It had been a bad night.
Draco realized this when he stepped into the bathroom under the strict supervision of a Healer who stood not three feet away from him at all times whenever he was alone or was being transferred to or from his room to the visiting ward. Taking a weak hold of the sink, Draco looked at his face in the mirror for the first time in nearly three weeks.
' You look like you got pummeled with a few bludgers.'
Draco looked at his already pale complexion, and saw the deep sunken holes in his eyes, the dirt and grime on his face, the rough growth of stubble protruding oddly from his cheeks. Slowly, he reached up with a trembling hand, brushing his chapped fingers over the rough whiskers.
' Is… this me? Damn, I let myself go.'
" Hey, Anderson…. I need some grooming equipment."
The male Healer gave Draco the smile of a loving parent that was scolding a misbehaving child. The wizard crossed his arms.
"I can't do that for you, Mr. Malfoy. Your case file clearly indicates that you've-"
" I said- bring me grooming equipment."
Draco rested his warm face against the glass of the mirror, breathing deeply in and out. The healer stood steadfast in his earlier decision.
" I'm terribly sorry, but hospital rules clearly-"
" then get the fuck out! If you're not helping me, then get out!"
Draco pushed himself away from the mirror, edging towards the all to cheery healer in blue robes with a scowl. Anderson smartly took a few steps back from the oncoming blond man.
" Shall I have your morning dose delivered? Perhaps you need a rest."
"Get the hell out of my room before I throw you out! Now!"
Anderson gave him a once over of skepticism before heading towards the door. Before he pulled it open and made a motion to leave, he called out over his shoulder " I'll make sure Healer Mitchell brings a sedative with your dose- just in case."
Then, Draco was alone in his room.
" Damn….. damn damn damn!"
He had that urge again. It began as a tiny tremor, snaking and coiling its way from his toes, up his legs, through his stomach, until the energy burst from his fingertips. Storming into the bathroom, Draco released a powerful punch that shattered the glass in his bathroom mirror into hundreds of silver shards, sending the entire mess cascading on to the floor like silver rain.
Draco looked down at his bloodied knuckles, quickly wrapping the mess in a towel he'd left on the sink the other night.
' See, another bloody reason why those bastards won't release you. Until you've proven yourself 'normal' whatever the hell that is!'
Draco's carefully built walls of steel began to fold, as he lowered himself onto the toilet, clutching his bleeding hand.
"Astoria…. I'm so sorry….."
Draco drew his knees to his chest, wrapping his arms tightly around them, making sure not to damage the bleeding hand any more than it already hurt. Terror seized him briefly, the future looking as bleak and abysmal as when she'd first died. Why live? Why even bother to force food down his mouth, just to prolong his suffering so a bunch of stiff lipped healers could release him into an equally bitter, grueling world.
'Nothing changes. Potter, Mudblood, and Weasel have happy homes. Families… spouses. Kids. My family' s name is next to mud, and our wealth….. ha!'
Draco bit his lip tensely, chewing until he was sure he'd felt a drop of blood slip from the open wound and dribble onto his shirt. He ran his tongue along the edge of the cut, teasingly licking the salty red liquid that oozed from the cut. Resolving himself to another fun filled day of either heavy sedation or a boring afternoon of sitting idly in the visitor's ward while other patients got visitors and got gifts from well wishers, Draco would be alone.
He was always alone.
"It wasn't always like that you know." Draco said conversationally. He uncurled his cramping legs so he was sitting on the toilet, kicking his feet absentmindedly. He cocked his head, looking at his own shadow on the wall.
"Ash, I'm not crazy….. I just miss you so damn much, I can't take it anymore. I want to be with you."
Silence. Always silence. Draco hated the silence. He longed to hear voices, see people, just get out and do something!
"Why… didn't you come to the party with me?" Draco snarled, his eyes narrowing with rage. "I told you to come! Why didn't you? If you would have come, you wouldn't have died!"
' But you were impatient. You wanted to hurry. Never gave her a chance. Now she's gone.'
Draco slid onto the floor, squishing himself between the toilet and the bathtub. He scooted back so he could rest against the wall, closing his eyes, and allowing the memories to besiege him.
Draco checked his good dress robes one more time before poking his head back into their bedroom. Astoria sat at her vanity table, allowing a house elf to fix her hair into an elaborate bun, and fasten a string of mermaid pearls around her neck.
" Tch, bloody woman- always wasting time."
" I want to look good Draco, and yes it takes time."
" Too long for my liking…. Look, I'll see you at the party, alright?"
He grabbed his cloak form the hook by the door, shaking his head in protest as his wife continued to fuss over her gown and jewels. Throwing his cloak around his shoulders, Draco picked up his wand from the table by the front door, and apparated a few moments later.
It was the last time he'd seen Astoria alive.
When she didn't show up at the charity ball, Draco assumed she'd stayed home in protest, which would result in another fight when he got home. So he'd stayed longer, playing a few hands of cards with some co-workers, and having an extra round of drinks. He was well into his fifth drink, when Blaise ran into the room, followed by his date.
"Bloody hell! Draco! Haven't you heard- your house is burning! Why the hell are you still here?!"
Draco's drink and hand of cards clattered to the floor, as he rose shakily from the table, the recent piece of news sobering him immediately. He staggered towards Blaise with wide eyes, mouth turning sandpaper dry. His old friend took his arm, and apparated with him back to his home.
The house was gone.
Astoria was gone.
Some aurors were there, Potter and Weasel included. They were inspecting the area with their supervisor, and other Ministry officials and other witches and wizards, Draco had never seen before were loitering about the charred remains of his house, and taking notes with quick quills. Some moron actually called the prophet, and Skeeter and her crew were standing about, looking for some hapless soul to interview.
If she came near him, Draco would kill Skeeter. He was sure of it.
Harry Potter came to him, his face black with soot, and his robes reeked of smoke. Through it all, Draco saw those emerald green eyes shining brilliantly in the early hours of the dawn. Draco grabbed Harry's arm quickly.
"My wife Potter! Where is she?! Where's Astoria?"
Harry hung his head briefly, not even calling Draco out for putting his arm in a deathlike vice grip. Harry motioned to a stray bench, and motioned Draco to sit down.
" D- Draco, I'm so sorry… but…. She…. She's gone, Draco."
"What… the hell… are you… playing… at… Potter!" Draco sputtered weakly.
Harry sighed, looking at his onetime school rival in the eye, and spoke again with more clarity and force the second time around. " Astoria died in the fire. Smoke inhalation. We won't know the true cause of it for a while, but…. Draco, I'm so sorry."
"My wife…. Is…. Dead?"
" I' m sorry Draco."
" She's gone…. Astoria's gone…"
" Draco, if you'll come-"
Draco stood up as though Harry was apart of the flames and were burning him too. Draco took three giant steps away from the former boy who lived, and took a running start towards the remains of his house, screamed, and collapsed onto the ground.
His mind had broken, snapped like a twig. No one had been able to put it back together. He'd awoken up almost a week later in the Janus Thickey Ward of St. Mungo's Hospital.
"Mr. Malfoy? Mr. Malfoy?"
Draco's head snapped out of his daily nightmares when he saw Healer Mitchell crouched next to him, already cleaning the damage done to his hand from punching the mirror. Instinctively, Draco squirmed away from the soothing, tender hands that held him.
"G- get away from me…. Please, leave me alone." Draco begged.
Anxiety, Depression, suicidal tendencies. He had long ago been diagnosed, but it hadn't made living with it any easier. In fact, ironically enough, Draco could live with the mental handicaps, but it was the pressing guilt, their last conversation that screamed inside his head.
' If you just waited… spent some time with her… she'd still be alive. Perhaps if you'd stayed…'
" Are you going to sedate me, again?" Draco was past caring anymore at this point. Healer Mitchell looked at him curiously.
" Did Anderson say I was? That git was just teasing with you. I do however, have your morning dose."
" I'll take it." Draco assured her listlessly, " I just want my pain to be over with…. I just want to die."
"Well, I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen, Mr. Malfoy. Be a shame really, since you have visitors today."
"Huh….. me? Visitors?"
Draco stood up slowly, using the wall for support, as he allowed the Healer to direct him to his bed, and he took the potion without question for her, intrigued about who could be coming to see him, after all this time.
" I still think it's a cruel joke…. No one would bloody care to see me." Draco spat out, flopping down on the flat mattress with a sigh.
" Please, just go and see them. They've been waiting for hours."
'Them? As in more than one?'
Draco pushed himself off the bed, running a hand through his hair to smooth out the wrinkles and straightened his shirt. Insane or not, he still had his pride.
"Think he'll show up?"
Harry Potter looked over at Ginny with a fake smile. In an effort to console him, Ginny placed a hand over his, rubbing it gently.
"He's been through a lot." Ginny said, smiling at Harry. "Just give him some time."
"you didn't see him Gin. The scream….. he broke inside, I was there. Ron was there. His life…. Was.. over…"
" He has a son, don't forget."
" I know but-" Harry ran a hand through his mottled hair, then bought himself further time to finish his sentence by cleaning his glasses. "He's just… broken."
" I know you won't give up on him. You told me, you, Ron, and Hermione saved his life twice during the final battle."
" That's why, I hope he'll listen to us." Harry admitted.
The door leading to the long term wards opened, and Draco shuffled out, looking around the room without a care in the world. His steely eyes rose as large as saucers when he saw the Potter's rising from their chairs to greet him.
" What the hell are you two doing here?"
" Came to see you." Ginny said.
" We want to help…. Draco, please." Harry insisted sincerely.
" Damn…. I've fallen that far, to accept help from a blood traitor and a half blood? The great Draco Malfoy receiving help from….. friends?"
"Oh quit being such an arse Draco Malfoy! I know you're in pain, but think of your son!"
Draco sat down slowly in one of the empty chairs, Harry and Ginny sitting beside him, both remaining politely quiet.
" I was going to end it all, later today. I had it planned out so well. I'm not… I don't… I can't fit into this new world." Draco whispered, clutching at his raggy hair, holding back a sob. Harry put his arm around his shoulder.
" Scorpius… he's two now isn't he? Your mother wrote to me, she's taking care of him, and she wants you home. You can raise your son in a better world then the one we lived through. A world… where he doesn't have to take the dark mark…."
Harry's eyes went down to the mark that was almost unnoticeable on Draco's forearm. The former death eater rubbed the spot out of old habit.
" Yes…. My son… our son…. I- I'll…. I'll think about it…. I'll see about getting proper help. For Scorpius." Draco drew in a breath, exhaling slowly. "I…. if you'll… help me, I'll do it."
" Glad you got to thinking positive for a change." Ginny said, but she was smiling also. Harry clasp Draco's arm firmly.
" I'll do whatever it takes to help you get back on your feet. Its not charity either." Harry said, " that's what friends are for."
" Friends? I don't think I've ever really had those before…. Usually just followers." Draco said, a painful reminder of Crabbe burning up in the room of requirement flashing through his mind. Shaking his head, the blond man stuffed the images from the war into the deepest compartment of his mind.
" Yeah, friends. Like it or not, you're going to getting a lot of them." Harry said, with a deep chuckle. Draco could only smile back.
" Potter, thank you…."
A/N: I had originally planned this to be a angst fest, but I figure I made Draco suffer enough already, so I made it a syrupy ending. Bah, the ending isn't how I had it planned, but what can you do? Please review.