Dark Ivy and Snow

Title: Dark Ivy and Snow
Author: ExcentrykeMuse
Pairing: Harry/Theo
Summary: Everyone had wanted to believe that when Harry was sorted into Hufflepuff and befriended Slytherins, he was doing what few had attempted before him—to unite the four Hogwarts Houses.  How wrong they were.  Dark!Harry.  Harry/Theo.

For: Basill, who won my review contest!

Warnings: Underage relationship, Slash.

Frost glittered across the window in the half-light.  The world outside was sleeping, the sun having set hours ago over Little Hangleton, but the man didn’t seem to notice as he set the boy in his arms down upon the bed.

“Hmm,” Harry sighed as he turned over, away from the light.  “Theo.”

The man chuckled.  “Soon,” he promised the sleeping boy.  “Soon.” 

The room flickered with candlelight.  They were in an old Muggle monstrosity; it hadn’t been inhabited for years, but the small chamber was spotless, had been specially prepared for Harry—for tonight—for the ritual.

The man swallowed, his strong profile cast partially in shadow.  It had happened.  Part of him had thought that this was all a dream, that Harry Potter could not have gone through with it and yet, here they were.  The unreality of situation stifled him.  Of course, there was nothing he could do.

A pop sounded through the silent air, and Harry stirred on the bed, his torn robes revealing a bleeding knife wound on his arm.  They had tried to heal it with magic, but as it had been created as part of a dark ritual, there was nothing to be done but allow it to mend naturally.  Dark magic had created it and now no magic could restore the wound to smoothness.  He would always carry it, a scar, a reminder of his willing participation in the ceremony that had brought back the Dark Lord to his body.

Running footsteps echoed through the manor house, but the man remained unmoving, looking out through the window that was covered in dark ivy and pale snow that reflected the rising moon’s light.  The man had known Theodore Nott would come.  It was part of the plan, after all. 

The small, sleeping Hufflepuff boy could rarely separate himself from his bonded mate, and had formed such a dependency on Theo that after just meeting the boy on the Hogwarts Express, he’d dashed the hopes of Dumbledore and his ilk and had been promptly sorted into Hufflepuff for his unswerving loyalty to his first friend.  It had been thought that not all had been lost, perhaps he was just a kinder and harder working younger clone of his Gryffindor father or his Ravenclaw-inclined mother, but the man knew that soon Harry Potter had been seen almost exclusively in the company of Slytherins, even being allowed into their secret common room.

It had only been a matter of a few months before the Boy Who Lived had been indoctrinated with pureblood ideals—values which his own blood-traitor of a father had ignored, but which he quickly learned under the tutelage of his dearest friend.  The man had been told that there had been whispers that his own blood relative had brought home during the school holidays, that perhaps Harry Potter was doing what few had attempted before him—to unite the four Hogwarts Houses—but he made no attempt with Ravenclaw or Gryffindor, and only had one or two friends in his own house, both of them purebloods themselves.

The steps slowed and quieted as they reached the door and then it opened with a creak, candlelight dancing off of the old wooden frame and casting shadows against the ivy-clad window.

“Is he well?” Theo asked anxiously as he entered the room, his thin frame almost at odds with the school robes that he was just now tugging off.  His green and silver tie was quickly discarded on the carpet, where the man leaned down and scooped it up, setting it on the mantle for when Theodore Nott would have to return to Hogwarts before the sun rose again.  “Is he harmed?”

“The Dark Lord has been most gracious,” the man answered quietly as he took in the sight of the boy.  His blue eyes were focused on Harry’s still form on the bed, his chocolate curls falling elegantly around his thin face. 

“Thank Merlin,” Theo breathed out.  Hesitantly, he walked toward the bed and sat on the edge, his eyes never leaving Harry’s form.  “He’s bleeding.”

“It needs to heal naturally,” the man—a Death Eater—responded.  “The blood had to be taken forcefully per the ritual, and as Potter was willing. . .” He allowed his voice to trail off, his throat constricting as he forced the term “Potter” from his mouth.  He had been careful never to show too much familiarity to the boy who in another life would have been so much to him.

Theo swallowed uncomfortably.  “Of course,” he murmured.  “Some small injury is to be expected.”  His thin, almost brittle fingers reached out and gently touched the torn skin on Harry’s arm, his white nails stained with blood before he drew away again.  “It was successful?”  His voice was unemotional and unconcerned, his mind clearly on the boy who was sleeping.

“You care for him,” the man murmured, stepping forward so that Theo’s profile was etched against the snow-covered windows, illuminated in both the candlelight and the moon’s winter rays.  “You feel genuine affection.”  He was almost surprised. 

It was no secret among the remaining Death Eaters that Harry Potter was devoted to Theodore Nott, the eldest son of a loyal servant of the Dark Lord, but most had seen Theo’s returned affection as no more than Slytherin cunning and exceptional acting for a child so young.  Theo, everyone believed, had seen an opportunity and had profited from it.  Where others, the Death Eater’s own cousin included, had looked on the young Boy-Who-Lived’s scrawny figure and ill-fitting Muggle rags and thought him nothing but a Mudblood, Theo had recognized potential greatness and then the scar peaking from behind his fringe. 

He had been kind to a boy who desired affection and a place in the wizarding world, where he had been cast out so carelessly over a decade before by none other than the great Albus Dumbledore.  Theo had befriended Harry, indoctrinated him, sheltered him from Snape who had belittled him and the Headmaster who had wished to commandeer his time—and, when the child had clumsily kissed him in a not quite secluded corner of the Slytherin common room where others might see, had returned the innocent gesture.

Theodore Nott had capitalized on every small opening the Boy Who Lived had given him and a few short weeks before the Quidditch World Cup, had even performed a dark and Ministry forbidden magical bonding so that Harry would be a Potter in public only—until the Dark Lord returned.  He was now the son-in-law of a Death Eater, the mate of a future servant of the Dark Lord, an ally already in the cause for pureblood supremacy as he had lived the cruelty of being left to rot among Muggles—his own pitiful relations—and learned that wizard blood should never be tainted for the future offspring’s protection.  After all, as Harry had been told, if his mother had not been a Mudblood, he never could have been left with Muggles who neglected him.

Now, though, the man watched as Theo ran his hand through Harry’s messy black hair, a loving look in his blue eyes and a twist to his mouth at the pain his mate was in.  It had never been an act, the Death Eater realized, at least not any more.  There was no one here to watch or to expect these truthful reactions as he fawned over his bonded, worry etched in his face. 

“Yes,” Theo whispered brokenly in reply.  “How could I not love him when he gave me such trust so freely?”

“I should warn you,” the man drawled, stepping closer, “many might see it as a weakness.”

Theo laughed harshly in the room that was cleansed in shadow.  “A weakness?  One could argue that Harry is one of the three most powerful wizards alive in Britain.”  He turned, his blue eyes flashing dangerously, and wind whipped outside the window, dark ivy swaying against the snow.  “Perhaps one of the two greatest when he reaches his maturity.  I have his love, his trust—his complete protection, and through him the Dark Lord’s and currently Dumbledore’s.  How could returning and strengthening such emotions be a weakness?”

Harry stirred on the bed at the whispered tirade, and Theo quickly turned to him, his pale fingers, so like the Dark Lord’s and yet completely human, ran through Harry’s hair.

“Hush.  I’m here,” he murmured quietly, leaning forward and placing a gentle kiss on Potter’s upturned lips.  “I’m here.  You’re safe.”

“Theo?” Harry whispered, his eyelashes fluttering to reveal slits of green before sliding closed again.  “What happened?”

The man and Theo took two deep breaths and glanced at one another briefly.  “You did it,” Theo murmured after a long moment.  “With no help, you reached the Triwizard Cup first and were Portkeyed here.”

“Graveyard.”

Theo nodded before remembering that Harry’s eyes were still closed.  “Yes.  Everyone seems to think it was an accident and they’re searching the country for you.  Flitwick was supposed to have created the Portkey and he’s been detained.  No one suspects anything.”

Harry sighed out in pleasure, his hand reaching out toward his bonded.  “Good.”

“The ritual was successful,” Theo continued quietly.  “The Dark Lord has returned as everyone wanted.”  His voice faltered momentarily, betraying some emotion that the man could not identify, before he continued on.  “Tomorrow you will be taken to a magical enclave where you can wander in and ask to be returned to Hogwarts.  No one will ever know a thing.”

Harry tugged on his hand, pulling Theo partially on top of him.  He hissed in pain as his arm was half-covered, but still did not release his grip on his bonded mate.  “Stay,” he begged quietly.  “I don’t want to be alone.”

“Of course,” Theo murmured against his hair, barely loud enough for the Death Eater to hear.  “Until the sun rises.”  He glanced over his shoulder and his eyes met the man’s, blue clashing with gray.  The message was clear.

With a small bow to the pair, now lying entwined in each other’s arms, Sirius Black exited the room.  There were several hours before Theo would have to leave, and his godson would sleep peacefully for now.  He looked briefly at the door that hid the couple from his sight and sighed.  He had infiltrated the Death Eaters when Dumbledore had come to him with concerns about Harry’s close relationship with Nott’s son—but he hadn’t wanted to believe.  He had wanted to think that the upset turn of Harry’s lips when Sirius proclaimed and proved himself to be innocent was nothing more than confusion, that his guarded behaviour afterward had been because he hadn’t known Sirius, that his assertion that he was well and didn’t need a new home was because he liked his Muggle aunt, not because he was sneaking off to Nott Manor every summer and engaged to the eldest son.

Now, Sirius’s loyalties were divided, between his ideals and his one link to the past.  He sighed.  Lily and James were in their graves, but Harry—Harry still breathed on this earth and was loved.  Let Dumbledore think what he would, Sirius decided.  He would take Harry’s secrets to his grave and never reveal what he had learned that evening.

The End.

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