A/N: Week #6 Prompt: "A Story About Finding Something that has been Lost"
Because I've never done the Amnesiac!Hermione trope.
Right. So. This difficult to write in a small one-shot. In this story, Hermione is doing her best to find something that has been lost, but there are a few stumbling blocks in the way. Oops?
I'm breaking my own self-imposed rule. Next week will be the resolution/conclusion to this tale.
Before she even opened her eyes, she knew she was in hospital. She wasn't certain if it was the smell of antiseptic, or the tightly tucked crisp sheets, or the soft beeps of the machinery, but somehow she knew. She blinked slowly, reflexively cringing away from the bright lights overhead.
There was no one in the room except for her. Across the room, she could see another bed ready to receive its patient, but it was currently empty. She tried to examine herself, to try and determine what her condition might be. What had happened to her? Had she been in some sort of accident?
Bandages were wrapped carefully about her left arm, and it was secured to her chest. She tried to shift in the bed and stopped almost immediately. Her left leg ached in a way that told her she was on some excellent medication. All right then, she had apparently been in some kind of accident.
"Ah, you're awake," a calm, no-nonsense voice declared. A nurse entered the room and moved toward her. "Let's just take your vitals and see where you're at."
"M-my vitals?" She asked.
"Your blood pressure, heart rate, temperature," the nurse rattled off. She paused and smiled. "Won't take but a moment, dear."
She sat as still as she could while the nurse moved about her. When the nurse tilted her right arm to take her blood pressure, she gasped in horror. Carved into her arm were letters. M-U-D-B-L-O-O-D. What on earth was a mudblood?
"Where did that come from?" She demanded. Her voice rose and it sounded a bit panicky even to her own ears.
"You came it with that, dear," the nurse tried to soothe her. "It's a nasty bit of work, but it's been there for years as near as we can tell. We ignored your older injuries. It was your arm and leg that worried us."
"Older injuries?" Her voice was definitely panicky now.
"There, there, it's all right," the nurse told her. "You're safe and sound at Broome Hospital."
"What happened to my arm and leg?" She asked worriedly.
"You were in an accident, dear," the nurse explained. "Some drunk tourist hit you with his car. From all the reports, you were actually sitting at an outdoor café. He plowed right up onto the sidewalk and ended pinning you against the café."
"Merlin's pants!" She exclaimed.
"Merlin's pants?" The nurse repeated with a little laugh. "That's a funny sort of phrase. Is that some kind of British slang?"
"I… I don't know," she admitted. She frowned to herself. "I don't know why I said that." She turned to the nurse. "British slang? Am I British?"
"Yes, dear. All your papers say you're British, and even if you didn't have any, that accent would give you away," the nurse said. She patted her on her good leg. "Why don't you rest a moment, and I'll have Doctor come in, shall I?"
"Wait!" She called out. The nurse paused by the door and looked back at her. "Who am I?"
The nurse's lips tightened and she shook her head. "Let me just go grab the doctor."
"My name is Harmony Wilkins," she said slowly whilst staring at herself in the bathroom mirror.
Harmony Wilkins looked back at her, clearly unimpressed. Her hair sprung out about her face wildly in a riot of tawny-brown curls. Her face appeared wan and pale and there were dark circles under her eyes. She squinted at the stranger in the mirror. The stranger looking back appeared tired. The bandage taped to her forehead didn't help.
"My name is Harmony Wilkins," she tried again.
There was a loud clatter from the room beyond and she whirled quickly, flinging her right arm out in front of her, her fingers curled as though she were gripping… something in her hand.
"Hello?" She called sharply. "Who's there?"
Cautiously, she crept out to the bedroom that she assumed must be hers. A quick peek about the bedroom revealed that a photo frame on her nightstand had fallen over. With a sigh, she moved toward the nightstand.
The hospital had given her everything that had been on her person when she had been brought into the hospital. A purse that contained a UK passport, a wallet with some Australian bills, a tube of lip balm, a small pot of some sort of orange paste-like substance, and a little coin purse that held far more than it ought to have judging by its outside appearance.
There had been a set of keys and an address written in a neat, tidy hand. The address had led to a small, utilitarian flat that didn't seem to have any sort of decoration aside from a couple of bland prints that she disliked on sight. She couldn't imagine living in this flat, and she had no idea why Harmony Wilkins had chosen it.
Carefully, she picked up the photo frame and turned it over. Two smiling adults looked up at her through cracked glass. Something muted and distant stirred in her chest. Monica and Wendell Wilkins shouldn't have cracked glass in their frame—even if she couldn't really remember them.
According to the paperwork she'd found in a stack of neatly organized folders, they had passed away a couple of years ago, and Harmony hadn't been able to come to Australia to handle their estate until now.
There was a small bin tucked under the nightstand. She pulled it out and flipped over the photo frame. She pushed the clamps to the side and pulled off the back so that she could remove the cracked glass. She glanced at the handwritten note on the back of the photo. Simon and I in Nice. She frowned at the writing and flipped the picture back over. She had been certain that the couple on the nightstand were her parents. There had been a brief moment of recognition that the rest of the house hadn't really given her.
"Who are you?" She muttered as she stared at the picture.
Going back to the UK before she had regained her memories seemed like a very bad idea, but there had been a feeling of relief when she let herself into her flat. The art on the walls and the decorations were far more appealing. There was a sense of comfort, of belonging, that hadn't been present in Australia.
Even better, she would have little flashes of memory when she picked up a cup or a book. There was a chunky mug that had I'm a witch AND your wife printed it on it in bright letters.
"Where on earth did you find this?" She asked.
"Had it made," a voice replied.
"The best part is, it will work for the both of us," another voice added.
"You are both ridiculous," she said with a laugh.
"That's why you love us," the first voice said.
She had shaken her head at that and thrown up her hands in defeat. "Merlin help me, I do," she agreed.
Who was Merlin? She had wondered afterwards. Did she mean the wizard who helped Arthur? Or had she meant someone else? Who were the two men who had affectionately teased her? She couldn't quite see their faces in the memory, no matter how much she wracked her brain.
Still, she had the strange sense that she hadn't lived in this flat for some time. She wondered how long she had been in Australia. Had it been months? She had to have some kind of job, didn't she? Maybe she had requested a leave from work? Maybe she didn't have a job? None of those answers were quite right, and they left her feeling off kilter.
No one ever visited her at her little flat. She never received any sort of mail. Everyone received mail—even if it were just junk mail—but her mail box was empty day after day. She wondered idly if there was anyone out there that missed Harmony Wilkins. Maybe the two men who had gifted her with that joke mug in her kitchen?
"Isn't there anything that you can do?" She asked with a small frown.
"I'm sorry, Miss Wilkins," the doctor replied with a grave expression. "The human brain can be unpredictable, especially when it comes to amnesia. You have retained memory of fine and gross motor skills—you can read, walk, eat, etc. Yet you have no memory of your childhood, your time at school, any of that. It's fascinating, really."
"Yes, I'm sure," she murmured.
The last thing she cared about was whether or not her case was fascinating. What she wanted was some kind of answer, or at least a notion of how to… to cure her.
"Miss Wilkins, you must understand," here the doctor tried to assume a sympathetic face, "we cannot simply wave a magic wand and fix all of this."
"I understand," she replied.
There was that slight twinge, that strange feeling that came over her, whenever anyone casually mentioned magic or witches or wizards. A sort of sardonic amusement would steal over her every time, and she wasn't quite sure why.
"Thank you for your time," she murmured as she rose to her feet.
"Miss Wilkins," the doctor said with a slight hesitation. "You are a very lucky young woman. From the medical reports that the doctors sent over from Broome Hospital make it quite clear that, well, you ought to have been killed in that accident. It's a miracle that you weren't."
"I know, doctor," she replied. "They explained everything to me once I woke."
The doctor nodded. "There is also the fact that… if I may be blunt, Miss Wilkins, you don't have to work. You own your flat. You have the title to your parent's home in Chelsea, which in today's market could probably set you up for quite some time if you sold it. You have the luxury of taking the time you need to work on putting your life back together."
"I understand how lucky I am, doctor," she said in cool, crisp voice that seemed to bubble up out of her somewhere. She paused and tilted her head. "Do you think I will ever get used to being Miss Wilkins?"
"I'm not sure," the doctor admitted with a shake of his head. "I am sorry. I wish there were something I could do."
With a nod, she turned and left his office. The trip back to her flat on the tube seemed comforting, familiar, and the walk up to her flat felt like something she'd done a thousand times before. She opened the door and tossed her keys onto the little table by the door. There was a rightness and a sense of ritual to it all. I've done this before. She turned to look in the little mirror over the door.
"I'm Harmony Wilkins," she tried again. The person in her mirror sighed and her shoulders slumped. "Whoever that is."
Maybe it was because the doctor mentioned it. Maybe it was because she had realized that, while this flat felt far more lived in and homely, there weren't any pictures on the walls of her and any possible friends. She had a suspicion that if only she contacted someone that had known Harmony Wilkins, she would be able to figure out who she had been, and who she still was.
The house in Chelsea felt even more familiar than her flat. She knew without even looking that there was a small garden in the back that her dad had fussed over on the weekends. She supposed that it was overgrown now. The key stuck in the door, but she finally got it to work.
Oddly enough, the house in Chelsea was similar to the house her parents had rented in Broome. There were pictures of them, but not of her. She stared at them for hours, but… nothing.
The attic was dusty, and there were neatly stacked boxes everywhere. She moved among them slowly, but unerringly toward the far corner. Those boxes seemed to be separated. As she neared she looked down at the top flap of one of the boxes. Hermione Primary School. She stared at it for a long moment.
"Hermione," she said aloud in the quiet stillness of the attic.
That distant something in her chest shifted slightly.
"Hermione," she tried again, tasting it on her tongue and letting it fill her mouth.
Cautiously, she lifted the flap and stared into the box. There was a pile of scrapbooks and a few painfully awkward-looking crafts. She lifted out one of the scrapbooks and flipped through it.
A small child with buckteeth and frizzy hair was standing in front of a building, clinging to the hand of a much-younger Monica Wilkins. She peered at the caption which read: Hermione's first day at kindergarten. I don't know who was more terrified—Hermione or Barbara.
There was another picture of the same little girl bent over a piano, her tiny fingers perched above the keys. Our little virtuoso's first lesson! Slowly, she flipped through the scrapbook. There was a picture of the three of them together, the little girl perched on Wendell Wilkins' hip with a bright smile. Hermione Granger, Kindergarten Graduate the caption read.
"Hermione Granger?" She whispered. The name felt so much more right than Harmony Wilkins. She squinted at Wendell and Monica Wilkins. Or were they Simon and Barbara Granger?
Everything in these scrapbooks felt familiar. She stared at the pictures of her at her piano lessons and she remembered how much her fingers cramped and ached in the beginning. How her Mum had rubbed liniment in them and told her that anything worth doing would come with a price.
When and how had Hermione Granger become Harmony Wilkins? Why had they changed their name? Was it the same reason that her parents had moved to Australia, and had seemed to remove her from their life? Was it related to why she had been in a car accident in the first place? Worry and fear began to gnaw at her. Who was Hermione Granger?
"I'm Hermione Granger," she murmured to herself.
Something settled in her chest.
"I'm Hermione Granger," she announced to the room.