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Chapter 3 : Epileptic
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Albus - Brant Daughtery
Lily II - Emma Stone
Dominique - Amy Adams
When James awoke he found that his eyes did not want to see the light. It was so bright it was nearly painful. He found himself even more weak than he had been upon falling asleep as he lifted a hand and shielded his eyes. He grunted and did his best to sit up. He was unsuccessful, as he only pulled himself up an inch or so. He felt his eyes dilate as he slowly opened them to the light, the whiteness of the walls and furniture only intensifying the brightness.
Before he could take in anything else he saw a mass of black hair. His eyes drifted shut, his head lolling back and forth on top of his neck, as he slurred. "Al...?"
James did his best to open his eyes, and he focused on the person in the white chair. He was slouched over, as if trying to refrain from entering sleep, and he jumped at the sound of his voice. But as soon as the man raised his head, James knew better than to believe the man was Albus. It was his father. James tried to smile, beaming on the inside at seeing his father again. "Dad."
"Jamie," Harry's voice expressed its worry as he rose and approached the bed. The bed dipped with his weight, and James could better look at his father. His hair was its usual mess and his eyes were dark and sunken, the sign he held when he lacked sleep. He wore casual clothing and appeared fine and unbeaten in every way besides his lack of sleep. James wrinkled his nose at his father's appearance. "What's wrong? What have you been up to?"
"It's nothing. A story for another time." Harry dismissed it as he embraced his son's hand. He knew James wasn't fond of physical affection from his father, but Harry believed he could suck it up just the once and take it. He squeezed his hand, and Harry was surprised to feel a weak squeeze in return.
James looked up at his father's face and found his eyes already upon his. His green eyes were searching for the meaning behind all of this; James knew that much. The years had been kind to Harry with young skin, his narrow jaw, and still pitch black hair. Harry was thankful that at forty-one he had yet to begin graying at the roots unlike Ron who had small specks of it but refused to admit it. Harry also always kept himself well shaved, but he had a small amount of stubble growing from his cheeks.
"You came home?" James pondered.
"Of course I did."
"But I thought - "
"You," Harry emphasized, "are more important. I had to see what was going on, and I may not return back to my assignment. I was due home in a weeks time, but now I may just stay home with you."
"Now?" asked James as if the word had a special importance. And it did. Harry hadn't realized that he had already let slip accidentally that he would be staying home because of James. "Why now? T-There's nothing wrong with me. It was just a freak accident."
Even as he said it he didn't know who he was trying to convince. Clearly his father knew something he didn't.
Harry sighed and looked to his lap, rubbing his stubble with his free hand. James didn't like that. His eyes bulged and he pried his hand from his father's, correcting his father in and crude yet painful voice. "There's nothing w-wrong with me. Everything's fine."
"Jamie," Harry sighed his beginning, and James already felt himself tear in half at that voice. What did his dad have to tell him? James felt his body stiffen and he clenched his bed sheets in his hands as he braced himself for the worst. "Healer Eubank took a brain scan. It's common for people to undergo brain damage after a seizure. Thankfully enough, you received very little from your first seizure, but when you seized, it did trigger something. The way he described it - eh - it activated or damaged a part of your brain in a way that is going to make seizures...quite common for you."
"What?!" blurted James.
Harry shushed him and continued. "He's diagnosed you with epilepsy. You had a fairly intense seizure at home, apparently. Healer Eubank says they won't all be like that, but some will be worse. The reason as to why you seized is still unknown. Your mind was clearly thinking hard on something or undergoing a great change, he said."
James said nothing for many moments as he took it all in. Epileptic? Him? Why him? Why not perfect little Albus? James groaned even as he tried to embrace the thing he couldn't change about himself the way he had been raised. He murmured. "But it wasn't doing any of those things."
"We can't know for sure, Jamie. I'm sorry," whispered Harry. "Things are going to be a little different for awhile."
"You think?!" spat James furiously as he was met with his ususal rage that came with whatever upset him. "Merlin, I mean what the fuck? I'm epileptic?"
"James," Harry pressed in a hard tone at his son's word choice. He knew it was hypocritical of him to reprimand his son for such words in front of him while he knew he had cursed like that at his age in his anger.
"Oh, leave me alone!" he retorted once more, folding his arms across his chest. "I'm bloody seventeen."
Harry gave a heavy sigh and turned briefly away from his son to gather himself and run his hand through his hair. James huffed in annoyance and wished his reunion with his father didn't have to be like that, but he thought to himself no matter how immature the thought was. He started it. The ultimate phrase he and Al had tossed back their entire childhoods, blaming one another. Now, he was temporarily blaming his father.
"Fine then," Harry muttered and rose. They both knew James had been referring to his choice of words, but they also both knew James shouldn't have lashed out. So, Harry rose and did as his son told him in an odd way to show his distress. The sarcasm in his voice was all to noticeable. "I'll let Healer Eubank tell you everything then. Then if you're 'bloody seventeen,' then you can sign your release papers from here and can apparate home afterwords. Unless you would rather go somewhere else because you are, after all, seventeen."
James rolled his eyes at his father. Making James do things on his own had always been his father's odd way of punishing him. Like James had even though earlier, his parents didn't know how to punish. His father's version of "punishment" was temporary "abandonment." Even as his father left his ward, James had the urge to call him back and apologize, but that would make him look like a complete idiot even though he already did. James groaned and etched down into the comfort of bed. The sheets were scratchy against his legs as he pulled them up higher. He knew the first thing he would do upon signing his release was apparating home to apologize, the very thing Harry knew he would do.
James imagined that his father had passed his healer in the hallway, for Healer Eubank shortly slipped into the room with his clipboard of charts and notes. The healer flashed a smile to James, and he looked up to the man who had taken care of him for the afternoon for the first time. James thought the man's physical appearance didn't seem to be that of a healer, but more along the lines of a beater.
James lifted his hand to shake the man's. Richard Eubank looked over his shoulder to the door with a low whistle. "My, your father sure likes for his children to take the initiative, doesn't he?"
He swallowed in an embarrassing manner and looked to his lap. Not wanting to tell the healer it was actually his "punishment," he went along with it. "Yeah, I guess."
"Well, Mr. Potter, I'm afraid I have some news for you. Good and bad. The bad is that your seizure was so powerful that it triggered something in your brain that has caused you to now be epileptic. The other bad news is that I was unable to locate the reason as to why you had a seizure in the first place. Were you thinking hard about something?"
"No, not really," James admitted in all honesty. He had only been focusing on Albus and his lost Quidditch match which now seemed like ages ago. Sure, he had been irritated about it, but there was no way that had been the cause of it. "There is nothing."
"Hmm. Well, we will continue to look into it. Seizures will be fairly common for you now. The good news is that not all of them will be this bad, and the other good news is that we have some pills and potions you can take to lessen the effects of your seizures. There is a pill I would like for you to take once daily in the morning after you wake up. This pill will help control the strength of your seizures. A seizure cannot be predicted, nor can it be stopped. We can only lessen its effects. You may either swallow the pill whole like the muggles do, or you may mash it up into your drink with breakfast. Either way it is up to you, but this pill will help you. The other I'm going to give you is an elixir I want you to take after each seizure. It should prevent most of the post-symptoms such as lethargy, minor tremors, and headaches. I want you to take a sip of it almost immediately after a seizure and also take one sip a day for the next two days after each seizure. Do you understand?"
James only nodded. It was a lot to take in, but he knew he could remember it. He also knew his instructions would be imprinted on the labels of his medications he would receive. It was odd to listen to the healer speak to him in such a way. James had never had any medical issues or any reason to take daily medications. Now, he knew he had at least one pill to take daily that he would have to take for the rest of his life.
"I'm going to give you two vials of the elixir; each bottle has approximately twenty sips, and I'm going to give you fifty of the pills. When you are about to run out of your pills, all you need to do is simply owl me, and I will send you the next fifty. Are we clear?"
James looked to his lap again and nodded. "What's the taste like? Of the elixir."
Richard's long nose crinkled together with his thoughts. "It reminds me oddly of a pineapple Bertie Bott's Bean; not too terrible. Something else I would like for you to do is to let me know as soon as possible after each of your seizures. I will ask you to rate them on a scale of one to ten in terms of pain and bodily reaction. I also would like for you to inform your family and close friends of your condition; tell them what I have told you and help them know how to react if you are to have one around them. They need to remove anything you could potentially harm yourself on from your vicinity, and I always suggest carrying a wooden swab in your pocket to bite down on. You know, just one of those pieces of wood we healers would always shove down your throat when you were younger. When some epileptics have a seizure, some will choke on their own tongue."
"That's pleasant," muttered James with a half-snort.
Richard smiled at his sarcasm, glad the boy was able to poke fun at it instead of being completely brought down by the diagnosis. "What would you rate today's seizure at, Mr. Potter?"
James shrugged. How was he to begin rating them? It wasn't like he had ever experienced a seizure before or anything similar. He could only remember the pain, feeling hopeless, looking out through eyes he found he couldn't even control to force shut. He had felt useless and vulnerable, but most of all, he had been enduring great pain. James murmured, "A six maybe."
"All right. You don't need to come by after each one; only if you have had a fairly traumatic one. If that were to happen, simply tell the receptionist who you are and that you need to see Richard Eubank. Your diagnosis is my number one priority now, James."
James looked up to his healer. He asked him in an embarrassing manner. "Do you have other clients like me?"
Richard sighed, folding his arms across his chest and clipboard. He actually ran his hands through his cropped brown hair and looked to James, now speaking to the young man in more friendly terms. "Healer Mitschke and I are the healers in the Epilepsy Department; we both have many cases, but in all honesty, James, no. None of my clients have a diagnosis like yours."
"Why is it that mine is different?"
"You really want my opinion, Mr. Potter?" asked Healer Eubank with a quirk of the eyebrow. James only then realized that there was more to the matter that hadn't been shared, a side to which Healer Eubank would have thought unprofessional to share. James nodded, not knowing whether he did want to hear his opinion or not. "Your brain is undergoing a difficult change process. I'm not sure what it is, but something triggered your seizure. If you weren't aware of it, then it has to be a change in the state of mind, something you would be unaware of. I think something new and powerful is developing within your mind."
"What the hell could that be?" murmured James in wonder.
"It could be many things; we can't be sure until it has finished developing though. Did you know that myth believes Merlin himself became epileptic shortly before he became capable of using wandless magic? Who knows what the possibilities are."
"Do you mean to say I could harness the capability of using wandless magic at the age of seventeen?" James beamed. He figured the negatives could outweigh the positives if that were to be the case.
"I don't know what I'm saying, James. The ideas have only begun to sprout; they haven't yet had time to bloom." Richard rose with a pat to his knee and a small smile. "The assistant who helped you to your ward will be here shortly to give you your prescriptions and your release form. I hope the next time we meet is under better circumstances, James."
"Me too, Healer Eubank. Thanks," answered James with a sincere smile.
James wasn't left alone for any amount of time at all. The assistant, a petite little thing who was obviously perfecting all of her actions in hopes of a promotion, was quick to square away all matters of James' prescriptions and his release forms. He took a quick swig of the elixir, and found that Healer Eubank had been right. It tasted like a mixture of the Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, but the taste of pineapple stood out the most.
He could immediately feel the liquid beginning to have a change on him. He found greater energy to simply hold his head up; he felt his tongue beginning to not feel like a lump of cotton in his mouth anymore. When he was certain he had gathered his bearings, the assistant escorted him out of the hospital and into apparating boundaries. There, he left with that pulling feeling in his navel that was beginning to feel all too normal due to his growing comfort in apparating.
He popped onto the front porch of his home in Godric's Hollow. The Potter house was one of the houses of which you couldn't apparate directly into. His parents had tried it for a few years, but with the random visits from Weasley's and clowning around on the matter with George and Ron, Harry and Ginny had to make the inside of their home into un-apparatable boundaries. The Potter home was the same home to which the original James and Lily Potter had been killed in the night Harry Potter became the Boy-Who-Lived.
It had been restored with a bedroom extension. Not to mention, his parents had done what they wanted with the inside, but the outside still looked like it had in 1981. The front was decorated with birch trees, flowers that his mother had enchanted to stay alive throughout the entire year after she had given up on gardening, and a small bird bath with a fountain on top off to one side and a wooden bench to embellish the garden. The house itself was white with wooden panels along the walls every few feet with deep chocolate wood shutters and porch swing.
Ron and Hermione had also decided to settle in Godric's Hollow, selecting a house a tad smaller just two streets over, while the rest of the Weasley clan had spread themselves out along the countryside near the Burrow.
He slipped into his house, finding there to be more than just his four other family members within it due to the overwhelming number of voices. He didn't know what all the chatter was about or why they had so many family visitors, but his guess could only be one thing: himself.
James stumbled in through the entry way where pictures of his parents' wedding and the progression of him and his siblings from infants to the age they currently were lined the walls. There was a small commotion in the living room some ways off, but it wasn't enough to completely disturb the chatter. In the next moment his mother had slipped into the entry way with her arms folded across her chest. Her nose was wrinkled like it always did when she was upset with one of her children.
James bit his lip and held his eyes glued to his mother, doing his best to not retort or roll his eyes at her. He waited for her to speak, and after a few moments of drumming her fingers on her forearms, she eventually said in a monotone voice. "Apologize to your father. He's in his office. Then come see everyone."
"Yes, ma'am," he huffed that time because he knew better.
Sulking, he sauntered off to the left where his father's office was hidden in the far corner of the house. He looped past the stairs and into the hallway, past the bathroom and library until he knocked slowly on the chocolate wooden door of his father's office. He slipped inside and found his dad rotating about in his revolving chair.
Harry placed his feet on the ground when he heard his son enter the room, and steadying himself and entwining his fingers, he waited for his son to say something.
"Sorry," he muttered under his breath.
He was surprised that Harry only rolled his shoulders and slouched into the chair. "It's all right."
James relaxed as well, and his vision broke from his father's. He felt as if his father's words were permission to look away from him. If Harry was just going to let it go so easily, then why had it been such a big deal in the first place? James nearly questioned the thought but found that it wouldn't have been the best of ideas.
He sucked in a deep breath as he realized he was off the hook. His father spun around in his chair to face his computer sitting on the opposite desk.
Harry's office was full of items from both the magical and muggle worlds. Two parallel walls were lined with book shelves and had been stacked full of books, overflowing leather-bound journals, and pictures. The far wall was made up of nearly all window, and against the far wall was the desk with Harry's computer. His rotating chair had been placed in the center of the two opposite desks, one for electronic work, and the other for handwritten things. In the right corner was a couch with a small television where the muggle news was muted.
James had never understood why his father needed all the fancy muggle technology, but did find that having all information backed up on the computer to be a good idea. He knew that his father, having grown up in a muggle lifestyle, understood technology so much easier than the rest of their family. He had a telephone sitting on the corner of one desk, along with other objects James hadn't bother to learn the purpose of. His father had a plethora of electronic gadgets. The only one James could recall besides the computer was a tablet of some sort. Its name went along the lines of an iTab or something of the sort. Maybe it was iPad; James only remembered the fascinating things it could do and that his father had used it for business reasons, but he and Albus had always found one of the applications, a game called Angry Birds, to be quite fascinating.
Harry smiled as he shut off his large, flat screen, plasma monitor. "Not to worry. I realize you're seventeen now, James. Sometimes it just slips my mind; I don't mind that you curse. I would have to be an idiot to know that you don't do it around your friends. Just be careful who you say things like that around; young ears like Lily or Roxy don't need to hear such words."
"It's not like they don't know the word already," James had to smile. He thought to his younger sister who swore like a sailor during an intense Quidditch match.
Harry let a small smile break loose before he squeezed the back of Jamie's neck with a now apprehensive expression. "Get everything squared away with Healer Eubank?"
"Yes," James nodded, remembering his medications he had set at the bottom of the stairs, waiting to be taken up. "He gave me my medications. I can tell you more about it later."
"Yes, you will have to fill me in this evening. As soon as Albus burst into Ron and Hermione's, word got out through with the rest of them. So, they've come to make sure you're all right. But there's one thing I would like to speak to you about, Jamie."
"I've owled your headmaster about your condition. I know Professor Clearwater will keep a good eye on you, but we would like to have an inside look on things. To have a good connection with someone within the castle who could watch over you and let us know is something were to happen." Harry put it in a simple way, doing his best to not offend James. He knew his touchy son could take it the wrong way: that his parents were trying to place a babysitter into the castle for him.
"Well," James began uneasily. His thoughts had already strayed along the edge of what Harry had been trying to beat the bush around. "How do you plan on doing that?"
"We're not sure. I'm going to meet with Penelope this week to discuss openings and see who we can try to put in who would fill the position sufficiently." Harry caught his son's face, his wrinkled nose and distressed eyes as he did his best to say nothing. He chuckled and reassured him. "Don't worry; it won't be like you have a nanny."
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