Early May, 1997, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Scotland
Madam Pomfrey is in her office when she hears him as he wakes. Hears the gasp as he wakes suddenly, probably disoriented. She can hear the small cries he makes as he tries to orient himself to his surroundings. Knows he must be scared. Whatever curse had been used on that poor boy, it was nasty. Very nasty. She prided herself on keeping her cool most of the time, thinking she’d seen everything in her years as the Matron of Hogwarts’ Hospital Wing. Especially with Harry Potter as a student.
Nothing had prepared her for this. This was some kind of new brutality. Blood had been all over him when Severus had brought him in, unconscious and limp limbed on a stretcher. His clothes bloody tatters. The only thing Severus had told her before dashing out again was that Draco and Harry Potter had gotten into yet another duel and this was the result of something that Harry had hit Draco with.
She had been shocked. Harry Potter had used whatever horrible curse this was on another person? She knew he was reckless but she never imagined he’d do something like this. However, if she knew anything about Potter, and if she was honest, many other students like him, it was that he probably didn’t know what the curse did before he used it.
She had never seen Severus look so thunderously angry before. Or scared. He’d instructed her to try Ditney for the scarring and then left. She hadn’t been able or had the will to tell him off for giving her instructions that she knew perfectly well to do on her own.
Now, hours later, Draco was stirring awake in a panic. She rushed from her office, vials of Calming Draught and Dreamless Sleep in hand. Draco was thrashing wildly in his bed, the ancient springs creaking and groaning in protest to his movements. She thinks he’s still partially asleep as she nears the cot until she sees his eyes are open.
“Mr. Malfoy?” she asks quietly, knowing if she speaks louder to a patient who is clearly either having a nightmare or a panic it will only further distress them. She steps closer cautiously, and sees that while his eyes are open, Draco is clearly not aware of his surroundings.
Stepping fully to his bedside, Poppy places the vials on his bedside table and gently places her hands on the boy’s shoulders, hoping she’s not startling him more.
“Mr. Malfoy. Mr. Malfoy. Mr. Malfoy, you need to calm down. Breathe, you are safe. You’re in the Hospital Wing. You’re okay. I need you to breathe,” she says, calmly, but firmly. She can feel him trembling under her hands, knows that the panic has gotten it’s teeth into him.
“Mr. Malfoy, please, you need to calm down.” He doesn’t hear her. She feels the shaking under her hands getting worse. Knows he’s lost in the grip of panic, and she realizes with horror as he tries to twist out of her hands, a flashback.
“Please! Please, don’t hurt me! Please!” Tears are coursing their way down his cheeks now, his shaking getting worse.
Madam Pomfrey’s heart stops cold. What on earth? Was this a flashback to the attack? Something cold slips down her spine. She gets a horrible sense of dread in her stomach. No, some instinct in her, some instinct of a Healer, says this panic, this flashback, whatever it is, has nothing to do with the fight in that bathroom. This is something else.
What has been done to this child? She ignores these questions for now, instead holding firmly to Draco’s shoulders and reaching for the potion vials. Somehow she gets him to swallow both and he settles back into his pillows, sleeping relatively peacefully now.
It’s as she’s straightening his blankets that she sees it again, that horrible Mark on the inside of his left forearm. She shudders at the sight of it. Earlier she’d been angry that he had chosen to go down that path, to take that ugly thing, to pledge himself to that monster. But part of her had wondered then, as it is doing now, if he wasn’t forced into it. She knows it’s unusual for someone this young to take the Mark. What had they done to this child? She wondered again, becoming more certain that whatever is truly going on with Draco, he had been forced into the Dark Lord’s service. And that something truly terrible had happened to him.
Pulling her wand from her pocket, Poppy cast a series of diagnostic charms over her patient’s sleeping form. What they tell her is both horrifying and sickening. The most recent Healing glows a brilliant blue inside the web of diagnostic charms. Older healing, more than a month old or older, glows in various colors; red, pink, and white. Red is about a month to two months old. Pink extends to six to eight months. White is the oldest, at least a year old. She is horrified to see how much there is, not just from the curse she herself had Healed hours earlier, which glows in the blue. She knows this is all recent as this charm only shows Healing as far back as one year.
No, there are signs of recent healing to muscles and nerves all over his body, they glow pink and white, probably from the use of the Cruciatus Curse . It makes her sick thinking of the poor boy being held under that atrocious curse. The worst however, the most sickening and horrifying is what she sees in his abdomen. Beneath the glow of the healed curse cuts, which thankfully have not re-opened with his thrashing about, are signs of healed internal damage. It all glows white and it’s extensive.
Looking closer she actually feels the bile rising in her throat when she sees exactly where the internal damage was. And, she sees, there was external damage as well. What looks like tearing. Lots of tearing. The ribs glow white as well, where they were cracked or broken. Like someone had kicked them. Hard. Blood is pounding in her ears, she feels sick, angry, flabbergasted. Who would do such a thing? And to a child? Why would anyone ..?
As she thinks on it, she thinks she might have a guess as to who. Lucius Malfoy, that utter bastard. She always knew he was cruel and vindictive. But to go to this level of evil and depravity. And to do it to his own son. It makes her sick with anger. She dismisses the web of diagnostic charms with a wave of her wand.
Staring at the sleeping boy, she feels her heart tug. She wishes there was something she could do to help him, but she knows that he won’t accept any help. Not right now. He’s too emotionally fragile now. And she suspects, though she can’t be sure, there is something else weighing on him. It’s in how thin he appears, like he isn’t getting enough to eat. Or rather not eating enough because of stress. She also notes the exhaustion that is both obvious in his appearance and in the charms she has just dismissed. She wonders if this poor child has anyone he can trust to talk to. She also wonders how much Severus knows. She briefly wonders if Narcissa knows anything about all of this and if she does, if she is being prevented from helping. More than likely she is. Lucius really is an utter bastard.
Angry all over again, she spins on her heel and goes in search of the Potions Master. Someone needs to bend his ear and get him to help that boy.
Anger is still simmering low in her belly later as she returns to the Hospital Wing. Severus had reassured her that he knew something was wrong with Draco, that he was working on trying to get information out of the boy to help him, but he was refusing to talk. Poppy suspected that Severus knew more than he was saying to her, and while she wanted answers, she knew it would be pointless to push. Severus Snape did not give up information easily or to just anyone. She just hoped they could do something for the boy before it was too late.
Pomfrey makes her way over to the bed where Draco is still sleeping, thankfully without dreams. She feels herself overcome with emotions as she studies him. She at least was able to get the story of what Lucius had done to him out of Severus. She just couldn’t imagine. To be so brutally attacked like that by someone who is supposed to care for you. All because of being gay.
For the first time in her memory Poppy Pomfrey wished death on someone. She wished death on Lucius Malfoy. For everything he had done, not just to Draco, but so many countless others as a Death Eater and as a person in general.
Turning away from the bed, Pomfrey walked by to her office, closing the door behind her. Sitting down at her desk, she cast a quick modified Silencing Charm that allowed her to hear what went on outside in the ward but no one could hear inside her office. Then she allowed herself to cry.
Draco was still sleeping soundly when she returned to the ward an hour later to check on him. Checking the bandages, Poppy saw that the wounds had closed well enough and were no longer in danger of opening again. So she removed the bandages and applied a salve that would hopefully help reduce the prominence of the scarring. She wished she could have prevented the scarring altogether but even with the Ditney, the cuts had still scarred. She figured it was probably due to how deep the cuts had been and possibly the curse itself.
At least they were healed. Cleaning any excess blood from Draco’s torso, she pulled his shirt back down and pulled the blankets back up around him. Thankful once more for the deep, heavy sleep that Dreamless Sleep induced.
Turning the lights out in the ward, she took one last look at the boy asleep in the bed. A boy who had so much weight on his young shoulders. It simply wasn’t fair. Sighing, she went through her office and into her quarters to get ready for bed. Draco would most probably be released from her care tomorrow. She just wished she could do more.
Poppy watched Draco as he sat still on the edge of the bed as she cast her diagnostic charms. He still looked haggard and much too thin, but there wasn’t much she could do about that. She told him about the scarring, that there was a potion based cream that might help. She knew he was only half listening to her, lost in thoughts of things that no one so young should be thinking about.
She finishes her checks, seeing as everything is healing or has healed properly. “Okay, Mr. Malfoy, you are free to go. If you feel anything out of the ordinary in the next few hours or days, you come straight back here, understood?”
He nods distractedly at her and she just about resists sighing. “You may get dressed and leave. I will leave you to change.” Slipping past the privacy curtains and back into the main ward once more, Poppy goes to check on the student that had come in earlier that morning, complaining of terrible stomach pain after eating what was most likely a candy from Weasley Wizard Wheezes. She sighed in exasperation, even when they weren’t students any longer, the Weasley twins still managed to cause a ruckus and chaos at Hogwarts.
As she was running her tests over the student she watched as Draco walked out from behind the curtains and out of the Hospital Wing. His express was plain: He was resigned to whatever fate he had and there was nothing anyone could do. Not unless he allowed someone to help him. He was alone and it broke her heart.