"...as I am sure you are aware by now."
Draco's eyes fluttered open, briefly. He forced them open again, and wondered why the action felt so difficult. He had to force his lids to stay up as he darted his eyes around. This was not his room. In fact, Draco had no idea where he was; he'd never seen this room before. He tried to sit up to take a better look, but found himself unable to move. Beyond shifting his eyes around, he was competely immobilized. Draco could feel his muscles straining against whatever magic was binding him, but he could not break free of it to do more than grunt.
"Are you quite alright?"
Somebody was speaking, was in the room with him. With severe effort, Draco managed to force his tongue and lips into position and mumble "Wh--y?...Wh--o?"
A fuzzy shape appeared over his face, and it took quite a while for Draco to focus on it. Snape!
"I see you blanked out again. It is happening less frequently--that is hopeful. At this rate, your memory and cognizance may return by tomorrow. As I have tired of explaining the situation to you repeatedly, let us wait until then to resume the conversation. I will return in the morning with your nutrient potion." Snape's face disappeared from his field of vision, and, a good minute later, what Draco could see of the room eased back into focus. His mind tried to wrap itself around what was happening, but he had the sense that it was being hindered by something. It was as if he used to be cleverer, or at least quicker on the uptake, and he couldn't remember now what that was like, but some part of his brain still recognized the difference.
There was a lamp on the ceiling, and he was lying in a bed. There was somebody else here too; who was it? Had he said something? Draco vaguely recalled somebody speaking to him. Lamp...ceiling....somebody speaking...Oh, and a bed, yes.
He was in bed. Must be sleeping then. He let himself drift back into unconsciousness.
Draco's eyes fluttered open, briefly, and he heard a clunking sound. He tried to sit up to see what it was, but something held him back. He was Petrified! Footsteps on the floor came nearer and stopped next to him. He forced his eyes over to where they stopped and found, much to his surprize, Severus playing nursemaid. Draco managed to flex his lips and gasp "Why?" It was all he could think to say, though for some reason, he felt like he should have thought of more.
Snape glanced up from the bottles he was playing around with, and looked into his face. "An articulate word--you are progressing well. Do you remember my presence here yesterday? Blink twice if you do."
Yesterday? A few flashes came back to him--Snape had been here before. That must have been yesterday. He had been in this bed for a while now, and Snape was feeding him potions from those bottles. He had never been able to move. He blinked twice.
"Your memory is returning then. That is excellent. And tell me, do you remember what happened before you got here?"
Draco tried to force his mind back to before the bed--A large room, lots of people, a black sword. A black sword? When did he ever go about with swords? Pain. Something hurt him. More than that. A searing, tearing pain. Something had injured him--ripped him. He didn't have the sword. Another man did, and he was shoving it in Draco's heart. Why wasn't he dead, then?
Straining all the muscles in his face, Draco managaged to whisper "Some."
"Do you remember when the Dark Lord stabbed you with the sword?"
The Dark Lord--he was the other man, that's right. Draco blinked twice.
"The sword is named 'Magicbane.' Some of the more clever Death Eaters have been working on it for over a year, according to the Dark Lord. You were its first victim, and he explained, in excruciating detail, what the weapon does. Magicbane is able to draw any magical energy out of a person or artifact against which it is wielded. I believe that is all that has happened to you. There is no wound above your heart, where he stabbed you. The weapon appears to be ethereal, but you have no magical aura at all."
Snape paused to pour the potions he had been mixing into something that looked like a child's spill-proof sippy-cup. He pulled Draco's limp body into a sitting position, propped up by pillows, and tipped the cup slowly towards Draco's mouth. "Can you swallow?" He asked, after pouring out a small mouthful.
The potion was thick, and tasted faintly of almonds. His throat was able to grab it without choaking, and Draco blinked twice.
Putting the cup back to Draco's mouth, Snape continued speaking. "Here is what seems to have happened. Magic is a part of our being, our bodies and our very existance. It is well known that wizards live much longer than Muggles. This is because our bodies can heal perfectly from something that would leave a Muggle scarred or permanently damaged. We are protected from harm by our magic. Harm, however, can do us some good, as well. When a Muggle runs, their muscle fibers tear, and are stronger once they heal. A wizard's body is not only helped by magic, it comes to rely on it. You have never flexed a muscle, had a thought, seen, heard or felt something without magical assistance. And now that that crutch has been pried away, your body and brain have been left on their own, underdeveloped as they are. It is as if you are now a baby Muggle, using your body for the first time. You will need to excercise and practice everything that a body does: moving, thinking, remembering. The good news is that your body seems eager to learn. You spent the entire first two days asleep, but have been improving in quick leaps since then. Yesterday, if you recall now, you had no memory at all. Before that, you seemed completely unaware of your surroundings. So, it would seem, that all that is wrong with you now is that you are extremely weak. Over time I believe you should regain your strength completely."
Draco had finished suckling his potion by the time Snape's appraisal had ended. His magic was gone? Completely?! Why was Snape even bothering to keep him alive when he was worse then a Squib? Hell, right now, he was even worse then a Muggle!
"Now, there will be none of that!" Snape said, in a gentle, good-natured by stern sort of way. For a moment, Draco wondered how his new caretaker knew he was so upset, then he noticed the wet feeling on his cheeks that had become quite familiar during his last year at Hogwarts. Snape took a paper napkin from somewhere behind himself and wiped Draco's eyes, then cleaned up his chin, where some of the potion had spilled. "This is not the end of the world, Draco" he said, as he put the napkin aside, "You will
get better. Until then, Muggles have some truly amazing technology designed for the purpose of assisting people in conditions such as your own. For now, though, I think our time would be well-spent trying to strengthen you up as best we can. As your memory and your ability to speak are both making a strong comeback today, we should probably work on them. Is there a particular gap in your memory you would like to try to fill?"What was this bastard playing at?
Draco was fuming. Snape walks in, tells him that he is worse then dead, and then wants him to jauntily start recoving. Draco tried to glare daggers at his him, took a deep breath and forced out a raspy "Ffffuck...you!"
Snape's caregiver demeaner dropped immediately. His face contorted with silent rage, and when he finally spoke, it was a low, dangerous snarl. "I...have been caring for you...for two weeks, now. I brew your potions, collect your waste and wipe the drool from your chin!" He was growing more furious with each word, and was now standing, hovering an inch from Draco's face and practically hissing. "I will not have my efforts be in vain, just because you want to lie around and feel sorry for yourself!" With that he tore the blankets from the bed, revealing that Draco was wearing nothing but a nightshirt, then spun around and flung open the windows all along the wall. The air that blew in made his joints ache with cold, and the specks of moisture striking his face told him that it was snowing. Snape raised his wand and levitated the bed closer to the window, where the wind seemed to slice through his thin shirt and freeze him from the inside. Without another word, Snape turned and left the room.
Draco's training kicked in and he began evaluating the situation on pure instinct. As far as he could tell, with neither magic nor muscle, he had no escape. Freezing to death would be slow and painful way to go, but would Snape really let it go that far? Snape--who had known him from childhood, made him potions when he was sick and offered guidance whenever he could. No matter how stupid it was, Snape was trying to save
him now. He was frustrated and upset, and he threw a tantrum. But Severus Snape was not one to commit rash acts in fits of anger. Any minute, he would realize what he had done and come back to fix it.
The sun peaked out from behind a small mountain on the horizon, and Draco watched it rise until it ducked behind a cloud. He began to shiver, weakly, and lost track of the passage of time. All he could tell was that he had certainly been here for more than a few minutes. Beside the stabbing, unrelenting pain of the cold, his arms now ached from straining his muscles. He had been unable to do more than twitch his fingers and toes, let alone move the blankets or shut the windows. Soon, he stopped shivering and it became difficult to breathe. He glanced at his hands and noticed that his fingernails were blue. The sun peaked out from between two clouds and, while he noted that it was as high in the sky as the sun ever got during the winter, his thoughts had the same thick, slow feeling that they had had the day before. The significance of the sun was hard to remember. In fact, it was hard to remember anything anymore, he was so tired. Something told him he should try to stay awake, but he could see no reason why. Everything hurt now, hurt so much, and sleep would take that away.