No Obvious Truths
OKAY before you get the pitchforks, guns and torches ready to kill me - I have Dani's permission to continue her story. For those unfamiliar to the story, this has been adopted and it doesn't originally belong to me, 24 chapters in total belong to Dani. She has kindly let me continue her fantastic story and i only hope I do not let her or any of her readers down.
Desperation Calls For Drastic Measures
Sitting at the bedside of the 10 year old Harry Potter, Arabella Figg was quietly reading The Hobbit to the small child. Glancing at him, she was worried. The poor child had been battling pancreatic cancer since he was eight and the new chemo they had just started him on was making him sick as a dog. Sighing, she shut the book, making sure to mark the page, then leaned over and brushed a sweaty lock of his spiky black hair off his forehead. Seeing him shiver, she asked, tone soft and soothing, "Do you want a blanket, Harry?"
Looking at the older woman, usually bright green eyes dull from pain and how sick he was, the boy nodded to her. "Please," he said softly. Swallowing, feeling his stomach roil again, he grimaced then said, "Can I get some more 7-Up too, please? I'm thirsty and it helps my stomach."
Giving him a small smile, she nodded, "Of course, Harry. Let me get you covered up first then I'll go get you something to drink." After pulling up the blanket and tucking it around him, she ran her hand through his hair and tried not to let it show when a small clump of it came out. As had happened with all the chemo treatments before, he was starting to lose it again. More than anything else, she knew this upset him the most so she said nothing, dropping it in the trash can beside the bed, hoping he didn't see it. "Let me go see about getting you that drink, alright?" When she saw him nod, she hurried out to the nurses station. Seeing the RN that was taking care of him, she said, softly, "He's getting sick again. Can I get some 7-Up for him?"
Smiling at the older woman that she knew was the neighbor of the small child, she told her, "Sure. Give me a minute."
Nodding, Arabella waited for her to return with the drink for the child. When she was handed the glass, she asked, quietly, "I know you're not supposed to tell me because I'm not family but... will this cure him or..." trailing off, she looked at the woman, hopeful.
With a heavy sigh, the nurse looked around to see who was about then motioned the older woman to follow her. Leading her into the small lounge for relatives who were visiting, she shut the door then said, "I'm not supposed to tell you anything, you know that. Only family is privy to such medical prognosis'. However, since Harry's only family can't be bothered to show up unless there are papers that they need to sign..." trailing off, she grimaced at the thought of the Dursley's. None of the staff liked them, or the way they treated the sick young man, but were powerless to do anything about it as there were no overt signs of abuse, just hints at it and what showed on some tests.
Sighing, she shook her head then said, softly, "This is an experimental treatment. It's all they have left. The doctors aren't hopeful it'll work, but it will buy him some more time. That's about the best they can do right now. I'm sorry, Mrs. Figg. I wish I could give you some better news. Harry's suffered enough in his young life, though. Perhaps it's best to let him go. At least his pain will be over then." Putting her hand on the older woman's she gave it a squeeze then smiled before saying, "At least he knows you care for him and are here as much as you can be. That makes all the difference in the world for him." Softening her voice, she said, "Go give him the 7-Up. Visiting hours are almost over and it's almost time for more pain killers for him. Those will make him sleep for most of the night anyway. You need rest yourself. After all, you don't want him feeling guilty about how tired you look."
Clutching onto the plastic cup of 7-Up she was holding, Mrs. Figg could feel the tears prickle her eyes. Deep down, she had known what the answer was and that there was very little hope but to be confronted with it made it all the worse. Nodding her head, she bit her lip and forced the tears back. Swallowing several times, she said, trying to make sure her voice didn't sound too watery, "I will. I'll also make sure I'm here more often now."
Smiling sadly at the older woman, the nurse nodded then said, "He'll like that. I wish there was something more we could do for him but they've tried everything. All we can do is hope and pray, if you believe."
Blinking rapidly against the tears forming, Mrs. Figg nodded then walked to Harry's door, mind whirling. Stopping, she made sure she had herself under control then put a smile on her face before stepping in. "Here, Harry, I got you some 7-Up." Walking over, she sat back down by the bed and helped him to sit up enough that he could take a good drink. Noticing the glazed look in his eyes, she asked, quietly, "Did they give you some more pain killers?"
After taking a long drink, Harry lay back down with a contented sigh then nodded. Rubbing a hand over his face, he said, voice slightly slurred, "Yeah, they came in while you were gone. I'm sorry, but I'm falling asleep. Can we wait until you come back again to read some more?"
"Harry, that's fine," she told him with somewhat of a sad smile on her face. Reaching out, she stroked his hair again then said, "You rest. You're sick. I'll make sure to come back tomorrow and we can read some more, alright?"
Looking over at the lady that had babysat him for so long, Harry smiled the best he could and nodded, snuggling deeper into the blankets to stay warm. For the longest time, he hadn't really liked her. She was strange, gruff and cold to him but, since he had gotten sick, she was always here for him. Even when he was home at the Dursley's, she made sure she was taking care of him in some way. The only thing she told him was not to tell them. If they knew she treated him well, they probably wouldn't allow her around him. Having her here now, though, made up for all of it. Though she wasn't family, she was close enough for him, treating him better than the Dursley's ever did. That was enough for him. Giving her the best smile he could muster, he said a soft 'thanks' before he drifted to sleep on a haze of pain killers.
After sitting the drink down, Arabella made sure to tuck the blanket firmly around the little boy to keep him warm until he started to overheat once more. Kissing her hand, she then put that on his forehead, right on the scar that had been left the night his parents died before saying, voice a whisper, "Don't you worry, Harry. I'm going to figure out something. I'll get someone to help you. Just hold on until I do." With a heavy sigh, she slid the book in the drawer by the bedside then grabbed her purse and left for the night. When she got home, she had some heavy thinking to do.
Moving about the kitchen the following morning, feeding her cats, Arabella was exhausted. She hadn't slept well, as anyone could imagine, after hearing what she had. Though saddened, she was also determined to find a way to save the child. She knew that healers in the Wizarding World could do something for him but there was the question of how to go about it that remained. All along, when it came to anything to do with Harry, she had contacted Dumbledore.
When he had first gotten sick, then went through the chemo treatments, she had told him how bad it was. Because the old man felt it was better for Harry to be kept out of the Wizarding World until it was time for him to attend Hogwarts, he had told her to let the Muggle doctors handle it. Though she was no doctor, she knew when the cancer returned again this time it wasn't a good thing. When she found out they were going to start this new round of chemo, she frantically owled the headmaster and all but begged him to do something. It wasn't good and she knew it. Though she hadn't heard the prognosis by that point, she knew that this was probably about all they could do for him. No, she didn't think Dumbledore wanted him to die or anything, she just didn't think that he knew enough about Muggle medicine to understand just how bad this was or how grim Harry's prospects were, thinking Muggles were good enough to save him. Now, though, she knew she had to do something. The old man had yet to owl her back with anything and Harry was getting worse all the time. That meant that she had to do something to sidestep Dumbledore and get Harry the help he needed without interference. The question with that, though, was how to do it.
Sitting down with a cup of strong, sugary tea, she tried to come up with something she could do. As a squib, her interaction with those that could help her was severely limited. The contacts she does have were pretty much useless for something of this magnitude. Sighing, she shook her head and just pretty much pushed things around on her plate rather than eating. Honestly, she had no real appetite right now, just wanted to come up with the most basic of plans to do something rather than watching poor Harry die.
Once her breakfast grew cold and she hadn't eaten more than a few bites, she gave that over as a bad job then, with a sigh, dumped it. Pouring herself another cup of tea, she sat down and tried to think. Nothing came to mind though. Rubbing her eyes, she thought of Lily and gave a mental promise to the beautiful woman that she would find a way to save her son. Almost on the heels of that came to mind a picture of Severus when he was younger. Though she hadn't known him well, she knew enough that he would have done anything for Lily.
Fingers drumming on the table, she thought that over and a plan began to form. Knowing she didn't have the luxury of a lot of time with this, she decided that it was now or never. She would just have to make it work was all then rely on what she knew and the proof she had to back it up.
Scrambling around, she gathered everything she would need, including the most recent copies of Harry's medical records she had managed to get from one of the aides at the hospital in hopes that she could do something about the Dursley's. That would give the real proof she needed to Severus. After a quick call to the hospital to check on Harry, learning he was mostly out of it and sick as all get out, she felt that made her idea something all the more pressing. With a sigh, she told them she had someone to see then would be in to sit with hanging up, she looked at her fireplace then gathered her courage. She didn't use the Floo much, mostly just for communication with Dumbledore, but it was time to do so. Grabbing a handful of Floo powder, she tossed it in then waited for the fire to turn green. Announcing a pub run by a wizard in the town of Cokeworth, she stepped through, determined that, by the end of the day, Harry would be in the hands of a true healer and no longer at risk of dying.
Sitting in his living room, Severus Snape was sharing a glass of brandy with Lucius. As he was on a break from teaching for the summer, he had spent the day at his home, rather than Malfoy Manor where he usually did during the summer, to do some brewing. There were some potions he had been commissioned to make and couldn't resist the money they would bring in so he had spent the day doing so. Now, it was time to relax. And, as he had done so many times in the past, talking about things with Lucius was a way to do that. Though many people thought their relationship was one that was good friends, it went beyond that. It was very complicated and not something that most would understand, but it worked for them. It also made the relationship they did have much closer than just friends. He liked that.
While talking about things that mattered to them about what was to come in the future as it pertained to the Wizarding World, Severus was startled by a shimmering of the wards. That told him someone had passed through them. As they were set to only allow squibs and wizards through, not Muggles that might chance by the place, he tried to focus on who it might be. Dumbledore, he knew, was out-of-town so it wouldn't be him. Besides, the old man would Floo before he came over. The other obvious ones would also Floo first so this was odd. Holding up his hand to stop Lucius from talking so he could focus, he tried to figure out who it was by the signature.
Quickly, he deduced it was a squib. As he didn't know many of those, he was puzzled as to who it was. Casting a couple spells, he was startled to realize it was Arabella Figg. Brow furrowed, he wondered what in Merlin's name she was doing there as the only contact he ever really had with her was through the Order but didn't have time to contemplate it when there was a knock on his door.
After a hissed, "Stay here and be quiet," to Lucius, who nodded, he went to answer it. Normally, he would ignore such a thing but this had him wondering what was up. Opening the door, he looked at the middle-aged squib then asked, tone dry as it always was, "Arabella, what brings you here."
Fidgeting around, clutching the big manila envelope that contained Harry's most recent medical records, she sighed then decided it was time to go for it. "Severus, I'm doing this because it's the last thing I can think of to get help. Can I come in and explain it? It's going to take some time."
As he knew Arabella lived among Muggles, breeding those ill tempered feline crossbreeds of hers, his brow arched, wondering what could be so drastic that she needed his help with it. As a squib, potions would work with her but the Muggle medicine would do better. However, he was curious so he motioned her in and shut the door, hoping that Lucius would stay quiet in the other room and not give away his presence. Though he knew his friend would listen in, probably just as curious about the whole thing as he was.
After she stepped inside he asked again, keeping the snide tone out of his voice. "Alright, what is going on? You are a long ways from Surrey."
Sighing, she stiffened up then said, "Harry Potter needs help and you're the only one I can think to come to for it."
Instantly, at that name, Snape sneered, black eyes flashing, "What does the brat need help with? What have his doting relatives done? Not give him dessert or something? He doesn't need my help, Arabella, and I won't step in."
She had known going in that Severus might be prejudiced because of James and was prepared for it. As tired and worried as she was, though, she didn't have it in her to reasonably lay out the issue for him. Instead, she needed him to listen so she let her temper show. "Severus Snape! How dare you!" She snapped, drawing herself up to her full height, swatting him on the arm with the envelope she held to get his attention. "I would never waste your time, or mine, for such a trivial matter! And I can assure you poor Harry is the furthest thing from spoiled as you can get!"
Crossing his arms over his chest, Severus glowered at her, that look that so terrified so many of his students over the years then snapped, "What is it then? Hurry and tell me. I don't want to deal with any foolishness when it has to do with Potter."
Not at all cowed by the look she was given, Arabella quickly said, "He's dying. Pancreatic cancer. The Muggles can't do much more for him right now. They are giving him some kind of experimental chemotherapy but they don't think it'll work. If someone doesn't step in and do something, he's going to die."
Startled, Snape's eyes widened slightly then he asked, "Cancer? Does Dumbledore know?" Though, in the Wizarding World, cancer was a disease they dealt with, it didn't have the ramifications it did in the Muggle one. It could be cured, though it took time. When it came to Muggles, he knew they didn't have that kind of success rate with it and it could very well be a death sentence, especially to children. That was more than enough to get his attention.
"Yes, cancer. A very aggressive form at that," she nodded. Shoulders slumping, she then sighed and said, "I've been telling Albus how bad it was since Harry was first diagnosed when he was eight. He told me to let the Muggles handle it their way. Since it came out of the short remission he had after the last bout with it, I've been desperately trying to get in contact with him to tell him but he hasn't answered any of my owls. I'm desperate, Severus! The nurse told me last night that they don't think this will cure him, just prolong his life a little more. And those damned Dursley's don't even visit the boy! The only time they come in is when they have to sign some paper or other! The only one that sees him is me. And I'm telling you, I swear to Merlin, the boy is dying! He's not going to last much longer!" Giving him an imploring look, she pleaded softly, "Please, Severus! For Lily's sake! He isn't James. In fact, he's as far from James as you can get. Please, take a look! I don't know who else to turn to!" Holding out the huge envelope, she added, "These are the most current medical records I could get my hands on. Just look at them. It'll back up everything I say. I know you're not a healer but you will know what to do for him or how to go about it! Please!"
Sneering at the thought that Muggles could handle an aggressive strain of cancer, Severus snatched the proffered envelope from her then pulled out the massive sheaf of papers. Thumbing through them with a practiced eye, he could feel his heart sink. She was not exaggerating in the least. The young Mr. Potter was in serious trouble if he read them right, something he was sure he had.
Looking at the final page of them, the most current she had, he asked, tones clipped as he tried to think what to do, "How current are these?" Already, at the invocation of Lily's name, he was willing to put a toe into the dark lake this was bound to be and take a tentative step, but he wanted to know just how murky this was going to end up before he fully dove in.
"I got them several weeks ago, just as they decided to go with the experimental chemotherapy. It's gotten worse since then, much worse. I don't know a lot about medicine but I know enough to know experimental treatments like this are a last resort and can actually kill the patient because they are the last hope." Stopping, she wrung her hands then asked, voice a whisper, but tinged with hope, "Does that mean you'll help? I know you're not a healer but..."
Cutting her off, he snapped, "Yes, I will. However, Dumbledore won't be involved and I'm going to need help. You, on the other hand, are also going to be needed since you have the whole history of what's gone on. I also need you to trust me in a way most wouldn't ever. Can you do that?" Stopping, he waited. Everything he was starting to form as a plan was going to hinge on the last two sentences he uttered. Though a Potions Master, he was no healer. And to do something with Potter was going to take some fancy legal work to maneuver around Dumbledore. That was something he couldn't do himself. It called for legal and political guns he just didn't have in his arsenal. He knew who did though and they were going to have to be employed. Arabella, because she didn't know some of the things he did, wasn't going to react well to some of it. If she agreed, though, he could work around it and show her he was truthful.
Without even thinking, Arabella looked into his black eyes and nodded firmly. "I would deal with the devil himself if it meant that Harry would get help. What do you need me to do?" Severus was always one of those that you never knew what side of anything he was on. Dumbledore swore that he was on the side of the Light, though he had the Dark Mark. Others swore he was a double agent. She didn't know which it was, honestly. Right now, though, she didn't give a fiddler's damn either. As long as Harry was cured and safe, she would let Severus handle it.
Pleased at that, Severus nodded. "Dumbledore is not going to be pleased with you, you need to understand that end of things. You are going to have to give up everything you know about Mr. Potter, including that you were to keep an eye on him. He won't take that well."
Drawing herself up straight, eyes taking on a firm, unwavering look, she told him in clear tones with a voice as firm as steel, "I'll do it. You just tell me what I need to do and I will. Just get Harry out of there and away from the Dursleys!"
Smirking slightly, Severus nodded once then said, "So be it." Keeping an eye on her, he called out, "Lucius, can you come here? I believe this is a mess that I'm going to need your help with."
I just love this chapter :P