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Chapter 2: Believing
27 years later...
Theodore lost his balance, his foot slipping from the step, and he fell down, catching his knee on the edge. He threw his hands out onto the step a little higher than his head and climbed back up, continuing his run to the roof despite the pain. He had to get to her. He had to get to her now, before it was too late.
When he was closer to the top, he tried to call out for her, shout her name, scream if he had to, but his breath was gone, his body protesting his desperate need to continue. He grasped his stomach, pushing himself to the roof, and he felt as though he was on fire.
He pushed down the metal bar and flung the door open, the fresh afternoon air hitting his exhausted body with such a force that he almost fell backwards. Theodore turned on the spot, circling the rooftop until he found her; their eyes locked together, hers pleading for help, his determined to reach her.
"Theo!" He ran to her, his arm outstretched, ready to grab her and pull her from the edge, into the safety of his arms. "I can't move!"
It was like he pushed a switch; the moment his foot connected with the ledge she was stood upon, she was sent backwards, her feet slipping from the end, and she screamed as she fell. Theodore caught her hands with one hand, balancing himself against the wall with his other. As soon as he felt it was safe enough, Theodore removed his hand, using it to grip her better and try to pull her up. "I've got you," he whispered in reassurance.
"Don't let go," she begged, her fear revealing itself for only him to see. "Please don't let me go."
"Never," he promised.
Theodore pulled himself to his feet slowly, leaning backwards in an effort to bring her back up. But the movement caused her to slip from his hands and he hit the corner of the ledge falling back down to grab her. "I've got you." He tried again, this time just pulling her, thinking that if he could just get his arms around her waist, it would be easier to help her.
"I'm slipping, Theo," she sobbed. He tried to sooth her terror, but his race here had done him no good; his body was hot and sticky, his hands sweaty, and he couldn't hold on much longer. "I love you, Theo."
"No," he cried, wishing he hadn't heard those words that way; her acceptance of the logical and only way she could see the struggle end, to hear her letting go. It was heartbreaking. "Don't say that, I've got you."
"I love you, Theo," she said again, louder this time, her face set with a new found determination. But it wasn't for what was to happen; it was for what she wanted from him.
"I love you."
Theo couldn't tell whose screams were louder as she slipped from his grasp.
Theo jumped up from his position in his bed, the bed sheets falling haphazardly into a pool around his waist. He rubbed his hands over his face, running his fingers through his hair, removing any traces of sweat from himself, and wrapped his arms around his bare chest as he kicked the blanket off and swung his legs to the floor. He stayed sat like that for a while, his head hung low, as if he were about to be sick. It had been the same nightmare for the last couple of weeks and no matter what he did he couldn't get rid of it or shake the feeling of dread that came with it.
He had no idea what the hell the dream meant or even who the woman was, but she looked so familiar. He knew for a fact he'd seen her before, though he wasn't so sure he actually knew her.
Yet, he silently acknowledged. Theo had a feeling they'd meet eventually. But what struck him the most was her telling him she loved him and, more specifically, him returning the words and the sincerity he felt. A shudder ran through him as he remembered the last time he'd said those words; he couldn't handle a repeat of that. The thought of being with a woman now, despite it being just a dream, terrified him.
Theo looked up suddenly; the sound of the child's voice, his child's voice, forced him out of his thoughts and into his present life. The dream analysis and fears would have to wait for a more convenient time, he pushed them to the back of his mind, focusing on the little boy down the hall no doubt waiting for his breakfast, and stood up quickly. "I'm coming, kiddo!"
Breakfast, shower, school, work. Theodore repeated the mantra in his head on his way to the kitchen. Good plan.
Theo hid in his office, not daring to leave once he set foot in the safety of the old, small London building. Theo loved his job, being able to help make a small difference to each person's life, especially after his actions during the war. It wasn't like he did anything bad, no; it was because he felt he didn't do anything at all. He'd stared at his collection of comic books for weeks, hating that he had been too scared to actually do anything, to help in any way he could. He hadn't even gone back to school that year, choosing to stay as far away from them and anything to do with his father as possible.
He felt weak and alone and scared.
It was after that revelation when he knew what he had to do, what he wanted to do. At first he thought about joining the Auror program an working for the Ministry; he'd be able to face whatever they threw at him (whether he was involved or not, his father was still a Death Eater) and he knew that with his grades he'd be let in and would be determined enough to pass. But it wasn't what he wanted in the end, staying; he wanted to do things his own way, on his own terms, and help people who wanted his help, not catching whoever he was told to catch.
That wasn't how a hero worked. And neither was he.
After that it was obvious.
Now Theodore was sitting in his office, in a building he paid for; his very own private investigations business. It wasn't much; he wasn't out catching major criminals every day, he'd leave that to the Muggle police and Aurors. But he was happy when people came to him with the problems; cheating partners, money disappearing. He was also happy that he was becoming more and more popular; it had given him his first huge case; clearing an innocent man's name in a murder investigation. Theo had worked successfully and the money the man's family lawyer paid him earned enough for his son to have his new favorite obsession; a Muggle game console. Not that he needed to take the job for the extra money; he had more than enough from his inheritance. But solving that case was when he felt his life was finally going exactly where he wanted it to go.
Unfortunately, it also brought reporters wanting to know how he'd solved it, along with a million other questions he'd drowned out. He'd been on the front page of every newspaper he had come across in the last week, been talked about on the news and even being followed picking up his son and going home.
Theodore realized why superheroes had secret identities; the celebrity life was so much hassle and he was only getting a taste. He had a new found appreciation for Potter; he didn't know how he did it.
Theodore ran a hand through his light brown hair, letting it fall, and sat back in his chair. He could hear his secretary's phone ring every now and again, but she never passed them on to his or came in, so he knew it wasn't his son’s school or a new case. It was quiet, peaceful, exactly what Theo needed right at that moment. After his dreams and the mobs, Theo didn't have it in him to work right now.
He ignored the sound of voices coming from down the hall, until he heard the urgency in the woman's tone and sat up slowly, his back straight against the chair and his arms folded around his chest. He was getting that feeling again, that this was the moment his dream was warning him about, and he could only sit there and wait as fate dealt him his hand.
The door swung open. "I must congratulate you, Mr. Nott; your reputation is one to be admired, especially after last week."
Theodore sat there, eyes wide, his mouth hanging open ever so slightly; he couldn't believe what he was seeing.
Or, rather, who.
A/N: I hope you all enjoy chapter two; it's kind of a small background chapter really, until chapter three, when the real story begins, starting with Theo's son... :P
I would love to know your thoughts.