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Flatline by Rita Skeeter
Chapter 1: Flatline.
Lily Potter's room
1st September, 2026
It's been nearly a year, now, Daddy. I really miss you.
Today I'm going to Platform 9 and 3/4 for the last time ever. I really wish you could be there. It's going to be so different without you. The paparazzi are there already, too; Aunt Hermione suggested transfiguring our faces a bit, but Mum was against it. They already know what's going on.
I'm in my seventh year now- once I leave for summer, I'm never going back. It's sad, isn't it? Is this how you felt when you left Hogwarts?
I packed my bag today, careful to pack everything and leave nothing behind. James wouldn't drive me back if I did; even if he would, I would probably miss the train.
I made a mental checklist in my head as I packed.
Textbooks and quills. Check.
Owl treats. Check.
I watched my brothers fly, tears falling down my face. "I wanna fly, too! I want a broom!" I said, stomping my feet and wiping my eyes angrily on my sleeve.
"You don't know how to do magic. You're just a kid," my brother taunted as he flew past, hovering just out of my reach on his broomstick.
"Shut up Jamie! I want to fly!" I whined.
"But you don't know how. You're just a baby," Al said, pulling up next to James.
"No I'm not! I'm not a baby!"
"Then why are you crying, baby?"
"Leave me alone," I said, tears welling again. "I'm going to be good at Quidditch and I'm going to be good at flying! When I go to Hogwarts, I'm going to be on my House Team!"
"What? Hufflepuff? They can't play at all," James told me with a wave of his hand.
"I'm not gonna be a Hufflepuff! I'll be a Gryffindor!"
"Nah," Al said, "You're not brave enough."
"I am too brave enough!" I shouted, my voice a shrill whinge.
"No, you're not," James said matter-of-factly.
"Yes she is."
I turned around to see Daddy watching us from the doorframe. He was also holding his broom loosely in his right hand.
"You'd make a great Gryffindor, Lily," he said with a smile. He strode over and knelt in front of me, wiping my tears away. "What's wrong?"
"They're being mean to me again. They said I'm not brave and I can't fly."
"What do they know?" Daddy whispered, giving me a hug.
I pulled away and stuck my tongue out and James and Albus. They mirrored me and then flew away, racing each other to the tree on the other side of the back yard. Dad straddled his broomstick and for a minute I thought he was going to fly off and leave me on the ground alone. I felt like crying again.
"Come here," Dad said, reaching out his hand towards me. I took it and he hoisted me up in front of him on his broom. "Hold on tight and don't let go," he instructed, placing my hands on the broom handle.
He kicked off and together we soared into the air. I knew he wasn't flying as fast or as high as he usually would, but that didn't matter.
I was flying and it felt amazing.
I smiled as I placed my broom in my trunk. That was the first time I'd ever flown, Daddy, and you made it special.
That was the thing that kept me going until I went to Hogwarts. Well, that and listening to the stories Uncle George would tell me about you. They were my favourites. I know most of them by heart. He always made them so funny and interesting.
He said you were one of the best students at Hogwarts. I mean, what fourteen-year-old wins (not to mention survives) the Triwizard Tournament? You must have been really good at magic, even when you were just a kid. All the professors tell me about you, too. Especially Professor Hagrid. He tried telling me about the time you he delivered you to Great-Aunt Petunia's but he kept choking up and couldn't get the full story out. Is it bad that I find it amusing that a fully grown half-giant man can't string together a sentence without crying at memories? Yes, it is, isn't it Dad. McGonagall talks about you too, sometimes; more stories, again. She told me about all of your detentions. She would always try to look angry or annoyed, but there was always a smile threatening at the corners of her mouth and tears threatening to spill out of her eyes.
I remember the only story that I never heard the end of. Uncle George was telling it, but he never got to finish it. He never finished it and I never asked.
Sometimes, I wish I had.
Christmas Eve, 2016
"Hey Lily, come here. Do you want to hear a story?" Uncle George asked. I nodded excitedly and clambered onto his knee. I always loved his stories.
"Is it about Daddy?" I asked, looking up at him. He mock scowled.
"How did you know?"
"Because you always tell me stories about him!"
"Do you want to hear a new one? You're in it too."
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" I cheered, bouncing excitedly and clapping my hands.
"Well, since you insisted…" Uncle George sighed jokingly. I stuck my tongue out at him and he did the same.
"Well, I don't know if you remember, but you were only two years old. He sat you on his knee, just like you are on my knee right now. He was reading you the story of The Fountain of Fair Fortune by Beedle the Bard-"
"What is a bard?" I interrupted.
He thought about this for a minute, screwing up his eyebrows. "Um… it's much like… a Nargle," he said, his eyes drifting around the room and finally settling on the Mistletoe hanging above the doorframe. Mum was leaving the lounge room and Dad was coming in. They both accidentally stepped under the door frame at the same time. Dad looked at the Mistletoe and then at Mum. Mum looked at the Mistletoe and then at Dad. He leaned towards her and I covered my eyes quickly.
"Ew!" I squealed, burying my face in Uncle George's chest. He laughed, the sound sending a ripple of vibrations rumbling around my face. "You can look now," he said in my ear.
I pulled my face away, and he was right; the coast was clear. Good.
"Can you keep telling your story, Uncle Georgie?" I asked with an innocent grin. I threw in a couple of eyelash-bats for good measure.
He smiled. "Alright. So as I was saying, your dad was reading this story to you. You had just been crying because James and Al were being mean to you like usual. Your mum told them off with her fiery Weasley-temper and your Dad read to you until you stopped crying. He asked you which story was your favourite, and you picked the Fountain. He read the story to you and you kept interrupting him. Since you were two, you couldn't really speak to well and he had to keep guessing at what you asking. He only understood one question perfectly, the first time you asked.”
“What did I say?!”
"You asked what he would wish for at the fountain. Do you know what he said? He told you that if he ever got the chance to make a wish at the Fountain or Fair Fortune, it would be that - sorry Lily, just a moment," he said, standing me on the floor and marching into the back yard. "Fred, put your wand down and step away from the tree!… I don't care that you didn't mean to set it on fire, that doesn't change the fact that it is a flaming stump! James stop laughing; it only encourages him."
"Dinner, everyone!" Nana called, placing a large, covered platter in the middle of the table and slipping off her oven mitts and putting them in her apron pocket.
"I'll finish the story later, Lils?" Uncle George asked, squeezing my shoulder lightly.
"Uh-huh," I nodded.
He never did. I never found out what you would have wished for, Dad. I keep telling myself that if I try hard enough, I might remember, but my two-year-old self had the memory of a goldfish.
I'm scared for Seventh year. I don't know what to expect. I wonder if the classes are going to be harder. I wonder if the teachers will be friendlier. I wonder if my boyfriend will still be the same.
Yes, Dad. I did say boyfriend. I think you know him- Luke Finnegan? Seamus's son? But don't worry, he's passed all the tests. James and Al were sure about that. And they've been nicer to me, too, since it happened. I think they are trying to protect me. As rude as it sounds, they're not doing a very good job. I hardly ever feel safe anymore.
I wonder if Luke will still want me. After all, I've been such a wreck lately; it wouldn't surprise me if he didn't. I don't know if I will cry at the Platform. I remember the first time I was there to leave for Hogwarts and I was scared to leave you. But you made me stop being scared.
Platform 9 3/4
September 1, 2019
James and Al ran off ahead, disappearing into the crowd and ignoring the shouts of "Get back here now!" from Mum.
I walked quickly, clinging to her hand for dear life. Daddy was behind us, pushing my luggage trolley.
This is it. I'm finally going to Hogwarts.
Butterflies bounced around inside my tummy; not the good kind though- the kind that made you want to double over and gag.
The train whistled once- the warning that it would take off soon- and the butterflies became birds.
"Are you okay, honey?" Mum asked quietly, squeezing my hand. I nodded, not trusting my voice enough to speak. My brothers are right; I'm not cut out to be a Gryffindor. They should just stick me in Hufflepuff and be done with it.
"You have to go now or you're going to miss the train, Lily," Mum told me.
I nodded again and hugged her tightly, burying my face in her stomach. She stroked my hair as she knelt down on the floor of the platform.
"Have a fantastic year, sweetheart. Write us, okay? As soon as you can," Mum said, giving me a kiss on the forehead. "I love you."
"I love you too, Mummy."
Mum stood up again and craned her neck to find James or Al. She spotted one of them and headed in their direction to say goodbye, leaving me standing awkwardly.
I stared at the floor until I felt a hand on my shoulder. I jumped, pulling out my wand and spraying purple sparks on the person.
Dad laughed and took his hand away and knelt down to my level live Mum did. "Sorry. I didn't mean to frighten you."
I nodded, looking down again.
"Hey," he said, lifting my chin to look in his eyes. I wish I got the emerald green Evans eyes, rather than the big, brown Weasley eyes. "Don't worry. You'll love Hogwarts."
He pulled me into a hug and I buried my face into his shoulder, breathing in his aftershave. It was my favourite smell in the world.
I didn't let go and I kept breathing it in for as long as I could. What if I never get to smell it again? What if I never get to hug my dad again? What if I never see my dad again? Or Mum. I wish I hugged her longer. I don't want to lose them. What if something happens to me or them? Daddy is an Auror. That is such a dangerous job- he could go out one day and never come back. I don't ever want him to leave me.
Dad gently pried my fingers apart and leaned away for a minute. It was only when he wiped a stray tear off my face that I realized I'd been crying.
I shook my head and closed my eyes. He held both my hands in his and asked me again.
"I… I just… What if I never see you again?" I said, my voice cracking.
"What put that idea in your head? Was it your brothers?" Dad scowled.
I shook my head and gave a quick, watery laugh. "No. I've just been thinking."
"Well don't think about that because you will see me again."
I nodded and wiped my eyes on my sleeve. I hugged him again and leaned forward to speak into his ear. "I never want to get married. I'm never going to leave you, Daddy."
Dad laughed, the sound rumbling in his chest.
"And you'll be okay, because I'll never leave you, Lily."
You broke your promise, Daddy. I know you didn't mean to, but you still broke it.
You left me. And I am definitely not okay.
I've always envied Victoire. She was perfect in every way, Dad. Had you noticed? Naturally, though, she was gorgeous and she was such a nice person. Damn those Veela genes. Why couldn't you have been a Veela, Dad? That would have been awesome.
Not only was Victoire perfect, but she also had everything. She had the pretty blonde hair instead of the Weasley mess the rest of us had, she had bright blue eyes too; mine were boring and brown. Victoire also had the perfect boyfriend and the perfect wedding.
In fact, Teddy and Vic's wedding is one of my favourite memories. Did you know that it was my Patronus memory? James taught me at the end of fifth year, and that was my memory. But I can't produce a Patronus now. Me, Al, James- none of us can.
August 2nd, 2015
I walked down the aisle, scattering red rose petals. Victoire originally wanted glitter but Nana didn't fancy cleaning that up. I saw Teddy and Dad and Teddy's friend Evan standing at the altar looking handsome in black suits with sky-blue ties. Daddy winked at me when I reached the front and went to sit between Mum and Auntie Hermione in the front row.
Aunt Angelina had curled my red hair for me and magically arranged some pretty blue butterflies to sit in it and play. I claimed it looked like oversized lice but everyone said it was beautiful. I missed most of the wedding ceremony because half way though I discovered that rose petals had a distinct but lovely flavour. When Auntie Audrey saw me eat one she nearly fainted. Mum smiled and told me that it was yucky.
The only part of the ceremony that I actually saw was when Uncle Bill led Vicky down the aisle. I tapped Mum on the shoulder and leaned up to whisper to her.
"I can't wait for Daddy to walk with me at my wedding," I told her.
She smiled and I leaned my head on her arm.
The reception was fairly boring too. All the talking and eating and such. Our table had roses though, so I managed to sneak some of the petals during the course of the meal.
I am seven, get over it.
"It is now time for the father-daughter dance," the DJ announced, changing to a slow song. I remember watching Victoire and Uncle Bill with my full attention. I saw him wipe a tear off her cheek and smile encouragingly at her. For a second, I imagined myself in a long, white dress, dancing with Daddy on my wedding day.
"Would all the other fathers join the floor with their daughters for this next song?"
I suddenly was lifted out of my seat by my Dad.
"You've had enough rose petals tonight, now it's time to dance," he said, planting a kiss on my cheek. I laughed and held on to his neck.
A slow version of a Muggle song began to play and I leaned my head on Daddy's shoulder as he held me, spinning slowly on the dance floor
Lifting my head, I looked around at everyone; Uncle Bill was dancing with Dom now and Uncle Ron was dancing with Rosie- both she and Dom were wearing their sky-blue bridesmaid's dresses, even though Rosie was only a few years older than me. Uncle George was dancing with Roxy; Uncle Percy was holding Molly's hand with his left hand and Lucy's with his right, doing some awkward attempt at the twist. Molly and Lucy held each other’s hand too and settled for turning in a small circle with their Dad.
I couldn't help but notice that I was the only one being held. I smiled smugly and tightened my grip on Daddy's neck. For the first time, I felt superior to my cousins. They’d always had one up on me- prettier hair or nicer clothes or more friends, but right now, I had the best Daddy.
"I love you, Daddy," I whispered so quietly that I didn't know if he would hear me.
"I love you too, Lily."
Who will walk me down the aisle, Dad? Who will I have my Daddy-Daughter dance with? What am I supposed to do without you?
I didn't think I could live without you. I still don't know if I can. This doesn't feel like living. You know why? Because I'm not. I'm not living, Dad. I'm simply existing. And yes, there is a difference.
Do you remember our fight, when I was fifteen? That was the worst one we've ever had and it is my biggest regret. You always told me to never have regrets, or look back. In fact, you used to say, "If Cinderella went back for her shoe, she would have never become a princess." I loved when you read me Muggle fairytales.
But that fight is something I will always regret. I wasted over a year of precious time not speaking to you. I could have said a thousand things that year, but I didn't. I remember though, every night I would cry myself to sleep. I overheard you telling Mum that you thought it was because I was angry that I didn't get my way, but it wasn't. I cried each night because I was scared. The whole time I wasn't talking to you, I never told you that I love you. Of course you already knew, but what if you just didn't wake up one morning and my last words to you were "I hate you"?
The Lounge Room
14 July, 2023
"Why can't I go?!" I shouted.
"Because you are fifteen, Lily Luna Potter! I will not let you sneak into a Muggle night club!" Dad yelled back, for the third time.
"Bloody why?! The other girls’ parents are letting them!"
"I don't care! You are not the ‘other girls’. While you live under my roof you live by my rules," Dad snapped.
I planted my hands on my hips and gave him the glare I'd learnt from Mum. I saw Dad's jaw tighten.
"I know how to get out of my window," I said calmly.
Dad gritted his teeth. "Your window is four stories up, Lily."
"I have a broom," I said smugly.
Dad raised his wand. "Not anymore," he growled as my broom and wand flew into his hand.
"YOU CAN'T JUST TAKE THOSE!" I shrieked.
"I BLOODY WELL CAN AND I WILL! I AM THE ADULT HERE, LILY LUNA POTTER AND YOU ARE GROUNDED FOR THE NEXT MONTH."
I shouted in frustration and stomped my foot.
"Just go to bed, Lily, before you say something you regret," Dad snapped.
"FINE! I HATE YOU!" I picked up the picture of me and Dad at Kings Cross, laughing and waving, at the beginning of this year- my favourite photo- and threw it on the ground, smashing the silver frame into tiny pieces.
Dad simply stared at the photo on the floor, still laughing and waving under the shards of glass. It was slightly torn down the middle.
He turned and walked up the stairs with a sigh and I waited until he was gone before I followed.
"Enjoy the show?" I spat venomously at Mum, James and Al who were standing wide-eyed and shocked in the doorway.
"Come on, let's go to bed," Mum said, leading them both away without another word.
When the house was finally quiet I raced up the stairs to my room. The second I had locked my door, I dived on to my bed, burying my face in my purple pillow to cry. I was so angry and I wanted to break something. I pulled on my pyjamas and washed my face in my bathroom before turning out the lights and lying in bed. I closed my eyes, willing myself to fall asleep, but I couldn't. I was alone in the dark with my thoughts; sleep would be impossible.
What if Dad hated me? I didn't mean what I said, I don't really hate him. It was just me being a bitch in the heat of the moment. And I said something I regret. What if Dad doesn't forgive me?
Soon the tears began rolling again and sobs racked through my body, muffled by my pillow. What if Dad didn't wake up in the morning? What if he didn't come home from work tomorrow? What if he believes me?
I heard a knock at my door. "What?" I spat, thinking it was Dad. I don't know why I was still acting angry and rude.
The lock clicked open and someone slipped past the door.
"Are you okay, Lily?" James whispered.
"Go away," I snarled, turning onto my stomach and burying my face again, trying to block my brother out.
"You're upset," he stated. I felt the mattress sink a bit where he sat down.
"Nice observation," I snapped. I didn't sound as menacing as I hoped I would though- my voice cracked and shook.
"You shouldn't have said that to him. We all know it's not true," James said quietly.
I sat up and glared at him where he sat, leaning against my headboard. "Just leave me alone." I could feel more tears welling up and I tried to blink them away but one rolled down my cheek and James noticed.
He pulled me against him and I buried my face in his shoulder, sobbing again as he held me and smoothed my hair.
"Go away, James. I'm fine. Go away," I sobbed weakly, gripping his shirt even tighter despite what I was saying.
He stayed with me until he thought I was asleep. "Lily?" he whispered. I lay as still as possible, trying to keep my breathing calm and even. James sighed and tucked me in, brushing my hair off my face. He would deny it if I ever told anyone, but James could be a great brother when he needed to be.
After a few hours of tossing and turning I was finally positive that everyone was asleep. As quietly as I could I snuck out of my room and down the hall to Mum and Dad's. At the door, I listened carefully to be sure they were asleep. I crept inside and snatched my wand from its place on Dad's bedside table and left the room, closing the door quietly behind me.
I raced down the stairs and into the lounge room, kneeling next to the shattered mess on the floor. I saw the tear in the photo again and stupidly began to cry again. I wish I didn't smash it. It is my favourite photo in the world and I've destroyed it. My shoulders shook as I tried to hold in a sob.
"Reparo," I whispered, my voice shaking as I pointed my wand at the photo. I pursed my lips and squeezed my eyes closed when the photo remained torn.
"Reparo," I whispered, stronger. I watched hopefully, but the photo would not fix. That was when I broke down.
I was trying to keep my sobs to an occasional whisper so I didn't wake the house, but I failed miserably.
"Reparo! Reparo! Reparo!"
I put the photo back down and cried into my hands. Maybe this was a sign. Maybe it was a physical example of how I had ruined my relationship with my dad.
Accepting defeat, I stood up, tears still streaming down my face. I was on the stairs when I turned around and looked back through the doorway and saw the photo and the pieces of the frame levitate into the air and piece themselves back together. The whole frame dropped gently onto the wooden coffee table in the same place it was in before I destroyed it.
That was the first night I cried myself to sleep.
It was you, wasn't it Daddy? You fixed the photo from under your invisibility cloak, didn't you? Please don't hate me for not speaking to you. Despite what I said it was not because I hate you; I was ashamed, Dad. I was too ashamed to face you after what I said. It was a stupid fight over something stupid. But now I have to live with that hanging over me forever.
I never told anyone, but you were my hero. When I was scared of the dark, you would put on my nightlight. When I was convinced that there was a gargoyle in my closet you fought it away, even though there was no gargoyle. When I needed help with my Transfiguration holiday homework you helped me. When I nearly tipped off my broom, you appeared beside me and steadied me until I was sure I could fly.
You never let me fall, Dad.
I was scared when I found out about you. Mum wanted to tell us herself but before she could the post came.
Great Hall, Hogwarts
3rd September, 2025
"Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!"
I stared over at the crowd surrounding my stupid cousin. Louis had already downed fourteen bottles of pumpkin juice in a row and for some reason he was proud. I am a bit ashamed to say that this seems to be a normal occurrence at breakfast. Ah, it seems Louis has mastered the skill of shooting pumpkin juice out of his nose. Line up ladies, my cousin is a real catch. Oh, what do you know; Al is there too.
I leaned against Luke's arm trying to ignore the embarrassment that is my family. I turned to the window just in time to see a flock of owls soar in. They dropped letters and copies of the Prophet in front of people. I never really bothered with that newspaper. I am sick of reading all the lies and rumours that Rita Skeeter writes about me and my family. I don't know how she still has a job.
Around the Hall students began turning towards me and Al. I assumed that they were whispering about Louis' idiocy. Al must've noticed the whispers and stares because he stopped and stared back, just like I did.
Luke coughed awkwardly and pulled his paper off the table and onto his lap. "You haven't, er… seen the paper by any chance today, have you?" he asked.
I scoffed. "Why? What has that harpy written about us now?"
"It's, um… let's go into the Entrance Hall and talk there, yeah?" he asked me, motioning for Al to follow us too.
I walked beside him, holding his hand and trying to catch his gaze as if I would somehow know what was going on. In the Entrance Hall, Luke pulled me and Al into a large broom closet and lighting his wand. Al did the same.
"There. Some privacy," Luke said, handing me the paper.
"What the hell are you doing, Finnegan?" Al demanded, pointing his wand light directly in Luke's face.
"Just look at the paper."
I lit my own wand and shone it on the paper. "The Ministry is holding a charity drive to donate to the Society for Underprivileged and Underfunded Hospitals? That's what you dragged us in here to see?" I asked, reading the headline. Luke pursed his lips and took the paper from me before unfolding it and handing it back. My heart sank as I read the article, but I shook my head trying to force the thoughts out of my brain.
"I don't believe it," I decided stubbornly, thrusting the newspaper into Al's chest and storming out of the broom closet and back into the Great Hall. The minute I walked in, all eyes were on me. "Take a picture!" I shouted at them all. I dropped down onto the bench attempting to avoid everyone's stares and tune out their whispers.
"Lily," Neville said quietly, appearing behind me and placing a hand on my shoulder, "I think you and your brother need to go to the Headmistress' office."
I regret it, Dad. I was stupid. You were, too. We were both incredibly stupid. Maybe it wouldn't have hurt so badly if we'd spoken since our fight when I was fifteen. A year, a whole year of my life I spent ignoring you when you were home and wishing you would be home when you were at work. But what for? We never spoke anymore when we were both home. That was it. I was no longer Daddy's little princess. I grew up and left you behind. And you know what, Dad? I hate myself for it. For cutting you out of my life like I did. I tried to talk to you then, but I know you never heard me.
St. Mungo's Hospital
ICU, Room 711
3rd September, 2025
Mum and James left the hospital room, taking Al with them. Mum realized that I wanted to be left alone with Dad, and for that I was grateful. I held my breath as I slowly pushed open the door to Room 711, scared of what might be inside. I understood now why they had put Dad into the Intensive Care Unit- he honestly looked terrible.
I swallowed thickly at the sight of my Dad, unconscious in the bed. Tubes and wires were connected to every part of him and a drip was attached to the top of his left hand. A heart rate monitor on the other side of the bed kept a steady beep with the pace of his heart. If it weren't for the tubes I wouldn't have guessed Dad was injured. Maybe it was the look of serenity on his face. I hate how hospital beds have a way of making everyone look smaller, younger. Dad's features looked incredibly breakable at the moment and his arms appeared to be frail. This person didn't look like my dad at all. I slipped my hand into his, careful not to jostle the tube connected to the drip, and sat in the visitors chair next to the bed.
"Hi Daddy," I said quietly, feeling incredibly stupid. "Er… it's me, Lily. I don't know how to sugar coat this, so I'm just going to come right out and say it. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not talking to you, I'm sorry for not replying to your letters, I'm sorry for letting you think that I hate you. I could never hate you, Dad, and it makes me feel terrible that you believed me so quickly. I wish I didn't do that. It was a stupid fight over something stupid. And now there's no going back."
I sat quiet for a minute, listening to the beeping of the heart rate monitor, watching it instead of my Dad. I don't know why, but I couldn't bear to look at him as I confessed everything.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
"I'll admit that it gave me quite a scare when Luke showed me the article. I refused to believe it, actually. I never believe anything written by Rita Skeeter, but for what is probably the first time in history, her article spoke the truth. They don't know what curse you've been hit with, Dad. They're doing the best they can to find out what it is but so far they've got no idea. Mum told me they've been running a lot of tests. She's a mess, just so you know. She's trying to hold it together, to be strong for everyone else but I know that she is close to crumbling. I'm scared about what will happen if she breaks down. What do you do when your support's unstable? You wobble then crash, right? If Mum loses it, I will too. Even though I've always liked to think I was strong, I know that I'm not. I'm not strong, I'm not level-headed and I'm not brave. That is why you can't leave me."
I felt traitor tears sting the back of my eyes when I thought about Dad leaving me. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. So once again I focused on the heart rate monitor and it's steady beeping.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
"Come on, Dad. Stick around just a bit longer. I promise that I'll talk to you now. I'll never break my curfew, I won't fight with you and I will never ever tell you I hate you. Don't you want to be there to hold your grandson or granddaughter? Little Aiden or Olivia. I haven't decided for sure yet, but I've still got years to think about that. And don't you want to walk me down the aisle like Uncle Bill did for Vicky? Remember that, Dad? How much fun we had that night. Don't you want to be there to try and scare away any boys I bring home? Not that you were scary; you and Uncle Ron just stood there with these weird eye-twitch glares. It was kind of amusing, actually... But I have a question, Dad. If, in the future of course, Luke were to ask for your permission for my hand, what would you say?"
I watched Dad intently, and in a moment of sheer idiocy I waited for him to open his eyes and answer. But I realized he wouldn't and a tear slipped down my cheek. I quickly wiped it away with the back of my hand, rolling my eyes in annoyance at both myself and my dad.
"You can cut it out now, Dad. If this is a joke, it isn't funny! I'm terrified, Dad! I hope you know that," I snapped, my voice rising at each word. "You've broken us all! Why did you have to go to work? You should have just stayed home and then none of us would be here! None of us! Remember that time you told me off for climbing that tree because I could fall and break a bone? Well, someone should have told you to quit your job because you could battle a psychopath and die!"
I clapped my hand over my mouth, scared I had just jinxed all Dad's chances of surviving. If- Merlin forbid- he dies, it will be all my fault. I couldn't hold back the tears now and when I realized that I had stood up in my moment of irrational anger, I slowly sunk back into my chair. But Dad won't die, I'm sure of it. I glanced at the heart rate monitor again before leaning my head forward to let the blankets absorb my tears.
"Maybe you don't understand, Dad, but I can't let you go. You can't leave me. I don't know what I would do without you. Sometimes I have wondered about it, but I've always ended up breaking down. Please don't go, Daddy," I whispered, my voice cracking.
I don't know if Dad believed in God. I don't think he was a very religious man, either. I don't know if I believe in God or religion. I've never given it much thought before now, but I'm willing to try anything now.
I touched my forehead, then my heart and then both my shoulders, making the Sign of the Cross on myself like I've seen people do in movies. I folded my hands against the mattress and leaned forward to rest my head against them. Once more I listened for the monitor, trying to quieten my sobs.
"Um, God? If you're listening, my name is Lily Potter. I've er, never prayed to anything before, so I don't really know if I'm doing this right… You see, this is my Dad. His name is Harry Potter. He's a really good man but he is really sick. Or injured… no-one is really sure. But I just had to ask You… please don't take my Daddy away," I whispered, squeezing my eyes tightly closed as my voice broke again. "He means a lot to me. I don't know if I could be happy ever again without my Dad here. He wasn't a… catholic, I think the word is… but please, if there is a Heaven, please don't keep my Dad out if you take him. He's a really good man. I know it get's lonely up there sometimes, but can't You suffice for anybody else? Even me. Just please don't take away my Dad."
I did the Sign of the Cross again for good measure and picked up Dad's glasses off the bedside table, folding and unfolding the arms idly. I hope someone heard my prayer. I hope I can keep my Dad.
I looked to the heart-rate monitor for a second and that is when I noticed the sickening silence and my heart sank- no, plummeted- while simultaneously skipping about thirty beats. I stood up suddenly and shouted for a nurse.
"NO, DAD! DON'T YOU DARE- DON'T YOU DARE LEAVE ME DAD! I NEED YOU! PLEASE DON'T GO! DON'T LEAVE ME! PLEASE!" I shouted hysterically at my unmoving father, tears streaming down my face. Three nurses rushed into the room, one pulling me away from my Dad. "DON'T GO, DADDY! PLEASE! LET GO OF ME! LET ME SEE MY FATHER! DAD, THEY'RE TRYING TO TAKE ME AWAY! DON'T DAD! PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME ALONE! THAT IS MY DAD AND HE IS DYING! DONT LET HIM GO!"
The nurse who was holding me back spoke calmly over my echoing sobs. "They're trying to calm his heart now. He's having a heart attack," she told me. I noticed then that the beeping had started again after the moment it had frozen, but now it was beating at three times the normal rate.
"MUM! JAMES! ALBUS! DAD NEEDS US! HURRY UP!" I shouted hysterically to the empty corridor, sobs painfully shaking me. I turned back to the room to see the nurses standing over my Dad, two paddles on his chest.
I squeezed my eyes shut, “No, don’t do this.”
“Please Daddy, don’t do this. Don’t do this.”
“I love you,” I sobbed, “I love you so much so please don’t do this!”
Beep beep beep beep beep.
I saw Mum, James and Albus appear in the room and freeze.
“Please Dad,” I begged quietly, “please don’t leave me.”
“Charge to 200 joules. Clear!” The nurse pressed the paddles down on Dad's chest and his back arched. “Patient’s still in arrest!” The nurse called back.
I wrapped my arms around my chest, sobbing, “Come on Dad.”
“Ready to shock, clear!” Dad’s back arched again but the beeping continued mockingly. “Increase the adrenalin by one measure. Charging, clear!” Dad’s back arched again and I shut my eyes, half to stop the tears and half because I couldn't take watching my Dad convulse under the shocks anymore.
“Increasing the adrenalin,” the nurse informed the room.
“Come on Dad,” I begged, opening my eyes again, “please, stop doing this.” The other nurse was now performing chest compressions. The nurse readied the paddles again.
“Charging… clear!” Dad’s back arched again but the beeping refused to stop.
“We’re at maximum dosage,” the nurse advised. The head nurse nodded grimly and readied the paddles once more, “Charging… clear!” Daddy’s back arched again.
Come on, come on, come on, come on, come, I silently chanted, trembling from head to foot.
The nurse put down the paddles and pulled out a pen light and a stethoscope. After a few moments of listening to Dad’s chest and flashing the light in his unmoving eyes the nurse said, “I don’t think we can do any more. I’m going to call time of death at-"
“NO!!!” I shrieked, sobbing harder than before. “No! One more time, please! Just one more time please!” I rushed forward and grabbed her coat pleadingly, “please, just try one more time!”
“I can’t-” she said, but I interrupted her.
“Please, quickly, just one more time. I beg you please! Don't let my Dad die," I whispered, looking down.
“He’s still showing a low tachycardia rhythm,” the nurse who was holding me pointed out quietly, “came back three shocks ago.”
The head nurse looked torn.
“Please,” Al sobbed. I only remembered that the rest of them were here again then, “please, one more try!”
“I could lose my job…”
“I won’t tell!” I said quickly and hopefully.
She looked at the other two nurses, who just shrugged as if to say 'it's up to you.'
Sighing, the nurse raised the paddles, “charge to 200 joules!” The machine whirred and I held my breath, “ready to shock! Clear!” Dad's torso arched again. Every set of eyes immediately stared at the heart monitor. Come on, come on, come on, I pleaded. I could barely see the green line, fresh tears blurring my vision too much, but everyone could hear the lasting beep loud and clear. Seconds dragged past but nothing changed.
“NO!” I screamed, refusing to accept it. He's not gone! He can't be.
“I’m sorry,” the nurse said, “but I’m calling time of death at…”
That's when I blacked out, Dad. Mum said I concussed myself from hitting my head on the table on the way down. But I didn't care about that. You left me, Daddy. You said you never would, but you did when you flatlined.
That is the same flatline that haunts my stupid dreams some nights and I wake up crying. Why did you have to go?
Afterwards the doctor told us what the curse did. He said it slowly froze your heart. It was irreversible. The man who cursed you is in an asylum for the Criminally Insane, but I think he should have been sent to Azkaban. He took you away from us, so he should be taken away from society. He's already insane so what does it matter. It still won't hurt him as much as it hurt us to watch you die. I can see the Thestrals now. But I hate them; they're just another unwanted reminder of what happened that afternoon in Room 711. They called T.O.D at 1:56 pm. I hadn't realized that I had been talking to you for so long. It was during breakfast that I was called to the hospital.
The kids at school didn't understand. Whenever Al or I passed their group in the hallway, it was always, "Look at the Potters! Did you hear what happened to their Dad?" or "Look at the Potters! You never catch them smile these days," or "Look at the Potters! Still moping two months later!" I lashed out at one boy when I heard him say that. He wasn't even talking about me either- he was pointing at Al, but I tackled him to the ground and broke his arm and nose. Serves him right.
The teachers are no better, what with their unwanted sympathy and condolences. Sympathy and condolences won't bring you back, but no-one seems to see it from that point of view except Al, James and me. Mum told us off for being rude and then just got that far-away look in her eyes. She doesn't focus much anymore. Physically, she's the same as usual, but sometimes I notice that her mind is in another place.
Please don't hate me because I didn't cry at your funeral. It was only afterwards I cried, but I had a breakdown coming. You could see it a mile away, so I don't know why everyone seemed so surprised. Mum, James and Al, Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione. They were the only witnesses, but I'm sure they'll remember it for a while. I wish I could forget it. It wasn't one of my finest moments.
The Gordic's Hollow Grave Yard
14th September, 2025
I vaguely noticed James and Al walk to the front to recite the eulogy that Mum, Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron had written earlier this week. But I didn't listen. I didn't listen to any of it. Instead I sat in my stupid folding chair and stared at the grass, the sky, the tree stump near the gate. Everything but the big, black casket. I couldn't look at that. Even the thought of it brought me straight back to Room 711. But of course I had front row seats so the shiny box was in my peripherals every way I turned.
Freddie nudged me in the side and gently told me it was over. He took my hand and led me towards the line where we would stand so people could kiss us and shake our hands and tell us how sorry they are. But they aren't sorry, not really. They weren't the ones who ignored their Dad for a little over a year. They weren't the ones who prayed to a God that they don't even believe in to give their Dad more time. They weren't the ones who watched their Dad convulse under electric shocks. They weren't the ones who stood by helplessly and watched their father die. Nobody here did. They don't have the right to sit here and sob over the "Wizarding community's" loss. Cry over my loss. He wasn't the "community's" father, he is mine. He was mine. Mine.
I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't stand there and let people I've never even met before give me their unwanted sympathy. I was suffocating and I had to get out of there, so I did. I ran. I reached down and tore along the seams of my black knee-length skirt and then I turned suddenly and sprinted out of the cemetery before anyone could stop me. But before I had made it out of the gate, I heard an old woman sneer, "She doesn't even care that her Dad's laying dead as a rock in a box at the front. She needs the spotlight. Even at the funeral."
I considered turning around and cursing her but I didn't because half of the media was here today and running away already looked bad enough. Her comment stung though. Did it really look like that to people- like I didn't care? I haven't cried since that afternoon in the ICU but that is because I refuse too.
I didn't stop running until I reached the park Dad used to take us to when we were younger. I collapsed under a tree and sobbed into my arms so hard that my stomach muscles began to ache. I heard the footfalls of multiple people running and I realized that someone must have followed me. I bet it was James or Al. I kicked myself for not choosing a less obvious place.
"Lily," Mum said, but I ignored her. "Lily," she said again. This time she sounded angry.
"Lily," I heard softly, closer to me this time. Aunt Hermione wrapped her around my back and I cried harder. "Don't cry, Lily."
Her voice was soothing but it wasn't the one I needed to hear. The voice I needed to hear was back at the grave yard in a box.
"I hate when she cries," I heard someone whisper. I looked up a little bit and saw James standing under a tree with Al. He was pinching the bridge of his nose. "I feel like a terrible brother."
"I know, right?" Al agreed quietly. He glanced over at me and saw I was watching them, so he offered me a small smile but it faltered and his eyes welled. Up until two weeks ago I had never seen my brothers cry but now they both break down as quickly and easily as Molly and Lucy. Usually they excuse themselves from the room but you can tell they are going off to cry in peace because their voices will break and their eyes are too bright.
Uncle Ron came and sat against the tree beside me, pulling me into his lap where I curled up into a small ball and cried on his shoulder. He wordlessly comforted me by tracing small patterns on my back like Dad used to when I was upset. I realized that Uncle Ron had decided to become a father figure for James, Al and me. I was grateful for that.
"It's okay Lily," he said. "He knows you love him."
I stood up so suddenly that I got a head rush. "No!" I shouted and all of them turned to stare at me. "He didn't and it is my fault!"
"He did Lily," Aunt Hermione insisted. "We all know you love him a lot."
"IF I LOVE HIM SO MUCH, WHY WAS 'I HATE YOU' THE LAST THING HE EVER HEARD ME SAY?" I shouted. For a minute all you could hear was my loud sobs and a small bird chirping away in the tree. The bright, cheery noise sounded out of place here.
Mum's arms were suddenly around me, hugging me tighter than ever before. "Baby, he heard you. In the hospital. I know he did. He knew you love him and he's in your heart still. He'll be with you forever, Lily. He will protect you," she whispered to me. I felt Al and James jointing the hug, and then Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron. For the first time since Dad left I felt safe again.
I hope you understand, Dad. I didn't mean to do that. I just couldn't hold it in anymore. In fact I'm surprised I held it in that long. I try not to bottle my emotions to such an extreme now, simply to avoid situations like that.
Someone knocked on my bedroom door and I was roughly yanked back into reality. I realized that I was sitting on my bed next to my trunk, broomstick in hand. "Are you ready, Lils?" James said through my door.
"Yeah, can you help me zip up my trunk?"
My door opened and James came in. He swiftly zipped it up and then shoved it under his arm with a grimace. "What have you got in here? Bricks?"
"Just the necessities," I shrugged.
The ride to Kings Cross was silent end quick. Have you noticed, Dad, that when you dread something time seems to speed up so you get there quicker? I was dreading seeing all the witches and wizards at the train station because I know there will be whispers about us and you and I know there will be dirty looks and snide comments. We might as well have Apparated, we got there so quickly. No traffic in London today, it seems.
As soon as we passed the barrier between worlds, paparazzi snapped our pictures and called our names. James took my hand and walked in front of me, acting kind of like a shield. I know it was wrong, but I couldn't resist flipping one of the paparazzi off. Admit you laughed at that one, though, Dad. Uncle Ron would have, too. A small boy, he looked to be a first year, approached James and me bravely.
"Why were those people taking your photo? Are you the Potters?" he asked and I smiled bitterly and patted his head.
"You must be new here,” I told him, my voice patronizing.
James scowled at me. "Yes we are," he said quietly to the boy.
The little boy frowned a bit. "I heard what happened to your Dad last year. I'm sorry," he said sincerely.
I shrugged. Being harsh and bitter won't bring you back, will it? So I see no point turning into a harpy. "Thanks, kid."
Suddenly the boy raised his wand above his head. I thought he was going to curse us or something, but he didn't; he said a simple spell that his parents must've taught him and his wand lit up. His parents behind him did the same. I remembered you telling me about how when Albus Dumbledore died, everyone lit their wands at his memory. I leaned my head on James's shoulder and squeezed his hand as more and more people on the platform raised their wands.
"Thank you," I whispered shakily to the boy before turning to my brother. "Bye, Jay. Look after Mum."
I found a compartment by myself and stared at the floor. I felt the train lurch to life and I looked out the window for old time’s sake and I was glad I did. The whole platform was glowing in your honour. You will never be forgotten, Daddy. Your light is still shining.
And even though it's different now, you're still here somehow
My heart won't let you go
And I need you to know, I miss you
-I Miss You, Miley Cyrus
A/N: So, what does everyone think? Sad enough? My finger’s practically moved of their own accord when I wrote this. It was hard for me to write though, because I based Lily’s emotions of a past experience, so I was casually sitting in my room, typing away on my iPod touch with tears all down my face :P Is it a bit pathetic to cry at your own writing? Hahah I hope it was good enough! I've also edited the mistake out of it now- I can't see any more but if you find some, feel free to let me know :)
THANKS FOR READING!!
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