The Spell Damage ward at St. Mungo's smelled of stiff cleaning spells and Healing potions. It was a solemn place, with people hanging out in the lobby waiting on news of their friends or loved ones who had been gravely injured. The Healers moved about on soft soled shoes, even their lime green robes a gentle whisper hush, like they had been spelled quiet just for this ward. It was not a happy place and, other than the geriatric ward, Draco knew that they probably saw the most death here. In fact, there had almost been another just the night before.
Pansy lay very still on her bed under the gentle shimmer of monitoring charms that chimed every time her heart beat. It was a little slow but given what they had gone through just to keep it beating in the first place, this felt like a victory.
Everything after Alex had been subdued was a mess of confusion. With the taste of freshly fallen tears and something uniquely Harry on his lips, Draco had drawn back at the sound of Weasley's commanding bark across the lawn. He was limping slightly as he tried to reassemble the Auror teams he'd brought with him, picking his way carefully around the rubble of rocks and grass and churned up mud. It looked like a war zone, deep craters created with magic and tattered remains of a few trees that had gotten caught up in the fray. Three of the Aurors, they found, had been injured, one severely and had slipped into a magical coma he had yet to wake up from. A fourth was dead. Alex had done a tremendous amount of damage which he would spend the rest of his life answering for; a life without the use of his magic.
It was a fitting end for him but somehow it didn't feel like it was enough. The dull expression in Harry's eyes when he watched Ron bind his ex after seeing the injured Aurors to the hospital and carting Alex's limp body to the Ministry said that he didn't think it was enough either. It didn't feel like enough because Pansy and Miguel were still huddled under their Stasis spells upon the broken ground, frozen in their dying.
"I don't know how to save them," Draco had whispered when he and Harry knelt at their sides. Their faces, taken out of time and frozen the way they had fallen made him wish he could cry. Pansy, his best friend in Hogwarts, was dying by a spell he had never seen before and didn't know how to reverse. Beautiful, stubborn, wilful Pansy, with her lightning quick whit and her loyalty for those she loved. Now she lay as still as death, the Dark spell that would kill her in a matter of moments only paused by Draco's frantic Stasis spell. Harry leaned against him, having never once let go since the blond had kissed him in the middle of the lawn, his warmth slowly becoming welcomingly familiar.
"You don't have to do this alone, Draco," the dark haired man said, reaching out to run his fingers along the limits of the spells looped around Pansy and her husband in protective bubbles, "Even the best Healers work in teams on difficult cases," the blond knew at once what Harry was trying to say and he gritted his teeth, resentment trying to flood over him. It wasn't because Harry didn't have faith in him. Draco knew that without the proper resources, there was no way he could heal his friend. Maybe Miguel but not Pansy. At least not alone. Though he knew that once he stepped foot in a place where people recognized him for his name he would not be allowed to stay. It was that thought more than anything else that hurt most. But he could not let Pansy die.
St. Mungo's was bustling when they Apparated in, Harry clutching Miguel's shoulder and Pansy stiff in Draco's arms. They didn't want to let the blond come with them at first but for different reasons then he expected. No one gave his sharp features and silvery blond hair a second glance. In fact, he could almost believe that if any of the nurses or Healers that descended upon them on their arrival had even noticed he was a Malfoy and a war criminal, they didn't care. All they saw was Harry Potter, his scar visible through his wild curls, and two people who needed their care.
"Please, sir," a short woman with iron grey hair pulled back severely into a bun and wearing the green robes of a Healer stopped him as Miguel was taken upstairs to Poisons and Potions and Pansy to Spell Damage, "No one but Healers in the Emergency Care unit. I'm sorry," tightness closed up the back of his throat and he felt useless and frustrated. He hated not being able to help her, hated watching her being levitated away when he knew he could help her given half a chance and the right environment. Then Harry stepped up behind the blond, face set in his 'hi, I'm Harry Potter' expression and one slender hand clasped Draco's shoulder.
"I assure you he's a Healer. Just because he doesn't have his certification doesn't make him any less knowledgeable. I think he could be of some help," it was delivered in the nicest way possible but there was a bite behind Harry's voice that made the grey haired Healer eye him warily. Then she looked over Draco with doubt lingering in her eyes and a flat, unhappy line to her mouth.
"The moment you get in the way, you're out," he barely had time to be grateful. It lasted the time it took to follow her to the room where they were working on his childhood friend. Then he was lost in a sea of worry and fear as he stepped inside, heart nearly stopping to see Pansy looking still and frail in the midst of the chaos of the room. Three Healers occupied the room, consulting each other in furious voices and sounding more and more concerned as time went by. Draco understood how they felt. The results of the diagnostic spell were bound to be a nightmare for any Healer. They had minutes to find a way to reverse the spell or Pansy was dead.
And then he knew what needed to be done.
It was a long day and night that followed. Long and nightmarish. Draco managed to convince the other Healers of his plan, explaining to them how he thought they could contain the magic that was rotting her from the inside. It would give them more time to work and hopefully they would be able to remove the spell from her body completely. It was a shot in the dark but better than any other suggestion any of them might have had.
She nearly didn't make it. The strain the spell put on her kept stopping her heart and congealing the blood in her veins. Because it had been aging her so quickly, her body simply couldn't handle it. So not only were they trying to lift the curse but were also frantically healing the damaged parts of her before they gave out. Slowly though, as the Dark magic was forced out by the system of concentrated Stasis and Containment spells Draco devised, she stabilized and slipped into a natural sleep.
"Where did you learn to do all that?" they were all exhausted by that time but the Healer who stepped in front of him had a hard expression on his face. The blond could feel his own body sagging with the lack of sleep. It was far into the night and he just wanted to curl up next to Harry who was probably still anxiously waiting to hear news and fall asleep. But Draco drew himself up, willing the heaviness that had settled around his shoulders into the background.
"I studied," he answered flatly, trying to hide his nervousness. It was in that moment that he realized that he wasn't used to being in close quarters with a lot of wizards. The Healer was big, broad about the shoulders and tall, though not as tall as Draco and it was completely unnerving. The other man looked at him for a long moment, light brown eyes sharp as they studied him before he cracked a slow grin.
"That you did, my boy," surprised, Draco just blinked at him and the tension in the room dropped a good ten degrees, "When you get your papers, come back here. I would be glad to put in a good word for you," the Healer clapped him on the back and slipped from the room, followed by the other two Healers who both just gave him weary nods. As tired as he was, he felt a little lighter, pleasantly relieved. No one had asked his name; they didn't even seem to care. Maybe, just maybe he didn't really have to hide away in his Manor after all. It was a frightening and wonderful thought.
When he turned and went to tell Harry that Pansy was going to be okay, it was with a renewed sense of purpose and confidence.
"Draco…" someone was calling his name, a soft voice that he had not heard in several long years. He looked around himself, standing in a grassy field, the light from the sun bright and warm. The scent of roses filled the air and long, sweeping grass brushed against his knees. The place he stood in looked like the Manor's back garden but he couldn't see the house and the sunlight was so thick he couldn't see through it, "Draco, my love….here…" Slowly, as if he was trying to move through honey, he turned around.
Behind him, amid abundant bunches of fragrant roses, stood his mother.
"Hello, my Dragon," her voice was as warm as the sunlight that surrounded them and she smiled her beautiful smile that he had thought he had forgotten. Draco felt his breath catch in his lungs and tears prickled at the corners of his eyes. She looked so real, not at all like the shadows he was used to seeing around the Manor. Like he could reach out and touch her and she wouldn't fade away.
"Mother," he breathed, taking a few steps forward. Her smile widened and it was so familiar, he felt the grief he had been harbouring all this time in his heart fade, melting away with the thick light.
"You look well, my son," she murmured, hair falling in burnished gold curls around her face. She looked like she had when he was young, without the worries and cares of the world fading her out, "I am so sorry for leaving you alone but you have been so brave, so strong…so beautiful," she reached out her hand now that he was close enough and he could feel her fleeting touch slide against his cheek. He tried to smile, her loving praise sweeping over him but he couldn't manage it through the tears spilling down his cheeks.
"Mum…" he rasped and was enveloped in her very real embrace. The scent of roses disappeared and the smell he had grown up with, the one he associated with comfort, love, safety…his mother, filled his nose.
"Oh, my lovely Draco. Don't cry, my love. Your father and I are in a better place now," she pulled away and cradled his cheeks in her hands. The action made him feel like he was ten again and his breath shuddered on a soft sob, "I've come to say goodbye. I didn't want you to be alone so I thought that by staying with you, it was the only way we could make you a little less lonely. But there's someone else now," she smoothed his tears away with a kiss, "Your green eyed boy, right?" sniffing, he nodded, thinking about Harry with his beautiful green eyes and his crooked smile.
"Are you happy, mum?' he whispered, breathing in the scent of her so he wouldn't forget it. She kissed his cheek again then stepped away. Her edges were starting to fade and the sunlight around them dimmed.
"I am. Now it's your turn to be happy. I love you, my dragon," and then she was gone, the only thing left of his dream the lingering scent of roses and warm sunlight.
Draco started awake to find Harry leaning over him, a worried frown on his face that reflected in his wide green eyes. Momentarily confused, the blond glanced around himself before remembering he was at St. Mungo's in the private room Pansy had been moved to after surviving Alex's curse. He took a deep breath, his dream still lingering behind his eyes and he could have sworn he could still smell the roses. Then the dark haired man squeezed Draco's shoulder and his mother's goodbye was suddenly bittersweet rather than just bitter.
"Are you alright?" Harry was asking, black curls falling across his face "You looked so sad as you dreamed," the other man was leaning over from his seat beside the blond, both chairs pulled up beside Pansy's bed where she slept on peacefully. Draco didn't remember falling asleep but the past day and night must have worn him down enough that as soon as he sat down he had passed out. He smiled at Harry shakily and passed a hand over of his face.
"Yes, I'm fine," he murmured, glancing over at the bed where his childhood friend lay under her monitoring charms. Miguel had been checked out sometime during the night and was sitting in the waiting room when Draco went to tell Harry Pansy was going to be okay. It had been a surprisingly common poison that hit Miguel and he supposed Alex counted on its fast acting nature to do the job. He'd been pale and terrified for his wife and had not once budged from her bedside. Now he slept soundly too, one hand curled around Pansy's and his head resting on his arm as he leaned on the bed. The silence was only broken by the charms that hummed softly around the bed and someone's shoes as they walked outside in the hall.
"I didn't kill him," Harry's voice was soft and raw, emerald gaze fixed on Pansy's still profile. The blond watched him closely, trying to figure out what he was feeling. Then the dark head swivelled towards him and he was caught in that wide, luminescent gaze, "I…think I'm glad I didn't. I don't…think I could have lived with that, as angry as I was," Draco reached over and brushed away an errant curl. It made the other man smile at him and the expression was warm and full and made the blond's heart skip. He could see the bruises he had left two nights ago and he couldn't resist the urge to touch two that peeked out from under Harry's shirt collar. Green eyes darkened and this time Draco's breath was stolen away.
"He's gone, Harry," he said softly, trying to ignore the pleasant swooping of his stomach as he watched a faint blush bloomed over the dark haired man's cheeks. The plump bottom lip was caught between white, even teeth and he gently used his thumb to free the soft, abused flesh, "Everyone's going to be okay and Alex won't ever be able to hurt you again," when Harry met his eyes again, there was something shining behind his expression, something breathtaking and beautiful. It took Draco a moment to realize what it was.
Freedom. Relief. Affection.
Swallowing the sudden thickness in his throat, Draco ducked his head and fiddled with the blanket that had been laid over his lap sometime while he slept, "Um, so, do you have any idea what you're going to do now?" the question stung, his heart pounding in sudden anxiety. He supposed he could help Harry find another flat because surely the other man wouldn't want to go back to the one he'd shared with Alex. He wished he could just ask Harry to stay with him but it was unrealistic. The other man had to get back to his own life sometime and despite the hope that had bloomed in his heart, he didn't have the courage to be denied.
"When Pansy wakes up, we'll go back home and maybe Kimbly and Fern will make us chocolate stuffed pancakes," Harry was grinning when Draco looked up at him in surprise, "I've always wanted to try those," We, he'd said. Home. There was only one place the other man could be talking about and that was the Manor. Draco's Manor. Not 'you're house' or 'the Manor'.
Joy flooded over him like a storm and the great silver dragon that resided in his chest curled contently around his heart, "Yeah," he whispered and laughed when Harry leaned forward to press a kiss to his cheek, clasping their hands together in his lap, "Yeah, home,"
When Draco met Harry at the robe shop in Diagon Alley, he thought he was the most beautiful boy he had ever seen. Ten years later, nothing had changed. Only now, Harry wasn't going anywhere.
Draco's beautiful green-eyed boy was there to stay.
Again, thanks for reading! There were a few questions left unanswered, including what happened to Hermione. This is only the first half. I plan on starting the second half soon! XOXO