Author's Note: I don't own Harry Potter.
Hermione didn't see him in the hall. She did, however, see a heartbreaking array of people she cared about.
The sigh of relief she let out at not seeing Theodore's body lying amongst them made her insides twist with guilt. She looked over at the Weasley family, sobbing over Fred's prone body, and crossed the room to comfort them with tears in her eyes.
Theo was hiding.
As soon as the battle had started, the light side was firing spells in his direction. A few light wizards noticed that he was only aiming towards the Death Eaters, and let him be. The majority, however, took one look at him and assumed that he was fighting for the Dark Lord.
The Death Eaters, on the other hand, noticed who his spells were aimed at immediately, and before Theo knew it, he was being attacked by both sides.
The moment the temporary ceasefire was called, Theodore found a pile of rubble and hid. He had seen Hermione disappearing into the Great Hall, so he wasn't worried about her.
At least, he wasn't worried until the Dark Lord had the body of Harry Potter carried into the open.
Hermione's heart stopped.
Across the Great Hall she could see the brown haired boy fighting desperately. He was being fired upon by both sides, and his back was completely unguarded.
Hermione threw herself into the thick of things, battling furiously to reach the Slytherin. His eyes met hers, and she realized that he had been moving towards her as well.
She was almost there, close enough to hear him cry out over the noise of the battle raging around them.
By the time she tore her gaze from his, she didn't have time to react to the spell flying at her face.
Theodore would know the mask anywhere. After all, it had been hidden away in the back of his father's study since he was a boy. He wasn't at all surprised that his father was making his way towards him, for he knew the shame of having a traitor for a son would only, in the man's mind, be erased by ridding himself of the mistake.
Theo's mistake was Hermione.
He glanced at the Gryffindor princess one too many times, and suddenly she had his father's attention. He could see his father drawing a conclusion-the wrong one, certainly, but one that would regardless have the same devastating consequence-as he leveled his wand at the brunette.
Theodore knew the spell. Its sickly color was likely permanently etched into his mind. It was one of his father's own creation, one that resulted in a death so painful and gory that not even the most wicked of souls deserved the spell.
He saw red. The flash of green that left his wand did so with no remorse, for this cold man who hadn't felt since Theodore's mother had passed was but a shell of a human being.
And that shell of a human being had just sent murder at the one person who reminded Theo so dearly of his mother.
He didn't remember moving into the path of the spell. It was purely instinct.
Hermione was aware that her voice was but a whimper in the hall, but she couldn't force herself to be any louder. Someone was standing over her, she could feel them deflecting curses away from her, but she could only focus on the boy in front of her.
There was blood, so much that Hermione could hardly believe it all came from him. She was begging, clutching at his face and hands, but she knew the boy was fading.
"Theo I love you. You're my best friend. I've never had a brother, but if I did he would be you. I love you so much."
Theo was transfixed by her necklace. It hung free of her shirt as she leaned over him. Hanging from the end of it was the globe, his globe.
He could see his mother in it.
She was smiling at Hermione, the same sweet smile Theodore remembered her giving him as a child. She was looking at Theodore's favorite human being like she was a part of their family.
Theo stared as his mother turned her gaze to him. She had been protecting his Hermione, though how he knew that Theo couldn't explain.
Just as he couldn't explain how he knew that it was now his turn.
I love you so much.
In the end it was George and Lee Jordan who drug Hermione away from Theodore's body and out of the thick of things. Hermione didn't know why neither boy ever questioned her, for as far as they knew Theo was just another Slytherin, but they remained quiet. George held Hermione to his chest, her back pressed against his stomach, and he and Lee fought until Harry appeared before Voldemort.
Hermione almost felt dirty when a rush of joy went through her at seeing Voldemort fall. She knew she needed to be happy, to celebrate with Harry and Ron, but she wasn't sure she could do it.
"I lost a brother too. We're going to be okay. We can do this," George breathed into her ear.
She took a shuttery breath. She and George watched as Ron sprinted across the hall towards them, flinging his arms around the both of them and squeezing with all his might.
"We can do this," George whispered.
She found the stone after his funeral.
It had been a quiet affair. Draco Malfoy, Blaise Zabini, and Pansy Parkinson had been in attendance. Not one of them questioned why she was present, but Zabini had handed her a handkerchief when her emotions had gotten the best of her. George went as well, standing just behind her with a handful of flowers that he had set on the grave once the ceremony was over.
Harry and Ron hadn't gone, though they were waiting at home for her the moment she returned. She had explained parts of her friendship with Theo to them, and they had been extremely understanding. They had all agreed that the entire Golden Trio showing up to the private funeral of the son of a Death Eater would most likely garner more attention than they wanted.
Professor McGonagall had allowed Theo to be buried in the little graveyard that had been created at Hogwarts. She had helped Hermione write up a piece for the newspaper that explained the decision. Hermione had requested that she waited until after the funeral to submit it. The Headmistress had agreed, acknowledging that the funeral would hardly stay private once it was published that Theodore had saved Hermione's life.
She decided to take a walk after the funeral. George had told her he would wait by Fred's grave, so she was alone.
She knew the stone immediately.
Hermione wasn't quite sure how it got from the ground to her hand, but there was no hesitation when she flipped it over three times.
She could only just make out the ghostly form of Theodore through her tears. A woman was standing next to him, and she could see a man's form just off to the side.
"Don't cry love," Theo whispered. "Hey, it's alright."
Hermione watched as he stepped forward.
"I want you to meet my mother," Theodore said, gesturing to the woman beside him.
"Hello, it's very lovely to meet you ma'am," Hermione choked out, wiping the tears hurriedly from her face.
"Theo has told us so much about you," She whispered, smiling so sweetly that Hermione almost missed the fact that she had said 'us'.
The man stepped forward. "I owe you an apology. When my wife died, I lost my mind. I was the one who fired the curse upon you Hermione, though I cannot understand it now that my senses have been regained. I know it will take a lot of time before Theodore and I can fully work things out, and I understand if you can't ever forgive me for what I've done. I know I will never forgive myself."
The pieces came together in Hermione's mind, and for one brief moment all of the terrible things she could say came to mind.
Then she made eye contact with Theo's mother. She looked so sad that Hermione had to look away. She turned straight to Theodore, and she knew immediately what he wanted.
"I forgive you for aiming that spell at me. I'm not sure I can forgive you for taking Theo from me, but I understand that grief causes people to do crazy things."
Theodore's mother stepped forward, pressing her mouth to Hermione's brow in an imitation of a kiss.
"In another life," She sighed, before stepping backwards and clasping hands with her husband. Mr. Nott dipped his head to Hermione, mouthing his thanks as the two faded away.
"I'm not going to stay long," Theo spoke before she could.
"I wish you could stay forever," She whispered.
"I know, which is why I'm going to make things brief. The longer I stay, the harder it will be to go. You're my best friend and I love you very much. In another life I think my mother would have stolen you away and pronounced you her daughter. I know I would have been alright with it. What happened wasn't your fault. I made a mistake and I paid for it. But I love you, and I'll be waiting for you when-many, many years from now-your time comes."
"I love you too Theodore. I'm going to miss you so much," Hermione said, her voice trembling.
Theo stepped forward, his hand brushing her necklace. "I'll always be with you."
They both stood there for a moment, tears burning in their eyes, then Theo pressed a kiss to her cheek. She jumped slightly as he suddenly grabbed her face as best he could, his gaze burning into hers.
"Whatever you do, do not give your curly haired ginger brats my name."
Hermione choked on a laugh, and Theo's serious facade cracked.
"I'm serious Granger! Don't you dare give my name to a Weasley!"
Hermione was almost breathless with laughter. "I won't Theo."
He grinned at her for a moment.
"I love you Hermione Granger."
"I love you too Theodore Nott."
Hermione took a deep breath and let the stone slip from her fingers.
Theodore faded away, and Hermione turned and walked back to the graveyard without looking back.
Her necklace was warm against her heart.
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