Chapter 4 : Chapter 4
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“Well, that’s all the time we have for today.” Lavender stated pulling the papers on her desk together into a stack. “I’ll see you next Tuesday.”
Hermione didn’t move, but watched Lavender carefully. Calculating the best way to go about this, she finally spoke. “Lavender, can I ask you a question?”
Lavender looked at her warily but finally assented. “Of course. I’ll answer if I can.”
“Why are you pushing so hard for Draco to regain his memory?”
Shocked by her directness, Lavender stumbled a bit. “What? What do you mean?”
“Well I have a few theories,” Hermione stated coolly, “but I wanted to hear your answer first before voicing them.”
Lavender shifted uncomfortably in her chair. “Well, Draco has expressed his desire to recall his past in a more timely fashion. It’s my professional responsibility to listen to my patient’s wishes, and try to follow them.”
“Tut, tut Lavender.” Hermione scolded mildly. “It is also your professional responsibility to do what is in the best interest of said patient even if that means going against his direct wishes. So, I’ll ask you again, why are you pushing the new potions so hard?”
“Ms. Granger, you can’t possibly understand the complexities of Mr. Malfoy’s medical condition. Don’t even try to pretend like you know the first thing…”
At this point, Hermione cut her off. “Lavender, cut the psycho babble! I am not an idiot. I’m remembering more every day. Even with a five-year advantage, we both know that I’m smarter than you. Draco is in pain. A lot of pain! This new treatment is causing some pretty aggressive mood swings, and severe physical debilitation. Now, I know your feelings for him extend beyond the professional, and have for some time. What I want to know is if you care for him so deeply, how you can let him suffer so much?”
Lavender looked away to hide the deep seeded pain and guilt she was going through.
“You can’t understand… I’m not at liberty… I have no…” she mumbled on the verge of being completely honest.
Realizing her near slip, Lavender pushed the rising emotions down just as quickly as the tears had come, and began to busy herself with the papers on her desk.
“I am quite busy, Ms. Granger.” She huffed. “I don’t have time at present to entertain these wild speculations of yours.”
“Lavender,” Hermione said more softly, “he’s in love with you. He’ll do whatever you want him to do if it means he can be near you.”
Lavender stopped writing, but did not look up from her pages. Instead, she stared at them blankly.
Hermione waited for a response, but none came. Changing tactics, she continued on in a low, threatening whisper.
“If I find out that you’re shoving this crap down his throat for any other purpose than his own good… I’ll tear you from limb to limb. You may think you’re in love with him, but he means the world to me.”
With that, Hermione stood up, and stared down at the hunched over form of Lavender. She gathered her jumper from the chair, and made her way out of the office. It was time to check on Draco anyway.
“Hey Gin. How’s he doing today?” Hermione called to Ginny who was sitting outside Draco’s room.
“Hey. Um… Not great actually. He’s having one of his low days,” she answered quietly.
Hermione only nodded. She started to make her way toward the door when Ginny stopped her.
“I don’t think it’s such a good idea today Hermione.”
“Ginny, I’m going in there unless you can give me a good reason why I shouldn’t.”
She stood there a moment contemplating her response.
“You may be a little shocked by his abruptness.” Ginny finally said.
“Nothing I’m not already used to.” Hermione responded as she pushed the door open.
Once inside, Hermione watched him for a moment before making her presence known.
Draco lay prone in his bed staring out the window. He looked dreadful. He was extremely thin, his skin was sallow, and his eyes were hallowed with dark circles.
“Please don’t stare. It’s rude,” he said without acknowledging her.
“Hey,” she called softly.
He shifted only his eyes from the view outside to her. He swallowed hard, and redirected his eyes back outside refusing to hold her gaze.
“What do you want? As you can see, I’m not really up for visitors, let alone one of our infamous chats,” he bit out.
“I just wanted to see how you were doing.”
“You’ve seen, now leave.”
“No, really Hermione. I just don’t have it in me to do this today,” he said choking back a rising swell of emotion.
She walked over to the bed, sat down gingerly facing him, and clasped his left hand.
“Peter, don’t shut me out.”
He still refused to look at her, but tears began to stream down his face.
“It hurts, Sarah. It hurts…” he whispered. “My spin is tingling. I feel like someone is slowly trying to pull it out of the top of my neck, like de-boning a fish. My head feels like it’s beneath a thousand kilos of water. Like it’s swimming, and being crushed all at the same time. And I can’t breathe. I can never get a deep enough breath. I feel like my lungs have shrunk to half their regular size. I’m drowning, Sarah.”
He stopped there for a moment to force down the vicious tremble threatening to take over his voice.
“And the images… I can’t talk about the images right now. Sarah, I’m so tired but I can’t sleep. I’m starving but I can’t eat. Sarah, I don’t want to be here anymore.”
“Peter, don’t worry. You’ll get out of this place soon enough.” She squeezed his hand.
“No, Sarah,” he said his voice starting to shake uncontrollably. He brought his tear filled eyes over to hers at this moment. “I mean I don’t want to be here in this life anymore.”
“Oh Peter,” she said starting to tear up herself.
Wracking sobs erupted through his chest.
She got up quickly, moved to sit just behind him placing his head in the crook of her neck, and hugged him fiercely to her. For several long minutes, she silently held him while he wept. Slowly his sobs began to wane, and his breathing evened out.
“Peter?” she called gently.
He mumbled softly, and shifted to wrap his right arm more fully around her middle like hugging a teddy bear. She was trapped. The only way to get out would be to wake him, and there was no way she was going to do that.
She grabbed a book from the bedside table, and began to read. As she did so, she heard what sounded like a slight sniffle that she thought came from the other side of the room by the door.
“Hello?” she called.
Looking around, and then down, she concluded it must have been Draco, and went back to her reading.
Mr. Sparkle sat in his dark office pouring over the notes before him. The Malfoy file was getting thicker by the day. Suddenly, the door to the small office opened and shut quickly before Gerald Sparkle even had a chance to raise his head to see who had entered.
Looking up from his notes, he smiled and said, “Mr. Weasley, so good to see you. Have a seat. You’re early.”
“Yes Gerald, I am. Has there been any new developments with Malfoy since the implementation of the treatment plan?”
“Should we not wait for the others to arrive before we begin?” Mr. Sparkle questioned.
“I would like to be brought up to speed before they arrive. I don’t want any surprises, especially not in front of those two.”
“As you please.” Mr. Sparkle answered meekly. “Healer Brown has reported a drastic improvement in his memory recall. She’s informed me that what would have normally taken at least a year under the old method has occurred in little over a month.”
“Wonderful. Does that mean we’ll be able to begin proceedings shortly?”
“Well, I’m not certain of that, sir. Apparently, Mr. Malfoy has also been experiencing some physical and psychological side effects.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, Healer Brown feels that he is becoming emotionally imbalanced as a result of the combination of the potions involved, and the speed with which the memories are being restored. She and Medi-witch Wealsey have been attempting to find the correct dosage levels.”
“Gerald, this is not what I like to hear. Thanks to The Daily Prophet, the public now knows he’s alive, and they want a trial.”
“Yes sir, I know, but Healer Brown feels that if they don’t come up with the proper balance, he may become too psychologically unstable to stand trial.”
“Healer Brown. That twit wouldn’t know a cauldron if it hit her in the head. I’ll speak to Ginny about it next week. ”
“I’d be careful, sir. You don’t want to arouse too much suspicion.”
“Don’t tell me what I can, and cannot do.”
“Of course not, sir. I was just…”
Suddenly the door to the small office opened admitting two tall figures, and effectively cutting Mr. Sparkle’s apology off.
Mr. Weasley stood, and gave a wide smile.
“Hello Dad!” He said hugging the first man.
Arthur Weasley answered, “Hello Percy! You’re looking well.”
“Ron,” Percy continued, “it’s really good to see you!”
In response, Ron only shrugged, and nodded.
Mr Sparkle piped up interrupting the small family reunion. “Well, now that we’re all here, shall we begin?”
Hermione paced back, and forth in front of the window while Harry sat in her bed with his legs sprawled out.
“Hermione, please stop. You’re making me dizzy.”
Not paying attention to his plea, she said, “Harry, he’s remembering more quickly, but he’s an absolute mess. He’s not sleeping or eating, and his whole body seems to be fighting against these potions.”
“That might just be one of the steps in him getting his memory back more quickly.”
“I’m telling you, it’s not natural. He’s in a lot of pain. It’s turning him inside out. I can’t stand seeing him like this. What the bloody hell is the big rush anyway? I know he wants his memories, but why is everyone else pushing so hard for it to happen?”
“Hermione, are you sure you just don’t want him to remember?”
She hated that he knew her so well.
“I’ll admit that used to be the case,” she conceded, “but now it just seems like no one cares what these potions are doing to him. The only thing that seems important is that his memory returns.”
“Listen, Draco signed those papers. He’s the one who wanted to speed up the process. Maybe everyone is just doing their jobs to help him achieve that end.”
“Don’t you bullshit me, Potter! If you don’t own up to what you know now, and I find out you’ve been hiding it from me, I swear to Merlin…”
“Don’t you ‘Hermione’ me! What the hell is going on?”
“I don’t know, and that’s the truth,” he shouted defensively. “You’re right. Something is definitely going on. Everyone over at the Ministry has been acting really strange lately, even Ron. I think they’re keeping whatever it is from me because they know you and I are close.”
“Can you do me a favour then?”
“I know you can’t necessarily tell me everything, but can you keep your ears open.”
He nodded in response.
She walked away from him, and started to pace the room again like a caged animal. Without warning, she began to speak shocking Harry out of his thoughts.
“Tell me something. Why hasn’t anyone come to visit us yet?”
‘Where is she heading with this?’ Harry thought to himself.
“What do you mean?” He answered aloud.
“Why does everyone keep asking me that today? Am I not making myself clear?”
“Well, now that you mention it…” he started, but she cut him off again.
“The Prophet leaked that we were alive over a month ago. You’d think someone, other than Colin that is, would come to see us.”
Harry’s mind quickly caught up with her thought process, and warning bells started to ring in his head.
“Well, we’ve had to kick up security for your safety, and I also think the hospital hasn’t permitted visitors for either of you yet,” he said nervously.
She eyed him trying to guage his answer.
“Fine, I’ll give you that. But no one has even tried to contact me.”
“Ginny, and Lavender don’t want anyone to negatively affect your recovery.”
He was grasping at straws now.
“But not even my parents?”
And wham, there it was. The topic he’d been trying to avoid.
“I understand not letting anyone else in, but you’d think they’d allow my parents. Harry, there’s been nothing. No calls, no letters. You’d think that if they had found out I was alive, they’d at least…”
Her words just trailed off into silence.
Harry looked over at her to find her staring blankly out the window.
After a lengthy silence, she finally spoke. “They’re dead.”
It wasn’t a question.
“Hermione,” he said sitting up, and swinging his legs over the side of the bed.
“They died, didn’t they?” She said without emotion.
He got up, walked over, and stood behind her placing his hands on her shoulders.
“They were killed in an attack because I’m a witch. I wasn’t there to stop it. They were completely defenseless. It was my fault they died.” Her breathing had escalated to the point where she was almost hyperventilating. She was reliving their deaths all over again.
Her shoulders started to shake violently through the force of her sobs. After a moment, he gently turned her to face him, and wrapped his arms tightly around her pressing her safely into him. She threw her arms fiercely around his middle, and clung onto him desperately gasping and hiccoughing. Hot tears quickly soaked his shirtfront as she cried uncontrollably into his chest. For the longest time, he simply held her and rocked her whispering soft words of comfort into her hair.
Unbeknownst to either, they were not alone. Across the room in a dark corner stood a very malicious reporter under an invisibility cloak.
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