All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of mind.
I wake up with a woolen shawl thrown over me. In the soft light of the day filtering from the window I recognize that it is a strange brown red and sage in colour, cubes joined with cubes and more cubes with a huge, golden, upside down ‘L’ in the centre.
“I mean, I have seen a lot of magic, Albus, I mean I see Healer Taransky and Volana on a daily basis and they are called miracle workers for a reason! I have seen them do brilliant magic and magic that was beyond brilliant, but…that was just…”
“I mean, he used runes and Sympathy and Archaic ritual and Touch magic all in one….and…I don’t even know where to start to…even….
“I know, Rose. I know!”
“I mean, I am a stickler for rules, you know me, it is in my genes and that magic was just beyond any rules... I have not seen it even written as a reference! And I am an even worst case of a book worm than even mum…and I…
“Merlin, Rose! I know, okay! I know! I know that he did something tailored for this situation and as much as I would love to learn the exact magic, I don’t think it is possible. I know it might save countless lives and he probably has saved countless lives… but I don’t think…”
“I know, Albus. I know…”
“Did you see how exhausted he was after…the process?”
“I saw…Do you think we should check on him?”
At this point I slowly move my head, as if still asleep just to stop them from checking on me.
I slowly spread my magic inside myself. I won’t let them check me, but I can easily check myself.
I don’t know how long I have remained asleep, but I do know that it has not been long enough and I am still exhausted.
My contact with her is still intact fortunately, my hold on her magic unforgiving.
That is all that matters at this point.
“What do you think Lily meant about the wings?” I hear Rose Weasley ask and my body freezes for a moment.
Did I in some way…?
I check myself internally again.
No itching or aching anywhere.
And they can never come out under the Repressive Potion that I am consuming.
It is impossible.
“It could be the day light playing tricks on her eyes. They have remained closed for a long time, haven’t they? Because I don’t think she could be dreaming during stasis that is impossible. Or maybe he attempted some form of Legilimency on her during her almost seizure and that is just how her mind perceived him. An angel that had come to rescue her.”
“Oh my…Albus! Are we nursing a little crush on someone?”
“Of course, I am, he has already exceeded all my estimates and my estimates were already very exceeded. I have the biggest man crush possible right now! He is the superman of Healers; every kid has a crush on superman. It’s a given!”
“Calculated! Always so calculated! At times I wonder how anyone can even imagine that the hat made the wrong decision.”
“The hat, Rose, can never, ever, ever be wrong!”
And then they are both sniggering like the teenagers that they are.
I feel as if I have just won a marathon. Exhausted, fatigued but satisfied.
Not for long.
“Is he alright?” I feel the strings pulling again as the deep tenor of his voice breaches my satisfaction. Here comes the bane of my existence.
I hear Albus shuffle from somewhere close.
“Well…More or less, he seems exhausted, but I doubt he is in any real danger.”
What are you doing here, Potter? You should be with your wife and child who has just woken up after how many days?
“Rose, Victoire was asking for you and Albus, can you go downstairs and get a nice big warm cuppa from Wobby for Mr Malfoy?”
The children are quick to follow instructions when they come from Harry Potter it seems.
I am hoping against hope that…
The voice is very close. I can smell his cologne in the heat that is radiating from him. But that is not what is most disturbing.
It is the softness in that voice. Oh dear Merlin, please. Don’t make him soft now! Don’t make him pity me! I want his respect. Only respect. That is all I can take.
And as if I am not drowning in sensation already, I feel sturdy fingers taking hold of my wrist.
Left wrist. And the cuff is being tugged up.
And I don’t know why my heart is wrenching the way it is in disappointment.
Did I not just claim that all I want is his respect. Which should not hurt me really if it is not given.
Harry Potter is not checking your wrist for your well-being you stupid fool!
He is checking for your Dark Mark.
It is so strange and impossible that I still have these kind of allusions.
I am disgusted with myself for even hoping. Even thinking in that direction.
“Satisfied, Potter?” I spit before I even want to as I flash my eyes open just in time to see him startled.
“I hope this will help you with your still lingering doubts about me being a Death Eater?”
He wrenches away from me as if I had just burned him.
Nothing close to how much you have burned me.
“What are you talking about?”
The expression on his face is a bit too close to real.
“Are you wondering how I got rid of it? You do realize that I am a Healer, someone who dabbles in healing magic this part of the world has not even dreamed of?”
His brow is now furrowed and he opens his mouth to say something, which I am sure will be pretty much sharper than razorblades but at that moment Albus decides to step in with a huge cup of something steamy hot.
As much as I hurt, I don’t want to make things bad between Potter and his children.
“Ustad! I am so glad to see you up. Wobby already had a hot chocolate ready for you, extra large, extra everything really.”
Before I know I have a steaming mug of hot chocolate in my hand. Very American.
“Do you want a small dose of Pepper-up in there? You still look a bit tired.”
Pepper-up never did anything for me. So I simply shake my head as I place the mug on the window ledge and straighten up. My back protests a little but then all my muscles are protesting with fatigue that comes from stretching one’s magic.
“How is Lily?” I ask as I fish out my leather hair tie from my front pocket.
“She is awake, more awake than she has been in months, and Victoire is monitoring her. She has not even shivered or shook for a second since you…Since you did whatever it was that you did, it has been two hours. And Rose is already through quarter of the Potions you had sorted for Lily’s consumption.”
‘It should be possible to hold it back for another six hours without any complications. Beyond that it could be dangerous for me, especially because I need to cast that Gegirgen tonight.’
I look up as I tie my hair and realize that I had been thinking out loud.
“So, if you don’t mind me asking, what exactly did you see? What is your diagnosis?”
I don’t know what to say in answer to that. I can’t just blurt out what I found wrong with Lily Potter. I know exactly what is wrong with Lily Potter, as I am sure did most of the Healers. The ‘Why’ of the situation must have been where they were stumped and that is where all the questions lead, and that is the question that I will have to find the answer to.
“I won’t mind telling you at all when I have reached a diagnosis, but I haven’t yet.”
“What? Then what was all that?” this time the father asks taking a step towards me as I stand up.
“That was me preventing a seizure from happening. That was me confirming what is causing these seizures.”
“And what is causing these seizures?”
“An imbalance in her magical core, I am sure many Healers have already told you that, Potter.”
A murderous glint crosses that face, the kind I only saw in school when I taunted him on his dead parents.
“And that is your diagnosis? Imbalance in her magical core?” is the gritted out query.
“No, Potter! Pay attention! I have already told you I have not reached a diagnosis yet. The diagnosis would be WHY is there an imbalance in her magical core? The diagnosis would be if the imbalance is natural or inflicted? The diagnosis would be HOW to cure it?”
“But there is no cure for imbalance in the magical core, we already know that.” I finally look at the boy, standing a few feet away, white as a sheet with a tinge of green.
“There is a cure for everything, Albus Potter! Even for an imbalance in magical core! And that is why I am the only one that can help her. She does not need just a Healer. Main stream Healers keep chanting this useless moniker because they are too stubborn to go out of their line as a Healer and look for alternative methods. They say the magical core can’t be reached or cured because it is the inner sanctum of one’s soul and mind. But that is only because of the method they choose. They choose a method that is non-intrusive. You can’t heal a wound that is inside your stomach by applying a salve on top of your clothes.”
“So what are you saying? You can heal her magical core? What will you do? Stop her magic? Make her a squib? We already asked for that, the Healers said that it is not possible!”
“But they never told you why it is not possible for them, did they? It is because your sister is not an ordinary witch, Albus! She is a bloody Sorceress! A bloody born-sorceress!”
There is pin drop silence in the room for a few seconds as both father and son stare at me as if I have grown a second head.
“Yes, a sorceress. It is an extremely rare phenomenon. Once every generation or so. It is a male-dominated niche, but your Lily is an exception. Which is why it has made it so impossible for any of your normal Healers to even get past her normal defences in order to even try to cure her. She not only needs a Healer but a sorcerer too. Which fortunately, is exactly what I am. So I was able to enter her defences and put her imbalanced magical core in a freeze-hold by connecting my magic to hers. But there is only so long that I can hold on. Her core is already too volatile to take any more risks with it. So I need to put her in the permeable stasis and then I need to find a cure to her problem.”
“What do you need?” Ask the boy and father at the same time and I am only too happy for the colour in their skins.
“I need you to look into my eyes and concentrate. You can blink but not too much. Alright?”
“Okay, I’m looking. They are pretty and light-grey…no…silver, with rainbow shades. And really, really pretty.”
I hear snickers in the back ground.
“You don’t need to speak actually. Only tell me how your eyes feel when you concentrate on mine.”
“A little ticklish?”
“Umm… like, tickling behind the eyes.”
“Hmmm…how does it feel now, still ticklish?”
“Oh! Goodie! It is gone!”
“What is your name?”
“How can I guess? I have never met you before.”
“Tough luck then!”
“I did see your wings you know…”
I pause in my packing of my satchel and look at the girl who has leaned closer and whispered.
“Yes, I saw your wings and I also saw you crying…lots of crying. And I also saw your hair short.”
Of course she did. She is a sorceress, I had to let go of my defences to enter through hers, so while I looked into her psyche, she shuffled through the surface of mine, must have only reached memories.
“But I am not going to tell anyone. I promise. It just sort of got out earlier, but that was just one-time. I promise. I just want to know why you are so so sad and hurting?”
I stare at her for a moment contemplating how to answer that question.
“I…lost everything…but I am working to fix it, I won’t be sad for much longer.”
It is bizarre that I find myself answerable to this child. I often ache for a confidant. Someone I can pour my heart out to. Someone who would understand. But it is a lonely road. I can never stand to be close to people, only Aali and Sarah to some extent.
“Ustad, I found this, do you think this could work?”
I am thankful for the interruption and turn away from the striking blue-green eyes that are dipped in sadness. Of all the people in the world, Lily Potter does not deserve to carry my ache in her heart.
I walk out of the hall leaving her in care of Rose Weasley and little Arthur.
I look at the carved jade candelabra. It is absolutely hideous but somehow clean. Clean of energies and dark magic and very original, ancient and authentic jade stone.
It would sell for a fortune.
“How auspicious…jade…Jade is the best for healing and protection. Also sorcery.”
“This is jade?” Albus’ eyes goggle as he brings the deep green object closer to his eyes.
“Yes, it is a pure root jade stone and clean too. What did you think it was?”
“Marble, I thought it was simple marble.”
“You are standing in the ancestral home of the pure-blooded Blacks, believe me when I say that you would not find anything less than gold-plated, precious materials in this place. In that respect, they were worse than even my father’s family. At least we Malfoys had better taste. Blacks were all just…a touch mad.”
“Wasn’t your mother a Black too?”
“She was the sanest Black I ever came across, that is including the extended family, and I never did get to meet aunt Andromeda, or I am sure she would have been the sanest in my opinion, better than even my mother, who went ahead and actually married my father willingly.”
“Dad told us about your mother. How she saved his life and how he could have never defeated Voldemort if it wasn’t for her.”
How nice of Potter to tell his children the story. How my mother lied in the face of Voldemort and saved his life in exchange for the news of my safety. It is a wonderful story. But I wonder if Potter told his children what happened as a consequence of that action?
“Did he also tell you how my mother died saving my life because the remaining Death Eaters had attacked us in the ministry’s custody, in an appointed safe-house, tipped off by someone in the ministry and that the ministry couldn’t spare any help in time to save her life because we were not on the priority list, being Death Eaters and everything?”
“What?” the horror in those green eyes makes me realize that I should not have lashed out this way, not at this person.
“Yes, but her death did ensure my safety and that to her was the only thing that mattered. She could never see harm come to me. No matter how much horror came to me in the process of preventing me from harm. That was her madness, I suppose.”
He is still staring at me as if I am some strange species.
“It was war, Albus. None of us expected to survive and that includes your father. That is the only thing that can keep you sane through the atrocities of war, the realization that you can die at any time. The realization that you may have to encounter the most extreme hate and most severe love and that they could both lead to the one end; death. This is why I asked you not to judge those who have suffered through war too quickly. It is not something you can just turn off.”
There is a pop that startles us both as the be-hatted house-elf appears out of thin air.
“Masters! Wobby has prepared a Christmas feast in honour of Miss Lilu’s awakening. Wobby was wondering if he could set it up in the ballroom so that Miss Lilu could enjoy the Christmas feast with her family?”
I glance at a sheepish Albus.
“Mum…” he mumbles.
It is infuriating. But I know that I can’t really stop it from happening.
“Very well, Wobby, You have one hour to arrange and then clean up. No more.
“One hour is enough, Master Ustad.”
I turn to Albus once the elf is gone.
“I need to work on this, once it is all over, come to my room, I might need some help.”
“Err…Wouldn’t you like to eat something before…”
“No, I am not hungry and some magic I prefer doing without a full stomach.”
He thankfully does not push the question any further.
I slowly make my way down to the second floor feeling as if my head could explode with the influx of memories and sensations and revelations.
I have no idea regarding how I am going to fix Lily. I have no idea why the problem is there in the first place. All I know is that I need to ask some questions. Questions only a few people can answer.
And it is only the second day.
How I am going to survive for so many days? I have no idea.
I lie down on the bed, feeling the exhaustion seep deep into my bones. As if the fatigue would never leave my muscles.
I have been through enough hell in this life, I wonder what awaits me in the next.
Because I do know that there is an afterlife.
I hope there is peace. Peace and numbness.
I close my eyes. I know I need to meditate and reel in all magic properly. That is the only way I can keep the freeze-hold over her magic before I put her under the stasis again and start investigating and treating.
It does make sense that she is a sorceress. Born with the extra bit of magic. Power of mind, magic and persuasion. Ability to bend the rules of natural elements with the power of her mind.
I delve deep into my magic where it connects and surrounds her. Her magic, though steady has a watery feel to it, hence it manifested as a stream. A stream with invisible obstructions making it over flow. This is why her magic easily took to be confined inside my induced freeze-hold. Had it been fire or air, I would not have been able to hold it for as much time as it is possible right now.
It must have shown clearly when her magic first manifested.
I need to ask questions.
Questions about her childhood and the events surrounding the first displays of her magic.
I need to interview and test Potter himself to see what his personal level of sorcery is. Or as they call it here, wandless magic.
It is very impressive as much as I have seen it yet, but I need to know its extent.
And, the most difficult query of them all, but the most logical one. The one which is unavoidable, but might be most painful for me ask. It might just rip me apart.
What were the conditions of Lily Luna’s conception? What was the couple’s state of mind, state of magic?
Because, if the problem lies with the magical core, then, it has come from the parents. Magical children are somewhat different in conception than Muggle children. More so between a wizard and a witch. I need to know when exactly she was conceived, because magical parents always know when they have made a child, the magic joins and it is an unforgettable experience. In my trek as a Healer around the world, I have even helped birth a few magical babies, especially difficult ones.
Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley have produced a sorceress, a powerful one, which means the magic of the parents joined, and joined intensely.
‘No! Don’t visualize the process during which it joined, stay focused. You need to solve this even if it feels like a knife cutting you open.’
But, somewhere in that process and joining, intense joining, something went wrong. And I need to understand what it was.
I can think of a few reasons actually.
Number One: Potter is an Auror, and was most probably on field duty in the days Lily was conceived. He could have been in a duel which drained his magical energy. Or could have been under a spell that interfered or leeched at his magic. It is one of the lesser known and more common after effects of being under a curse.
Number Two: Ginny Weasley was suffering recently from some kind of magic induced hormonal disorder. It is very common, and often main-stream Healers recommend Cherrikona extract as a diet supplement for two weeks, but, all it does is induce a drug-like effect that makes you feel cheery and active. But Cherrikona is a looping agent and in some cases has been known to form an incurring magical energy loop which can then be transferred into the core of the child conceived in that time and in extreme cases, turn a magical child into squib as the magical core disrupts itself by looping and flowing back into itself.
Number Three: Though Potter is a half-blood, and Ginny Weasley is a pure-blood, they do come from very old pure-blood families which might have been linked somewhere in the upper branches of the family-tree and this might be a genetic magical disorder that has by some thousand in one chances manifested in Lily Potter.
Number three might be improbable, but it is not impossible. I am a living example of recessive genes coming to manifest into something strong, pure and rare enough. I am a full-male-Veela, not a hermaphrodite, which all Veela who are not female are. It is probably the reason I am so much more powerful than even ordinary Veela, and also why my own magic is killing me, the way it is. My heat is not so severe just because of the urge to reproduce, but because of the urge to protect and possess.
I take a deep breath. Clearing my mind and lodging the three points in my mind properly in order to retrieve them when I need to ask the question. I run my mind over the facts I have in hand again.
Lily Potter was born on 10th of December 2007.
Conceived somewhere in March…
March is spring…
March, I always spend indoors.
Because of the…heat.
I feel as if the world is coming to a stop.
As if my mind is going into a freeze-hold.
No! That is impossible! Every part of me shrieks in horror.
No! it can’t be…Potter rejected me. Potter has no connection to me.
Potter is not effected by…
I sit up quickly only for the stilled world to start spinning again with a whoosh.
I grab my head trying to steady myself.
As my mind whirls out of control.
Could this be? Could this be because of some broken, distant connection between me and Potter.
Could Lily be suffering because I was the one effecting Potter’s magic in some impossible way while she was conceived?
I would have been in heat, if the maths and calculations are correct. Nine moons. Children are always born with in the ninth moon.
Unless Lily Potter was born premature, which she was not or it would have been mentioned in the report, she was conceived during my heat.
Is it possible that my heat has been having an effect on Potter’s magic for all these years?
If it has, then…
No, I should not even allow myself to think it. It is improbable, impossible, inconceivable…
‘It might be the only explanation to the other little thing that has been nagging you all this time since you have implemented your magic onto Lily Potter’s.’
The little strange fact that the daughter’s magic profile is such a perfect mirror of the father’s instead of the mother’s which is the case one time out of four hundred.
She is a sorceress probably because the father is a sorcerer. An untrained one he may be, but he is a sorcerer nonetheless.
Need to do more genetic profiling. Need to ask questions. Need to ask those kind of questions.
I am startled out of my shuddering thoughts by a knock at my door.
“I come in peace…and bearing treats…”
The coldness in my core immediately warms up a bit. His voice alone, on the other side of the door can do this to me. With almost silenced thoughts and a worthwhile effort I am finally able to open the door.
He enters with a platter held out with an assortment of baked goods and, without a warning, hands it to me.
And more over shuts me up with a single worded command.
I feel the weight of that one word and look down at the platter.
Pies, small, miniature pies.
And almost a dozen of them.
“Am I supposed to eat all of these?”
I know it is sneaky of me.
“No, but please have some, they are wonderful, and you need the strength, from the looks of it.” he says from the corner of the room where a study desk stands washed in the gloomy day light from the window.
I shoot a look at the full-size dresser mirror to see a ghost of a person staring out of it at me, holding a platter and looking like an idiot.
I watch him from the corner of my eye, as he settles against the edge of the table, so no intention of leaving.
I can’t help but feel a twisted pleasure for this sudden care and concern for my health and a bit of fussing. Over me!
He might have an agenda for caring for me, but still.
He is here when his house is full of his family and his beloved daughter sits awake for a few hours.
I can hear the buzz of all the people present in the back ground, but what matters right now is here and now, and him and I.
I sit on the bed facing him and place the platter on the side table. I chose a random miniature pie and take a bite.
It is chocolate custard.
One of my favourites as a child.
And it is glorious. The crust is perfectly salted and flaky and screams with butter and the custard inside is pleasantly warm and smooth and extra sweet mixed with the bitterness of chocolate. And it has been ages since I tasted something so good and felt so fulfilled and just as hungry by a single bite. It is not before I have totally demolished the pie in the next few moments that I notice eyes fixed on me and make the mistake of looking at him.
There is a pin-drop silence for a moment as if the time has slowed down. His eyes are fixed on me, my lips to be exact while his own mouth is clenched closed, his obscenely reddish pink lips pressed into a thin line. I remember how they always have been that reddish pink in colour, so beautiful, and male and asking to be kissed and made even redder. How much time I have spent fantasizing about these lips? I can’t start to calculate.
Finally, the silence breaks abruptly as something bumps against the floor in the room above, followed by a strange whine.
He clears his throat unnecessarily and points to the platter, looking as if he is coming out of a daze.
“There might be savoury ones in there too. It is Weasley Christmas tradition. The miniature pies are always surprises. You never know which one you will end up with.”
“These are really good.” I smile with as much effort as I can conjure.
I can’t help the searing pain I feel inside me at the loss of a magical moment. It might have been the only one I would ever have, and now it is gone. This one moment, when I was all that he was thinking about.
I pick up another pie and take a small bite just to do something with myself while he sits there now looking out of the window.
Now, he can’t even bear to look at me. Now that the reality has sunk in. I am Draco Malfoy. And my beauty is an illusion.
I can’t even recognize the taste of the pie in my hand to recognize its filling. I wait in silence, chewing endlessly and needlessly, before I call the courage forward to end this moment. Here and now.
“What do you want, Potter? You could have sent the house-elf with these…”
It is as if he is pushed out of a day-dream, he turns to look at me again. And I can see him visibly swallow something down. Anger? Frustration? Nervousness? Bitterness? Defiance? Unease? What are you swallowing down, Harry Potter?
“I…I just wanted to say that…I was not looking for your Dark Mark earlier...”
I can’t help but stare at him.
“I was checking your pulse, I wanted to make sure you were alright, because you looked…”
He pauses and shifts restlessly and then gets off the table and takes two quick steps towards me.
And I feel frozen on the spot, breathless at the possibilities of what is about to happen.
He stops at the foot-edge of the bed and looks at me pensively.
“I just wanted to…I wanted to say that I don’t think you are a Death Eater. If you were a true one, if I thought you were a proper one…I would never have in a million years testified and advocated for you in front of the Wizengamot. You were just a child like the rest of us and you only followed the lead. I just wanted to say that I understand where you stood, now, that I have my own family. I was also just a kid, bitter from the war, and being through the wringer so many times with nothing solid to hold on to…And it was always so easy to yell at you…We have always been pretty nasty to each other, it was the easiest thing to do…but, I guess, that what I want to say is…Thank you…thank you for doing this and also for tolerating Ginny, mostly…And for Albus…I have not seen him like this for a long time.”
I have no idea if this is a confession? An apology? A peace-offering? What is this? It is not exactly gratitude? The last part maybe, but what is the rest of it? Understanding?
I am too over-whelmed to actually pin-point how this makes me feel?
At that very moment, that could have not been more blissfully long and painfully short at the same time, the doorway fills with Albus Potter accompanied by a golden…dog. And my thoughts, the crippling pressure of them comes to a full stop and hone in on one thing.
The dog almost scrambles to a halt behind its apparent master and cranes its neck to the side.
Oh please, Merlin, no!
And before I can finish the thought it is leaping inside the room and plunging on his hind-legs and right into my lap.
No one said anything about a stupid dog being in my work place!
“Bilbo! Bilbo! Down!”
But it is too late. I am already being licked ear to ear and smothered in doggy kisses.
Dogs find Veela irresistible, just like small children find Veela irresistible.
As do most animals, especially domestic ones. I can be assured that my face will be covered in dog saliva and I will have feet full of dog constantly if I ever am rescued from this smothering. I don’t want to zap it.
In time, the dog is removed from my person and is being chastised.
In time, I turn to look at ‘him’ to see him smiling widely at me as his eyes sparkle in the suddenly golden day-light filtering from the window.
And I can’t help but smile back.
And despite what looms on the horizon for me, it is one of the most beautiful moments of my life.
And I will be damned if I don’t cherish it.
This might be the last time I smile like this in this life time.
And if it is shared with him, then it is worthy of its unique position all the more.