Inner Light, Outer Darkness
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters, names and locations belong to J.K. Rowling. I own nothing that you recognize.
Written for the Light vs. Dark challenge
A/N: For this challenge you pick a character and change their affiliation. Dark becomes light and vice versa. I've always liked the idea of good!Lucius Malfoy who works as a healer at St. Mungo's, so that's what a wrote.
Snow was falling towards the earth, muffling the footsteps of the visitors as they made their way down the path. There were mothers running after their children, grabbing them by the arm and telling them to behave. One time he saw a young man carrying an infant in his arms, a grim expression on his face as he patted the sleeping child and rubbed its back. But the one thing they had in common was that they each had a story to tell.
In the days following the war Lucius had seen many families come and go, sharing stories of grief, joy and everything in between. He'd been told not to get attached to his patients, but how could one properly care for their patients if they didn't care about the people whose lives he was trying to save?
His heart went out to those poor people and their families, each one dealing with their own struggles since the war ended. The children usually weren't aware of the severity of the situation, not until a parent or older sibling passed away. And then there were those that lingered on the edge, those that were incapable of recovering and would have to spend the rest of their lives in St. Mungo's.
He'd seen the effect this had on people, most noticeably his wife when she came to visit her older sister. It was impossible for him to miss the sadness etched into the lines on her face, her eyes shadowed from lack of sleep as she made her way up the stone steps.
"I'm sorry," Lucius muttered, his head bowed as Narcissa walked past. "There has been no change in her condition." He inhaled slowly, lifting his chin so that he could look her in the eye. "I've tried numerous potions and spells, but none of them have had any effect on her condition. The best we can do is keep her calm and under sedation until a room becomes available on the..." He paused, taking a minute to clear his throat before continuing. "The um, the Powder Puff ward."
The Powder Puff ward was what they called the padded rooms where they placed witches and wizards that were mentally ill. The walls were lined with special material that absorbed accidental magic, which helped protect the patients and workers from sudden magical outbursts.
"You ought to consider yourself lucky." Lucius put a hand on his wife's shoulder, leaning forward and whispering in her ear. "It required a great amount of time and consideration before they decided to put her in here. If it weren't for my powers of persuasion, they would have thrown her in Azkaban and fed her to the dementors."
"I know, Lucius." Narcissa swallowed hard and nodded. "I know. And don't think I'm being ungrateful. It's just difficult to see her like this after everything we went through."
He took her by the hand, his lips forming a thin line on the worn features of his face. "Come. She isn't allowed to have unsupervised visits. Not after what happened during her last outburst."
The blond healer could still remember the time she started having flashbacks to the war. She mistook the healers and patients for members of the Order of the Phoenix, and even without her wand Bellatrix was quite a force to be reckoned with. The incident ended when a team of five healers, including Lucius himself, managed to subdue her. Though not before she managed to shatter every window in the dining room and smash the table she was sitting at.
Sometimes he wondered if he'd done the right thing by choosing to spare Bellatrix's life during the war. It wasn't in his nature to harm others. But seeing her now, heavily medicated and locked in a private room so she couldn't hurt anyone, he wondered if this poor, unfortunate soul would be better off dead. It was the only way she could find peace. And yet he couldn't do it. Lucius couldn't bring himself to put her out of her misery.
They said it was a fitting end for the woman who tortured the Longbottoms into insanity, but Lucius disagreed. No one deserved to suffer such a fate. He would set them free if he could, releasing them from their mental prison and letting them return to their families. But he was just one man, one person doing what be could. Lucius couldn't heal the world, but he could help ease their suffering, one person and one family at a time.