Chapter 1 : Painful processes
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They tell me it was a head injury that made me lose my memory. That, after six years of fear, I finally flew on a broomstick. I should have known that nothing good would have come out of it; a bludger to the head and now three years of lost memories.
They all stood over me when I woke up. Their faces were achingly familiar yet so different, hesitant smiles on their mouths. Everyone was older than I remember, taller, more tired.
The bitter woman I shared a ward with at Mungo’s told me it’s a blessing that I can’t remember anything, because it meant I’ve forgotten about the war.
Apparently I’m a hero. On my second day here, Ginny brought in some newspaper clippings. My face was on the front page of several, alongside Harry and Ron. Most of the time I’m confused, but when she told me Voldemort had been gone for seven months, I knew a brief happiness again.
Despite everyone’s attempts, I still don’t remember anything after the summer of fifth year.
Ron told me that I’m his girlfriend, that we were going to move in together after Hogwarts. It amazed me how much things can change in three years. He cried yesterday, because I told him that I don’t love him more than a friend, that I don’t know who I am anymore.
Everything has changed.
It was Harry’s turn to visit today. Healer McDonald had drawn a roster for my friends, in the hope that spending time with them would bring back my memories.
Harry sat next to me, school texts on the floor beside him and elbows braced against his knees as he leant towards me.
“You were helping to rebuild Hogwarts, Hermione,” he was telling me, filling in some blanks in the empty space of my mind, “So many students have come back to learn and help rebuild the castle. There will be hundreds of us taking NEWTs this year. The wizarding community isn’t scared to learn or to be out in the open anymore.”
I watched him as he spoke, barely listening to his words. His eyes were so sad, and he had scars that I didn’t remember. But he was taller too, more confident in himself.
“You were having problems, Hermione. We’re all still getting over the war, learning to live again, but I guess… it takes longer for some.”
“Lucky I don’t remember it, then,” I said, but my attempts to be cheerful only made Harry wince.
“I want to see my Mum and Dad, Harry,” I said, interrupting his awkward words, “Will you owl them for me? Why aren’t they here?”
The look of anguish that crossed my friend’s face made me clutch my sheets tightly in my fists. I felt my mouth tremble when he couldn’t bring himself to answer.
“They’re not… they didn’t… Harry, did Voldemort get them?” I stuttered, and sagged in relief at his fervent head shake.
“No, Hermione. Last that you told me, about three months ago, they were well.”
“I don’t understand what the problem is.” I frowned and traced patterns on my plain white sheet. The slowness of my thoughts was frustrating me more and more every day. Healer McDonald said that my clarity of mind would return in time, but I had to be patient. Where there used to be hundreds of thoughts swirling through my mind, were now only sluggish, single thoughts that were whisked away on a non-existent breeze.
“Hermione, I’m so sorry,” Harry moaned, rubbing his forehead as he avoided my unsteady gaze, “This is all my fault. You shouldn’t have ever become friends with me. Maybe I’ll go get Ginny, she’ll explain better...”
He trailed off and pushed his chair back, but I caught his hand before he could leave.
“Just tell me what happened to my parents, Harry.”
There was silence. Then, “You Obliviated them, Hermione. Obliviated them and sent them to live in Australia, far away from the war and from you.”
I let go of his hand and sat back on my pillows. “Okay,” I managed to whisper.
Harry reached forward to touch my shoulder, but I shifted away, as far as the single bed would allow.
“I’m fine, Harry. Please, I just need to be alone.”
I rolled over and heard him stand. Only when his footsteps faded away did I allow myself to cry.
A few days later, I unintentionally made him feel as wretched as I did. That day, we sat in silence as he studied and I examined a muggle puzzle given to me by Healer McDonald. I was having problems with walking, and he hoped that I could improve my motor skills by completing various puzzles.
“Harry,” I began, breaking the silence, “How is Sirius? I haven’t seen him and Remus since I’ve been in here.”
His knuckles whitened as he gripped Magic Through The Ages, and I suddenly didn’t want to know the answer.
“We lost them both, Hermione,” he finally muttered, pain in his voice, “You were there for Sirius. It was in the Ministry. And Remus and Tonks died at Hogwarts. I’m Teddy’s guardian, but for now he’s with his grandma.”
“Teddy?” I asked, a frown on my face. My heart felt heavy and my stomach was sick as I thought about Sirius and Remus. I supposed I’d already felt all of these emotions, had already grieved for them, but now I had to live through it again. I remembered meeting Tonks briefly at Grimauld Place, and mourned her also.
“Remus and Tonks’ son.”
A small “Oh,” left my mouth, and we lapsed into a heavy silence.
So much had been lost, so many people gone. I cried for a day when I found out about Fred.
Two weeks passed, and I could walk short distances. That day, Ginny was with me. She was thinner than I remembered, beautiful despite her tired eyes and listless movements. She wasn’t the child I remembered, but a woman with a heavy burden and a determined smile.
“We helped each other a lot,” she was saying, head bowed as her fingers twisted in her lap, “You and me helped each other get out of bed in the morning. When Fred… when Fred died, Harry didn’t know how to look after me, but you did. When your parents’ memory didn’t come back, Ron was at a loss and I brought you back to life.”
She was crying, and I cried with her. I didn’t remember anything, but my body seemed to remember my previous depression. And it was no wonder that I had turned to Ginny for help; Ron had the emotional capacity of a newt.
I said as much, and she sighed.
“He’s so lost, Hermione. He thought you’d wake up and remember him, welcome him with open arms and your usual kiss.”
“Kiss?” I gasped, incredulous. I hadn’t kissed anyone apart from Viktor Krum – that I remembered, anyway. She giggled for the first time since I woke up, and I was surprised to find a smile on my face as well.
“Yes, well, you were going to move in together, so I imagine that you did more than kiss,” she laughed, trailing off with a pointed look. I promptly turned pink, horrified that I didn’t remember something that important.
“But it’s Ron!” I finally managed to gasp, shaking my head.
“Yes, and you loved him.”
There was silence as I tried to process all of this new information. My usual headache was building, and when I closed my eyes briefly, I found that it was night when I woke and Ginny was gone.
When Healer McDonald told me that I could go back to school three weeks later, I didn’t know how to react. It was as if losing my memory made me also forget how to feel.
“It’ll be overwhelming, but Madam Pomfrey is fully aware of the situation and is on standby to offer you any support. You’ll need to visit me for bi-monthly checkups, and contact me if you ever even think you might remember the last three years.
“You know the steps to take if you feel like everything is getting a bit too much, and Professor Mcgonagall has already offered full academic support to help with NEWTs.
“And Miss Granger,” he said as he finally stood, the light from the window illuminating his greying hair and worried eyes, “I just wanted to say thank you.”
“I know you don’t remember, but you saved my son’s life that night. I owe you everything.”
“You owe me nothing,” I whispered, tears filling my eyes as he squeezed my hand in such a fatherly gesture that it made my heart break.
“Good luck, Miss Granger, and I'll see you soon for your checkups.”
His shoes made a pleasant sound on the floor as he left me alone, and I sat back on my bed. I was going back to Hogwarts with nothing but memories from before my fifth year of school.
Everyone knew who I was, but I had no idea anymore.