Valebis

Give me silence, water, hope... Give me struggle, iron, volcanoes...

(Draco)


I am unable to close my eyes.

Not because it is a new place.

Not because the colour of the bed curtain is green and is reminding me of…

No, none of that.

It is because of the knowledge that he is asleep just a few feet away, in the bedroom two doors down from mine.

It is as if I can feel the rise and fall of his breath move the house.

As if the whole house is breathing with him.

I had not even dared to dream that I will ever get to experience this.

Or just how hard to control it would be.

To stop myself from getting out of the bed and tip-toe to open one door and then go and stand by the door that separates me from him.

Because even in my thoughts, I can’t bear or dare to open that last door.

No that door must remain shut. Keeping the occupant of the room safe and sound and sleeping peacefully.

Dreaming, or not dreaming. It doesn’t matter.

I know I won’t be able to sleep at all.

So one door must open, but only for me to make my way upstairs to where the reason of my being here lies and start working on that stasis that I have been planning to put on her in the morning. It is the best time to do it.

The mantelpiece clock shows midnight hour and so I silently get up and get dressed.

I would like to say that I pass the door that… That I should never open, without pausing.

But I can’t. Even with all the Malfoy reserve and poise and control, I do stop.

I stand there frozen for an eternity. Listening to the breathing of its occupant.

But I am proud to say that I do not move any closer and stand right in the middle of the corridor.

Wondering what he looks like asleep, when all the weariness and bone-crushing sadness has melted off his face.

With nothing but his own skin and vulnerability for accompaniment, how does he look with all his defences down?

Just simple pure Harry. No vacancy, to titles, no past, no present, no future, no family, no worries, no weight.

My heart clenches at the thought.

How I would give my life’s blood to see him like that.

Neutral and unaware. Without any judgment and calculation in his eyes that is always there in my presence.

His scent is strong here in the cool stationery air of the corridor.

The most unique, beautiful, subtle and inexplicable scent in the whole world. The kind of scent you can never have too much of. The kind of scent that changes constantly yet remains the same, surprising you with the sheer pleasure it brings to your own senses, every single time.

The scent that makes you hungry and ache with longing.

The scent that comforts you when you are troubled, lights the fire of your passion.

The scent that asks you in no foiled words to claim and possess it, to bathe in it, devour it.

As it is, fate has made me an expert in ripping myself apart.

It is one of the many things I am best at.

So I rip myself away from that calling smell.

And silently make my way up to where my patient lies.

In a secondary third floor Ball-room, which has been turned into a healing room for now.

Albus, as I am supposed to call him, is fast asleep on the recliner just a few feet from the bed, the thick alchemy journal open on his lap, a muggle ball-pen still lodged in his fingers and a notebook open on the arm-rest.

He looks obscenely young in his sleep but less like his father than when he is awake. In this position he reminds me of Aali, who happens to be the worst research assistant in the history of the world when it comes to flickering through tomes. He falls asleep every single time, without fail.

I take the woolen shawl that hangs on the edge of the bed and carefully spread it over him so that his sleep is more constant before taking the journal and the notebook, with a gentle flick of the wand I am able to levitate his recliner towards the corner of the room that is out of the way but still in the range of the blessing of the fireplace.

I open the notebook to see that he has been doodling. Lots of genies for some reason. Perhaps he wants a magic wish. He doesn’t know yet that the genie is here already.

I knew there was very little that could help us in this particular endeavour in this particular journal.

If it was anything as tangible as alchemical imbalance, the Mungo’s Healers themselves would have found it. And might have cured it too.

It is the most common and explored method of healing, is it not? Feeling sick, take a potion. What people generally fail to understand is that most of the time the ailment is more spiritual than physical and that can best be cured by sorcery if anything at all.

I have sent Aali a list of books and extra things that I might need already and I am sure the delivery will come in less than twenty-four hours.

I put the journal and notebook on the desk that stands just by the bed ready to start my work, all I need is my own journal.

The alert to another presence in the room comes a bit slower than it should have, but it does nonetheless.

I turn around calmly, not to give away any kind of surprise at seeing who it is.

Sharp blue eyes are watching me with a ferocious expression.

Ginny Weasley.

She is still pretty but not as fiery a beauty as she used to be when the glow of her youth was all fresh. The dimples on the side of her mouth are a bit more pronounced and her eyes seem… wary and tired. And though she is well put-together for this situation and time of night there is a strange defensive air around her.

I suppose she was brought up-to-date by… her husband earlier in the day.

She would not have let me near her child without the knowledge of the vow and right now and I would be dodging bat-bogey hexes like mad.

Perhaps I let my guard go too slack by the way the other Weasley was handled regarding me being the new Healer of his niece. I should have known better.

So here she stands looking like she is about to explode.

That can’t be good.

Her eyes are fixed on me, nostrils flaring with every breath. I meet her eyes easily, and that is a feat in itself because whether it shows or no, a part of me wants to rip her apart for possessing what was supposed to be mine. To have shared the bed and love and life of my mate. How many memories they must have made together. No doubt, hundreds and thousands pleasant days, smiles and laughter, while I trudged and wallowed my way through rejection and abandonment. Countless moments of togetherness and love shared, while I screamed and shouted, isolated and suffering in wordless agony calling for him for twenty long years.

Twenty long years of knowing nursing and feeling the wound of rejection every day. I wonder in those countless painful nights while I screamed in longing that manifested itself in genuine physical pain, how many nights were they making love at the exact same time, while she screamed in ecstasy and I in pain?

I have never known a bigger masochist than myself. I take the medal even from my own Godfather.

Twenty long years of being forgotten by the one who meant the world to me in favour of this person who stands in front of me in this moment, angry and accusing and defensive, as if I would eat her children whole.

She has no idea how possible that is for me.

But that is not who I am anymore.

I am not someone who will let the beast control me.

So I do what I do best. Dismantle the bomb before it explodes. I am only allowed to explode in the twice fortified bedroom of mine in Kyrenia.

I slowly and very deliberately break eye contact with her and look towards her sleeping son, before looking back at her.

The small action works. And now she too is looking at her sleeping son. Defensive anger turning to tenderness for only a moment, but that is all that is needed. Only a moment. A moment makes you and a moment breaks you. Last time she and I were in close proximity, I had been the one to break. This time I am to make sure that everyone gets what they want and nothing breaks down. That everything goes according to plan. My plan. It would take at the least divine intervention to make this not go my way.

No, the likes of Ginny Potter née Weasley won’t mess this up.

I move away from facing her and decide to ignore her presence totally. It is after all something that worked perfectly well with Weasley.

“Do you…” her voice when it comes is strangled, low and almost broken down. I turn to look up at her as I pull my personal journal out just as a reference to the special stasis that is needed to be caste on her.

“Do you really think she can be cured?” she finally asks and I am surprised that she is asking for my opinion. Ginny Potter has grown up after all.

“If she is ailing… Then yes,” I answer, flicking through pages and acutely tuned in to her movements where she stands. She is breathing deeply, one hand now clenching the iron-railing of the bed.

“What is that supposed to mean?” she asks a little sharply.

“It means that if she is sick, then yes she can be cured, as every sickness has a cure.”

“And what could it be if not sick?”

“It could be just your bad luck… that is known to happen too.”

“Our bad luck? Is this a joke to you? What is that supposed to mean?” her voice grows a little higher as she steps towards me.

“Do you think I make unbreakable vows as jokes on people? Really? How dull can you be?”

She just stares at me, now totally confused.

“There is no diagnosis that tells that she has a sickness, it could be a very smartly inflicted dark curse or it could be a very well place jinx too with Potter being who he is…”

“You think that she was…cursed? Someone did this to her?” for a moment she has forgotten all hatred and anger towards me in favour of horror at the implication of my statement.

That is always good at dismantling explosive situations. Fear and despair easily curtails anger.

And now, to curtail horror and despair…

“No, I am not saying that that is the case, only it is a possibility even though it is somewhat unlikely, is still something that I am not totally discrediting until I have conducted my own tests.”

There, that statement is confusing enough. Best way to curtail horror and despair is confusion and irritation, which will never gain the momentum to turn into full out explosive anger again, since the mind is already exhausted.

Now back to ignoring.

“Mum?” I hear Albus’ groggy voice say.

Leaving the son to deal with the mother I tune out their conversation flicking through pages of my journal.

I designed a special stasis spell for cases such as Lily Potter’s a few years back. Unfortunately it is a little complicated to be performed by any ordinary Healer. The caster has to be an expert with magical energies and able to perform more than rudimentary wandless magic. It has taken me three years to teach Aali to master this particular spell and still his success percentage is 70%. And he is a strong wizard, there is no doubt about it.

“Mr. Potter?” I call for my make-shift assistant.

“Yes?” come two voices at once from behind me.

I turn to look automatically.

How did I miss Potter coming up?

There he stands, next to his son and his wife. Clad in a dark woolen jumper and flannel trousers, her hand on his shoulder.

Her hand on his shoulder…

Her hand on his shoulder…

Stop it!

“Junior…” I utter surprisingly composed.

All of sudden I can feel the weariness.

All of a sudden I can feel the weight of sleep in my head.

Yes, the potion is wearing off. I need to make it back to the safety of my appointed room.

“Yes, Ustad?”

“I think we both should get some rest tonight, and by the by as you are all here, I must mention…”

I pause a moment as I come to a decision in my mind.

“…that I will be removing her stasis tomorrow morning. I would like to observe her for a few hours before I put my personally designed stasis on her which is paramount to her treatment.”

“The Gegirgen Stasis?” Asks junior Potter with a light in his eyes that both his parents notice.

“Precisely…”

“So that means that she would be receptive to treatments and nourishments but the seizures will be stalled off…”

“Yes and she would remain unconscious…But it will give us much more flexibility and perhaps we can strengthen her a bit during the process.”

“I can’t believe this…When I read about its existence I had found myself wishing that someone knew how to cast it! The paper claimed that it was hypothetically possible but next to impossible to execute and the few reported cases were not well catalogued and…now I can see why…”

“It is extremely complicated and impossible to simplify and believe me I have been trying for years since I designed it. It has taken my own prodigy three years to execute it.”

“You have a prodigy?” he asks in astonishment. I can see surprise on his parents face too who had been watching the exchange avidly so far.

“Of course I have a prodigy. You spoke with him on the floo, didn’t you?”

“That self-important git is your prodigy? But he said assistant and master!”

“Yes, he is that, prodigy, assistant and self-important git. But he is also a brilliant wizard and a capable Healer. And Master is English for Ustad isn’t it? He meant master as in his teacher, not as his owner.”

“Oh… I see now! I did think that was strange.”

“You wouldn’t have if you knew who he really was…” mumbles Mrs Potter.

It is a low shot coming at the most inappropriate time…and it stings. It stings badly. But I will not react. I am better than that.

“Who he really is Mum, is someone who came all the way from the edge of the continent to heal your daughter. Unlike us, he knew from the very beginning who we were and yet, despite the history between his family and yours he came here to help us, the least we can do is respect him for who he is now! Please leave the bloody war behind now…It was war! It is over now!”

He is fuming, though he is still somewhat composed while his mother looks at him with narrowed eyes. I dare to look at…him then, as to get a hint regarding what he thinks about the said speech just now.

An expression I least expected is there playing on that face.

Pride and approval.

How is this possible?

“I apologize for this Ustad, I think you are right, we both need the rest and I am sure Mum can keep watch over Lily, not that Lily needs it.”

He looks pointedly at his mother.

And there is the Slytherin that I was wondering about.

He is a wonderful snob when he needs to be.

How refreshing.

I spy Potter smiling a little as well.

It is not long before I am making my way downstairs followed by both Potter men. Albus makes his way further down to the ground floor kitchen mumbling about food leaving me and Potter alone in the corridor.

At this point, I feel too exhausted to be alone with Harry Potter and take the pressure that all my senses exert on me in his presence, so I try to make my way quickly to my room.

“Malfoy…Listen!”

I pause at the door of my room. The only door I am supposed to open. He stands by the door I am never supposed to touch. I do not look at him.

“I wanted to say that…”

“I don’t require your apologies or gratitude Potter, what I require is a fuss-free environment with as little interference as possible from unrelated people in order to do my work properly. That is something that I require and something you can provide...”

He nods simply as I can see him in my peripheral.

I do not wait anymore and enter the room shutting the door behind me.

Finally able to breathe!

“Sleep well…” I hear his distant voice in the corridor.

And in twenty years, I sleep well for the first time.

The Christmas decoration is up when I make my way upstairs in the morning after being fussed over for fifteen whole minutes by a house-elf piled with an uncountable number of hand knitted woollen hats.

His name is Wobby and he is a free-elf, honoured to work in the Potter household, is paid generously and has his own vault at Gringotts though he does not like Goblins.

Mind you, that during the whole fifteen minutes I did not say a word and only ate four slices of very sweet and very loaded French toast and 2 cups of sweet-tea.

I need to keep the nutrition level up for the repressing potion to work properly which I have already consumed, without putting any strain on my magic which I need at its best today.

Yes, that is it. I have not eaten so much because the toasts and taste reminds me strongly of Hogwarts and care free days.

Not at all.

I find Albus bent on some kind of manual accompanied by Granger and Weasley’s daughter and quite a number of other people conversing quietly enough, strangely.

I see a much more aged Mrs. Weasley and Mr. Weasley seated on one of the couches with their daughter, gathered around the larger fireplace. A child who is somewhat of the same age as Lily sits by her bed reading in a low but audible voice from a magazine.

I stand and stare at the gathered crowd. Family. So many who care. How does that feel? To be cared for? To grow up in such a close knitted and huge family? So warm and open with their affections and hearts.

I remember the quiet and cool Christmases.

I remember the parties full of people who stood like they had a steel rod in place of a backbone, who never smiled, only smirked, who never looked, only calculated. I remember hours and hours of having to stay quiet and sit or stand straight and dream about playing Quidditch in the snow, by myself.

I remember opening the pile of presents.

Latest of everything. Perfect and expensive. Most probably out of a catalogue.

Without any personal touch.

“Mum thought that since we would be waking her up for a few hours, it would be better for more family members to be here, for the few hours of her consciousness.”

I see that he feels a little embarrassed by the situation.

“No, no…it is quite alright. The more positive energy the better.. But I will require them all to go when I start casting the stasis.” I move towards the bed.

“Oh do not worry about that! I will take care of it. Though…I do have a request to make…” He is now blushing and shifting on his feet, shooting covert glances towards the corner where sits…Granger’s daughter.

“Yes…She can stay as long as she is competent.”

I say, feeling like grinning all of a sudden.

Children.

“Oh brilliant! Thank you so much, I assure you that she is very competent! So...I will just go and floo dad? Rose and I have already prepared Lily for the removal of the stasis.”

I check the patient, gesturing at the reading boy to not get up and keep reading. His devotion creates a kind of delicate protective field around Lily which I find very amenable.

“What is your name young man?” I ask him once I am done with the diagnostics, the state of her muscles and bones being my primary concern. She is well-preserved enough, but the damage already done because of the seizures is something that will not come as easily together.

“Arthur Fredrick Weasley, sir.”

“And you are good friends with Lily?”

“The best, sir.”

“I see. What house are you in at Hogwarts?”

“Gryffindor, sir.”

“Is she going to be fine?” says the little voice as I sort the assortment of potions Albus has laid out for me to examine.

“Yes, she will be fine, I will do my level best.” I smile at him reassuringly.

It is not just a statement. It is a mission.

A few minutes pass as I check the quality of all potions necessary, only to find them surprisingly well made.

I recite a few energy balancing incantations under my breath, weaving a solid net around her. Something to make her comfortable and help me focus and all the while I can feel little Arthur watching me with those large tawny eyes. He would look nothing like a Weasley if it was not for his red hair.

“I am just casting some energy centering spells that would make her more comfortable and help her orient to her surroundings better when she wakes up,” I say in a loud enough voice that is not addressing him, yet aimed at him at the same time. It is always advantageous to reassure family so that they could provide some positive energy for the patient to feed on. It is a gift that is immensely useful and could be easily given without even knowing it.

His face transforms dramatically in the next second. He shoots a glance at his grandparents and then leans forward and whispers. “Are you a sorcerer?

“I am a Healer first and then a Sorcerer, if at all.” I wink at him conspiratorially.

“Wow! Lily would have so many questions when she wakes up. She wants to be a sorceress when she grows up.”

“Does she?”

“Yes, and she is really good with the ghosts at Hogwarts, even the Bloody baron comes to say hello when we visit the dungeons.”

That is almost impossible. Gryffindors ‘visiting’ the dungeons. As for the Bloody Baron, he can’t be bothered to say hello to the headmistress or master on his best day.

Perhaps I need a different kind of profile to work on here.

“What were her favourite subjects? What was she really good at?”

He furrows a little as if trying to remember.

“Er…She is very good in DADA, but that is because of Uncle Harry and Teddy…I mean Professor Lupin. She does well in Charms but I do better, Professor Flitwick thinks I am gifted…she does very well in Herbology, but Professor Longbottom is the best teacher of them all, so no one actually fails his class and he is also our head of house…Though I think she is the best in Transfiguration. She is the best in the year. She was gifted with a silver pin from Headmistress McGonagall for outstanding performance in the very first monthly test. ”

“Professor Lupin isn’t the head of your house?”

“No, he manages the Quidditch leagues.”

“And Potions?”

He makes a face.

“No…she doesn’t like Potions but somehow does alright in them, better than most in our year. Professor Smallridge keeps hinting that if she pays attention she might get a distinction.”

Smallridge, a Slytherin three years my senior. I remember her clearly. She was one of the prettiest girls in the school and was marginally polite to juniors. Not that anyone ever dared to be impolite to me in our own house. Junior or senior.

I look at the boy who is now watching me carefully.

I smile at him and am about to ask him about the Quidditch adventures in order to distract him from his keen observation when another group of people enters the place.

The Golden trio alongside a tall and broad man in his late twenties from the look of it, with a mane of jet-black hair and blue-grey eyes that are sharp and slightly feline in shape in a way that is extremely familiar.

He reminds me of my mother and I finally realize who he is.

Teddy Lupin.

My cousin and Potter’s godson.

Accompanying him is a petite, heavily pregnant, blonde girl and I can straight away feel her Veela heritage. It is much diluted, but it is right there in her energy and magic. I can tell. Though I am sure that because of the repressing potion she won’t be able to detect my Veela.

“Cousin Malfoy…” Teddy Lupin makes his way towards me with a purposeful stride, a strong hand at offer. His expression is neutral and guarded. I take his hand, warm and firm and feel his magic. Ferocious, strong, a little rough around the edges.

His expression changes to a bit of surprise when our hands finally meet and a simple smile comes on his face.

“My grandmother told me all about you…It is nice to finally see you and put a proper face to the name…all she had were baby pictures of you.”

“I hope they were flattering ones..” I smile back.

“You were wearing a frock in most of them…”

“Ah yes…those…Parents do sometimes have a cruel sense of humour.”

“I wouldn’t know…” his cheerful expression dims a little before he presses my hand in his again and leans closer.

“But I’ll tell you what, fix our Lily and I will not make them public spectacle.”

I nod as positively as I can. Feeling the long suppressed and ages old guilt surface again.

How my parents had given his father such a tough time resulting in his sacking from Hogwarts.

How I had witnessed my aunt killing her own niece and her husband without a second thought.

He finally moves towards the rest of the crowd where his wife is already. I am thankful for it.

“I am sorry for the crowd, but I promise they will leave…At least this room after saying hello…” I fight my way out of the cobwebs of one of the worst memories I have and look at the source of the reassurance. Potter junior closely accompanied by Rose Weasley. Both of them are vibrating with anticipation.

“It is alright. I am assuming you know how to remove this stasis?”

“I do Ustad.”

“That is good, please ask all your relatives to move to the gents salon next door…” Rose quickly moves before something else comes out of my mouth.

“Once she stabilizes we can call them back one or two at a time to meet her. I am assuming again that your sister is closer with your father?”

“She is…much closer than she is with mum.”

“Perfect, ask him to stay behind then, but by the east window. I request this because that will centre his positive energy when amalgamated with the natural source of light in the place.”

“Really? I would have never thought of that.”

I see people moving out of the small door on one side that leads to the said parlor. Rose quickly returns, accompanied with Potter.

“So here is the plan. You will remove the stasis Albus, and Miss Weasley will administer the potions straight away in the exact order as I have arranged them on the side table. I will sit at some distance and observe her Sympathetic energies and note the fluctuation as she regains consciousness properly. Besides, I think it will be good if she sees a familiar face first.” The youths nod vigorously in understanding.

“What if she has a seizure straight away?” Asks Potter standing a few feet away from where the three of us are crowding.

“If that occurs, which it might, eventually if not straight away. I think I will be able to relieve her temporarily. As cruel as it may sounds, Mr. Potter, it is necessary for me to witness a seizure. Perhaps I will notice something everyone else failed to notice.”

His eyes mist a little with helplessness while the younger one nods but looks away. I clasp Albus’ in a lame attempt to comfort and turn around to conjure a stool. While Rose guides the older Potter to go and stand by the eastern window from which the light in filtering in. It is strangely sunny at the moment. I take my perch, just an inch outside the Sympathy Ritual Circle which I had drawn last evening, Lily Luna Potter fully in sight, I need to be stable and alert for this.

I untie my hair, open the collar button of my shirt and roll my cuffs up, trying to center my own energy. Checking and re-checking my own stability. I can feel ‘him’ where he stands, but it is not sharp. A warm presence if anything. Wand clasped in hand I inhale deeply. Feeling the scent distil through my lungs, I exhale and signal at Albus to start.

A simple two-word incantation.

“Exsolutio Stasis”

The bindings of stillness fall from the frail body immediately. Her chest moves and fists clench and she inhales loudly.

Once…

Twice…

Her energy flashes back into being, alongside her magic.

She is startled, confused and in pain.

The kind of pain and irritation a bright light causes to one’s eyes when they have remained in the dark too long.

That is how every nerve in her body feels like..It is clear as day in her magical sympathy.

I have very rarely seen such clear transmission of energies as those that are coming from the girl.

A born sorceress!

And a powerful one.

A sorcerer by birth is as rare as a Male Veela.

Which is very very rare.

One or two every generation at most.

No, not just in Britain. But around the world!

But…the question is how? And why?

I am sure that her mother, though a powerful witch, carries no talent such as this.

As for the father. Well. He is such an exception to any rule possible that it could be a possibility. Though his sorcery, if he has it, has never stood out to me. Not that I have the strength or will-power to delve into his psyche. It is next to impossible for me to do without losing control even with the potion.

I merge deep into her psyche, using my intrusive but painless method of Legilimency or as Aali calls it “surfing.”

The stream of the magic as powerful as she apparently is should come in a straight line and it does. It is a straight, wide, translucent and milky white stream as my mind visualizes it, a sign of purity. It is very rare to witness such a phenomenon as this. I glide into it. It is a beautiful and positive energy, even and cool, and trusting, until there is a bump in the flow and a small piece missing. I glide forward and observe closely, as the stream tries to fill the small hole but is unable to. The flow is even around the hole, but is unable to close it. I move further ahead and notice another hole in the flow, this time bigger, a few moments pass and the holes keep coming and bigger every time, until the once clear ribbon or stream of energy is prone with holes in the likeness of Swiss cheese, and the flow keeps interrupting until the overflow from behind starts over-lapping and starts flowing into the physical part of the psyche. Which is when I start feeling the light shocks. I want to go deeper, reach and observe the magical core, but the frequency of shocks is increasing drastically.

By the time I am out of her Energy and Psyche, she is starting to shake. And I can clearly see the over flow of magic pouring out of her.

I do have the power to temporarily freeze the magical core. Though that will also stop her physical symptoms, but that can be cured individually by normal fever potions and strengthening potions. This way we can give her some more nutrition potions so that she gains more strength before I release her magical core again to have a full seizure which is sure to come as soon as it is released. Obviously freezing her magical core would stretch me out a lot, but it is doable, for a few hours at least. I finally get up and quickly move towards the bed casting an engulfing spell as I signal Albus and Rose both to get out of the way which they both do promptly.

The child has not yet gone into a full on seizure, a steady shaking and body temperature is stable at 101 degrees. I lean down and press my lips to her forehead as I place my wand right on her heart and draw the designated Rune of containment and another just by her navel for transference. My magic flows evenly out of me as her magic takes heed and flows after my guidance and slowly but gradually stops flowing out and becomes stationary as I recite silent incantations against the balmy skin of her forehead. I am almost done still submerged in my work, when something tugging at my hair brings me out finally. I feel small fingers tangling and rubbing my long hair between them. As if inspecting. I notice the calm breaths brushing just under my chin. The shaking has stopped.

I feel the heaviness of a bound core in every muscle of my body as I pull myself together, and straighten legs shaking.

I small wrist comes with me some way before the fingers reluctantly untangle from my hair. And I am captured by a pair of huge Blue – green eyes staring at me in awe.

“Hello…” I smile down at the heart-breaking beauty of her. I can feel my forbearance straining at the seams, because now I know…

“Are you an angel?” her small mouth utters, eyes shining. I can feel all occupants of the room closing around her, but her eyes remain fixed on me, as if looking inside me, cutting deep into me.

“Lily? Sweetie?” Potter leans in crowding my space, and all of a sudden it is too much. I retreat and give him space as quickly as I can, afraid of my legs giving way underneath me as I trudge back towards the recliner by the other window.

“Is he an angel dad? Is he?” I hear the child’s voice behind me.

No, I am not an angel dear Lily, I am only a man. Can God please understand this for once that I am only a man? That I can only bear so much? That I can only bear so many tragedies?

“No, sweetie, he is a Healer, here to help you…”

Yes, here to help, to save you. To save and help this little miracle. Little miracle. A beautiful soul. I finally find myself in front of the recliner and sit down on it as my mind and body protest against the strain. I close my eyes without even wanting to and the last thing I hear before I lose track…

“But dad…I saw his wings…”


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