The Way to Go
Beta tested by Doriana
He hadn't expected to live such a long life. Frankly, he hadn't expected to outlive Voldemort, but he had. He had married Ginny Weasley and he had produced three wonderful children: James Sirius, Albus Severus and Lily Luna. And now, they were all grown up and had children of their own…
Harry Potter, aged 90, sat in a private ward at St Mungo's neurological wards, an absent, sort of dreamy look on his face, while Ginevra Weasley, aged 89 sat on his right side, holding his hand, and Lily gave him water from a bottle. Harry would swallow slowly, while Lily gently asked him if he wanted more, and Harry would sometimes look at her and answer.
Earlier, when they came, they had asked the nurse if he had eaten (he hadn't eaten at home), but it seems he had, at the hospital.
Life wasn't fair, Albus Severus mused from the chair next to his mother. His brave, noble father had faced Voldemort all the time during his Hogwarts years, gone through a war, scarred himself beyond what anyone's eyes could see. He deserved a peaceful death, someday when he's very old and surrounded by great-great-great-grand-grandchildren who would want to hear, once more, the story of the the Dark Lord and the Boy-Who-Lived. He would pass away in his sleep, with mother by his side. Not this.
Harry had been diagnosed with prostate cancer by chance, in the Muggle world, during a routine check-up that he needed while working on a case, as an Auror. He was supposed to go undercover as a salesman and the check-up had been required, so he complied. He also had hypertension, but that wouldn't have been very inconvenient.
Cancer was something that wizards didn't know so much about, being a non-magical illness, so Harry placed his trust in Muggle doctors. Luckily, it was a mild case, and provided with the right treatment, he would still live a long time. Or so he thought.
After ten years, Harry already had metastases in his liver, colon, and the spine pains had started, so the doctors suspected they had gotten there as well. His fate was sealed. And yet…it seemed that his notorious luck had gotten on his side again, because Harry's pain medicine had worked miracles, and he didn't need to go on morphine.
He wasn't in any pain, but he had no energy, and he was anemic, and his kidneys would block if he didn't drink enough liquids. In fact, this is what had brought him to the hospital – a Muggle hospital, at first – renal blockage due to low liquid ingestion.
He had been released three days after, because it was Christmas. He had stayed at home another three days, during which Ginny and occasionally Albus and Lily stayed with him and catered to his every whim, and so many whims he had had, that neither had gotten any sleep.
And now, he was in St Mungo's neurology ward, admitted by the famous Healer Rose Weasley, who had come to help immediately after hearing about the Potters' predicament.
Rose Weasley wasn't just any Healer. Having inherited her mother's brains and thirst for knowledge, she decided that just the Healer course wasn't enough for her. So, she also attended a Muggle Medicine School, after her father pulled a few strings. Because, really, who would refuse a small request from war hero and world-renewed Auror Ronald Weasley?
So Rose, being thorough, checked the prescription Harry had religiously followed the past years and paled.
"Vitamin B12…? Folic acid…? Who…prescribed this?" she yelled, trembling.
Ginny looked up fearfully.
"Why, what is wrong with it?"
"These two supplements, which usually correct anemia, are not to be administered to cancer patients. They increase the speed of the neoplastic process by quite a few times…she might as well kill him with her own hands…"
Ginny started crying, while Ron, James and Albus clenched their fists. Between the Weasleys and the Potters, that woman was sure to die a painful death.
Now, Harry just sat there, not doing anything on his own, not talking unless he was spoken to. He couldn't even move in his bed, always needing someone to lift him in order to eat.
Ginny wiped his chin with a tissue after dinner, and she kindly asked him.
"Are you okay now, Honey?"
A fleeting thought passed her.
"Do you…" her voice, breaking "do you know who I am"?
"….Ginny" he whispered. "Ginny, Ginny"
"How about her?" she asked, pointing at Lily. "Do you know who she is?"
"What's her name, Honey?"
Harry looked thoughtful for a moment, then closed his eyes.
"I don't know"
It was like the floor had disappeared from under her feet.
It took all of Lily's strength not to burst into tears on the spot. Instead, she walked slowly outside and then she collapsed into her older brother's arms.
Ginny was preparing to leave, with Albus supporting her, when Harry started mumbling something.
They both approached him, but only Albus understood.
"Dad is asking about the little girl that came in with us. He's asking where she is"
"What little girl?" Ginny asked Harry, worried. Albus approached his mumbling father again.
"A two or three-year-old, blonde"
"There was no two-year-old, Honey", Ginny said. "Was she beautiful?"
"Yes", Harry answered.
"Don't tell Lily about this", Ginny said to Albus, as they left. Albus wanted to question his mother further, but a pointed look he knew too well left him silent.
Lily Potter had lost a child, a girl, a thing that only Lily's family and Ginny knew. She was born dead, for reasons unknown. She was blonde and pretty, and if she had lived, she would have been three.
"So she's coming to guide him…" Ginny whispered.
The next few days, there were no changes in Harry's biological status, but he grew more distant ("as if his soul is already travelling"), and his family's despair grew ("don't cry in front of him, Lily, you're holding him back and he needs to go"), and so they began to make arrangements for the funeral, because his death was inevitable, it really was going to happen, any day now…
I'm signing this up to VivusEtIterum's oneshot competition.
I know it's not even written well, and there are many entries, good entries, but I am signing it nevertheless, because I know it will be read by at least one other person: VivusEtIterum, the challenge setter.
I wrote it to cope with what my grandfather is going through right now. He is dying as I write. He is believed to live for another week or so.
I can safely claim I didn't need much imagination to write this.
I can't understand what he's going through right now, so I couldn't write this from Harry's perspective. You will also have to excuse my being rushed, it's not one of my best works, I am aware of that. I also regret not being able to express my experience and the pain better, as my vocabulary is unfortunately limited, and I stopped studying English some 3 years ago.
My dear grandfather, this is dedicated to you. Thank you for raising me into the fine (I hope) med student that I am today, even though you no longer recognize me. You taught me the value of knowledge and studying, and you always helped me find my way when I got lost (both literally and metaphorically). I know that you are going to a better place, and I really, really hope that one day, I can face with my head held high, saying that I lived my life the way I wanted to live it, and that I left no regrets behind. Right now, though, I must bow my head in shame, because I have been selfish, and I had very little patience, and I didn't visit you as often as I should have.
I love you.