so my prompt is: They meet at this beautiful coffee shop and the view isn't the only breathtaking thing there. AU and Happy Ending.
Theo’s Flat, London, December, Present
Theodore Nott was a simple man. He liked only three things: good coffee, old relics, and Harry Potter, who spent enough time around old relics to almost be considered one himself. Unfortunately for Theo, and by extension the rest of his team, Harry Potter was the one relic he just couldn’t steal.
Doubly unfortunate was the fact that he just would not stop trying.
“Theo, please. All you’re doing is making him mad, and if you keep targeting him, eventually we’re going to get caught!” Draco pleaded with him from the kitchen, where he was hopefully making dinner, but probably not.
“How is this whole ‘steal from him until he notices you and hopefully agrees to shag you’ thing supposed to work, when you’re never the one who is doing the stealing directly anyway?” Pansy asked from where she was lying on the couch reading a magazine. Theo briefly wondered why his entire crew insisted on hanging out in his flat when they all either had their own flats or had enough money to buy their own flats.
Theo himself was sitting at the table poring over plans for their next heist. Which was, admittedly, against Harry again.
“I don’t want to shag him , Pansy-”
“Oh really? Because-”
“I want to marry him.” Draco and Pansy both groaned loudly. Despite their protests, however, Theo was absolutely sure that Harry was perfect, and that they were destined to be together if only they could actually, you know, meet.
Technically they had met, once. This was before Theo had gone semi-pro with his… business. Before he had had a crew or a taste for the finer things. Back when Theo was just a boy who was angry at his father and the world and determined that he was going to make his own money, doing the things that he wanted to do. And what he had wanted to do at that moment, was steal antiquities.
British Museum, London, Three Years Before
Theo had been at the British Museum every day for five weeks. Technically he was casing the place, but he had the added goal of semi stalking the cute intern who always hung out in the European section on his days off.
Theo hadn’t seen the cute intern yet that day, but that was probably for the best, he would be making his heist the next day, and couldn’t afford to be distracted.
“That’s a great piece.” Someone commented from behind him. Theo jumped slightly and wondered momentarily if someone could be onto him, but quickly wrote that thought off. Theo was good at his job. He turned to find that it was the cute intern. Theo had known from weeks of subtle observation, and help from a nametag, that his name was Harry. But that had been from a distance. Theo was a bit taken aback to find that he actually looked like a Harry.
“What can I say, I have a special fondness for nude dancing.”
Harry didn’t laugh, as Theo had expected, but instead smirked and walked away. “Well, then you’ll love this one.”
He led Theo around the corner and through the coffee shop, into the Greek and Roman exhibits without even stopping to check if Theo was following.
“Do you believe in fate?” he asked, stopping in front of a vase that looked like every other vase in the gallery, except it wasn’t. The inscription beside it listed it as being a Greek vase depicting the three fates with a spool of thread. That in itself wouldn’t have been as interesting, except the thread seemed to be tying the wrists of the two people on the other side of the vase.
“In what context?”
“In the context of like, destiny. That there’s some things that you are just meant to do or people that you’re meant to meet.”
“Yes,” Theo answered before he even thought about it. He didn’t know why, or how, but this moment right here felt like fate.
“The Greeks had a version of fate, the Moirai, which is what’s shown here. But they generally were only responsible for cutting the string. In most Asian cultures, however, they have a different string of fate, one that ties you to another person.”
“I like this vase because It’s a sort of mixture of both. Like the fates took pity on these people and suddenly switched ideologies to give them another chance.”
“They made fate work for them.” Theo murmured. Harry was right, the vase was just the right mix of interesting and absurd for Theo, and he wondered how Harry had known so quickly. He quickly found himself far more interested in the boy in front of him, than he was the vase, however.
“I love Greek and Roman art because they truly just did not give a fuck about gender or any of that. Doesn’t matter who you were, Zeus would probably bang you, and I respect that.” Harry commented lightly as if he were only talking about the weather and not the bangability of ancient deities. Like he hadn’t just been talking about the inevitability of fate a moment before.
Theo vaguely wondered how this already attractive guy just kept getting hotter. He felt a bit like the last few minutes were all a dream like he would wake up and Harry would never have existed at all.
“Same could be said about the Norse and Celts ” he responded if only to keep from doing something stupid, like ask for his number. Harry grinned brightly and pointed at him in excitement
“Yes! That’s what I love about all of these older cultures, everyone talks about how the modern age is so progressive, but progression is more of a wave than a straight curve.” Fuck, he was pretty and smart.
“I’m Theo,” He blurted out, against his better judgment.
Had he actually stopped to think about it, he would have realized that Harry had obviously noticed that he had been there every day for five weeks, and thus if anyone asked him if he had seen anyone suspicious, he would be able to give them Theo’s name. Theo ignored the part of his brain that was currently lighting itself on fire and focused on trying to keep talking to Harry for as long as possible. Freaking out could come later
“Well Harry, if you were to be banged by a god, which one would it be?” Harry didn’t even bat an eye at Theo’s attempts at keeping conversation, which just further proved how perfect he was for Theo.
“Either Morrigan or Hades I think.”
Theo nodded thoughtfully. “Probably Loki for me.” Before Harry could reply, they were interrupted by one of the other workers.
“Potter! They need your help in 56.”
“Alright!” Harry called back before turning back to Theo. “See you around Theo.” Harry gave a small wave and a smile before he was gone.
Theo’s flat, London, December, Present
Theo had let that one interaction roll around in his head for weeks after his heist (which went off without a hitch, take that father.) No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t help but feel like Harry was meant to be more. Like with one conversation on fate, Theo had somehow sealed his own. Which was of course, why he kept stealing whatever artifact Harry was currently studying, now as a full-fledged employee at the British Museum.
Theo let his mind drift back to what he was actually doing, just in time to catch a phrase he recognized.
“Wit beyond measure is a man’s greatest treasure,” he muttered aloud. “Hey Draco, do you remember that book I stole from Harry like three months ago?” he asked louder.
Draco Malfoy was exactly 83% of Theo’s impulse control, and 94% of the reason Theo felt like drowning himself in a lake. Unfortunately, Draco was also very, very good at making Theo’s exotic coffees, which was the reason that number hadn’t reached 100% yet. Draco also possessed an uncanny ability to keep track of everything Theo lost and was fairly good at making sure that Theo ate real food occasionally.
“The really old one that none of us could read because who the fuck can read ancient Celtic literature? That one?”
“That’s the one. Where did I put that copy of the page Harry had translated?”
“I think it’s still on your desk, why?” Theo didn’t answer him, just scrambled to flick through the dozens of pages covering his desk until he finally stumbled across the one he was actually looking for.
“Man’s greatest treasure -- this is it. Oh my God.”
“Theo, why do you look like you’ve just found the Holy Grail?” Pansy asked, watching him warily from over the top of her magazine.
“This is better than the Holy Grail Pansy. I think I just found the Lost Diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw.”
Riad Kaiss Hotel, Morocco, June, Present
Harry had taken to getting a coffee in the hotel cafe across the street before he reported to his boss every morning. Morocco was nice, a bit hot for his tastes, but nice. He had been a bit alarmed to find that everything shut down during the day during Ramadan, otherwise it was not the worst place he had ever been. (That title went to a particularly awful pub in SoHo that Ron had dragged him to the year before.)
Harry was always alone for these early morning moments, which is why it took him by complete surprise when he walked into the cafe to see the man he thought for sure he would never see again. He froze in place and studied him from a distance. There he was, the same tawny-colored hair, a bit longer than he remembered, the same chiseled features and sparkling blue eyes. He was still as breathtaking as ever.
“Theo?” Harry questioned softly, walking closer. Theo’s head snapped up and his eyes widened slightly in shock.
“What brings you to Morocco?” Harry asked
“Chasing a legend.” God, that was such a Theo thing to say. Or was it? Harry kept forgetting that he didn’t actually know Theo, had only really spoken to him once. But felt like he did, deep in his bones. He sometimes felt like he knew Theo better than his own best friends.
He had heard Theo talking on the phone with someone once, some two weeks before he and Harry had spoken, ranting about pigeons and Tesla, and Harry had thought to himself ‘this is it. This is the type of person I want in my life.’ Then Theo had vanished and Harry had given up all hope of finding someone like that again.
“What about you?”
Harry smiled slightly “Chasing a legend.”
“Oh? Which one.” Theo leaned forward to rest his chin on his hand, gesturing for Harry to sit down with the other. He did so before grinning and leaning forward in the chair to whisper back.
“That’s classified.” Theo dropped his hand and leaned forward to match Harry’s position. They were only inches apart now, but Harry felt like those few inches could be the English Channel. Somehow, any distance was too much
“Bet I can guess,” Theo whispered back. Harry hummed in acknowledgment.
“Sure you can.” Theo grinned in delight, and god if Harry didn’t want to bask in that smile forever.
“What? You don’t believe me? It’d only take one question.”
“Alright then, ask your question.”
“Who hired you?”
“Tom Riddle.” Theo’s grin grew
“You’re after the Diadem.” Harry felt like he should have been shocked, but he wasn’t.
“How do you figure that?” Theo leaned back again.
“Because I’m after the same thing.” Harry eyed him critically. Tom had said he had competition, but Harry had never imagined that Theo, the boy who was passionate about pigeons and ancient relics, who had spent nearly as much time staring at Harry as Harry had stared at him, was the man that Tom Riddle was most concerned about.
“You’re after the lost diadem? How did you even get this far anyway? You’d have needed…” Harry stared at him, everything suddenly clicking together in his mind. “You’re him. You’re the one.” Theo’s eyes widened almost comically, and a blush spread across both of their cheeks.
“No - I mean - You’re the one who’s been stealing my artifacts for the last three years. You were there, at the Museum the day before that vase got stolen too. That wasn’t a coincidence, was it?” Theo smirked slightly, bringing his coffee up to his lips before answering.
“No, It wasn’t,” Harry didn’t know what to think really, the man that had been haunting his dreams for years was a professional thief that liked to target Harry in specific.
He thought he should probably be mad, but Theo had always given the pieces back after a week or so, and oftentimes with notes on things he had missed. Harry had even stopped reporting the robberies after the third one, and it had gotten to the point where he had started attaching notes marking the issues he’d been having with whatever it was for Theo to respond to. Which he always did, in the wittiest and most obnoxious manner possible.
Harry supposed it could be worse really-- he could have been pining over someone boring.
“Right. So are you going to explain why…”
“Later. Right now, I have a business proposition.”
“I’m not going to help you steal things, Theo.” He would. If Theo asked, he would absolutely help him steal things. That was a rather troubling thought, considering he was thus far a rather upstanding citizen.
“It’s not theft! Well, yet. Look, Tom Riddle has been after all of the lost artifacts he can find. He finds them, he steals them, and then he sells them to the highest bidder to be locked in a private vault for the rest of eternity. He’s been the bane of my existence since before I’d even started this business, and if he finds what he’s looking for this time, he’s only going to get worse.”
“And what can I do about that? It’s not like I can just un-translate that book for him.”
“Help us get to it first.”
“I don’t actually know you, you know that right? ” Theo leaned forward again
“Come on Harry, don’t give me that. You feel it too, I know you do.” Harry did feel it. That pull, like he and Theo were just two planets orbiting around each other. Like they were meant to be there, stuck in perfect sync.
“This is crazy. I already have a job. And what if you’re wrong?”
“What if I’m right?”
“You - I -”
“Think about it. I’ll meet you here tomorrow, same time.” Theo finished off his coffee with a small grimace and stood up to leave. Harry watched him with a weird feeling building in his chest.
“At least tell me, is Theo even your real name?” Theo gave him a thin smile.
“It’s the realest one I have,” he replied before striding back out of the cafe.
Riad Kaiss Hotel, Morocco, The Next Morning
Despite what his crew might think, Theo hadn’t gone to Morocco with a plan to somehow recruit Harry to his cause. In fact, Theo had been planning on avoiding Harry altogether, and then when that failed, pretending he was on a business trip. Then, just as before, he had gotten flustered and found himself unable to think straight or lie to him.
Theo should have expected Harry to figure it out quickly anyway, and it certainly saved him the trouble of having to hide who he and his crew were, and what he was doing in Morocco. On the other hand though, it meant that he had to explain to his crew how Harry already knew who they were.
That was going to suck.
In the meantime, however, he was sitting in the cafe where he had met Harry the day before. You would think that for being a luxury hotel, they would have better coffee. Harry appeared not a minute later, swiftly taking the seat across from Theo.
“So is Theo short for Theodore?” Harry asked pleasantly, looking for all the world like he was just catching up with an old friend, and not like he was going to be making a decision on whether or not to become a criminal. Or more of one, Theo doubted if Tom had been clandestine in terms of the legality of his search for the Diadem.
“Not anymore.” Harry nodded thoughtfully. “Have you made a decision?” Theo asked.
“Yes. Well, sort of. I have a few requirements.”
“Name them.” Theo was pretty sure he would give Harry the world if he asked.
“I want you to stop stealing my artifacts.”
“Well, yeah, it wouldn’t be any fun since you already know who I am.” Harry raised a brow.
“Do I? Know who you are? You could disappear tomorrow, and I would never be able to find you again.”
Theo clutched tightly at his mug and bit the inside of his lip. Theo very much doubted that he could ever just disappear from Harry’s life. Sure, he could leave England, stop targeting Harry specifically, but then again, he hadn’t planned on running into Harry here either.
“So what is it you want from me?” Theo asked, taking another sip of his gross coffee and carefully not betraying his thought process.
“What’s your last name?”
“I’ll tell you if you agree to join us.” Harry hesitated only slightly before he nodded his agreement, and wow, he was beautiful in the early morning light.
“Alright, I’ll join you.”
Theo didn’t even bother hiding his grin as he took another drink of his disappointing coffee. “Welcome to the crew Potter.”
“I can’t just leave Riddle’s dig though, I’m fairly certain he’s like the mafia or some shit. How am I-” Theo leaned forward and put a finger against his lips.
“Shhh. Don’t worry about that, just continue doing your job, and I’ll let you know when the time comes.”
“Theo…” Harry whispered. Theo had to pretend that Harry hadn’t also leaned in with the word, for his own sanity. “You still haven’t told me your last name.” Theo grimaced.
“Nott. My name is Theodore Nott Jr., though not for long if I can help it.” Harry smiled.
“Oh? What are you going to change it to?” yours hopefully.
“I haven’t decided yet. You should go. You’re going to be late.”
“Right.” Harry leaned back and Theo suddenly missed their close capacity. “See you around Theo.” Harry smiled at him one last time as he stood up and walked away.
Theo’s Flat, London, Two Weeks Later
“You knew, didn’t you,” Harry questioned Theo as he led them through the building. “You knew it had already been taken.”
“Of course I did, and so would you, had you stopped to actually think about it. That page wasn’t exactly a recent discovery, and someone else in the last 600 or so years had to have had a working knowledge of Celtic languages.”
“So what was your plan then, if you knew it was already gone?”
“Well, I was just planning on following Tom, and letting him lead me to the old hiding place, so I could investigate after he was gone, then I ran into you.”
Theo stopped outside the door of what Harry assumed was his flat.
“I apologize in advance. They can be a bit… much.”
“Who -” Theo opened the door to the sounds of what could only be called chaos. Theo just sighed. Obviously, this was the norm for him. As they entered, Harry could start to pick out pieces of conversation
“Stop stealing my makeup Blaise! It doesn’t even match your skin tone!”
“Oh my god. Shut Up, Pansy! No one cares! Luna, hand me the salt shaker would you?”
“Blaise dear, she’s right you know. You need a deeper red.” Harry recognized that last one as he looked around the room, finally catching sight of Luna Lovegood sitting at what looked like was supposed to be a kitchen table, but it was instead hosting at least three laptops, and several stacks of loose paper as well as a few books. Harry blinked at the mess, which looked eerily like his own kitchen table at home.
“Oh. Hey Luna.”
“Hello, Harry. I see you and Theo have finally found each other.” Harry gave a small shrug. Luna had this way of seeing straight into your soul, which sounded like it should be uncomfortable, but Harry had never felt anything but at ease in his old friend’s presence. All other conversation in the room ceased. Harry looked around to assess the other members of the group. There was a man standing in front of a full-length mirror on the wall, adjusting a wig. The couch was taken entirely by a small Asian girl with an upturned nose typing away on her phone. Someone else was clanking pans in what Harry assumed was the kitchen.
“You didn’t say you knew him, Luna.” The guy with the wig questioned
“It wasn’t relevant.” She replied pleasantly. “I do hope you enjoy yourself, Harry, it’s a lot of fun.” Another man snorted loudly from the kitchen.
“Easy for you to say.”
“Don’t mind Draco, he’s just salty because Theo hasn’t let him blow anything up in months. I’m Blaise.” the first man introduced himself with a handshake and a grin. Theo sighed again.
“Blaise is our grifter, basically an actor, but for thieves. He’s very fond of wooing creepy old men, hence the heels and hair. Over there is Pansy, she’s the thief. She can pick a lock faster than you can blink.” Pansy gave a small wave before looking back at her phone. Theo turned to point to Luna. “Obviously you already know Luna, she’s our hacker. I’m not sure how though, to be honest since I only hired her for one job.”
“Theo. Have you eaten?” came the disjointed voice from the kitchen again. Harry thought Theo’s eyes might roll back into his head.
“Theo -” A pointy blond man appeared in the doorway to stare him down.
“Draco. Give it up.” Theo turned back to Harry. “And the shithead in the kitchen is Draco. Explosives expert and bane of my existence. He’s the mom friend in case you hadn’t noticed.”
“Did you not get that job at MI6 or wherever then Luna?” He asked her curiously, it had been a while since he’d seen his old friend, and he’d been rather preoccupied with being robbed from every few months to bother reaching out.
“I found a better opportunity,” Luna replied with a smile.
“How’d you know about the -” Blaise started to ask before Pansy cut him off
“He’s friends with your girlfriend dumbass.”
“She’s not my-” He started to argue
“Alright enough!” Theo cut in before they could really get started. “We have work to do people!” Luna turned on the TV, showing the timeline they had apparently already worked out over the last week since Harry and Theo’s return from Morocco. Blaise settled onto the couch next to Pansy, and Draco abandoned his post in the kitchen to squeeze between them. Harry took that as his cue to slide into the chair next to Luna.
Theo turned around to look at all of them. “Buckle up bitches, we’ve got at a crown to find.”
While Harry had been finishing up the dig with Riddle, Theo hadn't just been sitting around. He'd been searching.
For someone who had never bothered to graduate from secondary school, Theo was uncannily smart. You had to be in his line of work.
Having concluded from Harry's notes on the dig site that the diadem had been moved sometime during the French occupation of Morocco in the early 1900s, Theo had immediately begun research into where it could have ended up afterward.
The problem was, of course, that there weren’t any Diadems in any French museums, or loaned out to any other museums from France. Which meant that the diadem had either been bought by a private buyer, or they had lost the trail again. Theo really hoped they hadn’t lost the trail again.
“Wait, Theo go back.” Harry stopped his slides. Then pointed to a discolored spot on the cave wall they were looking at. “What does that look like to you?”
“It looks kind of like the R in like a registered sign,” Draco commented.
“The what?” Blaise asked. Theo rolled his eyes and drew on the whiteboard behind him.
“Oh. That one.”
“It’s also the symbol of the Order of Ravenclaw, an elite group of people who dedicated their lives to keeping documentation of historical events and artifacts. If they were there, they have documentation on what was in that cave, and where it is now.”
“Okay, but how do we find it?” Pansy asked, not unkindly.
“Easy, we go to the library.”
British Library, London, Three Days Later.
“Harry! I haven’t seen you in weeks!” A voice shrieked from a dark hallway. Harry turned and grinned. His best friend gave him a large hug. “Where have you been? I stopped by the museum and they said you’d been hired by a private party to help with a dig! How was that? Oh, I bet it was exciting!”
“Hey ‘Mione. Yeah, it was pretty interesting. I’m on a hunt for a missing artifact right now actually, do you think you could help us out?” Hermione blinked as if she had just realized that Harry wasn’t alone. Harry wouldn’t be surprised if she actually hadn’t noticed, to be honest. Hermione may have been the smartest person he knew, but she was also frightfully unobservant at times. They had that in common.
“Oh. Hello there!” She greeted Theo. “I’m Hermione, Harry’s best friend.”
“Theo.” He greeted her with a small amused smile. Hermione raised an eyebrow at Harry in question, but he gave her his best ‘not now’ look.
“Right. So what do we need help with?”
“We need some Order of Ravenclaw documents. Early 20th century.” Hermione looked pained.
“Harry, you know there’s a two-week wait on those-”
“Please Hermione, you know me, you know I know how to care for them, and it shouldn’t take more than a day. We’ll be in and out.” She sighed.
“Fine. Come on then. I’ll backdate the paperwork, but you owe me Harry!”
“I love you!” He called after her. She waved her hand dismissively. He turned to Theo. “Come on, before she changes her mind.” She led them to the manuscripts reading room and left them there for a few minutes before returning with a book in hand.
“Here. Order of Ravenclaw 1847 through 1978.”
“Thanks, Hermione.” Theo also nodded his appreciation. They both turned to the book.
“Well, where do we start?” Theo asked.
“The French gained control of Morocco in 1905 so why don’t we start there?” They had been flipping through notes for an hour before they came across anything of note. “Look here, Harry. This entry is from Morocco in 1912.” It was written in French, but Harry found himself unsurprised to discover that Theo spoke the language fluently. He translated it aloud. “Cave was uncovered in- well that part was smudged out, but we know where it was- Morocco. The intruders believed it to be the resting place of the Lost Diadem of Lady Ravenclaw herself. They were disappointed to find only a handful of Greek pottery and an ancient Chinese star map inscribed in Greek.”
“Weird. Why would an ancient Chinese star map be in with a bunch of Greek artifacts, and inscribed in Greek no less.”
“If this is the right place, and I think it is, It means the Diadem was never there at all,” Theo said, leaning back in his chair.
“You know,” Harry said slowly. “The Celtic book never said the Diadem was there, it just said that the way to the diadem was there.” Theo blinked at him.
“You think we’re trying to find a map.”
“I think we already found the map.” Harry tapped the page. “You know why they started making star maps right?”
“It’s even in the name. Oh, that’s good. But where is it now?” Harry bit his lip.
“That’s the question, isn’t it?”
Field Museum, Chicago, February, Present
Harry hated dressing up. It was the most unfortunate part of his job, and even twice a year that was usually required of him was far too often in his opinion. The fact that the Tux that Theo had somehow managed to have tailored for him without ever getting his measurements actually fit him this time around, only marginally minimized his discomfort.
“I can’t believe you talked me into this.” He told Theo, who was standing next to him, acting as his date. They were in the Temporary Exhibit hall on the second floor, mingling with people who probably made more money in a day than Harry would make in his entire life. No, he wasn’t bitter.
“Oh stop complaining. We get free champagne from this, on top of everything else.”
“I hate these parties, Theo. Hate them. A significant reason for me taking the job with Tom last year was because I was avoiding another one of these stupid parties. They’re so full of bullshit, just a bunch of rich pricks gathering to talk about their latest business ventures and ignore the history that none of us poor people can afford to come see.” Harry ranted, not really caring who heard him.
He also had opinions on the gallery itself. It didn’t display the artifacts as well as it could have. The high contrast between the dark stone tablets and green jade statues, and the white walls, made it hard to appreciate the artifacts true beauty. Though that could also have been Harry’s distaste for white gallery walls making a reappearance.
“Wow. Tell me how you really feel.” Theo commented dryly. Harry shot him a flat look, slightly annoyed that Theo wasn’t actually listening to him. Granted there was a lot going on, but still. Theo sighed.
“Would you like me to steal something to make them reconsider their positions on fancy parties?” So maybe he had been paying attention then. It was framed as a facetious question. A joke. But Harry knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Theo would absolutely do it.
“Do you think it would actually work?” He asked
“Probably not. But you never know until you try right?” Harry wasn’t sure that was really the best way to go about life when you were in the middle of a high stakes heist, but he figured if anyone could pull it off, it would be Theo. Theo caught his eye and smiled
“Is this your weird way of flirting?” Pansy asked over the coms, bringing them back to the present.
“No, that involves a lot more history jokes,” Blaise replied. Theo looked annoyed for a moment but didn’t respond to them aloud. Instead, he turned back to Harry.
“Well, Harry. What’s the verdict?” Harry had to shake himself out of his reverie before he could answer
“Fuck it. Go hard or go home right?” Theo grinned as if he had been both wanting and expecting that answer. And maybe he had. For as much as Harry felt like he knew Theo, sometimes he was an incredibly hard person to read.
“Guess what guys, we have a change of plans.” He said into the coms.
“Fucking hell Theo,” Draco complained. “At least tell me that this one requires a distraction. “
“No explosives,” Harry said sharply. There were far too many important artifacts in this museum to risk it. He didn’t care how good Draco was with them.
“Who died and made you king.” Draco snapped back.
“No explosives.” Theo reiterated, and Draco gave a huffy sigh.
“Fine. What’s the new plan then?” Only Harry was witness to Theo’s nearly feral grin.
Theo’s Flat, London, Six Weeks Before
Blaise laid across the couch, with the phone in one hand, and a bouncy ball in the other. Theo knew that come the next day, he would have at least three new dents in the wall, and would most likely have to replace the glass in the painting that hung above the couch. At least it was only a replica.
“No, of course, I understand that it’s difficult to loan a permanent exhibit in such a short amount of time, but I’m telling you, I’ll pay a lot of money to see it happen anyway.” He said in a very convincing American accent.
He was attempting to convince the Louvre to loan out one of their permanent Chinese exhibits, because Theo may have been good, but he wasn’t ‘rob the Louvre' good. They had chosen the Field Museum because it already had a decent Asian Exhibit, and far less security than the fortress that was the Louvre.
Theo busied himself with the large 3D printer he had shoved in the spare room. The sooner he could get the thing printed correctly, the sooner he could start painting it, which to get a perfect replica, could take weeks. Problem was, he also had to ensure that the model was exactly the same size and weight, which was difficult to do at the best of times.
It also didn’t help that Theo’s concentration was always being shattered by Harry, whose very presence rendered him incapable of functioning like a human being. Which was stupid, he was just a man. A very hot man, who always looked incredibly charming when he was digging through old texts and muttering to himself.
Harry had taken to bringing his research to Theo’s flat and sifting through it where he could ask Theo’s opinion whenever he got stuck. Theo supposed he should be happy that Harry trusted him enough to ask his opinion and spend all of his free time studying at Theo’s dining room table or reading on his couch. But he really did have things to do.
“Hey Theo, look at this.” Theo smothered another sigh and put down his paintbrush. Harry was so lucky he was pretty.
Field Museum, Chicago, Present
“In position Theo, in three, two, one.” Luna called out, breaking her radio silence. All the lights in the gallery went out for thirty seconds before the background generators kicked in. Harry could just make out the outline of Pansy’s hand slipping out of her purse and he thought he could vaguely see her leaning over the barrier, careful not to touch anything but the artifact. He marveled at the fact that she could balance like that in five-inch stilettos, but he supposed that probably had something to do with her day job. He still couldn’t get over the fact that Pansy was a professional Ballerina for the Royal Ballet.
He knew she would have much preferred to have done this from the ceiling, she had made her dissatisfaction known, but with how the room was built there was no way for her to get into the rafters without being seen; let alone dropping down and snagging the artifact in the window she had. And really, this was a far easier method.
She switched the artifact with the fake Theo had made, and hesitated a moment before finally ignoring the need to steal the much shinier artifact next to it. Theo would not have been happy if she had stolen that one too. Especially considering that she would have bitched about the fact that it was only worth a couple thousand afterward, Harry had researched the prices for the exhibit pieces a few weeks before.
Harry couldn’t see it, but the artifact was slipped to Blaise, who would find somewhere to hide it, he was sure. He wasn’t really sure where that place would be considering Blaise wasn’t carrying a purse and his dress left next to nothing to the imagination, but he knew Blaise well enough by now to know that he would find a way.
The lights flickered back on, and Pansy was nowhere to be seen. Blaise was mingling with a group of older gentlemen, who were fawning over him as per the usual, and there was no sign he had ever even moved from his spot. Harry was still in complete awe at the fluidity of their teamwork. If only he knew where Theo had gone.
Field Museum, Chicago, One Minute Later
Pansy quickly pulled off her wig and shoved it into the duffle, to reveal her own hair, pinned into a perfectly styled chiffon. She slid out of the red dress she’d been wearing before, and into a dark green dress that she’d been begging Theo to let her wear for over a year. She wiped off her lipstick and replaced it with a more subtle pink, dropping the used makeup wipe in the bag with her wig. The duffle was thrown up to Draco, who was perched on top of the elevator, waiting.
As a last touch, she put in some eye drops that had the desired effect of making her immediately tear up. The elevator doors opened just as Draco had finished screwing the last bolt back in place.
Pansy made use of her acting experience.
Theo’s Flat, London, Four Weeks Before
“Why can’t we just blow up one side of the museum, while we rob the other?” Draco complained. He was making spaghetti in the kitchen, while Theo worked on his replica at the end of the kitchen table that wasn’t covered in books and Luna’s spare laptops. For once, Draco and Harry were the only other people in the flat.
Theo rolled his eyes. “You know perfectly well why we can’t do that Draco.”
Despite what his team claimed, the majority of Theo’s heists were actually on private individuals, not on museums. Harry was the exception, not the rule. Theo actually disliked stealing from museums for this exact reason. If something happened to a rich person’s mansion when they needed a quick distraction, well, they were rich enough to figure it out. There were far too many things to worry about breaking when you targeted a museum.
And stealing from Harry barely counted anymore. He hadn’t even bothered to report the thefts after the first couple of times. Had he been stealing from anyone else, Theo would have kept the artifacts just out of spite.
But Harry was hot, and Theo was gay, so alas. Almost as if he knew what Theo was thinking, Harry smiled at him from across the room. Theo’s heart stuttered in his chest, and he had a feeling that for better or for worse, something was going to be happening soon. Something bigger than all of them.
Field Museum, Chicago, Present
It had been a while since Theo had performed a heist himself instead of just directing one from the background. He had to admit it felt nice. Maybe he could convince Harry to actually join him the next time. Theo strolled out of the gallery and met up with Harry in the lobby, confident in Luna’s ability to erase his presence from the footage. She really was an excellent hacker. He slid his arm around Harry’s waist and leaned over to whisper in his ear.
“If anyone asks, I was with you the whole time.” He had to stifle a grin from the shiver his words sent through Harry’s body. It was nice to know that he wasn’t the only one affected by the other. He started leading Harry towards the exit of the building.
“You really are a very bad date, leaving me alone in a blackout, you should be ashamed,” Harry commented back dryly.
“I’ll make it up to you later.” He said loudly, giving a hard smile to a man who was staring at them. The man blushed and turned away. “Damn Harry, I need to take you as my date to all of these things. Nothing keeps the eyes off of us like blatant homophobia.” Harry snorted but didn’t respond, preoccupied with picking up their jackets from the coat check. Theo switched to holding his hand after they had made it outside and gave a small laugh.
He really needed to perform his own heists more often.
Field Museum, Chicago, Two Weeks Before
Pansy strolled through the museum, taking subtle pictures of all of the security features.
“No Mum, It’s like he’s not even trying!” She complained to her headset, under the guise of the cell phone pressed to her ear.
“I’m not the mom friend!” Draco complained back. “Yes, you are.” Came three different voices from across the museum.
“I can’t believe he left me behind for some- some floozie! I bet she’s not even pretty.” Pansy was still pouting about Theo choosing to case the Museum with Harry instead of teaming up with her like they usually did. Harry personally thought her passive-aggressive comments were hilarious, but Theo didn’t find them nearly as amusing.
“Now is not the time for your inferiority complex,” Theo responded before she could really get going. In reality, Harry or Theo should have gone with Pansy and pretended to be a boyfriend or something, but as much as Harry liked Pansy, he felt far more comfortable with Theo.
“Excuse me, ma’am. I’m afraid you’re not allowed to talk on the phone in the museum.” Pansy was interrupted by a museum worker.
“Right. Sorry, Mum, I’ve got to go. Yes, I told you that you should have just come with me. Bye.” she pretended to hang up the cell phone she’d been holding up to her ear; making one final jab at Theo as she went.
“Well,” she said into the com as soon as the worker was gone. “That went well.”
Outside the Field Museum, Chicago, Present
“Well, that went well,” Blaise commented, pulling off his various bangles as he caught up to them. Harry shot him an incredulous look.
“On what planet did that go well? I saw you get stopped by those cops.”
“Went better than most of our plans,” Pansy said, falling into step with them.
“How bad at your jobs are you?” He scoffed.
“Very, very good,” Theo commented, resting his fingertips on Harry’s wrist for a moment to calm him. “The first rule of any con is to never expect it to go as planned. There are far too many variables to ever assume you know everything there is to know about your target. They could have hired some extra help at the last minute, or gotten a different external threat that forces the entire plan to move ahead of schedule.” He explained lightly. “The true measure of a great thief is not how many things you can steal, but how many things you can steal without getting caught.”
“You should get that on a t-shirt.” Pansy retorted “Did we at least get the stupid map?” Blaise pulled the hair tie out of his wig and carefully slid the map off of the ponytail that had been hiding it. Pansy winced.
“Jesus Blaise, I know that’s a wig, but do you have to be so hard on it.” Harry was just baffled.
“I cannot believe that worked.” Pansy grinned at him.
“Oh, that more than worked, new guy.” She opened her clutch to show him the pile of jewelry she had nicked from the partygoers. Blaise showed him the underside of his bangles where he had at least three bracelets stashed. Theo reached down and pulled several watches from his shoe, then pulled a necklace from under his tie. Harry stared at it for a long minute.
“That’s. That’s the fucking Sun God. How the fuck did you get that?”
As if on cue, the alarm went off and Draco pulled up to the curb.
“Lets go!” He frowned at them, and Pansy flipped him off as she slid into the front seat. Harry sat next to Luna in the back.
“You’re very good at this Harry.” She gave him a secretive smile and he had a feeling she knew about the Rolex he had stashed in his pocket. He had taken it off of a particularly obnoxious man who would not leave Theo and him alone. Considering the sheer number of other things they had managed to steal, he didn’t feel all that bad about his own act of petty theft.
Ancient Tomb, Somewhere in Northern Greece, March, Present
It had taken a week of trial and error, seven different YouTube tutorials on how to read star charts, and six days of hiking for them to find the cave. It really didn’t look like much, more of a hole in the ground than anything. Inside however, was a different story.
“So this is it then?” Harry said, gazing almost lovingly at the drawings on the wall. Theo had to admit that it was kind of beautiful; all of the writing, the history, still intact after two thousand years.
“This is it. The entrance to the tomb itself should be around here somewhere.” Theo turned on his torch and wandered over to investigate a different part of the cave, leaving Harry to his inspection of the cave walls. They had spent nearly a full week trying to figure out how to read the map, and another week wandering around the Grecian countryside trying to find the entrance to the tomb. It seemed a bit unfair to him that what they had found was a cave full of writing that didn’t make sense. After over eight months of searching, Harry thought it all felt a bit surreal.
“Theo,” Luna called softly from around the bend. Harry frowned at the slight tremble in her voice, and thus opted to follow Theo around the corner.
“Oh.” He stopped short when he saw the skeleton lying on the ground at the base of a small dias. It was a relatively recent skeleton, the clothes were all still intact, if a bit worse for wear, and she wore a small silver watch, which glinted in the light of their three torches.
It was the watch that held Theo’s full attention.
“Theo? What is it?”
“My mum.” He whispered. The rest of the crew made it into the cave, and more than one of them gagged at the sight of the skeleton.
“What?” Harry asked, confused. He had known Theo for months now, had worked with him nearly every day, and Theo had never once mentioned his mum.
“That’s her. That’s my mum.”
“How do you know?” Pansy asked quietly.
“My dad had that watch custom made for her when I was eight. I’d recognize it anywhere.”
“Why is she here?” Draco asked suddenly. Theo looked up at him.
“I don’t know. I don’t even know what they were after, just that it was a locket.”
“I do,” Harry responded. While they had all been staring at the skeleton of Theo’s mum in the middle of the floor, he had started studying the walls.
“Have you ever heard of Hogwarts?” He asked them when they just stared at him in surprise.
“I’m not surprised, it’s a relatively unknown Celtic myth that hasn’t really withstood the test of time. Legend has it, that four great queens and kings, all of whom were much beloved by their people, gathered in secret in order to create a new power in the west, one that would topple all other powers and restore balance and prosperity to the world.
“The stronghold that was built to host this power was called Hogwarts. Each of the founders was to donate a piece of themselves and their wealth to this great power, as a token of their dedication. But before the fortress could be completed, and the power released, they were attacked, and their fortress destroyed, their gifts stolen and the power lost forever.”
“What was the power?” Blaise whispered.
“No one knows. Most assume it was a military, others think it may have been magical. What is was is actually irrelevant, the real question you should be asking is who the Kings and Queens were, and what they did with the gifts.”
“Well, who were they then?” Pansy demanded. Harry pointed his torch back at the wall, where there loomed a giant portrait of a king with fiery red hair and beard, dressed in armor, sword in hand.
“Gryffindor.” His torch illuminated the next portrait. A king holding a large locket. “Slytherin.” He moved the torch again. A queen carefully holding a golden chalice. “Hufflepuff.” His torch lingered on the last portrait. It was a queen with a long braid that draped over her shoulder. On top of her head sat a sliver diadem “And Ravenclaw.”
“Holy shit.” Pansy breathed.
“So they were after Slytherin’s locket then,” Blaise stated
“Had to have been. Theo?” Draco said, looking back over at Theo, who still hadn’t said anything.
“He said the tomb required a sacrifice to get to the locket. He said it was the only way. My mum died for a locket that was never even retrieved.” Harry watched his friend carefully.
“You may want to start from the beginning.”
Nott Manor, Somewhere West of London, Ten Years Before
Theo stood up to greet his parents but only his father entered the room, his expression grim. He stopped short.
“Where’s mum?” He looked around his father, hoping, praying that she was just getting something out of the car.
“She’s gone.” His father said quietly
“What do you mean she’s gone. Where did she go?” Theo suddenly felt a lot younger than his fifteen years.
“She’s dead Theodore.”
“How. What happened? She was just a historian, she was just supposed to help you find the tomb, she wasn’t supposed to be involved in any of this! What happened.”
“Tom- Tom needed a sacrifice, for the ritual. It was the only way to get to the locket. Theo-” Theo wasn’t listening anymore. He thought his parents had been in love. He thought that they cared about each other, and him. And maybe that had been true for his mother, but the longer he stared at his father’s face, the more he came to realize that that had never actually been the case for Theodore Nott Sr. had it?
“Did you ever even care about her father?” he whispered. Theo was crying now, he could taste the tears on his lips. “Did you ever love her at all?”
“Theodore. That’s enough. What’s done is done.”
“You didn’t, did you? She was just a means to an end to you, wasn’t she?” His father tried to reach out, to comfort or hurt, Theo had no idea, but he had no intention of finding out.
“No! Don’t touch me! You killed her!” Theo felt like his brain was collapsing from the weight of the news. His mother had been his everything, his best friend. “You killed her! And for what? A stupid locket? You killed my mom and I will never forgive you for that.” Theo stormed out of the room. His father didn’t try to follow.
Theo had dreamed of running away many times. Not usually because he had actually wanted to, but for the sheer romanticism of it all. There was just something about making a life for yourself without any ties or obligations that appealed to the wild part of Theo that his father had been trying to discourage since he was a kid.
He had packed a ‘runaway duffle bag’ with his mum’s help when he was six, just in case he ever decided to follow through with it, and he had always kept it well stocked in the years since. Despite being fully prepared to leave at any moment however, Theo had never prepared to leave permanently, so he had to make a few adjustments. The first was to add all the stockpiles of cash he had been hiding from himself for nearly ten years. The second, his tools.
Theo had never particularly wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps; he had always been far more taken with his mother’s occupation, spending hours and hours with her, poring over old texts and inspecting ancient relics. His father had taught him the art of the con. How to steal, how to make convincing forgeries, how to lie. His mother had taught him everything that mattered. She taught him about ancient times, and places taught him about the complexity of human emotion and reasoning.
Theo had never wanted to follow his father’s footsteps, but now he didn’t have a choice.
Ancient Tomb, Somewhere in Northern Greece, March, Present
“Huh,” Harry said after Theo had finished explaining the worst event of his life so far. “Do you mind if I look through her pockets?” Theo stared at Harry, a bit baffled at his lack of reaction. In a way though, he was glad for it. If Harry could pretend that finding the body of the mother he had lost ten years ago was normal then Theo could pretend that he wasn’t having a mental breakdown.
“Do you think it will help?” He asked.
“I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t.”
“Do it.” Harry shuffled over to the body and dug through the pockets quickly and efficiently, careful not to move her too much. He pulled a small mp3 player from her coat pocket with a victorious grin.
“All historians have to take notes on everything, but if you’re on a dig like this it can be fairly inconvenient to carry around a pad and pencil, so a lot of historians just narrate their findings as they go, and write everything down into something more cohesive later. Does anyone have a AA battery?” Draco pulled a spare from his backpack and handed it to Harry, who replaced the battery and plugged it into a portable speaker Theo was fairly certain was his.
Dr: Nott: Here we are! The hopeful tomb of one Salazar Slytherin himself. The writings on the wall outside are in a combination of ancient greek, and an old form of Chinese. Which is fascinating. I could spend months here just translating them. Why were they all in one place? Just how much contact did the east and west have by this time period?
Tom Riddle: Mrs. Nott, you’re not here to gape at the walls like a fish, you’re here to get us to the locket.
Dr. Nott: It’s Doctor Nott. And if I’m not mistaken, it should be right around that bend there. *small shuffling noises* Yes, there we are, oh wow. This room is covered in murals, not only of Slytherin but also of the other Celtic ki-
Tom: Mrs. Nott.
Dr. Nott: Yes, yes alright. The walls have a riddle on them. Pretty standard for tombs, I’d say. The pedestal indicates that there was once something that was meant to be important to the puzzle, as it is in the center of the room. It could have been the locket, however, that seems unlikely given the amount of effort it’s taken to find the place at all. Not to mention that the presence of the others-”
Tom: Mrs. Nott.
Theodore Sr.: Calla. Please.
Dr. Nott: So there was probably something that used to be on the pedestal, a hint of some sort. Something that would have made the answer to the riddle on the walls obvious, but since it’s missing, we’ll have to tread lightly, these can be very finicky, riddles.
Tom: What does it say?
Dr. Nott: *unintelligible muttering for a minute.* So from my limited knowledge of greek, I’d say it says something about the string of fate being fickle to the touch. Something about breaking the seal on the tomb. I don’t know what that word is. Something else about fate. That’s in Chinese. I feel like the Chinese is very important, but I don’t know what it says, I’d have to call in a translator.
Tom: *impatiently* Yes but what does it mean?
Dr. Nott: Well, it could be referencing the string of fate that the Moiria cut to end someone’s life in Greek Mythology. It does mention both string and fate several times. And the rivets in the floor could be another hint at the string, given how uneven and twisted they are, But-
Tom: It must require sacrifice.
Dr. Nott: What?
Tom: It must require we make a human sacrifice, prove our worth to their gods. The red strings in the pictures, rivets of blood. Thank you most kindly for your help, Mrs. Nott. You have been most helpful.
Dr. Nott: What? No, that’s not- *gunshot*
Harry stopped the recording. All of them were silent for a moment.
“She was right. It would never have been a sacrifice. If it were, there would have been a larger dias, and somewhere to place offerings.” Harry commented mildly. He obviously had no idea how to help someone who was dealing with all five stages of grief at once. But then again, neither did Theo, and he was the one currently experiencing them. All things considered however, he thought that Harry’s method of pressing on and ignoring the literal dead body in the room was far more agreeable than any of the current alternatives.
“Right. So what else could it have been?” Harry was back to studying the outer walls again.
“Theo. What do these remind you of?” He pointed to a painting on the wall near the door. It featured two people with a red string strung between their ankles as they pressed on the sides of the picture. Theo blinked at it.
“That once vase at the… No. You’ve got to be shitting me.” Harry turned and grinned at him, a dangerous spark in his eye.
“There’s a vase depicting two very different kinds of fate sitting on display in the same museum we met in, that most likely came from the very tomb your own mum was close to figuring out how to open? That sounds an awful lot like-”
“Fate. Holy shit. The vase was the key. It was supposed to be a combination of eastern and western traditions.” Harry dragged him back into the main hall, where the others waited, and pointed his torch at the floor.
“She was right, the grooves don’t match up. What if they’re supposed to?”
“How do we get them to do that? Draco asked, looking down at the grooves at his own feet. Harry trailed his light across the walls until he landed on a flat stone at differed from the others.
“There.” he turned around and pointed it on an identical spot on the opposite side. “And there. We just have to follow directions, and push.” Harry moved all of their discarded backpacks to the entranceway, where they were joined by most of the team. Theo took one side of the room, and Harry, the other and they pushed in tandem.
Theo thought that his arms might fall off from the pressure of pushing on a solid wall before the stones began to make a loud groaning and creaking sound and ever so slowly started to slide back into position. As soon as the grooves were completely in line, the wall stones released, and a group of the floor tiles dropped downward, revealing a staircase.
There was a click of a gun being cocked behind them.
“Well done Theodore. You really are your mother’s son, aren’t you?”
Nott Manor, Somewhere West of London, Fifteen Years Before
Theo didn’t even look up from his book when the group walked into the library.
“Who is that, Nott.”
“My son. Theodore Jr. He can go read somewhere else-”
“No.” Theo finally looked up when the man stopped just in front of his chair. The man studied him critically.
“Has he been trained?”
“Just the basics; pickpocketing, lock picking, some forgery. We were going to get to some of the… bigger lessons this year as he’s just turned ten.” Theo frowned at his father. It sounded an awful lot like he was auctioning Theo off. He had been reading about the slave trade in Egypt with his mother, and that’s what it sounded like his father was doing.
“Very good. What are you reading?” Theo blinked in surprise at being addressed directly. He found he couldn’t bring himself to speak, so he just held up his book. It was a very good book really, about spies in Ancient Egypt.
“ Mara, Daughter of the Nile ? What sort of trash are you letting him read Nott?” The man turned to look at his father again, and Theo frowned at his back.
“Yes, well, his mother gave him the book. Said it was historical. He is his mother’s son.” His father gave an embarrassed shrug, but Theo could have sworn he was afraid. The man turned his icy gaze back on Theo.
“His mother’s son.” Suddenly Theo understood exactly why his father was afraid.
King’s Tomb, Somewhere in Northern Greece, Present
Theo stood up straight. “Tom Riddle. Why am I not surprised that you’re here?” Harry briefly wondered how Tom Riddle knew who Theo was, then he remembered that Theo had been a thorn in Tom’s side for far longer than Harry had known him.
“Very good work Theodore. I underestimated your tenacity.”
“Seems you do a lot of that Tom. What did you do to my team?”
“They’ll be fine. I can’t say the same for you two, however. Who wants to go into the hole first?” Neither of them said anything. Harry looked over at Theo and was surprised to find that Theo looked more annoyed than truly upset. Which kind of made Harry feel like Theo knew something he didn’t.
Harry always felt like Theo knew something he didn’t. It was one of the most attractive things about him.
That’s not- *gunshot* Tom had the player in the hand that wasn’t holding the gun. Theo’s face seemed to crumble entirely, any pretense he’d held of remaining unphased was dropped and his eyes seemed to have taken on a sunken quality.
“I won’t ask again boys.”
“I’ll go,” Harry said. It was better if he went. If there were any traps or any other riddles, he was the one best equipped to solve them. Not to mention, he wasn’t sure that Theo was in the right state of mind for serious sleuthing. Seeing his mother’s body had rattled him, and having her death thrown in his face had even more so.
Tom grinned in manic delight. “Lead away then Potter.”
The Celts weren’t well known for leaving traps in their burial mounds, in fact, a lot of the time, the celts weren’t well known for leaving graves at all, preferring the far more sanitary burial method of cremation. But Harry had seen enough Indiana Jones movies to know to keep his guard up. The room below was dark, far darker than the cave had been, and all Harry could see was what was illuminated in the soft light of his torch.
The floor and walls looked like they had been carved out of the dirt and rubble and Harry briefly marveled at the intricate patterns that had been carved into the walls. Unlike the walls upstairs, these ones did not tell a story, or at least not one that he could decipher, they simply paid tribute to the great royalty they contained.
The grave was lined with what used to be baskets, jars, and jugs which had presumably held the offerings of the people mourning. The foodstuff would be gone by now, but Harry wondered if there weren’t any gold or gems in the containers. Not that he would bring that up in front of Tom. In one corner were two gilded chariots, both of which contained even more containers, and even some loose gems and jewelry.
Sitting in the center of the floor were four simple dias’. The urns sitting on them were anything but simple, however. They were golden, shimmering lightly in the torchlight. Gold or gold plated, Harry couldn’t tell, but he thought it didn’t much matter because they were all magnificent. Inlayed into each of the urns was a string of rubies that circled the urns in a continuous pattern, weaving its way between the pictures of the four’s greatest achievements. There was a plaque on the floor, written in Greek, which Harry translated aloud for Theo’s sake.
“Fated to meet. Fated to die.” It was a phrase that had popped up a lot in his research. It had other translations, but that’s the one Harry had latched onto, if only because of the reference to fate. He was beginning to think, however, that the better translation might have been “Live as one, Die as one.” Knowing what he did now, Harry thought fit the heart of the statement a bit better.
“Lovely. Now, where is the locket, and I’ll take the rest of those artifacts as well. How much do you think someone would pay for the collection?” Tom crooned. Harry risked a glance at Theo who looked like he might be sick. Harry could relate. He didn’t particularly like the idea of letting some private collector get ahold of this treasure either.
He scanned the room again, Theo’s torchlight joining him in the search. It finally rested on a long gilded box to the right of the room, just different enough from the rest of the containers to stand out.
“Well Potter, you had best go get it then.” Tom gestured to the box with his gun. Harry turned around to face him.
“That wasn’t an option Potter.” He said, grabbing Theo by the hair and pointing the gun at his head. Theo yelped, more out of shock than actual pain, and Harry was momentarily disgusted by the knowledge that he had been wanting to touch Theo’s hair for weeks, and Tom had got his hands in his hair in ten minutes. Then he felt annoyed at thinking about that when Theo had a gun pointed at his head.
He glared at Tom for a moment before he turned back to the box. “Fine.”
“Harry- agh.” Theo started to say something before Tom cut him off. Harry didn’t turn around. He couldn’t let Theo get hurt. He reached the box and inspected the outside carefully before slowly pulling it open. Inside sat four objects that, Harry realized a startling chill, he couldn’t give to Tom. Not ever.
His first hint that something wasn’t quite what it seemed was when he saw the small dart floating in some sort of liquid in the locket. His second was the diadem itself, which as well as being inlaid with sapphires as predicted by all of his readings, also had little bits of rock inlaid. The most glaring hint, however, was the fact that Godric Gryffindor’s sword was letting off a soft blue glow.
These artifacts weren’t just special to the founders, they were special to a nation. They were a little piece of history that had been lost to legend. Until now. These were the rumored Four Treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann, granted they looked a fair bit different than Harry had always imagined them, but it was them all the same.
Harry stood up, dropping his torch on the ground, and picking up the sword in its stead. He turned around and held up the Locket, which if he was correct, held the spear of Lugh. The light of the sword illuminated the entire room, and for the first time, Harry could see Theo’s entire face. He was shaking his head as much as was possible considering Tom still had a death grip on his hair.
“I’ll give it to you when you let Theo go.” He told him, praying Tom had enough common sense left to keep from just shooting Theo outright. Harry briefly wondered if he could use the sword or the Spear against Tom, but they were both said to be incredibly dangerous, and he didn’t much feel like testing potentially magical artifacts in a life or death situation.
“Or what boy?” Didn’t mean he couldn’t use them as a bluff.
“Or I use this glowy sword and chop you to pieces,” Harry replied. Theo’s eyes widened and he shook his head more. Tom must have either been paying attention to how much Theo didn’t want him to use it or have known what it was. He let Theo go.
“Harry-” Theo just stood there for a minute and Harry thought it was fitting that Theo chose now to question his plans. Granted, he was right to, as Harry had no clue what he was doing, but still.
Theo had just made it to the base of the stairs when Tom pointed his gun at him again.
“No!” Harry shouted, forgetting the weapons in his hands entirely, and launching himself at the older man. They both landed on the floor with a small ‘thump’. The gun skittered out of Tom’s hand and Harry scrambled to stand, half ignoring Tom, who looked half-dazed beneath him. He shoved the locket into his pocket and hoped that Tom would be stunned for long enough while he grabbed Theo’s hand and started to pull them both up the stairs.
“Time to go I think ” Harry said.
“Harry.” Despite what he did for a living, Theo was already out of breath. “We can’t let him have those artifacts. Even one in the hands-”
“I have a plan.”
“Oh, just like you had a plan before you ended up having to tackle a fucking maniac.”
“Never expect a con to go to plan Theo, you know that.” Theo just wheezed and clasped his hand tighter.
Theo had legitimately thought he was going to die when he turned to see Tom’s gun pointed straight at him. Then Harry had appeared, faster than what should have been possible, and he had just grabbed his hand and- and- Theo felt untethered. So much had happened on that day alone, let alone the last six months, or the last six years. He felt a bit like Harry’s hand in his was the only thing keeping him going anymore like it was the only rope tying him to shore.
Theo hadn’t had problems with asthma since he was twelve, so he wondered why it was suddenly hard to breathe.
They made it to the top of the stairs and Theo was relieved to see that their stuff was gone, and their crew was nowhere in sight. Harry continued to half pull him past the body of his mother and into the corridor.
Their friends were gathered around the entrance to the cave and all of them stood up immediately upon seeing Theo and Harry.
“Draco.” Harry wheezed, still not letting go of Theo’s hand. “How fast can you blow up the cave entrance. We don’t want anyone getting through.” Draco grinned and if Theo had been more aware of his surroundings, he might have laughed at his friends’ enthusiasm. As it was, he still felt vaguely like he was floating.
“Hey,” Harry said quietly. “You alright?” He heard the telltale sounds of Draco’s explosion behind them, but everything felt a bit out of touch. He shook his head. His mother was dead. She was dead and she was never coming back.
“No.” Harry went to let go of his hand, but Theo just clutched it tighter, it was the only thing holding him together right now. “Don’t leave.”
“I’m not going anywhere, Theo.” Harry dropped the glowing sword on the ground and wrapped his other arm around Theo’s shoulders. Theo’s eyes shot back open.
“Harry. We can’t leave him in there with the artifacts. Who knows what he would do with them.” Harry smirked at him.
“What.” Theo’s eyes narrowed. It wasn’t often that Harry knew something that he didn’t.
Harry dropped his hand and pulled a locket, chalice, and diadem from his pocket one at a time, never removing the arm from around Theo’s shoulders. He grinned at Theo’s shocked expression.
“I couldn’t just leave them there for him Theo. Who do you think I am?”
Theo continued to stare at him. “Am I dreaming?” Harry’s grin got brighter if possible.
“Holy shit.” Theo could have killed Blaise at that moment. “You did it. You got the Diadem.”
“We did.” Theo sighed and pulled away from Harry. They had work to do.
“Someone buy this plot of land and figure out how to put some sort of barrier on the cave. We don’t want to worry about Tom Bombadill in there getting excavated too early. Draco, call your sword guy, we’ll need a sheath for the night light. God, I need a fucking shower.” His group groaned at the sudden influx of orders, but no one argued as they started on their tasks.
Theo’s Flat, London, Two Days Later
“Hey, Harry. What happened to the player after Tom had it?” Theo stopped in the hallway outside his flat as Pansy, Blaise, Luna, and Draco let themselves in. Who knows when Pansy had stolen his key and made the copy. Theo found he wasn’t really as bothered about it as he used to be.
“He stashed it in his pocket-” Theo stopped
“So you mean my mom’s player, the player that was the last connection I had to my mom, is gone? Back in the tomb with Tom?” Theo tugged at a lock of his hair in frustration and a sudden resurgence of ten-year-old grief. Harry rolled his eyes and pulled Theo’s hand away from his hair.
He held up the player.
Theo stared at him. “Where did you get that?”
“If you had let me finish, I would have told you that I nicked it from his pocket.” Harry pressed the old player into his hand with a grin. Theo just stared at him, slightly starstruck.
“You can pickpocket?” Theo shook himself from his Harry induced haze and shoved the player into his own pocket before strolling up to walk beside him as they both turned towards the door.
“Learned when I was a kid. I had this stupid dream of becoming a master thief when I was older. Only learned how to pickpocket though.”
Theo snorted. “Looks like you got your wish.”
“Looks like it.” Harry smiled at him and Theo couldn’t take it anymore, he grabbed Harry’s wrist to stop him.
“Harry. You feel it right?”
“That- that pull. Like the universe itself is pressing us together. Like even though we bullshitted our way through that whole thing, it still went exactly how it was meant to. Like it was meant to be. Like we were meant to be.”
“Like fate.” Theo nodded slowly
“Like fate.” Harry leaned closer to him until they were only an inch or two apart, and Theo could feel his breath hot on his lips.
“Do you think about what would have happened if I hadn’t done my internship at the British Museum? Or if you had chosen to steal from a different museum instead?”
“I think it wouldn’t have mattered. I think I would have just found you at a different museum. Again. And again.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“Fate.” Theo searched Harry’s face “You were right, we did both accomplish our goals.” recognition dawned in Harry’s eyes before he smiled.
“We make a pretty good team, don’t we?” Harry responded
Theo’s lips quirked into a responding smile. “It’s almost like we’re written in the stars.” Harry grinned
“Do the stars say anything about me getting to kiss you, or are we supposed to keep dancing around this forever?”
“Even if it’s not, I’m going to do it anyway.” Theo murmured against Harry’s lips, finally closing the distance between them.
“Fucking it’s about goddamn time!” came Pansy’s voice from the living room. Harry grinned against his lips
“It sure is.”
Nameless Park, Little Whinging, Nine Years Before
He sat on the park swing and stared at his phone. Not his original phone of course, but a new one he had bought from a small off license store in Southwark. He had copied a few of the most important numbers from his first phone before dismantling it and chucking it into the Thames.
“You know, you’re the first runaway I’ve ever met that has a phone.” Theo looked up. The speaker was a boy around his age, though with far more holes on his clothes, and Theo thought his shoes might have been taped together.
“Do you meet runaways often then?”
“You would be the first.”
“So how do you know that having a phone isn’t the norm?” The boy shrugged a shoulder. “It seems a bit contrary don’t you think? To go through all that effort to escape the trappings of your everyday life, just to have a phone tying you back down again.” Theo eyed him curiously.
“Thought a lot about running away, have you?”
“More than a fair share. My family is… let’s just say not great.” Theo raised an invisible glass in a toast.
“Do you regret it? Running away?” The boy asked.
“Not usually. Sometimes I miss school.”
“Really?” The boy raised an eyebrow at him in disbelief. Theo nodded
“Yeah, I was going to be a historian, like my mum. Can’t be a historian if you never finish secondary school though.”
“What do you do instead?” The boy sat on the other swing, Theo had forgotten how nice it was to actually have a conversation with someone your own age.
He shrugged. “Steal things mostly.” The other boy hummed slightly in response.
“I always wanted to be a world-class thief. But I reckon you have to have a lot of training to be good at it.” Theo nodded in confirmation. “Well, I can’t be a thief anymore, and you can’t be a historian anymore, so why don’t we trade?” Theo blinked at him.
“You become a world-class thief, and I’ll be a famous Historian, like your mum, and next time we meet it’ll be like both of us have accomplished our goals.” Theo smiled slowly.
“That sounds like the best idea I’ve heard all year.”