|A Fading Rose
Author: Liveforthemoments PM
There is something wrong with Potter, Draco realises, something terribly wrong. And it will change everything. HPDM slashRated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Harry P. & Draco M. - Words: 1,385 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 19 - Published: 02-14-09 - id: 4862747
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: A Fading Rose
Warning: Slash. Guy love. Harry Potter, and Draco Malfoy. Consider yourself forewarned ;)
Disclaimer: I own only a laptop, a can of Diet Coke, and a cat named Eddie.
Notes: The title and quote are from Keats, from 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci'. Which is lovely :)
'O What can ail thee, knight-at-arms, Alone and palely loitering?The sedge has wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.'
It is 7:24 on a Tuesday evening when Draco's life goes to Hell.
It all begins, as these things mostly do, with one innocuous little decision; Draco pauses at the top of the staircase on the second floor, beside the portrait of Belinda the Bizarre, and turns right instead of left.
To the left lay salvation; the stairs down to the Slytherin common room, and a quiet night of intimidating first years and blackmailing Crabbe and Goyle into bringing him chocolate. To the right lay... Well. The library, and the quill that Draco had left there a few hours before, and possibly his Transfiguration textbook as well.
But Draco couldn't have known, couldn't even have guessed. Draco turns right, and walks into Hell whistling.
The route to the library is surprisingly empty, with just a few scattered clouds of Hufflepuffs drifting to and fro past the odd studious Ravenclaw. Draco is humming tunelessly under his breath, worrying about the Slytherin vs. Gryffindor Quidditch match next Saturday, and generally paying less-than-complete attention to where he's going when he collides sharply with someone walking the other way. He winces as the stranger's shoulder rams into his chest and stumbles back a step, only to find himself face to face with... Potter.
"Watch where you're walking, Scarhead." He snaps, shrugging his bag back onto his shoulder, and turning his gaze back towards Potter... And stopping short. The Gryffindor is staring at him, his green eyes unfocused behind his glasses, but it is the ghostly pallor of the boy's skin that freezes him in his tracks. "Scarhead? Potter?" He asks, a shiver of concern darting up his spine, "Are you alright?"
Potter opens his mouth a little, focusing his gaze on Draco. His lips move soundlessly for a moment as he sways on his feet – back, and forwards, and back again – before crumpling to the cold stone floor.
In that moment, Draco genuinely considers running away. Potter is none of his responsibility, after all, and if the imbecile will go around fainting like some kind of helpless girl then Draco really can't see how he should be expected...
His attention is jolted back to Potter as the boy moans low in his throat, shifting slightly. Draco notices that one of his hands is still loosely clenched around the strap of his schoolbag. He makes up his mind.
It takes only a moment and an incantation, learned from the older Slytherins long ago, to summon a house elf and dispatch it to Madame Pomfrey. There seems to be no-one around in the corridors now, just Draco and Potter, who lies still and silent again; his lips are parted, and Draco thinks he can see the skin of Potter's temple discolouring already where he hit the ground. He starts, guilty, when he realises that he's staring.
The Matron arrives with startling swiftness, bustling up the corridor and practically elbowing Draco out of the way to kneel beside Potter. A few muttered spells conjure a stretcher and lift Potter's unconscious form unto it and into the air, the entire procedure conducted with such practiced haste that Draco is left standing, blinking awkwardly, as Potter and the Matron disappear down the corridor. At the corner, though, the woman halts and motions impatiently for Draco to follow her. Disconcerted, he obeys.
Potter lies splayed out on a bed in the Hospital Wing. The high curtains have been rattled shut around it and the Matron bends over him, checking this and recording that and casting spells that Draco can't even begin to catch before hurrying out into the rest of the ward. She returns a moment later, her lips set in a thin line that Draco just manages to glimpse before the woman conjures a mask to cover her face. He barely stifles the urge to laugh.
The contraption is ridiculous, with a protuberant nozzle covering the lower face and two huge meshed circles covering the eyes. The image of the woman as a giant fly crosses his mind, and he almost giggles. Then she leans over him to reach Potter and he catches the smell of the thing, unhealthy and stale, and recoils. A really, really diseased giant fly, then.
A voice outside the curtain interrupts both his musings and the Matron's work; Professor McGonagall's lined old face peers around the corner of the curtain, and the other woman immediately leaves Potter to join her on the outside. Draco scowls, left alone with his worst enemy and the frustrating feeling that he is being absolutely ignored.
He knows he shouldn't eavesdrop when he hears the voice of the two women outside, but he reasons that he wasn't sorted into Slytherin for nothing and sidles up to the door.
"... Really so bad?"
"I'm afraid so, Minerva... You know that I'm run off my feet with the flu outbreak... I haven't a spare bed, and I can't risk Potter infecting the others until we know for certain what's wrong with him. I really think..."
Draco strains his ears to catch the Matron's words as the voices seemed to move further away, but catches only the words "Quarantine rooms" until Professor McGonagall's more strident tones re-emerge.
"Won't he need someone to stay with him?"
"I daresay, but who would volunteer? We can't allow another student to spend time with him... Another one catches whatever this is... Can't have that."
"I know, Poppy, but there must be someone... Whoever found Potter, haven't they been exposed to the disease already?"
"Why, yes, he has. Minerva, that's a wonderful idea!"
All of a sudden, Draco has a feeling that he should have run when he had the chance.
Barely a half-hour later, Draco is seated uncomfortably on one of the large armchairs that dominate the 'living room' of his new abode. The 'quarantine rooms' seem to consist mostly of one large room, with a four-poster bed against the left wall and jutting out into the centre. The living area is between the bed and the door, with the aforementioned armchairs crowding around a fireplace, and on the far side of the bed a little door leads into what he presumes is the bathroom. There is a bookcase in the far corner of the room, with a fair-sized wooden desk and a few chairs beside it, and a single bed resting further down along the same wall.
The decor, reassuringly, hardly seems to follow a house colour scheme; the desks are wooden, the bed-clothes are white, and one armchair is a faded emerald while the other is a dusky crimson.
Suddenly, Draco realises that while he has been cataloguing his surroundings Fly Woman has been speaking to him. He tunes in again just in time for her to remind him, for the third time, that as they have no idea what's wrong with Potter – and he has been the only one unprotected around Potter since he fell ill, so of course he's the logical choice to look after the boy – his job is to wait here until the Gryffindor wakes up, and 'inform him of the situation'. Then he must tell Potter to take the pink potion and the green one, but not the blue one, and of course – he finds himself scowling – No Magic is to be used on Mr. Potter. By that time, the woman assures him as she heads out the door, she's sure she'll have found a cure for... Whatever this is. The wizard in the portrait frame nods cordially at him as the portrait swings shut behind the Matron, then disappears.
And Draco and Potter are left alone.