As she held tightly to him with her eyes clenched shut, she felt very much like a sausage in a casing. Ron and Harry had explained in great detail what “Apparating” was, and the sensation that would accompany it. Their descriptions and assurances, however, did nothing to prepare her for the vice like squeeze she felt all over. It took only seconds, but it was an experience she would never forget.
When she opened her eyes, she found herself in a white room with two beds divided by a privacy curtain. She looked to her left, and saw a large window overlooking a garden. Although it was nearly midnight, the trees looked quite lush in the moonlight. After a moment, she heard someone softly clearing their throat, and turned her head quickly to be faced with bespectacled green eyes and a mop of black hair. Realizing she still had her arms wrapped tightly about him, she eased her grip and took a step back.
“Sorry about that, Harry. Still a little disoriented from the trip,” she apologized.
He smiled at her warmly. “No worries,” he offered.
Suddenly, a loud pop came from across the room, and there at the sound’s origin stood Peter and Ron.
They made quite a picture, Peter fiercely clinging to Ron. While Peter had a massive grin on his face, much like a child who’d just gone on his first carnival ride, Ron’s visage was marred by a massive scowl. She had a pretty good idea why Ron was vexed. Part of it had to do with the fact that she’d opted to apparate with Harry instead of him.
After their whole magic lesson fiasco though, she could barely even bring herself to look him in the eye. Harry’s presence was comforting in a way, whereas Ron’s felt extremely intense. It was because of this that she found herself shrinking away from him now. Their connection was too potent, too volatile. There was an undercurrent of aggression in his nature that unnerved her.
The other part of Ron’s dark mood was something she wasn’t fully prepared to acknowledge yet. She was aware that it involved Peter, but that was as far as she would allow herself to take it.
Being pulled from her ruminations, it took her a second to realize Harry was speaking before she tuned in.
“Originally, you were going to have your own rooms, but then we thought you might feel more comfortable staying together.”
Sarah simply nodded and continued her silent perusal of the room. Peter, however, felt the need to compensate for her quietness.
“Thanks ever so much. I don’t think I would have felt right being away from her for the night.”
Ron snorted loudly and crossed his arms looking totally unimpressed. This drew Sarah’s attention to him instantly. Shooting him an accusing glare, it was the first bit of eye contact she’d made with him in over an hour. Ron’s face grew red, and shoving his hands in his pockets, he directed his eyes to the floor.
Peter shifted uncomfortably where he stood, and said, “Well Sarah, which bed do you want? The window, or the door?”
Before he had even finished, she’d answered darkly, “The door.”
It was her habit to take up the offensive position. If anyone came into the room, they’d have to deal with her first.
“Fine, fine… I’ll take the view…” Peter answered trying to sound breezy but failing miserably.
The four stood in a precarious silence.
“Well, I guess we should be off, so you two can settle in for the night.” Harry finally asserted.
Peter stepped forward with his hand extended toward Harry. “Thanks again, Harry, for all your help and kindness.”
Harry took the offered hand, and smiled. “Not a problem.”
“And thank you too, Ron.” Peter moved to Ron, hand out.
Unmoving, Ron stared at him coldly. Peter flinched a little, but refused to back down. Harry cleared his throat loudly, and Ron shifted his eyes to him in acknowledgment of the wordless suggestion. Ron reached out and grabbed Peter’s hand, shook it once, and then dropped it disdainfully.
“Yes, well Sarah, I think I’m going to use the loo first if that’s alright with you.” Peter mumbled.
“Fine,” was all she managed through gritted teeth glaring a hole through Ron.
“Goodnight, gentleman.” Peter offered before disappearing into the washroom.
“Goodnight.” Harry called. “Have a good night, Sarah. We’ll see you in the morning, alright?”
“Yes, you too Harry. See you in the morning.” And with that, she turned brusquely toward her bed ignoring Ron completely.
The only outward indications of Ron’s anger were the muscles working rigidly through his clenched jaw. Harry recognized the warning signs, and grabbed him roughly dragging him from the room.
Once she heard the door click shut, Sarah let the breath she was holding stream out of her in a long exhale.
What was she going to do? She couldn’t lie to herself that she wasn’t attracted to this man, but he was being a total and utter prick to Peter. Back at the flat, the incident in the café had been forgotten, and everything seemed to be fine. It was fine, that is, until Peter was able to perform that spell on his first go. Ron had turned into a bloody nightmare after that. What the hell was his problem?
She shook her head a little, and forced that particular question from her mind.
Quietly, the door to the washroom opened, and she turned around to take in Peter’s long figure leaning against the doorframe.
“They’re gone?” he asked.
“Yes,” she responded turning back to her overnight bag on the bed.
Mimicking her earlier motion, he breathed out heavily. She started to move past him into the loo, when his hand on her forearm stopped her course.
“Sarah, I need to bounce something off you. Mind if I bend your ear for a bit?”
She nodded, but moved into the washroom to start her nightly routine.
He turned his body to face her, but maintained his position leaning against the frame. Looking down, he played with his hands mindlessly as he tried to pull his thoughts together. The longer he took, the more concerned she grew.
“Peter, what is it?” she asked with her toothbrush still in her mouth impairing her speech. She removed it, took a swig of water, and spit out.
“Since all this began, have you wondered at all who we might have been?” he looked at her earnestly.
She hit the light in the washroom, and started for her bed. “Peter, they told us who we were. You were called Draco Malfoy. No offense but that really is a silly name,” she tried to joke.
“Tell me about it,” he smiled lightly, and moved off toward his own bed but stopped at the edge of the privacy curtain.
“And I was Hermione Granger,” she continued trying to ignore his tense state. “I have to admit, I didn’t get off much better in the name department.” She chuckled a little while climbing under her covers.
“Yah…” was all he offered.
“Peter?” she asked.
“What if I wasn’t…” he started ignoring her questioning tone.
“What if you weren’t what?”
“What if I took you for all together not nice reasons? Sarah, I couldn’t bear it if I’d actually meant to hurt you.”
“We woke up on that field together, remember? We were hugging, and you couldn’t even speak. So, you weren’t taking me anywhere. If anything, it was the other way around.”
He remained silent, but grabbed onto the curtain absentmindedly.
“Just because that prick was a jerk to you, does not mean you weren’t a good person, Peter. Harry seems to like you just fine.” She paused here for a second. “What if we were a couple and Ron was just jealous?
“Oh Sarah, please! You’re like my sister.”
“And besides, you cannot base your opinion on the actions of two blokes we just met,” she continued.
“You know it’s more than just these two blokes I’m talking about.”
“Listen, we’ve learned a lot in the last few hours, and I think you’re just emotional because you’re tired. I know I’m exhausted,”
“Perhaps,” he answered quietly releasing the curtain, and climbing into his own bed. He didn’t add anything further, but he also didn’t seem entirely convinced.
“Peter?” she called softly to him.
She hesitated a little. “Sleep well, alright. If you need me, I’m right here,” she offered.
“Thanks, Sarah. You too.”
She heard him shift in his sheets, and then, the room fell silent.
She knew that Peter sometimes came off as a bit of an idiot. At times, it was genuine. But, more often than not, he used it as a cover so he could better guage people and their emotional states without being suspected. He’d learned how to read people from her. When they’d been living on the street, she’d taught him to disregard people’s words and watch their behaviour and emotional reactions in intense situations instead. Yes, it was animalistic, but there had been too many occasions when this tactic saved them from a potentially violent confrontation.
As upsetting as these realizations were, she couldn’t deny that Peter’s suspicions regarding his past felt right on the money. He was her family, and had been for as far back as her memory spanned. But if she were to base Peter’s true identity on Ron, and even Harry’s reactions to him as well as the other encounters he’d recently experienced, she’d have to admit that things didn’t look good.
‘Well, who ever he was is meaningless,’ she told herself, ‘because he’s my best friend now, and that’s all that matters. Anyone who causes him an ounce of pain will have me to contend with.’
These thoughts preoccupied her as she slowly drifted off to sleep.
Peter and Sarah sat in the office by themselves waiting. It had been an excruciatingly long day of being poked and prodded, and drinking things that looked and tasted exceptionally unpleasant.
This thankfully was their last stop of the day before heading back to their room. Apparently, they had to meet with a therapist to evaluate their mental health, but they’d been waiting for over twenty minutes. Sarah understood the necessity of this portion of their exam, but the end of the day was just not a good time to best assess her mental health. To put it bluntly, she felt like an utter bitch at the moment, and one look over at Peter told her he was asleep on his feet.
Abruptly, the door opened admitting two bustling figures. Startled, both Peter and Sarah turned to take in the activity at the door. Two smartly dressed women had entered discussing a matter that seemed, at least to them, of extreme importance. Sarah was thoroughly unimpressed by their pompous veneer. Peter, however, was all smiles.
He jumped up, and said enthusiastically. “Hello!” Sarah grabbed him, and pulled him back down into his seat.
The two women jumped, and turned instantly to regard them, shock playing openly on their faces. The Indian woman recovered herself first, dropped her gaze and silently made her way to a chair just off to the left of the desk.
“Oh, hello!” said the Caucasian woman as she approached them, and shook both of their hands.
“You must be Peter Wright, and Sarah Anderson. My name is Healer Brown, and this is my associate, Healer Patil. She will merely be observing for this meeting.” The Indian woman smiled demurely, nodded her head, and went back to her notes as the other woman made her way around the desk to her seat.
“Sorry for keeping you. I understand you must be quite tired after the day you’ve had, so I’ll keep this brief.”
Sarah looked over to guage Peter’s response, but found him completely enthralled. She groaned inwardly. ‘Great! I know that look.’ He was smiling like an absolute goof and staring at the woman intently. ‘Guess I’m on my own for this one.’ She turned her attentions back to the therapist.
“We’ve reviewed your test results and you are, in fact, Ms. Hermione Granger, and Mr. Draco Malfoy.”
The woman paused briefly to consider her next words. “The tests were also meant to discern what kind of injuries the two of you suffered that would have caused this degree of memory loss. It is our conclusion that you were both hit with the Obliviate curse, which effectively wiped your memories. Peter, you received a greater portion of the spell causing your memory loss to be far more extensive than Sarah’s.”
Sarah reached out and grabbed Peter’s hand.
“I don’t want to go into too many details of the how and the why. You’re both obviously spent, and giving that information right now would be detrimental to your recovery.”
Sarah fumed. In theory, she understood this woman’s reasons for not giving them the whole story, but they had searched for the truth of who they were for the past five years. Maybe her exhaustion was clouding her better judgment, but it felt completely unfair.
“Let me get this straight. All you were planning to do in this session was tell us who we were and that we had lost our memories due to some kind of curse. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but someone else already told us our names, and we’ve been fully aware of the second piece of information for the past five years save for the curse part. All you’ve managed to do is state the obvious. Now, if you’re completely through which I believe you are, we would really appreciate going back to our room for a lie down. Thank you very much!”
Sarah didn’t care if she sounded aggressive and hostile. The whole day had been an exercise in futility in her opinion.
The woman blinked slightly stunned.
“Sarah, you’re being rude.” Peter reprimanded.
“I don’t care. I’m bloody tired, and so are you!”
The woman sniffed loudly. “Right. Ms. Anderson, there is one more point I need to impress upon you and Mr. Wright. You both have a decision to make. You can either choose to learn more about who you were, or you can return to Hammersmith and continue on with your lives. This choice is not as easy as it appears. If you decide to stay, you will be required to remain in the hospital for the foreseeable future undergoing potion treatments and therapy sessions until which time your memory has returned to a sufficient level. This could take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of years.”
Peter grimaced here.
“If you decide to return to your muggle life however, then we will have no other choice but to wipe the events of the last several days from your memories. You will be allowed to live your lives as if none of this happened. Do either of you have any questions?
“Yes. How long do we have to make this decision?” Sarah asked uncertainly.
“I need both of your answers by tomorrow morning.”
Peter and Sarah looked to one another, held each other’s gaze for a moment, and then nodded slightly.
“If you’ll excuse us, Ms. Brown, we have a lot to discuss.”