Disclaimer: Not Mine.
Author's Notes: This story is completed and I'll be posting a chapter approximately every three or four days, or maybe weekly. There is major character death in this one, though you will not see the major character die, that takes place outside the text in between chapter 16 and the epilogue. Whilst the major character does die, this story was intended to be an uplifting story of finding love where you least expect it and learning to appreciate those wonderful moments we all take for granted. Thank you to my betas nocturnali and luciology, without them this might have been incoherent.
How is one supposed to react when given a death sentence?
You'd think I'd be used to it by now; I feel like I've been walking around with one of those for 14 years, ever since I found out Voldemort was after me when I was 11 years old. I should be used to living on a knife's edge between life and death, right?
Glioblastoma multiforme, she said.
A tumor in my brain that is going to kill me.
When she first told me I almost laughed. Arrogance perhaps, but if Voldemort hadn't managed to kill me – even though he kind of did – then a blasted tumor wasn't going to do it either.
But no. It's an extremely aggressive form of cancer. Even with the most invasive treatments the Muggles have (wizards have no flick of the wrist to cure this either) the prognosis is 5 years at best. And the majority of that would be spent in a bed, hooked up to fatal amounts of chemotherapy drugs and radiation and whatever else they'd need to keep me alive, or recovering from said treatment and preparing for the next cycle where it started all over again.
That's not living. If a cure was right around the corner, it might be different. I might cling to any remote chance that they'd find a cure before I expired, but there is no cure. There's not even the slightest indication that there will be one. And I can't give up control over my life again. Too much of my past was spent trying to live up to other people's expectations, other people's choices and needs, and the last seven years I've finally been able to manage living my own life under my own rules. I can't just hand over the responsibility for my mortality to Muggle doctors in the hope that maybe, just maybe, someone might find some miraculous cure for this insidious disease.
I can't. I won't.
Surgery will not be able to remove it all. Apparently these things can get too big before they decide to let your body know with a symptom or two that they're there.
My choices are surgery and chemotherapy, which will extend my life – maybe to five years, maybe only by one or two - but take away any quality of life I might have left. Or I can attempt to mask the symptoms for as long as possible with a wizard potion and have up to a year of living normally. Albeit with my impending death hanging over me like a shroud.
It sounds really bleak doesn't it? I sound quite cold and calculated about it. Very formal, as if I'm relating someone else's fate. Hey, it's not me; it's someone else that's dying.
If only that were the case.
Like I said before, you think I'd be used to this now. It's still not real; it doesn't feel real. I don't feel any different than before she told me. I don't feel any different than I did five years ago before the thing was even inside my head eating away my life and destroying my future.
It's alien and disgusting and I want it gone! I want my life back! Don't I deserve that much?
Why didn't I feel something this large and invasive in my head? Why does this disturbing creeping feeling tingle over my scalp every time I think about it? And I can't stop thinking about it. It's in there not only taking over my brain physically, but psychologically as well, looming up like a great dark viscous fog. And right now, I can't see past it. Or through it. Or around it.
For the second time in my life I am facing my certain death. Facing Voldemort I knew I was going to die and I accepted it. Perhaps there was always some thought in the back of my head that there was a loophole somewhere that would save me. Something always did before.
This time – it feels like fate laughing at me and saying I've used up all my luck. Bad luck. Time to go. You've used up all your credit. Check out time. Thanks for coming. Don't come back.
Thank you very fucking much.
The Healer gave me some information on my 'condition' so I could find out as much as I can about it.
Not that there seems to be much point. She gave me the basics of it. Anything else I need to know, she can tell me when I visit her monthly for the potion, which is supposed to build me up and mask the symptoms externally. The damned creepy slimy sluggish thing growing in my head will continue inexorably to take over my functioning and control of my body, but for a while the potion will allow me to retain it.
Well, until it gets too strong and breaks through the potion. Then at least the slide will be quick and painless I'm told. Maybe I need to give it a name, although dignifying it by acknowledging it gives it power over me. I can't keep calling it 'it' though, can I? Call it 'you know who' or 'that which must not be named'?
Maybe if I just don't think about it, it will go away. I mean if I hadn't gone to see her about the unusual weight loss then I'd never have known it was even in there until it debilitated me. I could have spent the last months ignorant of the limits of time I had left. Ignorance is bliss, right?
God, how do I tell everyone?
I can't. Their ignorance will be my bliss. I don't handle attention well at the best of times. And to see it in their eyes…
Does that make me a coward? Does not wanting to see the pain and grief on my friend's faces make me a coward?
It almost doesn't matter. When I'm gone they can call me what they like. Coward or no, I won't be around to see it, will I?
I won't be around to see anything. Not their weddings, or when they have children, or move house, or get a new job.
I have a year left to do everything I ever wanted in my life.
Where do I even start?