin said with arched brows. "But I still wonder about the ethics sharing this info with us. Shouldn't you be concerned about what Dumbledore will say if he finds out?"

"Justin, as a Hufflepuff," Draco drawled, "you should realize this information is vital to the continued existence of this establishment. Hogwarts must survive. I know you understand the basic strategy we're working on simply because you've furnished much of the information we needed. What I don't understand—perhaps because I am in Slytherin, is why you would question us. We know that you are just as cunning and ambitious as us. If you weren't Muggleborn, you'd have most likely been sorted into Slytherin."

"Yeah, right." But Jason did nod in understanding and took a sip of his butterbeer.

"Okay, back to the plan," Draco said. "We must answer to a higher power if we're to survive. Dumbledore has his own sense of experience and cunning. However, he is wrapped up in his manipulations of Potter." Draco paused and took a drink before continuing, "Even his refusal to work with Potter's elemental gifts is based on that manipulation. All which is grounded in fear of the unknown. That fear can result in Dumbledore's own form of darkness. We must realize it is better to light a match, than to curse the darkness. We must move forward. I have already begun the process of uniting our two factions. I have a meeting set up for tonight in the courtyard at 8:00."

"How does he know where the courtyard is, Draco?" Blaise asked.

"He found me Harvest Moon night when I summoned the Warriors. Potter heard everything. He knows I've been his Watcher since my 16th birthday, that we're a group, and about our special training. This is actually an advantage because I was concerned about how to approach him with info about the pending attack. Dumbledore seems to want to tell him at a later time, probably closer to Yule."

"When you summoned the Warriors," Vince said, "what did they say we should do about Dumbledore?"

"Nothing." Draco shrugged. "The Warriors will contact Potter in their own unique way. His training will begin then. They understand the urgency; as a matter of fact they were displeased Potter hasn't received his training yet. They didn't specify what they'd do about the headmaster. Perhaps their personal plans won't factor Dumbledore into the end game. We all know it will come down to Potter and Voldemort. It's our job to ensure Potter's success."

Greg Goyle nodded at that last statement. "What are we going to do about Pansy? She's asking questions about your disappearances and she even heard about your vision this morning. To top that, she bullied a second year into telling her about what happened with Luna Lovegood and how you took her to the infirmary this morning after she had another vision. And what is up with that anyway, two people with visions in one day? What's going on?"

Draco placed his butterbeer on the table and stood. "I had a vision of a Muggle community being attacked. It concerned our sparring partner. I've already dispatched a warning. Luna's vision was of the final battle. Unfortunately, she was in the corridor when it happened. Since she has no control over her visions she started talking about Potter and me. She requested that I help Potter. As to any problem regarding what Luna said, simply remind Pansy that we think of her as Loony Lovegood. She doesn't need to know we understand and give credence to any of her visions. Pansy will jump on her bandwagon of bigotry and ride with it. If you must bring me into to the equation, tell her I was merely cleaning the hall of the disturbance. Headboy duties."

"Now that's out of the way…" Draco turned to Justin. "Justin, have you had any luck with recruiting Mandy Brocklehurst? As much as I wish this would end at Yule, we're in need of at least one more healer within our ranks. It's my understanding she wishes to be a mediwitch when she leaves Hogwarts. I've also heard she receives high marks in her healing classes. The Weasleys simply will not be enough."

Justin grinned. "She was all set to run to Dumbledore to join the Order. That was before I told her it is necessary to have a special dispensation to get in before graduation. Then I mentioned that with her grades and any volunteer work for students during a time of crisis would serve to boost her chances of getting into the training program at St. Mungos. I also told her that in a crisis she would be working by Pomfrey's side. She's planning on talking to the nurse after her next healing class."

"Well done, Justin," Draco said. "Also, thanks for being a liaison between the other houses for us. Vince, do you have anything further to report?"

"Not at this time, Draco," Vince said.

"Ok, then we are done here for now," Draco said as he stood. "I have to get ready for my meeting with Potter. I'll let you know tomorrow how that goes and whether Belenus has begun his training." Draco wanted to change clothes; he didn't want to wear school robes for his meeting with Harry.

Draco gazed at his reflection and contemplated his black jeans and black tee with a silver dragon on the back shoulder coming over onto the left side of his chest. He had found the shirt in a Muggle shop during the summer after an intense workout with D. That day would always stick out in his mind because he had to hide in the fitting room when Potter came into the store. He smirked. He had been mad at himself for hiding, but he didn't want Potter to find him in the Muggle store. There would have been questions about finding the pureblood in Muggleville. Tonight he would have to face some of those questions.

Someone knocked on the door. Draco opened it with every intention of stepping out and leaving for his destination. He had already thrown a cloak on. The exit was blocked by Pansy. She frowned at him, but he wasn't interested in her facial expression at the moment. "What is it now, Pansy?" he asked brusquely and closed his door. He placed a silent personal ward on it.

"Oh, Draco," she crooned and stepped closer. "You look so good. Where are you off to?" She ran her fingers up his sleeve.

"Nowhere that you'd be interested in. If you wanted to talk about the Potions assignment, you should've come by earlier. I'm on my way out."

Pansy leaned in and spoke in closer. "And I see you don't want to tell me where you're going—again, Draco." Giving him a pouting look, she continued, "How many times do you think I'll put up with you walking away from our date without telling your father?" She tried to kiss his neck.

Draco did not want to meet Potter smelling like Pansy's offensive perfume. Reaching his hand over, he squeezed her hand as he pulled it away from his sleeve. He said firmly, "We don't have a date, Pansy. I'm late."

"Draco! Oh…there you are. Why are you taking so long?" Blaise stepped up to them and then he finally saw Pansy. "Ah yes, well…" he said with a look at Draco, "are you ready?"

"Yes." Draco walked away with Blaise. Once they reached the common room Draco said, "Thanks for that, can you make yourself scarce for awhile?"

"Sure, no problem." They exited the common room together; after the portal closed Blaise went to the right, Draco to the left.

Draco really hated being late. He took the stairs three at a time and stopped at the wall. I hope he waited; he thought then said the password, "Shadow Phoenix's Kat." He stepped into his favorite spot at Hogwarts and turned to be sure the entry was sealed. "Destination Secure." He felt the piercing gaze on his back before he turned around.

The moonlit courtyard was peaceful in its own unique beauty.

Draco turned slowly to see the a sleek black panther with brilliant emerald eyes. His breath hitched. Merlin! He spread his hands to indicate that he had no weapon; then Draco raised his hands to the clasp on his cloak. He wanted to remove the essence of Pansy's presence from the evening. He laid the folded cloak on the bench and turned to the beautiful animal before him.

With a tip of his head, a soft breath and closure of his eyes he shifted into Icekat to show Potter that he trusted him. Now, if only Potter would return that trust.


Reviews are like Chocolate Frogs . . . there is a surprise card in each package.
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Blanket Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Co. and all other characters within Potter World do not belong to me. No infringement is intended. I am making no money here; just having fun. Kudos and blessings to the literary genius JKR. This disclaimer is meant to be effective throughout this whole fic. Where mentioned it also includes Pepsi, India Spice Tea and the Psycho Balistics Delta .68 and last but not least, the Clifford the Big Red Dog book series. Use of these names is solely for entertainment purposes and isn't an endorsement of the product. I am making no money from them either.