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Solidarity (Gen, PG)
by britt (bribitribbit)
at August 11th, 2006 (08:12 pm)

Title: Solidarity
Rating: PG
Length: 1017
Summary: The only way anyone's going to win this stupid war is if people stop assuming Slytherins are essentially bad and that the children of Death Eaters are the clones of their parents.
Notes: Lots of appreciation goes to greyandgrey for all of her help beta-ing! :) This is for the omniocular challenge. Plus, I don't know if you'll be able to catch it, but there's a little salute to one of my favorite Theodore-authors of all time, Elsha. :)

Theodore Nott, or Theo as he calls himself, wanders down the hall towards the library. Well, of course he is. He's always wandering towards the library. Never towards the Gobstones Room, never towards the music rooms (although a piano waits there, beckoning him almost irresistibly), never towards the little sweetshop on the ninth floor--always toward the books.

There's something about books. They aren't really living beings, but they have souls anyway. Kindred spirits, as it were. (Theo can't believe, sometimes, that he's ever thought anything so metaphorical and sentimental.) Theo can sometimes hear a few whispering voices as he whooshes pass their rustling pages, but other than that, they show no sign of life. It's a little heartbreaking, although Theo would never acknowledge that. At least not openly.

The library is silent when he enters but for the squeaking of Madam Pince's shoes from all the way across the library, in the history section, and the quiet whisper of pages turning under students' frantic research. A few other students are there, though not many, as the majority of the school are out watching the Ravenclaw versus Hufflepuff Quidditch game. Theo isn't big on Quidditch like the rest of his gender seem to be. He only watches when his own house is playing.

Some of the students look up when he enters, but they quickly look back down again when they realize who he is, whispering a few words to their companions. Theo is only a little annoyed.

Of course, for the other three houses there's always been an inherent hatred for all things Slytherin, but it just so turns out that when your father is a known Death Eater, people seem to hate you all the more. It isn't like Theo's done anything, but it seems as if people expect he will at any second. As if he's gotten some sort of secret power from You-Know-Who that will enable him to destroy the entirety of Hogwarts with a swish of his wand.

The thing is, Theo hasn't spoken to his father since two weeks before school began.

It's stupid. It's as if the entire school thinks shunning the Slytherins will win the war somehow. Like all Slytherins are bad, and the children of Death Eaters have carried on the obviously genetic fondness for killing and torturing Muggles. The only way anyone's going to win this stupid, idiotic war is if people drop that assumption, and Theo knows that won't happen while some people he can think of still walk the earth.

Although he's a seventh year and probably should, Theo has no idea what he wants to do when he gets out of Hogwarts. He knows what he doesn't want, however, and that's to be like his father. Funny, since there was nothing more he wanted when he'd been younger, before he'd found out the truth.

Theo lugs his bookbag over to a humble little bunch of dusty, hardly-used chairs in between aisles "GOBLIN POLITICS P-Z" and "MAGICAL CRAFTMANSHIP A-J." On his way, he pulls a random book from one of the little tables and doesn't look at it until he sits.

It is The Life Cycle of the Flobberworm. Chance apparently does not have very good reading taste. Theo opens it to page eighty-seven, is bored by the third sentence (The flobberworm represents a caterpillar in its early life, but unfortunately, never goes through the same changes), and puts it aside.

Libraries are good for more than reading. It's quiet, which Theo thinks is always a good thing, and there are a lot of dusty corners in which to hide from inquisitive minds who want to know, "Whatcha thinking?"

Or are there?

"Nott, right?" asks a voice.

Theo doesn't bother to look up. He picks up The Life Cycle of Flobberworms again and opens it wide. The embodiment of the voice sits in the chair across from Theo and pulls out one of his own books.

"Depends on who's asking," Theo mumbles, when it becomes clear the other boy is not going to leave.

"Finch-Fletchley. Justin, you know, Hufflepuff." Finch-Fletchley sounds a bit uncomfortable. Theo isn't quite sure why. Perhaps seventeen-year-old Hufflepuffs still take some kind of perverse pleasure in daring one of their own to speak to the lonely idiot in the corner, afterwards laughing at the quaint and stupid mannerisms of that idiot. Theo would really not be surprised if this were Finch-Fletchley 's case.

"Really," mumbles Theo, as indifferently as possible.

Finch-Fletchley is a bit hesitant before he continues. "You seem like a clever chap. Have any idea what McGonagall was going on about today?"

Theo doesn't reply. He slouches even more in his chair and pretends to be very interested in flobberworm larvae.

He has never been a very good actor. After several long and awkward moments in which Theodore realizes the author of his book seems very sad that his beloved subject will never be a butterfly, he hears Finch-Fletchley chuckle a little.

Theo raises an eyebrow. "What?"

"Are flobberworms really that interesting?"

Theo glares at him over the top of his book. "What do you want, Finch-Fletchley?"

Finch-Fletchley stares at him both thoughtfully and also a little defiantly. He doesn't say anything for a few heartbeats. Then, "I listened to the Sorting Hat, you know."

"Yeah, blah blah, solidarity and all that, so what?" says Theo cynically.

"Yeah, well, I think it's true. And you seem like one of the nicer Slytherins, so…"

Theo ignores the implied insult towards his house. "'One of the nicer'--? You know my dad's a Death Eater, right?"

"Yeah, I know." Finch-Fletchley closes his book slowly, as if takes thought to do it. "The real question is, do you care? Should I?"

Theo thinks about this for a moment. "No," he realizes. And that's enough.

"Good," replies Finch-Fletchley. He settles back in his chair and reopens his Transfiguration book. It's silent again, but it's not so awkward and annoying this time.

"Vanishing, wasn't it?" says Theo after a while.

Finch-Fletchley looks up at him, confused. "What?"

"That's what she was talking about today. McGonagall. Vanishing."