"Well it's a deviation of Legilimency, so it requires the same skills and basic principles but it's meant to be not as invasive, so the caster can sense the other persons thoughts without the whole invading the mind process. It's still countered by Occlumency though-"
Harry yawned openly, wishing heartily that Ron hadn't tried to win points with Hermione by faking an interest in what they were supposed to be learning about in today's Defence session. By the look on his face, Ron was also wishing he'd just kept his mouth shut.
It was much the same really, as it had ever been. Hermione would study, Ron would try to keep her happy and Harry would get distracted. There were subtle differences; of course there were. Going through a war tended to do that to people.
Hermione was a lot more easy going. Gone was the scowl and irritated twitch when Harry and Ron abandoned studying in favour of Quidditch or Exploding Snap. It was a little unnerving to start with, and Harry had spent the first few weeks back at Hogwarts looking over his shoulder, wary of being told off.
Ron had changed a lot as well, probably most notably of the three. He still said things at the wrong time and was absolutely clueless when it came to Hermione, but he tried: made extra effort to be nice to his girlfriend, especially after he inadvertently cocked things up. He was more patient with his friends also, and more likely to see things from more than one point of view.
Most of the time.
Harry didn't think he'd changed at all, really, but the others assured him that he had. Ginny commented on it most of all, saying how calm he seemed in comparison. He guessed she was right; losing the threat of certain-death hanging over your head would probably achieve that end.
Bringing a halt to his internal musings, Harry glanced over the rest of the class to see how they were getting on with their work on Occlumency. A fair few were looking dazed and a little confused, clear indicators that they had recently had their minds raided by whoever they were working with. The other half were flicking through books and taking notes to try and help protect their minds for when their partner regained enough of their mental faculties to return the favour.
"I hate Occlumency," Harry sighed as Hermione finished her explanation. He glanced down, adding a second wing to his doodle of a golden snitch that sat in the middle of his notes.
"Don't blame you after the farce you made of it in fifth year," Ron said, watching Hermione as she read her book, eyes flicking back and forth with speed.
Harry looked up indignantly. "Farce?"
"Farce, fiasco, fuck up - pick your favourite," Ron said with a grin.
Harry pulled a face at him and pulled his book back towards him as Ron chuckled. He stared down at the page for a second, then looked up sharply as a ball of blue light flew past his shoulder.
Harry shot an exasperated look over at Neville, who was hovering a little way away, looking guilty, wand in hand. "So you can wield a sword like a pro, but still can't cast any spells in a straight line?" he asked wryly.
"Seems about right," Neville grinned back somewhat sheepishly. "Sorry mate."
Harry shook his head, amused. At least Neville had missed him; the incident with Dean's hair being removed by a stray 'Longbottom Special' was still fresh in everyone's mind.
He turned back to the book, staring at but not taking in any of the words. Instead of reading, his mind wandered and he sat daydreaming and half-listening to Ron and Hermione's talking.
"So it's not like being in a Pensieve in someone's head then?"
"No, it's more like what you'd call mind-reading than original Legilimency, because you'll just hear the thoughts rather than being transported into the mind-"
Urgh. New era Legilimency. He'd had quite enough experience sharing thoughts and visions with someone else, thank you very much. And now his head was back to being one hundred per cent his own, he didn't really want anyone else mucking around in there. He'd grown rather protective of his brain, and he didn't think he could be blamed for that. Glancing around again, he half heartedly considered asking the new DADA professor if he could be excused, what with him being the Chosen One and all…
A movement to his right caught his eye and he looked over; a very familiar figure had stepped into his peripheral vision, reaching up to examine the crooked case of books that stood against the wall, close to the desk Harry and the others were working at.
Draco Malfoy scanned the shelves twice and then sighed, looking put out. He turned and looked over towards Theo Nott, who he had been working with.
"Theo," he called, voice low. "Do you know who's got the Mindworks text?"
Theo shook his head in response just as Harry's face broke into a grin: the copy of the book in question was currently sat in front of him being ignored.
Malfoy turned back to the shelf with a frown. He continued to look in vain, with badly hidden impatience, before sighing explosively as he concluded that the book he needed definitely wasn't there. Scowling, he looked around, then his gaze fell on Harry, who immediately picked up the book he hadn't been taking notes from, waving it helpfully.
Malfoy rolled his eyes and shot a half-hearted sneer at Harry who stuck his tongue out in reply.
"Who're you pulling faces at?" Ron asked, twisting round in his seat to follow Harry's gaze. Comprehension dawned on his freckled face as he saw Malfoy hovering by the bookcase, one pale hand still resting on the shelf. He turned back to Harry and rolled his eyes, wearing his now familiar I-can't-believe-you-give-Malfoy-the-time-of-day expression.
Harry ignored him and looked back to Malfoy, who was glaring unashamedly at him. "Give me the book," he mouthed as Harry watched.
Raising the book, Harry feigned surprise, pointing at the cover. "This book?" He mouthed back and Draco rolled his eyes again before nodding.
Tapping his chin in mock thoughtfulness, Harry took a deep breath in- and then let it out, shaking his head sadly.
"Dick," Draco mouthed at him and Harry chuckled, turning back to Ron.
"Come on then, let's get it over and done with so we can say we've done it, and then we can go back to doing nothing."
Hermione shot him a look that was somewhere between exasperated and amused and shook her head, but didn't say anything. Harry climbed to his feet, Ron following suit, yawning widely.
"So it's Legillimens Exportai?" he asked and Harry nodded.
"Sounds about right."
"Sounds about right," Ron repeated incredulously. "You're about to go delving in my head and you think it 'sounds about right'?"
"Well, if you get the Occlumecy right then I won't be able to get into your head," Harry replied and Ron nodded his head, conceding the point.
"Okay, ready?" Harry asked and Ron nodded, bracing himself with his wand in hand.
"Legillimens Exportai," Harry said clearly, pointing his wand at Ron. His wand lit with a blue light, there was a moment of nothing, and then Harry heard it - a faint echo in his head that sounded similar to Ron's voice, scratchy and flickering like an out of tune radio.
Harry lowered his wand and the voice disappeared.
"I could hear you! You were telling yourself to keep calm and concentrate," Harry said, grinning.
"Couldn't keep you out then," Ron said ruefully, running his hand through his hair.
"Didn't sound very clear," Harry admitted. "I could only get a few words and it sounded- hey!"
Harry whipped around as out of the corner of his eye he saw Malfoy dart forwards and away from the bookcase, his grey eyes fixed on the book Harry had refused to give him. Without thinking, Harry lunged sideways towards the Slytherin and fastened his fingers around both of Malfoy's bony wrists, jerking him away from the book before his fingers could even touch it. To hell with the fact he didn't even need it, he wasn't about to let Malfoy get one over on him, not now, not ever. He barely heard Malfoy's noise of protest and indignation before there was a crash, a shriek and a shout of 'HARRY!'
Stumbling and tripping over Malfoy's feet, he whipped around, the Slytherin's arms held so tightly in his grip that they were almost chest to chest, just in time to see a ball of blue light heading directly towards his face.
He had a split second to contemplate just how badly this was going to hurt, and then there was pain, a muffled scream, followed by nothing.
Harry knew he was awake, because he hurt. Pain in his head, aching and throbbing like he'd taken a bludger to the face. He forced his eyes open to see the depressingly familiar ceiling of the hospital wing swimming above him and winced.
Startled, he raised his head to try and see where that voice had come from. Everything was blurry; he sat up and groped out to the side table for his glasses, his fingers quickly locating the thin wire frames. He grabbed them, pushing them back onto his face.
He looked around again, feeling disorientated. There was no-one there, and that wasn't him who had just said that, was it? Or had he thought it?
"Hello?" he called tentatively and almost immediately heard footsteps. The curtain was flung back and there stood Ron, looking relieved.
"Finally! Been waiting around for you to get up!"
"What happened?" Harry asked, rubbing his temples.
"Neville - the plank - he miscast and hit you with that bloody legillimecy spell," Ron explained, suddenly looking a little shifty.
"And…?" Harry asked warily.
There it was again! That definitely wasn't him who had said or thought that- it was clearly another voice, quiet and faint and - oh shit- just like when he had heard that bloody basilisk in the walls when he was twelve.
"Ron?" Harry asked again, beginning to panic.
Ron took a deep breath. "He didn't do it right. He-"
Harry scrambled to his feet, his hands pressed over his ears. He was pretty sure 'fuck' wasn't part of a basilisk's vocabulary, which only meant-
"Ron, why can I hear someone?" he asked hoarsely, shaking his head to try and dislodge the voice.
"You can hear him?" Ron asked glumly, sounding resigned. "Oh bugger-"
Ron took a hasty step back, holding up his hands to try and placate Harry. "Promise you won't freak?"
"I'm already freaking out, there's a voice in my head!" Harry shouted, screwing up his eyes. "Cancel it, get Neville out of my bloody brain-"
"Neville?" Ron asked blankly.
"Yeah, I can hear him-" Harry faltered as Ron bit his lip, looking torn between laughing and crying.
"Ron?" Harry said dangerously, stepping towards the gap in the curtains. There had to be someone about who was going to explain just what the bloody hell was going on, and Ron was being infuriating at that moment in time; a sentiment that was quickly reaffirmed as Ron swiftly stepped in front of him, blocking his way.
"Ron, let me out."
Harry pushed past Ron as he heard the word incompetent echo around his head. Ignoring his best friend's protests and the fact he was clad only in a hospital gown, he paused only long enough to hear voices coming from a cubicle at the other end of the hospital wing. He marched towards it, yanked the curtains open-
Potter fuck wanker stupid defence casting light pain stupid anyone else Potter scarhead stupid Longbottom murder Father hate people fool idiot stupid-!
He fell back with a cry, a blinding pain in his temples accompanying the tidal wave of thoughts that had crashed through his mind the moment he locked eyes with the person in the bed. An echoing shout of pain told him that the effect had been reciprocal-
"Oh for Goodness sake- Get him out of here!"
The shout ended the torrent of thoughts battering his synapses, and holding his head in both hands he looked up, eyes watering.
"You've got to be fucking kidding," Harry managed hoarsely as Ron hauled him unsteadily to his feet, his hands gripping Harry's upper arms tightly, keeping him upright.
"This has to be some sort of universal fucking joke!"
Harry could only stare unashamedly, his hands still planted over his ears as if that would help any. He didn't know whether to laugh or cry, because for once in his life, he wholeheartedly agreed with Draco Malfoy.