AUTHOR'S NOTES: With this rewrite, I wanted to change things a bit and make things a bit more interesting. I'm still keeping the main pairing as Harry/Luna. Not sure about the Draco/Ginny pairing though. I'm also going to try and write Moody into this story more since I find him an interesting character to write.
Oh, and to the inevitable question of 'Why whack off Harry's leg even in the rewrite?', let me just say that it's part of the plotline of the story. Thank you.
Also, after reading this or any of my other rewrites, please register your thoughts and opinions with my posting listed as '5 Questions for Readers' to help with my ongoing rewriting projects.
HARRY POTTER: The Bonds of Family
Lying upside down in a rugged ditch, the tires on the old car were still turning slowly as the police and EMS arrived at the scene of the crash, lights flashing and sirens blaring.
The firefighters had checked that there were no gas leaks and as they worked to free the people trapped in the car, they kept eyes open and every few seconds, checked for the smells of gasoline or other engine fluids which could ignite if they found a hot spot on the wreckage.
The 18-wheeler truck which had slammed into the car was standing at an angle across the darkened street, its front smashed, and the windshield cracked but that was nothing as compared to the car it had hit, whose entire body was smashed and crushed.
As the police officers pulled out flashlights so as to better examine the wrecked vehicle, they could already tell it was bad. Windows were broken and the glass shards glittered as they lay sprinkled like miniscule diamonds over the people inside. Blood was spattered and smeared on almost every surface and at first, no one moved or made a sound as the paramedics hurried in to rescue the people trapped inside.
The cop in charge, Inspector Michael Franklin, watched silently as paramedics worked to free the four people inside the wreckage: a man and woman each in their late thirties and two teenage boys, one heavy-set, and the other painfully thin.
"Inspector?" One of the other officers came up and handed Franklin a wallet. "Driver had ID. Vernon Dursley Looks like they were coming back from the mall. Found shopping bags and some leftover food and popcorn containers."
Franklin nodded vaguely, as he looked at the accident scene. "Try to track down any other possible family." Looking at the two teenagers being carefully removed from the wreckage, he added, "We may need to contact a next of kin. How bad is it?"
Inspector Daniel Harper shook his head as the driver of the wrecked car was loaded into an ambulance along with his wife. "Lot of cuts and scrapes. Probably some broken bones as well. The skinnier boy looks to be in the worst shape. His right leg was badly crushed. But everyone was strapped in and the car had front and side airbags. The car rolled, so that probably caused some of the injuries. But it looks like everyone's going to make it, at least."
Franklin watched as the heavier of the two teenage boys was the last to be loaded into a waiting ambulance. The other teenager's face was covered with bandages which were still covered with blood. Once the ambulance doors closed, the ambulance took off, sirens and lights wailing in the cool night.
As Franklin glanced back at the car, the tires slowly came to a stop.
Petunia Dursley woke to the worst headache of her life as a doctor shone a penlight in her eyes. "Ugh…" she groaned, trying to focus on the doctor's face.
"Welcome back, Mrs. Dursley," Dr. Mallory Norton said, lowering the light. "How do you feel?"
"Where's my son?" Petunia asked as she remembered the accident the night before. Was Dudley alright? Was he even still…?
"Harry or Dudley?" Norton asked, checking Petunia's heart rate and the stitched lacerations to her arms.
Petunia sighed, hating answering the question repeatedly to teachers, doctors, and everyone else. "Dudley is my son. Harry is my nephew. His parents died when he was a baby."
Dr. Norton pulled a chair over to Petunia's bedside before sitting down. "Mrs. Dursley, was your husband drinking last night?"
"A few beers with dinner, why?" Petunia answered, evasively. The last thing she wanted right now was to get into Vernon's drinking habits of late.
"That's all?" Norton asked, doubtfully. "Because according to Vernon's blood tests I'd say he was drinking much more than that," she added, crossing her arms. "The alcohol levels in his blood were far higher than 'a few beers'."
"Lately… he's been near drunk all the time," Petunia admitted, shamefully. "I tried to get Vernon to let me drive home, but he got behind the wheel anyway."
Norton repressed the urge to roll her eyes. What was it with wives letting their drunk husbands have free reign? "Well, your husband should have listened to you. If he had, he wouldn't be in a coma."
"What?" Petunia said in disbelief. "Will he be alright?"
"I don't know," Norton sighed. "There was significant head trauma. We won't know anything until he wakes up."
"What about Dudley and Harry?" Petunia asked. She couldn't help being worried about Harry. She might not like the boy but he was still her last remaining family and with her parents and grandparents long gone…
"Dudley's left leg was broken in three places," Norton said, looking grim. "Luckily, they were clean breaks. We've set his leg and he should heal well, but he got some of the window glass in his eyes. We'll have to wait and see if there was any permanent damage."
"And Harry?" Petunia asked, feeling a twisting in her stomach.
Shrugging, Dr. Norton said, "Harry's still unconscious. He broke two ribs and one of them punctured his right lung. He's intubated. But that's not the worst of it, I'm afraid."
"What do you mean?" Petunia asked sitting up a bit. What was worse than not being able to breathe because of a punctured lung?
"Your nephew's right leg was severely crushed in the accident. He has two compound fractures of the tibia, his kneecap was shattered, and there is significant muscle and nerve damage," Norton said, handing Petunia a clipboard. "He's stable for right now, but we need your consent for surgery."
Petunia read the form quickly then looked up sharply at the doctor. "You want to amputate his leg?"
"If we don't, not only is there a strong risk of infection which could prove fatal in Harry's current weakened condition," Norton explained, calmly. "But depending on the extent of the muscle and nerve damage, Harry could end up with very limited use of his leg. And then there's the fact that because of the open fractures we've had to restrict the blood flow to Harry's leg to keep him from bleeding out. If we wait, Harry will lose his leg anyway. Right now we've stabilized the fractures but the longer we postpone operating the higher the risks."
Petunia closed her eyes. She'd never cared for Harry much. Hell, she never really thought about him at all, really. And now she was supposed to act like his mother? Make a major medical decision that would affect Harry for the rest of his life. What would Lily do in this situation?
Simple… Petunia realized, after a few moments. Lily would do what ever she had to in order to save the life of her son. Just like Petunia would do if it had been Dudley. Opening her eyes Petunia signed her name on the consent form and handed it back. "Take care of my nephew," she said as the doctor hurried out of the room.
A few hours later, while Harry was in surgery, Petunia stood shakily in Vernon's room, staring at her comatose husband. Her marriage had never really been about love. Vernon seemed so very normal and Petunia wanted that. So she and Vernon dated for a while, got married, and had Dudley. And Petunia showered Dudley with all the affection she'd never really got from Vernon.
Standing in the hospital room, Petunia's body ached but her mind was enflamed with rage. How DARE Vernon jeopardize his own son's life! The man was more concerned about his job and his next drink than his family.
"You bastard," Petunia whispered. "You almost killed me, our son… my nephew. You poisoned me against my own sister's child. You hated magic. You made me hate it as well. I could have gotten to know Harry but you pushed him away."
"Mrs. Dursley?" A nurse stood in the doorway. "Are you okay?"
Petunia took one last look at Vernon before turning to the nurse and asking, "Do you know the phone number of a good divorce attorney?"
If Albus Dumbledore had not been in the habit of buying muggle newspapers it might have been considerably longer before he found out about Harry.
But with Voldemort risen again, muggle papers were the best way to keep up on anything strange enough that muggles would find interesting, but not strange enough that the Ministry of Magic would feel the need to investigate.
It was a hot, humid morning at Hogwarts and Dumbledore stopped skimming through the newspaper when he saw the name 'Dursley' in a brief mention at the back of the Little Whinging newspaper. Reading through the small article Dumbledore stood quickly and grabbed his traveling cloak and headed for Hogsmeade where he could apparate to London and the hospital where Harry now lay injured.
The last person Petunia expected to see as she stepped in to Dudley's hospital room was Albus Dumbledore. The tall, thin, Hogwarts headmaster stood near Dudley's bed, reading over the boy's chart with interest. "Good afternoon, Petunia. I see you are recovering nicely. I'm glad you were not terribly injured in the car wreck."
"Mum, he says he can help me," Dudley said, quietly. "He said he could use that magic stuff to heal my leg and the cuts from the glass," Dudley added, gesturing to his broken leg and the bandages around his eyes.
"I am prepared to send both your son and Harry to St. Mungo's hospital for magical healing," Dumbledore said, cordially. "The healers there should be able to take care of both boys' injuries in no time."
Petunia didn't know what to say to that but she nodded, giving the headmaster approval to transfer the boys.
"Where," Dumbledore asked, politely. "—is Harry?"
Petunia lay a hand on her son's shoulder and said, "I'll be back in a moment, Dudley." She led Dumbledore upstairs to the surgical floor and just as they were about to go to the surgical waiting room, three doctors came out of an operating room two of whom was leading a gurney upon which lay an unconscious Harry Potter.
"Mrs. Dursley?" the third surgeon said, seeing her standing there.
Petunia watched Harry being taken away to the recovery ward. "How is he?"
"Surgery went fine," the surgeon replied. "Hopefully he'll wake up soon if you wanted to talk to him."
Petunia nodded wordlessly and she and Dumbledore went to the recovery room where Harry was.
Walking up to Harry's hospital bed, Dumbledore noticed that most of Harry's right leg was gone and he looked at Petunia with a raised eye. "You allowed the muggle doctors to amputate Harry's leg?"
Petunia nodded. "The doctors said that the injuries to his leg were bad and could be life-threatening. I didn't have much of a choice, did I?"
"I am not faulting you, Petunia," Dumbledore said, kindly. "Quite the opposite. It seems that you are at last acknowledging Harry as your family."
"I was jealous of Lily for the longest time," Petunia said, looking down at Harry's frail form. "She was special. I wasn't."
"You are special to Harry," Dumbledore replied. "You are the only family he has ever known and while Sirius Black offers Harry a connection to his father, you offer the only consistent connection Harry has to Lily."
"Vernon almost got my own son killed because he was drinking and he drove. He almost killed me, Harry, and Dudley," Petunia said, bitterly. "Even if Dudley will be okay… I don't want Vernon anywhere near us."
"I will do what I can to help," Dumbledore said, simply. "Now let's get Harry and Dudley taken care of, shall we?"
Lying in his bed in St. Mungo's, Harry wasn't sure what to feel about what had happened to him. Dudley's sight had been saved by some quick healing and the healers had mended the broken leg in no time at all.
Harry, though, was a different story. While the healer had been able to clean up his stump and repair the broken ribs and internal injuries, she'd been unable to regrow Harry's leg. All any of the healers could say was there was some sort of magical block, preventing the limb from being regrown.
"Harry?" Looking up Harry was surprised to see Petunia sitting down in the chair next to his bed. "How are you… considering?"
"Okay," Harry said, dully, lying back against the pillows of his bed. "Considering."
"The healer told me that you'll be up and walking in a few days," Petunia said, trying to be cheerful.
"Yeah, but I won't be playing Quidditch anymore," Harry said, not looking at his aunt. "Who wants a seeker with one leg?"
"I'm sure they'll give you some sort of prosthetic," Petunia replied. "Harry, I'm so sorry for everything I've done to you over the years. I was blinded by Vernon's hatred of magic." Harry rolled over onto his side, facing away from her, but Petunia pressed on. "I don't expect you to forgive me, Harry," Petunia said, morosely. "But if you ever want to talk…"
"You're my mum's sister," Harry said, a sharp edge in his tone. "But you've never considered me family. I don't consider you family either."
Petunia felt like she'd just been slapped in the face but she nodded, getting up and heading for the door. Looking back at her nephew she vowed to try and earn back Harry's trust. No matter what it took.
On an unusually cool Thursday morning, Harry found himself sitting in a small physical therapy room and Gail Hart, a young healer with short red hair, was magically fitting him with his new prosthetic leg. Once the fit and height were correct, Gail took Harry's arm and the teenage boy stood carefully. "How's the leg feel?" Gail asked, as she held onto Harry to keep him from falling over.
"Okay… I guess," Harry replied, taking a step forward. He felt a little off balance, but the charms on the prosthetic corrected him and his next step was steadier.
"You should be okay to go home in a day or two," Gail said, walking with Harry around the room. "If you need help let me know. You may need a cane or something for a while, but I think you'll get used to it once you've done a bit more walking with the prosthetic." After a while, Harry asked to sit down and Gail led him to a bench a short ways away. "Harry, if you need to talk about this—"
"I just want to get out of here," Harry said, not meeting Gail's eyes.
"He's withdrawn, he's not really talking to anyone, and he's incredibly moody," Gail said to Dumbledore who had stopped by to check on Harry later that evening.
"It sounds to me as if Harry is behaving like any normal teenager whose life has been drastically changed by a permanent injury," Dumbledore replied.
"Harry needs friends and family with him through this," Gail insisted. "When Petunia Dursley visits, Harry becomes even more withdrawn. He's almost ready to leave. He should go somewhere he feels comfortable."
Dumbledore looked pensive. "I understand. I will arrange for Harry to go someplace other than the Dursleys' home."
"There's one other thing," Gail added as she walked with Dumbledore to the main lobby. "It has to do with the magical blocks on Harry's leg."
Dumbledore stopped, facing the healer with interest. "Blocks are very rare. Don't they usually present in suicidal witches and wizards?"
Gail nodded, wondering if Harry was secretly suicidal. "Usually. But in Harry's case… I think it may be something else."
Dumbledore looked concerned and when he asked Gail what she meant, he noticed the look of regret in her eyes. "What do you suspect?" he asked again.
Gail sighed and finally replied, "I read in a publication once that a healer in France was unable to regrow the arm of a man who'd been in a horrific accident. The wizard in question had a malignant tumor and healers believed that his own magic was preventing the limb from being regrown so as to keep the tumor from being regrown as well." Seeing that Dumbledore was only just following along, she said, simply. "We'd have to test Harry's blood to make sure, but it may be that the reason we can't regrow Harry's leg is that he has cancer."
"How soon will you know if that's the case?" Dumbledore asked, thinking.
"I know a muggle oncologist who works with magical patients," Gail replied. "I'll give him a call. He should be able to get here within the next day or so."
"Please inform me as soon as you know," Dumbledore requested as he and Gail reached the main lobby.
"Certainly," Gail promised before shaking the headmaster's hand. After he'd left, Gail headed out of the hospital as well and to the nearest muggle pay phone to call Dr. Curtis Walden.
The following morning, Dr. Walden arrived and met Gail Martin in what served as St. Mungo's lab. "I thought it would take you longer to get here, Curtis," Gail said as she handed over the vial of blood from Harry Potter and watched as Dr. Walden added three drops of a cloudy liquid to the vial before shaking it.
To Gail's dismay, she saw a numerous amount of fluorescent green specks in the blood sample. "Oh, no," she breathed, looking at Walden. "What do we do now?"
Walden set the blood vial aside and replied, "I'll need to do a bone marrow biopsy and further tests to determine how aggressive the cancer is. Then we'll need to start your patient—"
"Harry," Gail said, wondering how she was going to tell the poor kid about his illness.
"We'll need to start Harry on chemotherapy as soon as possible," Walden finished. "I'll do the biopsy and start running the tests immediately. We should know more in about 48 hours." Seeing the look on Gail's face, he asked, "Have you ever delivered this sort of news to a patient before, Ms. Martin?"
"No," Gail admitted, shaking her head.
Dr. Walden just nodded and after a moment, grabbed his things and said, "Have you ever performed a biopsy before?"
"No," Gail replied again, frowning.
Walden sighed and after a moment said, "No matter. Lead the way to Harry's room, if you please."
Harry was surprised to see Gail Martin come into his room followed by another man with a large travel case. "What's going on?" Harry wanted to know as he sat up in his bed, looking both curious and worried when he saw the looks he was getting.
Gail didn't want to say it but finally, she gestured to Dr. Walden as she said, "Harry, this is Dr. Curtis Walden." After a long hesitation, she added, "He's a muggle oncologist."
Harry felt his brain go numb as he absorbed this news and after a while, he sat up even more. "Uh… You're saying… th-that I…"
"I'm so sorry, Harry," Gail said, quietly. Giving the teenager a moment to take in the news, she looked over at Walden who had set his case on the chair nearby and was pulling equipment out. Turning back to Harry, she said, "We need to do some more tests. Is your aunt around?"
"She's, uh… She's in the tea room upstairs," Harry replied, numbly.
"I'll go let her know what's going on," Gail offered before leaving the room and heading upstairs to the tea room where Petunia was sitting in a corner with a cold cup of tea. "Mrs. Dursley."
Petunia straightened up as Gail sat down across from her looking grave. "Is Harry alright?"
"No," Gail replied, simply. When Petunia looked concerned, Gail elaborated. "We did a test to see if there was a reason we weren't able to regrow Harry's leg. Unfortunately the test showed that Harry has cancer. We're testing now to find out what kind and how advanced it is."
Petunia leaned back in her chair, not sure of what to say. First Harry lost his leg and now this. Leaning forward, she asked, "After you run your tests… what happens to Harry?"
"Dr. Curtis Walden, a muggle oncologist, will be handling Harry's case," Gail replied, outlining things. "He'll be able to tell you more I can." She wanted to assure Petunia that Harry would be okay but she just couldn't find the words.
In 38 hours, Dr. Walden had the biopsy and blood test results and as he stepped into Harry's room, he noticed that Harry was sitting up in his bed and his aunt was sitting on the edge of the bed next to him. "Harry," Walden said, simply, in greeting. "Mrs. Dursley."
"What's the news?" Harry asked, trying to hide the fact that he felt like he was going to be sick.
Walden closed the door behind him and set Harry's file on the table nearby. "On the upside, Harry, you tested negative for the more serious blood cancers. But I had a fellow oncologist re-examine the x-rays of your right leg and it looks like there was an osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor, growing up your tibia."
"But the doctors took my leg," Harry said, hoping that that was the end of it. "So without the tumor, I'll be fine, right?"
Walden shook hid head, sadly. "I'm afraid not, Harry. Your blood tests still showed malignant cells so you'll be started on a course of chemotherapy in a few days. We'll be inserting a central line to make it easier on you when you receive your treatments via an IV."
Harry nodded, dully, unable to say anything about all this. Petunia, however, looked concerned as she asked, "Will Harry have to stay in the hospital during treatment?"
Walden considered the question for a moment and then shook his head. "No. Arrangements can be made for Harry to come in every three days for treatment."
"H-How long?" Harry asked, wondering about Hogwarts.
"Based on your blood tests," Walden replied. "—we'll start with one full round of chemo treatments which will consist of three cycles." Pulling out two sheets of paper from the file, he handed one to Petunia and the other to Harry. Looking at Harry, he went on. "Each cycle will go for three weeks with a one week between cycles to let your body have a chance to recover. After the first full round, we'll rerun your blood tests and see if you'll need additional rounds of treatment."
"What about side effects?" Harry wanted to know.
Walden shrugged slightly. "Nausea and hair loss are the most common. Chemotherapy drugs basically kill off the damaged cells in your body but they also damage healthy cells as well. Some of the more serious side effects can include mouth sores and anemia." Seeing that Harry looked horrified at what might happen to him, Walden added, "However, as a wizard, you're lucky since your magic will help offset the worst of it."
Harry still felt like this was some horrible dream as Dr. Walden went over further details of the chemo treatments. After a while, though, he started thinking. Why did everything have to happen to him?
The next morning, after the central line was inserted into his upper chest, Harry was lying in bed, staring blankly up at the ceiling when Dumbledore walked into to the room with Molly Weasley in tow. "Harry," Dumbledore said in greeting.
"What?" Harry said, grumpily, not even bothering to turn and look at the headmaster although periodically, he'd reach a hand up and start fussing at the IV port.
"I've spoken to your healers and Dr. Walden," Dumbledore said, trying to sound cheerful. "You are set to leave this afternoon,"
"Fine," Harry said, flatly still staring at the ceiling. 'I'm just going to be coming back here in a day or two anyway,' he thought, miserably.
"I thought you might want to know," Dumbledore added. "—that you will not be going home with your aunt, as I have made other arrangements."
"Whatever," Harry replied, not even really listening as he lay lost in his own thoughts.
"You will be staying with Professor Snape and the Malfoys for the duration of your summer holidays," Dumbledore said, a smirk on his face and a twinkle in his eye. "And I made arrangement for you to receive private lessons from Voldemort himself on the Unforgivable Curses."
"Okay. I… What?" Harry finally sat up and turned to look at Dumbledore. What did Dumbledore just say about Voldemort, Snape and the Malfoys?
"I did hope that would capture your attention," Dumbledore said, smiling. "Don't worry, Harry. I will not be sending you to Snape. Rather, you will be going to a secret location in London accompanied by Molly."
Harry gave Mrs. Weasley a small, half-hearted smile and Molly had the sense that it was probably Harry's first smile all summer. "We'll be traveling by Apparation, Harry," Molly explained. "Dumbledore has already collected your things and sent them along."
Harry tried not to think of Dumbledore's impression of his messy room back at #4 Privet Drive but as he felt the IV port itching a bit, he frowned as he asked, "Does everyone know about… you know… that I lost my leg? Or about… about my being sick?"
Molly hesitated for a moment before she shook her head. "I didn't know until the other day what was going on," she finally replied. "Dumbledore just told me that you were in St. Mungo's. When I asked why, he told me the details." After another pause, she added, "I thought you might want to tell the others yourself."
"Molly will be making sure you come to St. Mungo's for your chemotherapy treatments," Dumbledore assured Harry. "Once at Hogwarts, I will arrange a private suite for you so you need not go to the Hospital Wing for treatment."
Harry just nodded, thankful that both Dumbledore and Mrs. Weasley were trying to help him with what was going on. But at the same time, he hated that they were making such a fuss over him.