Disclaimers: I don't own any of the characters, they are the property of J.K. Rowling, long may she thrive! This fic is an unusual pairing inspired by Silene's picture of a youthful Poppy Pomfrey. In this vignette she is closer in age to the other protaganist than in canon. Contains angst and UST.

I hope this is the last time.

I don't know how much more you can bear. To watch you like this, so battered and forlorn. And so damned alone.

I've been a mediwitch for more years than I care to remember. I've seen so many painful results of the human condition. Being alive means being hurt and, in many cases, physical hurt. I've seen people grow and learn from their pain.

But, I wonder, what is the point of your pain? You're clearly punishing yourself for your sins, when you've expiated for long enough. Still you continue.

This time, Albus had to drag you in here, you didn't want to come even though you could barely stand upright.

I felt some hope in your condition when you swore at me and cursed me up one side and down the other. Where there's that kind of frustration and anger, there's life in abundance.

Now I'm not so sure.

You refused the Dreamless Sleep Potion, saying that it gave you nightmares. 'Nonsense!' I told you, but you refused it anyway. You're a grown man, and as such, have some say in your medication.

I know you can be one hell of a bastard, but you are a good man. You've brewed many a potion to augment my skills and cures. That you continue to do so speaks to me of your being a *good* person even though you would deny it.

You've put up many a good fight when I've tried to cure you of your ills. I've gotten used to your fighting.

It's when you are just lying there that it frightens me. Like now.

Staring at the ceiling, your eyes see nothing. You've turned completely inward, your anger burned out. I wish I could do something for you, but there are some hurts that I cannot heal. Especially when the patient refuses treatment.

Suddenly, you look away from the ceiling and catch me watching you. I'm startled into speech by your inquiring gaze.



I utter my question as by rote, not knowing whether you will respond: "Care to talk about it?"

You return your regard to the ceiling and let out a sigh. And begin to talk about the long night and the horrors. Slowly, word by word, you take me into the heart of your darkness.

I listen in silence. There isn't anything I can say in response. The toll taken in lives and on you is far too terrible for words.

So I listen and hope that my listening is enough.


As your story fades away, I look inside myself. Like a silly old fool with too young a heart, I didn't notice my feelings for you until it was too late. As if you would look twice at a witch like me. If you were even looking.

After a long night, the dawn is turning the sky to a dull pink. You are finally sleeping. I continue to hold you in my heart.

A/N: Thank you, Silene, for your lovely pictures! I enjoy looking at them so much. Thanks for letting me use one of your pics as inspiration for this vignette: