AUTHOR'S NOTES: I've been stuck for a long time on this story and to me it seemed the story line was coming to an end so I decided to throw in a few things I'd wanted to include before wrapping everything up.
I also want to put in a plug for an original story I've been working on at . The title is Strawberry Cheesecake and the author name is still The Lilac Elf of Lothlorien. If you liked how I wrote the cancer storylines in my two HP fics The Bonds of Family and Deaf, Mute, and an Owl to Boot check out the original story and let me know what you think.
"It's really beautiful here," Phoebe said that night as she walked down by the lake holding hands with Sirius.
"I used to walk down this way at night when I was in school and couldn't sleep," Sirius said, smiling. "I love it here."
"Everything's so quiet and peaceful…" Phoebe added, earning a laugh from Sirius. "What?"
"It's only quiet and peaceful because the new school years hasn't started yet," Sirius replied, stopping when he heard gravel crunching beneath his shoes and heard the water lapping at his feet. Squeezing Phoebe's hand, he said, "It's been a long time since I've loved someone. And it's been even longer since… since I thought about being with only one woman." Pulling the engagement ring out of his pocket, he said, "I want to be with you… If you want to be with me."
Phoebe couldn't say anything as she looked at the ring Sirius held. It was exactly like the one in her vision. Remembering how happy she'd felt in that premonition, she smiled. "I do want to be with you."
It took a moment of fumbling, but finally, Sirius slid the ring on her finger. As they kissed in the moonlight, Sirius couldn't remember being happier in his life.
Inside the castle, Merry stood outside the Hogwarts hospital wing with James as she gave him her update. "Harry's leg isn't getting better," she said, sadly. "It's weak… he has a diminished reflex reaction… And he's still in more pain than he should be." Looking into the hospital wing, she said, "We can try working Harry more… Try and strengthen his leg, but…" Looking at James, she said, "I know you don't want to think about it, James, but… We may have to amputate Harry's leg."
James leaned against the wall. "There has to be something else we can do."
"I'm sorry," Merry said, sincerely. "But I think it's the best thing for Harry."
James rubbed his face, wearily. "What… what happens afterwards?"
Merry nodded, slipping easily into 'doctor' mode. "Because of how far we'd have to take Harry's leg, he wouldn't be able to use a prosthetic. He'd have to use crutches."
James nodded. He wanted to cry, but… "Tell me what to do…" he begged his friend.
Merry's look was sorrowful. "We'll take him to St. Mungo's in the morning."
James looked at Harry and sighed. "We should tell him."
"You do that," Merry said, giving James a weak smile. "I'll contact St. Mungo's."
James nodded and went to his son's bed, not wanting to do what he knew he had to.
Harry was still awake and when he saw his father, he sat up in his bed, wincing at the pain in his leg. "What's wrong, Dad?"
James sat on Harry's bed and decided that the best option was to be direct and honest. "Merry's done some magical scans of your leg," he said, somberly. "Your reflexes are getting weaker… you're losing strength in your leg… There was a lot of nerve and muscle damage… Harry… Nothing's helping."
Harry sighed, understanding what his father was telling him. "I'm going to lose my leg, aren't I?"
"I'm sorry, Harry…" James said, leaning forward and hugging his son. "Tomorrow… you'll go to St. Mungo's and they'll…" Pulling away, James couldn't bear to think about what his son was about to go through. Trying to keep to the details, he went on. "There won't… be enough of your leg to be fitted for a prosthetic."
Harry nodded slowly. "What… what about Quidditch?"
James couldn't help the laugh that escaped him. "We'll find a way to keep you playing," James promised. "On my word as a Marauder."
Harry lay back, looking down at his left leg before looking back up at his father. "What… about after?"
"Merry said that you'll have to use crutches," James replied. "Harry, I wish we didn't have to, but…"
"It's my fault," Harry muttered, looking up at the ceiling. "If I hadn't tried to kill myself…"
"Harry…" James started but Harry shook his head.
"I did this to myself, Dad," Harry said as he sat up again.
"Harry, I'm not denying that what you did was stupid," James replied. "But you didn't know what would happen." Looking at the clock on the wall, James sighed. "Get some sleep. We're leaving early in the morning."
Harry lay back again but he couldn't sleep as he realized that his life would never be the same after tomorrow.
"Magical limb removal is… different from the muggle method," Merry said as she looked at Harry who was lying on a bed a in a private room at St. Mungo's.
"Different how?" James asked, a hand on his son's shoulder. Harry hadn't slept the night before and now he was anxious as Merry explained the procedure.
"In a muggle amputation," Merry explained. "We would tie off the blood vessels before carefully removing the limb. With wizards… we use special severing charms before taking care of the wounds."
"Will I… be awake… or…?" Harry asked, nervously.
"You'll be unconscious," Merry assured him. "This will hurt a lot but unlike muggle amputations, you won't have any phantom pain afterwards."
"How's that?" James asked, confused.
"The charms we'll be using will keep the nerves from trying to send on signals," Merry clarified. Looking at Harry, she gave him a smile. "It'll be okay, Harry. Once this is over, you'll be just fine."
Harry nodded, trying not to worry. "Okay."
Two healers entered the room, one of them holding a vial of potion. "Harry?" he said, holding out the potion. "I need you to take this before we begin."
Harry took the potion and after a few moments, he was completely unconscious.
As James watched, he didn't notice a shimmer of white-blue lights nearby until he heard a woman's voice.
Turning, James saw Piper Halliwell standing with a man with blonde hair. "Piper? Is something wrong?"
"You tell me," Piper replied, pulling down the neck of her shirt, exposing her right clavicle where there was a lightning shaped scar. "I managed to keep it a secret from Leo but I finally figured we should find out what it's from."
James stared for a moment before glancing at the identical scar on Harry's forehead. "Okay…"
"What's wrong?" the blonde man asked.
"You were hit with the Killing Curse?" James asked Piper, pulling the two off to the side. "When we got rid Voldemort?" After a moment, James said, "But…You're not dead."
"The baby?" The other man suggested.
"This is my husband, Leo," Piper explained, quickly. Putting a hand to her swollen abdomen, she said, "Since I've been pregnant I've been invulnerable to injuries, but…"
"Piper, the only other person who has survived the Killing Curse is Harry," James said. "That invincibility… that it can protect against the worst curse known to wizards is… incredible."
Leo looked a bit relieved as he said, "So… there's nothing to worry about?"
James shook his head. "I wouldn't think so… although if you want to stay and help Phoebe plan her wedding…"
"Wedding?" Piper asked, smiling. "She and Sirius are getting married?"
James nodded. "I, uh… I was planning on asking Paige last night, but…" Looking over at Harry just as one of the healers vanished Harry's severed leg.
"What happened?" Piper asked, looking concerned.
"Harry's leg has been getting worse," James replied. "He's… been losing function, and…"
Piper sighed. "I'm sorry… We… shouldn't have come just now."
"No, it's… it's fine," James shrugged. "It's just… one more thing I have to deal with."
Piper looked at Leo who gave a miniscule nod. "We're… going to go to the castle. See you later?"
James gave a distracted nod before going back over to Harry's side.
Orbing to the wizard hospital, Paige found James sitting next to Harry's bed. "James."
James looked around and he actually smiled when he saw who it was. "Hi, Paige," he replied, turning back to Harry who was still sleeping.
"How's Harry?" Paige asked as she walked over to her boyfriend.
"Sleeping," James replied. "Merry said he'd be out until tomorrow." Standing up, he turned to Paige and pulled her close. "I'm so happy you're here. I just… I feel like my whole world is falling apart. Nothing is as it should be…" he finished, quietly.
Paige wound her arms around James' neck and she smiled. "I know."
James kissed her and said, "I just… I wish everything would stop happening, you know? I just want to…"
"I know," Paige repeated, kissing James again.
James pulled away and reached a hand into his pocket. "I was, uh… I was waiting for a romantic moment, but…" He pulled out the ring box as he dropped to one knee. "Marry me, Paige… Be the one perfect thing in my life…"
Paige gaped at the gold and ruby ring and before she could even think, she smiled. "Yes. Yes!"
James slid the ring onto her finger, grinning like an idiot, and stood before picking Paige up and swinging her around before setting her back on her feet. "I love you. I haven't been this happy in a long time."
"Neither have I," Paige admitted. "And I know how you feel. Everything in my life just got crazier and crazier ever since I found out I was a witch. Since I met you… suddenly things started making sense. I felt like… being with you was…"
"Right…" James finished, pulling Paige in for another kiss.
Harry was surprised to see his father and Paige Halliwell when he woke up the following morning. "Dad?" Harry asked as he sat up. "What's going on?"
"Well…" James began as he took his fiancée's hand. "Paige and I… are getting married." James had worried half the night about Harry's reaction. But seeing his son smile James relaxed. "Are you okay with that?" James asked.
"Yeah," Harry replied. "Yeah, I mean… if you're happy…"
"Good morning," Merry said, cheerfully as she entered Harry's room. "How are you feeling, Harry?"
Harry shrugged. "Alright… I guess…"
Merry nodded and said, "Well, if you don't mind, I want to check on your leg."
"You mean what's left of it," Harry added, throwing the blankets back.
After examining Harry's stump, Merry nodded. "Everything looks fine," she said. "If you want… you can probably go back to Hogwarts."
"How… How soon can I…?" Harry took a moment before asking, "How soon can I… get walking again?"
Merry held up the pair or ring crutches she held. "If you feel up to it we can start now."
Moving so his remaining leg was over the edge of the bed, Harry slid his arms through the loops at the top of the crutches and grabbed the handles and after a little help from Merry, Harry stood up.
"Okay," Merry said, watching Harry. "Now… Feel ready to try walking?"
1 Year Later
Phoebe couldn't believe that the moment she'd foreseen had actually arrived.
Standing underneath a flowered archway exactly like the one in her vision, Phoebe held a bouquet of pink roses as music played in the Great Hall of Hogwarts.
Paige and James stood together, holding hands, their wedding band shining in the light from the candles that floated in the air.
Harry stood next to them, leaning on the crutches, Hermione next to him with an arm looped through his.
Prue stood arm in arm with Severus Snape as Dumbledore stood with Penny before Phoebe and Sirius.
Watching as Phoebe and Sirius recited their vows and exchanged wedding rings, James' mind started wandering. Only a few months after getting engaged, James had orbed himself and Paige to Italy where they were joined in matrimony before spending a magical honeymoon.
Piper had given birth to twins—a boy and a girl—and now had her hands full with Wyatt Matthew and Pamela Melinda Halliwell.
Prue and Snape had come back to England for James and Paige's wedding but had left afterwards so as to keep moving so that Prue could stay off the spirit radar.
Penny and Dumbledore had gone to Ireland for a weekend and had found a Wiccan high priestess to handfast them.
Harry had been a surprise. He'd had some trouble getting used to only having one leg but after he and Hermione had spent an entire afternoon alone talking, Harry had opted out of playing Quidditch that school year, preferring to focus on his studies. Afterwards, Harry said that he might be suited to teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts given his vast personal experience.
Watching his best friend marry the love of his life, James smiled.
There was magic that even a wand couldn't touch.