Harry Potter sat at his desk, elbows on the table as he pushed the palms of his hands against his closed eyes. He was tired and stiff and knew it would be hours before he could crawl into bed. The soft thudding of a headache pulsed its way down his skull to his temple but he wasn’t quite sure what to blame it on.
The strain on his eyes from staring at his reports for the past six hours? Possibly.
Skipping lunch again after barely having breakfast because he was worried he wouldn’t be able to finish said reports on time? Also, a good wager.
Or maybe because he’d been working this case for eight weeks and hadn’t had any new information in the past three? Unquestionably, Harry thought rubbing his palms down his face to rest under his chin.
After a year of training, two years as a Auror Apprentice and four years as a fully qualified Auror he thought he’d be used to the infinite amount of paperwork required of the cases he was assigned. He had excelled during Auror training and was quickly labeled as a skilled Tracker. While he had originally bathed in the admiration he received from being assigned to one of the most daring departments, he quickly learned Trackers do an astonishing amount of research and prep which normally led to tracking perps on foot for days on end or raids. Tracking was more exciting but raids were some of the few times Harry also got to work with Ron on the job. They had both gone through Auror training together but Ron had been assigned to the Tactical Unit, something which hadn’t surprised Harry at all. He mostly dealt in raid preparation and the strategic transport of dangerous persons or animals, working closely with the Magical Law Department and Muggle Relations. Between the two of them Ron saw the most ‘action’ but Harry had the more dangerous cases, which was fine by them as they had just both been happy not to have been assigned to the Security or Liaison Units.
Harry slid his hands down to the sides of his neck, kneading out the kink forming there. He pulled out his pocket watch, frowning at the time. It was half past three and he had been sitting at his desk since seven that morning.
“No wonder my everything hurts,” he mumbled under his breath. He slammed his palms back down on his unfurled parchment and gave an undignified groan. Across the office his apprentice, Dimitri, jumped. The dark young man easily startled, but Harry attributed that to working with The Boy Who Lived. Demetri was the first apprentice Harry had been assigned and knew the kid would relax around him given enough time. Harry had been impressed with the kid’s ability to find correlations even from the most convoluted scenarios. He had excelled in almost all areas of Auror training, the only disconcerting score being in improvisation, which would come with experience. The Auror Apprentice had been given to Harry shortly before this new case and has had a stick up his arse since, so far as Harry could tell.
“Sir?” Dimitri questioned him nervously.
“Ignore me, I’m just stiff,” Harry said gruffly, throwing Dimitri an apologetic grin. Harry looked around his office in boredom. There was a small couch pushed up the wall in the center of the room which, Harry knew from experience, was terrible for naps. It was currently covered in heaps of scrolls, all with tiny bits of multi colored paper marking various notes he’d eventually have to reference. The bracket by the door held the two Auror robes, dark gray for Harry and the light silver of an Auror Apprentice. The office looked the same as it did every day and he’d know, he’d been trapped in it for weeks. Harry begrudgingly brought his attention back to his notes and within minutes he could feel his focus going fuzzy. He barely noticed when a memo gracefully zoomed in and crash landed in his untidy hair:
Ministry of Magic
Date/Time: March 1st, 3:35pm
To: Auror Potter, MLE
CC: Head Auror Shacklebolt, MLE
From: Penelope Weasley, MLE-MNMU
Re: Possible Wizard Involvement – Muggle Family Missing
Shortly before 2:00pm today Muggle News Channel 4 broadcasted a story regarding the disappearance of a muggle family. Their house alarm was not triggered and there is no trace of forced entry. Please investigate the occurrence and notify our offices immediately once the house has been cleared of magical presence.
Magical Law Enforcement: Muggle News Monitoring Unit
There was an attached envelope containing the specs on the house and family but scrawled underneath the letter was a small p.s. Harry knew wasn’t on the CC sent to Shacklebolt:
I can’t wait to see you at Ron’s birthday party tomorrow!
Harry smiled at the note while ineffectively smoothing his mane down. Penelope and Percy had married less than a year ago and Harry had been surprised with how well he and Penelope got on. Whenever there was a big Weasley family party Harry and Penelope always had a couple spare moments to gossip about Percy, people in the Ministry, Percy, some strange non-magic related muggle event, and Percy; just to name a few. Harry figured she felt a little like an outsider amongst the sea of ginger and gravitated towards someone who might understand. Plus, it was satisfying in a strange way to have dirt on Percy not even Ron knew.
Harry smiled at the small mercy she’s granted him. Yesterday they had crossed paths in the courtroom hallways and Harry had mentioned how cooped up he’d been feeling lately. Suddenly the smile slid from his face as he began calculating the length of time he needed to finish his report and clear this muggle house of magical connection. He knew she’s meant well but, even though Ron’s birthday party was tomorrow at the Burrow, most everyone was getting together tonight for drinks at the local pub. He’d be late now and was annoyed as he had been looking forward to seeing his friends, especially Ginny. He had recently read an article regarding the Appleby Arrows most talented Chaser being removed from the team and had wanted to know if there was a secret story that hadn’t been release to The Prophet.
After the Battle of Hogwarts Harry and Ginny had given their relationship another shot. It had been wonderful for the first six months but then turned stale. They had toughened it out for almost another year before Ginny instigated the breakup. Harry was certain their own ambitions had ruined the relationship: Ginny was away training with the Hollyhead Harpies for days on end and Harry was likewise completely immersed with his Auror training. The day Ginny returned from a two-week training seminar with the Harpies, he realized something was amiss. They had had amazing welcome-home sex at his flat then Ginny almost immediately left to meet Luna for drinks. Harry had felt somewhat relieved to get back to his casework even as a nagging little voice inside him whispered something was wrong. A few hours later Ginny came back and there had been a long, awkward talk about their relationship. It had been a mutual breakup even if Harry had felt a little blindsided at the time. They had stayed up all night talking and when she left in the early hours of the morning there was a feeling of peace between them. Since their break up they had been closer than ever. In some ways, he was closer to Ginny then Hermione as they just had more in common.
That was over five years ago and Harry hadn’t actively pursued any kind of relationship since. Oh sure, he had been out on plenty of dates with different women and men, even those who fell somewhere between, but nothing serious. The wizarding world was indifferent to people’s sexual preference, something Harry had been shocked to discover. He had always felt attraction to both men and women, and now that he was older he realized he didn’t really care what people identified as, so long as there was chemistry. All the same, it seemed impossible to find someone who wasn’t all caught up on dating The Boy Who Lived.
“Auror Potter, sir, are we heading out?”
Harry looked up to see Dimitri placing a pile of scrolls on his desk and glancing down at the memo in Harry’s hand. There was a hint of disappointment in Dimitri’s tone and Harry knew he wasn’t the only one who had hoped to duck out early.
“Don’t call me ‘Auror Potter’, just Potter or Harry is fine. And yes, grab your gear, we’ll leave in ten minutes,” Harry reassured, standing up and giving his shoulders a roll.
“Actually, just grab all your stuff. You can skive off when we’re done, no need to even come back to the Ministry.”
A grin spread across Dimitris face, “Yes, Auror Potter!”
Harry rolled his eyes as the kid bounded across the office to collect his items, not bothering to correct him again. He resigned himself to a miserable night, realizing he’d be late to the pub and then he’d have to come back after to finish up his paperwork.
If it wasn’t for this stupid rumored “Organization” his work load would be more reasonable and more enjoyable. Being cooped up all day reevaluating hundreds of open cases and tracking leads, all from his desk, was growing weary. Soon Harry would either have to officially announce the rumors as a hoax or officially request further manpower and funds for a full investigation. Until then he was stuck in Auror purgatory, and there was something about the research he collected he just couldn’t write off. Working a case with little viable evidence, zero leads and a bleak prospect was draining, but Harry felt there was something there, just out of his reach.
About three months ago Harry had tracked a deranged wizard accused of no less than three attempts of kidnapping. Harry had been happy to work the case and even happier he’d been the one to catch the scumbag. After his capture things had taken a weird turn. The wizard switched between languages, accents and personalities at the drop of a hat and no one in the MLE had been able to get anything useful out of him. They had even called in an Unspeakable from the Department of Mysteries but with no luck.
Hell, no one could even tell where he was from. The perp had been sent to St. Mungo’s with heavy security for further testing. As far as any of the healers knew he had spell damage to his brain worse than most had ever seen and all the reports that had been sent back to the MLE spoke of his mumbling about some sort of secret society.
A few days later the Ministry of Magic had been sent a confidential notice from MACUSA regarding whispers of an Organization forming in the underbelly of some if the State’s major cities. Before the week was out a hoard of stolen illegal goods was discovered with some documents pertaining to several wanted wizards in the U.S and U.K. Unicorn hearts, manticore venom, centaur parts and an array of deadly plants and herbs were found stashed in an abandoned warehouse, all of them associated with dark magics. It was a scandal that had to be swiftly hushed as the warehouse was on an offsite Ministry location but hadn’t been designated for use in decades. Shacklebolt had set Harry up as the lead investigator, thinking it would be a quick open and shut case of useless rumors.
“Ready to go, sir,” Dimitri quipped from outside the office door. He had put on his Apprentice robe and had his backpack on one shoulder with a look of excitement on his face.
Harry stood, donned his Auror robe, pushed his wild hair back and secured it in a tail. He patted his pockets for his watch, wand and badge then headed towards the door.
‘Either way, it’s nice to get out of the office’, Harry thought to himself, following his apprentice down the hall.
Harry glanced down to check his notes and looked back up at the house. They were roughly two hours away from Little Surrey but this street was eerily similar to Private Drive. Harry didn’t like it one bit. Dimitri stood on the immaculate lawn and was already setting to work casting Muggle Repelling charms. Harry began his notes on the perimeter of the building. No sign of forced entry. No disturbance to any of the shrubs under the windows or doors. No nothing. This looked like any other cookie-cutter home you could find in the suburbs.
Taking out his wand Harry moved to the front door and unlocked it. Instantly he felt the tingle of magic residue waft over him.
“Dimitri!” Harry whispered back out the door, “Come here, we have something.”
Harry heard a small groan and grinned. He had also hoped this would be a quick stop. Why did he ever get his hopes up?
“Humenum Revelio,” Harry whispered. Nothing.
Dimitri appeared at his side, “Anyone home?”
“Nope,” Harry said in a normal tone, “Did you feel the residue?”
“Yes sir, I honestly have never felt it so strongly before.” Dimitri mused, peering at a picture of a family portrait.
"It’s easier to feel when is fresh and untainted. You start stacking spell after spell on top one another and things get muddled and weak. This house has only recently known magic,” Harry said as he glanced at the photo and felt a twist in his gut as five people smiled, unmoving, back at him. A dark-haired woman sat holding a bald, smiling infant as a man stood behind her. Two young girls stood on either side of them, the oldest looking no more than twelve and the younger about eight. It wrenched Harry’s heart to think this seemingly happy family meeting some terrible fate. Harry took a step towards the parlor, glancing around the green and beige hued room. The sensation of residual magic was stronger here. There was a TV on a stand pushed next to the empty fireplace whose mantle was riddled with framed photos of the two girls through the years and the new baby. A large, squashy couch sat under the window and Harry could just make out coloring books and crayons under the coffee table. There was an overflowing bin of brightly colored baby toys next to the door leading to the dining room. Everything looked calm, as if the family would be back any moment and question the presence of two strange men in their house.
“Specialis Revelio!” Harry said, hoping for another dull outcome.
Abruptly there was roaring of wind like a hurricane rampaging through the house. Harry rolled out of the hallway and into the parlor, sprawled himself on the ground, pointed his wand at Dimitri and shouted, “Protego!”
A silvery shield appeared around the young man, who turned to face Harry with his hands clasped over his ears, crouching to his knees and pressed his body to the entry wall. A deafening wind continued to rumble around them, ripping photos and trinkets from the wall and sending the deadly projectiles hurtling around the rooms. Furniture was lifted up only to come smashing down hard. Curling a protective arm over his head, Harry looked up and had a clear view of Dimitri in the entrance hall. He saw his spell glinting around his apprentice, shudder and fade. He raised his wand to cast again when suddenly the wind stopped. Debris that had been lashing about fell unnaturally fast to the ground. An eerie stillness permeated every corner of the dim house. All the furniture was pushed up against the walls and blocked the sunlight. Harry stood to a crouch, wand out.
Something was wrong.
“Lumos!” Harry whispered.
Nothing happened. Confused, Harry looked from his wand to Dimitri. The young man’s face was a mask of horror as he stared at the ceiling in the parlor above Harry. Harry looked above him and felt his stomach lurch.
The ceiling was covered, wall to wall, in ruins. Ruins that had not been there a minute ago and seemed to be written with fresh, dripping blood.
“Dimitri get out!” Harry yelled. The horrified man looked Petrified where he stooped.
“Depulso!” Harry said, pointing his wand at Dimitri in an angle he hoped would send him out the front door.
Still nothing happened.
Something was very wrong.
Harry couldn’t feel his magic. He looked back to the ruins, mentally berating himself for not taking the class at Hogwarts. Harry scrambled to his feet and lunged for the entrance hall. He hit an invisible barrier that sent him careening back to the center of the room. His head hit the hearth of the fireplace hard and he saw lights dance before his eyes. As he tried to focus the room around him, he heard several loud cracks that were horribly familiar.
Sitting up he looked back at Dimitri. The man had his wand out and a determined look on his face. He had turned slightly, glaring at something to Harry’s left.
“Rel-“ Dimitri began.
Harry looked to his target and saw five masked figures standing in a semi-circle around him. Two raised their wand in unison and shouted, “DEPRIMO!”
In horror, Harry watch Dimitri’s body crunch into the wall. There were several loud snapping noises as his body imbedded further and further into the stucco. Dimitri screamed as he broke through to the wall and was sent careening into the next room. There was a loud thump and his screaming stopped.
In a fury Harry turned towards the attackers, raising his wand. Before he could even open his mouth, he felt a searing hot pain shoot up through his body and the world around him went dark.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
As before, thank you to my two beta readers.
HunnyBunny81 (ff.net) and Mad as a Balloon (ff.net)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Level Five – Visitor Tearoom and Giftshop.”
Draco ignored the voice as he stepped from the lift and into the overly bright hallway, adjusting the shoulder strap of his leather case. His steps echoed gloomily off the walls as he passed the gift shop entrance and turned down the hallway leading to the Healers’ offices. Disregarding the stony faces of the medi-wizards and witches that brushed roughly past him, Draco stopped outside an office door marked with a large ornate plaque displaying: Head Healer – Milo Tillerman. Draco smoothed down the front of his robes and relaxed his face into one of indifference before rapping smartly on the door.
“Come in,” a voice called from inside.
Draco opened the door and stepped into the office. The Head Healer sat with his head bent over a thick stack of charts. He was a slender man of middle years with salt and pepper hair slicked back. The office was elegant, the hospital sparing no expense on the rich mahogany furniture. Various awards and plaques were displayed on the walls. The healer, dressed in deep magenta, looked up at Draco and frowned.
With an internal smirk Draco politely said, “May I have a seat?”
Milo twisted in his chair without answering, grabbing a small stack of files off a shelf behind him and briskly tossed them across his desk towards Draco.
“This is all for now,” Tillerman said sharply, looking pointedly at the door.
Tillerman turned away from Draco again, suddenly very interested in a stack of charts behind his desk. Draco held back a sigh, grabbed the files, and exited the office. When the door closed behind him, he stole one more look at the gaudy plaque and rolled his eyes. Tillerman was a wanker and Draco didn’t know why he bothered with niceties. Plus, the man had horribly dry skin that aged him around the eyes.
Draco began shuffling through the files as he walked down the corridor and didn’t realize his mistake until he felt the hex hit his shins as he passed the employee lounge. He flung his arms out to break his fall but still landed painfully on his knees. His files skidded across the floor, loose parchments fluttering into the air and his case landed hard and burst open. Draco hoisted himself up, whipping his wand out and turned to the sounds of laugher drifting from the open door.
“Accio.” Draco seethed through clenched teeth. The papers flew at him in a jumbled pile. He stuffed the mess into his bag, snapped it closed and stalked down the hall, keeping his wand ready at his side.
A few minutes later he had locked himself in an empty patient room and thoroughly warded the door. Reorganizing the files was taking a painful amount of time but he considered it an appropriate punishment for being so lax in his awareness. It had been two years since he’d stepped foot near the employee lounge even though as a contractor for St. Mungo’s he had every right to use the facilities. The multiple tripping hexes, someone turning his tea to toad spawn and the constant threats muttered to him hadn’t been enough to deter him for the first few months. Then someone took it upon themselves to set fire to his stack of patient files while they were on his lap. Head Healer Tillerman had threatened him with termination of his contract and legal repercussions for the loss of the files if it happened again.
There were only two patients he’d interview with today, which both excited Draco and dismayed him. He wanted to leave as soon as possible after that embarrassing fiasco but he also wanted to be able to bill the hospital for more hours. It was a terrible line to walk.
Draco made his way to the fourth floor for Spell Damage. His first patient: Nanni Bryndis, 42, Yorkshire – 3rd Degree Burns (unresponsive to healing). Finding the correct room, Draco entered and cast a Medical Shielding Charm on himself. The risk of infection was always high for burn patients, plus the shield helped if there were any strong odors. There were no other medi-wizards in the room, for which Draco was relieved. Nanni was lying quietly in bed, her injured arm suspended above her with a containment charms shimming from her fingers to just below her shoulder. Nanni opened her eyes and looked at Draco with trepidation. She was a plump, dark skinned woman who looked young for her age.
“Ms. Bryndis, I am a specialist with St. Mungo’s. I’d like to take a look at your arm,” Draco said, placing his bag on an empty chair and removing his wand from his pocket.
She was instantly on edge “Um, okay. Every time they take off the containment charm it starts flaming again.”
Draco nodded and performed a quick revealing charm on her. There was a nerve deadening spell cast on her shoulder that would prevent her from feeling whatever was happening to her. Draco rolled up his sleeves and removed the containment charm. It took all the willpower he possessed to remain calm. Her arm was sizzling like bacon in a pan, crisscrossing embers flowed up and down her skin. Without hesitation, he placed the containment charm back on her, silently scolding himself as his heart quicken. Feeling his breakfast fighting its way back up he nodded at Nanni and thanked her. He watched her face pale as he collected his files and turned to leave.
“Is that all you need?” She asked in a shaky voice.
Draco nodded and exited the room. There was a private restroom down the hall and he beelined to it as nonchalantly as possible. He stepped inside, locked the door then threw his paperwork on the floor. Rushing to the sink, he turned on the tap and splashed water on his face.
“That dumb cow,” Draco hissed, rubbing his eyes.
She had been dabbling with Fiend Fyre. No doubt. She obviously hadn’t been able to cast it correctly otherwise she’d be dead.
“Idiot!” Draco smacked the corner of the counter as he calmed his breathing. Crabbe was an idiot. He deserved what happened to him. So did this woman. She had to live with the consequences of her actions. Just like Draco had to.
Draco sat down in the corner of the loo, grabbed Nanni’s file and wrote his recommendations. He noted the use of a Dark Curse, listed Fiend Fyre underneath and underlined his prognosis: death without amputation. After that she would be brought before the Wizengamot.
Draco stared at the wall for a few more minutes. After the Battle of Hogwarts, he and his mother had been cleared of all charges. Draco had wandered listlessly for a few months, unsure of what to do with himself. His mother had forced him to take his N.E.W.T.’s of which he had unsurprisingly excelled in. He had applied to the Department of Mysteries, a career that had appealed to him since early childhood. Even through all the terror of the Dark Lords rise, Draco had harbored a desire to be an Unspeakable. As a teenager, it didn’t matter to him if it was for a mass murdering psychopath or the Ministry of Magic.
But Draco was denied the position.
He applied to the Auror training program, knowing they often worked through the ranks and could end up in the Department of Mysteries.
Draco was denied again.
He was denied to every job he applied to, often within minutes of sending his application. In a daze, he had applied to an internship at St. Mungo’s and was accepted. He had only learned later it was because at some point the Dark Lord’s followers had started killing medi-wizards and witches, so they were desperate. Draco had lasted four months before quitting. The constant harassment was unbearable.
There were another few months where he was lost in the world then an idea had come to him late one night when he was reading an article about some unknown dark ailment affecting a couple who’d been attacked by an ex-Death Eater. There was a taboo on Dark Magic currently but still quite a few dark wizards were loose causing mayhem in the community. St. Mungo’s medics had a very poor understanding of the intricacies of dark magics and most Auror’s had just the basics. The next day he offered his services to St. Mungo’s and the MLE as a freelance Dark Magic Diagnostic Expert. Within a week both organizations had contacted him regarding cases that had them stumped. Sure, they shafted him on pay, but it was better than nothing.
Draco rose with a grunt and checked the second, and last, patient of the day. There was a moment of confusion as he saw the diagnosis: Eliza Thorn, 9, Brighton – Werewolf Scratch. Underneath was a handwritten note from Tillerman:
-They asked for you specifically-
Draco sighed, relaxed his face and exited the loo. This should be interesting, he thought sarcastically.
Several hours later Draco finally slipped out of the Thorns private room. Nigel, Eliza’s father, had pounced on Draco the moment he walked in, Draco not even having a moment to greet the small, terrified little girl lying in the bed. There was a mad spewing of some sort of backstory on how his daughter deserves to be saved, she’s precious, never hurt a fly, blah blah blah. He continued and on as a shocked Draco stared in confusion. Draco finally interrupted him and asked why they wanted to speak with him. Marianne, Eliza’s mother, jumped and bluntly asked what dark magic he knew that could cure their daughter.
Draco had felt his mouth drop open at that point. He offered them a list of Potion Master’s that could help with her monthly potion. Nigel began screaming at this point, demanding to know the names of any secret “connections” Draco had who could could fix this. Draco repeated that there was no cure to Werewolf-ism that they needed to accept this and start preparing for her transformations. At one point Draco was certain Nigel was going to resort to wands or maybe fists. Draco slipped out when Eliza started bawling. There was nothing he could do for the family and fighting with the little girl’s parents would do her no good. Draco notated that family be assigned a therapist and made his way to Tillerman’s office.
Outside the door Draco pulled out his work notebook and marked his hours. As he slipped the little book back into his breast pocket the office door banged open, smacking Draco in the face and sending him careening back. He recovered himself just in time to see the back of a red-haired man in slate grey robes disappear down the hall corner. Draco straightened his clothes and strode into the room.
Tillerman looked pissed and was glaring at a file on his desk. Draco cleared his throat and set the two files down.
“Look, Wea-” Tillerman started then looked up to see Draco. He scowled at the blond, “About damn time. I need you to see to a patient immediately. Here.”
Tillerman stood and shoved the file he had been glaring at into Draco’s hands. The suddenness of the action caused Draco to take a step back and Tillerman slammed the door in his face. Draco stood in the hallway, feeling a bit dazed.
What the bloody hell is wrong with people today?! Draco thought angrily as he stormed down the hall. He avoided the employee lounge and returned to the empty patient room he’d started his day in. As he sat on the squashy bed he opened the file and gaped. It was the most heavily redacted file he’d ever seen. One in five words were visible and made absolutely no sense. There was a written note from Tillerman:
-Return this file immediately once you’re done. The patient is in the MLE private room #6.-
Draco pinched the bridge of his nose as he took out his notepad. He crossed out this completion time and returned the notebook to his pocket. He picked up the file and headed down the hall.
Draco had been standing outside door numbered with a blocky six and staring at the name written on the board besides it for almost four minutes. It blocky text it clearly stated: POTTER, H.
“What the fuck…” Draco whispered. He looked back to the file in his hands. Sure enough, every printing of the patient’s name was redacted. Draco smoothed his hair back, pulled his shirt smooth and set his face in an air of haughty politeness. He knocked once and entered the room.
Harry Potter was sitting propped up on some pillows in bed, wearing a pair of muggle pants (jeans, Draco had recently learned), a black shirt and some sort of weird sweater with a pouch in the front. The Chosen One had grown out his hair since the last time Draco has seen him and had it pulled back to the nape of his neck. The same hideous glasses framed his emerald eyes, which were glued to Draco.
Draco took a step closer when suddenly a shocking amount of red hair appeared in his line of sight. Ron Weasley seemed to Apparate in front of him, literally blocking his path and sneering in his face.
“We won’t need your services, Malfoy,” Ron growled, making Malfoy sound like a swear word.
Draco opened his mouth to answer when the door opened behind him. He was shoved closer to Potters bedside by a dark haired, willowy medi-wizard, who Draco recognized as Danny Sheehan. The man was two or three years Draco’s senior and from what Draco could remember was in Ravenclaw, not that such nonsense made much difference now. Draco cast an appraising eye on the man’s broad shoulders and trim waist when the medi-wizard brushed past him..
Sheehan glanced at Draco blankly then turned to Weasley, “Is there a problem, Auror Weasley?”
Weasley puffed himself up impressively, “Yes, there bloody well is. We do not require Malfoy’s assistance. I don’t want him anywhere near Harry.”
Draco looked down at Potter and was surprised to find him staring back up at him. His attention was drawn back towards Sheehan at the sound of the curtain being drawn, blocking his view of Weasley and the medi-wizard. Draco attempted nonchalance, studying the flowers and well-wish cards on the bedside table. It was quite an array of exotic and unique plants, though most of the cards seemed to be from the Weasleys.
From the other side of the curtain Sheehan’s voice was clearly audible, “Sir, I can assure you that he wouldn’t be here unless the Head Healer requested it.”
“I don’t care!” Weasley shouted, “There must be someone else who can figure this out.”
“Unfortunately, sir, that cesspool of an inbreeder is one of the best dark magics diagnosticians we have,” Sheehans voice didn’t waver.
Draco flinched and looked down to Potter at his sharp inhalation. Potter stared at him, an array of emotions swimming through those green eyes. Suddenly anger flared in them as the curtain slid back open. Weasley stood dumbfounded, his face pale and the array of freckles standing out clearly. Sheehan looked unabashed as he turned to Potter, “Auror Potter, I’ve brought your dressing gown. Is there anything else you’ll be needing?”
“No, thank you,” Potter answered curtly.
“Excellent, I’ll be back momentarily. Please give us a ring if you need anyone…” Sheehans voice trailed off as he locked eyes with Draco. The unspoken word removed was blatant in his stare. Sheehan left the room and the air was thick with discomfort. Draco placed his case on the floor by the bed table and turned to Potter.
“Right, Potter, I’m going to need a little information because this,” Draco held up the redacted paperwork, flipping through the pages so Potter could see the heavy censoring, “gave me absolutely nothing to work with. I’ll just start with the basics, shall I?”
Weasley stepped forward again, “Most everything is classified to you.”
There was a snort of laughter from Potter. Draco was momentarily taken aback by the sudden outburst but Potter waved a hand at Weasley, “What does it matter if my situation is classified. Not like there’s much to tell.”
Potter looked up to Draco, a small smile tugging the corners of his mouth, “No one, including me, has any idea what’s going on with me or why I can’t remember the last eight days. I was working a case, then poof, woke up eight days later in Muggle London with a headache. They found and admitted me two days ago.”
Draco was stunned. The Savior of the Wizarding World was missing for eight days and the idiots at the Ministry of Magic managed to keep it from The Prophet for the entire time. He hadn’t heard a single rumor, and Draco read The Prophet daily and thoroughly. Draco stole a glance to Weasley, who looked put off.
“Besides headache, there are no other symptoms?” Draco asked quietly. He had a brief thought that this might be a waste of time. Maybe the Golden Boy simply went off on a bender and didn’t want his friends or boss to know, he knew Potter had an arrogant streak.
“Yah, that’s right. We admitted him to St. Mungo’s for a wee headache. Needed a rest and some water, so obviously Healers needed to be involved. Bloody idiot,” Weasley seethed.
“Ron, come on. I want out of here and they won’t release me for work until St. Mungo’s clears me.” Potter said calmly to the redhead.
“Which means placating this idiot,” Draco sneered back at Weasley.
Weasley’s face contorted and he opened his mouth but Potter cut him off, “Ron, can you grab me something to eat? And none of this hospital crap. I need real food. I’m starving.”
Potter grabbed his stomach and gazed beseechingly at his friend, all but pouting. Draco wanted to laugh at how ridiculous it was to see a grown man faux-pouting. Weasley hesitated, looking from Draco to Harry.
“Oh, come on,” Potter pleaded, “I’m going to pass out if I don’t get some real food soon.”
Weasley rolled his eyes, “Okay, fine.” He turned to Draco with fire in his eyes, “I’ll be right back. Don’t try anything.”
Draco maintained a stoic face as he watched Weasley leave. He turned back to Potter, “So what are your symptoms?”
Potter shrugged, “I have a headache, I’m exhausted all the time and the Healers have been having trouble running tests on me.”
Draco nodded, pulled out his wand and rolled back his sleeves. Potter stared at his bare and unmarked forearm with shock. Draco ignored the unspoken question, “I’m going to run some simple diagnostics. You should only feel a slight tingling.”
“Best of luck to you, mate. No one else has been able to get a single reading. According to Healer Platten they couldn’t even get a reading on my heartbeat, but obviously you can still feel it,” Potter lifted his upturned wrist to Draco.
Instinctively Draco placed two fingers on Potters wrist, which felt cool and smooth. Draco locked eyes with Potters emerald gaze and felt a tickle in the pit of his stomach. Potter lowered his arm and rested his head back, closing his eyes, “Have at it, Malfoy.”
Draco lifted an eyebrow and set to work.
An hour later found Draco in a foul temper. He had performed every spell, charm and incantation he could think off, but every test came back negative. Not just negative, completely blank. It was infuriating.
Weasley had returned fifteen minutes ago with a box of sandwiches, crisps and a giant batch of homemade cookies. Draco packed up his notes but Potter grabbed his wrist when he had turned to leave. Draco looked back the raven-haired man who was holding out a turkey and cheese sandwich.
“Just to get our energy back up,” Potter said with a smile. “I want this over as soon as possible, so just a quick break and we’ll keep going.”
Draco thanked him quietly and took a seat in the chair on the opposite side of the bed. Weasley begrudgingly threw him a bag of crisps and Draco caught it deftly.
“Seeker skills still sharp,” Weasley said gruffly before turning to Potter, “So, any news?”
Draco answered, “No, not yet. He was right, he’s not showing up on any kind of diagnostic spells. I even tried a few questionable ones and nothing.”
Weasley nodded and bit into his sandwich. They ate their sandwiches silently and started in on the batch of cookies. The chocolatey treats lightened the mood and Potter and Weasley talked easily of the Quidditch games Potter had missed, their friends and the Weasley clan. Draco sat quietly, thinking of Potter’s resilience to healing magic, when a thought popped into his head.
“Weasley!” Draco suddenly stood.
The freckled man reared from his chair just as abruptly, drawing his wand and taking a dueling stance. Draco tried not to laugh at the man, who had crumbles on his face, a mustard stain on his shirt and a mouth full of cookie.
“Ron! Sit back down. Seriously, you’re so paranoid! Malfoy hasn’t done anything,” Potter exclaimed.
Weasley made to put back his wand but Draco stopped him, “Potter is resilient to magic! Has anyone tried to attack or jinx him since you found him?”
Potter shook his head, “No, why?”
Draco was barely containing his excitement, “Weasley, cast something on him. Anything. Simple bat-bogey or hair loss hex. Something small.”
Weasley stared at him, “You’ve gone nutters.”
“If you don’t want to, then I can,” Draco said, taking his wand from inside his robes.
Weasley snorted, “As if I’d let you jinx him.” He turned to Potter, “What’ll it be, mate?”
Potter shrugged, “Hair loss is fine. If anything, it’ll be cooler.”
Weasley smiled and raised his wand, “ Folicitius !”
There was a muffled hissing as the jinx hit Potter. A dark silver shadow rose from Potter’s skin soaking in the purple light of the jinx before dispersing into wisps of lilac smoke.
“Bloody hell!” Weasley shouted.
Draco walked to stand by Weasley, waving his wand at a quill, which began to write furiously on the notepad he’d left on the bedside table. Draco focused on the scribbling quill, feeling he might be able to finally get somewhere.
“What just happened?” Potter asked, his voice small and shocked.
“We thought we couldn’t get a read on you with our diagnostics charms. But diagnosis is passive magic. What we just saw there is whatever is affecting you reacting to active magic. Oh, this is something entirely different,” Draco continued to write on his notepad, his voice shaking with excitement, “I think it’s your wild magic. Something is upsetting your magical core and from what I can tell your wild magic is trying to protect itself from further harm.”
Draco reached into his bag and pulled out a thick text on accidental magic, “It might be some sort of botched protection spell. Do you remember anything of what happened before you woke up in Muggle London? What was the last thing you do remember?”
Weasley shook his head, “It’s classified, Malfoy.”
Draco rolled his eyes as he began moving some of the vases of flowers to make a work space. He felt a searing pain in his hand as it made contact with bright yellow flowers and blood began pouring from the back of his hand.
“What th-” Draco studied the sunny little flowers, “Why do you have Damuvuju flowers?”
Draco turned to Potter, attempting to contain the increasing flow, “They literally mean ‘blood leaking’ and they’re not even that-”
Draco was cut short when he looked down at Potter. The man’s face was contorted into a mask of hideous fury and the shadowy silver essence began to pour from the green-eyed man. Draco took a step back as Potter lunged from the bed and grabbed Draco by the neck. The world slowed down to Draco. He was aware of Potter’s raging eyes inches from his own. He could hear Weasley screaming and felt a tugging on the back of his robes.
“ Ventus! ” Draco shouted. There was only the silver glow of Harry’s wild magic as Draco’s spell faded ineffectually.
He felt Potter pull him close, one hand painfully grabbing the hair on the back of his head and the other forcing his wand hand down. Draco felt teeth sink into his neck and screamed. There was an explosion, but Draco couldn’t tell if it was in the room or his head. He felt something he hadn’t felt in years. Since his childhood.
Coursing through his body as he felt Potter tearing his flesh. There was a moment he thought for sure he was bleeding to death and then the world went dark.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
soooooo...been a while.
There was a blinding light.
A sharp ache throughout his body.
And a sense of something missing…...
Draco felt nauseous as he opened his eyes, the bright light making his head pound as he sat up and took in his surroundings. He was in private room at St. Mungo’s and knew exactly which it was: Criminal Observation. It was obvious by the expansive, two-way mirror on the far wall where he could vaguely see his reflection. A large bandage covered the left side of his neck, just above his shoulder. His hair was a mess, sticking in every direction, and his eyes had dark circles underneath. He began smoothing it back with his uninjured arm, when his memory of the cause of his injury flooded him memories.
Potter attacked him.
Potter had attacked him with his teeth.
Draco’s mind reeled. Why was he in Criminal Observation? Had he hurt Potter that bad? It was self-defense! He remembered casting Ventis, but that should have only thrown Potter back. Draco pushed the palms of his hand into his eyes. It’s not possible. He didn’t hurt Potter. The spell hadn’t worked. Nothing had worked on Potter.
A flash of silver light echoed in his mind. He knew he’d felt his wild magic when Potter had attacked him. There was no denying it, but he’d never hurt anyone when he was a child. Children aren’t trained though. They don’t understand the power they have so their magic is never very potent and usually satisfy a very particular want. As an adult, Draco knew his limits, knew what kind of pure destructive power a grown wizard was capable of.
Draco slipped his hands into his hair, attempting to calm his breathing. It wasn’t possible that he’d seriously injured Potter. That’s just what he needed right now, to be brought before the Wizengamot, again, for something he had no control over. Draco schooled his face to stillness and smoothed out his breathing. Presence was half the battle in court and if they were observing him through the two way mirror he needed to start now. He smoothed his hair back and began picking at the bandages on his neck.
He was exhausted, uncomfortably tingly and the bite wound, which should have been a cinch to heal, itched fiercely. Draco rolled his eyes at the thought of staff half-assing his medical care and slid out from under the covers. The ground was cold but he placed his bare feet down anyways and stood, walking around the bed to the mirror. He was still in his trousers, but his shoes, socks and shirt were gone. He studied his own face, noticing the dark circles under his eyes and what seemed to be two day scruff. Scrutinizing his reflection further he purposely passed over the scars on his chest and looked down at his dark mark. The ugly black scarring was clearly defined against his pale forearm. Draco sighed, realizing they’d taken off his glamour enchantment. He’s gotten very good at placing them as he did it almost daily now, even when he was home alone.
Before the Dark Lord's demise, it was impossible to cover the branding with any enchantments or charms, Death Eaters were resigned to wearing long sleeves forever. Since his downfall the mark was like any other tattoo Draco had seen, though it didn’t move, and it was easily covered by a simple Glamour.
His wand was also gone, so there was really no hope of covering the branding since he had no shirt. Draco looked around but didn’t see a clock. He lifted his right hand to wandlessly and silently cast Tempus. Nothing happened. Draco frowned, motioning once more and saying aloud, “Tempus.”
Still nothing happened. Draco studied the room, noticing the slight magical shimmer in all the corners of the walls. He sighed again, knowing they had warded the room against magic. Draco sat back down on the edge of his bed, rubbing his slightly scratchy face in his hands and then began finger combing his hair. It was unusual to block magical casting when someone’s wand was already confiscated as most people could only cast passive magic like Tempus.
Just as he finished smoothing his hair into a somewhat presentable style he heard the door open. Kingsley Shacklebolt, his dark bald head gleaming in the lamplight, strode towards Draco.
“Mr. Malfoy, at approximately three forty-six on Monday, March eleventh, you assaulted Auror Potter with unknown dark magic. Before I formally charge you please tell me, in your own words, what happened,” Kingsley said calmly, pulling up a chair and calmly sitting down.
Draco felt the blood drain from his face and his insides go cold.
Harry Potter lay in his hospital bed with his eyes closed. His felt tingly from his scalp to his toes but the medi-wizards hadn’t been able to tell him why. Harry grimaced, opening his eyes to glare at the medi-wizard whose back was turned to him while prepping pain potions. It was Sheehan and the tall man was all smiles and kind words right now. Harry now knew the man was a jerk, so he kept answered his questions in grunts and feigned sleep whenever Sheehan tended to him. Sheehan turned to him, smiling when he saw Harry was awake.
“Auror Potter, please turn your head,” Sheehan requested sweetly, holding up a vial full of thick, green potion.
Harry turned his head to allow Sheehan access to the gash on the back of his scalp. It was the only injury he had incurred from the fiasco with Malfoy. His memory wasn’t very coherent when he thought back, but he specifically remembered the urge to rip out Malfoy's throat. The need to spill the blond man’s blood and watch the river pour from Draco’s neck. Harry shivered at the thought. He didn’t know what was happening to him but it wasn’t good.
The healers had removed Draco and placed in him in Observation. Kingsley had questioned Harry thoroughly and Harry had told the truth. He’s been fine one moment and something overtook him and he’d attacked Draco. The Head Healer, Tillerman, had been present and interrupted Harry, saying that obviously Malfoy had cursed Harry with something, but no one seemed to know what would cause such a reaction and unfortunately, their dark magic specialist would not be able to assist with this. Ron had been there to confirm Harry’s story that Malfoy hadn’t instigated the attack, but until Malfoy woke up they wouldn’t be able to do anything. That was two days ago and Harry was just notified Malfoy had awoken this morning. Kingsley was to interrogate him at some point this afternoon. Since Harry’s symptoms now included a much more troubling issue.
Harry couldn’t cast anything with or without his wand since the incident. Not even a simple Lumos. It was unnerving to think if this wasn’t fixed he’d be considered a squib, but Ron was there every step of the way to tell him it was only a matter of time until he was right as rain again. He had turned in vacation time to be with Harry and, though he knew he would do the same for his friend, Harry was extremely grateful. Sitting in a hospital room all day was so boring.
Sheehan finished rubbing the concoction on the back of his head and gently wrapped Harry bandage afresh. He placed a cold hand on Harry’s chest and sweetly said, “If there is anything else you need, Auror Potter, please don’t hesitate to call for me. For anything.”
Harry flinched internally as Sheehan walked of the room with a small wink back to him. After the door closed, Harry rolled his eyes and looked to Ron, who was just as uncomfortable as Harry was by the situation.
“He’s such a prat,” Ron said with a huff then stood from his seat and made his way to Harry’s bed.
Ron sat on the foot of Harry's bed and pulled out a traveling chess set from his bag. He used Harry’s meal tray to set up the chess game, kicked his shoes off and settled cross-legged back onto the footboard. This is how they had spent the majority of their time over the past couple days; playing chess for hours on end while Ron filled him in on what was happening in the Auror department, which his partner in the Tactical Unit kept him privy to.
“Have they any new leads?” Harry asked, studying the board as Ron moved first.
“Nah, Kingsley is having problems with finding someone to work the case. We’re all so overloaded,” Ron paused, sighed, then continued, “Lee’s team was abroad with the Secretary of the Department of International Magical Cooperation, Penka, you know the chap that had the crazy eyebrows? Well, they were in Moldova three days ago and were attacked by The Organization.”
Harry stiffened, “What happened?”
Ron looked his friend square in the eye, “Folly and Secretary Penka were killed. Folly was nineteen and just finished training. Bright kid. Met him last month during a co-op. Rodney Clearwater survived, but he’s in pretty bad shape. He’s here at St. Mungo’s.”
Harry felt the air in his lungs stop. Rodney was Penelope’s older brother and her only remaining family. Ron waited a moment before continuing on.
“Since then Kingsley has said any movement on The Organization was to go through him first and would be handled by a minimum of two teams. The Prophet covered Penka’s death like some sort of vigilante rubbish. They’re terrified to mention any sort of systematized group of dark wizards but Kingsley as dubbed them The Organization.”
Harry groaned, rubbing his hands over his face, “This is my case, Ron. I’ve done the most work on it and I want to work it. I need to be cleared for work. This waiting nonsense is driving me mad!”
Ron just nodded, not taking his eyes off the board. They had this conversation about every three to four hours. He picked up his white knight and was just about to place it when the door opened. Kingsley walked in and took a seat in the chair by Harry’s bed. There was a brief pause as Ron placed his knight.
“I’m clearing Malfoy,” Kingsley said, studying the chessboard while Harry studied him.
“About time. These healers are something else,” Ron grunted. He moved his bishop to take Harry’s knight. Kingsley’s hand shot forward, taking Harry’s castle in hand and claiming Ron’s Queen. Ron slapped his forehead.
“What’d you do that for?” He groaned loudly.
“Because Potter was just going to take your knight with his queen, which would have left his King wide open,” Kingsley answered, a smile tugging at his lips.
Harry laughed, “Thanks, sir.”
Ron continued to grumble, “Doesn’t matter, I still can beat you.”
Harry nudged Ron with his foot, “Come on mate, I’m allowed to win once every three or four hundred games.”
“They’re moving Malfoy to this room,” Kingsley interrupted.
Ron’s mouth fell open, “Why?”
“He’s showing similar symptoms to Potter. They think whatever is affecting you might be affecting him as well,” Kingsley explained with a grimace. “Tillerman seemed pleased to have another test subject.”
“When will he be moved?” Harry asked.
“Today, maybe another hour or so. Weasley,” Kingsley snapped back into his Head Auror voice, “I’m revoking your time off.”
Ron turned a deep shade of red and sputtered, “What? Why?”
Kingsley stood, “I’m assigning you as security to Potter until he is discharged. St. Mungo’s tried to trace who delivered that flower and it seems they don’t have record of it. You up for some overtime?”
Ron grinned, “Sure thing, sir.”
“Good. Notify me of any updates. I’ll check on your condition tomorrow, Potter,” Kingsley said and then left the room.
“Bloody hell, this is awesome!” Ron said, “I wanted you out of here but now that I’m making money off you….”
Harry kicked Ron, watching the redhead claim another piece of his off the chessboard, “Hermione’s gonna be pissed. You’ll be home even less now.”
Ron shrugged, “She’s rarely home as it is and when she is, she’s got her nose buried in some book or another about Magical Law. I swear, she’ll be the youngest Minister for Magic in history if she keeps this up.”
Harry’s heart swelled at the pride in Ron’s voice. Hermione and Ron had been going steady since the Battle for Hogwarts and as the years went by the their relationship only grew stronger. Not to say there weren’t rough patches, as both of them had very demanding jobs, but Hermione kept Ron focused and Ron kept Hermione young. A knock on the door tore Harry from his thoughts. A young medi-witch with inky black hair and bright blue eyes entered and beamed at Harry.
“Hello, Mr. Potter, I’m Healer Tully. I’m going to prep the room for Mr. Malfoy,” Tully said, smiling from Harry then to Ron, “Mr. Weasley, would you please stand by the door?”
Ron nodded, collected the chess set and went to stand by the door. He kept a close eye on Tully, hand in his pocket and around his wand. Tully raised her wand as she approached Harry’s bed, “I’m just going to shuffle you along the wall to make room for the other bed. Please don’t move.”
Harry grinned as his bed and side tables magically slid along the wall in unison, stopping just short of the center of the room.
“That’s the first magic anyone’s cast on me in over a week,” he said.
Tully’s grin seemed to get even larger, “Well, I’m not technically casting magic on you. I’ll be right back.”
She left the room and Ron grabbed a chair to move closer to Harry’s bed. By the time he settled himself down and set the game back up on the tray Tully had returned, using her wand to maneuver a bed through the door. She set it up almost perfectly across from Harry’s bed, so that he and Malfoy would be face to face. After a few minor tweaks to the position of the bed, Tully conjured up an extra side table and a set of portable curtains like Harry’s. She then took a step back to admire her work. There was a brief moment when her eyes flickered to the get-well cards and remaining flowers on Harry’s table, then she conjured up a small glass vase with vibrant yellow daffodils. She gently nudged the vase to the center of the Malfoy’s table.
“Is there anything else you need, Mr. Potter?” Tully asked as she turned.
Harry gave the young witch a genuine smile, “Not now, thank you. Do you know when Malfoy will be moved in?”
Tully’s smile faltered slightly, “Umm, I believe Tillerman will be bringing him in any moment now. Please let me know if you or Mr. Malfoy need anything.”
She turned and left the room. Ron claimed another of Harry’s pieces of the chessboard before looking at Harry.
“You sure you’re alright with sharing a room with him?” he asked.
Harry shrugged, “Makes no difference to me, honestly. I just feel bad I attacked him, ya know?”
Ron nodded, turning his attention back to the board as Harry claimed one of Ron’s towers. The red headed man grinned, moving his knight to claim a pawn.
“That’ll be checkmate.”
Malfoy was moved from his isolation to Harry’s room an hour later. He looked bad; pale and bruised with a large bandage covering his neck and shoulder. The sight of Draco’s unhealed injuries angered Harry, until he realized the healers must be having as much difficulty casting on Draco as they did on Harry. Tillerman informed them that, besides the Aurors, they were to be denied visitors and outside gifts for safety and tomorrow the healers would be testing more remedies.
Harry remained silent, as did Draco. Tillerman left shortly after and the air was thick with silence.
“Malfoy…” Harry began, but was cut of by Malfoy.
“It’s fine, Potter. I knew the risks of attempting healing on a magical malady with unknown origins. It’s all part of the job.” Draco said flatly, but not coldly.
Harry smiled, “You sound so clinical.”
Malfoy did not share Harry’s amusement, “I’m a professional, Potter. I will be assisting with our recovery as much, if not more so, than the healers here.”
There was now a tinge of ice in Malfoy's voice as he continued on, “I will need access to my research. So as soon as they clear me for public exposure I’ll need an Auror to escort me home to collect some books. There must be some record of magical blockage in Minsky's Anatomical Collection.”
Harry distinctly heard Ron mutter something about Hermione-ish under his breath, which Malfoy did not catch.
The redhead stood and said, “Right, I’m going to get some lunch. What do you feel like?”
Harry contemplated momentarily, “I’m good for anything. Maybe something spicy? What do you think?”
Harry looked towards Malfoy, who was pointedly studying his fingernails.
“Malfoy?” Ron asked, a slight tone of impatience in his voice.
After a moment’s hesitation Malfoy’s eyes shot up to meet Harry’s and he snapped, “I don’t need you two hens doting on me.”
Harry saw Ron turn bright red and quickly said, “We’re stuck here together until they get this figured out. Trust me, no one can survive off St. Mungo’s food for long.”
Malfoy’s eyes turned steely.
“Trust you?” Malfoy hissed, “I’m no better than a bloody squib because of you!”
There was a heavy silence, eventually broken by Ron’s laughter. Harry was startled for a moment as Ron took out his wand and pointed it at Malfoy.
“Silencio!” Ron said lazily.
The spell hit Malfoy square in the face. Malfoy looked outraged and began shouting soundlessly from his bed. After what was sure to have been some colorful language, Malfoy closed his mouth, his face turning bright pink.
Harry held back a laugh, “Ron, come on. He’s here because of me. Don’t be a jerk.”
Ron tapped his wand against his chin in an offhand sort of way, “I don’t know, Harry. If he’s going to be a prat we might as well take advantage of the situation.”
“Ron,” Harry said warningly, “What would Hermione say if she knew you were bewitching people with who couldn’t defend themselves?”
“You just suck the fun out of everything,” Ron sighed, removing the charm from Malfoy.
Malfoy remained silent, but turned a shade darker red. He pulled the curtain around his bed, blocking Ron and Harry from view.
Ron rolled his eyes, “So, I’m thinking Indian food.”
The medi-witch, Tully, stopped by twice more before lights out to check to see if Malfoy or Harry needed anything. Both times she had disappeared behind the curtains and spoke low to Malfoy so Harry and Ron couldn’t hear. Harry was surprised to see someone being so respectful to Malfoy, all the medi-staff seemed to have an obvious dislike of him.
Harry didn’t sleep very well that night. He stayed up for hours thinking of the case and what connections his situation might have to it. His eyes strayed over to the curtains around Malfoy’s bed several times, as did his thoughts. The blond man seemed so reserve, not like the snotty kid Harry had gone to school, and the way the medical staff acted around him. Like he was barely tolerated. Again, Harry felt anger flare in his chest, he knew what it was like to be treated like scum for something he had little or no control over. And Draco had had very little control over a lot of aspects of his life. Harry knew, he’d sat in on all three of the Malfoy’s trials. A shiver ran over Harry’s spine at the details of the trials and Harry willfully turned his attention back towards his current case.
The next morning the healers who were to be doing testing arrived. Sheehan was among them and, without announcement, roughly pulled back the curtains of Malfoy’s bed, who was calmly reading a book. Sheehan seemed surprised and visibly angered when Draco smirked at him. A middle-aged, petite medi-witched stepped in before Sheehan could respond. She had shiny black hair pulled back into a tight bun and an aura of command that rivaled that of McGonagall.
“Good morning gentlemen, I am Healer Tonoga. Healers Sheehan and Lang,” She said calmly pointing to the third individual, a young witch, who nodded grimly, “will be assisting me. We’ll be attempting to get readings first and then we’ll test out your magical ability. Our hope is whatever is affecting you is, at the very least, fading.”
After what seemed like hours, the testing was complete and Harry was in a horrible mood. He was hungry, tired and annoyed at Sheehan, who was switching between flirting with Harry when Tonoga and Lang weren’t paying attention and being a downright jackass to Malfoy, who was complying with every request of the healers. Ron had left to wait outside since the room was now horribly crowded, so Harry didn’t even have his friend to exchanged scathing looks with. There had seemed to be some improvement, as the healers were able to get readings on both Harry and Malfoy. Tonoga was excited by the initial results and finally asked them both to perform a simple Lumos. Harry dug his wand out from his pack of personal items and casted the spell.
“It works!” Harry said excitedly. He extinguished the light wordlessly and cast a levitation charm on his side table. It elevated steadily in the air, did a single controlled spin and slowly landed back on the ground. Harry grinned and looked over at Malfoy, who was currently walking his book through the air. Malfoy looked relieved and the corner of his mouth twitched.
“Does this mean we are cleared to leave?” Harry asked.
Tonoga shook her head, “Unfortunately not, Auror Potter. While Mr. Malfoy is showing no lasting effects, you still have some sort of magical taint radiating from you, though it’s not as powerful. We’ll need to run further tests on you. It should be easier now that we have our Dark Magic Specialist and we can run diagnostic tests on you.”
“Sheehan,” Tonoga said, looking to the healer, “Please bring me both their files so I can make some notes.”
Sheehan nodded and left the room. Ron slipped through the door before it closed and made his way to Harry’s bed.
“Going well then?” Ron said with a grin, watching Malfoy lower the book to his bedside table.
Harry nodded and soundlessly levitated Ron’s satchel over his shoulder and hovered it above his head, “It’s just a matter of time before they release me. They’re gonna clear Malfoy.”
Harry looked over to the blond wizard, who was walking towards the private bathroom in the far corner of the room and disappear behind the door. Suddenly Ron satchel plummeted downwards and struck Ron’s head heavily before falling to the ground.
“Bloody hell, Harry! What are you doing?” Ron said, reaching down to grab his bag.
Harry looked perplexed at his wand and gave it a wave.
“What the hell…..Lumos!” Harry said.
Tonoga was instantly at Harry’s other side, “Auror Potter?”
“It’s not working,” Harry said lamely, motioning his wand.
Tonoga cast another spell over Harry, frowning at the blank readings forming above him.
“What in the…..” she trailed off, looking towards healer Lang, who was looking just as confused.
Suddenly the loo door opened and Malfoy walked back into the room. The magical readings above Harry jumped to life. Tonoga’s mouth dropped open, as did Harry's. Everyone turned to look at Malfoy, who froze under the scrutiny.
“Something’s wrong,” Malfoy said slowly, “I tried to magic away my stubble and…..”
He trailed off as Lang and Tonoga exchanged shocked looks.
“Mr. Malfoy, please stand in the corner of the room,” Tonoga said, looking at Malfoy but motioning for Harry to rise.
Harry stood and walked to where Tonoga was pointing, about ten feet in front of Malfoy.
“Please, gentlemen, cast a Lumos.”
Harry and Malfoy both wordlessly did so, wand tips lighting up.
“Good. Auror Potter, please take a step back,” Tonoga directed.
Harry did so, staring intently on his wand, realization dawning on his face. It stayed lit.
“Again please,” Tonoga said, looking from Malfoy to Harry.
He took a larger step back, eyes fixed on his wand. It remained ignited.
Harry took another step back and flinched as his wand extinguished. He looked up too see Malfoy’s crestfallen expression as his wand tip went out. Their eyes met and Harry saw a look of accusation in Malfoy's steely gaze.
“That’s about twenty feet, Lang?” Tonoga said, measuring the distance with her eyes, “Auror Potter, step forward.”
Harry complied, casting Lumos as he did and his wand tip lit.
“Ah, bloody hell,” Ron said aghast.
Harry and Malfoy’s eyes met again and the blond man had obvious anger twisting his face as he said, “What have you done to us, Potter?”