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Chapter 3 : Chaos and Truth
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A couple days later I found myself in the Room of Requirement. I was alone, it was my study period and I had told them I was going up to the dorm for a nap. I was surprised that they had believed me so easily, but after some heckling of “getting old”, they left me in peace.
I’ve always been frightened of the Room of Requirement. You probably think that’s a weird statement, but it’s true and it’s because it always turns into the exact same room for me. Doesn’t matter how I’m feeling or why I’m there. Its walls are a pale blue colour and the couch is that familiar tan cloth material. Pictures hang on the walls just as they did before and that tree my mom always tried to keep alive is in the corner. Bookshelves line the walls to the right and a big window is in the wall to the left. It shows the back of our yard and the trees over which the sun set every night.
I loved watching the pink sun light glaze everything in our living room through that window. It was like for about half an hour everything was a blaze and extraordinary.
I picked the colour of that room. My parents and I had painted it, framed and hung the pictures. Tried to save that plant from certain death. One of the pictures on the wall had been one of me and my dad when I was younger. He was lying on that tan couch, and I was laying a top him, 4 years old. I was sleeping peacefully, arms tucked close to me. My dad was looking down at me, a smile so full of love on his face that it brought tears to your eyes.
My heart broke just a little bit more every time I came here and walked into this familiar room. I only came here when I knew that I was so close to suffocating and it was impossible to ignore. I was afraid that this feeling was coming more and more frequently.
I went over to the picture on the wall, the one of me and my dad and I stared at it for a while. I hadn’t seen his face since the last time I was in here. I hadn’t seen his face in real life for a long time. Too long.
My dad was a muggle. He knew about me and my mom obviously. I was over at James’ the day they died. Sometimes I think about if I had gone with them. If I hadn’t stayed with James that day and I was in the car too.
Everyone was really supportive when my parents died and now I live with my uncle. He isn’t a very nice person. He’s muggle, like my dad. My dad’s brother. He’s also an alcoholic.
Everyone thinks everything is okay. But it isn’t. It’s far from okay because I’ve never felt more alone in my life. James, and his parents and Dumbledore don’t know what it feels like to lose your parents and then be sent to live with your abusive uncle.
Whoops. I said it.
I kept to myself really the rest of the day. I tried to put on a face, and I don’t think anyone really noticed anything too upsetting. They just knew that I wanted to be quiet for a bit, and they accepted it. I could feel Remus analyzing the tightness around my eyes.
But the next day, I was the same, and James was worried.
The pain wasn’t going away like it usually did. It stayed there, like a rock in my gut, grinding down my insides. All I could think was, I needed my mom and I wasn’t going to get her.
James pulled me to the side and I frowned, too tired to really fight against it. I could feel him staring at me, his hands on the tops of my arms. I was stubbornly not looking at him, because I knew the look he was giving me.
“Hey. Hey. Look at me.” He said so tenderly it brought tears to my eyes. His fingers gently pushed my chin forwards to I was looking him straight in the face.
“What’s wrong?” He looked shocked and sad at the tears visibly blurring my vision.
“Nothing. I just, I just have been feeling really sick lately.” I said quietly. It wasn’t a lie either. I had extreme abdominal pain and nonstop nausea. It didn’t really help my mood.
“Yeah?” He searched my face. “I’ll take you to Poppy.”
Once I had spoken the pain aloud, it seemed to escalate, and I didn’t protest. He held my hand all the way to the Hospital Wing, which wasn’t weird, because it was too normal to be.
“Poppy!” James called out.
“Mr. Potter, what happened now?” Poppy came out of her office and said sternly, but she saw my face and immediately ushered me to a bed and told me to lie down.
I told her my symptoms when she asked, she took my temperature, which was high and when she pushed on my stomach, I began to cry, because the pain was absolutely unbearable. She frowned, but it was a soft, worried frown. She gestured to James as I pulled my shirt down and wiped my eyes and they went over to the side and began a whispered conversation.
I couldn’t hear anything they said, but Poppy was explaining something and James was frowning. He nodded once and then came back over.
“Tree, she wants us to go to St. Mungo’s for testing. She won’t tell me if she thinks it’s anything. She just keeps telling us to go.” He smoothed my hair down and kissed the top of my head. I nodded softly.
Maybe Poppy didn’t think it was anything, but she just wanted to know for sure? I wanted to know what it was, so it would just go away. She wouldn’t give me any pain potion, because the pain seemed to be coming from my stomach, and she didn’t want to put anything in there until the tests were done.
James put his arm around me as we made our way over to the floo. Everything was a blur, like I didn’t comprehend it. Poppy said something about excusing us from class, and James said something back, but I wasn’t paying attention. I remember the familiar whoosh of flooing and then we were in a bright, white and busy place. St. Mungo’s.
I had been here a couple times. Once, when I had broken my arm after I fell out of James’ tree house and another time when Sirius tried to magic me over a quill and it stuck into my back. I was sent to St. Mungo’s only because Poppy had never seen anything like it.
James told me to sit down and he went over to the desk and explained who we were and our situation. Poppy must have sent word ahead because we were immediately escorted into a room. The nurse told me to lie down, and she took my temperature, and my blood pressure. She asked me to change into a gown and I did.
The nurse then came in and took some of my blood. She gave me a potion, which I drank down, and fought the urge to puke everywhere. She then held her wand horizontally over my body and scanned it over my body. She then pointed her wand at the screen beside her and said “Picturate.”
The inside of my body showed up on the screen but I watched the nurse. If anything was wrong, I could tell by her reaction. She quickly flitted her eyes over it, took a moment to zoom in on my abdominal area. I watched a crease form in between her eyes slightly, like she was trying not to frown. She smiled at me when she realized I was looking at her.
“Excuse me; I’ll go get Healer Snerthem.” She walked out of the room briskly and quickly. I looked at James and found he was watching her leave, a frown on his face. A minute later she came back.
“I’m Healer Snerthem.” He introduced himself. He was a portly man, with slightly greying hair and kind eyes. He went over to the screen and scanned his wand over me.
I watched him. I watched his facial expression of thought freeze abnormally on his face. I knew he knew I was watching him, and that made my stomach tighten in panic. His eyes were full of sadness, and hidden remorse.
He sighed and then looked at me. “Because you’re not a minor, and an adult, you don’t require and adult for me to discuss with you the results. But, if you have parents you would like to call before hand-“
“James is my family.” I interrupted. Stop two stepping this, damnit.
I felt James slide his hand into mine. I could tell how tense he was; he could sense something was wrong.
“We’re going to do more tests, but right now from the looks of your blood tests and the picture image-“ , the nurse looked at her shoes and Healer Snerthem cleared his throat. “It looks like you have stomach cancer.”
James didn’t let go of my hand at all the time I was at the hospital. Like he was afraid I would float away if he let go. Mr. and Mrs. Potter showed up and Healer Snerthem took them into a separate room to tell them. When they came back to my room, Mrs. Potter’s eyes were red and Mr. Potter had his arm around her, holding her tight to him. She comforted me, and reassured me that it was going to be okay.
Ever since Healer Snerthem said “stomach cancer” I had had this clarity. It was like everything had made sense, and I realized that I had worried about what that pain was, but someone, deep down, I knew. Every colour, every line, I was now seeing in more precision. I think it was because my brain knew I didn’t have long, and wanted to see everything before I couldn’t see anything.
Oh. Healer Snerthem is talking. I tried to focus on what he was saying.
“We could do radiation, a muggle form of cancer treatment. With magic, it’s hard to be precise on what to do really. Removal isn’t a good idea; the tumor is too big. We don’t have a potion or anything to deal with this, because not many Magical beings get cancer. The thing with the radiation is that it will make you feel very sick, your hair will fall out, and you’ll get very tired, and eventually won’t want to get up out of bed. The reaction is different with everyone, but that is the gist of the few I’ve seen.” He was looking at the Potters the whole time he said this. As if he were afraid to talk to me now that I was dying.
“No.” I said. They all turned to look at me, shocked, as if they just realized I was there. James was in a trance before, but now he squeezed my hand tightly.
“What?” Healer Snerthem said (not very intelligently).
“I said no. I’m not going through radiation. I’m not doing anything. I want to go to school, and do what I normally do.” I said firmly. That was the only way I was going to get through this. If I was allowed to live my life like nothing was wrong.
Healer Snerthem sighed, while Mrs. Potter started crying again. I was losing the feeling in my hand because of how tight James was holding it, but I felt like it was the only thing keeping me in place; from floating away.
“I can have the school nurse give you daily doses of Pain Relief Potion. But without treatment-“
I cut him off. It was taking him way too long to give me all the facts. “How long?” I asked.
He finally looked at me. Staring into my eyes. “5 months.”
Okay, so I have five months to act normal, but to do everything I need to before I die. James was holding still holding my hand. We had flooed back to school and were sitting in the Room of Requirement.
“We’ll get through this.”
I jumped slightly. This was the first time James had talked since the news.
I looked up at him and found him looking me straight in the eyes, a fierce determined looks in his eyes that reminded me why James was one of the best people to have for a best friend; he was aggressively loyal.
“I know.” I whispered and I brought my other hand to his face, where one solitary tear trailed down his cheek. I wiped it away with my thumb.
“The others- they’ll support you too. We’ll-“
“No James.” I said, sternly.
He looked surprised. “What?”
“I’m not telling anyone. You, Poppy, Dumbledore and your parents are the only ones who are going to know.” I had already made my mind up on this part of it.
“What?” He gasped.
“I couldn’t have them looking at me and knowing that I was dying. I couldn’t do that to them. I’m not telling them, and neither are you.”
He could tell I was serious about this. He didn’t have to like it, but he had to follow through.
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