Title: Theo Says
Music: We Belong Together – Mariah Carey
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
Summary: He was known as a man of few words, but he couldn't keep quiet this time.
Giant thanks goes to Danielle for being the greatest beta alive!
Theodore Nott sat anxiously in his bedroom, bare of the majority of his clothes, save for a pair of boxers and one very unfortunate looking sock. Today was the day. The sad, dismal, utterly unforgiving day that she would marry someone who was not him. Two months ago he'd made a fatal mistake and now she was walking up the aisle to marry a giant git of a man even more unworthy of her than him. He ran a hand over his face, pushing his hair back, uncaring of the likely awful mess he'd just made. He took another swig of his nearly empty bottle of Firewhiskey, wincing at it burned down his throat and stared gloomily out his bedroom window. The day was far too bright to suit his mood. He felt like crawling in a hole and simply withering away. But then, a wedding was being thrown somewhere and they likely thought the weather was perfect.
He rubbed at the furrow of his brow; it was beginning to ache. He'd been awake all night, wondering what he was thinking eight weeks prior. If he hadn't been so stupid, he'd be the one standing at the end of the aisle, waiting for her to meet him, marry him. But he wasn't. Because he was… him. A man raised not to show emotion, weakness, love. He sighed, eyes closing tight as he remembered the fateful night for the millionth time.
Two years she'd been with him. Two years she'd put up with the lack of "I love you's" in return. He a Slytherin and she a Gryffindor, it was a sour match to begin with, but somehow they made it work. Her friends weren't entirely happy with her choice in boyfriend, but as long as she stuck with him, he could care less what Potter and Weasley thought. They met at a Ministry thrown benefit where he was adamantly avoiding the crowd by standing in dim areas drinking his glass of champagne while she was politely answering all questions thrown her way and stopping to talk to the many different employees vying for her attention. When she finally got a breather, she escaped and found herself standing next to him. She struck up a conversation, quickly finding out he wasn't much of a talker, but somehow that only spurred her to try harder. Anybody else and Theo would've simply walked away, but she was rather amusing when she got huffy over the fact that she wasn't getting the reaction she was used to. Eventually he gave in and started talking to her. It wasn't until she begged him to dance with her so she wouldn't have to put up with another conversation with a man quite similar to Slughorn that he found his interest in her was a little more than just in amusement.
Her robes were soft beneath his hands and while her hair was a crazy mess of curls, it was oddly soft too. She wasn't the most attractive woman he'd ever met, but there was something about her. She wasn't brainless, but quite intelligent (almost overly so). She was very comfortable, something he was sure she picked up from being around so many males in her life. And while she was surprised he was a Slytherin, she didn't hold it against him. She proudly stated she was a Gryffindor and then the topic was dropped. They ended up spending the rest of the night dancing, with her doing most of the talking, and by the end of the benefit, he was actually smiling, a rare thing in itself. She asked him out for lunch the next afternoon and he accepted, although he thought she was just striking up a friendship with him. Lunch came and went, along with various other dinners, and then it wasn't so friendly. He found himself reaching for her hand and she had a tendency for touching his arm when she wanted his attention, rather than just calling his name. There were hundreds of small intimate brushes of hands and fingers that told them both they wanted more and one night things just progressed. Progressed into a two year relationship that he ruined.
He didn't say "I love you," to her. Not once. He'd grown up in a family that didn't say it to him and made sure he knew that it wasn't accepted to say such things. He'd learned early not to talk much at all. He was naturally known as a quiet guy. He didn't say things unless he felt like they needed to be said. She was a chatterbox, however. But she didn't try and force him to talk more; she just filled in the silence. They had their separate flats, but she spent most of her time at his place. His parents weren't accepting of the idea that he was dating a muggleborn witch, still spewing their Pureblood supremacy even after the defeat of Voldemort. But he'd long moved out of their house and bought his own flat in Diagon Alley.
Hermione was laid stomach down on his bed, wearing nothing but a sheet around her hips. Theo was propped up on one arm beside her, half-smiling as she dozed next to him. He trailed his hand down her back, watching as gooseflesh spread out before him. Her back rose abruptly and he knew she was waking up. His mouth quirked as he traced random shapes across her skin while she yawned and shifted around at his touch. Her hair was a mess of tangled curls, looking bushier than usual from their late night tumble in the bed. He watched as she stretched out across the bed, her toes reaching for the end and missing by at least a foot; she was really quite short. Her fingers spread out as she turned her arms upward from the pillow and reached toward the ceiling. Her fingers were ink stained and her nails were always filed short. She had small, delicate hands though, which he reached for with one of his own large hands to wrap around hers, fingers threading. He could practically feel her smile as her fingers wound with his.
He shuffled down the bed a little before leaning in and pressing a kiss at the small of her back. He could feel her skin reacting to the warmth of his mouth. He laid small, lingering kisses all along her hips and up her sides, across her shoulders and down her spine. The ends of his hair barely brushed her skin with each stroke of his lips, but she shivered each time. He slid her hair out of the way as he made his way back up to her neck, kissing the back of it while massaging one of her shoulders as she melted into him.
"Theo says," she murmured, her voice so quiet he could barely hear her.
"Roll over," he said against her neck, deep and thick with arousal.
She shifted beneath him before turning onto her back, staring up at him through hooded, brown eyes. Her mouth was quirked with a small smirk. "Theo says…" she trailed off, lifting a brow.
Hovering above her, he grinned. "Spread your legs."
Her legs fell apart slowly, teasingly. He lifted the sheet and slid between her thighs, his stomach pressing against hers. His head ducked, mouth wrapping around the rosy center of her breast. She arched into him, whimpering. One of her hands found his hair, fingers holding tight to the dark brown strands. His hands trailed up and down her sides, thumbs stroking her. One of his hands found her ignored breast and cupped it, thumb drawing circles over her skin. Her body writhed beneath his, holding nothing back in reply to the tremors running through her body.
He kissed his way up her chest, pausing at her throat to suckle, nip and mark her as his own. When his mouth hovered just a hair's breath from hers, she whispered, "Theo says…"
"Kiss me," he replied, closing the small space to capture her mouth. She listened well to direction, always had. Her tongue dueled for dominance while her lips slanted and caressed his possessively. Their noses brushed, teeth grazed over lips, tongues tasted every inch. Her arms wrapped around his shoulders, fingers digging in to hold him close. Her hips rotated, bringing her warmth up against him.
He groaned into her mouth, nipping her bottom lip. She laughed, low and husky, her eyes opening to stare up at him.
He ran the back of his hand down her cheek before he kissed away from her mouth and down her neck once more, trailing across her shoulder tenderly. His mouth slid down the slope of her arm, stopping to kiss a cluster of freckles near her wrist, when she shocked him into stillness. "Theo loves?"
Nearly their entire relationship they'd been playing their game of "Simon Says," revamped and she'd never used that one. He knew where it was coming from. Two years they'd been together and she deserved to hear the words he never said. He felt them and he thought she knew but saying them was a whole other deal. Like the idiot he was, he panicked.
He pulled back from her as soon as the shock wore off, sitting up between her legs and running a hand over his stomach. "Food. I'm really, uh, hungry. Are you? I could make something to eat," he suggested, pointing his thumb back at the door. "Eggs, maybe? Toast? You want sausages? I'm not bad in the kitchen," he babbled.
Hermione stared up at him with unreadable expression before her head began nodding slowly, but it wasn't in response to his question. She sat up, her legs leaving his sides and he immediately felt the loss of warmth from it. "Right," she said quietly before she was getting out of the bed and gathering up her clothes.
He winced. "Mione," he murmured sorrowfully.
"Don't bother," she replied, pulling her knickers on. "You know, I thought maybe all you needed was time. That… That after awhile it would grow on you. That I would grow on you. But I haven't. I'm just… I'm always just going to be… here… with you… like this. And- And I can't do it anymore, Theo." She sighed, lifting a hand to her brow and covering her eyes. "I love you. I have for nearly two years now. I- I want more than just this. I- I want to be loved and… And you can't love me."
He felt his chest clench tightly. The words were so close, just caught in his throat. His mouth opened and closed but no words escaped him.
She nodded, pushing her hair behind her shoulders and wiping a few stray tears away.
He cringed. He hated it when she cried. He'd tried so hard to never make it come to that. She was his first and only love. He'd dated before her but they'd never been as important to him as her. He was twenty-five years old and he'd only ever loved once and she was leaving him because she didn't think he could love her. What kind of rot was that?
She pulled her pants on and began searching for her shirt. "I wasn't even trying to get you to really say it, you know? All you had to say was- was… You. All you had to say was 'you.' I just needed to know if… If you really…" She was breathing thickly as she threw her hair up in a messy ponytail. She hadn't found her shirt and so she pulled one of his on, her bra lying forgotten somewhere as well. It looked too big on her, practically swamping around her tiny frame. Her hands found her hips and her face became determined. "I can't do this anymore. It hurts too much." She stared at him, waiting for him to say something, anything.
"Mione," he choked out, shaking his head. He cursed his parents in that moment, hoped they knew how they'd ruined their son's life.
"I'm sorry, Theo," she said brokenly. "I just… You know why, don't you?"
He swallowed tightly. "You deserve to be loved," he replied, his voice sounding hollow as his eyes turned away.
"I do," she whispered before she was gone. And she wasn't coming back.
Barely a week later, she accepted Matthew Conner's invite to lunch and they'd been going together since. Theo knew she didn't love him and had no doubts that Matthew was nowhere near in love with Hermione. That didn't stop him from proposing, however. Six weeks and he asks her to marry him and for some reason she actually said yes. The least she could do was find a good man, someone who really would cherish her, and maybe then he wouldn't feel like he forced her into marrying some philanderer worse than Adrian Pucey at a Quidditch groupie party. Matthew Conner was so far from being the perfect husband type it wasn't even funny. He was well known for sleeping with every woman with legs and was so obsessed with getting more publicity in his career it was obvious he was only marrying Hermione to make more of a name for himself. Theo was biased, of course, but he gave the guy a chance. When he ran into them in Diagon Alley, he'd been civil.
It was the first time he'd been out since his break up with Hermione a week prior, besides flooing to work. He was only going to get groceries and then it was back home to wallow. Of course, fate was not on his side and as he turned the corner he walked straight into his ex, who just happened to be holding hands with a bloke who was now scowling viciously at him. Apparently, he'd knocked his tea out of his hands and all over him.
"Sorry," Theo said, admittedly not as apologetic as he could be.
"Do you have any idea how much this coat cost me?" the man bellowed.
Theo simply blinked at him.
The man appraised his attire and lifted a brow. "No. I don't think you do."
"Matthew," Hermione chastised, looking embarrassed.
Sighing, the man turned to her and his expression softened to something quite fake. "Sorry dear."
Dear? Theo clenched his jaw to keep from showing any visual reaction to the endearment. One week and she was already with somebody else.
"This is Theo," Hermione said, lifting a hand to introduce him. "Theo this is Matth—"
"Matthew Conner," he interrupted, lifting a hand for him to shake. "So you're the ex boyfriend mentioned?"
Theo glanced at the hand and then stuck his own in his pockets. He knew it was childish but he didn't really care.
Hermione looked uncomfortable. "So… How have you been?" she asked, eyes darting back and forth.
Theo stared at her a moment. She looked just the same, if not less happy; hair still a disarray of bushy curls, still a handful of inches shorter than him, always in a hurry. He almost smiled. "Fine," he replied stiffly. "You?"
She looked up at him, eyes catching and holding just long enough for him to see that she was still hurting. "Fine," she replied with a short nod.
"Mione, dear, we should be going," Matthew said, impatiently.
Theo stiffened. Nobody called her Mione but him. Not even Potter and Weasley.
"Matthew," Hermione said, her tone rather cold. "Please don't call me that."
Matthew looked annoyed that she'd called him out on it. "Hermione," he said with a hint of mocking, "We really must go."
She simply nodded. "It was nice seeing you again."
So polite, he thought. "Goodbye," he replied quietly.
She stared at him with sad eyes for a moment before she was dragged away by someone who was supposed to love her. He watched her go before turning away; hating that he was the cause of it all. She could've been happy, could've been with him rather than some arrogant git. But she wasn't and he'd have to accept that.
Still, Matthew wasn't right for her. She deserved much better. He'd learned all about the guy after he found out she was dating him. He had at least three other girls on the side while he was dating Hermione and hadn't stopped dating them after he proposed. They were having a quick wedding, barely any preparation and he knew that it was because they both just wanted it over with. Matthew wanted the fame; Hermione wanted someone to love her. Except he did, he just couldn't tell her that.
Her friends and family had been writing him since the wedding was set, trying to find out what was going on. They asked him to change her mind, to talk her out of it, to do something and he always wrote back that there was nothing he could do. He'd spent two years trying to say it and failed, nothing was going to change now. Two months he'd been without her and she'd apparently found what she was looking for in Matthew Conner. Didn't make it hurt any less. He'd spent the last day and a half doing nothing but laying around wallowing in pity. His father would be completely disappointed in him. While the Nott's didn't show emotion, they weren't known for being cowards either.
His father had been a Death Eater and while his beliefs were wrong, he still stood up for them. He couldn't remember his mom very well; she'd been killed when he was younger. He remembered how she looked when she died. She didn't scream. Just let the fire consume her. His step-mother had always been a hard woman who didn't take disappointment well. When he'd had nightmares about his mother, his step- mum's way of dealing with them was to tell him to stop being such a baby and go back to sleep. She'd ranted for nearly an hour about his disgrace on the family for even looking at Hermione and he'd let her. But in the end, he stayed with Hermione and he ignored the family that scorned him for it.
Opening his eyes, Theo looked to the side to check the time. Nearly noon. She'd be walking up the aisle by now, dressed in white and holding a bouquet of flowers. Probably daffodils, they were her favorite. His jaw clenched and he threw his bottle at the clock, delighted at the sound of it crashing and breaking. He couldn't believe everything had changed so much in just two months. He'd had it all and he just… He lost it. In one unforgiving second where he had a choice to make, he'd made the wrong one. He should've chosen her but he didn't. Maybe he hadn't thought she'd turn around and leave him; that she'd just forgive him that moment just one more time. But she didn't and she shouldn't have to.
She'd told him she loved him when she felt it; whispered it to him as they lay exhausted in bed together. Kissed it into his skin, put it in his hand every time she took his. She made sure he knew that she felt it when he was happy or sad; when they were fighting, when they weren't. He never doubted her feelings for him. She didn't even have to say it; he could just feel it from her. When she hugged him or smiled at him or simply looked at him. It was there. That day when she was with Matthew, he saw it then too; in her eyes, still so sad and lost. He just assumed that she could see it and feel it too. Despite the lack of words, it was there. In every touch from him to her, every caress of his lips and every quirk of his mouth. He only smiled for her. He'd been a loner who didn't need anyone else until she stepped into his dim corner and made him see that he could have at least one other person and happily have only her for the rest of his life.
He had a headache. From thinking or drinking, he wasn't sure. Maybe just missing her. Everything felt so much emptier now. He hadn't realized how lonely his life was until she wasn't in it. He'd never really needed anybody else. He'd stayed out of the Slytherin gangs in Hogwarts and as he grew up he didn't go looking for friends. He kept to himself mostly and he never really felt like he was lonely. He'd been used to the lack of people around. But then she was there all the time and he learned to like how she filled the silences with her brilliant speculations and whatever she was reading. He grew to like having her in his home; cooking in his kitchen, showering in his bathroom, reading in his living room, and sleeping in his bed. But now that she wasn't there, it seemed like everything was quiet and lonely and it was driving him mental.
Was this what his life was going to be like now? Quiet and lonely for the rest of his days? The thought was jarring.
He sat up and moved to the side of his bed. He couldn't do this; couldn't be this guy. He wanted her back. Needed her back. Her voice in his ear when he was trying to sleep and her body sleeping next to his when he wanted her to be awake. He wanted her hand in his when he walked through Diagon Alley and her head on his shoulder as she read.
It happened in a blur. He found a pair of pants, that he didn't think were quite clean, and drug them on. He found a shirt, yanked it on and then searched for his shoes, only finding one, which was unfortunately for the foot without the sock. He found his wand on the bedside table, next to a picture of the two of them that he hadn't had the courage to turn over. She looked so pretty, so free, sitting in his lap, her head thrown back on his shoulder, smiling warmly at him. His arms were wrapped around her waist and his head was turned toward her. There was a small smile on his lips; the one that just couldn't be hidden when he was around her. She made him feel in ways that he'd never thought he would.
He apparated out of his flat with a loud pop and appeared at the bottom of the stairs leading to the church. He ran up them, ignoring the way his socked foot seemed to find every rock in the vicinity. He could hear his heart pounding in his ears, could feel the blood rushing through him. His legs burned with a lack of use as he rushed up the stairs and threw the doors open. He ignored the voice calling for him to stop and explain himself. It was awkward running with only one shoe, but he kept going. His lungs were burning and a fear that he was too late was at his heels. He could see the tall double doors leading to the wedding ahead. There was a board announcing the nuptials to the left that he glared at as he rushed by and accidentally kicked over. He came to a stumbling halt at the doors and yanked them open, screaming at the top of his lungs, "STOP!"
Everybody in the room turned to him and for a moment he considered turning around and running away. He wasn't used to attention and this was more than a little unnerving. But then he saw her, standing at the front, dressed in a vision of white. He knew he looked a mess, but he walked forward anyway. The door closed behind him with a loud bang. The room was packed with people; the Weasleys and Potter up front, next to her parents. All of which were staring at him like he'd just shown up with a cure for some bizarre illness. He took a deep breath, feeling like everybody was waiting for him to say something inspirational and he had no idea what the hell he was doing.
"This is a private wedding," Matthew shouted, sounding perturbed. "Will somebody please escort him out?"
Mrs. Weasley shushed him, waving a hand at him to shut up.
Theo might've laughed if it were any other situation.
"Well, say something boy," somebody from the crowd called out.
Hermione's hands dropped from holding Matthew's and she turned to look at him. "Theo, what are you doing here?"
He felt his heart thudding heavily in his chest, ready to explode. "Don't marry him," he choked out.
"Theo," she said quietly, shaking her head slightly, her brow furrowed.
He started walking toward her, well aware that he was slightly tilted because of his lack of shoe. "I know. I messed up. Two years and I… I should've said it." He felt those same three words clog in his throat once more. "And you deserve to be loved. You deserve all of it. The wedding and the family and... and forever." He sighed, his jaw clenching. "But you don't deserve him. He… He doesn't love you. If it was somebody else, somebody who could really love you and cherish you like you deserve then I wouldn't be here because… Because I want that for you. I just want you to be happy."
"I am," she said, her voice shaking.
"You're not," he said, shaking his head abruptly. "I know how you look when you're happy, Mione." He lifted a hand, running it through his hair nervously. He was so close now he could almost reach out for her. He knew everybody was watching and he hated that something so private was being heard by so many, but it couldn't wait. "When you're happy your cheeks are flushed and your hair frizzes up even more, I swear. And your eyes turn a darker brown." His feet brought him just a few inches away from her and his hand rose to cup her cheek. "And you laugh more, at things that aren't even funny, because you're just so… content."
She shook her head slightly, her eyes filling with tears. She sniffled, trying to stiffen her posture. "You can't just show up on my wedding day and tell me that I'm making a mistake, Theo. It doesn't work that way."
He closed his eyes for a moment, gathering his strength. "Tell me you love him and I will walk away," he managed.
She bit her lip, staring at him with teary eyes. "I... I love… I love hi…" She closed her eyes tight, shaking her head. "Don't do this to me, please."
"I'm not doing it to you, I'm doing it for you," he replied, his thumb brushing away a tear. "Pick me. Marry me."
Her eyes opened, wide and shocked. "Theodore Nott, do you know what you're asking?"
He smiled at her tone. "I'm asking you to walk away from a pompous arse and marry me instead."
She stared at him a moment, searchingly, before she shook her head decisively. "I told you, I can't… Not anymore." Her hand lifted, wrapping around his wrist and dragging his hand down from her cheek.
He licked his lips and turned his hand to take hers. "Ask me again," he told her, swallowing tightly.
"Theo…" she trailed off, looking afraid.
She didn't want to be rejected again and his heart clenched with the fact that he made her feel that. "Ask me again," he repeated, staring at her seriously.
She sniffled, her jaw quaking as she looked around, tears slipping from her eyes.
"Hermione?" Matthew called out impatiently.
She turned to her fiancé, her expression one of apology. They stared at each other for a long moment.
"You can't be serious?" he asked, sounding disgusted. "For Merlin's sake, Hermione. His shirt is inside out, he's only wearing one shoe and I don't think he's bathed today!"
Theo scowled. "I was a little distracted!"
"Trying to steal my wife, yes I noticed!" Matthew yelled back.
"Last I checked, she didn't say I do," Theo replied, tone level. He paused, glancing at her. "You didn't, did you?"
She chuckled through her tears before shaking her head.
Theo let out a breath of relief and then glared at Matthew.
"Hermione, this is ridiculous. What can he possibly offer you that I can't?" Matthew wondered superiorly.
Her eyes fell for a moment before she turned back to Theo and took a deep breath. "Theo loves?"
Theo felt that familiar clog of words in his throat and swallowed. "You," he forced out, past the fear. A weight fell from his shoulders and he smiled. "I love you."
Twin tears fell down Hermione's cheeks as she grinned widely, her eyes falling shut and a breath escaping her. "I love you, too."
Theo tugged on her hand and leaned forward, capturing her mouth in a searing kiss. After two months, it felt like coming home. Her arms wrapped tight around his neck while his looped around her waist, pulling her forward until she was lifted from the ground and held up against his chest. He could hear clapping in the background which he assumed were the Weasley's and her friends and family. While they might not have liked him, they obviously liked Matthew even less. He was running out of air quickly but he ignored it to keep kissing her. She was warm and sweet and there was something so comforting about having her again. That void that had consumed him since she left was filled once more. The quiet was no longer silent. The cold that followed him was now warm.
He set her back down on her feet and sucked in air to fill his burning lungs. He wiped her cheeks free of tears as she smiled up at him. "Took you long enough," she murmured.
He laughed, nodding.
She took his hand and lifted up the bottom of her dress, nodding toward the door. "I really want to get out of this."
Smirking, he glanced back at Matthew before beginning to run down the aisle with her.
"Hermione Granger, you're making a huge mistake!" Matthew Conner shouted after her.
Laughing, she glanced back. "Actually, I'm rectifying one, you pompous arse!"
As they ran out the front and down the steps, Theo side-along apparated them back to his flat, where they fell back onto his bed. He barely paid attention to her fingers at his shirt, trying to figure out what to do with it being inside out. He helped her sit up and his fingers, though shaking, undid the buttons at the back of her dress, drawing it down her shoulders until it pooled around her hips. "When we get married, I vote you wear far less fabric," he told her quietly, kissing the curve of her neck.
Her hands stilled on his shirt. "You meant it then?"
He lifted his head, nuzzling her nose with his. "Every word."
She bit her lip, staring into his eyes for a moment. "Theo says?"
"Marry me?" he asked, softly.
She smiled. "Of course."
Grinning, he leaned her back on the bed, pushing the rest of her dress down her thighs to lie on the floor, forgotten. His mouth slanted over hers, tongues tangling. She rolled them over, the warmth of her skin meeting his as his shirt parted. Her lace encased breasts brushed against his chest while the heat of her thighs pressed against his sides as she wrapped her legs around him. Her hands found his, fingers entwining against the bedspread.
"Have you missed me?" she asked, nipping his bottom lip playfully.
"Never," he replied, tipping his head to kiss her deeply.
She moaned lightly before dragging her mouth away. "Liar."
He grinned, turning them over once more so she was laid out beneath him, her thick hair sprawled across the blanket. "Must be the Slytherin in me."
She lifted a brow before rotating her hips. "Well I want the Slytherin in me," she implied, smirking. "Two months, Theo? I'm disappointed. I had you pegged for far less."
He rolled his eyes. "I'll make it up to you."
She kissed his chin. "You better."
His hands trailed down from hers and slid beneath her back, flicking the clasp of her bra open. "Have I ever disappointed before?" he asked, kissing down her chest slow and teasing.
"No," she breathed, eyes fluttering as his lips caressed her skin.
"You want to play a game?" he asked her, kissing down the valley of her breasts and across the expanse of her ribs to her navel.
"What kind of game?" she whispered, her hands sliding through his hair.
"A twist on Simon Says," he told her, nuzzling her stomach with his nose.
Her thighs squeezed his sides. "How long does it last?"
He lifted his head, his mouth quirking on one side. "Forever, give or take a lifetime."
"What are the rules?"
He lifted up to his knees and hovered above her, mouth just a few inches from hers. "Most of the time, we make them up as we go along. But one can't be broken."
"What's that?" she queried softly, teeth pressing into her bottom lip.
He pushed a tendril of her hair from her face, fingers tracing the soft curve of her cheek. "There's only one answer to 'Theo loves?'"
"And it is?"
"You," he breathed.
He kissed her, hard and deep, whispering that he loved her with every caress of his lips, and he never stopped. Not a year later when they were married in the backyard of the Burrow. Not two years later when their daughter Cherish Nott was born. Not a year and a half after when their twins Holli and Natalie greeted the world. Or when three years after them, they finally had their son Reese to complete their family. Not three and a half years later when they celebrated their tenth anniversary or fifteen years after that for their twenty fifth anniversary. He never stopped when their kids went to Hogwarts, graduated, married, and had children of their own. Not when their fiftieth anniversary came and went. Not when their grandchildren went to Hogwarts or when another Wizarding war began. When a witch strong enough to rival Voldemort rose and threatened their world with annihilation. Older and far less able on the battle field, they still stood side-by-side against adversity. He simply never stopped.
And when she was 163 years old, she laid down in their bed beside him and took his hand like she always did. As the sun dimmed outside their home of over 130 years, she turned and smiled at him. Her face had far more wrinkles now but her smile was the same and her eyes were that dark shade of brown that told him she'd been happy all these years. And she asked him, in her voice that he'd long fell in love with for filling the silences of his life, "Theo loves?"
"You," he replied, just as he always had.
And she nodded as if she'd never doubted it. "Theo says?"
"It's okay to sleep now, Mione," he replied, holding tight to her soft, delicate hand in his own. He swallowed tightly. It was time, of course. He'd known all week.
"Will you go to sleep with me, Theo?" she wondered quietly, tiredly.
"Of course, love."
She nodded, again as if she knew what his answer would be and didn't really need for him to say it.
And she turned on her side, taking his hand with her and he slid up behind her, his arms wrapping around her lightly. She sighed contently and he smiled against her shoulder; that same smile that she always got out of him without even trying. And they fell asleep, never to wake again. Mr. and Mrs. Nott, a couple who made it through two different wars, the adversity of blood purity, various ups and downs with their children, and, of course, a moment where they nearly lost one another at the tender age of twenty-five. But they stuck through it together and they never let go. Theo's smile didn't die through the night, but instead stuck close to him as he held his dear wife until her last breath was taken and expelled his own. They played their game until the very end, never once breaking the only rule.
A/N Hope you like this! My sister is trying to send me the next chapter to "While You Were Gone," so fingers crossed that will work. This is my first Theo/Hermione, the plot just sort of came to me and it all just fell in place. I was originally working on a Marcus/Hermione, so that's likely the next oneshot coming out.
Thanks for reading! Please review; it's greatly appreciated!