HP ZombieFest

Where Harry Potter and Zombies collide

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Fic: Countdown to the End of the World
let it kill you
deirdre_aithne wrote in hp_zombiefest
Author: slumber
Title: Countdown to the End of the World
Characters: Theodore Nott, Draco Malfoy, Mrs Zabini, Blaise Zabini
Rating: G
Word Count: 1200
Warning(s): None
Prompt: None
Summary: "How do we get there?" Draco asks the afternoon he nearly gets bitten on a food run. He swears up a storm and throws a hissy fit but Theodore makes him wait the requisite five hours anyway. Rules are rules, Theodore reminds him, earning only a stream of colorful curses from Draco. He doesn't stop glaring at him for at least an hour after he is finally allowed back in.
Author's Note: Thanks to deirdre_aithne for organizing this fest-- seriously, one of my favorites ever! I participated last year and couldn't pass the chance to do so again. This fic takes place in the same universe as the fics I wrote last time, Dead Men Walking and The Quibbler's Guide to the Rising, though you don't need to read either to follow this one.

"Draco, I know you're in there!" Theodore grouses, kicking the door in frustration. He's spent the last half hour knocking, but to no avail. "I saw you! The curtain moved from your sitting room; you think I wouldn't notice?"

The door remains shut to him, unyielding.

He tries again. "For the love of Merlin, if I were one of them, would I be this coherent?"

There is still no answer. Theodore is about to give up, about to turn away and head back to who knows where this time-- he's fast running out of options-- when Draco finally speaks up.

"Five hours."


"It takes five hours for the virus to kick in. Stay coherent for four and a half more hours and then I'll let you in."

Theodore stares at the door for a moment, but figuring he has no other choices, he shrugs and sits down, his back resting against the door.

"How do I know you aren't infected?" he asks.

"You'll find out in four and a half hours, won't you?"

"Who told you about that?" Theodore asks once he's let in.

Draco looks around him, making sure no one follows him inside, no doubt, before he secures the door shut, casting a few more wards to keep it locked. "Who told me about what?"

"The five-hour gestation period."

"Ravenclaws, who else?" Draco shrugs. "Two of them tried to get inside the manor a few weeks ago. They told me about it."

"How do you know they weren't lying?"

"One of them got bitten on a food run," Draco says. "Boot and I timed it."

Theodore ignores the chill that runs down his spine, glancing around the manor. "Do you have any guests then?"

"Boot left last week; he said he was going to the Ministry and see if the Department of Mysteries might be working on a cure."

"Didn't go with him?"

Draco snorts. "I'd sooner hang myself. I'm surprised you managed to get all the way here. It's a long way from Diagon."

"I had a little help," he says, taking out a small black revolver.



"You're welcome to stay here, in any case," Draco says, a little wry. "There's obviously room, but food is a little trickier to come by."

"I was just on my way," Theodore tells him.

"On your way where?"

"The Mediterranean Sea. I think that's where the Zabinis are. Seems safer there."

"I'm safe here."

"It's only a matter of time. I've seen zombies wear down at buildings until they eventually give, but they can't swim. We can fish, there's cleaning charms to keep freshwater around--"

"And the inferi?"

"There are no inferi. It's all zombies, as far as I've seen."

Draco does not look convinced. "Let me think about it."

"How do we get there?" Draco asks the afternoon he nearly gets bitten on a food run. He swears up a storm and throws a hissy fit but Theodore makes him wait the requisite five hours anyway. Rules are rules, Theodore reminds him, earning only a stream of colorful curses from Draco. He doesn't stop glaring at him for at least an hour after he is finally allowed back in.

"Flight, I thought. Brooms would be the best way to travel."

"Brilliant idea. It's a pity some hooligans already had the same thought; my brooms were stolen weeks ago."

"That's an unfortunate turn of events," Theodore says. "Where's your library?"

"Third door to the left in the east wing, why?"

"We are going to bloody die," Draco says, convinced. "We're going to levitate five hundred feet into the air before we hurtle to our deaths and die."

Theodore smiles. "You have such faith in me."

"How do you know it'll work?" Draco demands. "How do you know it works the distance we need it to?"

"You'd test it, of course," Theodore says easily.


"I'm the one who figured out what to do from the book," Theodore reminds him. "I'm the one who built the broom. If I fall to my death, you're stuck here."

Draco's face turns an interesting shade of purple, and Theodore lets him sputter and protest for ten more minutes before he finally chuckles, tells him not to be such a child, and tests the broom himself.

"Do you think it'll work?" Draco asks once Theodore lands.

"Yeah, but I don't know if it can carry the weight of two wizards. Might have to come test it with me after all."

"Hold tight," Theodore says. "Hang on, that's my gun, let's try not to accidentally shoot me mid-flight, yeah?"

Draco's voice is muffled, breath ghosting against the back of Theodore's neck."This better fucking work, Nott."

They have to hide out by the coast for a few days, once they reach it. They find an abandoned beach house and set camp there, taking turns keeping watch during the night. They venture out into the sea for a few hours each day, but it's like looking for a needle in a haystack except you're not even sure the needle's even in the haystack at all. Draco mutters darkly, mutinously, with every failed search, but Theodore remains hopeful.

If anything, though, at least food becomes easier to come by; Theodore's devised a fishing rod and for an hour or two a day, they let their broom hover above a patch of sea while they wait for the fish to bite.

"What if we never find them?" Draco asks. "What if there's nothing to find?"

"Let's give it another week, and then--"

"And then what?"

Theodore thinks. "And then we build ourselves a boat."

They spot the distinct green-and-silver sails of The Black Widow one day before their week is up. Draco lets out a loud whoop that echoes in the empty air; Theodore smiles, relieved, but tells him to quiet down. They circle it for a few times, cautious, until someone shoots a warning spark a few feet from where they are.

"Some welcome," Theodore says once they land.

"It's a pity I missed," Blaise replies with a lazy drawl. "Nice of you to join us."

"Blaise, darling, be a good host and get our guests some drinks, won't you?" Isabella Zabini says, stepping out from the captain's cabin. "Gentlemen."

"How do you have margaritas?" Draco asks, bewildered, when Blaise returns with four glasses on a tray.

"We save it for special occasions," Isabella says. "We've spare rooms; you're more than welcome to join us if that's what you wanted."

Theodore nods. "Thank you. We'll pull our weight."

"I've no doubt you will." She looks up at the sky, narrowing her eyes at a spot in the distance. "I believe that's Athena returning."

"Any news from the Ministry, mother?" Blaise asks once Athena lands, a roll of parchment tied to her leg.

"Nothing too promising yet, I'm afraid." She gives her owl a treat before walking over to the deck, uttering a quick Geminio charm to duplicate the two deck chairs found there.

Theodore settles himself on one, catches Draco's eye as he settles on another. He balances his margarita on one hand as he lies back down, legs stretched in front of him and, for the first time in weeks, finally at ease. He can see the coast in the distance, however small it is; it appears they aren't as far from land as he'd thought. The sun is sinking behind the skyline, slowly and surely, and from where he's seated, it looks like it's setting the world on fire.

He supposes there's no better place to watch it burn.

  • 1
Heh, amusing title for the boat! :)

Ahh, I love your Zabinis so much. :D So pleased to see you do another story with them.

I really enjoy the sparseness of this story, if that makes sense. No real understanding of exactly what's happening in the wider world, just the snapshots of moments for people more concerned with survival han the big picture. This was great. :)

I really enjoyed reading this - the flow, the writing, the fact the story told so much in a few words. I love the way this ended and I adored the imagery. I am going to go and read the others in the 'verse now!

this was great-- structure, pacing, and especially the satisfying ending!

This was fun! I loved your use of Nott as the "hero" here, and the Zabini's drinking fruity cocktails while the world goes to hell. LOL! :)

Oh, what a great ending! And I liked that they were drinking margaritas. That'd probably be my drink of choice, too!

Very nicely written! I enjoyed it very much :-)

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