The next few days, though spent in futile arguments and searches for hiding places of Horcruxes while Cedric complained and begged to know what was going on, were bliss as far as Harry was concerned. After weeks without Theodore, he was just glad to be spending his waking hours with Theodore at his side and his sleeping hours being held by him. Despite the lack of progress, Harry found himself actually...happy. As long as Theodore was with him, his optimism wouldn't drop. He had hope, he had purpose, and he felt he could do just about anything.
It still would have been nice to make some progress.
Then one day, they overheard a conversation between two goblins (Gornuk and Griphook), two men (Ted Tonks and Dirk Cresswell), and three ex-students of Hogwarts (Dean Thomas, Hermione Granger, and Ronald Weasley). The goblins had pissed off the wrong people and made a run for it while the two men, being Muggle-born were off on their own in hiding. Dean and Hermione were also Muggle-borns and were also in hiding while Ronald, who didn't want to leave his girlfriend in such troubled times, had come along with her while disguising the family ghoul as him with spattergroit. The group discussed how students (Ginny Weasley, Luna Lovegood, and Neville Longbottom) had tried to break into the headmaster's office to get the Sword of Gryffindor. They had failed as they had run into Snape at the bottom of the stairs and he had confiscated the sword and sent it to a vault in Gringott's. The goblins found this hilarious because apparently it was a fake and they didn't tell the wizards so. The students who had misbehaved had been punished by being sent to Hagrid into the Forbidden Forest.
This was what Harry found the most peculiar.
"Why would Snape do that?" Harry asked a few minutes later. "Why wouldn't he punish them himself or send them to the Carrows?"
"Are you wishing he had?" Cedric gave him a disgusted glare. "Hagrid would have just had a laugh with them!"
"That's the thing! Snape knows that!"
"Maybe he doesn't." Cedric shrugged.
"Snape would always make sure any students he set punishments for never got to go to Hagrid, Sprout, or Flitwick." Theo cut in. "He always felt they were far too gentle with the students...especially Hagrid."
"Sprout was never 'too gentle'." Cedric scoffed.
"That's not the point." Harry rolled his eyes. "We're not discussing whether or not Snape's opinions were right. We're discussing his opinions. If he refused to send students to Hagrid in years past because he feared they wouldn't be properly punished, why would he, now Headmaster and under a You-Know-Who Controlled Regime, send students to Hagrid, especially after they were caught stealing the sword of Gryffindor? It doesn't make sense!"
"See what you're getting at." Theodore nodded. "Should have sent them to the Carrows."
"What does it matter?" Cedric asked, looking both confused and annoyed as was often the case.
Harry stood and told Cedric to stay put, which seemed to annoy him all the more, before walking with Theodore over to the Burok and casting Muffliato. Quickly, he explained what had happened the first time he'd gone out to meet Luna and had an encounter with Snape.
"I know he recognized my wand." Harry said quickly as he saw the anger rising into Theodore's eyes. "I know it, but he didn't turn me in. He set the wand down and moved on."
"Shouldn't have done that." Theodore spat. "Was stupid and risky and..."
"It's already done." Harry cut across him, scowling. "All right? What I want to know is why Snape didn't turn me in."
Theo shrugged. "As far as I have both seen and heard, Snape is loyal to the Dark Lord. Didn't hesitate to tell him what he knew about your escape from your house. Didn't seem bothered to attack Lupin and George..."
"But he hit another Death Eater." Harry threw out.
Theodore shifted. "Accidents happen in aerial battles. Was a lot going on and people get disoriented, forget where each other are...stuff happens."
"But what about what we just heard and him sending the thieves off to Hagrid?" Harry tried another. "Clearly, he didn't want them suffering."
"Don't know." Theo huffed. "Could have been any number of reasons. Could have not had anyone else..."
"The Carrows wouldn't have passed up that opportunity..."
"Don't know. Maybe they weren't available."
"And he also didn't turn me in." Harry felt his chest grow warm with emotion. "He knew it was me. He knew that was my wand and that I was there under the Invisibility Cloak. He's not stupid. He..."
"You are determined to see him as an ally." Theodore cut in, his rage evident in the harshness of his tone. "Don't forget who he killed. He murdered Dumbledore."
"I know that..." Harry whispered, the warmth in his chest cooling considerably. "But maybe he..."
"You see him as a father replacement." Theo snarled. "Stop. He's not your father. He never has been. He has used you since the moment you got to that school. He played you the entire time. And he still hopes your feelings towards him will not waver when the time is right."
Harry's throat hurt and he gritted his teeth as he looked away. He couldn't speak. Tears were burning in his eyes and his face felt hot against the cool of the surrounding air. Theodore stormed off into the tent, abandoning Harry to his thoughts.
Snape had known it was Harry and Harry's wand in that corridor. It wouldn't have been the first time Harry, trapped in his cloak and wand out of reach, had been stuck with Snape beside him, picking up the wand and recognizing it and yet still...he covered for Harry. The time for Snape to be winning Harry onto his side was over. The Dark Lord had taken over the school. He wanted Harry captured as soon as possible. Alliances with the boy were no longer necessary. Why hadn't Snape turned him in? It made about as much sense as Snape sending three thieves into the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid. Could Snape still be on their side? Was he, maybe, following Dumbledore's orders? Did he know the sword he'd given away was a fake and did he perhaps know where the real sword was?
But he'd killed Dumbledore...and Dumbledore wouldn't have wanted to die...unless...the curse in his hand had been too much pain and he wanted Snape to end it?
He thought about voicing this opinion, but then he heard the shouts and he turned to see Cedric and Theodore raging at each other. He started towards them, but Cedric had turned, stalking away, and finally Disapparated.
Theo was screaming after him and Harry, confused, rushed up to him.
"He took the Deluminator!" Theo thundered. "He had it! He hadn't given it back yet from when we were using it at Hogwarts! The bastard!"
Harry let out an exasperated sigh and hung his head. One of Dumbledore's clues was now gone.
Translation: 'The Deathly Hallows" in my language.