Harry checked his watch as he made his way down the hall of St. Mungo's Hospital pediatric ward. He definitely did not expect his afternoon to carry on like this. The moment he'd gotten word about the incident, he'd apparated from work to get there and support his loved ones. This was the first time something like this had happened—it was just another newfound joy of fatherhood, he supposed. Ah, there it was, room 143B. He swung into the room and met eyes with Ginny, who gave a sad smile and sighed. "How is he?" he asked. She nodded over towards the small bed. Their wild-haired little boy was sitting straight up, his face alight with a big smile when he saw his father. "Daddy!" he cried out gleefully. Harry couldn't help but smile as well. James's left arm was all bandaged up and resting in a sling—the result of a mislanded fall while he was playing outside. "James, what happened to you?" Harry asked, sitting beside the child. James gave a big grin, exposing a gap where a baby tooth had fallen out a few days prior. "I tried to fly on a broomstick!" he exclaimed. "I want to be a Seeker like you!" Ginny rolled her eyes. "Love, you're not supposed to practice on mummy's sweeping broom." she explained. "And you certainly should not be jumping from the roof!" Harry looked over at James, raising an eyebrow. "Is that what happened?" he asked. James blushed furiously and shrugged his shoulders, earning another sigh from his parents. A broken arm was certainly not as bad as the accident could have been, but it definitely was going to be a challenge keeping their rambunctious young boy from exacerbating his injury.
A nurse came in carrying a small cup of a green potion and another full of water. "Alright my dear," she instructed, setting the items down on the table beside James's bed. "Take a big drink of all the potion, and then you can have your water right after. It's going to make your arm hurt less." James suspiciously eyed the green potion. The moment the nurse bustled out of the room, he looked at his father and begged, "Please don't make me drink it, daddy." Ginny took the small cup from the table and sat beside her son on the bed, raising it to his lips. "Take one big sip, and then it'll be all done. Then you can have your water to wash it down. Alright? Hold your water for yourself at the ready." James picked up the cup of water in his bandaged hand. Immediately, it slipped from his sore fingers and landed all over his lap. All over the bed. "Uh-oh!" he cried out. Harry salvaged the cup, but promised his son he'd go get another water before he had to take the potion. He headed out to the desk where all of the nurses were performing their tasks.
Harry approached a nurse and explained the situation. "Oh dear!" she exclaimed. "I'll be right back with a change of linens and a new cup of water. Just wait right here." Harry thanked her and leaned on the desk. Rubbing his eyes, he regretted that he hadn't had stronger tea that morning to keep him awake. "Excuse me," he heard a soft male voice say from nearby. "We're ready to try the blood draw again." Out of curiosity, Harry raised his head to see the speaker who seemed to have such a softly broken voice that sounded both tired and strained. His heart stopped for a moment. He knew that man. That thin frame clothed in all black, pale skin even more translucent against the harsh contrast. That sleek white-blonde hair that tried to hide dark-circled eyes. Draco Malfoy. But what would he possibly be doing here in St. Mungo's, in a pediatric ward? Before Harry could even collect himself and pull his eyes away, Draco also happened to look up and make eye contact with him. His face fell. He immediately turned away and started to head down the hallway. Something inside Harry, and he had no idea what, told him to follow the man—they hadn't spoken in years. He caught up to Draco, stopped him with a hand on his arm. Draco recoiled instantly. When he looked at Harry he had so much unbelievable fear and sadness in his heavy eyes. "W-What…" Harry began quietly. "What are you doing here?" Draco set his jaw, clearly anxious. He gave a slight shake of his head. "D-Do you have children?" Harry went on.
Draco cleared his throat softly, stepping back and leaning against the wall. His eyes closed as he sighed. "A son," he murmured softly. Why did his voice sound so… Harry let go of his arm in hopes that it would make Draco relax a bit. "He's just turned three." he added. There were tears in his eyes. Harry thought for a moment—Albus had just turned three as well. What were the odds that both of them had a child within the same year? "Is he…alright?" he asked. Draco bit his lip and avoided eye contact in every way possible. He ever so slightly shook his head. It was a moment before he spoke again. "He hasn't been home yet,"
"How long has he been here?"
"Since he was born."
Harry froze. What on earth? Three years in a hospital? Draco rubbed his face with the back of his hand. "He was born very early and just never properly developed. He's just got…loads of health issues." Harry was a bit stunned. He hadn't seen Draco this despondent and worried since just before the Battle of Hogwarts. But obviously, he had every right to be—this was a big burden to have to carry. Again, Draco scrubbed at his face. "I don't want any pity." he firmly stated. Before Harry could even respond, he heard someone gently call out Draco's name from behind him. He turned around. Narcissa Malfoy stopped in her tracks when she realized it was Harry that her son was speaking with. She hadn't aged a day, it seemed. Still graceful and quietly beautiful. Still composed and guarded. She gave a head nod towards him in respect. Without another word, she slipped her hand around Draco's thin arm and guided him away towards a room farther down the hall. Harry couldn't believe the encounter that he'd just had with his former enemy—Draco was still having such a difficult time. On one hand, Harry did pity him—with everything he'd endured in his younger years and had to come to terms with, he still wasn't being afforded a normal life with marriage and children. But on the other hand, he slightly admired him—he hadn't given up on his life yet. He was still surviving. Persevering. Managing.
Harry's attention snapped out of its fog and reminded him that James and Ginny were probably about to battle over the potion he was supposed to be taking, and he knew he needed to be there to referee. As he made his way back to James's room, he paused. He turned around. Narcissa and Draco had entered room 161—curiosity directed him to pass by and look inside as discreetly as possible. Why, he didn't know. It was just this driving force probably stemmed from their boyhood escapades of following one another and keeping tabs on each other in rivalry.
When Harry peeked inside the room, he saw three somber adults and one tiny little boy. Draco was sitting on the hospital bed, holding a squirming, panting little blonde child on his lap. His hands pressed the boy's forehead to his own. No one noticed Harry watching from outside. Narcissa pressed a gentle, comforting kiss on Draco's temple as he held his child—the other woman, who Harry assumed had to be Draco's wife, dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief. The small child was wearing white restraint mitts strapped around his hands, obviously meant to keep him from pulling out the tube that was led into his nostril, or the many lines feeding potions into his veins. The boy was shaking his head, gasping, making weak babbling sounds as his eyes tried focusing on the man holding him. He was so tiny.
Harry noticed Narcissa looking at him, so he averted his gaze and stepped away from the door. He did not expect her to follow him out to the hallway and softly call out, "Mr. Potter," Harry reddened and tried to find his words. "S-Sorry, I was just…feeling regretful that I didn't extend any offer of assistance to Draco, and I…I didn't want to interrupt when I went back." he explained. Narcissa stepped closer, her eyes on the ground. "Thank you," she murmured. "I would like for Draco to have someone to talk to."
"What's…well, if you don't mind me asking…what's going on with his son? Is that his only child?"
"Yes, Scorpius is his only. He and Astoria tried for so long to conceive and when they did, it was a miracle. Scorpius came…quite a bit earlier than expected. Ever since then it's been issue after issue."
"Draco mentioned he hasn't even been home yet,"
"It's true. He's never left this hospital. He was born deaf, he can't hear us. Just a few months after birth, his eyesight began failing. Now he can only see things that are very very close. His blood is too thin, his skin isn't strong. His lungs can't expand enough on their own. We're fearing the worst, but he's been fighting his entire life. We switch off who stays with him here in the nights."
"Is your husband here too?"
"…Draco hasn't spoken to his father since the war."
Harry understood. Narcissa's dark eyes closed and she folded her arms over one another. A quick glance told Harry that she wasn't wearing a wedding ring anymore. "Please be there for him," she murmured quietly. "He hasn't anyone to lean on. Just please…please help him if he asks. I'm afraid what all of this is doing to him." Harry nodded. A single tear fell from Narcissa's eye but she hid it well. "He's tried so hard to prove himself," she whispered. With a light sniffle, she glanced back up at Harry and gave another polite nod. She turned away and slowly walked back into room 161. He stood where he was, thinking all about what she told him. He definitely didn't feel a burning desire to ever be friends with Draco Malfoy, but the entire situation was making him feel so much emotion towards the boy he once hated. He knew that Narcissa was right—regardless of where things were in the past, Draco couldn't be strong forever through such difficult circumstances. Harry turned around and went back to James's room, eager to get home and tell Ron and Hermione about his encounter.