Chapter 27 : No Second Chance
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WARNING: Sensitive issues. If something like this has happened to someone you know, I am sorry.
Stunning image made by sanadamaiko at TDA! I heart Aimee.
"Where is he?"
The nurse at the front desk of the hospital looked startled. I was so enraged that my anger blinded my manners and better judgment.
She stared at me blankly with a pen perched in her hand. She had been writing something down on a clipboard before I marched up to her.
A voice coming from behind made me whirl around. My eyes were red and puffy from earlier that morning.
"Sirius! James!" I shouted, motioning them to come over to the desk to help me interrogate the idiotic nurse.
You see, we were in a Muggle hospital. St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries did not handle heart attacks.
"You ran out of the Knight Bus--" James paused as the young nurse's head shot up for a better hear. "--I mean car so quickly. You didn't tell us what happened, all you said was that we needed to go to the hospital. What's going on?"
"This stupid nurse won't tell me where my Father is!" I said in frustration. "He's had a heart attack, and I think it's my fault."
"Bloody hell," Sirius said, shocked. "Is that what was in that letter?"
"Duh," I snapped, taking my anger out on the wrong person. I felt guilty deep down about my Father and had yet too feel it at the time, due to the anger that was hovering over it.
"So you're not helping our friend, I hear," spat James, giving the nurse a look of discontent and disapproval.
"Your friend hasn't told me anything. She just started yelling at me," the nurse said scornfully. "Maybe when you calm her down we can have another go and I can be of some help."
James looked quite embarrassed at hearing that I hadn't told the nurse what I was doing there yet. I just breathed heavily as he looked at me with narrowed, confused eyes. "Oh, I'm sorry. Well, she's looking for her Father. He's had a heart attack."
"Are you her brother?" asked the nurse as if she was going through a regular procedure.
"No, I'm not related to her," James said calmly.
"Oh, are you her boyfriend?"
"What kind of hospital is running here?" I blurted out after snorting in quiet laughter. "That doesn't matter! And no, this is my boyfriend." I pointed to Sirius. "Can you help us or not?"
"What's her father's name?" The nurse ignored me and spoke to James instead because he was more rational at this point than I was.
"It's Brock Lupin," I shouted. "Brock-fucking-Lupin, now will you freaking tell us where the bloody hell to go to see him?"
The nurse looked startled, and then she fired back. "I don't know what kind of father would allow such a tongue, and I personally have no taste for such speakers. Please have a seat, and I will be with you in a few minutes."
I glared at her through narrowed eyes as my jaw clenched. Sirius and James began to pull me away from the desk to sit in the chairs across the hall.
I pulled my arms back from them and slammed my hands on the desk. "I don't think you know just how bad I am feeling right now! I hurried all the way down here from the other end of town, and I would very much like to see the father that almost died just recently! Now once again, I am looking for my Father, Brock Lupin?"
I said the last part as bitter-sweetly as possible. The nurse glared at me and glanced down at her precious sheet of paper. Looking through the files, she followed her finger with her eyes until it landed on my Father's name.
"Room 158 is around the corner to your left. It's the first door on your right," said the nurse, whose name-tag read Linda. Muggles can be so infuriating! They never have a clue what they're doing!
"Thanks," I said bitterly. Sirius and James followed me as I quickened my pace.
"Slow down, Kris," Sirius pleaded, running to catch up. He almost hit a doctor who was carrying a cooler. I don't even want to know what's in THERE.
"Why should I? My Father could be dying, and I have no idea what's behind this door, but I'm going to open it." I stopped walking when I arrived at Room 158. Opening it quickly, I gasped.
My Father was lying on a bed in the cleanest room I'd ever seen. I never liked St. Mungo's the times I'd been there visiting Remus every month before Hogwarts happened to us. Hospitals just weren't one of my favorite places to be.
The blankets covering his lower half were a simple white and they nearly matched his pale, sweating skin. A large monitor was fixed next to him, and I watched him breathe heavily. He was almost wheezing, gasping for air to enter his lungs. What was more, he had been in this hospital all alone until I arrived.
I rushed over to him while Sirius and James just stood in the middle of the doorway. I was pretty sure they weren't supposed to enter the room considering they weren't family.
"Dad," I whispered, kneeling over and touching his hand. His eyes were closed. He was connected to the screen monitor his vitals, and I wondered if that oxygen mask was what was making his breathing sound so unwell.
I could taste my own tears. I couldn't control them from falling. My heart was sorry; my heart was scared; my heart was afraid of being alone if he died.
"Excuse me!" A very annoyed voice trailed into the room. A man in a white coat entered and approached me angrily. "Visitors aren't allowed just now; Mr. Lupin needs his rest."
I stood up calmly, a big turn-around compared to two minutes ago, and I brushed my knees off. "I see. Well, he's my Father. That Linda girl at the front desk told me where to find him." I leaned in closer, my hatred for the nurse, Linda, rising. "By the way," I whispered to the doctor, "I'd fire her if I was her boss."
The doctor didn't look pleased at the last comment, but he immediately softened at the remembrance of my relations to the sick man lying in the bed.
"We've been trying to contact family ever since this morning," the doctor said in a voice that was supposed to soothe the patients. "There were no records for anyone with the name Lupin in the area. We weren't sure what to do. You'll need to sign a few things, insurance papers and the like."
"I'm not going anywhere," I stated simply.
"Who are they?" asked the doctor, pointing to Sirius and James.
"My boyfriend and his best friend," I reported.
"Not family? I'm sorry, but you can stay. They can't," he said firmly.
"Who are you?" I asked, changing the subject.
"My name is Dr. Harold Phine. Listen, your father... well, I suppose you should have a seat." Phine beckoned me toward the small couch in the corner of the room.
"Sirius -- James -- I'll meet you two in the waiting room, place, thing," I said, shooing them away. They nodded in comprehension.
I sat down and looked up at Dr. Phine, expecting good news about how they were going to help him get better.
"Where is his wife?"
"She left. A long time ago, she left."
"Oh, I see. Are you his only daughter?"
"Yes, I am."
"Do you have an alternative home or a back-up guardian?"
"Why do you ask?" I asked, my hands starting to leak with sweat.
"Miss Lupin, I'm afraid to tell you... Your father doesn't look like he's going to make it. I'm sorry," Phine informed me softly.
"Hold on," I said, grasping his words suddenly after moments of silence. "Back up. I am in a hospital, right? I mean, it isn't the best hospital, but it's not the worst. I always reckoned that hospitals were obligated to at least try and save lives. You're telling me now that he 'doesn't look like he's going to make it'? You can change that, you know. Treat him! Help him get better! Do something about it besides saying you're sorry. You're only allowed to say that you're sorry when you have tried all and everything that you can to save the person who raised me all by himself, even though he hated everything about me! You can't apologize until you fail -- and I'm not going to let you!"
Dr. Phine looked taken aback. I was breaking down in front of him, a Muggle who obviously didn't care about anything but himself and his paycheck, and all he did was stand there and apologize again.
"Don't even," I said, holding my hand up in his face to shut the man up. "Go to the bathroom and look in the mirror -- see if you live with yourself. You can't win against me. Your time is better off spent on something else. If you'll excuse me..." I gestured to my Father quietly. "If you refuse to help, please just leave."
I knew that Dr. Phine had more to say than he actually ended up telling me, but he left the room anyway, remembering, You can't win against me.
I stalked over to my Father, the same tears that came from my heart pouring down my cheeks nonstop. I kneeled over like I had done before the one-man idiot parade came.
"Dad, we really need to get you out of this hospital," I said, laughing. I knew he couldn't hear me. He was resting, most likely in a deep sleep. "It's full of doctors and nurses with mental issues. Don't worry. You'll pull through; I know you'll pull through."
He didn't respond when I squeezed his hand and stroked it with my thumb gently.
"If you think this is my fault then I don't blame you, you know," I began again. "When I got the letter, I even blamed myself. I still do. Maybe if I hadn't yelled at you and left you all alone you'd have gotten here quicker and been more treatable. I don't know what to do with myself. I'm here, I'm there, my head is swimming with memories and faults, and your face... it's glued inside the front of my mind, your face is. When I left, the face you gave me. You were so angry and upset. I didn't think you'd care if I left. Actually, I figured that would make you happy. You wouldn't have to be reminded of 'Mum,' and I use that term loosely. I guess I was wrong. About everything. And I'm sorry. I hope you can please... just -- please, forgive me.
"If you make it out of here, I'm not promising that I'll be home again. I probably won't. But not because of you. I just need to make it on my own from now on. I hope you can try to understand that. It's just, if you leave me, then I'll be all alone. Sure, Remus and my friends will be there, and Sirius... but I won't have a father anymore. It was bad enough not having a mum. I wonder where she is. Will she ever come find me? Will I ever meet her or see her? Ever? Was she a nice person? Did she laugh a lot? What did she dress like? Do I look more like you or more like her?"
I couldn't stop asking my Father questions, ones I knew he wouldn't answer. I knew he wouldn't wake up soon. In all fairness to my sanity, I was talking to myself, and I knew that was more reliable than him hearing me.
"I just hope that whatever happens to you, you'll know how sorry I am and forever will be." I realized that I had stopped crying but developed a new-found stutter. I already knew it -- my eyes were black. I was feeling too many emotions, my heart and my mind couldn't settle upon only one.
"I wish that I could turn back time," I said to myself. "To when I was ten. Back when Remus and I would play near the forest and you would take pictures of me in my sundress." I winced at the reminder of how I used to always wear dresses and cheerfully prance about. I was so happy. There was no reason not to be. "I would have never done anything to hurt you. I'm... so... sorry."
I looked down and held my eyes shut tightly. I thought I felt something brush against my hand.
Quickly opening my glistening eyes, I saw that my Father was stirring his head and the hand that I was touching moved a lot.
A hoarse sound emitted from his lips as I tried to conceal the new feelings rising inside my chest. "Kristin..."
"You're awake," I whispered, getting closer to his ear to speak to him so he could hear me better. "You're okay!"
"Your mother was a very nice person. She laughed a sweet, angelic laugh; the one that you've got. She dressed a lot like you; the real you. Perhaps in a more mature way, though. You look exactly like her, too. You have her eyes. I used to wonder what genes from me got passed on to you. You must've gotten my personality," my Dad said gruffly. "Don't feel sorry; it wasn't your fault. You always reminded me so much of your mother. When she left, I couldn't look at you. I forced you to stop being who you are because it reminded me of her. I'm the sorry one. If I ever forgive anyone, it's you. I never blamed you for what happened to me. I'll miss you."
It pained me greatly to hear him struggle just to speak. Something that should come so naturally came and went with extraordinary effort. My eyes glittered as a shiny coat protected them. "Shh. Don't talk. Rest. You don't have to miss me; you're not going anywhere. You can't; I'm not letting you. You can't leave me. You won't. I love you."
My Father's breathing doubled, and his wheezing grew louder. He tried to speak to me again, but he started to shake and tumble around on the bed. I stepped back quickly, shocked at what I was witnessing: his death.
"DOCTOR! SOMEONE! ANYONE! COME QUICK!"
My Dad was having another heart attack. Did I burst it, or did I deflate it? Confessions sure did leak out of it at a rapid rate. But he couldn't die, no, not when we just made up and we would finally get along. He had to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, if I did marry someday. He had to be there for me to support my career choice when I found out myself. He had to become a grandfather and take me to New York City. He had to have his second chance.
A nurse pushing a cart around peaked into the room, horrified. The monitor next to my Father's bed wouldn't stop beeping. It didn't once skip a beat. My Father lied in the bed, his eyes closed, and his body motionless.
He would not get his second chance. He would not take me to New York or be at my wedding. He would only be the key to all the memories that I would always lock away for the sake of my sanity.
I would close my eyes and think of him. When I opened them, all I saw was his body. Not a smile, not a glow of happiness. Just his motionless body.
This tore my heart in half and bounced on it as if it were a trampoline. My heart was bleeding and bruised. Its other half was missing, and I couldn't help but feel as if my Father owned that half.
And I would never get it back.
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