AUTHOR'S NOTES: A few weeks ago I started my own bucket list for no other reason than I was watching the movie of the same title and I got to thinking about what I would want to accomplish before I die.
What does this have to do with fan fiction you may ask? Well, on my list is "Finish every one of my fan fiction projects".
This will never happen because I'm creative, ADD, and my brain NEVER SHUTS UP! I've got so many stories that aren't finished, and I'm starting another one!
And as far as my unfinished works, if anyone wants to adopt an unfinished story, just let me know. They're like cats, people. I keep taking them in and I can't stop.
Okay, okay, okay... On to this story. I'm going a different route with the take on the disabledHarry storyline I love writing so much. In this story, Harry's twin sister Morgan has the physical disability and Harry's problems are more to the psychological.
STORY SUMMARY: AU! Harry was kidnapped the night of the 4th task of the TriWizard Tournament and tortured mercilessly by the Death Eaters. At the same time, Harry's twin sister, Morgan, is diagnosed with lung cancer. While Morgan tries to deal with her illness and the devastating toll it takes on her body, she and her older sister, Breanna, try to help Harry heal from his own ordeal. But Breanna knows only too well that the deepest wounds are often the ones you never see. MuteHarry!
HARRY POTTER: Silent Screams Are the Loudest
The crowd of people watching the final task of the TriWizard Tournament cheered as Cedric Diggory suddenly appeared out of nowhere, the TriWizard Cup clutched in his hand even as he fell limply to the ground.
But as Dumbledore went down to congratulate Cedric, the headmaster looked worried when he noticed that Cedric wasn't moving. Going to the boy, he knelt down and checked that the young man was still breathing. Thankfully, he was and Dumbledore hastily wrangled two of Cedric's classmates to get him to the hospital wing of Hogwarts.
"Where's Harry?" Someone shouted, sparking several follow-up questions. "Didn't he come back yet?"
Dumbledore quickly got to his feet and raised his wand, before sending a silvery phoenix into the maze to search for the young Gryffindor student. He had a bad feeling that something had happened in the maze but until Cedric regained consciousness, there was no way of knowing for certain what had transpired.
The headmaster looked up as he saw the rest of the Potter Family heading in his direction and he wished he knew what to tell them.
It had been the surprise of a lifetime when James and Lily had survived the attack by Voldemort. And it had been even more surprising that the three Potter children—Breanna, Harry, and Morgan—had survived unscathed as well.
Well, mostly, Dumbledore realized as he looked at Harry's older sister, Breanna.
Breanna had been 3 years old when Voldemort had attacked and ever since that night, she hadn't said a word. The magical healers and muggle doctors had never been able to find anything causing the loss of Breanna's voice, and eventually, James and Lily had been forced to accept that their oldest child might possibly never speak again.
When Breanna (who preferred to be called 'Bree') had turned 5, her muggle schoolteachers had sat down with James and Lily and the group had discussed how to go about Bree's education. At first, the parents had been confused by the subject, but Bree's art teacher had simply explained that since Breanna still remained mute, that she would need to learn other methods of communication.
By the time Breanna was ready to go to Hogwarts, she was exceptionally proficient in sign language and was even starting to get the hang of nonverbal spells—something she'd been trained in very early on. James had hoped that that studying the nonverbal magic would help coax his daughter into finally speaking, but that hadn't been the case.
"Professor, where's Harry?" Lily asked again, pulling Dumbledore from his thoughts.
But Dumbledore didn't reply as his Patronus had returned from searching the maze and the grounds. When the silvery phoenix let out a few sad notes, Dumbledore's heart sank. "Harry is gone from the grounds," he reported to the Potters. "I don't know where he is."
"What does he mean 'I don't know'?" Bree signed to her father, looking alarmed. "Where could Harry have gone?"
Lily turned to her eldest child and said, "Harry's got to be somewhere. We'll find him."
Next to James, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin also looked alarmed and worried that Harry was missing and at first, no one spoke as the idea of Harry being missing started really sinking in.
Harry didn't know where he was.
One moment he'd been dueling Voldemort in that graveyard—and somehow destroying him—and the next he'd found himself lying on a cold cement floor in absolute darkness.
The following time—not being able to see he couldn't tell if it was days or hours—was filled with pain as Harry was tortured mercilessly by unknown assailants. They never spoke so Harry had no way of even guessing who might be behind his suffering.
After what felt like weeks, he was finally dragged outside and dumped somewhere near some bushes. But Harry didn't have very long to wonder what had happened to him because suddenly he was hit with wave upon wave of pain. It was worse than the Cruciatus Curse and while the pain was spreading throughout his whole body, it seemed to radiate from his left arm, back, and both legs.
He hoped someone would find him soon or—barring a rescue—that if he did die, that it would be quick.
The past weeks had been grueling on the Potter Family.
For the first two weeks after Harry's disappearance, every single witch and wizard was looking for Harry and even the foreign magical governments were looking for any sign of the Death Eaters who had been present in the graveyard the night Voldemort was defeated.
Once Cedric had woken up, he'd told Dumbledore and an astonished Cornelius Fudge about Voldemort's rebirth and the fight between Harry Potter and the Dark Lord himself.
After touching the TriWizard Cup—which had been turned into a Portkey—Cedric and Harry had landed in an old graveyard where they had both been promptly restrained before Peter Pettigrew—also known as 'Wormtail'—used some sort of potion to resurrect Voldemort.
When Harry and Voldemort had begun dueling, Cedric used the fact that the other Death Eaters were distracted to his advantage and started making his way towards the portkey. But just as Cedric had reached the thing and wiggled out of the ropes binding him, one of the Death Eaters had hit him with a stunning spell a split second after Cedric touched the portkey.
The last Cedric had seen of Harry, the younger student had still been dodging curses and spells from Voldemort. Cedric also stated that he'd escaped so as to get help but being unconscious, he hadn't been able to dispatch help to Harry sooner, something which caused him an endless amount of guilt.
Another few weeks dragged on and after the rumors that Voldemort was truly gone were confirmed, the search for Harry intensified. Some believed that some of the Death Eaters were hiding the boy and others assumed the worst and thought that Harry must already be dead.
However, Harry's family and friends refused to give up hope and felt certain that soon something would happen and Harry would be found.
But as May gave way to June and July grew closer, the Potters had begun to wonder if their hopes were in vain…
But Harry's disappearance was only the beginning of the troubles plaguing the Potter family as Harry's twin sister, Morgan, started feeling ill only days after her bother went missing.
It started as simply being short of breath but in a matter of weeks, Morgan's breathing became more and more labored. No matter what she tried, nothing helped. And to make matters worse, she'd started having problems swallowing.
The longer her problems went on, the more Morgan knew that something was wrong but the last thing she wanted to do was add to her parents' problems since they were already frantically worried about finding Harry.
The only good news was that one of the muggle hospitals in the United States had put out a notice that they were looking for the family of a young patient who matched Harry's description. Sirius Black and Remus Lupin were already talking to the local wizarding government to get the details and were set to leave for the States the day after tomorrow.
Morgan started to turn to look at her mother, but her vision swam and suddenly, Morgan couldn't breathe. It was worse that the other moments of respiratory distress she'd had lately. It was as if her lungs had suddenly stopped working just as her throat closed up. "Mom!" she tried to call out to her mother as she fell to the floor, but the only sound that escaped Morgan was a painful, strangled gasp.
Lily darted towards her daughter and felt panic rising in her chest when she realized that Morgan had stopped breathing.
When James came into the room a split second later, having heard the sound of someone falling to the ground, he stopped dead when he saw that it was his daughter lying on the floor. "What happened?" James exclaimed.
"I don't know!" Lily said in a rushed voice. "She's not breathing!"
"What?" James said, quickly. He bent down and picked Morgan up in his arms and quickly apparated to the nearest hospital—Fairbotham Memorial which catered to muggles as well as witches and wizards. "I need help!" James said, urgently to one of the nurses standing nearby. "My daughter's not breathing!"
Immediately, the nurses got Morgan onto a gurney and whisked her into the emergency room just as Lily arrived. "James," Lily said, going to her husband who quickly pulled her into his arms. "What happened?"
James shook his head, bewildered. "I don't know, Lil. I mean, was she sick?"
Lily shook her head that she didn't know, but as she actually took a moment to think, she realized that she'd been so wrapped up with trying to find Harry she hadn't paid any attention to her daughters. And thinking back on things, she remembered that Morgan had looked peaked the past month and a half.
The Potters went to sit down in the waiting room as they waited for news about Morgan, both parents feeling wave after wave of guilt about not noticing that something was wrong with their younger daughter.
Surprisingly, it was only about an hour before one of the doctors came out of the ER and headed towards James and Lily.
James stood quickly, Lily next to him holding his hand. "Any news?" James asked, almost dreading the response.
The doctor, Pamela Braeden, looked grave as she studied the parents. "The good news is that we managed to get your daughter breathing again. There was a blockage in her throat so we had to do what's called a tracheotomy. Basically, it means that we cut a small hole in your daughter's throat so that we could insert a tube directly into her windpipe."
Lily looked horrified at what she'd just been told and she squeezed James' hand harder. "So what's causing the blockage?" Lily asked, trying not to think of the worst case scenarios.
Dr. Braeden didn't believe in sugarcoating bad situations and after a moment of thinking how best to explain, she replied, "We took x-rays of your daughter's chest and throat which showed several solid masses. One was pressing against her throat. The other was much larger and was invading her right lung. Your daughter's on her way up to surgery right now. We're going to remove the masses and do a biopsy."
The word 'biopsy' set off alarms in James' head. He remembered the word quite well as he'd heard it right before his father had died of terminal liver cancer. "What kinds of masses?" he asked, dreading the answer.
Lily shot her husband a look of dismay and panic before turning, open-mouthed, to the doctor.
But the doctor was reluctant to say anything definitive, even though she knew the odds of good news were slim to none. "We have to wait for the biopsy results to be certain… But the masses are solid and look deeply ingrained which is usually a sign that they're malignant."
Lily's hands flew to her mouth as she gasped and she wasn't even aware of James putting an arm around her and holding her tightly to him. "What…?" She had so many questions but for the life of her, she couldn't articulate any of them. This was what caused Morgan to stop breathing? How had this happened? Was Morgan going to die? And what would happen after the doctors and healers removed the tumors from Morgan's throat and lung?
James didn't seem to be doing any better and Lily could see the same question in his eyes that were now running through her mind. "So…" James rubbed his face with one hand and took a deep breath before asking, "What's the best case and what's the worst case?"
Dr. Braeden knew that the Potters wanted as much information as possible but at the moment, nothing was definitive. "Without the biopsy results, I can't give you anything concrete," she cautioned. But when she saw that James and Lily just wanted to know something, she sighed. "The tumors are most likely cancerous. But you shouldn't feel too guilty about not noticing. 25% of lung cancer cases present without any major symptoms. Unfortunately, that's also why lung cancer has such a significant mortality rate."
"Okay," James said, quietly. His mouth had gone dry and his brain was going numb. "So after Morgan's surgery… what then?"
But that was the loaded question, Braeden thought, sadly. And there were quite a few factors involved. "It depends first of all, how ingrained the tumors are," she started, finally. "Best case, we remove them and if the biopsy confirms cancer, we start your daughter on chemotherapy and radiation therapy. But the main problem—best and worst case—is the fact that the main mass is interfering with Morgan's lung function."
"What does that mean?" Lily asked, looking even more worried. She felt weak in the knees and she was only dimly aware of sitting back down.
Braeden looked grim as she explained. "Judging from the x-rays, the tumor in your daughter's lower lung was spreading into the muscles which control breathing. Depending on the damage, the surgeons may need to remove part of that muscle."
Lily just took a few deep breaths as she tried to take in everything she'd just been told. Between Harry's kidnapping and Morgan's illness, Lily wasn't sure how much more bad news she could handle.
"But if you remove the muscle," James said, squeezing his wife's hand as she fell silent. "—what about…?"
The doctor went on. "Right now Morgan is on a ventilator." Catching James' confused look, she explained. "It's a machine that's essentially acting as her lungs." After a long pause, Braeden added, "If the tumor has infiltrated Morgan's diaphragm—that's the muscle group that controls her breathing—too much, she'll have to stay on the ventilator indefinitely."
"So…" Lily said, her voice catching in her throat. "So, the… the tracheotomy tube and ventilator would… It'd be permanent?"
Braeden nodded, ruefully. "Unfortunately, yes. But again, that's only the worst case. If the infiltration isn't too severe and the tumors can be removed without further damage to your daughter's lungs and trachea, she will eventually be able to get off the ventilator and we might even be able to remove the trach tube."
James and Lily just sat there for a moment, letting everything sink in as once again, they found their lives being ripped apart.
Pinckney General Hospital
36 Hours Later
Upon hearing about Morgan's illness, Remus Lupin insisted that Sirius Black—James' and Remus' best friend—stay behind while Remus went to the hospital in the States to check and see if the unknown patient there was indeed Harry.
At the admit desk at the hospital, Remus withdrew his identification as he said, "I called a few days ago regarding the teenage John Doe patient."
"Yes," one of the nurses replied, nodding, quickly. "Let me get Dr. Marla Corman for you."
Remus nodded and stepped back a step or two to wait for the doctor. After about 10 minutes, a tall, yet heavyset, woman came up to him, holding out a hand. "Remus Lupin? I'm Dr. Corman."
"Thanks for seeing me," Remus replied, shaking the woman's hand.
"Well, if you know who our mystery patient is," Corman replied. "—I'll be the one thanking you." She led Remus upstairs and to the Pediatric ICU. Pausing outside one of the rooms, she turned to face her companion as she said, "I have to warn you, the poor boy's in very bad shape. When he was brought in, both his legs were badly crushed. Unfortunately, his right leg was beyond repair and there were several open fractures which were severely infected. We had to amputate the entire limb."
Remus looked shocked at that news. Thinking quickly, he asked, "Did you find an—an odd scar on his forehead? Like a lightning bolt?"
Dr. Corman frowned slightly as she nodded. "Yes, we did. So, this is…?"
"His name is Harry," Remus said, nodding. "Harry Potter. He's my best friend's son."
Corman looked both relieved at finally knowing her young patient's name but also rueful about giving Remus the rest of the report. "Well, as I said, we were able to save Harry's left leg, but how much function he regains isn't clear right now."
"Is that the worst of Harry's injuries?" Remus wanted to know, although he sincerely doubted that it was.
"No… Far from," Corman went on. After a moment, she opened the door to Harry's room and led Remus inside.
Harry's left leg was in a brace and traction rig and he wore a back and neck brace as well. His right arm was in a cast up to his shoulder and suspended in a cradle system and his left arm was missing just below his shoulder. There were bandages across Harry's eyes and the left side of his face. There was also a tube down Harry's throat and he was hooked up to several IVs which were feeding him various medicines and painkillers.
Remus didn't know what to say as he studied Harry's still form.
"We've been keeping Harry sedated," Corman explained as she brushed the teenager's hair out of his face. "The more he can rest, the faster his body will heal."
Remus thought quickly about how he was going to get Harry out of here and to the nearest wizarding hospital. The healers could regrow Harry's arm and leg and repair the other injuries, but because of the fact that Harry had already been treated by the muggle doctors, the healing time could be longer than normal. For some unknown reason, that was usually the case when magic was used on an already healing injury.
After getting the full report on Harry's condition, Remus and Dr. Corman left Harry's room. "How soon will Harry's family be able to get here?" Corman asked, curiously. "I'm sure they're eager to hear about his condition."
"It may be several days," Remus replied, sadly. "Harry's twin sister, Morgan, was just diagnosed with lung cancer. The doctors just removed multiple tumors from her right lung and throat and she'll be recovering for about a week before starting the cancer treatments."
Dr. Corman couldn't help the look of extreme dismay she wore and she immediately wished she had better news for the Potter family. It was bad enough that their daughter was facing a critical—potentially fatal—illness, but their son was severely injured and would have to learn to live with several permanent disabilities. "Well, please let me know as soon as you hear from them," Corman replied. "We hope to get Harry off the sedative in the next week or so and it would be good for him to see his family when he wakes up."
Remus agreed and as he thought of the plan to get Harry back to England, a problem suddenly occurred to him. Namely, was it currently safe to transport Harry to another hospital with his injuries? Voicing the question out loud, he was surprised when the doctor thought a moment instead of saying 'no' outright.
"I wouldn't really recommend it," Corman said, cautiously. "But if that's what you want, it can be arranged."
"Please," Remus replied, nodding.
Dr. Corman didn't like the idea at all. Between Harry's broken bones, the amputated limbs, and the damage to Harry's spinal cord, she had serious misgivings about her patient going anywhere right now. But when Remus Lupin produced the papers from James and Lily Potter giving him temporary control of medical decisions regarding Harry, Corman knew she didn't have a choice. "It'll be a day or two before Harry will be ready for transport," she cautioned.
Remus had expected that and promised to be in touch later that evening about where Harry would need to be transported to. As he headed back to the hotel he was staying at in the local wizarding community, Remus thought about how he was going to tell James and Lily about Harry.