Pairing: Cho Chang x Draco Malfoy
There was no confidence in his stride, no arrogance in his movements. Draco walked as if he had no control over his body, as if someone had flicked on his 'auto-pilot' switch and let him go.
It wasn't the Imperius Curse. He couldn't blame it on that even if he wanted to. No, he felt numb, disconnected, as if he were looking at the world through eyes that were not his own. Looking but not registering any meaning or emotion with his surroundings.
Blood was plastered on his clothes. His? He wasn't sure. He could only remember the light disappear from her eyes and the scream that echoed through the fields. He didn't even know why she was there. She was never one to fight, unless underhanded hexing was involved - and that was only at Hogwarts. But Hogwarts was a distant memory, just like the events of the day, fading into numb oblivion.
The moment someone touched his shoulder, he felt his legs give way. The strings were cut, and he collapsed on the floor. The corridor darkened and his thoughts became void.
When he opened his eyes, he was surprised by the pristine white walls. White sheets could not hide the fact that the bed was thick and lumpy, for it barely hid the fact that he was dressed in a paper thin hospital gown. No, this was definitely not Malfoy Manor.
Someone was speaking. It took a moment for Draco to adjust his hearing as his eyes fell on Cho Chang, reading softly from a book. Salus, animus, vita, navitas, terra...
"Where am I?" He cut her off. She looked up at him, slightly surprised that he had regained consciousness.
"St. Mungo's Hospital."
"Bloody hell." He threw off the covers and tried to jump off. The frustration in his face grew when his body would not cooperate and he sank back into the bed.
"You've lost a lot of energy." Cho told him. "You need time to recuperate."
"Here?" Draco bit his words. "I can do just as fine, maybe even better with a private healer in my own home!"
"If you desire." Cho said. She closed the book and set it aside. "Is there a specific healer you wish me to owl?"
"Of course. I..." Draco felt his mind go blank. What was the name of the healer father always used? His memory refused to comply. He must have looked lost, because she smiled encouragingly at him. That irritated him and he snarled. "What are you doing here? Waiting for me to spill some secrets so you can run back to your precious Potter?"
Cho blinked. "I haven't spoken to Harry in over two years."
She adjusted his pillow. "And I work here. I am a healer apprentice."
"They sent an apprentice to work on me?! Wait until..."
"Actually, Madam Derwent healed you. She asked me to perform minor healing and revitalizing charms on you." Cho didn't sound patronizingly sweet, and he gave her points in her favor. He studied her for a moment.
"Was that what you were reading?"
"Yes." She said, matter-of-factly.
"Oh." Draco's eyes drifted around the room. This was indeed different. No snide remarks, no kissing up. She looked unaffected by him, almost as if she weren't afraid of him, or disgusted with him, or disappointed in him. He took a deep breath. "I still need to get out of here. If the Order finds out that I'm here..."
"Draco..." She cut in, and he felt a tingle at hearing her speak his name. "St. Mungo's is neutral. The Order can't touch you here. Neither can the Death Eaters."
"I don't believe you." The words came automatically, just as his skepticism.
"That is, of course, your choice." Cho stood. She didn't look insulted. Instead, she waved nonchalantly at the wardrobe in the corner. "Your clothes should be in there."
Before she walked out the door, she paused. Her eyes focused on the door's hinges, and he could only catch a glimpse of her profile. "I'm sorry about Pansy."
As the door clicked closed, he stared at his fists, wringing the sheets into knots. "Me too."