'How long have I been out?'
'A few hours.'
Draco sat up gingerly, and looked over at the woman at his bedside. 'And you stayed.'
'Yes, of course I did.'
After a moment of silence, Elizabeth smiled gently and asked, 'How're you feeling?'
Before he could finished, however, a young woman burst through the doorway, shrieking. 'Draco? Draco?'
Elizabeth noted the look of distress on Draco's features at the shrill words, and leaned in. 'Shall I get rid of her for now?'
Draco looked slightly abashed at the offer, but after a moment nodded, and lay back down.
Elizabeth stood, and moved to meet the origin of the voice. 'Miss Parkinson?'
'Yes?' the girl replied rudely, turning. Seeing who had called her name, her tone became almost respectful. 'Do you know where Draco is?'
'I'm sorry,' Elizabeth replied. 'He's asleep, I'm afraid, and he needs his rest.'
'Oh.' A look of defiance crossed Pansy's face, but before she could do anything, Elizabeth continued.
'He'll improve faster if he has reminders of how much you and your friends want him to get better. Cards, flowers, candies. You know, that sort of thing. I'm sure he would appreciate it. Especially since he has to spend so much time here, away from you and his friends.'
Placing the two groups in distinct categories placated her, and she left, smiling at the prospect of being a devoted girlfriend.
Returning to her place by the bed, this time with a goblet of blood replenishing potion, Elizabeth shook Draco's limp form. 'Draco, dear, you are awake, aren't you?'
'It depends – is Pansy gone?'
'Then yes.' Sitting up, he noted the goblet in her hand. 'On second thought, no, I'm still asleep, and can't ingest any more potions.'
Laughing, Elizabeth helped him into a sitting position and handed him the goblet. 'Drink. Now.' He did as he was told, and smiled over the cup the entire time. 'You know, Draco, I don't think I've ever seen you smile before.'
A shadow passed the boy's eyes as he downed the last of the potion. 'Oh?'
'Never, not in all the years I've known you. Not like you just did, anyways.'
'Yes. You're very handsome when you smile.' Realizing the possible implications, she continued, 'In an entirely school-appropriate way, of course.'
Draco laughed, and replied, 'You're an old family friend, Elizabeth – in what other way would I interpret it?'
'There are other ways, I assure you. There's this whole thing about propriety that teachers have to worry about, and I'm working towards that, so…'
'You don't have to worry with me, Elizabeth. I know you.'
Elizabeth smiled. 'You do, don't you.'
There was a comfortable silence where Draco's hand somehow made it into Elizabeth's, and it was not broken until the clock struck the hour.
'Well, I ought to let Poppy – that is, Madam Pomphrey – look you over. Would you like me to stay?'
Draco seemed to fight some internal struggle, but nodded. 'Yes. Could you?'
Elizabeth straightened his bedspread, replying, 'Of course. For as long as you need.' She finished, and continued, 'I'll just go grab Poppy, and I'll be right back.'
Before she had a chance to move away, however, he grabbed her arm gently, pulled her towards him, and muttered in her ear, 'Thank you.'
Smiling, she kissed his forehead as she would a child, hugged him, and told him, 'If you ever need anything, Draco, simply come and find me.'
It was hours before Elizabeth was able to fall asleep in the hard-backed hospital chair.
When she awoke, it was almost three in the morning, and her stomach was writhing in hunger. A hunger which was intensified when a breeze carried the aroma of roast chicken and baked potato from somewhere in the hospital wing. When she moved to get up, however, she almost tripped over a covered plate next to the chair, topped with a card with her name on it. As she bent to retrieve the platter, it dawned upon her that there was a blanket covering her knees that wasn't there before.
The note was written in a thin, spidery hand.
Thought you might need this.
Lifting up the lid of the platter, Elizabeth found a scrumptious supper waiting for her. She smiled, and tucked into the spread he had provided.He truly was a caring man. Of course, he would hate to admit it, but she would make him see the truth. One day.