Fred and George were, without a doubt, two of the finest magical device makers on the face of the planet, Harry was sure. The package had come by owl Wednesday morning and after the school day was over Harry had immediately retreated to his and Draco's room to look it over. Unfortunately, Draco was stuck with a couple of his students, but Harry couldn't wait.
He emptied the parcel onto their desk. The contents looked like pretty nondescript metal discs with a W and a P monogrammed into the front, but Harry wasn't just looking with his eyes. Each one showed the intricate lattice of very complex spell-work; they were beautiful. There were twenty in all and a letter.
"Harry ole chum,
Here is the first batch, all ready for your little prank war. Once you cast your magic on them the charms will go into standby ready to be activated as requested. Then the joke will be on them ;).
Fred and George
P.S. you only get one chance at your end so we packed extra."
Harry really, really wanted to share everything with Draco, but he knew he couldn't yet. They had agreed that they were keep their bond at the unconscious level when they could while the other was dealing with school work because neither of them wanted to distract the other at an important moment.
They were still acutely aware of each other and could open up at a moment's notice, but Harry did his very best to reign in his enthusiasm.
[Okay,] Draco's voice sounded dryly in his head, [I'm done, you can gush now.]
Clearly Harry had not being doing as good a job as he had hoped at keeping his exuberance to himself.
[Fred and George have outdone themselves,] he said. [The spell work on these is incredible. We owe them big time.]
So Harry did. Draco could not see magic the way he could with his own eyes, but he loved to share his unique outlook with his soulmate.
[Looks like it's time to make some decisions then,] Draco said afterwards and Harry could only agree.
* * *
The discussion had gone something like:
"So how many Weasleys are going on this list?"
"For now just Ron and the twins."
"But they're as good as your family."
"And if we get a chance to do more, we'll add them, but for now just Ron and the twins."
"Which members of staff?"
"I think you're forgetting someone important first."
"But she won't be involved in the defence of Hogwarts."
"No, she just happens to have become the Light's greatest ally among the previously grey purebloods. This could save her life."
Which was why Draco had invited his mother to tea the next Saturday afternoon. Their room was the second most secure location in Hogwarts after the headmaster's study, because Draco had made sure with Harry looking on, but heaven knew what privacy wards were on Dumbledore's domain from the dawn of time.
Draco had been very vague in his letter to his mother, but he had made sure she realised it was not just a casual invitation. Of course she had replied, playing the doting mother to the full. When she had first arrived they had even played at a normal family visit for a while, showing her around Hogwarts and where they were working etcetera etcetera. However now they had retired to the new staff wing.
"So, Darling," his mum said as soon as the door was shut and all the protections snapped into place, "what is it you wish to speak to me about?"
"This," Draco said and placed one of the Transferring devices on the coffee table; they really needed to come up with a proper name for them at some point. 'Transferring devices' sounded clunky, but 'Transferrers' had too many 'ers' for Draco's liking.
Narcissa picked up the small disc and turned it over in her hand. Of course she did not ask the obvious question, merely looking at Draco to request he go on.
"It will allow you to move from one place to another at will, even if there are anti-Apparition wards up," Draco said.
"Except the Ministry or Hogwarts at the moment," Harry added.
"We will need to teach you to use it, but it shouldn't take long," Draco continued.
"Anyone who can Apparate shouldn't have a problem," Harry finished.
Draco's mum examined the disc again.
"What have you boys been up to?" she asked, not even trying to hide how impressed she was.
"Well," Draco said and launched into the explanation of Harry's accidental discovery.
His mum was just like Draco in that she wanted to know all the details, which they were quite happy to provide. It took about half an hour to explain everything.
"Quite remarkable," was her conclusion when they had finished, and Draco couldn't help being a little proud of his mother's reaction. "I would be most gratified to learn this new technique."
The way Harry smiled said it all for Draco.
"Brilliant," Harry said. "We're planning a meeting for this evening, can you stay? If not we can work something else out."
"I will have to make a short call," she replied, "but I believe that is very possible."
"I'll make arrangements for dinner," Draco offered and stood up.
It was always best to warn the house elves about guests.
"Thank you, Darling," his mum said. "Oh, and Harry, I have something for you," she added as Draco turned away.
He turned back immediately at the tone of her voice. When his mum pulled a small folder from her handbag his heart fell.
"Thank you," Harry said, taking the folder as it was passed to him.
Draco knew what kind of thing it would contain and he also knew he couldn't get to it before Harry opened it.
"Oh," Harry said in delight.
Draco steeled himself and looked over Harry's shoulder. There, in what was a foldable leather photo frame, were two photos. One was a perfectly normal one of him as a small boy simply waving at the camera. It was the second one that was the problem. He clearly had not been aware of his mother taking the picture and he was standing on a box next to one of the kitchen tables, cheerfully mixing something in a bowl. More of whatever it was seemed to be on him and flying into the air than actually being mixed, however.
He was mortified.
"You were adorable," Harry said and Draco decided to go and die quietly in a corner.
"You are not putting that anywhere anyone else can see it," he said in his best no-nonsense tone.
"But it would look so nice on the bedside table," Harry said.
Draco began to calculate what spells his mother would have put on the frame against accidental damage and how he might be able to get round them to destroy the thing.
[I know what you're thinking,] Harry told him with a smile.
* * *
The Room of Requirement was locked up tighter than an octopus in a body bind and there were thirteen people inside: Harry and Draco; Ron, Hermione, Snape, McGonagall, Pansy, Hilde, Fred, George, Narcissa, Sirius and Remus. It was not the full group of people they hoped to teach their new technique to, but it was as many as Draco thought Harry could activate at one time. They had plans to expand later.
Some knew why they were there and others didn't, which was probably why Snape was looking somewhat annoyed. Dumbledore had been invited as well, but had politely declined, saying that he was too old to learn new tricks. Harry suspected it was more to do with the fact that Dumbledore had more up his sleeve than any of the rest of them anyway. He had no proof that Hogwarts let the Headmaster do things it wouldn't let anyone else do, but he had his suspicions.
"Good evening," Harry greeted once the protections fell into place, "thank you for coming and sorry for being so mysterious."
"I assume you have good reason, Gentlemen," Professor McGonagall said with a small smile.
"We do," Draco replied, inclining his head. "As some of you already know, during the summer Harry discovered something rather significant: a new way to travel distances without traversing the space in between."
"We call it Transferring," Harry added, "and we are keeping it a secret because, unlike Apparating, there are many places with no defences again it."
"Are you saying the Ministry and Hogwarts are defenceless against this new technique?" Snape all but demanded.
"No," Draco replied for them, "that's in hand, but at the moment the new protections can only be put up by Harry. We almost have a solution and there are some very discrete people from the Ministry working on it with us, but the point is moot at the moment, since there is no way for anyone without Harry's senses to Transfer."
"Unspeakables," Harry heard Hermione mutter, as ever, she was right.
Harry walked over and pulled the cloth off the table they had laid out to one side.
"At least not without one of these," he said.
"You have created devices that would allow anyone to enter and leave anywhere they wish regardless of security measures?" Snape sounded as if he thought that was the most foolish idea he had ever heard.
"Ah, but Professor," Draco said, "they only work when activated by Harry and the first time they are used they are keyed to a person's specific magical signature. They will only work for the person they were keyed to. We'd like to key one to each of you and teach all of you how to use them for emergency purposes."
Sirius was looking thoroughly impressed.
"When, by Merlin, did you have time to do all of this?" he asked, following Harry to the table to get a closer look.
"Heh, who needs sleep," Harry said with a grin.
"Apparently not anyone at Hogwarts," Draco said in a very put upon tone.
Of course Harry knew Draco was as focused on this as he was.
"We would like to teach all of you how to Transfer," he said, "for the moment, just for extreme emergencies."
"Specifically life and death emergencies," Draco added, "as you can all understand why keeping this advantage to ourselves could be very important."
Snape looked almost rebellious.
"And you think it wise that I have this information?" the man snapped.
"Actually, Professor," Harry said as plainly as he knew how, "it was you who came to mind first when life and death emergencies were mentioned."
"We don't plan to allow any of these out of Hogwarts for now, except one," Draco said before Snape could respond, "but we want all of you to know how to use one. Later on we hope to come up with a way to disguise them as well, but we're not sure about interfering with the magic. Fred and George helped us create these and Ron has been very helpful as our test subject and he's going to help us teach all of you, if you are willing."
No one objected.
"So how does it work?" Remus asked with his usual quiet intensity.
"It uses the same technique as Apparating," Draco said, "only a different route to the end result."
Then he looked at Harry with a small smile and Harry knew the rest of the explanation was up to him.
"Apparating blows a hole in reality," Harry said; "it's barbaric and I hate it and now Draco is going to laugh at my sensibilities."
"I would never," Draco said with mock innocence.
"Transferring uses the same method to change the person doing it into energy, move it and then change them back again, but it doesn't need the hole, it uses the connections between all things, the energy memory if you will," Harry explained. "These devices allow someone without my abilities to access the energy memory matrix. They activate with a spell and then you have to concentrate the same way you would when Apparating."
"Astonishing," Professor McGonagall said and Harry did his very best not to feel embarrassed at the praise.
Draco appeared to be enjoying every second, however.
"Thank you, Professor," Draco said.
"The part we helped..," Fred said.
"...sort out, is keying them..," George added.
"...to an individual person," Fred finished.
"When the device is first activated," Draco said, "the person's magic interacts with that of the device causing it to change. From then on only the person who used it originally will be able to use it again because the magic only works with their magical signature."
"Oh, like an encryption key," Hermione said.
"Exactly," George said. "Without the key..."
"...nothing makes sense," Fred said.
"Gentlemen," Professor McGonagall said, facing the twins, "if only you had remained to take your NEWTs I am sure you would have received top marks."
"Ah, but Professor," they both said, "we're only this good when we're fascinated."
"I think perhaps we have simply been underestimating your skills," Professor McGonagall replied. "We should have pushed you harder."
The twins just shrugged as one.
"Nothing you could have done..," Fred said.
"...about the Pink Terror, though," George finished.
Harry watched his ex-head of house close her eyes, count and relax; clearly she still had issues with Umbridge.
"Who would like to go first?" he asked and indicated the devices. "We have to do it one at a time because I have to activate the spell matrix."
"Sign me up," Sirius said and Harry grinned at his godfather.
This was going to be fun.
* * *
"So," Harry said, putting the box with the Travelling devices under their table, "what does the Wizarding world think of threesomes?"
Draco's impression of a startled goldfish was totally priceless.
"Is there something you're trying to tell me? Draco asked, voice heavy with sarcasm.
"Okay," he said, "I deserved that. No, but seriously, I know our world doesn't have the same same-sex taboos as the Muggles, but what about more complex relationships?"
"Why are you asking now?" Draco enquired.
"Because Remus came up to me while you were talking to Snape at the end of the session tonight and asked very quietly if we would consider adding Tonks to our study group," Harry said. "And at Christmas I saw some very weird interactions between the three of them."
Harry didn't need the little shot of surprise that came down their bond to know that Draco hadn't noticed a thing.
"Well, it's not completely unheard of," Draco said, sitting down on one of the chairs, "there have been polyamorous relationships, some quite famous ones, but they usually came together for magical compatibility or familial reasons."
"And what about the fact Sirius and Tonks are first cousins once removed?"
"Quite common in pureblood circles," Draco explained. "It's not unheard of for cousins to marry either, but that tends to be frowned upon even though it is legal. You really think Remus and Sirius and Nymphadora are together?"
Leaning against the table Harry gave a small shrug.
"I'm not sure they're actually together yet, or will get together, but I think there's definitely something there," Harry said. "I'm pretty sure Tonks and Remus kind of had a thing before we brought Sirius back, at least they were getting there. Remus asking me about adding Tonks to the group got me thinking. I was just wondering if it was the kind of thing that would be acceptable if they did ever act on what I saw."
"I don't think it would be a huge scandal," Draco decided after a few moments. "The gossip rags will probably talk about it because of who Sirius is, but most people won't take much notice. No doubt some circles would think it was the most romantic thing ever."
"Might take the spotlight off us for a while."
"Now there's a thought," Draco said, tapping his lip with his forefinger.
"No plots," Harry said and Draco smiled at him sweetly. "I mean it."
Draco smiled some more. Harry was almost sure his soulmate was just teasing ... almost.