Chapter 1 : Letting Go
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"Transfer? What do you mean, transfer?" Lily Luna Potter angrily shoved back her chair and stood up, turning to grip the back of it.
"He is not going to get better, Lily," Healer-in-Charge of the Janus Thickey Ward of St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, Galen Errapel said, clasping his hands on his desk and looking at her over his square spectacles.
"And a transfer to another hospital is going to help him?" Lily snapped, her knuckles turning white on the chair.
"Having Albus here isn't helping him. It isn't helping you," Errapel replied.
"No one can take care of him like I can,” Lily said defiantly. “No one understands his condition like I do."
Errapel looked at her for a moment. Sighing, he slowly opened his desk drawer and pulled out a manila folder. Carefully placing the folder on his desk he opened it and began to read the file inside:
“Potter, Albus Severus: Born January 4, 2006. Admitted to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, September 10, 2028 at 12:32 A.M., after an attack by five individuals from a radical organization known as the Dark Resurrection, a post-war Dark Lord Revival cult. Sources believe the attackers attempted to invade the subject’s mind through the use of Legilimens and the Cruciatus Curse, leaving the subject physically and mentally unstable. Further study concludes that under certain mental triggers the subject becomes incapacitated from physical pain. Constant supervision and care is advised."
Errapel finished, looking up from the report at Lily who had sunk back into her chair with her face in her hands.
“You are too emotionally involved to take proper care of him,” Errapel said gently. “This is what’s best.”
Lily raised her head slowly to look at Errapel, her eyes sparkling with tears. “Don’t take my brother away from me.”
Errapel looked at her sadly. “I’m not the one who took your brother away from you, Lily. You know that,” he said solemnly. “You need to let him go.”
Lily slowly shut the door to Errapel’s office.
Admitted to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, September 10, 2028 at 12:32 A.M.
They had left him right on the front porch.
Lily had been at her parents' house with James to celebrate James’s official Auror initiation.
Albus was late.
Albus was never late.
Just as her mum decided to go out and look for him, they heard the screaming.
They immediately apparated Albus to St. Mungo’s where the healers quickly took his writhing mangled body to Spell Damage. They did all that they could. It still wasn’t enough.
Lily walked slowly down the corridor to the door at the end.
Sources believe the attackers attempted to invade the subject’s mind through the use of Legilimens and the Cruciatus Curse, leaving the subject physically and mentally unstable.
“Who are you?” Albus asked, his eyes empty.
“I’m your sister, remember?” Lily replied softly, taking his hand.
“Alohomora,” Lily whispered, pointing her wand at the handle of the door and quietly pushing it open.
Bright sunlight streamed through the windows of the Janus Thickey long-term resident ward. A line of hospital beds spanned the length of the ward, each separated by flowery curtain dividers.
“Good morning, Althea,” Lily greeted her fellow resident ward Healer as she walked down the row of beds.
Althea waved back in acknowledgement, her attention focused on the patient lying in the first bed who was covered head to toe in bandages.
“Hello, Mr. Grayson,” Lily smiled, turning as a man stumbled from his bed and shambled up to her holding two brightly colored bricks.
“Ish mick lub,” Mr. Grayson mumbled, raising the bricks and clapping them together.
“Very nice, Mr. Grayson,” Lily said, gently guiding the man back to bed.
“Irn dib flan,” he said happily, settling into his covers and continuing to clap his bricks.
Lily gave Mr. Grayson one last smile, carefully fluffed his pillow, and continued down the row of beds.
“Good morning, Albus,” Lily said quietly, reaching the very last bed.
Albus Severus Potter lay propped up on his pillows, a large novel open in his hands. His black hair stuck up in all directions, his deep green eyes looked up from his book to stare at her. Lily walked up to her older brother, her stomach tightening nervously as she did so. White hair was starting to sprout in the hair near Albus’s temples, his young face sallow and lined.
Further study concludes that under certain mental triggers the subject becomes incapacitated from physical pain.
“Who are you?” Albus asked, setting his book down on his small bedside table.
“My sister?” Albus’s face started to contort. “Lily?”
“Yes, that’s right,” Lily said gently.
“No, no!” Albus screamed, his back arching off of the bed. He began to writhe, pain overtaking him.
“I’m your Healer, remember?” Lily said, avoiding Albus’s gaze by straightening his blanket.
“No,” Albus said, his voice empty.
There was an awkward silence broken only by the clacking of Mr. Grayson’s blocks.
“How are you feeling today, Albus?” Lily asked after a moment.
“Help, Lily! Make it stop!"
“Fine,” Albus said.
There was a knock on the door of the ward. Lily quickly turned and hurried down the row of beds to answer it.
“James! What are you doing here?” Lily hissed when the door revealed her eldest brother.
“I need to talk to you,” James Potter whispered, his brow furrowed and his brown eyes pleading.
Lily looked over her shoulder to find Albus staring at the two of them and immediately shoved James out into the corridor.
“James?” Lily heard Albus murmur in a ponderous tone before shutting the door to the ward closed behind her.
“You know not to come here,” Lily said, pulling James away from the ward and down the corridor.
“I came to talk to you about the transfer,” James said, pulling his arm from Lily’s grasp and turning to face her.
“There isn’t going to be a transfer,” Lily said, crossing her arms.
“Mum, Dad, and I have talked about it, Lil. We agreed that it is the best thing for him,” James said, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder.
“How can you say that?” Lily pushed him away angrily. “He’s going to be sent to St. Aitken’s Hospital in Edinburgh!”
“It’s what he needs, Lily,” James replied. “Staying here isn’t doing him any good.”
“What do you know about what he needs?” Lily snapped. “None of you understand. He needs me. I need to take care of him.”
You are too emotionally involved to take proper care of him
“Lily, it seems like you are the one who doesn’t understand,” James said. “How many…fits has he had this week?”
Lily paused, dropping her gaze to the floor. “Five,” she whispered.
“Lily, make it stop!”
“Five?” James looked shocked. “I thought obliviate was working! How can it happen so often?”
Lily shook her head hopelessly. “Something about his condition is weakening the effects of the spell. Any tiny trigger can make him remember.” Lily sighed.
“Then don’t you realize that you taking care of him only makes it worse?” James demanded. “Lily, remembering hurts him. I know you want him to be the same as he was, but his condition is irreversible. This isn’t going to help-“
“You think I don’t know that, James?” Lily snapped, her eyes flaring. “ I am here every time he remembers anything before the attack, and I see what happens! It kills me! I am the one who erases his memory each time. I’m the one who casts the spell that obliviates who he is. I’m the one who sees the empty look in his eyes.” Tears filled Lily’s eyes as she pulled at her red hair. “And I can’t stand it!”
James wrapped her in his arms and held her head as she cried into his shoulder. Sobs wracked through her body as she clutched her brother for support.
“What’s wrong, Lil?” Lily felt Albus’s big warm hand her shoulder as another tear slid down her nose.
“James and I had a fight,” Lily said, wiping her eyes.
“About?” Albus asked, sitting down beside her on the desk in the deserted classroom in which she had sought sanctuary.
“Something stupid,” Lily replied, sniffling.
“Disagreements with James tend to be stupid,” Albus said, shrugging. “What was it this time?”
A small smile curled Lily’s lips at that. “Oh, James doesn’t like that I’m dating the captain of the Hufflepuff quidditch team.”
“Since when have you cared what James thinks of your boyfriends?” Albus grinned, nudging her shoulder with his own. “I know James can be a prat sometimes, but he’s just trying to look out for you, Lil. That’s what family does. We look out for each other.”
“I’m a Healer, James,” Lily said thickly after a while when the tears subsided. “How am I supposed to help people when I can’t help my own brother?”
“Not everyone can be saved, Lil,” James replied, gently stroking her hair.
They stood holding each other for a moment.
Suddenly a scream split the air. Lily jumped away from James looking toward the door to the ward.
“Albus,” she breathed, drawing her wand and flying down the corridor into the ward, James hot on her heels.
Albus was writhing around on his bed, his eyes shooting around the room as he screamed in pain. Lily ran to him, kneeling beside his head as he thrashed.
“Albus! Al, can you hear me?” Lily reached out and gently touched Albus’s face soothingly.
“Mum? Dad?” Albus’s eyes fogged with pain searched the room blindly. “Someone make it stop!”
Lily scooped up the small bird, its bright blue wing bent in an awkward position. Tears rolled down her cheeks as the bird let out a small piteous chirp.
“Don’t worry, Lil,” Albus said, patting her on the shoulder. “This bird hasn’t had his fill of the sky. He’ll fly yet.”
“Al, it’s going to be okay.” James knelt on Albus’s other side, taking one of his hands.
“James?” Albus’s wide eyes shot to James’s wildly. “James, help me.”
“We’re going to help you, Al,” James promised, his eyes shining. “You’re going to be okay."
Albus shook, his head flopping back and forth.
“I couldn’t remember…I didn’t know…It hurts,” he cried.
“Albus, look at me,” Lily said gently.
Albus's crazed green eyes met hers.
“Lily? Lily, I…I couldn’t remember…It hurts…Help me, Lily. Make it stop!” Albus screamed again, his back arching off of the bed.
“I’ll make it stop, Albus,” Lily whispered, tears flowing down her cheeks.
“Here you go, Lil.” Albus gently handed her the baby bird.
Lily cupped the bird carefully between her small palms.
“What if he’s not well enough? What if he’s not ready?” Lily asked, turning to Albus, her eyes full of worry.
“We’ve done all we can for him,” Albus replied. “It’s up to him now. You have to let him go.”
She looked at James. He met her eyes and nodded.
Let him go.
Lily took a shaky breath and looked back at Albus. She stared into his green eyes and stroked his cheek. “I love you, Al.”
“Bye, brother,” James whispered, squeezing his hand.
Lily raised her wand.