Authors: tra_cey_davis and uniquemiscreant
Warnings: Sad. :(
Disclaimer: JKR pwns us all.
Summary: It is the night Hogwarts closes, and the two Slytherins have no place to go. Three years ahead, why can't Theo and Tracey look at each other anymore? The question is answered.
Notes: So, we've had this done for FOREVER, but we never got around to posting it because
The school was closed. It still seemed unbelievable to Theodore. The Death Eaters had taken over, and he wasn't going back. Remembering what his father had told him, Theo took it to heart. He did not want to join the Dark Side, but did he really have a choice? His whole entire family was full of Death Eaters. If he didn't join, then his own family would completely disown him.
However, that was not his main concern right now. What he needed to do is get Tracey to safety. They were prime suspects of being Death Eaters. Why did Slytherins get the bad reputation? Why couldn't it have been the stupid Gryffindors? Theo thought to himself as he paid the muggle at the inn for a room. Turning to a quivering Tracey, he looked her over. "We'll be safe here for a while, I promise." Theodore put a hand softly to her arm and kissed her cheek.
Tracey smiled weakly and took a deep breath, then attempted a bigger smile to appease Theodore. She knew he was worried about her, and for some reason that peeved her. She didn’t want him to worry about her, of all people – if anything, he should be worried about his future, about his family, about his father. Tracey wasn’t going anywhere; he clearly was.
She followed him up to their room, surveying the inn carefully but not really digesting any of the details. She forgot what colour the wallpaper was by the time she got to the room. She did remember, however, how awkwardly green the bed was, and how there was a sort of halo-like stain in the left-hand corner of the ceiling. She turned back to look at Theodore, opening her mouth without any actual idea of what to say.
However, before Tracey could say anything, Theodore spoke first. "I know it doesn't look the greatest in here, but at least we'll be safe." Theo gave her a small smile and placed her belongings on the floor, next to the bed. He hesitated as he stood up and took a big breath. "We can probably hide here for a few days and lie low until things die down."
Guilt spread through Theo as he thought more and more about what his father proposed. He really needed to talk to Tracey about this, it was an important matter. Opening his mouth to speak, Theo had trouble finding the words to tell her. "You know, I've been thinking about what my father said," Theo stated as he unhooked his scarf from his own neck.
Tracey cleared her throat - an annoyingly obvious nervous reaction. “Oh?” she asked, trying to keep her voice as even as possible. Please, Merlin, please don’t say what you’re going to say, she thought desperately as she glanced at the floorboards beneath her feet.
Theo distractedly looked out the window, barely even noticing the raindrops glazing the window. He turned back to Tracey, but then he found he could not look her in the eye. Why was Theodore having so much trouble doing something so simple as looking his own girlfriend in the eye was beyond his knowledge. Turning back towards the window, he muttered, "Maybe it'd be better if I followed his wish. It might be the safer alternative... for us." Theo said these last two words, finally able to look at her.
Tracey took a deep breath once more, finding it difficult to regain her composure. She let out a small choking sound before quietly saying, “But – But, how is getting involved in the war safer than staying out of it? If we lay low, maybe no one will even notice us, they’ll have too much to worry about…” She realized her tone was borderline begging, but she couldn’t help it. The first boy she loved – really loved, nothing silly like a first-year romance – was saying he wanted to become a Death Eater. Tracey’s mind focused on the ‘Death’ aspect of this decision. “I – I don’t think you should,” she said, attempting to gain a voice in the argument.
Theo sensed the troubled sound of her voice. "Trace..." he said and walked over to her, putting a hand softly over her arm. "Even if you're not involved in the war, there's still a huge chance you'll eventually get involved anyways. The Dark Lord doesn't just ignore the people who want to stay out of it. I want to keep us safe." He knew she was getting angry. He didn't know why he had to keep talking to her about this, but he really needed to talk about this. Theo couldn't just keep this quiet. This was an important matter.
“You know, Theo, if you want to join the Death Eaters at least admit why you’re doing it. Don’t keep saying you’re doing it to protect ‘us,’ because that’s bloody ridiculous and you know it,” she argued, crossing her arms. “We can ‘protect ourselves’ just fine without having to get involved in a ridiculous war. You’re joining because you want to please your father and your family. You’re not doing it for me.”
Theo raised both his eyebrows. "You think I'm just doing it for him?" He blinked in a confused sort of way. "I don't give a damn about what he thinks. What I care about is us." Theodore knew she was staring daggers at his head and that she may be quite angry with him, but he had no idea how angry. "I don't want you to get hurt."
Tracey looked down. “You’d hurt me by leaving, Theo. More than you’ve ever hurt me before,” she said simply.
Theo walked to Tracey and gently lifted her chin with his fingers. "I'll never leave you." He paused, looking into her eyes. "A lot of the others have joined. I won't be gone all the time. I just need to stay long enough to ensure whose side we're both really on." Theo brushed his thumb against the girl's cheek suavely.
She pulled away from his hand and shook her head. “No, Theo! This isn’t something you can talk me into accepting!” she got up and walked to the window, where he was originally sitting. She contemplated throwing something breakable out of it, but figured it was entirely childish and unnecessary. She turned to face him once more. “If you become a Death Eater… I won’t ever be able to forgive you.”
"Wh--Tracey!" Theo said defensively. "I already told you, I'm doing it for us! I don't care about anything else." Theodore sighed impatiently as he kicked the bedpost. "We have to take sides on this war! We'll be killed otherwise. You know it's true. It's starting to become the end of the world out there."
“You’ll be killed if you involve yourself in the war. And you say we’ll be killed otherwise? I’d rather die knowing I took no part in a war that I didn’t agree with rather than with a guilty conscience.” She took a deep breath and tried to tell herself not to cry, even though it seemed like her world was crashing down around her. “I swear, I’ll never forgive you, please don’t do this…”
Theo watched her, his heart breaking. "I need to do this. You don't understand, Tracey." He sighed. "If I don't do this and something happens to you, I won't be able to live with myself."
Tracey brought her hands to her face in a desperate attempt to cover the tears that threatened to fall. She shook her head and finally looked up, deep into his eyes. “If you leave, Theo…” She trailed off, wondering how to word it correctly without breaking down. “I just can’t… I can’t be with a Death Eater. I can’t… be with someone who’s affiliated with the war. Nothing you say or do will make me change my opinion. So either leave to sign up and leave my life forever, or stay.”
Theodore stuffed his hands in his pockets and looked at the floor. "You don't have to be a Death Eater. You don't need to take part in any of this. If I join, then you'll be safe," he reasoned quietly. However, there seemed to be a slight gap in "the plan". How would she be safe if he was the only one who joined? Well, it worked for Narcissa Malfoy, he supposed. At her next words, he opened his mouth to speak, but he found there was no voice. He just stood there, staring at her. I look like a buffoon, he thought to himself.
She shook her head. “I’ve given you my… opinion, ultimatum. Call it whatever you like. I just…” Tracey bit her lower lip. “I just want you to tell me now. I don’t want to have to agonize over it for days.”
"I..." Well, there was no backing out of it. "I think it's best if I just... join them. I don't want to end us. All I want to do is follow my father's orders and keep you safe." He looked back down at his shoes, scuffing the floor. Why did this feel so wrong to him?
Oh, Merlin, no. Tracey suddenly felt dizzy and as if breathing was a huge task for her. She looked out the window; it was beginning to rain, and people were scurrying underneath umbrellas or awnings. She stared out for a moment before saying, “Then leave, Theo.”
"L-leave?" he stuttered. She wanted him to leave? He had never felt this terrible in his life. Oh, Merlin, he just wanted this feeling to go away. What was it? Guilt? Why did he suddenly feel like his heart was torn into pieces? He wanted to tell her he was sorry and kiss her until he was unable to, but instead, he just stared at her.
That familiar feeling of tears against her eyelids surfaced again, and she blinked furiously to make them go away. “You heard me… I can’t be with a Death Eater, Theo.” She took a deep breath and looked him in the eyes for nearly the first time during the whole talk. “Go.”
He regretted turning around and walking. Theo wanted so badly to just apologize, not even worry about the stupid war anymore. Before he knew it, he was outside of the inn, standing in the pouring rain. Maybe it was for the best, he kept telling himself. If it was for the best, he wouldn't be feeling so terrible.