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Summary:  After the war, the survivors try to find a way to cope with the losses they have incurred and move into a future they have yet to create. As they try to find ways to save themselves, they realize that perhaps the best way is to save each other. 
This story will eventually be Harry Draco Slash. It will probably take a while to get there from here.  This chapter is rated about the same as Book 7.

Thanks to [ profile] ivyingarden for all the help making this a better fic!  She patiently helps me brainstorm (with some great ideas to throw into the cauldron), is fabulous with canon, has a knack for language, and keeps at me to "write write write".

Disclaimer: Harry Potter, his friends, his enemies, and the lovely world they live in all belong to JK Rowling. The first chapter or two has some direct quotes from Chapters 31 through 36 of book seven peppered throughout, as it is Draco’s point of view of events we have already seen from Harry’s. After the final battle, we’ll be branching off.
Notes:  I have several chapters already written, and will be posting them here after I proof them. I also have some scattered scenes from later on. Reviews and feedback would be most helpful in inspiring me to write onward!


Chapter 4:  The Healing - Draco
He saw Madame Pomfrey pass the door several times, issuing orders to people who had volunteered to help, students too young to fight in the battle, or adults trained as Healers. He did not recognize the adults who were being consulted as healers. Perhaps some had been sent from St. Mungo’s. That would be a good thing, Draco doubted that Madame Pomfrey would willingly leave the hospital wing to help Snape if she were the only healer available. But if there were several from St Mungo’s, he had a chance.
Waiting until there was a brief lull in the bustle into the hospital rooms, Draco checked to feel the slight prickle on his skin that confirmed the Disillusionment charm was still active, and emerged from behind the statue. He ducked into the same room he had last seen Madame Pomfrey enter. She continued to a small office through a door on the far wall, and Draco followed, closing the door behind him. What luck! 
“I need your help.” Draco dropped the Disillusionment charm. He held Snape’s wand ready, but did not point it at her.
Madame Pomfrey turned around, looking calm, but Draco had seen her jump at the sound of his voice. He opened his posture, trying his best to look unthreatening.
It hurt to see her glaring so coldly at him. She had always been kind to him when he had come to get medical attention. Of course, he had come for medical attention often. He didn’t admit to anyone, least of all Madame Pomfrey, that he liked when she fussed over him. 
 “You will have to wait your turn, Mr Malfoy.” She cast a cold gaze at him, glancing up and down. “There are people in far greater need than you.” 
For a second, Draco could not figure out what she meant. He was not severely injured. Then he chanced to catch sight of himself in the mirror behind her, and noticed that his skin was red and blistered in places, and he had cuts and scratches and the occasional bruise scattered across his arms, and face (and probably his legs as well). He was grimy from crawling through the cave, his hair was lank and darkened with grime, and had Severus’ blood splattered on his robes, especially on his shoulder where he had been carrying his Godfather. Draco had not stopped long enough to be aware of the pain. Now that he had, the burn from the heat of the Fiendfyre stung
 “You don’t understand. It is not for me.”
“You dare to come here for help for one of your Death Eater friends? After they have sent patient after patient here? Your schoolmates are dying! I swore that I would care for all who needed it, but when I see the lives you people have destroyed…” 
Draco had never heard her quite so emotional. “It’s Headmaster Snape!” He interrupted her. 
“Snape!” Madam Pomfrey spat. “After what he let into Hogwarts! You were here this past year… do you seriously expect me to leave here where good, brave people need my help, to help that murderer?”
“I don’t care what Professor Snape has done, or not done. But the Dar — Vol-Voldemort tried to kill him. He almost died. He could still be dying. Please, you have to help him. Please.” Draco was proud his voice did not crack, but the need was clear in his voice. He told himself he was letting the emotion through to get his way, but he if he were honest with himself, he thought it would have broken through anyway. 
Madam Pomfrey stared at Draco. The coldness in her eyes did not abate. After a few minutes, she blinked, and a shudder ran down her body. When she returned her gaze to him, she squared her shoulders as if making a decision. “Where is he?”
Draco suddenly had a thought. “You won’t turn him in?”
“I can’t promise that!” A look of pain crossed her face. “He murdered the Headmaster. He will have to be held accountable for his actions.”
Draco’s head ticked back stubbornly. “I can’t take you to him if you’ll only turn him in.   You know he won’t get a fair trial. They’ll send him to Azkaban. Death would be preferable to the Kiss.”
“We don’t have time for this. Either lead me to him or let me return to my other patients.”
“Just promise me…”
Draco could not think. He had so little to bargain with. The Dark Lord had taken the Dementors away from Azkaban. It was possible the Ministry would not be able to round them up again. But Draco did not want to rely on what was possible. Maybe he could Obliviate her after she healed Snape. Draco looked at the wand in his hand. He did not know if he could trust his skill with it for such a delicate spell. Much less against a woman who had been kind to him when few others were. He knew he would do what was necessary, but… he hoped it would not be necessary. When did he start relying on hope? He felt very foolish when he continued.
“Just promise me you’ll give him a chance.”
Madame Pomfrey paused, searching out something in Draco’s face.
Her voice was a bit softer when she agreed. “I promise. Now where is he?”
Draco relented. His godfather needed care, and he was not skilled enough to give it. He just hoped the man would forgive him. “In his rooms. I left him there. I could not close the wound, I don’t have my wand anymore.” He noticed her gaze at the wand in his hand. “This is Professor Snape’s.”
Madam Pomfrey turned to the freestanding wooden cabinet along one wall, opened the door, and pulled a few bottles from its shelves, together with winding bandages, a notebook, and a few other items Draco did not recognise.
“Well, come on then.” She grabbed him by the wrist, leaving him no time to recast the Disillusionment charm, and dragged him out of the office and into the larger room they had passed through. At the sight of Draco, wands came out, pointing directly at him. It was unnerving to be in the middle of a circle of bristling wands.
Madam Pomfrey ignored them, pulled him to the open hearth in the room, grabbed some floo powder from a pot standing near it, and tossed it in. The flames burst green. “Professor Snape’s Rooms,” she murmured so quietly that Draco was sure he was the only one that would hear. She stepped in, and Draco was pulled in with her by the firm grip on his wrist.
He steadied himself from the spinning of floo transport, wiped the soot off but leaving smears of soot and grime on his clothes and arms. He imagined what his father would say to such a display, but there were things more important than Malfoy bearing at present.
Severus lay where Draco had left him, but his breathing was more ragged, and his skin seemed flushed, feverish.
Madam Pomfrey let go of Draco’s hand, either ignoring him or forgetting he was here, and held her wand over Headmaster Snape’s body, casting diagnostic spells.
“I am not doing this for you, or for him, but for the sake of my oath.” Madame Pomfrey commented to him abruptly. “What did you do to him?”
“It wasn’t me!” Draco protested.
“I mean, what did you give him?”
Draco hesitated, but knew she would need to know to help Professor Snape. “I found his potion of Godot.” Draco whispered. And then antivenin, and—“
“Why an antivenin? What happened?”
“It was Nagini. She bit him. I believe Vo- Voldemort commanded it. For her to kill him.”
Madame Pomfrey glanced sharply at him, and then dropped her gaze to make a notation in her medical journal. “Continue.”
 “After the antivenin I gave him a blood replenisher. And an organ strengthener.”
“Be more specific, child. Which antivenin? Which blood replenisher, which organ strengthener?”
He told her the dosages and the specific potions, detailing each drop and attempt, indicating each phial as he spoke. She made a few more notes in her journal.
“Let me see those.” 
He gathered the bottles she had indicated from the table and gave them to her.
Madam Pomfrey’s eyes widened at the potion of Godot, as if seeing the bottle with its label awakened her to what it was, where Draco’s words had not. “You gave him this? You realize what damage you would have done if he his injuries had not been fatal? Are you sure—“ She asked him. 
“His pulse had stopped.”
*   *   *
Madame Pomfrey paled. She had not agreed with anything Headmaster Snape had done this last year, and even now found it difficult to believe that the man she had worked with for 18 years had become the man she saw this past year. 
She had thought she knew the man. He came to her when he was spying for Albus, whenever He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s punishments exceeded the potency of the potions Severus had on hand. They would talk, and he would confide what he could. Not the details that were reserved for Albus and the Order, but his own concerns. He never spoke directly, instead only obliquely mentioning how events around him and his own actions affected him, but she knew that speaking with her was part of why he came to her, sometimes even when he had potions to relieve his pains and heal his injuries.
She had been shocked when she discovered he had killed Albus. She knew Albus was dying, of course. She knew of the curse. She and Severus had worked together to retard its progress. But its effects on Albus continued to get stronger, and Albus continued to weaken. When it was discovered that Albus was dead, that Severus and young Malfoy had disappeared, she did not know what to make of it. And then poor Harry said he had seen Severus kill Albus. That Severus was a murderer. 
Poppy had felt betrayed, as if their friendship was merely a part of the ruse, part of a dark plan. But after the funeral, she had a chance to think. Albus had been dying, and she knew he would sacrifice anything to see Voldemort’s evil set down. Even his own life. It was possible… 
So when the school year began again, and Severus returned to be Headmaster, she hoped he would come to her as before. To confide, in his oblique way, the pressures he was under. But Severus never came to see her. He stopped talking to her the day Albus died. And the behaviour Severus allowed as headmaster—she could not juxtapose that picture with the man she had known. 
She kept to the hospital wing that year, rarely venturing out. There were violent injuries to be healed, more than in even the clumsiest of Quidditch seasons, significantly more than the average, even skewed by the Potter boy's all too frequent visits. There had been Cruciatus victims in her infirmary. In a school! Cast by teachers, sometimes by students! And regretfully, Poppy had decided that Severus was not the man she thought she knew. He would not have allowed that to happen.
But He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had tried, had nearly succeeded in killing him. Why would he want to kill such a staunch supporter, one who had betrayed everyone he knew for the sake of his master? The thought gave her just enough pause to re-awaken her sense of duty.  
She knew that for the Godot potion to work, the waiting had to be almost over. Administered at the point of death to, to stop it. He had been close. It did not bring back life, merely prevented death. If administered too early, it could cause permanent damage, locking the spirit of the person between life and death. Administered at just the right time, it stoppered up the rip that let the living out. Madame Pomfrey had heard Severus’ opening day speech enough times to know exactly which potion he meant when he said “put a stopper in death.” And she would have to pull that stopper out. But first, she would heal the body.
She pulled aside the clumsy wrapping around shoulder and neck. Directing her wand at it, she cast a spell. “There is no venom left in the wound,” She commented. 
*   *   *
Draco recognized the other two spells she cast, one to knit the skin together, and another was a general diagnosis. He had been on the receiving end of those spells many times.
Draco sat at the edge of Professor Snape’s chair, a large chair upholstered in leather dyed forest green. When she cast, he could see the wound closing, could see his mentor’s chest rising and falling. Relief washed through him at the even breathing. He felt like a marionette that had just had the strings cut, sagging onto the chair, breathing heavily.
“He may be out for a few hours. I will need to cast another spell on him, one that will balance his Magical energy again. It has been… disturbed.”
Draco nodded. 
“For this spell to work, Mr Malfoy, he needs to be left completely alone. You may not return for at least four hours, lest you cause him irreparable damage. And you will need to leave his wand. The spell requires it, for the best chance of success.”
Draco did not want to be wandless again. He knew he could not keep this wand, but the thought of being out in the battle without a wand again made him deeply nervous. But it was his godfather’s wand, and Snape needed it. Draco knew all too well the unbalanced feeling of being without his wand. Reluctantly, he bypassed Madame Pomfrey’s outstretched hand, and placed the wand on his godfather’s chest, adjusting the older man’s hand so it held the wand in place. He lifted his own hand, but did not step back, looking down on his godfather, noticing the even breathing with a slight glimmer of relief. But Snape did not look good in any other way.
“Headmaster Snape will still be here when you get back. And either he will be alive or he will be dead. Either way, there is nothing more you can do. It is time for you to leave.”
“While you stand there, you delay me from doing what I must do. Your risk his chance of survival. And I have other patients that need my skills.” She nodded at the fire place through which they had come, making it clear that she would be leaving as soon as the spell was cast.
Her tone may have implied ‘more worthy’ patients, patients that had not been Death Eaters. It could have been something else entirely. Draco felt a burn of emotion that might have been anger, but could well have been something less righteous that he could not recognise. 
“It is not a spell to interfere with. There can be no other magical fields in the room while the spell balances his. Go. Now.” Madame Pomfrey pointed at the door, and her stance made it clear that she would not do another thing for the Headmaster while Draco was present.
He exited the room, pushed out not by magic but by the force of her will, and Madame Pomfrey wasted no time in waving the door closed behind him. He could feel the gust of air against his cheeks, as he turned to get one more glimpse of his godfather. Had he been a few inches closer, the door would have hit him in the face.
click tracking

Go on to Chapter 5

Date: 2008-05-14 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That Poppy! What a lady! Draco needs to find somewhere to hide since he's wandless! Sooo need more!

Date: 2008-05-14 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
more coming soon!

Glad you are enjoying it.


Date: 2009-03-02 03:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I like the way you are advancing the plot by focusing on Draco's inner turmoil. I love the way Draco's new sense of insecurity is revealed through his interaction with Madame Pomfrey. His powerlessness is underscored by his lack of a wand, while his desire to find help for Snape is undermined by his reputation as a Death Eater. He's got a lot of work to do to find his footing as the world changes around him.

He'll be emerging from the dungeons to find the Dark Lord has lost (or is in the process of losing) the war....

Chapter 5 beckons...


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July 2012

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