A/N: This will be a fic I'm writing alongside Refractions so I may not update it as often as that... As always, this is betaed by Sofia, many thanks!
DISCLAIMER: No, I don't own Harry Potter, even though I've been really good this year. All the characters, places and universe belong to her except some minor OCs like Alexis Ross, a Junior Healer.
WARNINGS: This fic will contain some dark themes, you have been warned.
"Healer Malfoy?" a timid voice called from the door.
Draco lowered his book slowly, fixing his gaze on the trainee. She was small in stature, hands tucked deep into her pockets. Alexis Ross– muggleborn– had joined them two weeks ago, shadowing the Mind Healers as they worked on their patients. Her zealousness distinctly reminded him of Granger, ridiculously attentive and enthusiastic about her work despite the lack of patients at this time of year.
She stood just outside, fiddling with the buttons of her robe while she waited, watching him warily and biting her lip. He sighed and as set his cup of tea down with a slight thud, she jumped. He smirked in accomplishment to himself. "Come in," he said to her, resisting the urge to grin at her reluctance to step into his office.
He had been working as at St. Mungo's for about three years, trying to clear his name. His parents were dead– he had moved and finished his education in France before he returned to England, assisting the Potions Master at Hogwarts. (Severus' replacement was sub-par, Draco thought, botching several batches of the Draught of Living Death on the first day.) After several letters, bottles of wine and begging, Professor McGonagall had finally relented and secured him an interview, allowing him to move into St. Mungo's immediately after.
The Dark Mark lay hidden under his sleeves, carefully shielded from prying eyes as he worked then. It had taken months until the staff finally accepted him, but the trainees were still deathly afraid of him. He grinned deviously at Alexis, who dropped into the chair facing his desk, and prompted her to speak.
"I'm– I'm so sorry to bother you, sir, but Healer Bell would like to see you," she hurried over her words. Draco raised an eyebrow. Katie, Head of Department or not, hardly came to work on Mondays, preferring to stay home with her 'cats' that mysteriously left love bites on her neck when she checked on him every Tuesday. He rose to his feet quickly, picking up his robe from the back of his chair and pulling it on, moving towards the door.
Alexis scrambled to catch up with him and they walked together down the corridor. Draco buttoned up his robe quickly, smoothing the green fabric down. Their footsteps echoed in the darkness; It was about ten-thirty now, most of the staff had already retired and the patients would be asleep for the night. He frowned as they turned left into the Blue Corridor, pace quickening to match hers as she sped up, glancing at him to make sure he was following her. Draco hardly worked in the wards– the patients would normally come into his office, escorted by a Junior Healer...
Sounds of urgent yelling broke the silence of the hospital and Draco caught sight of Katie pulling on a pair of gloves as she disappeared into a room on the corridor. Mackenzie and White were there as well, their voices carrying loudly through the doorway. He broke into a light run, pushing aside some chattering nurses as he pushed into the room. He froze at the sight and his jaw dropped, not quite believing his eyes.
Katie was bent over, hard at work trying to seal a head wound– the normal jet-black birds' nest had been shaven off, the skin slowly knitting together under her wand. His horribly oversized clothes were ripped in odd places and he looked thinner than ever, lying on the narrow hospital bed. If it weren't for the dull lightning-shaped scar on his forehead, Draco couldn't even be sure he was looking at Harry Potter. His breathing was laboured, thrashing slightly despite the nurses holding him down.
"Draco," Katie called, not looking up. "I need you to start on his internal injuries. Ribs, left tibia, bleeding in the torso." He moved forward and nodded, quickly slicing through the clothes and began chanting softly, watching the glow sink into his skin. He grimaced at the sight– Potter was pale and covered in small cuts, bruises blossoming clearly on his skin.
Katie tried to soothe him softly but Harry inhaled sharply in pain as she lifted his head slowly to reach the damage behind him. He was silent, squeezing his eyes shut and struggling against his restraints. When he managed to break Mackenzie's grip on his hand, Draco raised his wand and stunned him. The room fell deathly silent again and they gaped at him, pausing their work. Draco glared back at them all.
"We can work faster if he's not trying to escape, Boy-Who-Lived or not," he drawled, casting a charm to help Potter breathe. When the whispers started up, Draco looked back to his work, trying to set the ribs so he could repair them properly. The glow turned from a dark green to a soft shade of gold as the bruises dissolved into the unusually white skin, leaving it unmarked. Draco pressed his lips into a hard line and searched for other injuries inside.
He rolled up his jeans carefully to get better access to the broken tibia, flinching slightly at the exposed bone pierced through the skin. Draco breathed deeply, ignoring the heavy metallic smell of blood in the air and cast a relatively simple charm to realign the bone. He winced as it disappeared into the skin, manoeuvring into place and leaving a gaping hole in Potter's flesh. The red, congealing liquid trickled out and Draco sighed deeply. There was a reason he was a mind Healer, for Merlin's sake.
Ensuring the bone was knitting together, he sealed the skin around it easily, casting a tergeo to clean off the scabs forming around the wound. He stood back, tucking his wand into his pocket and nodding to Katie, who had inserted a needle into Potter's veins– a calming draught, Draco knew, from the smell of chamomile slowly flooding the room and covering the stench of injury in the air.
Potter's breathing slowed and regulated, Katie gingerly pulling her stained gloves off and casting them carelessly into a nearby bin. She gave one last look at their patient and beckoned for him to follow her. Draco slipped his hands into his pockets and stepped out after her. Potter's heartbeat was steady for now, he could survive a couple of minutes without them.
They stood just outside, in the corridor. Draco leaned back against the wall, watching Katie pace up and down. She paused mid-stride and turned sharply to him, tossing him a case file. "You take him," she said without preamble. She pointed to a scribbled passage stuffed into the file, running her finger down it before plucking it out, placing it on the top of the stack.
"Someone caught him in Kensington," she told him. "Cushioning charm– she claimed he was falling from the sky." She folded her arms and rested her head back beside him, looking at him exasperatedly. Katie pulled her wand out and tapped it to the cover of the file, printing his name on it despite Draco's weak noise of protest.
"Katie, we're mind healers," he whined to her. "This isn't–"
"Draco, Healer Rodriguez assigned it to our department." Her voice was sharp.
His eyebrows disappeared into his hair, looking down at the file in hand again. "We're short on staff, alright?" Katie exhaled slowly. She gestured to Potter's case file vaguely and rested her head in her hand, rubbing her temple slowly. "I'm sorry, Draco, but everyone else has active cases."
Draco nodded reluctantly and re-entered the ward. The nurses looked up warily and scattered as he walked toward the bed, picking up Potter's wrist and checking the pulse.
Now they would wait.
He took a deep breath, a sip of coffee and stepped into Potter's room.
Draco greeted him, setting his cup down on the table next to the bed. "How are we today, Potter?" They knew each other, it was hardly appropriate to bother with the formalities. He drew up a chair and sat, resting his elbows on his knees. Potter didn't respond, sitting with his hands folded neatly in his lap and watching Draco with bright eyes.
"Potter, seriously," he tried again. "How are you?"
He shrugged and remained silent, staring condescendingly at Draco with a raised eyebrow. Irritation began to rise and he maintained a smile, leaning back into the chair and crossing his arms. Potter grabbed some paper off the side table and ignored him, starting to write. Draco pulled his file into his arms and flipped through it, scribbling a quick 'unresponsive' in it. He shut it with a flourish.
"What game are we playing?" he asked.
Potter shot him a withering look. He raised his hand slowly to his throat, pointing and rolling his eyes at Draco as he did so. He folded the paper in his lap into a plane and threw it at Draco, pulling his blankets up and turning away. Draco rolled his eyes and breathed slowly, trying to concentrate. He refused to get mad at Potter in his first session. Breathe.
He unfolded the plane, peering at Potter's atrocious handwriting on the page. His head snapped up and he saw the green eyes watching him, unreadable. Potter snatched the paper from him and continued writing on it. Draco read carefully, disbelievingly.
Tried all morning.
He buried his face in his hands for a minute. "You've got to be fucking kidding me," he grumbled. Potter's shoulders shook a little at that and Draco glowered, picking up the file. It didn't matter if he was mute, he was still bloody well annoying. Potter grinned at him, but somehow the light– didn't quite reach his eyes? Draco handed him the coffee cup and more paper.
"You'll need it," he said, smirking. "Healer Bell will want to know more about this... strong and silent thing of yours." Potter's face fell and he buried himself back into the pillows, shooting Draco accusing looks from the nest of blankets.
Draco saluted him and crossed the room to the door quickly, bent on finding Katie. Circe be damned, he didn't know how to deal with a mute patient. He jumped back in slight alarm as Healer Rodriguez pushed the door open, stalking confidently across to Potter's bed and gesturing for Draco to follow him.
He cleared his throat and Potter sat up attentively. "Healer Mackenzie tells me you can't speak, Mr. Potter?" he looked to him for confirmation. He nodded slowly, confused. Draco eyed the tall man carefully, wary of Rodriguez' famously unorthodox methods of Healing. He shuddered thinking of the shock therapy they had tried on one of their patients while treating them for manic-depression. It was so... muggle, so terribly crass a method.
He handed Draco a thick, heavy book. "Learn it," he instructed Potter clearly. Draco nodded instinctively, looking down at it– Sign Language– the title read. In ominously black lettering. He paled slightly, shooting a worried glance at Potter, who mirrored him. Potter began to mutter soundlessly to himself. Healer Rodriguez turned and left the room with a pop of apparition.
Draco gritted his teeth at that. He was one of the only Healers without permission to apparate within the hospital, if only for the safety of the patients. (Read: Draco was an ex-Death Eater that could not be trusted with everything.) Potter tapped the wood of the bedside table gently to get his attention, throwing another plane at him.
Cocky bastard, isn't he?
"You have no idea," Draco moaned.