Chapter 17 : The Survivors
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"Oh my goodness." Ginny moaned, shaking her head as she paced around Harry's ward, James following in her footsteps. Ron and Hermione sat on one of the benches in the ward, watching Ginny murmur. It was eight thirty, the releasing of the Daily Prophet. They were waiting for the owl delivering the Prophet to fly through that open window to see the article about Harry, Voldemort, and James on the front page. She jumped and yelped as the barn owl zoomed in the window, hooting obediently.
The owl stuck out its leg and let Ginny untie the prophet as she dropped the sickle into the owl's pouch. The owl zoomed out as Ginny vigorously opened it up and began reading.
The Boy Who Lived: Hospitalized and Living on Magic
James Potter, Father of the Boy Who Lived: Alive
Last night at James and Lily Potter's old residence, Harry Potter and You-Know-Who dueled to fulfill the prophecy created about them. Aurors and Death Eaters alike gathered and dueled in what is now the Final Battle. All of the Wizarding World can now celebrate the passing of You-Know-Who, for Harry Potter has vanquished him. We may celebrate, however, Ginny and Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Sirius Black and - yes - James Potter will not.
Despite Harry Potter's victory, a terrible outcome has befallen him and his family and friends. Harry Potter is now unconscious in St. Mungo's, his condition uncertain. Healers and family do not know when his awakening can be anticipated. He is living on magic, his brain choosing to not function properly. Now, to throw in a larger twist to this, James Potter, Harry Potter's father, has returned!
That's right, James Potter is well and alive. Apparently, he was forewarned of You-Know-Who's attack on Halloween near seventeen years ago and entered hiding after the tragic night. He has been living in disguise the past sixteen years and has now emerged once more. Mr. Potter will not provide any more information about his survival. He says he wishes his son to know the truth before the public, which is perfectly understandable. Family is everything. Last night I, Melanie Staunch, interviewed with Harry Potter's friends and family. As many have thought over the years, the innocent Sirius Black has now confirmed that he is indeed Harry Potter's god father. It has also been confirmed by all Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger, James Potter, Sirius Black, and Ron Weasley, that the seventeen-year-old Harry Potter is definitely engaged to the sixteen-year-old Ginny Weasley. Miss Weasley is turning seventeen in a month and a half and Harry Potter is to turn eighteen in two weeks. However, our favorite Harry Potter may not be awake to celebrate his eighteenth.
Miss Weasley told me during our interview last night that they chose to get married after their forewarning of the battle, but no one will say how they were forewarned. They knew the battle was around the corner and chose to act.
Ginny stopped reading and lifted her head, feeling tears in her eyes. James smiled lightly and shrugged, "At least it's not that Skeeter woman writing..."
"Ginny, this is not bad at all. Melanie Staunch was very nice last night." Hermione said, comforting Ginny.
She sniffed and nodded, wiping her eyes, "N-No, it's not the Prophet. I-It's everything..."
"Aw, Ginny," James smiled lightly and stepped forward, opening up his arms, "Everything will - "
James broke off immediately as a steady beep sounded throughout Harry's ward. Everyone know what that was...They all jerked their heads towards Harry's bed, where a gold line was going flat next to his bed. The gold line represented his heart beat. James stuttered, dropping his arms, "N-N-No. N-No. T-That's n-not. No!"
"H-Harry..." Ginny whispered, running forward. She pressed her head against Harry's chest and screamed, "SOMEONE GET HEALER PRICE!!"
Ron and James sprang into immediate action. They threw the door open, bounding out into the hall, not bothering to use the intercom. They skidded on the tile, slipping on their shoes, yelping loudly. They were both surprised when they saw Sirius and Lacy Zimmerman sitting together on one of the benches. Sirius barked, pulling his arms away from Lacy, "What's going on?!"
"Harry!" James yelled, pointing to the door of the ward, tears cascading down his face. Lacy jumped up, springing into action even though her shift was over. She asked, "W-What is it?"
James tried to speak, but found his lips quivering and no sound coming out of them. He lifted a hand and placed it over his heart. He grasped his chest in a rhythm that represented a beating heart. Lacy leapt forward, murmuring, "N-No. T-That's impossible."
She bounded into the ward, Sirius following closely behind her, and whipped out her wand. She looked to the magical heart monitor and felt her heart race as she heard the steady beep. Harry lay there, as limp as ever. Lacy squeezed his wrist, in search for a heart beat. She bit her bottom lip, feeling none. Pointing her wand firmly at his chest, Lacy squeaked out, "Enervate."
She tried two more times, but each time had the same outcome. The jet of gold would shoot from the tip of her wand and do nothing to Harry. It didn't jump start his heart...
It just disappeared into his chest...
Lacy turned her head to Sirius who was standing, dumb-founded, looking from Lacy to his god son's dead body. Lacy murmured, "I'll get Michelle..." before bounding from the room. In the hall, she didn't bother to keep her calm like she was supposed to. She sprang into Michelle's office who was sitting at her desk, shuffling through one of her patient's medical prescriptions. Michelle looked up from her papers, her blond curls falling into her face. She stuttered, "L-Lacy, w-what are you still doing here? You're shift ended more than two hours ago. You should be home by now..."
"No time to explain!" Lacy yelped, grabbing her boss's hand and pulling her from her office, "Harry Potter's heart stopped!"
"But that's impossible!" Michelle gasped, beginning to run down the hall with her co-worker. They bounded into room 156 and Michelle whipped out her wand, trying to ignore her patients' visitors crying and asking what was wrong. Lacy stood on the other side of Harry's bed, holding her wand aloft. Michelle stuttered, "O-On three."
Lacy nodded and began speaking, "One, two, three. Enervate!"
As two large jets of gold shot into Harry's chest, nothing happened. Harry continued to lay there, looking as if he was in a peaceful sleep. Michelle asked, "H-Have you already tried this?"
Lacy nodded nervously, "Three times..."
"Shit..." Michelle murmured, "Shit, shit, shit. Again!"
Lacy nodded, "One, two, three. Enervate!!"
Again, nothing happened. Hermione shrugged up against Ron and began crying silently as Ginny latched herself onto James. Sirius was staring at Lacy's scared face, not knowing what to do. Lacy shot her head towards Sirius and shook her head, biting her lip. Michelle yelled in a whisper, "No, Lacy! We are not going to loose this patient! I refuse to have such a thing happen! The more energy we put into it, the better chance there is of jump starting Harry's heart. Again! Try harder!"
Lacy swallowed a lump in her throat and nodded, raising her wand. Michelle counted this time, "One, two, three. Enervate!!"Both women gasped, stumbling backwards at the amount of energy they placed into the curse. Sirius bounded forward, catching Lacy as she fell. She gasped for breath in his arms, clinging to him. Everyone turned their heads towards Harry's body as the jets of gold disappeared into Harry's chest and the steady beep left the room, the straight gold line forming small triangles. Everyone felt that veil of despair leave. Harry was back, but he remained unconscious...
Ginny buried her head into James' chest, clinging to him. She sobbed, "That was so scary..."
Michelle walked to James as he smoothed back the Weasley's hair. She sighed heavily, "I'm sorry that happened. He's back, but we will be watching over him very very closely. It won't happen again. I promise..."
James nodded sternly and buried his head into Ginny's mass of red hair. Michelle turned around and was surprised to see her co-worker in the arms of Sirius Black, wawding up his shirt in her fist. Michelle walked forward and placed a hand on Lacy's shoulder, squeezing it gently. She said, "Go home, Lacy. You need sleep. Take off tonight if you need to."
Lacy shook her head against Sirius' chest, "N-No. I'll come in tonight."
"Then you should head on home and get some rest." Michelle said before smiling to Lacy and Sirius and leaving the room. Sirius was staring at his god son's body, lying so limp, looking so much like a dead man. Sirius didn't know what to do. The woman whom he had always had a school crush on was in his arms, yet his god son was unconscious and in a state of possibly never waking up. What to do? What to do, he did not know.
Sirius pulled away from Lacy and whispered, surprising himself as he kissed the top of her head, "Come on. I'll take you home." Lacy nodded and walked to the door. Sirius glanced to James, who still had Ginny clinging to him, and smiled lightly. James nodded, as to say, "Go on. This is the chick you've liked for over two decades now. Take advantage of it." Sirius took Lacy's hand and led her from the ward, closing the door behind them.
Sirius stood outside the door of Lacy's flat, smiling sadly. He spoke calmly even though his emotions were too great to explain, "It's great to see you again after all this time."
"You too, Sirius." Lacy whispered, looking down, "I'm sorry it had to be on these circumstances. Harry must be a great person."
"He is." Sirius nodded, "I-I don't know what to do. Harry's on the verge of death and James is back and I still don't know the full story of it. I want to be with Harry, but then I want to..." Sirius' voice trailed off and he looked away from Lacy who was shuffling her weight from foot to foot in front of him.
"To what?" Lacy asked, trying to smile.
Sirius lifted his head, staring into Lacy's blue eyes, "T-To be with y-you..."
She blushed and looked away, biting her bottom lip, "W-Well, I'll be back at St. Mungo's at six tonight. I'm working again."
"But you must be bloody tired to be going to bed at nine in the morning and being back at St. Mungo's at six..." Sirius murmured. Lacy chuckled as she unlocked her front door, "Yes, but I'm used to it. I can go on little sleep for quite a good amount of time."
Sirius cleared his throat and nodded, not knowing what else to say. Lacy looked back up to Sirius, "Listen, Sirius, I'm not supposed to tell anyone this. I can get fired for doing so." She smiled lightly, "But you know me, I don't set much by the rules." Sirius tried to smile as Lacy continued, "It is requiring energy from everyone at the hospital to keep Harry alive and I know that it is not your decision to sign the papers. James is the only one who has a legal right to do so now, but you need to know, we can't keep him alive forever. I will keep him alive for as long as I can, but Michelle won't stand for keeping him for years."
Sirius shook his head, "No. You won't keep him for years. He will come back, Lacy! I promise you."
Lacy smiled and shook her head, "Determination." She sighed and looked at Sirius proudly, "Who knows what it can do to a soul? It can save lives if you believe in that." She tilted her head to the side and bit her lip, trying to make Sirius more confident, "What saved you from Azkaban, Sirius? Why didnít you go mad?"
Sirius looked to the ground and smiled lightly, "Determination...Anger...Revenge."
"But it was mostly determination, wasn't it?" Lacy chuckled. Sirius nodded and Lacy whispered, "Maybe it will be enough this time round too." She opened her door, "I know it's what is needed. Show Michelle that you and James have no intention of letting Harry go. I will give all the energy I can spare into keeping Harry alive."
She kissed his cheek and whispered, "Good bye, Sirius Black."
Sirius shuddered, feeling her lips of velvet softly press against his cheek. He couldn't stand it. Why couldn't he get her? He could never get her at Hogwarts...She always seemed to be dating other people. But she wasn't right now...
"L-Lacy..." Sirius whispered, turning his head against her cheek, wanting to pull her body that was pressed against his closer as she stood on her tip toes. She sighed into his neck as he rolled his head, breathing in her sent of cinnamon. She pulled her body away from his, not wanting this yet. She knew deep down inside that she did, but perhaps she would save that for later. For when things were so gloomy. She smiled sadly, "I'll see you tonight, Sirius..."
Sirius closed his open mouth and nodded, standing stock-still until the door closed on her. Once the door was closed, Sirius pulled at his hair and grumbled loudly, "Why do you always play hard to get?!"
James sat in one of the halls of St. Mungo's, staring at the picture frames in front of him, the people inside them smiling happily. James closed his eyes, sighing and shaking his head. The wall in front of him was what was called "The Miracle Wall". It was of patients who had been hospitalized at St. Mungo's with critical conditions, what would happen to them completely uncertain, the only thing certain being death. There were eighteen exactly. James had counted, being as bored out of his mind as he was. He was constantly thinking about Harry. Miracles had happened to these patients...
So why couldn't Harry have one...?
It didn't make sense...
Ginny walked up next to him and spotted what he was staring at, dead ahead of him. James had his arms folded across his chest, just staring at those happy faces. She placed a hand on his arm, squeezing it affectionately. He didn't budge. She asked, "Why are you here?"
"Thinking..." he replied in a monotone voice, finally sighing and uncrossing his arms. Ginny tilted her head to the side, "What about?"
James pulled at his hair and rubbed his eyes. He was extremely tired. He groaned, "I don't understand. People have been in life threatening situations and the only thing that lay ahead of them is death, but some of them make it. Some of them live to tell their grandchildren about it. That's what these people are. They only faced death and they were given a miracle and lived...Why can't Harry have that? Why doesn't he get one? Why don't we get one?! D-Do we not deserve it or something?! If anyone deserves to live through something like this, it is my son."
"I know it is, James." Ginny whispered, "But we can never tell who will be granted with a miracle and who will meet death. It just can't be said..."
"I know..." James groaned. He sighed and rubbed at his eyes once more. He lowered his hands and finally whispered, "I hope that the wall will soon hold nineteen happy faces. I just hope that Harry can be one of them..."
"Me too, James, me too." Ginny whispered. They entered silence before they saw Sirius approaching them, looking fairly grim. James smiled weakly and asked, "How'd it go with Lacy?"
Sirius grumbled, "That little tease is still playing hard to get."
"You didn't even get a kiss?!" James yelped, feeling slightly as if his seventeen-year-old self was coming back. He turned to Sirius and smiled his first real smile in days. Sirius chuckled and shook his head, "Nope. She kissed me on the cheek though. I was going to, but then she pulled away!"
"Aha!" James laughed, "Padfoot got rejected!"
"Oh, shut it, you." Sirius laughed out, slapping James' arm, "It's not over with yet. I'll be around her a lot and I can tell you right now she has not had the last of me. I don't get it. I liked her all through Hogwarts and I even heard that she liked me back but we were never both single!"
"Maybe she was doing the same thing you were doing." James shrugged his shoulders, "You know, dating people 'cause you wanted to make her jealous."
"R-Really?" Sirius stuttered, smiling.
James rolled his eyes and pulled at his hair, "Man, come on! Have you lost some of your touch in the women?!"
Sirius shrugged, "Naah! I just don't exercise it much anymore."
James lowered his voice and whispered, feeling gloom again, "Me neither, mate."
"James..." Sirius spoke softly, "H-Have you kissed a woman since Lily?"
James' hair fell into his eyes as he looked to the ground and whispered, "Almost...Once, but she tried to kiss me. W-We were already so close a-and when she leant in I just couldn't do it. I know Lily wouldn't want me to be like this, b-but I can't help it. Girls have asked me out on dates, b-but I just can't bring myself to go. Every time they would ask me, I could only think about Lily. I know it's been almost seventeen years and I should move on, but I just can't. When Avery tried to kiss me a long time ago, I jumped away like she was some kind of poison and made up some dumb ass excuse as to why I had to leave. I-It's just w-when she did that, I felt like I saw Lily."
"You're right." Sirius shook his head, "You do need to move on. Lily would want that."
"I know she would...." James sighed, grabbing at his hair and looking at the ground, "I just can't bring myself to do that. You don't know how guilty I feel for letting her die like that. We knew exactly when the attack was coming and we only tried to find away for myself. She was so dead certain that if she survived Harry would die. How did she know for sure?"
"She didn't, James." Ginny said, rubbing his back, "She just knows the true meaning of love and sacrifice."
James nodded and swallowed a lump in his throat. Ginny stopped suddenly and thought for a moment. She smiled brightly and whispered, mostly to James, "Would you like to speak to your wife again?"
Lily awoke the next morning, feeling heavy with an emotion she couldn't quite explain. She and James were entwined so closely together, so closely wrapped that you couldn't tell who's limbs were whose, the only for sure way to tell being Lily's smooth and womanly legs wrapped around James' muscular and hairy ones. James rolled his head into Lily's chest, moaning sleepily. He pulled her body closer to his involuntarily.
She smiled as she remembered how she and James were able to push out Harry and spend their engagement night as a couple should spend it. Making love, of course.
She was so worried. She didn't know if Harry had made it or not, nor did she know if James survived, but as each minute passed she became more certain that Harry had died. He would have owled her if he had lived. He would have let her know and not leave the stress on her. If Harry was alive, Lily was getting very ticked off at him. She shook her head, thinking, He didn't make it...
James' legs caressed her in his sleep and Lily couldn't help but feel on edge about it. The child they would create was now dead...
She was desperate to know...
Who were the survivors?!
She immediately pried James' body off of hers and sat up; making James head hit the bed with a thunk. She shuddered stood up, looking over her shoulder with contempt. She folded her arms across her chest, not knowing what to do. She peeled her hair away from her back and neck, sticky with sweat and walked about their bedroom, not even bothering to cover herself up. James began to snore heavily, nudging his head into the pillow.
Lily jumped about wildly when she heard a tap coming from their window. She clutched her heart from the scare and then sighed heavily. It was Hedwig. She ran to the window, thinking that it better not be Ginny telling her that her son hadn't made it. She opened the window and allowed Hedwig to hop inside. But when she untied the letter from Hedwig's leg, she gasped in shock at the handwriting she was staring down at.
It wasn't the bubbly writing of a woman's, but it wasn't Harry's slanted scrawl either...
She looked over her shoulder at the man sleeping on their bed, sprawled about and snoring as if there was nothing wrong with the world, and in sleep there wasn't. It was James' scratchy handwriting she was staring down at. She wanted to scream. That meant that he lived! She wanted to dance. She felt like she could do anything!
Eagerly, she ripped it open and began reading, slowly sitting down, after each word more amazed. She read and read, not believing her eyes.
Oh my god, I can't believe I am writing this to you, my love. This is James. I'm thirty-seven years old and I have been living in hiding for the past near seventeen years just like we planned. I guess, will plan for you. I don't even know if this will reach you or not, but it is worth a shot. Lily, I miss you terribly. I love you so much and I haven't moved on. I know that you would want me to, but I just can't, Lily!
Lily, I know you want me to tell you about the battle, but listen to me. Don't tell my younger self what happens. If you do, then I might react differently to everything. Don't let myself know that you are now talking to me again and don't tell myself what I am about to tell you too.
Harry is alive...
But he's not well at all. He killed Voldemort and now he is unconscious in St. Mungo's and is living on magic. If they take away the magic that he is placed under, he will die. His heart has stopped once and Lacy Zimmerman and Michelle Price were able to bring him back, but I am so worried for him, Lily. He is not well at all...They say he won't wake up...
You remember Lacy from Hogwarts, the girl that Sirius always had a crush on? She is Harry's aide and Sirius is trying to win her over again.
Lily, I miss you so goddamn much and I cannot believe this is you. You've been gone from my life for nearly seventeen years. I can still feel as if I am sleeping next to you at night, or as if I am holding you. Have you ever spoken to Ginny? She's amazing, Lily. She is wonderful. You would approve of our son's choice. Every time I hold her, I feel like it is you...She is so much like you. She has your hair, your temper. If I didn't know any better, I would swear that she was our daughter. I know she isn't. She is our son's fiance.
Lily, please owl me back. I know that you and I are now engaged in your own time. I hope that this reaches you and that you can look at me and be happy, that you can look at me and encourage me to get to where I am, because I know that my younger self will need it. You know that I live now. I hope you can look at me and only feel happiness, and love. Life is too short to carry the burden of worry and anger and who knows what else. I love you.
Lily turned around in the chair and looked to her sleeping fiance. Her lips quivered with silent sobs, sobs that hadn't come yet. She placed the letter in her desk drawer before sobbing loudly, sobbing in happiness for her husband, but sobbing in despiar for her son...
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