Chapter 2 : Day One
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Disclaimer: I’m only going to say this once - everything that seems familiar to you is not mine. It belongs to the wondrous J.K. Rowling. All of the OCs are mine. You might want to prep yourself: there’s going to be a lot of them.
I hated waking up early. Especially on a Saturday morning when I'd much rather be sleeping in, but I was following healer’s orders. Begrudgingly, of course, but following them nonetheless.
Mum offered to go with me as we sipped on coffee, but I declined. I didn’t give her a reason why, and she did look hurt, but I couldn’t bring myself to feel sorry for her. Does that make me a bad son?
By the time I reached the shop front, I was yawning approximately every other minute. Several people in the lift gave me curious looks, though I think most thought it was a symptom, ergo the reason why I was here. I smiled at them in hopes of throwing them off. Generally speaking, people didn’t react all too well to ‘crazies’.
When I reached the dictated floor, I had to stop at the nurses’ station to get my bearings. The nurse who pointed me in the right direction flashed me a sympathetic look, like I was a terminal case. Merlin lady, I had a mild case of memory loss, not cancer. As I walked down the hall, I tried to shrug off her pity.
All too soon I was positioned in front of her door, staring at the gleaming golden face plate in which her name was engraved.
I gulped nervously as I knocked on the door. Her voice floated through the wood, telling me to come in. My hand was sweaty as I turned the knob. She was sitting behind her desk, chewing on the end of a Sugar Quill as her eyes roved over a piece of parchment with practiced movements. A part of me was disappointed that her feet weren’t propped up on her desk; a gander at her legs would have been nice.
“Ah, Hugo,” Healer Mitchell said, looking up as I walked into her office and shut the door behind me. “So we meet again.”
I blinked at her, confused, and frowned. Had I read her post wrong? It said to meet her on Saturday at ten fifteen. I glanced at my watch. It was that time. But maybe she meant next Saturday.
“Did - did you not arrange this appointment? Because I could come back later.”
She threw back her head and laughed, tossing the file aside and pulling the Sugar Quill out of her mouth. She waved it at me as she spoke. “You’re funny, Hugo.”
“Believe me, it wasn’t intentional.”
Her smile could be classified as ‘mega-watt’, whatever that meant. I assumed it was a flattering comment (not that I said it aloud) because Mum had used it to describe Dad’s smile. My frown deepened. On second thought, maybe it wasn’t.
“Please,” Healer Mitchell continued, interrupting my musings. It was probably best that she did. “Sit.” She gestured towards a chair positioned in front of her desk. “Make yourself comfortable.”
I stared at the straight back chair, struggling to hide my grimace. There was no way anyone could possibly get comfortable in that chair. I didn’t want to be rude, so I sat down. Immediately, I winced. If I moved around too much, I’d get splinters in my arse.
“So,” she said, completely oblivious to my discomfort. But I suppose that’s a healer for you: they don’t notice the obvious until you’re nearly dead and even then, they don’t seem to care. “I’m glad you came. I’ve been sending owls to other Memory Recovery specialists for various countries to get different perspectives on treatments.”
I brightened at her words, straightening in my chair, ignoring the pain in my bum. Vaguely, I wondered how awkward it would be to remove splinters from one’s behind. “Did you get good responses?” I didn’t want to sound too hopeful, but I’m pretty sure I failed.
Healer Mitchell’s wide grin confirmed my suspicions, her eyes lightening as she fed off of my optimism. “They were great, Hugo. We have a lot options to pursue, different and new methods to try. Some of them magical, others Muggle. As long as you remain in agreement, of course; I wouldn’t want to force anything upon you that you’re not comfortable with.”
“No, no,” I said hurriedly, going as far as waving my hands. “I’m willing to do anything to get the memories back. You said yourself that you wouldn’t help me otherwise.”
“And you wouldn’t be sitting in my office right now if you hadn’t agreed. I just wanted you to know that I would never put you in a compromising position. This is a very delicate thing we’re dealing with, Hugo, and you should not take it lightly. Many of our attempts will be just that - attempts. Others - specifically the Muggle methods - will entail a certain amount of risks,” she informed me unnecessarily.
I had heard this very same speech for Mum this morning, though there had been much more laying of gentle hands upon my arm in comfort and a lot less strictly medical warning. I’m not sure which one I preferred.
“I know they will be risks, but I’m not going to let that stop me.”
She beamed at me, the wrinkles around her eyes becoming more prominent.
My stomach dropped suddenly and I regretted saying such bold words. I wasn’t a bold person. I didn’t do reckless things. I disliked the idea of danger. I might not have been a coward, but I wasn’t willing to throw myself in the line of fire. Thank, but no thanks. I rather liked all of my appendages.
However, if the look in Healer Mitchell’s cerulean eyes was anything to go by, I had just tossed myself under the Knight Bus. She was regarding me as though I was her newest plaything and she was just waiting to toy with me.
“I think I have the perfect first treatment in mind.” She giggled. It sounded ominous and even though she was sitting in front of me, I imagined her with wiry hair and crazy eyes, clapping her hands together excitedly.
Circe, maybe Teddy was right. Perhaps I was too eager to please. Or maybe she was easily pleased. Either way, it didn’t bode well for me.
I gulped. This was not good. This was definitely not good.
We had been sitting at the kitchen table, eating dinner, for a little over fifteen minutes and not a word had been spoken. It was weird; we never ate our meals in silence. Dinner was a time of discussion, a chance to rip each other a new one for the sake of making ourselves feel better. In other words, it was Weasley bonding time, and what a precious, joyful thing it was.
What made the development even stranger was that Rose had decided to grace us with her sun-shiny presence. From the moment she had walked through the kitchen door and announced her intentions to eat with us, I had been expecting the worst. My sister could be callously sarcastic at times, especially when she felt like dragon dung. Since I wasn’t overly clever, I was her favourite target of ridicule.
The only sound in the kitchen was the steady clink of forks against plates as we ate our meal in silence. Rose’s fork clinked louder than the rest as she took a particularly vicious stab at her shepherd’s pie.
“All right there, Rose?” I asked.
She glared at me. “Yes,” she answered stiffly, stuffing the forkful into her mouth. Rose chewed viciously, her sharp eyes throwing heated daggers across the table at me.
I let it go as I wasn’t in the mood to annoy Rose. One had to be fully prepared when dealing with the Thorn. It was my nickname for her alter ego, which seemed to rear its ugly head on a daily basis.
Once again, silence engulfed the kitchen, though this time it was much more awkward. I tried to ignore its stifling waves as I picked at my food. I wasn’t very hungry. I hadn’t been since I returned from my ‘consultation’ with Healer Long Legs at St. Mungo’s.
As he detested awkward situations, Dad felt the need to break the silence. He cleared his throat and started to speak. “So -”
I started, surprised by the sudden sound of his voice. I wasn’t the only one taken off-guard: Mum had shrieked and Rose had cursed. A loud expletive fell from her lips as she sloshed a generous portion of pumpkin juice down the front of her blouse.
“Language, Rose!” Dad shouted.
Unsurprisingly, she glared at me when I chuckled. She’s a peach, my older sister.
“It’s not funny, Hugo.”
“I thought it was.”
She ignored me. “This was a new blouse,” she groused, grabbing a napkin from the holder and wiping at the blooming stain.
“Regardless, there’s no need to snap at your brother, Rose,” admonished Mum, glancing over at me out of the corner of her eye. She winked and smiled.
I fought against a sigh, wondering when Mum would begin to understand that I was a big boy now and could fight my own battles. Just because I didn’t engage in war willingly didn’t mean that I wasn’t properly armed. Unlike some people in my family - my eyes cut over to Rose - I thought arguing was pointless, albeit fun at times.
Before Rose could muster up a reply, Dad continued with his original statement. “How’d it go today?” His tone was hesitant, like he wasn’t sure he should be asking me just yet.
The amused smile fell away and I lowered my eyes. I was wondering when this would come up. I understood that they were my parents, but honestly. You would think that they would respect my privacy and let me tell them at my own accord. Perhaps I was just a wishful thinker; my family knew no boundaries, especially the personal sort. It was both a gift and a curse, and in this situation, it was the latter.
This time, I did sigh. Might as well face the dogs before they turned into beasts.
I gave a noncommittal shrug of my shoulder. “It was good, I guess.”
There was an unspoken agreement between the three of us - Mum, Dad, and I - to address all issues concerning my memory loss as ‘It’.
“Oh!” Rose exclaimed suddenly, and I groaned. No one had thought to tell her about the Unspoken Agreement. Not that she would have honoured it anyway. “You caved and saw that loon healer, did you?”
“Rose!” Mum and Dad yelled in outrage.
She held up her hands. “I’m not trying to be rude! Honest!” Rose added under Dad’s scrutiny, jerking her shoulders as she often did when agitated. Mum and Dad sank back into their chairs. “You lot never tell me things anymore. It’s been that way ever since I’ve moved in with Molly - I have to hear information about my own family secondhandedly.”
An uncomfortable beat of silence passed between the four of us. I averted my eyes again, staring at my plate. If Mum didn’t stop staring at me, she’d end up drilling a hole in the side of my head. I highly doubted that Rose would’ve cheered up if my brains spilled all over the table. Or worse, her new blouse.
Mum cleared her throat. “It’s great to hear that it went so well, Hugo,” she said in a rush, sounding flustered. “I’m sure Healer Mitchell,” she paused to send a pointed look at my sister, who glowered in return, “was very helpful. She is the -”
“Best in Britain,” I recited with a brief roll of my eyes. I looked at Mum and smiled tightly when she flicked her kind brown eyes to my face. Her expression was one of decided annoyance. “You informed me at least a dozen times before I left this morning.”
She sniffed in her almost-borderline haughty way. “Well, your father and I -”
“Leave me out of this,” I heard Dad grumble moodily as he forked some more pie into his mouth.
“ - only want you to know that we are trying our absolute hardest to ensure you get the care you deserve, and that you get your memory back,” Mum finished, brushing off Dad’s softly murmured interruption like it was a stubborn piece of lint clinging to her jumper. “Healer Mitchell’s help with speed-up the process. If you had gone it alone, it would have taken ages!” She smiled widely at me as she laughed.
I knew that Mum was trying to make light of Healer Mitchell’s involvement and assure me that I would get my memories back with her assistance. But, really, did she have to put it like that? Thanks for adding the insult to my injury, Mum. Believe me when I say that it’s greatly appreciated.
Before Mum, Merlin bless her, could say anything else, my sister jumped to my rescue. “Mum, could you pass the pumpkin juice? Seeing as how my blouse consumed my first glass, I need more.”
“Sure thing, Rosie,” said Mum, passing the pitcher to her daughter. She picked up her knife and fork, speared a piece of pie, and began to cut it. “Now, Ronald, what’s this I hear about you and Harry going on. . .”
I drowned out the rest of Mum’s words as I stared at Rose in amazement, wondering if my sister was infested with Nargles or Wrackspurt or one of Aunt Luna’s many mystical creatures. It would certainly explain her sudden change in behaviour. I craned my neck and tilted my head to the side, trying to peer into her ear.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” Rose questioned sharply, observing my odd conduct with a furrowed brow.
“I was just checking for Wrackspurts, is all,” I replied much to Rose’s confusion.
“What the hell is that?”
Obviously she had never spent a family dinner sitting next to Aunt Luna otherwise she would have heard all about Wrackspurts. Merlin, that had been one of the best Christmas dinners, second only to when Nana Molly did the Macarena. In her defence, she was intoxicated and Uncle George can be very persuasive.
Dad’s unexpected response roused me from my thoughts. “They’re little invisible things with wings and fly into your ears and mess with your brain and other stuff.”
Rose scrunched her face up in disgust and took a swipe at the air around her. I laughed loudly and unabashedly, even going as far as extending a finger and rudely jabbing it in my sister’s direction. And for the first time since the accident, I felt comfortable in my own skin instead of the stranger I had slowly started to become.
A/N 2: Have a question? Comment? Concern? Ask in a review! =)
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by Emily Potter