Disclaimer: Don't own and never will.
AN: Written for the tenth season of the Quidditch League.
The atmosphere in the room was tense.
It was a quiet room with barely any furniture or even anything on the walls. A handful of simple metallic chairs bolted to the floor indicated that this was not, by any means, a normal office in the Ministry of Magic. The runes on the walls were another, welding in spells that were both arcane and powerful. Spells that were obscure unless you happened to know exactly what you were looking at and few people did.
In the middle of the room sat a table with two more steel chairs bolted to the floor. Two women sat there, one in her forties at least with long black hair and brown eyes. The other was a much younger woman, freshly graduated from Hogwarts with reddish-blond hair cut in a pixie cut.
There was a tension in the air. Both women were visibly nervous. The younger woman's tongue kept shooting out the lick her lips and the older woman was taking very shallow breaths. The tension was almost palatable.
They knew what they were here for and it terrified them both.
"So Lucy," the older woman said, looking at the younger woman. "This is your last chance to change your mind. Do you want to continue? Are you willing to experience the memories of Su Li? Are you prepared for the possible side effects that have been explained to you? If you wish to back out this is your last opportunity to turn away before the experiment begins. Should you choose to turn away, nobody will think any less of you and you will incur no penalties."
"I'm sure," Lucy said, her face pale and her tongue kept dancing out to lick her lips. "I wish to continue with the experiment."
The older woman looked at the two men standing to the side holding clipboards. (Lucy could not remember their names for the life of her.) The younger man was a bit taller than the older man, with short blond hair and a round face. The older man, a wizard in his forties with black hair flecked with premature flecks of grey and a pair of rectangle glasses nodded and spoke.
"Su Li, this is the last chance change your mind. Do you wish to continue with the experiment? Are you willing to share your experiences with one Lucy Weasley? Are you prepared for the possible side effects that have been explained to you? Should you choose to turn away, nobody will think any less of you and you will incur no penalties."
"I am willing to continue with the experiment," Su Li said, keeping her voice level and unemotional. The older man nodded and Su Li placed her hands on Lucy's. She closed her eyes and the temperature in the room dropped. Lucy closed her eyes as the spell began to take hold. Their hands glowed green and blue and behind closed eyelids, Lucy's eyes danced rapidly.
Lucy opened her eyes and blinked twice. Or rather, she tried to blink twice, but her body wasn't responding at all. It was a bizarre sensation, but not unexpected. According to their research, this was supposed to happen.
Still, it was one thing to read about and another thing to experience it.
She was in an unfamiliar bed in a Ministry room. An alarm clock was ringing and she slowly sat up. She brushed a stray strand of long black hair out of her face with a slight sigh in a voice that was not hers. (Another unfamiliar experience for Lucy. Her hair was too short for such things.)
She climbed out of the bed and made her way over to the sink in the corner of the room and looked into the mirror. A pair of unfamiliar brown eyes looked back at her, from a face that was very different to her own. She instinctively tried to touch her face to try and confirm that the face looking back at her was indeed her own, but nothing happened.
Lucy mentally cursed. Of course nothing happened. It was Su Li's memory after all, not hers. Still, it was a strange feeling and she felt a minor shift. A movement of some kind for want of a better word, although it wasn't exactly a physical motion, but something...deeper and more...she wasn't sure exactly. The image began to blur around the edges, threatening to kick her out of the memory.
She gave herself a mental shrug. This was to be expected. She knew that when she had started. She leaned her mind into the memory hard and the image cleared itself into sharp, focused detail. (Leaned was probably not the right word either, but it would do at least for now.)
The memory continued and she looked at the wall. The word GRUBBINS was written there in glowing red letters. The confirmation word presumably to confirm that she was indeed in Su Li's memory. A random word selected to ensure that this was indeed the memory and not something Lucy imagined.
She splashed water on her face and looked into the mirror once more. She grabbed a brush and started brushing her hair. Long busy strokes to pull out the tangles and keep her hands busy. At least, that's what Lucy thought it was. It was hard to say for certain. The spell only allowed Lucy to see the memory through Su Li's eyes, not her thoughts. (Lucy idly wondered what would happen if she COULD see into the older witch's thoughts.)
She turned and looked at the confirmation word again, before looking into the mirror again.
"It's time for you to go now Lucy," she said and inwardly Lucy nodded. She began to pull herself away and the world began to blur and fade and...
Suddenly the world pulled into sharp focus. She was on Platform nine and three quarters, hugging an unfamiliar woman. The faint scent of lavender perfume in her nose. The noise of a busy platform. Somewhere nearby, someone was talking about the the new rules at Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic and Fudge.
The world changed again. Now, she was dancing with an unfamiliar man at the wedding of someone she didn't recognise. The happy couple were smiling and the music was in full swing. A banner was above them, but Lucy couldn't read what it said.
She was in St Mungos and smiling. A newborn baby was in her arms and she was saying "I love you" over and over again as the child continued to sleep peacefully.
It was chaos.
Spells were flying in all directions. There were shouts and screams. One masked figure was throwing curses while cackling madly and no-one seemed to be stopping them.
Lucy saw her hand move up and a burst of red light shot out towards the figure.
An unfamiliar grey cat was stuck in a tree and Lucy could hear her voice trying to coax the cat down. The cat was staring down at her and meowing almost pathetically. Her arms were outstretched, ready to catch the cat if it fell.
Suddenly a strong smell of lemon and bile and something she couldn't identify swamped her nose and Lucy opened her eyes sharply, gagging slightly from the smell. Looking down at her and holding a bottle under her nose was the older man with a look of concern on his face and a slight frown. Opposite her, she could see the younger man doing something similar with Su Li. Lucy swore.
"We had to use the emergency measures to force the two of you to separate," the older man explained and Lucy nodded. That made sense. The younger man scowled as he stood up and looked at his colleague.
"I was so sure that this one was going to be the one we needed!" he said with some annoyance. "I don't even understand how we're still getting blowback like this!"
"Calm yourself James. It's not an easy process to build something this new and we knew that it might not work as planned. That is why we're conducting experiments. To learn and improve upon what we already have."
"The memories were a lot shorter this time," Lucy said as she rolled her shoulders and tried to remove the stiffness from them. This was always her least favourite aspect of this research. Well that and the smell from the emergency measures. That stuff was foul. But it was an unfortunate necessity and it was a lot better than physical pain at least. "Oh and the confirmation word was grubbins," she added and Su Li smiled and nodded.
"Well, that does at least confirm you were indeed in the right memory," she said in a quietly reassuring voice and Lucy looked at her curiously.
"Who's wedding was it?" she asked curiously and Su Li shook her head.
"My cousin's I think...? I was dancing with Harrison there and he was...a bit of a prick." She paused and frowned. "And then there was the birth of my second child Zhai. And the last time I saw my mother, saying goodbye to me on Platform Nine and Three Quarters. Then the Battle of Hogwarts..." She paused once more and rubbed her forehead. "I had actually forgotten about that particular part. It all just blended into one blurry mess. And I haven't thought about Tabitha in years." She paused and shook her head. "The separation is bringing up all kinds of old memories that I had long since forgotten."
The older man stood up and looked over his glasses at Su Li with some concern. Then he looked at Lucy.
"I suggest that the two of you attend an evaluation by the Ministry Mind-Healer before we continue," he said with a slight frown. Lucy and Su Li both opened their mouths to protest and he shook his head. "No, I won't hear any excuses. I would rather be safe than risk serious damage." He looked at Su Li. "Mrs Li, your wartime experience is a traumatic and I wish to be perfectly clear before we continue." He looked over to Lucy Weasley. "And you Miss Weasley, have been lucky. Fighting a war is something that you will hopefully never have to experience first hand. The fact that you have witnessed Mrs Li's trauma first hand is good reason to have your health examined, no matter how brief."
Lucy rolled her eyes slightly at this. It had only been a glimpse. Barely even a few seconds really. Su Li however nodded her head, stood up and left the room. Lucy rolled her shoulders a few more times under the disapproving gaze of the older man, shaking the muscles loose. She looked at him.
"It was barely a glimpse!" she protested. The man didn't respond, clearly not impressed by her protestations. With a sigh, she stood up and walked out of the room.
AN: Not entirely sure I managed to stick the landing, but I'm running out of time here, so...