He has always been afraid of dying, but in the end it is so easy. He signs the papers, makes sure that everything is in order in all of his affairs, hoping that he has at least succeeded in getting everything sorted so that his mother will not have to worry about more formal decisions. He has his will set up, the draft for the sale is on his desk, the household is packed away, what little is left of it and he has decreed a little something to the few friends that might mourn him. Well maybe not, maybe they'll just be glad that it is finally over, who knows. He has made all of the necessary arrangements for the funeral, really nobody should have any hassle with him dying, least of all him. He will be free finally.
The houseelves are all set free, well almost all, just Tilly is left and she stands in front of him now with large eyes wringing her tea towel between her long bony fingers. He smiles at her, the muscles in his face protesting a little simply because he has not smiled in so long, but all of this won't matter anymore in just a few short hours. He addresses her kindly.
"Tilly, do you understand what I would like you to do?"
She gulps and for a second cold fear grips him, has she noticed what he has done? But he restrains himself, it is impossible that she would interfere with his plans. The houseelves have no idea why he has offered them freedom, but most of them have taken the opportunity to go to Beauxbatons, just Tilly remains for now. She looks at him with her ears drooping in sorrow and nods miserably.
"Till will draw Master a bath, then Tilly is being preparing Masters Bedroom, Tilly is to be waiting until Master is asleep, and then Tilly is to be leaving the house, cause Tilly is to be a free elf." Huge Tears are rolling down her face and he feels that he owes her some comfort.
"Tilly, you have served me very well, for the last three years. But now I need you to go where you want to go."
Tilly nods and disappears with plop. His heart feels lighter, at the thought of her at least finding a place where she wants to go. She plops in once more to tell him that his bath is done and that the bedroom has been prepared. She doesn't mention the potion bottle that has been set out neatly on the bedstand and she doesn't question that he had her lay out a suit with matching shirt and shoes. She just looks at him and waits.
"Very good Tilly, I will take my bath now." He leaves his office for the last time, walking through a house that has never quite felt like a home and collects all of his little failures close to him. When he has wrapped them quite firmly around his heart he has reached the bathroom, it is not quite as luxurious as the one that he had enjoyed in his childhood, but he has learned in his late teens to be alright with what he can still afford. It is not as if it ever made him happy, it just eased the pain of repeated failure.
Sliding into the hot water he reflects on his life. A bitter smile plays on his lips as he washes himself, at the thought of doing this for whomever is going to clean up after him. It won't take long, as he has addressed two letters that will arrive at their destination tomorrow so that he won't desecrate into the mattress before he is found.
He drags himself from the bath, drying of and going to the bedroom. He dresses in black silk pyjamas, and goes to bed even though it is not half nine yet and the sun is shining, but to him there is nothing worthwhile waiting out there, that would make dragging out the inevitable ok. Tilly is standing at the door watching him like a hawk, but not saying anything.
He uncorks the vial and downs it in one swallow. It doesn't taste bitter, it tastes sweet like almond paste and when he feels drowsiness approach at last, a smile is on his lips. He is twenty-five and finally at ease.
Tilly who has watched her master down an extremely high overdose of sleeping potion, recalls his last words to her "I need you to go where you want to go." she blinks once and decides that right now she really should go to the family healer, who will know what to do. She is a good house elf and if Master wants her to iron her ears later, she will remind him that she is free now and choses to serve him.
Harry hates the dreams. They come when he has had an extremely stressful day, when he has lost a patient or Healer Highgroove thinks that he needs to prove once more that Harry has not gotten in on his name and that he has to undergo the same processes as every other Healer in St Mungo's. Never mind that Harry has worked his arse of to get into the program that he has actually worked damned hard to understand the complexities of potions and has pulled more all nighters that other students needed to, just because he had to start at the basics.
Harry hates the dreams. They make him feel slightly unhinged and he can't really pinpoint why they cause such discomfort. He is training to be a specialist for mind-healing and he doesn't get what his own subconscious is trying to tell him, now that would be a lark for Healer Highgroove. Sometimes Harry wonders if he should talk to a colleague about it, after all he would have patient confidentiality, but these dreams are not threatening or nightmares, they just make him uncomfortable.
He never remembers the full dreams either. There are only glimpses, fragments even. Hands touching him, lips kissing him. He remembers no facial features, can't even say if it is a man or a woman caressing him, but what he can say is enough for disquiet in his book. Because the one person he KNOWS the person is not, is his girlfriend. The woman he is set to marry in a few short months. But the person who comforts him in his dreams the one who makes everything alright again, is most assuredly not Ginny Weasley, and that terrifies Harry more than he wants to admit.
Beep, beep, beep, beep...
It is the noise that alerts him to his failure, long before the rest of his body and mind have caught up to him, he is sure that the afterlife be it heaven or hell waiting for him, would not begin with a series how steady beeping sounds. He tries to shake his head but his body doesn't obey, and he cannot even open his eyes. He would panic but it seems inconsequential. He has failed again, that much his brain is screaming at him, but he is not quite clear on the circumstances so far. Has he estimated the dose too low? Will he have another chance? What has gone wrong? So many questions running through his mind, and nobody to answer him. His eyes are still closed but at least his senses are working fine. He is pretty sure that he is alone at this moment and thus he doesn't try to hide the lone tear escaping from his eye.
He doesn't know where he is exactly, but given the fact that he is not in his bed any longer, and being monitored, at least he thinks that is what the beeping is all about, he guesses that he is at a hospital. He will have to play along for now, convince them that he is alright, so that they will let him go and try again. If the mind-healer is anything like the last one, it should be easy to convince them, after all he would be doing them all a favour, that much is clear.
So for now he has to wait and see just how they want to play this game, with that comforting thought he submits to the potions running through his system once more and falls deeper into unconsciousness. He is unaware of the woman standing next to his bed, unaware of her tears and her vow to make him want to live again.
"Harry, we have a Code Red in St. Germaine’s Hospital and they are asking for our support" his fellow healer specialist in training is almost bouncing on her toes. Harry feels a jolt of excitement pass through him, before he can rein it in and conduct an air of professionality.
"Myra! A Code Red is no laughing matter!" He frowns a little, excitement turning to dread, at the possible scenarios. He is sure that he won't be chosen to go anyway, because Healer Highgroove never choses him, if he can sent somebody else. Harry still doesn't quite know what he has done to the man, but maybe life would be too easy for him without somebody to takes Snape's place and remind him that he is not overly much special. As if the Dursleys had not managed to make that quite clear to him again and again.
"Earth to Harry!" Myra drags him out of his musing, and all but pulls him to the staffing room, where their mentor is waiting. Presumably he will let them know, that he will leave to take this case on. Healer Highgroove likes to do that.
Harry thinks about the implications. Code Red means that a British Wizarding Citizen has attempted suicide. A ttempted – it sounds so clinical and yet it means so many sad things. Poisons with gruesome effects, only halted because a bezoar has been forcefed, sometimes long after vital tissues have been damaged. Slit wrists, with victims almost bled dry before blood replenishing potions are injected into a stunned body. Sleeping potions, so potent that the drinker will never wake up on they own, looking dead to the world possibly accepting the fact that they will be buried alive, wasting inside they caskets until their body will finally shut down completely. And still they are only attempts, because the most final decision would be to cast Avada kedavra upon oneself.
Harry wants to help those who scream for help like this, and so he has gone into mind-healing. He wonders if he will ever get a chance to truly do something, without his Supervisor being condescending all the time, but right now he is resigned to the fact of only learning the method of attempt and listening to his debrief once the patient has been healed or at least stabilized enough for ambulant therapy.
"Potter!" Healer Highgroove looks as if he has been forced to chew on a lemon, when Harry finally gets to the staff room.
"Yes Healer Highgroove?" Harry really isn't sure what he has done now to raise the mans ire.
"St Germaine, demands your supports specifically in this particular case. I told them that I don't think that you are entirely qualified for this kind of job yet, but they refuse to listen." The man's face grows sourer by the minute and Harry only hears a rushing sound in his ears. Is this for real? Will he go to St Germains and help with a near successful suicide patient?
"I demand daily reports on what you are doing. Don't thinkt that just because the request you specifically I am giving in. The only reason I am doing this is that the family of the patient has insisted on you being present in the process. They are convinced that you are the only one who can induce some kind of will to live in that person."
Harry feels dread growing in him. If he has known the person in question from his school years it will be so much harder to maintain a professional distance. But he is determined not to mess this up.
Harry has made a habit of reading the files without seeing the patients names first, it helps him be objective and he delves into what little information he has about this case. He wonders a little why St Germaine has asked for his support specifically, but he suspects he won't find anything about that in the file. His patient is male, age twenty-five and married. But the wife has filed for divorce, Harry winces slightly. He knows that things like this can trigger severe depression and if the patient has noone to talk to, the file doesn't indicate a support system, he might have felt lost to the point of taking his own life as a last option. Harry sees that both parents are listed as magical, so patient x comes from a pureblood family, it might not mean much, after all his best friend is from a magical family, but a british pureblood, living in France aged twenty-five? Harry's trepidation grows.
It is only when he reads the patient's file completely that he realizes how screwed he is, because the name glaring at him from the white paper is none other than Draco Malfoy.
He goes home to pack.Thoughts whirling through his mind, Draco tried to kill himself. Harry finds it hard to imagine what has driven the proud man to such a drastic step. The last time they had seen each other was at the trial, when Harry had given his testimony and made the wizarding world see that it wasn't all black and white, that their world was made up of many different shades of grey and that a boy trying desperately to protect his family deserved a different sentence than a man following Voldemort out of his own free will and conviction. Draco had gotten a probation period of two years and a hefty fine, but had been spared Azkaban. Harry had be fine with that and had left the courtroom with only a nod to Draco. Truth be told he has not thought much about the fate of his former rival in the last years. He has been so busy with his Healer Apprenticeship and the courtship with Ginny. He smiles at the thought of his fiancee. She has gotten back from playing with the Holyhead Harpies for four seasons only last year. At twentyfour she had to make the choice between playing further Quidditch or coming home to him and now that she is back she always has another idea where they should go and be seen and Harry well he indulges her. He knows he doesn’t have enough time for her as it is and so he doesn't begrudge her the joy of making the decisions for their leisure time, even though he would have preferred to stay in on most nights, he knows what she has given up for him and is grateful for that.
She probably will not be very happy about the news that he is leaving for France in the morning, but this time Harry doesn't have a choice. He surveilles his luggage and on instinct goes back to his drawer, where he pulls out a little package. It is thrumming with magic and he caresses the smooth polished surface. Inside lies something that he should have given back long ago already but for some reason or another he's held onto it. Maybe this will help convince Draco that life is not as awful as it seems and that there are reasons for living. Harry sighs. Time to tell Ginny that he is leaving her alone for an indefinite amount of time.
He walks into the kitchen finding her busy on the floo, no doubt she's arranging another gala or dinner for them to attend, and he feels weary all of a sudden.
"Oh I gotta run, my hero is back from work." She calls into the flames and shuts the connection before he can get a look at the person she was talking to, not that he minds. Most of the time she schedules the events and he tags along. It is just the way they have always worked.
"Hey Gin." He knows he sounds tired, and he is it truly. It is as if the news of Draco Malfoy's suicide attempt has drained him of all of his energy and he barely holds it together, even though he has no idea why.
"Hey Harry, I have two lovely events that we can visit this weekend," She frowns at his facial expression. "Is something the matter Harry?"
"Gin, remember how I always hoped that one day Healer Highgroove would let me take on a case?" He treads carefully, hoping not to upset her too much. She nods at him indicating to keep talking.
"Well he has assigned me a case and I will work quite a bit more in the next few weeks and maybe even months." he waits for the news to sink in and from the frown etched onto her face the implications sunk in quickly.
"You have barely time for me as it is, Harry," She states plaintively.
"I know hon, but this is important to me." He looks at her imploring her to understand. She huffs and crosses her arms over her chest.
"Great so the next few months I am going to be stuck with being at home with you, every night?" the statement causes a pang inside of Harry but he refuses to analyze the implications of her words and rushes to get the next part out.
"Actually no, you don't have to be around every night, I will not be in England. The patient I will be working with is in France."
She throws her hands up at this. "Fine, so you go of to France for Merlin knows how long and I will be stuck here. Ok, but don't expect me to sit around and wait all day for you. This is not what I gave my career up for!"
Harry gapes at her, this is not how he had thought the evening would go. "Gin, don't be like this. You knew that I wanted to work as a mind-healer and that there would be cases when I needed to be gone. It is not forever and I am sure there will be things to keep you entertained and busy. I promise to floo and owl as often as I can." He opens his arms willing her to understand.
She does step into the embrace and snuggles into his chest, murmuring. "Oh fine, go off and save this poor sod, but I expect you to make it up to me." When she angles her face so that he can kiss her he knows that she wants sex and resigns himself to give in, even though he is tired and had hoped that for once they would just snuggle on the couch and drift of comfortably, He wants to make her happy though and thus he carries her to the bedroom and make love to her.
Ginny leaves the house later, since she refuses to live with him until they are married and she doesn't want to be woken up early the next morning when Harry has to leave. She kisses him goodbye and makes him promise once more not to forget about her. Harry soon drifts off to sleep wondering if his lack of enthusiasm about sex means that something is wrong with him in that department, but then he thinks that all of his energy goes into his job and his attempts to keep Ginny happy. So it probably has to be that way.
But the dreams that he has that night make his body tingle and his cock hard as a rock, so that he wakes up to sticky sheets. He refuses to think about this at this moment and fixes himself breakfast. He has a patient to get to and he will need to concentrate fully on this for now. His own troubles have to wait for a while.
He is drifting in and out of consciousness. The beeping sound alerts him to his imminent return to wakefulness and he clenches his eyes shut, trying to keep the surroundings out. He refuses to react to any of the questions that are directed at him and he simply lies there waiting. What use is there for someone to prod his mind again and again. He has his mind made up, next time he will do it cleanly and efficiently, no dallying with potions anymore. No for him Avada it will have to be. He shudders a little at the thought, but at least then there is no way to fail again. A female voice continues to talk to him, but he tunes her out. Hasn't she done enough damage? If she would have just accepted his efforts, if she had just given him more time all would have worked out. But she had to make him see how much of a failure he truly was, didn't she? If she had never insisted on going to the healers. Now she sits there next to his bed crying her eyes out, but he refuses to wake up, refuses to look at her and absolve her of her guilt. He turns his face away from her, at least he can move his head again. The rest of his body is still in a bind. The healers wash him daily and he is fed through nutrient potions. He knows all that because he is wide awake, behind closed eyes, know all that because he hears every word they say, but he refuses to communicate with them. There is nothing left to say.
Harry has never been more grateful for translation charms than he is right now. The nurse talks a mile an hour and his meagre French would have never been enough, He hasn't really slept well and feels a mix of fear and resolve. Draco Malfoy needs someone on his side and he is a little afraid of the condition that he might be in. The nurse explains that Draco refuses to talk to anybody and that the Healer will fill him in soon. And then sooner that Harry has thought, he is led to the ward where Draco lies and he sees his former rival prone on the bed.
Harry feels his heart clench at the sight in front of him. Draco is pale, almost as if the little colour that has made him human has bled from him and a ghost is held in stasis on the bed instead. Harry swallows and takes the numbers showing up in regular patterns above him. The nurse waits for a while and when it becomes clear that Harry will not address her, she huffs a little and announces that she will now fetch Healer Antoine. Harry nods distractedly and continues to absorb the sight infront of him.
Healer Antoine is a gentle wizards in his fifties, he greets Harry in a friendly manner and asks him to come to his office. He indicates for Harry to sit down and fusses a little with the teapot before he sets the fragrant cup down in front of him. Harry smiles gratefully and sips at the hot beverage, trying to sort through the mess that his thoughts are at the moment, when the french healer breaks the silence.
"Mr Potter, I hope you had a bonne voyage?"
"Yes thank you, it is just..."
"You do wonder why we requested you specifically?" Healer Antoine smiles beatifically.
Harry feels his face grow hot. "Well yes, sir. I am not even fully qualified yet, and Healer Highgroove was not really happy about your request if I may be so honest with you."
Healer Antoine grins at that. "Ah yes Healer Highgroove, well let me tell you that nobody would have made him happy, he thinks Healers in training are no good until they have finished every single test. But this case, well it is different, and I have to think foremost about my patient. I know that you are familiar with Draco Malfoy?"
"We went to school together." Harry doesn't feel comfortable divulging the true nature of their interactions.
"A nice way to put this." Healer Antoine is not fazed in the least."Mr Potter, I know what your relationship was like. And it might be well that you used to rile each other and push each other to outdo the other." His face turns serious. "How much has Highgroove told you about the case?"
Harry has a dry throat all of a sudden. "Nothing Sir, he gave me the file and I am ashamed to admit that I have lost Draco Malfoy out of my sight once he left England. The last thing that was in the papers in England was that he had gotten married."
"Ah yes." The old wizard looks sad at that. "that explains so much."
"Sorry Sir?" Harry inquires
"Draco has been with us for two weeks now, he has not responded to any of our approaches, but in the night when he got here first and we had to treat him with a high dosage of the Wiggenweld Potion, he gained consciousness for a moment and begged us to let him go." Antoine fixates Harry's face and he knows that he won't like what comes next. "He called out your name, called that you would understand. He didn't call for his wife or parents. He called for you."
The healer shakes his head and continues to talk. "I have seen many patients go, but the desperation in his voice has gotten even to me. I can't keep him that much longer if he doesn't show signs of improvement soon. I will have no choice but to send him to the longterm ward."
"What do you need me to do, Sir?" Harry feels like he has been punched in the gut.
"I need you to talk to him. If he responds to you, we can work with the normal procedure for mind-healing, but if there is no response at all I am running out of options."
"So I will go in and just talk to him?" Harry is halfway out of the chair when he remembers one question.
"Sir, there is one thing that was not in the file, but who has brought Draco Malfoy into the hospital?"
Antoine smiles. "His houseelf Tilly went to the family healer as soon as he had imbibed the potion. His last order had been for her to go where she wanted. And since he had access to the house he got there in time and brought him in."
Harry feels a pang of sadness at the thought that the only creature left to care for Draco was a houseelf and he remembers Kreacher who always mutters about Ginny being good for nothing.
"I will go to him straight away, Sir." And with that he leaves the office and heads back to the ward. He notices a young woman sitting outside of the ward, staring at Draco's still form on the bed and the steady rise and fall of his chest. She stares unseeing and Harry leaves her to her musings for now.
Of course they cannot simply allow him to leave, they have to prolong his failure. But then a voice breaks through the monotony of his days. Had they really done this to him? Why would she do this to him? The little voice inside of him telling him that maybe there were people who didn't want him to die, who wanted him here, was ruthlessly squashed. He had to focus on his final goal, and he had to fool whomever he needed to fool. He was a Slytherin, but if they brought in whom he feared then this was going to be harder than he thought. But first he had to confirm what he feared and for that he had to open his eyes.He didn't want to but the voice was coaxing, gentle, so different from what he knew about this voice. It sounded as if it actually cared. And somewhere deeply buried beneath the resolve to die was a tiny part of him, begging for someone to care for him, just once just for him. It was a fight to open his eyes but he managed and he focuses on the man who stands next to the bed on which he lies. The first thing he sees is the distinctive mop of hair. Because the man sits with his face buried in his hands. So if he wants to look at his old rival, because of course he has to make him aware that he can see him. He will always recognize Harry Potter, and the fact that he his here, is wonderful and awful at the same time. Suddenly there are so many emotions boiling inside him, the sob has torn itself from his lips before he can control it, and then he can't take it back, it hangs in the air between them.
Harry's head rucks up immediately and their eyes lock. For a moment no one exists, only green and grey and Draco feels pinned. Harry smiles gently at him, and then there are words.
"Hello Draco, there you are." the voice is like a caress and he wants to hate the feeling this voice induces in him. How can he do this to him? How dare he wake hope inside of him, when he needs to hold onto the despair in order to fulfil his goal? But still his mouth doesn't obey and he hears his own voice croak, hoarse from disuse.
"Hey Potter." But Potter grins as if he has just declared his undying love. And he feels something tug at the corner of his mouth, only recognizing it as the remnant of a smile when Harry clasps his hand and squeezes it gently. It probably is not professional, but when has it ever been professional between the two of them.
Harry is terrified, when he enters the room. Draco hasn't responded to fully trained healers and now here he is, trying to reach him. He sits down and observes Draco for a while, and then the words start to flow.
"What have you done now, Draco? How sad must you be to do something so drastic. Has there been truly no one who could have seen the desperation growing inside of you? They told me you had really prepared everything, your will and even the clothes for your funeral. You have always been so meticulous, I shouldn't be surprised. But goddamn Draco do you know what this is doing to me? Seeing you like this, so much wasted potential." and he feels so lost and sad right then and there, he has never given the former Slytherin much thought, too caught up in his own life, but it that an excuse? Is it an excuse to forget about the man who has always stirred something inside of him, and even if it was only anger.
"I wish you had someone to talk to. Maybe you will let me in." There is no reaction but then a soft voice interrupts his monologue.
"I should have never asked for a divorce."
Harry looks at the young woman who has stepped up next to the bed. He has seen her stand outside the ward and he half wonders if she knows that Draco probably doesn’t want to see her anymore. But before he can voice his concerns the woman continues to speak.
“Leaving you alone, with all of these expectations.” She stretches out her hand and it trembles, but she doesn’t touch. Instead she turns to Harry and looks at him with a sad smile.
“You might have guessed already but I am Astoria Greengrass. I am Draco’s ex-wife.”
Harry feels weary, but he needs to listen to her in order to find a way to get through to Draco. So he turns towards Astoria and looks at her
“I wish the circumstances were better, but I hope you can help me understand what drove your husband to this desperate action.”
She breathes deeply and pulls herself together, Harry admires her strength when she quietly begins to talk.
“Draco and I have been betrothed directly after the war. My parents wanted to profit from the Malfoy fortune and I wasn’t strong enough to refuse. So I went along and we got married once Draco and his parents wanted to leave England.”
“Were you happy?” The question is loaded.
“What is happiness?” Her eyes are sad.” I didn’t love him, not at first. I cared for him and I wanted him to be content in life. And yes I hoped that love would come later.”
Harry knows that purebloods are handling things differently, but hearing her talk so candidly about it makes his skin crawl. Astoria continues her tale.
“Narcissa and Lucius, left soon after our marriage and continued to travel further south. Draco communicated with them via owl, weekly.” She smiles bitterly. “The only question that was of interest to them was if I had conceived already. We tried for 18 months.”
Harry gently enquires. “Have you both been tested for any medical issues?” he feels for the young woman next to him.
The sound that she makes is something between a sob and a laugh. “Yes and that was the absolute end, of whatever had existed between Draco and I. I am perfectly healthy.”
Harry understands with a startling clarity. So Draco gave in to his parents demand to get married and then failed to conceive and heir even though his wife was healthy. If he didn’t love her to begin with that must have been a severe hit.
“Draco has been hit with Cruciatus too often when the dark Lord stayed with them, he will never have biological children. He took the news very badly.”
She falls silent and Harry knows that she is holding something back.
“Astoria?” he asks gently. She shivers and tears are in her eyes, but she pulls herself together and looks at him once more.
“Draco and I had difficulties, even while trying to conceive, with intimacy. But once it was clear that Draco was sterile, he stopped touching me at all. He told me that very evening that the only reason he married me was to provide an heir, that he wasn’t attracted to me or women in general. He withdrew further over the next few months and refused to talk to me. I tried, but he just shut me out.”
She is a strong woman and even though the outcome has been so horrific, Harry smiles at her. “So you asked him for the separation?”
“Yes I thought, that he would be free to pursue someone he could love, once I was out of the picture. But he just looked at me and told me to get out - we finalized the divorce a couple months later and we went our separate ways. And the next thing I hear from him is that he tried to kill himself. We weren’t happy Mr Potter, but I feel that I should have tried harder.”
“You are here. You care for him. You are trying your very best.”
“Thank you Mr. Potter.” She gives him a shaky smile and gets up. “I will leave now but I hope you can get him to wake up. He deserves a chance at happiness, someone needs to make it clear that there is more to life than having a biological child, and that he hasn’t failed at life, just because that is not in his future.”
There are still many question burning in Harry’s mind but he realizes that the afternoon has gone almost entirely. He watches Draco for a while longer, continues to talk to him and when there is no response he rests his head in his hands.
“Draco please, wake up. You are not alone here, and you are most definitely not a failure.”
His heart feels heavy, and he rests his head in his hands when he hears it. A soft broken sound almost a sob.
Harry's looks up immediately and his eyes fixate on Draco. For a moment time is suspended, and he is drinking the soft grey in, the tired lines in Draco’s face. The smile is breaking out on his face without control, and then there are words.
"Hello Draco, there you are."
“Hey Potter.” Draco sounds exhausted, but right now Harry only feels relief. He checks Draco’s vitals and finds them to be in the normal range.
“So Draco.” He finds this part incredibly difficult, but the protocol demands that he tries to figure out what has triggered Draco. “Why was I called?”
“I thought that is obvious. I tried to kill myself.”
“But why?” Harry genuinely wants to understand and he addresses the issue. “Explain it to me, please.”
“What is the use of me staying alive? I am absolutely useless. Astoria has told you all about our issues I am sure.”
Harry shakes his head. “She only told me that you won’t have a biological child. And that you had issues in your marriage, she cares for you.”
“Issues” Draco snorts unmalfoylike before continuing bluntly “I don’t love her, I was always honest about that. And I can’t provide an heir for the family. But she had to go ahead and divorce me as well. Because I was such a disappointment to her. My parents will find another heir, they are not that old and ….”
“Do you even hear yourself, Draco?” Harry blurts out. “Your mother requested specifically that St Mungo’s sent me here. Astoria has been here for every single day. Your houseelf loves you enough to go against your direct wishes. Do you know how many people don’t even have that much going for them?”
“But I feel like I belong nowhere. I had to leave England, but France is not home either. I have no purpose in life, and I hoped that with a child…”
“You would have a purpose.” Harry nods. It sounds so painfully reasonable, when Draco puts it like this.
“Yes” it sounds small.
“But Draco, you don’t need a biological child to find a purpose in life. You are brilliant at potions and you still have Teddy who is family. Who will need all the familial ties that he can get.”
Wide grey eyes search his face, and Harry talks softly to Draco.
“When your houseelf loves you so much, that she wants you to live so desperately. I think you are a rich person. You don’t have a way right now, but I am sure you can find one. It doesn’t mean that you have to live a lie just to make your father happy, by living a life that he wanted for you.”
Harry swallows dryly, he feels warm under Draco’s clear gaze and then the question he has feared slightly stands in the room.
“Are you happy Harry?”
“Harry! There is a letter waiting for you in the staff room” Mrya is all but bouncing on her toes and Harry has to smile. She has grown to be such a great friend and coworker over time. She links their arms and draw him towards the room, continuing to chatter.
“How is Teddy, have you seen him the weekend?”
“Yes I have, he is totally enamoured with the smurfle that Draco has brought him from Brazil, Andromeda is not all that happy about having a pet, but she is indulging Teddy.” He doesn’t need to say that she is indulging Draco as well, who loves to spoil the little boy.
Sure enough the letter waiting for him, bears the by now familiar chrest and if his heart beats just a tiny bit faster in Harry’s chest, well that is his to figure out, As it is he opens the parchment and reads on a smile spreads over his face.
in our last discussion you told me, that should I ever travel to Asia, you would like to come along. it might have been a joke at the time but as it is my next expedition will lead me from South Korea via Japan to China. You told me once in passing, that you wanted to explore meditative techniques in order to specialize further.
Maybe you can take some of that holiday time that you have amassed and actually come along. Let me know what you think.
Harry laughs softly, folds the letter and looks at Myra.
“What would you say, if I took of to Asia for a couple weeks?”
She whoops and pats his shoulder, all but pushing him to hand in the request immediately.
Standing outside the hospital later that afternoon, the answer already written in his head, he feels lighter than he has in months.
Life looks good with the prospect of travel with Draco and new experiences lying ahead of him.