Title: Quaerere Caelad
Fandom: Harry Potter
Relationship(s): Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy
Content Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Name Change
Author’s Notes:Part of the 2020 Every Fandom Reverse Bang (EFRB). Takes place about 20 years after the end of the war. Not epilog-compliant, though at least one canon pairing survived. My head-canon is that Pandora was Lucius’ younger sister, and therefore a Malfoy before she married Xenofilius Lovegood.
Word Count: 5,724
Summary: Twenty years after the war, Harry returns to England to live quietly, helping magicals find familiar bonds. Draco, a healer looking for something that may help a recovering patient wanders into his shop.
Healer Draco Malfoy made his way through the dense crowd with practiced ease. He wasn’t wearing his distinctive robes, and he moved with the focus of one who knew where he was going, so most people let him pass without too much trouble. He slipped into the lift just as the doors were closing and nodded when one of the mediwitch’s tapped her wand against the panel for the level for the seventh floor before he’d said anything.
He knew that the extra hours he was keeping wasn’t exactly a secret, but he had no idea what the rumor mill was saying. He’d given up on listening to gossip a long time ago. He made his way into his department and the wing for his favorite patient.
The young boy was sitting in his bed looking through the book Draco had brought him yesterday. “Isn’t it past your bedtime?”
Draco smiled. “Cambiere, I thought we talked about this?”
The boy frowned. “We did, but…I don’t like being alone.”
Draco stepped closer and arranged the boy’s bedding the way he knew he liked it. “You took your potions?”
“Okay. I’ll read one story. Then to sleep with you.”
Cambiere got more comfortable under the blankets as Draco began to read from the book, his voice soft, lulling the child to sleep quickly.
“I’m looking for something for my daughter-in-law.” The woman asked abruptly without a lead-in as she approached the proprietor, or who she thought was the proprietor at any rate. He was the only person in the shop that appeared to work there. The man was taller than her but not as tall as her son. She was only one-and-a-half meters, so maybe he was a quarter meter taller than her. Not a tall man, to be sure, but a respectable height.
The man had dark green eyes, a mop of dark hair, and a full beard. This wasn’t unusual either. His shop was tucked away in one of the more recent additions to the expanded Alley and the area catered to all sorts. Shops were usually open at all hours, some were even always open, to ensure that it shut no one out because of differing schedules. A lot had changed in the twenty years since the end of the last wizarding war.. If she hadn’t seen the way Britain had flourished in that time she never would have believed in some of the things that had changed, but clearly it was the right decision.
“Ma’am?” The man asked in a tone that implied that perhaps it wasn’t the first time.
“I’m sorry? What?”
“Where is your daughter-in-law? Has she been delayed in another shop?”
The woman frowned. “What? No. It’s a gift, for…well, it doesn’t matter what it’s for, but it’s a surprise.”
The man sighed and pointed towards a sign posted above an odd spiral tree covered in weirdly shaped branches. She moved away from him and took a closer look at the sign.
Please be aware that an accurate match cannot be made between a witch or wizard and a potential companion if the witch or wizard is not present.
The woman frowned. “I was thinking of maybe something soft and cuddly…but friendly. Do you have something like that?”
The man sighed. “Ma’am. Why didn’t you go to Peyton’s on the main Alley? Or Lysander’s three shops down?”
She frowned again. “Peyton’s is full of more… standard animals.” She said. “And… I went to Lysanders.” She admitted. “Rolf sent me here.”
“If Rolf Scamander sent you here, he probably also told you, for me to match you, or your daughter-in-law with a companion, of any sort, I need to meet with them, at least once.”
“I heard you matched someone once with an object…something imbued with their magic?” She asked cautiously as if she was speaking out-of-turn.
The bearded man paused. “It can be done, but it isn’t always successful.” He warned.
“What are the risks?”
“To the witch or wizard? There are no risks, however, the companion may have trouble if the match doesn’t work out.”
“My daughter-in-law is part Veela.” The woman said. “What kind of animal would you suggest?”
The man stared at her for a long, long moment. She had the feeling he was judging her, but she wasn’t sure what for exactly. She knew it wasn’t because Selene was part Veela. This shop was in an area of the Alley where there were more Magical Races than pure humans. After a moment he turned away.
“Bring your daughter-in-law back with you. I will need to taste her magic.”
“Taste?” She asked, not quite alarmed, but curious.
The man turned back and she thought she saw his lips curl in a smile as he said, “Yes.”
She was pretty sure she didn’t imagine when the green of his eyes flashed gold before he turned away once more. Pretty sure.
“JP, You in here?”
“In the back, Rolf.”
“Did Philomena Smythe-Kirke come to see you about bringing Francesca by?”
JP, or as he was once known in the wizarding world, Harry James Potter, snorted. “Yes. Thanks for that, Rolf. When Luna convinced me to return to England and told me you might be sending business my way now and again, she didn’t tell me what I was really signing up for.”
Rolf laughed. His wife hadn’t changed much in the seventeen years since they met and she still did as she pleased and wasn’t understood by many. The difference was that the world had changed to include enough different types of magicals that Luna wasn’t the strangest person around anymore.
Philomena’s daughter-in-law is a Duchess. Did you know?”
Hadrian Jamison Peverell Black, known by most as Just Hadrian Black and by friends as just JP, rolled his eyes. “I did. Francesca Benivontes was sent to Ivermorny because of some concerns her grandmother had.”
“So you’ve met her then?” Rolf raised an eyebrow. Philomena’s new daughter-in-law hadn’t been out in town much since the wedding. There was some curiosity about it because there had been an agreement in place, had both Andrew and possible betrothed still be interested when he returned from studying abroad. However, he returned with Francesca in tow, nuptials already planned by the Benivontes matriarch. As their family is considerably higher up the social ladder, the Smythe-Kirke family didn’t have much to counter with.
“Philomena,” JP drawled, “came in here wanting to surprise Francesca with something soft and cuddly.”
Rolf blinked. “For a Veela? That’s…not the best idea.”
“No.” JP agreed. “I also told her I didn’t do companions for people site unseen. I’d need to taste their magic at least once.”
“But, if you know Francesca, surely you could make an exception.”
“I could.” JP agreed. “But if I make an exception for that, she’ll insist on getting her a bunny or a serval or gerbil or something ridiculous. Then, Francesca will be unhappy, but she won’t be able to say she’s unhappy and it will be awkward, but the companion will know. All so, some ridiculous woman can have her way? Forget it. I’m sure she means well, but it will work out much better if Frankie comes in here and chooses a Bird of Prey or a serpent or something equally fitting.”
“Do you know what House she sorted into?” Rolf was curious.
“Hmm. The House of Scholars. Considering Andrew Kirke went to America for research, I guess that’s not surprising.”
“Well, he was always more studious out of the Slytherins I remember.”
“So…I have another favor.” Rolf said an odd look on his face.
“O-kay.” JP drawled.
“Someone is coming in to look for a companion.”
“Someone always is. That is why I am here, why I came back.” He paused. “Who?”
“That, I’m not sure about. Luna-girl just said someone with a great need was coming.”
“A great need?” JP hummed. “I’m not sure if that’s worrisome or intriguing.”
“She did mention that they would not leave empty-handed, and…” Rolf hesitated.
“And…? You can’t just stop there.”
Rolf sighed. “She also said that somehow, they would release you from a great burden you’ve held onto for a great many years.”
JP blinked. Involuntarily his eyes drifted to the back where he kept the egg under the heat lamps. Then he shook his head. No, Luna must be talking about something else. If it hadn’t hatched yet, it probably never would and he was just guarding the remnants of life.
“JP? You okay?”
JP blinked. “Yeah, I’m fine. Okay. Did she say anything else? Like how might I know this person when they come?”
Rolf shrugged. “No, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”
JP snorted. “Alright then.” He shook his head. It was always something.
A trilling was heard coming from the backroom and JP turned towards it.
Rolf raised an eyebrow. “How is Secharra?”
“She’s been a little cranky this week, but it’s almost time for a burning, so that’s natural.” He knew it was more than that, but it couldn’t exactly explain what was causing his familiar’s cranky disposition. Though, to be fair, Secharra had been a cranky thing from the moment she hatched from the egg Fawkes had brought him just before his final burning.
Rolf nodded and headed back towards the door. “I better go. I have a new patient coming in today. Elsbet Fawley found a baby kneasle in the stables. Her father wants to make sure it’s healthy before he lets her keep it.”
JP watched his friend leave his shop before Secharra trilled again, a slightly more demanding sound this time. “Yes ma’am,” he answered as he moved towards the back, focusing once more on his shop and its inhabitants.
“You can’t keep doing this, Draco.”
“Hmm.” Draco was reviewing the files for the patients that were due to be released this week. He felt the stinging hex against his shoulder a second before his files were taken away.
“Draco! I’m speaking to you!”
“Yes, Daphne, I hear you. I am not deaf.”
“Then do me the courtesy of acknowledging me.”
“Daphne, we’ve known each other for a long time. You know I do things my way. I’m not going to stop doing them just because a few people think I should.” Draco looked over his parchment at his friend for a second. They’d remained friends after Hogwarts, even after his betrothal to her younger sister ended due to a difference in priorities after the war. Astoria wanted to get out of England and forget all about what had happened at Hogwarts. Draco could never forget what happened, nor his family’s role in the tragedies. Daphne had married Blaise but became a healer rather than stay at home bored out of her mind.
“You don’t usually get so attached to your patients,” Daphne observed. “Not even the young ones.”
“No, I don’t suppose I do.”
“Have you thought about petitioning to take him in once he’s released?”
“I’ve considered it,” Draco admitted.
“Well, in the meantime, perhaps you should think about taking a trip over to Quaerere Caelad and seeing if the miracle worker who runs the place can match Cambiere with a companion.”
Draco tilted his head in thought. He’d never been into the shop but he’d passed it several times. It was next door to Lysander’s and he usually wandered in there to see how his cousins were doing. He knew three or four people who had been matched at Quaerere Caelad and they were all pretty happy about it. Cambiere could probably use a friend, and Draco remembered how comforting a familiar could be.
“All right. I’ll go in and see about bringing Cambiere in or maybe asking if he minds doing a visit here.”
Daphne smiled. “Excellent. That should at least cut down on the late-night visits.”
Draco rolled his eyes before turning back to his files. “Don’t you have patients of your own to see?”
The first thing Draco noticed when he entered the shop was the room. The inside was spacious. While wizard-space was common enough, it wasn’t often employed inside a shop because the spells required for building to maintain it on a permanent or semi-permanent basis were complicated and could be expensive. Most shop-owners didn’t bother.
This owner had. From a quick look around, Draco was fairly certain that the extra expense was not for the customer’s benefit but for the varied magical creatures inside. A glance had shown the healer there were several different species, some of which were not native to the same part of the world.
He stepped further into the room and took a look around at the shop’s other decor. He spotted a large sign towards the front.
Please be aware that an accurate match cannot be made between a witch or wizard and a potential companion if the witch or wizard is not present.
It made Draco smile. For the sign to even be necessary, it must be something that had been repeated, often. His cousin Luna had told him about this place when it first opened up, suggesting he might like to come in and find a companion for himself. The way she said it, he wasn’t sure if she meant of magical creature variety or otherwise.
“Can I help…you? Draco?” The voice halted in surprise as the healer turned to face it.
Draco frowned. He recognized that voice, sort of. But it was one he hadn’t heard in a long time. “Harry Potter? He raised a brow. “Wait…my cousin told me the guy running this place was a secret Wampus. I wasn’t sure if I should take her seriously because why would an Ivermorny graduate set up shop here of all places?”
“Of all places?”
“Well, we’ve come a long way, but we aren’t as progressive as New York or as France.”
“No, but it’s home.”
Draco nodded. “Are you back for good?”
“I think so.”
“You didn’t tell me you were returning…you’ve been back for several months, and I’ve received a couple of letters. Secharra visited last month.”
“Draco.” JP sighed. “When we started corresponding after Narcissa died, it was…awkward first.”
“JP.” He corrected. “I go by Hadrian Jamison Peverell Black these days, but my friends call my JP, for—”
“Jamison Peverell, I get it. I realize you don’t exactly look like you did when you left Hogwarts, but you’re not exactly hiding either. Your magic still…makes quite the impression.”
“It’s not a secret. Hermione and Neville know I’m here. Luna and Rolf, obviously.” He smirked a little at Draco. “I’m sure if you had come by when Luna first suggested it, you would too.”
Draco opened his mouth to respond, but there was the sound of a crash and something shattering, like glass breaking, and both men ran to the back of the shop.
“No!, no! no!” JP ran over to where something had fallen.
Draco looked around the room. There were a few animals in various places, on perches or in terrariums. He recognized the young Phoenix on a perch that looked three sizes too big for her. Secharra must have had a burning recently. When he turned towards what had made the noise, he saw a heat box on the floor, shattered.
“What happened?” He asked.
“I’m not sure.” JP stood and turned to face Draco, a strange expression on his face.
Draco eyed him warily. He looked a lot different with the beard, but Draco was pretty sure he didn’t like the look in his eyes.
JP eyed the mess on the floor warily. He turned to look at Secharra, but she was actually sleeping. That wasn’t unusual. She’d burned two days ago, and it was only her second burning, so it still took a lot out of her. A family of owls nesting in a tree Neville had helped him set up in here for his companions. One of them had probably been the one screeching to draw his attention.
Draco stepped closer to the mess on the floor. In amongst the heat box pieces, he saw pieces of something that looked almost like glass, but not quite. It was almost translucent but not clear enough to see through. He picked one of the pieces up to get a closer look. It was thin, very thin, but it felt strong. He could sense a resonant magic coming from it. Almost without any conscious decision, his hand reached out for another piece.
His fingers brushed against something that felt cool to the touch and soft. There was a weird noise, almost like a gurgle, and then something scratched his hand, and there was a bright flash of light.
Draco felt everything sort of tilt, and there was a ringing in his ears and a cacophony of noise but then, like a splash of cold water, it all stopped, and everything righted itself. When he looked down, he realized he was holding…something. A baby dragon. He couldn’t tell what species, but she was tiny, small enough to fit in his hand.
“So that just happened.” Draco heard JP mumble as he blinked, waiting for his vision to normalize again. He moved his fingers gingerly across the back of the creature, still in shock. The hatchling started to crawl from his arms until it had reached his shoulder and perched there.
Draco cooed at the tiny thing for a second and brought her closer to his face. “Where did you come from, Little Dragon?”
“I should probably explain about that…except…I’m not quite sure what just happened. I mean, I know what just happened, but I’m sort of at a loss. I thought, well, I’m not sure what I thought, honestly.”
Draco pulled his eyes away from the dragon and looked over at his old school rival. “Do you always babble like that when you’re nervous?”
“Uh…no?” JP shrugged. Then he took a breath because he was not a Sixth-year following around his secret torment around trying to catch him doing something naughty. “That just…I mean, Luna said, I but I never.” He huffed out a breath. “Wow. So that did just happen.”
“Do you have a name, Little Dragon?” Draco asked softly, reaching up to pet the little creature, only partially listening to JP rambling on.
//No. The songbird told me my wizard would gift me with a name.//
Draco tilted his head towards the small Phoenix. He supposed she could be considered a songbird. More so than any of the owls at rate. “Did she?” He hummed as he thought. “I shall call you Kaida.”
Draco ignored the snort coming from the other wizard as the little dragon nuzzled him. //I like it.//
Draco turned back to Harry…or JP, he guessed he should get used to whatever name the other man wanted to use. “She likes it.”
“Of course she does. You already started calling her Little Dragon.” JP looked around at the mess before turning back to Draco and the little dragon. “Mission accomplished, I guess.”
“Pardon?” Draco drew his attention back to his old school rival.
“Your cousin told me…” JP shook his head as if shaking off a thought, “Nevermind.”
Draco winced slightly as tiny but very sharp claws dug into his shoulder. “I actually came here to see if I could get you to make a house call.”
“JP frowned. “A house call? Isn’t that more something you would do? You are a Healer. Besides, I thought you didn’t know I was here.”
Draco snorted. “I didn’t. I was coming to see if the Proprietor of Quaerere Caelad would visit St. Mungos to see one of my patients. I thought perhaps a companion might help him.”
JP hummed. “I can probably do that.”
“Probably?” Draco asked. “Rolf and Luna mentioned that you occasionally make visits to clients. Of course, they didn’t mention who you were. Though perhaps Luna was hoping I’d figure it out…she did talk about you a lot, for some stranger.”
“Oh? What exactly did she say…exactly?”
Draco shrugged. “You know Luna…she’s hard to decipher on the best of days. It’s gotten both better and worse.”
“So…no visit to St. Mungos? I’ll pay you.”
JP sighed. “It’s not the money or the visit…it’s the hospital, okay? I…they make me twitchy.”
Draco frowned, remembering something his old rival had said in one of his letters when he was in America and Draco was still in his residency. “Is this like that episode you had during your tour of the Salem Institute?”
JP shuddered and looked away. “That may have been a little more complicated than I told you at the time.”
Draco frowned. “It sounded like a Panic attack brought on by stress, an unfortunate flashback to a traumatic situation. I believe the mundane’s called it Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?”
JP blinked in surprise. “You got all that from the three sentences I told you in that letter?”
Draco snorted. “No, but I definitely picked up your hesitancy to discuss the incident any further. Our communication back and forth was as often about what wasn’t said as it was what was discussed.”
“Still, PTSD isn’t something I thought wizarding healers deal with, or believe in, or whatever.”
“No, we hadn’t. Most healers had the habit of prescribing calming draughts or other potions, which in my opinion, only masked the symptoms. After the war, I thought it was crucial to get to the route of some of the issues people might have been burning since the last war.”
“You thought?” JP raised an eyebrow.
Draco shrugged. “I took an eighteen-month sabbatical and spent it at three different hospitals. University College, Nightengale, and New Victoria. Some of the things I learned I applied to my practice.”
“Hmm. I want to be surprised, but I’m not.” JP admitted.
“So, the hospital is a hot zone for you. Could you come to my private practice office and floor through to the private office in my department? I could have Cambiere there, so it would just be the three of us.” His gaze moved to the sleeping phoenix. “Or if you’d prefer, and she’s up to it, Secharra could bring you.”
JP looked at Draco. “How old is this…Cambiere? And how sick is he?” He looked around his backroom, where the two of them were still standing. Secharra was still sleeping, and Kaida had fallen asleep as well, head tucked into Draco’s neck and shoulder. “Would the actual matching have to wait until he’s released?”
Draco tilted his head as he thought. “I suppose it would depend on what he was matched with.”
“But he’d be able to have some type of Companion there in St. Mungos? I know that the rules about…familiars are different, but it is still a hospital.”
Draco snorted at the expression of the other man’s face. “You really hate that word, don’t you? Familiar.”
JP scowled. “As a word, it’s fine. But about Companions, yes. The connotation is inaccurate and doesn’t do either partner in the relationship any favors by adopting it.”
“Noted, Master Peverell,” Draco said formally, acknowledging that Harry, whatever he chose to be called these days, was an expert in these matters. He had two masteries to back that up, and now that Draco knew he was, he knew it.
JP nodded and looked away.
“As for Cambiere, he’s six. He’s recovered physically from the accident that killed his parents, but he’s still traumatized by the experience. He’s on his last course of potions for the internal damage that was done during the accident. He is still having trouble sleeping, among a few other problems.”
“His parents were killed? Does he have family?”
Draco sighed. “No. His family had just moved back from France the day before the accident. We’ve been in contact with Gringott’s and the French Ministry. There’s no one. That’s one of the reasons you’ll need to come to St. Mungos. At present, I, as his Healer of Record, have technical custody of him, but there’s a lot of paperwork, and explanations if I want to remove him from the hospital.”
JP nodded. “Okay. If you can confirm that there won’t be a lot of traffic, I can come to your office.”
“Tomorrow evening?” Draco asked. When JP agreed, Draco smiled, hoping there was. a companion that such a young child could be matched with. He knew it was possible. As he’d heard some of the stories from when JP was in America.
JP was feeding the owls when he sensed the magical presence of another and turned around. “Luna-girl.”
She smiled as she surveyed the backroom quickly. “My cousin was by, I see.”
JP frowned. “Rolf said you didn’t know who was coming…to relieve me of my terrible burden.”
Luna shrugged in that way she had that he knew meant she had hedged a little. “He probably said he didn’t know because he didn’t.”
“But you did.”
“And you didn’t warn me that it was Draco Malfoy…and wow…he sure became an excellent member of society, didn’t he?”
Luna snorted. “I’m not sure if you’re referring to his Healer status or the fact that he’s more attractive now that he’s his own person.”
“I can appreciate both equally.” JP looked at the empty spot where the dragon egg’s heat box used to sit. He sighed. “I really never thought it would hatch.”
“I know. That’s why you had to be here. You had to see the bond form.” She kissed his cheek softly. “That’s why I didn’t warn you. You would have found an excuse to be elsewhere. Asked Rolf to mind the shop…something. The egg probably would have found a way regardless, but if you weren’t here for it, you would have wondered…worried. You swore an oath to that dying Dragon to care for its egg, and now that burden is met. You can rest.”
JP stared down at his old friend and nodded. “Thanks, Luna-girl.”
“So, were you able to help him? With his patient?”
“I’m going to meet him tomorrow and taste his magic. We’ll see.” He tilted his head towards the seer. “Do you know anything about the child?”
Luna closed her eyes for a second. JP could feel her magic around her, could see her aura brighten for a moment before she opened her eyes and shook her head. “Nothing I can share.”
JP nodded as a soft trill came from Secharra as she moved from her perch to his shoulder. //The youngling is gone?//. He walked Luna to the front door and tilted his head toward his Phoenix. “I have a lot to share with Sleepyhead here. I’ll talk to you when I have visited with Draco’s patient.”
Luna smiled softly. “Don’t worry, brother. Your visit to St. Mungos will be safe. Draco will protect you, even from your own demons.”
JP watched her walk back to their shop and closed the doors. He began telling Secharra everything she missed while she’d been sleeping off her Burning.
“Healer Z told me we might be having a visitor,” Cambiere said as soon as he came out of the light meditation Draco insisted on after every meal.
“Did she?” Draco asked. It was not surprising at all that Daphne had mentioned the possibility to his young patient. Cambiere didn’t have a lot of contact, by design, as Draco was cautious about anything that might trigger anxiety.
Cambiere nodded. “She wouldn’t tell me who though.”
“Well, his name is JP. He introduced me to my new friend, Kaida.” Draco briefly touched the little dragon. “Do you know anything about magical familiars?”
“Father had Pietro…He was one-and-a-half meters. Mamma said Pietro was rude but I didn’t think so, I thought he was funny. He just didn’t like Mamma’s familiar.” He leaned forward as if to tell a secret. “Vivian was a tiny and she was always singing.”
Draco smiled a little. Sad for the young boy, but glad he could remember his parents and their familiars without the trauma of his parent’s loss as sharp as it was when he first arrived. Birds and Reptiles don’t always get along.” He offered, remembering what he’d read about Cambiere’s family in the report. The father’s familiar had been. a snake, the mother’s a bird, a wren he thought. It was interesting because the parselmouth in the family was the mother, but it was her husband who had bonded to the Aesculapian.
“So, you know that familiars are really more than a channel for a wizard’s magic. They bond with us because we are magically compatible, and they become friends and family…companions.”
Cambiere nodded with a smile on his face.
“My friend, he prefers to call them that…companions. He has a special kind of magical sight, that allows him to tell what kind of companion will bond best with someone.”
Cambiere’s eyes widened. “Does he have one? A…companion?”
“He does. A Phoenix. Her name is Secharra.”
“Wow. Phoenixes live a really, really long time. How old is your friend’s, do you know?”
“I do. She’s young. Only seventeen. Her sire brought her egg to him when it was time for his final burning. Her egg took three years to hatch. She’s only just gone through her second burning. She’s barely a child, not much older than you, for a phoenix.”
“Will he bring her?” Cambiere asked with wide eyes.
“He will.” a new voice answered before Draco could.
They both turned towards the door to see a man standing there, next to Healer Zabini. He was wearing dark slacks under equally dark wizarding robes. There was a brightly colored bird sitting on his right shoulder. The phoenix did indeed look like a young one. It was red and gold, just like the ones Cabiere had seen in picture books, except there were splashes of blue through the wings and along the breast.
Draco stood up and lifted Cambiere into his arms. “Cambiere, this is the friend I was telling you about, Lord Hadrian Jamison Peverell Black.”
JP stepped further into the room as Daphne turned around and left. “That’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it? My friends call me JP. I’d like us to be friends, so you can too.” He took a step closer to Draco and the young boy and rubbed Kaida’s head lightly.
“I’m Cambiere Deveaux. I’m six.”
“Is that right?” JP smiled. “Can you lay your hands out flat, palm up, like this?” He demonstrated for the boy. Once Cambiere had copied him, JP set his own, larger hands flat on top of the child and closed his eyes, reading the magical aura, taking in the sense of the child. After a moment he opened his eyes and grinned. “I have a friend I want you to meet. I’m going to go get him, okay?”
JP looked over at Draco. “I’ll be right back.”
Draco watched the man leave in a flash of phoenix fire and then turned back to the boy in his arms. “Let’s get you ready for bed while we wait for him to return.”
Draco had just tucked Cambiere back into bed when a flash and a trill heralded JP’s return. He turned to the sound and found the man standing at the foot of Cambiere’s bed holding a rectangular heat box. Draco raised an eyebrow. Some sort of reptile? That didn’t really surprise him. Cambiere was a Parselmouth. It wasn’t the feared gift it once was, mostly due to the changes their world had undergone. Those changes had led to the realization that the ability wasn’t as rare as those in Britain had thought. Once changes started happening people who had been hiding all sorts of magical gifts and abilities started to be more open about them.
JP brought the box over to the bed. “Do you know what a Terror Skink is, Cambiere?”
The little boy shook his head.
JP put the box on the bed and took his hands away. “Go ahead and open it.” He watched as the little boy lifted the latch, opened the top of the box, and peered inside. A head started to come up and look around.
The little boy sucked in a breath and the creature’s eyes focused on his. It started to climb completely out of the box, its tiny legs not going much to help. Cambiere reached forward to pet the scales. The moment his fingers touched there was a blue glow that brightened for a moment around the lizard before proceeding completely. Cambiere’s eyes widened further. “I can hear him! He’s talking to me…in my head!”
“Yes. You are bonded together now. He’s your friend, your companion, for life.” JP explained.
“What’s his name? Oh, he said he doesn’t have one.” His eyes were wide.
“You can give him a name. But think about it…he’ll have it for a long time.” JP motioned towards Draco. “I’m going to talk to Healer Malfoy about what kind of supplies he needs, okay?”
“Okay, JP.” Cambiere grinned again. “Thank you for my companion. He’s perfect.”
“You’re very welcome, Cambiere.”
JP turned back to Draco and motioned back out of the room. “I’ll get some supplies together and have them sent over.” He paused. “Draco…I know you said you were looking at his family, but…when I tasted his magic. He’s formed a bond with you. He sees you as more than just his healer.”
Draco nodded and ran a hand through his hair, slightly missing it. “I know. I, uh…I was going to look into seeing if I could get guardianship.”
JP nodded. “If you need me to make a statement about the bond, let me know.”
“If you need anything, contact me.” JP smiled slightly.
“What if I don’t need anything?”
“Huh? JP asked.
“Can I contact you if I don’t need anything?” Draco asked.
JP blinked. That sounded…”Uh, yes?”
Draco laughed. “You don’t sound sure.”
JP blew out a breath. “Yes. Yes, you can contact me, even if you don’t need anything.”
JP blinked again. “Dinner sounds good.”
“Great. Tomorrow night, seven o’clock. Clementine’s.”
JP just nodded before rubbing Secharra’s breast in a silent signal. The two of them disappeared in a flash, leaving Draco looking equal parts pleased and entertained.
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