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peace of mind

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Draco didn’t cry. He didn’t cry when the swinging doors to the Med Bay closed. He didn’t cry when the two Healers approached him with a mix of dread, anxiety, and pity on their faces. He just stood there stiffly, against the wall, listening to their shoes squeak on the freshly-mopped linoleum floor. He watched as the two pairs of feet stopped in front of him.

“Hi, Mr. Malfoy, I’m Healer Beatrice. Please, let’s all sit down.”

“I’ll stand.”

The head Healer smoothed down the front of her green robes, fingers trembling just the slightest bit. “Will...will your father be joining us-?”

“No.”

The two Healers exchanged a glance.

“Mr Malfoy, I’m sorry to bring you this news. Usually Draughts of Peace are innocuous, but this case differed from the usual. We weren’t able to get the antidote to her in time, as overdoses on it are quite rare,” the head Healer began. “I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but she died--passed away--at approximately 2:22AM.”

“We’re sorry,” the junior healer repeated, a hint of pity in his dark eyes. “We tried our best.”

The only indication that Draco was listening at all was the way that his lips pinched together tighter and tighter, until it was a thin, white line.

“We’ll send a social worker to help you with preparing the documents and the upcoming process.” Healer Beatrice held out a small business card.

Wordlessly, Draco let it float up and slip into his breast pocket.

“Sorry,” the younger healer said again, head bowed as he followed his senior down the hallway and back into the swinging open doors. The head Healer murmured something and the sound was soon lost to the empty, ringing silence.

Draco felt bile rising, bitter and acrid in his throat. Suddenly, he turned around and leaned forward, dry-heaving as his arm pressed against the cold tile of the wall.

No one else came through the hallway until morning.

***

The social worker had little to say. She looked terribly agitated, one hand on her wand and the other on her purse. All she asked him was if he wanted to donate anything from Narcissa’s will, since everything had been left to him. Draco turned down the suggestion and asked Gringotts to freeze her private account. Gringotts obliged, but reluctantly. The Ministry had drained much of the Malfoy savings for reparations already, and the goblins knew that before long, they would be coming for the other savings too.

Then, when the time came, Draco attended the funeral and watched the ceremony. He did not greet anyone or give any moving speeches. There was no point. The one person that he would have liked to give a speech of this sort to wasn’t here.

And Lucius Malfoy was in Azkaban.

So Draco went home, to the big, hollow Manor. He sealed up the West Wing and went to bed and tried not to wake up but could never sleep. So though the days were getting longer and longer, Draco didn’t do much. The house-elves nagged at him to eat, but more often than not, the trays they left for him remained untouched. Most days, he sat on the cream carpet, back against the wall, a silver blade in his hands.

Sometimes, the blade showed him a glimpse of fine, blonde hair, or the delicate curve of a hand touching a basin, or a potion bubbling in a cauldron. When it showed him these brief moments, Draco would hold very still, a breath held between his lips until the ghostly image vanished and the blade became blank once more. Occasionally, the edge of the knife slipped, carving a dash of red against the pale white of his skin. But the knife never stained. It remained mesmerizing and cold no matter how long he held it, like clutching at a sliver of moonlight. Draco liked the feeling of it.

One morning, Draco heard voices spill in from the crack in his window. He idly watched the light from the blade glint against the ceiling, and thought about going to sleep.

From the gap in the curtains he saw that it was bright out, the sun beaming down upon the Manor. There wasn’t a cloud in sight. The fields were brilliantly green despite the dry summer and wildflowers filled the unweeded gardens. Blood-red roses poked out stubbornly between dandelions, like drops of blood against a sea of gold. At the ornate, wrought-iron gate, a small trio was gathered, heads close together in furious conversation.

Draco flicked a finger and the window slammed shut, the curtains swirling together and drenching the room in darkness. He leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes.

***

“There’s no point,” Pansy hissed, black eyes flicking rapidly between the two Slytherins who stood before her. “There’s no point. He won’t see you. He won’t even see me.”

“Then why are you here, Parkinson? Why did you tell us to come?” Blaise demanded, a scowl pulling at his lips.

“Well someone has to make sure he hasn’t done anything to himself,” Pansy snapped.

“He wouldn’t. Probably.” Blaise didn’t look too confident. “I mean, he’s court-ordered to return to Hogwarts this fall, isn’t he?”

“You think a court order will do anything to persuade a Malfoy?” Theo gaped at Blaise, who had resumed peering through the iron spirals in the gate.

“And Pansy thought some wards were going to stop me,” Blaise replied, already pulling his wand out from his back pocket.

Theo yanked him back from the gate. “Are you quite mad? Have you gone insane?”

“We very well can’t stand here forever.” Blaise shrugged. “It’s this or call St. Mungos.”

“I, for one, don’t want to be crippled permanently by one of Draco’s wards,” Theo said. “Let’s call St. Mungo’s.”

“Would the two of you stop and actually figure something out?” Pansy burst out. She scrubbed at her face with her palms. “He hasn’t answered my owls in weeks. I haven’t heard a word since the funeral. I’m not even sure if he attended his own hearing.”

Theo slung an arm around Pansy, wordlessly pulling her closer as Blaise’s face grew somber. The War hadn’t taken much of a toll on Blaise, as he’d fled to France with his mother before the worst of it. But he’d seen the aftermath. The endless hearings, trials, witness examinations, Veritaserum doses--to miss any of the orders was essentially an admission of guilt, especially if you were associated in any way with the wrong sort during the War. If Draco had missed a hearing, it wouldn’t be long before a warrant would be out for his arrest. If a warrant wasn’t out already.

“It’ll be alright, Pans. We’ll sort it out.”