Draco Malfoy had done great things since the end of the war. He was quite proud of what he had accomplished, despite never being very recognized for his achievements. Shortly after his son Scorpius was born, Draco had been accepted into the field of rare disease treatment and study. He had been mostly until that point, a theoretical medical scientist, inventing potions to treat symptoms of advanced deadly disease. Draco had bitterly thought his work went unnoticed by the public at large and the part of him that had always craved glory and praise drown him in bitterness, that was until the letter came.
His wife Astoria had told him of an urgent letter he had received from some far off country. It turned out to be India, but the letter was from a man who Draco had spoken to only once at one of those fancy parties his wife loved to throw on occasion. The man was a mediwizard working in the field of rare disease of magical creatures as well as wizards or witches. The one time meeting hadn't been simple or short, both men had hit it off quickly and spoke until dawn the next day.
Draco opened the letter with a bit of confusion running through him. He read the letter twice to be sure he had understood it's contents and then turned to his wife in such a way to command her attention without speaking. Afraid his words would get caught in his throat, pinned down by the excitement that hit his chest hard.
"Darling," Draco said at last. "It's from Robert Graves, he wishes me to visit his team in India. They want my expertise in theoretical medical treatments." Draco could not contain all of his excitement, though he tried his best. Draco did not like to lose his composure in front of anyone, he often felt as though his emotions were his deepest weakness.
"Draco dear, I think you should do this, most definitely." She said, pride in her words. Her smile made Draco struggle even more with his own features. She was not one to battle him often, but she did not leave any objection unsaid if she held them. Draco nodded his appreciation for her opinion. She was rare and he was glad to have selected her to be his wife.
When he left nearly four days later, Draco could hardly realize that his young son Scorpius of only six-months at the time, would become a young man in foreign lands, trailing his father's robes as he paced and talked to himself, solved puzzles and developed theories. Draco was seduced by the puzzles of disease and defeating them became his greatest addiction. Years would pass and case after case would come by owl and Draco would collect his things and travel again.
Draco would then replace the older Robert Graves who had decided to settle his mind of the life of constant races to save lives the rushes of adrenaline as they tried treatments. Draco happily took up the reigns of the job, not really caring about the consequences to his family or the life that was quickly passing him by.
He found himself nine years later with a demanding letter from his wife declaring that if he did not return home for good after this next job, she would leave him. It was not written in anger and the tear stains showed the pain that was pushed through the quill into the words. Draco's heart still loved the work he did, but he could maybe afford to change his lifestyle and do work closer to home.
Neither Draco or Astoria conversed about the letter beyond Draco letting her know he was agreeing to her terms. He felt a good deal of guilt in looking on her, seeing how different she had become without him noticing. His son was nearly Hogwarts-age and would be off to school and Draco had never really seen him outside of his work. Scorpius went off to Hogwarts soon. Draco soon found work at St. Mungo's. He studied any rare cases that came his way, though never as fulfilling as the field work, Draco never hurt over that the way he would have if he'd let his family fall into ruin by his poor choices.
He sat in his office contemplating all of this while drawing up orders and payment agreements and selecting some young candidates for a new team. This team would include muggles as a part of them as well. He sighed and lightly tossed a fat file on his desk in front of him, which was littered with files pictures, notes and other essential things. He pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes to better direct his thoughts. He didn't have long to collect his thoughts and organize them before he heard a knock on his door.
"Come." He spoke, unable to keep the irritation of the interruption out of his voice. He winced just a bit when his wife cautiously opened the door. She stepped a short ways beyond the threshold of the door and then turned to face Draco's desk, back to the door.
"You have a visitor." She said directly and calmly. She held out a hand to lead the person into his office. Draco was confused, he was not expecting any of the interviews for another three days. He searched his thoughts to see if he'd forgotten some appointment. It would not be the first time that happened. A nasty habit that had developed from years of pouring over mounds of information and rarely considering time as anything more than an enemy.
A man entered, not with any great degree of dignity. He huddled a bit in robes and his head was bowed strangely as if too heavy to lift. Then Draco stood, because the form before him was one with which he was far too familiar. The head lifted and turned with the rest of the body to face him.
"Harry Potter." Draco spoke, his voice full of conviction, strangely and the name being uttered seemed to give the other man strength. Harry's body straightened and his head now was firmly up. Fire seemed to sweep through him. Draco did not utter another word for several moments, he dismissed his wife with a kind appreciative nod. When they were alone, Draco offered Harry a drink and a seat, both of which, he refused.
"Okay then," Draco spoke softly. He did not really know how to address his old enemy from school, no, he wasn't an enemy, more like a rival. Draco knew the difference now far better. Enemies strove to harm each other always, Draco mostly wanted to prove that he was from a better stock than Harry. He smiled oddly. "Why are you here Mister Potter?" He used his formal tone from his time in the field interviewing patients. He felt this tone would present him the advantage and some control over the confusion and surprise that Potter's appearance had caused him.
"I was told to come here by a friend of yours." Harry said. Draco could see the worry that wove deep into the man's eyes. Harry Potter from what Draco knew was a well tested Auror and having survived many an encounter with the Dark Lord, he doubted very much, that the worry in Harry's eyes had to do with him. Draco watched him carefully, his posture had improved, but now to Draco, the eyes and posture together were sending heavy signals of concern through him. Draco was snapped away from his considerations when Harry suddenly did sit down on a chair directly seated in the front left of his desk.
"It's my son, Albus. No doubt you've seen the papers." Harry sighed. The weight he was carrying evident by the way he slumped froward carelessly in the chair. Draco felt confusion again and slight guilt. No, he hadn't seen the papers. Though Astoria might have, she had more of a stomach for the hopeless goings on about the wizarding world and now, he wished he had cared.
"No, actually Potter, I don't prefer the worthless gossip that the papers print." Draco admitted truthfully. He figured it was best to humiliate himself now and question Potter properly than try and piece the truth together vaguely through half truths and leading lies. He breathed deep. "Give me all the details Mister Potter, who is Albus, why is it you've come to me about him?" Draco thought as he looked on Potter, that the man seemed strangely grateful for this question.
Harry told a story, a story of confused and frightened parents. It seemed that upon Albus' thirteenth- year of life, the middle boy of the Potter clan had become ill with seizures, severe pain and deterioration. Draco listened, never showing the excitement he felt. The best Magic, mediwizards and mediwitches at St. Mungo's had been unable to properly diagnose him for two and a half years. Draco was hoping that Harry was here to ask for his help. It was a good bet he was, but Draco felt a slight doubt in the back of his mind.
"Up until a few months ago all his other symptoms were completely manageable. Then he found his legs too weak to walk without extreme pains, but it's much worse than that, about three weeks ago, he went blind." Harry had to stop and try and compose himself. Draco stayed quiet, his cool exterior there to offer support should Potter look for it. "It's not a darkness blind," Harry added after a few moments of silence passed. "It's a problem filtering light of any kind, he screamed out for a whole day nearly-" Harry had to take a careful breath.
Draco decided this was an opportunity to step in. "You probably were sent here by a colleague of mine, yes?" Draco waited for a conformation. Harry simply nodded. "You want me to treat your son, this is why you are here, correct?" Draco tried to keep the feelings he was having down in his stomach where they started so he didn't come across as insensitive. Harry nodded, this time the eyes of worry shown a short flash of hope. Draco smiled a little. "Mister Potter, it will be my honor to take your son on as my patient."
They shook hands tentatively Draco lead Harry out of his home, they shared few words, both unable to find footing for conversation and Draco especially felt that casual conversation would have been inappropriate. Once Harry was away, Draco called a house-elf named Spyrus.
"Tell my wife that I will be indisposed for the next several hours and would you collect my files from the desk in my study and then tell her I wish her to deliver them to Mr. Barton March. He will need them to finish my work." The elf nodded and popped out of his presence. Draco was eager to get started, but he knew he wasn't ready.
Harry returned wearily to his wife. She was bedside with their son who was at last calmly sleeping. The boy was isolated in his own small ward in St. Mungo's., not because he demanded it, but because the reporters and photographers had been so relentless. The ward had security fit for a high criminal who needed to be healed before trial. Harry hated the need for this and bitterly cursed that the pressures of his fame had not eased with time.
Harry had gone to Draco after the mediwizard treating Albus had recommended him. The background Harry looked into about Draco had given him at least trust that this was a move he should attempt to make, no matter how awkward and unsettled their past together. Draco had told him that he would meet them in the later afternoon after he finished some tasks he had set out earlier. Harry was surprised at how quickly Draco had accepted the request and even that Harry had not even had to make it. He was nervous now, because the little that remained of Harry's hope of Albus' cure was in Draco Malfoy's hands. He sighed.
"He's agreed to come." Harry spoke quietly. Ginny eyed him tired and just as lacking in hope. She nodded and did not speak. Her own thoughts were anguished. Draco did not worry her, but this was the worst way to reintroduce the former family enemies and the thoughts of the weight of their past was clouding her mind, despite the fact that Draco might offer hope for the first time in over two years.
Ginny found life very hard since her son had become sick. The life which Harry had tried to give her, a happy family and his happiness as well, it all disappeared with much haste when Albus became ill. Harry found intimacy hard and his distance from the family increased. She'd have fought him more fiercely but his eyes held a sadness that ran deep in him. She had seen him crying quietly several times, but had been unable to dig up the courage to force him to allow her to comfort him. He would have just denied the tears and not allowed them to fall in her presence. She loved him very much despite the troubles and she vowed that she would not leave him in such a state in anger or move for a divorce, Harry hadn't been cruel or lax in his duties as head of their home and she would consider that always before herself.
Ginny thought of her other children. James who was in his final year at Hogwarts and Lilly who was one year younger than Albus. They had been good children in the face of their brother's illness, James had taken more of the role of head of the house. Lilly had been, until the more recent turn of his illness, a caretaker for Albus when Ginny had been away which was rare, but now, he'd been in the hospital for the last four months, it would be three weeks until the children would return from school. Ginny had at least been glad that Albus had been able to make it through Christmas mostly symptom free. It would be harder now for him to spend time with the Potter-Weasely clan. She stood and kissed her son on the head and then told Harry she was going to get something to drink. He just nodded, not bringing his eyes away from his son laying asleep. She turned and walked out.
Draco entered St. Mungo's with an energy and truth be told, he had not really thought about the circumstances that the energy came from, the fact that he would be leading the charge to save Harry Potter's son, a man, that until several years ago induced great loathing inside himself. He was met by a nurse rather quickly after walking through the ward Harry had mentioned upon their parting. He nodded gracefully and followed as the woman walked past several empty rooms. Potter's son with his own ward? Draco smiled as if that had been a joke of some kind. Realizing though, that the thought was in poor taste, he changed his expression to a stern mask.
When the woman stopped in front of a room. Draco gave his robes a tug and then smoothed them. He stepped inside and saw Harry Potter, bedside with his son. Draco remarked to himself how similar Harry and the boy sleeping in the bed looked, save for some redish hue to his hair. The boy's eyes were covered by a thickened black blindfold. Draco coughed lightly and felt a stab of guilt as Harry started. The man stood immediately and offered his hand in greeting. Draco took it without a thought.
"My wife will be back shortly." Harry spoke simply. "She went off to get a drink and refresh herself." Draco took the chair Ginny had sat in, Harry beside him. Draco's thoughts collected quickly. He was used to these kinds of interviews of family and though there was history between them, Draco took to the situation like broom riding.
"While we wait, why don't you tell me more about what the illness has done, many different views are useful in my medical research. Leave nothing unsaid if you would please." Draco took out a parchment that would take Potter's words carefully. They must have talked for about ten minutes or so before Ginny returned. She was quiet when she returned, hearing the shared words as she approached the room with some warm cider. She was glad of the sound, Harry sounded somewhat relaxed, serious, but also warm with care. She relished the sound until her presence was noticed by Draco. He stood instantly, meaning to offer her the chair he'd taken, but Albus stirred softly and then settled facing to his side away from them.
"Let us speak outside." Draco directed with a wave of his hand. "We needn't disturb him while he sleeps." Both Harry and Ginny walked behind him out of the room into the hallway, the threshold did not have a door, but a silencing charm tied to the threshold kept sound from traveling into the room. It was a useful thing Draco thought. "Mrs. Potter, I wish to ask you about your knowledge of his illness , as much as you can tell me. Details as well, leave nothing out if you would." And then she spoke as Harry had just a few moments before, the parchment also took her words.
When Ginny finished, Draco put the parchments away. Now came the hard part, Robert had always being of a commanding and confident sort with this next part, but Draco had never held the skill to maintain the coldness this took. He breathed in and drew upon strength as much as he could.
"We must discuss my terms." Draco's words were direct and Harry's face flashed a bit of shock.
"Money, right." Harry said stupidly, feeling as foolish for not thinking of it sooner.
"No no, Potter, that's not what I mean. The work itself provides it's own financial rewards. I meant to discuss my rule with you. Just one." Draco looked them both in the face, searching their gaze for the attention he required, finding it, he continued. "You will take care of yourselves. Eat properly, be clean, well maintained and rested. If this rule is not obeyed, you will not set foot in that room." Draco saw Harry's face flash with anger and Ginny's flashed with confusion. "You must be strong for your son, if he is to find strength to face his illness, he must be able to rely on both of you being well kept. It does him no good if you suffer as he does."
Ginny understood him and nodded with a slight grin. No one could see it unless they looked hard at her, but her heart warmed with the understanding of what he meant to do. Harry conceded to the rule about ten seconds later. Draco nodded his thanks for not fighting him. Some families didn't understand why the rule was important to Draco, but Draco had learned fast why Robert had been so serious on it. So many many times, in cases like this, the patient's family members would become a lead weight on the attempts to heal them because the family was of a poor attitude and poor health. Once Draco had seen a man comforting his parents as he lay in great pain, never focused on his own healing because he felt obligated to reach out and offer that little strength to comfort them. He did not like that in his work environment. He was not concerning himself with anyone other than Albus Potter, from this day , until the boy was fully healed.
Albus woke carefully so to avoid the pain that moved up his leg, settled in his lower back. He gritted his teeth to resist the pain. He laid still and felt horribly claustrophobic in the blindfold. He wished he could pull it off, but the light would burn his his eyes, he knew that and he cursed inside his head. He tried to sit up, he must be alone and part of him relished that, people constantly checking on him drove him crazy.
"Awake now I see." Draco spoke. He had sat bedside much like the Potters had. After dismissing the parents to go home and care for themselves and return shortly before the dinner hour he had assumed the chair near the head of the bed and was shocked out of reading over the notes he'd taken as well as notes the nurse collected for him from other mediwizards and mediwitches that had treated Albus Potter.
Albus froze, this voice was new and even, not sad or tired or the "fake" kind of caring he heard constantly and he then let out a sharp hiss and then a cry of pain. He ground his fingers into the sheets to fight his muscles tensing up, then he gritted his teeth audibly. Draco realized his mistake quickly and stood up.
"Easy Child," Draco spoke, still calm and even. "I am Draco Malfoy, I'll be your new doctor. Are you in pain?" He felt bad for rushing the introduction, but seeing little choice when the boy began to strain. Albus nodded and then he watched as the boy's legs twitched a bit, worried he might be having a seizure Draco reached for Albus' hand. It was soft and slightly damp.
"Focus on my hand, Potter." He spoke in a tone that commanded obedience, but conveyed kindness. Albus did so and after a minute, the episode subsided. Draco took a mental note of that and then spoke again. "Your parents should return in a little over thirty minutes to bring your meal and properly bid you good evening. Let's see what we can do for your pain." Draco looked him over more fully now, appreciating how skinny and longish he was.
"Are you Scorpius' father?" The boy asked quietly the weakness in his voice showed the fear of his body's backlash. Draco almost nodded stupidly, remembering the boy was blind a moment later, he answered.
"Yes, I am." Draco answered, pride in his voice. "You know him? he asked.
"Not really, we're in Slytherin together, but um, he doesn't really talk to anyone." Albus stated. Draco detected a hint of disappointment in the young boy's voice, as if he'd been rejected by Scorpius at some point. Draco found this a bit unsurprising. Scorpius had grown up in a life very different from his own. He never developed proper people skills, particularly with his own peers. He would converse with other younger doctors or mediwizards, he liked muggles oddly enough, much to Draco's irritation, but he just did not like his peers for whatever reason.
"A Potter in Slytherin?" Draco remarked a small smirk on his face. "My my Little Potter, we might be the best allies to each other." Sensing the playful sarcasm in the man's voice, Albus giggled a bit. He had been frightened the day he was sorted into the 'dark wizard house' as James had called it, but he had quickly made it his own and the definition of what separated him and made him special in the countless others of Potter-Weasely clan. His father, the great Harry Potter had been the best about it, making sure that his colors were equally represented in their home.
"Don't worry Mister Malfoy, sir, I won't leave you to face the Griffyndors alone." Albus stated, smiling brightly and Draco imagined that the smile would bleed into the boy's eyes if he could see them.
"See that you don't." Draco replied in mock demand. "Now Albus, why don't you tell me about your illness and what it's been like." Draco listened as Albus told him everything he understood and every feeling with the help of some leading questions by Draco. When they had finished, not five minutes had passed before both Ginny and Harry appeared with some food and did look much better than this afternoon. Draco excused himself. His last interview for the night done, it was time for him to return to his study, lay out his notes and have a go at this enemy he'd be facing. He couldn't wait, he was sure his wife would be upset by that, but the rush pushed out the thought as quickly as it had come.
A/N: As the story progresses, we will learn more about Albus' disease but it will be a slowish reveal. So what do you think?