Title: Fate (And Other Uncontrollable Things)
Summary: For some reason, Remus, the talented, eccentric, heart-transplant patient, thinks he can save them. Lily. James. Peter. Sirius. Everyone. But fate's not finished with him yet, and your usual romance just won't cut it. / Muggle AU.
Thanks: Thank you so much to my part-time beta, Paula. She picks up on all the horrid typos that make me squint and shiver in horror. Thank you!
Notes: Honestly, I was bullied into posting this by a few Wolfstar-fanatics of mine - it'll span about 10 chapters, and I promise, a plot line will become evident, soon, and questions will be answered. Eventually. Feedback is much appreciated, and I hope you enjoy!
Chapter 1 - Sweet Serendipity
This was not what Sirius Orion Black had intended when he woke up at five o'clock two weeks ago, his neck aching from the awkward angle and his right foot slowly falling back to sleep. In fact, it wasn't what Sirius had intended at all; ever.
Nevertheless, here he was, at half past nine at night, the last hour of what had been the most hectic week of his life, leaning over a bed with his hands shaking.
"We need a crash cart over here!" He shouted out to no one, and nurses filtered into the small area of the public hospital, placing orange pads on the patient's chest.
"Charge to 200!" he shouted at a nearby nurse, pushing the pads down on the chest of the patient in the bed. He felt like a bad actor in some bad hospital drama, or a little kid playing doctors and nurses in the playground. "Fuck!" He swore, when the person still didn't respond. "Charge again!"
"Dr Black," Nurse Meadowes, or Dorcas as she was more commonly known, said soothingly from the sidelines, resting her hand on his shoulder, "there's nothing left. He's gone."
"No! One last try. Charge again!"
This was his last hope, his last shot to be a family, to have a future. This had to work.
"Sirius! For God's sake, stop! You can't do anything else! This isn't helping! Let him go!" Dorcas snapped, pulling him back.
"One last chance," Sirius whispered, nodding at the nurse, and waiting for the shock to run through the crash machine, and into the heart of his patient. "Charge!"
"Good morning! You're listening to Bethany and Matt on BBC Radio 1. It's five o'clock, and here is Lee DeWyze with the song, 'Sweet Serendipity'. Tune in in half an hour to discover-"
Sirius groaned dramatically, and hit the radio with a flailing arm. He blinked wearily and glared at the curtains, where he expected the non-existent sunlight to be. Then he realised it was, in fact, five AM, and there wasn't even a slim chance that the sun would be up.
Great. He was up before a gigantic ball of gas. Just perfect.
"An hour," Sirius groaned to himself, hopping round his room as he tugged on a stray sock that probably didn't match his other one. "One fucking hour til my shift. I'm such an idiot!"
Seeing as the room was empty, there was no one there to heartily agree with him.
Rushing round his small, apartment flat - the only thing he could afford with his F2's wages and F2's hours - Sirius brushed his teeth frantically as he searched for the keys that never, ever seemed to be where he left them.
"Sixteen hour shift," he grumbled, slipping one arm awkwardly into his leather jacket that was, as he was constantly reminded, inappropriate for work. "Stupid, ingrained politeness."
He was half way out the door before he realised he was still wearing slippers over his mismatched socks.
"I'm so going to be late. Minnie's gonna kill me."
The head consultant on A&E, Minerva McGonagall, was a prim, stern-faced woman who took delight in belittling Sirius and making up feel like he was a little boy straight back in boarding school rather than a trained medical professional at St. Mungo's hospital, Oxford Street, London.
Of course, when she had had a glass of wine, Minerva was the life and soul of the ward parties.
Sirius tumbled out of his flat, momentarily forgetting to lock the door, and had to jog back up the stairs, two steps at a time. He swore under his breath, and revved his motorbike, praying that there wouldn't be any major disasters.
By now, you would've thought he would've learnt not to jinx things so early in the morning.
Streaming through the traffic, checking his watch at every red light, Sirius almost didn't notice when his phone sounded and vibrated against his jean pocket.
"Christ," he said, pulling over to the side of the road, letting a few horns beep at him as they pulled away, and granting them his middle finger in the process. He held the iPhone to his ear (a gift from the overbearing leeches he reluctantly called a family) and hastily pressed the green button.
"-goddammit, Black, answer the goddamn phone! Ah - finally! I've been trying for hours, Black-"
"Minnie, darling," Sirius drawled into the receiver, "I picked up on the second ring."
"The second ring isn't the first ring, now is it, Black? Look, where are you?"
"I'm just heading up Charing Cross," he replied, looking up at the sign above him. "Should be at Tottenham Court Road in a few minutes."
"A few minutes," Minerva repeated in a monotone, sounding as though this was the worst answer he could possible give. "A few minutes isn't good enough, Dr Black. We've got an emergency here - big car pileup on the M6, complete carnage, happened a few hours ago. We're scraping up as many staff as possible; we've already had to move five patients to Durmstrang's, and you know how I hate Durmstrang's."
"How many so far?"
"At least twenty. Two deaths. We've got a pregnant victim being treated in here because there's no room in maternity, we've got a man who's this far away from being paralysed, a heart transplant patient with blood clots from here to New Jersey and one who's hyperventilating and attacking the staff. We need you here ASAP, Black!"
Sirius unzipped his leather jacket.
"I'm on my way, Minerva." Because if he loved nothing else, he loved his job, and he had a duty to those people. He just wished that his duty could start at a normal time of day.
"Alright, alright, let me through!" Sirius yelled, but the room bustled around him, completely ignoring the little stethoscope around his neck - one that his friend got him as a joke for his twelfth birthday and that he had never gone a shift without. "OI!"
The room, more or less, fell silent.
"I am a doctor here, and unless you want an invite to at least five funerals in the next fortnight, courtesy of moi, then I'd advise MOVING!" He pushed through them all, and somehow managed to power through A&E and into the elevator.
Dear God, Minerva was going to skin him.
"You're incorrigible, Black. Why do we put up with you again?"
Talk of the devil.
Sirius turned around in the elevator and found Minerva McGonagall staring up at him from the corner. He gulped, and thanked any random deity that their ward was only on the first floor.
"Minnie, dearest! Oh, that hairpin looks fabulous on you! Are those shoes teal? I do love a bit of teal. Is it blue? Is it green? Such excitement! Now, hope you don't mind, I may have left Bessie round the back, you know, where ambulances park, but I'm pretty sure it's not against regulations. Maybe."
"Dear God, Black, if you weren't such a competent doctor I would..."
Minerva straightened her suit jacket, primed her slicked-back bun and brushed an imaginary fleck of dust from her shoulder.
"You've got four priority patients Black - don't argue with me - all from the crash. You're the main doctor for your area, because basically every resident and consultant is in surgery. All other minor operations have been moved back, with consent, and basically everything down on A&E has been put on hold.
"We have at least fifteen crying children with various broken appendages, one girl with a melting M&M up her nose, and seventeen uncritical injuries that are taking up ward space. But they are not your priority. Do you understand?"
"Just a normal day then, Minnie. You do realise it's only six AM, right?"
"Six oh three, actually, which means you're late. But we'll take double that off your break time - do not argue. It's a bloody zoo around here, Sirius, and I need you on the ball," she growled, and she stepping out of the elevator, motioning to the cluttered, and now noisy, room.
The air hummed with the kind of frantic, chaotic magic that Sirius revelled in. It was thick with panic and worry and hopefulness, and reminded him of vinegar.
"Lead the way, then." He motioned to the first bed, where a pregnant, red-headed twenty-something year old woman sat with her arms crossed, one of them wrapped up in a sling. Minerva gave him a harsh glare, then retreated back a few steps to watch him.
"Oh. Goody. A doctor. I had the impression that those were rare in places like, say, hospitals," she growled. She was still in a cream-coloured dress rather than a hospital gown, and a trail of dried blood ran down the side of her face.
Sirius picked up her notes with a shiver.
Lily K. Evans. Twenty-three. Pregnant. Lives with her next of kin, Mary McDonald, listed as friend but most likely semi-guardian, by the age difference... All other family deceased or unknown, blood type A Negative, etcetera...
"I'm Dr Black, and, with your consent, I'll be the resident treating you today. Now, Ms... Evans. You're four months pregnant, with a head injury, a broken arm, and possible damage to the ligaments in your right leg."
The woman raised an eyebrow.
"Actually, I didn't know any of that information, thank you very much. Pregnant, you say? Please, tell me more." She stared at Sirius steadily, her arms still crossed. "And for god's sake, call me Lily. Ms Evans makes me sound like a middle aged woman with Thursday afternoon book clubs, bridge games and a crush on the pool boy."
"Well then, Lily, I insist you call me Sirius. And I can assure you that you definitely aren't middle aged, though you are pregnant," Sirius joked with a smile. Lily gave a reluctant one back, and fluffed up her pillows. "I want to take you for a few tests, mainly for your head and the baby."
"Of course," she said shortly. She ran a hand over her stomach lightly, her eyebrows slowly knitting together. "Will... will we be okay?"
"Of that I have no doubt," he replied charmingly. His smile fell. "Do you have any family that I can contact? Just to make sure that you're not here alone..."
"No. No family. Knocked up twenty-something, remember?" Lily scowled at him and sank lower on the bed, her boots clunking against the metal frame. She made quite a sight.
"Not the... father?" Sirius was always careful in asking this question. Women seemed to get overly protective of their maternal skills when mentioning a father, proclaiming that they didn't need men to rule their lives. Of course, Sirius was just thinking that men were needed in a biological point of view, but they always took it the wrong way.
"Not present and certainly not accounted for. Bloody egotistical bastard." He stared at her. "Well, the baby can't hear me, can she?"
"She?" Sirius repeated, looking down at his notes. The baby was definitely male.
"Well, I can't know for sure. But I'm quite certain. Or hopeful. Doesn't matter much to me either way, whether it's a boy or a girl; just a simple pronoun 'til they come out with a pink or blue blanket, right?"
"Right." He laughed inside his head. That baby - he - was definitely going to be a chip off the ol' block. And Sirius definitely didn't want to be there for the labour.
He turned to one of the nurses measuring out a container of - well, Sirius didn't want to ask what. "Nurse Meadowes, can I get the regulars, plus an MRI, just to be on the safe side. We need a baby scan, too, and don't forget regular checkups. Thank you so much."
The nurse, only about thirty-five and complete with a beaming smile, nodded and trotted away, waving to an elderly gentlemen wearing a green bowler hat and not much else.
"Move that arm or leg, Lily, and I'm making sure that your hospital gown will magically shrink in the wash and all others will surprisingly vanish," Sirius told her mock-sternly, and Lily nodded, smiling. "Right we are. Onwards, my dear Minnie!"
"That's Dr McGonagall to you, Black. And I'd prefer it if you were a bit more professional with your patients. Now, we've got beds nine, eleven and thirteen left. Think you can count up to that high a number by yourself?"
"I got through med school, didn't I?" Sirius grumbled, half to himself as Minerva trotted away to skin another poor F1 who had just knocked over an IV drip.
"Ah, and you must be Mr Pettigrew!" He smiled to the man physically chained to the bed, picking up his chart with an interested look. "Sir, if you calm down, we can get security to undo the ties around your wrists and ankles."
"I don't understand what's happening!" The man squeaked. He actually looked younger up close - at a distance, Sirius would've guessed he was early to mid thirties, but he was probably about the same age as Sirius.
He checked the notes and nodded - Peter A. Pettigrew. Twenty-two. Post traumatic stress disorder. History of mental illness. Possible head injury, cracked ribs, kidney damage... Lives alone, next of kin is mother, blood type O Positive, blah, blah, blah...
"Now, Mr Pettigrew. What do you do?"
"Excuse me?" The man asked, stopping his struggling.
"What do you do, as a job? I'm sure it's quite exciting."
"I - well - I work in photography, actually. I was driving my new camera to Yorkshire when - bam! This happened. Probably smashed to pieces right now, but the paramedics wouldn't let me check the wreckage for it at all. Cost a bloody fortune, and you honestly don't know how many wedding pictures I took to save up for it, too!"
"Well, Peter - do you mind if I call you Peter? - I'm sure I can get the police to look for it for you. If not, I'm sure you can claim on your insurance. The accident wasn't your fault, after all."
Sirius placed the clipboard back on its holder and walked up to the side of the bed.
"I'd prefer Pete," the small man said timidly, relaxing against the constraints.
"We're going to take good care of you, Pete. Your injuries are minor, compared to some, and the surgery you'll need is routine. We have some of the best doctors in the country on site, I can assure you, and that's me being modest," Sirius reassured him, patting his arm gently, and gaining confidence when the man didn't flinch. "Now, can you not bite our nursing staff? Then we can get to work and get you back in top form again."
Peter nodded sullenly, and slowly turned an unflattering maroon colour. "I am sorry, Doctor. I'll behave better, I promise."
"Please. Call me Sirius. Now, let's see if we can't get rid of these straps and take some tests, yes?" He nodded at the security guards who hovered nearby, then turned to Nurse Meadowes, who had miraculously arrived on the scene again.
"Let me guess... Regulars, X-ray, cat scan..."
"Wonderful as ever, Nurse Meadowes," Sirius told her with a smile. She scuttled away with a nervous smile. "Now, Pete, I want you to press the button if you feel any discomfort, okay? I'll make sure our nurses are here straight away, and let's see if we can't fix those ribs."
Right. Now - bed eleven. Oh, how he hated bed eleven. It was tragically known for being the bed that no one healed in. Bed thirteen was for the ones with not much left in them; usually elderly, usually only at the hospital for the food and the company rather than to be cured. Bed nine was for the slightly harder, but treatable, ones.
But bed eleven was a bed no one liked to visit.
"Ah. Mr Potter. We meet again."
James Potter had unruly, black hair, wire framed glasses and a constant grin. He, like Ms Lily Evans, had so far refused to change into the classic hospital gown.
"Well, no, but it sounds more dramatic that way!" Sirius laughed as he looked down at his notes. His smile faltered.
James H. Potter. Twenty-one. Diagnosed ADHD. Severe damage to base of spinal cord. Most likely confined to a wheelchair, possible movement achieved with intense physical therapy. Next of kin: unlisted. Blood type: B Negative. Dr Black's diagnosis: goner.
"What's your name, then? Bet it's something posh. Like Reginald. Please tell me it's Reginald," Mr Potter pleaded, pressing his hands together and pointing them to the sky in a mock prayer.
"Sirius, actually. Sirius Black."
"The name's Potter. James Potter," Mr Potter said with a smile. "And call me James, not Mr Potter; it reminds me of my dad. God knows, I loved him, but come on; my hair isn't receding yet." He pulled on the mess of curls - definitely not receding.
"Alright, James. Not Jamie?"
"Jamie. Too pedestrian. Boring. I have an S in my name and I intend to use it." James winked and leant back against his pillows.
"I'm guessing you want the truth," Sirius said bluntly.
James's smile didn't slip.
"Just tell it to me straight, Doc. I've got it coming, haven't I? Now that you mention it, I thought my night light was looking a little bright. And coming nearer. And that is a white lab coat, am I right? Do you have wings?"
"James," Sirius warned him slowly. "There's been severe damage to the base of your spine. It's... irreparable. We can try our best, try and realign it, but it'll be tricky. A lot of risky surgery. And there's no guarantee that it'll work, or that you'll be alive to see it if it does."
He glanced down at the wheelchair next to his bed.
"There's wheelchair basketball, right?" He didn't look up at Sirius.
"I'm sorry?" Sirius asked, taking a step forward. James fiddled slightly with the hospital-white blankets and breathed in deeply. Sirius knew that smell off by heart - antiseptics and antibiotics and sterilizer mixed with blood, sweat, tears and vinegar.
"I'm a football player - chances of getting into the professional league, you know. I was in the under-16 team for Arsenal, back in the day, and they've signed me up for the reserve team.
"It was always a dream of my Dad's more than mine; hated it as a kid, in fact. But I really got into it in secondary school, and when I was accepted with a chance to do my degree too... I couldn't resist. Don't suppose my dad can complain now, though. He's always pushed me, but I don't even know if I can get a wheelchair onto the football pitch."
"I'm so sorry, James," Sirius told him and James tapped a rhythm on the arm of his new, hospital-issued wheelchair. Finally, he glanced up, and smiled.
"Not your fault, mate. And as I said, there's always wheelchair basketball."
"There's still a chance..." Sirius looked down at the ground, and he patted James on the shoulder. "Well, you know the drill. You'll be able to use the wheelchair soon, but we'll wait for everything to settle before we try it. I'll check up on you later, okay? Your vitals are good, but we'll run a few X-rays..." He sighed. "There's always a chance, alright? I'm a doctor and I've seen miracles."
"I'm a footballer and I've seen West Ham crawl back into the premier league," James joked, but his smile was softer, and his hands were shaking. "Cheers, Sirius."
"We'll get there."
Sirius smiled, and moved over to the next bed. He took a deep breath, and pulled back the curtain.
His smile fell.
"Mr..." He looked down at his notes, swallowing loudly and flicking the papers with shaking fingers. The man in the bed looked like a ghost. His skin was pale, there were dark shadows under his eyes, and his fingers shook where they clutched at his hospital gown. "Mr Lupin."
"Hello," Mr Lupin greeted him mildly, sitting up straighter. "I'm guessing my hair colour isn't as grey as you'd imagine?"
"I'm sorry?" Sirius said again, and inwardly, he cursed himself. He had to start listening to people - or borrow someone's common sense.
"Rumour has it that this bed is usually for the - erm - older patients. Or just patients with a death wish." He looked down at his body. "Well, I don't ride motorcycles through rings of fire, or anything like that. Though my heart seems to think I do."
Remus J. Lupin. Twenty-two. Heart transplant patient. Minor injuries from car crash, most likely on the way to St. Mungo's anyway. Lives alone, brother listed as next of kin. Blood type: A positive. First on heart-transplant list, been waiting since the age of seventeen.
...Shit, Sirius thought.
"Well, the good news is that you're the top of our list, Mr Lupin - Remus. We should be able to operate by tomorrow, at the latest. You're very lucky."
"I've waited a long time for this, Doctor-" He leant forward, peering at Sirius' identification badge. "-Black. Sirius." Remus stressed the name with a smile.
"You have indeed," Sirius said faintly.
"Will you be doing the operation?" Remus asked, drumming a catchy beat on his bed. He looked healthy for the conversation; his smile was lighter, his eyes brighter. He'd come to life right in front of Sirius, all for a few words and dry jokes.
"No, unfortunately I won't be," he reassured him, pointing again to his badge, "I'm only an F2. No heart transplants for me yet, though I might see if I can scrub in."
"I don't understand how you can be a doctor. Meeting people, treating people; saving them and watching them die. It's all rather... maudlin," Remus told him thoughtfully.
"Maudlin's the word," Sirius said with an uneasy smile. "Are you sure you understand all about the procedure...? The risks, the-"
"I've been waiting for this for five years, Doctor Black. I've done my research."
"I'm sure you have. Just have to please admin." Sirius shuffled his notes noisily, trying not to let the patient see how much he affected him. In less than twenty-four hours, he'd be going in for risky, potentially-life saving heart surgery, and he was making jokes on his deathbed.
"Ah, Mr Lupin!" A voice trilled from behind him. Sirius whipped around to see Minerva, teal shoes and all, grinning like a tiger behind him.
"And how'd our favourite transplant doing?" Minerva asked Remus, who gave a brief smile in return. "Mr Lupin is a frequent visitor, though usually to the Gryffindor ward - definitely not us and definitely not A&E," she added to Sirius.
"That's right, Dr McGonagall. I can't get enough of the place. Must be the Jell-O," Remus said drily with a charming, fake grin that stretched across his face.
"Isn't it time for your break, Dr Black? If you've done your rounds, that is." Minerva cast a sideways look at James, who was shamelessly attempting to chat up Lily two beds down.
"Right." Sirius glanced at Remus. "If there's anything you need..." Remus gave him a wry grin, and waved his now-shaking hand. "Well. Good day, Minnie!"
He ran before she could insult him further.