Chapter 57 - With a Few Tweaks

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Because they had been busy with their own projects, even Draco had missed that certain people had been conspiring. The first either he or Harry knew about it was when Hermione and Ron came to visit them on Sunday evening.

Harry had insisted on working on the Transferers all afternoon and, since his time limit was up, Draco had gone along with it. They were making up the blanks that Fred and George would work on. The plan was, Harry would put the foundation of the spell matrix into the devices, Fred and George would add their security measures and Harry would add the final piece of his part of the spell just before they were allocated to the individuals who would use them.

It was the safest way they could think to go about things.

Then of course they would have to teach people to use them. According to Ron it would take practice to do what Draco and Harry found completely natural.

"We missed you at dinner," Hermione said after the initial greetings.

"We were running late so we nipped into the kitchen," Harry replied. "There weren't any earth shattering announcements were there?"

"Only a missing toad," Ron replied, "and no, it's not Trevor."

"You do realise that everyone has noticed you two are up to something again," Hermione went on.

"Of course," Draco replied, "the Hufflepuff are running a betting pool on what miracle Harry's going to pull off next."

"Isn't that more of a Slytherin thing to do?" Harry asked.

"Everyone trusts Hufflepuffs to be impartial," Draco said and grinned, "and not to run off with their money. I also started a rumour about true love spells and another one about universal healing. It should keep everyone guessing."

"Universal healing?" Harry sounded confused.

"It's one of those Holy Grail type goals," Hermione chipped in. "Healers have been trying to reproduce the effect of Phoenix tears for generations and sounds like just the kind of thing you'd try and do, especially after raising the dead."

"I didn't ..." Harry started to say and then sighed instead. "I get it," he added.

Draco patted him fondly on the arm as Hermione placed a piece of parchment on the table.

"What's this?" Harry asked, looking down.

Scanning it quickly, Draco realised it was a list of names, quite a few very familiar ones.

"All the people who want to take the Hecatemae bond oath, Mate," Ron said very plainly.

Draco was shocked, but realised immediately that he shouldn't have been. He looked at the list again and a large number of the names were Gryffindors and it was a terribly Gryffindor thing to do. Some of the names, however, he had not expected to see.

"That's only for mentors," Harry said and Draco could feel his soulmate's confusion.

"But it protected you and it protected Hilde," Hermione said in a perfectly reasonable tone. "All of us know things about you and Draco and what you're doing, things that could be useful to the Death Eaters. None of us have been targeted yet, but it's only a matter of time. If we take the oath we become useless to them."

Harry opened his mouth and then closed it again, staring down at the list. It was clear he had no idea what to say.

"We don't expect an answer tonight," Ron added, "but think about it okay, Harry?"

"We'll discuss it," Draco said, all too aware Harry was working himself up to completely appalled by the idea.

Draco could see what their friends were getting at, but he wasn't so sure either.

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