Chapter 2 : They Are Coming
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In the month and a half since Theo had run from the Death Eater's initiation ceremony, he had all but fallen off the map. At least, in their eyes. Hiding among Muggles, Theo had done what he could to keep tabs on as much of what was going on as possible and so far he had been successful in finding information while keeping out of sight. He made sure to stay away from Malfoy Manor and he usually didn't risk it when he saw Death Eaters he knew where in the inner circle, or close to it, but they were getting bolder, stronger in numbers and in support, and it had only been a matter of time before they did something.
Today was that time, Theo was sure of it. He just didn't know what it was. His dreams were coming in flashes, quick bursts with faces and screams, but the pieces were fragmented; he couldn't put the puzzle together. So he had resorted to sneaking out and finding Death Eaters who were more likely to know something and talk amongst themselves. As long as he wasn't spotted and captured, he would be fine, he told himself.
He didn't dare use magic, just in case they felt, heard or traced it, but he had gotten somewhat used to acting like a Muggle; the buses were hard, he was never sure of which stop to get off at, but he only used them if he was in or close to London. The further away he was, the more likely he was to Apparate; for the last couple of days, he'd been in a cheap holiday inn just outside of the city center, ready to look for potential information, and had taken the bus.
Theo wasn't far from the Ministry. He refused to go in, the Dark Lord had been close to infiltrating the place completely before he'd left and he couldn't chance it, but he considered it his best place to find someone who might hold the right information given what he knew already.
He blended in well, in Muggle clothes; a pair of comfortable jeans that were slightly baggy since he'd lost a bit of weight, a black t-shirt, a thick hoodie and a pair of sneakers. They were plain, boring; it was perfect. No one noticed him as he walked past, no one cared who or what he was. It was almost nice, not being noticed; even in Hogwarts, where only three people tended to speak to Theo regularly, people noticed him - either because he was considered a loner or because he was considered a traitor. He would gladly hide away completely, be content as a Muggle, at least until the war was over, but as long as his dreams kept coming, he couldn't just sit around and pretend nothing was wrong.
That would mean his father had won; after everything the man had done to him, he would not let that happen. Theo could die in this war, but he wouldn't care, not as long as his father lost, knowing that he didn't have his asset. He'd make his mother proud.
The Muggle notes in Theo's pocket, made up of money he'd been able to take from his Gringotts account and have exchanged and money his old nanny and her Muggle husband had given to him, allowed him to spend a good few hours in the café down the road. From the window, he could see the entrance to the Ministry clearly enough to know when someone of interest was close by and they couldn't see him. Not that they would recognize him if they could, not unless they came really close and he would never let that happen.
Theo kept the hood down because the woman behind the counter kept giving him dirty looks, but he didn't really need it to cloak his face when his hair did the same thing. His dark hair was longer than he'd ever had it, a thick mess that was usually straight but now almost curled at the end. It covered his eyes and ears, tickling the back of his neck and almost touching his hood. The bottom half of his face was itchy thanks to the almost beard he was sporting; he scratched absently and thought about shaving. He hadn't done a thing to really clean himself up since he left; showers and deodorant were essential but shaving and a haircut were not on his list of priorities.
And his priority was war.
Theo was on his fourth glass of cola and his sixth cookie when someone came. The sun hadn't set yet, though Theo knew it wouldn't be long, but he could still only see the figure's back clearly. Whenever the man - he looked like a man - turned, shadows from the buildings clouded his face. He seemed to be waiting for something, or someone, and was impatient. Theo watched his right hand twitch at his side, every so often - his wand hand, he realized. And he knew then that the Death Eater waiting by the Ministry's entrance was his father. He'd spent enough time around the man to know his tells. His father was here and he was impatient; something big was happening.
Jumping out of his seat, Theo grabbed his bag and left the café; he almost decided to turn and walk away, or run, just to keep away from his father. He didn't care if he was recognized or not, it almost wasn't worth it.
But what if he could stop it? Theo shook his head; he couldn't stop whatever the Death Eaters were planning, he was only one person against an army. He wasn't the hero people were looking to and he had no desire to be. But maybe any information could help; he'd take that.
Theo hid behind the wall of the closest building to his father when another joined him. He felt a little ridiculous, like a spy in one of those bad movies he watched when he was hiding in the Muggle cinema a week ago, but he could hear them and that was good enough for him. Their voices were low and cryptic at first, as though making sure the Muggles passing them didn't understand. Theo thought that was the strangest part of their plan, whatever it was; they were willing to maim and kill anyone who stood in their way, surely adding innocent Muggles to their already growing list shouldn't bother them?
Then Theo understand that whatever was happening truly was worse if they were being careful about avoiding detection now, which was what would happen if they killed anyone so close to the Ministry of Magic.
"When, Nott?" the second Death Eater growled, causing Theo to jump at the use of the last name. He thought he'd been caught for a moment.
He breathed out in relief when his father answered; he wasn't caught, he wasn't dead. "Soon."
The second man, younger and less experienced compared to his father, seemed unhappy with the response he received. Theo almost felt sympathetic for the guy; he obviously didn't know of David Nott and his reputation. Theo suspected the only reason his father was still free to do his Lord's dirty work was because of his reputation; his punishment for Theo's disgrace was probably commanding the lackeys, and even that was better than being trapped in the manor with the risk of being tortured. He was doing better than the Malfoys.
He always is, Theo thought angrily.
The younger Death Eater glared at Nott. "Have you seen your son lately?"
"I wouldn't," Nott threatened darkly; his wand, hidden in his sleeve, was pointed at the man's chest. Theo knew not to expect love or even sympathy from his father; Theo was just the boy who caused him problems. "You know the order; capture him, and if he resists, kill on sight."
The cold tone in his father's voice sent shivers down Theo's spine, scaring him more than anger ever could. He understood anger, it would mean his father felt something for him, but to be so cold, to hear the same tone he'd heard his whole life being used when talking about his death, it confirmed exactly how his father saw him now.
Forget 'disgraced son', he has no son.
It shifted Theo's entire mindset; he was no longer looking at his father, but a Death Eater like any other. He saw the same black cloak the others wore and cold brown eyes that made Theo glad he had his mother's blue one's.
Mum... He wished she was with him, that they were in her hometown in New Zealand, like she'd planned to do so long ago, before...
No. He wouldn't think of that, not now.
"I know the order," he stammered slightly, conforming to Nott.
"Good." Nott lowered his wand, checked the sky to see the setting sun and gave a curt nod toward the entrance to the Ministry. "Now."
They moved away from Theo's hiding spot, taking his information with him, and Theo, not having the courage to move and figure out what was happening, stayed outside.
He heard the screams before he saw the chaos the Death Eaters had caused; he couldn't bring himself to go inside, but Theo did stay close to the entrance to hear the aftermath. It was horrible and wrong, he knew, to wait for people to get hurt before he could know anything, but he hoped it would be worth it in the end. Theo had collected a fair bit of information during the month and a half he'd been gone, knew things that would put a few Death Eaters in prison once the war was over, including his father.
That was, if Voldemort lost; his dreams were hazy and showed multiple possible endings based on the two outcomes. One won and one lost, he just didn't know which was true.
To know that his father was involved in this attack on the Ministry, among his other crimes, was sure to get the man a life sentence, at least.
So, Theo had stayed and he'd waited and he'd cringed when the screams came. People ran from all sides of the Ministry, fleeing the building; some seemed to be bleeding, others limping, most were just terrified. Theo imagined that most of the damage, the casualties, were inside. The Minister included, he heard someone cry.
He kept as close to the wall as he could, though he didn't think anyone would see him; it was dark now, except for the street lights, but also crowded. He knew that he could slip away now that he had what he needed; the attack and the Minister's supposed death were what he came for. He didn't move, though, he didn't think; one second the Death Eater who had joined the crowd had his wand pointed at a screaming woman, the next a shield charm fell from his lips and kept her safe. She ran and the Death Eater, the same one who had been with his father, turned on him.
"Theodore Nott," he sneered, hoping that turning him in would gain him favor with his lord, Theo guessed. "Somehow I knew you'd come here. It's not the first time I've caught you snooping."
Theo didn't give him a chance to elaborate on where he'd seen Theo before; he pointed his wand, rushed out an 'expelliarmus' and ran. He heard footsteps behind him, but refused to turn around, not even to defend himself; he held onto his wand, knowing he could lose the Death Eater in the crowd and the dark, and sped up. It was only a few yards until he could Apparate.
Theo tripped over his feet when a curse hit him in the side, causing him to cry out and lose his footing, but he managed to stay up. He turned the corner and Apparated away, leaving the chaos far behind.
Thankful that he had only booked his last room for two days and had all of his stuff with him, Theo stopped at a little hotel in the Devon countryside and paid for a new room. He only paid for one night; if he didn't have to leave by tomorrow night, he'd pay extra then.
The room was cosy, with a soft bed and a nightstand. The bathroom, he was told, was down the hall. Theo dropped his bag on his bed and ran to the bathroom for tissue and anything to cover a wound; he was glad to find a first aid kit under the sink, even if it was only a box with a couple of plasters and one, square bandage inside. Back in his room, Theo pulled off his hoodie and his t-shirt, balanced the little mirror on the nightstand so he could see his side, and used the tissue to clean away the blood. It stung, he had to bite his lip to keep from crying out and alerting the owners. He hadn't heard the spell, but it hadn't been intended to cause much damage; the Death Eater had clearly wanted to offer him to Voldemort rather than kill him.
"So he can use me," Theo muttered to himself bitterly.
He put the bloody tissues in a pile to flush down the toilet and covered the cut with the bandage. He wasn't as good as healing magic as he was with defensive magic and didn't want to make things worse; if he had to, he'd try tomorrow, but for now it looked okay.
Theo pressed his hand against the bandage to make sure it stuck, examining himself for any other injuries and finding none. He relaxed, grateful he was physically fit and a fast runner. Then he ran a hand through his messy hair and sighed, praying this would soon be over, that Harry Potter and his two friends knew what they were doing. He had no doubt they were all together; he'd had a number of dreams that showed them running away.
Closing his eyes and leaning against the nightstand for support, Theo hoped all of his practicing was paying off and tried to See what was going on. He wasn't strong enough to See everything, not like he might if he were to dream, but dreams only showed what was felt he needed to See. Whereas looking himself, even if it was only a flash, allowed him to See what he wanted to look for.
They also brought migraines, pain that was like pins being pushed through his head; he didn't look often, it wasn't always worth it.
In the visions, he saw a white ball, heard a chilling whisper, and then more screaming, people running rampant in what looked like a tent. A party of some kind. Then he saw Harry; there one moment and gone the next. Apparition.
Theo stopped, his head throbbing and the whisper still clear in his mind.
They are coming.
He shivered and fell onto his bed, on his good side. He crawled up it and buried his head in his pillow. Deep in his subconscious, one more thing let itself known to Theo: July 31st.
"Happy birthday, Harry," he whispered sympathetically and let his eyes close.
The locket swung in his hand, real but not real; a duplicate. The gold S on the front gleamed when the sunlight hit it from the window. It was surrounded in evil, whispering to him.
No, that was the other one. The lost one...
"Where is it, Kreacher?"
The house elf cowered behind the table, knew of the lost locket. Spat out a name when ordered to.
Theo jumped up, his head spinning as he checked the still dark room. Frantic, he put the lamp on and caught his breath. Once he was calm, he settled into bed and went through the events in his dream.
He'd seen the locket once before, in a previous dream; it was a fake, used to trick Voldemort according to the note he'd seen inside it. Only Voldemort never knew, as far as Theo understood.
But what the locket was, he didn't know. Harry did, Theo was sure; he looked as though he knew in the dreams. It had never come up in them; apparently he wasn't ready to know what was going on.
Eventually, Theo was able to go back to sleep, what happened taking its toll on his still aching body. And this time, his dreams were his own. Only they starred the same person.
A/N: Here is chapter two, which I hope you enjoyed, along with the little glimpses of Harry. He'll be here soon enough, I promise. :)
Please let me know what you think.
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