“Draco implied that it was Castiel’s emotions that were the source of your need to keep moving,” Harry said leaning up against the motel sink, while Sam paced just in front of him blinking away the last of his tears. “But, if they’re in heaven – why would Castiel be feeling that need so strongly? Wouldn’t... wouldn’t he be happy?”
Harry watched as Sam bit his lip and studied the kitchen counter for a little bit. Off in the corner of the room Till was chanting healing spells in a low tone. Harry had to admit that he still felt a little shaken by what had happened to Draco – he had never intended, nor expected, Draco to put himself in harm’s way like that. If Till hadn’t been there...
“The last time we were in heaven, we had to run too,” Sam said. “Castiel isn’t that popular. He... rebelled for us and he killed Raphael... and then with the... god thing – he killed a bunch of angels who had been loyal to Raphael. It might be... it might be that there are angels out for revenge or... something. When we found the tablet, um, there was this kid, and the angels came to look after him, and when they saw Castiel... there was a bunch of yelling.”
“So, they’re in heaven, but they might be on the run?” Harry summed up.
“They could be following Dean’s road,” Sam nodded, “or maybe laying low with Ash.”
Harry wasn’t sure what that meant, but Sam was smiling slightly at the thought, and so Harry decided it must be a good thing.
“The kid?” Harry changed the topic. “Was that the young man in your memory – the one that Crowley took? Was he the prophet that you mentioned before?”
“Kevin,” Sam answered, with a deep breath and a sad look. “He was the prophet, yeah. He was a good kid.”
“Was?” Harry couldn’t help but ask, but he knew the answer in the way Sam’s eyes closed.
“Maybe... if I had found him right away,” Sam said. “But... I had to drive, I had to... I had to get out of there. I couldn’t... I couldn’t let anyone find me. And maybe that was Cas’ thoughts, I don’t know, but they felt like mine. And then the next thing I know, it’s months later and... there’s no way Crowley’d keep him alive that long.”
“Do you know what he wanted with him?”
Sam shook his head. “Maybe leverage against the angels? It’s their job to protect the prophets – so, I mean... hey, maybe they rescued him – or, maybe he’s in Heaven with Cas and Dean.”
It said a lot, Harry thought, that the death of a friend was considered a good thing for Sam, just as long as he went to the right place.
“Maybe,” Harry smiled back, though he felt how sad a smile it was. “So, how about you, Sam? What are your plans?”
Sam shrugged. “I guess... I’m needed here. The dog- I have to... It’s my fault he’s hurt.”
“It was an accident,” Harry argued.
Till joined them in the kitchen then. Harry looked across the room to see that Draco was asleep on the sofa.
“No, you were right, I was too tired to be driving – my reflexes were shot,” Sam replied, then caught sight of Till and changed tracks immediately. “Is Draco okay?”
“There should be no lasting damage,” Till reported. “But he needs a lot of rest, and may suffer from headaches for a while until he recovers fully.”
Harry breathed a sigh of relief and amazement – there had been so much blood, and the brain was such a delicate thing... it was amazing what magic could do. Or, rather, what Till could do.
“How about you?” Sam asked, and Harry was confused for a moment before Sam continued and Harry realized that he was asking about Till. “You look beat. Did you do that magic exhaustion thing?”
Harry could see it now, Till was pale – well, more pale than usual, and a little drawn. Till smiled softly though, and just said, “I’m okay, Sam, thank you.”
“Why don’t you take the bed and have a nap, man,” Sam urged. “I’ll go grab some food – sound good?”
Till looked over at the bed with a look that Harry couldn’t decipher; it was either disbelief or longing. Either way, Harry had to agree with Sam on this one – his field medic deserved a nap. So, when Till looked over at Draco and then back at Harry, Harry just nodded towards the bed. “Go on, I’ll keep an eye on Malfoy.”
“Thank you,” Till said, and went over to sit on the bed and remove his shoes.
Sam picked up the keys to the Impala.
“You’re not going to drive across the state instead of getting lunch, are you?” Harry asked.
Sam shook his head. “All my stuff is here,” he shrugged. Then paused and reached behind him, pulling out a handgun. Harry raised his eyebrows. Sam put the gun down on the counter carefully. “That’s Dean’s gun. I’d come back for that, even if I went crazy again.”
“It’s not necessary, Sam,” Harry said. “It was a poor joke on my part.”
“It’s fair,” Sam said. “I’ll see you in a bit.”
Harry watched Sam pull the door closed behind him, and then stared at the pearl handled gun on the table with its decorative engravings. He took a deep breath and tried not to think of the man who once held it.
Draco woke up to Sam’s voice.
“Hey, buddy, you feeling okay?”
“M’fine,” Draco mumbled his answer as he blinked awake.
Sam laughed, pulling Draco’s full attention to where Sam stood at the end of the sofa.
“I was talking to the dog, but good to hear it, man,” Sam explained, smiling. Draco raised his head and saw there was some sort of shepherd dog curled up in the chair by the sofa. It had a blue cast on and was looking up at Sam with a rather pathetic look on its face.
“Oh,” Draco said. “How long have I been asleep?”
“Not that long,” Sam answered.
Draco sat up and swung his legs off the sofa. He blinked slowly as he felt a slight wave of dizziness wash over him, but it left him clearheaded in its wake so he wasn’t too concerned. “Where are Till and Harry?”
“Till’s asleep,” Sam nodded towards the bed across the room. “Uh, magic exhaustion.” Draco grimaced as he realized just how severe his wounds must have been, if they drove the Healer to exhaustion. “Harry put a sound blocking charm over the bed so we don’t have to worry about waking him. Harry stepped outside to make some phone calls, I think – check in at work, or maybe with his family,” Sam continued, making himself at home on the part of the sofa that Draco’s feet had just vacated. Sam pointed to a container on the coffee table. “We got you some soup, and there’s a sandwich in the fridge if you want it. Harry made it so the soup stays warm, so you don’t have to eat it right away if you don’t feel like it.”
“Hm, thank you,” Draco said, and reached for the soup and little plastic spoon that lay beside it. He did feel empty and weak. He doubted the soup would help, but it also wouldn’t make anything worse.
“You know you shouldn’t have done that, right?” Sam said softly.
“I shouldn’t have soup?” Draco asked, glancing to where he had just stirred the contents of the container.
“You shouldn’t have gone into my head,” Sam replied, rolling his eyes. “You could have died – you almost did die. What the hell were you thinking?”
Draco blew across the soup on his spoon and tried to think about his answer. He tried the soup. It wasn’t that bad, though a little salty for his tastes.
“I knew that was a possibility,” Draco said carefully, “or there was also the possibility of madness. I figured that the latter was the more likely – it’s why Harry couldn’t help when you were dying.” Draco nodded towards the pensieve, to make sure that Sam knew which event he was referring to. “He knew that a mind healer probably couldn’t help that amount of damage, and that they’d most likely go mad in the process. He explained all this to me before I agreed to come.”
“So, why?” Sam asked, insistent.
“I hadn’t planned on it,” Draco replied. “I was just going to look at the memories, and contribute my opinion as to what might have been wrong with you based on those. But, once I realized what was wrong, I... I knew there was a chance that I could fix it. I knew the risks, but I also knew that if I just walked away in order to protect myself... and it’s not like I’d trust another Legilimens to do it. I can’t stand Legilimens. Never trust anyone who can get inside your head, Sam.”
Sam raised an eyebrow and looked significantly at Draco.
“I’m the exception,” Draco clarified, and then ate another spoonful of soup.
“You have a kid, Draco,” Sam pressed. “You shouldn’t take those kinds of risks.”
“Do you think it’s better to die a good man or to live and be a disgrace?” Draco asked. “I’ve been thinking about that ever since Scorpius was born – about what matters more. Ideally, I’d like to be a good man and live, but we don’t always get that choice.”
“Do you wish your father had died?” Sam asked, and Draco felt torn open for a moment – he had been unprepared for Sam to cut through to the heart of the matter.
Draco shook his head. “My father was never a good man,” he explained. “When I was a kid, I thought he was, but I was just... ignorant. I’m not a good man either, really. I’m still – prejudiced, I suppose you’d say. I can’t seem to stop... stop looking down on people who-“ Draco had to stop and take a breath, his heart was suddenly thudding in his chest. He couldn’t look at Sam. “I can’t believe I slept on this sofa – I mean when was the last time it was even washed? I can’t believe you live like this. And part of me really wants to make a nasty comment about Till’s voice – and it’s not even... it’s not even a BAD thing to sound like... or to be... but I can’t stop feeling like it is. And that’s not even the worst of what goes on in my head sometimes.”
Sam huffed out a small laugh and smiled. It wasn’t the reaction Draco had been expecting.
“First off,” Sam said. “I can’t believe I live like this either. It’s never what I wanted – but, it’s also pretty much all I know.” Sam shrugged. “But, the more important thing is that, in my experience, bad people don’t worry about being bad.”
“Listen,” Sam continued. “You said you were ignorant before, and you were – and the difference now is that you’re aware of it – and that’s not nothing. I mean, why haven’t you made fun of Till?”
“Because he doesn’t deserve it,” Draco answered. “It’s not like he can help the way he sounds – and the man just saved my life. I should probably buy him something...” Draco wondered what the Healer might need. He worked with Harry, so maybe a new job? No, he might actually like his job. Maybe a nice cloak or a pocket-watch...
Sam hit him in the arm, not hard enough to jostle the soup, but enough to get Draco’s attention. Draco glared at him on principle and pointedly ate more soup.
“My point,” Sam said, “is that you’re trying. You can recognize the fact that you’re a complete bastard.”
“Thanks, Sam,” Draco said, sarcastic and impolitely around a spoonful of soup.
“I’m serious,” Sam continued. “Listen, you don’t decide to be good and become freakin’ Mother Theresa overnight – it’s a process, and you’re in it.”
“Who?” Draco asked.
Sam laughed, “God, you’re just like- no, he probably would have understood that reference. She was someone people consider a good person. It doesn’t matter. Do you get my point?”
“So, answer my question,” Sam said.
“Do you wish your father had died?” Sam repeated. “Back when you were a kid and you still admired him – do you wish he had died then?”
“No,” Draco replied, frowning down at his soup. “I love him – even now. I just want him to be proud of me, but I don’t think he really understands me – how things have to be different now.” Draco laughed, as he suddenly understood the problem, now that he was trying to explain it.
“What?” Sam asked, smiling to match Draco’s laugh, but obviously confused as to what was funny.
“I spent my whole childhood trying to make my father proud,” Draco explained. “And then the war happened and I... I met Astoria and had Scorpius, and now I’m spending my life trying to make them proud and-”
“And in order to make them proud, you have to disappoint your father.” Sam concluded. “What made you fall for Astoria?”
“She was a better person than I was,” Draco answered. “And ... I’m trying to be the type of person that she deserves, her and Scorpius both.”
“Listen,” Sam said. “I don’t know anything about marriage, and I don’t know anything about being a father... but I do know that... that if you’re trying to be a good person for the sake of your son – that’s great – but you gotta remember that what a kid really wants is just for their father to be around, you know? They just want someone they can depend on. I mean, no matter what he believed, you could always depend on your dad to be there for you, right?”
“Yes,” Draco said. “Even when... when things got really bad, I still... I knew I could depend on him to try his best to help me.”
Sam nodded. “And I bet that’s the best thing about him, isn’t it?”
“So, if you’re trying to be a better father than your dad was – don’t throw out the good with the bad,” Sam said. “I’m willing to bet that Scorpius doesn’t really care if you’re a stuck up prejudiced bastard with a chip on your shoulder-“
“Thanks,” Draco muttered.
“What I’m saying,” Sam rolled his eyes, “is that what Scorpius cares about is that you’re dependable and that you’re THERE. So, don’t go sacrificing your life to save some random idiot from driving his car into the ground.”
Draco sighed. He looked at his soup, which was now just a spoonful of broth at the bottom of the container.
“You’re not a random idiot,” Draco replied, putting the empty container back on the coffee table.
“I’m not worth dying over,” Sam said. “Not when you got people to live for.”
“So,” Draco mused. “You’re opinion is that it’s better to live a long life as a disgrace, than to die a good man.”
“Only if you know you’re a disgrace,” Sam said, slowly, considering, “and only if you got people who need you around.”
Across the room, Till lifted an arm and rubbed at his eyes, then pushed himself to his elbows and blinked a few times. Sam waved at him.
“Well, I’ll consider your opinion,” Draco concluded. He watched as Till furrowed his brow a little, then looked over at the bedside table, picked up his wand, and removed Harry’s silencing charm.
“What was that?” Till asked.
“I said, ‘And how’s Harry’s little minion?’” Draco wished Harry had been in the room for that one.
Till just smiled though, maybe because Sam was laughing.
“Better,” Till answered.
“There’s a sandwich for you in the fridge,” Sam explained. “Harry’s outside making phone calls. Draco just ate a bowl of soup. This is... my dog, I guess.”
Till nodded at the bizarre status report and got out of bed. While Till walked over to the kitchen to get his sandwich, Draco grabbed one of the little throw pillows and transfigured it into another chair. Both Sam and the dog stared a little bug-eyed at the magic, but Till smiled as he came to sit down and thanked him.
“Um, Till?” Sam asked, as soon as Till sat down. “Can you fix my dog?”
“Rude,” Draco said. “At least let him eat his sandwich first.”
Till smiled, but Draco could already tell that it was regretfully. “I don’t think so, Sam –I’m sorry.”
“Statute of Secrecy,” Till answered. “Also, repairing bone is delicate work and I am worn out after stopping Mr. Malfoy’s brain from melting.”
“Melting?” Draco asked.
But Sam was already speaking over him, “Right, okay, but you’ve healed Dean and me before, why would the Statute of Secrecy matter with a dog?”
“You and your brother do not have follow-up appointments with a Muggle doctor,” Till explained. “Unless you are planning to leave town?”
Sam shrugged. “I could, but, no, you’re probably right – I mean, it’s not so bad here, and the dog needs a routine.”
“Melting?” Draco repeated.
“Yes,” Till said. “How do you feel?”
“Concerned,” Draco answered.
Till nodded, taking a bite out of his sandwich as though he told people that they had melting brains every day. Maybe he did – Draco had no idea what Harry’s job entailed and it would certainly explain a lot about his level of intelligence... actually no, that would only be explained if his brain had been melted as a child. Perhaps it had.
Till flicked his wand at Draco’s head. Numbers and words began to appear in the air in front of him. “Mmm,” Till nodded while he chewed, as though Draco knew what that meant. Draco tried to read the words, but they were all backwards and in a different language – Cyrillic? Swedish?
“Everything is okay,” Till announced once he swallowed. “You might get headaches, be dizzy sometimes – but that will go away with time. Can you still see?”
“Yes!” Draco answered. “Should I not be able to see?!”
“Uh, forgive me,” Till replied. “I don’t mean to cause you distress. I’ll – Sam?”
“Yeah?” Sam answered, and Draco could see that he also looked a little concerned.
“Can you excuse us?” Till asked.
“Oh, right,” Sam said, caught off. “I’ll um, I’ll take the dog outside. Do you want to go out, boy?”
The dog lifted its head in interest, but largely just continued to look pathetic.
“Okay,” Sam nodded, as though they had come to some sort of an agreement. He then scooped up the dog and carried it out of the motel room. Once the door closed behind him, Till set aside his sandwich.
“You are fine,” Till said, focusing completely on Draco. “I apologize. I am too... familiar. Usually, I only treat Aurors who I know and who do not... uh, they do not worry about their health. The spell that connected you to the angel, it was too much – it caused a fever, like... like an oven... for your brain. I worked to put out the fire – put ice in the oven. I ask about your eyes, because they were bleeding, but I did not see any damage. I did not mean to cause worry. If you do not notice a difference in your sight, then you are not to worry.”
Draco breathed out a sigh of relief, though his throat still felt tight. He remembered feeling the cold like waves on the shore and how relaxing it had been, how it had helped him come back. He now realized that had been Till’s work.
“I owe you my life,” Draco said.
“My job,” Till shrugged and sat back in his chair, and once again picked up his sandwich.
“If there’s anything I can do-“ Draco began.
“Mm,” Till cut him off, then hastily swallowed. “Follow-up appointment, yes. One week to start. I will send you owl to arrange. Please rest and do not attempt heavy magic use until I see you next. It is better to be safe, yes?”
“Yes,” Draco replied. “But I meant, if there’s a way to repay you for-”
Till gave him a confused look. “I am Healer.”
“Right,” Draco said, shaking his head. “And you work for Potter, of course.”
“Yes,” Till replied slowly. “Maybe I should do another brain check, yes?”
“It’s okay,” Draco said. “I just realized that you must get along well with Harry.”
Till just nodded.
“Have you lived in Britain long?” Draco asked.
“Five years,” Till said.
“Do people give you a hard time about your accent?” Draco asked.
“No,” Till replied. “A little, at first, but it has gotten better – both my accent and the people. “ Till smiled, then it faltered a little. “My voice is... I know it is too soft. It was worst in Durmstrang. Children are worst.”
“Sorry,” Draco said, knowing he would have been one of the worst, if he had known Till as a child.
Till shrugged. “Now I work for Harry Potter, so they can kiss my arse.”
Draco burst out laughing.
Harry watched Sam say goodbye to Draco and Till. The portkey was all set to take them back to the cabin on the moor. He waited until Draco and Till had started walking away, before he said his own goodbye to Sam.
“So, the leviathans are really gone?” Sam asked.
“Yes,” Harry replied. “Or near enough – you shouldn’t have to worry about evading them, at any rate. They don’t have any centralized authority and without one, they tend to make stupid mistakes and reveal themselves quickly – and as far as we’ve been able to tell, they can’t procreate.”
“Huh,” Sam said. “It really felt like I still had to run from them – still kind of does, a bit. I guess I just got so used to it. I’m sorry I lobbed that mirror in with the phones when I ditched them – guess I didn’t need to do that. I mean, didn’t need to ditch the phones. It’s just that all I could think about was that I had to get away and keep moving, you know.”
“It’s okay, Sam,” Harry said. “You have the mirror back now, so if you ever need anything...”
“Thanks,” Sam said, but he didn’t make a move to turn away or say goodbye. Instead, he looked earnestly at Harry and continued. “And I’m sorry for... not telling you right away about Dean. I guess I was... I AM pretty messed up about it.”
Harry nodded and swallowed against the mass of grief and sympathy rising in his chest. It was so much easier to focus on what was wrong with Sam, than to focus on WHY there was something wrong with Sam. Maybe Till had a point after all – maybe Harry had just been putting off acknowledging the fact that Dean was gone.
“You don’t need to apologize.” Harry’s voice came out steady, though he felt it would be a fleeting thing unless he kept his words short. “You lost your brother.”
Sam let out a bitter laugh. “Harry, I’ve lost everyone.”
End Part 1