Chapter 2 : Just a One Time Thing
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Albus - Brant Daughtery
Lily II - Emma Stone
Dominique - Amy Adams
There was a great clatter from downstairs and a scramble to reach the source of the scream. She looked back to her cousin, still thrashing and whipping around. She could see tears slowly leave the corners of his eyes, still no sound coming from him. Dom felt tears reach her own, and she cried out again. "SOMETHING'S WRONG WITH JAMES!"
At her latest scream, the horrendous music from the next room over stopped, and the door to Al's room was flung open by him. In the next moment the other residents of the house were standing in the doorway to the small bathroom. Dominique looked over her shoulders, her hands played over her cousin's chest. Ginny blanched momentarily, taken aback by the condition of her son, but quickly resumed responsibility. She pushed her two children and Roxanne out of the way to get into the small bathroom. Dom scooted back to allow her aunt to get closer.
"What's he doing? Is he seizing? Is he all right?!" Albus blurted out in a worried manner.
"Shut up, Al! Go be useful and floo to Ron and Hermione's," she snapped to her son. She couldn't handle his chatter in that moment. Besides, Ginny didn't know what to do when one had a seizure. She figured Hermione would at least know something about the matter. She was thankful it was the weekend. Being Saturday, Ginny knew Hermione would be home and not at the Ministry.
Albus burst from the hallway; the sound of his feet pattering rapidly down the stairs was evident.
"Lily, Roxy, back up. H-He'll be fine, all right? H-He'll be fine; I just need you to back up and give him some space."
She tried to calm the younger girls, but really she didn't know who she was trying to convince. They both nodded, but Lily didn't go back without a nervous question for her brother. "Why aren't you trying to stop it, Mum?"
"B-Because you don't try to stop a seizure, Lils. You can't stop one," Ginny urged and nodded to her to back away. Ginny didn't know how she had managed to hold her composure this long, but she knew she would crack soon. Her family was her weakness; she had always been a strong women, but when it came to her family in pain, that was a different story entirely. Her hands shook as she knelt next to her oldest son, and she wondered how much longer it would be. She knew seizures lasted anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, and she had no other option other than to believe that waiting it out was her best option.
Dom whispered in a horrified voice, cowering in the corner of the bathroom while she tried to give James as much space as possible. "Aunt Gin, is he going to be okay?"
"I don't know, baby. We will have to wait and see."
Ginny felt tears in her eyes, and she looked to her son once more. His emerald eyes were glazed over and staring at the ceiling in such a way that made Ginny believe that - in that moment - her son wasn't there at all. He continued to convulse, his mouth opening and gaping at nothing, only making the weakest of sounds. He continued for what felt like decades to Ginny after he finally went limp on the floor with an exhaustive breath.
Ginny unclasped her ears, and Dom pried herself away from the tiled wall. Ginny looked to James and found him panting with tears wetting his cheeks. Her lips quivered, and she almost felt useless next to James, but then her instincts took over as she met in in the eye. He gave her a pleading look, as if his mother could take away the pain he had just endured. He tried many times to sit up, his body weak and muscles aching, before he was actually successful. He felt his mother's hand on his cheek before he burst into tears for the first time in many years.
He engulfed his mother into his arms and buried his face into her neck. He cried loudly, still gasping lethargically. Ginny stroked his hair, doing her best to calm him while she herself was still terrified. "Shh. It's okay; it's okay."
"What happened...?" James asked through his tears.
"You had a seizure, Jamie," Ginny said, but other than that, what was she to say? Thankfully, she heard rapid footsteps on the stairs, and she looked to find her sister-in-law standing in the doorway. Hermione's eyes were wide in horror. She had soot on her nose from her travel through the floo network, and her brown hair was down and lose for the day. Over the years, it was hard to remember a day when Hermione had bushy hair. Either she continued to take a sleeking potion daily or her hair had finally calmed down over the years; the answer was not certain of.
"H-Hermione..." Ginny muttered hopelessly.
She sat down next to Ginny and her nephew. She touched James' cheek and asked in a steady voice. "How are you feeling? All right?"
James pulled out of his mother's arms and found himself slumping to the floor again. Wanting to calm him and take care of him, Ginny etched towards his back and took his head into her lap. She heard him mutter something about not having the energy to sit up any longer. His words were slightly slurred for the time being, but his tears were still steady. "I don't know how I feel. Oh my god..."
"Just relax, Jamie," Ginny soothed. She couldn't take her eyes away from him. She couldn't remember the last time she had seen him cry; it had to have been when he was near eight-years-old and Albus had flushed James' new, very own golden snitch down the toilet. Now it was nine years later, and she did know he still had the ability to cry. James was tough; if he was crying, it was bad.
Hermione nodded in approval, squeezing his hand. "We will get you some help. Come on, let's get you to St. Mungo's."
Ginny agreed, all the while hoping that this wouldn't blow up into a huge publicity matter by taking James to St. Mungo's. Even after twenty-four years any huge matter that had to do with the Potters got more attention than necessary because it had to do with the Boy-Who-Lived and the other three famous names. Ginny would have thought that after the vanquishing of Voldemort, the world would have settled down, but that hadn't been the case at all.
The wizarding world had praised Harry Potter at his feet and those who had supported him all the while. He received more unwanted attention than ever. Granted, it wasn't like the attention he had received from Rita Skeeter, but attention none the less: something Harry Potter never cared for. It even went so far as to make Harry and Ron into chocolate frogs cards, and Ginny heard that hers and Hermione's were in the making.
"D-Do I need to walk?" James found himself muttering before he even gave it a second thought or even attempted to put his weight onto his feet.
"Of course not, baby. We'll help you," answered Ginny as both the women linked one of his arms around their necks and heaved him up. Ginny found the method nearly obsolete as James stood so much higher than either of them and definitely more broad, but they pulled him out of the bathroom and into the hallway anyway.
James muttered, knowing one of the women would be considering it as a travel option. "P-Please don't apparate me there. I might vomit." He noticed their actions change as they took in his statement, so they headed towards the stairs, and he refused that out-right as well. He was embarrassed that he could barely handle carrying his own weight, much less attempting stairs. "No. No stairs."
He didn't understand what had become of his muscles and his senses. He felt useless and weak. He nearly believed that his mind wasn't even attempting to do all those physical things, and if they did, they failed miserably at it. He felt like a limp noodle with no control over his movements. It reminded him oddly of his dreams whenever he had to scream or defend himself. The scream would never be the volume it needed to be or that of what you could manage while you were awake; nor were your defense mechanisms effective in the slightest. If you punched someone in your dreams, it felt as if you were only baby-slapping them with a wet noodle.
In all reality your dreams made you feel as if you could never defend yourself successfully while you were awake; your dreams made you feel weak and useless. Now, James found that all those feelings were accurate to life as well.
"All right," he heard his mother reply. "We will use the fireplace in our bedroom."
Ginny looked over to her shoulder as she shrugged out from beneath James. She glanced to Dom, Lily, Roxy, and Al, all being the most obedient children at the time. "You will look after them, won't you?" She turned to speak to Dominique, knowing the girl was seventeen and had excelled exceptionally on her Apparation Final. "And maybe you could apparate home and notify the others, Dom, honey?"
Dominique nodded and left with a crack while Hermione slinked back to loop her arm around Lily's shoulders.
They flooed into the busy hospital, and once Ginny spoke to the receptionist, an assistant brought out a wheel chair for James to sit in. Ginny relayed the events to the girl and they were escorted to the only floor that wasn't related to magical or creature injuries. That floor was more normal than all the others and was fairly similar to that of a muggle hospital. There were no ridiculous wizarding objects on the wall, but rather chairs outside hospital wards and surgery rooms.
James had only been in St. Mungo's three times before: the day of his birth, and the birth of his brother and sister. Of course, being to young to remember any of the place, he looked about in curiosity. There were no people running around with dirigible plums sprouting out of their heads or cases of werewolf bites. Instead, happy pregnant women strolled the halls as they left their check-ups, and others held illness that you couldn't see from the outside. Down there was where the healers worked who specialized in the same things that muggle doctors and surgeons did.
They were led into a private ward, and Ginny was thankful for the quick entrance. During their short stroll there, she could already feel the eyes of the strangers on her and her son. James had kept his head down and his mouth quiet. Perhaps he hadn't wanted any attention drawn to them, or perhaps he had simply been too weak. But either way, they quickly entered the ward, and the assistant help James up out of the wheel chair and onto the hospital bed.
"Your healer will be with your shortly," she answered curtly before leaving them.
Once the door was shut, Ginny turned to him where he was already slipping under the scratchy sheets as if it were his own bed. His eyes were shut as he maneuvered his body. Ginny approached and pushed back his hair. "I know you feel weak, but I need you to stay awake for a little while longer. Okay?"
"Mum...?" he murmured in questioning and Ginny wondered if he was even lucid. His voice was muffled, and her advice was quickly not needed. "Okay..." he gurgled before slipping into sleep.
Ginny groaned, but sat next to him and ran her fingers through his long hair. She depicted whether or not to cut his hair then and there, for it would be the only time he would ever let her: while he was asleep. James was attached to his hair as if it were a person itself. He loved its color and volume, its uncooperative style, and he liked it long. So long that if he didn't pay attention, it shielded his eyes from view, and Ginny did not care for that. It brought back memories of when she saw Harry running around Hogwarts in the midst of the battle twenty-four years ago with his hair to his shoulders, lacking a hair cut. And with the remembrance of that time, came all the bad, and those were things the world - as well as herself - was trying to move past.
She bit her nail as she tried to stifle a giggle, and she pulled the covers up higher to his neck, deciding that the healer could get whatever they needed while James was asleep. The poor guy was extremely tired, one of the effects of a seizure, and he deserved the sleep.
Before Ginny's train of thought could even leave the subject, the door opened with a tiny knock and a tall man in white robes entered the ward with a clipboard and parchment attached to it.
Ginny rose and shook his hand, listening to the man introduce himself. "Hello there, Mrs. Potter. I'm Richard Eubank, and I'm going to be your son's healer."
"Nice to meet you," she tried to smile, and when her hand retracted from the man's large one, she was immediately biting her thumb nail once more, glancing to her snoring son.
Richard Eubank was tall and tan with sleek blond hair and a narrow face. His jaw was sturdy and strong, his cheek bones high, and shoulders broad. Upon looking at him, Ginny believed he did not look like the kind of man who would have ended up being a healer. Instead he looked like he belonged out in the Auror field with Harry and Ron. As she inspected him closer she nearly believed she had seen him at Hogwarts. A Hufflepuff maybe. Maybe he had been in Fred and George's year.
"So, it says here that Mr. James has had a seizure, yes?" Richard asked as he glanced to his patient. He stifled a chuckle as he inspected the young man, passed out on the bed. Ginny nodded again, wanting Richard to talk faster. "Yes, sleep. I'm afraid he will be spending the majority of his next few days sleeping and feeling very lethargic. A seizure will leave someone feeling very weak and lifeless. It's best that we let him sleep. Would you be able to tell me, Mrs. Potter, precisely how long the seizure lasted?"
Ginny rubbed her temples, trying to recall the image of her son thrashing on the floor of the upstairs bathroom. It wasn't something she ever wished to see again or wanted to remember, but she did it for the sake of him. She would like to have guessed that she had been near his side for maybe three minutes, but Dominique had been the girl he was with before it had happened. So, if she added perhaps a minute to allow time for James to begin seizing, Dom to panic, and Ginny to make her way upstairs, she guessed at four minutes. "Maybe for minutes."
"Wow," Healer Eubank whistled under his breath as she scribbled something down with a muggle pen. It was thick and the kind that you pressed the tip of to release and conceal the tip of the pen, Ginny noticed, something that had always fascinated her father. He had even collected the springs of pens, along with all his other useless muggle crap.
His eyebrows rose with her answer as well, something Ginny did not like. What was that supposed to mean?
"And may I ask what his actions were like during the seizure?"
"Very abrupt. Violent thrashing," she answered quickly.
Mr. Eubank nodded and scribbled some more. "So, he had a tonic clonic seizure." Is there any other kind...? Ginny thought to herself and wished she had the opportunity to voice her thoughts, but the healer continued to quickly as questions. "Mrs. Potter, a tonic seizure can generally be triggered by fever, high or low blood sugar, a tumor, injury, electrolyte imbalance, and drug withdrawal. Would you be able to venture a guess as to the reason for his seizure? We have no record of his visits, other than birth, so I assume we can rule out a tumor. Was he sick or running a fever? Perhaps he has a drug addiction."
Ginny blanched. She felt her cheeks flush red, and she bit down on her jaw. She quickly yelped loudly, but lowered her voice as she realized she didn't want to wake James. "No, he is not a bloody drug addict! As far as I'm concerned, he has never taken a single drug in his life. Neither was he sick before hand."
"Very well," he answered, taking no mind to Ginny's outbreak. "Forgive me if I offended you. It is only customary that we do all we can to find the cause. It is also very common for someone to undergo brain damage while seizing. There is no reason to worry as of now, but I need to take a look at his brain to look for trauma and permanent damage. I should also be able to diagnose if this will happen again."
Ginny nodded, and he pulled his wand out of his pocket. Ginny didn't know what he had to do to acquire all the information for the things he had just said, but she decided to leave him to it. He would find her when he knew the results. She found it best if she slipped out of the room as well; it would give her a breather, and at the mention of permanent brain damage, something else had clicked in her. She hoped to Merlin there wouldn't be any.
She excused herself and entered the fairly calm hallway. Lowering herself onto one of the benches, she fished the odd object that was a cell phone out of her pocket. The thing still fascinated and befuddled her to that very day. It was an object she didn't quite understand, and she hardly ever used it. When Harry had become an Auror and had to leave on occasion for assignments, he had suggested the idea of them getting cell phones, so they could easily keep in touch. Ginny had known what a telephone was and understood the method from all the wires, but the cell phone was something else. So, Harry had run out and bought two cell phones anyway for them.
The only number programed into the phone that was too fancy for her was Harry's, but Harry's was full of other numbers: numbers like the home of the Dursleys and Dudley Dursley's cell number, as well as the number for the Auror Department, and Ginny couldn't even begin to guess what else. Harry had had to explain everything to her, and once she understood it, she found that Harry's thinking had actually been logical on the matter. It was a nice way to stay in touch while they were away from each other.
She pressed the circular button of the cell phone to light up the screen and found the only number in her address book. Selecting the 'Call' button, she held the thing up to her ear and listened patiently to the dial tone before her husband's voice filled her ears. "Ginny," his low voice beamed with happiness.
"Hey, baby," Ginny replied. She basked in the pleasure of hearing his voice for the first time in a week before she had to bring him the news. She sighed heavily, closing her eyes. She was quiet for a moment, only thinking about when he would return home.
"What's wrong?" His voice changed to that of worry and confusion. He knew her all too well; Ginny assumed that from her very first word on the phone Harry had been able to pick up that something was the matter.
"Oh, i-it's okay. Are you busy?"
"Never busy enough for you. Tell me what's wrong," he urged in a worried fashion. Hearing his voice through the little speaker on the phone always bewildered her. As much as he sounded like himself, he also sounded so different due to the phones. But Harry's voice had changed anyway over the past twenty years. He had finished growing up after the battle, growing a few inches in height and in build, and his voice had dropped lower. When they were in the right of circumstances, Ginny found that his voice held the capability to send goosebumps down her entire body.
"I'm at St. Mungo's with James - "
"What's happened?! Is everyone all right?!" His voice was suddenly anxious and on-edge. He had cut her off before she even had time to explain.
She calmed him whilst rubbing her temples, shutting her eyes from the pristine hallway. "We're not sure. Jamie has h-had a seizure, Harry. As soon as it ended I brought him here. From what I can tell, he looks like he will be okay. The healer is checking for brain damage. I-It came out of nowhere, Harry; I had no idea what to do."
"Shh, it's all right," soothed Harry. His voice was shaking as she relayed the events to him, and she knew he was doing his best to be her stronghold even though he was struggling all the while. "We will get to the bottom of it. Do you know what caused the seizure?"
"No; I couldn't even begin to guess. Dom was with him when it happened, and I haven't gotten a chance to talk to her. The healer suggested a variety of things; things like a fever, high or low blood pressure, or electrolyte imbalance. Even a drug withdraw. I told him there was no way in hell it was from a drug withdraw."
"Of course," muttered Harry. "Our son isn't a drug addict."
"Doubt he's ever taken anything like that; he probably doesn't even know where to find that kind of stuff. I just really don't know, Harry."
"It's all right, Gin," encouraged Harry. "Everything will be fine, I'm sure. It was probably just a one time thing."
"I hope you're right," she admitted painfully.
"I love you," whispered Harry after many moments. Ginny muttered her love back, and then Harry's next words surprised her and also sent her mind swimming into a paranoid fit. She realized just how badly their son's situation was. "I will be there in two minutes."
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