The office was subdued when Till arrived that morning. He didn’t necessarily notice at first, everyone was overworked with trying to keep on top of the Leviathan situation. Till himself had just returned from a three day “housecleaning” special task force, that had infiltrated a political conference, subdued and beheaded three leviathan, saved two muggles and obliviated over fifty others. But it was rare to have the office as quiet as it was, even when people were tired, they were usually apt to complain about how tired they were.
Till finally asked Auror Michaels about it. He was a junior Auror, still fresh from school, and Till knew that the junior Aurors were more prone to following office gossip. Also, Michaels had a quiet disposition that Till quite liked.
“Rumour is that the boss received some bad news from America,” Michaels whispered, with a nod towards Harry’s office. “The current guess is that one of his contacts in America may have met their end.”
“блин,” Till felt his heart race. If Dean had died - Sam may need to be institutionalized, unless his hallucinations had improved since the last Till saw him. If Sam died, Till wasn’t sure what might happen, but he was certain that it would not end well. Michaels was staring a Till with a calculating look, no doubt noticing that Till was running far too many scenarios in his head to be working with as little information as the rest of the department.
“Uh, I have to talk to Harry about vacation time,” Till muttered. “I… can’t delay, but my timing is very bad, yes?”
“Shit,” Michaels echoed. “For a second I thought you knew something we didn’t - but, yeah, it might not be the best day to ask for favours.”
“I really do need to make my bookings,” Till sighed and stood up. “There is nothing for it.”
“You’re a braver man than I,” Michaels said, and then retreated back to his own desk.
Zaf was sitting at her desk, sorting the latest memos that had come off the lift.
“Hello Zaf, can Mr. Potter be disturbed?” Till asked.
“I’ll check,” Zaf picked up the mirror on her desk. She opened it only enough to slip a black velvet wedge into it, and then spoke a simple, “Sir?”
“Yes,” Harry’s reply came.
“Till is here to see you. May I send him in?” Zaf asked.
“Can he read minds?” Harry asked.
“Can you read minds?” Zaf asked Till.
Till shook his head, even as Harry spluttered over the mirror, “Don’t- I just meant- bloody hell, just send him in.”
“Yes, sir,” Zaf said, then slide the wedge out of the mirror and let it snap shut. She nodded towards the door and gave Till a wink.
Till closed the door behind him and made his way quickly to the chair in front of Harry’s desk, so that he spent the smallest amount of time possible at full height. Harry, indeed, looked like he had received some bad news.
“I was just about to send for you,” Harry said. “How’d you know-”
“The office is quiet. I asked Michaels about it. Rumour is bad news from America,” Till replied.
“I wish the rumour were incorrect,” Harry said. “But sadly, I received word from Sam and Dean this morning that Bobby Singer has been killed.”
“And the Winchesters?” Till asked. “What is their condition?”
“Devastated,” Harry answered, gesturing to the files on the desk in front of him.
“Are they injured?” Till pressed.
“No, physically they’re a fine,” Harry replied.
“I am saddened by the news of Mr. Singer’s death,” Till said carefully. “But, may I ask why you were about to send for me? Usually, it is only for the injured.”
“Ah, right,” Harry replied. “Sam and Dean have… sent some documents and… they have a question, and I’m… I’m not sure how to answer it.”
“Do you know how to read muggle hospital charts?” Harry asked.
“I know enough,” Till replied.
“Then maybe… maybe I’ll just let you…. um, let you answer,” Harry said, as he pushed some documents into a manila folder and then handed it to Till.
Till took the folder and laid it carefully on his lap. He opened it to find a sheet of paper, obviously torn out of a notebook.
This is Bobby’s hospital file and xrays. If we had - contacted you first, could Till have saved him?
It wasn’t signed.
Till took a deep breath.
“I… I’m sure you know that this must be handled… delicately,” Harry said softly.
Till shifted just his eyes in order to give Harry a level look. Harry held up his hands in apology, before letting them drop to the table again.
“What excuse did you give to come see me?” Harry asked.
“I needed to ask or vacation time,” Till replied.
“Vacation requests go through Ron,” Harry said.
“Ah, then, I apologize for wasting your time,” Till shrugged.
“How soon do you think-?”
“Tomorrow,” Till replied.
Till went back to his desk. Michaels raised his eyebrows in question, so Till just shook his head, dropped the folder on his desk as though he were annoyed, and got to work.
Every chance he had during the day, he poured over the files. It was a learning opportunity, because although Till knew a little of Muggle medicines, he had never had to deal with as much shorthand and as many abbreviations before - and all American and in English. Till had studied and worked as a Healer mostly in Eastern European hospitals, and dealing with the American system was different enough that Till knew he’d need to consult the library after work.
It wasn’t until very late that night that he felt he had a clear understanding of the medical file.
All that work, he owed to Sam and Dean, even though it had very little effect on his reply.
Dear Dean and Sam Winchester,
I will always remember Mr. Singer fondly from my brief visits to you in America. His passing is sad news and I am sorry for your loss.
I have reviewed the medical documents thoroughly. It is my belief that you did everything correctly during this emergency. Your instincts to take Mr. Singer to the nearest muggle A&E were very good and that was the best decision for you to have made in that moment.
Although Wizards have many magical remedies that muggle doctors may not have access to, in the area of gunshot wounds, wizards have far less experience. Wizards prefer to use magical means to kill each other, rather than high velocity projectiles.
Please rest assured that you did not fail Mr. Singer when he needed you. You did the very best you could given the nature of the emergency. The speed in which you sought medical attention was the most important and you responded correctly to that need.
I offer my deepest condolences during this time. If you should ever need anything, please do not hesitate to contact me.
“Is it the truth?” Harry asked, after he had read over Till’s letter the next morning.
“Does it matter?” Till asked.
Harry shook his head. “I’ll send it to them right away. Thanks for taking the time to write that, Till.”
“It was no trouble,” Till replied. “And it is not a lie… since you asked.”
Harry just nodded. “I’m going to need you in Kirkby Overblow on another housecleaning run. Ron will be giving out the details in an hour.”
“Trust me, Till, no one is enjoying this leviathan situation and we’ll all be happy when it’s over,” Harry stated.
Till nodded and left Harry’s office.
Eight hours later he was chopping off leviathan heads in Kirkby Overblow, and if he said, “That’s for Mr. Singer” in Swedish to one of them afterwards, well, it’s not like any of the other members of his team understood him anyway.