Chapter 1 : One
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He knew it was the alcohol, a delayed reaction he would normally hate, but Harry suddenly became aware of just how quiet the house was; Theo wasn't messing around in the kitchen or watching the television because he'd had a long day and decided to order take-out. He knew it was Theodore's day off, it had been for both of them, which was a rare thing in itself. But Theo was always doing something when he got home. The man couldn't keep still.
Harry would have ignored the growing doubt gnawing at his insides, telling him that something was wrong, if he had had more to drink. Instead, he searched the house, starting with the downstairs rooms, and the more he searched, the bigger the doubt grew. It grew until his stomach was twisted and knotted and one thought broke through the drunken haze, becoming clearer and sobering him up in the worst possible way.
Hesitantly, not so sure that he wanted to know, Harry pushed open their bedroom door. The room was empty, Theo's side of the bed was bare and looked like no one slept on that side at all. He went to the wardrobe, dreading what he'd see; his stomach plummeted the moment he looked inside. Everything the man owned had gone, leaving half of the space unoccupied.
Harry stared at the empty space, unable to do anything else. His body was numb and his mind was terrifyingly clear.
Theo was gone.
"He did it, he really left," Harry whispered, remembering the threat he'd thought wouldn't hold and calling Theo's bluff...
The loud slam of the cupboard door echoed throughout the kitchen, ringing in Harry's ears; they were never going to have that brief moment of silence between their fights. Theodore slammed the cup next, causing it to smash against the counter. He pushed the pieces into the sink, gasping when he cut himself. Only then did Harry feel brave enough to move closer; Theo was scary good with defensive charms, which somehow allowed him to forget the healing charms that Harry had picked up after spending so much time in the hospital.
Harry cautiously closed his hand around Theo's wrist, wand in his hand and the spell that would close the gash across Theo's palm on his lips. But the words wouldn't come out.
Theo pulled back roughly. "Don't touch me."
"Don't be an idiot, your hand is bleeding a little too heavily to ignore," Harry snapped back, grabbing his hand again and healing it quickly. He let go reluctantly. "Feel free to break everything else now."
"I can't do this anymore, Harry," Theo cried, almost desperate to be heard by the other man but too emotionally drained to be angry. "You've seen your life go one way your whole life, you've been so used to that one way, that the moment things change, you fight it."
"Don't tell me how I'm living my life," he murmured, his tone dangerously low.
"You don't see what I see, you wouldn't do this if you were with Ginny."
"Stop bringing Ginny into this, I don't feel that way about her!"
"What way?" Theo demanded.
Harry shook his head. "You know what way."
"No, I don't. I want to, but I don't." Theo pushed past, only to be stopped when Harry grabbed his wrist again. But he didn't pull away; he knew that his next words would have Harry dropping his hand willingly. "I'm leaving, Harry. I'm not going to do this any more."
There was no response for a moment, just a sharp intake of breath and a loosened grip. "Fine," he said at last.
It played out how Theo had thought, it was obvious by the look on his face; he still looked devastated.
I never should have said that, he scolded to himself, wishing for anything to turn back time and bring back his friend. He didn't know why he did what he did, why he never told Theo what the man needed to hear. Then he did; he knew exactly why and he hated himself even more.
That damn man's always right.
He knew that he had to fix things, he couldn't just leave things as they were between them; even if their relationship was too damaged, they still had to work in the same department. Making a fast decision, Harry left the bedroom, grabbed his keys just in case and used the floo network to get to Hermione and Ron's.
Theo wasn't there; he hadn't expected the man to be, not really, but it was the first place Harry wanted to look. Theo and Hermione had become good friends since the end of the war; what started as Harry suggesting that he talk to her about the book she had in her hands became what Harry could only call their own scary, little secret club. You couldn't force them apart once they were together, they ignored everyone else. But Hermione and Ron were still Harry's best friends; they would have called him and let him in despite any protest that Theo might have given.
He also wasn't at Blaise Zabini's or hiding in George's shop because he knew that Harry dreaded going in the back in case George tried to make him take part in experiments. He wasn't at Toby's, who worked with him as a Hit Wizard, and their friend Andrew was away for the weekend, so he knew that Theo wasn't there.
Harry was so desperate by the time he got to the last house on his mental list that he didn't care that he wasn't the most welcome there. The house was smaller than the manor, but still made him feel small compared to his own house. With a hesitant hand, Harry rung the bell and waited. He breathed out in relief when Astoria opened the door instead.
"Hello, Harry," she smiled warmly, politely, and opened the door wider for him to enter. Harry stayed where he was, listening intently for any sounds in the background. She misunderstood his intentions. "Draco isn't here. I thought you two were getting along now?"
"Getting is not the same as there, Astoria. Is Theo here?"
"No." She looked confused for a moment, Theo came by often but Harry was usually aware of it, then she frowned. "What did you do?" she scolded him.
"We fought, he left," Harry replied vaguely. "I want to find him, I want to... apologize."
"You think you might actually be honest with him?" Harry gaped, wondering how she could have found out. Astoria scoffed, which told him that she was spending more time around Ginny than she probably should be; Ginny liked to scoff when she thought he was doing something wrong and deserved it as well. "Please, get Theo drunk enough and he'll tell you his deepest, darkest secrets. You should know that, Harry."
"I can't find him," he groaned, ignoring her jab over him not paying attention again. He had no reason to purposely get Theo drunk; he was told everything anyway.
It just wasn't reciprocated.
"If I know him better than you do, then there is something very wrong and you need to fix it," Astoria said, scolding him again. Yeah, too much time with Ginny. "If he's not with friends, where would he go? Where would he feel better? Think, Potter! I thought you heroes were good at helping and solving things!"
"Clearly a misconception," he muttered sarcastically, his mind on places Theo would go.
He cursed himself for not thinking of it sooner...
"No! Theo, stop it!" Harry laughed, his back hunched because Theo jumped on him.
"Come on, Harry, the war is over and life is as normal as we can make it," Theo smiled, jumping off. "Live a little, they'd want you to."
Harry nodded, knowing who Theo was referring to - Remus, Tonks, Fred and everyone else who had died to help him. They died to make the world as normal as they could, to live.
"I can't live if you break my back," he pointed out, nudging him. He jumped up onto the table at the back of the training hall, where everyone in their group would put their stuff. Theo joined him.
"Well, if you weren't trying to hurt me in training, I wouldn't need the lift home," Theo joked.
"You do your fair share of hurting."
"That's why I'm your partner, I'm not afraid to go against the defeater of Lord Voldemort," Theo whispered dramatically, causing Harry to laugh, frown and elbow him in the ribs almost simultaneously. "And you're not afraid to work with a Death Eater's son."
Theo's good mood dipped a little, not quite sad but resigned to the fact that people would always think of him in a certain way. Harry refused to believe that.
"You're a good person, Theo. You said no to joining Voldemort when others were too scared to or naively believed in his ideology. You left your entire life to get away from it, but you came back to help, despite knowing that you could die."
"I didn't fight," Theo reminded him.
"But you helped defend the school, you helped to get the younger students out. More people could have died if you hadn't," Harry countered, taking Theo's hand in his own and squeezing. "You are not your father, Theo. Soon everyone will know that."
"You... you've never held my hand like this before," he said softly, it being the only thing he was able to actually comment on. Harry told him often that he was good, but this was very different. He barely heard Harry ask if he wanted to let go, was just about able to answer, "No."
"I wanted to ask you something yesterday, before Blaise dragged you away, so now seems like a good time; the thing Andrew is doing, the party in the gallery, would you go with me?"
"Like a -"
Harry smiled again, wider than before, and let out a relieved breath. "Good."
The gallery was definitely were Theo would go, he loved it there; it had even been his suggestion to have that party at the gallery. While he'd been in hiding during the war, he'd spent many times looking at the paintings.
"Thank you," he muttered to Astoria, running to find the nearest Apparition point.
The gallery was still open, though emptying. It was small, almost homey, and Harry found Theo easily. He was sitting on one of the small white benches, looking up at a painting of what Harry assumed were people. He didn't have his case with all of his clothes with him.
Cautiously, Harry sat down. "I've been looking everywhere for you."
"If you knew me at all, you'd have known where to look straight away," Theo murmured.
"Things are easy to forget when you panic, even little ones you shouldn't," Harry reminded him. "When you panicked about my friends liking us together, about Ginny being okay with it, you wished her a happy birthday even though you knew it wasn't for another month."
"It was a very odd moment," he agreed. "She asked where her present was. I don't understand you," he said abruptly. "You asked me, there was no pressure or force on either side. Three years later and I still don't understand you."
"I'm sorry, for what I said today and every day before. I didn't mean it, not ever," Harry promised. "It's just that nothing's ever mine, you know? The Weasleys took me in. Hermione and Ron, though I love them, made me feel like a third wheel. Even when they were arguing back in school, I felt like I was intruding. Ginny was a dream that felt right at the time. There was this distance between me and the rest of the world after the war, too much was taken away from me before then. But I could pretend that distance wasn't real because I had nothing. It's kind of easier when you've got nothing because nothing can be taken away from you."
He paused, his eyes going to Theo, and his voice was much more confident than he felt when he next spoke. "But I don't want nothing anymore. I want you. I love you."
"Having everything isn't easy either; things are changing, but no matter what I do, people will still hate me," he answered, taking Harry's hand. "I wondered if that was the reason why you never said it before. And if that's part of the reason why, I do understand if you want to go."
In response, Harry squeezed gently. "Good. Because I love you, too, and now that it's been said, neither of us can leave. It's like a law now."
"Fine," he chuckled. "Where's your bag?"
"All of your stuff is gone, I assume you put them in some sort of a bag," Harry said.
"Oh, that. Yeah, that bag is under the bed." He smirked at Harry's shocked expression. "Oh, please. I know you well enough to know that I have to either force it out of you or wait and I've waited for three years. After all that time, did you really think that I was just going to leave? I was willing to wait another hour or so before going to find you myself. That would not have been pretty."
"I hate you," Harry growled, understanding now why Theo had been so easy to talk to, why he'd only needed to hear 'I love you'. He hated that he was a damn good actor. "Now I'm leaving you."
"Your bags will be by the front door."
Harry stood up to go, only moving a couple of steps before Theo grabbed his arm and pulled him back, his mouth on Harry's before the man could protest. The kiss was slow, soft and reassuring on both ends.
"Your life would suck without me, Harry Potter," Theo mumbled against his lips.
"Maybe. Hopefully we never have to find out," he answered, pushing away gently. "I still hate you right now, but you can come into the house."
They both knew that Harry was lying; unfortunately for Theo, he wasn't sure which one the lie was.
A/N: For the Skins challenge and for Tammi - she loves Skins and she loves Tharry, so I gave her both. :D
"It's kind of easier when you've got nothing because nothing can be taken away from you. But I don't want nothing anymore." - Chris. Belongs to the show, Skins.
I hope you enjoy this, it's something different. Please let me know what you think!
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