Being a healer was invigorating, constantly challenging and it was the perfect environment for Draco Malfoy to thrive. He could feel the adrenaline pumping as he prepared the interns for triage, a sense of purpose as he gave out the last recommendations.
“There’s been an accident during an Auror operation, the field medics have stabilized everyone and they’re sending them in. There are civilians involved, some muggles.”
He listed off all the relevant information as they booked it down to the emergency room.
“Don’t forget to account for magical resonance and careful with the memory spells you will be performing on the muggles,” he reminded them. It was something they must have heard a thousand times during training but one more couldn’t hurt if it kept them from making stupid and potentially fatal mistakes.
He gave a short pleased nod when he received a choir of ‘Yes, Healer Malfoy’s.
A few moments later the field medics started coming in, quickly listing the condition of each patient, letting him call the shots on how to proceed. The room was his stage and the teams worked like a well oiled machine, proceeding smoothly until...
“Auror Potter. Male. 32. Spell laceration on his chest and potion damage on the left side. Heavy blood loss. We can’t cauterize, we put him in stasis.”
Malfoy had a split second of hesitation before he jumped into action.
“Give him a dose of blood replenisher. Test for magic residue on the laceration. Send the potion to be analyzed and strengthen the stasis. I’ll take this one.” He pointed the medic to a free room and directed the last few coming in to the appropriate care before running into Potter’s room, wand already in hand. The goal was to keep him breathing long enough for them to close up his chest and take care of the potion eating through his uniform and his body.
As soon as he walked in the room time seemed to stretch, marked by the beeping of the monitoring spells. He felt the usual calm wash over him as he cast the sanitization spell on himself. His hands steadied, his mind cleared and with the next breath his power centered and he was in action.
"We can't cauterize, Healer Malfoy, there's too much residue."
He rolled up his sleeves and walked up to the bed. "Get me a temporary patch," he called, vanishing the blood to get a clear picture of the wound.
Of course they couldn't close him up, the curse that hit him had left so much magical residue on him that there wasn't an edge they could touch without entering into resonance with it and killing Potter faster than he was already dying on his own. He studied the details trying to find a good spot to anchor the patch someone placed in his left hand. He had a finite number of problems and only one goal: keep Potter’s lungs pumping and his heart beating at any cost. One problem at a time in the right order and the patient lives.
"What's the status on the potion damage?" he asked, touching the patch with the tip of his wand and murmuring the quick incantation to activate it.
"Healer Dana took a sample to be analyzed to get the neutralizer ready," someone told him.
"Spreading factor?" He asked, carefully placing the patch on Potter's chest.
"We doubled the stasis, it's almost zero," was the reply he got immediately.
"Good," he murmured. Now if only the patch would stick... "Get me another one," he called. He threw away the one he was holding once it got too soaked in blood to be any use. He could hear Potter's heartbeat slowing down as he struggled to apply the next one and stop the bleeding.
As he threw the second away, Potter’s breathing started to fail and the pressure plummeted. There weren’t enough clear edges to make a patch stick.
He picked up two, he could make them adhere to each other, reach outside the damaged area and anchor them there, covering the whole laceration and then some. It wouldn’t be as durable but at that point durable wasn’t a priority.
He heard Aadhya come back in and administer the neutralizer. Potter's breathing eased a little, giving Draco a few more precious seconds to fail in applying the double patch.
"Healer, we're losing the heartbeat," a nurse warned him as he discarded it.
"I can hear that," he replied, struggling to keep his voice steady as he watched Potter bleed out on the table for a long second, while he weighed his options.
He couldn’t operate in this condition, but he couldn’t very well watch the Savior of the Wizarding World die under his hands. He needed to get rid of the residue and there was only one way to do that fast enough to make the difference.
"Everybody clear. Dana, give me a read on the residue," he called, climbing on the table.
He pressed the tip of his wand to Potter's sternum, muttering an incantation until a bright light started shining from the point of contact. Draco could feel Potter's power reaching out from his core like an overflowing spring. The amount of raw power at his fingertips was staggering, it was a tide rising, but Draco didn’t have time to be awed. He stuck his wand between his teeth and plunged his hands in the warm syrupy light, pulling all that unbridled power out to burn through the magic residue contaminating Potter’s wounds. He gritted his teeth against the pain of somebody else’s magic coursing through him in that amount and with that violence. It was a wonder Potter didn’t explode carrying all that fire inside him every day. He braced against the onslaught, he only needed a few more moments. Aadhya’s voice was anchoring him, giving him a steady count down as the level of residue dropped steadily.
“Get ready to patch him,” he called.
Potter heartbeat flatlined and his power started to retreat almost immediately. Draco pushed against it, ignoring the strain on his shoulders. They weren’t safe yet. He needed just a little more. Just a moment more, he clenched his teeth on his wand pouring everything he had into it.
He felt time stop around him as Aadhya finally called out the safety zone and he could pull out.
“Patch him!” He watched, out of breath as the intern activated the patch and slapped it on Potter’s chest.
The next second stretched out to cover the span of centuries. Nobody was breathing, the only sound in the room the steady drone of a monitoring spell flatlining until it lilted with a new heartbeat and it kickstarted the universe again.
Everyone started breathing again and time started flowing around them, Draco climbed down the table and collapsed in a chair, barely able to holster his wand with his hands shaking with the effort.
“Good job everyone,” He called as Potter’s vitals gradually evened out.
Potter was stable. The values were nowhere near strong but he wasn’t actively dying anymore, which was a win in Draco’s book.
“Wrap up his arm and his side, give him a dose of painkillers and get him settled in a private room. He’s going to need another blood replenisher in an hour,” he told the nearest nurse. “Let him sleep the stasis off and call me when he wakes up,” he added, clenching his fists to stop the shaking of his hands, trying to get some feelings back into the tips of his fingers.
Draco had had an abstract concept of Potter being powerful, he’d read the reports of his dashing heroism in the Prophet . Tapping into his core was a completely different experience. And thank Merlin for that ridiculous amount of untapped power, any less and Draco would have ended up being the one with his hands elbow deep in the Saviour’s chest when he kicked the bucket. The Prophet would have had a field day with that headline.
Draco wasn’t sure how long he sat there, covered in Potter’s blood, reeling from the aftermath of tapping into his core, but at some point someone came in looking for him.
“Healer Malfoy, mrs Weasley is here asking for you,” Nurse Roberts told him.
“Molly?” he asked, shaken out of his daze.
Draco nodded. “Right, Granger,” he hummed, standing up and moving to head out and talk with the family.
“Healer Malfoy.” The nurse stopped him before he could leave the room, looking at him like he was an idiot for missing something obvious.
It took him a moment to catch up to what she was looking at. He was still covered in blood, he pulled out his wand and vanished everything, casting a sanitizing spell for safety. He could still feel all of it on his hands but at least he wouldn’t traumatize Potter’s friends.
He holstered his wand and rolled down his sleeves, covering the holster over the faded mark on his left arm. He attracted enough side eyes already without walking around with his mark exposed. Granger and Weasley were waiting for him in an almost empty waiting room, huddled together in a pose he’d become very familiar with during his career. It was the same hunched shoulders, the same clenched hands, the same expectant eyes that met his every time he came out of emergency surgery, the same hope weighing on his shoulders every time, this time tinged with their surprise after recognizing him and realizing he was there for them.
He shook both their hands and sat down with them.
“How is he?” Granger asked, forgoing any pleasantries. She pinned him in place with her fierce eyes, like she just might be able to see the answer she wanted if she looked hard enough.
“We managed to stabilize him,” he replied, watching all the tension bleed out of them both immediately, a soft curse coming from Weasley as he breathed out his relief. “He’s sleeping off the stasis now, the mediwixen did an excellent job getting him here in time,” he continued after giving them a moment to enjoy the relief.
“What’s the prognosis?” Granger asked just as Weasley cut in with “When can we see him?”
“You will be able to see him once he wakes up,” he started with the easiest question, taking a moment to decide how to best respond to Granger’s question. “There were complications during surgery. We couldn’t operate on the spell damage, we had to employ an uncommon procedure but we managed to stop the bleeding with a temporary patch that should buy him enough time to flush out the external magic residue. At that point we’ll be able to fully heal him. He will also need major tissue reconstruction on his left arm and part of his side,” he explained, calmly walking them through what happened during the operation.
“It’s nothing he can’t recover from but it will take some time and he will need some physical therapy to regain full mobility.” Granger nodded along as he talked, drinking up every word. He didn’t doubt she understood everything he was telling them. He knew it wasn’t the first time they found themselves in this position and without a doubt she did her research every time, Granger never was one to come unprepared, he suspected she might be more prepared than some of his trainees.
He watched her squeeze Weasley’s hand for a moment and struggle with herself. There was something she clearly wanted to ask. He waited for her to get her thoughts in order.
“Was there something else you wanted to ask?” he prompted, gently encouraging her to speak her mind. She exchanged a look with Weasley, something unspeakable passing through them in that single moment of connection. He stomped down the fleeting pang of jealousy at that quick exchange.
“How can we help?” she asked eventually, determination settling in her stance, her shoulders straightening as she faced him head on.
“Be present,” Draco replied easily. “Recovery is going to be a slow process. Knowing Potter he’ll want to rush through it or just skip it altogether,” He told them, it was maybe a little presumptuous of him to talk as if he knew what kind of man Potter actually was after all the years that had gone by. He was relieved to see a half smile spreading on Granger’s face and an amused snort coming from Weasley.
“Make sure he sticks to the program once he starts rehab, celebrate the small victories, it can become frustrating when results don’t come fast enough. Other than that there isn’t much you could do aside from keeping him entertained during the early stages of recovery.” Granger nodded, now armed with a purpose she’d shed the lost look that greeted him when he walked in.
“It’s going to take a few hours for him to wake up, you might want to get something to eat while you wait, I’ll send someone to call you when he’s ready for visitors,” he told them, getting up to go back to work.
“Thank you, Malfoy,” Weasley told him, standing as well. “I’m going to call mum and let her know,” he said to Granger, dropping a quick kiss to her forehead before getting out of the room.
“I’m glad it’s you in charge of his care,” Granger looked up at him with an unreadable look in her eyes.
“You are?” Draco asked, unable to mask the surprise in his voice. Of all the things he expected any of them to say that wasn’t one of them.
Hermione gave him a small smile. “At least I know he won’t be able to push around his healer to get the answers he likes.” She shrugged.
Draco couldn’t stop the tentative smile stretching his lips. “That does sound a lot like something Potter would do,” he agreed. “Thank you for the vote of confidence but I should really get back to work,” he told her, feeling an odd warmth inside his chest.
Granger nodded. “Of course, don’t let me keep you, and thank you again for sitting down with us.”
Draco shook his head. “It’s just my job, Granger,” he told her before heading out to make a round to check on all the other people that got in at the same time as Potter. He had a vague hope to find a moment to grab a shower and get the lingering feeling of blood off of him but didn’t count on it too much.
Earlier that day
Harry could tell there was something off as soon as they stepped inside the building. It had been too easy, too obvious, the smuggled goods were too valuable to have such loose security. He signaled to his team to follow him inside. He didn’t like that they were so exposed, in the middle of muggle London they couldn’t employ anything too obvious for fear of alerting muggles and having to deal with Unspeakables coming out for a massive Obliviation, so they were flying mostly blind.
He felt it the moment they triggered the trap. Just a split second to react, enough to throw up a shield when the roof started caving in and yell at the others to get out of the way. Then something hit him square in the chest, cutting off his breath, followed by a liquid splashing over his side burning up like acid the moment it made contact, the sounds of explosions going off around him, judging by the amount of noise the building was collapsing.
After that there was only pain.
And blessed darkness a moment later.
With the startling realization that he was intimately familiar with the sound of a building collapsing around him.
The next thing he knew he was waking up in an unfamiliar place.
No, it wasn’t unfamiliar.
It was a room in st Mungo’s.
He could recognize the annoying nondescript blueish-greenish color of the walls around him even without his glasses.
The tingle of sanitizing spells made him wrinkle his nose just like always.
Waking up from stasis was always a trip. He could barely feel his body but he was fairly sure it was all still there as far as he could tell. He felt like someone had wrung him out and tossed him aside, but at least he was in one piece. Probably.
He was just starting to take stock of what he was feeling when he heard someone walk in.
“Welcome back to the land of the living, Auror Potter.” A cool somewhat familiar voice greeted him. Something inside him was pushing him to recognize the drawl of the man speaking to him. He squinted a little to put the mint green robe into focus, looking up at the face framed by platinum blonde hair escaped from a neat ponytail.
“Malfoy?” he asked.