Chapter 36: Amnesia
"She's got retrograde amnesia," Leorio declared firmly, sitting back in his seat in one of the lobbies of a large hotel.
Aliara- yes, that was her name after all- blinked.
"Explain," the blond boy, Kurapika, said softly.
Leorio, the man in the suit, had done a few quick tests, free of stress and pain. Apparently he was in school to be a doctor, so said Gon, the small fierce boy that had stayed glued to her side. Aliara didn't know what else to do other than trust him. "She can't remember anything from the past," he continued with a shrug. "She won't be able to recall things, like family and friends."
Killua, the white-haired boy who had seemed really upset to meet her, swallowed nervously. "Is there a cure?"
The doctor-ish man shook his head. "There's no cure for amnesia."
Aliara was already considered smacking her head off a wall or something. It couldn't get any worse, could it?
"But we can heal her mind," Leorio said determinedly, leaning forwards. "She can still get the memories back. It's not a complete lost cause." The group seemed to let out a collective sigh, but Aliara was just confused. Yes, she wanted her memories back, but could she trust them?
"How?" Gon asked patiently.
He tapped a pen on the desk in front of them. "Sometimes with amnesia victims, something may happen that could trigger something traumatic that they experienced before they lost their memory. Like if one man almost drowned as a child, lost his memories, then was submerged in water again, it could trigger the memory and others. Sometimes all you need is one crazy thing to turn the rest of the brain back on."
Aliara frowned. His analogy made sense, in a crazy way.
"What about her skills?" Killua added suddenly, almost making her jump. "Is she still as good as she used to be?"
Good? Good at what?
Leorio shrugged casually. "It depends. Stuff that's she grown up her whole life doing will be instinct to her, but she won't remember things like when she learned or who taught her. More recent skills and stuff like that might have to be relearned."
"We need to try," Gon insisted, glancing at Aliara with a fierce protectiveness in his eyes. "We need to try and get her memories back."
Without meaning to, the black-haired girl shifted a bit closer to Gon. He had this innocent, pure, determined aura about him that made him approachable and made Aliara feel safe. She wasn't sure what exactly it was about him.
"It can be dangerous, though," Leorio warned.
Killua snorted, and Aliara tried to look up but found she couldn't meet his gaze. "How could it be any more dangerous than what the current situation already is?"
"She could get some memories," the doctor snapped as he continued. "Partial memories are dangerous."
"How?" the white-haired boy countered, his face flushed.
"Imagine if she starts remembering her childhood," said Leorio, adjusting his glasses. "Imagine if she remembers how she grew up and suddenly wants to go home." Aliara narrowed her eyebrows- the word 'home' left a sick feeling in her gut. Where had she come from?
Killua's gaze instantly darkened.
"W- What's so bad about home?" she tried timidly, her voice cracking.
"You ran away," Kurapika said softly.
Aliara blinked, "why?"
Killua spoke up, his voice harsh and cold. "Your mother was rude and abusive and had your entire life planned out. She was going to marry you off and make you a tool for her own selfish desires."
"Married?" she squeaked out. "I'm supposed to get married?"
"We're not letting her go back," Killua snapped, turning to Leorio. "What if she gets her memories while she's already back there? And the bounty? We have to get her memories back."
Bounty? Marriage? What the hell?
The four boys started talking quickly and seriously among themselves, leaving no room for Aliara to intrude.
"Time out!" she managed, raising her voice as high as she could. "Who am I marrying? How old am I?"
They all looked at her with surprise.
"What?!" Aliara's cheeks flushed with sudden heat; the attention wasn't pleasant. "Can't I know how old I am?" she demanded.
A flicker of a smile flashed across Kurapika's face. "She's not gone," he said, his words not really intended for anyone to hear.
"Thirteen," Gon said with a smile.
Why was he smiling?!
What was so funny?!
"Who am I getting married to?" Aliara demanded, flustered beyond belief.
"You're not getting married to anyone," Kurapika said with a chuckle, "as long as you don't go back."
She sighed with relief. Marriage didn't even sound that fun to begin with. "Thank God."
"So what can we do to trigger memories?" Gon asked politely.
Leorio frowned, tapping the pen against the side of his glasses. "Depends. It could be something really stupid, like how someone high-fives her a certain way or something, or a huge traumatic thing that triggers flashbacks."
Aliara hadn't heard enthusiasm in Killua's voice since she'd seen him in that alley behind the hospital. The white-haired boy bounded out of his seat and took off down the hall, and the four watched him go until he returned quickly, holding something wrapped up in black cloth.
He set it down gingerly on the table. "Good idea, Killua," Gon breathed, leaning towards the table.
Aliara was interested. What was so special about this?
Killua unfolded it. It was a black hoodie and grey sweatpants. They looked around her size. What were... What...
Instinctively, Aliara reached for the hoodie and pulled it towards herself, hugging it to her chest. It was warm and familiar, and she had no idea why. Realizing that she was still wearing that weird hospital gown, she pulled the hoodie over top of the gown. It was warm and fuzzy and it made her smile.
"Is this mine?" she breathed.
"Yeah," Killua said breathlessly. It looked like he was trying really hard to contain his excitement. "Do you know what these are?"
He pulled out a pair of shoes.
Aliara blinked at them. They seemed normal, except they were an extra inch taller than normal runners. The tops were red and black and the black laces were undone and loose. Her bare feet suddenly felt so much colder and she wiggled her toes.
"It goes with this," Kurapika said quietly, passing her a small wristband.
All four of them were watching her carefully, looking for a flicker of something in her eyes. She didn't know, but Killua was watching carefully for the fire behind her eyes that always appeared whenever she got an idea or was talking about her inventions.
She hit a button on the wristband and spikes jutted out from the bottom of both of the shoes.
Her eyes lit up.
"This is so cool!" she gasped, smacking a different button and watching small wheels poke through the bottom. "Who made these? How'd they manage to configure the shoes so that all these little tools can fit inside?" Aliara hit another button and turned the shoes around, glaring at the bottom. "That's incredible, and being able to wire the wristband like that so it corresponds with both shoes? The creator's got to be an expert. Are these mine?"
"You could say that," Leorio said with a smile, but Aliara was too excited to figure out what that meant.
"Springs," Aliara said in awe, touching the pads with her finger. "What the heck! These can do just about anything! I can't believe this, these are incredible. Who made them?" she asked excitedly, turning eagerly to the four smiling faces and holding out the shoes.
Maybe it was her imagination, but Killua's smile was really sad. "You made them," he said, pushing them back into her hands.
"I... I made these?" she said slowly, looking from Killua to the miracle inventions known as shoes.
They all nodded.
She shook her head slowly, pushing the shoes back to the table. "That's insane. I'm not... I couldn't possibly... I'm not good enough-"
How should she know what she can and can't do? She didn't remember anything.
"You'll always be weaker than me, because you're younger! Duh!"
"I have older siblings?" she mused, like a question.
All four listeners snapped up and turned towards her. "What?" Kurapika asked sharply, echoed by Gon.
"I'm used to being not good enough," Aliara tried, going through any available memories in her brain and trying to make something click. "I'm used to feeling inferior. I... My older siblings. They said I'd always be weaker because I'm younger."
Killua was about to say something when Leorio interjected, "and how does that make you feel?"
What was this, a therapy session?"
"Angry," Aliara answered honestly. "Frustrated."
"What would you try to do?"
"Be the best I can so that I can beat them, in anything."
"What if it was beyond your physical capabilities?" Leorio pushed, thinking at a mile a minute. "What if it was something you really didn't have much control over?"
Aliara frowned. "There's always something. I'd try to find something I could do to help me in any way."
Leorio laughed loudly. Killua was grinning. "That's why you made these," he said proudly, pushing the shoes back towards her. "Because you weren't quite fast enough and you wanted a way to move faster."
"Really," Killua confirmed, and Aliara felt happy tears prick her eyes as she hugged the shoes close to her chest. The four boys seemed really excited and that made her very happy. It hadn't taken long to realize she was hurting them (unintentionally, of course) and she was going to try everything in her power to get her memory back.
"Aliara?" Kurapika said, tapping her shoulder. "We have something else of yours."
The blond boy handed her a set of gloves.
Intrigued, Aliara studied them carefully. If they were anything like the shoes, there had to be something special she had put in these. Maybe if she slipped them on... The black-haired girl pulled the left glove on, then the right as the boys watched with anticipation.
The right one had a bigger back than the left. What if...
There was a fly on the wall.
It was completely instinctive, but Aliara pulled her right hand up and curled her pointer finger to tap the bottom of the glove. A small cylinder rose out of the back of her hand with a tiny buzz, and she curled her pinky finger. The laser fired, burning a hole right through the poor fly on the wall and making a tiny burn mark in the wall.
"You know how to use them!" Gon exclaimed.
Aliara shook her head in bewilderment, staring at the gloves in awe as she tucked the laser back into its place. "I... I don't know how," she admitted, turning it over in her hands. "I just..." she trailed off, not sure what else she could say.
Leorio pumped a fist in the air. "This is progress!" he bellowed, laughing maniacally.
"Yes," Killua breathed, falling back in his chair.
Aliara beamed, clenching her hand into a fist in front of her face.
If she could make stuff like this, then maybe she was a pretty cool person after all.
Audley Moore: Nothing wrong with a bunch of questions XD Thanks for your enthusiastic review! Yes, she doesn't really remember anything... but we'll see. :)
RedBurningDragon: Yep, no kidding. Thanks for your review! :D
yachiru-chan92: Amnesia, yikes. Thanks for your review! :D
Night Owl: I didn't think that anyone would notice that! Nice catch. Worse than killing her, you say?! Mwahaha. I can do worse, I promise XD Thanks for your amusing and loving review! :)
F: Aww, thank you! You made me smile! :)
Woofie-chan: Aha, you made me laugh XD Thanks for your review! :)
CupcakeCupidity: You binge read my story?! AAAAAA that makes me so happy! I love it when people tell me they've done that, it makes me so so happy :) :) :) Thank you so so much for your review!
Guest (1): Yeah, I can't have her walk away without a scratch. And yessss, I was originally going to make it Killua but it sounded like something Gon would do and it worked out a lot better. Pulling at heartstrings?! Me?! I have no clue why you would even consider that! XD I loved the little dialogue you made, I've got ideas now. Thank you so so much for your wonderful review!
Guest (2): Eventually?
AH GEEZ I'M A DAY LATE I'M SORRY