In the Wake
A Harry Potter Fan Fiction
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter nor am I affiliated with J. K. Rowling, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Warner Bros., etc. This story is non-profit and purely for entertainment value.
As a warning: This story contains slash, otherwise known as homosexual pairings, i.e. romantic liaisons between two men.
Summary: Theodore Nott didn't think of himself as a typical Slytherin. Then again, anyone who fights off six Death Eaters to rescue an injured Harry Potter wasn't a typical Slytherin.
It had happened quickly. One moment, the laughter and cheerful chatter of students echoed off the walls of Hogsmeade shops, and the next, screams of terror and agony rent the air.
The masked figures of Voldemort's Death Eaters apparated into the streets with sharp cracks!, looking like reapers on the hunt for souls. As one, they raised their wands and the Avada Kedavra curse blasted from the tips like emerald fire. The advancing beams of sickly green light raced towards the students that stood frozen in the streets, a veritable tidal wave of death.
Theodore's heart leapt into his throat at the thought of so much destruction. His eyes were bright with frustrated tears as he watched the impending massacre from where he hid, huddled in the narrow alley between Scrivenshafts and Gladrags. Children, they were only children! How could the Dark Lord sanction such barbarity? How could he allow the murder of his own people?
He couldn't force his eyes to close as the killing curses barreled forward. Oh Merlin, he choked on his own breath, fingers clenching uselessly around the handle of his wand. Please, anyone, save them! Please! He knew that he was too late to do it himself.
The green surged forward, crested, and, for a moment, all was quiet.
Then, there was a great rumble and the earth trembled beneath his feet. He struggled to stay standing as a massive wall of rock shot up from the ground, stopping the curses in their path. Bits of rock and dirt flew off and the Death Eaters looked on in a shocked stupor, seeing their attack halted in its tracks.
Theo gasped in surprise, his eyes wide and disbelieving. "How?" he whispered. He knew no one that had the power to reform the very earth.
The only noise in the town was that of the newly formed wall. The massive, towering behemoth groaned ominously, shedding a waterfall of pebbles and dirt, and collapsed back into the ground with a resounding bang! A cloud of dust rose up at the impact. The only remaining indication of its existence was a line of freshly upturned dirt.
The whimpers of those on the other side of the dust cloud rose in volume, even as hazy outlines became visible behind it. There was a flurry of movement as the smaller shadows were herded away from the battle zone and into some safe corner. The Death Eaters, meanwhile, had reformed and were marching forward.
A figure, tall and imposing, was revealed as the cloud finally dispersed. Harry Potter stood with his wand out and arms raised, righteous fury etched into every line of his face. Understanding dawned as Theo realized that Potter had been the one to raise the wall. But now that he thought about it, it wasn't much of a surprise—Potter had always been too powerful for his own good.
The rebellious teen was literally cloaked in power. It rolled off of him in miniature tornadoes that picked up the dirt and rocks and spun them around in a maelstrom of ever increasing strength.
His friends, Granger and Weasley, stood behind him with grim faces, and beyond them, a line of fifth, sixth, and seventh years waited with their wands out. Some had already cast defensive shields over the entire party.
Potter didn't wait any longer to launch his attack. He threw his arm in a wide arc and a lash of purple light exploded from his wand. It raced towards the marching Death Eaters, slammed against their shields, and shattered them, blasting the front line backwards.
The Death Eaters let out an enraged cry and descended on the gathered teens like starving wolves.
"No mercy!" Potter yelled, his voice ringing over the town. His comrades roared their agreement.
It was chaos. Harry and his friends had been separated early in the fight, and he was left alone against ten Death Eaters. The Boy-Who-Lived fought beautifully, dodging and ducking curses as spell after spell rolled off his lips. He felled three enemies before a cutting curse caught him in the shoulder.
"Ah!" Harry cried out as his nerves exploded in pain. His wand arm hung limp and useless. He quickly switched his wand to his other hand and brought down the Death Eater who attacked him with a well-timed Reducto to the chest. His casting was noticeably slower, but he made up for it by using even more powerful and lethal spells.
The teen gasped as the Cruciatus curse grazed his left side, agony searing through his veins at the slight graze. Sweat dripped from his brow and his vision began to blur in exhaustion and loss of blood.
Theo watched the fight with wild eyes. This wasn't what he wanted! The Dark wasn't about blood and torture and death! Was this what his father fought for? Theo shuddered at the thought of his father being out there, attacking his peers, murdering children the same age as his son. Would he, Theo, be forced to perpetuate this madness?
And Potter—Harry—was the only thing standing between these murderers and the innocents they wanted to kill. An unexpected rush of gratitude welled in his chest for this man, who fought so determinedly to save lives unconnected to his own and expected nothing in return.
Harry was close to dropping, and more and more curses and hexes were hitting their marks.
One of them had obviously grown bored and threw a full powered Cruciatus at the teen, smashing through his weak shield and impacting him head on. Harry toppled like a puppet with its strings cut.
The others followed their comrades' mark, and whispered, "Crucio!" Harry's body writhed and twisted under the force of six Unforgivables.
Oh Merlin, here he was, huddling like a coward in an alley while students—his peers—fought for their lives and the lives of their younger housemates. Theo clenched his eyes shut. Slytherin is not synonymous with coward!, he yelled to himself.
He was startled into action when one of the Death Eaters released an insane laugh, "How does it feel, Potter? To be at our mercy?" His fellows chuckled.
Seconds later, Harry finally released his first scream. It froze his blood in his veins, the agony in that cry. The body on the ground shuddered, the movements becoming weaker and weaker every second.
Theo didn't realize he was moving until the large rock in his hand found its home upon the back of a Death Eater's skull. The man dropped with a grunt, falling unconscious almost immediately.
"Nott!" one of them screamed. "What are you doing?"
Theo didn't reply, instead sending a stunner followed by a cutting curse at the man's stomach.
That Death Eaters where shocked at first, but it didn't take them long to realize what was to happening. Young Theodore Nott was betraying them. It wasn't long before they sprang into action but Theo was already moving, driven by his desperation to get Harry out of the crossfire.
Of the four attackers left, he hit the one that had spoken with a well-aimed bone-breaking curse, shattering the man's wand-arm, before taking him down with another spell that blasted him backwards. His body slammed into the stone wall of a shop with a sickening crunch, falling to the afterwards like a puppet with its strings cut.
The remaining Death Eaters were enraged seeing their fellow taken out by a traitor. They flung curses at him, well past speaking.
Theo ducked the lurid orange and yellow spells, grimacing as he felt the corrosive magic grasp at him as it flew overhead. He didn't want to imagine what would have happened to him if they had actually made contact. Only three left, he told himself. He could deal with three Death Eaters, right?
The blank, bone-white masks covering their faces were frightening to an extreme. These men were fully-trained wizards, knowledgeable of spells that he could only guess at. And if Harry, who had risen that great wall, who had stood up to Voldemort himself, had taken down nearly a dozen and had to be taken out by six of them, what in the world would Theo, who was so much weaker than the Boy-Who-Lived, be able to do against three?
He dodged another wave of dark magic, scrambling away from the open street even as he felt the spell singe the fabric of his robe and he hurled himself to his left. He couldn't contemplate his fears now—he had already, foolishly, stood up to them and they were out for his blood.
The Death Eaters called out for him, their mocking, jeering laughs and dark promises sending cold sweat down his spine.
The Slytherin summoned an enormous block of rubble, covertly watching as it hurtled towards one of his attackers from behind, toppling the man and crushing his skull. He resisted the urge to retch; he'd killed a man, brutally, but there were still two left.
Oh, Merlin, I'm going to die, he told himself. He cried out as a spell lashed past his cheek, splitting it open. He felt the burn of the cut and grimaced as blood dripped down the side of his face.
They had found his hiding spot, a small corner hidden between two collapsing shops. He leapt away from the wall just as it shattered outward behind him, throwing him forward onto his hands and knees. He grunted as he felt the delicate skin of his palms and the knees of his pants tear against sharp gravel.
Theo pulled himself up, throwing a few spells as he tried to search for another spot to ambush his pursuers. There was no way he could take them down in open combat.
He was utterly unmatched; they were coming onto him too fast, too strong. All he could do was dodge their attacks, too frightened to make a real attempt at finishing them, too physically small and weak to take them out with a tackle.
He rolled to avoid a blasting hex, his breath seizing in his chest when the ground next to his head exploded in a shower of debris. That could have been his head!
He glanced up in shock when one of the men cried out. He was grasping his chest as if his heart was exploding inside. "Damn you, Potter!" he spat, the lurid red of his blood beginning to leak from a corner of his mouth.
Theo glanced to his right with wide eyes. There he was—Harry, on the ground, injured and pale, but with his wand in hand and pointed at the wheezing Death Eater. His green eyes were burning with emerald fire, hatred so intense that it made Theo shiver.
He turned back to the one remaining Death Eater to see him move his wand, the tip glowing bright green.
"Avada—" the wizard began.
I don't fucking think so! Not after Harry had saved his life, again. He wouldn't allow this bastard to kill the man he was indebted to.
Theo leapt forward, tackling the man's back, using surprise to succeed where his small frame would have otherwise failed. He grabbed the man's head by his hair and slammed him face first into the rock-strewn ground until he stopped moving. He stumbled back from the prone body, horrified at his actions, before his attention was caught by movement out of the corner of his eye.
Harry, who had pushed himself up onto one elbow to curse the man about to take Theo's life, had collapsed back onto the ground with an ominous thud. The blue-eyed teen watched as Harry's wand rolled from his grasp, coming to a stop about a foot from his limp fingers.
Theo gasped and hurried forward.
"Harry!" he cried, tumbling to his knees and gripping the other's cheeks. The notion to call him Potter didn't even cross his mind; the moment the green-eyed teen stood up for those children in the alley, he'd become Harry—and Harry wasn't allowed to die.
"Harry! Please wake up!" He crawled over the teen, shielding him with his body. Theo grit his teeth as his eyes roved over the gash on Harry's shoulder. It was deep and oozing blood at an alarming rate. He could feel the malignant magic emanating from it. It was a miracle that Harry had mustered the strength to wake up, let alone lift his wand and fell another Death Eater.
He pointed his wand and whispered a disinfecting spell, removing the grit and rubble ground into the wound, followed by the strongest healing charm he knew, pouring every ounce of magic he could into it.
Slowly, ever so slowly, the wound closed, his magic beating back that of the curse's and settling into the flesh, repairing and knitting it back together. He was gasping for breath by the time the injury was entirely healed, having scraped the bottoms of his reserves.
"Harry," he moaned, breathless and despairing. The Gryffindor laying beneath him was so very still. He couldn't suppress the sob that bubbled up in his throat. "I'm sorry," he whispered, his head coming to rest on Harry's uninjured shoulder. His muscles gave out in exhaustion, and he collapsed on top of the unconscious Gryffindor, absently hoping he didn't hurt him in the process but too weak to move. "I'm sorry. Merlin, I'm sorry. I'm not ready for this. I—I didn't know this is what they do."
Theo felt so weak and confused. He could see the bodies of the Death Eaters both he and Harry had felled on the edges of his blackening vision. How in the world had he taken down five of them? He laid his head on Harry's chest, feeling the reassuring beat of his heart against his uninjured cheek, and let exhaustion take him.